Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 3 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Zapad remains a major theme, interesting observations by Piontkovsky on the risks Russia carries by escalation. 173rd Airborne assesses capability shortfalls for dealing with Russia – this is a pervasive problem now for all Western militaries. Russians brag about Crimea sortie rates. Russian RPV crashes in Poland. Prof Goble summarises some interesting work on the negatives to Russia arising from large populations of non-Russian speakers of Russian.

Most interesting report from Russia concerns the Pandora’s box arising from DNA testing in the Caucasus and how it may unify previously divided minorities – applied more broadly this might produce corrosive effects on cohesion once many Russians discover their heritage is that of some reviled non-Slavic minority, rather than pristine pan-Slavic Great Russian racial purity – God forbid, they might discover Finnic, Belarusian or even Ukrainian ancestry….. Shelin observations are interesting given earlier surveys indicating only a tiny fraction of Russians were genuinely religious. More on the Stalin denial problem Putin created. The descent into the abyss continues.

Three curious Belarus reports. Russian complaints and threats aimed at Moldova are main media outputs today.

In Ukraine visiting head of diaspora argues Russia should be thrown off SWIFT altogether. Croatian delegation reports on its briefings to Ukraine on how to re-integrate previously occupied territories, to facilitate recovery of occupied Donbass – Russia reacts with toxicity. Gen Muzhenko announces ‘Unbreakable Resistance-2017’ exercises to run concurrently with Zapad 2017 – this puts mobilised combat units into the field, on alert, fully armed, and reduces odds of a successful pre-emptive air and TBM attack by the Russians, as their main targets would be on the move and hard to both find and hit. Donbass fires continue. Pres Poroshenko donates 100 sniper rifles to the 3rd Spetsnaz Regt, funded out of his own pocket. Articles on Ukrainian missile programs.

Melhem essay on the unravelling Arab world is very good – as the colonial institutions left by the British and French unravelled, so did everything else.

The DPRK’s nuclear weapon test has become the primary focus of MSM activity today. Media speculation ranges between 100 kT and 1 MT, so until we see some serious analysis, it could range from a boosted fission device up to a genuine Teller-Ulam device. Kim may well have overplayed his hand here, and set in train events he cannot control. Russia yet again grandstanding, trying to milk the situation for every bit of propaganda they can. China is now seriously exposed, no differently than Japan and RoK – it will be interesting to see whether reason prevails over politicking in Beijing.

German election, Turkey and Cuba issues.

Lanchester review of Wu’s book on Facebook of much interest.

US domestic media heavily biased to fracas over Russian consulates, which the Russians are again trying to milk for maximum domestic propaganda.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Russia may launch aggression during Zapad 2017 drills under pretext of protecting Russian speakers – Gen. Muzhenko

Russia may claim there is a threat to the security of the Russian-speaking population to justify armed aggression against Ukraine and NATO Allies during the upcoming Russian-Belarusian exercise Zapad 2017, according to Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine&rsquo;s Armed Forces Gen. Viktor Muzhenko. News 02 September from UNIAN.

Piontkovsky: If the Russian Federation during the West-2017 exercises decides to escalate, Trump and Tillerson will not prevent the supply of weapons to Ukraine

Completely compromised themselves by relations with the Russian Federation, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are virtually barred from making decisions related to Ukraine, Andrei Piontkovsky, a Russian political scientist and publicist , said in a commentary to Gordon . During the West-2017 military exercises, Moscow can resort to provocations, trying to intimidate Western countries in this way, the Russian political scientist and publicist Andrei Piontkovsky said in a commentary to GORDON . “During the West-2017 military exercises, attempts to escalate the conflict can be expected.This is Russia’s usual tactic of intimidating the West, so Moscow wants to make Western countries soften their negotiating position and compromise with Russia, but the mood in the United States is now such that any attempt to escalate the conflict on the part of the Russian Federation will be met very harshly, first of all by the immediate provision of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, which the parties have already agreed on, and if the Russian Federation, during the West-2017 exercises, decides to escalate tion, no Trump ( President Donald Trump. – “Gordon” ) and Tillerson ( US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. – “Gordon” ) will not prevent the provision of arms Ukraine ” According to him, the head of the Pentagon, James Mattis, and the State Department’s special representative Kurt Volker are representatives of the “real leadership” of the United States, which makes decisions related to Ukraine. “Now Mattis and Volcker are the US person in this matter, they represent the real leadership of the United States.Trump and Putin’s orderly Tillerson are completely discredited from their relations with the Russian Federation and are virtually barred from making decisions in Ukraine. These two people in the American establishment oppose the provision of the Ukrainian side of lethal weapons.However, their positions are weakening every day.The main argument for the supply of American weapons to Ukraine is the prevention of large-scale Russian aggression, s of its price, so that it becomes unacceptable for the Russian Federation “, – said Piontkovsky. The exercise “West-2017” will be held in Belarus from September 14 to September 20 . Service personnel of Russia began to arrive in the country on July 24 . The European Union , NATO and Ukraine have expressed their concern about their holding . In August, the international intelligence community InformNapalm recorded a large-scale movement of Russian military equipment across the entire European border . Experts warned that the exercises could become a stage of “occupation and drawing Belarus into the armed conflict.” Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s military aggression in the spring of 2014 is negotiating with Western countries for the supply of lethal weapons, but so far unsuccessfully. At the moment, the US supplies Kiev with non-lethal assistance (including armored Humvee cars, RQ-11B Raven drones and counterbattery radar ) and help in the training of Ukrainian soldiers. July 31 edition of The Wall Street Journal wrote that the United States developed a plan for the supply of defensive weapons to Ukraine . It is about the transfer of anti-tank missile systems Javelin and air defense. On August 24 in Kiev, Mattis said that the US approved the supply of equipment for Ukraine for $ 175 million, including special equipment. He also said that the issue of providing Ukraine with defensive lethal weapons in the US is still being considered . The draft federal budget of the United States for the fiscal year 2018 implies assistance to Ukraine under different programs for a total of about $ 350 million , including the possibility of providing lethal weapons to Ukraine.

U.S. Army unprepared to deal with Russia in Europe – POLITICO

A self-assessment by the 173rd Airborne Brigade is called &quot;a real eye-opener&quot; to how some critical capabilities to deter Russia have eroded.

UAWire – In 2017, Russian fighter jets scrambled 120 times in the annexed Crimea and along Russia’s southern border

Russian Su-30SM fighters from the 4th Red Banner Army of the Southern Military District’s air force and anti-air defense have escorted reconnaissance flights near annexed Crimea and Russia’s southern border 120 times this year, TASS reported, citing Army Commander General-Lieutenant Viktor Sevostyanov. “Since Crimea became part of Russia in 2014, on a daily basis in the airspace close to our southern borders we detect in advance and strictly control all unsolicited guests of this kind. Over the eight months this year, the army’s Su-30SM fighters have been scrambled around 120 times, to escort their reconnaissance flights along our state border,” Sevostyanov observed. Sevostyanov mentioned two incidents in May, when Russian Su-30SM fighters were scrambled close to annexed Crimea: in order to intercept a US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft and an RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone. Earlier NATO Command said that there has been a sharp increase in the activity of the Russian Air Force in neutral zones, especially following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

UAWire – Drone with Russian markings crashes in Poland

The district prosecutor’s office in Olsztyn in northern Poland is investigating a case involving a large drone with Russian-language inscriptions which fell to the ground on a private farmstead in Kętrzyn, roughly 30 km from the Russian border, Polsat News reported. On August 31, Polish Border Guard representative Miroslav Aleksandrovich announced that the case had been transferred to the district prosecutor’s office in Olsztyn for consideration. “The collected material is currently being analyzed, the facts are being assessed and the judicial classification of the developments is being determined,” said prosecutor’s office press secretary Kszysztof Stodolny, citing the local news outlet Kentrzyn News. He added that after this the prosecutor’s office will give more detailed information on the case. The news outlet reported that a drone with Russian-language inscriptions had landed on a private farmstead in New Różanka. It is currently unclear whether the drone belongs to the Russian army or to smugglers. Polish radio station RMF.FM reported that it is most likely to be a Russian reconnaissance drone, not a civilian drone. The drone is currently being studied by Polish experts, as well as the military and civilian intelligence agencies. From the 1st to the 30th of September, Poland is restricting air movement for civilian planes in the north-east and east of the country, close to the border with Russia and Belarus. Experts believe that these measures are related to the Russian and Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises, which will take place between the 14th and the 20th of September, and are intended to give protection against possible provocation. Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine said that with the Zapad 2017 exercises Russia wants to demonstrate its ability to wage a large-scale war in Europe.

UAWire – Media: NATO is preparing response to Russia’s violation of Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

NATO is preparing a plan of action in response to the alleged violation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), as reported on Thursday on the website of the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Radio and television broadcasters NDR and WDR have also reported this information. The newspaper managed to view a copy of the classified document, which was sent out from Brussels to the member countries of the alliance. It lists 39 possible actions in response to the violation of the INF Treaty. In particular, the expansion of the early warning system, the strengthening of anti-submarine defense, and the more active use of B-52 bombers in Europe could be implemented. In addition, as a possible response, it suggested actions aimed at “nuclear deterrence,” however the article does not explain what exactly is meant by this. At the same time, the document entitled “What would be if,” categorically excludes such options as the introduction of new sanctions against Russia or the withdrawal of the United States from the treaty, the newspaper writes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian-Speaking Belarusians and Ukrainians Threaten Putin’s ‘Russian World’ and Russia Itself

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – Most commentaries on Belarus and Ukraine suggest that the relatively large Russian-speaking populations in these two countries are a threat to their survival because they make it easier for Moscow to manipulate the domestic situation of the two and that the growth of Belarusian and Ukrainian speakers thus benefits these countries and harms Russia. While those may be reasonable conclusions for Belarusians and Ukrainians under certain circumstances, they ignore the way Russian-speaking Belarusian and Ukrainian patriots, people who identify with Belarus and Ukraine, represent a serious threat to Moscow and to Vladimir Putin’s largely linguistically defined “Russian world.” Indeed, the existence of Russian-speaking countries besides Russia represents a threat to the maintenance of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation itself because they serve notice that just as there are many English-speaking countries in the world, there could be many Russian speaking ones as well, including Siberians, Far Easterners and so on. The case of Belarus is especially instructive on these points. A new analysis on the Deutsche Welle portal notes that “although the majority of Belarusians speak Russian, they not only do not associate themselves with Russia but call themselves citizens of their own country” (dw.com/ru/особенности-белорусской-национальной-идентичности/a-37674267).Indeed, Belarusian scholars say that it is quite possible to be a Belarusian without knowing a word of Belarusian and that such an approach reflects a phenomenon more widely recognized among the Irish who speak English or Austrians who speak German but are nonetheless committed Irish or Austrian patriots, writer Valentina Akudovich says. Andrey Vardomatsky, a Belarusian sociologist, comes to the same point with the rhetorical question: “Do you know the Brazilian language or the Venezuelan one?” Language is “a strong but far from the only indicator of national identity.” Other factors can sometimes play a much larger role. “An individual can live wherever he wants, speak whatever language he wants, and grow up in whatever cultural tradition, but at the same time consider himself subjectively a representative of a different nation,” the sociologist continues, who argues that language is only one of the five traditional criteria of such identities. (The others are a shared history, a shared culture, a shared territory, and common socio-psychological dispositions.) As far as Belarusian identity is concerned, Vardomatsky says, at the present time, Belarusian national identity is more involved with territory and statehood than with anything else. Language issues are important and will remain a source of discord but they are not the determining factor many think. One of the reasons culture and language play less of a role, cultural specialist Maksim Zhdankov says, is that before World War II, the Soviets largely destroyed the Belarusian intelligentsia and after the war promoted in-migration and out-migration to dilute the Belarusianness of the people. Since 1991, Belarusians have felt themselves separate and distinct because they now have a state, and as a result, he continues, “even people who speak Russian 100 percent of the time while living on Belarusian territory do not associate themselves with Russia and have a very clear attachment to ‘here and now’” and that “here and now” is “the Belarusian Republic. Many Belarusians hope that their national language will become more commonly used and that Russian as a result will be less so, but language alone, they argue, is not going to determine identities, something they can feel good about and that Moscow at least under Putin can only fear.

Russia might have a female presidential candidate and the responses are predictably sexist — Quartz

Every presidential election cycle, the Kremlin goes through a long charade of finding an opposition candidate who seems plausible enough to make the election look at least a trifle genuine. In 2012, Vladimir Putin’s regime presented Russia’s richest man, playboy mining magnate and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, as his headline opponent. Prokhorov performed…

Kremlin Says Putin To Skip UN General Assembly

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the United Nations General Assembly later this month. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was quoted by state media on Septembe…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Could Genetic Testing Threaten Moscow’s Control of the North Caucasus?

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – Now that genetic testing is becoming easier and less expensive, ever more people in Russia as elsewhere are learning about their genetic backgrounds, something that ultimately has political consequences despite the fact that ethnicity and citizenship are not based on genetics but on history and culture. That is because some may learn that their genetic background is both different and more complicated than they suspect, with some Russians who are inordinately proud of their national links, for example, discovering that they in fact descend from numerous ethnic groups, something historians have long known but that genetic testing makes clear. But there is a more intriguing possibility among some non-Russian groups, especially those that Moscow has sought to split up into separate nationalities as part of its divide-and-rule strategy, because genetic testing may underscore common ancestral links that Moscow has tried to obscure. That is perhaps particularly the case with the Circassians, a nation that resisted Russian imperial expansion for more than a century and that the Russians and then the Soviets divided up into more than half a dozen ethnic groups to weaken the group that the center’s genocidal expulsion had not succeeded in destroying. If these various Circassian groups learn from genetic testing that they are in fact one nation in terms of ancestry, it will be easier for activists to promote the revival and intensification of a common Circassian identity more difficult for Moscow to keep them from demanding that Greater Circassia be restored. That possibility makes particularly interesting reports from Adygeya, the self-designator of Circassians, that Moscow scholars have launched a two-week genetic-anthropological expedition to form a genetic portrait of the population there (nazaccent.ru/content/25232-geneticheskij-portret-cherkesov-sostavyat-v-adygee.html and kavkazr.com/a/28709157.html). If similar programs are carried out in other Circassian areas, including among the Shapsugs of Sochi, the Kabards of Kabardino-Balkaria, and the Circassians of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, or if individuals in these places seek such testing on their own, that would almost inevitably have political consequences far beyond what Moscow would like.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Increasingly Imposing a Religious Test on Senior Officials, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – In Soviet times, anyone who was religious could not hope to occupy a senior government position; now, in contrast but in a pattern increasingly typical around the world, only those who show piety and only to selected religions have a chance to do so, Sergey Shelin says. The Rosbalt commentator says that public religiosity is increasingly a requirement for senior officials in many countries and that requirement has the effect of officializing religion and excluding followers of other faiths and denominations even if it does little or nothing to promote a genuine flowering of religious faith (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/09/01/1643086.html). What is happening in Russia and in some other countries as well, he says, is “not so much a renaissance of living faith, which in essence the bosses don’t need because they can’t control it but rather the clericalization of the state system, in part by law and in part by informally introducing a hierarchy of confessions.” At the top in Russia is “the all-national state religion (Orthodoxy of the ROC MP), a regional religion (Islam), two faiths, Buddhism and Judaism, indulgently recognized officially as ‘traditional’ in Russia, and a mass of ‘non-traditional’ confessions among whom there is a gradation from the more to the less tolerated.” Being Orthodox or in some cases Muslim or at least acting as if one is a follower of one of these is required of anyone hoping to become or stay a mid-level or senior official, Shelin says. Being Jewish is possible but not advisable for those who want to rise; and today it is “almost impossible” for a practicing Baptist or a proclaimed atheist to get a top post. This doesn’t mean that one must be a believer but rather give the impression that one is, he continues. It is a matter of “good tone” to attend services regularly and very publicly, as President Vladimir Putin has shown. But it is critical to recognize that this development is “not so much a response to demands from below as part of [the state’s’ ideological construction” because in Russia as elsewhere, “religiosity is part of the propagandistic costume of autocracy.” Some observers, Shelin says, think this is just a passing fad; but that may not be the case. If one examines the situation in many countries, one sees that “more than one regime having passed through a state of utilitarian use of religion, has become genuinely fanatic in the course of the following generation of citizens and rulers.” Of course, he continues, “the term ‘secular state’” is “allegorical” because “religions and churches never have anywhere been completely separated from the administration, policy, laws, state ideology and educational system.” But those governments that insist on secularism tend to move in a different direction than those that don’t. “In the 20th century, secularism was on the march almost everywhere,” and only in the place where it was born, Western Europe, did it begin a retreat. But now, in many countries, including Russia, that retreat has become a rout, either because people feel that modernism has betrayed them or because they want an authoritarian state. This striving after traditional values, Shelin says, “almost everywhere has gone over to a counter-attack and seized the world. In our country [Russia,] this has occurred in approximately the same way as in others but in false and grotesque forms.” As a result, there is reason to be worried about the new religious tests: they don’t point to a positive outcome.

Why Many Russians Fail to Comprehend Stalin’s Death Camp Crimes – YouTube

UATV English Published on Sep 3, 2017 The year 1937 in the Soviet Union marked the beginning of an unprecedented campaign of arrests and executions which later became known as the Great Terror. According to human rights center Memorial, about 1.5 million people were taken into custody and nearly 700,000 were executed by shooting within less than two years. Yet today, many Russians do not fully grasp the scale of Stalin’s crimes.

Wives, Children Of Russian-Born Islamic State Fighters Return From Iraq, Syria

Eight children and four women — originating from Russia and Kazakhstan — who had been left behind in areas liberated from Islamic State (IS) militants&nbsp;have been flown out of Iraq and Syria an…

Russian activist Navalny launches new attack on Putin – Business Insider

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has launched a new YouTube corruption attack against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By Bread Alone: Russian Teacher Tries Life Below The Poverty Line

STERLITAMAK, Russia — During a visit to the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2016, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was waylaid by a group of angry retirees complaining about inflation an…

Russian agriculture thrives as sanctions close off imports

Farms and other suppliers flourish as consumers turn to homegrown products

U.S. Space Champ Whitson Returns To Earth With Fellow Astronaut, Cosmonaut

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has returned to Earth after completing a record-breaking nine-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Whitson, who landed on September 3 i…

UAWire – Russia scraps nuclear-powered icebreaker The Soviet Union due to sanctions

Russian authorities have decided to scrap the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker The Soviet Union. It will not be restored, despite earlier plans to use the ship in projects to develop the Arctic or engage it within the Russian Armed Forces. Rosatomflot’s General Director, Vyacheslav Ruksha , shared this with RIA Novosti. According to Ruksha, the official order has already been signed. He said that the icebreaker could be claimed for offshore projects, but because of Western sanctions against the joint project between RosNeft and US-based ExxonMobil on the Kara Sea shelf, it would remain “out of work.” The General Director of the company said that the icebreaker is superfluous in terms of its power, and that its use in the Russian Armed Forces was not necessary from an economic point of view. RIA Novosti notes that the Soviet Union was put into operation in 1989. This is a unique project because the ship could be retrofitted in a short time into a combat cruiser. Its power plant was first used in 2002 to provide power supplies to onshore facilities. The experiment was successful, but was found to be unprofitable. In 2004, the Soviet Union was one of three icebreakers involved in research on the impact of global warming in the Arctic. Due to a decrease in work in the Arctic, the icebreaker was decommissioned. In 2014, the management of the state corporation Rosatom decided to restore the nuclear-powered ship by 2018 for new Russian projects in the Arctic. It was supposed that after that, the Soviet Union could serve another 20 years. In April, US authorities barred ExxonMobil from cooperation with Rosneft in circumvention of sanctions. In July, the US fined ExxonMobil for transactions with Rosneft.


Belarus Reports


Belarus declares war on imaginary country within borders of Belarus that is better than Belarus • The Register

The former Soviet republic of Belarus has declared war on an imaginary country that exists within its own borders. The unprecedented move – which to be honest sounds no more or less mad than most of the rest of the news in these increasingly interesting times – has come about due to a series of war games called Zapad 2017, set to take place between September 14 and 20. The scenario for these exercises involve Belarusian and Russian forces facing a combined invasion by three imaginary nations on Belarus’s borders: Vesbaria (which occupies the territory of real-life Lithuania), Lubenia (which equates to Poland) and Veyshnoria, which in the war game scenario occupies a space in the northwest of Belarus itself. Though the invention of imaginary states for military purposes is not in itself unusual, it generally does not go well diplomatically if you regularly pretend to crush your neighbours’ armed forces after overtly suggesting they have designs on your territory. But IHS Markit analyst Alex Kokcharov has noted that the borders of Veyshnoria correlate to the area of Belarus most politically hostile to the country’s president, self-styled authoritarian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, suggesting that the dear leader considers this dissent to be unacceptable and deserving of the threat of military recriminations.

Belarus to Compete With ‘Space Rocket’ Tesla, Says President | Inverse

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko wants the country to build an electric car capable of rivaling Tesla. The president of Belarus wants the country to build an electric car capable of rivaling Tesla. Alexander Lukashenko told aides and car manufacturers at a government conference on Thursday that engineers should look to Elon Musk’s vehicles as the standard to meet. “It accelerates so fast as to leave all the German combustion engine cars we’ve tested way behind,” Lukashenko said, reports state-owned media outlet Belta. “They couldn’t catch up. The Tesla car goes off like a space rocket and even harder. 100kmph within 2.5 seconds. I was curious about traction. It turns out its traction is ideal.” Emulating its success will be a big challenge for Belarusian industry. Official figures show manufacturing accounts for 28 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, specializing in heavy industry vehicles like tractors. But the country has hi-tech ambitions: a Wall Street Journal report claimed that IT exports totaled $705.6 million in 2015, and the Hi-Tech Park located in the capital city of Minsk has aided the development of apps like Viber and World of Tanks. As the world starts to move toward electric vehicles, the sector may find itself taking on Musk and others sooner rather than later.

Belarus Jews concerned over plans to build apartments atop Jewish cemetery – Europe – Haaretz.com

While Jewish law stipulates burial sites must not be disturbed, the cemetery, at which the last burial was in 1885, is denied by Belarus authorities


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Russian minister criticizes Moldova’s call for troop pullout – ABC News

Russian minister criticizes Moldova’s call for troop pullout

Idea to Remove Russian Peacekeepers From Transnistria May Lead to War – Lavrov – Sputnik International

The idea to remove Russian peacekeepers from Transnistria can result in an armed conflict in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday.

Dodon Pledges to Prevent Escalation of Conflict in Transnistria – Sputnik International

Moldovan President Igor Dodon said Friday that he would not allow the situation in Transnistria to escalate and would exert maximum efforts to prevent a conflict.

Moldova’s Reunification With Breakaway Regions of Major Importance – Dodon – Sputnik International

Moldovan reunification with breakaway regions will serve as an additional guarantee of the it’s sovereignty, Moldovan President Igor Dodon said Monday.


Ukraine Reports


UAWire – Ukrainian diaspora intends to seek more stringent sanctions against Russia

The head of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), Eugene Czolij, has said that his organization plans to seek more stringent sanctions against Russia. “I want to assure you that we will continue to take all possible measures to ensure that the sanctions are more stringent, including the shutdown of the SWIFT system in the Russian Federation,” he said during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Kyiv on Friday, writes Interfax-Ukraine. In addition, the UWC aims to obtain a decision from the United States regarding the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine. At the same time, Czolij stressed the importance and priority of continuing the fight against corruption in Ukraine. The European Union will begin a debate next week on whether to extend sanctions against Russia. In the meantime, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that sanctions against Russia would not be lifted until the Russian Federation fulfilled all the necessary conditions. Meanwhile, the US has codified its sanctions against Russia. The law passed by the US Senate does not directly introduce any new measures and does not oblige the president to introduce them. However, it provides for the possibility of introducing new sanctions against investors from any country, for example, for participating in the construction of Russian export pipelines. Additional restrictions prohibit the US president from removing sanctions from Russia without the approval of the Congress.

UAWire – Ukraine considering several options for introduction of peacekeepers in Donbas

Kyiv is considering three options for the introduction of a UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas, as stated by Arthur Gerasimov, chairman of …

Ukraine already capable of taking over Luhansk and Donetsk – Polish expert – 02.09.2017 14:53 — Ukrinform News

While holding its West 2017 military trainings, Russia can go to the length of various actions to weaken the Ukrainian army, including the aggression against Ukraine.

Normal dialogue with Russia possible after it abides by Minsk agreements, – Merkel – 112.international

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel finds it important to keep contacts with Russia in order to ensure the overall security, but only after Russia abides by the Minsk agreements is the normal dialogue possible. The Chancellor phrased these ideas in her Saturday video podcast, as Ukrinform reports. “From the point of view of European politics, security, and defense we have to make every effort to improve the negotiating contacts (with Russia). However, it includes adhering to the Minsk agreements. If that can be accomplished, we will be able to restart more active and intensive negotiations,” she said. Merkel added that the formation of the European peace and order is possible only if Russia cooperates. The Chancellor says that “despite the big conflicts related to Ukraine and sanctity of territorial integrity” she always advocated for continuing the dialogue with Russia, in particular, between NATO and Russia. She also said that doesn’t find nuclear weapons essential for Germany.

UAWire – Russia expresses concern over cooperation between Ukraine and Croatia on return of occupied territories

Russia is concerned about contact between officials from Ukraine and Croatia regarding the issue of the return of occupied territories, as stated in a commentary by the Department of Information and Press of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regarding a recent visit to Ukraine by a Croatian delegation headed by Vesna Škare-Ožbolt, who led the process of the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region. “Judging by the information available in the media, the subject of ‘returning uncontrolled territories’ on the basis of the Croatian experience of the 1990s was discussed at these meetings. The ‘experience’ is more than controversial, and to speak bluntly – negative,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Russian diplomats recall “about 250 thousand Serbian refugees” and “numerous victims among the civilian population”, which “resulted from military operations carried out by Zagreb in 1995.” “We regretfully must state that behind the screen of assurances about ‘good intentions’ and ‘the need to restore mutual trust’ in the conflict zones, dangerous theses about the ‘compulsion’ and ‘admissibility’ of such ‘methods of peaceful reintegration’ sound once more. Of considerable concern is the fact that Kyiv is eager to pick up such signals, demonstratively ignoring its own clearly stated obligations within the framework of the Minsk ‘Set of Measures’, “ said the Russian MFA. On June 13, Ukraine and Croatia signed a cooperation plan for a joint working group on collaboration regarding the issue of reintegration of territories. The plan defines priority tasks for 2017, among which is the study of the Croatian side’s experience on the reintegration of the occupied territories and the return of refugees, restoring public confidence and restoring infrastructure, attracting international assistance, and social security for reintegrated territories.

Total Croatia News: Croatian territory reintegration model presented in Ukraine

Members of the Croatian government’s working group for cooperation between Croatia and Ukraine presented the Croatian model of successful and peaceful reintegration of the Ukrainian territory during their two-day working visit to Kyiv, according to the Total Croatia News portal with reference to tportal.hr. This was announced by members of the delegation at a press conference at that country’s Foreign Ministry on Friday, September 1, Total Croatia News said on Saturday, September 2. “We have presented our experiences in the implementation of the demilitarization of territory, the establishment of a transitional police, the application of amnesty, the implementation of local elections, in short – the establishment of normal life,” chairwoman of the working group Vesna Skare-Ozbolt has said. Read also Donbas reintegration bill to brand Russia “aggressor state” at legislative level – Poroshenko’s envoy to Rada State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry Zdravka Busic also stressed that, when it comes to relations between Zagreb and Moscow, Croatia has “no hidden agenda” and the Croatian model of peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region has drawn considerable interest from the UN in resolving the problems from Georgia and Syria. Vesna Skare-Ozbolt believes that Croatia has a moral obligation to try to help establish peace in the Ukrainian east, and stresses that the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region was the most successful UN peacekeeping mission ever. “Moscow and Kyiv know that quite well,” she said, pointing out that both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers participated in the UN peacekeeping mission in Croatia. The visit by the Croatian delegation has caused an uproar from Russia. Read also Concentration camp for Russian consciousness “However, it seems that Russia is of a somewhat different opinion,” Total Croatia News said. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the Croatian delegation’s activities in Ukraine. “We have noted the contacts between Ukrainian authorities and former Croatian Minister of Justice Vesna Skare-Ozbolt, former Deputy Interior Minister Josko Moric and former Head of the Directorate for Expellees, Returnees, and Refugees Lovre Pejkovic who arrived from Zagreb, at the end of August in Kyiv. Judging by the information available from the media, the issues discussed at the meetings included the ‘return of occupied territories’ based on Croatia’s experience in the 1990s. That experience is more than controversial, it is negative, to put it bluntly. Suffice is to recall the approximately 250,000 Serbian refugees, forced out of Croatia by the military operations carried out by Zagreb in 1995, and the numerous civilian casualties. Regretfully, their assurances of ‘good intentions’ and ‘the need to restore mutual trust’ in the conflict areas were used as a guise to make dangerous statements about ‘compulsion’ and the ‘acceptability’ of certain ‘methods of peaceful reintegration.’ Of considerable concern is the fact that Kyiv seems eager to pick up on such signals, demonstratively ignoring its own clearly stated obligations under the Minsk Package of Measures. Therefore, any mention of scenarios for Donbas involving force would be especially damaging and immoral now, in the first days of the ‘school truce’ confirmed in the Normandy format,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. The Russian side has called on “Zagreb to use every opportunity to encourage Kyiv to consistently and unswervingly implement the Minsk Agreements” in the interests of expediting the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and durable stabilization in eastern Ukraine. Josko Moric, a member of the working group, stressed that the visit took place within the framework of the fact that, “on the one hand, Ukraine is a subject of international-legal and political relations in its internationally recognized borders and, on the other hand, that the presidents of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and France and the German Chancellor have confirmed that they respect Ukraine’s integrity and territorial sovereignty and firmly believe that a peaceful solutions to the problem has no alternative.” “What we did and said in Kyiv, we can repeat in Donetsk, Luhansk, Moscow or Berlin,” Moric said.

Ukraine beefs up border security pending Belarus-Russia major war games

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine has reinforced patrols in all the sectors of the Ukrainian border in connection with the Russian-Belarussian Zapad 2017 major war games, scheduled for September 14-20, according to TV Channel 112 Ukraine. News 03 September from UNIAN.

UAWire – Ahead of Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 exercises Ukraine will hold large-scale command staff drills

Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), has said that the AFU will hold a series of command and staff exercises in September involving the troops and operational reserves, the core of which will be “Unbreakable Resistance-2017” exercises. “From September 12 to 15, strategic command staff exercises will be held with the military command and control agencies and the troops (forces) of ‘Unbreakable Resistance-2017’. Its goal is to increase the capacity of military command and control bodies to manage troops (forces) in the course of regrouping, [as well as] conducting defensive, stabilizing and combat operations,” The Public Relations department of the AFU quotes Muzhenko as saying. According to Muzhenko, logistics training will be held prior to the exercises to help improve systems for the planning and comprehensive provision of troops and forces, the involvement of forces and assets during the strategic deployment of the AFU, and the repelling of armed aggression in risky areas. “We will complete a full cycle of operational planning for the use of groupings of troops (forces). In addition, training on personnel and methods for the territorial defense of the state will be held, [involving] the deployment of the headquarters of territorial defense,” the Chief of the General Staff added. The strategic Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 exercises will be held at the same time, from September 14 to September 20, at several training facilities in Russia and Belarus. When announcing the maneuvers, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu called them “the flagship event for the joint training of Russian and Belarusian armed forces in 2017”. During his visit to Kyiv, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko guaranteed that the territory of his country would not be used to invade Ukraine. NSDC (National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov believes that the Zapad-2017 exercise will test Russia’s readiness for a big war with NATO countries. President Petro Poroshenko considers these exercises a threat to Ukraine.

Ukraine reports 26 attacks on its troops in Donbas on Sept 2

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian troops in Donbas 26 times on Saturday, September 2; there were no casualties among Ukrainian soldiers, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 03 September from UNIAN.

24 hours in Donbas: more attacks in the night, 26 overall – 112.international

By midnight on September 2, the enemy in Donbas increased the number of attacks on Ukrainian Army positions, as the Ukrainian Army HQ reports. In Donetsk sector, Avdiivka industrial zone was attacked four times with small arms and grenade launchers. Ukrainian strongholds near Zaitseve and Kamianka were also attacked. In Mariupol sector, Vodiane was attacked four times with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms. The Russia-backed terrorists also broke the cease fire near Talakivka and Hnutove. A heavy machine gun was used to attack Shyrokyne. Luhansk sector was relatively calm. However, at around 8 pm, attacks from grenade launcher were reported in Novozvanivka. Overall the militants made 26 attacks on Ukrainian Army in 24 hours. Most of them were from small arms and didn’t last long. No casualties among Ukrainian soldiers occurred.

Defense ministry’s update: Ukrainian soldier gets light wound in Donbas in past day

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in Donbas hostilities in the past day, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Latest UNIAN news from 03 September.

Minister of Defence of Ukraine Army General Stepan Poltorak awarded Oklahoma National Guard soldiers who rescued people from burning apartments in Lviv, Ukraine – MoD | Flickr

Minister of Defence of Ukraine Army General Stepan Poltorak awarded Oklahoma National Guard soldiers who rescued people from burning apartments in Lviv, Ukraine

New terminal of Odesa airport welcomes first passengers – 02.09.2017 13:50 — Ukrinform News

September 2, a new terminal of the Odesa international airport has welcomed the passengers of the Turkish Airlines&rsquo; Boeing 737-800.

Winning the revolution will take more than winning the Maidan -Euromaidan Press |

A wake-up call for Ukrainian society: the solution can only come from within. Kateryna Smagliy This article was first published by the Kennan institute and is being republished with permission. When U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid his first official visit to Ukraine on 9 July 2017, he met with a small group of Ukrainian civil society activists prior to his meeting with President Poroshenko. The sequence of Tillerson’s conversations in Kyiv was not coincidental. It sent a clear signal: the U.S. government values Ukraine’s civil society’s efforts and urges our leaders to strengthen cooperation with anti-corruption groups and reform activists.

Poroshenko bought and transferred 100 sniper systems to the 3rd Regiment of Special Operations Forces

29, August 21, during a working trip to the Kirovograd region, the President of Ukraine visited the 3rd special special-purpose regiment, which is located in Kropivnitsky. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko spent over 500 million hryvnias of his own money to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine , including several tens of millions for the 3rd Special Special Operations Forces Special Operations Regiment (by 2016, the operational command “South” of the Land Forces ) Among the aided help cars, body armor, equipment, uniforms, warm things, as well as 100 sniper complexes, consisting of: 82 7-62mm Z-10 carbines (.308 Winchester) and 18 Savage rifles under the nail .338 Lapua Magnum , optics, rangefinders and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition. During the visit to the unit, “Redut”, the commander of the special-purpose regiment handed Petro Poroshenko a symbolic gift … with shells from the packs made from these rifles, with the names of fallen brothers. Each shell is a confirmed enemy’s defeat, revenge and memory …

Z-10 20″ Sniper Rifle

«Zbroyar Z-10 20″» – класичний варіант AR-10 із системою відведення газів «Direct Impingement» (DI) калібру 308Win

Savage Arms : Firearms : Model : 10/110 BA Stealth

Pres Poroshenko handling a Zbroyar Z-008 in 2014.

79th VDV with Zbroyar Z-10

UKRAINE’S MISSILE PROJECTS – EXPECTATIONS

As Russian military aggression is ongoing, Ukraine’s military and political authorities are seeking to provide the country with an adequate weapons deterrent capability that could contain and deter the eastern neighbor from its aggressive intentions. As stated by Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, “Ukraine’s defense industries continue work on a MoD commissioned project to develop an indigenous short-range missile system. The key challenge now is to improve physical characteristics and performance of the technology and to ensure that it is fully manufactured in Ukraine”. We have in mind the Vilkha missile and launch system that is being developed out of the legacy 9К58 Smerch MLRS technology. The first mention of the Vilkha project came from President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at National Security and Defense Council meeing on January 27, 2016. The Vilkha is being developed as a cooperative project between Pivdenne (otherwise known as Yuzhnoye) Design Bureau, Zaporizhia, and Luch Design Bureau, Kyiv. Technical parameters of the project were not disclosed as of 2016. The Vilkha project, which is scheduled for completion in 2017, encompasses the development of both the missile and associated launch platform.

KrAZ-7634HE – AutoKrAZ

New chassis cab suitable to carry heavy equipment for oil industry.

KrAZ-Hurricane – AutoKrAZ

KrAZ Hurricane multirole armored vehicle is designed for various combat missions. Specifications Chassis cab KrAZ-7634HE Configuration 8х8 Truck curb…

ATGW KOMBAT and KONUS

Nowadays, ATGW [anti-tank guided weapon] munitions designed to launch from tank gun tubes make up a separate niche on the global arms market, where Ukraine is present with its anti-tank guided missile systems KOMBAT and KONUS. These precision-guided weapons, developed by the State Design Bureau «Luch» in Kyiv, are series produced by the Artem State Joint Stock Holding Company, also based in Kyiv. The KOMBAT laser-beam riding precision-guided missile can launch from the 125-mm smoothbore guns mounted on the T-72, T-80UD and OPLOT main battle tanks equipped with fire control systems compatible with it. The missile can be fired while both of the host vehicle and the target are in motion. Although the primary role of the missile is to engage main battle tanks operating at ranges beyond the effective range of the 125mm tank gun firing conventional ammunition, it can also be fired against other battlefield targets such as hovering helicopters or pillboxes. The KOMBAT missiles can be loaded into the tank gun’s carousel-type automatic loader together with all other round types employed by the gun. The KOMBAT missile body consists of two parts: the head end/tandem warhead and aft end (accommodating sensor/control aids and propulsion), both being stowed in the automatic loader in the same way as conventional ammunition. The two parts get united into one body in the gun bore at the moment of firing. The missile’s tandem warhead enables it to defeat targets fitted with explosive reactive armor with a first-round hit probability of 0.8-0.9.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Hisham Melhem | The Arab World Has Never Recovered From the Loss of 1967 | Foreign Policy

Fifty years after the Six-Day War, the intellectualism that once lit up the Middle East has been all but extinguished by corrupt regimes and perverse religiosity.

Alarming West, Turkey nudges closer to Russia arms deal, Europe News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkey and Russia are inching towards an accord for the first major Turkish weapons purchase from Moscow, troubling Ankara’s allies in Nato even though the deal may not ultimately materialise.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Desperate Rohingya Flee Myanmar on Trail of Suffering. ‘It Is All Gone.’ – The New York Times

Tens of thousands escaped into Bangladesh, where they told New York Times journalists accounts of massacres by security forces. Hunger and hardship await them across the border.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States…..”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “..North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “I will be meeting General Kelly, General Mattis and other military leaders at the White House to discuss North Korea. Thank you.”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

‘We’ll see,’ Trump says on potentially attacking North Korea over its nuclear test – The Washington Post

He earlier also scolded South Korea for its handling of the crisis, saying appeasement won’t work.

Trump warns that North Korea leaders ‘only understand one thing’ – POLITICO

The president’s tweets comes after Pyongyang claims another major nuclear breakthrough.

Trump calls North Korea’s words and actions “hostile and dangerous” – CBS News

North Korea announced it detonated a thermonuclear device Sunday in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date

Harry J. Kazianis | A North Korea nuclear nightmare: Trump has strong options he can use against Kim but he’s got to act quickly | Fox News

North Korea made clear its determination this weekend to keep advancing its nuclear weapons program.

In latest test, North Korea detonates its most powerful nuclear device yet – The Washington Post

The detonation detected on Sunday was eight times as powerful as the Hiroshima blast and suggests that the device would be a “city buster” if it landed near an urban area, analysts said.

North Korea celebrates supposed hydrogen bomb test – NY Daily News

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly inspected a “super explosive” hydrogen bomb developed in his nation.

In latest test, North Korea detonates its most powerful nuclear device yet – The Washington Post

The detonation detected on Sunday was eight times as powerful as the Hiroshima blast and suggests that the device would be a “city buster” if it landed near an urban area, analysts said.

North Korea Hydrogen Bomb Test: What We Know So Far

Pyongyang carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, causing a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

North Korea Says Sixth Nuclear Test Was a Hydrogen Bomb | Time.com

North Korea carried out a sixth nuclear test on Sunday morning after a 5.6 magnitude tremor was detected in the northeast of the country.

North Korea Says it Tested Hydrogen Bomb That Can Fit on ICMB – NBC News

North Korea on Sunday claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb meant for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea: Sixth Nuclear Test Was an H-Bomb for ICBM 

Earlier, the North Korean leader said a hydrogen bomb was ‘100 percent’ domestically made

North Korea claims it can load hydrogen bomb onto missile – CBS News

The Institute for Science and International Security tweeted Pyongyang can &quot;build any H bomb … model it wants and call it whatever it wants but that does not make it real&quot;

North Korea says it has developed ‘advanced hydrogen bomb’ as Trump, Abe discuss ‘escalating’ crisis

North Korea said on Sunday it has developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that possesses “great destructive power” as U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked by phone about the “escalating” nuclear crisis.

Live: Kim Jong-un ‘proud of bolstering North Korea’s nuclear arsenal’ after inspecting ‘super explosive hydrogen bomb’ – Mirror Online

Kim Jong-un was pictured inspecting an apparent hydrogen bomb with “great destructive power” – a development which will concern the US and South Korea

North Korea’s Deadly Weapon: What is a Hydrogen Bomb and How Much Damage Could It Do?

Hydrogen bombs have never been used in warfare and can generate force hundreds of times higher than the atomic bombs used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Castle Bravo – Wikipedia

Joe 4 – Wikipedia

Boosted fission weapon – Wikipedia

Kinzinger Disagrees with Putin: NKorea At Fault for Tensions

It’s one thing to take Russian President Vladimir Putin at his word that the situation between North Korea and the United States is escalating, but not his implication that the U.S. or President Donald Trump are at fault, Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Friday.

The Latest: Russia condemns nuclear test, calls for talks – The Washington Post

The Latest on the nuclear test North Korea conducted Sunday — its sixth and largest so far (all times local):

North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Tests Are Aimed at Splitting Its Rivals | Foreign Policy

North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Tests Are Aimed at Splitting Its Rivals « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

South Korea strongly condemns North Korea’s nuke test- Nikkei Asian Review

SEOUL (Kyodo) — South Korea on Sunday strongly condemned North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and warned that the North would only face deeper diplomatic

North Korea’s Alleged H-Bomb Test Prompts Global Condemnation

North Korea says it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb capable of being loaded onto its long-range missiles — in what was apparently its most powerful nuclear test yet. Pyongyang’s sixt…

North Korea Appears to Challenge the US to a Dance Off In Latest Propaganda Video – To Inform is to Influence

Matt Novak Friday 6:00am Guys, I’ve got some good news. North Korea looks like it may have abandoned its plans to develop nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles and is instead challenging the US to a dance off. At least that’s my reading of their latest propaganda video. North Korean state news agency DPRK Today has released a new video…

Trump and Abe Discuss Raising Pressure on North Korea – Bloomberg

Seoul, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the tensions on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):

China’s anger at West to overshadow tougher action on North Korea

North Korea’s latest nuclear test is likely to pile more pressure on China to take tough action against its neighbor, but Beijing already doubts economic sanctions will work and says it is not its sole responsibility to rein in Pyongyang.

China’s Xi To Welcome Putin, Other BRICS Leaders For Summit

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are preparing to hold their annual summit, with a border dispute between China and India likely to create a tense atmosphere. Leaders from the s…


Foreign Policy Reports


Why the far-right Alternative for Germany is no threat to Angela Merkel – The Washington Post

The party is poised to enter Parliament but is no longer viewed as a threat to the current government.

Frankfurt evacuates thousands to defuse World War II bomb | News | DW | 03.09.2017

Nearly 60,000 residents in Frankfurt have been evacuated while experts dispose of a World War II-era bomb. It’s the largest evacuation in Germany since the end of the war.

Thousands evacuate in Frankfurt before WWII bomb defused

Thousands of residents in Frankfurt evacuated their homes early on Sunday ahead of the planned defusing of a massive World War Two bomb discovered on a building site in the German financial capital.

Femen participant runs onto football field before Ukraine-Turkey match – 112.international

Femen activist Angelina Diash ran onto a football field in Kharkiv before the qualifier match of the World Cup between Ukraine and Turkey. She had “Erdogan killer” written on her chest. Previously Diash was charged for a similar protest during the official ceremony with presidents of Ukraine and Belarus at the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. Then she has “Belarus living” written on her. Now a criminal case is filed against her Under Part 3 Article 296 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code (Hooliganism committed by a person previously convicted of hooliganism, or accompanied with resistance to authorities). She could be convicted for 2 to 5 years of imprisonment.

Probe under way into health attacks against diplomats in Cuba – SFGate

Mysterious incidents affecting the health of American diplomats in Cuba continued as recently as August, the United States said, despite earlier assessments that the attacks had stopped in the spring. The U.S. increased its tally of government personnel affected to 19. The new U.S. disclosures Friday came the same day that the union representing American diplomats said mild traumatic brain injury was among the diagnoses given to diplomats victimized in the attacks. The American Foreign Service Association said permanent hearing loss was another diagnosis, and that additional symptoms had included brain swelling, severe headaches, loss of balance and “cognitive disruption.” At the State Department, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. was continually revising its assessments of the scope of the attacks as new information was obtained. She said the investigation has not been completed. “We can confirm another incident which occurred last month and is now part of the investigation,” Nauert said.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Twitter suspends Russian news channel’s ‘British embassy’ account | Media | The Guardian

UK Foreign Office complained about account set up by RT as part of project marking centenary of Russian revolution

John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu · LRB 17 August 2017

At the end of June, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit a new level: two billion monthly active users. That number, the company’s preferred ‘metric’ when measuring its own size, means two billion different people used Facebook in the preceding month. It is hard to grasp just how extraordinary that is. Bear in mind that thefacebook – its original name – was launched exclusively for Harvard students in 2004. No human enterprise, no new technology or utility or service, has ever been adopted so widely so quickly. The speed of uptake far exceeds that of the internet itself, let alone ancient technologies such as television or cinema or radio. Also amazing: as Facebook has grown, its users’ reliance on it has also grown. The increase in numbers is not, as one might expect, accompanied by a lower level of engagement. More does not mean worse – or worse, at least, from Facebook’s point of view. On the contrary. In the far distant days of October 2012, when Facebook hit one billion users, 55 per cent of them were using it every day. At two billion, 66 per cent are. Its user base is growing at 18 per cent a year – which you’d have thought impossible for a business already so enormous. Facebook’s biggest rival for logged-in users is YouTube, owned by its deadly rival Alphabet (the company formerly known as Google), in second place with 1.5 billion monthly users. Three of the next four biggest apps, or services, or whatever one wants to call them, are WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, with 1.2 billion, 1.2 billion, and 700 million users respectively (the Chinese app WeChat is the other one, with 889 million). Those three entities have something in common: they are all owned by Facebook. No wonder the company is the fifth most valuable in the world, with a market capitalisation of $445 billion. Zuckerberg’s news about Facebook’s size came with an announcement which may or may not prove to be significant. He said that the company was changing its ‘mission statement’, its version of the canting pieties beloved of corporate America. Facebook’s mission used to be ‘making the world more open and connected’. A non-Facebooker reading that is likely to ask: why? Connection is presented as an end in itself, an inherently and automatically good thing. Is it, though? Flaubert was sceptical about trains because he thought (in Julian Barnes’s paraphrase) that ‘the railway would merely permit more people to move about, meet and be stupid.’ You don’t have to be as misanthropic as Flaubert to wonder if something similar isn’t true about connecting people on Facebook. For instance, Facebook is generally agreed to have played a big, perhaps even a crucial, role in the election of Donald Trump. The benefit to humanity is not clear. This thought, or something like it, seems to have occurred to Zuckerberg, because the new mission statement spells out a reason for all this connectedness. It says that the new mission is to ‘give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together’. Hmm. Alphabet’s mission statement, ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’, came accompanied by the maxim ‘Don’t be evil,’ which has been the source of a lot of ridicule: Steve Jobs called it ‘bullshit’. 1 Which it is, but it isn’t only bullshit. Plenty of companies, indeed entire industries, base their business model on being evil. The insurance business, for instance, depends on the fact that insurers charge customers more than their insurance is worth; that’s fair enough, since if they didn’t do that they wouldn’t be viable as businesses. What isn’t fair is the panoply of cynical techniques that many insurers use to avoid, as far as possible, paying out when the insured-against event happens. Just ask anyone who has had a property suffer a major mishap. It’s worth saying ‘Don’t be evil,’ because lots of businesses are. This is especially an issue in the world of the internet. Internet companies are working in a field that is poorly understood (if understood at all) by customers and regulators. The stuff they’re doing, if they’re any good at all, is by definition new. In that overlapping area of novelty and ignorance and unregulation, it’s well worth reminding employees not to be evil, because if the company succeeds and grows, plenty of chances to be evil are going to come along. Google and Facebook have both been walking this line from the beginning. Their styles of doing so are different. An internet entrepreneur I know has had dealings with both companies. ‘YouTube knows they have lots of dirty things going on and are keen to try and do some good to alleviate it,’ he told me. I asked what he meant by ‘dirty’. ‘Terrorist and extremist content, stolen content, copyright violations. That kind of thing. But Google in my experience knows that there are ambiguities, moral doubts, around some of what they do, and at least they try to think about it. Facebook just doesn’t care. When you’re in a room with them you can tell. They’re’ – he took a moment to find the right word – ‘scuzzy’. That might sound harsh. There have, however, been ethical problems and ambiguities about Facebook since the moment of its creation, a fact we know because its creator was live-blogging at the time. The scene is as it was recounted in Aaron Sorkin’s movie about the birth of Facebook, The Social Network. While in his first year at Harvard, Zuckerberg suffered a romantic rebuff. Who wouldn’t respond to this by creating a website where undergraduates’ pictures are placed side by side so that users of the site can vote for the one they find more attractive? (The film makes it look as if it was only female undergraduates: in real life it was both.) The site was called Facemash. In the great man’s own words, at the time: I’m a little intoxicated, I’m not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10 p.m. and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland dormitory facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of some farm animals and have people vote on which is the more attractive … Let the hacking begin. As Tim Wu explains in his energetic and original new book The Attention Merchants, a ‘facebook’ in the sense Zuckerberg uses it here ‘traditionally referred to a physical booklet produced at American universities to promote socialisation in the way that “Hi, My Name Is” stickers do at events; the pages consisted of rows upon rows of head shots with the corresponding name’. Harvard was already working on an electronic version of its various dormitory facebooks. The leading social network, Friendster, already had three million users. The idea of putting these two things together was not entirely novel, but as Zuckerberg said at the time, ‘I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.’


US Domestic Policy Reports


Russia’s “Diplomats” Laying Groundwork For Dezinformatsiya? – To Inform is to Influence

My interest was piqued, today, when RT began broadcasting a Ruptly television broadcast at the Russian Trade Mission in Washington DC. There were no headlines on the broadcast, no explanations, just a view of two uniformed policemen outside the gate. There was another person outside the gate acting as a sort of gatekeeper.  In the background…

Russia Demands Return Of ‘Seized’ Diplomatic Facilities In U.S.

Russia is urging the United States to return Russian diplomatic facilities it says U.S. authorities have &quot;seized&quot; in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., calling it an openly hostil…

Russia: U.S. order to vacate diplomatic property ‘blunt act of hostility’

The Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday that a U.S. order to vacate Russian diplomatic property in Washington and San Francisco was a “blunt act of hostility”.

Russia complains of ‘violation of international law’ as FBI raids diplomatic facilities

Moscow Summons U.S. Diplomat To Protest Search Of Diplomatic Facility

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on September 2 that it has summoned a high-ranking U.S. diplomat in Moscow to hand him a note of protest over what it calls U.S. plans to conduct searches i…

The searches began in Russian trade mission in Washington – Searches began in Russian Trade Mission in Washington – 112.international

The searches began in Russian trade mission in Washington

Russian diplomats vacate 3 compounds in U.S., State Department says – CBS News

A State Department official denies Russian claims that U.S. officials threatened to break down doors at the facilities

Trump ramps up Russia tension with consulate shutdown | TheHill

The Trump administration has retaliated against Russia for expelling American diplomats by shuttering Russia’s oldest consulate in the United States along with two annexes, the latest sign of tensions between Washington and Moscow rising despite the Trump’s public desire for warmer relations.

Funds for Harvey victims may be delayed without debt limit increase: Mnuchin

U.S. President Donald Trump admonished South Korea, a key ally, for what he termed a policy of “appeasement” after North Korea claimed to have tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile on Sunday.

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