Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (151)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

The IL-20/COOT shootdown is being milked by Sputnik, which makes them look petty.

Anna Shapiro appears to be a hoax. I doubt there is a connection to Mother Russia.  Anna’s husband, Alex King, once hoaxed Prince Charles.

The Business Insider article by Alex Lockie about Putin being a paper tiger in Syria, not capable of protecting his own troops, is worth reading. It caused me to wonder how much else in the Russian military, is a facade. After the Soviet wall fell, we found much of the vaunted Soviet military was somewhat of a sham. 

My gut feeling for Russia’s information warfare efforts is that there is a noticeable change in both volume and tone, less volume and a slightly softer tone. It feels like their strategy is being reworked, at the uppermost levels. Igor Panarin is less vocal lately, which means he is consumed elsewhere. Alexander Dugin is strangely quiet. The propaganda coming out of Russia feels like ‘copy and paste’, with no originality, as if the boss is gone. The Russian trolls are singularly focused in the US, on the Kavanaugh hearings. If anything, whoever is running the offices are mucking it all up. To our great delight.

All in all, even with the midterm elections looming, it feels like Russian trolls and Russian propaganda are in a strategic pause. I can’t judge if they’re focusing more on internal Russia or if they’re lifting and shifting strategies…  Lift and Shift is an old Infantry term, sorry if that term confuses you.

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The mess surrounding the loss of the VKS COOT near Latakia continues, an Israeli delegation traveled to Muscovy today to brief the Russians, while some Russian media and proxies continue to push the blameshifting line. The Vozhd states his intent to develop a new generation of Wunderwaffe, obsoleting their latest current tech – will these be built from Chinese subsystems, components and materials? More on Macedonia and Fort Trump.

In the UK, the latest Salisbury incident now appears to be a very expensive (to the UK taxpayer) hoax and media suggest the Wiltshire Police will investigate it as such. Given the widely cited and very odd backgrounds of the two protagonists and the odds they would end up being very quickly exposed, this begs the question of motive? It will be interesting to see whether they were encouraged or paid to produce a диверсия (diverziya) to distract from the “epic fail” week. This will be interesting to watch. A most interesting survey of Russian covert ops failures by Dobrokhotov.

Multiple reports on Idlib with players from all camps claiming credit for the outcome. Hezbollah state they will acquire PGMs and will remain in Syria. Will Gazprom start competing with Wagner PMC? US Iran envoy states US would like to see a new treaty with Iran that also addresses problems not addressed in the previous deal.

Russia Not Received Data From Israel on Situation With IL-20 in Syria – Peskov – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia has not yet received data from Israel on the situation with the IL-20 aircraft crash in Syria, experts will examine it in due time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

Syrian President Assad Says Il-20 Crash ‘Result of Israeli Arrogance’ – Reports – Sputnik International

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has sent a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin, expressing his condolences over the recent Russian Il-20 plane crash in Syria, local media reported.

US Navy Says Aware of Russian Il-20 Crash, Ready to Provide Assistance if Needed – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US Navy 6th Fleet is informed about the Russian Il-20 deadly aircraft crash in the Mediterranean and is ready to provide assistance at sea to any country if needed, the 6th Fleet public affairs officer, Cmdr. Kyle Raines, told Sputnik.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Israeli Air Force commander to arrive in Moscow on Thursday to hand data on Il-20 crash

The Air Force commander and the delegation will present data on the incident in all aspects, including preliminary information and main conclusions of the investigation

Kremlin gets telegram about downed Russian plane from Syria’s Assad: Ifax

The Kremlin said on Thursday it had received a telegram from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in which he expressed his condolences over a Russian military plane being downed near Syria earlier this week, the Interfax news agency reported. Russia’s Defence Ministry said the Il-20 reconnaissance

Russian bases in Syria to be equipped with upgraded control systems

Russian Defense Ministry is making steps to upgrade security on Russian military bases in Syria and installation of automated control instruments is one

TASS: World – Kremlin denounces claims on Russia’s involvement in new poisonings in Salisbury as absurd

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the adsurdity of the claims is ‘evident’

Russia to study Israeli data related to downed plane | Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted Israel’s offer to share detailed information about its air raid which triggered fire by Syrian forces that downed a Russian reconnaissance plane, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII is the Beginning of the End in Syria

Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made international media.

The loss of a Russian plane in Syria reveals how Putin is strangely powerless to protect his own troops | Business Insider

Russia grappled with a tragedy on Tuesday after its ally, Syria, mistakenly shot down one of its planes flying above the Mediterranean, and it shows how Russian President Vladimir Putin is strangely powerless to protect his own people. Russia’s ally Syria shot down one of its planes on Tuesday, and it exposes how Russian President Vladimir Putin is strangely powerless to protect his own people or do much more than enforce the status quo. Russia has suffered a number of humiliating defeats in Syria while its economy has entered a downward spiral. Putin portrays himself as powerful, but he has failed to protect Russians time and time again.

The Aviationist » Let’s Recap Everything We Know About The Russian Il-20M Shot Down By A Syrian S-200 Missile System Yesterday

By Tom Demerly The Il-20M was shot down off Syria shortly after an Israeli air strike had hit targets in the Latakia Province.

Pussy Riot Producer Poisoned By Russia? – To Inform is to Influence

It is being stated without hard evidence that Russia’s intelligence services attempted to poison 30-year-old Russian-Canadian Pyotr Verzilov, the producer of Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot is the female band that has made countless protests against Putin and his regime, resulting in inflated jail sentences. Pyotr Verzilov ran onto the field during the Russian 2018 World…

MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft crashed in Russia – Defence Blog

MiG-31 supersonic interceptor crashed in the Nizhny Novgorod near the town of Kulebaki, on Wednesday. Russian emergency services have already confirmed that the MiG-31 aircraft crashed in a marshy area near the village of Molochnaya Ferma and Kulebaki in the Nizhny Novgorod region. “A MiG-31 interceptor crashed in the Nizhny Novgorod Region several minutes ago. The incident occurred near the town of Kulebaki,” the source said. The regional emergencies ministry official confirmed that the plane crashed, causing no destruction. “No destruction on the ground occurred, because the plane fell in a forest area. Our personnel are working at the crash site,” the office said. According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, the crew of the MiG-31 ejected themselves before the crash. The MiG-31 or the Foxhound as it is called in the West is a veteran of Russia’s Aerospace Force. According to the, approximately 500 MiG-31 aircraft have been produced, out of which 370 were delivered to the Russian Air Force and 30 are in service with Kazakhstan Air Force. The remaining aircraft were upgraded to different variants under several upgrade programmes. Only some of the Russian MiG fleet have been upgraded to MiG-31BM standards under the upgrade programme.

Putin says Russia perfected weapons based on Syria campaign

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the military’s combat experience gained in Syria has helped develop new weapons systems.

Vladimir Putin Wants Russia’s Military To Build ‘Weapons of the Future’

Trump administration officials say Russia’s military technology could soon surpass that of the U.S.

Forget the S-500 or Su-57 PAK-FA. Russia’s Military Has Big Plans for the Future. | The National Interest

But will they actually come to pass?

Russia’s New Commanding Role in the Arctic (Op-ed)

A new shipping corridor between Asia and Europe promises to strengthen Russia’s control over the Arctic.

Walmart Pulls Soviet-Themed Shirts After Lithuania Objects – The New York Times

The removal of the hammer and sickle T-shirts sold online has ignited a war of words between Russia and the former Soviet republic.

Russia ‘Congratulates’ Lithuania After Walmart Ends Sale Of T-Shirts Featuring Soviet Symbols

“We value Walmart’s decision to stop selling clothing with Soviet symbols that are associated with mass murder of millions of innocent people,” ” Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius tweeted.

Why Russia Is Trying to Stop Macedonia From Changing its Name – Defense One

As Macedonians go to the polls, the results will help determine whether their country becomes the newest member of the EU and NATO.

Army chief: Poland doesn’t have space for ‘Fort Trump’ | TheHill

The space proposed by Poland’s government for a U.S. military base in the country may not be enough to allow U.S. forces to construct a permanent facility that Poland’s president offered to name “Fort Trump.”

Polish President’s Fort Trump Sets a Precedent for NATO Allies – Bloomberg

NATO members may find U.S. protection now comes at a price.

Poland is beset by Russian revanchism, Western decadence, and dangers from within

Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, met with President Trump at the White House today. Under Duda’s leadership, the Polish government has faced criticism for its reform of (or hijacking of, depending on who you ask) the Polish judiciary. This, along with growing nationalist sentiment, an increasingly strained relationship with the European Union, and perennial concerns about Russia have all played into broader concerns about a new era of authoritarianism.

Police to question man at centre of Salisbury scare | UK news | The Guardian

Officers looking into whether incident involving Alex King and Anna Shapiro was a hoax

Salisbury Prezzo novichok poisoning scare may be a hoax, say police

Couple tested negative for nerve agent and have been discharged from hospital

Salisbury incident: Hoax ‘likely’ to be one line of inquiry – BBC News

The man who prompted Sunday’s major incident after ‘falling ill’ at a restaurant once hoaxed Prince Charles.

Couple at centre of Novichok scare are suspected drug dealer and £4,000-a-night high-class escort – Mirror Online

EXCLUSIVE: Alex King, 42, is charged with 12 counts of possession with intent to supply class A, B and C drugs and is on bail until his trial next year

Novichok scare in Salisbury ‘could be a HOAX’ after Russian escort and husband taken ill at Prezzo – Mirror Online

Russian-born Anna Shapiro, 30, and husband Alex King, 42, tested negative for the nerve agent following the major incident in Salisbury on Sunday

Husband of Russian model who said she was poisoned at Salibsury Prezzo linked to conman ‘Fast Eddie’ | Daily Mail Online

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Russian model Anna Shapiro and her British husband Alex King became ill at Prezzo in Salisbury, claiming they were the victims of a Russian attack.

Husband of Russian model who claims Putin tried to kill her is friends with notorious conman | Daily Mail Online

Alex King was taken ill along with his model wife Anna Shapiro while eating at a restaurant in Salisbury where former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok.

Revealed: Russian model’s husband ‘poisoned’ in Salisbury has prankster past and once fooled Prince Charles

The mysterious case of the Russian model who claimed she and her husband were poisoned in a Salisbury restaurant on the orders of Vladimir Putin has taken an extraordinary twist.

Was the latest Salisbury poisoning scare a hoax? | Metro News

Investigators probing the nerve agent scare at a Salisbury restaurant are set to consider if it was the result of an elaborate hoax, it has been reported. Russian-born Anna Shapiro,…

Rat poison, Prezzo and the Russian model: an odd Salisbury subplot | UK news | The Guardian

In the wake of the novichok incidents, has the city fallen victim to a hoax?

Russian-born woman claims she was target in Salisbury scare | UK news | The Guardian

Anna Shapiro tells of fears over Moscow as city’s Prezzo eatery where pair fell ill denies claims it used strychnine at premises

Salisbury poisoning attack victim Shapiro states she is daughter of top military official under Russian President Putin

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Police speak out over Russian model’s Putin poison claim | Daily Star

COPS say the case involving a Russian model who claimed she was the intended victim of a poisoning in Salisbury two days ago is “not being treated as suspicious”.

EU East StratCom Task Force: How to rob Peter to pay Paul – Disinformation Review – To Inform is to Influence

New #DisinfoReview from the EU East StratCom Task Force View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward 20 September 2018 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* How to Rob Peter to Pay Paul What do you do when one of your heaviest disinformation attacks backfires? You send out way more disinformation attacks and hope that they…

Roman Dobrokhotov | Russia’s military unintelligence | Skripal poisoning | Al Jazeera

Why the Russian intelligence agencies keep failing abroad. … It is possible that one of the reasons for such unprofessional behaviour of Russian military intelligence officers is that they do not feel the need to cover up their trail. The Russian government has always denied any allegations of its agents being involved in special operations abroad, even when the facts were clear. Yet, it very much enjoys all the publicity it gets with each new spy scandal. After all, if your aim is to scare off other countries, then the more hysteria there is about your special ops abroad, the better, even if they are failed ones.

UAWire – Washington: USA is under no illusion that Russia will take steps to avoid sanctions

The USA firmly disbelieves that Russia will accept Washington’s conditions or take actions to avoid the second round of sanctions arising from the Skripal incident, stated the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Andrea Thompson, as published on the Senate’s website. Thompson recalled that the first phase of sanctions against Russia was imposed as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. She said, “The United States has made it clear that we will cease pursuing its development if Russia returns to compliance with the Treaty. We are under no illusion, however, that Russia will take the steps necessary to rescind these sanctions.” Thompson also mentioned that “Independent reports issued twice by the OPCW, most recently on September 4, confirmed the UK assessment in identifying the chemical nerve agent, Novichok.” She added that, “Regarding chemical weapons issues, Russia’s destabilizing behavior is also evident.” Thompson also criticized Russia’s refusal to accept responsibility for its actions or to change its harmful and destructive behavior. To date, the Russian Federation has offered only denials and counter-accusations that Thompson says only serve to deflect attention from its culpability. On August 27, US sanctions against the Russian Federation came into force in connection with the use of chemical weapons in the UK. Sanctions were imposed after Russian was accused of using the nerve agent Novichok in the UK.

Donald Trump turned down Theresa May’s plea for help over Salisbury poisoning | Daily Mail Online

Donald Trump (pictured) told the Prime Minister she had to be ‘98 per cent’ certain of Russian culpability, a book claims. President’s attitude meant it took days for US to expel 60 Russian diplomats.

President Trump ‘was afraid of angering Russia’ | News | The Times

President Trump rejected Theresa May’s plea for US retaliation over the poisoning of the Skripals although she was “95 per cent certain” of Russian involvement, according to a new book. Mrs May spoke to Mr Trump on the phone after Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were attacked in Salisbu

Israeli Air Force Chief Travels To Moscow Amid Shoot-Down Anger

The chief of the Israeli Air Force is traveling to Moscow on September 20 for discussions after a Russian military surveillance plane was shot down over Syria’s coast, killing 15 Russian service-…

Israel air force chief to give Moscow findings on plane downing

Israel’s air force commander was set to lead a delegation to Moscow on Thursday to share the military’s findings on the Syrian downing of a Russian warplane following Israeli air strikes. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has blamed Israel for the incident, which was the worst case of friendly

Downing of Spy Plane: IDF delegation heads to Moscow – Israel National News

Israeli military officials head to Russia in bid to prove IDF not to blame for downing of Russian aircraft over Syria.

IDF chief sends condolences to Russian families after Syria strike debacle

Speaking at IDF exhibition in Holon, Eisenkot says Israel shares the sorrow of the families of Russian military personnel who were killed during Syrian attempt to repel IAF strike on Latakia; despite Russia blaming Israel, Eisenkot emphasizes: Unfortunately, Syrian forces hit a Russian aircraft.

Israel to improve coordination with Moscow over Syria after plane crash | Reuters

Israel said on Thursday it would not halt strikes on Syria but would do more to “deconflict” them with Russian forces, after Moscow accused it of “irresponsible and unfriendly actions” that led to Syrian ground fire mistakenly downing a Russian plane.

Avigdor Liberman: Assad is responsible for downing Russian plane – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s defense forces “will do everything they must” to defend the country and its citizens. “I will continue to do what I must,” he added.

Netanyahu tells Putin Syria is to blame for downing of Russian plane

Following Russian presidents admission that shooting down of its plane was a result of a chain of tragic circumstances, the prime minister holds Assad forces responsible for tragic incident and says Israel will provide all necessary information to help investigation.

Russia shuts air and sea traffic off Syria coast following downing of jet – Syria –

Russia began stepping up operations on Thursday morning following the shooting down of a military aircraft, report in Cyprus says

Russia: ‘We’ll take all measures to protect our soldiers’ – Israel National News

Russian Embassy issues bristling statement against Israel: ‘Moscow views Israeli Air Force actions as irresponsible and unfriendly.’

Despite Russian shoot down, U.S. planes will remain in Syria – We Are The Mighty

U.S. officials said that the shoot-down of a Russian aircraft off the Syrian coast would not affect the U.S. campaign against Islamic State fighters.

Israeli strike on Syria: Satellite images reveal destruction; Putin accepts offer to probe downed jet – Israel News –

Images reveal damage wreaked by strikes near Damascus International Airport and others aimed at suburb of Syria’s port city Latakia

Israel airstrike left Syria arms warehouse in ruins, satellite images show | The Times of Israel

Syrian soldiers reportedly arrested in connection with downed spy plane; IAF commander to fly to Moscow to present the findings of Israel’s investigation into the incident

The downing of Russian plane aims to sabotage the Idlib initiative – Merve Şebnem Oruç – Daily Sabah

The shooting down of the Russian plane shows that there are some circles that are displeased with Erdoğan and Putin’s rapid solution to the Idlib crisis

Putin Is Playing Nice with Israel and Turkey on Syria – Bloomberg

Trump’s willingness to confront the Assad regime has changed the balance of power.

Idlib bloodbath: The next step in information warfare – To Inform is to Influence

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 Dr. Azeem Ibrahim The final rebel holdout against the Assad regime in Syria is in Idlib province. Confrontation is inevitable as both Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies are looking to wrap things up in the country’s civil war, and it does not take a military genius to know that…

What does Russia want in northwest Syria? | Syria | Al Jazeera

Although it is currently in Russia’s interest to de-escalate tensions in Idlib, an attack is still likely.

Idlib agreement a victory for Assad regime as trade routes to reopen – The National

The text of the Turkey-Russia memorandum has been revealed in full

Erdogan scores diplomatic wins in meetings with Putin, Merkel

Despite negative portrayals of President Erdogan, he has been successful in his recent diplomatic efforts.

Demilitarization agreement heartens civilians in Idlib

On Monday, Turkey, Russia signed agreement calling for demilitarization of Syria’s Idlib province – Anadolu Agency

Time limits on Russia-Turkey deal confirm fears of Idlib offensive

An offensive on Idlib province appears to be a question of when not if, according to details of the draft released today.

🇸🇾 Russia-Turkey deal gives Idlib’s wary residents ‘glimpse of hope’ | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Sep 20, 2018 Civilians in Syria’s last rebel-held bastion have cautiously welcomed a “fragile” agreement signed by Ankara and Moscow to create a demilitarised zone that put on hold a threatened offensive on Idlib, even as they expressed concerns over whether the deal will last. The nearly three million residents of the province and its suburbs – half of whom are internally displaced – have also questioned the willingness of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to abide by the agreement, described by observers as a diplomatic breakthrough.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah says group will stay in Syria until further notice | Reuters

The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah, a key Damascus ally, said on Wednesday that his group will keep its military presence in Syria until further notice, commending the Idlib Russian-Turkish agreement as a step toward reaching a political solution in the country.

Nasrallah: Hezbollah getting precision rockets despite Israeli actions – Israel News –

Days after Israeli strike in Syria, Hezbollah chief says efforts to cut smuggling routes are pointless

Russian GazProm May Be New Syrian Mercenary Force – To Inform is to Influence

Russian state-owned and controlled oil and gas giant appears to be purchasing security tools and is positioned to provide their own mercenary force in Syria.  </end editorial> An Armed Gazprom Could Be New Force in Syria By Nicolai Due-Gundersen September 18, 2018 We will support oil and gas companies but we will also control their work…

Envoy: US seeking missile, nuclear treaty with Iran | TheHill

The United States special envoy for Iran said Wednesday that the U.S.

U.S. seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran | Reuters

The United States is seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to include Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its regional behavior, the U.S. special envoy for Iran said on Wednesday ahead of U.N. meetings in New York next week.

Trump Continues His Two-Front War on Iran With Planned U.N. Address

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published by The Interpreter, which is published by the Lowy Institute, an independent,

US names Iran as top terror sponsor; global attacks fall

The report comes out as the Trump administration is taking a tougher stance against Iran.

US Launches Farsi Information Service to Reach Iranians – Defense One

It’s the first new enterprise by the newly renamed U.S. Agency for Global Media.

State Department: Islamist Militants’ Tactics Evolving after U.S. Victories | National Review

The State Department cautioned Wednesday that Islamic militants have “adjusted” their tactics after U.S. forces and allies secured significant victories against them last year.

Rubio asks DOJ to determine if Kerry violated federal laws meeting with Iranian officials | Fox News

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requested on Tuesday that the Justice Department look into whether former Secretary of State John Kerry has violated federal laws by meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, who was his main point of contact during the Iran nuclear deal negotiations under the Obama administration.