China · Georgia · Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran · Russia · Turkey

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (119)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Never a dull day in the “Russian World”. Helsinki blowback continues with Administration announcing sanctions over the Salisbury attack. This is the leading Russia report today, with a tirade of invective from Muscovy, while the Rouble “plunges”, the markets “plummet” and shares “fall”. UK media report that instead of a fruitless extradition request for the GRU covert action team, the UK intends to issue warrants via Interpol so the instant any of these personnel step outside Russia, they are detained and extradited to the UK.

Morell in the WashPost proposes the US encourage a belief in Russia that a Maidan event will occur – he is right in the sense that most of the Muscovian mayhem seen since 2013 has been a play to distract the Russian populace from its misery to discourage a Maidan event – a protracted variant of the Galtieri game over the Falklands. Murdered Russian journalists said by Dozhd to have been in possession of video footage showing Wagner PMC bases in the CAR. More on Georgia. Great essay by Prof Brown at Arizona State. More on trolls and Instagram. RF MoD does an own goal.

Tehran’s campaign of bluster and bluff continues. China says it will ignore Iran sanctions. Sen. Graham argues for regime change in Iran – long overdue. Iran’s Gaza proxies attack Israel. Erdogan works to escalate the dispute with the US, playing the Putin game.

Novichok sanctions: Moscow threatens US space programme | News | The Times

Russia has threatened to cut off a supply of rocket engines that are crucial to the US space programme in retaliation for surprise sanctions over the Skripal poisoning.The US State Department announced yesterday that it was imposing restrictions on the export of sensitive technology to Russia becaus

Russia: US sanctions are ‘categorically unacceptable’ – CNN

Further US sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of a former spy are “unacceptable” and “illegal,” according to President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.

New U.S. Sanctions Over Nerve Agent Attack ‘Categorically Unacceptable,’ Says Kremlin

New U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow over its alleged poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in England with a military nerve agent are “categorically unacceptable,” the Kremlin says.

Novichok sanctions: Moscow threatens US space programme | News | The Times

Russia has threatened to cut off a supply of rocket engines that are crucial to the US space programme in retaliation for surprise sanctions over the Skripal poisoning.The US State Department announced yesterday that it was imposing restrictions on the export of sensitive technology to Russia becaus

Russia slams “unacceptable” US sanctions against Vladimir Putin regime over nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal in UK – CBS News

Putin regime continues to deny any role in chemical weapon attack on ex-spy in U.K., day after being hit by new sanctions over it

Russia news: Vladimir Putin brands West as ‘judge and executioner’ over Novichok | Daily Star

RUSSIA has lashed out at US and West after a fresh new round of sanctions were slapped on over the Novichok poisoning in Britain.

US Russia sanctions: Russia calls sanctions ‘draconian’ after Salisbury Novichok blame | World | News |

RUSSIA has labelled the new sanctions imposed by the US as “draconian” following a public accusation that Russia was guilty for the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy on British soil.

Russian Markets Plummet On U.S. Moves To Impose More Sanctions

The U.S. announcement of new sanctions against Moscow over its alleged use of a chemical weapon against a Russian ex-spy has roiled global markets and helped send the Russian ruble, bonds, and stoc…

TASS: Business & Economy – Shares of Russian companies fall on Moscow Exchange on fears of US sanctions

Dollar exceeded the level of 66 rubles for the first time since mid-November 2016

Russia’s ruble plunges on US sanctions news 

The dollar is up 5.8 percent against the Russian currency since the end of July, and up 14.6 percent since the start of this year.

Skripal case: US sanctions over Novichok hit Russian rouble – BBC News

Russia is punished for a nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

Russia ETFs See Heavy Trading Amid New Sanctions – Bloomberg

Trading volume in the largest exchange-traded funds tracking Russian equities soared Wednesday, after the publication of a U.S. bill that would impose “crushing sanctions” on Russia over the use of a chemical nerve agent in the U.K.

Next tranche of novichok sanctions will really bite | News | The Times

Last night’s news that the US was imposing fresh sanctions on Russia in response to the Skripal poisoning appeared to come out of the blue. In fact, they became inevitable from the moment Washington first concurred with Britain’s assessment that a chemical attack had taken place and that Russia was….

United Against Putin’s Poison – WSJ

The U.S. invokes a chemical warfare treaty to sanction Russia.

Trump administration imposes more sanctions on Russia after Skripal poisonings – CNNPolitics

The Trump administration will impose more sanctions on Russia under a chemical and biological warfare law following the poisoning of a former Russian agent and his daughter in the UK earlier this year, the State Department announced Wednesday.

Trump administration to impose new sanctions on Russia for nerve agent attack in England – The Washington Post

The State Department said the U.S. had determined Russia was responsible for the use of Novichok in March in the city of Salisbury.

U.S. To Impose New Sanctions On Russia For Nerve Agent Attacks : NPR

The move, which comes months after the attack in the U.K. on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, follows pressure on the Trump administration from lawmakers in both parties.

U.S. To Impose New Sanctions On Russia Over Skripal Attack

The United States says it will impose new sanctions on Russia after determining that it used a nerve agent in an attempt to “assassinate” a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain in March.

Russia sanctions: Trump team responds to poisoning of Sergei Skripal

The Trump team slaps new sanctions on Russia after concluding it was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal.

Trump to hit Russia with new sanctions over chemical attack – YouTube

Fox News Published on Aug 9, 2018 State Department says it will impose new sanctions on Russia for using a nerve agent to poison a former spy and his daughter in Britain.

🇺🇸 🇷🇺 US to impose sanctions on Russia over Skripal attack | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Aug 9, 2018 The United States has announced it will impose new sanctions on Moscow, over a chemical weapons attack on a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The State Department says Russia used a nerve agent, Novichok, to try to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March.

Who were the agents behind the Salisbury novichok attack? | The Week UK

Questions grow over the identity of the assassins as UK prepares extradition request

Novichok assassins to be hit with interpol warrants as Britain initiates “red notice” for Russian spies – Mirror Online

EXCLUSIVE: The action means the pair will be seized if they leave Russia and will make them prisoners in their own country

Amesbury novichok incident: Chemical weapons inspectors to gather new samples for testing

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to visit sites including Charlie Rowley’s home

Novichok poisonings: How events unfolded |

The latest development has seen the US announce new sanctions on Russia.

Michael Morell | Putin is afraid of one thing. Make him think it could happen. – The Washington Post

To protect our democracy, more steps, and stronger ones, are urgently needed.

U.S. intelligence officer in op-ed on Washington Post: Putin is afraid of “Maidan” in Moscow | UNIAN

Michael Morell, a career intelligence officer, who served as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013, has shared an opinion with The Washington Post about what Russian President Vladimir Putin is afraid of most of all. Putin is afraid that one day the Russian middle class will finally rebel against his regime and rush into the streets demanding change.

White House drafting sanctions order to punish foreign interference in U.S. elections – To Inform is to Influence

It appears the White House is sending a message to Russia as well as to Congress.  Will the new sanctions be enough?  Will Russia stop attacking the US and the West?   I doubt it.  No matter how severe the sanctions, Russia sees that it can elevate itself at the expense of the US and the…

Russian journalists killed in Africa had footage about Russia’s PMC Wagner bases – media | UNIAN

Producer of the Russian television station TV Dozhd (Rain) Vasily Polonsky says the three Russian journalists who were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) managed to record videos of bases of the Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner’s mercenaries deployed in Africa. The three men were working on a documentary film about the Russian private military company.

Russia warns of ‘horrible’ conflict if Georgia joins NATO | Fox News

An attempt by NATO to incorporate the former Soviet republic of Georgia could trigger a new, horrible conflict, Russia’s prime minister said Tuesday in a stern warning to the West marking 10 years since the Russia-Georgia war.

Georgia accuses Russia of military buildup as Moscow warns of ‘terrible conflict’ 

Georgia has accused Moscow of building up its forces and holding &ldquo;unprecedented&rdquo; war games in disputed territories as Russia warned of a &quot;terrible conflict&quot; if Nato allows the former Soviet republic to join.

Russia is quietly seizing territory in Georgia as it warns of a ‘horrible conflict’ if the Eurasian country joins NATO | Business Insider

Ten years after the two countries fought a short but deeply formative war, Russia is quietly seizing more territory on a disputed border with Georgia as it warns NATO against admitting the tiny Eurasian nation as a member state.

UAWire – Russian troops practice defense against military drones in South Ossetia

Russian military specialists in combating unmanned aerial vehicles repelled a mock enemy drone attack on the defense perimeter of their S-300 …

When Russia Invaded Georgia – WSJ

It happened in 2008 and foretold a decade of Putin’s adventurism.

Vladimir Putin’s lying game – To Inform is to Influence

Interesting article. Putin was professionally trained to lie, to maintain a cover story, to deceive. Putin has lied for a living for decades. If he told a convincing story to President Trump, it would follow with a long line of lies Putin has maintained. The quote that caught my eye: By virtue of the office he holds, President Trump has the ability to stop being played by Putin, and speak truth to power. </end editorial>

Prof Keith Brown | Vladimir Putin’s lying game

Donald Trump admires Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Putin’s track record over his career reveals a serial liar, and presents damning evidence of complicity in multiple critics’ violent deaths. At the now infamous Helsinki press conference held after the summit meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin, Trump indicated he was impressed with Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” Trump said, “but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.” That answer must have pleased Vladimir Putin. Strength and power have been key to Putin’s political brand ever since August 1999, when he was appointed as Russia’s prime minister by President Boris Yeltsin. Putin led the country to victory in the second Chechen War, and as the virtual incumbent following Yeltsin’s resignation, he rode that wave of patriotism to victory in the presidential election of March 2000, with 53 percent of the national vote.

Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets | FiveThirtyEight

The tweets are from 2,848 Twitter handles associated with the Internet Research Agency troll farm.

What Russian Trolls Are Tweeting About – To Inform is to Influence

Russian trolls were equal opportunity in their efforts in 2016, continuing through today, with no signs of slowing down.  Russia continues to attack the US and the West, without consequence, without reprisal, without a cost to Russia.  </end editorial> Clemson University researchers analyzed 3 million tweets sent by Russia’s Internet Research Agency, categorizing the accounts…

AWKWARD! Russian defense ministry’s official Instagram account accidentally posted a nude selfie – To Inform is to Influence

Just to be clear, the picture to the right with the woman holding the weapon is not the picture in question. Some believe the woman in the picture, holding the weapon, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Rossiyana Markovskaya, is the same as the nudie self-pic. The picture is below, if you can’t wait. The important part is blurred out, however. To quote from the article, “Whoever runs the Russian Defense Ministry’s Instagram account apparently forgot to log out before a very sexy Saturday afternoon,” How this happened, the identity of the woman in the picture, all are “undetermined”. This is embarrassing for someone. Or maybe not… Some sources say Rossiyana Markovskaya is used to attention of all sorts. </end editorial>

US general criticizes leader of Iran’s Quds Force – CNNPolitics

In a blistering criticism of the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, the four-star US general in charge of US military of operations in the Middle East said Qasem Soleimani is behind much of Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.

World War 3 fears: Iran warn US of ‘CONSEQUENCES’ over oil exports ban | World | News |

IRAN has issued fresh threats against the United States following the announcement Washington will impose sanctions on Iran’s oil trade in November, arguing “all countries in the world are supporting” Tehran.

Iran’s foreign minister: U.S. will not stop Iran oil exports: newspaper | Reuters

A U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was cited as saying by an Iranian newspaper on Wednesday.

Iranian foreign minister: US should know ‘consequences’ of its plan to reduce Tehran’s oil exports | TheHill

Iran’s foreign minister vowed on Wednesday to fight back against U.S. sanctions, remarks that come just days after the Trump administration introduced new measures it says are aimed at forcing policy changes in the country.

China ignores Trump threat on Iran, says business there will continue

Beijing joins Moscow and Brussels to reject the U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

Sanctions Buster? Iran Eyes Cryptocurrency To Blunt U.S. Deterrents

Iran is contemplating a cryptocurrency move in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions

Bolton talks Iran sanctions, Russian election meddling – YouTube

Fox News Published on Aug 7, 2018 On ‘Fox & Friends,’ the national security adviser discusses the goal of the Iran sanctions, fighting Russia election interference and denuclearizing North Korea.

Sanctions Reimposed: Trump Administration Continues Ferocious Tack On Iran | The National Interest

The White House defended recent actions on Iran Monday morning, and insisted that President Trump’s desire to meet Hassan Rouhani is consonant with a hardline strategy.

Iran Braces For New U.S. Sanctions To Further Cripple Economy : NPR

The new sanctions, which were previously lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, severely limit Iran’s ability to buy U.S. currency and issue sovereign debt, and place restrictions on trade with Iran.

Iran shows defiance as Trump vows ‘most biting’ US sanctions | Iran News | Al Jazeera

Iran’s Zarif says the world is ‘sick and tired of US unilateralism’ as Trump issues warning against trading with Tehran.

North Korea’s foreign minister visits Iran after U.S. sanctions are reimposed

Kim Jong Un’s top diplomat held talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Wednesday.

US can’t be trusted, Iran’s Rouhani tells North Korea

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told North Korea’s foreign minister that the United States cannot be trusted, Tehran’s state media said, as the United States seeks a deal to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea’s foreign minister visits Iran as US reimposes sanctions – CNN

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, to Tehran on Tuesday, hours after the United States reintroduced sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Risks Rise As US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran – Defense One

Several undesirable consequences are becoming more likely.

Iran could answer U.S. sanctions with cyberattacks, experts say – NY Daily News

The U.S. is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, cybersecurity and intelligence experts say.

Sen. Lindsey Graham advocates for regime change in Iran | Fox News Video

Republican senator from South Carolina urges President Trump to ‘stay tough’ with Tehran.

Who Will Last Longer: Trump or Iran’s Theocrats? | The New Yorker

Robin Wright reports on President Trump’s signing of an executive order to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran.

World War 3: Iran willing to take ‘DRASTIC measures’ in response to Trump sanctions | World | News |

IRAN is facing the one of the “worst economic crisis” the country “has ever seen” as the Trump administration sanctions are due to hit, a local reporter claimed.

China to ignore Trump sanctions, continue doing business with Iran | TheHill

China on Wednesday defended its business ties with Iran despite a set of U.S. sanctions targeting Tehran, potentially setting up further trade conflicts between Beijing and the Trump administration. A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported by Reuters states that China’s business dealings with Iran comply with all United Nations sanctions currently applied to Iran, and that the country would ignore new measures implemented by the U.S. on Tuesday. “China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable and fair, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” the statement read, adding that “China’s lawful rights should be protected.” China’s response comes on the heels of President Trump’s declaration early Tuesday that countries which continue to do business with Iran would soon find themselves frozen out of U.S. markets.

Revival of Sanctions Delay China, Russia Oil-Field Deals in Iran – WSJ

China, Russia and India say they will continue to buy petroleum from Iran, despite U.S. sanctions that would prohibit those sales. But they’re having problems making investments in Iran’s oil fields.

German central bank blocks $400 million cash delivery to Iran ahead of crippling US sanctions | Fox News

The U.S. campaign to rein in Iran has scored a victory in the German financial sector, after the Deutsche Bundesbank−the country’s central bank− imposed a rule stopping ay $400 million cash delivery to Tehran.

Sanctions on Iran are morally wrong – and they won’t work | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian

There is no justification for the US action. All sanctions will do is cause suffering for innocent people, says Guardian columnist Afua Hirsch

Israel sees Syrian army growing beyond pre-civil war size | Reuters

Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday that Syria was building up its ground forces beyond their pre-civil war size, an assessment that suggests President Bashar al-Assad’s army has recovered from a critical manpower shortage earlier in the war.

Syrian Rocket Scientist Reportedly Assassinated By Israel’s Mossad : NPR

Aziz Asbar, who is said to have worked on Syrian rockets and chemical weapons, was killed over the weekend when his car exploded. The New York Times says he was targeted by Israel.

In Yemen, UAE manages optics as well as military offensive – CNN

More than ever, the UAE feels it must manage the optics of its more muscular approach to regional politics, including the war in Yemen.

Israeli jets bombard Gaza with 150 strikes in response to barrage of rockets – The Washington Post

The conflict comes as Egypt is attempting to mediate a long term cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Israel launches scores of airstrikes as Gaza fire persists | Fox News

Israeli warplanes struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian militants from the territory fired scores of rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence overnight and into Thursday morning.

Climate change turns Mideast breadbasket into cannabis farm – CNN

Lebanon’s parliament may soon legalize medicinal cannabis and its cultivation. Farmers affected by global warming say the change can’t come soon enough.

Israel crocodile business failure leaves hundreds of reptiles stranded in West Bank – CBS News

&quot;I don't want to think of what will happen if a crocodile manages to escape and reaches the Jordan River,&quot; local official warns


Talks Fail to Break Impasse on U.S. Pastor Held in Turkey – WSJ

The U.S. failed to secure assurances from Turkey to immediately free an American pastor held for nearly two years on disputed terrorism charges, U.S. officials said, deepening a crisis between the two countries.

Lira Falls to Fresh Record With No Letup in Turkey-U.S. Tensions – Bloomberg

The grip of bears on Turkish assets tightened as the nation’s souring relationship with the U.S. added to investor concern over authorities’ inability to put a lid on inflation, sending its currency to a fresh record low and driving up bond yields.

No sign of breakthrough as Turkey delegation holds talks in Washington | Reuters

A Turkish delegation met with the State Department’s No. 2 official, John Sullivan, on Wednesday to address friction between the NATO allies fueled by Ankara’s detention of several Americans including an evangelical pastor.

Turkey Cheers as Erdogan Takes On U.S. Over Sanctions – The New York Times

When President Erdogan responded to U.S. sanctions with retaliatory measures, even his opponents took heart. Still, many worry about a fall in the lira.

Turkey in financial MELTDOWN as lira plunges to RECORD LOW against dollar after Trump row | World | News |

THE Turkish lira plunged to a record low against the dollar yesterday amid growing tensions between Turkey and Donald Trump.

Opinion | Understanding the Failed Deal With Turkey That Sparked Trump’s Fury – The New York Times

With Turkish-American relations souring, the focus should be on freeing imprisoned American citizens and the Turkish staff of the United States Embassy.