Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 16 May 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Domestic US politics articles removed as much as possible.

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Interesting observations on Russia by Galeotti and Illiaronov – the latter says the breakup is inevitable now. CEPA essay on exercises very good. Dubnov and Ross good insights into Russian thinking. Sebastian interview on the Russian Orthodox Church is very good and lends credence to the label of “Orthodox Taliban” – reversion to the medieval fusion of church and state. Russia orders more Nebo M counter-stealth systems. Kustovsky cartoon has COCW! Russian MPs want to convert Donbas into a “postindustrial reservation area”. China might be bailing out the Belarus economy, sabotaging Russia’s play to bankrupt the Lukashenko regime.

On IO/IW/Cyber, ransomware blame game ramps up, while DPRK fingered as a possible source of code variant due to unique code fragments found. Multiple items of Russian propaganda all have COCW applied!

In Ukraine, Donbas fires continue. New Liga.net report says Russia will need to attack Ukraine on another front if it wants to secure the whole Donbass, by drawing UA force elements away. Ukraine will ban most Russian TV and key Russian-owned/hosted social media platforms, to prevent dissemination of propaganda and recruitment of proxies – three years late needless to say. SBU detains eight Russian subversive agents, organizing rent-a-crowd protests, but 32 of the team of 40 the Russian operators deployed remain at large, rent-a-crowd protestors in Dnipro charged. Polish embassy attacker hiding now in Moscow. Dutch prosecutors complain that SBU is too slow in declassifying SIGINT intercepts. New wheeled SPH project in limbo. Russian/DNR/LNR passport holders denied visa-free EU travel. Documentary on Crimean Tartar woman who hides and saves 88 Jewish children from Gestapo, and then convinces NKVD to release them. MP Artemenko who tried to peddle Russian Crimea proposal to POTUS stripped of Ukrainian citizenship and parliamentary seat, now in the US and may lose his Canadian passport as well. China offers to invest in Ukraine’s aerospace and nuclear industries.

Major Syrian news is AI report on “slaughterhouse” prison near Damascus, unlike Saddam who buried the bodies, Assad is now burning them to conceal evidence. Obama comments on his previous Syria decisions. Turks apparently want USAF out of Incirlik – alternatives for USAF could be in Romania or Western Ukraine. Reports Iran is aiding DPRK in weapons development, although this may be bilateral.

Kazianis spells out DPRK risks. DPRK thumbs its nose at the US. Putin criticizes US over DPRK. Much MSM traffic on ransomware and DPRK cyber-crime. Multiple backgrounders on DPRK, some grotesque. Multiple reports on Silk Road effort, and ransomware pandemic in China. Interesting reports on Japan, esp. Senkaku history.

US domestic debate continues.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Russian intelligence is at (political) war It would be a mistake to see the Russian security and intelligence services as analogs of those of the West. Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague stresses that “in terms of their missions, interactions and mindsets, they are on a wartime footing.”

bne IntelliNews – STOLYPIN: The US-Russian “axis of emptiness” It is hard to see any real mileage in the US-Russian relationship because neither side can offer the other what they would want.

Andrei Illarionov about Ukraine, Putin and the inevitable collapse of Russia – Do you confirm this? Russia also doomed to decay?
– Of course. The process is incomplete. Just Russia – the largest piece of empire. This process began in the early 20th century. This was the first stage was the second stage. There will be a third. Maybe no one else will. Of course, there are some areas within the present borders of the Russian Federation, which are disproportionate, can not be combine with other areas. Quite obvious example – is Chechnya. Standards cultural, religious, had anything – they are incompatible. But it is not just a single event. Of course, it will. And it is also difficult to imagine as it was difficult for some to imagine 30 years ago that the Soviet Union would disintegrate. How can this be – fall apart? It is impossible! Disintegrate.
– A scenario of possible collapse as it might develop? It is this discrepancy mental, the other from the Caucasus region? Perhaps the cost?
– This is another question that scenarios. Scripts may be different. Because modern Russia has concentrated a huge number of contradictions, crises. Ethnic and ideological is one of the most important. Because if you ask Russian citizens where the borders of Russia, they will give a huge amount of different answers. People have different ideas about where Russia ends. So that – different. Russia – ethnic. Russia – law. Russia – imperial. These circles are completely different. One of the key questions about where Russia is real? This process of forming a national ideology, national thinking in Russia, which, by and large, not even began with. Because of imperial thinking prevails. And it poured, breaks in the form of some campaigns “Krymnash” or “Syriyanash” or “Bilorusnash” – a kind of madness.
– So, Putin expresses the desire of most Russians?
– No. He creates them. It just has the ability to power through administrative, promotional resources to form a new point of view. If it does not, it is a natural process in the presence of a free media leads to the fact that the call of imperial die. They fall asleep. I can see, for example, the same 1990s when Yeltsin himself, not being honest Imperials – notably how the imperial sentiment fell asleep in Russian society. And Putin needed special efforts to awaken them. Wake them first on Chechnya, then on Georgia and now Ukraine on.
 – As for the possible scenario of collapse?
 – Always say: that the collapse of Russia – this is ….! We were all brought up in the Soviet Union and the collapse of the USSR – the horror, the horror, and so on. Broke what? Nothing! Those who come to his senses – feel good. He did not come to his senses – the one to blame, not the collapse of the USSR. Empire disintegrate. Broke up the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And what? There are Austria, Czech Republic is. It was Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia and then collapsed.There are separate Hungary. Was Yugoslavia – Yugoslavia disintegrated. What they do not feel? Where people come to his senses and spend a reasonable policy, everything is fine, everything is good going. Just over 100 years ago, the planet was 40 independent states, and now 200! And what? Now people live worse? No!

The dangerous tool of Russian military exercises | CEPA Col. Tomasz K. Kowalik and Dominik P. Jankowski It all started with a military exercise in 2008. “Today, Georgia. Tomorrow, Ukraine. The day after, the Baltic states—and later perhaps the time will come for my country, Poland!” Those words were uttered 5 August 2008 by Poland’s late president, Lech Kaczyński, in the presence of five European heads of state who had come to Tbilisi in a gesture of solidarity with the just-invaded Georgia. Almost 10 years later, this statement anticipates Europe’s current security dilemma. These days, pundits are increasingly speculating on what Russia’s next large-scale military exercise—code-named Zapad-2017—may bring. Will it be just another saber-rattling event that will once again lower the security threshold by adding uncertainty and unpredictability—and make us increasingly numb and desensitized to those large-scale exercises? This time, will a Russian ally have to reluctantly accept the stationing of more foreign troops on its territory? Or will it lead to yet another Russian military incursion into a neighboring country? Which security Rubicon will be crossed this time? Understanding Russia’s modus operandi in recent years, and what its large-scale military exercises are designed to accomplish, could offer answers and highlight areas that the international community should closely watch. It also indicates a way ahead for the West. Train with a purpose

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Failure to Attract CIS Leaders to Victory Parade Marks Shift from Post-Soviet Era to Russian World, Dubnov Says Paul Goble Staunton, May 15 – Only one leader of another former Soviet republic, Moldova’s Igor Dodon, joined Vladimir Putin for Moscow’s Victory Day parade, a development that “may not have been planned but that certainly should have been foreseen,” marking as it does the end of the post-Soviet era and its replacement by “’the Russian world,’” Vadim Dubnov says. “Slowly and as the mathematicians say asymptotically … the post-Soviet era with its elite solidarity and devotion to Moscow is running out,” the Moscow commentator says in today’s Novaya gazeta. Moldova’s Dodon it would appear is “the last of those who suppose the past is important” for their future (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/05/15/72434-sindrom-dodona). “Victory Day,” he says, “gave us in the person of Igor Dodon a symbol of the natural drying up of the past,” of the end of “the conception of the post-Soviet world” and its replacement by “’the Russian world,’” a concept that is not simply empty words but “a triumph of the Kremlin’s post-modernism.” Under the terms of “the old post-Soviet model … Moscow’s role was passive” because everyone was still linked to the past. But, Dubin argues, “the doctrine of ‘the Russian world’ is on the contrary active and aggressive … it penetrates everything like radiation” and doesn’t rely on the past but on Moscow’s action and mobilization of large groups of people abroad. “The new Russia,” he says, “can count on thousands of citizens,” people who may think they are “the third wave of emigration” but in fact are “sleeping agents” who can be mobilized by the Russian government and put in motion by it against those who offend Moscow or get in its way. Moscow isn’t interested in victories: it is concerned about having a presence that it can use to take advantage of situations in many countries as they develop. And it gains a victory because those it targets, like the Democratic Party in the United States, see it as “a threat of planetary size.” And that means this, Dubnov concludes. There has been a new definition of what is good and what is bad. “In general, you no longer will come to us for the parade: that means that we will come to you” not with tanks necessarily but with bikers and hackers who send a signal that Russia is still around and must still be reckoned with.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: No One Denies Soviet Army Defeated Hitler but Russians Won’t Admit It Occupied Those It Liberated, Tatyana Ross Says Paul Goble Staunton, May 15 – For Russians, Victory Day is an ever more important date; but they act as if May 9 was the end of history and fail to see that the Soviet Army which first liberated Eastern Europe from the Nazis then became an occupying force for almost half a century, Moscow commentator Tatyana Ross says. But because Russians are encouraged by the Kremlin to view Victory Day in isolation from what followed, she continues, they view the reaction of East Europeans to those events as efforts at “revision of the results of the Great Fatherland War” and as an impermissible defense of Hitler’s aggression (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59189F3F19487). Russians don’t ask themselves why, after the Red Army liberated Eastern Europe, it didn’t go home but instead “left IN ALL the liberated countries ‘a limited contingent’ of its forces” for decades, Ross says. And they don’t see the ways the liberation led to the occupation and the occupation led to Budapest, Vilnius and all the rest. “If Russia would just recognize and then condemn the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe,” Ross says, she “does have any doubts that [the Red Army] would be viewed there as heroes who liberated [Eastern Europe] from German fascism. And [in that event,] no one would be tearing down the monuments.” The anger Ukrainians, Balts and other East Europeans feel is the direct result of Russia continuing to “assert that it was only a liberator” and nothing else just as today Moscow insists that “there are no Russian soldiers in the Donbass” and that theya re in Syria “only to help the toiling people.” “It is time,” Ross argues, “to honestly admit that the Soviet Red Army having liberated became an occupier.” Taking that skeleton out of the closet will allow everyone to breathe easier But even more, she says, “until we do this, Russia will not have a future” because “Russians will not understand why other peoples are so negatively inclined toward them.” Unfortunately, she says, there are five reasons why the Kremlin won’t acknowledge this reality. First, “to recognize the USSR as the occupier of Eastern Europe means to reduce its own greatness in the victory” and to admit that the Soviets committed serious crimes along the way even if they had a triumph. Second, for the Kremlin to declare that the Soviet army was not only a liberator but an occupier means to tell Russians that among those who resisted it were not only Nazis but those who were legitimately fighting for their own freedom and independence. Third, such an admission undercuts the Kremlin’s insistence that Moscow conducts “only wars of liberation.” Fourth, to admit that the Soviet military was an occupier after 1945 requires an acknowledgement that it was an occupier before the German invasion of 1941 when as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact occupied the Baltic countries, western Belarus and Ukraine, and part of Romania. And fifth – and this may be the most intolerable thing for the current occupant of the Kremlin – such a recognition requires not only the denunciation of the USSR for what it did but also the condemnation of the man Vladimir Putin calls “’a successful manager’ in the first instance. Russians need to recognize that no one in Eastern Europe disputes that the Soviet army liberated them from the Nazis, but they also need to recognize that they have compelling reasons to view what the Soviet army and state did after that time and for almost 50 years was an occupation and not a liberation.

Tim Sebastian | Is the Russian Orthodox Church serving God or Putin? – To Inform is to Influence The church has been a powerful part of most people’s lives since before Christ walked the earth.  The belief in “God” is man’s invention to explain the inexplicable, according to the late Dr. Rev. Hagen Staack.   Here, a renowned Lutheran scholar, at a Lutheran college, in the Lutheran-centric area of Pennsylvania seemingly blasphemed the…

The Morning Vertical, May 16, 2017 ON MY MIND The trial of blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky for insulting the feelings of religious believers for playing Pokemon Go in church has yet again illustrated the degree to which the Kremlin is playing the traditional-values card. Vladimir Putin’s regime has been using this tactic — support for “Christian values” and opposition to LGBT rights — to shore up support at home and to drive a wedge into Western societies. But it is still unclear the degree to which the Kremlin has truly gone ideological, or whether the values card is simply window dressing to legitimize a kleptocratic regime. But what is becoming evident is that the power of such ideological appeals appears to be wearing off as demonstrations against corruption, against a new road tax that benefits Putin’s cronies, and against the planned destruction of Khrushchev-era apartment blocks in Moscow persist. As the Kremlin positions itself as the guardian of traditional values, opposition leaders like Aleksei Navalny and a critical mass of Russian society appear to be rallying behind a different set of values — civic values. This struggle between so-called traditional values and what appear to be resurgent civic values should prove to be a key dynamic going forward.

Navalny Supporter In Tatarstan Is Jailed For 10 Days KAZAN — A court in Russia's Tatarstan region has ordered a local activist to serve 10 days in jail in connection with a rally in support of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. In a May 1…

Putin Declines To Say Whether He Will Seek Reelection In 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin has declined to state publicly whether he plans to seek a new six-year term in a March 2018 election. Asked by a journalist in Beijing on May 15 if it was time t…

Russia, Saudi Arabia Support Extending Oil Output Cuts Into 2018 Major oil exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia say that an agreement to cut output should be extended through March 2018. The statements on May 15 caused oil prices to rise on world markets. Th…

Russia concluded a contract to supply new Nebo-M anti-missile radar facility systems | Defence Blog The Ministry of Defense of Russia confirmed that was signed the contract to supply a new batch of Nebo-M anti-missile radar facility systems. According to military-informant.com, the JSC “Federal Research and Production Center” Nizhny Novgorod Research Institute of Radio “(JSC” FNPC “NNIIRT”) has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the supply of new mobile multi-range programmable Nebo-M complex. The new Nebo-M 3-D radar system features a programmable multi-band design. The complex includes central data fusion and command post module as well as three radars, all deployed on separate high-mobility 8 x 8 24-ton vehicles. According to Aviatioweek, radars feed data to the command post using high-speed narrow-beam digital data links in the microwave band. The radar is designed to automatically detect and track airborne targets such as ballistic missiles, stealth aircraft, or drones, as well as hypersonic targets. In the circular scan mode the complex is able to track up to 200 aerodynamic targets at a distance and at altitudes of up to 600 kilometers. In sector scan mode, Nebo-M can track to 20 ballistic targets at ranges of up to 1,800 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 1,200 kilometers. In October, the Russian Defense Ministry unveiled plans to build several new anti-missile radars in order to cover the entire territory of Russia by 2020. Moscow also announced that an early warning radar station in the western Kaliningrad Region would be put on full combat duty by the year’s end.

The real clash of civilizations: Last Lenin comes down in Kyiv as Stalin cult rises in Moscow | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | The political cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovsky shows Ukraine as a woman in traditional dress using the tryzub (Ukraine’s ancient coat of arms) to defeat Putin, Lavrov, Stalin and Lenin riding Kirill, the head of the Moscow Ortodox Patriarchate. (Image: radiosvoboda.org)Political cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovsky
Cartoon Translation: Left – Free Speech, Democratisation, EU, Local Church, Right – Russian World, Russian Orthodox Church + Putin, Lavrov, Kyrill, Stalin and Lenin

Russian State Duma sees Donbas as “postindustrial reservation area” 16.05.17 13:57 – Russian State Duma sees Donbas as postindustrial reservation area From May 17, Russian State Duma is to host an exhibition titled Industrial heritage of Donbas. Its organizers will propose to create a postindustrial landscape recreation area on the territory occupied by Russian militants. View news.

Russian Tycoon Sues AP Over Report On Ex-Trump Adviser A Kremlin-connected billionaire has sued the Associated Press (AP) for defamation and libel over a report on his business ties to U.S. President Donald Trump&rsquo;s former campaign chairman. I…

Scientists To Increase Study Of Weather In Rapidly Warming Polar Regions Scientists will increase scrutiny of Earth's polar regions as part of a two-year campaign announced on May 15 to improve global weather predictions and minimize risks linked with rapid climat…

Reducing Tensions Between Russia and NATO – Council on Foreign Relations Kimberly Marten outlines how U.S. policymakers can deter Russian aggression with robust support for NATO, while reassuring Russia of NATO’s defensive intentions through clear words and actions based in international law.

The Great California Bee Heist: Authorities Identify Russian-Ukrainian Suspect – NBC NewsThe suspect, Pavel Tveretinov, is believed to have carried out two major bee thefts north of Sacramento.

The Chinese will build a high-speed rail and subway in Belarus? The Chinese company CRCC can take part in the construction of a high-speed railway in Belarus. Minister of Economy Vladimir Zinovsky, while in the People’s Republic of China as part of the official delegation during the working visit of Lukashenka, met with the leadership of the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC). “As a promising area of cooperation, the parties noted the participation of CRCC companies in the further development of the infrastructure and facilities of the industrial park” Great Stone “, the third line of the Minsk metro, and also agreed to work out the possibility of building a high-speed railway from the border with the EU to Minsk and to the border with Russia. For a detailed discussion of the prospects and conditions for their implementation in June, Chinese companies will visit Belarus and hold talks with interested agencies and organizations, “explained in M Economy. Reference. Holding CRCC is a large construction corporation, which is managed by the Committee for Control and Management of State Property under the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. It specializes in the construction of high-speed railways, metro, highways, bridges, tunnels, real estate and business in more than 100 countries. CRCC ranks 62nd in the ranking of 500 of the world’s largest companies (Fortune Global 500) and third in the ranking of the world’s largest contractors (Top 250 Global Constructors). The corporation holds a leading position among Chinese contractors in railway construction.

Lukashenka asked China for $ 1 billion to complete the modernization of the refinery China can allocate $ 1 billion to Belarus to complete the modernization of the refinery. Leaders of Belarus and China Alexander Lukashenko and Xi Jinping discussed cooperation in the investment and credit and financial spheres at the talks in Beijing, in particular, the allocation of funds for the modernization of the Belarusian oil refineries. “China will consider the possibility of allocating funds to Belarus to complete the modernization of oil refineries.This project is technically complex, and the owners of technology are mainly European and American companies, so the success and effectiveness of their implementation depends on the ability to provide unrelated loans,” the press service said. The Belarusian president following the talks. As noted in the press service, according to experts, the required amount is about $ 1 billion. In this connection, the press service continued, the PRC President noted that “Belarus and China have achieved significant results in the development of bilateral cooperation and always reach a consensus on fundamental issues.” “I am confident in the good future of our relationship,” Xi Jinping said.

Belarus and China can introduce a mutual 30-day visa-free regime Belarus and China will study the possibility of mutual introduction of a visa-free regime for up to 30 days. This was reported by the press service of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the basis of his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday. “The countries are studying the possibility of mutual introduction of a visa-free regime for up to 30 days, the heads of state instructed the competent bodies to work out this issue in a substantive manner,” the press service said. At present, a visa-free regime exists between the countries for holders of diplomatic or service passports, as well as tourist groups. In addition, there are corresponding arrangements for short trips to some Chinese cities. The PRC is also on the list of 80 countries whose citizens can stay in Belarus without a visa for five days. Belarusian Ambassador to China Kirill Rudyi explained that the issue of the possibility of introducing a visa-free regime for up to 30 days was not the first time. “This issue has been studied for a long time and is an element of the visa policy pursued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus as a whole, which is a consistent, logical step towards further liberalization of the visa regime, primarily aimed at simplifying and improving the tourist business between the two countries, Quotes K.Rudogo State Agency of BelTA. According to statistics, the Chinese are the most active and spending tourists in the world. Last year, the number of tourists from this country was about 120 million, of which about 50 million visited European countries. Belarus is visited every year by only a few thousand citizens of China, but half of them stay in the country for more than 30 days. “Now, the foreign ministries of the two countries, according to the instructions, will work out the document in detail, the possibilities.As a rule, it takes several months to reach the implementation of the mandate,” K. Rudyi noted.

General Staff: Belarus will not switch to professional army The Ministry of Defense of Belarus does not support the idea of moving to a professional army. This was stated at the meeting of the National Security Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Major-General Alexander Shkirenko, answering the question of Senator and well-known transplantologist Oleg Rummo. “A professional army will not be created in Belarus,” Shkirenko said, stressing that it is not appropriate to refuse conscripts’ summons. He cited the example of Ukraine, which in 2013 decided to abandon the draft, and in 2014 abolished this decision. З The deputy chief of the General Staff also stressed that the professional army is always numerous. “It is beyond the strength of the Belarusian economy to maintain an armed force of 250,000 people,” the general said. He also stressed that the professional army is an army of wartime. “And for peacetime it’s just not needed,” he said. According to the deputies who are members of the National Security Commission, even in the US Army there is not only a professional part, but also an organizational reserve, transfers sputnik.by


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


WannaCry Ransomware Cyberattacks Slow Managers and employees at government offices, organizations, and businesses returned to work warily on May 15 amid fears that a massive cyberattack could worsen after the weekend, but compute…

Who Is Really to Blame for the WannaCry Ransomware? | Foreign Policy Who Is Really to Blame for the WannaCry Ransomware? « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

How Anti-Democratic Propaganda Is Taking Over the World – To Inform is to Influence Autocrats from Beijing to Moscow are spreading their toxic ideology in more parts of the globe than ever before. And they’re much more sophisticated than you think. By CHRISTOPHER WALKER March 03, 2017 RT, the controversial Russian state propaganda network that has extended its tentacles into the United States and Europe, finally is seen as…

Russian Patriarch Sprays Holy Water on Computers to Fend Off Ransomware Virus – To Inform is to Influence Russians are strange. </end editorial> By Ian Miles Cheong 3:30 pm, May 15, 2017 Just as the UK’s National Health Service, corporations, and government agencies around the globe grapple with the recent ransomware virus attack that forced thousands of computers offline, Russia has come up with a novel way of dealing with the cybersecurity situation: holy…

Russian State TV Edits Out Commentary On Putin And ‘Untruth’ In Hit U.S. TV Series MOSCOW — When Russian state TV aired popular American TV show Fargo, viewers saw a version not only dubbed into Russian, but also tailored for their desired political beliefs: namely one lackin…

Whether Stalin is guilty of the Kharkov catastrophe / History / Nezavisimaya gazeta print version Discuss on the forum Historians and researchers should put an end to myth-making about the Great Patriotic War

Kazakhstan is turned into an outpost of biological aggression / Geopolitics / Nezavisimaya gazeta But any attempt to understand current events comes up against a lack of understanding of our Kazakhstan partners. Deputy Director KSCQZD Stanislav Kazakov called saying their Russian counterparts on this issue as much as a “planned provocation against Kazakhstan.” To speak of the CRL prior to the beginning of its work, and fully loaded, in his opinion, “is premature and incorrect.” Because “the task of the laboratory is under construction it is precisely to avoid any theft, accidental introduction into the environment and the use of biological materials for non-peaceful purposes.” All the same arguments leads and director KSCQZD, previously commemorated Bakyt Atshabarov which assures others: “This project – not so much a question of money, as a matter of technology.” Indeed, in words and on paper, the description of the design features of the object being built impressive. It featured monolithic walls with complete absence of cracks and impossibility of their appearance even in strong earthquake constricted fitting bolts of the superalloy metal materials and special finishing of a negative pressure system in the premises, so no air molecule at the inside could get out. But the notorious human factor has not been canceled. And he is known, says: he who pays the piper calls the tune. It is not necessary to the American scientists worked in a laboratory. Under the watchful eye of the Western partners are relying research may be carried out by a Kazakh microbiologists deeply rooted American network structure. After all, free cheese is only in a mousetrap.

Strongly NOT Recommended: Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online – To Inform is to Influence A strongly biased, deeply troubling report.  All case studies are of Trump and the US political far right embellishing the truth, manipulating the facts, and presenting a false narrative.   Starting with the title, this is a review of various extreme right factors which raised the ire of those on the extreme left and probably…

Lack of resilience led to lack of cyber strategy, says former DNI – Fifth Domain | Cyber  Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.


Ukraine Reports


To annex Donbas, Moscow would have to destabilize Ukraine by attacking elsewhere, experts say | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Just as Moscow opened the way to its annexation of Crimea by undermining Ukrainian positions in the Donbas, so too, if Vladimir Putin decides to officially incorporate parts of the Donbas into the Russian Federation, he would need to launch a major program to destabilize Ukraine by launching attacks elsewhere, according to Kyiv experts. Such Russian actions elsewhere, these defense analysts say, would not only create problems for Kyiv in maintaining order but also have the effect of forcing the Ukrainian military to pull out of its currently fortified positions opposite the Russian occupiers and aggressors to defend the country elsewhere. These conclusions, which are contained in a report prepared for the Liga.net portal, are summarized by Kseniya Kirillova on the Krymr.com site today. And the US-based Russian analyst includes the commentaries of others about the Liga analytic report’s findings.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: To Annex Donbass, Moscow Would Have to Destabilize Ukraine by Attacking Elsewhere, Experts Say Paul Goble Staunton, May 15 – Just as Moscow opened the way to its annexation of Crimea by undermining Ukrainian positions in the Donbass, so too, if Vladimir Putin decides to incorporate parts of the Donbass into the Russian Federation, he would need to launch a major program to destabilize Ukraine by launching attacks elsewhere, according to Kyiv experts. Such Russian actions elsewhere, these defense analysts say, would not only create problems for Kyiv in maintaining order but also have the effect of forcing the Ukrainian military to pull out of its currently fortified positions opposite the Russian occupiers and aggressors to defend the country elsewhere. These conclusions, which are contained in a report prepared for the Liga.net portal (liga.net/projects/russian_agression/), are summarized by Kseniya Kirillova on the Krymr.com site today (ru.krymr.com/a/28488694.html). And the US-based Russian analyst includes the commentaries of others about the Liga analytic report’s findings. The report begins, Kirillova says, by observing that over the last three years, the military capacity of the Ukrainian military has improved dramatically and that “in the case of a non-nuclear conflict,” Kyiv’s forces on their own “would be capable of inflicting enormous damage on Russian ones.” Both Russian and Ukrainian analysts share that view. Igor Girkin (Strelkov), head of the “Novorossiya” movement, for example, has said (youtube.com/watch?v=RQjhqD0fHeo&t=4s) that “it is already impossible to defeat the Ukrainian army in an open battle.” Leonid Polyakov, former Ukrainian defense minister, has said the same (ru.krymr.com/a/28477681.html). Despite this, Kirillova continues, “a number of experts assert that Ukrainian diplomats have begun to receive signals from Moscow about preparations for a radical scenario involving a full-scale intervention of Russian forces in the Donbass and the strengthening of the Russian army on the line” opposite Ukrainian forces. The Liga report specifies that officials near Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko say that “Moscow is considering the option of the official seizure of Ukrainian territories in the Donbass,” something that will require the Russians to increase their efforts at destabilizing other parts of Ukraine. These sources maintain, the report continues, that “now, the Russians are actively involved in Mykolaiv and Kharkiv” and introducing people there to raise tensions in order to show that “the ‘Novorossiya’ project is still alive.” Aleksandr Turchinkov, secretary of the Ukrainian security council, suggests that the Kremlin “will try to destabilize” Kyiv itself. Girkin-Strelkov, Kirillova points out, has acknowledged that “the integration of the Donbass will be impossible without a full-scale attack on other regions of Ukraine,” something that will force the Ukrainian military to shift away from its currently well-prepared posts in order to respond to attacks elsewhere. That is the only way for Russia to win out. Ukrainian experts, however, cast doubt on Moscow’s ability to do this anytime soon. As quoted by the Liga report, they suggest that the Russian forces won’t be ready for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine until 2020, some three years from now – although they admit that smaller attacks are possible before that time. The report also addresses the threats that the Russian military now poses to Belarus and the Baltic countries. Many officials and analysts have suggested that Moscow may not withdraw its forces after the West-2017 exercises in Belarus and thus effectively occupy that country in a “hybrid” manner. And it says threats to the Baltic countries are “no less serious,” although experts there argue Russia is far less likely to invade them now than it might have been three years ago given that, in the words of one, “NATO partners understand our situation and are ready to back us” (ru.krymr.com/a/28327287.html). Russian destabilization efforts, of course, are another matter.

Foreign Minister of Ukraine: The U.S. is ready to exert pressure on Russia to settle the situation in the Donbas – To Inform is to Influence Monday, May 15, 2017 9:01:00 AM After a meeting with US President Donald Tramp on May 10, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Pavlo Klimkin, said that “there are very interesting ideas” but first they must be coordinated with all partners. Klimkin argues that regarding the process of settling the situation in the Donbas,…

CivMilAir ✈ 🚁 on Twitter: “Heading over Aegean Sea 🇺🇸 USAF RQ4 Global Hawk #UAV returning to NAS Sigonella https://t.co/CLJUb1VbBY”

Poroshenko Restricts Access To Russian Websites, Social Networks Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has imposed sanctions on several leading Russian social networks and search engines, ordering access to the sites to be restricted or blocked entirely in Ukraine….

Ukraine to block Russia propagandist media, social networks for three years Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed an order to introduce new sanctions against Russia, which foresees, among other things, the blocking of access to Russian media outlets and popular social networks. News 16 May from UNIAN.

There is no mechanism for blocking Russian social networks in Ukraine yet The mechanism for blocking access to Russian information resources on the Internet, namely Yandex, social networks “VKontakte” and “Odnoklassniki”, and the prohibition of the use of the accounting software 1C is entrusted to work out to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Security Service with the participation of the National Bank of Ukraine. This UNIAN was informed in the press service of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The department was reminded that President Petro Poroshenko, by his decree, put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council “On the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)”. In particular, it is noted that on the basis of the proposals of the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Bank and the Cabinet of Ministers, the NSDC adopted a decision “On the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions).” It is said that the decision provides for the continuation of sanctions against physical and legal sanctions imposed by the NSDC decision of September 16, 2016 and enacted by Presidential Decree No. 467 of October 17, 2016.

Russian social media Odnoklassniki and VKontakte to be banned in Ukraine 16.05.17 13:12 – Russian social media Odnoklassniki and VKontakte to be banned in Ukraine President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has enacted the decision by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) on implementing sanctions against social media websites VKontakte and Odnoklasniki. The presidential decree has been… View news.

Ukraine imposes sanctions against NTV Plus, Zvezda, REN TV, RBC, other Russian media for 3 years Ukraine has imposed sanctions for a period of three years against a number of Russian media organizers. The sanctions were imposed against TV companies TV Center, RBC, NTV Plus, Zvezda, TNT, Moscow Media, Rossiya Segodnya, REN TV and other media in line with a decree signed by President Petro Poroshenko, which enacted a resolution of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) dated April 28, 2017 on the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions). The decree was signed on May 15 and published on the presidential website on May 16. It comes into effect on the date of its publication.

Ukraine bans access to all Yandex services for 3 yrs Ukraine banned access to services provided by Russian Internet company Yandex LLC and by Yandex.Ukraine for a period of three years on May 16.

Russia to try to influence Ukraine through cyber warfare – Poroshenko Russia will try to influence Ukraine through using cyber warfare, but this will be unsuccessful, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said. “Recently we have seen a cyber war, when Russian used cyber warfare trying to influence the results of elections across Europe, and in the U.S. We expect that they will try to do the same thing Ukraine,” the president said in a televised linkup from Malta on the ICTV television channel on Monday evening. However, he stressed: “I am confident that our determination and unity will not leave them any chance [for this].”Poroshenko: No chance for Russia’s cyberwarfare against UkraineUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko warns that Russia will attempt to meddle in Ukraine's affairs, resorting to cyberwarfare, but he is confident it will not succeed. News 16 May from UNIAN.

Ukraine should join EU cybersecurity strategy – FM – LB.ua news portal Ukraine should join EU cybersecurity strategy – FM. “Ukraine has something to offer Europe”. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Russian Intelligence Organizes Astroturf Protests in Ukraine – YouTube The Ukrainian Security Services have announced that many of the apparent protest action in Ukraine have actually been organized by Russian intelligence. Thei…

Far-Right Ultra-Nationalist Who Attacked Polish Embassy Hiding in Moscow – YouTube The State Security Service of Ukraine has identified the ringleader of protests that had been held near the Rivne region council hall. The head of the SBU, V…

Russian, Ukrainian authorities making MH17 investigation “difficult”: Prosecutors | NL Times The investigation into the MH17 disaster is in a difficult phase and far from over, the Public Prosecutor wrote in a digital magazine meant to keep the victims’ relatives informed about what is happening in the MH17 file. The investigators are having trouble getting data from the Ukrainian secret service and cooperation with Russia remains difficult, the Prosecutor wrote on Monday, RTL Nieuws reports. The investigation is now in its “most difficult phase”, the Prosecutor wrote. “Booking progress at this stage is much more difficult.”

Why Ukraine’s Worst Enemy Is Not Vladimir Putin Identifying Ukraine’s enemies has become a popular pastime. Unsurprisingly, Russia was the first one to be listed after the Kremlin dropped any pretense of Slavic fraternity and invaded the country. Corruption was next. Whereas Russia was the enemy at the gates, corruption was the enemy within. An eclectic collection of lesser enemies has since joined the list, including everything from burdensome bureaucracy, emigration, and low birth rates to bad roads, nepotism, and international indifference. However, one ubiquitous and insidious enemy has so far escaped detection. This is the relentless negativity that shrouds Ukrainian perceptions of their own country. Most Ukraine-based expats will recognize this condition all too well from endless depressing conversations with Ukrainian friends and colleagues, who treat displays of outsider optimism as a charming but childish flaw. It is the debilitating practice of always expecting the worst, of finding the thorn on every rose, and the cloud within every silver lining. The public reaction to Ukraine’s quest for visa-free EU travel is a case in point. At first, the entire notion of visa-free EU access was subject to public ridicule and completely dismissed. At each stage of the process, the mockery continued. Everyone from TV analysts to barroom bigmouths was confident that the whole issue was a sham. Ukrainians were just embarrassing themselves. Nobody wanted them. With Ukraine on the verge of finally enjoying visa-free travel, the lyrics have changed but the tune remains the same. The same crowd is now proclaiming that visa-free access was never even worth having in the first place. So many documents! No guarantees! There is literally no pleasing these people.

Ukraine reports 2 WIA’s amid 37 enemy attacks in last day Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 37 times in the past 24 hours with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 16 May from UNIAN.

Over 500 mercenaries from Vostok gang killed in three years of war, – gang leader Khodakovsky 16.05.17 09:55 – Over 500 mercenaries from Vostok gang killed in three years of war, – gang leader Khodakovsky On May 6, separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas region celebrated three years of Vostok armed gang formation in occupied Yasynuvata. View news.

“My mom is in heaven,” – girl who saw her mom killed in Avdiivka shelling. PHOTOS+VIDEO”My mom is on heaven,” – girl who saw her mom killed in Avdiivka shelling. PHOTOS+VIDEO 16.05.17 14:34 – My mom is on heaven, – girl who saw her mom killed in Avdiivka shelling. PHOTOS+VIDEO On May 13, a fragmentation shell hit a regular Avdiivka residential yard. No one had a chance to survive. View video news.

Ukrainian soldiers in war zone display enemy “trophies” gathered after night attacks -Euromaidan Press | Ukrainian soldiers displayed their small museum of shells, fragments, mortars and cartridges – “fraternal greetings” from their nearby enemy – at a control point near occupied Dokuchayevsk, Donetsk Oblast.

Ukrainian reservists held live fire exercise in Chernihiv region. PHOTOS 15.05.17 17:51 – Ukrainian reservists held live fire exercise in Chernihiv region. PHOTOS The first stage reservists of the 61st Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade took part in company tactical exercise involving live firing at a training ground in the Chernihiv region. View photo news.

“Ukroboronservis” not find developers to artillery system components Announced state company “Ukroboronservis” auction in March, for the development and creation of a prototype automated system for deploying and guided artillery system was canceled due to lack of bids. Recall that the development of systems and manufacture prototype planned spending to 3.7 million. and six months. By deploying automated systems and artillery guidance system (hereinafter – the product), customer nominated the following specifications: the possibility of establishing a body (back of the) vehicle mount power to the chassis; Automated deployment / folding and guided to within no more than 0,1˚ without disconnecting the power from the chassis of the vehicle; firing position Products – emphasis and fixation on the ground via the load weight of the vehicle; automated manual duplication drives; ammunition firing staff; Recovery pointing angles between shots; the possibility of removal operations unexploded artillery fire from the barrel system.

Ex-political prisoner Hennadiy Afanasyev: “Soviet Union was strangled by economic sanctions…The same will be with Russia” Three years since Russia&rsquo;s FSB security service invented the term &ldquo;Crimean terrorists&rdquo;, UNIAN met with former political prisoner Hennadiy Afanasyev, who had been arrested by Russian-occupation authorities in the annexed Crimea on trumped up charges, about propaganda that turns people into monsters and the knowledge achieved through suffering. News 15 May from UNIAN.

US will keep eye on situation in Donbas, return of Crimea, says former diplomat – LB.ua news portal US will keep eye on situation in Donbas, return of Crimea, says former diplomat. The coordinator of the Justice movement warns against underestimating the diplomacy of the aggressor. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Occupied Crimea and Donbas residents who obtained Russian, ”DPR”, “LPR” passports will noy enjoy visa liberalization with EU, – Presidential Administration 15.05.17 23:42 – Occupied Crimea and Donbas residents who obtained Russian, ”DPR”, “LPR” passports will noy enjoy visa liberalization with EU, – Presidential Administration The residents of the occupied Ukrainian regions who have received passports of the Russian Federation or the so-called “DPR”/LPR will not be able to travel to the EU without visas. View news.

The Daily Vertical: Operation Sentsov The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Ukraine Will Soon Mark the Day of Remembrance of the Deportation of Crimean Tatars – YouTube Ukraine is getting ready for the Day of Remembrance of the Deportation of Crimean Tatars. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UATVEN Tw…

New Film Will Remember a Crimean Tatar Righteous Among Nations Who Saved 88 Children from Holocaust –  18th of May in Ukraine, the Day of Remembrance of the Deportation of Crimean Tatars, will also see the premiere of the documentary film “Foreign Prayers”…

Ukrainians discover stories of repressed relatives in newly opened KGB archives -Euromaidan Press | Visitors can freely copy the documents using their own cameras or portable scanners. All this makes Ukrainian archives a Klondike for researchers. Russia and Ukraine hold the world’s largest documentary collections of Communist secret services that ceased to exist in the early 1990s but once had been extremely powerful and disposed the future of millions. These documents cover the major part of the 20th-century history, including economic, social, and cultural life, various domains of domestic policy and international relations. The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 gave rise to the expectations that the new Russia would open these files to the world and its own citizens. And the veil indeed began to lift but stopped halfway. The creeping revenge of the unreformed state security machine pulled it back down, which means that myriads of secrets remain concealed from the public domain. The radical liberalization of access to ex-KGB archives in post-Maidan Ukraine, like other democratic changes, may be seen as belated, but its role can hardly be overestimated. It allows many thousands of people to find out what they did not know about their relatives who had been repressed. It demonstrates that the crimes of political regimes and the names of their perpetrators sooner or later come to light. And last but not least, it is a sign that the Ukrainian state is starting to trust the civic society.

Leader Of 1953 Soviet Gulag Uprising Dies In Ukraine At 90 One of the leaders of the 1953 Norilsk uprising, a major protest by inmates of the Soviet gulag prison-camp system, has died in Ukraine at the age of 90. Yevhen Hrytsyak died in the western regio…

Kyiv to host military parade on Independence Day Aug 24 President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko instructed the Cabinet to approve and ensure the holding of Independence Day celebrations, according to the presidential decree &quot;On the celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine.&quot;&nbsp; News 15 May from UNIAN.

One of hired thugs apprehended after May 9 turmoil in Dnipro City released on bail 15.05.17 19:02 – One of hired thugs apprehended after May 9 turmoil in Dnipro City released on bail One of the individuals arrested in Dnipro City for involvement in riots on May 9 was released after posting 128,000 hryvnia (about $4,900) in bail. View news.

Police chief says three officers involved in VDay attack on ATO veterans in Dnipro City suspended 15.05.17 23:21 – Police chief says three officers involved in VDay attack on ATO veterans in Dnipro City suspended Three members of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Ukraine in the Dnipropetrovsk region were suspended from duty after the incident in Dnipro City on May 9. View news.

Investigative documentary on journalist’s murder finds leads that cops didn’t, traces to SBU -Euromaidan Press | When Ukrainian-Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet was murdered in Kyiv on 20 July 2016, President Petro Poroshenko said that it was a matter of honor for law enforcers to find the culprit, as did Khatia Dekanoidze, the Georgian reformer tasked with overhauling Ukraine’s police force. However, 10 months later, not only were the killers not identified by the official investigation, even the versions behind the murder were not narrowed down from the initial 5 versions. Investigative journalists Anna Babinets, Dmytro Hnap, Vlad Lavrov, and Olena Loginova predicted this, so they started their own investigation about the reasons for the murder on the day of the tragedy. On 10 May 2017, they released their results in Killing Pavel, a 50-minute documentary created in cooperation with the OCCRP. What they found not only exposed the failures of the official investigation but raised suspicions on the involvement of Ukraine’s security service (SBU) in the resonant killing.

Top 10 quotes from President Poroshenko’s presser – LB.ua news portal Top 10 quotes from President Poroshenko’s presser. He talked about a wide range of issues, ranging from politics to family issues. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Poroshenko sees Ukraine as part of Schengen zone | UNIAN Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he sees Ukraine's membership of the Schengen zone as his goal. Current news and events 16 May from the Agency UNIAN.

Poroshenko to go to Berlin to talk with Merkel | UNIAN Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced he will visit Berlin on May 20 to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Latest UNIAN news from 16 May.

Ukraine to spend Yanukovych’s recovered assets on defense, infrastructure Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says UAH 40 billion, or US$1.5 billion, in recovered assets from fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and his allies, which has already been transferred to the state budget, will be spent on strengthening defense and infrastructure projects, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 15 May from UNIAN. 

Ukraine, Israel to ink FTA deal before yearend, says prime minister – LB.ua news portal Ukraine, Israel to ink FTA deal before yearend, says prime minister. The two countries have significantly increased trade over the past few months. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

MP Artemenko: “I am barred from entering Ukraine. All my passports cancelled” 15.05.17 22:18 – MP Artemenko: I am barred from entering Ukraine. All my passports cancelled Member of the Verkhovna Rada Andrii Artemenko claims that he is unable to return to Ukraine from the United States after the president issued a decree to revoke his Ukrainian citizenship. View news.

Rada decides on early termination of MP Artemenko’s mandate The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has passed a resolution on the early termination of Ukrainian MP Andriy Artemenko's mandate. Latest UNIAN news from 16 May.

The Criminal King AKA Don of Odessa Alexander Angert AKA Angel Is Dead – To Inform is to Influence This would be a good case study.  How many degrees of separation between Alexander Angert and Putin? Alexander Angert was “the Don” of Odessa, in other words, he was a certified bad guy. He had close ties to Yanukovych.   Operators of cargo terminal raise questions Has ties to Russian oil magnate Alexander Zhukov. Revealed: the Russian…

Throughput of Ukraine’s seaports increases since year-start In January-April 2017, seaports of Ukraine handled 44.058 million tonnes of cargo, up 2.3%, year-on-year, according to the press center of Ukraine's Sea Ports Authority, Port News reports. News 15 May from UNIAN.

Motor Sich, China’s Skyrizon could build aircraft engine plant in China China’s Skyrizon and Ukraine’s Motor Sich are planning to build a plant in Chongqing (the central part of China) at which they will produce and service aircraft engines under Ukrainian technologies, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv has said.

China ready to participate in building nuclear fuel production facilities in Ukraine – Energy Ministry China is ready to participate in the construction of facilities for nuclear fuel production in Ukraine, the press service of the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry of Ukraine reported following the talks within the framework of the One Belt, One Road forum in Beijing.

British Entrepreneur Emmanuel Cohen Shares his Honest Opinion on the Business Environment in Ukraine – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UATVEN Twitter: https://twitter.com/UATV_en Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uatv.en Medium: ht…

Reuters: Putin says Russia right to boycott Eurovision over Ukraine Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia was right to boycott this year's Eurovision song contest because Ukrainian authorities were not up to the job of organizing such events, according to Reuters. News 15 May from UNIAN.

Eurovision chief notes top notch organization in Kyiv – LB.ua news portal Eurovision chief notes top notch organization in Kyiv. “A wonderful job,” says EBU board member. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Former CIA agent says Iran aiding North Korea as new missile test emboldens Pyongyang Iran is continuing to help North Korea with weapons technology as Pyongyang’s new missile test emboldens the hermit regime.

Syria: Secret campaign of mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya Prison | Amnesty International A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells and hanged to death. In five years, as many as 13,000 people, most of them civilians believed to be opposed to the government, were hanged in secret at Saydnaya. Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria also shows that the government is deliberately inflicting inhuman conditions on detainees at Saydnaya Prison through repeated torture and the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care. The report documents how these extermination policies have killed massive numbers of detainees.

State Dept.: Assad using crematorium to hide atrocities – CNNPolitics.com The US said Monday it believes the Syrian government has built a large crematorium near the notorious Saydnaya Military Prison in an effort to hide mass atrocities carried out there, and placed the onus on Russia to rein in the regime.

Syria executions: 13,000 hanged at Saydnaya prison, Amnesty International says – CNN.com Thousands have been hanged at Syria’s Saydnaya prison in a secret crackdown on dissent by the Assad regime, a report by Amnesty International alleges.

US accuses Syria of mass executions and burning the bodies The Trump administration accused the Syrian government Monday of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners and burning the bodies in a large crematorium outside the capital. It also stepped up criticism of Iran and Russia for supporting the Syrian government.

State Department: Assad’s Regime Built Crematorium to Burn Bodies of Executed Prisoners – To Inform is to Influence The Sputnik response was fairly civil.  US Releases New Declassified Info on Damascus’ Alleged Actions Against Civilians </end editorial> by ABIGAIL WILLIAMS WASHINGTON — The Syrian regime has built a crematorium 45 minutes outside of Damascus where the U.S. government believes they are burning the bodies of the thousands of prisoners executed inside the walls…

Obama: Decision not to bomb Syria required ‘political courage’ – CNNPolitics.com President Barack Obama is pushing back on criticism from the Trump administration for his decision not to bomb Syria when he was in the White House, saying in an interview that it took “political courage” not to do it.

Obama: Not Bombing Syria Was Decision That ‘Took the Most Political Courage’  The former president said leaders are often praised for taking military action and criticized for failing to do so. He maintains his decision not to order airstrikes in Syria was the right one.

A Conversation with President Obama on Political Courage By Jack Schlossberg, grandson of President Kennedy and member of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Committee Last week, President Obama received the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage…

U.S. Calls On Iran To Free Jailed Baha’i Leaders The United States has condemned Iran's imprisonment of leaders of the Baha'i religious minority and called on Tehran to release them and other prisoners of conscience. Seven Baha'…

In Turkey, new demands to evict US forces from Incirlik Air Base It’s an unlikely outcome, experts say, but a clear sign of how dramatically relations have soured between the NATO allies.

The Turkey I no longer know – The Washington Post My homeland’s slide into authoritarianism must be stopped.


DPRK / PRC Reports


Harry J. Kazianis | The North Korea threat will only get worse. Here’s what Trump must do now | Fox News A Second Korean War could turn Seoul, Tokyo and Los Angeles into atomic ash heaps.

North Korea, buoyed by successful test, says its nukes can reach U.S.  North Korea said its new ballistic missile can carry a large nuclear warhead, claiming that the U.S. mainland is within its striking range.

North Korea offers ‘extended middle finger’ to Trump – CNNPolitics.com North Korea staged a brazen show of defiance against the Trump administration’s attempts to curb its nuclear ambitions, testing a missile Sunday that it said could reach US territory.

North Korea Missile Test Appears to Tiptoe Over a U.S. Tripwire – The New York Times By flying higher instead of farther, the missile seemed intended to improve North Korea’s capabilities without setting off an American military response.

North Korea’s Missile Program Is Progressing Faster Than Expected: South Korea – NBC News North Korea has regularly threatened to destroy the U.S. The missile launched Sunday appears to be the most powerful the country has ever tested.

North Korea’s Latest Missile Test: Advancing towards an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) While Avoiding US Military Action | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea North Korea’s latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile, according to aerospace engineer

N. Korea claims successful intermediate-range ballistic missile test launch | Defence Blog North Korea claimed to have successfully test launched an intermediate range ballistic missile – the Hwasong-12 – during the early hours of Sunday morning, an article released by state media said on Monday morning. The test was “aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead,” KCNA said. North Korea warned the United States not to provoke it, saying the “US mainland and Pacific operations” are within range of North Korean missiles. Analysts called this North Korea’s most successful missile test ever and a significant advancement in its quest to build a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). “North Korea’s latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile,” aerospace engineer John Schilling wrote on the blog 38 North, published by the US Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. One expert familiar with North Korea’s missile programs said the Hwasong-12 designation was new and that the test could represent a significant step forward for the country’s ballistic missile program. “This press release looks like it is designed to show off (the new missiles’) precision,” said Scott Lafoy, a Washington D.C.-based analyst for NK Pro. “It gives very specific times, apogee, and range, implying that they can very accurately track and measure everything in their test range.” “They specifically emphasize testing under “worst-case” conditions, which is meant to imply they have developed the reentry shields necessary for IRBM and long-range systems.” Another expert said the test had “very serious implications,” adding that the missile launched was likely a multiple stage, liquid propelled, intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and was one of the newly-developed devices on display in last month’s military parade in Pyongyang.


Putin calls for end to ‘intimidation’ of North Korea – CNN.com Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch as “dangerous” but warned against “intimidating” Pyongyang.

Putin: Talk to North Korea, not threaten it Putin confirmed he did not want more countries to hold nuclear weapons, but said dialogue is possible because of past “positive” experiences.

Russia warns against ‘intimidating’ North Korea after its latest missile launch – The Washington Post The comments were clearly directed at the United States.


Cyberattack with WannaCry ransomware may be linked to North Korea hackers Lazarus Group – CBS News Cybersecurity experts say there is some identical code in new &quot;WannaCry&quot; worm and malware used in previous North Korean attacks

Trail of global cyberattack could lead to North Korea – ABC News Trail of global cyberattack could lead to North Korea

‘WannaCry’ ransomware shares code with Sony hack, raising possibility of North Korea connection – LA Times With employees returning to work Monday, there are fears that more infected computers will be discovered. And there are also reports that new variations of the “WannaCry” virus are appearing.

In Computer Attacks, Clues Point to Frequent Culprit: North Korea – The New York Times Indicators are far from conclusive, but intelligence officials and private security experts say that North Korean-linked hackers are likely suspects in global ransomware attacks.

The WannaCry Ransomware Has a Link to Suspected North Korean Hackers | WIRED A Google researcher has identified a telltale chunk of code shared between the ransomware and malware used by suspected DPRK hackers.

Virulent WCry ransomware worm may have North Korea’s fingerprints on it | Ars Technica Identical code ties Friday’s attacks to hacks on Sony Pictures and $1bn bank heist.

Researchers Find Link To North Korea In Massive Cyberattack Cybersecurity firms have found clues that last weekend's global &quot;ransomware&quot; attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries could be linked to North Korea. Th…


Starving North Korean soldiers are living on just two potatoes a day – despite crackpot Kim Jong-un spending tens of millions on nuclear weapons (and Swiss cheese) And their terrible diet means North Korean troops are far shorter than their South Korean counterparts

North Korea may bid to co-host World Cup | The Reporter South Korea, North Korea, China and Japan may &quot;have a discussion&amp;#8221;

How NGA is evaluating the North Korea threat The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is playing a critical role in understanding what Kim Jong Un is up to.

UN agency helps North Korea with patent application for banned nerve gas chemical | Fox News For more than a year, a United Nations agency in Geneva has been helping North Korea prepare an international patent application for production of sodium cyanide — a chemical used to make the nerve gas Tabun.

If Americans Can Find North Korea on a Map, They’re More Likely to Prefer Diplomacy – The New York Times Most Americans could not identify the country in a survey, and those people tended to view military action more favorably.

North Korea is hard to find — slightly more so for Democrats and baby boomers

North Korea insult generator

Kim Jong-un set to open luxury themepark for tourists in famine-stricken North Korea | Daily StarKIM Jong-un is spending a fortune to turn North Korea into a tourist hot spot.


Commentary: Why North Korea is turning into a headache for China and Xi Jinping With North Korea speeding up its nuclear programme development and with less leverage with key countries in the Six-Party Talks, China is in a …

The latest: Australia says China responsible for NKorea – ABC News The latest: Australia says China responsible for NKorea

China, Addicted to Bootleg Software, Reels From Ransomware Attack – The New York Times As companies and officials scrambled to counter global hacking, the vulnerability caused by rampant piracy came into focus.

Cyberattack Spreads in Asia; Thousands of Groups Affected – The New York Times Two prestigious Chinese universities, a movie theater chain in South Korea and Japanese automakers were affected, but copycat variants did not seem to have materialized.

China: Police DNA Database Threatens Privacy | Human Rights Watch [[nid:303707 field_ne_alignment=center]]

China is creating a massive “Orwellian” DNA database to build a “harmonious society” — Quartz In the name of safeguarding its 1.4 billion people, China has been collecting biometric information from millions of people whom it deems potential threats—among them, Uyghurs, migrant workers, and college students—as part of national DNA database. China’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the database, has amassed information for more than 40 million people—the country…

China’s New ‘Silk Road’ Is Based on Its National-Security Agenda | The National Interest Chinese influencers are popping up across the European landscape.

In ancient city of Xi’an, China hopes to restart the Silk Road – CNN.com How China’s new silk road will rejuvenate Xi’an, the city where the ancient trade route began.

China’s Xi Confident In Future Of ‘One Belt, One Road’ Plan Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed confidence in the future of his One Belt, One Road initiative, a plan that could increase Beijing&rsquo;s global influence on trade and geopolitics. A…

Russian President Vladimir Putin Backs China’s New Silk Road Project The Russian president said he wanted to be involved in the China’s nearly one trillion dollar proposal to open a new Silk Road.

Interview: Theresa Fallon On Understanding China’s One Belt, One Road Plan China this week showcased its ambitious plan to revive the Silk Road trade route before more than two dozen world leaders at a Beijing forum dedicated to President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Roa…

China staggering under WannaCrypt outbreak • The Register

China quietly releases draft of tough new intelligence law

China Deploys Zubr Hovercraft In the parking lot for military hovercraft in China was seen MDK 2 of the “Bison” to China put Ukraine in 2013 and early 2014 as follows: MDC of “Bison” Army of China MDC of “Bison” were taken into People’s Liberation Army and received onboard numbers 3325 and 3326. They were produced in the factory “Sea” in Feodosia, who after Russian occupation of Crimea is not controlled by Ukraine. The ship is able to take on board 150 tons of cargo – a 10 armored personnel carriers and 150 soldiers, or 3 tanks and 500 soldiers. They complement other park hovercraft such as PLAN LCAC, which are also in the parking lot:

Why China Will Never Put America First | The National Interest The Trump administration will eventually awaken to the fact that Beijing cannot, and has no desire to, deliver on North Korea.


Government says document indicates earliest landing in Senkaku Islands was by Ryukyu royalty in 1819 | The Japan Times The government has announced the discovery of a document indicating that royal family members of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which ruled an area in modern-day southwestern Japan, landed on the Senkaku Islands in 1819, the oldest recorded visit to the Japanese-administered islands.

Families of Japanese abductees to ask ICC to prosecute Kim Jong Un | The Japan Times A group of families of Japanese people suspected of having been abducted by North Korean agents said it plans to ask the International Criminal Court to pr

Japan PM praises Trump’s stance on North Korea amid evolving nuclear threat Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised the Trump administration’s tough stance on North Korea as he warned of growing threats from the rogue nation on Monday.


Foreign Policy Reports


Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump to have ‘long lunch’ in Brussels – POLITICO The leaders were both ‘outsiders, who transcend traditional political barriers,’ a White House official said.

A question of trust: Merkel treads carefully with Trump | Reuters Last month, in a phone conversation between Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, the U.S. president shared his views on Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan.

The French Economy Is Bad in a Crisis – Bloomberg President Macron’s biggest challenge is to make the nation dynamic again.

EUROPP – Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind Russia has recently been accused of stoking tensions in the Balkans by waging ‘information warfare’ in the region. Jarosław Wiśniewski writes that even if these allegations are true, the West should avoid responding in kind. Rather than engaging in the same tactics, the carrot of European integration should be used to exert greater influence.

Adam & Eve Challenge Darwinism In Serbia A group of intellectuals has exposed a deep rift within Serbian society by challenging the veracity of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Local media say the unidentified &quot;organize…

Protesters Disrupt Public Debate Of Georgia Constitutional Amendments Hundreds of young activists have disrupted public discussions of Georgia’s constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hopes For ‘New Beginning’ With U.S., In Tuesday Visit With President Trump : NPR President Trump has shown warmth toward Turkey’s authoritarian leader, but a military decision last week puts the two countries completely at odds.

Donald Trump too cuddly with dictators like Tayyip Erdogan Our foreign policy must be one of human rights and conscience, but appealing to dictators is damaging it.

The Latest: Trump urged to prod Erdogan on human rights – The Washington Post The Latest on President Trump’s talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (all times local):

Russians Actually Are ‘Laughing Up Their Sleeves’ at the United States | Foreign Policy Russians Actually Are ‘Laughing Up Their Sleeves’ at the United States « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

 

Blog: Should people believe James Clapper? On May 15th, the Toronto Star ran an article on the front page by AP quoting James Clapper: “U.S. democracy ‘under assault’ from Trump and Russia, former intelligence director says “ “I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” said James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence. “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.” When he was asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper said, Exactly.” Clapper lied to Congress in 2013 when he said the following: “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans. Clapper and others who the media know have lied should have lost all credibility, yet the Associated Press and other media outlets willingly trot them out as sources as long as they are willing to trash Trump.

 

 

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