Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (117)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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More over-indulgence in Dugin’s “Russian truth”, while Russian govt bonds crash as a result of the draft Senate sanctions bill. Excellent essay on Russian PMCs by Dr. Stephen Blank. Russia’s chargé d’affaires in DC chastised by State. More reports on Russia’s descent.

In the UK, the media report that UK is about to demand extradition of two GRU covert operators who attacked the Skripals with a CW agent.

US announces the first round of sanctions on Iran. IRGC report the conclusion of Strait blockade exercise. Head of Syria’s CW plant killed by car bomb.

UK officials harass own police in ‘Novichok’ probes – Russia’s Foreign Ministry — RT World News

British officials are constantly pressuring their own police forces over the Salisbury and Amesbury poisoning cases, and wish to obscure the truth, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

Russia Slams Latest U.S. Sanctions Efforts, Says They ‘Do Not Work’

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has blasted the latest sanctions efforts coming out of Washington, contending that experience has shown such sanctions “do not work.”

UAWire – US Senate sends the market of Russian government bonds spiraling downward

The market for Russian government debt, which has already experienced two major sell-offs since April, is going into a recession, reports. The price of Russian debt on the Moscow Exchange has fallen for two consecutive days, in light of news that the US Senate has introduced a bill which would drastically increase the sanctions against Russia. The document, which was put forward by an inter-party group, including Republican John McCain and democrat Bob Mendendez, demands that the restrictions on the oil and gas sector be tightened, that Russia be investigated for sponsoring international terrorism, and that foreign investors be banned from participating in any operations with Russian government debt. The current sanction regime “has been unable to force the Kremlin to change its behavior”, and so “devastating sanctions against Putin’s Russia are needed, until it stops interfering in the US electoral process,” said Republican Lindsey Graham from South Carolina. “Once again the voiced sanction rhetoric has aggravated the situation of Russian securities,” observed Olga Sterina, an analyst at Uralsib. In daily trading on Friday, the most liquid Federal Loan Bond issuances hit lows since June: the 26207 bond, a favorite among non-residents, dropped by 0.18% after falling 0.54% the day before, to 102.57% of nominal. The Russian Government Bond Index slipped by 0.9 points over two days, and stopped only 0.16 points shy of the 10 month low. Foreign investors, who hold 1.9 trillion rubles worth of Federal Loan Bonds and control almost 29% of the market, have begun to treat the possibility of sanctions on Russian government debt as a fundamental, said analyst Denis Poryvay from Reiffeisen Bank. This was witnessed in the intense dumping of securities after the Russian aluminum producer Rusal was placed on the sanctions blacklist. According to the Central Bank of Russia, between April and June non-residents sold $6.7 billion worth of Russian government debt, equivalent to 370 billion rubles. Russian investors were forced to buy out the market failure, at the expense of the population’s pension savings and possibly also Central Bank funds, Poryvay observed. If the bill is passed, a new sell-off will follow, senior analyst from the Alpari Group Roman Tkachuk believes. Although it currently appears that the bill would only affect operations with new Federal Loan Bond issuances, this still can start an all-encompassing the flights of non-residents. “Compliance may not permit them to hold even old issuances,” Porivay explains. In this case, the Russian government debt market will be under threat of collapse. According to Citigroup’s predictions: the yield on 10-year securities could surge from 7.8% to 11.6% by the end of 2019.

UAWire – Media: Government informant involved in deaths of Russian journalists in Central Africa

A government informant was involved in the deaths of the Russian journalists in the Central African Republic, MBK Media reports, citing the  …

The Role of Private Military Companies in Russian National Security Strategy – To Inform is to Influence

The author is one of the foremost experts on Russia, Dr. Stephen Blank. </end editorial>

The Week In Russia: Mercenaries, Mining, And More Pension Woes

Three seasoned journalists were shot dead as they were investigating Russian military contractors and mining interests far beyond the country’s borders, while pension-reform plans put millions of p…

Murdered chasing mercenaries – CNN

The mysterious deaths of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic have put a spotlight on the murky activities of Russian security firms in the heart of Africa.

U.S. Calls In Russian Embassy Official Over Moscow’s ‘Aggressive Interference’

The U.S. State Department has called in Russia’s chargé d’affaires in Washington over what it says are Moscow’s efforts to use social media to “promote violence” and divide U.S. society. Rus…

US State Dept. Convoked Russia’s Charge d’Affaires Over Moscow Alleged Meddling – To Inform is to Influence

con·voke kənˈvōk/ verb formal past tense: convoked; past participle: convoked 1. call together or summon (an assembly or meeting). The minister-counselor of the Russian Embassy in Washington was called on the carpet by US Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell about Russia’s ongoing social media and other online means to “foment division” in the United States. This Sputnik article says Moscow has said that Russia did not interfere with other states’ internal affairs, and denied the US allegations as unfounded. Deny, deny, deny. The actions are clearly in evidence, Russia is interfering, on an ongoing basis, in the elections and the very social fabric of the United States. Russia is committing hundreds, if not thousands, of provocations without incident and without consequence. We need to see more than convoking. </end editorial>

UAWire – Russian diplomat summoned to the US State Department for explanations

Wess Mitchel, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs summoned Dmitry Zhirnov, the charge d’affaires of Russia in the…

U.S. Calls On Russia To Comply With UN Sanctions On North Korea

The United States has called on Russia to comply with UN sanctions on North Korea, citing “deeply troubling” reports that Moscow has granted new work permits to North Korean laborers that are barre…

U.S. Sanctions Russian Bank For ‘Facilitating’ Illicit North Korea Transactions

The U.S. Treasury has targeted a Russian bank for “facilitating a significant transaction” on behalf of a person with ties to North Korea’s banned weapons program.

Moscow Accuses U.S. Of Mistreating Jailed Russian National Butina

Moscow has accused U.S. authorities of mistreating a Russian woman jailed on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Kremlin and called on international rights organizations to i…

Moscow says Russian woman arrested in US mistreated in jail – ABC News

Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.

Steven Seagal Appointed “Special Representative” for Russian-American Humanitarian Relations – To Inform is to Influence

Steven Seagal has been appointed “special representative” for Russian-American humanitarian relations. The report, below, was posted by Russian propaganda expert Igor Panarin on Facebook, today. New Special Representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry: martial arts master, film actor, bluesman, Buddhist. Seagal’s appointment must be a source of pride to Russians, ignoring opinion that Seagal is a buffoon. “The task is to promote the further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including interaction in the field of culture, art, public and youth exchanges and more,” the ministry said on its official Facebook page, according to a CNN translation of the post. The reporting has been mostly straightforward. Here are global reports, in reverse chronological order. Notice Sputnik, TASS, and RT are first.

Action-Film Actor Seagal ‘Humbled And Honored’ By Russia Appointment

Many Russia-watchers are questioning or making light of the Foreign Ministry’s surprise appointment of Steven Seagal as a special envoy for humanitarian ties with the United States — but not the a…

Revelations of suspected spy at US embassy in Moscow could be tip of the iceberg | World news | The Guardian

Intelligence analysts warn that Russian worker believed to have had full access to secret data is unlikely to be an isolated case

Alec Luhn on Twitter: “Three Russian regions have temporarily banned abortions as part of a pro-life action by a foundation led by PM Medvedev’s wife. Traditional values here we go again”

Hospitals in regions across Russia temporarily halt abortions as part of a pro-life campaign spearheaded by the prime minister’s wife — Meduza

Regional branches of Russia’s Health Ministry and maternity hospitals across the country have been enforcing temporary “moratoriums” on abortion services, as part of a campaign called “Give Me Life!” The project has been organized for the past several years by the Foundation for Social and Cultural Initiatives, whose president is none other than Svetlana Medvedeva, the wife of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The foundation told the newspaper Kommersant that its campaign is expressly “educational,” stressing that it doesn’t advocate the suspension of access to abortion, but many health officials seem to be unaware of this caveat.

How Russia’s World War II Military Strategy of Deception Is Alive and Well Today: Page 2 of 2 | The National Interest

In 1944, Moscow unleashed a second D-Day that ended Nazi Germany. Today, that strategy of maskirovka is being used again.

How Russia’s World War II military strategy of deception is alive and well today, –

Author : George Getsos In 1944, Moscow unleashed a second D-Day that ended Nazi Germany. Today, that strategy of maskirovka is being used again. Operation Bagration, which was conducted in 1944 between June 22 and August 19, was perhaps the single most successful Soviet operation of World War II. The goal of the operation was ambitious—the destruction of the German Army Group Center as well as the liberation of Belarus. The success of Bagration would also enable sequential operations across the entire theater to retake western Ukraine and enter the Baltics States and Poland. To do this, Russia used a strategy of deception and intelligence operations designed to disrupt Germany’s center of gravity. After an elaborate maskirovka (deception) campaign, which ensured the bulk of German Panzer divisions remained in western Ukraine and northern Romania for the critical first week of the operation, the Soviets unleashed four fronts on German Army Group Center, catching the Germans by surprise. The defeat was devastating for Germany. Besides losing most of Army Group Center, the German front receded 240–310 miles in depth and was broken in two, isolating Army Group North in the Baltic States. Bagration systematically reduced German armored formations and placed the Soviet Army in an excellent position to press the advantage into Poland and the Balkans. Related: Russia brings in Putin’s ‘National Guard’ ‘to prevent sabotage’ or crush protest in occupied Crimea Operation Bagration can be used as a case study to illustrate critical lessons on the synergy between intelligence and maneuver at the operational level. Intelligence and deception should not be viewed merely as operational support, but rather as a cognitive maneuver. At the operational level, deception can be used to affect posturing and as a result, maneuver. By affecting posturing and the ability to maneuver, intelligence operations can be used to create operational level vulnerabilities in the enemy by setting the Clausewitzian “Center of Gravity” out of focus. This enables opportunities to pursue non-traditional avenues of attack, where intelligence and deception in combination with a coordinated and well-executed operational maneuver create a critical imbalance in the enemy’s correlation of forces. As Bagration shows, this is not just an asymmetric tool for the weaker side, but a critical advantage which should always be pursued. In our modern age of high tempo and highly destructive warfare, the lessons of Bagration resonate as strongly as ever. Related: Journalists & filmmaker murdered while probing Russia’s Wagner ‘mercenaries’ An off-balance center of gravity today creates vulnerabilities even greater than in 1944. For instance, reaction times are much shorter and destructive power is much more accurate and prompt. In addition, the ever-present specter of nuclear weapons presents combatants with the temptation to pursue short, decisive wars to quickly alter the situation on the ground and then dare their opponents to either escalate significantly or accept the changes in the status quo. Instances include the invasion of Georgia in 2008, the takeover of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine in 2014. These all demonstrate how a decisive and prompt aggressor power can use force to change de facto borders and escape retribution, at least militarily. It also does not take much effort to think of such a strategy being applied against Taiwan or the Baltic States. For example, where those states to be overrun in a short period of time, then the West might be unwilling to risk theater-wide war for something that is already lost. Furthermore, even if the West did, the correlation of forces may be too imbalanced to be able to meaningfully challenge the invasion immediately. All the aforementioned operations succeeded because the West, the enforcer of the status quo, was caught off guard. Therefore, despite the repeated emphasis on information dominance and stealth, contemporary Western military commentary does not pay sufficient attention to deception on a grand scale.

Bomb Blast Rips Up Facade of Pension Fund Office In Russian City

A bomb blast has badly damaged the front door facade of a state Pension Fund office in the Russian city of Kaluga, local media reports say.

UK poised to ask Russia to extradite Salisbury attack suspects | UK news | The Guardian

Kremlin certain to reject request that will reignite simmering diplomatic row

Britain will demand Russia extradite two suspects of Salisbury Novichok attack to UK

The Government is set to demand Moscow hand over the people they believe are behind an attack that left one dead and three injured

Now novichok ‘assassins’ face shame at home | UK | News |

WOULD-BE assassins who failed to kill spy Sergei Skripal will not receive the Russian military honors they may have expected, according to one of the world’s leading chemical weapons experts.

Trump’s 1st round of Iran sanctions sends message: This is not a test

The first round of U.S. nuclear sanctions on Iran snaps back into place on Monday, putting limits on Iran’s already faltering economy.

Trump reimposes sanctions on Iran. Now what? – The Washington Post

The Trump administration will struggle to isolate Iran — and, in the process, may find itself isolated.

Iran news: President Hassan Rouhani to make speech on Donald Trump trade tariffs today | World | News |

IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani will address the nation to respond to Donald Trump’s trade tariffs which come into effect today.

US Sanctions on Iran to Resume

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says US wants Iranians to have a voice in who their leadership will be

Joe Lieberman on US re-imposing sanctions on Iran – YouTube

Fox News Published on Aug 5, 2018 Former Connecticut senator and chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran praises President Trump for pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, hopes the re-imposition of sanctions will force Tehran back to the negotiating table.

Pompeo: Iran Needs ‘Enormous Change’ To Reverse Reimposed U.S. Sanctions : NPR

Sanctions are set to start coming back online after President Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 multi-nation nuclear deal.

White House on Monday to detail reimposition of Iran sanctions -Pompeo – AOL News

Pompeo said: ‘It’s an important part of our efforts to push back against Iranian malign activity.’

Trump administration’s use of sanctions draws concern – The Washington Post

Officials say the measures have been effective against Iran, North Korea and other nations. But critics say they are being overused.

Iran is trying to bring home terror cash from Germany, but Angela Merkel may stop them

If Germany prevents Iran from acquiring nearly $400 million in U.S.-currency reserves held on its territory, Chancellor Angela Merkel will deserve a thank-you tweet from President Trump.

After U.S. Push, Berlin Plans Rules That Could Block Iran Transaction – WSJ

German authorities will introduce financial rules this month that could delay or even block an attempt by the liquidity-strapped Iranian regime to claim cash parked in Germany that has become an irritant in the relationship between Washington and Berlin.

Iran says it held military exercises in Strait of Hormuz – CNN

Iran said its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps held a naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz last week “within the framework of their annual training program.”

Iran Guards says it held Gulf drills as U.S. tensions rise | Reuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Sunday it had held war games in the Gulf over the past several days, saying they were aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Iran news: ‘It’s the Persian Gulf,’ Foreign Minister says amid US naval build-up | World | News |

IRAN’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has taken to social media to mock the US Navy’s use of the phrase “Arabian Gulf” – and point out that its vessels were “7,000 miles from home”.

Iran news: Iran CONFIRMS military drills in Persian Gulf amid INCREASED tensions | World | News |

IRAN’s Revolutionary Guards have confirmed they carried out military drills in the Persian Gulf over the past several days, in order to “enhance defense readiness” in response to increased threats from enemies.

If Iran does something near Strait of Hormuz, reaction will be ‘cataclysmic’: Expert

Raul Sankey, Mizuho Oil Analyst, joins the ‘Power Lunch’ team to discuss the impact we could see on crude oil if Iran takes action near the Strait of Hormuz.

UN Confirms Return Of Peacekeepers To Syrian-Israeli Border

The United Nations has confirmed Russia’s claim that UN peacekeepers have returned to a buffer zone on the border between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the first time in six years.

Explosion kills chief of Syrian chemical weapons plant –

A car explosion took the life of Aziz Asber, the man who chaired the chemical weapons plant in Syria

UAWire – Russia displeased the US disclosed letter sent to Washington regarding restoration of Syria

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Valery Gerasimov, the head of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, sent a letter to US Joint …

Yemen at risk of third cholera epidemic, officials warn – CNN

War-ravaged Yemen is teetering on the brink of a third cholera epidemic, the World Health Organization warned Friday.