Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (49)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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By far the most interesting reports from the EU involve Hungary, and from the US, the Manafort plea bargain – both indicate how deeply the Russians have penetrated Europe, nearly always using the simplest of tools – money.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports

On the Campaign Trail for NATO, With Secretary General Stoltenberg – Defense One
The former Norwegian prime minister tells Defense One that dissent is good, questions are welcome, and they’re making the alliance stronger than ever.
NATO Chief Defends Value of Military Alliance – WSJ
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance, which President Trump has criticized, is a “vital trans-Atlantic bond” based on values that must withstand economic and political disputes.
NATO embraces strong’ approach with Russia – media | UNIAN
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he has no intention of backing down in the face of a “resurgent” Russia, insisting the Western alliance will hold a firm but fair line with Moscow while continuing to accept former Soviet states. Stoltenberg said NATO would continue to support efforts by both Georgia and Ukraine to become NATO members, moves that Russia has long opposed.
In Face of Trump Criticism, NATO Works to Build Conservative Support – The New York Times
Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, worked Capitol Hill this week to argue that the alliance is critical not just for Europe but also for bolstering American military and intelligence agencies.
NATO head shoots down idea of naming new headquarters after McCain | TheHill
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday shot down the idea of naming NATO’s new headquarters after the late Sen.
Stoltenberg says NATO thanks Trump for pushing allies to spend more on defense – Washington Times
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has come through on one of President Trump’s major demands, that members other than the U.S. dramatically boost their defense spending to relieve the burden Washington faces propping up the military alliance.
Germany’s Air Force Isn’t Going to War Against Anyone | The National Interest
“In July, German media reported that most of the Luftwaffe’s advanced Eurofighter jets had been grounded for maintenance issues with their defensive systems. Considering that attacking the Syrian government could pit Luftwaffe aircraft against advanced Russian air defenses, this could be a problem.”
Poland, Making a Play for a U.S. Military Base, Offers to Call It Fort Trump – The New York Times
President Andrzej Duda offered to host the structure as a bulwark against Russia. President Trump said Warsaw would have to pay billions to use his name.
Poland intended to demand from PACE return of Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft wreckage, – 112 International – Poland intended to demand return of Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft wreckage from PACE –
Poland intended to demand from PACE return of Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft wreckage, – 112 International
Estonia’s defense minister on Russian threats and defending the Baltics
On his third stint as Minister of Defence, Luik opens up about his concerns with Russia and whether there is hope for peace in Europe.
UAWire – Stoltenberg promises that Georgia will become a NATO member
After the meeting with the U.S. national security adviser, John Bolton, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured that NATO will continue to support Georgia’s and Ukraine’s efforts to join the Alliance, reports Voice of America. “Georgia will become a NATO member,” said Stoltenberg during the speech at the Heritage Foundation research centre. The Secretary General also said that the Alliance does not intend to retreat because of the pressure from Russia. “For us, there is no contradiction in being firm and resolute in our approaches to Russia, while at the same time seeking a dialogue,” he said. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is not interested in confrontation, noting that Moscow is “ready to use military force against its neighbors”. “We see that Russia invests resources in numerous (military) capabilities, as well as intelligence. Because of this, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, NATO allies have increased their budget for defense. ” Jens Stoltenberg stressed that he sees few signs that Russia is reducing activity in this direction. “We saw how they used media, social media and misinformation trying to influence political processes in various European countries,” said the secretary general. Previously Stoltenberg said that NATO will not offer Ukraine a program of expanded opportunities yet. However, he promised that the Allience would support Ukraine in other ways. In the spring of 2018, NATO acknowledged Ukraine’s desire to gain full membership in this organization.
Thousands March In Macedonia In Favor Of Name Change, NATO, EU Membership
Thousands of Macedonians marched in the capital, Skopje, in support of a move to change the country’s name and for eventual NATO and European Union membership.
Mattis Warns Against Russian ‘Influence Campaigns’ Ahead Of Macedonia Name Referendum
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Macedonia on September 17 with a warning that Russia was attempting to use its money and influence to build opposition to the upcoming referendum on changing the former Yugoslav republic’s name.
Zaev: Macedonians Must Accept Name Change Or Face ‘Isolation’
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev says citizens must either agree to accept a new name for the country or face a future of “instability” and “isolation.”
UAWire – Finnish president: Finland not ready to join NATO yet because of Russia’s position
At this stage, Finland does not consider the prospect of joining the North Atlantic alliance, President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. According to him, Moscow “made it clear” that if Finland joins NATO, it will “see it as an enemy.” “The Russians made it clear that when they look at us across the border, they see Finnish people.” If we join NATO, they will see us as enemies. That is their position, “explained Niinisto. He added that joining the Alliance is still a possible option. The President of Finland reminded of the close proximity between the two states’ borders. In his opinion, this should be taken into account. “We can not change geography, we are neighbors, and we have 1,300 kilometers of the common border, which is almost as much as with other EU member states and NATO,” he recalled, calling for building “business relations” between the two states.
US, Russia remain at ‘impasse’ over Open Skies treaty flights
Tension between the U.S. and Russia over the Open Skies treaty have flared up once again.
Russia’s Turn to Eurasia – To Inform is to Influence
Author(s): Jeronim Perović Editor(s): John Thompson, Mahadevan Prem Series Editor(s): John Thompson Series: CSS Policy Perspectives Volume: 6 Issue: 5 Publisher(s): Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich Publication Year: 2018 Russian efforts to integrate some post-Soviet states into the common framework of the Eurasian Economic Union could have a lasting impact—Europe should take note. Download: Englisch (PDF)
Court Rejects Bids To Cancel Macedonia’s Name-Change Referendum
Macedonia’s Constitutional Court has rejected two bids to declare the September 30 referendum on changing the country’s name to North Macedonia illegal and unconstitutional.
UAWire – US Defense Secretary: Russia meddling with Macedonian referendum
US Defense Secretary James Mattis has accused Russia of trying to influence the outcome of the upcoming referendum in Macedonia, which is intended to clear the way for the country to join NATO. Mattis told reporters he has no doubt that the Russian government is financing pro-Russian groups in order to sabotage the referendum. “They have sent money and they are also conducting broader influence campaigns. We must give the Macedonians the opportunity to determine their own position,” Mattis remarked.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Russian meddling abroad: Does Putin pull all the strings? – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Russia’s Central Bank Hikes Main Interest Rate Amid Tightening Of Western Sanctions
Russia’s central bank has increased its main interest rate for the first time in four years amid a tightening of Western sanctions and accelerating inflation.
Russian Court: ‘Liking’ A Social-Media Post Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Extremism
Russia’s Supreme Court has sharply narrowed when people can be charged under the country’s extremism laws, saying that simply “liking” or reposting material on social media does not alone constitute a crime.
Here’s how United Russia is punishing Natalia Poklonskaya, the only party member who voted against raising the retirement age: A timeline of events — Meduza
On September 20, the State Duma approved the decision to merge the Reported Incomes Monitoring Commission and the Ethics Commission. Otari Arshba, who chaired the latter group, will head the new amalgamation, leaving the former’s chairwoman, Natalia Poklonskaya, without a post on the new commission. For more than two months, Poklonskaya (who served as Crimea’s first post-annexation attorney general before joining the parliament) has been feuding with her own political party. In July, she was the only United Russia deputy to break ranks and vote against unpopular legislation that will raise the country’s retirement age.
Russian Election Authorities Annul Results Of Fraud-Marred Regional Vote
Electoral authorities in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorye region have annulled the result of a disputed gubernatorial runoff vote, after the country’s top election official said it was marred by “serious violations.”
‘Shocked’ Russian Elections Chief Urges Annulment Of Fraud-Marred Vote
Russia’s top election official has recommended that regional authorities annul the result of a disputed gubernatorial runoff vote in the Primorye region, where the Communist Party cried foul after …
Tension Builds In Russian Far East Region After Disputed Vote Count
Rival contenders for the governorship in a Russian Pacific region girded for court battles, and more protests, after an unusual last-minute vote count in a runoff election gave victory to the rulin…
‘Unprecedented Audacity’: A ‘Magic’ Comeback For Kremlin’s Candidate In Disputed Gubernatorial Ballot
A gubernatorial candidate from Russia’s ruling party made a stunning surge to eclipse his challenger, thanks to what his opponent called brazen electoral fraud.
Communists Cry Foul Over Opponent’s Sudden Surge In Russian Runoff Vote
Supporters of Russia’s Communist Party are protesting after the ruling United Russia party’s candidate suddenly surged ahead in the final stages of the vote count in a runoff election for governor …
RUSADA Receives Recommendation For Reinstatement From Doping Executive Committee
Russia has moved a step closer to competing at track and field events after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) received a recommendation to reinstate RUSADA, the country’s anti-doping agency.
‘Not A Sin To Thrash Gays’: As Russian Meme Convictions Mount, Police Shrug At Homophobic Slurs
Post a satirical meme mocking religion in Russia, and you could face charges punishable by up to five years in prison. But in one Russian region, police declined to pursue a case involving online c…
WADA Reinstates Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency After Major Scandal
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has lifted the suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA), despite opposition from tens of athletes and the anti-doping establishment.
World Anti-Doping Agency Lifts Ban On Russia, With Caveats
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has given the green light for Russia to return to global sports competitions after nearly three years of suspension for a state-supported doping program, but under “strict conditions.” The decision came despite strong protests from some top athletes and other national sports organizations.
Russia must turn over lab database to be compliant, WADA says – To Inform is to Influence
SEPTEMBER 15, 2018 (Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) emphasized on Saturday that Russian officials will have to submit a copy of the former Moscow laboratory database and raw data if the country’s anti-doping agency RUSADA is to be reinstated later this month. WADA’s compliance review committee (CRC) recommended on Friday that RUSADA, which…
The Hole Truth: U.S.-Russia Space Dustup Threatens Rare Frontier Of Cooperation
As U.S. and Russian officials call for calm, an unexplained oxygen leak aboard a Russian spaceship has fueled rumors of sabotage and strained relations in one of the few areas in which the countrie…
24 September Event: Russia’s Hydrocarbon Culture in the Making – To Inform is to Influence
Russia’s Hydrocarbon Culture in the Making MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018, 4 – 5 PM VENUE/ROOM Voesar Conf. Room, Suite 412 BUILDING ADDRESS Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street, NW SPEAKERS Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, University of Helsinki EVENTS SERIES Not part of a series INSTITUTE/PROGRAM IERES SPONSORED BY Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies RSVP… OPEN…

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

A Vision Of Central Asia’s Energy Future
The Asian Development Bank has a program to help Central Asian states better provide energy to their populations through the use of renewable resources. But any conversion to greener, more affordab…
Black-Market Babies: Kyrgyz Physicians Arrested Over Sale Of Newborns
The arrest of gynecologists in Kyrgyzstan on suspicion of conspiracy to sell newborn babies is the latest in a string of reports of infants and small children being sold.
Time’s Up For Tajik Sex Pests
Catcallers in the Tajik capital might want to bite their tongue following the introduction of strict new measures against street harassment.

Belarus Reports

“Historical truth campaign”: Belarusians remind Russians of joint military parade held by Red Army and Wehrmacht in 1939. PHOTOS (18.09.18 15:25) « Incidents | Censor.NET
18.09.18 15:25 – “Historical truth campaign”: Belarusians remind Russians of joint military parade held by Red Army and Wehrmacht in 1939. PHOTOS In Brest, Belarus, the local activists held the “Historical truth campaign” by sticking posters showing the military parade jointly held by the Wehrmacht and Red Army in this city on Sept. 22, 1939. View photo news.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Over half of Moldovans oppose NATO membership
Moldova’s integration with the European Union is favored by 38% of the country’s citizens; with the Eurasian Economic Union, by 34%, according to the findings of a social survey unveiled by the Centre for Sociological Research of Moldova (CCSM) at a press conference on Friday.
Ukraine, Moldova discuss ecological problems of Dniester River – 18.09.2018 15:30 — Ukrinform News
A meeting of the Permanent Moldova-Ukraine Commission on Sustainable Use and Protection of the Dniester River Basin was held in Chisinau.
Ukraine, Moldova discuss cooperation in education – 21.09.2018 16:50 — Ukrinform News
A meeting of the Moldova-Ukraine group on education has been held in Chisinau.

Foreign Policy Reports

PACE proposes to complicate procedure for imposing sanctions against Russia – MP | UNIAN
Chairman of Ukraine’s permanent delegation to PACE, MP from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (BPP) faction Volodymyr Aryev says the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) proposes to complicate the procedure for imposing sanctions against delegations of countries that violate human rights, as well as the principles of democracy and the rule of law. Voting in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the relevant decision will be held on October 9.
Poland Says Russian Pipeline A ‘Huge Threat’
Polish President Andrzej Duda has called the Russian-German natural gas pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, “a huge threat” to energy security in Europe. Duda made the comments following a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on September 18. Trump agreed and said it would be a mistake for any nation to depend solely on a foreign energy supplier.
Trump says U.S. not to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 yet –
At the same time, Duda stressed that this project can make Europe dependent on the fuel supply from Russia and increase the risks of Moscow’s political blackmail.
Ukraine to lose $3 bln a year if Nord Stream 2 is built – Kobolev – 17.09.2018 10:24 — Ukrinform News
Ukraine will lose $3 billion, which it annually receives from&nbsp;the transit&nbsp;of natural gas to the EU&nbsp;countries&nbsp;if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is built.
PM Groysman: Nord Stream 2 means complete dependence on Russia – 18.09.2018 16:19 — Ukrinform News
The implementation of Russia&rsquo;s project on construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will make Europe completely dependent on the Kremlin.
Ukrainian Parl’t speaker urges head of Norwegian parliament not to support Nord Stream 2 construction (Video) | UNIAN
Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy at a meeting with President of the Norwegian Parliament Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen in Kyiv on Tuesday emphasized the unacceptability of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Parubiy noted the dynamics of cooperation between Ukraine and Norway in the recent period.

Merkel’s Spy Chief, a Hero to the Far Right, Is Removed After Public Rift – The New York Times
The standoff had raised questions about whether Germany’s security apparatus was too close to the far right to monitor extremist groups effectively.
Hans-Georg Maassen, German spy chief dismissed after migrant chase video fallout
Controversy around the 55-year-old has been building for weeks after he publicly doubted the authenticity of a video depicting what seemed to be angry right-wing protesters chasing a man they thought to be foreign through the streets while shouting xenophobic slogans.
Germany’s Intelligence Chief Loses Post Over Comments on Far-Right Protests – WSJ
The German government is replacing a top intelligence official less than two weeks after he made comments that appeared to play down far-right violence at the margins of recent anti-immigration protests.
German spy chief dismissed amid row with Merkel over ‘fake’ video that wasn’t fake – The Washington Post
The dispute was a stand-in for much bigger questions about where the country stands on immigration, and where it’s heading.
German spy scandal exposes deep divisions in Merkel government | Reuters
A scandal over migrants being chased through the streets has exposed a rift between Angela Merkel and Germany’s security establishment that is dividing her coalition and hindering efforts to contain the fall-out from her “open door” refugee policy.
Seven routes to a people’s vote on Brexit | Hugo Dixon | Opinion | The Guardian
There are a number of scenarios in which MPs could consult the people before Britain leaves the EU, says chair of InFacts Hugo Dixon
Marine Le Pen ordered to undergo psychiatric testing – BBC News
The court order is part of a probe into the far-right leader sharing images of IS atrocities.
Marine Le Pen ordered to submit to psychiatric evaluation over Islamic State execution tweets
PARIS- A French court ordered Marine Le Pen to submit to a psychiatric evaluation as part of its investigation into her decision to post images of Islamic State executions on Twitter, the far right leader said on Thursday and denounced the order. The investigation is one of a series that have distracted Le Pen’s National Rally, formerly known as the National…

Putin, Orban Push For Controversial Hungarian Nuclear-Plant Expansion
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have agreed to move ahead with a project to build two new reactors at Hungary’s Paks nuclear-power plant.
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban’s special relationship –
Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orban are to meet on Tuesday. They both are nationalistic strongmen with a dislike for western liberalism. But the ties between the two are both deeper and more complicated
The End of Viktor Orban’s Peacock Dance – Foreign Policy
As the European Union takes long overdue measures to punish the Hungarian regime, the prime minister appears to be moving from rhetorical to real repression.
Can European Parliament put Hungary in its place? | UNIAN
Most MEPs supported the introduction of sanctions against Hungary for gross violations of the principles of the European Union, paving the way to temporarily deprive Hungary of its voting rights in the EU Council. This is perhaps the most painful decision that could be taken, but this scenario is unlikely to be implemented. The thing is that supporting the decision to apply sanctions against Budapest does not mean immediately imposing penalties. The decision is yet to be endorsed by the leaders of the 28 member states. But, there is a possibility that Poland is likely to stand up for its regional neighbor. However, this definitely sends a certain signal. First, the decision by MEPs set a precedent. Secondly, there is an EU accession procedure, but there is no such procedure for exclusion. Accordingly, it is possible to take a wide range of actions with respect to Budapest, and it is up for the MEPs to decide, how tough these moves will be. Unfortunately, for our part, we do not make use of the present crisis. In any case, if not in the EU, then in NATO, opportunities remain for Hungary to hinder our rapprochement. At the same time, there are no problems with the Poles and Romanians, whom before the war some perceived as a threat to Ukraine. We realize that we are in the same boat, we need to cooperate, while smaller-scale issues should be solved at a technical level, through diplomatic efforts instead of demarches. But the case with Hungary is totally different. They pursue their narrow-focused national interests.
UAWire – Media: Hungarian passports secretly issued to Ukrainians in the Hungarian consulate in Zakarpattia
In the consulate of Hungary in Berehove, Zakarpattia Oblast, Ukrainians have been secretly receiving Hungarian passports, reported by Ukrinform, …
Ukrainians receiving Hungarian passports in Zakarpattia region – 19.09.2018 15:45 — Ukrinform News
Hungarian passports are being issued to Ukrainian citizens in Hungary's consulate in Berehove, Zakarpattia region. The procedure is accompanied by a glass of champagne in honor of a second citizenship and instructions – not to notify the Ukrainian authorities about the receipt of documents.
Hungary close to “red line” after issuing passports in Ukraine’s Zakarpattia – Klimkin | UNIAN
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said Hungary is close to the “red line” after the issuance of its passports to citizens of Ukraine in the town of Berehove in Ukraine’s Zakarpattia region. Klimkin said the parties will talk about how the financing of Hungarian activities is carried out.
Issuance of Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens a challenge to national security – Klimkin – 21.09.2018 10:51 — Ukrinform News
The issuance of Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens in Zakarpattia region is a challenge to national security, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said.&nbsp;
Hungary: Possible expulsion of consul after secret recording in Berehove “unfriendly and risky” | UNIAN
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó says his government regards it as an unfriendly and risky move that Ukraine is thinking about expelling the Hungarian Consul in Berehove over reportedly the secret issue of Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens. Klimkin told reporters that he would be meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó next week in New York City on the sidelines of the session of the United Nations General Assembly. Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó says his government regards it as an unfriendly and risky move that Ukraine is thinking about expelling the Hungarian Consul in Berehove over reportedly the secret issue of Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens. “Such a step would place relations between the two countries in another dimension and would not remain unanswered, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has received no official indication of this nature,” Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade quoted Szijjártó as saying at a press event in Budapest on September 20. “Following the measures that are discriminatory to the Transcarpathian Hungarians and various attempts to intimidate them, the series of attacks against us has now shifted to another level,” he said. “Hungary is continuously monitoring developments and it is possible that further measures to slow Ukraine’s integration may also be required in future,” he stated, adding that there will be “plenty to talk about” with relation to the situation at next week’s session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Read more on UNIAN:
Hungary threatens to delay Ukraine’s integration to EU after passports’ scandal in Zakarpattia –
Earlier the video was published on the internet in which the Ukrainians are issued the Hungarian passports in the consulate in Berehovo
Klimkin: Issuance of Hungarian passports in Zakarpattia contradicts Vienna Convention | UNIAN
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says the issuance of Hungarian passports to citizens of Ukraine in the town of Berehove in Ukraine’s Zakarpattia region contradicts the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Klimkin said the move is a challenge to the national security.
Hungarian actions on issuance of its passports in Ukraine are illegal, issuance of Hungarian passports in Zakarpattia challenge for national security – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister –
Earlier Hungary threaten to delay the Eurointegration of Ukraine due to the scandal with the passport in Zakarpattia

UAWire – Poland rejects European Commission demands to revise judicial reform
Polish authorities do not intend to comply with the demands of the European Commission to revise judicial reform, reported the press service of …
Danske Bank CEO Quits Amid Allegations Of Money Laundering In Estonia
The chief executive of Denmark’s biggest bank is resigning amid allegations that its Estonian affiliate was at the center of a major money-laundering scandal.
How Russia infiltrates the media landscape of the Black Sea region |Euromaidan Press |
Article by: Center for the Study of Democracy The Kremlin uses a variety of instruments to indirectly influence the media in the Black Sea Region countries (Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Armenia). This conclusion was voiced over in Kyiv during the round-table “Diagnosing and Countering Russian Influence and Media Capture in the Black Sea Countries,” where the corresponding report by the Bulgarian-based Center for the Study of Democracy was presented. It explores Russia’s corporate presence and influence in the media sectors of five Black Sea countries by providing a deeper understanding of the links between media ownership and anti-Western propaganda and disinformation. Euromaidan Press wants to draw your attention to Russia-influenced media operating abroad.
Going legit? The foreign policy of Vladimir Putin | Lowy Institute
Putin’s foreign policy will remain grounded in long-standing assumptions about Russia, the West, and international order.
The Secret to Effective Foreign Aid? Sometimes, It’s Giving Cash – Defense One
For the first time, USAID compared a traditional intervention to a simple cash transfer.

Organization of American States threatens military response in Venezuela
The head of the Organization of American States joined President Trump in holding out the threat of a military intervention there to restore democracy and ease the country’s humanitarian crisis.
OAS chief threatens military force against Venezuela
The head of the Organization of American States has joined President Donald Trump in holding out the threat of a military intervention in Venezuela.
🇻🇪 OAS chief says ‘military action not ruled out’ in Venezuela | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Sep 15, 2018 Luis Almagro, leader of the Organization of American States (OAS), is not ruling out military intervention to overthrow Venezuela’s president. At a press conference, Almagro said only restoring democracy in Venezuela can solve the crisis and that military intervention cannot be ruled out. The OAS secretary-general had been speaking to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia. At least 1.5 million people have fled the political and economic crisis, putting a strain on neighbouring countries. Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti reports from Cututa, on the Colombia-Venezuela border.
OAS chief threatens military force against Venezuela
The head of the Organization of American States has joined President Trump in holding out the threat of a military intervention in Venezuela to restore democracy and ease the country’s humanitarian crisis
Venezuela to significantly increase oil exports to China | News | Al Jazeera
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said additional Chinese investment will help boost oil production and exports.
Venezuela president dines on ‘Salt Bae’ steaks while nation starves
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro feasted on pricey steaks prepared by star chef “Salt Bae” — sparking outrage Tuesday in the hunger-stricken South American nation.
After Getting 3,000% Wage Hike, Workers Are Fired in Venezuela – Bloomberg
Venezuelan workers who earned a pittance are now earning a slightly larger pittance, thanks to a big increase in the minimum wage. What they may not have are jobs.
🇻🇪 Aid groups strain as Venezuelan refugee crisis spills over | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Sep 16, 2018 Peru has continued to absorb a huge swell of Venezuelan refugees, more than anywhere else apart from Colombia.
Cuban president denies ‘sonic’ attacks on US diplomats – CNN
Cuba’s new leader has denied his country had any involvement in “sonic” attacks against US diplomats in the country.
Cuba’s president says can’t talk with Trump unless it’s as equals | Reuters
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in his first interview since taking office in April his government could not talk with U.S. President Donald Trump as long as Trump’s administration kept its “abnormal” attitude toward the Communist-run island.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports

‘Fake News’ Is Sparking an AI Arms Race
Robots now churn manipulated information on social media and soon will learn how to create it. In the future, it will take an AI to detect an AI.
FAKE NEWS: A ROADMAP – To Inform is to Influence
Jente Althuis and Leonie Haiden, (eds), Fake News: A Roadmap, (Riga: The NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence, 2018) Fake News: A Roadmap explores the character, consequences, and challenges of fake news. The twists and turns that connect fake news to related buzzwords and themes including ‘post-truth’, ‘populism’, and ‘trust’, are far from straightforward. This book uses the image…
Fake News. A Roadmap. | StratCom
Human Rights Team Toils To Tell Real Videos From Fakes
The rights group Amnesty International is determined to expose fake Internet videos and confirm the authenticity of real footage documenting human rights abuses.
Kremlin Watch Briefing: How to counter Russian interference like a Swede – To Inform is to Influence
Last week’s events concerning the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign Can’t see images? Topics of the Week Jakub Janda on how to counter Russian electoral interference like a Swede Who is attacking US diplomats in Cuba and China? Special focus: Update on the ongoing autocephaly project within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Pro-Russia Twitter accounts from the Baltics, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus likely…
Activist Publishes 11,000 Private DMs Between Wikileaks and Its Supporters – To Inform is to Influence
The article clearly labels Wikileaks as anti-Semitic and TransPhobic.  Wikileaks organized smear campaigns against those opposed to them or who spoke out against them, including journalists.  </end editorial> Emma Best, a freedom of information activist, has published a large cache of Twitter direct messages between Wikileaks and some of its most fervent supporters, including ones…
U.S. Army equips first unit with new tactical media kits – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army is fielding modern, standardized media kits to its tactical Public Affairs and Visual Information Soldiers to improve capabilities, save money and reduce logistical tasks. According to Dan Lafontaine, PEO C3T Public Affairs, soldiers from the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) at Fort Meade, Maryland, received 13 Tactical Digital Media, or TDM, kits in July, marking them as the first unit equipped with the new package. “This kit will allow us to exceed customers’ expectations and set a new standard in our career field,” said Staff Sgt. Pedro Garcia Bibian, 3rd Platoon Sergeant, who has worked on the TDM project since testing kicked off in October 2017 at Aberdeen Proving Ground. “I have used this equipment in the extreme cold weather of Alaska, and the system performed above my expectations; the production quality improved drastically compared with our old kits,” he said. “This gives us the ability to stay up to date in the [Visual Information] field and enables us to transmit our message to the public a lot faster.” TDM kits will enable Public Affairs and Visual Information Soldiers to gather, process and deliver digital audio, imagery and video files through kits composed of digital multimedia cameras, video-editing equipment, laptops, lighting, night-vision devices and audio gear. The TDM laptops are approved to operate on unclassified and classified Army computing networks. This step will be a significant milestone for these career fields, as connecting photo and video equipment to Army networks is not currently permitted because of security concerns.
US military given more authority to launch preventative cyberattacks – CNNPolitics
The US military is taking a more aggressive stance against foreign government hackers who are targeting the US and is being granted more authority to launch preventative cyberstrikes, according to a summary of the Department of Defense’s new Cyber Strategy.
Hackers acknowledge Windows flaws but prefer social engineering tricks
Fifty percent of hackers at the Black Hat conference said that they had readily compromised the Windows system, but added they preferred to use social engineering to hack users
Shanahan: cybersecurity will become new measure for industry
The deputy secretary of defense says industry needs to take responsibility for their own information security.

US Domestic Policy Reports

Trump To Address ‘Iran, Skripal Case’ During UN Assembly Speech
President Donald Trump will speak about Iran, the Skripal poisoning case in England, chemical weapons, and North Korea when he addresses the United Nations next week, the U.S. ambassador says.
Trump to Emphasize ‘Sovereignty’ in U.N. Visit, Haley Says – WSJ
President Trump will address world leaders next Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly with a speech focused on “protecting U.S. sovereignty” and expanding relations with countries that share similar values, according to U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Trump to meet one-on-one with at least six foreign leaders at UN next week | TheHill
President Trump will hold one-on-one meetings with the leaders of six different countries, and chair a Security Council meeting focused on Iran during next week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting, the White House said Thursday.
Trump adds Russians to sanctions blacklist for 2016 election interference – Vox
President Donald Trump expanded sanctions on Russians responsible for 2016 election interference, and also targeted a Chinese company.
U.S. Adds Russians Indicted by Mueller to a Sanctions List – Bloomberg
The U.S. broadened sanctions against people and groups working on behalf of Russia, including individuals who were indicted as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the country’s meddling in the 2016 election.
US blacklists Russian entities tied to election meddling – POLITICO
The Treasury Department also sanctioned a Chinese entity for buying blacklisted Russian arms.
Foreign government hackers target US senators, aides’ Gmail
On Thursday, Google spokesman Aaron Stein confirmed that his company had notified the Senate targets.
Hackers in Boston gamed out an election day nightmare – and won
A simulated election-day exercise between a red-team of hackers and a blue-team of current and former law-enforcement officials was an insight into intelligence officials worst nightmare about the upcoming mid-term vote
Vladimir Putin Whispered to Donald Trump About Deep State Conspiracies Ruining Their Friendship: Book
The president had called the Trump-Russia probe a “rigged witch hunt” amid accusations of collusion in 2016.
On private phone call, Vladimir Putin fed ‘deep state’ conspiracy ravings to President Trump: new book – NY Daily News
On a phone call shortly after Trump took office, Putin told the President it wasn’t their fault that they couldn’t cultivate a close relationship. On the contrary, the Russian leader said, their otherwise congenial potential was being undercut by a covert “deep state” cabal.
Pondering the mystery of why the Russians came to Washington |
Three top Russian intelligence officials met with their American counterparts in D.C. in January. Why?
Disruptor in Chief: How Trump is changing world order – CNN
As the United Nations embarks on its 73rd session, we asked several CNN journalists how they see world order under President Donald Trump.
Jimmy Carter: To beat Trump, Dems can’t scare off moderates with pivot too far left | Fox News
Former President Jimmy Carter has a warning for fellow Democrats looking to end Republican control of American government: Don’t go too far left.
John Kerry on Bill Maher’s show: Trump has ‘the insecurity of a teenage girl’ – The Washington Post
“He’s the first president that I know of who spends more time reading his Twitter ‘likes’ than his briefing books or the Constitution,” Kerry also said of Trump.
Dalai Lama says ‘Europe belongs to Europeans’ and refugees should ultimately go back home | Fox News
The Dalai Lama said this week that “Europe belongs to the Europeans” and that refugees should eventually return to their native countries to rebuild them.
It’s a triumph of the radical Left that only the Dalai Lama is now allowed to speak “the truth”
The Dalai Lama can provoke a wide range of responses.
Trump will push U.N. council to punish nuclear proliferation violations
White House memo: Trump to tell UN Security Council next week it must find new ways to punish countries that do not limit weapons of mass destruction.
The Hill: Trump slams Bush for ‘worst single mistake’ in U.S. history | UNIAN
President Trump took a little time during a policy-rich interview in the Oval Office to give his take on the biggest mistake in American history. The Pentagon estimates total expenditures related to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria between 2001 and 2018 are $1.52 trillion.
Books as Contraband: The Strange Case of ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’
In a federal prosecution in Maryland, Ali Saboonchi was charged with violating U.S. export restrictions on trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran. After

Mattis: ‘I don’t think about leaving. I love it here’
‘I’m thinking about retiring right here. I’ll get a little place down on the Potomac,’ Mattis said.
Fraying Ties With Trump Put Jim Mattis’s Fate in Doubt – The New York Times
Officials say that the president has soured on his defense secretary, and that Mr. Mattis is increasingly weary of capricious demands from his boss.
Trump fears Defense Secretary James Mattis is secretly a Democrat
The president worries Mattis is a Democrat “at heart,” according to the New York Times. Trump has even reportedly started to call the former Marine general “Moderate Dog” instead of “Mad Dog.”
Five times Mattis split with Trump | TheHill
Speculation is swirling in Washington over the future of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Donald Trump is reportedly souring on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis – Vox
Trump’s calling him “Moderate Dog” instead of “Mad Dog.”
Trump Is Repeating Soviet Leaders’ Intel Mistakes – Defense One
Stalin ignored his spies when their findings contradicted his assumptions. Now the U.S. president is doing the same.
Defense Secretary James Mattis’ extraordinary reading habits 
Defense Secretary James Mattis is a voracious reader. Here’s how he draws leadership lessons from books.
Pentagon Races to Empty Its Coffers by Month’s End – Defense One
It’s use-it-or-lose it season for the federal government.

Manafort went ‘above and beyond’ with plea deal, says ex-federal prosecutor | TheHill
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort went “above and beyond” with his plea deal on Friday with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, according a former federal prosecutor.
Manafort Plea Deal Casts New Scrutiny on Lobbyists He Recruited – The New York Times
New evidence laid out by the special counsel exposed the sometimes surreptitious ways in which foreign interests try to buy influence.
Speed Read: ‘Obama Jews’ and Other Shocking Highlights From New Manafort Docs
Special counsel Robert Mueller dropped fresh revelations about Paul Manafort ahead of the ex-Trump aide’s guilty plea in federal court Friday.
Paul Manafort in an Email to Pro-Russia Client: Non-Partisan Think Tank Wonk Did My Bidding
The email in question was sent by Manafort on April 21, 2013, and was part of the new charging document released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday.
Paul Manafort pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate with Mueller investigation – CNNPolitics
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department, including in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump’s Ex-Campaign Chairman Manafort Pleads Guilty, Agrees To Cooperate With Prosecutors
Paul Manafort, the longtime U.S. lobbyist and former election campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and witness tampering, and prosecutors said he had agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Ex-Trump campaign chief Manafort agrees to guilty plea deal 
It is not yet clear if Paul Manafort will cooperate with Mueller against President Trump.
Paul Manafort could flip on a big fish — but that might not be Trump
Analysis: What if Manafort’s agreement is for cooperation against a high-level government official who’s not even an American official?
Mum’s the word in Ukraine on Manafort scandal and Israeli link – Israel News –
Skeletons in the closet and the fear of being branded anti-Semitic are keeping the establishment quiet about an alleged Israeli role in Paul Manafort’s machinations
Manafort’s pro-Ukraine lobbying campaign reached Obama, Biden – POLITICO
Prosecutors say Manafort failed to disclose a host of meetings, including the one involving Obama and Biden.
Manafort Airs Details of Ukraine Lobbying as He Pleas Guilty – WSJ
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, acknowledged new details about his work for a former Ukrainian president as he pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising from the Mueller investigation.
How a Ukrainian Hairdresser Became a Front for Paul Manafort – The New York Times
To evade taxes, many shell companies are headed by “nominee directors” who can be homeless people or even victims of identity theft.
Paul Manafort’s Lawyers May Have Broken the Law
One fascinating and underexplored thread that has emerged from the agreement is the apparent role his attorneys from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP played in aiding his criminal conspiracy. CNN reported on Friday that Mueller had referred an investigation into work done by Skadden lawyers—including Greg Craig, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama—to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. We don’t have all the information, so it’s hard to say whether Skadden lawyers broke the law when they wrote a nominally “independent” report on behalf of Manafort and Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych that was allegedly cooked up to justify the prosecution of the politician’s chief rival. It seems clear that at the very least they violated their ethical obligations. Many lawyers, who have hung out at the edges of national scandals and given legal advice and cover to those who were ultimately held responsible, have escaped punishment for their acts. It is critical in this case for prosecutors and state bar regulators to break with this tradition and hold the lawyers involved to a higher standard: Manafort’s attorneys must face consequences for any unethical or unlawful actions.
The other big reason Paul Manafort could change everything – The Washington Post
Manafort’s deal is big by itself. It could also be a rather big domino.
‘You should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller’: John Kerry fends off Trump’s attacks on his meeting with Iranian officials | Business Insider
Former secretary of state John Kerry is back in the Trump administration’s crosshairs after acknowledging that he met with Iranian officials after he left office, raising questions about whether such a meeting was appropriate for a former diplomat with no official role in government.
Flynn sentencing move spurs questions about duration of Mueller probe | TheHill
Robert Mueller’s request that a federal judge move forward with sentencing for Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has triggered new debate over the status of the special counsel’s inv