Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran · Russia · Syria

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (93)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Muscovian mendacity continues, Amb. McFaul argues for a new strategy, updates on Babchenko sting, Salisbury attack, including impact of Russian propaganda and Russia’s little helpers in the West. Mayhem in MidEast continues. Iran update. Turkey’s election – will Erdogan fall?

Annual Report:  Interim Commission of the Council of Federation on Protection of State Sovereignty and Prevention of Interference in the Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (February 2018) – To Inform is to Influence

( (Russian) Russia published its final draft of this report recently and referenced it two days ago. This report is being used as justification for establishing a new “information bureau”, a part of Igor Panarin’s proposal. To synopsize, it is 83 pages of mostly irrational rubbish, but it supports the creation of a new commission to…

Russia Calls Trump’s Space Force Plan ‘Alarming’

Russia has expressed alarm over President Donald Trump’s pledge to maintain U.S. dominance in space and create a separate branch of the military called the “space force.”

UAWire – Russia promises a ‘harsh response’ if the US puts weapons in space

Russia will give a &quot;harsh response&quot; to the United States if Washington’s decision to create a military space force violates the treaty on the …

Russia argues the Marine Corps’ beefed-up presence in Norway is an attack

Russia warned there would be consequences following Norway’s decision to invite 700 Marines for training.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Russian embassy in UK slams NATO chief’s remark on Skripal incident as misinformation

In case Mr. Stoltenberg has evidence, he must present it immediately, the Russian embassy in London said

Report: Russia Rebuilding Key Weapons Storage Bunker In Kaliningrad

Newly published satellite photographs suggest that Russia has rebuilt a weapons storage bunker in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, suggesting that Moscow could be considering placing nuclear weapons there, according to a U.S. think tank.

Russian bunkers near Poland could be storing nuclear weapons, report says – To Inform is to Influence

By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: June 18, 2018 The Russian military has renovated an underground bunker 50 miles from Poland that could be an active nuclear weapons storage site, a nuclear watchdog group said Monday. A series of satellite images analyzed by the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists show one of three underground bunkers in…

Russia may have upgraded nuclear bunker in Kaliningrad, report says – CNN

Russia may have significantly modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker in Kaliningrad, a sensitive exclave of Russian territory, according to a new report.

Photos appear to show Russia upgrading nuclear weapons bunker | Fox News

Russia seems to have upgraded a nuclear weapons storage bunker in its Kaliningrad enclave, according to a new report.

Militarised disinformation: When Highway Renovation becomes a Western attack “to the East” – Disinformation Review – To Inform is to Influence

Share Tweet Forward 21 June 2018 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* Militarised Disinformation: When Highway Renovation becomes a Western attack “to the East” This week, the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign zoomed into Europe. Its magnifying glass focused on highway D1 in the Czech Republic, connecting Prague and Brno, the two biggest Czech cities. Through the lens of…

Michael McFaul | Containing Putin’s Russia

As long as Putin remains in power, changing Russia will be close to impossible. Washington needs a new grand strategy to deal with the fact that Putin is here to stay and won’t end his assault on Western democracy and multilateral institutions anytime soon.

2nd suspect charged in Ukraine journalist murder plot

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Ukrainian authorities have charged a second suspect for allegedly organizing a murder plot against a Russian journalist whose killing was faked last month. Ukrainian police last month said journalist Arkady Babchenko, a strong critic of the Kremlin, had been shot to death in his apartment building in Kiev. But the next day Babchenko appeared at a news conference and authorities said the ruse was aimed at uncovering a Russian plot to kill dozens of journalists. One suspect was arrested that day. On Friday, Bogdan Tivodar of the Ukrainian Security Service said another suspect, Vyacheslav Pivovarnik, had been charged in absentia with organizing terrorist acts. Pivovarnik is believed to be in Russia, he said. Tivodar says Pivovarnik tried to recruit Ukrainian citizens as attackers. The killing was faked last month.

Ukraine Says Second Suspect Detained In Alleged Babchenko Plot

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) says a second person has been detained in an alleged plot to assassinate Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, an outspoken Kremlin critic, in Kyiv.

Babchenko’s case: SBU detains one more suspect, – Babchenko’s case: SBU detains one more suspect –

Babchenko’s case: SBU detains one more suspect. The Security Service of Ukraine has detained one more suspect in the organization of the murder of Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko and preparation of the number of the terrorist acts in Ukraine. Bohdan Tyvodar, the Deputy Head of Chief Prosecution Department of the SBU claimed this as 112 Ukraine reported. ‘On June 13, 2018, the SBU detained ‘citizen of Ukraine T.”, who managed the mentioned group of people in Rostov-on-Don and Ukraine,” he noted, demonstrating the audio-evidence on Babchenko’s case. Tyvodar added that the firearms and armaments were confiscated during the search of “citizen T.” apartments. ‘At the moment, we have enough evidence to suspect “citizen T.” in the involvement in the terrorist acts’ preparations,” he emphasized. The detained is served charge papers due to the illegal handling of the weapons and explosives and organization of the preparation of the terrorist act.

Avakov’s son was on list of 47, – Herman –

Avakov’s son was on list of 47, – Herman. Borys Herman suspected in organizing the attempted murder of Babchenko, stated that Babchenko’s name was not on the list of 47. Yet, there was Oleksandr Avakov, the son of Ukraine’s Internal Minister Arsen Avakov. Herman said it before the session of Kyiv Court of Appeal, as Ukrinform reports. “Avakov junior was on the list. Babchenko was not,” Herman stated. He also claims that he is not a Russian agent and the people from the counterintelligence, where he allegedly worked, did not try to find him or his lawyers after the detention.

The Babchenko False Flag Exposed The Deep State-Journalist Nexus | Zero Hedge

“In hindsight, this self-admitted false flag provocation retroactively adds credence to… another angle that hasn’t been given the attention that it deserves, and that’s the cooperation between journalists and the ‘deep state’.”

Salisbury: Prince Charles and Camilla declare site of Skripal attack open for business | Daily Star

PRINCE Charles and Camilla have declared Salisbury “open for business” in the wake of the Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal earlier this year.

‘Close to normal now’: Salisbury gets back on its feet as royals visit | UK news | The Guardian

City deeply affected by poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter is recovering trade and tourism

Hundreds turn out in Salisbury for Charles and Camilla’s morale-boosting visit | Shropshire Star

The city has endured weeks of disruption as police investigated the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Russian spy poisoning: Ambulance depot decontaminated – BBC News

Amesbury ambulance depot is the third site to be cleaned by specialists and returned to use.

Olympic hackers may be attacking chemical warfare prevention labs

The team behind the 2018 Winter Olympics hack is still active, according to security researchers — in fact, it’s switching to more serious targets. Kaspersky…

Skripal effect sees England fans stay away as Russia’s nationalist heartland prepares to host first match

Just 2,000 England football fans will attend the nation&rsquo;s opening World Cup game, in fear of both Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s regime &ndash; and possibly the prospect of another dismal tournament showing.

Skripal nerve attack ‘taught jihadists power of poison plots’

The poisoning of a retired Russian agent acted as “big neon advertisement” to jihadists for the power of chemical attacks, an al-Qaeda informant said.

Litvinenko widow threatens to sue RT over ‘libellous’ claims | World news | The Guardian

RT and another pro-Kremlin channel alleged her husband was murdered by a close friend

At Site of U.K. Poisoning, Doubts About Case Creep In – The New York Times

As British investigators remained silent about the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal and his daughter, Russia flooded social media with alternative theories, leading some in Salisbury to raise questions.

Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 5 – An Educated Guess | Zero Hedge

“Of course, it could be that the red bag seen near the bench was not the same red bag carried by the person walking through The Maltings… Then again, large red bags like that are not exactly very common”

Russia Slams U.S. Ahead Of UN Report On Syria Chemical Attacks

Moscow has charged that the United States and its allies fabricated evidence to implicate Syrian government forces in chemical-weapons attacks against civilians.

Confrontation at the OPCW: How Will the International Community Handle Syria and Skripal? – War on the Rocks

Last month, Great Britain transmitted an unusual request to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body responsible for implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention. Britain asked to convene a Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties — only the fourth such meeting in the

Time to Make Up After Fighting Over Iran – WSJ

The U.S. is getting its way through coercive sanctions. It would be helpful to show the allies some respect.

Remember the ‘axis of evil’? There’s one member left, and its chances for a Trump summit look dim

To many Iranians, President Trump’s outreach to North Korea, a rogue nation with a history of human rights and nonproliferation violations, renewed accusations of U.S. hypocrisy.

UAWire – Iran refuses to negotiate with Trump

Iran will not hold negotiations with U.S. President Donald Trump after his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with the country, said …

If a Trump-Iran Summit Happens, Ayatollah So – WSJ

Making the offer would put pressure on the regime, with little risk to the U.S.

No breakthrough in Turkey-Iran-Russia talks on Syria constitution | News | Al Jazeera

Tripartite meeting in Geneva ends with ‘some common ground was beginning to emerge’, UN envoy says.

UN Envoy Says ‘Common Ground’ Emerging In Syria Constitution Talks

The United Nations’ special envoy for Syria says there is “some common ground” among Russia, Iran, and Turkey about how to move forward on writing a new constitution for war-torn Syria.

Tehran Symphony In St. Petersburg Ahead Of Iran Match

The Tehran Symphony Orchestra, headed by Iranian-American conductor and composer Shahrdad Rohani, performed in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on June 14. The concert was held ahead of Iran’s June 15 World Cup match with Morocco.

UAWire – Tensions flare between Russian and Iranian forces in Syria

Tensions between Russian and Iranian forces have started to spread to the Syrian army. Russia, which wants members of Hezbollah and Iranian troops to withdraw from the Golan Heights, is not happy with the fact that not all have left the area, reports the blog bmpd. It has been noted that some Shiite units have begun wearing Syrian army uniforms and have continued the hostilities. Specifically, they have donned the uniforms of the 4th Panzer Division, which is under the command of Maher Assad, the Syrian president’s brother. “This is why Russia wants to strengthen its control over the command of the Syrian army. And Russian officers have begun to conduct inspections of the Syrian military bases,” the blog said. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the telephone and expressed their readiness to step up coordination relative to Syria, including the fight against international terrorism. Earlier, the media reported that Iranian troops had disguised themselves, changing into Syrian uniforms to avoid Israeli strikes. In early May, Israeli Air Force planes attacked positions of the Syrian army at the foot of the Golan Heights. At the same time, the militants, using Israel’s air strikes on the territory of Syria, attacked the Syrian city of al-Baath in the Golan Heights.

Benjamin Netanyahu tells Vladimir Putin: ‘Iran has to withdraw from all of Syria’

Russian President Vladimir Putin can expect Israel to attack his Iranian partners anywhere they operate in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

UAWire – Netanyahu tells Putin that Israel will not tolerate Iran’s presence in Syria

On Sunday, at a weekly meeting of the Israeli Government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he told Russian President Vladimir Putin and the U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, that Israel would take action against Iran’s military presence in Syria. “In the end of the week, I spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo,” Netanyahu said. “I have repeated our basic principles on Syria. First, Iran must withdraw from the entire Syrian territory. Secondly, we will act and are already taking actions against efforts to establish the military presence of Iran and its allies near the border [with Israel] and deep inside Syria. We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria,” added the Prime minister. Netanyahu’s statement has been published by his press service.

UAWire – Russia warns the US against using ‘tough measures’ against Syrian government forces

The American military should not use &quot;tough measures&quot; against the Syrian Army. Russia will analyze the situation in the de-escalation zones in …

Russia’s Tank Drone Performed Poorly in Syria

The Uran-9 lost contact with its controllers, maneuvered badly on broken terrain.

Israel behind airstrike in Syria, US official says – CNNPolitics

An airstrike close to the Iraq-Syria border Sunday was carried out by Israel, and not by the US or the coalition fighting ISIS, a US official tells CNN.

US denies reports that it bombed military positions in Syria – Business Insider

The US military denied reports that it carried out strikes in eastern Syria. Syrian state media reported on Monday that US-led coalition aircraft had bombed…

UAWire – Hashd al-Shaabi militia accuses the US of killing dozens of its fighters during airstrikes in Syria

Iranian-backed militia Hashd al-Shaabi, which carries out operations in Syria alongside the Iraqi forces, accused the US-led coalition of …

Syria Accuses U.S. of Airstrikes, U.S. Denies Involvement – The Daily Beast

State media claims there were “several martyrs.”

UAWire – US-led coalition strikes Assad army

Warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition have again struck the forces of Bashar Assad, reported the Syrian state agency SANA, citing military sources. According to SANA, the planes that carried out the attack belonged to the U.S. Air Force. The attack took place in an area that is southeast of the city of Abu Kamal. This city is located on the Euphrates River in the province of Deir ez-Zor, near the border with Iraq. The news agency reported that several people were killed in the air strike and several others were injured. According to the U.S. coalition, after the liberation of Raqqa, the city of Abu Kamal became the place where the leadership of ISIS is located. In October 2017, it was called the primary target by a representative of the coalition. In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq reported that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was getting a medical treatment in the Abu Kamal area.

Syrian, Iraqi forces say U.S. bombs military border positions, U.S. denies | Reuters

Syrian state media said on Monday that U.S.-led coalition aircraft had bombed a Syrian army position near the Iraqi border, causing deaths and injuries, but the U.S. military denied it was responsible.

Syria war: War crimes committed in Eastern Ghouta battle – UN – BBC News

War crimes were committed by both sides in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region, investigators say.

UN: Syrian forces committed war crimes in Eastern Ghouta | News | Al Jazeera

Besieged civilians were indiscriminately attacked, and systematically denied food and medicine, UN investigators say.

Israeli jets carry out strikes in Gaza | News | Al Jazeera

Exchange of Israeli air raids and Palestinian rockets over Gaza border has been one of most intense in recent weeks.

Israel strikes Hamas after heavy rocket attacks from Gaza | Fox News

Israeli warplanes struck Hamas positions in Gaza after Palestinian militants there fired dozens of rockets and mortars at southern communities early Wednesday, the military said.

Sara Netanyahu, Israeli PM’s wife, accused of fraud, misuse of public funds

Sara Netanyhau accused of fraudulent ordering gourmet meals worth $100,000 and falsifying documents to hide it.

How and why Trump got it so right about Jerusalem – Washington Times

Anyone who has visited the Temple Mount in the center of the old city of Jerusalem in the last decade must acknowledge the obvious: Jerusalem is the indisputable capital of Israel.

Trump ambassador blocks scrutiny of Israel – POLITICO

Donald Trump’s envoy to Jerusalem rejects criticism of the country’s policies and insisted human rights questions should not be a factor in military aid to the country.

Report: Trump’s Envoy to Israel Sought to Block Scrutiny of Country’s Military Aid – The Daily Beast

David Friedman is said to have told State Department officials Israel should be exempt from new guidelines on aid.

Why Yemen is at war | Reuters

The battle for the western Yemeni port of Hodeidah could be an important milestone in the three-year civil war. But analysts say the conflict is so complex that even a decisive outcome there might not bring peace.

Saudi-Led Forces Seize Airport in Yemen Port City – The Daily Beast

The move could halt aid supplies to a country battling what the UN has dubbed the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Arab alliance close to capturing Hodeidah airport, Yemen military says | Reuters

Forces from an Arab alliance entered the airport in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah Saturday, the coalition-backed Yemeni military said, in the biggest offensive in the war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

War in Yemen: loyalists claim to have captured Hodeidah airport | World | The Times

Yemeni forces backed by the United Arab Emirates claim to have seized the airport of the embattled port city of Hodeidah this morning.The capture of the airport, if confirmed, would allow the forces loyal to the recognised government to move up the coast towards the city’s port, the main access po

Arab coalition bombs Houthis at Hodeidah airport, urges them to withdraw | Reuters

Arab coalition aircraft bombarded Houthi fighters holed up at the airport of Yemen’s main port Hodeidah on Monday as a senior alliance official said he hoped U.N. diplomacy could coax the Iran-aligned movement to cede the city to “save the population”.

Iran Walks Out As Russia, Saudis Gain Support For Oil Output Increase

Iran’s oil minister has walked away from negotiations with other major oil producers over a significant increase in oil production advocated by Russia and Tehran’s arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s Rouhani says military approach will fail in Yemen: State TV | Reuters

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told Qatar’s ruler on Monday that a military approach in Yemen would fail, Iranian state TV reported, after Saudi-led coalition aircraft bombarded Iran-aligned Houthi fighters holed up at the airport of the country’s main port city Hodeidah.

Israel: Former Cabinet Minister Was a Spy for Iran – The Daily Beast

Gonen Segev arrested, accused of aiding enemy during wartime by Shin Bet.

Israel charges ex-minister Gonen Segev with spying for Iran – BBC News

Gonen Segev was allegedly recruited as an agent by Israel’s arch-enemy Iran while he lived in Nigeria.

🇮🇷 The impact of sanctions on ordinary Iranians | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Jun 14, 2018 A month before the Singapore summit took place, the US president pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Iranians say it is proof that he cannot be trusted, but many are not just angry with Donald Trump. Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi explains from the capital Tehran.

Despite Appeals, Iran Hangs Sufi Man Convicted Of Killing Police

Amnesty International says Iranian authorities have executed a man convicted of killing three police officers during clashes involving members of a Sufi order, despite calls to stop his execution.

The Cases That Made Iran Target Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Iran has rearrested top human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has highlighted human rights abuses in the Islamic republic.

Iran Signals Possible Compromise With Plan To Raise Oil Output

Iran has suggested it could be open to a compromise on a small rise in OPEC oil output after earlier rejecting a plan by Russia and Saudi Arabia to increase production in response to consumer conce…

Iran Rejects U.S. Call For OPEC To Increase Output

Iran has slammed a U.S. call for OPEC to increase production, as ministers from the oil cartel traveled to Austria for their annual meeting.

Trump Administration Warns Friends Against Russia Arms Deals « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

As some Gulf and Asian allies consider big purchases of Russia arms, the Senate is set to uphold a law signed by Trump that would slap sanctions on them for cozying up with Moscow.

Senate Approves Ban On Sale Of U.S. F-35s To Turkey Over Russia Deal

The U.S. Senate has passed a major defense bill that would block the sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jets to Turkey unless it abandons a deal to buy S-400 missile-defense systems from Russia, drawing cri…

Iran’s Ban of Messaging App Hurts Economy at Pivotal Moment – Foreign Policy

Iran’s decision in April to outlaw the use of the encrypted messaging app Telegram, which shielded communications from the government’s prying eyes, has been a civil rights calamity for millions of Iranians. But the ban has also had an unintended consequence: It’s been a drag on Iran’s economy just as the threat of renewed American sanctions looms, according to a new report by a nongovernmental human rights organization. Before being banned, Telegram had 40 million users — about half the country’s population — including many businesspeople and bureaucrats. In Iran’s highly informal economy, banks advertised their services on the platform. Government functionaries used the app to pass documents between offices. “Businesses small and big were using it as a way to communicate, advertise, and actually do deals,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, which issued the report. “It’s the worst time to kill an engine of job creation and economic activity for regular Iranians,” Ghaemi said.

Erdogan Will Win by Any Means Necessary – Foreign Policy

Turkey’s president has plenty of experience stealing elections — and Sunday’s vote is one he can’t afford to lose.

Has Erdogan Engineered His Own Downfall?

Although Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) remain the heavy favorites to win in Turkey’s elections, they are more vulnerable now than they ever have been.

Erdogan’s gamble on snap elections in Turkey could backfire – CNN

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s message of transformation has kept him in power longer than any other leader in Turkey’s history. Now he faces his toughest political challenge yet.

Erdogan’s Grip on Turkey Is Loosening Even in His Black Sea Home – Bloomberg

With the most consequential election in Turkish history only days away, nowhere is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on the nation more complete than in the lands from which he hails. On the 20-kilometer (12-mile) drive from Rize to Erdogan’s hometown of Guneysu, perched in the green rolling hills overlooking Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, his presence dominates the landscape.

Opinion | The Man Who Could Topple Erdogan – The New York Times

Muharrem Ince, the presidential candidate for Turkey’s Republican People’s Party, is invigorating the opposition beyond his party’s secularist base.

Turkey’s election campaigns are marred by violence

Violence has marred the run-up to Sunday’s elections in Turkey, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking another five-year term

Turkey election: Expats play decisive role in Erdogan vote – BBC News

Almost half of Turkey’s expat voters have already cast their vote, as President Erdogan eyes greater power.

5 Charts That Show Turkey’s Capital Flight Problem Is Getting Worse – Bloomberg

Turks are joining foreign investors in shifting their assets — and in many cases themselves — out of the country amid fears for their money and security should President Recep Tayyip Erdogan win more power at an election on June 24.

In Erdogan’s Turkey, Markets Haven’t Been So Bad Before Vote – Bloomberg

In 15 years of Recep Tayyip Erdogan governments, Turkish markets have mostly relished the last month leading up to elections. This time, it’s different.

The Financial Shadow over Turkey’s Election Campaign | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Quarterly gross domestic product figures released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) on June 11 showed that the Turkish economy had grown by 7.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018.

Turkish Opposition, NGOs Plan 519,000 Observers For Election

Turkey’s opposition parties and rights groups say they plan to send out hundreds of thousands of monitors and volunteers to voting sites across the country during the June 24 presidential and parli…

UAWire – Turkey will receive F-35 fighters despite objections of US Congress

According to sources in the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin, Turkey will receive its first F-35 Joint Strike fighter this week, despite objections …

U.S. Senators Move Again To Block F-35 Sales To Turkey Over Russia Deal

U.S. senators have moved for a second time to block delivery of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey unless it abandons an arms deal with Russia, even as the plane’s manufacturer announced the roll-…