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Russia / Strategy Media Update – 13 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Some excellent articles and analysis today. Good work by Sutyagin and Lucas on Zapad 2017. Lithuanian PM suspects UN peacekeepers may be exit strategy for Russia.

Abdullaev report is interesting and shows the previously noted effects of centralising all power in the Kremlin, dismantling governance, and rolling back Russian government to the Tsarist model – everything is arbitrary. Russia’s descent continues, as detailed by multiple items on social meltdown, persecution, ethnic divisions and Tsarism zealots.

In Belarus, more on Zapad 2017 and more on the kidnapped teenager now in a Russian jail. Moldova’s Putinist Pres Dodon faithfully follows his Moscow script.

Excellent summary of Russian destabilisation effort by Basarab and Serdiuk – yes Ukrainian infighting has cost them dearly for centuries. Unusual report about Russians pulling puppet republic rep from Minsk offices. Russian covert ops network in Kharkiv busted by SBU. COCW Award to retired Prof Malitsky, Auschwitz survivor, for elegantly handling a Sovok in Kharkiv. Donbass fires continue, while AFU ramps up Unwavering Tenacity 2017 exercises. Two major corruption problems found in aerospace sector, sanction busting to sustain Russian An-124 CONDOR fleet, and brazen attempt at a covert takeover of the Motorsich plant, intended to see whole enterprise dismantled and moved to China. First US supplied coal shipment arrives in Ukraine.

New Iran strategy proposal presented to POTUS, while Iran continues to build relationship with Russia, and agrees to rebuild Syria’s infrastructure – Syria is a de facto vassal of Iran, as Hezbollah is its proxy. Iraqi courts start dealing with captured ISIS personnel.

DPRK – sniffers find inconclusive gas traces, while 38 North revise their yield estimate to 250 kT, typical for boosted fission designs. Kausikan interview on China interesting – he argues its DPRK posture is tied up in domestic politics, and fear of being seen to be turning on a fellow Communist regime (which DPRK appears to be in propaganda only now). Rozen at Al-Monitor claims US preparing contingency plans for the post-war occupation of the DPRK – this remains to be validated, but if true, would be prudent, as the cited argument of fanatical regime followers conducting an insurgency is sound, the case study were the fanatical Nazi Werwolf insurgents in Germany. Whoever might end up occupying the DPRK will have to deal with this problem. RoKAF test launches a KEPD-350 from an F-15K.

Many articles on the German election, most interesting being on the AfD party, dominated by repatriated ethnic Germans from Russia (while the Volga German enclave was largest it was not the only enclave), and targeting the same in their campaign. Juncker on EU futures.

Kollmann interview on early Russia is interesting. Curious debate about JSTARS, its seems nobody is thinking about 400 km reach A2/AD bubbles, other than the folks building them and buying them.

Excellent paper on Netwar, following on the famous Arquilla and Ronfeldt paper. Pennycook and Rand paper on fake news warnings proves what many of us have long suspected – audiences believe too often what they want to believe and ignore fake news warnings. Bershidsky elaborates on his method for filtering fake news – and very often the test is as simple as  “what would a Russian propagandist say here?”

Russia topics in US domestic news are interesting. Sputnik and RT investigated by Bureau over FARA 1938 breaches, and yes, newer legislation is required for digital era propaganda. More on the Russian Facebook campaign in 2016.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Igor Sutyagin | Zapad-2017: Why Do the Numbers Matter? | RUSI

The week-long Zapad-2017 (West-2017) Russian–Belarussian joint strategic exercises starting on Thursday has caused a great deal of tension in NATO member states and Russia’s other European neighbours. Top of the concerns is the number of troops participating in the exercise.

Edward Lucas | Putin war games take us closer to conflict | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times

The sights and sounds of Russian military exercises are intimidating and spectacular. Giant hovercrafts roar up beaches and disgorge grim-faced soldiers. Attack

Fredrik Wesslau & Andrew Wilson | So far from god, so close to Russia: Belarus and the Zapad military exercise | European Council on Foreign Relations

Renewed Minsk-Moscow cooperation in the ‘Zapad’ war games should not see the door to Belarus closed

U.S., Russia To Hold Discussions On START Nuclear Arms Treaty, Ryabkov Says

The United States and Russia plan to soon start discussions at the expert level on a nuclear arms reduction treaty signed in 2010, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on September 12….

Putin to leave Donbas himself – ex-Lithuanian PM – 13.09.2017 16:28 — Ukrinform News

A possible UN peacekeeping force in the Donbas should be deployed on the line of contact and on the border with Russia so as to prevent the transfer of manpower and arms from Russia to the occupied territory, former Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has said.  “We need to think where these UN peacekeepers will stay – on the line of contact or on the state border of Russia with Ukraine? These are ‘two big differences.’ Perhaps the best way out of the situation would be to place them in both places: on the one side so as to cease fire, and on the border so as to stop the flow of people and weapons from Russia,” he said in an interview with Ukrinform. Kubilius said that due to Russia’s military presence in Ukraine President Vladimir Putin is receiving more economic and financial problems in Russia itself. “I cannot be a naive optimist, but I have a feeling that Putin may have a desire to leave the Donbas somehow. However, it is likely that this will happen not before the presidential election in Russia,” he said.

Russian aggression a threat to OSCE countries – US envoy – LB.ua news portal

The aggression of Russia against Ukraine, intimidation of neighbors and interference in democratic processes defies the principles of the Helsinki Agreement and poses a threat to all member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Ambassador Michael Kozak, the head of the US delegation to the OSCE meeting on the protection of human rights in Warsaw said as quoted by VOA that 10 thousand people were killed and 24 thousand were wounded as a result of Russian aggression. In addition, about 1.7 millions of Ukrainian citizens were forced to leave their homes. “Quasi-Russian forces in Donetsk and Luhansk, whom Russia by force is keeping in power, arming and training, which runs Russia, and jointly with whom it is involved in fighting is a source of threat and intimidation for the local population. In Crimea, the Russian government persecutes Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians and those who oppose the occupation,” US ambassador said in a statement. Kozak noted that Ukrainian people despite the attacks “staunchly affirm their dignity and the desire for prosperity through the strengthening of integration with Europe. Meanwhle, the Russian Federation, through intimidation and coercion, is trying to keep Moldova and Georgia from making decisions to strengthen integration with Europe. The ambassador also noted that in addition to external aggression, the Russian Federation continues internal repressions against opposition activists, independent journalists exposing corruption, and civil society. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated the belief that Russia is preparing for an offensive war of continental scale.

Nabi Abdullaev | Understanding the Kremlin’s Decision-Making Is a Growing Challenge

Ahead of Russia’s presidential elections in March, slated to give President Vladimir Putin his fourth term, Russian political commentators are updating their power maps of the country’s elite. Yevgeny Minchenko’s Politburo 2.0 analysis is the most widely reported so far. It ranks the country’s top officials, heads of state corporations and oligarchs under the Russian president according to their influence. One of the country’s top political journalists, Konstantin Gaaze, then proposed his own model of the Russian leadership: An informal court of Putin’s personal friends-turned-billionaires and confidants superimposes onto official government and adds more levers to the Russian president’s policy tool kit. While these schemes are often well-researched and fun to read, their practical use for explaining — much less for predicting — the leadership’s moves is limited. As an example, let’s take the scandal over Siemens’ claims that its turbines were delivered to Crimea in violation of EU and U.S. sanctions on Russia. International businesses in Russia are closely following the case because its outcome will likely impact the country’s investment climate in a big way. Analysts and observers still do not know — nor can this style of political punditry tell us — whether any lessons are being learned from this situation and, if so, what the lessons would be.

The Morning Vertical, September 13, 2017

ON MY MIND Readers of The Power Vertical blog may not have been so surprised by the Russian opposition’s surprisingly strong showing in Moscow in this past weekend’s local elections. As I wrote on the eve of the vote, local elections in Vladimir Putin’s Russia “tend to be dull and boring — until they get interesting,” and “sometimes, they highlight latent discontent that is becoming manifest.” And recalling the Soviet Union’s local elections in June 1987 — when Mikhail Gorbachev experimented with competitive elections in a small number of districts, resulting in embarrassing losses there for the ruling Communist Party — I argued that sometimes local elections provide “the first tangible hint that the tectonic plates were shifting beneath the political landscape.” June 1987, I argued, was an early precursor to the historic elections to the U.S.S.R. Congress of People’s Deputies in the spring of 1989 — and ultimately the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. We don’t yet know if the strong showing by Dmitry Gudkov’s United Democrats in Moscow is a harbinger of anything. (They won approximately 250 of the 1,502 seats on Moscow’s district councils, took majorities in more than a dozen of them, and finished second overall to President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party in the capital). But as Mark Galeotti notes in a video commentary featured below, the elections do show that “a culture of resistance” is growing in which more Russians are saying, “We are not happy with this and we are not going to go along with it.” 2017 is not 1987. And a new 1989, let alone a new 1991, is probably not around the corner. But this weekend’s elections are probably causing more than a bit of restlessness in the Kremlin as Russia enters a crucial political season.

The Daily Vertical: What Is ‘Undesirable?’ (Transcript)

What is undesirable is usually in the eye of the beholder. Consider the case of the Sova Center. The Sova Center is a Moscow-based think tank whose sole purpose is to monitor, document, and combat hate crimes. The Sova Center is generally considered to be one of the leading authorities on extremist organizations, political radicalism, nationalism, and xenophobia in Russia. The Sova Center is widely respected internationally for its defense of minority rights and religious freedoms. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical And Russian prosecutors have now opened an investigation into the SOVA Center in connection with a controversial law banning “undesirable organizations.” Why? Well, the Sova Center’s website provides links to past donors, which apparently include such undesirables as George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy. So what does it say about Vladimir Putin’s regime if it suspects an organization whose sole purpose is to monitor and combat hate crimes of being undesirable? It’s a fair question. Now let’s compare the treatment of the Sova Center to how the Russian authorities have dealt with another organization — the far-right South East Radical Block, or SERB. In the past two years alone, SERB activists have physically assaulted a 75-year-old protester; thrown feces at an opposition journalist; splashed urine on photos at an art exhibition; splashed antiseptic on anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny’s face, damaging one of his eyes; and tore down a memorial plaque to slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. But the Russian authorities apparently see nothing undesirable in any of this.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Campaign against US Consulate in Yekaterinburg has Long History, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 13 – In response to the closing of the Russian consulate in San Francisco and of two trade representations in Washington and New York, Moscow officials and Russian nationalists have called for closing the US consulate general in Yekaterinburg; but those appeals are only the latest step in a longstanding Russian campaign against that institution. On the AfterEmpire portal today, US-based Russian journalist surveys not only the latest attacks but their history, a programmatic effort she argues is intended to make Russians suspicious of all US diplomats and thus make it difficult if not impossible for them to do their work (afterempire.info/2017/09/13/consulate/). The US consulate general in Yekaterinburg, which services 11 subjects of the Russian Federation, has been in operation since 1994. Over that 23-year period but especially in the last three years, it has been “the object of the harshest attacks by local ‘bloggers in civilian clothes,’ the media, and all kinds of ‘patriotic organizations.” The latest and one of the nastiest attacks, by the Russian Anti-Maidan group last week (antimaydan.info/2017/09/otvetom_na_gop_stop_gosdepa_dolzhno_stat_zakrytie_genkonsulstva_ssha_v.html), has attracted some attention because of the diplomatic tit-for-tat between Moscow and Washington, Kirillova says. But the start of this “sad tradition” really dates to October 2014. At that time, the Russian media attacked the consulate for supposedly seeking to recruit and direct local environmental activists against the authorities when the US vice consul offered to help one of their number get medical treatment abroad (pravdaurfo.ru/articles/gosdep-ssha-v-ekaterinburge-vskryli-iznutri). In the months since then, the local media has featured stories about many meetings between consulate officials and local people, typically with suggestions that the former are trying to recruit the latter to work against Russia (e.g., .nakanune.ru/news/2015/10/2/22416326and nakanune.ru/news/2014/7/4/22359426/). The quality of almost all of these stories, Kirillova continues, is suggested by one that claimed a meeting between the US consul and the mayor of Yekaterinburg was intended to draw the latter into “an espionage network” (politrussia.com/control/ekaterinburg-torzhestvennyy-priem-996/). Such attacks have only intensified whenever there are American visitors from Washington or from the US embassy in Moscow as in December 2015 when two senior US diplomats arrived to meet with Yekaterinburg and regional businessmen, a core part of the consulate’s entirely legal responsibilities (nakanune.ru/news/2015/10/23/22418486). More media attacks on the consulate as a source of anti-Russian ideas have followed, Kirillova reports (zergulio.livejournal.com/3384631.htmlzergulio.livejournal.com/3430628.html66.ru/news/politic/181972/ and zergulio.livejournal.com/4104696.html), including some that include information that would not have been publicly available to journalists. The Russian journalist concludes her article with some examples of the ways in which Russian consular officials have behaved in the US, ways very different from the ones US consular officials have in Russia but quite similar to the kind that Russian media attack the American diplomats for. About six months ago, she notes, Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper reported that Russian diplomats had called on Russian emigres in the US to oppose Washington policies (kommersant.ru/doc/3083317), an appeal that was followed by the documentation of Russian efforts to organize militarized camps for the children of emigres in the US (on that, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/08/moscow-diplomats-said-behind-formation.html). Whether Moscow will close the Yekaterinburg consulate remains unclear at present, Kirillova says, although it is obvious that the Russian foreign ministry doesn’t understand the differences between Russian and US diplomats and simply projects what the former do on the latter (mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2855818).

Fearing Attacks, Russian Cinema Chain Won’t Show Tsar Film Targeted By Conservative Activists

Russia's biggest cinema chain says it will not show Matilda, a film based on an early romantic liaison of Tsar Nicholas II, citing fears for the safety of audiences after a string of attack…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Will Showings of Controversial Film about Last Tsar Calm Russia or Spark More Protests?

Paul Goble Staunton, September 12 – For some months, Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya and Russian Orthodox nationalists have denounced the film “Mathilda” about the love life of the last tsar as an attack on Russia that must be opposed. They have gained support from many commentators and officials, but none of those involved have seen the film they see as a threat. Now, the movie is beginning to be shown. Among its first runs is one now in a Vladivostok theater, and from what Komsomolskaya Pravda reports, at least some of the viewers are buying tickets because of the controversy but the film itself is likely to take the wind out of the sails of its critics (kp.ru/daily/26729/3756572/). That is especially the case given the horror many have felt about the violence some opponents of the film have engaged in and the fact that the Moscow Patriarchate has denounced those most radical forms of protest (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68139). But at the same time the film’s opponents may choose to step up their protests even more. The showing of the film in Vladivostok, the Moscow paper reports, was sold out. Most of those in attendance were young people animated less by the scandal than by a desire to see a good movie by a director they like, although some acknowledged that the controversy was a source of attraction as well. The showing passed without any provocations. One viewer observed that the film “is not about a saint.” Rather, “it is the story of a man who loved and was loved. And by the way, there isn’t any pornography. There are several bed scenes but they as in the anecdote aren’t really past. Soft eroticism, no more than that. In one scene, the ballerina’s breast is glimpsed – a beautiful one at that.”

Anti-Matilda Activists Warn Kazakh Cinema Chain Not To Screen Film

The director of the Arman cinema chain in Kazakhstan says Orthodox Christian activists in neighboring Russia have called on him to prevent the screening of Matilda, a controversial film based on a…

Memorial For Nemtsov Taken Down In Less Than A Week

A plaque honoring slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has been removed in less than one week after it was installed. A pro-Kremlin group claimed responsibility for taking it.(RFE/RL’s Russian Service)

Window on Eurasia — New Series: As Presidential Election Nears, Moscow Statistics Becoming Ever Less Reliable, Experts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, September 12 – All governments try to put their best foot forward especially in advance of elections, but the Russian state agencies are going above and beyond what regimes normally do, putting out figures that for various reasons can’t be true or that in fact on close inspection highlight just how bad the situation in Russia now is. Eduard Gavrilov, the head of the Health Independent Monitoring Foundation, tells Sonya Noreman of the Babr news portal of Irkutsk that the health ministry is using double standards and manipulating death data in order to come up with “improved” numbers for Moscow to issue (babr24.com/msk/?IDE=164931). Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova, he notes, has trumped a small decline in death rates this year, but she ignores the fact that the new rate, 514.4 cases per 100,000 members of the working age population, is still “330 cases greater than in EU countries,” with whom Russia often compares itself. “The leadership of the health ministry, Gavriolv continues, “over the course of several years has regularly changed its approach to the interpretation of data on mortality. When death rates fall, the ministry gives itself all the credit, but when they go up, the health care system suddenly has nothing to do with that. Instead, aging, smoking and other factors are blamed. More serious, however, is the way in which the ministry forces doctors to change the cause of death so that Moscow’s figures look better. According to the Doctors of the Russian Federation Community, 34 percent of Russian doctors say they are familiar with “manipulations of the diagnoses of the cause of death in hospitals.” According to that organization, the blame lies entirely on Moscow: The health ministry gives orders for the numbers it wants to the regions, the regions then pass these on to the heads of hospitals, and then the chief doctors there direct the regular doctors to report what the center needs. But that is far from the only way in which Moscow is falsifying the situation. According to the Forum-MSK portal, the life expectancy boosts the health ministry has been reported are possible only if no one has died in the last seven months and some have seen the calendar speed up (forum-msk.org/material/news/13692907.html). If in fact, as the ministry claims, live expectancy has increased by 0.583 years over the last seven months, that means, the portal says, that “during these seven months, no one died so that life expectancy could grow by that amount.” Men are the real “shock workers” in this regard, the portal says: their life expectancy has increased more than the amount of time passed. But even if those figures are somehow accurate – and the portal argues they can’t be – they would only raise Russia in the world rankings from below that of China, Boliva and Kyrgyzstan to that of Libya, Azerbaijan and Paraguay. However, that figure isn’t even the worst aspect of the minister’s statement. The health minister proudly claims that Russia has made big progress against tuberculosis and other diseases, forgetting to mention that even the new improved numbers Moscow is offering put it far behind European countries – and indeed in some cases further behind than it was a generation ago. As a result, the portal concludes, “the government of Russia in its current form is incapable of offering any serious program to increase the live expectancy of Russians even to the level of developed countries. Over the 17 years of Putin’s rule, it remains more than ten years behind them” on that measure. And the reason is this: “spending on healthcare has been sharply reduced, dropping from five to two percent of GDP.” Russia may be able to compete with the West militarily, but it can’t compete at all in terms of healthcare and life expectancy. This list of distorted data could be expanded almost infinitely. But two cases that surfaced this week are at least worthy of note: According to the first, HIV/AIDS activists say that Moscow is simply lying when it claims that 44 percent of all AIDS victims in that country are getting help. That figure is an embarrassment; the real one, much lower is criminal (takiedela.ru/news/2017/09/12/nemnozhko-goloslovno/). As a result of the failure of the government to get the necessary medicines into the hands of those suffering from this disease, activists say, 80 Russians are dying of AIDS every day, a figure that means Russia is suffering nearly 30,000 premature deaths from that disease alone (republic.ru/posts/86330). And according to the second, offered by scholars at the Higher School of Economics, Russians should be pleased that at any given income they can now afford to buy the ingredients for cabbage soup, a statement that is likely true at least in most part of the country but that ignores that they can afford to buy much less meat and healthier foods (republic.ru/posts/86330).

Outrageous Voter Fraud In Russian Election – To Inform is to Influence

According to Reuters reporters covering Russian election station #333, the final tally of voters that showed up to vote was 256.  The final official results were for 1,867, with 73 percent going to United Russia, Putin’s party. “We must ensure 85 percent for United Russia. Otherwise, the Tsar will stop providing us with money,” the man,…

Mark Galeotti on the Local Elections 11 Sept 2017 – YouTube

 

Russian Activist Udaltsov Detained While Protesting Near State Duma

Russian opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov has been briefly detained by Moscow police while protesting in front of the State Duma, Russia's lower chamber of parliament. Udaltsov's wife…

Russian Court Sentences Crimean Tatar Leader To Eight Years

A court in Ukraine’s Russian-controlled Crimea region has sentenced a prominent Crimean Tatar leader, Akhtem Chiygoz, to eight years in prison. In his closing statement, Chiygoz called the verdict “an illegitimate judicial reprisal arranged by an invader.” (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)


Belarus Reports


Russian Aviation Arrived In Belarus – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The Belarusian Defense Ministry’s press service does not specify the quantity. Russian aviation – planes and helicopters – arrived in Belarus to take part in the exercises. The Belarusian Defense Ministry’s press service does not specify their quantity. It is only noted that more than 40 Belarusian and Russian aircraft and helicopters will take part in the military exercises West-2017, which will start on September 14. People greeted Russians warmly and cordially on the Belarusian land, the Vayar agency informs and publishes photos from the meeting, Euroradio writes. On Tuesday, MiG-29SMT fighters from Russia landed on one of the Belarusian airfields. First, Russian crews of the Fighter Aviation Regiment arrived, then – engineering staff along with all the necessary equipment. The commander of the Belarusian military unit, Colonel Yury Pyzhyk, said at the meeting that “we have a common sky, and we are ready to defend it together.” Authorities prepare excursions around Belarus, concert programs for the Russians.

Ex-KGB Officer: Belarus Bought $ 20 Million Worth Of Wiretapping Equipment From China – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Lukashenka spares no expense on his security.

Dzmitry Bandarenka: Brothers-Russians, Don’t Force Belarus Into NATO! – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Russia may repeat the destiny of the USSR. Coordinator of the “European Belarus” civil campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka said this to Belsat, commenting upon the Warning Action which had taken place on September 8 in Minsk. – What were your expectations regarding the action on the Belarusian Military Glory Day, September 8? – I remeber the times of perestroyka, the first years of the Belarusian independence, and I want to say September 8 was one of the most important holidays for me then. Because these celebrations have always been the most interesting. They were organized by the Belarusian Association of the Military (BAM). I was a member of the BAM and I’d like to stress that I used to like this organization for its preciseness. When I signed up for the BAM at a demonstration, a military man came to me the following day and said “Thus and thus, wait for more information.” I participated in the first BAM congress in the Trade Unions Palace, then in the Literator’s House. And then these holidays were somehow forgotten. There have been no actions on that date for many years. – There were cultural actions. – Yes, there were. Also, people came to the Krapivenskaye field in Vorsha. And today we see flags in the city center, slogans. Young people came, there were the BAM veterans and this is good. – However, we see sadness in your eyes. Is it because you feel nostalgic about the massed actions of the past? – I’m sad because I’m not there, with my friends and brothers. But I am happy that the people gathered together. And hoisted a huge national flag…

Belarus as mother of order vs. Ukraine’s buggers muddle – Belarus as mother of order vs. Ukraine’s buggers muddle – 112.international

Belarusians and Ukrainians are different peoples like, for example, Germans and Italians

Ukrainian officer’s son who went missing in Belarus under arrest in Russia

A 19-year-old citizen of Ukraine, Pavlo Hryb, who was reported missing after he traveled to Belarus on August 24 for a date with a Russian girl and was allegedly abducted by Russia's FSB, has been arrested in Russia's city of Krasnodar, according to the Russian news agency TASS. News 13 September from UNIAN.

Pavlo Gryb arrested on August 17 for two months, – Krasnodar court – Pavlo Gryb arrested on August 17 for two months, – Krasnodar court – 112.international

Pavlo Gryb arrested on August 17 for two months, – Krasnodar court


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Moldova’s President Says Lawmakers, Government Trying To Usurp His Powers

CHISINAU — Moldova's pro-Russia president, Igor Dodon, has accused parliament and the country's government of attempting to limit his powers as supreme commander of Moldova's armed force…

UAWire – Moldovan President Dodon urges Ukraine to abandon law ‘On Education’

In a Facebook post, Moldovan President Igor Dodon wants Ukraine to abolish a new law, &quot;On Education&quot;, over a language issue. &quot;I express my …


Ukraine Reports


Mykhailo Basarab, Maksym Serdiuk | The Kremlin’s chaos strategy in Ukraine and its helpers -Euromaidan Press |

The Kremlin is desperately working on generating chaos and absurdity in Ukraine. In their article on the Ukrainian portal Lb.ua, “Hybrid warfare: the Kremlin’s chaos tools in Ukraine,” political scientists Mykhailo Basarab and Maksym Serdiuk pointed out the key groups and themes of the Ukrainian public discussion that Moscow is using for imposing artificial chaos on Ukraine. The authors call Russia’s modern military strategy hybression (“hybrid aggression“). “Few realize that the hybression occurs every day within the free Ukraine: in government agencies, on TV channels, at Western embassies in Kyiv. It’s carried out with the same tactics, with the same technologies as in the case of Moscow’s interference in the US, British, and French politics,” believe the authors. Here we publish the translated key parts of the article. The objective of Kremlin’s hybression (“hybrid aggression“) is primarily to create chaos and a controlled conflict, rather than the fomenting a pro-Moscow public opinion on particular issues. That is why people acting as instruments of the Kremlin’s aggression are often not outspoken traitors, but genuine internal subjects of Ukraine. They are usually manipulated while kept in the dark. Hence, the Russian hybrid invasion is mostly non-obvious for not only ordinary Ukrainians but even for Ukrainian officials.

Donbas crisis sore spot between U.S. and Russia – State Dep.

The U.S. Department of State has again spoken out for settling the conflict in Donbas with respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Latest UNIAN news from 13 September.

Putin’s office preparing evacuation of “LPR” envoy in Minsk to Russia – NGO

The &quot;People's Council&quot; of the so-called &quot;Luhansk People's Republic&quot; “LPR” has reportedly stripped “LPR” representative in the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk Vladislav Deynego of his &quot;deputy&quot; mandate, resulting in a notorious response from members of the self-proclaimed republic, according to Information Resistance, a Ukrainian non-governmental project on information security. News 13 September from UNIAN.

SBU nabs coordinator of sabotage network working for Russian intel across Kharkiv region

Counterespionage operatives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) have arrested a Kharkiv-based man who is reported to have set up a clandestine network of human intelligence assets across Kharkiv region in favor of the Russian intel services, as reported by the SBU press service. News 12 September from UNIAN.

Former Auschwitz prisoner teaches separatist a good lesson -Euromaidan Press |

Ihor Fedorovich Malitsky is a former prisoner of Auschwitz concentration camps. Today, he is Head of the Kharkiv Regional Council of Anti-Fascist Resistance that brings together former prisoners of Nazi concentration camps. He takes an active part in educating young people. He also works as a professor at the Ukrainian Engineering and Pedagogical Academy. Mr. Malitsky mastered the computer when he was 80 years old, and now he is developing his own educational manuals. Former prisoner of Auschwitz concentration camp, 92-year-old professor at the Ukrainian Engineering and Pedagogical Academy Ihor Malitsky recently rebuked a separatist who insulted Ukraine and Ukrainians in a Kharkiv café. “Today, I went to the local market to buy some cucumbers for pickling. Then, I decided to have a beer in a nearby café. I sit down and see a man somewhat “under the weather” hanging around nearby and muttering something about serving as an officer. Then he comes up to me, probably looking for support and a friendly ear… and announces loudly: “Ukraine’s not a country, and Ukrainians are just shit! Putin’s gonna beat you all. Putin’s a great man, and so on and so on. You know, if I’d had a pellet gun, I’d have pumped him full of holes! That’s what I’d have done!” Malitsky then picked up his mobile and said loudly: “Comrade Colonel, send over some guys to such-and-such an address. There’s a Putin lover here who needs to have his ass kicked. You can take him to the border and dump him there. Let him kiss his idol’s butt… It’s about a three minutes’ walk… OK, I’ll be waiting. You should’ve seen him jump up and run! He missed the door and slammed into the wall, got up and ran off as fast as he could. The waitress split her sides laughing, and another man nearby smiled widely. I turned to him and said: “Hey there, if someone abused your wife or mother, would you keep quiet?” “No.” he replied, “Let me walk you home so he doesn’t bother you again.” “Thanks a lot, but I can take care of myself.”

Ukraine reports 2 WIA’s amid 27 enemy attacks in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 27 times in the past 24 hours, with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 13 September from UNIAN.

US troops participate in military exercise in Ukraine days before major Russian war game – CNNPolitics

US troops are currently taking part in a multinational military exercise in Ukraine, an exercise that comes just days before Russia is scheduled to launch their own massive military maneuvers that have put the region on edge.

U.S. troops take part in Ukrainian military exercise – media

U.S. troops are currently taking part in a multinational military exercise in Ukraine, an exercise that comes just days before Russia is scheduled to launch their own massive military maneuvers that have put the region on edge, according to CNN. News 13 September from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces cross Dnieper within Unwavering Tenacity drills – Ukraine’s Armed Forces cross Dnieper within Unwavering Tenacity drills – 112.international

Tanks and armored vehicles were used in the maneuvers

Construction of new gas pipeline to Avdiivka started, – Donetsk governor Zhebrivskyi. PHOTOS+VIDEO

13.09.17 16:06 – Construction of new gas pipeline to Avdiivka started, – Donetsk governor Zhebrivskyi. PHOTOS+VIDEO Preparatory works for the construction of Ocheretyne-Aviivka gas pipeline began in the Donetsk region. View photo news.

Ukraine interested in US experience in rehabilitation for veterans – Vice PM Klympush-Tsyntsadze – 13.09.2017 10:56 — Ukrinform News

Representatives of Ukraine will hold a broad discussion with experts from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to find out what rehabilitation experience will be useful for Ukraine in the context of conduct of the anti-terrorist operation in Donbas.

Three ATO fighters, killed in combat in 2014, commemorated in Dnipro after DNA tests completed. PHOTOS

13.09.17 10:33 – Three ATO fighters, killed in combat in 2014, commemorated in Dnipro after DNA tests completed. PHOTOS Comrades and relatives commemorated three ATO fighters killed in the Donbas whose identities were established recently with DNA tests. View photo news.

Defense Ministry’s budget for 2017 totals almost UAH 70 bln – 13.09.2017 11:11 — Ukrinform News

The Defense Ministry received a budget of UAH 69 billion for 2017, which is 22% more than in 2016, Deputy Director of Defense Ministry&rsquo;s financial department Serhiy Halimskyi has said.

Former head of Ukraine’s NATO Mission Yehor Bozhok appointed chief of Foreign Intelligence Service

13.09.17 16:40 – Former head of Ukraine’s NATO Mission Yehor Bozhok appointed chief of Foreign Intelligence Service A decree appointing Yehor Bozhok to the post of chief of Foreign Intelligence of Ukraine has been signed by President Petro Poroshenko. View news.

Ukraine to add Russia to list of migration risk countries

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SBU Security Service of Ukraine to add the Russian Federation to the list of migration risk countries by September 30, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 13 September from UNIAN.

Vandals burn Donbas soldiers and Heavenly Hundred memorials – 112.international

This is not the first time the memorial is desecrated; it was previously covered with paint

Ukraine’s Antonov retains ties with Russian air carrier – journalist

Ukraine's state-owned enterprise Antonov intends to continue servicing the Russian-based Volga-Dnepr Airlines LLC, which in turn fulfills orders, including of the Russian Defense Ministry, journalist Roman Bochkala wrote on Facebook, referring to an undisclosed source. News 12 September from UNIAN.

UAWire – Journalist: Despite sanctions, Ukraine’s Antonov aircraft manufacturer continues to cooperate with Russia

The Ukrainian state enterprise Antonov allegedly intends to continue servicing the Russian cargo transportation airline Volga-Dnepr, one of several companies that fulfill orders of the Russian Defense Ministry. Journalist Roman Bochkala referred to his own unnamed source when making this claim on Facebook. According to him, Antonov’s employees are flying for two months to Ulyanovsk, where the headquarters of the Volga-Dnepr is located in order to extend the life of the Russian An-124 Ruslan. “They are the base of the fleet of the enemy’s company Volga-Dnepr. Without our Ruslans, Volga-Dnepr would simply halt its operation. Antonov is doing this despite the fact that in September of 2016 they announced that by the end of the year, cooperation with Volga-Dnepr would be stopped. Here is how they stopped it… According to my source, while the war raged, experts of Antonov traveled to Russia at least twice with similar goals,” the journalist writes. Bochkala’s source claims that “Russians are paying substantial money” for servicing the aircraft. “I have a question. Does the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) know about these trips? Do they violate sanctions? Is it possible to exclude attempts to recruit Ukrainian aircraft designers, whose main capital is brains, by FSB officers? Is it possible during the war with Russia to fly to Russia to prolong the life of Russian aircraft?! Yes, those planes are not military. However, not a single military campaign can do without transport,” Bochkala wrote. He is preparing an official request to confirm or deny this information.

UAWire – SBU initiates criminal proceedings over the sale of Ukraine’s Motor Sich to Chinese investors

On 6 July 2017, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) initiated criminal proceedings according to the article on “preparation for sabotage” in connection with the sale of the Motor Sich factory to Chinese investors affiliated with the company Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co. Ltd, Liga.net reports with a reference to the ruling of the Shevchenkivsky District Court from September 7. “The pretrial investigation has established that from 2016 to the present, unidentified persons from among the incumbent and former officials and ultimate beneficial owners of Motor Sich… in order to weaken the state by destroying the said enterprise as an object of important national economic and defensive significance (the only company in Ukraine which produces commercial and military aircraft engines), have carried out a number of transactions to sell the controlling stake in the company to the foreign companies Business House Helena, AG (Panama), Enfields Trade & Capital Corp. (Panama), Waldo Trade Ltd. (Virgin Islands), Granum Corporation (Panama), Skyrizon Aircraft Holdings Limited (Virgin Islands), Likatron Enterprises Limited (Cyprus), Ventalina Management Ltd (Nevis), which intend to move the company’s assets and production capacity outside Ukraine, which will lead to its liquidation and destruction,” the report states. According to the report, on 6 April 2016 Motor Sich received $100 million from Skyrizon Aircraft Holdings Limited (British Virgin Islands) at 0.3% per annum as part of a loan agreement from 29 January 2016 with the Chinese company Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co. Ltd. Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment owns 100% of the registered capital of the company Hong Kong Skyrizon Holdings Limited (Hong Kong), which in turn owns 100% of the registered capital of the company Skyrizon Aircraft Holdings Limited. Later, a Ukrainian citizen whose name is not mentioned in the report sold 56% of the Motor Sich shares over the course of 2016 to authorized representatives of the owner of Beijing Skyrizon. According to the court ruling, the Ukrainian citizen who allegedly sold the Motor Sich shares previously owned 15.83% of the company’s shares directly. He also owned 17.3% of the shares through Business House Helena and 15.7% through Garant Invest, Garant Alpha, Business House Helena, Motor Garant, and other companies. Earlier Ukrainian MP Vyacheslav Boguslaev, honorary president of Motor Sich, declared that in 2016 his ownership share of Motor Sich decreased from 15.8% to 1%.

Neighbors annoyed by education reform – News about politics | UNIAN

There are no legal grounds for objections on the part of other countries to Ukraine’s brand new law on education. Back in the day, Ukraine ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. However, this Charter does not imply our country’s obligation to ensure full education and teaching all subjects in a minority language. Ukraine has never agreed to that. However, there is a certain tradition that children living in Hungarian and Romanian enclaves in Ukraine were taught in their native languages. With the adoption of the new law, it may seem to be that minority rights are allegedly limited. But in reality there are two angles to the issue: on the one hand, there are objective preconditions for these people speaking Romanian or Hungarian but on the other hand, it is not normal when graduates of Ukrainian schools cannot properly speak Ukrainian. This balance in each country is achieved in various ways. I do not believe that either in Romania or, moreover, in Hungary, Ukrainian children have the opportunity to get secondary education in Ukrainian. So, I think that the issue can be solved on a parity basis. After all, for example, in Russia, where is a significant Ukrainian community remains, there are really few classes taught in Ukrainian, even in elementary schools. Historically, Romanian and Hungarian communities in Ukraine had the opportunity to study and get secondary education in their native languages. But Ukraine is moving toward providing full secondary education in the national language. It is a natural process for any country, and there is no crime here. How should Ukraine react to this criticism? Kyiv needs to find some sort of compromise solution. Options for enhanced opportunities for representatives of national minorities within the framework of the adopted law can be considered, in order to have a more thorough study of the languages of national minorities in parallel lines. But it is only worth looking for a compromise without going beyond the boundaries of the new law. After all, if Ukraine starts to amend the law, it will not be a change for the better. We hear serious warnings from the supporters of the Ukrainian national language, who are also unhappy with the new legislation. But I think that the current balance laid down in the law today is consistent with both national interests and our international obligations. Therefore, obviously, our partners will have to get in terms with the new practices of the Ukrainian state in its educational policy.This is an issue where it is desirable to make as few sharp moves as possible. If we have already adopted such a law and such a version of a compromise, then it is necessary to pursue it. Why are these countries criticizing the law? Do they comment on the new legislation, based on some political considerations, or is that because they are “friends” of Russia? For example, the Moldovan issue is a separate case. The policy of the newly elected President of Moldova can hardly be considered friendly in relation to Ukraine as a whole. In addition, there is a sharp internal conflict in this country. And besides, the question remains – how is the Moldovan language different from Romanian? That is, this case is a separate one. I do not think that Poland could be considered a great friend of Putin. However, speaking about Poland, Romania and Hungary, they are somehow connected with the Russian president, at least in the sense that they allegedly respond to the strengthening of nationalism within Ukraine and consider new norms of educational legislation as increasing the pressure on national minorities within the framework of strengthening nationalist motives in their domestic policies. Of course, we need to compare the situation with that in the other countries, explaining and proving that there is no offensive ongoing on the rights of national minorities.

Poroshenko ‘welcomes’ first batch of U.S. thermal coal in Ukraine, which reached Ukraine in the early hours of September 13 – Poroshenko ‘welcomes’ first batch of U.S. thermal coal in Ukraine – 112.international

Poroshenko ‘welcomes’ first batch of U.S. thermal coal in Ukraine, which reached Ukraine in the early hours of September 13

Russia lost another tool for energy blackmailing, – Poroshenko on arrival of first ship with US coal in Ukraine

13.09.17 14:00 – Russia lost another tool for energy blackmailing, – Poroshenko on arrival of first ship with US coal in Ukraine President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has greeted the arrival of first batch of U.S. coal in Ukraine. View news.

European Commission boosts Ukraine financial aid in fight against Russian propaganda

Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) Katarina Mathernova says that the European Commission is gradually increasing Ukraine's financial support in the fight against Russian propaganda, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 13 September from UNIAN.

Rally Planned In Kyiv To Support Jailed Crimean Tatar Leader

KYIV — Demonstrators are planning a rally in Kyiv in support of Akhtem Chiygoz, the Crimean Tatar leader who was sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Russian-occupied Crimea on charge…

“Patriots” herd Ukraine back in the Middle Ages – 112.international

Presentation of Larysa Denysenko at Forum of Publishers in Lviv was canceled due to the threats of domestic far-right devotees of “spiritual tie brackets”. Ukraine is often making mock of Russia: they have “spiritual tie brackets,” myrrh-busting bust of Nicolas II of Russia… We find it very ridiculous. After all, we live in the 21st century. Isn’t it a wonderful chance to mock of Russia, once again proving to ourselves that it will collapse soon. Hooray. Meanwhile, we are doing the same thing. Presentation of author Larysa Denysenko at Forum of Publishers in Lviv was canceled due to the threats of domestic far-right devotees of “spiritual tie brackets.” Great patriots, no doubt. Patriots do not like the book, which advocates the idea of equality and human rights. Moreover, the author of the book about equality was written by a woman, whose place is in the kitchen, in bed, and in the church. Well, it does not really matter what is in the book. No one has the right to dictate what one should read and or write. But here are some representatives of the Middle Ages, who try approve the rules of the Inquisition. And what does the cultural capital say? It is silent. So what’s the difference between us and Russians? Difference is the fact that they have oil and a nuclear bomb, while we do not? What is the fundamental difference? They are barbarians, we know this. But who are we then? We are ready to indulge people, who want to burn books. People who are stuck in dark centuries and disperse their own obscurantism around them. Isn’t it barbarism? And what has patriotism to do here? And the state again allows the marginals to dictate their rules to others. Are we building a modern state with a rule of law, where all people are free, or we are building the Orthodox Greek Catholic caliphate? There are hundreds of places allover the world, where people from immemorial times cherish traditional values. For example, Afghanistan. Who wants to live the way they live in Afghanistan? And the society must make a choice: it is standing for the values of the Middle Ages or for a successful society, where the freedom of each person is valued. And it does not matter what the West think about us. They are used to the fact that barbarians settle these lands. But in the modern world, barbarians are interesting only to anthropologists. It is important what we think about ourselves. And what future we want for our children. Last week, Forum of Publishers in Lviv have received a letter from Ukrainian far right organizations with threats related to the two events of the forum program. In this regard, the publisher and author of the book have canceled one event, with “the goal of ensuring the safety of children.” The author of the scandalous book Larysa Denysenko has reported that two events triggered the threats: the presentation of her book “Maya and her Moms” about the adoption of LGBT families in society and a discussion “Is the school ready to talk with children on difficult topics?” “We call on the public, the media, law enforcement agencies and authorities at all levels, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, to ensure the resonance of potential threats and provide security guarantees to participants and visitors to the Forum of Publishers in Lviv,” the statement said. Forum of Publishers in Lviv is one of the largest book festivals in Ukraine and Central and Eastern Europe. The 24th Forum of Publishers is held September 13-15. This is not the first time far-right organizations try to torpedo art exhibitions or conferences. Thus, February 7, a group of far-right activists have vandalized an arts exhibition in Kyiv devoted to the situation in Ukraine since protests ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych three years ago. Center for Visual Arts Culture, which hosted the event, have witnessed that the men in balaclavas ransacked the arts exhibition Lost Opportunity by artist Davyd Chychkan.

Four things to know about the new political season in Ukraine -Euromaidan Press |

Olena Makarenko Autumn is a hot time for politics. On September 5, the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) got back to work. Also, in Ukraine, autumn is a period of activated discussions about early parliamentary elections, no matter whether chances for them are high or meager. Still, in general, Ukrainian politicians act like the next elections are just around the corner: no need for strategical decisions, it’s all about ratings and self-promotion. The beginning of the season was also spiced up by the scandal over ex-Georgian president and ex-Odesa Oblast governor Mikheil Saakashvili whom President Poroshenko deprived of citizenship a month ago, and who entered the territory of Ukraine by force on 10 September 2017.

Interview: Legal Expert Says Onus On Ukraine To Justify Depriving Saakashvili Of Citizenship

In July, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko revoked the Ukrainian citizenship of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Because Saakashvili had already lost his Georgian citizenship when h…


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster Present Trump With Plan to Stop Iranian Aggression

The president is yet to decide on the strategy, but it would allow more aggressive action against Iran’s forces.

James Carden | Trump Is Leading the US Into a War of Choice Against Iran | The Nation

The Trump administration is taking its cue from both Bush administrations by lying its way into a third unnecessary war in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian Foreign Minister Meets Russian Leadership Ahead Of Astana Talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is visiting Russia's Black Sea resort town of Sochi, where he is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian Deputy Foreig…

Hezbollah declares Syria victory, Russia says much of country won back

The Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah has declared victory in the Syrian war while Russia said government forces had driven militants from much of the country where President Bashar al-Assad’s rule seemed in danger two years ago.

Russian Jets Suspected Of Killing 69 Civilians In Syria

Syrian activists say suspected Russian air strikes have killed 69 civilians and injured dozens of others in the past three days near the eastern province of Deir al-Zour. The Britain-based Syria…

Iran Signs Deals To Repair Syria’s Power Grid, Infrastructure

Iran has signed a series of deals and memorandums of understanding with Damascus to repair Syria's electrical-power infrastructure, state media report, giving the Islamic republic a potentia…

Ted Galen Carpenter | If Russia Wants the Syria Mess, Let Them Have It | The National Interest Blog

American policy in Syria has been a string of embarrassing episodes. It’s time to cut the losses.

Israel Endorses Kurdish Independence in Lone Show of Support – Bloomberg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support for Kurdish statehood, offering a lone source of backing for an autonomy referendum in Iraq this month that allies oppose.

Russian IS Fighter Sentenced To Death In Baghdad

A Russian fighter for the Islamic State extremist group who was captured in Mosul has been sentenced to death by hanging, Iraqi authorities say. A statement on September 12 from an Iraqi court sai…


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


North Korea Slams `Evil’ Sanctions, Vows Faster Nuclear Push – Bloomberg

North Korea rejected the latest round of United Nations sanctions on the isolated state, and vowed to accelerate its plans to acquire a nuclear weapon that can strike the U.S. homeland.

N.Korea defiant over UN sanctions as Trump says tougher steps needed

North Korea remained defiant over new U.N. sanctions imposed for its latest nuclear test, vowing on Wednesday to redouble efforts to fight off what it said was the threat of a U.S. invasion.

The Latest: Radioactive gas found after North’s nuke test – The Washington Post

The Latest on tensions created by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program (all times local):

North Korea nuclear test maybe have been twice as strong as first thought – The Washington Post

New analysis of seismic data suggests the bomb’s yield could have been up to 250 kilotons.

North Korea’s Nuke Test May Have Been Twice as Strong as Thought – Bloomberg

North Korea’s latest nuclear test may have been more than twice as powerful as first thought — or 17 times stronger than the Hiroshima bomb — according to an analysis by 38 North.

Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu. | North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Satellite Imagery Shows Post-Test Effects and New Activity in Alternate Tunnel Portal Areas | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

New commercial satellite imagery confirms earlier 38 North analysis identifying numerous landslides throughout the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site on the slopes of Mt. Mantap (and beyond) resulting from North Korea’s sixth nuclear test. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North’s previous five tests, and include additional slippage in pre-existing landslide scars and a possible subsidence crater. However, it is unclear from the imagery whether this subsidence is due to what has been reported as “a cave-in that was externally observable,” associated with the 4.6 magnitude event that occurred eight minutes after the test. There also appears to be increased water drainage in the North Portal Area, likely stimulated by the large underground nuclear test. Such underground water flow stimulation (brought about by expansion of existing cracks and fissures) could also be expected to promote the transport of radionuclides to the surface, and is not inconsistent with a more recent report that some radionuclides (traces of Xenon-133) were detected in the environment following the test (by South Korea).

What would China do if North Korea and the United States go to war? | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post

This is an edited excerpt of an interview with Singapore’s ambassador at large, Bilahari Kausikan, by the international affairs magazine Global Brief. Bilahari served as the permanent secretary of the Lion City’s foreign ministry from 2010 to 2013. He has held various senior positions in the ministry, including as the city state’s permanent representative in the United Nations and ambassador to Russia. The original article can be found here.

US ‘quietly making plans to occupy North Korea after war and deal with insurgencies like in Iraq and Libya’

Donald Trump’s generals and advisers are said to be concerned that a fanatical insurgency would bog down US forces in North Korea for years

Amid North Korea crisis, Mattis focuses on U.S. doomsday arsenal – Chicago Tribune

As North Korea flaunts its new nuclear muscle, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is spotlighting the numerical superiority of America’s doomsday arsenal.

North Korea Russia China US sanctions nuclear missile – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump and congressional lawmakers signaled on Tuesday that more steps need to be taken to rein in North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear program despite the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous vote to pass additional sanctions on the rogue nation.

North Korea News LIVE: South Korea conducts first live-fire cruise missile drill – Moneycontrol.com

South Korea has said it may have detected activity related to an intercontinental ballistic missile launch. Live updates.

DPRK News Service Provides Hilarity, Not News – To Inform is to Influence

@DPRK_News is the Twitter handle of DPRK News, the North Korean news outlet. In this case, there is no news, it is just commentary about the West.  In their comments, they reveal just how little they actually know about the West. It makes for good reading if you need comic relief. Yesterday, @DPRK_News tweeted this.…

North Korea’s secretive small arms exports under spotlight in global survey | World news | The Guardian

Saudi Arabia and Iran also highlighted in report revealing that small arms trade is still a murky industry in which weapons can reach wrong hands

YouTube just closed a vital window into North Korea – Sep. 13, 2017

YouTube has caused an outcry by shutting down channels showing North Korean propaganda that were widely used by researchers to better understand the secretive nation.

South Korean Psyop Against North Korea – To Inform is to Influence

If this isn’t a strategic Psychological Operation against North Korea, I don’t know what is. There’s an interesting reason why South Korea is publicly talking about a ‘decapitation unit’ for Kim Jong-un A very public announcement by a South Korean Lieutenant General, where he admits, in the Business Insider article, that South Korea wants to make…

South Korea tests air-launched cruise missile, detects North Korea radioactive samples after nuclear test – CBS News

South’s 1st test of air-launched cruise missile meant to strengthen pre-emptive strike capability against North

RoKAF Taurus KEPD-350 ALCM

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons, Japan’s Bind – The New York Times

Tokyo is highly exposed to Pyongyang’s nuclear brinkmanship. But it has very few options to protect itself.


Foreign Policy Reports


The German Elections Matter — and Not Just for Germany – Stratfor Worldview

Compared with the French and Dutch votes earlier this year, the country’s upcoming election may seem to have lower stakes. But whoever leads the biggest economy in Europe will have a major role to play in upcoming reforms to the European Union.

‘Russian-Germans’ Courted Ahead Of Election

The anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is aiming to win support from thousands of voters who have roots in the former Soviet Union in the southwestern city of Pforzheim — with a candidate who was born in Kazakhstan. Germany votes in a general election on September 24. (Ray Furlong, Jarda Ptacnik, RFE/RL)

German right-wing party on course to enter parliament – ABC News

German right-wing party on course to enter parliament

Dashboard Tracking Russian Propaganda in German Launches Today – To Inform is to Influence

About ASD People Blog Dashboard Donate SecuringDemocracy.ORG Artikel 38 Dashboard Launches Ahead of German Federal Elections MEDIA ADVISORY September 12, 2017 Now Tracking Russian Disinformation Efforts in German So, What is the Artikel 38 dashboard?  Artikel 38 of German Basic Law dictates that “members of the German Bundestag shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal,…

Angela Merkel has a huge lead in polls ahead of German election – but are they accurate? | Germany | DW | 13.09.2017

Voter polls in the US and UK got it wrong with Donald Trump and Brexit. So how confident are experts that the German chancellor Angela Merkel’s lead in public opinion surveys will hold up?

Nein danke! Merkel spurns challenger’s TV duel re-run offer

Firmly on course for re-election, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday spurned her rival’s request for a re-run of a head-to-head television debate in which he failed to dent her opinion poll lead.

Juncker wants EU finance minister, no separate euro budget or parliament

The European Union should have a minister of economy and finance but no separate euro zone budget or parliament, the head of the European Commission said on Wednesday.

EU’s Juncker – seize Brexit chance to forge tighter union

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker called on EU governments on Wednesday to seize a window of opportunity from Brexit and economic growth to forge a tighter union built around the euro currency and a pivotal role in global trade.

Turkey will take its own security measures after Russia defence deal, Erdogan says

President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed on Wednesday Western concern over Turkey’s deal to procure an S-400 air defence system from Russia and said the NATO member will continue to take its own security measures.


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


The Early Modern Russian Empire

Guest: Nancy Kollmann is the William H. Bonsall Professor of History at Stanford University specializing in early modern Russia. She’s the author of several books including Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia; By Honor Bound: State and Society in Early Modern Russia; and Kinship and Politics: The Making of the Muscovite Political System, 1345-1547. Her most recent book is The Russian Empire, 1450-1801 published by Oxford University Press.

USAF Weighs Scrapping J-Stars Recap | AFA National Convention content from Aviation Week

Just months before the U.S. Air Force is slated to choose an industry team to begin developing a new aircraft to replace its existing battlefield command-and-control and surveillance fleet, the service appears to be considering scrapping the program altogether.

In Stealth Era, ‘Red Air’ Struggles To Fight Back | AFA National Convention content from Aviation Week

U.S Air Force is looking for a new aggressor aircraft to replace the 50-year-old T-38 currently flying mock aerial combat against the F-22 and F-35


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


“Netwar”: The unwelcome militarization of the Internet has arrived: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Vol 73, No 5

The architecture and offerings of the Internet developed without much steering by governments, much less operations by militaries. That made talk of “cyberwar” exaggerated, except in very limited instances. Today that is no longer true: States and their militaries see the value not only of controlling networks for surveillance or to deny access to adversaries, but also of subtle propaganda campaigns launched through a small number of wildly popular worldwide platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This form of hybrid conflict – launched by states without state insignia, on privately built and publicly used services – offers a genuine challenge to those who steward the network and the private companies whose platforms are targeted. While interventions by one state may be tempered by defense by another state, there remain novel problems to solve when what users see and learn online is framed as organic and user-generated but in fact it is not.

Tagging fake news on Facebook doesn’t work, study says – POLITICO

A Yale survey of 7,500 people shows little benefit, and possible detriments, to fact-check programs.

Assessing the Effect of “Disputed” Warnings and Source Salience on Perceptions of Fake News Accuracy by Gordon Pennycook, David G. Rand :: SSRN

What are effective techniques for combating belief in fake news? Tagging fake articles with “Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers” warnings and making articles’ sources more salient by adding publisher logos are two approaches that have received large-scale rollouts on social media in recent months. Here we assess the effect of these interventions on perceptions of accuracy across seven experiments (total N=7,534). With respect to disputed warnings, we find that tagging articles as disputed did significantly reduce their perceived accuracy relative to a control without tags, but only modestly (d=.20, 3.7 percentage point decrease in headlines judged as accurate). Furthermore, we find a backfire effect – particularly among Trump supporters and those under 26 years of age – whereby untagged fake news stories are seen as more accurate than in the control. We also find a similar spillover effect for real news, whose perceived accuracy is increased by the presence of disputed tags on other headlines. With respect to source salience, we find no evidence that adding a banner with the logo of the headline’s publisher had any impact on accuracy judgments whatsoever. Together, these results suggest that the currently deployed approaches are not nearly enough to effectively undermine belief in fake news, and new (empirically supported) strategies are needed.

Leonid Bershidsky | How to Resist Russian Propaganda on a Tight Budget – Bloomberg

Expensive U.S. and EU efforts are no match for a few simple techniques.

List of fake news websites – Wikipedia


US Domestic Policy Reports


Russia Sought A Broad Reset With Trump, Secret Document Shows

A Russian proposal obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals Moscow’s ambitious plan to break with the past and launch a major rapprochement with the United States.

U.S. Says Tillerson Not Looking To Escalate Diplomatic Tensions Further With Russia

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson does not want diplomatic disputes between Washington and Moscow to escalate further and seeks an improvement of ties between the &quot;two nuclea…

Ads Purchased By Russian Operatives Reported To Have Actively Promoted Trump Agenda

Ads that Russian operatives purchased on Facebook during last year's presidential election actively promoted then-Republican candidate Donald Trump's anti-immigration campaign and othe…

Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil – To Inform is to Influence

Exclusive: Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil Pushing fake news was just one component of the Russian campaign to shape American minds. Part two: organizing anti-immigrant events echoing themes from the pro-Trump press. BEN COLLINS KEVIN POULSEN SPENCER ACKERMAN 09.11.17 10:45 PM ET Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s…

RT Claims U.S. Ordered Its U.S. Outlet To Register As ‘Foreign Agent’

Russian state broadcaster RT and U.S. media are reporting that the U.S. Justice Department has asked RT to register its U.S. outlet as a &quot;foreign agent.&quot;&nbsp; RT and media reports sai…

Russian network RT says it is under scrutiny by Justice Department

RT, the Russian government television network, disclosedMonday that one of its U.S. affiliates has been notified by the Justice Department that it must register as a foreign agent that is disseminating propaganda in the United States.

Russia Appears Concerned That Their Propaganda Programs Are Being Effectively Countered – To Inform is to Influence

What does Russia do when they are accused of something? Deny, deny, deny “What about this” (Whataboutism) Point at something else. “Prove it.” Finally, “don’t forget, we have nukes” Alexandr Dugin wrote Russia’s first troll handbook, The First Russian Troll Handbook.  In it, he instructs trolls to attack the messenger, undermine their credibility, and discredit the message.…

FBI gets Sputnik emails, critics see ‘red line for media’ crossed in Russia probe

A fired White House correspondent gave the FBI a thumb drive of internal communications and sat for a two-hour interview this month related to whether the Sputnik news outlet is illegally spreading propaganda without disclosure under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Some press freedom advocates say Americans should be concerned regardless of whether the meeting between journalist Andrew Feinberg, an FBI agent and a Justice Department attorney turns out to be related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, responding to Yahoo News’ Monday reporting on the inquiry, said “the investigation into Sputnik crosses a long-observed red line for media.” “Countries around the world have long accused media of being tools of foreign governments as a pretense for investigations and arrests,” he said. “The line between government direction and pro-government bias is a subtle one [and] many media moguls have a bias and close ties to governments.” Turley said “the taking of computer records and communications raise serious free press questions” and that “ironically, since it is part of the Russian influence investigation, many of those normally supportive of the free press are silent.” Gabe Rottman, Washington director of PEN America, a group that advocates for free expression, said the investigation could have global ramifications. “Say what you will about Sputnik or RT, the biggest concern with the FBI focusing on a foreign-owned media organization as a suspected foreign agent is retaliation against U.S.-supported outlets such as Voice of America or public broadcasters like the BBC,” he said. Rottman said it’s reasonable to be concerned about foreign influence in elections, but that “it’s very hard to distinguish between state propaganda and ‘bona fide’ news, which is explicitly carved out by FARA.” Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said “no matter one’s feelings on Russia or Sputnik, I think it’s concerning anytime the FBI gets involved in defining who is and isn’t a journalist.” “Narrowing the media exception under FARA could not only have implications for all sorts of other foreign news outlets operating in the U.S., but also for Voice of America or independent journalists operating overseas if Russia chooses to retaliate,” he said.

The FBI Needs New Legislation To Effectively Counter Russian Information Warfare – To Inform is to Influence

This article succinctly describes the legal problems the FBI has trying to stop foreign propaganda.   It also describes some legislation that is direly needed to counter this scourge: Legislation is needed similar to CALEA which compels corporations to cooperate with US law enforcement to counter foreign propaganda. Legislate a way to designate “entities known…

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