Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 8 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Two attachments available for download.

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Russia again dominating MSM and many of the reports are truly bizarre – Russia rejecting the outside world and medievalizing as fast as they can. An MH17 propaganda offensive launched – again. Good Kasparov interview. Sen McCain promises to punish Russia for election meddling – and he will have bipartisan numbers to make it happen. NATO ramps up exercises. Russians creating hysteria over imagined foreign (US) meddling in Russian elections, while  European Court of Human Rights concludes 2011 Russian election was rigged. Anti-extremism laws produced to suppress Islamists now being used against Russian Protestant churches instead.

Russia again dominating IO/IW/cyber, with Qatar and US voting system prominent.

Ukrainian legislation stating intent to join NATO dominant theme, while Donbass fires intensify. 95 extrajudicial killings in Donbass being investigated by NGO.

ISIS attack on Iran, and Qatar dispute saturating MSM. Given Iran’s track record of mistreating, and often judicially murdering members of religious minorities, POTUS comment was accurate, yet it elicits apoplectic complaints from Tehran, who like Russia believe they are exceptional and unable to do wrong.

DPRK launches ASCMs for show. LtGen Clapper in AUS media compares PRC CCP influence ops in Canberra to Russian influence ops in the US. Since both are derived from ComIntern practice, an accurate assessment.

UK election and Montenegro dominate EU MSM.

Comey and NSA leakers eating most US MSM bandwidth.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Moscow says idea to set up MH17 tribunal “meddling” in Russia’s affairs The initiative to establish an international tribunal to investigate the MH17 crash is an &quot;interference&quot; in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko said at parliamentary hearings Wednesday,&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent in Russia reports. Matvienko claimed the decisions of international courts were increasingly being used as an instrument of political, economic pressure and interference in Russia’s internal affairs. “As an attempt to interfere, we can consider the initiatives to create an international tribunal in the case of the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in Donbas. The politically-inspired investigation of the International Criminal Court into the events of 2008 in South Ossetia, the recognition as illegal the reunification of Crimea with Russia made it impossible for our country to participate in the ICC Rome Statute,” Matvienko said. The official stated that “Russia’s principled position is not to meddle in other [countries’] affairs,” and at the same time not to allow others to meddle in the affairs of Russia and its allies. Matviyenko noted that an idea arose, similar to the anti-corruption expert assessment of bills, to conduct an analysis of norms being adopted on their vulnerability to external influences, a so-called “sovereign expertise.” In particular, she called the adoption of the federal constitutional law on granting the Constitutional Court the right to recognize impossible for Russia to fulfill the decisions of international courts if they contradict the Russian Constitution. “Hybrid wars have become the realities of our time. Their objective is simple – to undermine the sovereignty of states, to subordinate their domestic and foreign policies. In fact, this is also the conquest, but without military operations,” she said. UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines’ MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over militant-occupied territory in Donetsk region. All 298 people on board who were citizens of 10 countries were killed in the crash. The majority of the victims, 196, were citizens of the Netherlands. The Dutch Safety Board October 13, 2015, issued a report on the causes of the accident. It was revealed that the plane had been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The Joint Investigation Team in its report published on September 28, 2016, confirmed that the plane had been downed by a Russian-made Buk brought to Ukraine from Russia. The missile launch site was located in militant-controlled Pervomaisk. Nearly 100 people are among the suspects in the investigation. Russia said the report could not be perceived as “ultimate truth,” calling the JIT conclusions “preliminary.”

MH17 crash: Journo shows faces of Russian troops who transported Buk to Donbas (Photo) A journalist Mikhail Golub has uploaded on a social network a photo revealing the faces of Russian regular troops transporting Buk to the Ukrainian border in the summer of 2014. News 07 June from UNIAN.

Mikhail Golub on Twitter: “Это солдаты армии России, сбившие Боинг #MH17 с сотней детей на борту https://t.co/ODpx0WcaAW”

EU East StratCom Task Force: MH17 disinformation: back in the headlines – Disinformation Review – To Inform is to Influence 8 June 2017 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* MH17 disinformation: back in the headlines This week, one of the most infamous of disinformation stories in the pro-Kremlin echo-chamber made it back to the headlines: the tragedy of flight MH17. As we have shown before, some key disinformation narratives often come back after a time in the…

Interview: Kasparov Says Putin Waging ‘War Against The Free World,’ But Is Tasting Failure For First Time In 2013, former world chess champion and Russian opposition political activist Garry Kasparov emigrated from Russia to the United States. Since then, he has continued to be a vocal critic of Russia…

Sen. John McCain | Sending A Message To Vladimir Putin: We Will Not Tolerate Attacks On Our Democracy And sooner or later my friends, there will be another American election that captures Russian attention and interest. The victim may be a Republican or a Democrat. To Putin, it won’t matter, because his targets are not Republicans or Democrats, but Americans and all that we stand for as a people. He seeks to sow dissent among us and divide us from one another, to erode our resolve to resist his dark and dangerous view of the world, and to undermine our confidence in ourselves and our belief in our own values. And so, we must take our own side in this fight — not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans. It’s time to respond to Russia’s attack on American democracy with strength, with resolve, with common purpose, and with action.

NATO’s Saber Strike drills in Latvia – Photo story

B-1 Bombers Arrive in European Theater for Exercises with Allies – To Inform is to Influence News Release Headquarters, United States European Command Media Operations Division Unit 30400, Box 1000, APO, AE  09128 Tel: +49 (0)711 680-6868/6618 E-mail:  eucom.media@mail.mil Release: 17-43     June 7, 2017 B-1 Bombers Arrive in European Theater for Exercises with Allies Lancers Join Stratofortresses; high-end joint-training slated for Airmen STUTTGART, GERMANY – B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force…

U.S., partners plan European military exercise with 25,000 troops | Reuters About 25,000 military forces from the United States and 23 other countries will take part in a large-scale military exercise called “Saber Guardian” planned in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania next month.

Russian Nationalist Lawmakers Call For Return To Tsarist Calendar, Anthem Deputies from Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) have submitted bills that would restore the country’s tsarist-era national anthem, God Save The Tsar!, and th…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Some Russians REALLY Want to Go Back to the Past Paul Goble Staunton, June 8 – There is a famous anecdote about two 19th century Slavophiles who separately decided to dress up as they imagined traditional Russians did and when they encountered each other on the streets of Moscow, each assumed the other was not a Russian but a visitor from Persia or somewhere even more exotic. There is perhaps an even greater danger that in their drive to push Russia back into the past, some supporters of the Putin regime and its “traditionalist” approach to Russia and Russian culture may end up in the same situation. Three events in Moscow this week at least raise that possibility: · Russian Education and Science Minister Olga Vasilyeva has called for “returning” all the languages of the CIS to the Cyrillic alphabet because “our population in the near abroad speaks about its attachment” to that Russian script (turantoday.com/2017/06/russia-sng-turkic-states-cyrillic-script.html). Presumably she wants Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz to return to the Stalin-imposed Cyrillic scripts, to block Kazakhstan from moving in that direction, and perhaps having Armenia give up its national alphabet as well. · Duma deputies from Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s LDPR have called for restoring the tsarist anthem, “God, Preserve the Tsar” and the tsarist flag because they say such moves will underscore the continuity of Russian history and the unity of the Russian people (politsovet.ru/55539-v-gosdumu-vnesli-zakon-o-vozvraschenii-gimna-bozhe-carya-hrani.html).· And the LDPR deputies have also introduced legislation calling for a return to the Julian calendar which Russia went off of in 1918. That calendar, still used by the Russian Orthodox Church, is now 14 days behind the Gregorian calendar most countries, including the Russian Federation, now use (kp.ru/daily/26688/3712589/). Zhirinovsky’s followers expect support from “patriots” in all political factions, one of their number says. But there is one place at least where they aren’t getting it: the Russian Imperial House of the Romanovs. A spokesman for Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna said that the whole idea was “illogical” and does not conform to present-day realities.

Russia Mulls New Committee to Fight Western ‘Election Meddling’ – To Inform is to Influence In a classic case of Blameshifting, in this wonderful article by The Moscow Times, they reveal how Russia is attempting to blame “Western nations” for attempting to influence Russian elections when Russia blatantly did it in the United States. The recently leaked NSA memo reflects only one small part of the large, complex, and comprehensive…

Russia Feigns Victimhood, Moves Toward Greater Oppression – To Inform is to Influence This is a completely Russian perspective in this TASS article, which illustrates the increasing state of oppression the Russian government appears to be seeking to create.  The Russian Federation Council met and made a series of allegations against the West and suggested a series of actions to resist, deter, and stop Westerners from ‘interfering’ in…

Russian Lawmakers Propose Broadening Controversial ‘Foreign Agent’ Law Russian lawmakers are asking authorities to consider broadening the country’s controversial &quot;foreign agent&quot; law to include nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from Russia…

One Belt, One Road: Russian Dreams Exceed Reality – To Inform is to Influence One Belt, One Road: Russian Dreams Exceed Reality Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 74 By: Vladislav Inozemtsev June 6, 2017 05:46 PM Age: 15 hours (Source: CNN) Russian President Vladimir Putin made another trip to China last month (May 14–15) to address the Belt and Road Forum. But his speech at the summit’s…

Russia’s Defense Spending Spree Set to Continue – To Inform is to Influence Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 74 By: Roger McDermott June 6, 2017 Numerous gloomy forecasts predict that the overall condition of the Russian economy and the challenges stemming from the sanctions regime will set limitations on Russia’s defense spending and negatively impact its military modernization. Nevertheless, it seems the Russian Ministry of Defense…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Support Truckers’ Rights and Your Own Before It’s Too Late,’ Saratov Communists Say Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – The four systemic parties of the Russian Federation have followed the Kremlin’s lead and said little or nothing about the long-haul truckers’ strike over the last six weeks, and the Moscow-centered extra-systemic parties have also refrained from saying very much about this labor action. But at the local and regional level, some members of both these sets of parties have spoken out, especially in response to officials’ breaking their promises to the strikers and to the use of force against the truckers, something that appears to have increased over the last two weeks, most recently in the city of Engels in Saratov Oblast. Yesterday, in response to that, the local committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) issued an appeal to “the toilers of Russia,” declaring that “it is time to unite with the long-haul truckers who are defending their rights and yours before it is too late and while there is still such a possibility!” (kprf.ru/actions/civilresistance/165993.html). “One must give the long-haul trucker lads their due,” the appeal continued, “who are struggling against this lawlessness, and let us hope will stand strong until victory. We can win only by working together! In unity is our strength and power.” In some places, the truckers themselves have discouraged such statements fearing that if their strike is politicized, that will make it easier for officials to crack down on them. But as pressure on the drivers has increased in recent days, ever more of them appear ready to welcome such support. Indeed, they may now see it as the best defense they have given media silence and official violence.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Despite Police Actions, Long-Haul Truckers from North Caucasus Continue Strike in Moscow Paul Goble Staunton, June 8 – Faced with repression by regional governments and silence on the part of the central media, long-haul truckers from the North Caucasus are continuing their strike on the Moscow ring road in the hopes of attracting more media and popular attention to their demands that the Plato fee system be done away with. In response, the Moscow police have sought to close down the stop on the ring road the truckers have been using, telling the truckers that the authorities will be repaving it and thus demanding the truckers leave and taking down their names and addresses and forcing them to accept temporary registration. These actions have begun to attract somewhat more media attention. (See kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/303941/, kbr.news-r.ru/news/society/110839/, newizv.ru/news/society/07-06-2017/bastuyuschih-dalnoboyschikov-vygonyayut-s-protestnoy-stoyanki-na-mkade-4df89630-c341-44d7-a5d2-6610cd2635c8, and ovdinfo.org/express-news/2017/06/07/ot-dalnoboyshchikov-na-6-m-km-mkad-trebuyut-pokinut-stoyanku-iz-za-ukladki). It is perhaps symbolic of where the strike is now that some trucks feature posters showing truckers with signs saying “No to the Plato System” and with the leading Russian television stations in the guise of monkeys who hear nothing, say nothing and see nothing. (For a photograph, seesvoboda.org/a/28533765.html).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Needs an Intelligentsia that Complains but Knows Its Place, Shevtsova Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Vladimir Putin needs a constantly complaining but one that knows what not to criticize – his person and immediate entourage – and how not to act – by taking part in demonstrations or in politics – so that Russia will appear to be a civilized country and popular anger won’t grow into a threat to his regime, according to Liliya Shevtsova. That sets his regime apart from the one in Soviet times that demanded public unanimity, was viewed in the West as a repressive outlier, and proved incapable of channeling the anger of the population in ways that would prevent its overthrow, and was simultaneously understood in the West to be repressive but ultimately proved unable to contain the anger of its population. Forming and maintaining the Putin system in this regard, the Moscow commentator says, is not easy. There are always people on both sides who either go too far in the direction of criticizing the regime or too far in the opposite direction of serving the state, something that does not serve the state’s interests (echo.msk.ru/blog/shevtsova/1995062-echo/). The recent announcement that Moscow Art Theater had agreed to cooperate with the magistracy for “the moral education and support of the patriotic spirit” of that agency’s employees is a case in point. On the one hand, Shevtsova says, such slavish behavior, typical in Soviet times, represents “an attack on the reputation of the creative intelligentsia.” But on the other, she continues, this situation is “ironic” because “open service by the intelligentsia of the authorities in the form of its protective organ [!] in fact undermines the vitality of the system of autocracy” that Putin has put in place by depriving it of a face-saving measure and a means of channeling anger away from itself. The Russian intelligentsia is quite prepared to respond given its desire to “soften” the system and also shift into “a transcendental dimension” all discussions “instead of searching for ways for normal earthly life.” That too makes it “an anti-modernist resource” for a regime like Putin’s, Shevtsova says. As a result of these forces on both sides, “the intelligentsia has been able to preserve its ‘duality,’ at one and the same time serving the powers that be without losing its reputation,” criticizing but not too much the authorities without “entering into a conflict” with them and “even maintaining friendship with its representatives.” Some within the Putin regime don’t understand this combination of interests, Shevtsova continues, but when it is violated as it was in the Kirill Serebrennikov case, “President Putin himself corrected the mistake,” not only by calling those who raided the artist’s office “’fools’” but also by giving an award to Daniil Granin to make his point. By so doing, she says, “Putin showed how important for the Kremlin and for himself personally is the preservation of the intelligentsia in the role of moral tuning fork to which the authorities can listen to or not.” Indeed, that is the general goal of Putin: to keep the entire society neither for nor against because “that is the ideal milieu” for a system which “wants to remain in the 16th century but also be a participant of the globalization of the 21st.”

Talking Heads: How Russia’s Videobloggers are Shaping Public Opinion – To Inform is to Influence June 2, 2017 — 12:50 — Update: Jun. 02 2017 — 12:24 By Ola Cichowlas o.cichowlas@imedia.ru @olacicho When Sasha Spilberg addressed the Duma on May 22, few Russians under the age of 25 even knew who she was. “My name is Sasha Spilberg and I have over 10 million followers on social media,” the 19-year-old told the…

Moscow Anticorruption March To Go Ahead Despite Government’s Restrictions An anticorruption march and rally organized by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny will go ahead on June 12 at a site offered by Moscow city authorities. Navalny aide Leonid Volkov, who i…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Officials Use Anti-Extremism Laws Against Protestants Rather than Islamists Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Vladimir Putin has cultivated an image as the defender of Christianity and defends his anti-extremist legislation as a serious effort to combat Islamist terrorism, but in fact, the Kremlin leader is not interested in defending Protestant Christianity and is using the anti-extremist laws primarily against followers of that third largest religious group in Russia. There are some three million Protestants in Russia today in more than 4,000 parishes. (Only the Russian Orthodox Church and the Muslims have more.) But instead of being protected, Anna Alekseyeva says, more than 100 Protestants have been convicted of extremism, vastly more than the number of Muslims who have suffered that fate (snob.ru/selected/entry/125448). Invoking the Yarovaya packet of laws, Protestant pastors have expelled, believers have fired (sova-center.ru/religion/news/harassment/non_state_discrimination/2017/06/d37248/), speaking against alcoholism has been declared a form of extremism, and baptisms in basins have been the occasion for deportations, the Snob commentator says. Indeed, it is clear, she says, that the Yarovaya package of laws is being directed “against Martin Luther” more than against Islamists. She recalls that in 1517, Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of a Wittenburg church. Irina Yarovaya has “only two theses”: missionary activity must not take place in residences and missionaries must be registered with the state. She cites the words of Aleksey Teleus, an Evangelical Baptist pastor in Noyabrsk, who says that the Yarovaya law is supposed to be about fighting terrorists but adds that he is unaware of “a single case when it has been applied against terrorists.” Instead, it is being deployed first and foremost against Protestant Christians. Dmitry Shatrov, senior pastor of the Pentecostal Good News Mission, agrees. “The law is being applied precisely against Protestants” by officials who read it in extremely expansive ways. But according to him, this latest repressive action isn’t discouraging Protestants but rather making them “more attentive and disciplined.” “In any case,” he says, “no one will be able to stop that which is directed by Jesus Christ Himself. We tell people about faith in God and we will continue to do so. My grandparents were jailed for doing that.” And the current round of repression isn’t going to stop him from following in their footsteps as God requires. Russian Protestants have never had an easy time of it, Alekseyeva points out. “At the end of the 19th century, Russian Baptists were deported en masse to the Trans-Caucasus and the Far East … During World War I, [their] position got a lot worse because their faith was considered German.” And in the 1930s, they were exiled, forced into emigration or imprisoned. Given this history, many Russian Protestants view the current round of official repression as not all that serious. But nonetheless, what the Russian authorities are doing is at the very least a violation of the Russian Constitution and basic human rights and deserving of the broadest possible criticism. Andrey Matyuzhov, a Kemerovo pastor who has been fined 40,000 rubles for missionary activity, says that the authorities today are going extremely far to repress the faithful. He and his wife help those with drug problems, including prostitutes, but when he sought to testify in court, the judge cut him off saying that “You are a pastor: any word from you is preaching!” Russian officials want to frighten Protestants, he says, but they are not succeeding. If Stalin and Khrushchev couldn’t stamp out Protestants, neither can Putin. Once again, Matyuzhov says, Protestants will “simply go underground,” continue their religious activities, and carry out the will of the Lord – although fewer foreign missionaries will be able to come. Sergey Ryakhovsky, president of the Russian United Union of Evangelical Christians, says that he has the sense that Russian officials confuse protesters with Protestants. “We are not protesting: we are Protestants by faith … the ignorance of regional law enforcement personnel and bureaucrats is beyond belief.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: What Does Putin’s Decoration of Two Jehovah’s Witnesses Mean? Paul Goble Staunton, June 8 – For the second time in less than a month, Vladimir Putin has taken actions that appear to put him at odds with his own government. First, he called those who raided the Gogol Theater “fools;” and then he has given the Order of Family Glory to two Jehovah’s Witnesses from Karelia, an organization that Moscow has banned as “extremist.” Yesterday, the Kremlin announced that the Russian president had presented this award, which goes to women with five or more children, on May 31 to eight couples. Two of them, Valery Tatyana Novik, are Jeohvah’s Witnesses who together have eight children (politsovet.ru/55545-putin-nagradil-ordenom-svideteley-iegovy.html). The website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia yesterday identified the women as members of that religious group which was banned by Russian courts in April. It further reported that Valery Novik in his response to Putin had chosen to recite verses from the Bible (jw-russia.org/news/17060606-176.html). What does all this mean? There are at least three possible explanations. First, Putin as so often happens is trying to have it both ways, banning an organization but seeking to present himself especially to audiences abroad as a defender of religious denominations which encourage what he defines as “traditional values.” Second, the Kremlin simply may have slipped up and included the Witnesses because they qualified without going into their religious backgrounds. This seems unlikely but is possible given that the Karelian officials might have forwarded their names without giving any additional information, and no on in Moscow checked. Or third, it may simply reflect Russia’s demographic decline. There are now so few Russian families which have that many children that the Kremlin leader may have wanted or been forced to include some that he might otherwise have excluded, a pattern suggested by a consideration of the other 7 couples who were on the list (kremlin.ru/supplement/5196). Three of these seven were from non-Russian republics and regions. Adding the pair from Karelia, the number from non-Russian areas equaled the number from the predominantly Russian ones, even though the latter form some 80 percent of the population of the Russian Federation.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Muscovites Again Name Excessive Number of Migrants Their Main Problem Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Now that Russians are less focused on the war in Ukraine and more affected by reports of terrorist actions in Europe and their own country, Muscovites are again pointing to what they describe as “the excessive number of migrants” in their city, according to a study by Aleksandra Chervinskaya of the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service. As reported today on the Tolkovatel portal, Chervinskaya says that polls show 58.5 percent of Muscovites name the excessive number of migrants as the chief problem of their city, far outpacing corruption (42.2 percent) and fears of terrorism, which may or may not be related (41.6 percent) (ttolk.ru/2017/06/07/главной-проблемой-москвы-585-горожан-на/). And just as the annexation of Crimea distracted Russians from problems at home, the scholar says, so too fears about migrants now overwhelm the concerns of Muscovites about poverty (16.1 percent) and the economic crisis (10 percent). Fears of immigrants were greater among atheists than among believers and greater among those with less education and income than those with more. Chervinskaya also reported that there was a major gap between ordinary Muscovites and the expert community. The former focused on migrants as a threat while the latter talked about foreign policy issues, cultural decline, interethnic conflicts, demographic problems and domestic political problems. Attitudes about migrants both reflect and reinforce certain attitudes the population of the Moscow region have about their own identities. The most important factor for them is their specific city of residence (24 percent), religious affiliation (19.5 percent), and Russian citizenship (18.1 percent). Only 17.4 percent mentioned nationality. What that means, the Tolkovatel portal says, is that “’Russianness’ for the Russian population of the Moscow region turns out to be the main marker of self-definition.” Rather their identities are in a hierarchy of “Muscovite, Orthodox, Russian citizen, and [only in last place] ethnic Russianness.” As far as the values of Muscovites are concerned, law and order ranks first (50.4 percent), followed by peace (46.3 percent), and tolerance (39.3 percent). Far lower are human rights and freedom (30.1 percent), economic power of the country (23.4 percent), and solidarity (21.8 percent). Significantly, for Muscovites, “democracy” is even further down with only 13 percent of the residents of the capital agglomeration saying that was an important value for them.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Islamic Identity Now Stronger than Ethnic One among Chechens, Arlyapova Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Elena Arlyapova, an expert on the North Caucasus, says that Chechens today feel themselves first to be “citizens of Russia,” then Muslims and only in third place Chechens by nationality, a major re-arranging in the ranking of identities for a people who came to Islam relatively late whose drive for independence in the 1990s was initially secular. Speaking to an MGIMO seminar on “Islam in the Process of Consolidating Power in Chechnya in the 1990s and the Early Years of the 2000s,” Arlyapova traces the rise of Islam both during the period of deportation and the end of Soviet times when even Chechen Communists chose to become Muslims (ng.ru/ng_religii/2017-06-07/12_421_chechnya.html). She points out that Dzhokhar Dudayev, the first president of the Republic of Ichkeria, was initially committed to secularism but gradually moved toward involvement with Islam to gain support within the republic as well as support from abroad, given that his secular project did not attract the backing he expected. The three components of Chechen identity in some ways reinforce one another and in others undermine one another, the expert says, something that helps to define “the vectors of the social and political development of the Chechen community.” But she does not specify just how this will work. But she says Ramzan Kadyrov, the current Chechen leader uses Islam to generate support for himself for three reasons: “the growth in the popularity of Islam among Chechens, the authority of Muslims in the Middle East,” and Kadyrov’s desire to “complete what his father had done – known the banner of Islamization out of the hands of the radical opposition.” How long he will be able to maintain the current balance remains very much an open question, Arlyapova says. Most of her remarks concern the complicated background of Islam in Chechnya, especially during the last century, and the struggles between traditional sufism and its various tariqats and teips and what many in the North Caucasus now call “pure” Islam or Wahhabism, which is an import from the Arab world. Consequently, Arlyapova’s argument that Islam is an ever more important factor in Chechen life and politics begs the question as to which kind of Islam because as she wisely notes each of the various kinds in Chechnya has a political face as well as a religious one and its rise or fall will thus determine far more than the kind of Islam practiced there.

Rights Group’s Office Searched In Moscow The head of a Russian human rights organization that advocates for Russian inmates says that law-enforcement authorities are searching the group’s office in Moscow.

Crimean Tatar Leader Umerov Goes On Trial On Separatism Charge SIMFEROPOL — A Crimean Tatar leader who has criticized Russia’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine has gone on trial on June 7. Russian authorities who control Crimea have charge…

The Morning Vertical, June 8, 2017 ON MY MIND The trial of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov is a farce and a travesty. But it is also more than that. It’s part of an elaborate Kremlin PR campaign. It’s a macabre exercise in guerrilla marketing. It’s part of a mind game designed to legitimize and normalize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Umerov was arrested in May 2016 and charged with “separatism” because he made statements opposing Russia’s armed seizure of his homeland. In August 2016, he was forcibly sent to a psychiatric clinic for a month of tests. The separatism charge is significant as it is meant to send the message that the annexation is a fait accompli — despite the fact that, in the eyes of international law, Crimea is part of Ukraine and Umerov is a Ukrainian citizen. And anybody who questions this will be treated either as a criminal — or as insane. It’s crude. It’s brutal. And for the Crimean Tatars, it’s the new normal.

Chechen Man Who Claimed Torture Detained In Belarus, May Be Sent To Russia Belarusian authorities have detained a Chechen man who has been seeking to avoid being returned to Chechnya, where he says he has been tortured by police in the past, and are preparing to hand hi…

Russia’s Election Was Rigged—And This Time It’s Official | World Affairs Journal The verdict is in. Europe’s highest judicial body, the European Court of Human Rights, has ruled unanimously that Russia’s 2011 parliamentary elections violated the right to free elections.

Moscow’s English-Language Weekly To Change Hands, Cut Staff MOSCOW — A Dutch-registered foundation is reportedly poised to acquire the English-language Moscow Times in a shake-up that is expected to include major staff cuts and a discontinuation of the prin…

Boston activists holding war boosters accountable for using their art to support Putin’s aggression -Euromaidan Press | Spivakov and Gerzmava are the latest of Russian musicians who signed the letter in support of Putin’s politics to get protested in the USA

Russia’s Proton Rocket Makes Return With Launch Of U.S. Satellite Russia has sent a U.S. satellite into space atop a Proton rocket, in the first launch of one of the workhorses of Moscow’s space program in a year following a series of setbacks. The Proton-…


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


With Qatar Hack, the Kremlin May Be Opening a New Front in Its Global Information War – Defense One A fake video slipped onto a government website may have touched off Qatar’s diplomatic isolation.

With Qatar Hack, the Kremlin May Be Opening a New Front in Its Global Information War – To Inform is to Influence BY PATRICK TUCKER JUNE 7, 2017 A fake video slipped onto a government website may have touched off Qatar’s diplomatic isolation. Before Qatar was gripped in a diplomatic crisis, a fake video was slipped onto a government media site,  touching off immense political fallout. According to published reports, the U.S. intelligence community believed the Kremlin…

Hacking, bots and information wars in the Qatar spat – The Washington Post Instead of the Gulf states using surveillance and propaganda against their citizens, they could now be using these methods against one another.

Alleged Russian hack reveals a deeply flawed US election system – Fifth Domain | Cyber Election officials have long contended that the highly decentralized, often ramshackle U.S. voting system is its own best defense against vote-rigging and sabotage . New evidence from a leaked intelligence report indicates that hasn’t deterred foreign adversaries from exploring ways to attack it anyway. The document, attributed to the U.S. National Security Agency, describes alleged attempts by Russian military intelligence to hack into local election systems — the latest evidence of a broad and sophisticated foreign attack on the integrity of U.S. elections. It does not indicate whether actual vote-tampering occurred. The NSA report adds significant new detail to previous U.S. intelligence assessments that alleged Russia-backed hackers had compromised elements of America’s electoral machinery. It also suggests that attackers may also have been laying groundwork for future subversive activity. The U.S. elections system is a patchwork of more than 3,000 jurisdictions overseen by the states with almost no federal oversight or standards. The attack sketched out in the NSA document appears designed specifically to cope with that sprawl.

War by Other Means – To Inform is to Influence Russian Active Measures and the Weaponization of Information By Max Bergmann and Carolyn Kenney Posted on June 6, 2017, 6:00 pm OVERVIEW Russia is treating the online environment like a new theater for conflict and has invested in developing its capabilities just as it would in developing a new weapon system. Introduction and summary Liberal…
Vladimir Putin and the Little Green Men of the Internet – To Inform is to Influence The verbal gymnastics practiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin cover and conceal Russia’s actual cyber operations, much like their verbal and written obfuscation of their information and military actions in Crimea in early 2014 and again with Russia’s not so spectacular invasion of Ukraine in Donbass.  In her recent interview with Putin, Megyn Kelly was…

How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News – To Inform is to Influence Unfortunately, neither the Atlantic Council nor the New York Times accessed the archives here.  All the stories mentioned in this article were refuted almost immediately, by me.  No sour grapes, it’s just inaccurate.  Otherwise, this is a great synopsis of the entire incident.  Kudos to the Atlantic Council and New York Times for tracking down…

How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News – The New York Times A false report claiming a Russian warplane took out the communications systems of an American warship spread with alarming ease.

Disinformation is attractive for millions in Central and Eastern Europe – To Inform is to Influence In the years I have been interacting with people from all over the world in regards to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Donbass, I have often met people from this part of the world.  Many of the people of Central and Eastern European Countries cite Kremlin statistics as…

DARPA exploring how to hunt for hackers on a global scale – Fifth Domain | Cyber The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking tools that can coordinate cybersecurity across the large, distributed networks of the Department of Defense. In a broad agency announcement released to FedBizOpps on May 31, 2017, the DARPA Information Innovation Office said that the agency could potentially award multiple procurement contracts if presented with appropriate proposals addressing the needs of the Cyber-Hunting at Scale (CHASE) project. The goal of CHASE is to develop dynamic, data-driven cyber-hunting tools for real-time detection, characterization and protection across DoD enterprise networks, network storage and Internet exchange points. Human operators can’t effectively analyze the amount of data spread throughout DoD’s infrastructure, so CHASE algorithms would strategically process data indicating any vector of attack, shifting focus and protective responses based on the pressure point and type of infiltration.

Big changes coming for Air Force Cyber Command – To Inform is to Influence Posted on June 7, 2017 by Mark Pomerleau Changes are afoot for Air Force Cyber. For starters, the Air Force’s new chief information officer will start this Friday. Maj. Gen. (promotable) Bradford Shwedo’s first day as Air Force CIO will be June 9, the service’s CISO Peter Kim told reporters Wednesday following his participation in…

White Paper on The Key Role of Human Geography, Culture and Language in Effective Communication – To Inform is to Influence White Paper onThe Key Role of Human Geography, Culture and Language in EffectiveCommunication   Approved for Public Release Foreword “Information” continues to demonstrate the vital and preeminent role it plays in enabling all of our sources of national power. From a military perspective, it must be adequately utilized and capitalized on to succeed in shaping the cognitive/human domain…

Putin Says ‘Nobody Would Survive’ U.S.-Russia ‘Hot War’ Russian President Vladimir Putin says in a documentary set to air on U.S. television that &quot;nobody would survive&quot; a war between the nuclear-armed countries. Putin made the comments t…

US Accused of Stealing World’s Largest Plane Design By Pravda: Disinformation – To Inform is to Influence I just stumbled across this peach of a report as part of a much larger report. If true, the US stole plans from the USSR and produced the world’s biggest plane. That’s ballsy. But, then again, Pravda in Russian means truth, and lying is normal for them. Now… I’m guessing, because there is absolutely no proof…


Ukraine Reports


Explosion Hits U.S. Embassy In Kyiv, No Damage Reported Ukrainian authorities say a device has exploded in the U.S. Embassy compound in central Kyiv, causing no casualties. The blast hit the embassy located in the Shevchenkovsky district at aroun…

Blast reported on U.S. embassy compound in Kyiv (Photo)  Kyiv Police Department&nbsp;says&nbsp;the explosion on the territory of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv took place around midnight.&nbsp; Latest UNIAN news from 08 June.

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine not considering night explosion “terrorist act” The Embassy of the United States of America in Ukraine does not consider the night explosion a terrorist act, according to a statement provided to UNIAN by embassy spokesman Geoffrey Anisman. News 08 June from UNIAN.

Ukrainian Parliament Makes NATO Integration A Priority KYIV — The Ukrainian parliament has defined cooperation with NATO, with the ultimate goal of joining the Western military alliance, as a top priority for the country in the face of Russian &quo…

Rada restores Ukraine’s course for NATO membership as foreign policy priority | KyivPost The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed a law strengthening cooperation between Ukraine and NATO with the aim of eventually joining the military alliance. Corresponding bill No. 6470 on amending some legislative acts on the foreign policy of Ukraine was supported by 276 people’s deputies at the plenary session on June 8, the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported. The bill says one of the pillars of Ukraine’s foreign policy will be deepening cooperation between Ukraine and NATO in order to become a member.

Ukraine’s NATO Membership Becomes Key Foreign Policy Goal – YouTube As of today, Ukraine’s primary foreign policy goal is to deepen ties with NATO in hopes of eventually joining the military alliance. The Ukrainian Parliament…

Rada confirms accession to NATO Ukraine’s foreign policy goal The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Thursday,&nbsp;June 7, adopted a bill which sets as Ukraine’s foreign political objective the accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, according to&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent. The adopted legislation provides that the main principle of Ukraine’s foreign policy is to deepen cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance in order to gain membership in this organization. The current Law of Ukraine “On the Basics of Domestic and Foreign Policy” stipulates that the main principles of foreign policy are to deepen cooperation with NATO in order to achieve the criteria necessary for membership in this organization. The bill “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine” (on the foreign policy of Ukraine) (registration number 6470) was supported by 276 MPs out of 357 registered in the session hall. The pro-Russian Opposition Bloc faction chose not to refrain from voting.

Ukraine and NATO: New window of opportunity On June 5, Montenegro officially joined NATO. On June 6, the Ukrainian parliament agreed to consider the need for legislative consolidation of Ukraine’s path toward the Alliance during the current session. But this, in itself, is unlikely to help Ukraine become the Bloc&rsquo;s 30th member. Once, in the midst of the Cold War, the creation of the defensive North Atlantic Treaty Alliance of the EU states and the U.S. was an actual necessity for Europe, a safeguard against the encroachment of the Soviet Union, given the “creeping annexation” Moscow carried out in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. “This could continue in West Germany, there were strong concerns about Austria as in the 1950s the Soviet Union began to expand its aggression in Asia, and it became clear that the countries that are the center of the Western bloc are under direct threat,” said Taras Chornovil, a Ukrainian expert on foreign policy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the termination of the Warsaw Pact (the Warsaw Pact on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia was signed on May 14, 1955 as a direct opposition to NATO) the accession process of the Eastern Bloc countries. Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria quickly passed this path. “Then came the entry into NATO of the three Baltic states, which caused a terrible outrage in Russia. After all, this meant that the former Soviet republics, which Russia considered theirs, suddenly became strangers,” Chornovil recalls. As a result, Russia has started rather harsh preventive action to prevent the accession to NATO of a number of other countries. First of all, this, of course, concerned Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. Countries which were once part of the former Yugoslavia have also felt Moscow’s pressure. However, the entry of Slovenia, and a little later, Croatia, breached Russia’s plans. The accession to NATO of Montenegro, which the Kremlin considered its vassal, is another slap in the face of the Russian Federation. As for Ukraine, Chornovil recalls that during Yanukovych’s reign, under strict Russian control, Ukraine’s legislation was cleansed of any norms stating the priority for Ukraine to become a full-fledged member of NATO. The only thing left were the provisions that Ukraine plans to use the standards of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, providing for the possibility of peaceful cooperation and partnership with NATO member states (formally, the same wording is available in the relevant legislative acts adopted in Russia). Ukraine’s strategic course towards rapprochement with NATO was restored only after the Revolution of Dignity. The annexation of Crimea by Russia and the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbas have forced Ukrainian politicians to intensify cooperation with the Alliance. At the end of 2014, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law that provides for Ukraine’s rejection of its “non-alignment” status. According to the new Military Doctrine of Ukraine adopted in 2015, deepening cooperation with NATO and achieving full compatibility of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with the armies of NATO member states by 2020 has become a priority…

No more “friendship” under treaty – News about politics | UNIAN Discussions over the preliminary award of the Stockholm arbitration tribunal into the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia, the rattle around much needed reforms and other important – and not so much – issues the Verkhovna Rada is supposed to deal with have all back-shelved somehow another interesting case: at the end of May the term expired of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, this does not actually mean that “partner” relations between the two countries have been put on a complete halt. The problem is that the document says that the treaty shall automatically be extended for ten years if neither side claims its non-renewal. In fact, the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea by Russia and the Kremlin’s aggression in eastern Ukrainian Donbas have long crossed out any agreements between the two neighboring states, in particular, those establishing the principles of respect for territorial integrity. This has led to the imposition of sanctions, which no one intends to lift so far.

Kremlin responds to Kyiv’s intentions to introduce visas for Russians The decision on retaliatory measures in response to Ukraine’s possible introduction of a visa regime for Russians is to be taken by the Russian president, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists in Moscow, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia. News 07 June from UNIAN.

Klimkin: No trust in Russia, but critical dialogue needed Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin says it is impossible to hold trust-based talks with Russia, but a critical dialogue should be maintained, according to an UNIAN correspondent.&nbsp; News 07 June from UNIAN.

Klimkin in constant contact with France, Germany to brief partners on Russia’s deliberate destabilization in Donbas Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin says he has been constantly informing his counterparts from France and Germany about the deliberate attempts by Russia to destabilize Donbas, according to&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent reporting from a Klimkin’s joint press conference with the chief of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Didier Burkhalter held in Kyiv. News 07 June from UNIAN.

Over the past day, 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 11 were injured, – the headquarters of the ATO 08.06.17 07:08 – Two Ukrainian servicemen were killed, 11 more were wounded during the ATU on June 7. As informs Censor. NO, this is stated in the message on the page of the press center of the headquarters of the ATU, published in Facebook. “Over the past day as a result of the fighting, two Ukrainian defenders were killed, 11 more were wounded,” it was reported.

The enemy opened fire on the positions of the AFU 71 times: 120- and 82-mm mortars, anti-aircraft guns, MLRS and infantry fighting vehicles, – headquarters 08.06.17 07:34 – The situation in the area of conducting the ATO remains tense, but completely controlled by the APU. As informs Censor. No, it is said in the message of the press center of the headquarters of the ATU, published in Facebook. “Pro-Russian armed gangs do not stop using weapons against the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in fact, along the entire line of delineation of the sides.” Over the past day, militants opened fire on our positions 71 times. “Almost three dozen mercenaries used weapons samples prohibited by the Minsk agreements,” it was reported. According to the headquarters, there were 28 cases of silence by the enemy in the maritime direction: “By evening, the militants fired at our positions in the Chermalyk area from multiple rocket fire systems.” In the same place, as well as near Shirokino, the enemy fired 120-mm mortars. Grenade launchers and small arms mercenaries opened fire on the fortifications of the ATU not far from Pavlopol, Vodyanaya and Maryinka rivers, and the illegal armed formations in this direction were intensively activated already in the evening, in particular, they beat three times at our fortifications in the Krasnogor district Mortar shells of 82 mm mortars, from the same mortars, as well as infantry fighting vehicles, the enemy fired upon the fortifications of Ukrainian soldiers near Staragnatovka, and with the onset of the dark hours mercenaries invariably used grenade launchers and small arms of various calibers in the area of Shirokino, Vodyanoy, Gnutovo, Talakovka, Berezovoi , Pavlopol and Maryinka. “

Fighting erupts near Ukraine’s Maryinka, some 40 explosions recorded The situation is escalating in the area between the villages of Kamianka and Kruta Balka in Donetsk region, Chairman of the Donetsk Military and Civil Administration Pavlo Zhebrivskiy&nbsp;wrote on Facebook. News 08 June from UNIAN.

Militant shells hit school in eastern Ukraine’s Krasnohorivka Russia’s hybrid military forces have shelled the secondary school in the town of Krasnohorivka, using the weapons banned under the Minsk Agreements, according to the Ukrainian delegation to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC). News 08 June from UNIAN.

The situation around Zhelobka stabilized after yesterday’s intense battles: now it’s quiet there, – the speaker of the ATO 08.06.17 13:29 – The situation in the Donbass continues to worsen. The intensity of hostilities has reached the highest levels since the beginning of the year. This was announced at a briefing by the speaker of the Ministry of Defense on ATO issues Alexander Motuzyanyk, reports Censor. According to him, during the past day in the ATU zone there was an aggravation of the situation. Read also on “Censor.NET”: Militants on the battles in the Luhansk region: “The gill can be put in. It’s impossible to defend it” “In the Lugansk direction, the fighting moved to the area of the Bakhmut route, namely Novotoshkovskoye, Krimsky, Zhelobok.” The shelling of our positions was carried out practically from all types of weapons and lasted at 15 hours non-stop, “he added. At the same time, the situation near Zhelobok village of Lugansk region stabilized after intense fighting on this site on June 7. “As of today, the situation in this sector has stabilized somewhat – it’s still quiet there,” he said, adding that as a result of yesterday’s battles in the Zhelobka area, one Ukrainian soldier died, eight were injured.

Executed in Donbas: activists present data on 95 extrajudicial killings -Euromaidan Press | The Russian-hybrid occupation of the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts which began in 2014 turned the territories into areas devoid of justice. Having taken control over the local information space, the occupiers attempt to create an illusion of statesmanship and normal life in the territories they control. But the reality contradicts the cheery propaganda pictures. The self-proclaimed authorities are the only law, and the residents have no legal protection from violence, beatings, rapes, kidnappings, and murders. The report “Executed in Donbas” by the NGO Myrnyi Bereh reveals the information on crimes committed in 2014-2015. However, it documents only a small of the atrocities: local dissidents are still illegally arrested and kept behind bars for just having a pro-Ukrainian position and no one knows how many people were killed in the occupied parts of the Donbas in 2016-2017.

Ukrainian Armed Forces delegation discusses amphibious operations with experts in Italy Representatives of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the city of Brindisi (Italy) are participating in an expert meeting on amphibious operations.

Poroshenko just like Yanukovych? Yes and no -Euromaidan Press | Three years have passed since Petro Poroshenko was inaugurated as President of Ukraine. Only two years of his presidential term are left. The closer to the end, the more talk there is that Poroshenko is following the path of the runaway dictator, Viktor Yanukovych. We collected arguments in support of the statement that Poroshenko is indeed very similar to Yanukovych. But after the Euromaidan Revolution, many things changed in Ukraine. Society became more mature and the war against Russia made Ukraine look more towards the West. So we also gathered arguments why Poroshenko can’t be another tyrant like Yanukovych. divider4

Ukrainian Music Banned by the Soviets Gets Swedish Makeover – YouTube UATV is a 24/7 international broadcaster that targets broad audiences around the globe. UATV’s main goal is to convey objective, unbiased, relevant and inter…

Q&A: What Does Archbishop Huzar’s Example Mean for Ukraine? Archbishop Lubomyr Huzar died on May 31 at 84. Born in Lviv on February 26, 1933, Huzar’s family fled to Austria in 1944 when Soviet forces seized Lviv. His family eventually moved to the United States, where he studied at a number of universities and then obtained his doctorate in Rome. He returned to Lviv in 1991. Huzar was the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and a leading moral authority. “He united Ukrainians, becoming their spiritual father and the highest example of morality,” his successor Sviatoslav Shevchuk has written.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


With Tehran Attacks, Islamic State Accomplished At Least One Terrible Goal It finally happened. The Islamic State (IS) extremist group struck Iran — and did so with sadistic aplomb. (The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.)

Iran parliament ISIS attack death toll rises as Trump remark about terrorism sponsorship angers Tehran – CBS News Police step-up patrols across capital as Iranians rail against Trump’s allegation ISIS-claimed attack was result of &quot;evil they promote&quot;

Trump suggests Iran shares some blame for extremist attacks – The Washington Post President Donald Trump is suggesting that Iran shares some of the blame for twin attacks by extremists on its parliament and a shrine, insisting that those who sponsor terrorism “risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Iran’s top diplomat says White House statement on Tehran attack is ‘repugnant’ – The Washington Post Iran’s intelligence service identified five of the attackers as Iranian members of the Islamic State.

Iran FM Zarif slams ‘repugnant’ Trump statement on Tehran attacks – BBC News Javad Zarif rejects a White House statement on the Tehran attacks calling Iran a “terror sponsor”.

Iran Denounces Trump’s Response to Attacks as ‘Repugnant’ – The New York Times The White House issued a statement that expressed sympathy for the victims while also taking a swipe at Iran’s leadership.

New Iran Sanctions Passes Key Vote in U.S. Senate; New Russian Sanctions Possible WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has advanced a package of new sanctions on Iran, to punish Tehran for its ballistic missile program, arms transfers and support for militant groups in the Middle East. …

Russia denies reports of hacking Qatar’s state news agency – 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.

Middle East madness engulfs Iran, Qatar and US (opinion) – CNN.com Both Qatar and the US must work on redefining their respective foreign policies in order to avoid future chaos in the Middle East, writes Frida Ghitis.

Trump offers help to resolve Gulf diplomatic crisis Move comes as Ankara fast-tracks plans to deploy extra troops to Qatar

Analysis: Why is Turkey deploying troops to Qatar? | Qatar | Al Jazeera Turkey’s decision is not necessarily anti-Saudi, but it is definitely pro-Qatari, say analysts.

Qatar crisis: Saudi Arabia insists Gulf country must meet its demands ‘soon’ | The Independent Saudi Arabia has issued neighbouring Qatar with a list of 10 demands it must meet, after Riyadh and other nations in the region took the unexpected step of cutting off ties to the tiny kingdom, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Qatar Diplomatic Crisis Continues To Reverberate Across Middle East : The Two-Way : NPR After tweets that seemed to side against Qatar, President Trump has offered to host a meeting to work out problems between the small oil-rich nation and its neighbors, which are seeking to isolate it.

Russian Hacking in Qatar and Putin’s Ambitions – Bloomberg Punching holes in this alleged case of Russian hacking, starting with its flashpoint.

Qatar Standoff Tests China’s Neutrality on Saudi-Iran Feud – BloombergTalks this week on letting Iran join a Beijing-based cooperation bloc highlight the challenge China faces in trying to avoid taking sides in the Middle East’s spiraling sectarian crisis.

This is the real story behind the economic crisis unfolding in Qatar | The Independent The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump’s preposterous attendance at the Saudi Muslim summit two weeks ago.

America’s Electronic Attackers May Have a Secret Mission – To Inform is to Influence Official U.S. Central Command document outlines seven electronic warfare functions, but a mysterious eighth task is redacted. BY JOSEPH TREVITHICKJUNE 7, 2017 It’s no secret that the American-led coalition fighting ISIS have made good use of electronic warfare, scrambling terrorists’ communications and potentially neutralizing their improvised explosive devices (IED). An official U.S. military guide on…


DPRK / PRC Reports


S. Korea leader warns North after latest missile launch – ABC News S. Korea leader warns North after latest missile launch

North Korea’s missile launches come hours after the South freezes its defenses

North Korea’s Antiship Missile Test Aims to Show It Can Repel Assault – The New York Times Days after American and Japanese warships left the sea between Japan and Korea, Pyongyang tested missiles designed to hit such vessels.

DoD’s assessment of China’s information capabilities DoD released its annual assessment of China’s military capabilities.

Former top US spy James Clapper warns of China’s Russian-style behaviour in Australia – China power – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) China’s growing influence over Australian politics has similarities with Russia’s recent meddling in American democracy, former top US intelligence official James Clapper warns.

China working to gain soft power but perceptions it is trying to stifle free speech linger – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) China has been working hard to refashion its image beyond economic might and military threat but its soft power offensive is stalling amid perceptions it is trying to stifle free speech in the West, writes China correspondent Matthew Carney.

Academic Chongyi Feng: profits, freedom and China’s ‘soft power’ in Australia The communist state exercises ‘soft power’ in Australia in myriad ways, and it is vital that it is resisted.


Foreign Policy Reports


The EU Isn’t Raising an Army — Yet – Bloomberg If the U.S. and Turkey continue straining NATO ties, Europe wants an alternative ready.

Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn’t clear the security vetting Today, Britain goes to the polls.

The Latest: UK voters prioritize security in wake of attacks – The Washington Post The Latest on Britain’s parliamentary election (all times local):

UK general election 2017: Latest updates – CNN.com Voters across the UK are casting their ballots in a snap general election that could have a big impact on how the country negotiates its exit from the European Union.

Montenegrin Court Confirms Charges Against Alleged Coup Plotters A court in Montenegro has confirmed the indictment of 14 people, including two Russians and two pro-Russia opposition leaders, over their alleged roles in what authorities say was a plot to overthro…

The Daily Vertical: Who’s Afraid Of Montenegro? (Transcript) One has to wonder why the Kremlin is getting so hysterical about Montenegro joining NATO. I mean, let’s have a little reality check here. Montenegro is a tiny country located thousands of kilometers from Russia’s border. Just look at a map. Between Montenegro and Russia are all of Serbia, all of Romania, all of Moldova, and all of Ukraine. And yet the Kremlin is hysterical. Sergei Lavrov this week accused Montenegro of being motivated by Russophobia and said NATO membership was imposed on Podgorica by the West. And the Russian Foreign Ministry he heads has threatened retaliatory measures. But as his country formally joined NATO, Montenegrin Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic had a little message for the Kremlin: This ain’t about you. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical Montenegro joined NATO, Boskovic said, because Podgorica sees the alliance as the best guarantor of peace and stability in the Balkans. Which makes sense. Countries in the region that have joined NATO — like Slovenia and Croatia — are stable. Countries that haven’t, not so much. But here’s the thing. Judging from its behavior, peace and stability in the Balkans are the very last things Moscow appears to be interested in. Russia’s has been accused of attempting to instigate a coup in Montenegro last year. According to a report this week by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Moscow has been actively trying to destabilize Macedonia. And Russia is widely suspected of instigating mischief in Bosnia-Herzegovina through proxies in Republika Srpska. So maybe it’s not such a mystery after all why Moscow is so hysterical about Montenegro joining NATO after all.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Russia’s Last-Minute Hacking Was Meant to Burn President Hillary Russian hacks sought to undermine Hillary Clinton and cast doubt on the legitimacy of American democracy. Now President Trump is struggling with the validity of his win.

Putin Doesn’t Care If You Think He Was Rude to Megyn Kelly | Foreign Policy The Russian president’s recent Western media blitz is aimed at winning over an audience of one: Donald Trump.

Reality Winner: Accused leaker is scared after arrest, mom says – CNNPolitics.com The mother of accused leaker Reality Winner tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she fears her daughter won’t get a fair trial.

Mother fears woman accused of leak will be made an example – The Washington Post A young woman charged with leaking U.S. government secrets to a reporter poses no flight risk if she’s released from pre-trial confinement, her parents said, though they fear prosecutors will seek to use the case to send a tough message from the Trump administration.

James Comey claims his moment at Senate hearing – CNNPolitics.com Fired FBI Chief James Comey seizes center stage in a compelling national political drama Thursday as he delivers congressional testimony that has grave implications for the fate of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Fired FBI Director Comey Tells Senate Panel Trump Pressured Him To Drop Criminal Probe Former FBI Director James Comey says President Donald Trump demanded loyalty and pressured him to drop the agency’s criminal investigation into Trump’s first national security adviser and his interactions with Russian officials.

U.S. Charges 31 Members Of Russian Gang With ‘Dizzying Array’ Of Crimes U.S. prosecutors on June 7 arrested and charged more than two dozen alleged members of what it called a &quot;Russian organized crime syndicate&quot; working out of New York City with what a statemen…

 

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