Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (172)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Definitely another “epic fail” week for the Russian propaganda machine. Russian media name the third Salisbury operator as “Sergey Fedotov.” Russian media report further on Novaya Gazeta’s claim that FSB agents were selling intel on GRU hacking to the Bureau. Czech intel via media report that Chepiga and Mishkin tailed Col. Skripal in Prague three years ago. US reported to have provided SIGINT to Greek government exposing Russian Macedonia meddling. Bershidsky argues the Russian effort to antagonise the UK and other nations is about denying unruly oligarchs havens for the moneys in the West. A Soyuz booster fails on launch forcing the ISS bound crew to abort the ascent, separate the crew vehicle, and recover by chute. This will not contribute to the massive run of recent launch failures in ELVs.

Update on Salisbury but no major new disclosures or developments.

McDermott, in the Jamestown Eurasia Review, cites Russia’s VPK and other sources on the S-300PM/PM2 SA-20 deployment to Syria, confirming the use of only four TELs per battery (one third of nominal full strength), and suggesting the batteries may be Franken-Patriotskis, made up of a mix of S-300PM and PM2 components.

Updates on Syria, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

‘Top-Secret Tool’: Bellingcat’s Revelations Based on Scouring Internet – Pundit – Sputnik International

The UK based blogger website Bellingcat has claimed to have identified the second suspect in the Salisbury poisonings which took place in March.

Independent Russian newspaper says FSB agents were promised 10 million dollars to leak criminal evidence against hackers, possibly outing ‘Fancy Bear’ to the FBI — Meduza

On October 6, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article by columnist Irek Murtazin echoing a report from a day earlier in Kommersant that says Russian investigators have evidence that former FSB Information Security Center agent Sergey Mikhailov, former Kaspersky Lab expert Ruslan Stoyanov, and two other accomplices shared secret intelligence with the FBI.

Cyprus suspends cooperation with Russia in Browder case – Cyprus Mail

Cyprus has again suspended cooperation with Russia, which has been seeking assistance from the government in Moscow’s alleged case of tax evasion against Hermitage Capital Founder Bill Browder, it emerged on Wednesday. Browder’s Cypriot lawyer Christos Pourgourides publicised a letter he received from Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou on Tuesday saying Cyprus would suspend cooperation with Moscow on the case until pending issues still before the court were finished.

Mary Dejevsky | We should be asking for answers about the Skripals and Bellingcat – and not just from Russia

Bellingcat has grown rather a lot beyond its shoestring origins. It has money – where from? It has been hiring staff. It has transatlantic connections. It has never, so far as I am aware, reached any conclusion that is inconvenient to the UK or US authorities.

Russian spy chief ‘taken ill’ as Putin carpets him over novichok debacle | World | News |

VLADIMIR Putin left the head of his GRU spy agency in ‘ill health’ after a carpeting over the bungled Salisbury novichok poisoning, it emerged yesterday. The furious Russian president tore into Colonel General Igor Korobov, 62, for the ‘deep incompetence’ shown over the two Russian assassins who targeted former spy Sergei Skripal.

Russian Novichok Suspects Shadowed Skripal In Prague, Report Says

The two Russian men suspected by British intelligence of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England in March shadowed the former double agent in Prague in 2014, Czech Radio (CR) has…

U.S. Spycraft and Stealthy Diplomacy Expose Russian Subversion in a Key Balkans Vote – To Inform is to Influence

By Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt Oct. 9, 2018 WASHINGTON — For years, Ivan Savvidis has been the Kremlin’s man in Greece. A Greek-Russian billionaire, a former member of the Russian Duma and the owner of a professional Greek soccer team, Mr. Savvidis has moved seamlessly between the sporting worlds of both countries. He has a finger in…

Changes May be Coming to Russia’s Military Intelligence Service

On Monday, the investigative website Bellingcat identified the second suspect as Alexander Mishkin, a medical doctor working for the GRU. He is one of two intelligence officers suspected in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England.

Do authoritarian regimes wish to be seen as crazily vindictive?

Assassinations carried out in foreign lands can chill dissent, offsetting their costs.

Vladimir Putin’s plan to divide Europe is backfiring – To Inform is to Influence

Natalie Nougayrède As the truth about its spy activities unravels, Russia becomes a bigger problem for all Europeans – not just those in the east Tue 9 Oct 2018 14.06 EDT The former Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin once famously quipped: “We wanted the best, but it turned out as always.” When Dutch, British and US officials…

How Russia’s Sub-Launched Missiles Threaten NATO’s Wartime Strategy – Defense One

NATO used to worry that Soviet subs would decimate supply convoys and carrier battle groups. Now Russia can simply wreck ports from afar.

Putin Baits the West to Bring Russian Money Home – Bloomberg

The backlash against his truculence may encourage oligarchs to repatriate offshore capital, but there won’t be enough to boost growth.

Ukraine Crisis Media Center: “How Russian media foments hostility towards the West” – To Inform is to Influence

New study on Russian disinformation Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group of UCMC has released a new research – “How Russian media foments hostility towards the West”. Unlike the previous study which was about Europe, this one is mainly about the US. and NATO as the main US force in Europe.This research is studying the methods, instruments, and messages utilized…

Will America Shape Its Grand Strategy Around China or Russia? – Defense One

The debate doesn’t just have consequences for U.S. foreign policy—it will define the next decades of domestic affairs as well.

Foggo: U.S., NATO Naval Forces Pushing Back Against Russian Harassment – USNI News

U.S. and NATO ships are conducting freedom of navigation operations in Europe to push back against a Russia that is threatening access to maritime commons.

Vladimir Putin, the Petty Strongman Who Straddles the World – To Inform is to Influence

FROM DOJO TO DICTATOR The former middle manager and sidelined spy now rules an empire of influence that stretches from the halls of the Kremlin to war-torn Ukraine, Syria, and the streets of Londongrad. Michael Weiss 10.04.18 6:25 PM ET A “dim but not commonplace” appearance with a face marked by “morose concentration” was how Leon…

U.S., Russian Space Crew Returns Safely To Earth After Booster Failure

A two-man Russian-American crew has returned to Earth in their Soyuz capsule in an emergency landing following a problem with the booster rocket shortly after a launch bound for the International Space Station.

Booster Failure After Soyuz Launch Forces Emergency Landing

A joint Russian-U.S. space mission ended with an emergency landing as a booster on its Soyuz rocket failed soon after liftoff. Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague were on their way to the International Space Station on October 11 but video of the launch showed an apparent malfunction 119 seconds into the flight. NASA officials said the crew was unharmed after a hard landing in Kazakhstan. (NASA via Reuters)

Top Corruption Investigator Shot Dead In Moscow Region

A top Russian investigator involved in serious economic crimes and corruption cases has been shot dead in the Moscow region, officials say.

Soyuz Booster Failure Sends Space Crew Back To Earth In Emergency Landing

A space capsule carrying a two-man Russian-American crew that malfunctioned after liftoff has landed safely in Kazakhstan, the Russian and U.S. space agencies say.

BREAKING: Soyuz launch to ISS aborted after booster failure; crew safe –

An incident took place during the Oct. 11 launch of a Soyuz spacecraft carrying two men to the International Space Station.

Astronauts escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocket – BBC News

The capsule carrying the US and Russian crew members has landed safely in Kazakhstan.

Astronauts in good condition after emergency landing, NASA says

The astronauts were due to dock at the International Space Station, but the booster suffered engine failure minutes after the launch.

Soyuz astronauts safe after failure forced an emergency landing

Astronauts Nick Hague of NASA and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are reportedly safe after making an emergency landing following the failure of Soyuz spacecraft boos…

Astronauts escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocket – BBC News – YouTube

BBC News Published on Oct 11, 2018 Astronauts are to make an emergency landing after their Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctioned on lift-off to the International Space Station. Nasa said there was an “issue with the booster” and the “crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode”. Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location, Nasa added. The rocket took off from Kazakhstan with Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague on board.

International Space Station mission aborted as Soyuz rocket failure forces NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonaut to make emergency landing – CBS News

Russian Soyuz rocket's booster malfunctions after launch, forcing NASA's Nick Hague and his Russian colleague to make a &quot;ballistic&quot; descent back to Earth

Russian journalists say Britain is about to name a third Salisbury attack suspect — Meduza

The Russian news website Fontanka says a third suspect in the Salisbury attack was traveling under the (likely false) identity “Sergey Fedotov.” Without naming its sources, Fontanka claims that the British authorities will soon announce that “Fedotov” was in London in March 2018 on the same days as “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov” (the two men already identified as suspects in the poisoning case). The third man apparently arrived in Britain on a separate flight, but left on the same plane as the other two alleged GRU agents.

Third Russian. In the case of Skripal, new surnames may appear. – Фонтанка.Ру

“Fontanka” found out who the UK is ready to declare as an accomplice to Petrov and Boshirov. 45-year-old Sergey Fedotov is ideally suited for the concept of “poisoners from the GRU.”

Russian Website Names Third Person Allegedly Involved In Skripal Poisoning

Russian website says a GRU military intelligence operative whose name is Sergei Fedotov is allegedly the third Russian agent involved in trying to kill former spy Sergei Skripal in Brit…

Suspect in Salisbury poisoning receives hero’s honor in Russia, Bellingcat says – CNN

The Russian agent who a British investigative outlets identifies as a suspect in the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter has reportedly received a hero’s honor from President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian village home to Novichok suspect – BBC News

A tiny Russian village has been revealed as Salisbury suspect’s former home.

Second Skripal suspect likely sent to Salisbury to administer novichok antidote, security sources say

‘We know that novichok exposure needs immediate antidote so it makes eminent sense to have a military doctor, who is also a trained GRU operative, who can play his part in the operation’

Salisbury spy Alexander Mishkin unmasked by proud gran’s picture of Putin handshake | News | The Times

A grandmother’s pride and a love of expensive cars helped to uncover the true identity of the second alleged Salisbury poisoner, it was revealed yesterday. Alexander Mishkin was identified this week as the Russian military doctor who, along with a colleague, is suspected of attempting to murder the

Salisbury poisoning: Grandmother of second Salisbury suspect Alexander Mishkin DISAPPEARS | World | News |

THE GRANDMOTHER of Dr Alexander Mishkin, the second suspect involved in the Salisbury poisonings, has disappeared only days after her grandson’s true identity was revealed by investigative website Bellingcat.

British Investigator: Putin Lied About Suspects in Salisbury Poisoning – YouTube

VOA News Published on Oct 10, 2018 The founder of the British investigative group Bellingcat says Russian President Vladimir Putin lied when he said he had never met either of the two suspects in the novichok poisoning attack in England. Two Russian agents are believed to have traveled to Salisbury in March under assumed names in an attempt to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports. Originally published at – Category News & Politics

Another big Putin lie exposed

Investigative websites Bellingcat and The Insider announced Tuesday they’d ID’d the second of the two Russian operatives fingered in the March poisoning of…

Bellingcat: The website that unmasked the suspected Salisbury poisoners – CNN

Bellingcat on Monday named the real identity of one of the Russian agents allegedly involved in the nerve agent poisonings of a former spy and his daughter.

U.S. base in Syria huge thorn in Russia’s side — but it can’t do much more than complain about it | UNIAN

Russia and the Syrian government warned the U.S. in early September that they planned to carry out counterterrorism operations near a key U.S. garrison in southeastern Syria known as al-Tanf, where several hundred Marines have been stationed since at least 2016. Without any real evidence, U.S. adversaries have lobbed many rhetorical attacks against the U.S. forces accusing them of harboring or training terrorists at al-Tanf.

Roger McDermott | Moscow’s S-300 Double Bluff in Syria – Jamestown

The biggest mystery about the Russian military S-300 transfer to Syria is the sighting of only four launchers. Combined with some of the other issues involved, it seems that Moscow has used the S-300 system as a double bluff: its transfer to the SAA will not result in deterring the Israeli Air Force from conducting future strikes in Syria, nor will a full-fledged joint Russia-Syria air-defense system emerge. Achieving the latter would involve a much more massive transfer of Russian air-defense systems to Syria.

Israel to continue Syria strikes despite S-300 delivery : Netanyahu | Muraselon

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told a top Russian diplomat that Israel will continue to launch airstrikes against ‘hostile targets’

Israel “to continue with attacks despite S-300s” – Komentari – – on

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Syrian Rebels Withdraw Heavy Weapons to Spare Idlib From Assault – The New York Times

Turkey secured the rebels’ agreement to pull back the weaponry, staving off a Syrian government offensive on the heavily populated rebel stronghold.

🇸🇾 Demilitarised zone in Syria’s Idlib province forming after deal | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Oct 10, 2018 According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the deal with Turkey to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib, the last rebel-held province in Syria, is being fulfilled.

US intercepted Saudi plans to capture missing journalist, report says | Fox News

The U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly intercepted Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey, with top Turkish officials fearing he was murdered and his dismembered body flown out of the country.

Saudi Story About Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Doesn’t Hold Up, Says Bob Corker: ‘Everything Points’ to Murder

“The Saudis—I mean, they’ve got some explaining to do,” Corker told The Daily Beast Tuesday evening after viewing classified intelligence about Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi – BBC News – YouTube

BBC News Published on Oct 11, 2018 Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi has not been seen since 2 October. He was last spotted entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey to collect documents to allow him to marry his fiancee. Turkish officials believe he has been killed. Here’s what we know about his disappearance so far.

Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show – The Washington Post

Some Western officials believe that what transpired at the consulate in Istanbul may have been a “rendition” gone bad, ending in the Post contributor’s death.

Commentary: How Khashoggi’s disappearance could change Middle East politics | Reuters

The disappearance and possible murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has cast a long shadow over Saudi Arabia’s global image. If the Saudi government did in fact kill or kidnap him, the crime would have significant implications for Middle East politics.

Saudi Arabia must answer to Khashoggi allegations | TheHill

Varsha Koduvayur says it is difficult to trust either Turkey’s or Saudi Arabia’s official version of accounts.

Trump reluctant to cut off arms sales to Saudis in response to Khashoggi’s disappearance – POLITICO

“I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country.”