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FREEDOM TO PROVIDE FACTS, INFORMATION, OPINION AND DEBATE WIKIPEDIA EXPOSED MEDIA - TRUTHFUL NEWS MEDIA, ENCOURAGE OPEN DEBATE

In his weekly news summary show "News of the Week," host Dmitry Kiselyov said that "Obama was throwing his arms about as if he was in the jungle" but later edited that comment out.Vesti Nedeli / YouTube

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Reviews and Introduction of Secret UK Bases

Secret Bases On Planet Earth http://awn.bz/SecretBasesOnPlanetEarth.html

"I've always been very supportive of your website. I have no intention of writing anything againstit."  (June 2004)

"We need websites like this, if only to test the pronouncements that come out of Whitehall about 'opengovernment'."(September 2004) … Nick Fielding – Author on Intelligence & Terrorism issues and former Senior Investigative Journalist at The Sunday Times  

"A thoroughly well-researched website. A near one-stop solution for researchers and students alike." (December 2004) …. Mark Birdsall – Managing Editor: Eye Spy Publishing Limited   (September 2004)  

"Your 'Secret Base' site is an excellent example of what can be achieved by painstaking, forensic research of what is available from open sources and the Internet. Whatever might be deemed to be 'sensitive' has usually been known to the 'opposition' for years and it is only the general public who are denied their 'right to know' by officious, blinkered, low-level bureaucrats." (January 2005)

"You persistent scallywag!"(August 2009)

"As ever, absolutely fascinating content and marvellous demonstration of your technical wizardry"

(December 2009) …Glenmore S. Trenear-Harvey – Intelligence Analyst: Sky News TV  

"Your website contains a vast amount of first class, eye-opening information, based on original research. It's an exemplary example of how forensic analysis of open source data can produce powerful results. I admire your investigative prowess and wish you well in further testing the boundaries of 'freedom of information'."(May 2005) …

Neil Doyle – Investigative Journalist and Author of Terror Tracker and Terror BaseUK  

"A website that will have you digging out your Ordnance Survey maps, binoculars and walking boots double quick. You're likely to spend hours transfixed by the revelations." (November 2006)  …. Ian Hughes – Editor, Website of the Day: Pocket-lint.com, the UK's premier gadget news and reviews site  

 
"Cyber sleuthing ... cleverer than the Government was ever hoping you'd be."

(September 2007)Ian Punnett – Saturday night host of hit US radio talk show Coast to Coast AM in live interview  

"An expert at reading the empty spaces on Ordnance Survey maps."

(August 2008) Ian Harrison – author of official companion book to BBC TV series Britain from Above, in chapter Hidden Britain 

"Spookbuster ... the website snooper who spies on the spies." (November 2009) … The Sunday Express  

"Astonishing collection of information about military and government sites that were kept from the maps until satellite technology made such rulings redundant. A jaw-dropping place to start. Be prepared to lose a whole day, though." (April 2009)

"One of the pioneers who began filling in the maps' blank spaces."

(March 2010)Mike Parker – Author of Map Addict and presenter of BBC Radio 4's On the Map 



In February 2004, the Secretary of the D-Notice Committee, Rear Admiral Nick Wilkinson, contacted me to assure me that things have changed for the better and that the system has been overhauled in recent years. With the introduction of Internet-based mapping and aerial photography data, he insisted that the Committee is now an independent and purely advisory body. It was to be known as the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DPBAC) and the D-Notices more correctly referred to as Defence Advisory (DA-Notices), as described in Nick Wilkinson's history book Secrecy and the Media published in 2009. It was renamed again in 2015, to the Defence and Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee, with the DA Notices renamed accordingly DSMA Notices.
Alerted to the issues highlighted on this website, Mr. Wilkinson told me that Ordnance Survey's removal of MoD-related sites from their maps is no longer appropriate in today's Internet climate. He assured me that the fact that they still show sensitive sites as empty fields is because of the time lag between Ordnance Survey becoming aware of the new policy and their publication of new editions of the maps, rather than any sinister Government involvement.
Indeed, the high resolution aerial photography of Britain's "Secret Bases", offered for sale on the Internet by Getmapping plc, was cleared by Mr. Wilkinson. Even so, various defence analysts raised concerns, as detailed in a BBC News article. Getmapping's co-founder and MD, Tristram Cary, is a former Royal Navy officer and software project director in the defence industry.
In February 2007, the Landmark Group mapping company revealed that it had acquired top secret Russian military maps of UK Secret Bases. They had been compiled by the KGB throughout the Cold War years, from 1950 right up to 1997, using their own satellite imagery, making all the fuss somewhat pointless after all.
In June 2007, in a major update to Google Earth's UK imagery, most of the locations featured on this website became available at high resolution. In December 2007, new hi-res aerial imagery was provided by Getmapping which covers the area around Faslane. Check out my special implementation of Microsoft Virtual Earth, which allows you to zoom in close-up to the Trident Missile Storage Bunkers, warhead handling facilities and much more.

"Secret Base" locations revealed

Thank you for visiting Part 1 of www.secret-bases.co.uk. Once you've finished browsing this first part, all you need to do is click on buttons at the bottom of this page to move on to the other parts. Please note that this website requires a modern JavaScript enabled browser in order to work properly.
Introduction
What makes a "Secret Base" secret? By "base", I mean those British Government installations or military sites you've seen surrounded by razor wire fences and guarded by Ministry of Defence (MoD) police. How on earth can these sites be secret? The UK Government hasn't (yet) developed stealth technology in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. So they can't very well make, say, Faslane nuclear submarine base (pictured below) suddenly disappear as you come around the corner.
Having said that, in October 2007, the Sun newspaper revealed in an exclusive story that boffins at the Government's research wing QinetiQ had got together with Professor John Pendry's theoretical physics team at Imperial College, London to develop Harry Potter style "invisibility cloaks" for military equipment such as tanks.
As revealed back in May 2006, in scientific journals New Scientist and Physics World, the technology involves the development of special composite "metamaterials". They have very unusual refractive properties that alter the propagation of light beams. It is thought that the latest top secret research is being carried out on behalf of the MoD at QinetiQ's Nanomaterials Division at Farnborough, Hampshire.
No, it's actually much simpler than all that. A Government laboratory or military base can be made to "disappear" by just deleting it from Ordnance Survey (OS) maps. But how? Well, you need to appreciate that OS is essentially a Government agency within the MoD. Just look-up the derivation of the word "ordnance" and all will become clear. It means "military equipment, artillery and provisions".
Apart from straightforward deletion, another classic sign of "tampering" to look for on OS maps is the use of the rather uninformative labels "Works" or "Depot". This is sometimes an indication that a site has important Government and/or military activities. But why? Throughout the 1960s, Sir Martin Furnival-Jones, Director General of MI5 (the Security Service) during the Cold War, insisted that all sensitive sites be labelled on maps in this way, so their true strategic role would be concealed from potential enemy agents.
All inclusions on OS maps were once vetted by the UK Government's D-Notice Committee. You may have heard of this before. When the Government wanted to "gag" newspaper editors to stop them revealing embarrassing details about MoD-related stories, it was called "slapping a D-Notice" on them. Any locations on the "Sensitive Sites Register" were mysteriously removed from public maps by men in cigar smoke filled rooms in Whitehall and just ended up appearing as farmers' fields.
Sometimes misleading labels on Ordnance Survey maps are good old fashioned foul-ups. Like the map of Stockport Grammar School in my home town. It was corrected in 2018.
Ordnance Survey's map makers up to their old tricks? The grammar school in my home town of Stockport, Cheshire got an unwelcome makeover, but this time it was nothing to do with MI5. It was eventually corrected in 2018.

In February 2004, the Secretary of the D-Notice Committee, Rear Admiral Nick Wilkinson, contacted me to assure me that things have changed for the better and that the system has been overhauled in recent years. With the introduction of Internet-based mapping and aerial photography data, he insisted that the Committee is now an independent and purely advisory body. It was to be known as the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DPBAC) and the D-Notices more correctly referred to as Defence Advisory (DA-Notices), as described in Nick Wilkinson's history book Secrecy and the Media published in 2009. It was renamed again in 2015, to the Defence and Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee, with the DA Notices renamed accordingly DSMA Notices.

Alerted to the issues highlighted on this website, Mr. Wilkinson told me that Ordnance Survey's removal of MoD-related sites from their maps is no longer appropriate in today's Internet climate. He assured me that the fact that they still show sensitive sites as empty fields is because of the time lag between Ordnance Survey becoming aware of the new policy and their publication of new editions of the maps, rather than any sinister Government involvement.

Indeed, the high resolution aerial photography of Britain's "Secret Bases", offered for sale on the Internet by Getmapping plc, was cleared by Mr. Wilkinson. Even so, various defence analysts raised concerns, as detailed in a BBC News article. Getmapping's co-founder and MD, Tristram Cary, is a former Royal Navy officer and software project director in the defence industry.
In February 2007, the Landmark Group mapping company revealed that it had acquired top secret Russian military maps of UK Secret Bases. They had been compiled by the KGB throughout the Cold War years, from 1950 right up to 1997, using their own satellite imagery, making all the fuss somewhat pointless after all.

In June 2007, in a major update to Google Earth's UK imagery, most of the locations featured on this website became available at high resolution. In December 2007, new hi-res aerial imagery was provided by Getmapping which covers the area around Faslane. Check out my special implementation of Microsoft Virtual Earth, which allows you to zoom in close-up to the Trident Missile Storage Bunkers, warhead handling facilities and much more.

Russian Edition of Newspapers    https://www.corprussia.com/okved/221200/region/72/page/2

"IZDATELSKY DOM "NOVOSTI YUGRY", JSCTyumenskaya oblast
2.MU GAZETA "ZNAMYA"Tyumenskaya oblast​
3."TYUMENSKY KURYER", JSCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
4."REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "NOVOSTI YUGRY", LLCTyumenskaya oblast
5."MARKET-PRESS", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Nefteyugansk
6."REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "SURGUTSKAYA TRIBUNA", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
7.ANO "REDAKTSIYA "TYUMENSKAYA PRAVDA"Tyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
8."SMIA SIA-PRESS", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
9.ANO "IITS "ISHIMSKAYA PRAVDA"Tyumenskaya oblast
10.ANO "IITS "TRUDOVOE ZNAMYA"Tyumenskaya oblast
11."REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "NEDVIZHIMOST", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
12."MIR PRESSY", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
13."DP", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen

14.REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "TORGOVAYA GAZETA", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
15."SEMEYNY BYUDZHET", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
16.MU "GAZETA "VESTNIK ZAPOLYARYA"Tyumenskaya oblast
17."V KURSE DEL", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
18."SIBIRSKY POSAD", JSCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
19. ANO "TYUMENSKAYA OBLAST SEGODNYA"Tyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
20 ."RITS", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
21 .REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "TYUMEN LITERATURNAYA"Tyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
22 .ANO "IITS "ZARYA"Tyumenskaya oblast
23 ."RG "TYUMENSKY KRAY", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
24 .NO "FSZN"Tyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
25. ANO "IITS "YARKOVSKIE IZVESTIYA"Tyumenskaya oblast
26. ANO "IITS "ZAVODOUKOVSKIE VESTI"Tyumenskaya oblast
27. "YUGRA-TREVEL", LLCTyumenskaya oblast
28. MUP REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "VESTNIK"Tyumenskaya oblast
29. "REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "U` DACHA", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
30 ANO "REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "YUGORSKOE VREMYA"Tyumenskaya oblast
31 ."SIBIRSKY KUPETS", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
32 .MU REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "RABOCHY NADYMA"Tyumenskaya oblast
33. ANO "IITS "YALUTOROVSKAYA ZHIZN"Tyumenskaya oblast
34 ."REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "CHESTNOE SLOVO", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Nefteyugansk
35 .MAU "RG "ZN"Tyumenskaya oblast, Nefteyugansk
36. MU OPG "SEVERNAYA PANORAMA"Tyumenskaya oblast
37 ."EDV-SURGUT", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
38 ."GALS", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Novy Urengoy
39. BOLIVAR, LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
40 .ANO "IITS "TOBOLSKAYA PRAVDA"Tyumenskaya oblast

​41 ."VOZROZHDENIE-PRESS", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
42. MUP G. NIZHNEVARTOVSKA - REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "VARTA"Tyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
43. "PROVINTSIYA. TYUMEN", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
44 ."TP-INVEST", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
45 .BOLIVAR, LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
46. MUP RG NRTyumenskaya oblast
47 ."DELOVOY SURGUT", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
48. ANO "IITS "ZNAMYA TRUDA"Tyumenskaya oblast
49. "STROYINVEST", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
50. ANO "PRESS-SERVIS"Tyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
51. KOD "GRAZHDANSKAYA INITSIATIVA"Tyumenskaya oblast
52 .SID "GLAGOL '", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
53. ANO "IITS "SLAVA TRUDU"Tyumenskaya oblast
54. ANO "IITS "TOBOLSKAYA PRAVDA"Tyumenskaya oblast
55. "ALFA - PRO", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
56. ANO "IITS "SOVETSKAYA SIBIR"Tyumenskaya oblast
57. ANO "IITS "SELSKY VESTNIK"Tyumenskaya oblast
58. "YUZHNO-SARDAKOVSKOE", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
59. ANO "IITS "YANARYSH"Tyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
60 .MBU "RRG "NOVOSTI PRIOBYA"Tyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
61 ."SOVREMENNY SURGUT", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
62. RIA "BLITS-MK", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
63 ."PROK", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
64. ANO "IITS "GOLYSHMANOVSKY VESTNIK"Tyumenskaya oblast
65 ."PULS-NYAGANI", LLCTyumenskaya oblast
66 ."LISTOK SURGUT", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Surgut
67. ANO "IITS "UVATSKIE IZVESTIYA"Tyumenskaya oblast
68 ."GUP "VSLUKH-INFORM", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
69 .ANO "IITS "ZNAMYA PRAVDY"Tyumenskaya oblast
70 ."KREDITNY KONSULTANT", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
71. ANO REDAKTSIYA GAZETY "DARTS"Tyumenskaya oblast
72. "SNS", LLCTyumenskaya oblast
73 ."IZDATELSTVO"KREA", LLCTyumenskaya oblast
74 ."TELESEM-TYUMEN", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
75. "MIR NEDVIZHIMOSTI", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen
76 .OB'EDINENNAYA REDAKTSIYA NATSIONALNYKH GAZETTyumenskaya oblast
77 ."YUGRA-PRESS", LLCTyumenskaya oblast
78. "RG "NEFTYANIK", PJSCTyumenskaya oblast, Nizhnevartovsk
79. KMU "RG "SK"Tyumenskaya oblast
80 ."MEGAPOLIS-PROEKT", LLCTyumenskaya oblast, Tyumen

Continued at 

https://www.corprussia.com/okved/221200/region/72/page/3

Then there is gray propaganda, defined as information that has no obvious source, and uses a mix of proven and unproven facts to promote a favorable narrative or trick the enemy into believing one thing over another. The GRU textbook cites U.S. efforts to convince the world that the Soviet Union shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983 in cold blood as an example of this approach.
“The U.S. Information Agency immediately prepared a 5 minute film based on conversations between the Soviet Su-15 interceptor pilot and ground controllers [...] and then showed it to the UN security council,” the textbook says. “The video indicated that Major Osipovich [the Su-15 pilot] shot down the Boeing 747 with no warning, knowing it was a passenger plane.”
But the most insidious form of information warfare, according to the GRU textbook the courses are based on, is black propaganda, a false flag operation.Dmitry recalls that one of the specific black propaganda techniques taught in his textbook. During the Chechen conflict, Russian psychological warfare experts spread rumors that foreign fighters had raped the 13-year-old daughter of a Chechen village elder. The rumors helped sow discord between Chechen fighters and Arab Islamist volunteers, undermining the unity of the rebels.
“There was a spirit of moral ambivalence to all this,” Dmitry says. “We knew what we were doing was wrong, but the ultimate truth was on our side, so it was something we just had to do.”
Neither of the psychological warfare soldiers could explain why a new information operations force was necessary. After all, they argued, the military already has the means to do what it wants, and existing Russian propaganda outlets and troll factories do the disinformation job just fine.“Maybe Shoigu just wants another plaything,” Dmitry says.

Europol Points to Russian Money as Biggest Laundering Threat
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/14/europol-points-to-russian-money-as-biggest-laundering-threat-a66000
Europe's Baltic states are at risk from further Russian money laundering, a top European police official said after several big banks were hit by scandals centered on the region.
Pedro Felicio, who is responsible for fighting money laundering at European police agency Europol, told Reuters that "huge inflows of criminal money" are mainly coming into Europe from Russia and China. Russian money is alleged to be at the heart of multi-billion dollar laundering rackets that engulfed Danske Bank, Denmark's largest lender and Sweden's Swedbank "There are billions of criminal money that are being taken out of the Russian economy," Felicio said as he warned of the dangers of a repeat of scandals involving tainted Russian money in the Baltics, a bloc of three countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which used to be ruled by Soviet Russia. The high burden of proof in Europe coupled with "zero cooperation from Russia in providing... evidence" were exacerbating the problem, Felicio added. Russia's central bank, which has a hard line on money laundering in the past few years and shut dozens of banks it said were involved, did not respond to a request for comment.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov 

 Putin Announces Arctic Expansion Plans at International Forum – Highlights
Russia championed the Arctic region this week.


https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/11/putin-announces-arctic-expansion-plans-international-forum-highlights-a65195 

With Russia’s economy faltering under an onslaught of Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg this week to promote the resource-rich region's development.
Presentations and panel discussions between more than 3,600 Russian and international lawmakers, scientists and businesspeople wrapped up on Wednesday.
Delegates discussed topics including the Northern Sea Route, Arctic shelf development, OPEC, the production and use of liquified natural gas (LNG), the brain drain from Russia’s Arctic regions, the development of infrastructure in Arctic towns and ecotourism.


Here is a selection of highlights from the two-day forum:

On the development of the Northern Sea Route
— “A global transportation corridor is going to be built compromising the Northern Sea Route ... last year the freight volume through the Northern Sea Route hit the mark of 20 million, which is three times the Soviet record which was reached back in 1987,” said Putin.
— “We’re going to increase our icebreaker fleet ... by 2035, it’s going to have no fewer than 13 heavy icebreakers and nine of them are going to be nuclear-powered. Our goal is to make the Northern Sea Route secure, safe and profitable,” Putin said.
— “The revival of the 'industrial' exploitation of the Northern Sea Route is of vital importance to us. In Soviet times, it served as a strategic transport route, and remains a direct line from Europe to Asia,” said Krasnoyarsk region governor Alexander Uss.
— “The breakthrough in Arctic development was related to the emergence of nuclear-powered ships … a nuclear fleet has been created this year and we are celebrating 60 years from the first icebreaker named after Lenin … We can say with no doubt that today, Russia is the only country in the world with nuclear-powered icebreakers … the Northern Sea Route is particularly important to avoid the straight and narrow channels controlled by other countries,” said Oleg Naraykin, vice president of the Kurchatov Institute national research center.


On tax relief to promote Arctic development
“The government is working together with experts and business representatives ... to come up with a draft federal law on a special preferential system for investors into the Arctic with the intention of this draft law being adopted by the State Duma as early as its autumn session,” said Putin.
“We invite our foreign partners to joint work to create port hubs at the endpoints of the (Northern Sea) route,” Putin said.


On OPEC
— “We are ready for cooperation with OPEC in decision-making ... But whether it would be cuts, or just a stoppage at the current level of output, I am not ready to say,” said Putin.
— “We are not supporters of uncontrollable price rises,” Putin said.
— “Of course, we and our partners ... are closely watching the market. We agreed that if there is a need for joint efforts, we will gather in the second half of the year and hold discussions,” said Putin.


On ecotourism
— “Striking a balance between economic development and preserving the Arctic is just one challenge … We have been involved in the complete cleanup of the Arctic. Since 2012 we have reprocessed more than 80,000 tons of litter ... We are also establishing new national parks. I refer first and foremost to the Russian Arctic National Park ... it is important to make sure that additional measures are taken for environmental tourism,” said Putin.

On microfinancing
“We want to make industrial entrepreneurship more competitive,” said Igor Skubenko, Head of Municipal Formation in Severodvinsk.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article. 

The draft law on the revival of sobering centers was submitted to the Duma
www.trud.ru 

 https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&sp=nmt4&u=http://www.trud.ru/article/14-05-2019/1375731_v_dumu_vnesli_proekt_zakona_o_vozrozhdenii_vytrezvitelej.html&xid=25657,15700021,15700186,15700191,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhiLsriGl1WM-rl3CanTcIOFKfo9qg

Talk about the need to restore the system of assistance to citizens found drunk in public places, has been in Russia since 2013
On Tuesday, May 14, the deputies and senators submitted to the State Duma a draft law on the restoration of the sobering-out system in the country. About it reports "RIA Novosti with reference to the press service of the Federation Council.
Parliamentarians propose to assign to local authorities and state authorities the authority to organize these institutions and assist citizens who were found in public places in a state of severe intoxication.
The sobering-out system, which functioned actively during the USSR, was eliminated in Russia in 2011, during the reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Since then, the duty to engage in drunk citizens passed to the doctors. Nevertheless, the leadership of many subjects of the federation eventually came to the opinion about the usefulness and necessity of the sobering centers. Now they are already working in 20 regions, being created on the basis of social and medical institutions.
At the state level, the conversation about the need to revive the sobering centers began in 2013. Two years later, the initiative was officially supported by the Ministry of Health

NEWS
Russian Spycraft: How the Kremlin Hacked Its Way Into a Crisis


One American resident of Moscow interviewed by The Moscow Times recalled coming home one day to find his television – which he seldom watched – turned on. There was no sign of a break-in, and he wondered if the security services were trying to send him a message. Later, after talking with a friend, he concluded it was caused by a power surge.
Another – an American lawyer with years of experience in Russia – recalled a time when two of his friends received Google alerts informing them that someone in Moscow had tried to enter their accounts. At the time, the American was working for a human rights organization, and often communicated with these friends on Google Chat during working hours. Surveillance or strange coincidence?
Such paranoia is common, fueled both by real instances of surveillance reported in the media and a persistent set of myths and stereotypes about Russians and their espionage capabilities. The recent furor over alleged Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee, and unsubstantiated accounts of a certain president-elect’s sex romps in a high-end Moscow hotel, have mostly just bolstered the mythology.
But not everyone buys into the hype.
“I’ve always perceived the Russians to simply be very proficient and professional at intelligence work,” says journalist Taibbi. “I wouldn’t think you would have all these people in the Russian [security services] blabbing about a piece of [compromising material]on a potential American president,” he says. “That doesn’t scan to me.”
Matthew Bodner @mattb0401

BUSINESS
R
ussian Spies May Have Pressured Canadian Union to Get Aircraft Deal

By Matthew Bodner
Jan. 27, 2015 

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2015/01/27/russian-spies-may-have-pressured-canadian-union-to-get-aircraft-deal-a43303 

Russia's intelligence services may have pressured a Western labor union during negotiations with a major aerospace company in 2013 to win favorable terms for a state-owned Russian corporation, according to charges filed against Russian banker Yevgeny Buryakov by U.S. authorities on Monday.
In a 26-page U.S. Justice Department report, an FBI investigator presented evidence that Buryakov, while working as an employee at Russia's Vnesheconombank offices in New York, was conducting active economic intelligence gathering on behalf of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).
One of the cases presented by the FBI focuses on a multi-billion aerospace deal between an unidentified company based outside of the United States and Russia, and a large state-owned Russian company. The report says the non-Russian aircraft company would not only sell dozens of its planes to the Russian company, but establish localized production — which was opposed by the aircraft firm's union representatives.
Through a series of telephone transcripts and FBI investigation notes referring to Buryakov's intelligence gathering on "Company-1," the report paints a picture with remarkable resemblance to a $3.4 billion deal between Canada's Bombardier Aircraft and Russia's state-owned defense technology behemoth, Rostec.
That deal stipulated that Rostec would purchase around 100 Q-400 commercial aircraft, which would then be produced at a new manufacturing center in Russia. Bombardier's labor unions did not take kindly to the idea, pledging to oppose any plan that might see jobs lost in Canada.
Buryakov, by comparison, formulated a plan to put pressure on unions working for the unnamed major aircraft producer Company-1, according to the Justice Department.

Buryakov was not part of any negotiations between Rostec and Bombardier, a Rostec company spokesperson told The Moscow Times on Tuesday.
A Bombardier spokesperson, when asked for comment by the Moscow Times, said that the company was "looking into the matter," but declined to comment on if or how the spy case pertains to Bombardier.
Bombardier in 2013 agreed to build the planes in Ulyanovsk, Russia, but the deal was frozen last September amid heightened political tensions fueled by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Rostec's spokesperson chalked the decision up to a failure to reach agreement "on the economic parameters of the project."  
Rostec is managed by Sergei Chemezov, a long-time friend of President Vladimir Putin. The two are said to have struck up a relationship while working for the KGB in Dresden, East Germany in the 1980s. Under Chemezov, Rostec has expanded its holdings to encompass around two-thirds of Russia's defense industry.

Bread Crumbs

The Justice Department report offers a number of clues that tie the case to Bombardier's 2013 agreement to set up production of its Q-400 aircraft.

In November 2012 and March 2013, Buryakov allegedly used his cover as a Russian banker to meet with Company-1's executive confidentially, all the while "gathering and reporting on the progress of the proposed airplane deal to the SVR, and crafting a proposal for Moscow Center [SVR HQ] to attempt to influence the course of negotiations in Russia's favor," according to the FBI.
A phone conversation between Buryakov's handlers at the SVR New York office, intercepted on May 23, 2013, demonstrates that Russia's interest in the project was technology transfer. Company-1 also supported the deal, as it would provide direct access to a fast-growing airplane market.
But, there was a problem: "The unions are resisting. Therefore, the proposal for [active measures] is geared toward pressuring the unions and securing from the company a solution that is beneficial to us," Igor Sporyshev, one of two Russian diplomats implicated in the Justice Department report, was quoted as saying.
In other words, the investigation revealed that the SVR had plans in mid-2013 to influence a union to drop its opposition to a major aircraft manufacturer's plans to establish localized production of its aircraft in Russia.
Whether or not Company-1 was Bombardier, the Canadian company signed agreements to move forward with the project in August 2013. These agreements tied the sale of 100 Q-400 aircraft to their production in Russia.
Meanwhile, Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported at the signing that the Canadian Auto Workers union was opposing the agreement, promising to fight any measure that jeopardized Canadian jobs.
But now the project is in limbo, and for the moment the unionized workers of Bombardier have little to fear. The crisis in Ukraine and corresponding political turmoil, which has driven many companies to suspend otherwise lucrative Russian ventures, appears to be heating up again.
Just this week, conflict flared up in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which some have pointed to as evidence of a renewed pro-Russian assault against Ukrainian forces — prompting calls in the West for additional sanctions against Moscow.

The Canadian Auto Worker's union did not respond to a request for comment before going to press.


Contact the author at m.bodner@imedia.ru 
Matthew Bodner @mattb0401

Уважаемые читатели!
http://www.vremya.ru/2010/232/52/266602.html
версия для печати

У вас в руках последний номер нашей газеты, которая более десяти лет выходила под брендом «Время новостей». Он практически целиком посвящен уходящим нулевым годам ХХI века и состоит из материалов, опубликованных у нас в газете в 2000--2010 годах. Мы постарались выбрать те из них, которые, на наш взгляд, позволяют вспомнить важные и характерные события и проблемы.
Хотя номер этот и считается последним, но мы и, надеюсь, вы не собираемся прощаться друг с другом. Уже с начала февраля наступающего года наша редакция и издательский дом «Время» приступают к выпуску ежедневной газеты «Московские новости» (проект мы реализуем в сотрудничестве с РИА Новости).
В новой газете вы встретите и прежних авторов, к которым уже привыкли, и новых, которых мы собираемся привлечь. Мы хотим дать вам больше информации, чем удавалось раньше, и облегчить ее получение за счет информационных технологий, которыми до сих пор мы не располагали. Впрочем, сегодня жалуются не столько на нехватку информации, сколько на «дефицит смыслов», отсутствие идей, невнятность комментариев, нечеткость позиций, недостаток удобоваримых объяснений. Будем стремиться, чтобы новые «Московские новости» по возможности восполняли эту нехватку, предлагая свой взгляд на события и их подоплеку и не избегая при этом авторской интонации.
Понятно, что, восстанавливая знаменитый и дорогой мне, моим коллегам и многим читателям бренд МН, нам не избежать сравнений, сопоставлений, воспоминаний и ожиданий. При том что каждый осознает разницу между глобальным информационным рынком сегодня и системой партийно-советской печати в одной отдельно взятой стране, которую тогда удалось преодолеть одной отдельно взятой газете. Привилегия быть единственным источником правдивой информации и свободной мысли, будем надеяться, ушла в прошлое навсегда. А за привилегию быть востребованным, качественным и современным изданием, привлекательным для думающих и неравнодушных к своей стране людей, предстоит побороться.

Second, Trump’s detractors accuse him of promoting racism and bigotry, particularly against Muslims. “Trump's been called a racist, but his cabinet [nominations] are multiracial,” Kiselyov said, ignoring the fact that Trump has nominated significantly fewer minorities than past presidents. Kiselyov then replayed an excerpt from Trump’s inauguration speech, where he said, “It's time to remember [...] that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots,” citing the line as proof that those against Trump are obstacles to the civilized world’s campaign against radical terrorism.
“It's all very abstract, just like it was during Maidan,” Kiselyov said, referring to Ukraine's 2014 revolution. The same people who have been calling Putin a devil, he added, are now redirecting their hate at Trump.


An American Man’s Man

Despite the “riots” in Washington, Kiselyov assured his audience, Trump is powering through, working so vigilantly that he apparently sleeps only four hours a night.
The Russian pundit even celebrated the Trump White House’s move to delete online content dedicated to the defense of America’s LGBT community. “Trump never said he would support them anyway,” Kiselyov's show said, before claiming that British handwriting analysts have reviewed the “tall, elongated” letters of Trump’s signature and found it to be the mark of an “ambitious, energetic man.”

NEWS
How 'Putin's Cook' Prigozhin Fed America's Appetite for Disinformation
Feb. 23, 2018

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2018/02/23/how-putins-cook-fed-americas-appetite-for-disinformation-a60602 

(Bloomberg) — In November 2013, three Russian political operatives flew from Moscow to New York. Over the next few days, the men toured Manhattan, took side trips to Washington and Detroit, drank vodka at a Brighton Beach restaurant, and had a guitar singalong with Russian emigres.

It was a whirlwind, but they had no time to waste. Their boss was Yevgeny Prigozhin. A lieutenant of President Vladimir Putin, he had ordered up a film depicting an impoverished and crime-ridden America. “We went to meet Russians who live in New York and find out what makes life painful there,” said Oleg Matveychev, a member of the group.
Prigozhin and three of his companies were named in the indictment announced last week in Washington by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The prosecutors said he was one of 13 Russian citizens who defrauded the U.S. government in a multimillion-dollar conspiracy aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The 37-page indictment describes how hundreds of Russians used social media, fake rallies, and secretive operatives in the U.S. to create “political intensity” among radical groups, opposition social movements, and disaffected voters. In 2014, the indictment says, several Russians traveled to the U.S. under false pretenses “to collect intelligence for their interference operations.”

The 2013 journey, first reported by the Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta and confirmed by Bloomberg, shows that those efforts were preceded by at least one other project. It also offers a glimpse of the multifaceted nature of a propaganda machine built by Prigozhin. Matveychev said the New York trip, aimed at shoring up domestic support for Putin, was initiated by Prigozhin with no Kremlin involvement. 
Such an operation, though, would likely have been backed by Russian intelligence, according to John Sipher, a retired senior Central Intelligence Agency agent who oversaw operations in Russia. “They wouldn’t waste that opportunity,” Sipher said. “You don’t travel to the U.S. like that without the support of the intelligence agencies.”

'Putin’s cook'

A short man with a stony stare, Prigozhin is known as “Putin’s Cook” because one of his companies, Concord Management, provides food services to the Kremlin. The Mueller indictment names that company’s parent, a related catering firm, and another Prigozhin group called the Internet Research Agency that ran a vast troll operation designed to sow discord in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Prigozhin has known Putin since the 1990s, when both lived in St. Petersburg and Putin was the city’s deputy mayor. Prigozhin ran a network of hot dog stands, and then launched one of Russia’s first grocery chains, according to the Medusa Project website. In 1997 he opened a restaurant on a ship docked on the Neva River, which became the go-to spot for hosting dignitaries such as George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac.

These days, Prigozhin can be seen departing Putin’s residences in a black SUV with flashing lights, a perk reserved for top brass. He’s chummy with business leaders such as Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller, who once was seen dashing through a Kremlin corridor to hug Prigozhin. He guards his privacy fiercely. At an event with Putin, a reporter spotted Prigozhin and called out to him by name. “Who are you?” the man replied. “You must be addressing the wrong person.”
The “Cook’s” reach extends beyond the Kremlin’s kitchens and internet trolling. According to three people familiar with the matter, Prigozhin controls a shadowy private military contractor called Wagner that maintains a training camp at a commando base in southern Russia and deploys mercenaries to eastern Ukraine and Syria. In 2016 Prigozhin was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury, which said he has “extensive business dealings” with the Russian Defense Ministry.

“Prigozhin is one of those people who managed to convert his personal relationship with Putin into economic and political influence,” said Valery Solovei, a researcher at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations. “Putin needs people to deal with delicate issues, and Prigozhin could deliver trolls, mercenaries, and all kind of services.”

Prigozhin has denied wrongdoing and any links to the Wagner mercenary operation. “Americans are very impressionable people,” he told news agency RIA Novosti in response to queries about the Mueller indictment. “If they want to see the devil, let them see it.” Prigozhin did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Around 2011 Prigozhin set up a web trolling effort with Putin’s approval, according to a former Kremlin official. Prigozhin was the wizard behind the curtain, shaping the narrative as internet use surged and state media’s influence began to wane. His machine was key in helping quell antigovernment street protests after contested Parliamentary elections in 2012, which paved the way to an extended term for Putin.

Dirt digging

“He reads newspapers every morning, websites, watches TV,” said Matveychev, who was part of the 2013 New York trip. “Then he gives his assignments: ‘Look what happened in Syria. Write comments saying everything in Syria is OK.’”

The trip to the U.S. was aimed at kicking off a series of anti-American films, according to Matveychev. They shot footage across Manhattan, looking for “disadvantaged areas,” homeless people, and what Matveychev called “dirt” that would cast America in a bad light. According to Novaya Gazeta, the team purchased U.S. SIM cards for their phones rather than using Russian numbers, and Concord employees back home were instructed not to directly contact the men while they were abroad.

Matveychev characterizes the American adventure as a one-time assignment that fizzled out when Prigozhin lost interest. The footage was ultimately used in a 16-minute documentary that has garnered about 35,000 views since Matveychev posted it on YouTube in 2015. He’s working on similar projects to promote Putin’s campaign for next month’s presidential election, both at the Kremlin’s behest and on his own initiative.

“Do you think I get money from the Kremlin for creating propaganda every day from dusk till dawn?” Matveychev said of the popular blog he has published since 2010. “I am an officer of the information war.”

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc
By Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane - The New York Times May 25, 2019

 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/25/us/nsa-hacking-tool-baltimore.html

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services..
But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.
Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.
It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.
The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.
Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University, called the Shadow Brokers episode “the most destructive and costly N.S.A. breach in history,” more damaging than the better-known leak in 2013 from Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.
“The government has refused to take responsibility, or even to answer the most basic questions,” Mr. Rid said. “Congressional oversight appears to be failing. The American people deserve an answer.”
The N.S.A. and F.B.I. declined to comment.
Since that leak, foreign intelligence agencies and rogue actors have used EternalBlue to spread malware that has paralyzed hospitals, airports, rail and shipping operators, A.T.M.s and factories that produce critical vaccines. Now the tool is hitting the United States where it is most vulnerable, in local governments with aging digital infrastructure and fewer resources to defend themselves.

On May 7, city workers in Baltimore had their computers frozen by hackers. Officials have refused to pay the $100,000 ransom.Credit. 
 Before it leaked, EternalBlue was one of the most useful exploits in the N.S.A.’s cyberarsenal. According to three former N.S.A. operators who spoke on the condition of anonymity, analysts spent almost a year finding a flaw in Microsoft’s software and writing the code to target it. Initially, they referred to it as EternalBluescreen because it often crashed computers — a risk that could tip off their targets. But it went on to become a reliable tool used in countless intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism missions.
EternalBlue was so valuable, former N.S.A. employees said, that the agency never seriously considered alerting Microsoft about the vulnerabilities, and held on to it for more than five years before the breach forced its hand.
The Baltimore attack, on May 7, was a classic ransomware assault. City workers’ screens suddenly locked, and a message in flawed English demanded about $100,000 in Bitcoin to free their files: “We’ve watching you for days,” said the message, obtained by The Baltimore Sun. “We won’t talk more, all we know is MONEY! Hurry up!”
Today, Baltimore remains handicapped as city officials refuse to pay, though workarounds have restored some services. Without EternalBlue, the damage would not have been so vast, experts said. The tool exploits a vulnerability in unpatched software that allows hackers to spread their malware faster and farther than they otherwise could.
North Korea was the first nation to co-opt the tool, for an attack in 2017 — called WannaCry — that paralyzed the British health care system, German railroads and some 200,000 organizations around the world. Next was Russia, which used the weapon in an attack — called NotPetya — that was aimed at Ukraine but spread across major companies doing business in the country. The assault cost FedEx more than $400 million and Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, $670 million.

The damage didn’t stop there. In the past year, the same Russian hackers who targeted the 2016 American presidential election used EternalBlue to compromise hotel Wi-Fi networks. Iranian hackers have used it to spread ransomware and hack airlines in the Middle East, according to researchers at the security firms Symantec and FireEye.
“It’s incredible that a tool which was used by intelligence services is now publicly available and so widely used,” said Vikram Thakur, Symantec’s director of security response.
One month before the Shadow Brokers began dumping the agency’s tools online in 2017, the N.S.A. — aware of the breach — reached out to Microsoft and other tech companies to inform them of their software flaws. Microsoft released a patch, but hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide remain unprotected.
Hackers seem to have found a sweet spot in Baltimore, Allentown, Pa., San Antonio and other local, American governments, where public employees oversee tangled networks that often use out-of-date software. Last July, the Department of Homeland Security issued a dire warning that state and local governments were getting hit by particularly destructive malware that now, security researchers say, has started relying on EternalBlue to spread.
Microsoft, which tracks the use of EternalBlue, would not name the cities and towns affected, citing customer privacy. But other experts briefed on the attacks in Baltimore, Allentown and San Antonio confirmed the hackers used EternalBlue. Security responders said they were seeing EternalBlue pop up in attacks almost every day.
Amit Serper, head of security research at Cybereason, said his firm had responded to EternalBlue attacks at three different American universities, and found vulnerable servers in major cities like Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.
The costs can be hard for local governments to bear. The Allentown attack, in February last year, disrupted city services for weeks and cost about $1 million to remedy — plus another $420,000 a year for new defenses, said Matthew Leibert, the city’s chief information officer.
He described the package of dangerous computer code that hit Allentown as “commodity malware,” sold on the dark web and used by criminals who don’t have specific targets in mind. “There are warehouses of kids overseas firing off phishing emails,” Mr. Leibert said, like thugs shooting military-grade weapons at random targets.
The malware that hit San Antonio last September infected a computer inside Bexar County sheriff’s office and tried to spread across the network using EternalBlue, according to two people briefed on the attack.
This past week, researchers at the security firm Palo Alto Networks discovered that a Chinese state group, Emissary Panda, had hacked into Middle Eastern governments using EternalBlue.
“You can’t hope that once the initial wave of attacks is over, it will go away,” said Jen Miller-Osborn, a deputy director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks. “We expect EternalBlue will be used almost forever, because if attackers find a system that isn’t patched, it is so useful.

Until a decade or so ago, the most powerful cyberweapons belonged almost exclusively to intelligence agencies — N.S.A. officials used the term “NOBUS,” for “nobody but us,” for vulnerabilities only the agency had the sophistication to exploit. But that advantage has hugely eroded, not only because of the leaks, but because anyone can grab a cyberweapon’s code once it’s used in the wild.
Some F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, speaking privately, said more accountability at the N.S.A. was needed. A former F.B.I. official likened the situation to a government failing to lock up a warehouse of automatic weapons.

In an interview in March, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who was director of the N.S.A. during the Shadow Brokers leak, suggested in unusually candid remarks that the agency should not be blamed for the long trail of damage.
“If Toyota makes pickup trucks and someone takes a pickup truck, welds an explosive device onto the front, crashes it through a perimeter and into a crowd of people, is that Toyota’s responsibility?” he asked. “The N.S.A. wrote an exploit that was never designed to do what was done.”

At Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where thousands of security engineers have found themselves on the front lines of these attacks, executives reject that analogy.
“I disagree completely,” said Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust, insisting that cyberweapons could not be compared to pickup trucks. “These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They’re inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they’re not strapping a bomb to it. It’s already a bomb.”
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, has called for a “Digital Geneva Convention” to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks.
Last year, Microsoft, along with Google and Facebook, joined 50 countries in signing on to a similar call by French President Emmanuel Macron — the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace — to end “malicious cyber activities in peacetime.”
Notably absent from the signatories were the world’s most aggressive cyberactors: China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia — and the United States.

A version of this article appears in print on May 26, 2019 of the New York edition with the headline: Cities Hijacked By Tool Stolen From the N.S.A.

THE PRISON LOBBY
Private Prison Giant Hires Twice-Convicted Ex-Aide to Top Democrat in Order to Fend Off Scrutiny

GEO Group faces some serious political pushback. So the company did what anyone would: It hired the former chief of staff to the chairman of the committee overseeing its industry.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/geo-group-the-private-prison-giant-hires-twice-convicted-ex-aide-to-top-dem-in-order-to-fend-off-scrutiny

Lachlan Markay- Reporter - 07.01.19
https://www.thedailybeast.com/geo-group-the-private-prison-giant-hires-twice-convicted-ex-aide-to-top-dem-in-order-to-fend-off-scrutiny

One of the nation’s largest private prison companies has enlisted the services of a twice-convicted former chief of staff to a key Democratic committee chairman as it attempts to fend off efforts to regulate and even eliminate its industry. 
The GEO Group hired the firm Avant Bishop Washington & Black (ABWB) in mid-May, according to a disclosure form filed last week. The firm is led by Lanier Avant, the former chief of staff to House Homeland Security Committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Avant resigned that post in 2017 after pleading guilty to federal criminal charges for failing to file years of income taxes.
That conviction, and another subsequent guilty plea to federal charges of making false statements, were apparently outweighed by other pertinent biographical information—namely, Avant’s ties to Thompson, for whom he also served as a staff director on the Homeland Security Committee.
Underscoring the value of those connections to the GEO Group, and the peril the company now believes it faces in Washington, is the fact that Avant’s firm is the first lobbying shop that the private prison company has hired in nearly two years; and the fact that Avant has barely any lobbying experience prior to scoring this contract. 
“We believe strongly in providing people with the tools and skills necessary to have a second chance at life after serving a prison sentence; therefore Lanier’s past never factored into our consideration,” a GEO Group spokesman told The Daily Beast in a statement. “We look forward to having Lanier join our team as we continue our efforts to engage with lawmakers to dispel the many misconceptions and false narratives regarding our company’s long-standing role as a government services provider.”
Avant’s firm is new to K Street. He formed it this year, and hasn’t responded to questions about others involved with the effort, or his run-ins with the law. Moreover, the firm has signed just one other client, the Seafarers International Union’s political arm. Like the GEO Group, the Seafarers have business before Thompson’s committee, which oversees maritime security and commercial matters.
The private prison industry has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks and months as Democratic lawmakers in particular have amped up criticism of migrant detention centers and their operators. Thompson himself has previously been critical of immigration detention contracts with private prison companies. And the 2020 presidential campaign has seen Democratic criticism of the industry only intensify as a number of would-be challengers to President Donald Trump have railed against DHS detention policies. One 2020 candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has even introduced legislation to ban private prisons altogether.
With Democrats retaking the majority in the House of Representatives this year, Avant offers deep ties to a lawmaker whose committee oversees the nation’s immigration enforcement apparatus, which counts the GEO Group as a major contractor. According to Federal Election Commission records, the company has also donated $7,500 to Thompson’s campaign since 2016.
Weeks after the midterm elections that handed Democrats the House majority, Thompson initiated an inquiry into a handful of specific migrant detention facilities operated by private contractors, including an Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing facility run by the GEO Group. 
Incidents at those facilities, Thompson wrote to ICE’s acting director, “raise serious questions... about your agency’s oversight of contract detention facilities.”
Those weren’t new concerns for Thompson. Indeed, he was airing them back when Avant was his chief of staff. In 2016, he criticized the Department of Homeland Security’s “overreliance on private immigration detention facilities” and requested an Inspector General probe into the practice.
“Despite reports of safety and security problems at these facilities, the handful of corporations that run them continue to make enormous profits at taxpayer expense,” he said at the time.
Such problems are now dominating headlines as a massive influx of migrants at the southern U.S. border has stretched DHS resources to the limit. The department has leaned heavily on private prison operators to process and house tens of thousands of migrants, many of them claiming asylum, at their detention facilities.
The GEO Group is one of a number of such contractors, and DHS inspection visits to the company’s facilities last year revealed squalid conditions and instances of detainee mistreatment. The company said last month, when DHS’s report on the inspections became public, that those conditions “were swiftly corrected last year.”
The company nonetheless saw the need to beef up its influence operation in Washington as Democrats in particular more heavily scrutinized private prison companies that operate migrant detention facilities. According to his lobbying disclosure form, Avant will work on issues related to “detention oversight” on the GEO Group’s behalf.
It’s common for companies, particularly those that find themselves embroiled in high-profile political controversies, to shift lobbying strategies in response to changing partisan fortunes in Washington. The GEO Group, for instance, brought on Ballard Partners, a firm with deep ties to the Trump administration, less than two weeks after Trump was inaugurated.
For Avant, the new lobbying deal also underscores how valuable connections to key lawmakers can overshadow a checkered professional history. He left his post as Thompson’s chief of staff after pleading guilty to federal criminal charges related to his failure to file tax returns and his omission of that failure on official background check paperwork.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

"I am here because President Trump is committed to improving relations," the head of the Department of State said 
At the opening of the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he had arrived in Russia on a visit, since the United States President Donald Trump is aiming to improve relations with Moscow.

The National Security Agency headquarters in Maryland. A leaked N.S.A. cyberweapon, EternalBlue, has caused billions of dollars in damage worldwide. A recent attack took place in Baltimore, the agency’s own backyard.

Russia Growth Spurt Stalls as Economy Undershoots Forecasts
A recent report by the Financial Action Task Force, a global standard-setter in fighting money laundering, said a "large amount of illicit proceeds flows out of China annually." China's central bank, which has also been taking action in recent years, bolstering supervision to combat money laundering as it opens up its financial sector, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The recent scandals have helped prompt Europol, which coordinates cross-border investigations and was involved in a 2016 operation that broke up an international drugs and money laundering cartel, to invest more in fighting financial crime.
But while things have got better, there are still gaps particularly in the Baltic states, which are now part of the European Union, Felicio said.
"Some of the banks in the Baltic area are very vulnerable to money laundering activities especially coming in from Russia. It has improved but it is far from being solved." "It is just a matter of time until we see another scandal coming in from the area and it will probably be very similar to the scandals we have seen in the past," he added.

Baltic front line
Bill Browder, formerly an investor in Russia, has also highlighted movements of Russian money linked to a fraud uncovered by his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was later arrested and died in a Moscow prison after complaining of mistreatment. Danske Bank's shares plummeted after saying that 200 billion euros ($226 billion) of suspicious money, including from Russia and former Soviet states, flowed through its Estonian branch. The Danish bank has since been ejected from Estonia and withdrawn from Russia and the other Baltic states. Swedbank is also being investigated after Swedish broadcaster SVT said that it had processed billions in payments from high-risk customers, mostly Russian, through Estonia. While the Baltic nations are in the "front line" for receiving dirty money, it ultimately gets invested elsewhere. "Investments in real estate would be one of the main final solutions," Felicio said, singling out London and Rome.
The scandals have prompted action in the Baltics, where Latvia's new prime minister, Krisjanis Karins, is accelerating an overhaul of the banking sector and its supervisor. One of Latvia's largest banks, ABLV, which had numerous Russian clients, closed last year after U.S. authorities accused it of money laundering. However, reforms in Estonia have been on hold while a new government was being formed. Lithuania has not played a significant role in the scandals. 

Is Slavic paganism a real power in Russia?
Contemporary Russian neo-paganists reconstruct their long-lost religion – but to what extent is it genuine?​
https://www.rbth.com/lifestyle/330509-is-slavic-paganism-still-real

A bunch of people clad in various ethnic-style clothes are gathered around a pile of dry branches. “When we address gods, we raise our hands to heaven, but not because the gods are in heaven. They are in our hearts,” says the ‘magus’, a young man with a frail goatee and blonde hair, sporting solar symbols on his handmade shirt. “We stand on Mother Earth and address Father Heaven, and we point with our hand from our heart to the sun, showing our way…” And the magus follows this up with a ‘Roman salute’.
This is part of a neo-pagan celebration organized by contemporary Russians. “Glory to Svarozhitch, the Fire God!” exclaims another magus, and everybody repeats: “Glory!” Someone beats on a skin drum while someone else tunes a guitar. And the pile of branches is set on fire.
This is a ritual dedicated to the gods of fire (Svarozhitch) and sun (Yarilo), but the rites, the words, and the clothes are all self-invented. Contemporary Russian paganism – does it have any historical roots, or is it just a hobby?


10 Russian locations straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster 
https://www.rbth.com/travel/330517-russia-hollywood-movies-films-travel
TRAVEL JUNE 14 2019 DANIEL CHALYAN
In case the Russians decide to remake these Hollywood favorites (Lord have mercy!), we know just the locations to use without paying extra for filming abroad. You can visit some of them today.


Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy
POLITICS​

https://www.thenation.com/article/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/

The forty-two-minute recording, acquired by James Carter IV, confirms Atwater’s incendiary remarks and places them in context.
By Rick PerlsteinTwitter
NOVEMBER 13, 2012

It has become, for liberals and leftists enraged by the way Republicans never suffer the consequences for turning electoral politics into a cesspool, a kind of smoking gun. The late, legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee Atwater explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Now, the same indefatigable researcher who brought us Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, James Carter IV, has dug up the entire forty-two-minute interview from which that quote derives. Here, The Nation publishes it in its entirety for the very first time.
Listen to the full forty-two-minute conversation with Atwater:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/thenation/audio/mp3/Full_Audio/LeeAtwaterEditedFull.mp3

https://www.thenation.com/article/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/
The back-story goes like this. In 1981, Atwater, after a decade as South Carolina’s most effective Republican operative, was working in Ronald Reagan’s White House when he was interviewed by Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University. Lamis published the interview without using Atwater’s name in his 1984 book The Two-Party South. Fifteen years later—and eight years after Atwater passed away from cancer—Lamis republished the interview in another book using Atwater’s name. For seven years no one paid much attention. Then the New York Times‘ Bob Herbert, a bit of an Atwater obsessive, quoted it in an October 6, 2005 column—then five more times over the next four years.
Those words soon became legend—quoted in both screeds (The GOP-Haters Handbook, 2007) and scholarship (Corey Robin’s 2011 classic work of political theory, The Reactionary Mind). Google Books records its use in ten books published so far this year alone. Curious about the remarks’ context, Carter, who learned Lamis had died in 2012, asked his widow if she would consider releasing the audio of the interview, especially in light of the use of race-baiting dog-whistles (lies about Obama ending work requirements for welfare; “jokes” about his supposed Kenyan provenance) in the Romney presidential campaign. Renée Lamis, an Obama donor, agreed that very same night. For one thing she was “upset,” Carter told me, that “for some time, conservatives believed [her] husband made up the Atwater interview.” For another, she was eager to illustrate that her husband’s use of the Atwater quote was scholarly, not political.
So what does the new contextual wrapping teach us? It vindicates Lamis, who indeed comes off as careful and scholarly. And no surprise, it shows Atwater acting yet again in bad faith.
In the lead-up to the infamous remarks, it is fascinating to witness the confidence with which Atwater believes himself to be establishing the racial innocence of latter-day Republican campaigning: “My generation,” he insists, “will be the first generation of Southerners that won’t be prejudiced.” He proceeds to develop the argument that by dropping talk about civil rights gains like the Voting Rights Act and sticking to the now-mainstream tropes of fiscal conservatism and national defense, consultants like him were proving “people in the South are just like any people in the history of the world.”
It is only upon Professor Lamis’s gently Socratic follow-ups, and those of a co-interviewer named “Saul” (Carter hasn’t been able to confirm his identity, but suspects it was the late White House correspondent Saul Friedman), that Atwater begins to loosen up—prefacing his reflections, with a plainly guilty conscience, “Now, y’all aren’t quoting me on this?” (Apparently , this is the reason why Atwater’s name wasn’t published in 1984 but was in 1999, after his death).
He then utters his infamous words. The interlocutors go on to kibitz about Huey Long and barbecue. Then Atwater, apparently satisfied that he’d absolved the Southern Republican Party of racism once and for all, follows up with a prediction based on a study he claims demonstrates that Strom Thurmond won 38 percent of South Carolina’s middle-class  black vote in his 1978 Senate campaign (run by Atwater).
“That voter, in my judgment,” he claims, “will be more likely to vote his economic interests than he will anything else. And that is the voter that I think through a fairly slow but very steady process, will go Republican.” Because race no longer matters: “In my judgment Karl Marx [is right]… the real issues ultimately will be the economic issues.” He continues, in words that uncannily echo the “47 percent tape” (nothing new under the wingnut sun), that “statistically, as the number of non-producers in the system moves toward fifty percent,” the conservative coalition cannot but expand. Voila: a new Republican majority. Racism won’t have anything to do with it.
Not bloody likely. In 2005, the political scientists Nicholas Valentino and David Sears demonstrated that a Southern man holding conservative positions on issues other than race is no more likely than a conservative Northerner to vote for a Democrat. But when the relevant identifier is anti-black answers to survey questions—like whether one agrees “If blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites”—white Southerners were twice as likely than white Northerners to refuse to vote Democratic. As another political scientist, Thomas Schaller, wrote in his 2006 book Whistling Past Dixie (which naturally quotes the infamous Atwater lines), “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters…the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”
Which one particular Republican spinmeister, when he wasn’t preening before political scientists, knew fully well—which was why, seven years after that interview, in his stated goal to “rip the bark off the little bastard [Michael Dukakis]” on behalf of his candidate George H.W. Bush, Atwater ran the infamous ad blaming Dukakis for an escaped Massachusetts convict, Willie Horton, “repeatedly raping” an apparently white girl. Indeed, Atwater pledged to make “Willie Horton his running mate.” The commercial was sponsored by a dummy outfit called the National Security Political Action Committee—which it is true, was a whole lot more abstract than saying “nigger, nigger, nigger.”


For more on the GOP’s effort to roll back enfranchisment, read Ari Berman’s Why We Still Need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy
POLITICS​

https://www.thenation.com/article/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/

The forty-two-minute recording, acquired by James Carter IV, confirms Atwater’s incendiary remarks and places them in context.
By Rick PerlsteinTwitter
NOVEMBER 13, 2012

It has become, for liberals and leftists enraged by the way Republicans never suffer the consequences for turning electoral politics into a cesspool, a kind of smoking gun. The late, legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee Atwater explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Now, the same indefatigable researcher who brought us Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, James Carter IV, has dug up the entire forty-two-minute interview from which that quote derives. Here, The Nation publishes it in its entirety for the very first time.
Listen to the full forty-two-minute conversation with Atwater:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/thenation/audio/mp3/Full_Audio/LeeAtwaterEditedFull.mp3

https://www.thenation.com/article/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/


The back-story goes like this. In 1981, Atwater, after a decade as South Carolina’s most effective Republican operative, was working in Ronald Reagan’s White House when he was interviewed by Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University. Lamis published the interview without using Atwater’s name in his 1984 book The Two-Party South. Fifteen years later—and eight years after Atwater passed away from cancer—Lamis republished the interview in another book using Atwater’s name. For seven years no one paid much attention. Then the New York Times‘ Bob Herbert, a bit of an Atwater obsessive, quoted it in an October 6, 2005 column—then five more times over the next four years.
Those words soon became legend—quoted in both screeds (The GOP-Haters Handbook, 2007) and scholarship (Corey Robin’s 2011 classic work of political theory, The Reactionary Mind). Google Books records its use in ten books published so far this year alone. Curious about the remarks’ context, Carter, who learned Lamis had died in 2012, asked his widow if she would consider releasing the audio of the interview, especially in light of the use of race-baiting dog-whistles (lies about Obama ending work requirements for welfare; “jokes” about his supposed Kenyan provenance) in the Romney presidential campaign. Renée Lamis, an Obama donor, agreed that very same night. For one thing she was “upset,” Carter told me, that “for some time, conservatives believed [her] husband made up the Atwater interview.” For another, she was eager to illustrate that her husband’s use of the Atwater quote was scholarly, not political.
So what does the new contextual wrapping teach us? It vindicates Lamis, who indeed comes off as careful and scholarly. And no surprise, it shows Atwater acting yet again in bad faith.
In the lead-up to the infamous remarks, it is fascinating to witness the confidence with which Atwater believes himself to be establishing the racial innocence of latter-day Republican campaigning: “My generation,” he insists, “will be the first generation of Southerners that won’t be prejudiced.” He proceeds to develop the argument that by dropping talk about civil rights gains like the Voting Rights Act and sticking to the now-mainstream tropes of fiscal conservatism and national defense, consultants like him were proving “people in the South are just like any people in the history of the world.”
It is only upon Professor Lamis’s gently Socratic follow-ups, and those of a co-interviewer named “Saul” (Carter hasn’t been able to confirm his identity, but suspects it was the late White House correspondent Saul Friedman), that Atwater begins to loosen up—prefacing his reflections, with a plainly guilty conscience, “Now, y’all aren’t quoting me on this?” (Apparently , this is the reason why Atwater’s name wasn’t published in 1984 but was in 1999, after his death).
He then utters his infamous words. The interlocutors go on to kibitz about Huey Long and barbecue. Then Atwater, apparently satisfied that he’d absolved the Southern Republican Party of racism once and for all, follows up with a prediction based on a study he claims demonstrates that Strom Thurmond won 38 percent of South Carolina’s middle-class  black vote in his 1978 Senate campaign (run by Atwater).
“That voter, in my judgment,” he claims, “will be more likely to vote his economic interests than he will anything else. And that is the voter that I think through a fairly slow but very steady process, will go Republican.” Because race no longer matters: “In my judgment Karl Marx [is right]… the real issues ultimately will be the economic issues.” He continues, in words that uncannily echo the “47 percent tape” (nothing new under the wingnut sun), that “statistically, as the number of non-producers in the system moves toward fifty percent,” the conservative coalition cannot but expand. Voila: a new Republican majority. Racism won’t have anything to do with it.
Not bloody likely. In 2005, the political scientists Nicholas Valentino and David Sears demonstrated that a Southern man holding conservative positions on issues other than race is no more likely than a conservative Northerner to vote for a Democrat. But when the relevant identifier is anti-black answers to survey questions—like whether one agrees “If blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites”—white Southerners were twice as likely than white Northerners to refuse to vote Democratic. As another political scientist, Thomas Schaller, wrote in his 2006 book Whistling Past Dixie (which naturally quotes the infamous Atwater lines), “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters…the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”
Which one particular Republican spinmeister, when he wasn’t preening before political scientists, knew fully well—which was why, seven years after that interview, in his stated goal to “rip the bark off the little bastard [Michael Dukakis]” on behalf of his candidate George H.W. Bush, Atwater ran the infamous ad blaming Dukakis for an escaped Massachusetts convict, Willie Horton, “repeatedly raping” an apparently white girl. Indeed, Atwater pledged to make “Willie Horton his running mate.” The commercial was sponsored by a dummy outfit called the National Security Political Action Committee—which it is true, was a whole lot more abstract than saying “nigger, nigger, nigger.”


For more on the GOP’s effort to roll back enfranchisment, read Ari Berman’s Why We Still Need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Why We Still Need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
New voting restrictions prove why the Voting Rights Act is as relevant as it ever was.
By Ari BermanTwitter    NOVEMBER 12, 2012
https://www.thenation.com/article/why-we-still-need-section-5-voting-rights-act/ 

In 2006, Congress voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for another twenty-five years. The vote was 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate. Every top Republican supported the bill. “The Voting Rights Act must continue to exist,” said House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, “and exist in its current form.” Civil rights leaders, including Julian Bond and Jesse Jackson, flanked George W. Bush at the signing ceremony.
Yet three days after the 2012 election, in which voter suppression played a starring role, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a conservative challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5, which compels parts or all of sixteen states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to clear election-related changes with the federal government. The challenge originates in Shelby County, Alabama, and is being supported by Republican attorneys general in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. Ed Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, which is funding the lawsuit, told The New York Times that Section 5 “is stuck in a Jim Crow-era time warp.”
But past remains present to a disturbing degree in the South. It turns out that states and counties with a history of voting discrimination in 1964 are still trying to suppress the growing minority vote today. Consider, for example, that eight of eleven states in the former Confederacy passed new voting restrictions since the 2010 election. These included laws requiring government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot (Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas), proof of citizenship to register to vote (Alabama and Tennessee), cutbacks to early voting (Florida, Georgia and Tennessee) and disenfranchising of ex-felons (Florida). All of these changes make it harder for minority voters to participate in the political process.

Section 5, which Attorney General Eric Holder has called the “keystone of our voting rights,” can’t stop all of these ills, but it remains the most effective tool the federal government has to object to discriminatory voting changes in the South. “The record compiled by Congress demonstrates that, without the continuation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protections, racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, or will have their votes diluted, undermining the significant gains made by minorities in the last 40 years,” the Department of Justice argued in a recent court filing.
This election cycle, DOJ opposed voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina, early voting cutbacks in Florida, and redistricting maps in Texas under Section 5. The federal courts in Washington sided with DOJ in three of four cases, and also blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law for 2012.

Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, reviews the recent court decisions:
On August 30, in Texas v. Holder, a three-judge court unanimously blocked Texas’ new voter identification statute, the most stringent in the nation, finding that the statute would inevitably disenfranchise low-income Texas citizens, who are disproportionately African American and Hispanic.  The court explained that, unlike Indiana, whose voter identification law was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2008, Texas had gone to great lengths to suppress the vote in poor and minority communities, strictly limiting the types of photo identifications available – a license to carry a concealed firearm is a valid ID under the law, but not a student or Medicare ID card – and making it costly to obtain a so-called “free” election ID for use at the polls.  For those without one of the five permitted photo identifications, the court found that the law was tantamount to a poll tax, “imposing an implicit fee for the privilege of casting a ballot.”  The “very point” of the Voting Rights Act, the court explained, was to deny “states an end-run around the Fifteenth Amendment’s prohibition on racial discrimination in voting.”

Likewise, on August 16, in Florida v. United States, three other judges unanimously held that Florida could not slash the period for early voting, explaining that “a dramatic reduction in the form of voting that is disproportionately used by African Americans would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot.” Florida’s reduction in early voting, the court explained, was akin to “closing polling places in disproportionately African-American precincts.”  Noting that Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment and “provide robust and meaningful protections for minority voting rights,” the court held that Florida could not suppress the vote through a significant reduction in the hours of early voting.  

Finally, on August 28, in Texas v. United States, in a yet another unanimous ruling, another three-judge court held that Texas’ new state legislative and congressional districts could not be squared with the Voting Rights Act, finding that new congressional, state senate and state house district lines had either the purpose or effect of diluting minority voting strength.  Importantly, because the court’s opinion, authored by George W. Bush appointee Judge Thomas Griffith, held that Texas had purposefully discriminated on account of race in both the congressional and state senate plans, Texas’ districting was both a violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.
In South Carolina’s voter ID trial, Judge Robert Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, specifically praised Section 5’s judicial review. “One cannot doubt the vital function that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has played here,” Bates wrote. “Without the review process under the Voting Rights Act, South Carolina’s voter photo ID law certainly would have been more restrictive. Several legislators have commented that they were seeking to structure a law that could be precleared."
In a separate case last year, Bates ruled against Shelby County’s challenge to Section 5. “This Court finds that Section 5 remains a ‘congruent and proportional remedy’ to the 21st century problem of voting discrimination in covered jurisdictions,” he wrote in September 2011.
During this election, Republicans didn’t even hide the fact that they were trying to limit the voting rights of Democratic-leaning minority voters. “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—-voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County, Ohio. Nor were Republicans subtle about their racial motivations. During South Carolina’s trial, it was revealed that GOP State Representative Alan Clemmons, author of the voter ID bill, received an email from a supporter of the law, Ed Koziol of Greenville, suggesting that if black voters received a reward for obtaining voter ID “it would be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon.” To which Clemmons replied, “Amen, Ed, thank you for your support.”
Statements like these and the new voting restrictions passed by Republicans since 2010 indicate that Section 5 is as important now as it ever was. Court across the country signaled as much when they blocked ten major GOP-passed voter suppression laws this year.
I previewed the fight over Section 5 before the Supreme Court in a recent Nation piece:
Rick Hasen, an elections expert at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law and author of The Voting Wars, predicts the Court will invalidate Section 5, noting that Chief Justice John Roberts led the charge against the expansion of the Voting Rights Act as a young lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department. “This is his signature issue,” Hasen says. The disappearance of Section 5 would be a devastating setback for voting rights, akin to the way the Citizens Uniteddecision eviscerated campaign finance reform.
But Debo Adegbile, acting president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who successfully argued against overturning Section 5 during a previous challenge before the Court in 2009, believes the rulings against voter suppression laws this year will strengthen his side’s argument when they go back before the justices. “Today, the average person understands what Congress came to understand when they reauthorized the Voting Rights Act [by an overwhelming margin in 2006], which is that we have made a tremendous amount of progress. But the strain that runs through American politics of blocking voters is far from gone and rears its head in pernicious ways,” Adegbile says. “That changes the context of the conversation.”
Indeed, only a Supreme Court wholly divorced from reality would review the record on voting rights since Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and conclude that a key pillar of the law was no longer needed

Ari BermanTWITTER
Ari Berman is a former senior contributing writer for The Nation.  
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Russia Explores $164Bln Worth of Arctic Projects – Reports

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/18/russia-explores-164bln-worth-of-arctic-projects-reports-a65283 
 April 18, 2019

Russia’s environmental ministry has proposed more than 100 oil and gas extraction, infrastructure and tourism projects in the Arctic valued at 10.5 trillion rubles ($164.2 billion), the RBC news website reported Thursday.
President Vladimir Putin has promised tax incentives and other benefits to encourage companies to develop the Arctic region and the Northern Sea shipping route, which Moscow sees as a bridge between Asia and Europe for its energy exports. Putin has said he expects cargo volumes along the route to increase tenfold to 80 million metric tons by 2025.

Russia’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has forwarded the list of 118 potential Arctic projects to the government on March 11, spokeswoman Natalia Khlopunova told RBC.
Minister Dmitry Kobylkin has estimated their total value at 10.5 trillion rubles and said they will form the bulk of the Northern Sea Route.
The list of public and private projects includes 25 current projects. Among them are Novoportovskoye, a key oilfield in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district run by gas giant Gazprom’s oil outfit Gazprom Neft (442.6 billion rubles); Vankor field in eastern Siberia run by Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft (437.4 billion rubles); the Achimgaz joint exploration by Wintershall with Gazprom in Siberia (107.3 billion rubles); and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects run by Novatek, Russia’s largest private gas producer.

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East now has to perform feasibility studies on the 118 projects, according to RBC. Promising projects could be given tax breaks, the outlet reported, citing an unnamed source close to the ministry.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

 According to Johns Stoltenberg, the new strategy was adopted this week
NATO will change its military strategy for the first time in several decades, the Interfax news agency reported. According to the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, they decided to change the strategy due to the “threat” from Russia.

The Secrets of Russia’s Propaganda War, Revealed

​​“Psychological warfare has existed as long as man himself.”

So begins a book purported to be an unauthorized reprint of the Russian military intelligence service’s (GRU) textbook on psychological warfare. The book was published in Minsk in 1999. But it has long been the basis of courses on psychological warfare for reserve officer training (ROTC) cadets at Moscow State University’s (MGU) journalism faculty, former students say.
“In the past people were able to influence each other only through direct contact,” the textbook reads. “Today, the means of influencing the human mind have become much more sophisticated, thanks to the accumulated knowledge of thousands of years, information technologies, communication, and management.”
While the purported GRU textbook was ahead of its time, several graduates of the MGU classes described lessons as archaic. The scale of the information space has grown since 1999, and control over it has become more critical to modern war. And now, Russia appears to be upgrading its efforts to dominate the information front.
On Feb. 22, the eve of Russia’s annual Defenders of the Fatherland holiday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the creation of a new “information operations force.” The announcement came just hours after the Foreign Ministry unveiled a new project to expose “fake news” published about Russia in the Western press.

“Propaganda needs to be smart, competent and effective,” Shoigu said, justifying the creation of a force capable of waging information war.
Shoigu’s comments regarding new information operations were vague, leaving it unclear exactly what the propaganda troops would do or who they would report to. Experts say they are likely to be part of the cyber forces — a military branch announced in 2013, but that Russian officials have since denied exists.
“They seem to be cyber troops [hackers], not information war troops [propagandists],” says Michael Kofman, a Russia security analyst at the Virginia-based CNA think tank. “The Russian military already has psychological operations units, but they are all useless. It’s the GRU that does all the real information war.”
Others suggest that the force will do both hacking and propaganda. Russia’s understanding of what constitutes information war is much broader than the West’s, says Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian security and defense services at the Institute of International Relations Prague. For Moscow, “information operations” include everything from propaganda and disinformation to psychological and cyber warfare.
“Things we tend to compartmentalize (and label with weasel expressions such as ‘strategic communications’) are to the Russians all part of one seamless domain relating to the human, morale-and-will side of warfare,” Galeotti says. Shoigu emphasized propaganda, a word that has a far less negative connotation in Russia, “but that is only part of the force’s true remit.”


New Dog, Old Tricks
Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the State Duma’s defense committee, offered some insight into how the Russians see the new military force. It will be tasked with, among other things, countering information operations conducted by enemy states. “Information conflict is part of general conflict,” he said.
Despite flashy repackaging, the militarization of information is not new in Russia. Psychological warfare has been a staple of Russian ROTC programs since the Cold War. It is also taught as a military science in the journalism faculties of major educational institutions such as Moscow State University
“My rank after graduating [from the course] in the early 2000s was lieutenant and I was a deputy division chief of staff for intelligence,” says Dmitry, a former officer who's name has been changed to protect his anonymity. “It guaranteed I wouldn’t be drafted into the regular forces and sent to Chechnya. But in the case of a full-scale war [with NATO], I was to oversee psyops against their troops and civilians.”
Dmitry says that he and his fellow cadets were trained explicitly for a major conventional land war with NATO.
The purported GRU textbook that the courses are modeled on even advises different approaches to waging psychological warfare on different NATO members. So, the Germans have an “abstract-logical” way of thinking, but "prefer clearly reasoned facts and calculations,” the textbook says. "The French and Americans love visuals. The Germans also love visuals, but only those which have double meanings. While the French prefer catchy ideas, emotional expressions and loud words."


Information Operations 101
Studying the pathological moves of enemy societies is meant to help cadets tailor their approach to psychological warfare if called into action. Broadly speaking, the courses teach three types of weaponized information. Since Dmitry graduated, the program has become more secret. Current students and more recent graduates declined to comment, citing non-disclosure agreements and a general atmosphere of secrecy surrounding their training.
The first category is white propaganda — the most common and identifiable type.
White propaganda has clearly attributed source and discernible motive. For Americans, prominent examples include the broadcasts of Hanoi Hannah during the Vietnam war. The North Vietnamese propagandist was famous for her “go home G.I.” refrain, encouraging soldiers to lay down their arms by telling them their cause was unjust.
Alexander Mityaev, a 2003 ROTC graduate, gave an example of how Russians would taunt American soldiers:
“There was an old colonel who taught us how to cut the Yanks’ supply lines to starve them of their Camel cigarettes and Coca-Cola, and then shower them with leaflets mocking their inability to survive without Camels and Coke.”
Leaflets were to be distributed with what is called an agitsnaryad, a play on the Russian words for “political agitation” and “artillery shell.” These non-explosive shells would be stuffed with leaflets and fired by a howitzer beyond enemy lines. “There was a science to it: how to prevent leaflets from sticking together inside the shell, and so on,” says Mityaev, a lieutenant in Russia’s reserve forces and CEO of Moscow CityPass.

Cool diagram of a Russian "agitation shell" used to fire propaganda leaflets over enemy lines.- 3:25 PM - Mar 1, 2017
Bradley Jardine ✔@Jardine_bradley


Nikki Haley,Trump's UN Ambassador condemned Russia's “aggressive actions” in the Donbass region.

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta, who is said to have complained that if he spent 10 hours a month at home, ‘it would be an exaggeration’GENE HERRICK/AP

NEWS
Russia Will Deploy New Missiles to Defend Arctic, Admiral Says
March 13, 2019

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/13/russia-will-deploy-new-missiles-to-defend-arctic-admiral-says-a64789 

The Russian military plans to bolster its positions in the Arctic with additional air defense systems as it flexes its muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich region, a top naval commander has said.
The Defense Ministry has worked at breakneck pace to reassert its presence in the region by reopening old defense installations and deploying new weaponry. Russia in particular aims to secure access to the Northern Sea Route, a strategic shipping corridor between Asia and Europe.

“New air defense formation units will soon be placed in the Yakut village of Tiksi,” Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, the commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet, told the Defense Ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda publication.
“They’re designed to ensure the safety of airspace over the Northern Sea Route,” he said.

Yevmenov said the Northern Fleet will be reinforced with coastal defense missiles, which took part in Arctic drills last fall, as well as a Tor-M2DT short-range air defense missile system.
As it vies to hold back rivals Canada, Norway and the United States, Russia has restrictedthe passage of foreign warships in the Arctic Ocean with requirements including submitting a 45-day advanced notice.
Underscoring the Arctic’s strategic importance, President Vladimir Putin last month renamed the Far East Development Ministry to the Far East and Arctic Development Ministry.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

Special counsel Robert Mueller (Zhang Jun / Zuma / TASS)

NEWS
Putin Rejects Retaliatory Sanctions in Cheeky 'New Year' Statement
President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow.


https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2016/12/30/putin-rejects-retaliatory-sanctions-in-cheeky-new-year-statment-a56707

Russia will not expel American diplomats from the country in retaliation for new American sanctions.

The decision, published on the Russian presidential website, rejects an earlier plan to expel 35 American diplomats proposed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
In the official statement, President Vladimir Putin criticized the new U.S. sanctions as “provocation” and “intended to further undermine Russian-American relations.” Nonetheless, he said, Russia would not take any further measures against the U.S.
“While maintaining the right to retaliatory measures, we will not lower ourselves to the level of irresponsible ‘backroom’ diplomacy,” the statement said, emphasizing that further diplomatic steps would be based upon the policies of the incoming Donald Trump administration.

On Thursday, the United States issued a series of sanctions against Russia for its alleged hacking of American electoral institutions. The White House ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the country and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services. The U.S. also sanctioned four intelligence officers who belong to a military unit Washington says ordered the hacking attacks on the Democratic National Committee.

Information stolen by the hackers, the U.S. government alleges, was later published by Wikileaks and in an effort to help Donald Trump win the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Earlier today, the Foreign Minister Lavrov proposed expelling 31 employees of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and four employees of the General Consulate in St. Petersburg in response. Lavrov also proposed banning U.S. Embassy employees from using both a warehouse located on Dorozhnaya Ulitsa and a dacha in Serebryany Bor.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Russia would close the Anglo-American School of Moscow in retaliation for the new sanctions.
Putin’s statement confirms that there will be no retaliatory measures. It also suggests that the Russian authorities are placing their hopes on the Trump administration as a chance to improve bilateral ties.
The Russian President ended his statement with a conversational message to American diplomats, inviting their children to attend the Kremlin New Year's celebration.

“It’s a shame that the administration of President Obama is ending its work in such a way,” the statement concluded. “Nonetheless, I wish [Obama] and the members of his family a happy new year.”

NEWS
Corruption Hampers Russian Arctic Militarization Dreams
Two sub contractors used funds to buy property, rather than construct radar installations.
By Matthew Bodner    March 10, 2017

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/03/10/corruption-hampers-russian-arctic-militarization-dreams-a57390 

Russia is militarizing the Arctic. This fact is almost undeniable, and has gained increasing attention in Western policymaking circles over the last few years.
But while the buildup cannot be ignored, the Western narrative appears to have outpaced Russian realities. A recent report suggests the Arctic project is bogged down in graft.

As part of a broader military modernization project, Moscow is working to revamp lagging Soviet-era defense installations on its vast, northern frontier. The efforts began no later than 2014, when the Russian Defense Ministry formed a Northern Joint Strategic Command. This Arctic command structure will have four combat brigades, 14 airfields, 16 deepwater ports and a fleet of almost 50 icebreakers to keep lanes clear for the Russian navy's Northern Fleet.
But according to the Kommersant daily, the Arctic militarization project is running into major corruption scandals. Contractors working on radar and air traffic control installations in the northern holdouts of Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt have been found pilfering nearly 3 billion rubles ($50 million) from state contracts, Kommersant reported, citing the Russian Investigative Committee.

The contractor in question is Rusalyans Stroi, and attention has fallen specifically on the company's two owners, Dmitry Bushmanov and Alexei Ekkert, who have been accused of “large scale fraud.” On March 9, the Moscow City Court ordered they be incarcerated until at least May 17 while investigators familiarize themselves with case materials.
Initially, the two were developing the Arctic air defense and control installations as subcontractors for Spetsstroi, a large construction firm that receives major tenders for government infrastructure projects. Spetsstroi has gained infamy over the past three years as the prime contractor on the Vostochny Cosmodrome — a project that has run massively over budget and seen routine and embarrassing construction delays.


If the Vostochny saga is any indication, the Arctic militarization project is running into similar problems.

According to Kommersant, Spetsstroi passed the contract for the Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt radar and air control installations to Bushmanov and Ekkert's firm. Investigators contend that they were supposed to begin work immediately. But, in light of the project's geopolitical importance, the businessmen thought they could inflate the cost estimates of their projects without proper due diligence.
Rather than building radar installations and air traffic control facilities — both vital components of a working air defense network — Bushmanov and Ekkert used the money to purchase homes and apartments for their families, investigators say. Authorities have seized these assets as part of the investigation, Kommersant reported.
Russia's military buildup in the Arctic is real. But it appears Western nations with interests in the Arctic will now have more time to prepare their own strategies for matching Russia in the far north.

Matthew Bodner     @mattb0401

Both Real and Imagined

Diplomats and embassy workers draw the heaviest attention from Russian intelligence services, but their gaze has been known to occasionally fall upon Western journalists and academics as well — albeit with less intensity. And while Russia targets diplomats to coerce and turn, their interest in journalists and scholars appears to be just as Haslam said of Soviet intelligence: to deter and intimidate.
One Western journalist, on a condition of anonymity, told The Moscow Times that his apartment was broken into following a particularly contentious reporting assignment in September. Nothing was stolen or damaged, but items were overtly rearranged — a tactic that former Guardian correspondent Luke Harding claims he was subjected to regularly during his tenure in Moscow from 2007 to 2011.
Ilan Berman, vice-president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank in Washington, had a different experience in 2013 while visiting Moscow to meet with local government and civil society officials. Berman, who has written extensively on the demographic demise of Russia and its implications for the future of the Russian state, says his phone’s data plan was shut off for a portion of his stay.
Traveling as part of a delegation, Berman says none of the other foreigners traveling with him experienced similar problems. And it wasn’t a telecoms glitch or widespread outage — he checked with the company.
“I realized that it was just the FSB’s way of saying hello… albeit not a very nice one,” Berman says.
Or was it? It is a thought that crosses the minds of many a foreigner when encountering otherwise mundane or random technological glitches. In this way, for every successful infiltration of a foreign phone, there are countless more infiltrations of foreign psyches.

Federal Inspectors Release Photos to Blast DHS for ‘Dangerous’ Overcrowding at Border Facilities

https://www.thedailybeast.com/shocking-new-photos-hundreds-of-migrants-crammed-into-border-facility?ref=scroll

Republican congressman says migrants in border facilities ‘can leave,’ but a new report by a government
watchdog shows conditions are even worse than were known.
Scott Bixby   - National Reporter - 07.02.19

Republican congressman dismissed a constituent’s concerns about the migrant detention crisis during a heated town hall meeting over the weekend, telling her that children being held in squalid conditions in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities are free to leave whenever they want.
“The people that are there, they can leave,” said Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), a first-term congressman. “Nobody is holding them against their will—they can leave.”
The remark, which is factually incorrect, was made in response to an impassioned question from a female constituent who said she was “very concerned about family separation at the border,” which she feared was “causing emotional damage” for the thousands of migrant children currently in the custody of U.S. immigration enforcement.
“It’s not ‘government-sponsored child abuse,’” Hagedorn said in response to the question, prompting boos and hisses from the audience at Rochester Community and Technical College on June 28. “These are not concentration camps—no, they’re not.”
Unlike concentration camps in Nazi Germany, Hagedorn elaborated, those in ICE and Border Patrol custody “can leave.”
In most cases, children and adults alike cannot leave immigration detention centers or Border Patrol holding facilities unless they are eligible for—and can pay—bond while their removal proceedings wind through immigration court. Increasingly indiscriminate enforcement by U.S. immigration authorities, a steadily increasing number of migrants seeking refuge and asylum due to political instability in Central America, and a massive backlog in the immigration court system have all contributed to massive overcrowding in detention centers and Border Patrol stations along the U.S.-Mexico border, to the point that children are often being held in such facilities far longer than allowed by federal law.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General illustrated the dire conditions in such facilities with the release of a report warning that inspections of Border Patrol facilities along the U.S. southern border have revealed “serious overcrowding and prolonged detention” of unaccompanied migrant children.
The “dangerous overcrowding,” the OIG wrote, requires “immediate attention”—as do the conditions in the facilities, where children have been held for days without access to showers, laundry facilities, and functioning toilets.
“While all facilities had infant formula, diapers, baby wipes, and juice and snacks for children, we observed that two facilities had not provided children access to hot meals… until the week we arrived,” the OIG report states. Some detainees had become so constipated on a diet composed solely of bologna sandwiches that they required medical attention.
According to the report, nearly half of detainees held at facilities inspected by the OIG had been held longer than the 72 hours permitted under Border Patrol’s standards, with nearly half of those having been held for more than 10 days.
Hagedorn attempted to sidestep the issue of child detention, as well as the conditions in the facilities, telling the audience in Rochester that he favored an “orderly, systemic process” for removal and deportation of undocumented immigrants from the United States. He then asked the woman who posed the question whether she thought there should be limits on entry into the United States.
The woman responded that she was more concerned about “little children that are being held against their will, against their will, on their own, without their parents.”
“They cannot get up leave anytime they want!” the woman said angrily. “How is a three-month-old baby, or a four-year-old, go

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who led the N.S.A. during the leak, has said the agency should not be blamed for the trail of damage.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc
https://www.nytimes.com/  
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/25/us/nsa-hacking-tool-baltimore.html  

The National Security Agency headquarters in Maryland. A leaked N.S.A. cyberweapon, EternalBlue, has caused billions of dollars in damage worldwide. A recent attack took place in Baltimore, the agency’s own backyard.CreditCreditJim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via REX, via Shutterstock
Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who led the N.S.A. during the leak, has said the agency should not be blamed for the trail of damage.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times
By Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane May 25, 2019


For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.
But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.
Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.
It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.

The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.
Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University, called the Shadow Brokers episode “the most destructive and costly N.S.A. breach in history,” more damaging than the better-known leak in 2013 from Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.
“The government has refused to take responsibility, or even to answer the most basic questions,” Mr. Rid said. “Congressional oversight appears to be failing. The American people deserve an answer.”

The N.S.A. and F.B.I. declined to comment.

Since that leak, foreign intelligence agencies and rogue actors have used EternalBlue to spread malware that has paralyzed hospitals, airports, rail and shipping operators, A.T.M.s and factories that produce critical vaccines. Now the tool is hitting the United States where it is most vulnerable, in local governments with aging digital infrastructure and fewer resources to defend themselves.
On May 7, city workers in Baltimore had their computers frozen by hackers. Officials have refused to pay the $100,000 ransom.Credit. 
 Before it leaked, EternalBlue was one of the most useful exploits in the N.S.A.’s cyberarsenal. According to three former N.S.A. operators who spoke on the condition of anonymity, analysts spent almost a year finding a flaw in Microsoft’s software and writing the code to target it. Initially, they referred to it as EternalBluescreen because it often crashed computers — a risk that could tip off their targets. But it went on to become a reliable tool used in countless intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism missions.
EternalBlue was so valuable, former N.S.A. employees said, that the agency never seriously considered alerting Microsoft about the vulnerabilities, and held on to it for more than five years before the breach forced its hand.
The Baltimore attack, on May 7, was a classic ransomware assault. City workers’ screens suddenly locked, and a message in flawed English demanded about $100,000 in Bitcoin to free their files: “We’ve watching you for days,” said the message, obtained by The Baltimore Sun. “We won’t talk more, all we know is MONEY! Hurry up!
Today, Baltimore remains handicapped as city officials refuse to pay, though workarounds have restored some services. Without EternalBlue, the damage would not have been so vast, experts said. The tool exploits a vulnerability in unpatched software that allows hackers to spread their malware faster and farther than they otherwise could.
North Korea was the first nation to co-opt the tool, for an attack in 2017 — called WannaCry — that paralyzed the British health care system, German railroads and some 200,000 organizations around the world. Next was Russia, which used the weapon in an attack — called NotPetya — that was aimed at Ukraine but spread across major companies doing business in the country. The assault cost FedEx more than $400 million and Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, $670 million.
The damage didn’t stop there. In the past year, the same Russian hackers who targeted the 2016 American presidential election used EternalBlue to compromise hotel Wi-Fi networks. Iranian hackers have used it to spread ransomware and hack airlines in the Middle East, according to researchers at the security firms Symantec and FireEye.
“It’s incredible that a tool which was used by intelligence services is now publicly available and so widely used,” said Vikram Thakur, Symantec’s director of security response.
One month before the Shadow Brokers began dumping the agency’s tools online in 2017, the N.S.A. — aware of the breach — reached out to Microsoft and other tech companies to inform them of their software flaws. Microsoft released a patch, but hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide remain unprotected.

Hackers seem to have found a sweet spot in Baltimore, Allentown, Pa., San Antonio and other local, American governments, where public employees oversee tangled networks that often use out-of-date software. Last July, the Department of Homeland Security issued a dire warning that state and local governments were getting hit by particularly destructive malware that now, security researchers say, has started relying on EternalBlue to spread.

Microsoft, which tracks the use of EternalBlue, would not name the cities and towns affected, citing customer privacy. But other experts briefed on the attacks in Baltimore, Allentown and San Antonio confirmed the hackers used EternalBlue. Security responders said they were seeing EternalBlue pop up in attacks almost every day.

Amit Serper, head of security research at Cybereason, said his firm had responded to EternalBlue attacks at three different American universities, and found vulnerable servers in major cities like Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.
The costs can be hard for local governments to bear. The Allentown attack, in February last year, disrupted city services for weeks and cost about $1 million to remedy — plus another $420,000 a year for new defenses, said Matthew Leibert, the city’s chief information officer.

He described the package of dangerous computer code that hit Allentown as “commodity malware,” sold on the dark web and used by criminals who don’t have specific targets in mind. “There are warehouses of kids overseas firing off phishing emails,” Mr. Leibert said, like thugs shooting military-grade weapons at random targets.
The malware that hit San Antonio last September infected a computer inside Bexar County sheriff’s office and tried to spread across the network using EternalBlue, according to two people briefed on the attack.

This past week, researchers at the security firm Palo Alto Networks discovered that a Chinese state group, Emissary Panda, had hacked into Middle Eastern governments using EternalBlue.
“You can’t hope that once the initial wave of attacks is over, it will go away,” said Jen Miller-Osborn, a deputy director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks. “We expect EternalBlue will be used almost forever, because if attackers find a system that isn’t patched, it is so useful.

Until a decade or so ago, the most powerful cyberweapons belonged almost exclusively to intelligence agencies — N.S.A. officials used the term “NOBUS,” for “nobody but us,” for vulnerabilities only the agency had the sophistication to exploit. But that advantage has hugely eroded, not only because of the leaks, but because anyone can grab a cyberweapon’s code once it’s used in the wild.

Some F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, speaking privately, said more accountability at the N.S.A. was needed. A former F.B.I. official likened the situation to a government failing to lock up a warehouse of automatic weapons.

In an interview in March, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who was director of the N.S.A. during the Shadow Brokers leak, suggested in unusually candid remarks that the agency should not be blamed for the long trail of damage.

“If Toyota makes pickup trucks and someone takes a pickup truck, welds an explosive device onto the front, crashes it through a perimeter and into a crowd of people, is that Toyota’s responsibility?” he asked. “The N.S.A. wrote an exploit that was never designed to do what was done.”
At Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where thousands of security engineers have found themselves on the front lines of these attacks, executives reject that analogy.

“I disagree completely,” said Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust, insisting that cyberweapons could not be compared to pickup trucks. “These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They’re inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they’re not strapping a bomb to it. It’s already a bomb.”

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, has called for a “Digital Geneva Convention” to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks.
Last year, Microsoft, along with Google and Facebook, joined 50 countries in signing on to a similar call by French President Emmanuel Macron — the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace — to end “malicious cyber activities in peacetime.”
Notably absent from the signatories were the world’s most aggressive cyberactors: China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia — and the United States.

A version of this article appears in print on May 26, 2019 of the New York edition with the headline: Cities Hijacked By Tool Stolen From the N.S.A.

President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow.

​НОВОСТИ ТЮМЕНИ
ВЛАСТЬ И ПОЛИТИКА

Тюменский приборостроительный завод будет сотрудничать с партнерами из Китая

14.-05-2019   АРТЕМ ЗУБКОВ

Соглашение подписано в рамках IV Международного ЭКСПО «Шелковый путь».

https://tumentoday.ru/2019/05/14/tyumenskij-priborostroitelnyj-zavod-budet-sotrudnichat-s-partnerami-iz-kitaya/
- В числе возможных перспектив и отраслей для сотрудничества в дальнейшем я бы назвал нашу кооперацию в части производства оборудования в сфере нефтегазодобычи и сервиса. Конечно, китайцы могут это и на своей территории производить. Но такая кооперация, с учетом близости северных округов, мировых нефтегазовых компаний может быть интересна китайским партнерам. В рамках проекта «Шелковый путь» будет интересно и еще одно направление – логистика. С учетом выгодного расположения между Западом и Востоком и выходом на северные округа мы также можем предложить совместный проект по созданию в Тюмени крупного логистического комплекса. Нам интересен в Китае и рынок продовольствия с его растущим населением и объемами потребления. Мы уже двигаемся в этом направлении. Пять тюменских компаний сертифицируют свою продукцию для поставки на китайский рынок. Китайским контрагентам нужны крупные компании, крупные контрагенты. Считаю, что здесь открываются хорошие перспективы для кооперации всех регионов, входящих в Уральский федеральный округ,– рассказал Александр Моор.
В рамках визита представители Тюменского приборостроительного завода заключили соглашение о сотрудничестве с двумя китайскими компаниями по направлениям «Умный город» и «Безопасный город». Сибиряки наладят на своем предприятии выпуск интеллектуального электросилового оборудования, в частности различных трансформаторных подстанций. В дальнейшем планируется организовать производство оборудования по контролю и очистке загрязненных территорий.
Читайте еще:
Александр Моор назвал перспективные направления сотрудничества Китая и Тюменской области
Тюменские предприятия могут принять участие в выставке в Харбине
#губернатор #важное #международные отношения #китай #Александр Моор

FBI tapes reveal Martin Luther King’s affairs ‘with 40 women’
Newly unearthed files claim the civil rights leader ‘looked on and laughed’ as a pastor friend raped a parishioner in a hotel


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/fbi-tapes-reveal-martin-luther-kings-affairs-with-40-women-058h7k9wd

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta, who is said to have complained that if he spent 10 hours a month at home, ‘it would be an exaggeration’GENE HERRICK/AP
He will always be remembered as one of the greatest orators in history, a winner of the Nobel peace prize whose “I have a dream” speech proved a defining moment of the American civil rights movement.
Yet the reputation and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr may be facing what one of his biographers has described as a “painful historical reckoning” after shocking new revelations about the Baptist clergyman’s relationships with women.
A huge archive of documents recently released from Federal Bureau of Investigation files exposes in detail King’s extramarital sexual activities with dozens of women as he travelled the country campaigning against racial inequality.
In one memo written after the FBI bugged King’s room at a Washington hotel, there is a startling foreshadowing of…..

To Continue read this article subscribe to The Times 

‘OUTRAGEOUS’
Kellyanne Conway Calls AOC a Liar for Claim That Migrants Are ‘Drinking Out of Toilets’

The White House counselor told ‘Fox & Friends’ that ‘everybody who has control over that facility’ has ‘not heard of this.’
Matt Wilsteinm - Senior Writer - 07.02.19 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/kellyanne-conway-calls-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-a-liar-for-claim-that-migrants-drinking-out-of-toilets

Kellyanne Conway deftly pivoted from defending President Donald Trump’s photo-op with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to defending Customs and Border Patrol from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.
“Chuck Schumer wants to talk about photo-ops?” Conway said, referring to criticism of her boss from the Senate minority leader. “I saw one yesterday. And it’s called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez going down to one of these facilities and making this outrageous claim that a woman’s drinking from a toilet, which everybody who has control over that facility, or control for the border patrol has said that’s not true, they’ve not heard of this.” 
Rather than force Conway to back up her denial, Fox & Friends simply gave her a boost by changing its chyron to read “AOC Makes Explosive Claims About Border Agents.” 
The New York congresswoman on Monday visited the border facility in Clint, Texas, where migrants are being held and tweeted that CBP officers were “keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets.” 
That claim was later backed up by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), who also visited the facility and said a border patrol agent told one woman she met,

“If you want water, just drink from a toilet.” 
Conway went on to attack Ocasio-Cortez for rolling up her car window when a reporter was trying to question her about those claims. “Don’t let the air condition[ing] out,” she mocked, before noting that Ocasio-Cortez was among the Democrats who voted against additional border funding for the Trump administration—or “aid package” as Conway called it. 
Later, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Conway on Twitter, asking, “How many migrant women has Kellyanne Conway touched? Hugged? Sat on a concrete floor with? Actually listened to? The answer is none.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez✔@AOC
How many migrant women has Kellyanne Conway touched? Hugged? Sat on a concrete floor with? Actually listened to?
The answer is none. Her actions show she doesn’t believe all human beings are worthy of basic dignity.
That‘s why she defends & muddies the clear and indefensible. https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1146064791242301441 …
The Daily Beast✔@thedailybeast
Kellyanne Conway calls @AOC a liar for claim that migrants are "drinking out of toilets" at border facility: "Everybody who has control over that facility" has "not heard of this." https://trib.al/Fl9DcHa -5:18 PM - Jul 2, 2019

Debaltseve Was Fatal Flaw in Minsk Agreement on Ukraine
By Ivan Nechepurenko
Feb. 18, 2015

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2015/02/18/debaltseve-was-fatal-flaw-in-minsk-agreement-on-ukraine-a44043
When the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France spent 17 hours last week negotiating an agreement aimed at stopping the fighting in eastern Ukraine and paving the way for a future fundamental settlement of the crisis, there was one key issue they failed to agree on.
This was the question of the ongoing fighting around Debaltseve, a key railway junction where thousands of Ukrainian troops appeared last week to be encircled by pro-Russian insurgents.

After numerous skirmishes in the past few days that have led to hundreds of lives being lost, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Wednesday that the Ukrainian army was retreating from the area, while continuing to insist that the army had never been encircled and that the area had been under its control. (See Story, Page 2.)
His statements were undermined by photographs and reports flooding out of the area of Ukrainian soldiers being attacked even as they were attempting to leave.

Journalists and military advisers in the area reported that the entire Debaltseve area was burning, prompting comparisons to the desperate battle for the city of Stalingrad during World War II.
Poroshenko said that 80 percent of forces had already withdrawn with their weapons and another two columns were expected to leave, according to a statement published on the presidential website.

In a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, Poroshenko said the failure to observe the cease-fire around Debaltseve was a "cynical attack on the Minsk agreements."  
Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk People's Republic, told BBC News over the weekend that "there isn't a word about Debaltseve in the Minsk agreements.

"This means that Ukraine simply betrayed the 5,000 people encircled there," he said.

It is not yet clear how many soldiers have perished in the bitter fight for Debaltseve, but the number is in the hundreds, if not thousands, raising the question of why the issue could not have been settled in the Minsk agreement.


Impasse in Minsk

According to President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian troops were already surrounded in the Debaltseve area before the Minsk talks last week.
"I spoke about this at the meeting in Minsk," Putin told journalists during a Tuesday visit to Hungary.

"I said that the surrounded troops would try to break through and that the militia, who had got the Ukrainian troops surrounded, would resist these attempts and try to keep the encirclement in place, and this would inevitably lead to further clashes," he said.
Putin said that the Minsk agreement "offers an opportunity" for the peaceful resolution of the conflict and that it "could be cemented by a resolution by the UN Security Council."

Andrei Kolesnikov, a long-time Kremlin pool journalist who has followed Putin closely, wrote in the Kommersant business daily on Friday that the Debaltseve issue was the main point of contention during the Minsk talks and was discussed for as long as eight hours.
According to Kolesnikov, Putin said that Ukrainian army soldiers were encircled in Debaltseve and that this could threaten the cease-fire agreement, while Poroshenko denied that they were encircled.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that the demarcation line from which Ukrainian forces were due to withdraw under the Minsk agreement was set at the front line of fighting, outside of Debaltseve, meaning Ukrainian troops in Debaltseve were effectively left inside rebel territory. He echoed Putin's words that concerns had been raised over this during the Minsk negotiations.

"Poroshenko said [in Minsk] that there was no problem with Debaltseve, that there was no encirclement,"

Lavrov told journalists in Moscow, Interfax reported.

A Waste of Time?

Alexander Khramchikhin, a military expert from the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said that the Minsk agreement was "meaningless" because it did did not settle the Debaltseve situation.
"Poroshenko could not give it up because he would have been torn apart in Kiev," he said in a phone interview.
Khramchikhin said that the fact that Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande had not signed anything will allow them to relinquish responsibility for the breakdown of the agreement.

Vladimir Yevseyev, director of the Center of Social and Political Sciences in Moscow, said that with or without the Minsk agreements, after the Ukrainian army withdraws from Debaltseve, there will be several months of relative calm.
"Both sides need a break, the Ukrainian army needs to restore its ability to fight, which will take two to three months," Yevseyev said in a phone interview.
Yevseyev compared the Debaltseve situation with the August battle for the city of Ilovaisk, when the Ukrainian army was encircled and hundreds of its troops killed.
"The new cease-fire will be similar to the one we observed after the first Minsk talks [in September], it will last until the Ukrainian army regains strength," he said.

"In order for a proper truce to be achieved there, a fully demilitarized zone has to be created with at least 20,000 UN peacemakers deployed, who will control how it is observed," he said.

Contact the author at 

i.nechepurenko@imedia.ru 

Pompeo told why he flew to Russia
www.trud.ru 
https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&sp=nmt4&u=http://www.trud.ru/article/14-05-2019/1375721_pompeo_rasskazal_zachem_priletel_v_rossiju.html&xid=25657,15700021,15700186,15700191,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhhuqXdcr32LsSzSOPYyX48BwxqclA  

"I am here because President Trump is committed to improving relations," the head of the Department of State said 
At the opening of the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he had arrived in Russia on a visit, since the United States President Donald Trump is aiming to improve relations with Moscow.
“I am here today because President Trump is committed to improving relations. There are a huge number of questions where our interests coincide, so we need to do everything to improve and strengthen relations, find those parties and those issues on which our relations can be improved, ”said Pompeo.
As the head of the State Department noted, each of the two countries “is naturally engaged in protecting its own interests.”
For his part, Lavrov at the beginning of the meeting noted that there are “many problems in relations between Russia and the United States that require both immediate measures and long-term systemic solutions”.
Earlier, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that bilateral relations, strategic stability and disarmament issues will be the subject of talks between Vladimir Putin and Michael Pompeo in Sochi.
A Kremlin spokesman recalled that this meeting would take place in Sochi on Tuesday evening, May 14, after Pompeo’s negotiations with Lavrov. According to him, "the president will receive Mr. Pompeo and Minister Lavrov, who will inform the president about the results of their discussions."
In addition, Peskov said, the Russian leader can discuss with the head of American diplomacy the possibility of meeting the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the fields of the G-20 summit in Osaka (Japan).
 POMPEO , LAVROV , SOCHI , RUSSIA , USA , PUTIN

Alleged Troll Factory Mastermind Prigozhin, 12 Other Russians Charged With U.S. Election Meddling
 Feb. 16, 2018

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2018/02/16/mueller-charges-russians-with-pro-trump-anti-clinton-meddling-a60544 

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled the details of a widespread and coordinated campaign by Russians to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, delivering on his initial mandate by the Justice Department.

In an indictment disclosed in Washington on Friday, Mueller describes a sweeping, years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump. 
He charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities and accused them of defrauding the U.S. government by interfering with the political process. The list includes Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man behind the Internet Research Agency, also known as the "troll factory."
The Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization, and the defendants began working in 2014 to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with “unwitting individuals” associated with the Trump campaign, it said.

The documents point to a broader conspiracy beyond the pages of the indictment, saying the grand jury has heard about other people with whom the Russians allegedly conspired in their efforts.

Mueller’s office said that none of the defendants was in custody.

In a Feb. 10, 2016, planning memo, the Russians were instructed to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest [except Sanders and Trump -- we support them.”

The operations also denigrated candidates including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Trump’s rivals in the 2016 Republican primary, the indictment said.
The efforts included contact with “unwitting” Trump campaign officials, with the goal of “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful government functions” including the election.
The group bought advertisements on U.S. social media, created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.
The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign, according to the indictment. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver’s licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.

In September 2016, the group ordered one worker to “intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton” after a review found insufficient anti-Clinton activity.

Microsoft employees reviewing malware data at the company’s offices in Redmond, Wash. EternalBlue exploits a flaw in unpatched Microsoft software.CreditKyle Johnson for The New York Times

This month’s cyberattack in Atlanta has curbed the operations of municipal government, causing police officers to prepare reports by hand.CreditDavid Goldman/Associated PressIn Atlanta, the attack apparently mounted by the SamSam group brought down many (though not all) city systems on the morning of March

​MEANWHILE
Revealed: Confessions of a Kremlin Troll
Being paid by the Russian government to troll the internet just isn't what it used to be.
By Katie Davies
April 18, 2017

Russia's paid government trolls have been blamed for everything from the fall of Hillary Clinton to the conflict in Ukraine — They have dominated headlines and sparked political intrigue. But is clocking in as a professional troll really everything it seems?
Following in the footsteps of other former employees, Lyudmila Savchuk and Olga Maltseva, more of the Kremlin's online army are now coming forward to tell their stories of working 12-hour shifts in Russia's most controversial office.
Russia's Bumaga news outlet spoke to one former troll about his life in "the factory" - and why the industry just isn't what it used to be.


Yes, Russian trolls did target the U.S. elections.

We wrote about 200 comments and 20 news posts for various fake pages each day. At the "factory," there were many different teams writing on different topics and targeting different websites. At the end of 2016, I know for sure that there were departments dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis and the U.S. elections. Due to my disclosure agreement, I can’t really talk about which department I worked for.

Trolling is tough (but the money makes it all worthwhile).

I graduated with a degree in philosophy in 2014 and didn’t know where to turn. I had large debts which needed to be paid off quickly. Then I read an article about "the factory" and realized that it was a place where I could make some quick money. Many of my colleagues found out about jobs there in the same way.
When I arrived at the interview, I already knew that I would be there to write pro-government propaganda on the Internet. I wasn’t surprised when the interviewer asked me to write a test comment on "fascist elements in the United States.” I was a little ashamed, but it was funny too.
I earned enough. Even Russia’s economic crisis didn't affect us. If you work there for long enough, then with all the bonuses you get for hitting your quotas and turning out good work, you can get 80,000 to 90,000 rubles a month. I really only stayed in the job for that. I bought myself a Mazda Six during my time there.
It was difficult to get used to at first. Why was I sitting in a stuffy office for eight hours a day, doing what I did? But I was tempted by easy work and good money. I resigned myself to working there and just started enjoying the fact that I was being paid well for doing very little.


Russia's politicians are expert trolls.

A professional troll should have a good sense of the people they are communicating with, and should fully realize what reactions they will get. And, most importantly, trolls shouldn't lose their creativity: inventing something new to write every day is incredibly difficult.
I think the ideal Internet troll would be [State Duma deputy Vitaly] Milonov. Everything he says and does is almost dreamlike in its insanity. Take his recent bill punishing anyone who attends opposition rallies. Madness. And it’s all just fluff, because no one took it seriously.
But our patriots do not like anything related to [opposition politician Alexei Navalny, including his rally [on March 26 against corruption]. So Milonov agitated Russia’s liberals public and raised the authority of the government among his fans. He practically used the logic and methods of a troll.


Trolling isn't as effective as you want to believe.

I can’t name any benefits that society would gain from this kind of work, to be honest. I was always ashamed to work there, so I even tried not to tell anyone. "Troll factories” aren’t benefiting society. It seems that everyone understands this but it’s just like the tabloid press: everyone just carries out their own orders in an attempt to cash in.
But really, our work doesn't bring great harm on to everyone. Personally, I believe our work doesn't bring results at all, and especially not the results which our backers hope for. No one believes in our posts: not us, and not our readers. Trolls argue with trolls. It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of people simply do not pay any attention to these kinds of comments.


The trolling industry is changing.

People who work as trolls don't really like their profession. But now things are changing: with “the factory” appearing so much in the media, the management is starting to scale down their workforce: I was fired. Now they are recruiting people who really believe what they are writing. You need to prove that you are a patriot in order to write comments for money. 
Managers also hope this policy will minimize the risk of moles, as happened with Maltseva and Savchuk [former employees who sued the company and discussed their work with the press].


This interview was first carried out by Russian news site Bumaga. You can read their original post (in Russian) here.
Katie Davies    @katiedavies91

NEWS
Russia's Graceless Goodbye to America's First Black President

As the Kremlin turns eagerly to the Trump era, Russian pundits shower the outgoing Obama administration in racist mockery.​
By Kevin Rothrock
Dec. 30, 2016​

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2016/12/30/russias-graceless-goodbye-to-americas-first-black-president-a56708


As he has done so many times throughout his 16 years in power, Vladimir Putin surprised the world on Friday when he decided not to respond symmetrically to the Obama administration’s latest sanctions against Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election.

“We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing U.S. administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-U.S. relationship,” President Putin said in a statement today, announcing that the Kremlin will not expel any American diplomats in retaliation.

“It is regrettable that the Obama administration is ending its term in this manner,” Putin said. “Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.”

Putin even invited the children of U.S. diplomats in Russia to attend the Kremlin’s holiday parties — free of charge.

​On Twitter, the first reactions from many American journalists and policy experts have characterized Moscow’s response as “master trolling” and “an investment in the Trump administration.”

Whatever you think of Putin’s apparent magnanimity, however, there’s no debate that prominent figures in Russian society have been far less restrained than Putin in their comments this week about Barack Obama, whose reputation in Russia has plummeted dramatically over the last several years — especially since the Kremlin started looking forward to Donald Trump in the White House.

On Friday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tweeted about how “sad“ it is that the Obama administration, which began with an effort to rebuild ties with Moscow, has succumbed to “anti-Russian death throes.”

Hours after the White House announced the new sanctions on Thursday, the often colorful official Twitter account belonging to Russia’s embassy in Great Britain shared a photo of a duckling with the word “LAME” superimposed, declaring, “As everybody including the American people, [we] will be glad to see the last of this hapless administration.


Outside the government, prominent Russians have done more than just belittle President Obama, sometimes hurling brazenly racist insults at America’s first black president.

Just last weekend, Dmitry Kiselyov, the Kremlin’s so-called “chief propagandist,” poked fun at the color of Barack Obama’s skin, airing a segment titled “The Unlucky Streak,” or literally “The Black Term,” broadcasting a portrait of a surly-looking Obama turning from a podium











​In November, the same television show aired and later deleted another racist joke about the president. In the original broadcast, Kiselyov described Obama’s Nov. 10 meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, saying, “Obama is cheeky these days, if not unceremonious. It started last week, when Trump paid his first visit to the White House. [...] There, Trump behaved like an English lord, while Obama was throwing his arms about as if he was in the jungle,” the anchor said.

Kiselyov later claimed he never intended to mock Obama’s race, but other pundits in Russia have showed no such inhibitions, following the White House’s decision on Thursday to eject dozens of Russian diplomats and their families.


On Friday, the pro-Kremlin tabloid Life published an article by radio host and columnist Mikhail Sakhnazarov, titled “Slamming the Door on the Year of the Monkey,” where he declared, “I hope I never again have to write about the weakest president in the history of the United States.”

Russian tabloids aren’t alone when they make jokes about Obama and the Chinese zodiac. Maria Katasonova, a right-wing youth leader and an aide in the State Duma, tweeted, “The Year of the Monkey is coming to an end. The monkey is angry and has a final shit.”

Writing in his blog on Thursday, Russian journalist Maxim Sokolov mused similarly about the supposed failings of dark-skinned officials. “After the feats of this lame duck,” he wrote, “I’ve been thinking about which of the high-ranking black politicians proved to be any good. The only one I could remember was Liza Condomovna [Condoleezza Rice]. Yeah, she was the enemy, but as an enemy she was strong and dignified. All the others, unfortunately, have fallen into the same category that we would have called ‘natskadr’ [token non-whites] in the U.S.S.R.”
Others have embraced racist terms even more openly. Russian writer and blogger Eduard Bagirov, who once helped beat up a GQ columnist in the street, tweeted on Thursday, “I think in this life we won’t again see a negro in the U.S. presidency. The offended, insecure nigger — it’s just unpleasant. For everybody.”
When Twitter users responded to Bagirov’s tweet, calling him a “fascist scumbag,” he answered with a small lecture on Russian vocabulary, ignoring the fact that he explicitly used the word “nigger,” not just the more common Russian word “negro” (which is generally considered less offensive and archaic than it has become in America):

Тот факт, что в США запрещено слово негр, не отменяет того, что последние 8 лет там рулил негр. Обычный негр. Негр. Негр, б****. Негр. Негр.
— Эдуард Багиров (@EduardBagirov) December 30, 2016
“That the word ‘negro’ is forbidden in the U.S. doesn’t change the fact that a negro has ruled that country for the past eight years. A typical negro. A negro. A negro, shit. A negro. A negro.”

Kevin Rothrock @KevinRothrock

A Child Detention Center Becomes a Political Prop and Activists Are Fine With It

https://www.thedailybeast.com/homestead-a-child-detention-center-becomes-a-political-prop-and-activists-are-fine-with-it

The throngs of presidential candidates making the journey to Homestead seemed a bit like political opportunism. But the activists already there were happy about the spotlight.
Gideon Resnick, Political Reporter - 06.27.19

HOMESTEAD, FL—Joshua Rubin grabbed the little shade that was available on the grass, away from the blistering sun that felt ready to melt the asphalt. Seated in a lawn chair, he calmly discussed logistics with a local police officer about the visitors expected in this city, just over 30 miles southwest of Miami. 
At some point over the next 48 hours, at least a third of the sprawling Democratic presidential field would be visiting the Homestead detention center, the largest shelter for unaccompanied migrant minors in the country. They would come and cause a melee of sweaty cameramen being directed out of the way of passing traffic in scalding 93 degree heat. And they would see Rubin and others who had been compelled to go down to Homestead long before them in hopes of bringing attention to—and the demise of—the facility. A chalkboard sign tethered to a canopy to shield from the heat told the story of the length of time activists had spent on their mission: "Day 136."
“We’ll take what we can get,” Rubin, a 67-year-old software developer who lives in Brooklyn, said of the parade of presidential candidates that included—on Wednesday alone—Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and the wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jane Sanders. “We’re getting some light on this place," Rubin said. "It’s getting mentioned on the news. I’ll take it however I can get it. What we worry about, of course, is that it’s a flash rather than a hard hot spotlight, which is what this place needs in order to close it down.”
John Haltiwanger✔@jchaltiwanger -  Jun 27, 2019
Replying to @jchaltiwanger
.@CarmenYulinCruz is at Homestead today too.
John Haltiwanger✔@jchaltiwanger
Joshua Rubin of Brooklyn has been routinely coming here to bear “witness” to what’s happening. He says if more people knew the truth about what these kids are going through they’d call for the facility to be shut down. He helped shutdown Tornillo tent city. Says it’s worse here. p- 3:53 PM - Jun 27, 2019
 
In the era of Donald Trump, controversies materialize by the week. But the crisis at Homestead and facilities elsewhere seems entirely different than the rest, not just because it involves the detention of migrant children in—what virtually everyone now concedes to be—horrifying conditions, but because it has drawn the attention of almost every candidate running to replace the president. The proximity of Homestead to the site of this week’s debate has made the pilgrimage there a must do for those seeking the Oval Office. And though the journeys gave off the distinct impression of political opportunism, Rubin said he didn't mind. The spotlight after all was more important than the motives.
Wearing a sun hat, with binoculars around his neck, as if on a fact-finding expedition in a tropical environment, Rubin said that he had been in Homestead for the first month and a half of what activists at the scene were calling a vigil. Others had been in attendance for the remainder of that 136 day period. He had been traveling back and forth from Brooklyn since. Before that, he was at Tornillo, a tent city of migrant teenagers in Texas, where Rubin became a fixture of the protest against President Trump’s family separation policy. 
Democrats have sought to draw attention to the Trump administration’s family separation policy in the past, with visits to facilities in Texas last summer. But there has been a stronger sense of urgency of late given reports of deplorable conditions in Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas as well as a disturbing image of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his baby daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande. Homestead has elicited additional concern due to the presence of former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on the board of advisers for the private contractor in charge of the center. That company, Caliburn International, has pushed back on assertions from lawyers who have visited that the conditions are not “prison-like.” 
During Wednesday night’s debate, Homestead did come up, as part of a larger conversation over how the candidates would handle immigration on day one in office. But the exchange—like many others in the two-hour affair featuring ten candidates—went quickly by. 
“It should also piss us all off,” former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, said of the images of Ramírez. He called for ending the provision that made it a federal offense to attempt to cross the United States border. “They had been playing games with people who are coming and trying to seek asylum at our ports of entry.”
Earlier in the day, Rubin had said that he had hoped the candidates on stage would feel the same sense of urgency about unaccompanied minors that had drawn him and others down to Florida in the first place. He feared that the situation was too dire to wait until the next election to solve. 
“These kids can’t wait until one of them is president,” Rubin said. “These kids’ lives are being destroyed by being kept in a place like this. So we’re here to get the attention of the nation on this place. I’ll take what they’re offering but I want something sooner. I want them to campaign and mention their moral outrage of what’s going on here.”
That’s exactly what Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) did on Wednesday morning. After announcing an impromptu visit to the facility at a town hall on Tuesday night, the Massachusetts Democrat showed up to a raucous crowd of activists and attempted to gain entry into the facility, which she was denied. So she stood atop a ladder overlooking a gate that separated a sea of white canopies and the estimated 2,400 minors inside, shielded from the view of the media and public. 
“We are not a country that believes that policy works best when we impose maximum pain on our fellow human beings,” the senator said into a megaphone. “And we are not a country that believes that we should separate children from their families. What’s happening here at Homestead is wrong and we will fight it with everything we have.” 

Gideon Resnick✔@GideonResnick
Warren on megaphobe talking to protesters: “We are not a country that believes that policy works best when we impose maximum pain on human beings.” 4:16 PM - Jun 26, 2019

Jane Sanders, the wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), came shortly after Warren, guided down the sidewalk with Rubin. She told a small group of reporters that she was pleased that the presence of politicians at the facility had resulted in broader media coverage. She promised that should her husband get elected president, it would “be his first executive order to close the detention centers,” if thy remained standing by the beginning of his term. 
Gideon Resnick✔@GideonResnick Jane Sanders is here too now 4:46 PM - Jun 26, 2019
Even more candidates are set to visit Homestead on Thursday, when Sanders and O’Rourke will head to the facility, and Friday, when Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), who represents the district where the shelter is, will lead a delegation that includes Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Castro and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 
There was a clear political undercurrent to the sojourns that was hard to escape. Homestead wasn’t just being held up as a symbol of a immigration policy that they all bemoaned, it was being used as a cudgel against the president that they want to unseat. 
And yet, if the activists who had been there for weeks prior—and who would remain there for weeks later—were being used as veritable campaign boosters, they didn’t seem to mind.
“I think a grassroots type of campaign, introducing yourself one on one to the people, is a great idea,” said Amy, a 73-year-old retired preschool teacher from Delray Beach, who declined to give her last name.
“I came out today because I find this particular situation intolerable,” she said as hazy storm clouds gathered over Klobuchar’s visit, the last of the day. “I consider this akin if not the same as concentration camps and I think this is not the America that I was born into. I’ll do everything I can to make sure this ends as soon as possible.”
Gideon Resnick✔@GideonResnick
Amy, a protester here, has a sign with that harrowing image of the dead father and his daughter 7:54 PM - Jun 26, 2019

OPINION
Not All Is Quiet On the Arctic Front
Four key opportunities could spark instability in the Arctic in 2019.
By Elizabeth Buchanan    March 25, 2019 
 

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/25/not-all-is-quiet-on-the-arctic-front-a64904
 
Not a day goes by without a mention of a looming new Cold War in the Arctic. Apparently, conflict between Russia and the West is now linked inextricably to the phenomenon of melting icecaps. Russia’s Arctic interest has, however, not matched its assertive foreign policy elsewhere — as per Ukraine or Syria.
Russia is the largest Arctic state and has a long history in the Arctic, predating Vladimir Putin.
Moscow’s Arctic interest is to be expected and in reality, Russian Arctic strategy is logical in its scope and ambition.
Unfortunately, this does not provide attention-grabbing headlines. An Arctic conflict agenda is fanned incessantly, which serves to cloud its relatively cooperative environment
However, 2019 will present four clear windows for the region to potentially backslide — 


Control of the Northern Sea Route

The first potential avenue for Arctic competition to intensify is related to control of the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
The NSR is an attractive maritime route — namely for China — which slashes global transportation lead times and costs. Situated within the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), hugging Russia’s Arctic coastline, the transport corridor has a long Russian history.
Recently, Russia has clamped down on the NSR and moved to restrict foreign transit along the corridor connecting Asia to Europe. Vessels are now required to submit notice to Russia some 45-days prior to voyage, host a Russian pilot during their transversion of the NSR and pay increased transit fees.
Further, Moscow argues it has the right to refuse passage and fire on (read remove) vessels which violate the new rules.
Over the past few years, Putin has paid increasingly special attention to the NSR, now a hallmark of Russia’s Arctic strategy.

Arctic hydrocarbon resources are no longer the sole driving force of Kremlin strategy in the High North. Largely due to the prolonged stagnation of the global oil price, the new priority for Russia appears to be control over global transportation through the Arctic.
Russia’s new approach to the management of the NSR indicates a significant shift in Putin’s assessment of the region.

In 2000, a then acting-President Putin, believed it was “unacceptable for anybody to have special rights to use the Northern Sea Route”.
How times have changed. Russia now uses its ‘special rights’ under Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to redefine the rules of Arctic transit. This clause gives Arctic coastal states, party to UNCLOS, the right to ‘adopt and enforce’ maritime law in their respective Arctic EEZ’s (mainly for environmental reasons).

It paves the way for states to deny freedom of navigation or innocent passage rights to foreign vessels.

For some, Article 234 is not a relevant defense as they view the NSR as an international strait (in which UNCLOS is not applicable). Whether or not the NSR is deemed an international strait or internal waterway comes down to differing translations of international law. Evidently, Moscow has signaled its understanding of the law.

Thanks to bolstered military capability along its Arctic coast, Russia now has plenty of bite to its bark over who can access the polar
silk road.

Trump’s Arctic strategy

A second opportunity for regional competition to increase is the implementation of a new U.S. Arctic Strategy.
This renewed strategy is likely to move away from the existing Obama-era focus on climate change and environmental security. We can expect the U.S to be reactionary, in particular, to double down on a perceived power grab by Moscow and Beijing in the region. A reactionary strategy is rarely ever a smart policy, nor does it prove successful in communicating the contours of long-term interests.
Perhaps, however, we expect too much from Trump in thinking that he has a long-term vision for the Arctic.
Trump’s focus on Arctic affairs is confined to cutting Washington’s red tape — opening up the U.S. Arctic Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain for oil drilling.
Trump’s proposed 2020 budget indicates the U.S. will further step back from environmental leadership in the Arctic. The National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency are set to attract huge cuts — particularly the U.S. Office for Polar Programs and the Directorate for Geosciences.

Likewise, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will lose all funding for its Sea Grant and Coastal Zone Management programs.
For now, the most realistic outlook is a very absent U.S. in the Arctic. Given Trump’s preoccupation with borders it is perplexing as to why the entire U.S. Arctic front is forgotten.


Arctic territorial claims

The third area for competition to potentially spill-over into conflict is the overlapping territorial claims to the North Pole — held by Russia, Denmark and Canada.
Here, the central territorial challenge in the Arctic is over the continental shelf.
Russia resubmitted an Arctic territorial bid back in 2015, the claim was previously rejected in 2001 due to lack of geological evidence.
Russia’s renewed bid provided evidence to support Moscow’s claim that the Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges are natural extensions of the Siberian continental shelf. The same continental shelves are also the basis of Denmark’s formal Arctic claim submitted in 2015.

Both Russia and Denmark have worked bilaterally to de-escalate their overlapping territorial claims to the North Pole.

Whether these discussions will eventuate in solid policy and a formal agreement is yet to be seen. Of course, this would not be anything extraordinary, as cooperative agreements over maritime borders are quite commonplace in the Arctic — see Norway and Russia’s agreement over the Barents Sea.
The wildcard will be Canada, who in 2019 is due to submit its formal Arctic claim for consideration to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). Canada has until now only submitted a partial case for its claim to the Arctic underwater ridge as an extension of the American Continent.  

Should we expect Putin’s Russia to cede territory?  

The age of Russian Arctic LNG

Energy – specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG) — represents a final potential driver of Arctic competition.

Under Putin, Russia has refocused its strategic interests in the Arctic. For Moscow, the vast resources of the Russian Arctic serve as its future economic base. Offshore deposits are now largely deemed to be commercially unviable. The real economic gain, for now, is Arctic LNG on the Yamal Peninsula.

Of course, no one expected the rapid foray of Russia into the global LNG market.

Russian Arctic LNG has gained momentum thanks to foreign investment, most recently from Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, in Novatek’s LNG project.
Situated on the Arctic peninsula, the Arctic-LNG plant is able to make use of the NSR to securely supply the Asia Pacific market. In particular, the emerging ASEAN markets.
To protect its vast economic interests, Russia has ramped up its military presence in the region by reopening Soviet-era military bases and deploying short-range missile installations along the border. Canada, also recognizing an increased global interest in the Arctic, has also worked to strengthen border defenses. That said, Canada’s drone surveillance program is less confronting than short-range missile systems.

2020: towards increased competition in a disappearing Arctic

Heading into the 2020’s, Russia’s Arctic strategy will be geared at bolstering their international standing and securing Moscow’s economic resource base well into the future. Given that Western sanctions will persist, this will be facilitated through continued foreign investment with China, who has demonstrated its ‘near-Arctic’ ambitions.

The U.S. will likely produce a new knee-jerk Arctic policy this year with very little strategic or long-term substance. The region will remain on the outskirts of Washington’s agenda for some time after that.
Yet, Arctic states all have a greater challenge on their hands. A recent U.N. environmentalreport has the Arctic ‘locked in’ for a temperature rise of up to 5 degrees by 2050. In a mere 30 years the Arctic will be an entirely different operational environment altogether.
The new Arctic will be one in which Greenland’s ice-cap will be no more, Arctic Ocean sea levels will rise impacting the coastal port networks, the loss of Arctic summer-ice will negate the fleets of heavy-icebreakers in ‘winter’ and the list goes on. Crucially, the regions military installations — the state of art outposts, radars and infrastructure will be operationally challenged for all parties.
The future of the Arctic will be determined by how seriously Arctic powers treat the mutual security threat of global warming.

The views expressed in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the position of The Moscow Times.
Elizabeth Buchanan
Dr Elizabeth Buchanan is a Jean Monnet Research Fellow at The Australian National University. Her areas of expertise are Russian foreign energy strategy and Arctic geopolitics. @BuchananLiz

Trump responds after his administration drops bid for citizenship question on 2020 census
Huff Post  ANTONIA BLUMBERG Jul 3rd 2019


https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/07/03/trump-responds-after-his-administration-drops-bid-for-citizenship-question-on-2020-census/23762088/

President Donald Trump spoke out Tuesday on his administration’s decision not to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census in the wake of a Supreme Courtruling.
“A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census!” the president wrote on Twitter. He added that he had asked his officials to “do whatever is necessary” to bring the citizenship question to a “successful conclusion” in the future. 
Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of “Is this person a Citizen of the United States?” to be asked on the #2020 Census! Going on for a long time. I have asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice....
81.3K
3:33 AM - Jul 3, 2019 29.2K people are talking about this

Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of “Is this person a Citizen of the United States?” to be asked on the #2020 Census! Going on for a long time. I have asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice....
Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
....to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion. USA! USA! USA!
71.6K  - 3:33 AM - Jul 3, 201- 22.4K people are talking about this

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, said he had decided to add the citizenship question in 2018 against the advisement of other bureau officials. The move prompted outcry from immigrant and civil rights groups who argued that adding the question could lead to underreporting among minority and immigrant populations, with potentially harmful consequences.

The Trump administration claimed the query was necessary to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, and the issue ultimately went to court.
The Supreme Court last week ruled that officials had failed to adequatelyexplain the question’s necessity on the census. The justices sent the case back to a lower court, but the government said it faced a July 1 deadline to send the census forms to the printer.
Trump initially said he had instructed government lawyers to look into delaying the census. But on Tuesday, the administration officially announced there would not be a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.
“We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” Kate Bailey, a Justice Department attorney, wrote to lawyers for the plaintiffs who had challenged the addition of the question.

Ross also said the census forms had gone to the printer without the addition of a citizenship question but noted that he “strongly” disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

NEWS
'Putin’s Chef' Looks for Gold in Africa, Media Reports
June 5, 2018

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2018/06/05/putins-chef-looks-gold-africa-media-reports-a61690 

Russian billionaire restaurateur Yevgeny Prigozhin has reportedly set his sights on gold prospecting in Africa after high-level Kremlin meetings late last year.
Prigozhin, a figure known as “Putin’s chef,” has a history of catering to St. Petersburg’s elites and winning lucrative government procurement deals. He was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2016 for doing business with the Russian Defense Ministry and indicted in 2018 for allegedly interfering in the country's presidential elections. 
A Prigozhin-linked subsidiary has begun to explore gold deposits in Sudan after its parent company signed gold mining deals during Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Russia in November 2017, the Bell news website reported Tuesday.

Two sources familiar with the talks told the outlet that M Invest, the Russian parent company that signed the prospecting and mining agreement with Sudan, represents Prigozhin’s interests.
Over 100 mercenaries from the Prigozhin-linked Wagner military contractor are also in Sudan to train its government units in the nation’s long-running civil war, the Bell cited four unnamed sources as saying.
The Bell said it was unable to determine whether the mercenaries also provided security at the five gold prospecting sites operated by M Invest’s subsidiary Meroe Gold.
“[W]e can help Russia develop relations with African countries,” Bashir told Putin during the Nov. 23 meeting.
“Sudan may become Russian’s [sic] key to Africa.”

NEWS
Trump Facing Down 'Coup D'Etat,' Says Russian State Media

The world according to Russian propaganda: Ukraine, the United States, and Russia's Bolotnaya protests
By Katie Davies
Dec. 19, 2016

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2016/12/19/trump-facing-down-a-coup-detat-says-russian-state-media-a56576 


We continue with our weekly analysis of the main talking points of Russian TV’s Sunday news review programs. The three flagship shows — Voskresnoye Vremya [The Times on Sunday], Vesti Nedeli [Weekly News] and Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyev — are together watched by tens of millions every week.
Ukraine's Maidan protesters were probably high on drugs, the United States is financing liberal Russian politicians, and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is already facing a “coup d'etat.”
At least that’s what the Kremlin's flagship news programs aired this week.
Dmitry Kiselyov dedicated a small segment of his Sunday night mainstay Weekly News to the fifth anniversary of the Bolotnaya protests.
The anti-Kremlin demonstrations, which erupted on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in May 2012, resulted in clashes with the police and jail time for many protesters.
"The state has carefully cultivated the liberal opposition,” Kiselyov said, using the success of independent news outlets Ekho Moskvy and the Dozhd television channel as examples of the Kremlin's generous support.
“But all of these 'liberals' began quarreling among themselves, and we are yet to see anything sensible on the airwaves,” he said.













Dmitri Kiselyov on his show, Weekly News.Rossiya 24 / YouTube

Trump in Trouble?


Kiselyov dedicated much more time to one of state television's favorite topics: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. The presenter said that protests against Trump were being financed by big businesses.
"Donald Trump has not had time to take office, but he's already faced with attempts to overthrow him. We are talking about a coup d'etat,” he said.
Kiselyov hailed Trump's social media attacks on military jet supplier Lockheed Martin as the start of the President-elect's battle against “American corruption.” Trump’s strong stance on eradicating corruption had pushed fearful U.S. firms to support Clinton, he said.
Read more from The Moscow Times: How long will Trump stay friendly to Russia after the U.S. elections?
"Donald Trump has not had time to take office, but he's already faced with attempts to overthrow him. We are talking about a coup d'etat,” he said.
Kiselyov hailed Trump's social media attacks on military jet supplier Lockheed Martin as the start of the President-elect's battle against “American corruption.” Trump’s strong stance on eradicating corruption had pushed fearful U.S. firms to support Clinton, he said.
“[Electoral College] members are being told that Putin chose Trump [to be President.] Somebody is interested in pushing this theory, and this somebody has a lot of money. We are talking about large corporations and U.S. arms companies. They are for Clinton. She's compliant and quiet. These firms are not expecting any surprises from her,” Kiselyov said.













A correspondent for Rossiya 24 speaks to a Trump supporter in the United States. Rossiya 24 / YouTube

Russia on 'the Right Path'
Kremlin news program Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyev continued with the anti-American tirade.

Solovyev himself claimed that the West was embroiled in an unprecedented “propaganda campaign” against Moscow.

“I've read American newspapers every day since 1975,” Solovyev said. “I've never seen anything like it.” The U.S. propaganda campaign against Russia “means that Russia is on the right path.”
The United States paid liberal Russian politicians to “claim that everything in Russia was bad,”  while independent pollster the Levada Center was also on the U.S. payroll to “falsify data on how Russians feel toward Putin,” the program alleged.
“[The United States] cannot understand that the free world has a new leader,” Russian writer and politician Vyacheslav Nikonov said. “Our country could destroy America ten times over!"
Read more from The Moscow Times:  The fall of Russia's only independent pollster, the Levada Center 
Panelists on Solovyev's show also agonized over an ongoing court case at Moscow's Dorogomilovsky court over whether Ukraine's 2014 Maidan revolution was in fact a coup.
Former Ukrainian Rada deputy Volodymyr Oliynyk said that the court's decision could “legitimize” Russian-annexed Crimea, “because there was no legal, constitutional government in Ukraine,” he said.
Oliynyk claimed that the Moscow court’s decision would be of great significance in the United States, as the ruling would supposedly block Washington from giving aid to Kiev. U.S. law prevents the White House from giving aid to governments which have seized power in a coup, Oliynyk said.
The United States was instrumental in the Maidan protests, the program additionally alleged.
“Non-violent confrontation” was a specially developed Western “technique” to destabilize governments, Solovyev said.
“It was a success in the Arab world, but failed in Russia in 2012 thanks to our law enforcement. The West took that into account, and realized that they would have to send real fighters into Ukraine who would arrange some bloodshed. It happened in Kiev."











Vladimir Solovyev hosts his Sunday evening program.Rossiya 24 / YouTube

But Western agents weren't solely responsible for the Maidan uprising, Solovyev said. He also claimed that demonstrators had “mixed something in with their tea,” implying participants had taken drugs. Claims of anti-government protesters using narcotics have been consistently repeated in Russia all the way back to Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004. 

"How can anyone who hasn't been drugged stand there for 11 hours throwing stones,” said former Ukrainian politician Igor Markov. “Aren't they tired?”

“What have [Ukrainians] done to Ukraine just 25 years after independence?” Solovyov lamented. "In 1991, the Ukrainian economy comparable to that of Germany. Everything was well! Now Ukraine leads the world in immoral young women and child mortality."

Katie Davies @katiedavies91

Russia Launches Nuclear Icebreaker as It Eyes Arctic Future
The Ural is one of a trio of ships expected to be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world


https://www.themoscowtimes.com/ 

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/25/russia-launches-nuclear-icebreaker-as-it-eyes-arctic-future-a65747

 
Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic's commercial potential.
The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St. Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world. 
Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia's state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

"The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity," Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom's chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow's hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.
By 2035, Putin said Russia's Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.
The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.
Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in killing of captive in Iraq
JULIE WATSON Jul 2nd 2019

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/07/02/navy-seal-acquitted-of-murder-in-killing-of-captive-in-iraq/23761662/

SAN DIEGO — A military jury acquitted a decorated Navy SEAL of premeditated murder Tuesday in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq in 2017.
Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was cleared of all charges except for posing for photos with the dead body of the captive in a verdict that is a major blow to military prosecutors.
Gallagher reacted with "tears of joy, emotion, freedom and absolute euphoria," defense lawyer Marc Mukasey said.
"Suffice it to say this is a huge victory," Mukasey said outside court. "It's as huge weight off the Gallaghers."
Defense lawyers said Gallagher was framed by disgruntled platoon members who fabricated the allegations to oust their chief. They said there was no physical evidence to support the allegations.
The prosecution said Gallagher's own text messages and photos incriminated him. They included photos of Gallagher holding the dead militant up by the hair and clutching a knife in his other hand.
A text message Gallagher sent while deployed said "got him with my hunting knife."
The prosecution asserted the proof of Gallagher's guilt was in his own words, his own photos and the testimony of his fellow troops, while defense lawyers called the case a "mutiny" by entitled, junior SEALs trying to oust a demanding chief and repeatedly told the jury that there was no body, no forensic evidence and no blood found on the knife.
The case gave a rare public view of a deep division in the insular and highly revered SEAL community. Both sides told jurors that witnesses had lied on the stand and it was their duty to push through the evidence to find the truth. Gallagher, 40, did not take the stand.
The panel of five Marines and two sailors, including a SEAL, had to weigh whether Gallagher, a 19-year veteran on his eighth deployment, went off the rails and fatally stabbed the war prisoner on May 3, 2017, as a kind of trophy kill, or was the victim of allegations fabricated after the platoon returned to San Diego to stop him from getting a Silver Star and being promoted. Under the military system, two-thirds of the jury need to agree to convict, or in this case five of seven jurors, or they must acquit. Military juries also have the option to convict on lesser charges, such as attempted murder.
Gallagher was also charged with attempted murder in the shootings of two Iraqi civilians, and four other charges that include the unlawful discharge of his firearm by shooting at noncombatants, wrongfully posing with a human casualty, impeding an investigation by discouraging platoon members from reporting his criminal actions and retaliating against those who did.
The two-week trial included the testimonies of nearly a dozen SEALs, including Special Operator Corey Scott, a medic like Gallagher, who told the court that he saw the chief stab the Islamic State militant in the neck but stunned the court when he said he was the one who ultimately killed the prisoner by plugging his breathing tube with his thumb as an act of mercy.
Seven SEALs said Gallagher unexpectedly stabbed the captive moments after he and the other SEAL medics treated the detainee who was wounded in an airstrike that morning outside Mosul. Two, including Scott, testified they saw Gallagher plunge his knife into the prisoner's neck.
During the trial, it was revealed that nearly all the platoon members readily posed for photos with the dead prisoner and watched as Gallagher read his reenlistment oath near the body in an impromptu ceremony.
Defense lawyers called the pictures of Gallagher, a Bronze Star recipient, clutching the corpse's hair and his texts about his knife skills just the dark humor of a warrior.
An Iraqi general who handed the wounded prisoner to the SEALs testified that Gallagher did not stab the boy. And Marine Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo said after the militant died that he moved the body to take a "cool guy trophy" photo with it and saw no stab wounds on his neck.
Gallagher's attorneys said there were a number of things that could have caused the militant's death, including internal injuries from the blast.

Julian Assange being arrested and dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on the 11th April. 2019. Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019 by the London Metropolitan Police for failing to appear in court and now faces possible extradition to the US

​4Пострадавшие от пожара в Ишимском районе получат помощь из областного бюджета

Ukraine's Donbass Drifts into 'Alternative Peace'
New clashes erupt as Moscow and Kiev prepare for Trump foreign

By Oliver Carroll
Feb. 1, 2017 policy

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/02/01/ukraines-donbass-drifts-into-alternative-peace-a57011 

With news of military escalation, civilian evacuation, and humanitarian catastrophe – plus an assurance from the Ukrainian Commander-in-chief that the situation was “100-percent under control” – it was hardly surprising that many in Kiev began talking about a “second Debaltseve.” 

That bloody battle, which culminated two years ago this month, saw the Ukrainian army come under crippling, Russian-backed firepower, before withdrawing. The humiliating losses forced Ukraine to accept the end of its ambitions to retake occupied territories militarily.
This latest fighting flared up on Jan. 29 in a notoriously hot zone northeast of Donetsk airport. It is, without doubt, the most serious fighting in the region for over a year.
What we know is that the Ukrainian-held town of Avdiivka suffered the most — with dozens of heavy missiles landing in residential areas, numerous civilian injuries, one civilian death, and seven military deaths. According Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the opposing side, separatist fighters also suffered casualties, including five killed in action. 


What happened in the days before is murkier.

Both sides have been guilty of pulling at the edges of the Minsk peace deal. Finalised during the Debaltseve endgame, the agreement sets out weapon and troop withdrawal, alongside new election regimes, prisoner exchanges and border transfers. Since its signing, the agreement has seemed quixotic in its aims, and in recent months the reality gap has only widened.

In the immediate run-up to the fighting, OSCE special monitoring reports documented a series of violations. Weapon systems and troops on both sides have been doing things they shouldn’t, and doing those things where they shouldn’t. In particular, the monitoring mission observed incursions by Ukrainian troops into “grey” demilitarised zones.
Less contested than who started it is the humanitarian disaster that now threatens Avdiivka’s 8,000 residents. With the mercury at minus 16 degrees Celcius, much of the town is without electricity and communications lines. Parts of Avdiivka are without heating, owing to problems at the coking plant to the north of the city, the largest in Europe, which usually provides the town’s heating. An evacuation operation has begun. Depending on whether crucial infrastructure can be successfully repaired, it might extend to the majority of the population.

Speaking by phone to the Moscow Times on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the manager of the Avdiivka coking plant, Musa Magomedov, said that the situation remained critical. No missiles had landed inside the coking plant itself, but they had affected its electricity supply, while “grad  missiles continue to fly into residential sectors of the old town.”
At press time, negotiations were underway to arrange access to damaged electricity lines. The future of the frontline plant and its 3,800 workers remained under question, Magomedov said.

“Sometimes you think that’s it — we’re finished,” he said.

The immediate political context provides a number of possible theories as to motive. Most focus on Trump's unexpected presidency.
On the one hand, Ukraine fears being dumped by its one-time closest ally, and, so that logic goes, wanted to force a military upsurge and move the new U.S. administration away from any notions of sanctions relief. On Tuesday, Dec. 31, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released a video arguing exactly this. “Who would dare talk about lifting the sanctions in such circumstances?” he said.
Others note that the fighting happened shortly after the first phone conversation between Presidents Putin and Trump. Had the Russians been given assurances, felt emboldened by the prospects of a new start, or simply wanted to send a salvo over to the new administration?

Whatever happens in the coming days and weeks, neither side is likely aiming for territorial gains. Since winter 2015, Ukrainian and separatist positions have been so heavily fortified that significant offensive movement offers only diminishing returns.
Occasional, lethal skirmishes, however, offer more tactical promise. Both sides, we know, are unhappy with the status quo provided by Minsk. Russia meanwhile would only relish the opportunity to ratchet up pressure on a regime in Kiev it views as unfriendly.Read more about: Trump , Poroshenko , Putin , Ukraine

March 29, 2018 ATLANTA — The dilemma confronts city and state officials with alarming frequency:

Digital extortionists have hijacked their computer systems and demanded ransom. Should they pay?

Russia to Send Military ‘Specialists’ to Republic of Congo
 May 24, 2019

 
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/24/russia-to-send-military-specialists-to-republic-of-congo-a65721 

Russia has signed a bilateral agreement to send military “specialists” to the Republic of Congo to advise their counterparts and repair Soviet equipment in a move that further increases Moscow’s footprint on the continent.
The Republic of Congo is the latest sub-Saharan African nation where Russia has stepped up its presence recently. Since Western nations sanctioned Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014, Moscow has signed at least 20 military cooperation deals in sub-Saharan Africa, including with Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
“This is a new contract but, as a whole, continues the very beautiful story that was once started called military-technical cooperation,” Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin was quoted by Interfax as saying. 
The Russian advisers will help the Republic of Congo’s military with the upkeep of armored vehicles, rocket artillery and helicopters, Fomin said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Russian specialists are already on the ground there, Interfax reported.

Talk about the need to restore the system of assistance to citizens found drunk in public places, has been in Russia since 2013

Standing room only for adult males observed by OIG om June 10, 2019, at Border Patrol's McAllen Station

Fifth-one adult females held in a cell designated for male juveniles with a capacity for 40 and 71 adult males held in a cell designated for adult females with a capacity for 41, observed by OIG on June 12, 2019, at Border Patrol's Fort Brown Station

The U.S. is ‘headed to fascism,’ says Ocasio-Cortez after tour of detention facilities at southern border 
Yahoo News HUNTER WALKER Jul 2nd 2019

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/07/02/the-us-is-headed-to-fascism-says-ocasio-cortez-after-tour-of-detention-facilities-at-southern-border/23761588/

EL PASO, Texas — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the conditions at U.S. migrant detention facilities “horrifying” in an interview Monday evening and doubled down on her comparisons of the situation at the border to World War II.
“Are we headed to fascism? Yes. I don’t think there’s a question,” the congresswoman told Yahoo News hours after she toured the detention facilities run by Customs and Border Protection. “If you actually take the time to study, and to look at the steps, and to see how government transforms under authoritarian regimes, and look at the political decisions and patterns of this president, the answer is yes.”
Last month Ocasio-Cortez sparked controversy when she described the migrant detention facilities as “concentration camps on our southern border.” Her comment drew an immediate backlash from critics who accused her of trivializing Nazi concentration camps, while others, including some Holocaust survivors and scholars, said the comparison was a valid one.
The freshman Democratic lawmaker from New York refused to back down from that comparison, and in her conversation with Yahoo News, Ocasio-Cortez argued that many things about President Trump echo that dark period in history.
Ocasio-Cortez described a chaotic situation during Monday’s congressional tour, including one site visit where “s*** hit the fan” over what she described as “disrespectful” conduct by CBP staff, such as one officer who tried to take a selfie with the congresswoman, even as the lawmakers were not allowed to have cameras.
The incident led her to believe the agency has systematically “lost control,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez also had harsh words for the “horrible Democrats” who voted for a bill to provide $4.5 billion in funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CBP. She laid blame for the humanitarian crisis squarely at the feet of the president.
“This is completely engineered by him,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Trump has repeatedly argued that Democrats are to blame for the immigration crisis because they have not made an immigration reform deal with congressional Republicans. He has also claimed he did not begin the child separation policy. While some children were detained separately from accompanying adults after crossing the border under previous administrations because of a lack of familial relationship or criminal records, the “zero tolerance” policy introduced by Trump led to unprecedented mass separations.
Ocasio-Cortez holds Trump responsible for the conditions migrants are being kept in, and argues he has contributed to the factors causing immigrants from Central America to leave the region in growing numbers.
“We withdrew U.S. aid to those areas that was intended to stabilize those areas,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “It deepened and exacerbated all of the crises that are already happening, causing a flood of people to try to escape these horrifying conditions. So we are contributing to the surge in the first place. We’re engineering it, so that’s coming to our border.”
Earlier this year Trump announced he would cut aid to Central America, claiming the countries there were not doing enough to stop the flow of migrants to the United States. U.S. assistance to the region has already decreased by 20 percent since 2016, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.
Ocasio-Cortez also blamed the Trump administration for contributing to the poor, overcrowded conditions at CBP facilities by not using available space to house migrants at facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to Ocasio-Cortez, if Trump “really cared about human lives,” he would declare a national emergency to get additional funds to improve conditions at migrant shelters.
CBP and HHS did not respond to requests for comment.
“He declared a national emergency to move funds to build a wall,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “If he actually cared about these kids’ lives, he could have snapped his fingers and done that easily to get them the care that they needed.”
While she has plenty of criticism on Trump’s performance, Ocasio-Cortez said she has no message for the president.
“What do I want to say to him directly? I have never had any desire to say anything to him. I just haven’t,” she said.
Last week the House of Representatives passed a bill to provide about $4.5 billion to CBP and ICE. The legislation included provisions to provide supplies and medical services for migrants. It was supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and swing district Democrats known as “frontliners.” A bipartisan group called the Problem Solvers Caucus worked to block language some more liberal members attempted to have added to the bill that explicitly called for the protection of migrant children and cut funds to ICE. Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives opposed the bill. She accused Pelosi of having “lost control of the caucus” and said the Problem Solvers Caucus “thinks that immigrants don’t matter.”
“They pushed through with the help of the Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus a completely lacking of accountability $5 billion to a system and to a culture of people that we know is rotted at its core,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the bill.
Her staunch progressivism and willingness to take on members of her own party and Trump has made Ocasio-Cortez one of the most visible political figures in Washington since she was elected last year. Her trip to the border on Monday was part of a delegation of Democratic members of Congress. They visited several facilities in the El Paso area where migrants are being held, including some children who have been separated from their families.
Afterward, the group spoke to reporters and said they witnessed “inhumane” conditions including a lack of running water, overcrowding, and migrants with serious medical conditions who did not have access to medicine. Ocasio-Cortez told Yahoo News the situation was particularly troubling since CBP was aware the congressional delegation was coming at least four days in advance.
“No matter how nefarious you may be or how generous you may be, the incentive would be to put your best foot forward and to represent the operation as efficient, and effective, and controlled as possible,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “If this was their best behavior today, what that tells me is that the conditions are far more horrifying than even what we saw.”
Members of the press were not allowed to accompany the congressional delegation. However, some of the claims made by Ocasio-Cortez and the other Democrats echo a report written last month by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP. That report, which was obtained by NBC News, described the results of a “spot inspection” conducted at a Border Patrol facility in El Paso that found alarming conditions including “dangerous overcrowding,” with some detainees being “held in standing-room only conditions for days or weeks.”
As Ocasio-Cortez recounted the trip to the border, her outrage was apparent, but she spoke in measured tones. The words rushed out of her and she tried to paint pictures with her hands, seemingly eager to convey every aspect of the day’s events as quickly as possible.
Ocasio-Cortez’s day began with “bungling” as the group visited Casa Franklin, a shelter in downtown El Paso that houses about 70 migrant children and is run by Southwest Key, a nonprofit that has received contracts from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. As Ocasio-Cortez and the other members of Congress went into the facility, a staffer asked to see each of their IDs.
“Halfway through, they started really feeling how inappropriate it was and then they just stopped,” Ocasio-Cortez recounted. “So, they checked half the members’ IDs and then they were like, ‘OK, just come inside.’”
At Casa Franklin, Ocasio-Cortez said the conditions were “fine.” But she thought a briefing the delegation received from the shelter’s staff was “bizarre,” because they said children coming to the facility from the CBP stations are in good health. “To say that these kids ... were fine and not traumatized, it ... raised alarm bells,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
A spokesperson for Southwest Key declined to comment on record.
After Casa Franklin, Ocasio-Cortez and the other Democrats visited another shelter and a Border Patrol station where some migrants are being held. According to Ocasio-Cortez, at the first facility, some things were “off,” but she felt the staff there was clearly “trying” and “doing their best.”
The Border Patrol station was a different story. “The El Paso Border Patrol Station 1 was ... easily the most horrible of them all.”
Ocasio-Cortez was particularly dismayed given that the staff knew members of Congress and high-ranking CBP officials were present and theoretically should have been on their “best behavior.”
“That one was shocking not just because of the conditions, but because of how flagrant the CBP officials were in front of us,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
According to her, when the members arrived at the facility, they had to turn over their phones due to strict prohibitions on photographing detainees. The group was also told they were not permitted to speak to the migrants.
During this discussion, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, asked some of the officials about a story published earlier in the day by the news site ProPublica that described a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol officers. Some of the posts referenced the delegation’s trip to the border and included sexist jokes about Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, two of the lawmakers on the trip. Members of the group also joked about setting up a GoFundMe page to give money to any officer who hurt Ocasio-Cortez and Escobar during their visit.
Once Castro brought up the Facebook group, Ocasio-Cortez said, the situation at the Border Patrol station began to “devolve.” CBP has said it initiated an investigation, and officials at the station assured the members of Congress there would be “internal disciplinary measures.”
Ocasio-Cortez pushed back at this response, she recalled. “It’s a culture. This is not about like punishing five people. This is systemic,” she said to the officials.
According to Ocasio-Cortez, as they discussed the Facebook page, Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., asked the officials if the Democrats would be safe during their visit.
“They wouldn’t even answer her,” Ocasio-Cortez said, later adding, “They were absolutely rude and they were absolutely talking back as though they had as much power as the oversight powers of Congress ... as though they were exempt from congressional oversight.”
The group then went inside the detention area, where they stood at a central command post that had banks of monitors showing surveillance camera feeds from the cells. Ocasio-Cortez said she noticed one of the cells was “especially overcrowded” and began pointing her pen at the monitor to try and count how many people were inside.
“I see like children, no one has enough room to sleep ... and then all of a sudden there’s literally a CBP officer on the other side of that glass ... and she literally starts taking a selfie with me in the background,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “She was like right there in front of me.”
Ocasio-Cortez became upset both because she felt the officer was joking around and because photography was supposed to be prohibited in the area.
“It was like a mocking selfie in a facility that we’re told there are no cellphones allowed,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “She’s doing this 2 feet in front of me, in front of all the other members, in front of all her management, in front of all the superiors, like it’s a joke.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she pointed at the woman and turned to the CBP officials, who “froze” as she got “pissed off.”
“I was like, what this tells me is that if they feel this brazen to do this here in front of everyone ... and 14 members of Congress,” she said. “This tells me that there is no disciplinary culture. This tells me that you have lost all control. You have lost all control of the conduct of the officers in this facility ... so there are no rules here.”
Ocasio-Cortez said other officers in the facility began to laugh.
“I pointed at one of them that was laughing and I said, ‘What’s so funny? I’m interested in what you’re laughing at,’” Ocasio-Cortez explained. “Then I pointed at the one who took the selfie and I said, ‘Are you going to be interacting with kids today? Are you going to be in charge of kids’ safety today?’”
According to Ocasio-Cortez, the officers did not respond. The congresswoman said she then began walking through the facility on her own and demanded to enter a cell that was full of women. Ocasio-Cortez was let inside and sat on the floor with the women as she introduced herself and spoke to them in Spanish.
“They were almost talking over each other trying to tell me everything. It was like overwhelming,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding, “There was like this kind of outpouring and then they just started sobbing, all of them like one ... sobbing, not even crying. ... They said, ‘Please help us. We’re not criminals. We didn’t hurt anyone.’”
According to Ocasio-Cortez, some of the women complained about being detained for weeks and not having access to their families or showers. One said her hair was falling out. Ocasio-Cortez claimed one woman told her the guards use “psychological warfare” including randomly waking them up at odd hours for no apparent reason.
Ocasio-Cortez grew up in New York, but her parents are both Puerto Rican. As a Latina with immigrant roots, Ocasio-Cortez said, she felt connected to the women she saw in detention.
“I saw one young woman today ... she looked exactly like I looked when I was 14. ... She had the same build, she had a similar face. ... She looked like me, like 14-year-old me. ... She could have been my cousin,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Especially with these other women, especially with these Cuban women, they’re Caribbean too, like me. ... They’re me.”
While she clearly felt strong emotions during the visit and said other members of Congress were “sobbing,” Ocasio-Cortez claimed she did not cry because she was so focused on getting all of the information she could.
“I just felt this urgency,” she said.
Though she clearly feels driven to act, Ocasio-Cortez’s options to change the immigration system are limited with a Republican Senate and Trump in office. Ocasio-Cortez said her options are even further curtailed because she is a freshman in a safe Democratic district, which gives her little influence in the party’s congressional caucus. Because of this, she said, her main goal is to “expose” the situation at the border and encourage the public to act.
“Everything that happens in D.C. is like water ... and you can try to stir the water ... but I would prefer to shape the vessel and that is how I feel,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “If I help contribute to public awareness, or outrage, or desire, then they will speak to their members and put pressure on their members to do the right thing.”
Ocasio-Cortez hopes to inspire people to call their congressional representatives, go to town halls, and push them to address the situation at the border. And she hopes the pressure campaign will include some of her Democratic colleagues.
“There are a lot of horrible Democrats on immigration,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
Following their visit to the El Paso Border Patrol station, the Democrats went to another facility in nearby Clint. Groups of protesters, including those supporting and decrying the Trump administration’s policies on immigration, were present at Clint as the congressional delegation visited.
The anger she faced from anti-immigration protesters in Clint and the threats levied against her in the secret Border Patrol Facebook group are just a fraction of the intense and threatening reactions Ocasio-Cortez has generated in the past year.
With her prominence and progressive positions making her a lightning rod, Yahoo News asked the congresswoman if she ever feared for her safety. She noted in response that the House of Representatives provides security details only to members who are in leadership.
“They don’t offer us any help with security. ... You could literally be the most threatened and whether it’s me, whether it’s what happened with [Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.] ... it does not matter how many death threats we report. They will not do anything,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Pelosi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Unless the Democratic caucus wants to elect me to a leadership position, which fat chance at that,” Ocasio-Cortez said, slapping her hand on the table and lowering her voice to a near whisper. “It’s just a leap of faith in the morning.”
Dealing with threats has also made her dismissive of swing district Democrats who tell her they must take moderate positions to protect their political future.
“I talk to some of these frontliners and they’re like, ‘I might not come back. I need to take certain votes because I need to get reelected,’” said Ocasio-Cortez. “I’m like, ‘You know why I fight? Because I don’t know if I’m going to come back, period.’”
Ocasio-Cortez says those risks are part of what drives her to be aggressive on issues like immigration.
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OPINION
Russia Lost the Long Game at Debaltseve

By Alexander Golts

Feb. 24, 2015
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2015/02/24/russia-lost-the-long-game-at-debaltseve-a44177 
The main event of last week was the military victory by what President Vladimir Putin called "yesterday's tractor drivers" in Debaltseve. That statement is an almost verbatim replay of this very old Soviet-era joke: "TASS reports that a peaceful Soviet tractor came under fire from Chinese territory. The tractor immediately returned fire, destroying three enemy squadrons, then started its engines and flew into orbit. The tractor driver is reported to be feeling fine."
In today's case, a mug shot of these so-called "tractor drivers" would show a striking resemblance to Russian generals.
As a result, the separatists won a few more square kilometers of territory, occupied an important railway junction and took control over a major road hub.
What did the victors gain as a result? True, they did improve their tactical position somewhat and created an opportunity for a further offensive. But that is all they did, and I doubt that such an attack will ever occur. After all, Russia has only limited capabilities for fighting this type of hybrid war
As I mentioned previously in this column, the Kremlin has only two or three dozen units of high readiness forces that can achieve victory in a short-term conflict — with "short-term" the key word in that sentence. Obviously, those units are now worn out after months of fighting a hybrid war, and no replacements exist.
This would explain the attempts to force conscripts to sign contracts for continued service as professional soldiers. What's more, the secretive nature of the war has caused dissatisfaction among soldiers who chose to make the army their profession. Several such contract servicemen rebelled in Murmansk after learning that they were to be posted to long-term commands on "the Russian-Ukrainian border." All of this casts doubt on the Kremlin's military achievements in Ukraine.
As for Debaltseve, the military victory there is probably a political failure. After all, according to the logic of Russian officials, it turns out that the separatists can simply ignore President Vladimir Putin's will.
Doesn't that make it seem rather ridiculous that Putin would have spent a sleepless night in Minsk hammering out an agreement with the leaders of France and Germany that the separatists would deign to sign? That document clearly stated that on Feb. 15 the gunfire must stop and both sides must begin withdrawing their heavy equipment.
And yet, after signing that paper, the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics suddenly decided to continue fighting. Of course, it was Moscow, and not the separatists, that decided to continue the war. It is anyone's guess as to why Putin took such a dismissive attitude toward his own long hours of diplomatic work.
I suspect that the decision to seize Debaltseve was meant as revenge for the latest European Union sanctions.
That said, it is important to recall that French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the Minsk meeting that it would be their last attempt to make the peace process work. And that is why they went so far as to prepare documents specifically for the separatists to sign.
That calls to mind these words of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: "We seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feeling is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a little later, on even more adverse terms than at present."
It is unlikely those world leaders will agree to that sort of humiliation again. The failure of the peace process means that, among other things, Russia is fundamentally incapable of keeping its agreements. It is impossible to make agreements with someone who violates that agreement the very next day.
In fact, the Ukrainian crisis marks the collapse of the existing world order. Putin is not fighting for control over a few economically depressed areas of the Donbass. He is fighting for the right to sit at the same table with the "great powers" where they redraw national borders.
But even if the West was willing to indulge Putin's desire, the time has long passed for individual leaders to determine the fate of other countries. The resulting impasse has put the West at a total loss as to how to proceed: Sanctions clearly have not forced Putin to change his policy, it is pointless to try to reach an agreement with him and it is impossible to go to war against a nuclear power.
If to extrapolate the previous Cold War to the current one, I suspect that the world is again experiencing something like the late 1940s. Ahead lie modern-day versions of the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Already, a Western diplomat serving in an embassy somewhere is composing a "long telegram" that will lay the foundation for the new confrontation between Russia and the West, and a new set of leaders will come to power who, like former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, will bring those rules to life.
As for Russia, it can now look forward to playing the unenviable role of a raw materials appendage for China. The only consolation is that events play out faster in the modern world, and so Russia will hit a dead end sooner rather than later.


Alexander Golts is deputy editor of the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal.The views expressed in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the position of The Moscow Times.

Russian State TV Praises Trump for Avoiding ‘Democracy’ in Inauguration Speech
The Kremlin's ‘chief propagandist’ welcomes America's new president and slams his millions of critics
By Ola Cichowlas1
Jan. 23, 2017 

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/01/23/russian-state-tv-praises-trump-for-avoiding-democracy-in-inauguration-speech-a56901 


​​For several days already, Barack Obama has been an ordinary civilian, and the reins of American power have rested in the hands of President Donald Trump. Though he welcomed the end of Obama’s presidency as the start of a bright new era, Dmitry Kiselyov, the Kremlin’s so-called “chief propagandist,” quickly found himself struggling to find convincing scapegoats for the world’s problems this week.
In his Sunday news show, Kiselyov, Russia’s most-watched TV pundit, mainly parroted President Trump’s own inauguration speech, focusing on the “carnage” supposedly consuming American streets, while praising the ceremony as the best show Washington has ever staged.
The debate raging in the U.S. about Trump’s failure to draw larger crowds than Obama didn’t faze Kiselyov, whose correspondents instead mocked the Obamas’ composure during the event. President Obama had a “stone face” and Michelle Obama “bit her lip the whole time,” Kiselyov said. In a feat of classiness, the TV pundit also criticized Mrs. Obama’s appearance, saying she “looked like a housemaid without an apron, sitting next to Melania Trump.”
By contrast, Kiselyov insisted, the Trumps were perfect, including their ballroom dance later that evening, when they danced to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” — a very “Trumpovsky” choice, Kiselyov's show explained, as Trump “really did do it his own way.”

​What about the president’s inauguration speech itself? It was like no other in history! Admittedly, the first bit didn’t thrill Kiselyov. “It was standard stuff,” he told viewers. But what followed was like sunshine breaking through the clouds. “The guests in the VIP seats had goosebumps,” Kiselyov said, praising Trump for never once uttering the words “democracy” or “NATO.”

Hands down, however, Kiselyov’s favorite moment was when Trump said, “People of the world, thank you.” When Vladimir Putin was watching this, Kiselyov said, the Russian president probably muttered out loud, “My pleasure.”

In a rare admission, Kiselyov told viewers that Russians probably more closely than “any other nation on Earth” followed Donald Trump’s presidential bid. “We didn’t just follow it,” he explained. “We really cheered for him,” adding that the country has also patiently awaited the end of “the American freakshow.”

An American Maidan

But television with Dmitry Kiselyov is nothing without a little blood in the streets, and so his show opened with a segment titled “America 2017: The Smell of Maidan,” airing footage of unrest in Washington on Inauguration Day, when police arrested hundreds of protesters. The segment focused on smashed store windows and clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. “War,” Kiselyov warned viewers, “has been declared by Hollywood stars, the media, members of the Evangelical Church, and the special forces.”











Completing the metaphor, the pundit then added that Americans haven’t been so divided since the Civil War, noting parallels with Russia’s recent and more distant history. “We in Russia know what it means to be divided. We’ve felt this powerful force more than once,” he said.

In part, Kiselyov was comparing contemporary America to Russia five years ago, when large protests erupted in Moscow ahead of Putin’s return to the presidency. The pundit then awkwardly clarified that this civil unrest pitted only a small minority of the country (just two percent, he claimed) against the vast majority of people. “Even this was unpleasant,” he said, noting that Americans are more frighteningly split into two equal camps, ignoring the fact that Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than Trump.

​According to Kiselyov, the millions of American who oppose Donald Trump’s presidency make entirely unfounded accusations against him, which he broke down into two fundamental misconceptions.

First, critics say Donald Trump is against women, often citing the president’s documented misogyny. “He’s committed no crimes,” Kiselyov fired back, pointing out that Trump has apologized for his “impulsive and exceptional impoliteness.”

 On May 9, Muscovites gathered on Red Square for an annual tradition: the Victory Day military parade

NEWS

Hot Air, Cold War: How Russia Spooks Its Arctic Neighbors
Russia’s military build-up has polar countries on edge. But don’t worry — bullets aren’t flying yet
By Matthew Kupfer and Matthew Bodner   - May 19, 2017 

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/05/19/hot-air-cold-war-how-russia-spooks-its-arctic-neighbors-a58040

 On May 9, Muscovites gathered on Red Square for an annual tradition: the Victory Day military parade. 

Formally, the parade marks the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany in World War II. Informally, it gives the Kremlin a chance to send its latest tanks and missiles rolling down the street and show off its resurgent military might. 

This year, the Kremlin had a surprise up its sleeve: For the first time ever, it deployed to Red Square the Tor and Pantsir air defense systems, decked out in sharp white and gray Arctic camouflage. 
The appearance of Arctic forces on Victory Day underscores one of the military’s most impressive and misunderstood rearmament efforts: Since at least 2011, the Defense Ministry has worked at a breakneck pace to reopen old defensive installations on the Arctic frontier and reassert its armed presence there. 
But the size and scale of the Kremlin’s Arctic build-up has some of its regional neighbors worried. 

“They are concerned that this series of steps by Russia may go beyond defense and portend offensive intentions,” says Kenneth Yalowitz, an Arctic analyst who was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia. 


Return to the north 

If war were to break out with Russia tomorrow, the United States would have just one solitary heavy icebreaker — the 50-year-old Polar Star — to clear the way for its warships. Meanwhile, across the Arctic Sea, is a Russian icebreaker fleet of some 40 ships. Several are nuclear-powered, giving them incredible range and endurance — and more are on the way. 

Russia has already put the U.S. in “checkmate,” Admiral Paul Zukunft, U.S. Coast Guard commandant, said earlier this month during a panel discussion in Washington. It’s a reality, he admitted, that keeps him awake at night. 
As global warming decimates the polar ice caps, northern countries (and even non-Arctic states) are increasingly eyeing the region for economic opportunities. Climate change, many believe, promises new openings for shipping, resource extraction and even tourism in the far north. In these conditions, Russia’s Arctic build-up looks formidable. 
But many Arctic observers doubt the situation is as dire as Zukunft believes. Moscow’s militarization of the polar north is far from a simple or straightforward development. Geography, demographics and Cold War history predispose Russia to military engagement in the region. 

The Russian Arctic coastline is four times longer than the United States’ Alaskan frontier. Half of the Arctic’s population lives in Russia. And Russia’s official Arctic Zone—which does not even include all its Arctic territory—produces more than 5 percent of the country’s GDP. 
“For comparison, Alaska contributes less than one percent of U.S. GDP," says Andrei Zagorsky, a scholar at Moscow's Institute of World Economy and International Relations and an expert on the Arctic. 

As an enormous land power, Russia also faces a practical problem: The vast majority of its coastline is located in a region covered in ice for most of the year. Russia’s largest and best equipped naval force, the Northern Fleet, is designed for engagements in the Atlantic, but geography forces it to be based in the frigid northern port of Murmansk. 
History plays an important role in Russia’s advantageous Arctic footing, too. Over the course of the 20th Century, the Soviet Union developed and maintained an imposing Arctic presence, establishing air bases, radar stations and anti-air batteries to defend its northern coastline during the Cold War. 
Although many of those bases atrophied in the wake of the Soviet collapse, Russia has since found new reasons to focus on the Arctic. The Russian economy is heavily dependent on natural resource extraction. With production in older oil and gas fields declining, the Arctic has become the new frontier for extraction. 

As a result, Moscow began reasserting its military presence and its control over territory in the Arctic. The country has reopened old Soviet bases and constructed new ones. In 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the creation of the Northern Joint Strategic Command, a Murmansk-based combined command to coordinate every military unit in the Arctic theater. 
Russia currently plans to reestablish 13 air bases and ten radar stations and establish air, surface, and underwater monitoring systems. The armed forces will also deploy anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defense forces on these bases. Additionally, Russia will open 20 border outposts and ten integrated emergency rescue centers in the Arctic. 

NEWS
Russian Army Receives First Batch of Missile Systems Designed for Arctic=
Nov. 26, 2018 

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2018/11/26/russian-army-receives-first-batch-missile-systems-designed-for-arctic-a63591 

The Russian military has said that it received its first batch of a new missile system equipped to fight in the Arctic.

The Russian Defense Ministry has worked at breakneck pace to reassert its armed presence in the Arctic frontier by reopening old defense installations and deploying weaponry in the region.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Sunday it had received a batch of Tor-M2DT surface-to-air missile systems designed for the Arctic region. The system was first unveiled at a Victory Day parade on Red Square in 2017.
“Experts with the Russian Defense Ministry’s 705th military office carried out a cycle of acceptance tests and fully completed the reception of the first 12 Arctic Tor-M2DT systems,” it told state-run news agencies Monday.

The Tor-M2DT system is capable of detecting up to 40 moving aerial targets at a range of 15 kilometers and altitudes of 12 kilometers.

A military doctrine signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2014 entrusts Russia’s armed forces with maintaining the country’s strategic interests in the Arctic.
Russia renewed commercial interest in the Arctic with the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the region and the ambition to secure access to a strategic northern shipping corridor between Asia and Europe.

NEWS
Russia Defends Arctic Military Expansion Amid Tensions With U.S.
By Bloomberg  April 9, 2019

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/09/russia-defends-arctic-military-expansion-amid-tensions-with-us-2-a65161 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended his country’s military buildup in the Arctic amid U.S. warnings of rising tensions in the remote and energy-rich region.
“We don’t threaten anyone. We ensure sufficient defense capabilities given the political and military situation around our borders,” Lavrov said during a panel at the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. “We will always be ready to defend our security, interests and territorial integrity.”
Russia, which has about half the Arctic coastline, is building new bases and stepping up air and naval activity in the region. The military expansion comes as countries gear up to develop the area’s untapped oil and gas deposits with climate change accelerating the rate of ice melting.
U.S. Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who heads the U.S. Northern Command, warned in January that the Arctic “is now the front line in our defense” against potential strikes on North America. He said in February that Russia was deploying cruise missile systems in the Arctic that would significantly increase its ability to control a large stretch of the Northern Sea Route, a key transport artery.

NEWS
Navalny Unmasks a Cartel Allegedly Earning Billions in Russian Defense Deals

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/05/19/navalny-unmasks-a-cartel-allegedly-earning-billions-in-defense-contracts-a58049


Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) published its latest investigative work on Friday, revealing what it says is a cartel of businesses owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin and contracted by the Defense Ministry. Widely known as “Vladimir Putin’s favorite chef,” Prigozhin is a billionaire restaurateur with a history of catering to St. Petersburg’s elites and winning lucrative federal procurement deals. According to ACF, his cartel has won more than 23 billion rubles ($405 million) in defense contracts.

Navalny says his group was able to uncover Prigozhin’s massive resources using published data about federal procurement orders.

According to ACF, Prigozhin’s businesses have made bids on 23 different procurement orders, winning more than 23 billion rubles from the Defense Ministry to provide housing and communal services in military towns. Only one of Prigozhin’s companies, “Megaline,” existed before bidding on these contracts started. The rest were created “on the go,” as the bids were submitted.
ACF says it was able to identify other companies under Prigozhin’s control by finding strange coincidences in their paperwork. For example, the companies “Ekobalt” and “Komponent” were registered in neighboring offices. Another four companies ACF says belong to Prigozhin were granted their operating licenses by the Emergencies Ministry on the same day, and their registration numbers follow in perfect sequence.

Surprise help from the federal government

Navalny’s team was also able to learn more about these companies thanks to an investigation by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service launched last August, which revealed bank accounts belonging to Megaline. These records show loan agreements with dozens of other companies owned by Prigozhin, ACF says.
According to the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the loan agreements were used to run what amounts to a pyramid scheme, wherein one company would win a contract and then transfer its funds to the next business, which then used it as collateral to win another procurement deal.
The investigation by the Antimonopoly Service also revealed that the companies filed with the government’s online platform from an IP address registered to a company called “Concord Management and Consulting,” which happens to belong to Violetta Prigozhin, Yevgeny’s mother.
All the companies also used email addresses registered on the same domain — the same one used by a Prigozhin-owned business called “Medstroi,” and the companies’ listed contact information coincides with the telephone numbers for “Kombinat Pitaniya Concord,” yet another Prigozhin business, ACF says.

The most curious discoveries

The different companies also submitted nearly identically formatted bids for the same procurement contracts, sometimes changing only their introductions and fonts.
Some of the people ostensibly leading the companies that supposedly make up Prigozhin’s cartel are also problematic, like Vitaly Filippenko, the sole owner and director of “Ruskomplex,” who is currently in pre-trial detention on suspicion of large-scale fraud, according to ACF. Despite Filippenko’s incarceration, Ruskomplex has won 99.5 million rubles ($1.6 million) in state procurement deals.
Navalny’s researcher also discovered that the company “Spetsresurs” has only an armchair and a table listed as its registered capital, despite winning 3.4 billion rubles ($60 million) in government contracts.
ACF says its report concerns just one of Prigozhin’s cartels. According to Navalny, the billionaire operates several similar
schemes that have won a total of 180 billion rubles ($3.2 billion) in Russian defense contracts, including multiple no-bid procurement deals.

NEWS
Kremlin Troll Factory's Methods and Figures Revealed
TROLLS

Oct. 17, 2017 
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/10/17/kremlin-troll-factory-methods-and-figures-revealed-a59289  


Stoking racial tensions, funding activist campaigns and organizing fake street flash mobs were just a sampling of the “Kremlin’s troll factory” activities online in the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the RBC news outlet revealed in an investigation published Tuesday.
The St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency is believed to have launched a mass social media campaign using fake accounts to exacerbate racial and ideological divides in the U.S. before Donald Trump’s election last November.

“There was no task to support Trump” a troll-factory employee told RBC, adding that their orders were to “uncover and highlight existing problems and social issues in the United States.”
Some 50 employees currently operate out of the St. Petersburg-based “American department” of the Internet Research Agency, but at the height of their operations in 2016 the department had between 80 to 90 employees.
The campaign began in March 2015, when a night-shift vacancy for “internet operators” earning 40,000-50,000 rubles ($700-$870) monthly appeared on the job-search engine SuperJob, a former employee told RBC.

The description listed writing on “any given topic of a news, informational, or analytical nature” as the primary task. Applicants had to be fluent in English and possess creative writing abilities.
Currently, the “American department" receives 60-70 million rubles ($1 million) funding annually, RBC reported.

The lowest-ranked employees earn 60,000 rubles ($1,046) a month, administrators up to 90,000 rubles (1,569 USD) a month, and managers 120,000 rubles ($2,100) a month, a former employee told RBC.
Despite its marked success, the campaign faced numerous obstacles including having its accounts blocked by social media sites, a former troll factory employee told RBC.

Immediately after Facebook would block a user, the factory’s IT department would purchase new proxy servers and issue new IP addresses so the work could begin anew.
RBC counted over 6 million subscribers to 120 groups created by the troll factory that blocked by social media companies.
The right-wing group “Heart of Texas,” with its 254 members, the religious minority group “United Muslims of America” with 330 members, and the racial activist group “Blacktivist” were among many of the fake “troll factory” accounts RBC identified.
The “factory” spent almost $80,000 over two years managing to stage about 40 political rallies by posing as American sponsors and hiring activists.

The trolls were also responsible for organizing fake Facebook events such as a free-hotdog giveaway in Manhattan, that they would watch for amusement with street cameras, RBC reports.

Europol Points to Russian Money as Biggest Laundering Threat
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/14/europol-points-to-russian-money-as-biggest-laundering-threat-a66000

NATO talked about changing military strategy due to Russia's “nuclear threat”

http://www.trud.ru/

https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&sp=nmt4&u=http://www.trud.ru/article/25-05-2019/1376201_v_nato_rasskazali_ob_izmenenii_voennoj_strategii_iz-za_jadernoj_ugrozy_rossii.html&xid=25657,15700021,15700186,15700191,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhgEulPPJDWm5aJu1YvfHHGKF2Bq6A 


 According to Johns Stoltenberg, the new strategy was adopted this week

NATO will change its military strategy for the first time in several decades, the Interfax news agency reported. According to the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, they decided to change the strategy due to the “threat” from Russia.

“Our military experts this week adopted a new military strategy for the alliance,” Stoltenberg said, stressing that NATO needs to respond to the growing “nuclear threat” from Russia.
Since 2014, a “new security situation” has emerged in the east and south of Europe, the Alliance Secretary General noted. According to him, the power of NATO is the ability to "change if necessary."
“The idea is to continue to fully demonstrate the defense capability and be able to ensure stability. This partly requires new military concepts, ”Stoltenberg stressed.
Earlier this week, the head of the North Atlantic Alliance military committee Stuart Peach called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the Crimea, stressing that "the alliance does not accept ... the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia." A member of the Federation Council from Crimea, Sergey Tsekov, called Pich's appeals "inadequate."

 N
ATO , MILITARY STRATEGY , RUSSIA , JENS STOLTENBERG

NEWS
Ukraine, Not Russia, Hacked the U.S. Elections, Kremlin Propaganda Reveals

Despite some signs of buyer's remorse, Russian pundits are still defending Trump and now looking to EuropeBy Alexey Kovalev
Feb. 6, 2017

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/02/06/ukraine-not-russia-hacked-the-us-elections-kremlin-propaganda-reveals-a57059 


After obsessing over Donald Trump’s presidency for the past two weeks, Russian TV propaganda shifted its coverage noticeably this Sunday, signaling a new foreign policy agenda in Moscow. Ukraine has returned to the headlines, and television pundits are once again mounting a coordinated, aggressive campaign against the EU, propping up Russia’s allies and undermining its rivals.

On every major Russian TV network, the leading story this Sunday evening was Ukraine, where renewed hostilities in the Donbas have rekindled war-zone coverage. Dmitry Kiselyov, the flamboyant host of “Vesti Nedeli,” declared Ukraine “the hottest spot in Europe.” All the atrocities committed so far in Ukraine’s “civil war,” Kiselyov said, are the work of the Ukrainian Army and its allies in the “Nazi volunteer battalions.”
Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, another favorite bugbear on Russian television, also came in for criticism: they’re clueless foreigners who don’t understand the locals and turn a blind eye to the blood spilled by Kiev’s armed forces, Kiselyov told viewers.
Despite the Ukrainian military’s rising casualties, Kiselyov warned that the recent spike in violence is playing into President Poroshenko’s hands. The more frostbitten corpses Kiev abandons on the battlefield, the more money pours in from the West, and the more favors Poroshenko can expect from hawks in the United States.

Though focus this week shifted away from Donald Trump, Ukraine’s relationship with the White House still got major attention on Russian TV, thanks in part to Vladimir Putin, who raised the subject last Thursday at a joint press conference in Budapest with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Poroshenko, Putin said, failed to hedge his bets by investing all his efforts in electing Hillary Clinton. Now Ukraine’s leader is struggling to come to terms with the Trump administration, Putin said.
Inspired by the Russian president’s damning remarks, Dmitry Kiselyov naturally took the rhetoric to the next level, declaring that it wasn’t Russia that interfered in America’s election, but Ukraine! He then described in detail a largely inconsequential subplot to the U.S. presidential race: the so-called “Manafort ledger,” which alleged financial ties between the pro-Russian Party of Regions and Trump’s then campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The leak cost Manafort his position but barely made a dent in Trump’s ratings.














Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере

Alexey Kovalev ✔@Alexey__Kovalev


Anyone remember the "Manafort ledger"? According to Russian TV, it was no less than "New Watergate".
20:12 - 6 февр. 2017 г.Смотреть другие твиты Alexey Kovalev
Информация о рекламе в Твиттере и конфиденциальность


Most Americans probably don’t even remember the Manafort scandal, but Kiselyov told his audience that it was “the New Watergate,” claiming U.S. security agencies conspired with Ukrainian lobbyists to undermine Trump’s campaign, while Kiev’s own intelligence community pushed the “Russian hackers” allegations into the mainstream media’s narrative.

Kiselyov then argued that “PropOrNot,” a shady group of anonymous experts who blacklist media outlets supposedly in league with Russian propaganda, was modeled on “Mirotvorets” (The Peacemaker), a notorious Ukrainian website that has “doxxed” journalists working in Ukraine’s embattled east. To support his argument, Kiselyov enlisted the unlikely help of Adrian Chen’s investigation, published in The New Yorker, which cast doubt on PropOrNot’s claims of expertise and criticized the U.S. media’s initial embrace of the project.  

The irony that his investigation had become ammunition for the Kremlin’s “chief propagandist” was not lost on Chen:

Adrian Chen ✔@AdrianChen
I heard you like propaganda so I put propaganda about propaganda in your propaganda.
Alexey Kovalev ✔@Alexey__Kovalev
Replying to @Alexey__Kovalev

Oh hi @AdrianChen
10:03 PM - Feb 5, 2017













Russia’s Sunday television punditry wasn’t all about beating up on Ukraine, however. The European Union got slapped around, too. Piggybacking on Putin’s recent visit to Budapest, Russian TV praised Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban’s pivot towards Moscow.

The television coverage looked coordinated, with all major networks taking the same approach to the same stories, vox-popping an “ordinary Hungarian man” (every channel was careful to choose a different one) who dutifully denounced the “immoral and counterproductive” sanctions against Russia, while praising the prospects for renewed Russian-Hungarian business ties.


The characters who popped up on Sunday were cherry picked to tug at viewers’ heartstrings. Vesti Nedeli used a worker at a poultry factory, while hawkish Senator Alexei Pushkov’s show “Postscriptum” found an elderly shopper in Budapest who, speaking in charmingly broken Russian, recalled the good old days when Socialist Hungary could export pork and goose meat to the Soviet Union.











On all networks, this nostalgic moment was also an opportunity to criticize the EU. Postscriptum called Hungary “a lone island of common sense in the Russophobic sea of the EU.” With his typical aversion to subtlety, Dmitry Kiselyov aired a banner reading, in Russian, “Is the Euro FUBAR?”Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере
[Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере]










Alexey Kovalev ✔@Alexey__Kovalev
"Euro FUBAR?", asks Russian TV.
19:10 - 5 февр. 2017 г.Смотреть другие твиты Alexey Kovalev
Информация о рекламе в Твиттере и конфиденциальность


Pundits characterized the European Union as an ineffective bureaucracy overflowing with migrants and weak, bickering leaders. Kiselyov went on to describe the French presidential elections as “the dirtiest campaign in France’s history,” and other TV hosts prominently used the latest Wikileaks revelations to portray Marine Le Pen’s competitors in an unflattering light. Francois Fillon is corrupt and near dropping out of the race, elevating Emmanuel Macron to the second spot in national polls. But the young and promising Macron is a former Rotschild bank employee, Kiselyov warned, and “an appointee of the globalist elite” and probably a closeted homosexual — all three an anathema to the conspiracy-prone, anti-Semitic and homophobic demographic that also happens to love Kiselyov’s television show.

Facing creeps like these, Marine Le Pen shines as a pro-Moscow, anti-NATO and anti-EU heroine, and Russian television makes it abundantly clear that she is the Kremlin’s preferred candidate. Channel One also dedicated significant airtime to propping up similar populist politicians and parties elsewhere, like Hungary’s Jobbik nationalist movement and the Italian regionalist political party Lega Nord. Valery Fadeev, who hosts “Times on Sunday,” also slammed Germany, accusing it of cozying up to the U.S. to protect its privileged position in the EU.

Donald Trump took a backseat this week, but Russian television still shielded him from attacks by “the biased media” and “that sore loser George Soros, who wages a civil war against Trump.”

Still, though, the first signs of “Trumpgrets” are beginning to show.

Voskresnoe Vremya’s Valery Fadeev criticized Trump’s “Muslim ban” for being “badly written and clumsily implemented” and the “first major blow to the new administration.” Postscriptum’s Alexei Pushkov took issue with Trump’s envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who in her very first statement to the Security Council called Crimea “a part of Ukraine” and vowed to keep sanctions in place until the peninsula is returned to its rightful sovereign.

In an impressive feat of rhetorical acrobatics, however, Pushkov still found a way to reconcile Haley’s heretical notion with Moscow’s enduring admiration for Donald Trump, theorizing that her remarks were actually penned by her predecessor, Samantha Power, Barack Obama’s “red-headed hysterical Russia-hater.” Maybe, Pushkov wondered hopefully, Haley’s hostility was just an homage to diplomatic continuity.

Other channels praised Trump’s “Muslim ban” and mocked its opponents, with Kiselyov cropping Madeleine Albright’s photograph to depict the former secretary of state in a niqab, “which would be a good fit for her,” he said.















All Russian TV channels last week also valiantly defended Donald Trump and his supporters from “leftist troublemakers.” Kiselyov’s show came out in support of Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, whose appearance at UC Berkeley was cancelled after violent protests. Kiselyov conveniently failed to mention that Yiannopoulos’ open homosexuality and occasional crossdressing would put him at risk of a criminal conviction for “illegal gay propaganda” in Russia.


Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере













Alexey Kovalev ✔@Alexey__Kovalev

Next on Vesti Nedeli: defending poor Milo from "aggressive leftists". No mention that Milo is a walking sentence for "homosexual propaganda"

19:54 - 5 февр. 2017 г.Смотреть другие твиты Alexey Kovalev
Информация о рекламе в Твиттере и конфиденциальность

Kiselyov also welcomed Trump’s tweet denouncing the “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters” supposedly bent on derailing his presidency. Pushkov’s show took it one step further and repeated, almost word for word, the allegations published in U.S. conservative media like The Daily Caller, claiming that George Soros personally engineered the mass protests following Trump’s inauguration last month.
Given its firm conviction that any public demonstration against the Kremlin’s interests is a phony, staged event, it’s only natural that Russian propaganda embraces the way America’s new president dismisses his critics. Pushkov even called Soros a “sore loser,” echoing Trump, who obsesses over “winning.”
And there’s a greater irony when it comes to George Soros’ supposed role in America today: Moscow has blamed Soros for all the destructive upheavals that have swept Russia’s periphery in the past two decades — the dreaded “color revolutions” in Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Now, Russian television pundits report gleefully, the U.S. is also getting a taste of this poison.
Alexey Kovalev 
@Alexey__Kovale

​Police Detain Over 500 in Moscow During Protest Over Reporter’s Arrest
After investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was released on Tuesday, protesters’ focus turned to those responsible for his detention.
By Evan Gershkovich  11th June 2019
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/12/police-detain-over-400-at-moscow-protest-march-in-support-of-journalist-a65972

Police arrested more than 500 protesters in Russia’s capital on Wednesday during a march calling for the punishment of those responsible for the arrest of an investigative reporter on trumped-up drug charges.
The march, which was not authorized by the authorities, had been planned to call for the release of Ivan Golunov, a Moscow-based investigative reporter with the Latvia-based Meduza news site. But after police dropped all charges against him on Tuesday in a surprise pivot following an unprecedented public outcry, more than 1,000 protesters demanded that those responsible for his arrest should be held to account, and raised their voices for lesser-known Russians detained under similar circumstances.
“Today is Russia Day isn’t it?” said Elena Stepanova, a 60-year-old pensioner, referring to the June 12 holiday celebrating Russia’s sovereignty instituted after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Well, we’re here to call for true independence — from those who would limit our rights.”

Golunov’s arrest last Thursday had sparked mass outrage. As one of Russia’s most prolific investigative journalists, his defenders believed he had been targeted for his investigations through fabricated charges. In court, Golunov attested that he had received threats for working on his latest article on corruption in the funeral business, which he had filed the day of his arrest.
Over the weekend and into this week, hundreds picketed outside Moscow’s police headquarters. On Monday, Russia’s three main business dailies — Kommersant, RBK and Vedomosti — ran matching cover pages reading: “I am/We are Ivan Golunov.” Even some state-supported journalists and high-profile celebrities came to the reporter’s side, calling for justice in his case.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Interior Ministry dropped the case in a surprise about-face after a slew of evidence showed that the drugs could not have been Golunov’s. The decision came against a backdrop of authorities nervous about social unrest as Russian President Vladimir Putin faces dissatisfaction over living standards. The Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev also said he had suspended the police officers involved pending an investigation, and that he would ask Putin to sack two high-ranking Moscow police generals over the case.​

Trump’s Solution for Migrant Kid Horrors: Blame Obama

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-sees-dire-migrant-detention-conditions-as-messaging-problem

Far from moving to ameliorate the treatment of small children that has become a national story, the president is telling senior aides to stick to blaming Democrats and Obama.
Asawin Suebsaeng, Scott Bixby, Erin Banco  p- 06.26.19


As news broke on the reportedly horrific conditions at a Texas detention centerholding migrant children, President Trump did what he normally does in times of crisis and public-relations hellscapes: He monitored the media and political reactions via his White House TV and the DVR device he dubs his “super TiVo.”
And in the days since the treatment of small children at this detention facility became major national news, the president wanted to make one thing clear to his subordinates, though his focus was not at all about ameliorating appalling conditions. Trump has repeatedly told advisers and senior aides that, no matter how great the public outrage toward his administration, his lieutenants were to stick to a simple strategy of blaming Democrats and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, according to two people with knowledge of the exchanges.

In the end for Trump, the dire situation was a mere messaging problem.
The strategy was a practical Xerox of the president’s approach to other immigration scandals of the Trump era, such as the brutal, widely condemned family-separation policy. When the president and his team don’t want to own the negative coverage and political backlash to the treatment of migrants, asylum-seekers, or undocumented immigrants—but also want to continue draconian policies nonetheless—they frequently revert to trashing the Democrats as the real culprits.
“Well, they’re better than, much better than Obama… The conditions are much better than they were under President Obama,” Trump alleged during an interview with The Hill on Monday, when asked about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s characterization that he was presiding over an American “concentration camp.” 
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN host Jake Tapper that it was the “Democrats in Congress” who had “refused to expand the bed space and the capacity for us to detain people at our borders,” when pressed on detention-center conditions. “It is one of the reasons why we continue to call on Congress to give [the Department of Homeland Security], Customs and Border Protection additional resources at the border.” This led to a somewhat tense back-and-forth, with Tapper arguing that funds already exist to provide these children with blankets and hygiene products.
The Department of Homeland Security has for more than a year at times relied on its advisory council for suggestions on how to better serve the children and families detained in border facilities. A subcommittee of the council traveled to the border facilities in Texas over the last five months and drew up a report for former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, reiterating the dire need for resources handling children. One council member said the visits illuminated the overcrowding of facilities and the need for better transportation services for individuals crossing the border and being placed in more permanent shelters.
“[Customs and Border Patrol] personnel are... tending to the daily needs of thousands of illegal migrants who CBP has already processed but is left holding for days and sometimes weeks in confinement space that was built decades ago and designed to confine only a fraction of these illegal migrants for hours, not days or weeks, and certainly not intended to confine tender age children,” the report said.
“The head of the subcommittee that focuses on children and families has been on vacation, according to sources affiliated with the council.”
The advisory council has not been in contact with the DHS secretary’s office over the last week, according to council members, and the head of the subcommittee that focuses on children and families has been on vacation, according to sources affiliated with the council, which consists of professional volunteers.
And the conditions in the detention centers are often abysmal. Nearly 300 children were temporarily removed from the Clint detention facility in Texas after media reports alleged horrifying conditions within: sick children whose clothes were covered in mucus, children who had only brushed their teeth a single time since being detained, and children sleeping on concrete floors. Many of those children have since been returned to the Clint facility.
The increasingly dire conditions in detention facilities across the U.S. southern border are part and parcel of the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. The increasing scarcity of resources at Border Patrol stations and ICE detention facilities, from access to adequate medical care to beds and bathrooms with potable water, are the consequences of an immigration system straining to accommodate an increasing number of detainees—as well as, advocates posit, a purposeful warning to would-be migrants in Central America thinking of heading north.
“The Trump administration’s focus, almost since its inception, has been deterrence of asylum-seekers,” said Melissa Crow, a senior supervising attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to Crow, members of the Trump administration have determined that if detention facilities were better staffed and better maintained, “then more people would come.”

4Пострадавшие от пожара в Ишимском районе получат помощь из областного бюджета
https://tumentoday.ru/2019/05/25/glava-tyumenskoj-oblasti-poruchil-pomoch-postradavshim-ot-pozhara-v-derevne-bykova/ 
25.05.2019   ВАЛЕРИЯ БОНАХ


Выплаты будут произведены в кратчайшие сроки.
Фото ГУ МЧС России по Тюменской области.
Власти Тюменской области выделят деньги на помощь пострадавшим при пожаре в д. Быкова в Ишимском районе из областного и муниципального бюджетов, сообщает региональный департамент социального развития. 

24 мая огонь уничтожил четыре жилых здания (три двухквартирных, одно - одноквартирное).

Как сообщила начальник управления соцзащиты администрации Ишима и Ишимского района Елена Гладкова, без крыши над головой остаются восемь семейств, в общей численности 30 человек, из которых 11 - дети. К счастью, обошлось без погибших.
Пострадавшие от пожара поселены у родственников, а их собственность, которую удалось спасти, находится под охраной полиции, сообщает ИА «Тюменская линия».
Односельчане делятся с погорельцами предметами первой необходимости. Местные депутаты и предприниматели заявили о готовности выделить материальную помощь.
- Каждой семье, которая пострадала от пожара, из областного бюджета будет выделено по 50 тысяч рублей. Выплаты будут произведены в кратчайшие сроки, - заявил губернатор Тюменской области Александр Моор.
Читайте больше:
В проекте «Кружок 18+» собраны все спортивные и образовательные площадки Тюмени
В Тюмени классно играют в КВН (ВИДЕО)
#повестка дня #социальная поддержка #тюмень #ишимский район #пожар
Опрос
Как вы обходитесь без горячей воды во время опрессовки?
Пользуюсь водонагревателем
Грею воду на плите
Посещаю баню/горячий источник
Хожу мыться в гости
Моюсь холодной водой
Не моюсь, пока не включат горячую воду
Пострадавшие от пожара в Ишимском районе получат помощь из областного бюджета
https://tumentoday.ru/2019/05/25/glava-tyumenskoj-oblasti-poruchil-pomoch-postradavshim-ot-pozhara-v-derevne-bykova/ ​
.

Julian Assange should have followed Edward Snowden to Russia World » Europe
http://www.pravdareport.com/world/142466-assange/ By DMITRY SUDAKOV
Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/world/142466-assange/
The US Justice Department sent an inquiry to the UK for the extradition of journalist Julian Assange. The founder of WikiLeaks has seen a lot of tribulations lately. Pravda.Ru talked about the fate of one of the world's most famous journalists to Israel Shamir - a representative of WikiLeaks in Russia and Scandinavian countries.
Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/world/142466-assange/
"The arrest of Julian Assange came as a big blow to freedom in the broad sense of the word. Why did he go to England after all? Edward Snowden came to Russia, where he found protection, but Assange went to London, where he was arrested in such a derogatory way. How did he find himself in the UK?"
"When Julian Assange created WikiLeaks and started doing what he was doing, they went after him  almost immediately. At first, he flew to Iceland, where he found a warm welcome. However, there were local problems there, because a major supporter of WikiLeaks, who was in Iceland, tried to take WikiLeaks away."
"For commercial purposes?" "Yes, there was a personal attempt made to annex WikiLeaks, and Julian had to quickly escape to  Sweden. Sweden was waiting for Assange with open arms, but he spent a very short amount of time there. Everyone was very friendly and hospitable to him, everyone was treating him well. The trouble came when two women came to police and said that Assange had abused them. All of a sudden, he saw newspaper headlines that were calling him a rapist.
"The storm did not last long, but Julian had to decide for himself where he was going next. He flew to England, where everything was fine at first. There was one man there, who owned a beautiful castle in Western England. A wonderful place indeed, I've been there. It was a perfect place for work, where he later received a big present from Manning. It was there where he got what they later started calling an issue of the State Department. He gave it a go, and it triggered a chain reaction. Sweden instituted a criminal case against Assange, and the UK issued an order for his arrest. They could have arrested him long before that, but it appeared that they were dragging time. They eventually put an electronic bracelet on his ankle, but he was still free for about a year or more, which was quite a long time. Yet, Assange could not leave England, and then all those temporary indulgences ended.
"When they started talking about an opportunity to deliver Assange to the United States, he asked Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for political asylum. Clearly, he could not even imagine that he would have to stay there for so long. He had lived there for a few years, and one day the British police dragged him out of that building. The future of his case is still dark." 
Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/world/142466-assange/

NEWS
Russia’s Infamous ‘Troll Factory’ Is Now Posing as a Media Empire
A Russian ‘troll factory’ rebranded itself as a network of legitimate news sites. But hasn’t quite abandoned its old ways.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/03/24/russias-infamous-troll-factory-is-now-posing-as-a-media-empire-a57534 

Russia’s infamous troll factory — the most successful weapon in its information war arsenal — has rebranded itself as an emerging media conglomerate, an investigation by the Russian news website RBC has revealed.
The secretive troll factory, which garnered massive scrutiny from news organizations both at home and abroad in the past two years, now consists of several websites that produce original reporting and analysis with a strong “patriotic” slant, RBC reported.
The hub of these media operations is a website called FAN (Federal News Agency) whose offices in St. Petersburg are just a stone’s throw from the troll factory’s original location on Savushkina street.
FAN was initially showcased in a New York Times Magazine article in 2015. A Magazine reporter traveled to Petersburg to investigate the troll factory and meet one of its employees. Inexplicably, a muscular man who was introduced as the interviewee’s brother also attended the reporter’s meeting.
But the day after the reporter left Russia, FAN published: “What Does a New York Times Journalist Have in Common With a Nazi From St. Petersburg?” The brother, it turned out, was a notorious neo-Nazi recruited by FAN to discredit the reporter and his story.


From ‘troll factory’ to media empire
Today, FAN forms the core of a media empire consisting of 16 news websites. Collectively, they employ over 200 full-time journalists and editors whose content attracts more that 30 million pageviews every month.
The monthly cost of running FAN and its sister sites is in the area of 20 million rubles ($350,000), RBC estimates. The source of the funding is unclear too, but most of the websites in the empire attract little if any ad revenue. Allegedly, the group has a mysterious sponsor, believed to be Yevgeni Prigozhin, who also known as “Putin’s Cook.”
Everyday, the sites churn out dozens of articles every day that praise Putin, cast Ukraine as a failed Nazi state and expose the nefarious machinations of the United States. Still, FAN stands out. It exploits the unstable media labor market to lure in journalists from other publications with salaries above the market average. FAN even employs foreign reporters — RBC reports they are the most likely to be sent to Syria to provide coverage.
In its coverage of Syria, FAN has an unique advantage over other news outlets — including state-owned media behemoths. Unlike new organizations, FAN reporters are not obligated to embed with Russia’s Defense Ministry, which censors coverage.
Instead, RBC reports that FAN reporters embed with the so-called the “Wagner Group,” a private military company — also reportedly funded by Prigozhin — that is covertly employed by Russia’s Defense Ministry to buttress its Syria operation. This allows FAN’s reporters to file their reports from dangerous frontlines faster than state news media.


Keep on trollin’

Despite its new status as a network of legitimate — if heavily biased news outlets — the “troll agency” hasn’t quite abandoned its old ways, RBC’s report suggests.
At least one popular pro-Trump, anti-Clinton Facebook group called Secured Borders, says RBC, is managed from the St. Petersburg troll factory.
RBC claims it obtained a screenshot of the group’s advertisement statistics (available only to a Facebook group’s administrator) from someone who claims to be its owner, which confirmed that the group is managed from St. Petersburg.
Secured Borders boasts 140 thousand subscribers, and just one of its posts published at the height of the election campaign and heavily advertised on Facebook, reached 4 million people on Facebook, was “liked” more than 300 thousand times and shared more than 80 thousand times. RBC also reported that a right-wing Twitter account called Tea Party News, which is followed by 22 thousand other accounts, is also run from the St. Petersburg hub.

All in all, RBC’s sources say that at the zenith of the U.S. election campaign, the troll factory’s accounts across different social media platforms would churn out as many as 50 million posts a month, with anti-Clinton messages getting the most attention.

Alexey Kovalev  @Alexey__Kovale

`В Уватском районе идет активное благоустройство территорий

 “ Poverty is a consequence of the ten-year austerity policy in Britain…”…UN

https://translate.google.com/translate?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=el&sp=nmt4&u=https://iskra.gr/%25CE%25BF%25CE%25B7%25CE%25B5-%25CE%25B7-%25CF%2586%25CF%2584%25CF%258E%25CF%2587%25CE%25B5%25CE%25B9%25CE%25B1-%25CF%2583%25CF%2585%25CE%25BD%25CE%25AD%25CF%2580%25CE%25B5%25CE%25B9%25CE%25B1-%25CF%2584%25CE%25B7%25CF%2582-%25CE%25B4%25CE%25B5%25CE%25BA%25CE%25AC%25CF%2587%25CF%2581%25CE%25BF%25CE%25BD%25CE%25B7%25CF%2582/&xid=25657,15700021,15700186,15700191,15700256,15700259  



From  Iskra  23/05/2019

Austerity has led millions of Britons to poverty, according to a UN report released today, which denounces a government that acts "on the basis of ideology" and in violation of its obligations under human rights.
According to this report, drafted following a 12-day mission by Britain 's UN Secretary- General for Human Rights and Extreme Poverty Philip Alston , one-fifth of the country's population, ie 14 million people, lives in a state of poverty .
And despite the "tragic social consequences," the "retroactive" austerity measures adopted since 2010 by the Conservatives in power "are continuing at a steady pace", "a flagrant violation of the human rights obligations of the British Government " .

"Nearly 40% of children will be forced to live in poverty by 2021. Food banks are spreading, homelessness has risen dramatically (...) life expectancy has declined for some groups of people and the legal aid system has been decimated" , the report said, "the government remains determined to deny it . "
For Alston, "neither the growth of the economy, nor the rise in jobs nor the budget surplus has reversed austerity, a policy most followed by ideology rather than an economic agenda" .
The UK Department of Labor and Pensions reacted by complaining of a "totally inaccurate" and "hardly convincing" report.

However, it is not the only report that finds this. Last week, a report by the independent British Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) revealed that after ten years of austerity in Britain, the largest income inequality among the rich countries, with the exception of the United States, was recorded . These economic di
fferences are as great as ever in British society, to such an extent that they pose a threat to democracy and the cohesion of the country.

New research busts the myths about comprehensive sexuality education
Society » Sex, relationship
New research busts the myths about comprehensive sexuality education
Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/society/142470-sexuality_education/
http://www.pravdareport.com/society/142470-sexuality_education/
Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/society/142470-sexuality_education/

Paper recommends scripted lessons where necessary to help teachers cover the subject correctly
Paris, 12 June- Comprehensive sexuality education is an essential part of a good quality education that improves reproductive health and contributes to gender equality, argues Facing the Facts, a new policy paper by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report at UNESCO that seeks to dispel social and political resistance to sexuality education in many countries.
Globally, each year, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18, some 16 million 15-19 year olds and one million girls under 15 give birth. Young people moreover account for a third of new HIV infections among adults and across 37 low and middle-income countries, yet only approximately one third of people aged 15-24 years have comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission.
"It's time to face the facts," argues Director of the GEM Report, Manos Antoninis, "More than one in ten births are among girls between 15 and 19 years old. This not only spells the end of their education, but is often fatal, with pregnancy and childbirth the leading cause of death among this age group."
The new policy paper presents the evidence of the benefits of age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education. Even children at the age of five need to understand basic facts about their body, think about family and social relationships and recognize inappropriate behaviour and identify abuse. Otherwise, many will grow up with inaccurate beliefs, like roughly half the girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran, who believe menstruation to be a disease and 82% of girls in Malawi, who know nothing about menstruation before experiencing it themselves.
Children and young people should receive comprehensive sexuality education before they become sexually active. This helps them protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and promotes values of tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence in relationships.
Nevertheless, vocal resistance to comprehensive sexuality education by some groups in a number of countries has been rising. In Uganda, a public backlash led the Ministry of Education to withdraw the national sexuality education curriculum, which was subsequently revised.
Antoninis continued: "Comprehensive sexuality education is part and parcel of a good quality education, the achievement of good health outcomes and progress towards gender equality. Yet in many parts of the world, opposition to comprehensive sexuality education has not only halted progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights, but reversed it."
Introducing comprehensive sexuality education in the curriculum is insufficient without adequate teacher training to bolster instructors' motivation and confidence in addressing the full range of topics concerned. Namibia has tackled this by creating scripted lesson plans for teachers, while Tanzania has created online resources that teachers can turn to when in doubt.
The paper has six key recommendations for countries
1.     Invest in teacher education and support,
2.     Make curricula relevant and evidence based,
3.     Develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and ensure implementation,
4.     Work with other sectors to bring about real change, notably with the health sector to link schools with health services and leverage funds,
5.     Engage with community and parent organizations to overcome resistance that is not based on facts. 
UNESCO
Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/society/142470-sexuality_education/

Kazakhstan’s Mass Election Protests, Explained
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/14/kazakhstans-mass-election-protests-explained-a66007


Kazakhstan has been roiled with mass protests following a presidential election seen by critics as undemocratic and an extension of their longtime authoritarian leader’s rule. Swathes of citizens have taken to the streets in the capital Nur-Sultan and largest city Almaty to condemn a vote they say was rigged, a rare sight in a country that bans protests and restricts opposition activity. Police in riot gear have forcefully dispersed crowds, detaining nearly 1,000 peaceful protesters.   Major events and developments that have taken place in Russia’s oil-rich ally include on the 9tgh June, 2019 , Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the hand-picked successor of longtime ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev, is elected president with 71 percent of the vote. With Tokayev's six rivals largely unknown to voters, many denounce the election as unfair. Western observers cite “widespread voting irregularities” and videos posted online show ballot tampering at polling stations.
Unauthorized protests begin forming in Nur-Sultan and Astana despite Kazakhstan's restrictive laws on freedom of expression. Social media and online messaging platforms are restricted. On the 10th June 10, 2019. the  protests continue on a much smaller scale, with hundreds of police officers and military gathered at the Almaty park where Sunday's rally took place. About 200 people are detained, Interfax reports. On the June 11:, 2019: Police detain more than 100 people in Almaty. Kazakhstan’s interior ministry says those who attended the protests on June 9-10 are “victims of deception and propaganda” spread by social networks and extremists online. In the 12th June 2019.  Tokayev is inaugurated in Nur-Sultan. While he doesn’t explicitly mention the protests, he takes a conciliatory tone in his inauguration speech, calling for dialogue. In a tweet posted later that evening, Tokayev says he has instructed the attorney general to respect citizens’ rights and free those who are innocent. Mass protests continue with police forcefully detaining hundreds, including people not involvedin the rallies. In Almaty, 250 are detained. The UN Human Rights Office condemns the crackdown on protests, calling the large-scale detentions of protesters “an apparent contradiction with Kazakhstan’s obligations under international human rights law.” In a press release, Kazakhstan’s prosecutor’s office said the detentions are “measures aimed at preserving public peace and protecting citizens.” On the 13th June, 2019,, Internet restrictions continue for a fourth day, with citizens reporting that messaging apps and social media sites have been blocked. Since June 9, 957 people have been detained for taking part in unauthorized protests in Kazakhstan, the prosecutor general’s office says. Of these, 670 detainees were given administrative charges, 115 were fined and 172 received warnings. Protests have slowed down, but citizens report large numbers of police still on the streets. On the 14th June, 2019 Tokayev points to poverty as the reason why citizens have been protesting. "They are demanding that the government address their social and economic problems. The authorities have heard. And we will work to fix them," he says in an interview with Euronews. The Kazakh president also says those who were detained for considering the election unfair will be released.

В Уватском районе идет активное благоустройство территорий
https://tumentoday.ru/2019/05/26/v-uvatskom-rajone-idet-aktivnoe-blagoustrojstvo-territorij/ 
26.05.2019
ЕЛЕНА НИКОЛАЕВА

Губернатор Тюменской области Александр Моор посетил поселок Демьянка, села Демьянское и Уват.
Рабочее совещание в администрации Уватского района || Источник фото: admtyumen.ru

В программе рабочей поездки главы региона в Уватский район – осмотр ряда социальных объектов: больница, Дом культуры, спортивные сооружения и др.

Источник изображения: admtyumen.ru

В китайском городе Сиань проходит IV Международная выставка ЭКСПО «Шелковый путь». Участие в ее работе принимает представительная делегация Тюменской области во главе с губернатором региона Александром Моором. Сотрудничество между Тюменской областью и различными провинциями КНР продолжается в течение последних 15 лет и имеет неограниченные перспективы для дальнейшего углубления.

​​NEWS
Russian Spycraft: How the Kremlin Hacked Its Way Into a Crisis
By Vladimir Frolov
Oct. 11, 2016

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2016/10/11/russian-spycraft-how-kremlin-hacked-its-way-into-a-crisis-a55679 


Last Friday the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) publicly named the Russian government for directing "the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations." It claimed that the disclosures of hacked emails "on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process", while "only Russia’s most senior officials could have authorized these activities."

The hacking of the DNC computer networks was first disclosed in mid-June. CrowdStrike, a private cyber intelligence firm brought in by the DNC to investigate the hacks identified with a high degree of confidence two groups of hackers with links to Russia’s intelligence services. COZY BEAR (CozyDuke or APT 29), ostensibly working for the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence service, breached the networks in mid-2015 and had been collecting intelligence and personal data undetected until April 2016, when another group of hackers FANCY BEAR (Sofacy or APT 29), purportedly working for GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, broke into the same network, unbeknown to the first group, and raised some flags for the system’s security. 

On July 22, on the eve of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks released some 20,000 stolen emails showing top officials at the Democratic National Committee criticized and mocked Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Hillary Clinton’s rival during the primary campaign, even though the organization publicly insisted that it was neutral in the race. At that point it became a story about Russia trying to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, who said he favored better U.S.-Russia ties. The timing of the leak was intended to cloud the Democratic convention in controversy, reignite party divisions, and motivate Sanders supporters not to vote for Clinton in November. 

President Vladimir Putin in a recent interview to Bloomberg denied that Russia on a state level had anything to do with the email hacks, but his claim that "the important thing is the content that was given to the public, and not the search for who did it" suggested more than a cursory knowledge of the matter. His further claim that the Russian government did not possess the kind of sophisticated sense of U.S. domestic politics to pull off such a tricky game sounded lame. The Russian Foreign Ministry maintains a granular understanding of the intricate details of U.S. presidential and party politics. The Russian Embassy in Washington keeps about a dozen diplomats on the beat. It is not, as some claim, that the Russians suddenly discovered the DNC last year. 

While the publicly available evidence linking Russian intelligence to the hacks is inconclusive and may even suggest a false flag operation to entangle Moscow in a brawl with Washington, the U.S. Intelligence Community had a high degree of confidence in Russian involvement even in July and the fact that they publicly named Russian intelligence as perpetrators suggests that they have definitive proof. 

The question is what Moscow was really trying to accomplish. Cyber operations to collect intelligence are normal spycraft. The DNC and RNC are legitimate targets for Russian HUMINT and SIGINT operations, as are private email accounts and cell phones of key U.S. policy makers. You get intelligence by eavesdropping on people with access to real secrets. 

Initially it appeared the Russian hacking was just about that, at least the COZY BEAR part of it in 2015. There were some notable scoops, like hacking the private email of former NATO Supreme Commander General Breedlove in early 2015 where he unsuccessfully lobbied the Obama administration for sending advanced anti-tank weapons to Ukraine (it was reassuring to know the White House was not serious about stopping the Russian armor in Eastern Ukraine), or a private audio by Hillary Clinton in which she opposed plans to develop a new nuclear cruise missile for U.S. strategic bombers. Otherwise the intelligence value of the trawl was small. 

When the Russian hacking was discovered (due to the destructive rivalry between Russian intelligence services who failed to deconflict on the target), Moscow found itself sitting on a pile of Beltway gossip of limited intelligence value, but with some potential for influence operations. Perhaps, some "genius" suggested it should be made public to trash Hillary Clinton whom the Kremlin intensely disliked for her public role in supporting the mass protests in Moscow in 2011. No thought was given to the likely impact on future U.S.-Russia relations, particularly if Clinton got elected, and what the U.S. response might be. As is custom with intelligence operations, the Foreign Ministry was not briefed on the plan. 

It is unlikely that the Kremlin really hoped to influence the results of the U.S. presidential election or viewed Trump’s victory as likely. This would have signaled a degree of incompetence that Moscow is still incapable of. Rather, the point of the exercise was to send a message that Russia mattered and could do bad things that the U.S., in Moscow’s view, has been doing to Russia. It worked, but not exactly how Russia hoped. It made Russia a negative issue in the campaign. 

Subsequent releases of hacked Clinton Campaign emails, including personal emails of her campaign chief John Podesta, reveal signs of a classic active measures campaign to smear Clinton and provide ammunition for Donald Trump attacks on his opponent in the race. They contained signs of falsification and doctoring typical of the active measures tactics while the timing of the release — the night the Washington post published a damaging audio with Trump discussing sexually assaulting women — suggests a tightly coordinated effort, with WikiLeaks playing an unsavory role.

It did not help Trump, but hurt Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and the likely future American president — Hillary Clinton. This may no longer be the work of Russian intelligence services, as the Russian state media have mastered the art of active measures on a scale unimaginable by the KGB. For months, Russian state media have been running a character assassination campaign against Clinton highlighting every looney right-wing conspiracy on the market, including spurious assertions of Clinton’s complicity in founding the Islamic State. This shows a glaring disconnect between Russia’s foreign policy interests that require a workable and civil relationship with U.S. leaders and the interests of propaganda driven by personal ambition in detriment to the nation’s large good. There is little that Russia has gained from this effort other than bad press.

The operation destroyed what little trust remained between the two countries at the sensitive moment of Kerry-Lavrov negotiations on Syria. It put U.S. President Barack Obama in an awkward position when not retaliating was politically unfeasible. Publicly naming Russia is just the first step. Economic and technology sanctions appear to be the most likely U.S. retaliation at this point, as Washington wants to maintain the option of re-engaging Russia on Syria and is wary of escalation by cyber attacks. Moscow needs to find a way to defuse the crisis. Offering secret talks on permissible rules of cyber warfare and cyber intelligence collection might be one way to do it. Better managing its intelligence services would be another.

Vladimir FrolovVladimir Frolov is a Russian political analyst and columnist. @vfroloff

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom Head Alexei Miller (R) and Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

 Get Boris Johnson! Michael Gove challenges his rival again
Hunt, Hancock and Stewart join the attack
Gove: I can unite the Tory party

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/get-boris-johnson-michael-gove-challenges-his-rival-again-xsp02b3st
The pair led the victorious Vote Leave campaign in 2016 before Gove torpedoed Johnson’s leadership bid
Michael Gove has thrown down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson, announcing that he will fight him for the Tory crown because he has a better “track record” and is more “capable” of delivering Brexit.
The environment secretary will electrify the contest and argue that he should lead rather than his Vote Leave ally, whose campaign he dramatically torpedoed in 2016.
Speaking outside his home in west London this morning, Gove, who faced criticism from Brexiteers for backing Theresa May’s deal, said he could “confirm that I will be putting my name forward to be prime minister of this country. I believe that I’m ready to unite the Conservative and Union Party, ready to deliver Brexit, and ready to lead this great country.”
Last night he…..

To Continue read this article subscribe to The Times 

“Trump, as we say in Russian, is a muzhik,” Kiselyov said, telling viewers that America has elected a true man’s man.
Ola Cichowlas @olacicho

NEWS
Trump's UN Ambassador Condemns Russia for Ukraine 'Aggression'Feb. 3, 2017 
President Trump's ambassador to the United Nations has launched a scathing attack on Russia for escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/02/03/trumps-un-ambassador-condemns-russia-for-ukraine-agression-a57029 

In her first address to the UN since her appointment last month, Nikki Haley condemned Russia's “aggressive actions” in the Donbass region.
The former Republican governor said that sanctions on Moscow would stay in place until the Crimean peninsula was once more under Ukrainian control.
"We do want to better our relations with Russia," Haley said on Thursday. "However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions."












Archive: Ambassador Nikki Haley ✔@AmbNikkiHaley2,475
12:51 AM - Feb 3, 2017 · Manhattan, NY1,540 people are talking about this


Her words will disappoint Kremlin officials, who hoped that sanctions would be weakened or even scrapped under the new administration.
Trump's first phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week was described by the Kremlin as "positive and constructive."
Trump asked for Putin to convey his wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Russian people, while the Russian president said that all “warm feelings” were mutual.
Haley is not the first official endorsed by Trump to urge a more cautious approach to relations with Moscow.
In his congressional hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned officials that Washington would need to “be clear-eyed” about any relationship with Russia, "Russia today poses a danger. It invaded , including Crimea, and violated the laws of war,” he said.
Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine after heavy artillery fire returned to districts on both sides of the frontline on Jan. 29. At least one civilian in the the Ukrainian-held town of Avdiivka was killed, with scores more injured.

Spy Games: How The Spectre of Surveillance Impacts Moscow’s Foreigners
Foreigners are not wrong to fear surveillance, but perceptions often overshadow reality

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2017/01/19/spy-games-how-the-spectre-of-surveillance-impacts-the-lives-of-moscows-foreigners-a56865 
Most foreigners who have spent extended periods of time in Russia can recall advice given to them before their arrival. For government officials, it comes as an institutionalized briefing from their security services. For journalists, scholars, and students, it often comes as wisdom passed down from previous generations of Russia watchers.
For both, the mantra is the same: assume you are being watched.
In modern Moscow, this advice can be easy to forget. The city is a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis like any other. But when Briton Jonathan Haslam first visited as part of a six-month graduate exchange in 1977, the Russian capital was another world. As a foreigner in a closed society, his very presence and interest in the Soviet Union aroused deep suspicion.
“The assumption was that foreigners were spies,” he recalls. This was implicit in the way the Soviets handled visitors like Haslam. There were strict restrictions on where foreigners could live, and the authorities monitored their daily life – both covertly and overtly.
“Their aim was largely to deter you, to give you the impression of total coverage,” Haslam says.
That was the Cold War. Much has changed since 1977, but the spectre of unwanted government attention still hangs over the ranks of Moscow’s foreign population to this day — as recent allegations that Russia may have blackmail on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump show.
But much like the unsubstantiated Trump allegations, many cases of surveillance remain difficult or impossible to prove. State-sponsored snooping is real, but perceptions greatly outpace reality. The conflict adds a degree of paranoia to daily life in Moscow.

Back in the USSR

From a historical perspective, foreigners are not wrong to fear surveillance. The Soviets were unparalleled masters of the art, argues Haslam, now a historian at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and the author of Near and Distant Neighbors: A New History of Soviet Intelligence, a recent book on the subject.
“They had a vast number of people to call upon for following foreigners, something Western services could not match,” he says. “Any girl you went out with would be questioned after your meeting, and then obliged to report on you. Most tour guides were just students on holiday jobs, and they were really there to report on any unusual behavior.”

In Haslam’s time, students from capitalist nations were confined to the first six floors of an Academy of Science’s hotel, which were heavily monitored. Soviet authorities did not always go to great lengths to conceal their efforts.
At the hotel, cleaning staff would regularly sift through papers left by students on their desks. Rooms were obviously bugged. Once, when Haslam broke his morning routine to retrieve a forgotten item from the room, he walked in to find the housekeeper perched atop a stool, talking to a fire alarm on the ceiling.
The fire alarm, it seems, was wired to a central nervous system of surveillance tech hidden away on one of the hotel’s 12 floors. That floor was inaccessible from the main elevator, but Haslam says he once stumbled upon the entrance while exploring the back stairwell. An employee had left the door wide open, and Haslam decided to have a peek. Inside, he discovered a room filled with banks of tape recorders.
"Blabbing helps the enemy!" This Soviet poster from the mid-1950s reflected the emerging atmosphere of distrust between the Soviet Union and the West,


New Surveillance, New Russia

That chance encounter with an open door offered Haslam a glimpse behind the curtains of Soviet surveillance. But it was just one facet of a broad-spectrum effort that Katy Pearce, an expert on media and surveillance in the former USSR, recently described in the Washington Post as a “tedious, costly analogue process involving phone tapping, stakeouts, following people, and lots of photography and videotaping.”
The Soviet collapse in 1991, however, “democratized surveillance,” Pearce argues.
What was once the exclusive forte of a monolithic state apparatus became the bread-and-butter of thousands of former KGB agents, sent out into the cold without work. To make ends meet, they began plying their trade in the private sector, working for Russia’s emerging class of oligarchs. As a result, blackmail came to play an outsized role in the topsy-turvy world of 1990s Russia.

Prominent politicians and businessmen had their phone calls surreptitiously recorded and leaked to the press. Rumor and blackmail became tools of the political trade.
In 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin even used a compromising sex tape to take down the prosecutor general, Yury Skuratov, who was investigating him for corruption. The man who orchestrated the operation was none other than Vladimir Putin, who then served as the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) — a scaled-down remnant of the Soviet KGB.

Such cases bolstered the mythology of surveillance. The Soviet collapse had opened the floodgate, and thousands of foreigners poured into Russia. With high profile surveillance cases proliferating, many foreigners seemed to believe that they, too, were under watch. That was one of the “social oddities” of Moscow life, says Matt Taibbi, an American journalist who worked here in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“Foreigners love to talk about how their phones are tapped,” he wrote in a 1997 articlepublished in The eXile, a popular but now-defunct Moscow-based alternative publication. “They like the idea that someone considers them important enough to be worthy of listening to.”
In comments emailed to The Moscow Times, Taibbi says that, in his view, 95 percent of expats have nothing to worry about. The only real targets are certain prominent businessmen, diplomats, lawyers, and a few journalists.
Taibbi cites his own experience as an example. Reporters working for The eXile were notorious for outlandish, sometimes tasteless stunts, and muckraking investigative work. Taibbi once published transcripts of a former Kremlin chief of staff’s phone calls. The records were obtained, naturally, through surveillance. For his efforts, he says he was never followed and his phones were not tapped.  

“I had basically begged to be arrested/surveilled,” he says. “[The fact that] I wasn’t told me that the ordinary expat has little to fear when it comes to surveillance.”

​Modern Techniques

Technology has undoubtedly changed surveillance as electronic recording devices (i.e., “bugs”) grow smaller or give way to cell phones and other networked devices – offering intelligence services a far more efficient means of tracking their targets. “Everything with bugs has been tried, phones are better,” a former U.S. diplomat in Moscow said on a strict condition of anonymity.
The methods may have changed, but surveillance – both real and imagined – persists.
In recent years, the Russian government has used surveillance to bust corrupt officials and keep tabs on opposition figures, at times even infiltrating communications mediums like encrypted messenger applications. Russia has also been accused of taking its efforts abroad, hacking networks in foreign countries — such as the recent allegations that Russia hacked to help Trump win the presidential election.
But compared to the Soviet Union, modern Russia is an open society. The average foreigner is not likely to arouse much suspicion. As such, it is diplomats — particularly Americans — who arouse the strongest suspicion among Russian spooks. Even before the recent collapse of U.S.-Russia relations, Russian efforts appear to have become primarily focused on the U.S. Embassy and its staff.
In recent years, the harassment of U.S. diplomats has also increased.
The former U.S. Embassy Moscow official recalled being approached by an officer of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service after he was transferred from Moscow to Beijing. The SVR agent “pitched” the official while he was applying for a Russian transit visa to spend two days in Moscow en route to Europe.
The pitch began as an innocuous request to retrieve medicine for the Russian in Moscow. The diplomat was told he would be provided with additional instructions upon receiving his visa a week later. This was the red flag, and the American sent his secretary to retrieve the visa in his place. When the Russian, undeterred, emailed the diplomat directly to follow up, the American notified embassy security.
The incident, as told by the former diplomat, sparked a minor spy game in Beijing. Embassy security presented him with a photo line-up of known SVR operatives in Beijing, asking him to identify the official. He was in the line-up. After that, American security officials impersonated the diplomat in a reply email and arranged their own meeting with the Russian, turning the game back on him.
While Americans working at the embassy are natural targets for Russian intelligence, so too are the hundreds of local Russian employees hired by the U.S. to help run the day-to-day at the sprawling embassy compound. One former local employee told The Moscow Times of an incident in which he was actively chased by FSB officers through central Moscow.
Another Russian, who asked to remain anonymous, recalls being warned of intense pressure from the FSB when interviewing for a job with the embassy in 2013. Eight months later, the FSB followed up with the Russian to ask if she received the job. She hadn’t. But Russians like her are perhaps one of the embassy’s biggest security vulnerabilities.
The former U.S. Embassy official, who worked for one of the American security agencies, estimates that “around 50 percent of the local hires probably have some relationship with the FSB.”
“They have access to HR files, medical files, everything. The embassy does not have the resources to track them. And the local employees have details on everything that is happening — who is taking part in delegations, what they are going to be doing, where they will be staying, which rooms they will be staying in, etc. Nothing is secret,” the former diplomat says.

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment, describing it as an "internal management" issue.


Will Donald Trump be a good president? He might, Kiselyov told viewers, before the camera dramatically swooped in for a closeup, and the host added, “IF HE ISN’T KILLED.” Despite concerns about assassination plots, Kiselyov said Trump has displayed bravery in the face of danger, even exiting his armored limousine briefly on Friday to walk alongside his wife in the Inauguration Parade.

How Russia Moved Into Sub-Saharan Africa
 By Aaron Ross for Reuters  Oct. 17, 2018

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2018/10/17/how-russia-moved-into-sub-saharan-africa-a63213 

When Central African Republic (CAR) pleaded for help last year to fight marauding militias, former colonial ruler France offered guns it had seized off Somalia. But Russia objected and donated its own weapons instead.

By early February, Russia had sent nine planes with weapons along with dozens of contractors to train local soldiers and secure mining projects, marking the start of its highest-profile military foray in sub-Saharan Africa for decades.
Muscling in on a country dominated by France for years served as a statement of intent about Moscow’s renewed push for global prestige and influence, and is part of a wider campaign shaking up long-standing power dynamics on the continent.
Since Western nations sanctioned Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014, Moscow has signed 19 military cooperation deals in sub-Saharan Africa, including with Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, according to its foreign and defense ministries and state media.
The continent’s 54 member states at the United Nations – three of which sit on the Security Council at any given time – form the organisation’s largest voting bloc and one of its most coherent, making them attractive allies for Russia.

“The West is not very much loved by many countries. And many (see) Russia as the country that will oppose the West,” said Dmitri Bondarenko, an anthropologist and historian at Russia’s Institute for African Studies.
Besides sending arms and contractors to CAR, Russian national Valery Zakharov is a security adviser to President Faustin-Archange Touadera and Russia’s defense ministry said last week it planned to establish a five-person team at CAR’s defense ministry.


Seized Weapons

When CAR made its plea in 2017, there was recognition that a spike in ethnic fighting could turn into a far larger conflict and that its security forces were too weak to tackle myriad armed groups.
CAR has been under a U.N. arms embargo since 2013 so weapons shipments must be approved by the U.N. Security Council’s CAR sanctions committee, made up of the Council’s 15 members, including France and Russia. It operates by consensus.
France first offered to help CAR buy old weapons but the proposal was too expensive. France then offered 1,400 AK47 assault rifles it had seized off Somalia in 2016, according to a Security Council memo and four diplomats.
Russia objected on the grounds that weapons seized for breaching the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia could not be recycled for use in another country under embargo, two diplomats said.
But mindful of the need for a quick solution, the sanctions committee approved Moscow’s donation of AK47s, sniper rifles, machineguns and grenade launchers in December, according to committee documents and diplomats.
“We presented our problem and Russia offered to help us, subject to Security Council approval,” said Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, CAR’s presidential spokesman. “If peace is restored tomorrow in CAR, I think everyone will be happy.”


Russia’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment about committee proceedings.

France’s foreign ministry said Russia must strictly respect the terms of its arms embargo exemption to keep the weapons out of the wrong hands.
‘We’re not interested’
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union forged close military and diplomatic ties with many African countries. It was involved in proxy wars in states such as Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique and helped independence movements fight Western colonial powers.
Russia is now trying to revive some of the relationships that lapsed after the Soviet Union’s collapse. It joins a number of countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates looking to set up bases in Africa, mediate in diplomatic stand-offs and strike business deals.
China has long had a major economic presence in Africa but it has shied away from any military involvement. It did go a step further last year, however, opening its first military base outside China in Djibouti.
Near the world’s busiest shipping lanes, Djibouti is also home to a large French base, the only U.S. base in Africa, an Italian camp and Japan’s only overseas base.
Djibouti blocked Russian attempts to set up a base, however, saying it wanted to avoid becoming the terrain for a proxy war. Moscow is now planning to build a logistics centre at a port in neighbouring Eritrea.
While France has a military bases outside Djibouti in former colonies Gabon, Ivory Coast and Senegal and its soldiers also operate in Chad, Mali and Niger, analysts say Washington’s influence is on the wane.
Its trade with the continent has halved in the past decade, though much of that is due to U.S. shale replacing oil imports from Africa. Diplomatic posts have gone unfilled and a task force based in CAR tracking warlord Joseph Kony left last year.
“Our actions on the diplomatic and military side have sent a huge signal to our partners that we’re not interested in Africa,” said Donald Bolduc, who commanded U.S. special forces across the continent until last year.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy said Washington’s commitment to Africa was unwavering but, “there is space for other countries to play a positive role in the region”.


African Deals

As part of Russia’s renewed push, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went on a five-nation tour of Africa in March, attended a summit in South Africa in June and visited Rwanda, chair of the African Union, this year.
Russia has also struck military cooperation deals with many African countries since 2015, though some have yet to come into force. The agreements typically involve providing weapons and training in areas such as counter-terrorism and piracy.
Analysts caution that the deals often appear more symbolic than transformative and say it’s not clear if Russia has the resources, or desire, to continue expanding its presence.
But as in the Cold War, military deals can come alongside economic links, such as mining and energy agreements. Ethiopia signed its deal in April, a month after Lavrov visited to discuss nuclear energy, agriculture and transportation projects.
Russian firms have signed mineral deals in Sudan, which cooperates with Moscow in defence technology, and Russia is looking at diamond and platinum projects in Zimbabwe as well as energy projects in Chad.
Over the past decade, Russian trade with sub-Saharan Africa has increased fast, albeit from a low base. From 2010-2017, total trade rose to $4.2 billion a year from $1.6 billion, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
During the same period, China’s total trade with sub-Saharan Africa nearly doubled to $165 billion while U.S. trade more than halved to $37 billion.


Wagner Group

Since arriving in CAR, the Russians’ remit has expanded beyond military advice and into various economic and diplomatic activities, a Western diplomat and security source said, fuelling the beginnings of a Western backlash.
In August, France, the United Kingdom and the United States blocked a Russian request to send more weapons. The U.S. mission to the United Nations said in a note to the sanctions committee that it was awaiting, “confirmation that measures had been taken to ensure the secure management of the previous donation”.
Estimates of the number of Russians in CAR vary widely, from 250 to 1,000. Touadera’s spokesman declined to provide details, nor say what activities the Russians were engaged in.
Yevgeny Shabayev, head of a chapter of a paramilitary Cossack organisation who has ties to Russian security contractors, said there could be 1,000 in CAR and 5,000 to 10,000 across Africa, including in Sudan, South Sudan and Libya.

One Russian private military contractor, the Wagner group, was thrust into the spotlight in July when three Russian journalists were killed in CAR while investigating its alleged presence there.
Reuters has been unable to confirm whether Wagner contractors are in CAR. People with ties to the group have told Reuters it has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine and Syria.
Russian authorities deny Wagner contractors carry out their orders. They have denied any role in the journalists’ deaths.
Russia has also stepped into negotiations with militias in CAR, adding to Western misgivings about its presence.
According to a U.N. panel of experts, Touadera’s Russian adviser has met militia leaders several times to discuss disarmament and the distribution of natural resources revenue.
Russia said in August after brokering talks between armed groups that Touadera had expressed gratitude for its involvement and that it intended to continue its mediation.
Reuters was unable to contact the adviser, Zakharov, for comment.

“There is a real division between that guy and the rest of the presidential advisers,” the security source said. “When you ask, ‘Can we see your colleague?’ they say, ‘Who, our colleague? We don’t know him’.”

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta, in Alanbama in 1956 three years after they married

NEWS
Russian Propaganda Edits Out Racist Comment About Obama
Nov. 22, 2016

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2016/11/22/russian-propaganda-edits-out-racist-comment-about-obama-a


In his weekly news summary show "News of the Week," host Dmitry Kiselyov said that "Obama was throwing his arms about as if he was in the jungle" but later edited that comment out.Vesti Nedeli / YouTube

State-run Rossiya TV channel has deleted a racist comment about U.S. President Barack Obama from the flagship Sunday news show, Vesti Nedeli, The Moscow Times can reveal.
In the version of the show broadcast on Sunday, its host, the propaganda chief Dmitry Kiselyov, described Obama’s meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House. “Obama is cheeky these days, if not unceremonious. It started last week, when Trump paid his first visit to the White House [...] There, Trump behaved like an English lord, while Obama was throwing his arms about as if he was in the jungle,” the anchor said.
By Tuesday, the jungle metaphor had disappeared. In a new version of the segment, Kiselyov says “Trump behaved like an English lord, while Obama sat with his legs wide open, in a pose that is prohibited even in the New York metro, because it is considered a demonstration of male domination. But that was not enough: [Obama was ] throwing his arms about, as if he was [painting a picture] in the open air.”
In a phone interview with The Moscow Times, Kiselyov said that he replaced the comment in order to avoid comparing Obama to a monkey.

“Since the show is broadcast live, I can edit my text, make it better, shorter or longer,” Kiselyov said. “After the first live broadcast, where the jungle was mentioned, my colleagues asked me whether I want compare Obama to a monkey — they said [the jungle comment] prompted such an association.”
Kiselyov said his intention was not to compare Obama to a monkey. “It was important for me to show his tactlessness and disrespect towards Trump, rather that anything else.”

The outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama was depicted as Russia’s chief adversary on the main Sunday news shows on state TV this week. The Kremlin’s propagandists devoted much of their airtime to celebrating the end of Obama’s term, engaging in crude stereotyping of the U.S. president, and implying that his exit would end Russia’s geopolitical problems.

Read this week’s edition of The World According to Russian State TV: Eunuch, Failure, Puppet-Master: Russian Propaganda Sees Barack Obama Off