Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
One editing remark. I removed quite a bit of what I call domestic propaganda aka politics in the US. I have tried and barely succeeded to be apolitical in this blog. I consider domestic US politics to be outside the bounds of this blog. I spent most of the past 40 years in a completely apolitical environment. I know, I know, ‘inform and influence operations’ are often all about politics. Not to me, in this blog, I do not include domestic politics. This blog is all about ‘our’ attempts, capabilities, and operations to inform and influence another country – leadership, people, targeted segment, regions, countries, usually in a belligerent environment.
I have absolutely no heartburn about operating inside the US in a professional capacity, to influence people, groups, etc. If I would ever want to write about that, I’ll start another blog – the rules are different.
Russia is a major topic in today’s MSM traffic, along a multiplicity of threads. MSM reporting that Mike Flynn will recommend NATO enlargement by accepting Montenegro, the same nation Russia tried to organise a coup against only weeks ago. Prof Goble attacks POTUS ambiguity on Ukraine, he does not usually comment on US domestic matters. Francis argues POTUS will “soon put Putin on notice”, which arguably Amb Haley’s statement and Montenegro do already.
Excellent Avdiivka summary by Butusov. More essays on Avdiivka as a Russian test of POTUS. Starr essay a good issues summary on arming Ukraine. Lavrov buying into MSM narratives on POTUS ambiguity on Russian and Ukraine. Congress apoplectic over POTUS ambiguity on Russia. Whitmore comments on Belarus. Russian propaganda not working in France, as French MSM not buying into Russian narratives, unlike US MSM. Le Pen is earning her Russian paychecks, proving the old proverb that good politicians do stay bought.
In Donbass Russians maintain increased bombardment optempo, while assassinating Givi, one of the last remaining proxy force field commanders from the 2014 campaign. Ukrainian MSM used to cartoon Motorola and Givi as chimps – both have been now “liquidated”, presumably as they knew too much about Kremlin involvement in the initial proxy force invasion. Ukrainian MP are eviscerating German ambassador for saying a very silly thing.
Russian crackdown on opposition figures continues, one poisoned, one to be jailed, and Internet controls being ramped up.
Interesting essay by Rajan on MSM monetary revival resulting from T3 traffic – it is looking like a growth industry.
Turkey to join US anti-ISIS campaign. AI reporting Assad hanged 13,000 “regime opponents” emulating Saddam’s mass murder of Shiites.
Flynn to recommend Trump back NATO membership for Montenegro – POLITICO The small Balkan nation will have an outsize role in revealing how much Trump is willing to back the Cold War-era alliance.
Report: Trump’s national security adviser will recommend Trump make a big move against Russia | Business InsiderOn Monday, Politico reported that Michael…
Paul Goble | Trump and Ukraine: ‘a small country far away about which we know little’? | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s dismissal of Czechoslovakia as an artificial country created at Versailles and one that was “far away” and “about which we know little” have long been the byword for the betrayal of a small country by a larger power and of the appeasement of an aggressor. But Chamberlain’s role as betrayer and appeaser in chief is now being challenged by US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Washington doesn’t know what is going on in Ukraine and therefore cannot evaluate it. And Trump’s words are given content by his vice president who says that sanctions the US imposed on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine can be removed if Russia cooperates elsewhere. Americans are notorious for their ignorance about other countries. Last week, for example, the Russian media had a field day with the report of a poll Russian journalists conducted in New York City about how the US should react to Russian aggression against a non-existent country, “Kyrgbekistan.”
Diane Francis | Why Trump Will Soon Put Putin on NoticeOn February 1, military tough guy Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, put Iran “officially on notice” for testing a missile in violation of a UN resolution. By contrast, on January 31 the State Department issued a tepid statement condemning a murderous military assault on a Ukrainian town in the east without condemning its Russian perpetrators. This stunned and demoralized Ukrainians and Russia-watchers. But then, on February 2, an unequivocal condemnation of Russia was mounted in the United Nations by Nikki Haley, in her maiden speech as America’s UN envoy. “The United States stands with the people of Ukraine who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military interventions,” she said. “Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue.” Further, she added bluntly: “Crimea is part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.” Haley wasn’t speaking for herself. A National Security Council spokesperson confirmed that Haley and Flynn had discussed her statement at the UN before it was given and that Flynn “agreed with” its contents. The spokesman told BuzzFeed that it was fair to call Haley’s statement “administration policy.” Obviously, as Trump gets his feet under his desk and expands his circle of advisers beyond the salons of Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago to hardline military experts, his administration is moving toward doing the right thing when it comes to Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.
Yuriy Butusov | What happened in Avdiivka -Euromaidan Press |The word Avdiivka has entered the lexicon of the world’s mainstream media and global diplomacy over the past several days. The reason has been the unexpected intensification of military combat in Donetsk Oblast, including the bombardment of residential areas in several city districts and the deaths of both Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. It is precisely one year ago, February 4, 2016, when units of the 58th motorized infantry brigade, formations of Right Sector and the Ukrainian Volunteer Army began operations to gain control of the eastern areas of Avdiivka. The meaning of the term “Avdiivka promzona” is now becoming increasingly clear: it is an embodiment of intense military combat. Avdiivka is part of the Donetsk-Horlivka complex. Donetsk, Yasynuvata, and Horlivka are all within a radius of a few kilometers. Battles are fought here for every strategic high ground, every meter of ground held, and for every building. Every 500 meters here comes at a great cost. There is nowhere to turn in retreat. If the Minsk accord from September 2014 and February 2015 were to be followed, Avdiivka belongs under the control of Ukraine. However, the Russian command has been viciously violating the terms of the treaty both here in this raion and across the front lines. Capitalizing on the disorganization of the Ukrainian army and its weak complement of troop levels, the enemy infantry was able to consolidate itself in the eastern parts of the city, in the suburbs and among the cooperative stores, private homes, and retail stores such as the Angar chain of home renovation outlets.
Battle for Avdiivka reveals bigger power game in eastern UkraineUpsurge in violence leads to concerns Putin is looking to extract concessions from Trump. The start of that bombardment coincided with a January 28 telephone call between Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, leading to fears in Ukraine that the attack was part of Moscow’s plan to influence the new American president and push him towards offering concessions. James Sherr, an analyst at the Chatham House policy institute, explicitly linked the Avdiivka flare-up to the Trump-Putin phone call. “The Russians — with planning and forethought — have responded visibly and disproportionately at this precise moment to test western reactions,” he explains. ……. As he continued his watch outside the triage station, Serhiy offered a mocking invite to the new US president to come to the frontline to view it for himself. “A big hello to Mr Trump from this very real war. Please visit us,” he says. “I have only two things to ask of you. Increase the sanctions and give us the Javelins.”
Ukraine as testing ground for Kremlin-Trump ‘dialogue’ | Ukraine | Al JazeeraIf Ukraine turns away from the Minsk Agreement, there will be no Western leverage to put pressure on Russia.
Terrell Jermaine Starr | The Case For Arming Ukraine So It Can Stand Up To RussiaFor more than two years, Ukraine has been outgunned battling Russian-backed rebels and Russian soldiers in the country’s east. Given that peace agreements have failed to end the conflict and Russia consistently lies about not helping rebels fight Ukrainian forces, should America give lethal weapons—specifically Javelin anti-tank missiles—to Kyiv?
Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska, MP | Why are Ukraine’s borders not secure?Western allies must meet their legal obligations to protect the country’s integrity
Lavrov Says Trump Position On Ukraine Differs From Obama’s Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he views U.S. President Donald Trump's opinion about the conflict in Ukraine as "a qualitative change" compared to that of Barack Obama. …
Ukraine’s problems to stay unsolved even if Kyiv regains full control of Donbas, Lavrov saysRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS, Censor.NET reports. “If someone hopes that all Ukraine’s problems will be solved as soon as Kyiv regains full control of the Donbas, they are wrong for it is impossible. It is clear for everybody in Europe, including Paris, Berlin and Brussels, as well as in the U.S., even the previous U.S. administration came to understand it in the end,” Lavrov stressed. “This is why Kyiv cannot avoid fulfilling its obligations under the Minsk agreements,” he added. Source: http://en.censor.net.ua/n426872
McCain rails against drawing equivalence between Putin, US – CNNPolitics.comSen. John McCain on Tuesday delivered a fiery, not-so-subtle rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s argument that the United States and Russia are morally equivalent, at one point slamming his hand on a lectern in condemning the Russian regime.
Portman decimates Trump’s proposed alliance with Russia – The Washington PostWhy Trump’s foreign policy only helps Putin
Senators seek Hill veto power over Trump on Russia – CNNPolitics.comA growing number of senators from both parties plan to ratchet up their push to stiffen sanctions on Russia and demand Congress have the final say if President Donald Trump decides to weaken penalties on the country unilaterally.
Senators are joining forces to prevent the White House from lifting sanctions against Russia | Business InsiderThe US Senate is poised to introduce new…
Trump Vows To ‘Find Out’ Nature of Separatist Forces in UkraineTrump says he “would be surprised” if forces are “uncontrolled” but unsure.
The Daily Vertical: Lukashenka Plays Chicken (Transcript)It's hard to figure out whether Alyaksandr Lukashenka is crazy — or crazy like a fox. Over the past week, the Belarusian strongman has been on something of a roll: He lashed out at Russi…
Russia’s Not-So-Hot Euro-Election Subversion Strategy Is Failing in France – The Daily BeastThe French press are delivering an excruciating lesson for their American counterparts: If you ignore the WikiLeaks-Moscow-Assange interventions, Russia can’t subvert your democracy.
Marine Le Pen backs Vladimir Putin and denies invasion of Crimea | The IndependentFrench far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Crimea “has always been Russian” in a series of astonishing claims that defy the evidence that Moscow invaded Ukraine. The Front National leader vehemently denied any invasion had taken place and instead claimed a “coup d’état” in Ukraine resulted in a transferring of power. Ms Le Pen also called for sanctions against the Kremlin to be removed, calling them “completely stupid” and the cause of “major problems for the EU.”
Seznam.CZ Prioritizes Russian Websites – To Inform is to InfluenceThis Forbes article is all peaches and cream unless one has insider information. According to my anonymous Czech expert: Collection of news and search results available through this portal, https://www.seznam.cz, is an indicator of the key problem in the information environment in the Czech Republic. Without this amplifier that prioritizes obscure sites like Aeronet in…
The Real Vladimir Putin – WSJBusiness World columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., writes that the era of covering up may at last be coming to an end in Western relations with Russia.
Is it all going swimmingly for Vladimir Putin? | EuronewsBy Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. The combination of foreign-policy optimism, creature comforts, and domestic repression seems to be a potent elixir.
Berlin and Warsaw united on Ukraine issue, – Duda, Merkel say. PHOTO08.02.17 11:36 – Berlin and Warsaw united on Ukraine issue, – Duda, Merkel say. PHOTO Polish President Andrzej Duda and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Warsaw on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, the Ukrainian issue. View photo news.
Merkel Urges Putin To Help End Violence In Eastern UkraineGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence on separatists in eastern Ukraine to stop the violence there, a German government spokesman says. A…
Merkel seeks common ground on Poland trip | News | DW.COM | 07.02.2017During a visit to Poland, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the situation in Ukraine remains unacceptable. The German chancellor also warned against “exclusive clubs within the EU.”
Lithuanian President Says NATO Deployment Sends ‘Clear Message’ Of UnityLithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says the deployment of NATO forces in the Baltic country is sending a "very clear" message that the military alliance stands "strong and unite…
Russia Puts Air Force On Alert For Snap Inspection To Ensure ReadinessPresident Vladimir Putin has put the Russian Air Force on high alert for a snap inspection, the latest in a series of drills amid tensions with the West. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said tha…
Ukraine reports almost 90 attacks in Donbas, 3 WIA’s in last dayRussia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 89 times in the past 24 hours with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 08 February from UNIAN.
Pro-Russian militants opened fire 89 times yesterday, employed 152 mm and 122 mm artillery, mortars, tank, IFV weapon, – Staff08.02.17 10:11 – Pro-Russian militants opened fire 89 times yesterday, employed 152 mm and 122 mm artillery, mortars, tank, IFV weapon, – Staff Over the past 24-hour period, Russian mercenaries opened fire upon Ukrainian Armed Forces in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area 89 times. View news.
Donbas terrorists’ Somalia battalion leader Givi killed by explosion08.02.17 09:18 – Donbas terrorists’ Somalia battalion leader Givi killed by explosion Terrorist Mikhail Tolstykh, also known as Givi, was killed by a blast in his office in the occupied Donetsk. View news.
Separatist commander Mikhail Tolstykh, ‘Givi’, killed in eastern Ukraine – World – CBC NewsSeparatist rebels in eastern Ukraine say one of their most prominent warlords has been assassinated, but several Russian media outlets say Mikhail Tolstykh died in an explosion in his office.
Separatist Commander Assassinated in Eastern Ukraine – BloombergMoscow (AP) — A prominent rebel leader in eastern Ukraine has been killed in an explosion in his office, his associates said on Wednesday.
Ukrainian lawmakers outraged by German ambassador’s comments on Donbas elections | KyivPostUkrainian lawmakers have lambasted German Ambassador to Ukraine Ernst Reichel for suggesting that local elections in Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas could be held even before the Kremlin withdraws Russian forces from the occupied territories. “We believe that this announcement of the German ambassador to Ukraine contradicts the official German standpoint, and contradicts the Minsk agreement,” said Hanna Hopko, an independent Ukrainian lawmaker who chairs the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Putin’s Navalny DilemmaHow do you solve a problem like Navalny? The gang in the Kremlin, it appears, has absolutely no idea. They seem afraid to imprison him; they've been unable to co-opt him; and no matter ho…
Navalny Found Guilty In Embezzlement CaseA court in the provincial Russian city of Kirov has found opposition political activist and anticorruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny guilty in an embezzlement case. Judge Aleksei Vtyurin said o…
Russia’s Last Opposition Hero | Foreign PolicyRussia’s Last Opposition Hero « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
How Fair Is It to Call Putin a Killer? – Bloomberg ViewRussia’s president bears responsibility for the state’s victims.
Vladimir Putin opponent ‘in coma after being poisoned for second time in two years’ – Mirror OnlineVladimir Kara-Murza Jr, 35, fell ill last week shortly before he was due to fly to the United States to see his wife and children
Trump Should Praise Vladimir Kara-Murza — Not Vladimir Putin | Foreign PolicyTrump Should Praise Vladimir Kara-Murza — Not Vladimir Putin « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Putin Not a Friend, Poisoned Russian Activist’s Wife Tells Trump – ABC NewsPutin Not a Friend, Poisoned Russian Activist’s Wife Tells Trump
Will Belarus Be Putin’s Next Victim? | ObserverAnother Kremlin-driven crisis may be coming to Eastern Europe—but which side will the Trump administration be on?
Rights Group Warns Russia Moving Toward ‘Martial Law’ On The InternetRussia is increasingly cracking down on Internet users as courts impose harsh jail sentences for posts expressing political views, a rights advocacy group warned. "The Russian authorities hav…
Russia’s Art of War – To Inform is to InfluenceState Branding by Other Means By Michael Cecire “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” observed the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz in his classic treatise On War. Although the aphorism has become axiomatic almost to the point of cliché, it is an especially apt prism for understanding Russia’s increasingly adventurous foreign…T
ASS website blacklisted in Estonia for alleged anti-Estonian propaganda – To Inform is to InfluenceTass says they are blacklisted in Estonia like it’s a bad thing. </end editorial> February 07, 8:08 UTC+3 On Monday, Propastor posted a list of 28 Russian internet resources which, it claims, are carrying out anti-Estonian propaganda MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. TASS’ website has been blacklisted among a number of other Russian internet resources allegedly…
Ukraine Central Bank Presses for Exit of Kremlin-owned BanksCentral bank has sought removal following a breakdown in bilateral relations in 2014 because of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, support for pro-Russian separatists.
Australia-Ukraine agreement gets committee supportAn Australian parliamentary committee today recommended ratification of a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement that will permit the export of Australian uranium to Ukraine, subject to the development of a contingency plan for loss of regulatory control of the material.
Moldovan President Warns Against ‘Rush’ To Closer Ties With NATOMoldova's pro-Russia President Igor Dodon has warned NATO against moving too quickly to seek closer ties with Moldova and opening a planned liaison office in Chisinau. Speaking after talks wit…‘
If you can’t talk, you can’t fight’: Compass Call planes confuse ISISThe Vietnam War-era airplane sitting on the flightline at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing’s home base here may not look like much, but it is packed to the gills with electronics dedicated to sowing chaos in the ranks of the Islamic State terror group.
Can the Left Weaponize Russia? – POLITICO MagazineAnti-Soviet sentiment used to be a powerful political unifier for the right. Fifty years later, some liberals think they can replicate that model.
Russia’s booming ‘Trumpomania’ | Russia | Al JazeeraNo other US president has been seen so positively in a country that long challenged Washington’s post-WWII supremacy.
Joe Scarborough: Trump’s dangerous lie about Russia – The Washington PostThere is no moral equivalence between the United States and Putin’s Russia.
The ‘deals in Russia’ Trump prefers not to talk about | MSNBCDonald Trump wants to talk about his dealings with Russia. That’s a great idea.
Chinese: Network Warfare – To Inform is to InfluenceI haven’t read this in detail, yet. So far it appears elementary but not bad. </end editorial> (Translation from Chinese by my Chrome browser) Unknown author Network warfare , also known as information warfare is interference, sabotage enemy network information system, and ensure the normal operation of one’s own network of information systems and networks…
Russian millionaire details plans to re-establish Romanov empire on remote Pacific island | World news | The GuardianAnton Bakov and his wife Maria want to lease three islands in Kiribati where they plan to set up an alternative Russia
Donald Trump Says Your Opinions Are Fake If You Don’t Like His PoliciesThe president is in dangerous territory referring to anything he doesn’t like as “fake news.”
Amol Rajan | Donald Trump, media saviour – BBC NewsCould the new president benefit the mainstream media?
Erdoğan, Trump hold phone call for first time – Daily SabahPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump held a 45-minute long phone conversation late Tuesday, their first since the American leader…
Erdogan, Trump agree to act jointly against Islamic State in Syria: Turkish sources | ReutersTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call overnight to act jointly against Islamic State in the Syrian towns of al-Bab and Raqqa, both controlled by the militants, Turkish presidency sources said on Wednesday.
Turkey’s President Is Close to Getting What He’s Always Wanted – BloombergMustafa Kemal Ataturk’s statue in the main square of Rize, a small town nestled among tea plantations on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, has been gone since December. Its absence is a powerful symbol of the future.
Turkish Officials: CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Visit Turkey on Thursday to Discuss Security Issues – ABC NewsTurkish Officials: CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Visit Turkey on Thursday to Discuss Security Issues
Turkish officials: CIA director Mike Pompeo to visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss security issues – The Washington PostTurkish officials: CIA director Mike Pompeo to visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss security issues.
Putin Ratifies Deal To Build Turkish Stream Gas Pipeline To Southern EuropeRussian President Vladimir Putin has ratified a deal to build the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline to southern Europe, state media reported on February 7. The deal foresees at least 30 years o…
The Strategic Suicide of Aligning With Russia in Syria | Foreign PolicyThe Strategic Suicide of Aligning With Russia in Syria « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Torture as Syrian regime ‘exterminated’ 13,000 captives | Daily Mail OnlineVictims were given death sentences after sham trials lasting less than three minutes, often on the basis of confessions extracted through torture, human rights charity Amnesty International has said.
Why the Iranian people support a tougher policy toward Tehran | TheHillOPINION | An assertive U.S. policy towards Iran does not demand U.S. troops or naïve engagement with the ruthless ayatollahs.
Ukraine needs to enforce US sanctions on Iran | TheHillOPINION | Ukraine has to do better
Donald Trump Rattles the Asian Order | The National InterestWhy the Philippines shouldn’t be Trump’s next big gamble.
Russia Shows Why China Should Just Stop Burning Up Its Reserves – BloombergChina has wiped out about a quarter of the world’s heftiest foreign-currency stockpile over the past 18 months in its quest to keep the yuan stable. According to Commerzbank AG, such intervention is futile.
The Russo-Japanese War begins, Feb. 8, 1904 – POLITICOIn China, fallout from the war ultimately led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty in 1912.
Blackmail Under a Nuclear UmbrellaThe idea of nuclear blackmail fascinated analysts early in the atomic age. It offered an especially vivid nightmare scenario: Some new Hitler demanding co
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin ‘trying to redraw the map of Europe’, former French PM warns | The IndependentDonald Trump and Vladimir Putin are likely to attempt to “draw the map of Europe to their own design” in the fallout from Brexit, a group of senior French politicians have warned.
The Slippery Slope of Trump’s Dangerous ‘Whataboutism’ | Foreign PolicyThe Slippery Slope of Trump’s Dangerous ‘Whataboutism’ « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Tech CEOs Take a Stand Against Donald Trump’s Immigration Order – WSJA legal filing from scores of U.S. technology companies opposing President Donald Trump’s immigration order begins a new chapter in the industry’s complicated relationship with the administration that is likely to have repercussions beyond the current standoff in the courts.
You’re Scaring Off Valuable Minds, Scientists Tell Donald Trump – NBC NewsAn executive order pausing immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries is scaring away would-be entrepreneurs, biotechnology executives said.
Australia Has a New Pro-Trump, Far-Right Party | Foreign PolicyAustralia Has a New Pro-Trump, Far-Right Party « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas