Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
The Russian propaganda campaign continues, and still haphazard. The current focus is on UK media reports of a cyber EX, and Juncker’s comments about not wanting to upset Muscovy. Russia media propagating reports that suggest the helicopter carrying Deputy AG Karapetyan was hit by 5.45mm fire before crashing. Several interesting background reports on Russian cyber, and Western responses. Eight interesting reports on Russia’s declining internal cohesion – notably every single problem is self-inflicted. EC Pres Tusk savages Russia in a speech – with good cause. Latvian election outcome may not be the disaster media were predicting.
In the UK, some very appropriate observations by Sec. Wright. Former MI6 Director Sir Richard Dearlove’s comment is very much to the point: “Russian espionage, Soviet espionage, has never stopped. It’s deeply embedded in Russia’s DNA to use the capabilities that it has to disrupt our nations, to pursue their own national interest, to, as it were, reinforce Putin in power.” This predisposition of Russian leaders has not changed fundamentally since Muscovy split from Kyiv in the 11th century, and then in the 13th century betrayed their Scandinavian founders to align with the Bhatu Khan’s Horde. Being duplicitous and forceful appears to be an admired trait in Russian leaders. Two good opeds in the Guardian, and some very interesting updates on Salisbury.
Some minor updates on the Mid East.
The UK military is war-gaming a cyber-strike on Russia, in a scenario where Libya’s oil reserves are seized and a refugee crisis ensues, British media said. It wasn’t a tabloid report, so Russia’s Embassy asked for clarification.
The statement comes a day after the UK Foreign Office accused the Russian military intelligence service of plotting cyberattacks on British soil.
EC President Jean-Claude Juncker said he is not ready to burn bridges with Moscow. It follows the Netherlands’ claims that Russian intelligence officers attempted to hack the OPCW. Moscow denies the allegations.
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.
Defence chiefs have war-gamed a massive cyber-strike to black out Moscow if Vladimir Putin launches a military attack on the West, after concluding that the only other way of hitting back would be to use nuclear weapons.Senior security sources have told The Sunday Times they are concerned that Brita
Britain’s’ defence chiefs have rehearsed a ‘cyber-strike to black out Moscow’ in the event of Russia attacking the West as thousands of troops the biggest war-games exercise in a decade.
Senior security sources are reportedly concerned Britain’s military resources are ill equipped to respond to Russia short of firing Trident nukes
Western world leaders appear to be pushing back against Putin’s increasing aggressive cyber operations.
BRITAIN is rehearsing a “cyber-strike to black out Moscow” in preparation for Russia firing a nuclear missile that defence officials say the UK’s military resources are ill equipped to respond to.
Yet the Investigative Commitee denies the death of a pilot from a gunshot wound. The pilot of the crashed helicopter, on board of which there was the Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Saak Karapetyan, Stanislav Mikhnov was shot dead with two shots in the back. The pilot was shot before the helicopter crash, a law enforcement source told the Govorit Moskva (Moscow Speaking) radio station. The holes in the body of Stanislav Mikhnov were left with 5.45 caliber bullets. One of them pierced the pilot’s shoulder blade. Previously, difficult weather conditions were called the preliminary cause of the tragedy, because of which the pilot lost control. Spokesperson of the Investigative Committee Svetlana Petrenko refuted insider information. “This information is not true. No gunshot wounds were found on any of the victims of the crash,” she said. As previously written by The CrimeRussia, the Eurocopter AS-350 B3 helicopter crashed in the Soligalichsky district of the Kostroma region on Wednesday, October 3. Four people were killed, including a friend of Saak Karapetyan, a former law enforcement officer, Arek Karapetyan, a pilot Stanislav Mikhnov, and a local resident Victor Kopteyev. The passengers of the helicopter flew to the Vologda region. According to the preliminary version, the helicopter caught on the tree branches because of poor visibility. The investigative committee opened a criminal case on violation of the rules for traffic safety and operation of air transport, entailing the death of two or more persons (part 3 of article 263 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
Deputy prosecutor-general Saak Karapetyan – a former MP and long-time ally of Putin – died Wednesday, when his AS-350 helicopter came down in Kostroma region northeast of Moscow.
TWO gunshot wounds were found in the body of the pilot of a crashed helicopter in which one of Valdimir Putin’s top prosecutors was killed last week, it was sensationally alleged today. Deputy Russian prosecutor-general Saak Karapetyan died on Wednesday when his AS-350 came down in bad weather on a hunting trip 365 miles northeast of Moscow.
t’s a tale of two autocracies. Last week we laughed at the apparent primitiveness of the Russian intelligence services and simultaneously trembled at the sophistication of their Chinese counterparts. Bloomberg Businessweek magazine reported that China’s military has managed to implant a microchip no bigger than a grain of rice in US computer mother boards, as they were being assembled in China, effectively giving Beijing a secret back door into giant American firms including Amazon and Apple. It was seen as a jaw-dropping technical feat. “Like witnessing a unicorn jumping over a rainbow,” one hardware expert commented. The Russian security services, meanwhile, were exposed as low-tech bungling amateurs. Western governments revealed that earlier this year Dutch police had apprehended four Russian agents as they attempted to hack into the investigation into the Salisbury Novichok poisonings at a chemical weapons watchdog facility in the Netherlands.
How seven Russian intelligence officials allegedly nestled into the servers of targeted organizations is an insight into the advanced hacking efforts that foreign governments are undertaking.
The suspects are wanted for crimes including conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering
A United States official says the U.S. military is offering its cyberwarfare technology, including computer software tools, to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The move is meant to help the 69-year-old alliance better deal with cyber threats from Russia and China. The Associated Press says an announcement is expected soon. Katie Wheelbarger is a deputy assistant defense secretary for the United States Department of Defense. She said the U.S. is prepared to use defensive and offensive cyber operations for NATO allies. One condition, however, is that the U.S. will keep control of its own personnel and operations.
Activists ran along a street in St. Petersburg with a banner wishing Russian President Vladimir Putin “many years in jail” on his birthday on October 7.
Some of the Russians marking President Vladimir Putin’s birthday this past weekend were decidedly not wishing him well.
The pension reform, the depreciation of the ruble, the endless sanction conflict with the West and the government’s plans to raise taxes after a record drop in the population’s real income – all of these factors have undermined Russians’ faith in the country’s prospects. At the end of the second quarter, 50% of Russians thought that the country’s worst times were yet to come, according to a report on social well-being by the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE). In all of Russia’s modern history, the sociologists have only identified more pessimism in the country in the winter of 2016, when the ruble fell to 86 to the US dollar, and in the first half of the 1990s. In 1996 and 1994, 52% of Russians expected the situation to deteriorate, and between 1991 and 1994, a pessimistic view was expressed as much as 60%. In half a year, the number of pessimists has grown by nearly half: in winter, only 37% expected a deterioration of the economic situation, and in 2017 the figure ranged between 38-44%. At the same time, the number of people who believe that the economic crisis has been overcome has also fallen sharply: whereas in January 32% of Russians responded that “the worst times are behind us”, by summer this figure had fallen to 23%.
Thousands of protesters have jammed the capital of Russia’s Ingushetia region for a fourth day, demanding the resignation of a longtime leader for a controversial land deal with neighboring Chechnya.
Protests over a border deal with Chechnya show little sign of abating in Ingushetia, where demonstrators have rallied for a fifth straight day in the small southern region’s capital and called for …
Paul Goble Staunton, October 7 – Tensions appeared to be rising today as nearly a thousand demonstrators in Magas continued their protest against the border accord Yunus-Bek Yevkurov signed with Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov even as reports came in that groups of masked men were assembling on the roads into the city. There were developments on both sides. The protesters were encouraged by a visit to their site of Ruslan Aushev, the first president of Ingushetia, who came out in support of the demonstration and its demand that any border agreement must be approved by a vote of the population rather than simply promulgated (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/326352/, enovosty.com/news_abroad/full/610-bunt-v-ingushetii-armiya-pereshla-na-storonu-naroda-i-gotovitsya-k-svyashhennoj-vojne and capost.media/news/society/aktsiya-protesta-v-magase-omon-vstal-na-storonu-mitinguyushchikh-zemlyakov/). The demonstrators were also encouraged by the support they continue to receive from republic siloviki, Muslim religious leaders, the Internet, and ordinary Ingush who continue to bring food and clothes to those in the square. And they were buoyed by Amnesty International’s call for no use of force in the republic (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/326282/ androsbalt.ru/world/2018/10/06/1737234.html). The protesters were also encouraged today by reports that three of their number would be meeting with Aleksandr Matovnikov, the Russian presidential plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus Federal District, on Monday and might go on to meet Kremlin officials if needed (newsland.com/community/4852/content/kavkaz-na-grani-implozii/6503302). And to better tell their story, the protesters have now launched their own Telegram channel, Ingushetia-2018 (t.me/ingushetia_2018/950). In the coming days, that should supplement the Kavkaz-Uzel journalists working in Ingushetia and reporters from outlets further afield who have travelled to Magas in recent days. Yevkurov and his regime struggled to keep the roads open in Magas, but there were reports that travel into and out of the city and within the city itself was becoming ever more difficult (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/326352/). And the republic head went on the offensive against republic parliamentarians. A group of 17 of them said yesterday that the parliament had not approved the measure and demanded a vote. Yevkurov rejected that and said that, other reports notwithstanding, there would not be any additional vote and that if anyone was guilty of untoward pressure it was the opponents of the border accord and not him (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BB8AB633140F). While the government media in Moscow continued to largely ignore developments in Ingushetia, independent media there and increasingly the media in the North Caucasus have been giving ever closer attention, the latter often picking up details Moscow journalists have missed: e.g., riaderbent.ru/edinenie-ingushej-v-proteste-kak-ono-bylo.html). Meanwhile, Russian media, both official and independent, to the extent they discussed the developments in Ingushetia at all have tended to focus on the issue of what if any outside interference there may be with speculation ranging from Russia, which is said to want to divide the two Vainakh peoples (afterempire.info/2018/10/06/ingushetia/) to Ukraine which wants to weaken Russia (svpressa.ru/politic/article/212466/). Despite official calls for demonstrators to disperse at least at night, several hundred of the protesters, including a large number of women and some children, remain in the Magas square tonight, with others planning to return to that venue in order to continue the protest into the new week.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 8 — The anger and passion behind the Ingush demonstrations in Magas reflect not only their sense that they have been misled and betrayed by republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and outplayed by Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov but also their fear that the very existence of their republic is at risk. Barakh Chemurziyev, one of the leaders of the protest, tells Sasha Sulim of the Meduza news agency that Ingushetia not only is small and has lost part of its territory to neighbors before but that it has among the highest population densities of any federal subject, 164 people per square kilometer (meduza.io/feature/2018/10/07/eto-ne-mozhet-ostatsya-beznakazannym). Despite that, he continues, “the head of our republic considers that he has the right to give away almost ten percent of our territory to the use of a subject whose territory is five times larger than ours,” something that will only feed “the appetite of this aggressor who dreams of expanding his territory” at the expense of Ingushetia’s. Making the situation worse, Chemurziyev says, is the fact that Yevkurov first denied that he was in talks with Kadyrov about territorial changes and then signed the agreement without any possibility for the Ingush parliament, courts or people to have a voice in the matter, something that has infuriated all of them. Yevkurov and Kadyrov talk about their being an even territorial swap, but that is not the case, other participants in the demonstration say. On the one hand, there are numerous Ingush cultural monuments on the land handed over to Chechnya by the agreement. And on the other, beneath that land is oil, which Chechnya will now have and Ingushetia not. “We are losing territory, we are losing people connected with these territories and who form our nation,” Chemurziyev says. If the Chechens succeed in making these lands their own, “our republic will disappear.” As a result, a remarkably large percentage of the population is angry and ready to demonstrate or support the demonstrators Some 40 different political groups have come together to support the demonstrators, groups that represent some 80 to 90,000 people or “almost 20 percent of the population of the republic,” activists say. It has been hard in the past to get Ingush to go into the streets, but not this time as what Yevkurov and Kadyrov have done touches the vital interests of all. Ruslan Mugoltsev, a Yabloko party member who is involved with the protests, points to another reason Ingush are upset about the proposed land swap. On the Ingush territory Yevkurov wants to give away live the Orsteroytsy, “one of the Nakh peoples,” whose identities shift between Ingush and Chechen depending on where they live. If where they live becomes part of Chechnya, they are likely to make that change, reducing the number of Ingush overall and putting the future of the republic at ever greater risk. That Ingush feel so threatened is no surprise given their history: deportation under Stalin, land seizures by North Ossetia in the early 1990s, and now a Chechen land grab assisted by their own ruler. That explains much of their current anger and sense of desperation – and also why they are likely to remain in the streets until they get what they want. This is a clear case of what might be called “pessimistic nationalism,” the kind of national identity and movement that arises when a people feels its future is at risk and that if it doesn’t act now, it won’t have the chance again. That sense lay behind the Baltic movements in the 1980s; it lies behind the Ingush one now.
Paul Goble Staunton, September 7 – In the name of fighting poaching and other forms of illegal hunting, officials of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District together with officers of the Russian National Guard and fishing agency are confiscating the weapons of the indigenous population there, sparking protests. Representatives of the Northern peoples say that “anyone in the tundra without a weapon is condemned to death” and that the Russian officials who are swooping down in helicopters on isolated groups of these communities and taking away weapons are ignoring this reality (mbk.sobchakprotivvseh.ru/region/chelovek-v-tundre-bez-ruzhya/). Eiko Serotetto, a Yamal resident, tells MBK journalist Anton Voronov that officials have taken guns away from local people before, but “people didn’t advertise this because they were afraid to do so and did not have access to the Internet.” Today, however, both of those conditions have changed. Serotetto doesn’t think there is much chance that the Northern peoples will get their guns back. The authorities want to reduce the Northern peoples to the same status as far as weapons are concerned as residents of all other parts of the country, even though the conditions of life in the north are very different. Most of the numerically small ethnic groups in the Yamal, he points out, live by hunting and fishing. If they don’t have the tools they need for this – and in this case, that includes hunting rifles – then they will be condemned either to death or giving up their traditional way of life. The Yamal officials who are engaged in this confiscatory practice are often local Russians, but they are not representatives of the numerically small peoples who could explain why such a campaign is counter-productive, however much Moscow and oil and gas companies want the Northern peoples to be disarmed. Not surprisingly, officials see the situation differently, Voronov reports. They say they are only going after illegally acquired or stored weapons and not all guns and that many local people are more than ready to cooperate with them in enforcing the law. Serotetto disputes such claims, pointing out that they ignore longstanding traditions and attitudes. He does acknowledge that often members of these numerically small communities don’t know their rights or are afraid to assert them, things that the Russian authorities count on so that they can do whatever they like and whatever benefits them regardless of its consequences for the people.
Council president says Russia will do ‘whatever it can’ to undermine European unity.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk says that Russians will not refrain from any means to weaken European unity and Vladimir Putin’s Russia represents a major threat to the unity of the European Union. Tusk claimed he has no “anti-Russian obsession.”
The Parliamentary results were a blow to mainstream politicians and opened the way for a coalition government that could include a Moscow-friendly party.
A populist surge was eclipsed by other newcomers in Latvian elections that are set to usher in another pro-Western government, but only after potentially lengthy coalition talks.
Exit poll shows pro-Kremlin party on 19.4%, with a pro-EU, pro-Nato party in second with 13.4%
It is reported that Polish Archaeologist Grzegorz Kiarszys discovered the unknown elements of Soviet bases by analyzing the intelligence materials of the CIA. It is noted that three large nuclear weapon stores were established in the territory of Poland – in Templewo, Brzeźnica-Kolonia and Podborsko. All of these stores had a monumental concrete seven meters long shelter dug into the ground which was intended to preserve nuclear warheads. Until the early 1990s, the information about these bases was strictly classified. “There have been many legends about these bases for several decades after their existence was declassified. I decided to verify them with use of different archaeological methods,” the researcher said. According to the publication, the archaeologist said that those bases were perfectly camouflaged from enemy satellites, but declassified footage from American reconnaissance satellite programs – Corona and HEXAGON – present a completely different image. The main componnets of the bases, as well as access roads, and helicopter pads were highly visible on satellite images.
The culture secretary says information about a cyber attack on the chemical weapons watchdog sheds light on the use of novichok.
FORMER Head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove warned Russia should not be underestimated following the ‘incompetent’ Salisbury nerve agent attack as the rogue country’s political DNA lies in violent assassinations. Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge, the former MI6 boss claimed that although the Salisbury poisoning of former Russian military agent Sergei Skripal resulted in an “incompetent operation”, a future attack by the hands of Russia should not be underestimated. Sir Richard argued Russian espionage will never stop and that Vladimir Putin’s country will continue to be violent as embedded in its DNA. He said: “Russian espionage, Soviet espionage, has never stopped. “It’s deeply embedded in Russia’s DNA to use the capabilities that it has to disrupt our nations, to pursue their own national interest, to, as it were, reinforce Putin in power.
The Russian president is playing a weak hand, but international collaboration is vital to push back against his threats. The extent of the challenge posed by Russia to Britain and its allies should not be exaggerated. Although it is boastful of its armed strength, Russia’s military spending fell by 20% last year, to a level below that of Saudi Arabia and one-tenth the equivalent US figure. In GDP terms, it lags well behind the US, Germany, the UK and France. Russia’s contracting economy, damaged by western sanctions, is unhealthily dependent on fluctuating oil and gas sales, which represent about 70% of exports. It suffers massive wealth inequality, low life expectancy, rising poverty and a gaping democratic deficit. While the eras of tsarist and communist dominance are over, Russia remains effectively a one-party state ruled by a strongman leader with largely unchecked powers. Vladimir Putin, who has held that position since 2000, has been likened to a mafia don running his homeland like a protection racket. Friends, family, and business and political allies are rewarded for loyalty. Enemies and rivals are ruthlessly extirpated. By one estimate, corruption, much of it officially facilitated and approved, sucks up 48% of GDP. Putin’s view of the world beyond Russia is both resentful and fearful. He mourns the collapse of the Soviet Union, which he served as a KGB spy. He believes passionately that the west seeks to deny Russia its rightful great power status. With his crude “scumbag” language and aggressive external conspiracies, overt and covert, he daily demonstrates a visceral need for revenge. But Putin, ultimately, is a weak man playing a weak hand.
War always forces change. If the war against Russia’s mafia state is to be won, or even fought, then the network of tax havens, trusts and shell companies that has made London a global money-laundering centre will have to be busted open. Senior Conservatives talk as if they understand after Salisbury that the Russian police, secret services, propaganda stations, sporting federations and ministries are not separate institutions but parts of a complete merger of the political and criminal classes. Maybe I am naive, but I believe them when they say they are willing to take on Putin. I just doubt that they understand how much of Britain’s plutocrat-enabling culture must change. To use the cliche, sunlight has become the west’s disinfectant. Never has the closed world of intelligence been as keen on publicity. The pictures Dutch intelligence released of the arrest of GRU agents attempting to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons performed the same function as the British authorities’ exposure of the Salisbury poisoners. Russian spies no longer appeared to be supernatural figures but blunderers with cover stories a child could unpick. The willingness of the UK and Dutch intelligence agencies to go public has turned Russia into a laughing stock, and Russia, like all dictatorial countries and individuals, can stand anything except mockery.
“In choosing to throw shade rather than light on what occurred, Putin has made clear he bears responsibility for the attack whether he ordered it or not.”
Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) investigative group has published a photocopy of driving licence issued to Anatoliy Chepiga with a photo of “Ruslan Boshirov” suspected of poisoning Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. It is noted they’ve got this photo from an anonymous source, so it’s hard to speak about the authenticity of the document.
ONE of the men accused of carrying out the Salisbury Novichok poisoning was definitely a Russian spy, high-tech computer analysis of photos has revealed.
Wiltshire Police shelled out almost £100k in putting up officers from other forces brought in to help with the investigation in Salisbury.
A church just yards away from where the Skripals were poisoned at their home will hit back at Putin with a new show as the community tries to rebuild its image
The Labour leader previously said ‘Mafia-like groups’ could have been behind the Salisbury poisoning but has now urged for ‘diplomatic confrontation with Russia’
A few months before his name became a byword for ruthless Kremlin retribution, Sergei Skripal welcomed an English author to his modest home in Salisbury. As the former Russian spy made a cup of instant coffee, there was a brief conversation about the interview that was to follow.Skripal was happy to
The sanctions on Iranian crude exports will likely succeed in hurting the country’s economy, but it’s less clear that the U.S. will achieve its goal of forcing changes to the current regime in Tehran.
Reports that the Saudi journalist was murdered have stirred anger against Riyadh among its American allies.
Turkish officials believe the Washington Post writer was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
CNN Published on Oct 7, 2018 Unnamed Turkish officials speaking to The Washington Post and Reuters said that prominent Saudi journalist-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul this week. The officials have so far provided no evidence or detail on how they arrived at this conclusion. CNN has not been able to independently confirm these reports and has not been able to get a comment from the Saudi government on the reports. An unnamed consulate official dismissed the reports in an interview with Saudi Arabian state news agency SPA. “The official strongly denounced these baseless allegations and expressed his doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue,” SPA reported.