Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting
While the media are largely mesmerized by Helsinki (some reports of interest below), there have been important developments on multiple fronts – despite Muscovian mendacity persisting. The indictments have sent many Muscovian players a little apoplectic.
Reports from Amesbury/Salisbury are that Police collected 400 items, some of which are suspected to be contaminated, while the container that poisoned the latest two victims is reported to be a perfume bottle – this is curious, to say the least, if the intent was to hide evidence during a covert op egress. If the testing shows the agent was different in any way to the Salisbury agent, then this is prima facie a case of a diversionary attack post hoc. Claims the GRU was involved – US media finding this more interesting than UK media.
The US says unlikely to be many Iran sanctions waivers. Israel ramps up its ad hoc air campaign against Iranian assets in Syria. More on Turkey.
A leak at the Porton Down secret laboratory may explain the nerve agent poisonings in Britain, as both cases happened in nearby Salisbury and Amesbury, the Russian embassy in the UK has said.
The Press service of the Russian Embassy in London stated that Russia demands that the UK share information about the substance which was found …
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with French President Emmanuel Macron on July 15th in the Kremlin, as stated by the official website of the …
The American Deep State is trying to derail Donald Trump’s meeting next week with Vladimir Putin and “spoil the atmosphere ahead of the Russian-American summit,” according to officials in Moscow. Responding to the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of 12 suspected GRU officers in the hacking of the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party in 2016, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday: “It’s still a question how long they [in Washington] will continue to act out this shameful farce that disgraces the United States.”
NATO’s statements about the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea by Russia show that the mentality of the cold war has been preserved by inertia in the alliance
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia’s military intelligence agency has been blamed for what Western experts say are some of the Kremlin’s most nefarious activities.
A former CIA officer said special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers this week sets the stage for more charges to come.
Twitter has suspended two accounts linked to 12 Russian spies indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The U.S. homeland security chief says the country’s intelligence officials are seeing “persistent Russian efforts” to use social media and other resources to create divisions among the Americ…
One day after 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged with allegedly hacking emails during the 2016 election, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said there was no indication that the coming midterms were being attacked by Russia in the same way.
The threat of cyberattacks aimed against the USA reached the critical point
Jim Geraghty on Twitter: “After Georgia, Crimea, MH17, backing Assad, Deir al-Zour, Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, mock invasion drills… why would anyone find Russia hacking, stealing data, exposing private emails and perhaps even mixing in some disinformation so unthinkable? https://t.co/dZiZJmVHqn… https://t.co/buKPViOOwN”
The Kentucky senator said Moscow would not admit that it interfered in the 2016 election.
Paul Goble wrote a piece titled “Russians Dismiss Estonian Claim that a Russian Attack would Fail in Tallinn” about an interview that Politico’s Molly McKew wrote after interviewing Colonel Riho Uhtegi, Commander of the Estonian Special Forces. Towards the end of the report, he cites a response by Russia’s “Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Duma defense…
The head of the tiny NATO member’s special forces details his country’s preparations for a conflict many here see as inevitable.<br />
Paul Goble Staunton, July 14 – Three US senators, Marco Rubio, Bob Menendez and Rob Portman, have called for Washington to promulgate a policy of “the non-recognition” of Moscow’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and to model it on American non-recognition policy regarding the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Not surprisingly, the Kremlin and those close to it don’t want Washington to adopt such a policy; but they cannot admit that they don’t because the policy was effective as it represented a clear declaration of America’s commitment to a basic principle of international law and it helped keep hope alive in the occupied Baltic countries that they would one day again be free. That, of course, happened in August 1991, and the leaders of the restored Baltic states have relied on US non-recognition policy since because it emphasized what they knew to be true: they were occupied and thus have had certain rights that they otherwise would not have had, including on the granting of citizenship, had they “seceded” as Moscow viewed it. But since Moscow can’t admit the power of non-recognition policy for the Baltic countries earlier and potentially for Crimea now, it has sunk to new lows in its arguments about the realities of US non-recognition policy about the Baltics to claim simultaneously that it made no difference and that it must not be adopted with regard to Crimea, the Kremlin’s latest victim. In today’s Vzglyad, commentator Yevgeny Krutikov attacks the three senators for proposing the adoption of a non-recognition policy regarding Crimea, arguing that if the senators knew the history of that policy, which he says they clearly don’t, they wouldn’t be pushing it at all (vz.ru/politics/2018/7/14/932376.html). But if they or anyone else are going to learn about the nature of that policy and its impact, they won’t be able to do so by perusing Krutikov’s article which inter alia says that the so-called declaration of Sumner Welles of July23, 1940, was not a policy statement but only “a publicistic essay … for the press.” According to Krutikov, it was entirely written by Loy Henderson who “was married to a Latvian and worked in Estonia and Latvia in the 1920s and 1930s” and who later was pulled from the US embassy in Moscow at the insistence of First Lady Eleonor Roosevelt and dispatched to Baghdad. Consequently, the Moscow commentator says, “’the Welles Declaration’ is not considered a legal document: it was something like a public declaration of a position in a maximally pompous form.” In Krutikov’s telling, it had no impact at all until 1952 when the Baltic lobby in the US forced the Congress to echo it. “In part,” the Russian writer continues, “this was connected with the fate of Wells himself: he was caught in a VIP car of a train having sex with two black-skinned porters and as a result of this scandal at the end of 1942 was forced to retire and later worked as a radio commentator.” Krutikov says that “in practice then, this ‘non-recognition of the occupation of the Baltics’ looks like a symptom of a split personality. Somewhere on the periphery of the American consciousness existed émigré ‘governments’ and ‘diplomatic missions’ of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.” But “it was impossible to deny the objective reality” that they were three republics in the USSR. Because that was so, Krutikov says, “Washington did not once include the Baltic issue on the agenda of talks with Moscow … More than that ‘the Wells Declaration’ is not mentioned in the official documents of the State Department – and in [its] text is not mentioned the Soviet Union even in an abbreviated form.” “That is,” Krutikov continues, “we recognize ‘the occupation of the Baltics, but we cannot do anything with this so we will make it appear that the Baltics do not exist. In the depth of our souls, we morally support the Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians … and every ten years can organize some jubilee hearings in Congress.” “But at the level of practical politics, we will not raise the Baltic issue; doing so isn’t recommended,” the Russian writer suggests American diplomats and officials concluded and thought. According to him, “the single practical consequence of this ‘non-recognition of occupation’ was the absence of consulates of Western countries in the Lithuanian SSR, the Latvian SSR, and the ESSR,” a lack that complicated the lives of Western sailors who ended up in Baltic ports but that residents of these republics found ways to work around. Official American delegations faced some problems because they weren’t supposed to visit “’occupied territories,’” but “nevertheless,” Krutikov says, “they actively travelled there to look at the horrors of occupation and taste Rigas Balsams.” “In other words,” he says, “’the Wells Declaration’ on which American senators now suggest applying to Crimea in practice did not work and did not have any legally enforceable consequences.” Perhaps not for Moscow in the way Krutikov imagines but certainly for the United States and the peoples of the three Soviet-occupied Baltic republics. Non-recognition policy meant that the US government never published maps showing Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as being legitimately part of the USSR. It meant that the US maintained contacts with the diplomats of the last pre-war governments right up to August 1991. (Despite what Krutikov implies, the US never recognized any “émigré governments.) The State Department had a Baltic desk and kept the flags of the three occupied countries up in the lobby of its main building. Moreover, every year after 1940 the US sent a national day message to the Baltic legations. It further meant that no US official during a time in office that he or she had been confirmed to by the Senate could visit the occupied Baltic countries. And it meant that the US continued to recognize pre-1940 Baltic passports as legally valid travel documents for admission to the United States. It wasn’t just some hearing every decade as he implies. And US representatives at various talks with the Soviets did raise the issue of the status of the Baltic countries and routinely referred to non-recognition policy, something that was broader and far more institutionalized that Krutikov’s dismissive remarks would suggest. And finally non-recognition policy also meant that no US official during a time in office that he or she had been confirmed to by the Senate could visit the occupied Baltic countries. And it meant that the US continued to recognize pre-1940 Baltic passports as legally valid travel documents for admission to the United States. But the real meaning of US non-recognition policy isn’t captured by those actions and prohibitions. Instead, it lies in another dimension altogether. It was the expression of American support for a principle that borders are not to be changed by force alone, and it was a sign to the Baltic peoples that they had the moral support Krutikov dismisses as meaningless and would once again be free. Despite being equally illegal under international law, there are obvious differences between the Soviet occupation of the three Baltic countries and the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea. In the first case, there were entire countries involved with governments and diplomas and in the second, there is a region that lacks some of those institutions. Consequently, the specifics of a non-recognition policy regarding Crimea will inevitably be somewhat different than the specifics of US non-recognition policy on the Baltic countries. But the principle that must be reaffirmed is exactly the same; and one very much hopes that the outcome will be the same as well. Krutikov in his attacks on Welles and Henderson fails to discuss what they really said. And one detail is especially critical in the current context: Henderson’s memorandum on which the Welles declaration was based explicitly drew on an argument Herbert Hoover’s secretary of state Henry Stimson had made in 1930 regarding Japanese actions in China. At that time, Stimson refused to recognize Japan’s carving up of China because, he said, the US has long had a settled policy of not recognizing changes in borders achieved by force alone rather than by international negotiation. That makes what Wells said in 1940 and what the US senators are saying rather more important than Krutikov and Moscow can admit.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 14 – It has become a commonplace that Vladimir Putin and his regime hoped that the month-long World Cup competition in Russia would distract Russians – and many beyond its borders – from Moscow’s plans to raise pension ages on the Russian population and from any protests against that action. But that was far from the only Kremlin action that the Putin regime hoped football games would distract people from, as the BBC’s Russian Service points out. In a new article, it provides a convenient checklist of all the unpleasant and unwelcome policy actions Moscow took during this period (bbc.com/russian/features-44814083). In addition to the pension-age boost, these actions and responses to them include: · Raising the VAT which will push up prices and inflation. · Protests about raising the pension age. · The going into effect of the repressive Yarovaya laws. · The way the regime calculates time in detention centers in calculating prison sentences. · Government access to individual Russian bank accounts and information about them · New Tariffs on American goods. · Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike · Russian incomes again are beginning to fall. · More Russians are classified as “foreign agents.” · Russia strips another journalist of accreditation. · Karelian court will try Memorial activist Yury Dmitriyev again and for more serious charges.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 14 – Western sanctions on Russia have hurt Russian businesses significantly, but they have achieved their greatest success not within Russia but beyond its borders. Western sanctions have virtually killed Russian business activity in other countries, thus striking a blow against one of Vladimir Putin’s chief tactics to expand Moscow’s influence. That judgment is offered by Telegram’s Boiler Room Channel (t.me/boilerroomchannel/1659), which offers a list of some of the largest Russian companies that have been hurt. Among them are: · Sberbank has been forced to pull out of Turkey. · Gazprom has lost the right to build the Northern Flow pipeline. · Novatek has been restricted in its ability to build new plants abroad. · Alfa Group has been limited in its ability to operate in the EU because of its ties with Aven and Putin. Without such a business presence in Western countries, the Russian government loses not only the ability to make more money in a far safer environment than the one that exists at home but also the opportunity to launder money and to influence via nominally legitimate channels officials and politicians in other countries.
During recent talks held in Helsinki, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned U.S. President Donald Trump against partaking in unilateral …
The construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline should not endanger the status of Ukraine as transit state.
During his trip to Europe, President Trump criticized Germany, Europe’s most populous democracy and pivotal NATO ally as being “totally controlled by Russia.” And, if that wasn’t clear enough, he reiterated this by saying, “Germany, as far I’m concerned, is captive to Russia … So we’re supposed to protect Germany, but they’re getting their energy from Russia.”
President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser said recent indictments in the special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 US presidential elections “strengthens” Trump’s position in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
U.S. President Donald Trump says in an interview that President Vladimir Putin is “probably” a “ruthless person,” in remarks made ahead of his summit with the Russian leader.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, are hours away from their first solo meeting and the first bilateral summit between leaders of the two countries since April…
U.S. President Donald Trump says his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin got off to a “very good start” with a one-on-one meeting that lasted more than two hours.
U.S. President Donald Trump said that the world wants the United States and Russia “to get along.” Speaking at the start of one-on-one negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, Trump added that he hoped the leaders can “do something” about the two countries’ stockpiles of nuclear arms.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Helsinki on July 15 on the eve a historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital. Demonstrators held anti-Trump and anti-Putin banners condemning their policies and marched through the streets chanting: ‘Helsinki for peace!’ and ‘Helsinki for truth!’ They also carried banners condemning ignorance, intolerance, and the lack of media freedom in Russia. Other banners carried demands for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov to be released from a Russian prison.
Going into Monday’s summit with the Russian president in Helsinki, Trump says he has “low expectations.”
President Trump can have a successful summit Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland and outwit his critics if he takes a tough-love approach to his seeming bromance with the Russian leader.
President Donald Trump’s summit with President Vladimir Putin on Monday to discuss international security issues will mark a symbolic end to the American effort to isolate Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
U.S. President Donald Trump thinks his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin may be the easiest of all his meetings in Europe. That’s giving hope to some that the two leaders may have a meeting of the minds about new arms control measures.
The Russian leader knows Trump needs to walk away claiming victory. That gives the Kremlin an advantage.
Even more than with most subjects, when Trump brings up Russia he seems to be speaking of something that is deﬁned less by reality than by what he needs it to be.
President Trump said he may ask Putin to extradite Russians indicted for hacking DNC servers, but seemed to shift blame for the crime onto Democrats themselves
Trump describes the European Union as a “foe” as he prepares for his first formal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding fresh disparagement of some of America’s closest allies after his disruptive visits to NATO headquarters and the United Kingdom.
CNN Published on Jul 16, 2018 In an interview with “Good Morning Britain” host Piers Morgan, President Trump refused to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “ruthless” leader or a foe.
And President Trump needs to tell him so.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin meets President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, he will be riding a symbolic high: The Helsinki summit comes a day after the World Cup final in Moscow, a prestige event that has inspired a burst of patriotism in Russia.
Ukraine needs desperately to know that Washington is on its side, as it’s been promised in the past. Will the United States of Trump remain a reliable ally?
Many Syrians worry Trump will leave them to the mercy of Russian proxy Bashar Assad. Trump aides say no such deal’s in the making, but want to make sure. Anything can happen.
Just as the Russian leader has unleashed his intelligence and security services, the American president has kneecapped and undermined his own.
When will Europe realize the American president is an antagonist, not an ally?
If European leaders think the president’s recent behavior will damage him at home, they are wrong, says Guardian US columnist Cas Mudde
U.S. President Donald Trump said in a Twitter post on Monday the NATO summit he attended last week had been a success and was inaccurately reported by much of the media.
Matthew Rowley says his brother Charlie picked up a perfume bottle – but police have not confirmed it.
Last week, the Metropolitan Police announced they had discovered a “small bottle” containing the nerve agent Novichok that allegedly poisoned Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury.
Scotland Yard has recovered hundreds of items “potentially contaminated” with the lethal nerve agent that killed a British citizen and was used in an attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter.In a development that will heighten tensions in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury, Assistant Commissioner
The military intelligence service suspected of disrupting the 2016 presidential campaign in the U.S. may be behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.
British officials believe the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter was likely carried out by the same Russian military intelligence service accused by the Justice Department Friday of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, The New York Times reported Sunday.
British investigators believe the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter was most probably carried out by current or former agents of a Russian military intelligence service who were sent to his home in southern England, according to one British official, one U.S. official and one former U.S. official familiar with the inquiry
Official site of The Week Magazine, offering commentary and analysis of the day’s breaking news and current events as well as arts, entertainment, people and gossip, and political cartoons.
The same Russian military intelligence service now accused of disrupting the 2016 presidential election in America may also be responsible for the nerve agent attack in Britain against a former Russian spy – an audacious poisoning that led to a geopolitical confrontation this spring between Moscow and the West. British officials are now closing in on identifying the individuals they believe carried out the operation, said the former American official.
The Russian military intelligence service accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election may also have been responsible for the poisoning earlier this year of a former Russian spy in the U.K., The New York Times reported Sunday.
British police say that search teams found the items as part of the investigation into the poisoning of two Britons
Police earlier took away four vehicles in the investigation over the poisoning of the couple.
British counter-terrorism police said on Saturday they had recovered more than 400 items as part of their investigation into the murder of a woman in southwest England who was poisoned by the Novichok nerve agent.
Matthew Rowley told how he visited the 45-year-old in hospital after he came round and said he barely recognized him
Charlie Rowley is conscious despite coming into contact with the nerve agent alongside girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, who has died,
Ewan Hope, 19, desperately wants to get justice for his mum and has been told he can’t bury her body
Ewan Hope, 19, implores Trump and May to expose those responsible for the death of his mother Dawn Sturgess after being told a funeral won’t be possible yet
How long these chemical stay active is unknown, largely because they were developed illegally and in secret by Soviet and later Russian chemists.
The United States wants to avoid disrupting global oil markets as it reimposes sanctions against Tehran and in certain cases will consider waivers for countries which need more time to wind down their oil imports from Iran, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
President Trump’s administration will refuse to exempt European allies from the new sanctions limiting targeting economic investment in Iran, Cabinet officials notified world leaders.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a request from European leaders for broad-based waivers from sanctions the U.S. will reimpose on countries that do business with Iran after the President Donald Trump backed out of the 2015 nuclear accord.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he discussed Syria and Iran with U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of the latter’s meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Israel is ramping up attacks against Iranian supply lines in Syria to block the flow of weapons to Hezbollah and other Tehran-backed militias, as it seeks to drive its foe away from its borders.
Syria confirms airstrikes struck position near al-Nairab airbase in Aleppo as fighting rages in Quneitra province.
SYRAIN STATE media has accused Israel of bombing a military position in Aleppo province on Sunday evening, in what would be a rare Israeli attack so far north in Bashar al Assad’s war-torn nation.
Protests that began earlier this week in Basra are spreading to many other cities in the Shiite south.
The U.S. armed forces are planning to establish new military bases on the territory of Iraq and Kuwait, reported the TV channel PressTV with …
The world’s biggest oil traders are counting hefty losses after a surprise doubling in the price discount of U.S. light crude to benchmark Brent in just a month, as surging U.S production upends the market.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed the situation in Syria with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a phone conversation on July 14, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Sending America’s most advanced fighters to Ankara will do greater harm than good to U.S. interests — and that should give its allies pause.