Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 17 June 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s self-inflicted MSM flagellation continues, unabated. Some truly excellent essays and analyses on last week’s events in Russia. US sanctions expected to cripple oil industry in Russia. RFE/RL podcast notable, pointing out that in the absence of a salable propaganda theme, Putin may as done in the past, opt for a high risk play, and panel speculated about a full scale Blitzkrieg to overrun Kyiv.

A gaggle of very good items on IO/IW/cyber, mostly courtesy of Joel Harding.

In Ukraine, Donbass fires continue, while ethnic cleansing and repopulation of Crimea is detailed. Rudi Giuliani interviewed by Kyiv MSM asserting that POTUS intends to see occupied areas of Ukraine liberated.Graphics shows Ukrainian An-74 prior to replacement of Russian components with Western and domestic parts.

Afghanistan and Qatar producing most traffic.

DPRK jailers inflicted massive brain damage on US tourist in custody.

Germany complaining about sanctions, evidently losing Gazprom board seats is bad for retirement income after politics.

US domestic Russia debate continues unabated.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Putin: more U.S. sanctions would be harmful, talk of retaliation premature | Reuters Russian President Vladimir Putin said new sanctions under consideration by the United States would damage relations between the two countries, but it was too early to talk about retaliation, state news agency RIA reported on Saturday.

There were 2 developments this week that could have huge consequences for Russia’s oil | Business Insider Protests swept across Russia on Monday The US…

The Aviationist » The Finnish Air Force Has Just Released Some Really Cool Photos Of Russian Combat Aircraft Intercepted Over The Baltic The Finnish Air Force has been quite busy lately intercepting and escorting Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace, over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, in the vicinity of Finland’s airspace. For instance, on June 14 and 15, several air assets, including Beriev A-50, Ilyushin Il-22, Sukhoi Su-24, Sukhoi Su-27, Sukhoi Su-34 and Tupolev Tu-160 aircraft, flew close to the Finnish airspace, forcing the Finnish Air Force to scramble its F/A-18 Hornet on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) in order to intercept the Russian aircraft. The photographs in this post were taken by the Finnish F/A-18 pilots during such intercept missions.

Russian Air Force Modernization May Not Be As Fast As Claimed | Defense News: Aviation International News Russia’s air force is in the early stages of a long and complex upgrade to fifth generation technology.

Vladimir Putin deploys missile defense system in Sibera | Daily Mail Online The Buk-M3 has no match among Western armaments, according to Moscow, which has expressed ‘profound concern’ over recent North Korean missile launches.

Podcast: The Television Vs. The Street The choreographed televised spectacle vs. the spontaneous defiance of the street. The master of the universe vs. the maverick revolutionary. Vladimir Putin vs. Aleksei Navalny. Welcome to th…

Here’s why Vladimir Putin should fear Russia’s millennials: They bypass state-controlled media – LA Times Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has organized another wave of anti-corruption protests across Russia for June 12. Russia’s new generation of young activists are stoking fears in the Kremlin.

Another View: Protests in Russia show Putin’s poll numbers lie – Portland Press Herald Putin has little use for democracy anywhere – either at home or abroad. In his mind, the West has long interfered in Russia’s affairs by preaching the values of freedom and liberty. He appears to have relished a chance at payback in 2016 through interference with the U.S. election. Of course, he is wrong: In Russia, the West sought to support best practices of democracy and institution-building, not put a thumb on the scale. Multiple investigations are already probing Putin’s meddling, including the attempt to harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign through malicious hacking. This week, Bloomberg News reported that Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system “was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed” and included probes into voter databases and software systems in nearly twice as many states as was previously reported. President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia in December in response to the electoral intrusions, and a bipartisan group of senators are pressing ahead with new legislation that would give Congress a stronger hand in keeping sanctions in place and would expand them. Sanctions are in general a crude instrument, but this legislation, which the Senate voted Wednesday to advance, promises to send a message to Putin that such interference in the U.S. election is intolerable. It could also deter the Trump administration from lifting sanctions too quickly or in the absence of reciprocal concessions by Moscow. If Putin is really so sure about his popularity, he should release Navalny from prison and permit a free and open presidential campaign leading up to the scheduled vote in 2018 in which Navalny is allowed to run. Russians shouldn’t have to risk arrest and worse in the streets in order to support a political change.

Russia’s young opposition movement isn’t buying Putin’s propaganda – CBS News Many young Russians don’t ingest state TV’s Kremlin-controlled narrative, deepening the rift between the government, and the governed.

The Acid Test of Dissent in Russia | The Weekly Standard Huge demonstrations once again swept through Russia on June 12, as thousands took to the streets in over 160 cities to protest the corruption and authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin’s regime. This followed street protests by Russia’s emerging opposition in February and March that were the biggest in years. What makes these latest protests especially potent is that they may have what the Russian opposition has long lacked: a leader. Dissident and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny planned the protests for Russia Day, a national holiday analogous to July 4. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, riot police arrested more than a thousand protesters. More were arrested in other Russian cities, from Kazan in the south to Vladivostok in the Far East. Chants of Russia without Putin! and Putin is a thief! were heard across the country. The main protest in Moscow was originally approved for an area away from the Kremlin and the city center. The day before the protests, Navalny announced to his followers that he was unilaterally moving the location to Tverskaya Street, a large boulevard that terminates at Red Square. He asserted that government officials had leaned on audio-visual vendors not to contract with him or his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).

Russia recognizes yellow toy duck as a method of political agitation – To Inform is to Influence Friday, June 16, 2017 11:02:52 AM The police of St. Petersburg have recognized the yellow toy duck as a means of political agitation. This decision was taken after the anti-corruption action on June 12 on the Field of Mars, where many participants came with inflatable ducks. The publication Fontanka reports that the protocols drawn up by the…

Putin Accuses Russia’s Foes Of ‘Excessive Demonization’ Of Stalin Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the &quot;excessive demonization&quot; of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin &quot;is one means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia.&quot; Putin mad…

John Lloyd | Commentary: The problem with Oliver Stone and other Putin friends | Reuters By John Lloyd Tens of thousands of anti-Putin protesters took to the streets this week, chanting “Russia will be free” as they dem

Putin Tells Oliver Stone of Surviving Assassination Attempts “Only God knows our destiny—yours and mine,” Putin said.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

25 ways of combatting propaganda without doing counter-propaganda -Euromaidan Press | The Director of the French Institut de recherche strategique de l’Ecole militaire (IRSEM), which is part of the French Defence Ministry, took to a subject little researched: how to combat pro-Kremlin propaganda without falling into the trap of doing counter-propaganda? Counter-propaganda would be an ill-suited means for Western democracies to fend off the effects of disinformation activities, argues Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer. It would also require more means than “any European government is ready to bring up”. Director Jeangène Vilmer makes 25 proposals for countering pro-Kremlin disinformation without doing counter-propaganda.

Countering disinformation online will require long-term engagement from the feds – To Inform is to Influence BY MADELINE CHRISTIAN, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR – 06/12/17 02:40 PM EDT Technology companies and DC policymakers are lost in the fog of disinformation. Bombarded with too much information from too many refutable sources, they have responded in a piecemeal fashion with unsustainable “solutions.” In the face of a very real threat to democracy and national security…

Anti-Canada propaganda greets troops in Latvia – To Inform is to Influence CBC IN LATVIA Anti-Canada propaganda greets troops in Latvia News site runs photos of disgraced, cross-dressing colonel, suggesting military is full of homosexuals By Chris Brown, CBC News Posted: Jun 16, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2017 8:51 AM ET Russian-language propagandists are taking aim at Canada’s military mission to Latvia by linking…The war we’re not fighting against ISIS – To Inform is to InfluenceTruth be told, we are fighting a war of information against ISIS.  The Global Engagement Center has been waging this war for years, but outside the targeted area, we do not see it. This is not warfare waged in English… The church can respond and wage war against ISIS by any means it wants but…

“When Hate is Glorified, Institutionalized and Merges With State Power” – To Inform is to Influence Michael L. (Mikey) Weinstein, Esq. Attorney, Author, Civil Rights Activist, Founder & President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation 06/16/2017 04:59 pm ET Almost exactly three years ago, the news broke that Facebook had manipulated the news feeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts…

Facebook using artificial intelligence to combat terrorist propaganda – To Inform is to Influence Also: Facebook’s AI for targeting terrorists will go beyond Muslim extremists VentureBeat 12:20 Facebook Finally Turns AI on Terrorist Propaganda Direct Marketing News 12:01 Facebook Using AI to Wipe Out Terrorist Accounts Entrepreneur Magazine 11:46 Facebook explains how it uses AI to catch terrorists online Digital Journal 11:39 Facebook Using AI to Combat Terrorist Propaganda…

Facebook Accidentally Doxed Moderators to Suspected Terrorists – To Inform is to Influence Just when Facebook reveals it is deleting Facebook profiles of terrorists using AI to identify the profiles, it slips up and potentially revealed the identities of those that intend on catching those same terrorists.  Facebook Accidentally Doxed Moderators to Suspected Terrorists New York Magazine 11:46 Facebook showed terrorists the profiles of people moderating them Engadget…

VOA against the “Firehose of Falsehoods” – To Inform is to Influence Posted: 16 Jun 2017 08:34 AM PDT VOA against the “Firehose of Falsehoods” Monday, June 12th 2017 VOA Against the “Firehose of Falsehoods”   Here’s an analysis by Council Member Alan Heil based on our First Monday Forum last week. In a briefing to a record crowd at the First Monday forum of the…

‘Too Long On Your Throne’: Was Putin’s Big Phone-In Show Massively Trolled? – To Inform is to Influence June 15, 2017 13:14 GMT Tom Balmforth MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin’s annual phone-in marathon was shaping up to be the carefully choreographed affair that Russians are accustomed to, until a string of brazenly defiant questions flashed across the backdrop and below the president as he spoke. As he fielded questions from select members of…

European Parliament Committee Recommends End-To-End Encryption For All Electronic Communications – To Inform is to Influence by Lucian Armasu June 16, 2017 at 7:00 AM – Source: Europa (pdf) The European Parliament’s (EP’s) Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs released a draft proposal for a new Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications. The draft recommends a regulation that will enforce end-to-end encryption on all communications to protect European Union…

BAE accused of flogging mass-spying toolkits to assh*le autocrats – To Inform is to Influence Arab Spring meant ka-ching for merchants of death 15 Jun 2017 at 20:22, Iain Thomson A year-long investigation has uncovered evidence that British armaments conglomerate BAE Systems has been selling internet surveillance equipment to Middle Eastern regimes with questionable human rights records. BAE has its fingers in many pies, including the online sphere, and in…

‘Crash Override’ malware heightens fears for US electric grid – To Inform is to Influence Years ago I was involved with a study of a national electrical grid, but not in the US. The ease that the network could be remotely accessed alarmed me, the liquidity and ease of communications through and around the system was incredible, and the vast amount of indifference to protecting such a system terrified me…

Advanced CIA firmware has been infecting Wi-Fi routers for years – To Inform is to Influence Latest Vault7 release exposes network-spying operation CIA kept secret since 2007. DAN GOODIN – 6/15/2017, 6:39 PM Home routers from 10 manufacturers, including Linksys, DLink, and Belkin, can be turned into covert listening posts that allow the Central Intelligence Agency to monitor and manipulate incoming and outgoing traffic and infect connected devices. That’s according to…

What the Romans did for us: on the age-old art of propaganda – To Inform is to Influence JEMIMAH STEINFELD 16 June 2017 People see propaganda as a modern problem – manipulation by mass media. But the story is far older, and the tactics are timeless. While the game has moved on, the rules remain the same. The EU’s police agency, Europol, recently revealed evidence that Isis is creating its own social media…

Ukraine Reports

Trump to insist on Ukraine’s liberation from Russian occupation – Giuliani – 17.06.2017 13:00 — Ukrinform News 17.06.2017 13:00. Liberation of Ukraine from Russian occupation is one of the important priorities for the United States. Rudolph Giuliani, the informal adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump and former New York mayor, said this in an interview with Novoye Vremya portal. “Ukraine that is free from Russian occupation is one of the important interests of the United States, and Trump will insist on this interest and achieve it,” Giuliani said. He has not agreed with the opinion that the Trump administration is very soft in relations with Russia. According to him, such impression could come from some of Trump’s comments during the election campaign. However, having become a president, Trump delves into the subject of international relations. “Trump ordered to bomb the Syrian military base, and it is clear that in his steps he places the interests of the United States ahead of the interests of Russia,” Giuliani said.

Russia’s VKontakte closes office in Kyiv – News about social life | UNIAN Russia’s VKontakte social network has closed its office in Kyiv due to the sanctions imposed by Ukraine, according to the Hromadske media outlet. Latest UNIAN news from 17 June.

Why Russia is changing ethnic composition of Crimea | UNIAN A 2.4 million-strong population is too much economy-wise for a military base Russia has been turning the annexed Crimea into. Besides, the invaders surely take into account the fact that the locals for almost a quarter century have enjoyed Ukrainian democracy and freedom of speech. The “aggravating circumstance” for the occupation authorities is the presence on the peninsula of the Crimean Tatar people in all aspects of its multifaceted history, problems, and strategic national goals and objectives. Therefore, Russia perceives the demographic situation in Crimea only in the context of creating loyal population in the region of “military development”, which would be cheap to maintain, as well as unable to civil protests and any other uncontrolled forms of political activity. During the three years of occupation, the hypothesis has been repeatedly confirmed that Russia has chosen to displace from Crimea all “excessive” population and provide for its partial replacement through controlled migration from mainland Russia. This policy has been launched as early as in the spring of 2014. Throughout the period of occupation, “excess” population has been displaced by demonstrative repression: in 2016 this affected not only the Crimean Tatars, it was extended to “Ukrainian terrorists and saboteurs,” while repression against journalists continued as well. Meanwhile, the occupier state in 2014-2017 actively stimulated movement of population from Crimea to various regions of the Russian Federation, for example, through the Federal program called “The Far East Hectare” providing for some free land for housing, business or farming in the territories that are part of the Far Eastern Federal district of Russia. In addition, the occupation authorities encourage young people to leave Crimea by providing incentives to study across Russian regions. In parallel lines, resettlement to Crimea by Russian citizens from various Russian regions has been supported.

Some 200,000 Russians to leave Crimea after de-occupation – Chubarov Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Member of Parliament of Ukraine Refat Chubarov has told Ukrainian TV Channel 5 that people who moved to the peninsula after Russia’s annexation will have to leave it after returning Crimea to Ukraine. News 16 June from UNIAN.

uacrisis on Twitter: “Timelapse of militants’ attacks in eastern Ukraine, June 10-16, 2017”

Ukraine reports almost 70 enemy attacks, 1 KIA, 3 WIA’s in last day Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 67 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and three as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 17 June from UNIAN.

One Ukrainian soldier killed, three wounded in ATO zone in last day – 17.06.2017 14:10 — Ukrinform News 17.06.2017 14:10. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and three were wounded and injured in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in eastern Ukraine over the past day.

U.K. Probing Whether Ukraine’s Ex-Tax Chief May Stand Trial In Britain KYIV — British authorities are examining whether Ukraine’s former tax chief, a Ukrainian citizen who may also hold a British passport, committed crimes for which he could be prosecuted in th…

Kyiv court arrests accomplice to murder of Voronenkov for two months, without bail Kyiv’s Holosiyivsky District Court by its decision of June 16, 2017, has arrested Yaroslav Tarasenko, 36, a resident of the city of Pavlohrad (Dnepropetrovsk region) for two months without bail; he was detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of former State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov, according to the press service of Kyiv’s Prosecutor’s Office. News 17 June from UNIAN.

Ukrainian Police Arrest Suspects In Former Russian Lawmaker’s Killing KYIV — Ukrainian authorities say they have detained suspects linked to the assassination of former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov. In a statement on June 16, the National Police said that &quo…

New Train Route Over Polish Border Unites Ukraine With Rest of Europe -Euromaidan Press | Ukrainian Railways have launched a new route from Kovel in Ukraine to Chelm in Poland. The route has only two stops — in Yahodyn and Dorohusk. 

Two Russian Opposition Activists Flee To Ukraine Two activists from Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation (FBK) have fled to Ukraine after state media regulator Roskomnadzor launched investigations against them. …

“Reliable border with medieval empire is imperative of time,” – Yatseniuk on Wall project. PHOTOS 16.06.17 17:59 – Reliable border with medieval empire is imperative of time, – Yatseniuk on Wall project. PHOTOS Leader of People’s Front Arsenii Yatseniuk says reliable engineering of the Ukraine-Russia border during the time of Russia’s aggression is necessary. “For the first time since Ukraine’s independence we started constructing real border with the Russian aggressor. Following Ukraine’s example, out NATO neighbors – Baltic states and Norway – started technically enhancing their eastern borders. Reliable border with the medieval empire is imperative of the time, the guarantee of security for Ukraine and entire Europe,” Yatseniuk wrote and published pictures of the “European Wall.”

From “Russian world” supporter to Ukrainian patriot: a story of a Donbas girl’s worldview transformation -Euromaidan Press | Exchange programs for citizens from different regions of Ukraine are a working solution for reconciliation. Three years after the beginning of the de facto war in Donbas, Ukrainians are starting to fix the fundamental problems in society which made the war possible. Some of these problems were the stereotypes of Ukrainians living in different regions towards each other and their narrow worldview. This worldview was mostly formed by television with no personal experience of life in other countries. An opinion poll conducted in 2012 showed that 77% of Ukrainians had never been abroad. Moreover, 36% had never been outside of their region. Nowadays, civil society initiatives work on organizing exchange projects within the country. The government also has started to organize their own exchanges. The effect of these projects is sometimes magical. This is a story of a girl from a Donbas town who used to sympathize with the ideas of the so-called “DNR”. Three years later, she speaks Ukrainian and is studying in Lviv, the symbolic capital of western Ukraine, which in Donbas is mostly negatively perceived as the capital of radical nationalism and the land of Stepan Bandera-followers. Euromaidan Press talked to her to figure out how these transformations became possible.

Rare animals and birds species return to Chornobyl after 30 years of abandonment -Euromaidan Press | While scientists worldwide are deeply alarmed at the rate at which we’re losing plant and animal species, they’re returning to Ukraine’s Chornobyl area. The nuclear accident at the Chornobyl power plant in 1986 forced people to abandon vast areas, and wild nature started to recover there. The tragedy on Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 forced 90,000 people to leave their homes because of radioactive contamination. 81 settlements were turned into ghost towns. Nowadays, the place became more crowded, as tourism to the exclusion zone became more popular. However, without permanent human presence, animals started to feel more at home. In April 2017, a biosphere reserve was opened up in the Chornobyl area. Sergiy Gashchak, Deputy Director of the International Radioecology Laboratory, Head of the Radioecological Research Department has observed nature in the Chornobyl territory for many years already. He says that the endangered species which vanished from the area long ago started to reappear, including the brown bears, which are quite rare for Ukraine.

Graphic shows Ukrainian An-74 prior to replacement of Russian components with Western and domestic parts.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Qatar’s Crisis With Saudi Arabia And Gulf Neighbors Has Decades-Long Roots : Parallels : NPR It’s the most recent flare-up in a series of long-running tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. This time, analysts say, there will be no easy or quick resolution.

The Qatar standoff is about gas, not politics – The Globe and Mail LNG has made the tiny country the richest in the Gulf giving it the diplomatic and economic power to challenge Saudi influence

Qatar blockade is ‘golden opportunity’ to halt terrorism ‘Harsh’ measures necessary to force behavioural change, says UAE minister

Al Jazeera says Twitter feed working again after suspension | Reuters Pan-Arab satellite network Al Jazeera said on Saturday the Twitter account for its main Arabic language channel was back up and running after briefly being suspended.

Saudi Arabia Gives Pakistan One Choice: ‘Are You With Us or With Qatar?’ Pakistan is refusing to take sides in the diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but has agreed to take certain steps to defuse tensions.

Winning the War on ISIS: Russia and U.S. May Have Killed Top Islamic State Leaders The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) may have been further damaged, with the U.S. and Russia both claiming to have killed leaders of the embattled jihadists.

Turkish Government destroys Anzac monument – NZ Herald

Mattis’ new Afghanistan strategy includes putting pressure on Pakistan, source says

Gen. Keane: 10,000 to 20,000 additional troops needed in Afghanistan | Fox News Gen. Jack Keane, former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, called the United States’ 16-year-long involvement in Afghanistan a disgrace and said some 10,000 to 20,000 additional troops were needed to win the war.

DPRK / PRC Reports

Pres. Moon says unconditional dialogue if North Korea halts nuke development and provocations : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh “A decision by North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons would be a sign that it is willing to implement its agreements with South Korea. If the North halts further provocations with its nuclear weapons and missiles, we’re willing to engage in unconditional dialogue with the North,” President Moon Jae-in said on June 15. “The agreements reached by previous governments, including the July 4 Inter-Korean Joint Statement, the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Statement and the Oct. 4 Summit Statement, are important assets that must be respected even when the administration changes. The government will handle the inter-Korean agreements of previous administrations under the principle that North and South Korea ought to return to them together.”

Former US Defense Secretary says THAAD should be removed if Moon doesn’t want it : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh William Perry expresses doubt in THAAD’s ability to distinguish real missiles from North Korean decoys On June 13, former US Defense Secretary William Perry, 89, said that the THAAD missile defense system would be little use for defending against North Korean missile attacks and that THAAD should be removed if the administration of President Moon Jae-in doesn‘t want it. Perry made the remarks during a Q&A session following his keynote address in a seminar about how to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula that was held in Washington under the joint auspices of the Institute for Korean Studies at George Washington University and the Korea Peace Network. The Korea Peace Network was established on Oct. 3, 2015, by groups such as the American Friends Service Committee, Women Cross DMZ and the National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA) that have worked for private-sector exchange with North Korea and for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Perry began by expressing his doubts about the utility of the missile defense system, mentioning that “there are very wrong views about the missile defense system as a whole.” “Worst of all, there are doubts about the only major reason for providing THAAD to South Korea,” he said. THAAD is being deployed in South Korea, Perry said, because the previous administration under former president Park Geun-hye (2013-16) had accepted it. “It’s very unclear whether the current administration [under President Moon Jae-in] wants it [THAAD] or not. If they don‘t want THAAD, the US ought to be gracious and remove it,” he said. Perry also made a few remarks about THAAD’s usefulness. “The US probably gave South Koreans a positive impression about THAAD’s defensive capabilities. But objectively speaking, THAAD probably wouldn’t be that good at defending against a North Korean missile attack,” he said. The former defense minister explained why: “THAAD is known to have had some problems even in interception tests. In particular, it‘s completely defenseless against North Korean decoys.” “We don’t know whether North Korea has developed decoys, but it’s really easy to make them,” Perry went on to say. “So if the South Korean government or public were to ask if THAAD could defend against an attack by a North Korean missile, I would say no.”

After Otto Warmbier, will United States push back against North Korea? At stake are the lives of three other U.S. citizens who have been detained.

Three Americans Still Held by North Korea Following Otto Warmbier’s Release – NBC News The surprise release this week of Warmbier from a North Korean prison has come at an especially fraught time between the isolated nation and the United States.

Otto Warmbier has extensive brain damage, doctor says | Fox News An American college student imprisoned by North Korea has extensive brain damage and is unresponsive to his surroundings, the doctors treating him said Thursday.

Foreign Policy Reports

Trump’s Cuba speech resonates with history | Fox News Sometimes God taps us on the shoulder, reminding us with poignant irony, that history is a continuum, and we just a point along it.

Trump Reverses Pieces of Obama-Era Engagement With Cuba – The New York Times The president said he was revoking elements of a “terrible and misguided deal” by reinstating travel restrictions, a symbolic step away from seeking better relations.

Cuba denounces Trump’s policy rollback – BBC News Cuba’s government reacts angrily to the US president dropping Obama-era policies meant to ease relations.

Donald Trump has finally found something to give to Vladimir Putin. It’s called Cuba | The Independent Donald Trump is rolling back the opening to Cuba that his predecessor, Barack Obama, began and we should ask a couple of questions. If the purpose is to speed change on the island, is this going to be helpful? Second, what are the motivations behind this semi-reversal? To please his base or to deliver a sly gift to Vladimir Putin and snub his own Republicans on Capitol Hill?

U.S. Russia Sanctions Punish Europe Too – Bloomberg European leaders suspect the senators were pursuing U.S. economic interests at Europe’s expense.

Germany threatens retaliation if U.S. sanctions harm its firms | Reuters Germany threatened on Friday to retaliate against the United States if new sanctions on Russia being proposed by the U.S. Senate end up penalizing German firms.

Kohl triumphed over skeptics to deliver German reunification and the euro – Business Insider By Noah BarkinBERLIN (Reuters) – A towering…

Cheap Building Materials May Have Made the London Tower Blaze Even Worse A neglected $6,000 renovation may have cost the lives of 30 or more people.

US Domestic Policy Reports

What’s going to stop Russia next time? (opinion) – During the 2018 Senate election, the US needs to increase voting security to avoid being targeted by Russian hacking identified in the leaked NSA report, says Emefa Agawu.

The Senate’s Message to Russia (and Trump) – Bloomberg Congress is wisely reasserting its prerogatives on foreign policy.

Taking A Deeper Look Inside The Senate’s New Anti-Russia Bill A new amendment to the Russian sanctions law shows Republican Senators are against Trump’s detente with Moscow, and both parties are willing to punish Putin for more than just Ukraine.


Bernie Sanders Is a Russian Agent, and Other Things I Learned This Week | The Nation A case study in how fake news is attracting liberals. 

Next Week, Will The Russia Story Actually Be About Russia? : NPR Members of Congress have more big hearings planned at which current and former U.S. officials are set to talk about Russian interference and the integrity of state election systems.




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