Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (168)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Last week deluge of disclosures continues to reverberate in the media and public debate – this may continue for some time. The Russian propaganda machine has responded haphazardly. A fascinating debate in Russian media – BBC summary is interesting, but also the argument between Kashin defending the regime’s conduct, and historian Medvedev making comparisons to Nazi Germany, in this case very accurately as well. Lapenkova and Raghav look at the links between Russia’s computer industry and government agencies. Young surveys analyses of Russia’s internal cohesion. Goble explores the Russian reaction to the recent Senate vote on Soviet crimes.

Multiple reports on Trident Juncture 2018, Russian submarine activity, Russian threat to trans-Atlantic cables, and the first ever deployment of USAF fighters to Ukraine, with F-15C fighters of the 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard, now at Starokostiantyniv AB in Western Ukraine. A gaggle of reports on Russia’s little helpers inside Europe, always hyperactive.

UK media dominated by opeds and reports on the Russian cyber operation failure, the Salisbury attack, and other Russian mischief. A number of observers correctly note that we can expect Russia to escalate again, following a month of self-inflicted calamities, as all will be blamed on the West or other evil foreign influences. Rodchenkov statement is interesting, and he makes a valid point – much of what Russia has been doing qualifies as multiple acts of war, much a the Sovs did during the Cold War.

Updates on Middle East developments.

Russia: Accusations of Spies Behind Cyber Attacks Are ‘Diabolical’ Cocktail

Russia has dismissed allegations by Britain and the Netherlands of running a global campaign of cyber attacks to undermine democracies, including a thwarted attempt to hack into the United Nations chemical weapons watchdog while it was analyzing a Russian poison used to attack a spy. Speaking at a press conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the reports a “diabolical perfume cocktail” of allegations by someone with a “rich imagination.” Russia’s embassy to London said in a statement that British accusations that Russian spies were behind global cyber attacks lacked proof and were part of a crude disinformation campaign. “This statement is irresponsible,” the embassy said. “As is traditional, it is not backed by any proof and is another element in an anti-Russian campaign being conducted by the British government.”

UK Troops Train Cyberattack on Moscow to Counter Russian ‘Aggression’ – Reports – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – UK troops have staged military exercises which included a cyberattack on Moscow to leave it without power in response to “aggression,” British media reported Sunday.

Russia Calls Canada’s Cyberattack Allegations ‘Cheap Spy Fiction’

A Global Affairs spokesman said the government stands “in parallel” with its allies.

How Russian news reacted to hacking claims – BBC News

How Russian TV reacted to hacking accusations by the UK, US and The Netherlands.

Claims About Alleged GRU Cyberattack on UK-Based TV Inconsistent – Embassy – Sputnik International

LONDON (Sputnik) – The Russian Embassy in London pointed Saturday to the contradictions in the article released by the Financial Times newspaper, which claimed that the Russian military intelligence service GRU had allegedly conducted a cyberattack on the UK-based Islam Channel TV broadcaster in 2015.

VIDEO of Then-Cadet Putin’s Room at Russia’s Spy School Released – Sputnik International

Russia’s Academy of Foreign Intelligence was founded in 1938 and at first called the Special Purpose School. Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly attended the academy in the 1980s, when it was called the Red Banner KGB Institute.

Putin’s spy days UNCOVERED: Eerie behind the scenes clip of Putin’s secret training camp | World | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin’s spy school living quarters were broadcast on Russian state TV this week, displaying the former spy’s frugal living conditions as he studied for a year as a young KGB candidate.

THE VLADFATHER | How foul-mouthed Vladimir Putin uses ‘street talk’ slang and threats to project ‘gangster’ tough guy image

VLADIMIR Putin uses “street language” to project a strongman image and to reinforce the “gangster” persona of his regime, an experts has claimed.

Vladimir Putin net worth: Russian president loses £100 million | Daily Star

RUSSIAN tyrant Vladimir Putin has personally lost £100million after a crackdown on Russia by the US.

WW3 fears: Russian ambassador admits ‘genuine danger’ Putin could launch attack | World | News | Express.co.uk

THERE is a ‘genuine danger’ of Russia instigating a global war, according to the former UK ambassador to Russia, with Vladimir Putin on the edge of a ‘major confrontation’.

This is how Putin bullies and intimidates his enemies – The Washington Post

The Kremlin sends teams of agents abroad to kill, punish, hack and harm.

What could be more embarrassing for a Russian spy: Their info splashed online – or that they drive a Lada? • The Register

Privacy blunder blows cover on 300+ suspected Kremlin agents

Are you being targeted by Russian spies? Look out for these five telltale signs

No doubt about 2018&rsquo;s hottest trend.

How Russian Spies Infiltrated Hotel Wi-Fi to Hack Their Victims Up Close | WIRED

A new indictment details how Russian agents camped outside hotels when remote hacking efforts weren’t enough.

Dutch lawyer comments on avoidance of arrest by Russian spies in The Hague – 06.10.2018 20:57 — Ukrinform News

The lawyer said this in an exclusive comment to Ukrinform, when asked why Russian spies were not arrested in the Netherlands. “The chief of the [Dutch] Military Intelligence Service told the press that their arrest would have endangered the operation to prevent their actions. On the other hand, after the suspects were expelled from the Netherlands, the Dutch Prosecution did start a criminal investigation. In the Dutch press it has been said that this was to assist the U.S. in building a criminal case against seven Russian suspects among which these four persons are. In other words, it is legally quite inconsistent to expel these persons while at the same time the Dutch Prosecution assists in a criminal investigation,” Knoops said. The expert also noted that the four individuals cannot be extradited from Russia since the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of nationals. “On the other hand, a criminal trial will not prevent acts of alleged espionage,” he added. As reported, on October 4, the Netherlands named four Russian intelligence officers who planned a cyberattack on the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague in April this year.

Russia Targeted Investigators Trying to Expose Its Misdeeds, Western Allies Say – The New York Times

American and European officials said Russian military intelligence officers were responsible for a string of attacks and attempted hacks.

FBI reveals Russia’s most wanted hackers after bungling spies unmask 300 agents

The FBI has issued an appeal and named seven ‘wanted’ men who could be ‘armed and dangerous’

The Real Russia. Debating the GRU — Meduza

🧟 Frolov says the GRU is just doing its job | In an op-ed for Republic, columnist Vladimir Frolov argues that the public has embraced two “popular myths” about the GRU, amid the almost constant news stories about the spy agency’s misadventures. First, Frolov says it’s wrong to assume that the GRU independently pursues its own foreign-policy prerogatives. He also argues that it’s wrong to blame GRU agents for the diplomatic fallout of their operations, which he describes as messy but effective. Responsibility, Frolov claims, lies with “the higher-ups” who should have consulted other agencies about the diplomatic risks of these “active measures,” and thought harder about the merits of mobilizing a whole cyber-espionage campaign that didn’t benefit Russia in any tangible way. The second myth that Frolov tries to bust is the theory that some rival law enforcement agency is intentionally undermining the GRU by unmasking its agents. There is bureaucratic competition, he says, but it doesn’t manifest as treason or the disclosure of state secrets. (Frolov says journalists needn’t resort to these felonies, either, echoing the sentiments of a recent op-ed by Oleg Kashin.)  Sergey Medvedev says Oleg Kashin is dead wrong | In a long op-ed for Republic, historian Sergey Medvedev counters a recent article by columnist Oleg Kashin that claims oppositionists risk treason when they help foreigners unmask Russia’s spies. According to Medvedev, Kashin’s argument is built on an outdated Hobbesian view of the world that acknowledges only zero-sum competition and misses the benefits of a more interconnected international community. Medvedev also says Kashin parrots the authorities’ own self-serving rhetoric that equates patriotism and regime loyalty, despite the fact that Moscow’s covert operations (in Salisbury, in Ukraine, in Syria, in the United States) have actually harmed Russians’ national interests (this observation echoes one of the arguments made above by Vladimir Frolov). Medvedev likens Kashin’s logic to the “My Country, Right or Wrong” inscription above the gates that led into Nazi Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp. (Kashin shared this passage from Medvedev’s article on Facebook, apparently ridiculing the comparison.) Medvedev also argues that Russians have had to rely on foreign assistance for many of the “watchdog” and humanitarian services that healthy civil societies provide for themselves, suggesting that Russian sovereignty is already fluid enough to accommodate collaboration with Western intelligence agencies in the unmasking of GRU operatives responsible for illegal acts abroad.

Marina Lapenkova | Russia’s hackers long tied to military, secret services | The Times of Israel

Moscow is accused of waging a global campaign of cyber attacks since 2007, with hackers’ abilities developed from tradition of excellent computing skills dating back to Soviet era

Anjana Raghav | Russia’s computer scientists, programmers long tied to military, secret services

During the Soviet era, Russia’s top computer scientists and programmers largely worked for the secret services. That practice appears to have resumed under President Vladimir Putin as Dutch officials accused four Russians from GRU agency of attempting to hack into global chemical weapons watchdog.

Disinfo Analysis: Gaming the system in Russia; Gaming all systems

A recent report that the news director of RT America, Mikhail Solodovnikov, plagiarized portions of his PhD dissertation should come as no surprise: dissembling your way to power power rather than speaking truth to it is an integral part of Putin’s Russia. “Students cheat when they are cheated,” Igor Chirikov, senior research fellow at the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics’ Institute of Education, once told Times Higher Education. And with the country’s leader, President Vladimir Putin, allegedly skimming anywhere from $40 billion to $200 billion off the top and then demanding the tail pay for it through crumbling infrastructure and pension reforms, many Russian’s might well feel cheated.

Cathy Young | Dissent and Disarray in Putin’s Russia – Reason.com

The authoritarian president’s hold on power may be shakier than it looks. One can easily mine Russian polls for all sorts of confusing and contradictory findings, but overall, Shevtsova, who has been studying public opinion in the country since the 1980s, estimates that about 30 percent of the population broadly supports liberal values (Davidoff’s estimate is 25 percent). That’s a sizable-enough minority that, under the right circumstances, it could tip a majority in its favor and shape the course of far-reaching reform. Last December, Kiev-based German political scientist Andreas Umland published an article on the startlingly optimistic topic of what the West should do to help along a democratic revival and prepare for a post-Putinist Russia. Umland was talking primarily about prospects for 2024, when Putin’s last constitutionally permitted term ends (he will be 72 years old). Of course, many things could happen by then: A full-scale Russian war against Ukraine, which would radically alter the political landscape, remains a troubling possibility. On the other hand, reform—cosmetic, genuine, or some mixture of the two—could begin even before Putin leaves office. Unlike the Soviet Union, today’s Russia has alternative institutions, however weak—from dissenting media and an almost-free internet to civic groups to opposition politicians in regional parliaments and city councils. These liberal islands can grow. As for the U.S., its best bet is to maintain a commitment to the principles of liberty. Foreign-policy moralism can certainly be a dangerous path to start down. But a “realism” that ascribes permanence to Russia’s deceptive status quo and treats the interests of the Putin regime as synonymous with the interests of the Russian people is, in the end, not very realistic at all.

NATO – News: Statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Russian cyber attacks, 04-Oct.-2018

The Netherlands briefed NATO Defence Ministers today on the targeting of the offices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague by a hostile cyber operation. The operation was carried out by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, but was disrupted by Dutch intelligence services in partnership with the UK. Moreover, the UK has identified the GRU as being behind a number of other cyber-attacks around the world. These have affected citizens in many countries, including Russia, and caused enormous economic costs.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: US Denounced for Suggesting Russians Committed Genocide Against Their Own People

Paul Goble Staunton, October 6 – Russian officials and pro-Kremlin commentators have reacted angrily to the decision of the US Senate to pass a resolution stating that the 1932-33 terror famine in Ukraine was “a planned action of Stalin’s totalitarian regime which was directed against the Ukrainian people and was a genocide.” In general, these attacks on the American action have been based exclusively on the notion that “neither Stalin nor the communist party had any plans for the destruction of Ukrainians. And no one intentionally destroyed anyone: there was a famine and it affected not only the population of Ukrainian oblasts but territories populated by Russians and others” (forum-msk.org/material/news/15062846.html). But in making that argument, which Ukrainian researchers and scholars from Robert Conquest to Anne Applebaum have shown to be specious, some Russian writers, like Anatoly Baranov as quoted above, advance an additional one that deserves to be mentioned because it is even more damning of the Soviet system. Baranov entitles his diatribe against the US Senate’s action, “They’re accusing us of committing genocide against ourselves,” a view that narrowly suggests that for him Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same but more broadly indicates the approach of the Soviet government toward the entire Soviet population. That too may seem superficially plausible to some. It is difficult if not impossible for many to imagine that the leadership of any country could engage in genocide against its own people. Tragically, however, that is exactly what the Soviet leadership did, either because it did not view the peoples of the USSR as its own people but rather only a base for the launch of a world revolution or because it did not view members of particular classes as its own people or because it did not view members of many nations, including Russians, as its own people either. It is a welcome development that the US Senate by its resolution has provoked the reflections, albeit negative, among some Russian supporters of the Soviet system – and Baranov is one of them – because it highlights something most people in Russia and the West are unwilling to admit. And that is this: The Soviet government was not a government of the people however much support it may have been able to claim as a result of compulsion and propaganda but rather an occupying force that behaved toward those under its power not as “its people” but rather in the way occupiers have all too often behaved toward the occupied. Even more unfortunately, that is an attitude that continues to inform the thinking of many in the Putin regime who are more concerned with exploiting the peoples still under its control for the benefit of those in power rather than with reflecting the interests of this population and promoting its interests.

‘I Want Them to Be There’: US Admiral Wants Russia to See NATO Exercise – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Russia should take up NATO’s invitation to send observers to the 2018 Trident Juncture military exercises as it is in Moscow’s best interest to observe the readiness and capabilities of the forces involved, US Navy Admiral James G. Foggo III said on Friday.

Russia Urged to Witness NATO’s Strength in Huge Military Exercise | Military.com

Russia has already condemned the Trident Juncture exercise as a needless provocation that “hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

US, NATO forces to conduct largest exercise since 2002 that sends message to one nation: Russia – ABC News

NATO has invited Russia to observe the exercise that’s meant to deter them.

US admiral warns of Russia’s submarine capabilities

Russia is bolstering its underwater battle capabilities in a direct challenge to US forces in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, a top US admiral warned Friday.

Russia’s submarines are showing they can strike deep inside Europe, and they have got the US Navy on edge | Business Insider

NATO naval officials have repeatedly warned about Russia’s submarines – a force they say is more sophisticated and active.

NATO on Guard for Cyberattack with Huge Military Exercise Near Russia

Trident Juncture 18 “in and of itself will have a deterrent effect on anybody who might think about cross a contiguous border.”

The remarkable ‘cat and mouse’ operation to stop Putin’s subs attacking our vital cables

Britain and America fear Vladimir Putin is prepared to cause financial chaos by attacking undersea cables between the countries and are going to extraordinary lengths to track Russian submarines, The Telegraph can reveal.

U.S. Air Force released details of historic deployment to Ukraine – Defence Blog

According to the press service of the U.S. Air Force, Ukraine will host the Clear Sky 2018 joint and multinational exercise on October 8-19. Clear Sky 2018 is a joint and multinational exercise that will involve approximately 950 personnel from nine nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The exercise aims to enhance professional skills of crews within the coalitional environment, increase of compatibility level with Air Force of the United States and other NATO nations, ensure effective joint command and control, and work out search and rescue operations, aeromedical evacuation, and cybersecurity. This year marks the 25th anniversary of collaboration between the California Air National Guard and Ukraine as part of U.S. European Command’s State Partnership Program, and this exercise will include the robust participation of California ANG units. Aircraft from California units will include F-15C Eagles and a C-130J Super Hercules. Other U.S. aircraft participating in the exercise will include an F-15D from the 48th Fighter Wing, KC-135s from the Illinois ANG and the 100th Air Refueling Wing, and MQ-9s operating out of Miroslawiec AB, Poland. The Pennsylvania ANG will provide Joint Terminal Attack Controller instructors, and several additional units from California, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Alaska, Washington and bases in Europe are also scheduled to participate. The Ukrainian Air Force plan to assign 5 units of tactical aviation, included Su-24, Su-27, MiG-29 combat aircraft, and about 350 personnel. The exercise participants will not use combat weapons during maneuvers. The first F-15C Eagle fighter jets already landed at Starokostiantyniv Air Base where the majority of the multinational exercise. On Oct. 6, 2018, U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles, belonging to the 194th Fighting Squadron of the 144th Fighter Wing, California ANG, from California Air National Guard Base Fresno, California, landed for the first time ever on Ukrainian soil.

U.S. Air Force F-15C fighter jets arrive in Ukraine – Defence Blog

The U.S. Air Force has deployed F-15C Eagle fighter jets to Starokostiantyniv Air Base in Ukraine, announced on official 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard Twitter account on 25 September. According to the statement, U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter jets from the California Air National Guard have landed for the first time ever on Ukranian soil to participate in Clear Sky 2018 exercise. Clear Sky 2018 is a joint and multinational exercise that will involve approximately 950 personnel from nine nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This year marks the 25th anniversary of collaboration between the California Air National Guard and Ukraine as part of U.S. European Command’s State Partnership Program, and this exercise will include robust participation of California ANG units. Aircraft from California units will include F-15C Eagles and a C-130J Super Hercules. Other U.S. aircraft participating in the exercise will include an F-15D from the 48th Fighter Wing, KC-135s from the Illinois ANG and the 100th Air Refueling Wing, and MQ-9s operating out of Miroslawiec AB, Poland. The Pennsylvania ANG will provide Joint Terminal Attack Controller instructors, and several additional units from California, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Alaska, Washington and bases in Europe are also scheduled to participate. Training will focus on air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery. This exercise aims to enhance regional capabilities to secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration and interoperability with NATO partners and other allies in the region.

The U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles and C-130J Super Hercules arrived in Ukraine for international military exercises Clear Sky 2018 – 112.international

The U.S. Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagles and Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules arrived in Ukraine to take part in international military exercises Clear Sky 2018, the purpose of which is the consolidation of peace and security. The press office of the U.S. Embassy to Ukraine reported this on Facebook. It is noted that the Clear Sky 2018 is a joint and multinational exercise, where 950 officers from nine countries will take part, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the UK, and the U.S.

U.S. Air Force planes arrive in Ukraine to partake in Clear Sky exercise | UNIAN

United States Air Force F-15C Eagle tactical fighter aircraft and a C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft have arrived in Ukraine to participate in Clear Sky 2018, which is to kick off on Monday, October 8. Training will focus on air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery. United States Air Force F-15C Eagle tactical fighter aircraft and a C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft have arrived in Ukraine to participate in Clear Sky 2018, which is to kick off on Monday, October 8. Clear Sky 2018 is a “multinational military exercise focusing on promoting peace and security,” the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said on Facebook. It will involve approximately 950 personnel from nine nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ukraine will be represented by five tactical aviation units with about 350 military personnel.

US Army Europe on Twitter: “Soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard visit Ukrainian cadets in Lviv, 🇺🇦 Ukraine. Read more about their #StrongEurope exchange at https://t.co/0KZe9AzOXE (@USArmy, @USNationalGuard) #Allied2Win… https://t.co/z9kKj6sXt0”

EU Chief Juncker Refuses to ‘Quarrel’ With Russia Despite Hacking Accusations – Sputnik International

On Thursday, the Dutch Defense Ministry said that the country’s security services had prevented a hacker attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), alleging that four Russian citizens had planned the intrusion.

Bosnia’s Election Exacerbates Old Divisions, to Russia’s Satisfaction – The New York Times

Sunday’s election has highlighted many of ingrained problems: corruption, high unemployment, rising nativism, public disillusionment and foreign meddling.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Italy’s Berlusconi to meet with Putin to wish him happy birthday

Italy’s former Prime Minister is planning to discuss international issues

German police end neo-Nazi concert after violence, injuries – ABC News

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

German far-right rock concert ends in violence – BBC News

Eight police officers are slightly injured after bottles are hurled at them in Apolda, Thuringia.

Populist Surge Fails to Oust Latvia’s Pro-Western Centrists – Bloomberg

A populist surge wasn’t enough to dislodge the pro-Western centrist parties that have ruled Latvia for more than 25 years.

Latvia exit poll reafirms pro-Europe stance | Reuters

Latvia’s pro-Russian party Harmony, regularly the biggest party but never in government, looks set to top polls again in Saturday’s general election, but pro-Europe parties registered strong gains, an exit poll suggested.

Russia-Friendly Party, Populists Top Latvian Elections

A Russia-friendly party has won the most votes in Latvia’s parliamentary elections, ahead of two populist parties.

Pro-Russia party ahead in Latvia election – BBC News

The Harmony party could be able to form a government with populists, exit polls suggest.

Latvia election: ‘Trojan Horse’ party sends shivers through EU and NATO ahead of vote | World | News | Express.co.uk

LATVIANS are heading to the polls in tomorrow’s general elections with a surge in support for an anti-establishment party threatening to send shockwaves through Brussels and Washington.

Ethnic Russians seen as having weight in Latvian election | Fox News

Latvians were casting their ballots on Saturday in a parliamentary election in which a party catering to the Baltic nation’s large ethnic-Russian minority is expected to win the most votes, but is seen to be struggling to find coalition partners.

Latvia election: Anti-EU party KPV LV pledge ‘radical change’ to take on rivals | World | News | Express.co.uk

AN anti-EU political party called Who Does the State Belong To? has gathered an army of followers in the run-up to yesterday’s general election vote in Latvia.

Why we know so much about Russia’s GRU operations – To Inform is to Influence

The curious question is “why”. Why is the GRU so sloppy? Why is the GRU using public databases? Why can the GRU be so easily tracked? Why are GRU operations so bullheaded and stupid? The answer is fairly simple. The FSB and the SVR have higher priority when it comes to cover status, using private databases, and dedicated cover operations. Another consideration is the fact that the GRU is military, and therefore might be considered less than the FSB and SVR in the pecking order. Lesser status means less access to the means necessary to hide their status, obfuscate their travel plans, perhaps prevents them from receiving the proper training. Last, and the most curious part, there should be no need to keep taxi receipts. Colonel General Igor Korobov I see two outcomes. Colonel General Igor Korobov will demand adequate access to the resources necessary to properly prepare cover status documents, planning, and operations for the GRU. The second choice is the GRU will refuse to do these type operations which doctrinally fall within the realm of the SVR, outside Russia. This would put an undue burden on the SVR. No Russian intelligence agency would ever ask for a reduction in their operational scope. Consequently, General Korobov will demand greater access to the resources necessary to properly train and equip his people to do covert operations. No? General Korobov will be forced to internally shift resources and make the capabilities “out of hide“. Unit 26165 will also have a new commander, goodbye Colonel Dmitry Aleksandrovich Mikhailov. He’s only been there since January 2018, so sad. The change will not be immediate but in about six months time we should see some changes. <End editorial>

Beware the wounded bear: Russia could hit back hard after inept spies exposed

By laying bare the amateurish mistakes of Russia’s supposedly elite spies, Britain and its allies have exposed Vladimir Putin and his intelligence agencies to worldwide ridicule.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: What is Moscow Doing with All the Russian Spies Who’ve Been Unmasked Recently?

Paul Goble Staunton, October 6 – Every country that engages in espionage abroad eventually faces the problem of what to do with its spies who are caught and publicly identified as such, but rarely has any country faced such a massive problem in that regard than does Russia today. And that raises the question: what is Moscow doing with its spies who’ve been unmasked? Nurlan Gasymov, a journalist with the URA news agency, interviewed four Russian experts on the intelligence business in an attempt to answer this question (ura.news/articles/1036276394). Petr Fefelov, a security specialist, said that “the unmasking of an intelligence officer does not always lead to his automatic removal from the service. There are no former intelligence officers, but it is possible the officer will shift to a different status [because] he no longer can work as a resident in a foreign country,” and so will work elsewhere in his agency in Russia. Viktor Baranets, a reserve colonel who serves as military commentator for Komsomolskaya pravda, says that because the government has invested so much in training intelligence officers, it would be wasteful in the extreme simply to dismiss them once they have been exposed. It might even constitute a security threat. Consequently, he continues, officers who can’t work abroad or who have retired are shifted to specific “structures where the knowledge of languages, countries and so on can be of maximum use to out country.” Some become teachers; others work as analysts or as guards of one kind or another. He too stresses that former officers “never disappear from the field of view of state organs,” particularly until the government is completely certain that the officer hasn’t been turned and will as before “work in the interests of the state.” Aleksey Filatov, an FSB lieutenant colonel in reserve and vice president of the Alfa veterans, says that it sometimes happens however that an exposed officer will be pensioned off, especially as veterans in this line of work retire far earlier than do other employees of the state or business. And Anton Tsvetkov, head of the Experts Council on Security and Civil-Security Relations, says that one thing that may surprise many is that exposed officers may nonetheless continue to use social networks. Such networks, he says, play an important role in maintaining their “legend” or cover and cutting things off quickly would not be a good idea. Of course, he continues, they don’t use their real names when they go on line. Gazymov asked Baranets whether the exposure of so many officers will affect Russian intelligence operations. He says that will depend on how much information the officers in question gave to foreign governments in the course of their detentions and how many other officers are forced to “go to ground” lest they be captured as well. “If, however, no one tracks down these agents, then they can continue to work in the residency.”

Russian espionage and fighting fire with fire | Comment | The Times

Sir, The diplomatic coup that exposed Russia’s clumsy attempts to cyber-attack the chemicals watchdog in The Hague (reports, Oct 5) represents a victory for British policy that is actually better than it looks. British intelligence is keeping a low profile as the MIVD in the Netherlands take due cre

Russian cybertattack: West stands united against Putin forces | News | The Times

The US indictment of alleged Russian hackers, timed to coincide with the Dutch-led revelations, underlines an increasingly co-ordinated response to President Putin’s spy networks.British ministers and officials were keen to give the Netherlands’s intelligence service the credit for the April 13 oper

Western powers join forces to expose Vladimir Putin’s malicious cyber-plots | HeraldScotland

WESTERN allies have joined forces to expose Vladimir Putin’s global cyber-warfare strategy, including a botched attempt to hack into the…

Putin Denials Mask Dismay at ‘Laughable’ Spy Shortcomings Abroad | Newsmax.com

Putin Denials Mask Dismay at `Laughable’ Spy Shortcomings Abroad

Revenge Of The Spy Rockers? Russia And The Not-So-Secret Agents

Spies are not supposed to be caught. If they are, they hope their activities and identities will not be made public. The way this week’s latest spying scandal between Russia and the west has played out says much about the modern power of the media in international relations. The unmasking of intelligence operations is embarrassing. The British authorities should know. In 2006, Russia accused British secret service agents of using a fake rock as part of their spying operations in Moscow. Britain tried to laugh it off at the time, but years later admitted that it was pretty much as the Russians had said. At the time, Mr Putin added to the embarrassment by joking that those responsible would probably not be expelled from Russia. ‘If these spies are sent out, others will be sent in. Maybe they’ll send some clever ones that will be hard for us to find.’ In the end, those spies were exposed — as these have been — by being shown on television. There is an interesting parallel here. Much is made these days of the supposed propaganda power of RT — Russia’s international TV channel, broadcasting in English and other languages — and of Russia’s use of social media to influence western opinion. Russia has successfully adapted these western platforms to use in its information war with the west. By exposing alleged GRU agents in the way that they have — in the maximum gaze of media publicity — western authorities seem in turn to have borrowed the technique Russia used to shame the agents using the fake rock.

Russia news: Britain braced for RUSSIAN RETALIATION after hacker humiliation | UK | News | Express.co.uk

EXCLUSIVE: Britain and its allies are braced for Russian retaliation over Vladimir Putin’s latest humiliation by his “dumb Bonds” bungling spies. The concerns come as new revelations by a news agency have identified around 305 potential agents from the GRU intelligence service in Russia.

Vladimir Putin took aim at the West — GRU spies pulled the trigger | News | The Sunday Times

Russian military intelligence — the GRU — has gone from obscurity to being at the centre of multiple running news stories around the world. From Ukraine to the 2016 US election, Syria, Salisbury and now the attempts to hack a whole series of international organisations, it has emerged as the Kremlin

Russia launched invasion of West “using computers not rockets” claims Rodchenkov lawyer

The lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov has released a scathing statement following the indictment of seven Russian military intellige…

Russian bots target British teenagers: Kremlin-backed trolls use stars like Emma Watson to spread discord in the West with onslaught of viral memes on feminism, vaccines and GM foods – To Inform is to Influence

Twitter accounts run from Russia have gathered thousands of young followers They created viral posts using celebrities such as Watson and Cara Delevingne  Highlighting GM crop debates could create division between Europe and the US  By TIM STICKINGS FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 05:15 EDT, 6 October 2018 | UPDATED: 06:57 EDT, 6 October 2018 Kremlin-backed trolls have been targeting Western teenagers…

John Bolton Ups the Pressure on Iran | The National Interest

This week saw secession from an obscure treaty and a move to make Iran the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism.

Kerry warns of war after U.S. exit from nuclear deal – Tehran Times

Former secretary of state John Kerry said on Friday that there is chance of conflict with Iran after the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Kerry warns of war with Iran – Israel National News

Former Secretary of State asserts Trump empowered those in Iran who were against nuclear deal, warns against a war.

Kerry says chances of war rising after US exit from Iran deal | The Times of Israel

Obama’s diplomat says Trump pressure on Tehran is empowering anti-West conservatives, notes some Mideast allies would ‘love’ to see Islamic Republic bombed

Kerry Reveals Egyptian, Saudi Ex-Leaders Pushed US to Attack Iran – Sputnik International

Earlier, the former US Secretary of State warned that Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal may undermine his country’s security and isolate the US from its European allies.

John Kerry: ‘I have not met with any Iranians’ since Trump pulled out of Iran deal – CNNPolitics

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said he has not met with any Iranians since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite vocalizing his disagreement with the administration’s decision.

Iran news: Trump claims sanctions post-nuclear deal have SAVED Middle East at Kansas rally | World | News | Express.co.uk

CNN Published on Oct 6, 2018 Former Secretary of State John Kerry tells CNN’s Michael Smerconish the Brett Kavanaugh fight will cost the Senate and country. Kerry also responds to Mike Pompeo’s charge that he shouldn’t have spoken to Iran.

Erdogan vows to ‘finish’ Kurdish militants in Iraq to avenge dead soldiers | Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday vowed to “finish” Kurdish militants in Iraq’s Sinjar and Qandil regions to avenge eight Turkish soldiers killed in a bomb attack in southeastern Turkey earlier this week.

Turkey’s Erdogan tells ministers to stop using U.S. firm McKinsey | Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he had ordered his ministers to stop receiving consulting services from U.S. firm McKinsey, after a government deal with it came under fire from the main opposition.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Parliamentary Elections: Inflection Point or Plateau?

The people from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) headed to the polls this week to elect 111 members of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament. This is the fifth general election following the creation of the regional legislature in 1992, and it was the first since last year’s controversial independence referendum. The effects of the failed attempt at independence continue to reverberate among the powerful establishment parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), who have shared control of the region since the establishment of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in early 1990s. The US-brokered peace treaty between the two parties which ended a multi-year civil war and was signed twenty years ago and updated after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 with a power-sharing agreement in a unified KRG—an arrangement that also extended to include their role in the central Iraqi government. Under the terms of this agreement the KDP was given the presidency of the KRI, in return the PUK would get the Presidency of Iraq. Barham Salih was elected and sworn in as the new president on October 2. In light of the election outcome and the two parties latest competition over the Iraqi presidency, it remains unclear how the power-sharing arrangement will continue to function between them in the future.

Putin, Netanyahu To Meet After Downing Of Russian Reconnaissance Plane

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin “soon” in the first such meeting since a Russian military aircraft was shot down over the eastern Me…

2 Syrian rebel groups begin pulling weapons in Idlib area | Fox News

Two Syrian rebel groups began withdrawing their heavy weapons Saturday from a northwestern area of the country where Russia and Turkey have agreed to set up a demilitarized zone, opposition activists said.

Turkey concludes Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed by ‘murder’ team, sources say – The Washington Post

Two people with knowledge of the probe said Turkey believes Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this week. Saudi officials have denied any link to Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Missing Saudi Journalist Was Killed in Consulate, Turkish Police Say – WSJ

Turkish police believe the Saudi journalist gone missing earlier this week was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul before his body was spirited out of the building, Turkish officials said, accusations that could further inflame relations between the two regional powers.

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