Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (45)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Interesting developments in Russia and other former Soviet Republics, China and Europe. In the US the Manafort trial was the single largest topic.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


British Jets Scramble From Romania To Investigate Russian Fighter Jets
Two British Typhoon jets based in Romania have scrambled to investigate suspected Russian fighter aircraft operating near NATO airspace over the Black Sea.
The Aviationist » U.S. F-22 Raptors Forward Deploy To Albacete Air Base For The Very First Time To Train With The Spanish Typhoons and Hornets
On Aug. 16, 2018, two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, conducted the Raptor’s first forward deployment to Albacete, Spain. The 5th generation aircraft, launched from Spangdahlem, Germany, where they are currently deployed as part of a contingent of 12 F-22s, were refuelled in front of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast (Area D21) by a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135, radio callsign QID 424, out of RAF Mildenhall and then headed towards Area D98 for the dogfight with the Spanish Eurofighters and F-18 Hornets.
2 Russian Tu-160 supersonic nuclear-capable bombers drill near Alaska for the ‘first time in history’ | Business Insider
Two Tupolev Tu-160 Russian supersonic long-range nuclear bombers conducted drills in an area near Alaska “for the first time in history,” demonstrating that Russia can deploy heavy bombers close to the US, the Russian Ministry of Defence revealed Thursday.
Latvia, Estonia discuss recovery of money from Russia for Soviet occupation – 112.international
Latvia, Estonia discuss recovery of money from Russia for Soviet occupation
UAWire – Latvia and Estonia consider recovering damages from Russia for ‘the Soviet occupation’
Latvia and Estonia are considering the possibility of making a claim against Russia as a successor of the USSR regarding the recovery of damages …
‘Unprecedented’ technology sparks FEARS | World | News | Express.co.uk
A SECRET RUSSIAN space programme which was uncovered earlier this week has taken a shock twist, as US government sources claim Russia could be developing ‘kamikaze’ weapons to shut down US satellites.
The US Is Worried That a Russian Satellite Is Really a Weapon – Defense One
It could be practicing to fix other spacecraft—or blow them up.
UAWire – Russia plans to build a replacement for the Mistral warship
Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation will construct an expeditionary ship for the Russian Navy, RIA Novosti reports, citing company president …

Russia / Russophone Reports


UAWire – Kremlin: new Ukrainian sanctions against Russia would be a violation of international law
The imposition of sanctions against Russia by Ukraine will be considered “a blatant violation of rules of international law,” stated the …
Russia Vows To Speed Up Efforts To Stop Using U.S. Dollar In Trade
In response to U.S. sanctions, Russia is vowing to speed up its efforts along with China and Iran to stop using the U.S. dollar in global trade, particularly in oil sales that are vital to both Mos…
Russian Ruble Briefly Falls To Lowest Level Since 2016
The Russian currency — the ruble — briefly fell on August 23 to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than two years amid concerns sparked by new economic sanctions by the United States.
On A Holy Roll: Russian Church Flexes Secular Muscle With Restitution Push
The Russian Orthodox Church is using a 2010 restitution law to push for ownership of the medieval Golden Gate monument in the historic city of Vladimir. It is just one of dozens of claims to high-profile or lucrative property that the church has filed in recent months that has many in the country worried about the church’s growing secular might.
Kadyrov: Attacks On Chechen Police Aimed At Creating ‘Illusion’
Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has dismissed a series of attacks on police across the Russian region as an attempt to disrupt the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Sentsov Supporters Mark 100th Day Of His Hunger Strike
PEN International is planning to mark the 100th day of Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleh Sentsov’s hunger strike with an event at Russia’s Embassy in London on August 21.
The Silence of the Bears – Foreign Policy
The Russian public was quiet about Manafort and Cohen, but in the halls of power, debate about Trump’s usefulness rages.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Emerging Ethnic Enclaves in Moscow Seen as Threat to Russian Political System
Paul Goble Staunton, August 20 – The emergence of ethnic enclaves in Moscow and other major cities is worrying some Russian analysts and officials not only because it shows that the migrant communities don’t intend to integrate into Russian society but also because these enclaves or ghettoes may contain militants who will threaten stability in the country. Igor Beloborodov of the Presidential Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI), says he is especially worried since the Kyrgyz diaspora in the capital is increasingly ghettoizing and elaborating institutions, such as boxing clubs, in which there may be weapons and links to ISIS and other radical groups (kp.ru/daily/26870.5/3913058/). “Many say,” he continues, “that Moscow is not threatened by the appearance of ethnic quarters or ghettos … but in fact, world practice shows that ghettoes arisen in any major city … and we already have something like this.” They may not be as closed as some elsewhere but they have an entire social and economic pyramid within them and control large parts of the economy. Kyrgyz gastarbeiters who have come to Moscow are outnumbered by Uzbeks and Tajiks, but in contrast to the latter, they have formed much tighter communities whose members can get almost all the services they need from other Kyrgyz who speak their language and share their culture. As a result, they are far less inclined to speak Russian or integrate. Meanwhile, in an article for the influential Voyenno-Promyshlenny kuryer, Grigory Nikonorov and Igor Rodionov express an even bleaker view. They say that “migrants are preparing for battles in the streets of Russian megalopolises” and could threaten public order in these cities (vpk-news.ru/articles/44250). An analysis of military actions in this century, the two say, “show that megalopolises are ever more often the arenas of armed conflict. Battles in city neighborhoods give unique opportunities to the weaker side to gain equality” with their opponents who have more weapons but can’t easily use them against such insurgents. Not only is it harder for states to fight on the streets of their own cities, the military experts suggest; but governments are reluctant to use the force they have to suppress urban risings in many cases lest they alienate potential allies. And they argue that the new force in this situation is often formed by immigrant workers. If economic conditions decay, these workers in many cases turn to crime rather than return to their homelands, Nikonorov and Rodionov say. And that union of ethnicity and crime often make such communities more powerful than would otherwise be the case, as was true in Odessa in 1944. Russia today faces a serious problem. According to Russian officials, there are approximately 20 million migrant workers in the country, legal and illegal; about 70 percent of them are followers of Islam. Officials don’t have tight control over them, and as a result, they are increasingly acting outside of the Russian legal field. Some argue, the two say, that migrants still form a relatively small share of Russia’s population, less than 20 percent. But that is the wrong way to view the situation, they suggest. Of residents of the country between the ages of 18 and 34, almost a third are immigrants. Moreover, while Russians are spread throughout the country, migrants are concentrated in major cities. As a result, the two military specialists argue, Russia’s “urban infrastructure could be at some point violated or taken under control” by the migrants. Because of the language barrier, the closed nature of ethnic groups, and their involvement with crime, the authorities face a far greater challenge than most now assume. Access to information networks, the two say, “make sabotage or an uprising completely possible” in Russia; and consequently, the authorities need to develop specific measures to counteract these dangers. “The migrant factor must be included both in the defense strategy of the country and in the development of military tactics in urban agglomerations in particular.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia Now Persecuted Much as They were in Soviet Times, Activists Say
Paul Goble Staunton, August 16 – Four leading religious rights activists say that Russian officials are now persecuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses in much the same way their Soviet predecessors did, a conclusion that is especially disturbing given that the Witnesses were victims of a little known but horrific event – the deportation of their members to Siberia for their faith. The four, Yaroslav Sivulsky of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Aleksandr Verkhovsky of the SOVA religious rights monitoring center, Anton Omelchenko, a lawyer who has defended Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Aleksey Markarov of Memorial, made their comments to the Kavkaz-Uzel news agency (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/324240/). They focused their attention on the situation in the North Caucasus, a region to which many Jehovah’s Witnesses came in the 1950s after they were deported to Siberia from western Belarus and western Ukraine during World War II but denied any possibility of returning to their original home areas. In the past, Sivulsky says, there was very little persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the North Caucasus region, possibly because there were so many of them, local people knew them and recognized that the charges officials in Moscow were making about them were completely ridiculous. Sivulsky speaks from personal experience: His parents were deported from western Ukraine to western Siberia and then came to the North Caucasus. “In Soviet years, there were several periods of repression, First, in 1951, many were deported and excited from Western Ukraine and other regions of the USSR.” Such deportees were prevented from moving out of exile for “more than 15 years.” His own parents were allowed to return from exile in 1967. Some however did leave earlier, the Jehovah’s Witnessses official says. But on returning from Siberia, his parents like others of the faith remained under the constant observation of the special services. They were subject to period searches; and if illegal literature was found, they were charged with crimes and sentenced to prison: his father spent five years in jail for having such literature; his mother, four years, Sivulsky says. Despite this, by the 1990s, there were nearly 20,000 Witnesses in the North Caucasus organized in five or six major communities. After a period of relative freedom in the 1990s, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Putin period began to be persecuted again even before the entire organization was declared extremist and its properties confiscated. Verkhovsky says that the return of repression resembled the Soviet pattern particularly in one regard. The siloviki make no distinction between active members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and ordinary people. All have been charged indiscriminately as they had been in Soviet times and their constitutional rights were ignored. Omelchenko agrees, and he points to a larger and more distressing situation that affects not only the Witnesses but members of other faiths. The Russian authorities don’t investigate religions in general but assume that some are dominant in one place and others in another. Thus, Orthodoxy in one oblast, Buddhists in another, and Islam in a third. These “traditional” religions interact with the political authorities. But “all remaining confessions,” including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, fall into the purview of the security services; and they approach them the way they approach all who they believe are opposed by the powers that be – by repression and punishment. And Makarov says bluntly that “in part, the methods of the persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Soviet and current times intersect,” something that makes the future appear bleak indeed. “We know about the deportation of peoples” in Soviet times, “but people were also deported on the basis of their religious faith alone.” Like the Soviets, the Russian authorities now are persecuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses for their distribution of literature, resistance to the draft, and even meeting together for services. “On the one, at present, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been put in almost the very same position that they were in Soviet times.” Neither then nor now are their religious organizations registered, Makarov continues, and charges against them are often based on falsifications that courts nonetheless readily accept. Thus the future looks almost as bleak as the past.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Official Media Goes Negative on Russian Orthodox Church, Akhilla Portal Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 16 – Independent media in Russia have always been critical of the Russian Orthodox Church for its obscurantism and slavish obedience to the state, but in the last three weeks something remarkable has occurred: state-controlled media have begun to take the same line, attacking an institution that the Kremlin has long portrayed as a major supporter. Akhilla commentator Yegor Vladimirov says that this period is “unique for the Russian media space” as for the first time in three decades in official Russian media … the tone of reports about the Russian Orthodox Church have become at a minimum objective and at a maximum, openly negative (ahilla.ru/pochemu-rossijskie-ofitsialnye-media-razlyubili-mp/). It is not yet clear what this means, Vladimirov acknowledges. It may be a shot over the bow of Patriarch Kirill to remind him that he has no choice but to do exactly what the Kremlin wants or it may be something more, a shift in regime policy away from an institution that has been causing it problems. But it is striking. The change in official coverage began with reports about the retirement of the head of a church corporation in Sofrino and the decision of the Patriarchate to turn to the interior ministry for help in ensuring that past corruption in that corporation would not be allowed to continue. (See diak-kuraev.livejournal.com/2085917.html.) But judging from the reports, Vladimirov says, the leak came not from the Patriarchate but from the interior ministry, an indication that the government rather than the church was behind the crackdown at Sofrino. Additional evidence of that was provided by a TASS report that government agents had moved in to conduct searches there (tass.ru/proisshestviya/5413196). Further, the church affairs analyst says, the government was clearly behind the selection of a new head for the church corporation. His biography shows that he has never worked in church structures as has been the case earlier but rather comes out of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence arm. “The most probable variant” is that the Patriarchate was forced to swallow this insult because Sofrino and the Patriarchate had been involved in taking funds from a bank that failed, angering many people with ties to the upper reaches of the regime who lost money as a result – including Putin’s friend Anna Kabayeva, Vladimirov continues. Stealing from the population is standard operating procedure for the Putin regime, but stealing from regime stalwarts is another thing altogether. But the Sofrino events were not the only ones which produced new and more negative coverage of the church during this period, the analyst says. Among the others was a report that the Yekaterinburg bishopric had diverted more than a billion rubles (16 million US dollars) from a contract for the military (rbc.ru/society/03/08/2018/5b62c2ec9a79473bd5833af8). Yet another news item about the church were a series of reports about an accident involving one of the Patriarchate’s hierarchs (5-tv.ru/news/214954/, 5-tv.ru/news/214962/, and 5-tv.ru/news/214969/), the kind of story the all-Russian media has typically passed over in silence up to now. And most dramatically was the release by the Lenta news agency of a three-part series on the inner life of the Moscow Patriarchate, its financial operations, and its personnel decisions (churchslaves.lenta.ru/; cf. windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/explosive-growth-of-russian-orthodox.html). According to Vladimirov, there was nothing in the Lenta series that experts did not already know; but what was striking was the tone. Its articles treated the Moscow Patriarchate in much the same way the Russian media talk about the Jehovah’s Witnesses rather than deferring to it as “’the state-forming religion.’” That hasn’t been the case in government media since “at a minimum, 1988.” If this conjunction of events is more than a simple warning to Patriarch Kirill – and that conclusion seems likely given its extent – there will soon be a more powerful propaganda campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church, one that will affect not just the hierarchs but ordinary priests and parishioners as well. The church will find it hard to withstand such an attack especially as it has become used to the idea that the state will treat it like a recently deceased friend or relative, as someone about whom one either speaks only the good or nothing at all. Now, the Russian Orthodox Church risks the kind of attacks other religious denominations in Russia have been suffering.
Three Jehovah’s Witnesses Detained In Russia’s Kamchatka
Three members of the local branch of a Jehovah’s Witnesses church have been detained in Russia’s Far Eastern Kamchatka peninsula on extremism charges.
Crimean Tatar Accused Of Restoring ‘Nazism’ For Antiwar Poem
A Crimean Tatar poet is being investigated by Russia-installed officials for “rehabilitating Nazism” in her antiwar writings.
New Videos Reveal More Evidence Of Torture At Russian Prison
Videos published online by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper on August 23 reveal fresh evidence of inmates being tortured and abused by guards at a notorious Russian penal colony, Corrective Colony No. 1…
Police Officer Wounded, Gunman Killed In Moscow Attack
A man from Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region shot and wounded a police officer in Moscow on August 23 and was fatally wounded by retaliatory fire, officials said.
Divorce proceedings reveal that this long-time Russian newspaper chief editor is allegedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars — Meduza
Pavel Gusev, the long-time chief editor of the newspaper Moskovsky Komomolets, is getting divorced, and the legal dispute over the assets he’s acquired during his marriage has revealed that the man is apparently worth a whopping 30 billion rubles ($441.2 million). According to Mskagency.ru, his soon-to-be ex-wife wants to split the lion’s share of that wealth (approximately 27 billion rubles, says journalist Alexander Plushev).
UAWire – Putin invites the president of Finland for a ride on his yacht
After the official part of talks by both sides, Presidents of Russia and Finland, Vladimir Putin, and Sauli Niinisto continued the conversation …
Tanker With Georgian, Russian Crew Missing Off Coast Of West Africa
An oil tanker with 19 crew members on board, most of them Georgians, has gone missing in waters off West Africa frequently plied by pirates, and no word has been heard from it for a week, the ship’s managers said.
Russian Maker of Missile that Shot Down MH-17 Reports Increased Global Sales, Even Under Sanctions
Russia’s largest military manufacturer, JSC Concern Almaz-Antey, has increased its revenue by 36% and moved up in the Defense News “Top 100” global ranking from 11th in 2017 to 8th in 2018, i…
Siberian Villagers Hope Name Change To ‘Syria’ Gets Moscow’s Attention
Locals in one rundown Siberian village have a plan to rename their community Syria and then apply to Moscow for humanitarian aid.
World’s Biggest Shipping Firm To Test Route Through Russian Arctic
The world’s biggest shipping firm says it is preparing to send a cargo vessel through the Russian Arctic for the first time – a voyage made possible by melting sea ice.
Swamp Thing: Stalin Statue Emerges From The Deep, Forcing Town To Confront Its Past
A Russian town is confronting the past after pieces of a Josef Stalin statue were unexpectedly found in a local pond.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


100 Days: Walking A Fine Line, Armenians Still On ‘Revolution’ High
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s first 100 days dominated by cleaning house after decades of corruption and cronyism.
Majlis Podcast: The Caspian Sea Agreement — What’s Next?
This week’s Majlis podcast looks at the recent landmark agreement on the Caspian Sea, what it resolved, and what issues still need to be addressed.
UAWire – Merkel demands withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia
Germany continues to support the territorial integrity of Georgia and demands to withdraw Russian troops from the country, announced  Angela …
UAWire – Georgia files lawsuit against Russia for the occupation of Abkhazia
The Georgian Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and accused Moscow of occupying the …
The August War, Ten Years On: A Retrospective on the Russo-Georgian War – War on the Rocks
The Russo-Georgian War, the August War, or for some simply the “five-day war,” was an important departure point in U.S.-Russian relations, and in European
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnic Russian Revolt in Chechnya in August 1958 and Its Demands Recalled
Paul Goble Staunton, August 19 – Sixty years ago this month, ethnic Russians living in Chechnya revolted against the authorities when Moscow allowed the Chechens who had been deported from there in 1944 to return and take back property and power that had passed from that ethnic community to Russians the authorities had moved in to occupy the territory. In 1957, the Russian7 portal notes, Nikita Khrushchev restored the Chechen-Ingush ASSR that had been disbanded at the time of the deportation of those two peoples and allowed the survivors to return home. “But it turned out that their former homes were occupied and that they had nowhere to live” (russian7.ru/post/russkiy-bunt-v-groznom-chto-stalo-pri/). The absence of housing and jobs for the returnees led the Chechens to turn their anger on the Russians, something that resulted in clashes, attacks “and even murders on an ethnic basis,” the portal continues. On August 23, two Chechens attacked two Russian workers in Grozny, killing one of them with their knives. News of that spread like wildfire through the city. Russian workers demanded that the authorities allow them to have a civil funeral at the workplace of the two Russians. But the local officials, who were now primarily Chechens and Ingush, refused. And when the funeral was held, speakers called for “a collective letter on ‘the Chechen question’ to Moscow.” The funeral took place on August 26. Its 800 attendees left the cemetery and marched on the oblast party committee, picking up additional Russians as they went. At 7:30 pm, the crowd stormed the obkom building. They got inside, destroyed property, and remained there, until local police forced them out at midnight, only to be forced out again in turn by the Russians. On the morning of August 27, a new crowd, mostly consisting of Russian women assembled at the obkom building. They again occupied the building and distributed “’anti-Chechen’ broadsides” throughout the city. And at 8;00 pm on that day, Georgy Shvayuk arrived from a sovkoz near Gudermes and took charge. He brought with him a draft resolution that called for renaming the Chechen-Ingush ASSR “the Grozny Oblast or the Multi-National Soviet Socialist Republic,” allowing no more than ten percent of the population of this region to be Chechens or Ingush, to resettle the surplus, and to “deprive the Chechen-Ingush population of all advantages relative to other nationalities.” The Russians at the obkom building supported that idea and marched to the telephone exchange in order to send their document to Moscow. But the local police surrounded that building and shot into the crowd, wounding two Russians, to prevent them from doing so. Shvayuk did an end run around them and sent it from the main post office. To underscore their protest, some 300 Russians went to the city railroad station where, Russia7 reports, they blocked the Rostov-Baku train for almost two hours, regaling the passengers with details of what was happening in Grozny and ensuring that the story would get out. Finally, Moscow sent in units of the Soviet army, arrested those Russians they identified as ringleaders, and sentenced Shvayuk to ten years in the camps. In addition, criminal charges were filed against 58 others. “It is interesting,” Russia7 continues, “that all these repressions involved only Russians. The revolt was simply put down without any solution to the nationality problem. As a result, this led to new disorders in Grozny in January 1973 and to the tragic events of the 1990s.” It is also interesting, although the Russian portal doesn’t mention it, that many in the Putin regime today have an interest in doing away with ethnic republics and replacing them with oblasts and krays named for cities that recalls the demands of the suppressed Russian protesters 60 years ago.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Siloviki, Official Muslim Establishment Losing Out to Radicals in Kazakhstan
Paul Goble Staunton, August 20 – During the first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Islamic radicalism was a far smaller problem in Kazakhstan than it was in other Central Asian republics; and even more recently, far fewer Muslims from that country have enlisted in the ranks of ISIS, only 800 compared to the thousands elsewhere. But according to two experts, the balance between traditional Muslims and radical Islamists is changing, both because of official policies that have been more concerned about crime than about extremism and because the Muslim establishment has proved incapable of competing ideologically with the radicals (ng.ru/ng_religii/2018-08-14/14_448_kazakhstan.html). In fact, commentator Maksim Kaznacheyev says, “the Kazakhstan siloviki are one of the key reasons for the growth in the attractiveness of religious radicalism in the marginalized youth milieu;” a position with which fellow specialist Talgat Mamyrayymov agrees, adding that the official Islamic establishment must share the blame. “In the course of the 1990s and the early 2000s,” Kaznacheyev says, “the siloviki were concerned with the risks of penetration into Kazakhstan of trans-border criminal structures” and their focus on them allowed for the development of a religious portion of this kind of crime and its strengthening over time. That happened, he continues, because the authorities did not give “sufficient attention to the processes of the growth of the radical religiosity of those confined in prison.” As a result, in some prisons, radicals formed almost a third of the prisoners, recruited others, and eventually sent them back into society. The security service understood what was going on, Kaznacheyev says; but the interior ministry failed to do anything about it. As a result, Islamist radicalism has exploded in the last decade. Yet another reason this has occurred, Mamyrayymov says, is that the authorities wanted to use Islam as one of the means to strengthen national identity. The radicals exploited that. Mamyrayymov adds that “the policy of our authorities in the sphere of religious radicalism hardly can be considered a success. It is directed more to the forcible resolution of problems in this sphere and in principle rejects the application of soft power” which in ideological questions can be more successful. “Therefore, it is not surprising that almost all terrorist actions in our country have been directed against the siloviki,” but if one is honest, he says, these are less terrorist acts than acts of revenge against what Kazakhstan’s siloviki have done to the radicals. According to Kaznacheyev, “the traditional Islamic religious leadership of Kazakhstan has already lost the competition in the ideological marketplace.” That happened because its members are poorly trained, there not being any national theological school, and because of the obvious corruption of the “official” Muslim establishment. According to Mamyrayymov, “the position of the official religious leadership is close to the methods of the siloviki. The Kazakhstan MSD has more than once called for banning the Salafites, calls that only highlight how much that institution is simply continuing Soviet-era attitudes and practices that failed in the past and will fail once again now.
Jail Time For Facebook Comments?
Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Russian authorities are all prosecuting social media users over their online activities. In one case, jokes and cartoons shared on the web prompted prosecutors to call for mandatory psychological treatment; in another, a user’s opinions on architecture could land him in jail.

Belarus Reports


Putin Meets With Lukashenka In Sochi
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka have met in Russia’s Black Sea port city of Sochi.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: West’s Paramount Task is to Prevent Belarus from Being Swallowed Up by Russia, Melianas Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 18 – Imantas Melianas, a senior Lithuanian specialist on ethnic minorities and national security, says that the most important task for the West now is “not to allow Putin to swallow Belarus.” If the Kremlin leader is able to do so, he continues, “a third world war will become inevitable.” Consequently, he says, any “betrayal regarding Belarus will become a betrayal of Europe as a whole,” a step that will be equivalent today to what Russia’s swallowing up of Poland at the end of the 18th century and one that will lead to a new round of Russian attacks against Ukraine and other countries in the region (belaruspartisan.org/politic/434862/). Melianas, a former Sajudis coordinator for national minorities, advisor to the Lithuanian culture ministry and officer of the Department of State Security, says that to his “great regret, it is difficult to be optimistic about the preservation of the independence of Belarus” after the Helsinki summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That is because, the Lithuanian expert says, “the Kremlin guy always views the softness and even more the willingness to agree of certain Western leaders as a sign of their weakness and this means as a signal for action.” Belarus is the obvious immediate target, but Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine are all threatened by Putin’s moves against that country. According to Melianas, Moscow is considering the following variants for the execution of the Republic of Belarus: · Under the first, Russia will occupy Belarus, formally allow it to continue to exist with a new leadership, but reduce it to the status of Transdniestria with key institutions like the military passing entirely under Russian control and a Russian level of popular control established. · Under the second, the Union State will assume new content but quickly move on the basis of “requests of the toilers, Cossacks, Orthodox activists and other forms of the simple people” into “a unitary” Russian state. What is now Belarus will become like “occupied Crimea.” · Under the third and fourth – there are only slight variations between these two — everything will be like the first and second “with the exception that out of Belarus will be taken its Catholic northwest, the so-called Veyshnoria, which will become a puppet buffer state, one most likely not recognized by anyone.” That puppet will stand “in permanent conflict with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia and constantly turn for international help” to Moscow. · And under the fifth, because of growing Belarusian resistance to Russia, “Moscow will leave Belarus [as a whole] for a time in peace but will take back those portions of Belarus which Moscow transferred from the RSFSR to the Belarus SSR in 1924-1926,” creating a new unrecognized “gray zone” that will be like the DNR and LNR. All these variants of the destruction of Belarusian statehood have this in common, the Lithuanian expert says. They involve the removal of Lukashenka and his team, fake popular uprisings within Belarus, and the supply of “international help” in the form of Russian military units. But if the West isn’t resisting Moscow as it should, Belarus may do so on its own, Melianas says, because a new generation has grown up there which is attached to independence and doesn’t want to be subordinate to the Russian state. “in the event of a Russian invasion, very many of them will go over to the side of the rising Belarusian people with arms in their hands.” The West needs to remember this and not “throw Belarus and its people to the winds of fate, by leaving them to face one on one” Putin’s aggressive state. Everyone needs to remember, he says, that right now “in Belarus, the fate of Peace is being decided.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Now Pursuing ‘Forced Integration’ of Belarus into Russia, Sivitsky Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 — Russian actions toward Belarus since 2015 show that Moscow is no longer pursuing the “union deal” it had established with Minsk earlier and instead has placed its bets on the forced integration of its western neighbor into a Russian-dominated state, according to Arseny Sivitsky. The head of the Minsk Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Researchsays that over the last three years, Russia has conducted itself “in a quite aggressive and unfriendly manner toward its chief ally … despite the fact that Belarus has not violated any of the obligations it has assumed with regard to Moscow (thinktanks.by/publication/2018/08/15/arseniy-sivitskiy-rossiya-vyshla-iz-soyuznoy-sdelki-s-belarusyu-stavka-na-prinuditelnuyu-integratsiyu.html). Russia’s new policy, Sivitsky says, is directed at subordinating Belarus “to the strategic interests of Russia in the new geopolitical context after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and then the Russian-American confrontation” and that means “the undermining and then loss of [Belarusian] independence and sovereignty.” In pursuit of that goal, Moscow has been deploying “various instruments of pressure,” economic, political and military-security. Many in Belarus find the Russian actions inexplicable, and they are within the context of the former “deal” between the two countries. But “if on the other hand, Moscow no longer considers Minsk its ally, then the motives behind the Kremlin’s actions toward Belarus are completely understandable.” And that is where the situation now is. “The Kremlin n longer views Belarus as an ally and prefers unilateral steps directed at undermining the sovereignty and independence of our country, increasing its influence in Belarus, limiting our interaction with the outside world, above all with the West and China and using both formal and informal means to do so.” In this way, Moscow has effectively scrapped the deal Belarus and Russia concluded in the mid-1990s, a deal in which Minsk agreed not to seek membership in the EU and NATO but rather to integrate into the Russian military-political and economic space and Moscow agreed to provide aid in the form of concessionary prices for energy. None of that is true now, the security analyst says, and it really hasn’t been true since Moscow invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. He adds that in his view, Western sanctions have done nothing to lessen the aggressive nature of Russian foreign policy which is still being set by hardliners. Such Russians, Sivitsky says, believe that the West will continue to put pressure on Moscow, that no agreement with it is possible, and that therefore “Russia has nothing to lose and must to the extent its resources permit push its control outward where possible.” Belarus is an obvious candidate for such an advance. That is all the more so, Sivitsky says, because “now the policies of Minsk and Moscow in foreign policy are diverging in a significant way: Belarus does not want confrontation, while Russia is interested in it just as it is interested in the immediate inclusion of Belarus in a new confrontation process.” He says that he expects Moscow to step up the pressure on Minsk further in the near future, indeed as early as next month, and adds that there is ample evidence that “the Kremlin plans to interfere actively in the domestic political life of Belarus in 2019-2020 when presidential and parliamentary electoral campaigns are slated to take place.” “I do not exclude that the Kremlin has already worked out a spectrum of scenarios, beginning with soft ones designed to put pressure on Minsk” to change its line. “Unfortunately,” Savitsky says, “in the near term the relations of the two countries will be very complicated.” “Our chief weak point is our economic dependence on Russia,” the Minsk analyst says, and “the Kremlin uses this.” It is virtually certain that it will do even more in the coming weeks and months, leaving Belarus at a minimum in a very unpleasant situation.
Belarusian President Names New Premier, Reshuffles Government
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has appointed a new prime minister and carried out a significant reshuffling of the government.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Generational Change Happening in Post-Soviet Regimes Even if Top Man Holds On
Paul Goble Staunton, August 18 – Yesterday, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka replaced those at the top of his government with new men. In the process, he lowered the average age of the incumbents from 60 to 49, a generational change that will matter even if Lukashenka holds on to power for some time (belaruspartisan.org/politic/435084/). Those leaving were 33 when the Soviet Union disintegrated, while those coming in were only 22. That means the former were fully formed by the Soviet system while the latter were only beginning their careers and thus have been formed primarily by the very different events of the 1990s and 2000s. That doesn’t mean the new men in this case or any other are more liberal: they may in fact be deeply conservative and even more authoritarian than their predecessors. But their values are different, and their assumptions about their countries and relations between them and Moscow are different as well. A great deal of attention in the post-Soviet space and the West has been devoted to questions about succession at the highest levels; but far less has been given to this generational change under the top, a shift that has been continuing and in some places intensifying even where the rulers remain in place. Such attention is especially important now because over the next decade, almost all those who were formed in Soviet times will have reached retirement – anyone who was at least 30 in 1991 will be at least 69 in 2030, well past the retirement age for most.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka has Rejected Two Moscow Candidates for Russian Ambassador to Minsk and Hasn’t Given Agreement to the Third
Paul Goble Staunton, August 17 – Russian diplomatic sources tell the URA news agency that Minsk has dragged its feet about giving agrément to Mikhail Babich, the Kremlin’s candidate for Russian ambassador to Belarus because of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s fears about the role he might play there in the future. But the diplomatic standoff between the two countries may be even more serious than that because a Belarusian source says that Lukashenka has already rejected two Moscow nominees, Vladislav Surkov and Aleksandr Tkachev, and may reject Vladimir Putin’s choice just as Ukraine did in 2016. In an article today, URA journalist Stanislav Zakharkin says that the delay in agrément reflects Lukashenka’s concern that Babich may work to transform the Union State of Russia and Belarus into something more unified than it now is and that moves in that direction could leave Lukashenka out in the cold (ura.news/articles/1036275886). Rumors that Putin had selected Babich began to circulate several month ago and on July 23, a committee of the Russian Federation Council confirmed the join even though Minsk had not given its approval. Since that time, Zakharkin says, “nothing is known about Babich’s future fate.” Arseny Sivitsky, the head of the Minsk Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Research, says that “Babich has the reputation of a tough administrator from Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Minsk would like to see as the new ambassador an individual who would help overcome the economic and trade conflicts” between the two countries. But Moscow has a different “priority,” he continues. What it wants is “a deepening of military-political integration and opposition to the West,” goals that Minsk “is seeking to avoid with all the resources at its disposal.” That conflict led Lukashenka to reject Surkov and Tkachev, and it could mean that he will ultimately reject Babich as well. But Minsk faces “a complex dilemma: to agree to Babich’s candidacy with unknown consequences or to drag out the process of appointing a new ambassador and thus remain without one for some time, a situation which will be interpreted as a lowering of the level fo diplomatic relations,” Savitsky continues. Russian political analyst Maksim Zharov says that the delay may be connected as well with differences over what the political successions in Russia and Belarus are probably going to look like. Some in Moscow say Putin might become head of the Union State after 2024, but only if Lukashenka agrees to a further deepening of relations. At the same time, Zharov says, some in the Russian elite want Putin to become the head of a powerful State Council. Lukashenka is also looking to the future. He was scheduled to run for re-election in 2020 but now has moved up that ballot to 2019. The Minsk leader in this view may be fearful about what Babich could do to undercut him in such an election, Belarusian analyst Kirill Kostinevich adds. Senior Russian officials are playing down the delay, arguing that Lukashenka will ultimately accept Babich; but the fact that the Belarusian leader hasn’t done so now is becoming a diplomatic scandal and a personal affront to Putin that the latter is unlikely to forgive or forget, something that makes this delay even more critical for the future of bilateral ties.
Prosecutors Seek Five Years Of ‘Restricted Liberty’ For Belarusian Union Officials
Prosecutors are seeking sentences of five years of “restricted liberty” in the high-profile trial in Belarus of two officials of an independent labor union that played an organizing role in street …

Transnistria / Moldova Reports


UAWire – Moldova: Russia is provoking us
Russia is provoking Moldova in Transnistria, stated by the Moldovan Minister of Defense Eugen Sturza on his Facebook page. “Some think that by making threats you can be a friend. If you climb over your neighbor’s fence and threaten them, can you expect them to be your friend? Paradoxically, this is what our neighbor, Russia, is trying to do, conducting military exercises with the crossing of the Dniester. Such exercises in the Security Zone, with unmarked armored trucks involved, is a provocative act that undermines the Russian side’s justification as a peacekeeping mission. It is extremely difficult to explain to them that the military exercise where “little green men” cross the Dniester with armored vehicles is not a peacekeeping mission, and what they are doing does not secure peace in the region. Maybe the OSCE will help us explain the difference?” he writes. In turn, representatives from the OSCE in Moldova express their concern over the Russian military exercises conducted crossing the Dniester river. OSCE representatives were deployed to the Security Area, but they were prevented from conducting a full monitoring of the exercise. It was reported, that on August 13th, the Russian Army Operational Group, stationed in the Transnistrian region, was preparing military armored vehicles for training exercises crossing water barriers. On the morning of August 14, on the bank of the Dniester River, unmarked military vehicles without any kind of plates were stationed. Later, these vehicles entered the river. Furthermore, after the 1992 armed conflict on the Dniester, in a settlement it was specified that in the Security Zone, checkpoints for the peacekeeping forces of Russia, Moldova, and Transnistria were to be placed.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow’s ‘Little Green Men’ Stage Provocation in Moldova, Republic’s Defense Minister Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 16 – Moldovan Defense Minister Eugen Sturza says that Russian forces, without identifying markers, have carried out massive maneuvers involving “the forcing of the Dniestr River, a move that disqualifies Moscow as a peacekeeper in his country and that disturbingly recalls its use of such “little green men” in Ukraine. On Facebook, Sturza says that “this kind of exercise in the Security zone with armed equipment without numbers is a provocation which undermines the basis of the Russian side as a peacekeeping mission. It is extremely difficult to explain how [such moves] by little green men are about peacekeeping” (facebook.com/eugen.sturza.eu/posts/1635169666610157). The OSCE mission in Moldova has also expressed concern about these exercises, especially because the Russian side refused to allow OSCE monitors to visit the Transdniestrian region where these maneuvers have been taking place over the last three days (charter97.org/ru/news/2018/8/16/301671/). August, of course, is a prime time for military exercises; but these are especially disturbing because of their echoes with the way Moscow moved against Ukraine in 2014 and because of the media campaign that Russian outlets have launched against Chisinau in recent days, a media campaign that also resembles that used four years ago. Three narratives are especially frightening in this regard: · First, Moscow outlets continue to insist that Moldovans are preparing to carry out “a Euro-Maidan” and that activists for that are being trained in Romania (materik.ru/rubric/detail.php?ID=43793). · Second, the Moldovan government has announced that it plans to leave the CIS energy grid, another step to detach itself from that Moscow-dominated institution, a move Russia views not only as an unfriendly act but a threat to Russian security (tass.ru/ekonomika/5458435). · And third, Moscow media are suggesting that the United States now wants to oust the pro-Russian Moldovan president so that the pro-Western Moldovan government can take over and integrate Moldova with the West (materik.ru/rubric/detail.php?ID=43593).
Russia elaborating escalation scenario in Transnistria to create military threat to Moldova, Ukraine – expert | UNIAN
Expert on international affairs Serhiy Danylenko says Russia is working out a scenario of escalation in Transnistria to create, if necessary, a military threat to Moldova and Ukraine. Russian troops in Transnistria have conducted an exercise to cross the Dniester with the use of armored vehicles.
Moldova not to sign new contract with Russia’s Gazprom | UNIAN
The Government of Moldova has no plans to revise the contract with the Russian concern Gazprom for the supply of natural gas to the country, which was signed 10 years ago. The current deal on gas supplies to Moldova is valid until December 31, 2019.
Dodon: Moldova’s Biggest Problem Is Population Loss, Not Corruption
Moldova’s number one problem after more than a quarter of a century of independence isn’t poverty or corruption — it is depopulation, President Igor Dodon has told RFE/RL.

Ukraine Reports


President on the key tasks of society and government: Make independence – irreversible, Ukraine – great and strong — Official website of the President of Ukraine
President Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that during four years of Russia’s war against Ukraine, we managed to preserve the state, consolidate the nation, create a strong army and gain international support. It was stated by the President during the speech at the Parade on the Independence Day. “During four years of the war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine, we have preserved and strengthened the state. The nation was consolidated on the principles of country protection and patriotism. We have created a strong army with you. And with the painstaking work of our diplomats, we have provided international political and diplomatic support for the independence of Ukraine,” Petro Poroshenko said. The President especially emphasized: “The main thing is that we have firmly chosen our path of development. And we do not have the right give it up in favor of external enemies and their agents inside the country”. According to him, Ukraine breaks “all the bundles that connect us with the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union”. “To make independence irreversible, make Ukraine great and strong, without any prospect of returning to the Russian influence zone – this is the main task of our generation. This is a task of the society and the authorities elected by it,” he stressed. “We, Ukrainians, go our own way and understand that we must first of all rely on our own strengths. Use the wealth of the country in the interests of the people and the generations to come. Ukraine must firmly defend its national interests. External help is still important for us, but first of all we have to help ourselves,” Petro Poroshenko also noted. The Head of State emphasized that the strengthening of independence should take place in concrete steps. “The visa-free regime for travel of Ukrainians to the European Union is valid for over a year. We inevitably become part of the European space. It strengthens our political independence,” he said. The President recalled that the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union entered into force, and as a result, the share of exports to the EU is now almost 43%, compared with 32% four or five years ago. “A clear European strategy has given us an opportunity to compensate for the huge losses that we suffered as a result of the politically motivated closure by Russia of its market and transit to third countries for Ukrainian goods. Russia will no longer be able to blackmail us because we have strengthened our economic independence,” he stressed. Petro Poroshenko also said that since the fall of 2016, we have not bought gas from Russia for 1 thousand days already. “Ukrainian “Naftogaz” brilliantly beat Gazprom in the Stockholm Arbitration, bringing $ 4.6 billion to the state pocket. That is how we gain our energy independence,” he said. “Last four and a half years have become a truly “great hour” for us, Ukrainians. We have experienced an incredible test of the war and economic crisis caused by Russian aggression. The enemy murdered thousands and thousands of Ukrainians – military and civilians; men, women, children. We were tested both for strength and fortitude. They tried to divide the people and dismember the country. They tried to block our movement to Europe. They wanted to drive the freedom-loving people back into the odious imperial stall,” Petro Poroshenko said. The President thanked every Ukrainian for the fact that we withstood: “And we have not only survived the bad times, but also strengthened muscles. We have become stronger and more confident in our own capabilities. We have laid the foundation for our progress with clear strategic reference points for the European Union and NATO for the future decades”. Petro Poroshenko especially emphasized that in 2018 we would celebrate the centenary of the independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the 100th anniversary of the unification of the UNR and ZUNR was approaching. The President noted that Ukrainians had lost the state at that time, had not withstood in that war with Russia. “Our generation faces the task to break the fatal historical circle when Ukraine’s independence was measured for months or years. To prevent decades of mourning over the loss of the state and analyzing the reasons of another defeat. To be proud of victories and success of the state,” the Head of State emphasized.
President at the Parade on the Independence Day: People’s army today reports to the Ukrainian people and we are proud of it — Official website of the President of Ukraine
At the Parade on the Independence Day, President Petro Poroshenko stressed that the most reliable guarantors of Ukraine’s independence and peaceful work of Ukrainians were Ukrainian warriors: the Armed Forces, National Guard, Navy, border guards, Security Service, police and other security structures. “It’s possible to speak about the changes in the Ukrainian army over the last four years at least for four hours – there is too much to tell. But it will be better than any words to see the confident march of heroes, the technology and weapons radiating strength and the skill of pilots,” the Head of State said. “People’s army today reports to the Ukrainian people and we are proud of it. Everyone who joined its development, everyone who sent SMS with money in 2014, who left home and started working as a volunteer, soldiers. Everyone can be proud of his own contribution to strengthening the defense capability,” the President added. The attendees honored the fallen heroes who gave their lives for the peaceful future of Ukraine with a moment of silence. “We bow to every Ukrainian family that lost husbands, sons, mothers and sisters. Eternal memory to the Heroes deceased in the battles for our free, independent Ukraine. Eternal glory to them,” the Head of State said. “Our Ukrainian Army is an army of peace. In the summer of 2014, it successfully liberated most of the Donbas from militants. And after the direct invasion of Russian regular troops, it firmly defends the country on the line of collision. It reliably protects Ukraine along the entire border with our aggressive neighbor,” the President said. According to him, the authorities did everything to reduce the impact of the war on society – the proposal to declare martial law that substantially restricted political rights and freedoms of citizens was rejected, partial mobilization was replaced with formation of a contract army, reforms and peaceful construction are under way while more than 5% of GDP are spent on defense and security. “We do not seek anything more than peace. And nobody seeks peace more than Ukrainians. The real peace will definitely come to our land. It is only a capable army that can provide peace and victory, and it is becoming more and more powerful day by day,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
На Хрещатику відбулося вечірнє тренування особового складу, який залучається до військового параду | Flickr
Explore this photo album by Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on Flickr!

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Islamic State Leader Urges More Attacks In First Purported Audio In Year
The leader of the Islamic State extremist group in his first purported audio recording in a year is urging his followers to keep fighting the group’s enemies around the world despite recent defeats.
‘I met my IS captor on a German street’ – BBC News
A Yazidi teenager sold into slavery by IS tells of her horror at meeting her captor in a German street.
Yazidi woman encounters her Islamic State captor in Germany
In 2014, ISIS committed what the United Nations concluded was a genocide of Yazidis in northern Iraq. It also abducted scores of women and children, who were sold into slavery.
Why Saudi Arabia sentenced female activist Israa al Ghomgham to death for first time – INSIDER
Saudi Arabia is set to sentence Israa al Ghomgham to death, in the kingdom’s first ever death sentence for a female political activist. Her charges were revealed in court documents obtained by international human rights groups on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia looks to execute 5 human rights activists, as the U.S. stays silent – ThinkProgress
Saudi Crown Prince Meets With Visiting Chechen Leader Kadyrov
Media reports from Saudi Arabia say Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has met with the visiting leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Saudi Arabia, which has been calling out Canada over women’s rights, may soon behead a female activist for the first time | Business Insider
Saudi Arabia, which in recent weeks has called out Canada over its treatment of women, is on the cusp of executing a female political activist for the first time.
A Saudi-led coalition airstrike reportedly just killed more than 20 children — again | Business Insider
A Saudi-led coalition airstrike allegedly killed at least 20 children in Yemen on Thursday, according to Iranian-backed Houthi media and several reports from journalists on the ground.
Boko Haram’s Deadly Impact – Defense One
A new compilation of data gives insight into the African Islamist insurgency’s reach, tactics, and evolution. It reveals a far higher victim count than …
Pakistan Says U.S. Lied About Call Between Pompeo and Prime Minister Khan – The Daily Beast
Dispute over whether the two discussed Pakistani terrorists.


Trump nominates new general to lead US wars in the Middle East – ABC News
President Donald Trump is nominating Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie to lead the military command responsible for U.S. wars in the Middle East.
Officials worry Trump may back Erik Prince plan to privatize war in Afghanistan
Trump advisers worry his impatience with the Afghan conflict will cause him to consider proposals like Prince’s or abruptly order a complete U.S. withdrawal.
Blackwater founder Erik Prince is pushing to privatize America’s costly war in Afghanistan — and going on cable TV to persuade Trump | Business Insider
Billionaire Blackwater founder Erik Prince has a vision for America’s war in Afghanistan, one that the former Navy SEAL and businessman claims will turn around the conflict the US has been fighting for 17 years with no end in sight.
Report: Trump Considering Plan to Privatize Afghanistan War
The Blackwater founder is pushing a plan to replace soldiers with contractors and Trump is warming to it.
Erik Prince’s proposal to privatize Afghanistan war not under consideration, NSC says – CBS News
Prince proposed last year to replace the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan with private contractors
Erik Prince denies back channel communication with Putin-linked official in ‘incidental’ meeting | TheHill
Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm once known as Blackwater, is asserting that a meeting he had with an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin was “incidental,” denying the existence of any back-chann
Trump may replace American soldiers with mercenaries in Afghanistan – 112.international
Trump may replace the American servicemen in Afghanistan with the manpower of the private military company Blackwater, which belongs to Erik Prince
Trump considering Erik Prince’s plan to privatize Afghanistan war
President Trump has grown frustrated with the Pentagon’s Afghanistan strategy and has shown interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince.
Trump’s Afghanistan War Plan Is Working Despite Recent Attacks, Outgoing Commander Says – Defense One
Facing renewed criticism, Gen. John Nicholson said the president’s year-old South Asia strategy was bringing Afghanistan closer to peace.
U.S., Afghanistan Reject Russian-Sponsored Peace Talks
The United States and Afghanistan both say they will not attend Russia-hosted peace talks scheduled for next month, with Kabul asserting it prefers instead to hold direct talks with the Taliban.
Russia Criticizes Reported U.S. Refusal To Join Moscow Talks On Afghanistan
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has criticized Washington’s reported refusal to send delegates to Moscow-hosted peace talks on Afghanistan after Interfax quoted a U.S. State Department spokesperson as sa…
Taliban To Attend Afghan Peace Talks In Moscow, Russia Says
Representatives of the Afghan Taliban plan to take part in peace talks in Moscow next month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Inside the Ring: China set for North Korea invasion – Washington Times
The Pentagon’s latest annual report on China’s military for the first time reveals contingency plans by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to intervene in North Korea.
UN watchdog: North Korea has not halted nuclear program – CNNPolitics
The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency says it has “grave concern” that North Korea continues to develop its nuclear weapons program.
China’s Xi to make first official visit to Pyongyang for North Korea’s 70th anniversary | Fox News
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit North Korea next month accepting Kim Jong Un’s invitation to attend the country’s 70th anniversary of its founding, a report said Friday.
Korean reunions: Tears as mother and son meet for first time in 68 years – CNN
“Sang Chol!” 92-year-old Lee Keum-seom exclaimed, as she fell into her long lost son’s arms at a holiday resort in North Korea Monday.
U.S. Sanctions Russian Ships for North Korea Trade – Bloomberg
The U.S. sanctioned owners of six Russian ships over claims they are helping transfer refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels in violation of international prohibitions, as tensions with both Moscow and Pyongyang intensify.
Bloomberg: U.S. sanctions Russian ships for North Korea trade | UNIAN
The U.S. sanctioned owners of six Russian ships over claims they are helping transfer refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels in violation of international prohibitions, as tensions with both Moscow and Pyongyang intensify. The announcement came on the same day as the Senate holds three hearings related to Russia, sanctions and cyber-threats to the U.S.
Fears arise that suspension of U.S.-South Korea military exercises may have dangerous repercussions – POLITICO
There is no doubt that Pyongyang would like to see a reduction or wholesale departure of the 28,500 U.S. troops deployed on the peninsula.
Defense experts sound alarms as summer passes without US-ROK war games – Business Insider
Defense experts are worried as this summer becomes the first in decades without US-South Korea military exercises, a result of President Donald Trump’s…
Seoul Deploys Secret Weapon to Sell North Korea Engagement – WSJ
South Korea wants the U.S. and North Korea to keep moving toward disarmament and peace. To help with that, Seoul has deployed a veteran adviser with many friends and a flair for controversy.


Beijing’s Bid For Global Power | War Is Boring
As the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and sixth of Xi Jinping’s draws to a close, the world seems to be witnessing one of those epochal clashes that can change the contours of global power. Just as conflicts between American president Woodrow Wilson and British prime minister Lloyd George produced a failed peace after World War I, competition between Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and American president Harry Truman sparked the Cold War, and the rivalry between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Pres. John F. Kennedy brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, so the empowered presidents of the United States and China are now pursuing bold, intensely personal visions of new global orders that could potentially reshape the trajectory of the 21st century — or bring it all down.
After detente with North Korea, Trump increasingly takes aim at a new foe — China – The Washington Post
From a trade war to ‘Space Force,’ the president’s competition with Beijing signals a shift toward treating China like an outright adversary.
China ‘Likely’ Training Bomber Pilots To Hit US, Allied Targets « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
Flying out past the first island chain, China’s air force is undergoing “the most comprehensive restructure in its history to become a force capable of conducting complex joint operations,” according to a new Pentagon report.
Pentagon warns China is expanding military ops to target US – YouTube
Fox News Published on Aug 17, 2018 Report says People’s Liberation Army has rapidly expanded bomber operating areas for likely strikes against the U.S.; Jennifer Griffin reports on the details.
China complains about Pentagon report, says it is ‘pure guesswork’ | Reuters
China’s Defence Ministry has lodged a complaint with the United States about a Pentagon report that said China’s military was likely training for strikes against the United States and its allies, saying it was “pure guesswork”.
China: U.S. should ‘stop releasing’ reports on military
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis should “stop releasing” assessments of China’s military, the Communist power said in response to a new Pentagon report on the regime’s air force.
This new Defence Department map shows how China says one thing and does another with its military operations at sea | Business Insider
China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea and its broad interpretations of international law often lead it to protest what many other countries consider to be normal naval maneuvers in the area. But farther afield, Beijing’s activity indicates that it doesn’t abide by the standard it applies to others.
South China Sea: A view from the air of one of the world’s most contested regions
It’s one of the most contested regions of the world, the center of a battle for influence between China and the US. CNN got to take a close-up look.
China’s Growing Power Is Bringing Military Drills Center Stage in Asia – Defense One
Beijing will send troops, tanks, and aircraft to join Russia\’s largest exercise in decades. That\’s just one example.
China’s Mass Internment Camps Have No Clear End in Sight – Foreign Policy
Around 1 million Uighurs have disappeared without trial. Worse may come.
US says number of Muslim minorities in Chinese internment camps may be ‘in the millions’ – ABC News
Secretary of State Pompeo says “religious persecution” in China “must end now.”
China’s Uighur Camps Swell as Beijing Widens the Dragnet – WSJ
China has sharply expanded an internment program that initially targeted ethnic Uighur extremists but is now confining vast numbers of the largely Muslim minority group, including the secular, old and infirm, in camps across the country’s northwest.
Buzzfeed’s China reporter says she was forced to leave the country
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said Beijing had effectively ejected Megha Rajagopalan by declining to issue her a new visa.
China ‘ejects’ US journalist known for reporting on Xinjiang repression | World news | The Guardian
Foreign correspondents condemn decision to deny visa to Megha Rajagopalan


Confucius Institute closed at US university amid concerns about Chinese influence on campuses – To Inform is to Influence
China’s approach to the influence of American citizens is more subtle than Russia’s.  China has established over 100 Confucius Institutes associated with universities all over the US. Increasingly, however, the targeted universities realize the program is an attempt at releasing propaganda at malleable, easily influenced students and dissociating themselves with the institutes.  </end editorial> Senator…
The Philippines’ president doesn’t want US submarines because he says they will ‘implode’ — so he’s turning to Russia | Business Insider
The leader of a close US ally is turning to rival Russia for submarines, arguing that if his country were to buy American submarines, they would probably “implode.”
British war graves desecrated by Chinese pirates plundering Second World War shipwrecks | Daily Mail Online
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson demanded an investigation last night: ‘The UK Government absolutely condemns the unauthorised disturbance of any wreck containing human remains’ he said.
U.S., China trade war heats up with new 25 percent tariff hikes on $16 billion of goods from each side – CBS News
Washington, Bejing impose 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion more of each others' goods, bringing total to $50 billion with more possible
US-China trade war ramps up as new tariffs kick in – CNNPolitics
The Trump administration’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods kicked in Thursday, drawing immediate retaliation from Beijing.
Trump is stepping up the trade war with China, and he’s convinced the US can win | Business Insider
Chinese officials are in Washington, DC, on Wednesday in an attempt to start to resolve the growing trade war between China and the US.
US firms to Trump: Don’t raise tariffs on more Chinese goods – ABC News
The Trump administration will hold hearings on the next steps it will take.


Another ‘Belt and Road’ Hostage – WSJ
Pakistan is the latest to learn the high price of money from China.
Why countries might want out of China’s Belt and Road – The Washington Post
Malaysia may not be the only country that reconsiders taking part in China’s global infrastructure project.
Malaysia has axed $22 billion of Chinese-backed projects, in a blow to China’s grand plan to dominate world trade | Business Insider
Malaysia’s prime minister has cancelled two multibillion-dollar Chinese-funded projects to avoid his country going into debt – delivering a blow to China’s plan to reshape global trade.
Malaysian PM Mahathir says China-backed rail, pipeline projects canceled for now: reports | Reuters
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that the Chinese-funded $20 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project and a natural gas pipeline project in Sabah will be canceled for now, according to media reports.
Turkey’s financial crisis raises questions about China’s debt-driven development model – Modern Diplomacy
Financial injections by Qatar and possibly China may resolve Turkey’s immediate economic crisis, aggravated by a politics-driven trade war with the United States
Turkey crisis rattles Asian nations with rising Belt and Road debts – Nikkei Asian Review
TOKYO — Turkey’s currency crisis is adding to the financial troubles of emerging Asian economies that have taken big loans for infrastructure project
Taiwan President Stops in U.S. as Relations Warm, Angering China – The New York Times
President Tsai Ing-wen, over Chinese objections, made two brief stopovers in the last week, meeting with members of Congress who favor closer ties.
Taiwan says China ‘out of control’ as it loses El Salvador to Beijing
Taiwan vowed on Tuesday to fight China’s “increasingly out of control” behavior after Taipei lost another ally to Beijing when El Salvador became the third country to switch allegiances to China this year.
Taiwan ‘won’t bow to pressure’, president says amid China tensions | Reuters
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday the self-ruled island would not bow to pressure after her high-profile trip to Latin America, including stops in the United States, which drew criticism from China.
White House Criticizes China Over El Salvador Recognition – The New York Times
El Salvador’s decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish them with China was “of grave concern,” the White House said.
Taiwan’s Diplomatic Isolation Deepens As El Salvador Defects To Beijing | TIME – YouTube
TIME Published on Aug 21, 2018 Taiwan says it is breaking off diplomatic ties with El Salvador because the Central American country plans to defect to rival Beijing. The move is the latest blow to the self-ruled island that China has been trying to isolate on the global stage.
U.S. senator plans measure to help Taiwan keep its allies | Reuters
A leading U.S. Republican senator said Thursday he is preparing legislation to discourage Taiwan’s few remaining allies from switching their allegiance to China, after El Salvador became the third country this year to move toward Beijing.
Empty hotels, idle boats – What happens when a Pacific island upsets China | Reuters
Empty hotel rooms, idle tour boats and shuttered travel agencies reveal widening fissures in the tiny Pacific nation of Palau, which is caught in an escalating diplomatic tug-of-war between China and Taiwan.
Pacific island of Palau caught in the middle of China-Taiwan dispute – Business Insider
“There is an ongoing discussion about China weaponizing tourism,” said Jeffrey Barabe, owner of Palau Central Hotel and Palau Carolines Resort in Koror….
Japan gets first female fighter pilot inspired by ‘Top Gun’ – CNN
Japan has appointed its first female fighter pilot, the latest achievement in the national push for greater gender equality in the traditionally male-dominated country.
‘No point living’: diary reveals Japan emperor’s second world war anguish | World news | The Guardian
Hirohito’s torment over Pacific war revealed in newly released diary written by his chamberlain
Japan’s Emperor Hirohito was so overcome with remorse he wanted to die, diary reveals
Hirohito, Japan&rsquo;s wartime emperor, had given up the will to live towards the end of his life, desperate to avoid the anguish of being blamed for his role in World War II, his aide&rsquo;s diary has revealed.
Vietnam jails two Americans for 14 years for trying to ‘overthrow state’ | World news | The Guardian
James Nguyen and Angle Phan convicted of plotting to hijack radio stations and arrange protests against state

Foreign Policy Reports


UAWire – Kremlin: Russia is ready for sanctions against Nord Stream-2 pipeline
Russia is ready for the possible introduction of new US sanctions against the participants in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, announced Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, as reported by RIA Novosti. According to the senator, sanctions “will inevitably be introduced”. Moreover, he said that Washington should not expect them to stop the construction of the gas pipeline or facilitate the refusal from the side of any participant. “Despite the sanctions, the project will be implemented. The US should not expect that anybody will be enticed by the market of their liquefied gas”, Dzhabarov said. Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States has almost prepared the draft bill on the sanctions that will impose restrictions on the companies that are involved in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. The US hopes to use these sanctions to stop the construction of the pipeline. At the end of July, the State Department announced that Nord Stream-2 could become Russia’s weapon for political pressure on Europe. On August 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the possibility of sanctions due to Nord Stream-2. As presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov announced, they spoke out against “possible non-competitive and illegal attacks from the third countries”. The Nord Stream-2 pipeline is going to be 1.2 thousand km long, with capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The construction of the gas pipeline is being carried out by NordStream 2 AG. The Austrian OMV is one of the foreign investors of the gas pipeline.
Nord Stream 2 to deprive Ukraine of gas transit despite guarantees from Russia – Klimkin – 22.08.2018 16:10 — Ukrinform News
Ukraine will consistently fight against the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, because Russia will stop supplying natural gas via Ukrainian territory despite any guarantees.
U.S. could use sanctions to stop Nord Stream-2 completion – media | UNIAN
As President Vladimir Putin met with Chancellor Angela Merkel near Berlin on Saturday to try to safeguard a controversial Russian-German gas pipeline, the U.S. was not present but it could have a big say in the outcome. The move may come amid concerns the pipeline would heighten Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas. As President Vladimir Putin met with Chancellor Angela Merkel near Berlin on Saturday to try to safeguard a controversial Russian-German gas pipeline, the U.S. was not present but it could have a big say in the outcome. It has in hand a package of sanctions that could be used to try to stop completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is already in its advanced stages, by targeting companies, and potentially financial firms, involved in its construction, according to the Wall Street Journal. Current and former U.S. officials said such sanctions had been discussed and could be mobilized in a matter of weeks, though they added that no action was imminent. Consecutive U.S. administrations have long opposed the pipeline, which would run alongside an existing one, over concerns that it would increase Europe’s already-high dependence on Russian natural gas and give the Kremlin political leverage and substantial revenues. Germany-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline would double direct Russian gas imports, as President Trump accuses Berlin of being “captive to Russia.” U.S. opposition to the project escalated after Russia was accused of interfering in the 2016 election and as the Trump administration grew increasingly skeptical that internal resistance within Europe would stop the plan, officials said.
The USA has almost completed the bill on sanctions that might impede the completion of the construction of the Nord Stream-2 – The U.S. finalizes development of sanctions against Nord Stream-2 – 112.international
The USA has almost completed the bill on sanctions that might impede the completion of the construction of the Nord Stream-2
After Trump attack on Russia ties, Merkel eyes Azeri gas – Reuters | UNIAN
Castigated by U.S. President Donald Trump as relying too much on Russian gas supplies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads to Azerbaijan this week to discuss the development of a southern pipeline to deliver gas to Europe from the Caspian. In Baku, Merkel will discuss energy issues, including improving the infrastructure to help transport gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Turkey, officials said. Castigated by U.S. President Donald Trump as relying too much on Russian gas supplies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads to Azerbaijan this week to discuss the development of a southern pipeline to deliver gas to Europe from the Caspian. The visit underscores Merkel’s openness to finding alternative sources of affordable gas even as she remains committed to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will carry gas directly from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany, according to Reuters. “We have a big interest in further developing the Southern Corridor,” a senior German government official said. “This is part of the EU’s diversification strategy of getting gas from other regions, not just Russia, to Europe.”
UAWire – Berlin: Germany will not give up energy projects with Russia because of the US position
Germany will not give up agreements with Russia in the energy sector, in particular, on the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline due …
UAWire – Media: Putin may come to Berlin in October for the wedding of ex-Chancellor Schroeder
Russian President Vladimir Putin may arrive in Berlin in October to attend a wedding of the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and …


Putin’s “diplomatic act” at Merkel meeting – news about politics
The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel had a minimal effect. Putin achieved only one thing – demonstrating that he was not in full international isolation. For domestic use in Russia, it is quite a lot, but for the international audience, it’s almost nothing.
Merkel briefs Poroshenko on outcome of her talks with Putin | UNIAN
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has briefed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the outcome of her talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Poroshenko called on Merkel to intensify efforts to free Ukrainian hostages illegally kept in Russia and Russian-occupied territories.
Merkel, Putin Exchange Views On Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Pipeline
The Kremlin says German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a “very serious and detailed” three-hour discussion during their meeting outside of Berlin, including an…
Merkel, Putin Discussing Ukraine, Energy, Iran, And Syria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would discuss the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as Iran, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting on August 18. Addressing reporters outside Meseberg Castle near Berlin before their talks, Merkel and Putin spoke about Russian gas transit to Europe.
Merkel meets Putin with sanctions, Ukraine and Syria on the agenda 
The pair have often clashed but remain in regular contact.
Putin, Merkel to Discuss Conflicts In Ukraine, Syria At Berlin Meeting
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet on August 18 for talks about the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project tha…
UAWire – Ukrainian President speaks with Merkel before Putin’s visit to Germany
On Thursday, August 16, President Petro Poroshenko had a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the visit of the …
Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation with Angela Merkel — Official website of the President of Ukraine
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. The interlocutors coordinated positions on the eve of the meeting between the Chancellor of Germany and the President of the Russian Federation. Petro Poroshenko and Angela Merkel discussed the situation in the Donbas and further efforts, including peacekeepers, to ensure progress in a peaceful settlement.
Merkel to Meet With Putin on Saturday – YouTube
Bloomberg Politics Published on Aug 16, 2018 Aug.17 — Angela Merkel meets Vladimir Putin this weekend in a surprise move that analysts say shows how foes and allies of the U.S. are shifting. Syria, violence in Eastern Ukraine and a joint natural gas pipeline are to be discussed. The meeting comes before the U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russia next week. Bloomberg’s Rosalind Mathieson reports on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Europe.”
Germany’s Merkel Set To Visit Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan
German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to visit the Caucasus states of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan following her meetings outside of Berlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
German Authorities Detain Suspected Terrorist For Plotting Attack : NPR
The 31-year-old Russian man has been arrested and is believed to have been an accomplice to French terror suspect imprisoned in France last year.
Germany Detains Russian On Suspicion Of Planning Islamic Extremist Attack
A Russian citizen has been detained in Germany on suspicion of plotting to carry out an Islamic extremist attack using explosives.


Hungary Intentionally Denying Food To Asylum-Seekers, Watchdog Groups Say : NPR
Would-be refugees who have appealed their asylum claims in Hungary have been systematically deprived of food, observers say. The European Court of Human Rights has intervened on a case by case basis.
Rejected asylum seekers denied food in Hungary: HRW | News | Al Jazeera
Human Rights Watch calls on Hungarian government to halt ‘inhumane treatment’ and resume food distribution immediately.
‘Last-Known’ Nazi Collaborator Living In U.S. Deported To Germany
A man who thought to be the last World War II Nazi collaborator in the United States has been deported to Germany.
Nazi collaborator Jakiw Palij is deported from U.S. to Germany
Jakiw Palij was the last known Nazi collaborator on U.S. soil. He lived in a two-story, red brick home in Queens he shared with his wife, Maria, now 86.
Nazi labor camp guard caught by ICE, deported to Germany, White House says | Fox News
The last known Nazi collaborator living in the United States — a 95-year-old former camp guard who played an indispensable role in the murders of thousands of Jews — was deported to Germany from his New York City home early Tuesday morning, the White House announced.
Nazi guards weren’t the only ones killing Jews during the Holocaust. Some — but not all — communities did it themselves first. Why? – The Washington Post
We examined pogroms in Poland and Ukraine — and learned that It wasn’t just about anti-Semitism.
How antisemitism in Britain is rooted in the Second World War | The Times
Archive papers released to The Times show that Churchill’s bastion of propaganda and censorship allowed prejudice towards Jews to grow relentlessly. Dominic Kennedy reports
Jeremy Corbyn’s latest comments could be final straw | News | The Times
Jeremy Corbyn’s latest comments are qualitatively different from anything that has come before.Until now, Mr Corbyn has been accused of appearing on platforms with antisemites, appearing to endorse antisemites, putting wreaths on the graves of those who murder Jews and endorsing an antisemitic mural
Jeremy Corbyn said UK ‘Zionists’ have ‘no sense of English irony’ | Daily Mail Online
The comments were made in 2013, when Corbyn was giving a speech alongside some of Britain’s worst extremists, at a London conference promoted by the propaganda website of terror group Hamas.


Prague Concert Commemorates 1968 Soviet Invasion
Thousands of people attended a free outdoor concert in downtown Prague on August 21 marking the 50th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of the former Czechoslovakia. Czech music legend Marta Kubisova performed her song Prayer for Marta, which became famous in the wake of the 1968 occupation.
Controversial wedding guest Vladimir Putin dances with Austria’s foreign minister on her big day | Fox News
Russian President Vladimir Putin showed up Saturday at the wedding of the Austrian foreign minister with singing Cossacks, controversy, and his dancing shoes.
UAWire – Ukrainian Foreign Minister: Austria’s explanations of Putin’s presence at Karin Kneissl’s wedding ‘evoke a sad smile’
The Austrian Foreign Ministry justifying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presence at the foreign minister’s, Karin Kneissl’s wedding as a …
Putin Waltzes At Austrian Foreign Minister’s Wedding
Russian President Vladimir Putin danced arm-in-arm with Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at her wedding on August 18 in a video distributed by the Kremlin. Putin arrived with a bouquet of flowers and — according to Austrian media reports — a troupe of Cossack singers booked to serenade Kneissl and her husband Wolfgang Meilinger, an Austrian entrepreneur, at their wedding party in the southern Styria province. Putin said it was a private visit from which he proceeded to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside Berlin. The invitation extended to him by Kneissl surprised many in Vienna at a time when the European Union is at odds with Russia over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, among other issues. Kneissl, a Middle East expert without political affiliation, was appointed to her job by the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) which has a cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia party. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also attended the wedding.
UAWire – Putin’s invitation to foreign minister’s wedding draws criticism in Austria
Austria has criticized the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited to the wedding of Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. The …
Putin dances at Austrian wedding before meeting with Merkel in Germany
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a flying visit to Austria to attend the wedding of the country’s foreign minister Saturday before heading to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Muslim Couple Who Refused to Shake Hands With Officials Denied Swiss Citizenship
“The constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry,” said Swiss official Pierre-Antoine Hilbrand
Ukrainian Rights Activist Says Poland Has Barred Her From Travel In EU
Poland has leveraged its authority as a European Union member to ban a Ukrainian human rights activist from the EU’s 26-member Schengen zone, saying she poses a security threat.
Greece bailout: $330 billion hasn’t solved all economic problems
Greece has officially exited the last of the three enormous rescue programs that saved it from going bust and abandoning the euro.
Greek bailout crisis in 300 words – BBC News
A quick guide to why the debt-stricken nation endured years of bailout loans and drastic austerity.
Argentina Burns Cocaine Found At Russian Embassy
Nearly 400 kilograms of cocaine seized from the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires has been burned in the presence of Argentina’s security minister, Patricia Bullrich, and Russian Ambassador Dmitry Fe…
A “disappointed” South Africa summons U.S. envoy over Trump tweet – CBS News
South Africa's government wished to &quot;convey the unhappiness of the people&quot;


Spanish government approves exhumation of Francisco Franco | World news | The Guardian
Former dictator’s grandson says moving remains from mausoleum is ‘vengeful’
Spain sets in motion plan to dig up former dictator Franco | Fox News
Spain’s center-left government approved Friday legal amendments ensuring that the remains of former dictator Gen. Francisco Franco will be dug up and removed from a controversial national mausoleum honoring its civil war dead.
Spain Awakens Bosnian, Croatian Ghosts Of 1945
The latest round in Spain’s ongoing effort to cope with its own fratricidal past may inadvertently reopen old wounds elsewhere. (The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect tho…


Serbian Paramilitary Chief Arrested For Allegedly Joining Separatist War In Ukraine
Bratislav Zivkovic, the commander of the Chetnik paramilitary force in Serbia, has been arrested on suspicion of organizing a group of Serbs who joined Russia-backed separatists in their war against Ukraine’s government, Serbia’s Interior Ministry said on August 23.
Serbian Police Close Paramilitary Youth Camp Run By Ultranationalists, Russian Group
Serbian police have closed a paramilitary youth camp organized by Russian and Serbian far-right groups on a mountain in western Serbia following complaints from the public.
Russian MiG-29 Fighter Jets Delivered To Serbia
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic welcomed the arrival of two MiG-29 fighter jets at the Batajnica air base outside Belgrade on August 21. The aircraft are the first of six secondhand planes to be handed over by Russia under an arms deal with Serbia.
Serbia Takes Delivery Of Two Russian MiG-29 Fighter Jets
Serbia has taken delivery of two Russian MiG-29 fighter jets — the first of six planes that are part of an arms deal between Belgrade and Moscow.
Russia ‘Disappointed’ After Bosnia Denies Entry To Writer, Citing Security Concerns
Authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina have barred Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin from entering the country, triggering an angry reaction from Bosnian Serb leaders and Russia’s embassy in Sarajevo.


South Africa farm seizure: Terrified white farmers plot escape as crackdown looms | World | News | Express.co.uk
A RECORD number of white South African farmers have put their land up for sale amid fears the ruling party is considering confiscating properties bigger than 25,000 acres.
South Africa begins seizing white-owned farms – Washington Times
The seizures are part of a broad program of land redistribution that the post-Apartheid South African government has committed to speeding up, saying the country’s current wealth distribution reflects theft from black tribes under the whites-only governments of the early- and mid-20th century.
South African Government Begins Seizing Land from White Farmers | National Review
The South African government has begun seizing land from white farmers as part of a nation-wide redistribution effort that commenced Monday with the appropriation of two large game farms.
Trump asks Mike Pompeo to look at South African land seizures and ‘large scale killing of farmers’ – Business Insider
President Donald Trump’s tweet appeared to be a response to a Fox News report that focused on South Africa’s land issue and murders of white farmers.


Latin American states urged to ease entry for fleeing Venezuelans | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera
UN call comes after Ecuador and Peru announce tighter entry requirements for Venezuelans escaping the economic crisis.
Venezuela crisis: Why has 7% of the population fled the country? BBC News – YouTube
BBC News Published on Aug 22, 2018 Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil have all received thousands of migrants from Venezuela in recent years. As the numbers increase tensions are rising, but what is behind the mass exodus?
Ecuador shuts its border to Venezuelan refugees amid historic exodus – The Washington Post
Hundreds of Venezuelans are stranded as Ecuador cracks down on arrivals.
Venezuela crisis: Chaos triggers exodus as neighboring countries stiffen borders – CNN
A Brazilian mob attacked Venezuelans, while Ecuador and Peru have created harsh rules for entering migrants.
Venezuela and Trinidad struck by massive, 7.3-magnitude earthquake – AOL News
The region was rocked by the quake, which sent people rushing out of buildings and knocked out power.
Venezuela hit by SECOND major earthquake: 5.7-mag quake hits sending terror through region | World | News | Express.co.uk
VENEZUELA has been hit by another earthquake in an aftershock just hours after a 7.3-magnitude quake sent terror through South America.
Venezuela ‘paralysed’ by launch of sovereign bolivar currency – BBC News
Businesses close and streets empty as President Maduro’s new currency causes uncertainty.
Desperate Venezuelans defy Ecuador’s passport rules and cross border | Reuters
Dozens of furious Venezuelan migrants fleeing economic misery in Venezuela for a new life elsewhere on Sunday defied rules requiring they hold a valid passport to cross the border from Colombia into Ecuador, and authorities appeared to be allowing it.
Venezuela crisis: Brazil deploys troops after migrant attacks – BBC News
Security is stepped up after migrants fleeing Venezuela’s economic crisis were attacked.
Tense calm on Brazil-Venezuelan border after anti-immigrant riot | Reuters
Fearful Venezuelan immigrants lined up in smaller numbers to enter Brazil on Sunday at the only border crossing between the two countries one day after violent protests by Brazilian residents drove hundreds back across the frontier.
Venezuela is pegging its economic recovery to a cryptocurrency that’s widely considered a scam 
President Nicolas Maduro announced a new currency going into effect Monday to stop its out-of-control inflation, and it’s backed by a cryptocurrency that its own parliament says is illegal and others have called a scam. 
A cryptocurrency is making huge inroads in Venezuela as inflation runs wild — and it’s not bitcoin or the Petro | Business Insider
LONDON – Cryptocurrency Dash is seeing a surge in new merchant sign-ups and wallet downloads in Venezuela as hyperinflation in the country runs wild.
14m bolivars for a chicken: Venezuela hyperinflation explained | World news | The Guardian
As South American country faces soaraway prices, what is hyperinflation and why is it bad for the economy?
Feds target millions in assets linked to alleged Venezuelan money-laundering ring | Miami Herald
Among the targeted assets are at least 17 South Florida homes, condos and horse ranches ranging in total value from $22 million to $35 million, based on property assessments in public records and real estate market estimates.


IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports


Facebook is rating the trustworthiness of its users on a scale from zero to one – To Inform is to Influence
By Elizabeth Dwoskin Silicon Valley reporter August 21 at 10:00 AM SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has begun to assign its users a reputation score, predicting their trustworthiness on a scale from zero to one. The previously unreported ratings system, which Facebook has developed over the last year, shows that the fight against the gaming of…
Fake academic journals are publishing work from real researchers alongside junk science – To Inform is to Influence
BY DANIEL FUNKE & ALEXIOS MANTZARLIS · AUGUST 16, 2018 The Week in Fact-Checking is a newsletter about fact-checking and accountability journalism, from Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network & the American Press Institute’s Accountability Project. Sign up here. Investigating fake academic journals In a time when fakery seems to expand to every corner of the internet (including fake Amazon product reviews and YouTube views), it seems…
Leaker of secret report on Russian hacking sentenced
A former government contractor who pleaded guilty to mailing a classified U.S. report to a news organization was sentenced on Thursday.
The Stupidly Easy Way to Win World War III: ‘Cut the Cables’ | The National Interest
Cut Internet cables and you have the ultimate denial-of-service cyber weapon.­
3 trends in the future of cyber conflict
Data will be more coveted, humans are the new attack vector and the homeland is increasing at risk in cyber conflicts of the future.
Now we know who tried hacking the Democrats voter file: no one
What the Democratic Party first thought was a malicious attempt to hack the party’s massive voter information file turned out to be something else.
Hackers’ Attempt To Break Into U.S. Democratic Voter Files Thwarted
U.S. officials say hackers attempted to break into the Democratic National Committee’s massive voter database but were stopped, two years after Russian operatives allegedly hacked and leaked the co…
I Just Hacked a State Election. I’m 17. And I’m Not Even a Very Good Hacker. – POLITICO Magazine
It took a lot less than you’d think for myself and my fellow teens to steal the midterms.
Why you should follow the 1-10-60 rule of cybersecurity
Agencies that follow this 1-10-60 rule are much more likely to eradicate the adversary before a cyberattack leaves its initial entry point.
Report: Chinese hackers targeted Alaska networks
A cybersecurity firm has found that Chinese hackers scanned Alaska computers for vulnerabilities before, during and after a state trade mission to the country.
Trump has scrapped a 2012 policy on when to attack in cyberspace
The Trump administration kicked off a new era of government cyber operations by “rescinding” a presidential directive that had restricted offensive capabilities, an administration official told Fifth Domain, but experts warned the move would not be sufficient in detering state-based hacking.
Why open-sourced code can boost cybersecurity
There should no longer be a debate of open versus closed source in the cyber world, but instead we should insist on a community driven approach
China is hacking the same countries it trades with
The Chinese government is matching its aggressive cyber skills with an ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
How the Defense Department views China’s cyberthreat
The Defense Department believes that China will use cyber as a way to deter future attacks, according to a new report.
Booz Allen wins $1B contract to protect NASA, USPS and Treasury networks
The Department of Homeland Security awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $1 billion dollar contract to protect six federal agencies including NASA, USPS, and the Treasury Department.
US spies warn of increase in supply chain vulnerabilities
Hackers have increased attacks on the U.S. supply chain, according to a top intelligence official.
DHS Is Reshaping Federal Cybersecurity with a $1 Billion Contract – Defense One
Booz Allen will protect six agencies in its largest-ever government job.
Fund Meant to Protect US Elections May Be Too Little, Too Late – Defense One
$380 million may sound like a lot — but it was originally approved in 2003, and won\’t be fully spent until 2023, ProPublica finds.

US Domestic Policy Reports


Bolton: Chinese, Iranian, North Korean election meddling ‘a sufficient national security concern’ – CNNPolitics
Chinese, Iranian and North Korean attempts to meddle in the 2018 US elections are, like Russia’s efforts, “a sufficient national security concern,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday.
John Bolton warns of interference from China, Iran and North Korea
National security advisor John Bolton reportedly said Sunday that the U.S. government is not just worried about Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections. It’s concerned about Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean meddling, too.
Trump adviser John Bolton on possibly privatizing US war in Afghanistan: I’m ‘always open to new ideas’ – ABC News
Bolton said possibility of using private military contractors up to president.
Bolton open to privatizing military operations in Afghanistan | TheHill
White House national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday said he’s open to privatizing military operations in Afghanistan following
Erik Prince is launching a cable news tour to convince Trump to privatize the war in Afghanistan – ThinkProgress
Majority says Trump too friendly toward Russia: CNN poll | TheHill
Nearly six in ten Americans say President Trump is too friendly towards Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, according to a CNN survey.
CNN Poll: 6 in 10 say Trump too friendly toward Russia – CNNPolitics
Four in 10 Americans see Russia as an enemy of the United States, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, the largest share to say so since CNN polls began asking the question in 1999. And nearly 6 in 10 say Donald Trump has been too friendly toward Russia.
Trump Targets Official Linked To Russia Probe For Punitive Action
U.S. President Donald Trump says he is considering moving “very quickly” to revoke the security clearance of a Justice Department official who had connections with a firm that produced a controvers…
Accused Russian Agent Seeks To Raise Funds Online For Legal Defense
A Russian woman who has been charged in Washington with acting as an unregistered agent for the Russian government has launched an online funding-raising campaign to pay for her legal defense.
Accused Russian Butina Transferred From D.C. To Virginia Jail
A Russian woman who has been charged in the United States with acting as an unregistered agent for the Russian government has been transferred from a jail in Washington, D.C., to another one in Ale…
‘Inside Politics’: Alleged Russian spy’s charm offensive – CNNPolitics
Here are the stories our D.C. insiders are talking about in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow’s headlines today.
How Trump’s Rallies Helped Fuel His Rise | Trump’s Road to the White House | FRONTLINE – YouTube
FRONTLINE PBS | Official Published on Jan 24, 2017 As an excerpt from “Trump’s Road to the White House” shows, the new president’s rallies on the campaign trail weren’t just to fire up voters — but to fire up Trump himself.
America is Addicted to Sanctions | The National Interest
Ukraine is a good case study in the ineffectiveness of sanctions. Nicolai N. Petro is the Silvia-Chandley Professor of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. From 1989 to 1990 he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State. His latest book, Ukraine in Crisis , was published by Routledge in 2017.
The myth of Trump’s ‘soft’ Russia policy
There is little doubt that the Russian government tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election to boost Donald Trump’s prospects. It was hardly surprising that Moscow would pursue such an objective. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly advocated a more conciliatory U.S. policy toward Russia, raising hopes in the Kremlin that the poisonous bilateral relationship during the final years of Barack Obama’s administration could be reversed. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, favored a hardline policy toward Russia and openly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.
Congress should punish Russia for election interference, not US | TheHill
Preventing Russian interference in U.S. elections is a vital priority, and tough sanctions are an effective tool. Let’s make sure the sanctions are directed at the perpetrators in Russia, not at U.S. competitiveness.
Study Finds Russian Trolls Spread Discord In U.S. About Vaccine Safety
A new study on Russia’s state-run public opinion manipulation campaigns says the same Russian trolls and bots that interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election also spread misinformation on …
Reagan tells Soviet jokes – YouTube
oboguev Published on Mar 18, 2008 Reagan tells Soviet jokes


Military Faces a Sweeping Turnover Among Upper Commanders – WSJ
President Trump is planning a series of promotions to replace a wave of retiring commanders, marking the administration’s largest imprint on military leadership thus far.
Trump preparing to nominate key military personnel: report | TheHill
President Trump is expected to switch out commanders across the Middle East and Europe in the administration’s most dramatic change to the US military leadership so far, according to
The Pentagon’s Contracting Gurus Mismanaged Their Own Contracts | War Is Boring
Donald Trump Cancels Military Parade, Cites High Cost | PEOPLE.com
President Donald Trump announced that he decided to cancel an upcoming military parade in Washington, D.C. because it was going to be too expensive
Mulvaney on canceled military parade: It wasn’t just the money – POLITICO
But the budget director declined to say what the other factors were.
A Message to Pentagon Spokespeople, From Your Former Boss – Defense One
There’s a difference between campaigning and serving, and people have a right to know what goes on their government.
After flying beyond their service life, Air Force Pave Hawks are finally getting replaced
The Air Force’s HH-60G Pave Hawks — the Defense Department’s premier combat rescue helicopter — have aged beyond their expected service life and are in dire need of replacement.
Pentagon, GOP breathe sign of relief after Trump cancels parade | TheHill
The Pentagon is off the hook — at least for the time being — for planning President Trump’s display of military might down Pennsylvania Avenue.


Key quotes from Reuters interview with Trump | Reuters
Here are highlights of the Reuters Oval Office interview with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday.
Trump: ‘Nothing bad can happen’ from meeting with foreign leaders | TheHill
Trump defends his meetings with Russian, North Korean leaders.
Trump understands something that the world’s other power-hungry leaders don’t – The Washington Post
He could cripple them if he wanted to.
Clapper: Brennan’s rhetoric is becoming an issue | TheHill
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday that he thinks former CIA Director John Brennan’s rhetoric is becoming an issue “in and of itself.”
Trump’s Unprecedented Retaliation Draws Unprecedented Rebukes – Defense One
A dozen former spy chiefs slammed the president after he yanked Brennan\’s clearance. What comes next?
Ex-CIA Director John Brennan: Trump is ‘drunk on power’ – CNNPolitics
Former CIA Director John Brennan criticized President Donald Trump on Friday for revoking his security clearance and said the President is “drunk on power.”
Special ops shoot down Brennan and his defenders: ‘You put your politics before us’ | Fox News
John Brennan rallied numerous high-powered defenders to his corner over his security clearance clash with President Trump, but some well-known special ops heroes are firing back suggesting the former CIA director got what he deserves.
Ex-CIA officials: ‘Country will be weakened’ if political litmus test applied to experts – CNNPolitics
Sixty former CIA officials warned President Donald Trump in a statement on Friday that “the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”
Brennan considers legal action against Trump, report says | Fox News
John Brennan, the former CIA director and outspoken critic of President Trump, said in an interview Sunday that he is willing to do whatever he can to prevent others from having their security clearances revoked, including taking the president to court.
Senators, Trump officials clash over Russia sanctions | TheHill
A Senate panel united in bipartisan frustration Tuesday as Trump administration officials rebuffed several of their questions about the impact and implementation of Russian financial sanctions.
New Russia meddling claims put Trump on spot over Putin – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump is facing fresh political heat over his relationship with Vladimir Putin over details of a new Russian hacking strike against US democracy that emerged hours after he again cast doubt on Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential race.
How America should respond to Russia’s alleged hacking
Experts and lawmakers argued that the U.S. should aggressively respond to reports that Russia tried to hack the Senate and conservative think tanks.
Russia’s political meddling efforts go beyond midterms, experts say
The hacking attempts stopped by Microsoft go beyond the midterms and highlight a wider digital battle being fought between Russia and the U.S.
Microsoft stopped Russian hacking on Republican think tanks – Vox
Microsoft said it stopped a cyberattack on conservative think tanks in Washington, as well as an attack on the Senate.
Microsoft claims win over ‘Russian political hackers’ – BBC News
Cyber-attacks on US political groups are stopped after Microsoft grabs key net domains, the company says.
How Microsoft Foiled Russian Hackers Targeting GOP Trump Critics – YouTube
Bloomberg Politics Published on Aug 21, 2018 Aug.21 — Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, discusses the company’s seizure of web domains created by cyber-attackers linked to the Russian military, in a potential attempt to manipulate and disrupt the U.S. midterm elections. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang on “Bloomberg Markets: Balance of Power.”
Microsoft: Russian hacking targeted Senate, conservative groups – YouTube
CNN Published on Aug 21, 2018 Microsoft announced it thwarted parts of an operation linked to Russian military intelligence targeting the US Senate and conservative think tanks.
Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms
Microsoft has uncovered new hacking attempts by Russia targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections.
States move quickly to tap into money for election security
Racing to shore up their election systems before November, states are using millions of dollars from the federal government to tighten cybersecurity, safeguard their voter registration rolls and improve communication between county and state election officers.
New Jersey plans to use $10M to bolster election security
New Jersey is poised to use some $10 million in federal and state funds to beef up election security ahead of this year’s midterm and going through 2023, Secretary of State Tahesha Way said Friday.
Idaho gets $3.2M in grant money for election security
Idaho is receiving $3.2 million from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to secure and modernize its elections systems.
Federal team in Maryland evaluating election system
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security team is in Maryland this week to evaluate the state’s election systems, after officials learned last month about a transaction between a venture fund with Russian ties and a company involved in the state’s election infrastructure.
Utah gets $4.1M in grant money to fortify election systems
The state of Utah will use $4.1 million in federal grant money to help buy new voting equipment, replace the state’s voter registration database and to train county and state officials on new voter security measures.
Defamation case against Christopher Steele dismissed – CNNPolitics
A Washington D.C. judge has thrown out a defamation case against a former British spy by three Russian oligarchs over a dossier alleging Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Author of Trump-Russia dossier wins libel case in US court | US news | The Guardian
Suit against Christopher Steele by three Russian oligarchs thrown out by judge
State Democratic parties accused of funneling $84M into Clinton campaign
A federal lawsuit says the Clinton team and the Democratic National Committee went around campaign finance laws by pouring money into state parties that then sent the funds back to the DNC to help Clinton, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Belarusian Escort Says She Gave Evidence of Russian Election Interference to Manafort-Linked Oligarch
Nastya Rybka claimed to possess 16 hours of recordings of a Russian oligarch discussing election meddling with three Americans.
U.S. Intelligence Worker Gets Five Years In Prison For Leaking Russia Report
A U.S. intelligence worker who pleaded guilty to sending a secret report on Russian election cyberattacks to a news website was sentenced on August 23 to five years in prison by a federal court in …


The nightmare is just beginning for Paul Manafort
The next trial for Trump’s former campaign chair will have more evidence, a longer possible sentence, and a less sympathetic judge.
Report Claims Manafort Promoted Russia’s Interests In Kyrgyzstan
A team of Russian investigative journalists has reported that U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, worked in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 to promote the Kremlin’s geopoliti…
Pro-Trump Manafort juror speaks out – YouTube
CNN Published on Aug 23, 2018 One of the jurors from Paul Manafort’s trial said on Wednesday that although she “did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty,” the evidence was “overwhelming.”
Giuliani: People would revolt against Trump impeachment – YouTube
CNN Published on Aug 23, 2018 Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s attorney, claimed there was “no reason” to impeach the President and said Trump has been “vindicated” by Michael Cohen’s account.
A single juror’s disagreement led to mistrial on 10 charges against Paul Manafort, verdict records reveal – NY Daily News
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort evaded conviction on 10 of the 18 charges he faced in his Virginia fraud trial because a single juror didn’t agree with the rest, according to verdict records made public Thursday.
Trump learns the taste of betrayal – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump’s fortress of loyalty is beginning to crumble.
A Lone Holdout Juror Actually Made It More Likely That Paul Manafort Will Go to Jail Even if Trump Pardons Him
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump had recently discussed with his lawyers the prospect of issuing a pardon for Paul Manafort. The former Trump campaign chairman, who was convicted earlier this week on charges of bank fraud and tax fraud, remains under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his work on the 2016 campaign and his connections to Russia. In considering a pardon, Trump could be seeking to pre-empt a cooperation deal with another former top lieutenant after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign-related offenses this week and promised through an attorney to cooperate with the Mueller probe. A pardon would backfire, though, because Manafort would still face numerous state charges and his federal convictions this week would now be admissible in some of those states. Moreover, Trump would only be strengthening the criminal obstruction and the impeachment cases against him.
Fox News host: Trump said he’d consider pardoning Manafort | TheHill
Fox News Host Ainsley Earhardt said Wednesday night on the network’s “Hannity” that President Trump told her he was considering a pardon for his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. 
Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Ready To Talk With Russia Investigators, His Lawyer Says
U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer has information “on certain subjects that should be of interest” to the special prosecutor investigating ties between Russia and his 2016 electi…
Trump Lashes Out After Longtime Lawyer Pleads Guilty And Implicates President
U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, a day after Cohen pleaded guilty to election finance violations and implicated Trump as well.
Trump powerless as legal fate spins out of his control – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump may no longer control his fate, a plight that helps explain his increasingly volcanic Twitter eruptions.
Newt Gingrich: Mueller’s fatal mistake | Fox News
There is now no excuse for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to ask to interview President Trump.
Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort’s Guilt And What It Means For Trump : NPR
The two high-profile people close to President Trump were either found guilty or pleaded guilty to multiple federal crimes — and one implicated the president in a major campaign finance violation.
Live: Michael Cohen pleads guilty to 8 counts – CNNPolitics
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts including tax fraud and campaign finance violations. See latest updates.
Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty, implicates president | Trump News | Al Jazeera
Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty, saying he broke the law at the direction of a candidate for federal office.
Cohen’s plea deal is prosecutor’s attempt to set up Trump | TheHill
The plot to get Donald Trump out of the White House thickens as his former lawyer turns on him.
The worst hour of Donald Trump’s presidency just happened – CNNPolitics
Two massive clouds that have been hanging over Donald Trump’s presidency for months broke open almost simultaneously on Tuesday afternoon — and poured rain all over the President.
Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty of 8 charges; mistrial on 10 other counts | AL.com
Manafort, the longtime political operative who for months led Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign, was found guilty of eight financial crimes Tuesday.
Paul Manafort split verdict says nothing on Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election
What does the Paul Manafort divided verdict — guilty on 8 fraud charges with a mistrial declared on the remaining 10 charges — mean for the question of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to fix the 2016 election?
Paul Manafort convicted by jury on bank and tax fraud charges; mistrial declared on 10 counts | Fox News
A federal jury in Virginia convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, making him the first campaign associate of President Trump found guilty by a jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
Paul Manafort found guilty on multiple counts of fraud
Trump calls Manafort a ‘good man’ after convictions – YouTube
CNN Published on Aug 21, 2018 President Trump praised his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a “good man” after Manafort was found guilty on eight counts and attacked special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and a “disgrace.”
Ukraine Launches Probe Into Suspected Business Dealings Between Ex-Officials, Manafort
Ukrainian authorities have launched an investigation into whether former state officials paid Paul Manafort for political consulting work, the country’s prosecutor-general says.
RFE/RL: Ukraine launches probe into suspected business dealings between ex-officials, Manafort | UNIAN
Ukrainian authorities have launched an investigation into whether former state officials paid Paul Manafort for political consulting work, the country’s prosecutor-general says. Lutsenko did not name any of the suspects.
Manafort Is Convicted — Now He Must Prepare For An Even Bigger Trial
A U.S. court’s conviction of Paul Manafort was a big blow to the man who served as President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman. But it’s nowhere close to the end of legal woes for the once-powerful …
Nastya Rybka says she’s cut a deal with Oleg Deripaska and handed over her supposed ‘Russiagate’ dirt — Meduza
Anastasia Vashukevich, aka “Nastya Rybka,” has apparently decided to cut a deal with Oleg Deripaska, after the FBI ignored her offer to expose his supposed role in “RussiaGate” collusion. On August 20, she told reporters at her trial in Thailand (where she’s charged with carrying on illegal sex work) that she’s handed over all her audio and video recordings of Deripaska, where he supposedly discussed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Campaign 2018: Nevada Dems accused of funneling cash to Clinton – Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada’s Democratic Party could be pulled into a federal lawsuit that alleges the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee illegally funneled millions to state parties that sent the money back to the DNC to support Clinton.
Smoke breaks, sandwiches and solitaire: Manafort verdict waiting game – POLITICO
After another day of deliberations with no outcome, reporters and lawyers have settled into a time-killing routine.
Manafort, defense team ‘very happy’ after jury fails to reach verdict in third day of deliberations | Fox News
The jury weighing more than a dozen bank and tax fraud charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort failed to return a verdict after its third day of deliberations on Monday, raising the possibility of a hung jury as the wait drags on.
Trump Denounces Probe Into Russian Election Meddling As ‘McCarthyism At Its Worst’
U.S. President Donald Trump has denounced an investigation into ties between Russia and his 2016 election campaign, calling the probe “McCarthyism at its WORST!”
Fox News’ Chris Wallace Criticizes Trump For Commenting On Paul Manafort Trial
“We really have changed. I’m not sure it’s for the better,” the anchor said.
Judge in Manafort trial says he’s been threatened over case | Fox News
The judge in ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s fraud trial revealed Friday he has received threats over the case and now travels with U.S. Marshals, as he turned back a media request to release juror information.
Judge in Paul Manafort trial said he’s been threatened
Judge T.S. Ellis said at a hearing in Manafort’s case that he will not release the names of 12 jurors now deliberating Manafort’s fate because he is worried about their safety if their identities become publicly known. Manafort is being prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
Manafort Judge Says He’s Received Threats, Fears For Jurors’ Safety
The judge presiding over the trial of U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort says he has received threats that have made him fear for the “peace and safety” of the jur…
Manafort trial Day 14: Jury ‘scared’ as it heads home without a verdict – POLITICO
Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing said the ongoing deliberations favor his client.
Is President Trump trying to tamper with the Manafort jury? – The Washington Post
The president’s declarations could have an effect on those deciding his former campaign chairman’s guilt or innocence.
Manafort lawyer: We appreciate Trump’s support – CNN Video
Paul Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing told reporters he appreciates President Donald Trump’s support after Trump called the trial “very sad.”
Trump defends ex-aide Manafort as jury weighs verdict – media | UNIAN
Weighing in even as a Virginia jury deliberates for a second day, U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday called the bank and tax fraud trial of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort “very sad” and described the defendant as a “very good person.” As president, Trump has the power to pardon Manafort on the federal charges.
Trump defends ex-aide Manafort as jury ends second day of deliberations | Reuters
In a break with convention, President Donald Trump weighed in on a criminal trial as the jury considered a verdict on Friday, calling the tax and bank fraud case against Paul Manafort “very sad” and lauding his former campaign chairman as a “very good person.”
Trump Calls Manafort Trial ‘Sad,’ but Is Quiet on a Possible Pardon – The New York Times
The jury in the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, deliberated for a second day without reaching a verdict.
What a guilty verdict for Manafort would mean for Trump and Mueller
The persistent claim by President Trump and his legal team that special counsel Robert Mueller is wasting time and taxpayer dollars investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia could lose its impact if Paul Manafort is soon convicted on bank and tax fraud charges, according to legal experts who have followed the former Trump campaign chairman’s three-week trial.
UAWire – Russian oligarchs’ assets frozen in Cyprus at US’s request
The Russian billionaires who have been placed under US sanctions have been hit by massive audits of their offshore accounts. Oleg Deripaska and …
Donald Trump Is a ‘Russian Asset’ Owned by the Mafia, Author Claims in New Book
Author Craig Unger spoke with Newsweek about the allegations in his new book, “House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia.”
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