Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran · Russia · Syria

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (177)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

One article really piqued my interest, Russia’s future appears to be along one of two paths: war or fragmentation. Russia, of course, will refuse to be a victim. Russia’s Disintegration Will Be the Result of a Russian Rising, Tsybulenko Says

</end editorial>



Russian propaganda effort has been spreadly thinly across many threads of recent. The S-300PM2 / SA-10B deployment to Syria is being talked up, and Russia claiming crews will be Russian rather than Iranian. Gessen and Golts make apt comments on the Valdai Club speech. Sanctions against Khusyaynova over the troll factory have generated much complaining from Muscovy.  Tsybulenko predicts Russia’s collapse as a result of ethnic Russian communities in regional Russia rebelling.  Voyennoye Obozreniye journal says Russian oligarchs spent more on yachts than the Russian Navy on warships over the last decade. Zolotov bails on Navalniy’s debate challenge.

ODNI, DOJ, DHS, FBI statement on election meddling. Troll farm update and trolls in Finland convicted in Jessikka Aro case.

Update on Salisbury, no major developments.

Syria news dominated by S-300PM2 reporting, and complaints an RAF RIVET JOINT surveilled Russian SAM sites.

Iran, Turkey, Saudi updates.


Destruction Range of Russia’s S-300 Sent to Syria Reaches 155 Miles – Think Tank – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian-made S-300 air defense systems that have been recently deployed in Syria can hit the targets at the distance of up to 250 kilometers (155 miles), Russia’s Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) head Igor Korotchenko said on Friday.

Russian S-300s Supplied to Syria Were ‘Modernized’ – Reports – Sputnik International

Moscow has delivered advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect the country’s troops deployed in the war-torn Arab country in the wake of last month’s downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane during an Israeli airstrike in Latakia.

Putin compares Khashoggi case to Skripal poisoning, asks why Russia condemned despite lack of proof — RT World News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has contrasted the world’s response to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with its response to the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, citing lack of proof in both cases.

Putin Lied About His Nuclear Doctrine and Promised Russians They Will Go to Heaven | The New Yorker

Masha Gessen on Vladimir Putin’s lies about Russia’s nuclear doctrine, made to showcase brute power—his country’s and his own.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Valdai Club Remarks on Nuclear War Not New But Very Worrisome, Golts Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 20 – At the Valdai Club this week, Vladimir Putin said Moscow would not use a preventive nuclear strike but would “launch on warning” of such an attack on Russia, a position that is not new as such but that given the Kremlin leader’s constant talk about nuclear weapons recently, is nonetheless worrisome, Aleksandr Golts says. “Strictly speaking,” the independent military analyst says, Putin didn’t say anything “new in principle” at Valdai. Russian military doctrine makes no provision for a preventive strike, despite the efforts of some to include the notion (openmedia.io/exclusive/pochemu-putin-vse-chashhe-napominaet-o-yadernoj-moshhi-rossii/). And the idea of launch on warning is not new either, Golts says; but Putin “unfortunately forgot to mention (or his military advisors forget to inform him in this regard) that such a model of using nuclear weapons has long been considered the riskiest and most destabilizing” given the possibilities for error. The US Center for Defense Information reported that between 1977 and 1984, the American missile attack warning system “generated 20,784 false reports about an attack on the US.” In 1983, the Soviet system reported an attack that was ignored only because Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, at great risk to himself, decided it was false. “Both Russian and American experts have repeatedly called on Moscow and Washington to begin talks about a mutual rejection of the launch on warning concept,” lest mistakes in the monitoring system lead to war. And that is why Putin’s remarks are so worrisome: Together with those just cited, Putin displayed a disturbing “fatalism” when he said that since Russia would never be an aggressor, those who died as the result of an attack by others “would land in paradise” while the aggressors would “burn in hell,” anything but “an adequate way” of talking about this issue. Golts devotes a significant portion of his article to a listing of all the times in recent months that Putin has talked about nuclear weapons and nuclear war, an indication that it is very much on his mind. The reasons are not far to seek: In the new military confrontation with the West, Russia lacks the resources that the USSR has except for “the nuclear card.” But there is “one problem,” the military analyst continues. “It isn’t enough to have thousands of nuclear warheads. Nuclear arms become an effective element of foreign policy only if the person in charge is viewed as irresponsible” and thus capable of using them. The West viewed the Soviet leaders as such, but until recently, they didn’t view Putin in that way. The current Kremlin leader “initially created for himself the reputation of a completely rational man,” useful for some purposes but not if he wants to be thought capable of launching a nuclear war, Golts says. But that shift suggests Putin is capable of using nuclear weapons as a bluff and constantly raising the stakes given his relative weakness. That process of threat and responding to the threats of others by making more oneself is “how World War I began.” Now, Golts concludes, the risks are much greater as a simple thought experiment about what could happen shows. “Let us imagine that in the course of the next political conflict with the West, Moscow, wishing to demonstrate the seriousness of its intentions, could declare about raising the state of readiness of its nuclear forces. Washington under Trump would respond in exactly the same way,” the Moscow military analyst says. “God forbid that at that moment, the missile warning systems of one of the countries would make a mistake. Were that to happen,” Golts says, then there remains the hope that some cool-headed Lt. Col Petrov will be around” and ready and able of preventing things from getting out of hand.

Putin Lives in a World Without Rules – Bloomberg

It’s chilling when the leader of a nuclear power describes a potential nuclear conflict in terms one might expect from a suicide bomber. But the intellectual foundations of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest geopolitical utterances are even more unsettling: Putin’s policy wonks assume that the world can’t hope for reasonable coordinated action to prevent a catastrophic war. Putin told a session of the Valdai Club, set up as a forum for Russian foreign-policy intellectuals to share their views with foreign colleagues, that Russia doesn’t believe in a preemptive nuclear strike but rather in an immediate, deadly response:

Russia Says U.S. ‘Fabricating Pretext’ To Justify Sanctions

Russia has accused the United States of “fabricating a pretext” to impose fresh sanctions against Russia after Washington charged a Russian of conspiring to interfere in U.S. elections.

UAWire – Russia accuses the US of creating false excuses to impose sanctions

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the US of creating excuses to impose sanctions. In response to Washington’s charges against a Russian woman accused of interfering in the Congressional midterm elections, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US is leading “a shameful slanderous campaign” against Russia, which stems from the desire of some American politicians to gain the upper hand in “interparty brawls”. “They use illegible means, including evidently ordered criminal cases with “ludicrous accusations” and “laughable body of proof”. We understand that Washington is fabricating a pretext to impose their notorious sanctions against our country once again. The US clearly overestimates its own power,” the Russian diplomats said. The US Department of Justice accused Elena Khusyaynova, a 44-year-old Russian, of plotting to interfere in the midterm elections of the US Congress, which will be held in November 2018. The US Department of Justice claims that Khusyaynova worked as chief accountant for the Lakhta project, which was financed by the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin and two other companies under his control: Concord Management and Concord Catering.

UAWire – Russian Prime Minister: USSR lived for decades under sanctions

Russia is not going to persuade Europeans to lift anti-Russian sanctions, said by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the press conference following the talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, TASS reported. “Lifting sanctions is a mutually beneficial matter and we should not persuade our partners to cancel anything, we don’t need it,” Medvedev said. He also said that “our European colleagues need it, they should start an initiative themselves”. “If they don’t want to, we will continue living with sanctions,” he added. The prime minister recalled that sanctions are not ‘a matter of life and death’ for Russia. “We did not start imposing these sanctions and it is not us who should terminate them,” he added. The head of the Cabinet noted that the USSR lived for decades under sanctions and ‘nothing happened’. Earlier, Medvedev cited data showing that the total loss of the European Union is about 100 billion euros. He announced in May that it was impossible to cancel the Russian counter-sanctions. “It is impossible to do it. Of course, there should be mutuality. I am not even speaking about the fact that the sanctions on food imports were greeted by our farmers,” he said.

UAWire – Putin believes Trump is determined to stabilize relations between USA and Russia

On Thursday, speaking at the traditional Valdai Forum in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that US President Donald Trump is ready to listen to him and is determined to improve the relations between the two countries. “In my opinion, the current president [of the US] is determined to stabilize and level the relations between Russia and the US,” Putin said and added that “we will see how the situation will further develop”. Putin denied the accusations of Western countries concerning Moscow’s interference in their affairs. At the same time, answering a question about the annexation of the Crimea, Putin said that “Crimea is ours”. The Russian president also noted that his country, despite possessing a modern nuclear missile shield, is not going to use nuclear weapons first but is determined to respond with a nuclear attack, as provided by the Russian Military Doctrine.

The Week In Russia: A Schism, A School Attack, And Putin’s Talk Of Nuclear War

The Russian Orthodox Church reacts to a serious blow in Ukraine, and a school shooting in Crimea leaves 21 people dead, most of them teenagers.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Disintegration Will Be the Result of a Russian Rising, Tsybulenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 19 – The Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 largely because of national movements among the non-Russian nations and was peaceful because of the willingness of ethnic Russians to accept the departure and independence of the non-Russian union republics, Yevgen Tsybulenko says. But the Russian Federation will disintegrate in an entirely different way, with its demise triggered by a rising among ethnic Russians, and will thus likely be more violent as Russians fight among themselves and with the non-Russians as well, the head of the Ukrainian community in Estonia says (afterempire.info/2018/10/19/tsybulenko/). Tsybulenko says that he has no doubt that “Putin’s Russia is falling apart” and thinks that this will happen much sooner than many suppose. I well remember the last years of the USSR – already in 1989 people said that the empire would inevitably disintegrate but predicted that this process would last several decades.” Two years later the USSR was gone. Today, he tells Vadim Shtepa of After Empire, “the Russian system is unprecedentedly corrupt, it is eating through its last reserve funds, and it holds out only because Europe continues to purchase Russian oil and gas. In the 1990s, Russia survived on Russian credits and humanitarian help, but instead of saying thanks, Russia again declared the West an enemy.” “This empire simply will not survive the latest economic crisis,” Tsybulenko says. At the same time, he argues that there will not be “a literal repetition of the disintegration of the USSR.” The disintegration of the Russian Federation is more likely to begin with an ethnic Russian revolt in various parts of the country. Putin’s Russian Guard will cope with the first but be unable to deal with the increasing number of such risings. “In various regions will appear new leaders and they will lay the foundations for a new system of power. In some places, thee will be old bureaucrats; in others, criminal bosses … and in a third, normal politicians of a new generation who will conduct democratic elections.” This will not be an easy or peaceful process, but a normal future requires it. A country as large as Russia “can exist only as a federation, but if the authorities themselves don’t want to have a normal federation, what remains is only an empire and its inevitable falling apart,” Tsybulenko says. And that process will be more violent and spasmodic precisely because Putin has promoted the rise of “angry militant imperialists.” This interview was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the organized Ukrainian community in Estonia, a community with older roots but which Tsybulenko now heads. There are some 25,000 self-proclaimed ethnic Ukrainians in that Baltic country, the third largest ethnic group there, but in fact, there are many more who were Russianized in Soviet times. Tsybulenko says that the Ukrainians supported Estonia’s drive to recover its independence, have worked to ensure that Estonians overcome the Soviet view that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are all one people, and have promoted ties between Tallinn and Kyiv. In other comments, the Ukrainian scholar who is the co-editor of a new book, The Use of Force Against Ukraine and International Law (link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-94-6265-222-4) says that in his view, Putin would be acting irrationally if he sought to seize Narva from Estonia by acting as he did in Ukraine. The Kremlin leader would be resisted not only by Estonian forces but by NATO. Unfortunately, Tsybulenko continues, Putin lives in his own world and therefore one cannot be certain that he will act rationally in this case given that he hasn’t in others.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 20 Oligarch Yachts Cost More than All Russian Navy Ships Built in Last Decade, Military Journal Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 19 – For geographic and historical reasons, the Russian navy has never been the priority that its army has; but Voyennoye obozreniye underlines this, noting that just 20 of the yachts owned by Russian oligarchs cost more than all the ships Moscow has built for the Russian navy over the last ten years. Indeed, the Moscow military journal says with obvious anger and disgust, the price tag of just one of these yachts exceeds the cost of modernizing Russia’s atomic-powered cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov (topwar.ru/148420-20-jaht-rossijskih-milliarderov-prevoshodjat-po-stoimosti-voenno-morskoj-flot.html). The article which draws on Western and Russian sources to paint a picture of these expensive playthings of the country’s super rich is significant in at least three ways: First, it highlights the way in which Putin for all his bluster about national defense has deferred to the oligarchs rather than focused on building the Russian navy. Second, it underscores for a Russian audience just how great income inequality in that country is and how it is affecting not only the private sphere but the public sphere as well. And third, and most important, it suggests, given its source, that there is mounting anger among the Russian military at this situation, a fault line in the Russian elite that is likely to widen.

Brawn vs. brains The Russian National Guard director’s failed quest to beat up Alexey Navalny: a chronology — Meduza

In early September, the head of Russia’s National Guard (a former Putin bodyguard named Viktor Zolotov) challenged anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny to a “duel,” promising to “make mincemeat of him.” In jail at the time, Navalny responded only in mid-October, offering to meet Zolotov in a debate, instead of the ring. A day later, Zolotov expressed his disappointment, saying he had “something else” in mind. Meduza reviews the course of events that led us here.

Russian National Guard Chief Rejects Navalny’s Call For TV Debate

The head of Russia’s National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, has rejected opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s call for a televised debate made in response to Zolotov’s challenge to a “duel.”

Moscow bans ceremony honouring victims of Stalin’s Terror | World news | The Guardian

Organisers of event where names of victims are recited say withdrawal of permission is outrageous

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A 1940 Stalinist Precedent for Putin’s ‘Little Green Men’ in Crimea

Paul Goble Staunton, October 20 – One of the most difficult challenges the Russian authorities present to the West is the Russian government never forgets something if it worked and uses it again and again – unlike Western governments which are inclined to think that even if something works, there is always the chance to make it better by changing it in fundamental ways. Nowhere is this Russian tradition stronger than in the intelligence agencies where the FSB of today is using models drawn from the Soviet KGB, the Cheka and even the tsarist Okhrana. Perhaps the most obvious are Moscow’s false flag operations modeled on “Operation Trust” that Feliks Dzerzhinsky ran against the first Russian emigration in the 1920s. But there are many others, and now a report about one of Stalin’s more remarkable if rarely noted operations has surfaced, a report that suggests what the Soviet dictator did in China’s Xinjiang province in 1940 may very well have been a model for what Vladimir Putin did with his “little green men” in Ukraine. In an article for Russian 7, Dmitry Sokolov describes what he says was “a truly genial plan” to fool the Japanese army by dressing up Red Army men as anti-Bolshevik White Russians, having them address officers as “Your Excellency” rather than comrade, and fitting into life in China’s troubled West (ussian7.ru/post/zachem-v-1940-godu-v-kitay-otpravili-sovets/). According to the historian, Moscow in 1940 assumed that Japan would attack the Soviet Union at its first opportunity and that the USSR could better monitor the threat and perhaps disorder any invasion if it had forces loyal to itself behind what would be the lines in such a conflict. Of course, Sokolov continues, the Soviet authorities recognized that anyone they sent there might be quickly unmasked by the Japanese intelligence services and so they came up with “a secret operation to block Japanese aggression,” one based on “conspiracy above everything else” and one that lasted for three years. What Moscow did was this: it sent an entire regiment of Red Army men from Belarus to Xinjiang dressed not as Soviet soldiers but rather as anti-Bolshevik White Army forces. Not only were they dressed like the Whites, but they addressed each other using tsarist terms and were “severely punished” if they slipped up and used the word “comrade.” Because there were so many remnants of the White movement in China, the Soviet unit play acting as one of their number had little difficulty in fitting in. Many of the local Chinese even welcomed them because White units had helped the Chinese put down Islamic revolts and because the Red Army men playacting as Whites displayed iron discipline. The Japanese never figured out just whom they were up against, and the Soviets redressed as Whites were able to remain undetected until they were withdrawn in 1943 when the possibility of a Japanese invasion appeared to have passed, Sokolov says. The unit was then dispatched to fight against the Germans in the Soviet West. According to the Russian historian, “the most difficult task for the soldiers and officers [of this unit once they were withdrawn from China] was to make the transition from being White Guards and become again soldiers of the Red Army – and also to get accustomed to calling each other “comrade.”

Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections – To Inform is to Influence

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE WASHINGTON, DC 20511 October 19, 2018 Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections Foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy; identifying and preventing this interference is a top priority of the Federal Government. We believe the greatest strength of…

Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCEWASHINGTON, DC 20511   October 19, 2018   Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreig…

The Feds Have the Russian Troll Farm Receipts

New indictment sheds light on Russian election meddlers secretive “Project Lakhta.”

UAWire – Washington: Russia can influence public opinion through RT and Sputnik

In a joint statement of the Director’s office of the National Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Justice, FBI and the US Department of Homeland …

Russian troll threat hasn’t gone away as election day nears – CNNPolitics

The US intelligence community and Silicon Valley may have upped their efforts to prevent interference in November’s midterm elections, but that hasn’t stopped the Russians from trying, a criminal complaint filed on Friday shows.

Is there interference in the 2018 US midterm elections? – ABC News

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

Three Internet Trolls Convicted of Systematic Defamation Against Journalist in Finland – To Inform is to Influence

This article is well worth the read, in its entirety. Notice the denials by the defendants, the evidence is “fabricated” and it’s a plot by “NATO propagandists”. The funding stream remains undetermined. That Russia is involved, I have no doubt. Bäckman has been declared persona non grata by several countries for distributing Russian propaganda and organizing pro-Russian rallies. Several friends who live and work in Finland are terrified of the Russian SVR intelligence service. Russia will not let this decision lie quietly, they will respond in the cowardly fashion in which they committed these crimes against Jessikka Aro (this is the correct spelling). Russian trolls will react anonymously, they lack the courage to claim responsibility. Jessikka Aro and justice have won this round. </end editorial>

Russia’s troll farm doubled its budget in early 2018 – To Inform is to Influence

By Max de Haldevang October 19, 2018 The infamous Russian troll farm in St Petersburg is stepping up its disinformation warfare in 2018, according to a criminal complaint by US authorities against the organization’s accountant. The pro-Putin, oligarch-funded operation spent nearly as much in the first six months of 2018 as it did the entire year before. Between Jan.…

Wishful thinking as a manipulation tool in Russian propaganda |Euromaidan Press |

A Kremlin outlet RT is trusted outside Russia – say two other Kremlin outlets. All three have the same editor-in-chief.

Russia carried out Salisbury attack because Brexit has made Britain ‘weak and isolated’, ex-MI6 chief says

Russia mounted the Salisbury nerve agent attack because it believed Britain was “weak and isolated” after the vote to leave the EU, a former MI6 chief has said. Sir John Sawers said he did not believe the Russians would have used a nerve agent on the streets of a US or German city in the way they are alleged to have done in the attempted assassination of former spy Sergei Skripal. “They thought they could pick on Britain and bully us because we were looking weak,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One. “Actually Theresa May and her Government responded very strongly and forcefully to the Skripal attack but it was only because we were able to carry our European partners, the Americans and others, with us. “It was through engagement with others that we were able to push back and have a credible response to the Skripal attack.”

Inside Europe: Skripal and the Czech connection | Media Center | DW | 19.10.2018

A new twist has emerged in the attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Czech Radio has reported that the two suspects, believed to be Russian military intelligence officers, were in the Czech Republic in October 2014, the same time that Skripal was allegedly briefing Czech intelligence on Russian spying activity. Rob Cameron reports from Prague.

UAWire – Head of Swiss intelligence: Russia has increased spy activities in the country

Head of the Swiss intelligence Jean-Philippe Gaudin stated that there a lot of Russian spies in the country who have recently become more active, Deutsche Welle reported. Gaudin did not mention the exact number of spies but he explained that Russian agents in Switzerland are now become more active than before. He said that the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a criminal case against two Russians, allegedly employees of the GRU (Main Russian Intelligence Directorate), Yevgeny Serebryakov and Alexei Morenets, suspected of involvement in a cyber-attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency in Lausanne. The two Russians are also suspected of attempting to obtain data from the laboratory of radiological and chemical-bacteriological analysis in the Swiss city of Spitz. The laboratory helps to investigate the chemical attacks in Syria and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK. Serebryakov and Morenets were detained in the spring of 2018 in The Hague and were extradited to Russia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the incident a ‘misunderstanding’. In September, Switzerland demanded that Russia stop spy activities in the country. It was noted that since the beginning of the year the Swiss Ministry has summoned three times the Russian ambassador.

Novichok attack hits Salisbury house prices – Investment Property Forum

Russian report: Syria received S-300 PM-2 system

Moscow provides Damascus with 3 S-300 PM-2 anti-aircraft missile systems, Russian newspaper Izvestia cited a Russian Defense Ministry official as saying; new system has advanced radars and high ability to identify targets as well as defeating electronic warfare systems.

Russia supplied Syria with most ‘modernized’ S-300 system – report

Moscow has delivered advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect the country’s troops deployed in the war-torn Arab country in the wake of

UK reconnaissance plane spotted spying on Syria’s S-300 system

Improved versions of the S-300 air defense systems were supplied to Syria by Moscow following a lethal incident near Latakia province, when a Russian recon jet was accidently downed by Syrian air defenses repelling an Israeli air raid. A Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft of the UK’s Royal Air Force has conducted a flight over the territories of Israel and Jordan, near the Syrian border, several flight tracking services reported. An aircraft with the number ZZ666 took off from Souda Bay Air Base on Crete, flew along the southern border of the Arab Republic and then returned to the air base via the same path.

Report: Russia sends Syria improved S-300 to counter Israeli strikes | The Times of Israel

S-300PM-2 batteries boast improved radar and communications, are intended to thwart IDF targeting of Iran-backed forces, Russian newspaper says

Report: Russia transferred highly-advanced S-300 system to Syria – Israel National News

Report claims that in addition to ‘classic’ model, another model with highly-advanced capabilities delivered to Syria.

Syria has a version of S-300 system that no other country has | Muraselon

Russian has supplied Syria with a unique version of S-300 air defense missile system that is entirely district from other traditional versions and has the most state-of-the- art specifications, a Russian newspaper reported. Izvestia, a daily broadsheet newspaper in Russia, quoted a source at the Russian Ministry of Defense saying that the S-300 missile system provided to the Syrian Army is equipped with an advanced radar station, an updated launcher and a mobile command center. “The updated launchers allow the use of powerful, long-range ammunition. Unlike other traditional versions, the advanced S-300 missile system is capable of intercepting medium-range ballistic missiles and hitting targets at a range of 250 km”, the newspaper said. “It can also be operated in conditions of electronic warfare”, it added. The source categorically denied that the S-300 missile system in question will be operated by Iranian experts, confirming that the system can only be run by Russian experts

Iran orders at least 7 journalists jailed and flogged over Dervish protest coverage – Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, August 31, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the harsh sentences Iranian authorities imposed on at least seven journalists over their coverage of protests by a religious order….

Deadly Air Force F-14 Tomcats vs. Iran’s F-4 Phantoms: Who Wins? | The National Interest

But the question we need to ask: did the battle actually happen.

Khashoggi death: Saudi Arabia says journalist was murdered – BBC News

A senior minister blames a “rogue operation” as pressure mounts over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

🇸🇦 Adel al-Jubeir: We don’t know where Khashoggi’s body is, killing a mistake | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Oct 21, 2018 Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has called the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a “grave mistake”. In an interview, Adel al-Jubeir said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no knowledge of the killing and that the individuals involved tried to cover it up after making a mistake in killing the journalist. Meanwhile, Turkey’s president said his country plans to announce details of its investigation on Tuesday. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reports from Istanbul.

Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman didn’t get Khashoggi outrage: report – INSIDER

Mohammed bin Salman was shocked to see the reaction to Khashoggi’s death, and asked Jared Kushner why it was happening, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Turkey gains from grisly drama over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

One of the least appreciated aspects of this drama is the influence of Turkish President Erdogan, who has shown the ability, through the well-timed release of crucial details, to fuel the global outrage against Saudi Arabia or tamp it down.

Saudi Arabia admits Jamal Khashoggi killed in Istanbul consulate | Saudi Arabia News | Al Jazeera

Kingdom sacks intelligence official, arrests 18 Saudis saying missing journalist was killed in a ‘fist fight’.

Who is Ahmed al-Asiri, the sacked Saudi intelligence official? | Jamal Khashoggi News | Al Jazeera

General al-Asiri was fired as the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence services on Friday over killing of Khashoggi.

White House responds to Joaquin Castro’s Kushner allegations: ‘an outrageous slanderous lie’ | TheHill

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded Friday to Rep. Joaquin Castro’s (D-Texas) accusation that Jared Kushner orchestrated the killing of Saudi U.S. based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Destruction Range of Russia’s S-300 Sent to Syria Reaches 155 Miles – Think Tank – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian-made S-300 air defense systems that have been recently deployed in Syria can hit the targets at the distance of up to 250 kilometers (155 miles), Russia’s Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) head Igor Korotchenko said on Friday.

Russian S-300s Supplied to Syria Were ‘Modernized’ – Reports – Sputnik International

Moscow has delivered advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect the country’s troops deployed in the war-torn Arab country in the wake of last month’s downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane during an Israeli airstrike in Latakia.

Putin compares Khashoggi case to Skripal poisoning, asks why Russia condemned despite lack of proof — RT World News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has contrasted the world’s response to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with its response to the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, citing lack of proof in both cases.

Putin Lied About His Nuclear Doctrine and Promised Russians They Will Go to Heaven | The New Yorker

Masha Gessen on Vladimir Putin’s lies about Russia’s nuclear doctrine, made to showcase brute power—his country’s and his own.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Valdai Club Remarks on Nuclear War Not New But Very Worrisome, Golts Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 20 – At the Valdai Club this week, Vladimir Putin said Moscow would not use a preventive nuclear strike but would “launch on warning” of such an attack on Russia, a position that is not new as such but that given the Kremlin leader’s constant talk about nuclear weapons recently, is nonetheless worrisome, Aleksandr Golts says. “Strictly speaking,” the independent military analyst says, Putin didn’t say anything “new in principle” at Valdai. Russian military doctrine makes no provision for a preventive strike, despite the efforts of some to include the notion (openmedia.io/exclusive/pochemu-putin-vse-chashhe-napominaet-o-yadernoj-moshhi-rossii/). And the idea of launch on warning is not new either, Golts says; but Putin “unfortunately forgot to mention (or his military advisors forget to inform him in this regard) that such a model of using nuclear weapons has long been considered the riskiest and most destabilizing” given the possibilities for error. The US Center for Defense Information reported that between 1977 and 1984, the American missile attack warning system “generated 20,784 false reports about an attack on the US.” In 1983, the Soviet system reported at attack that was ignored only because Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, at great risk to himself, decided it was false. “Both Russian and American experts have repeatedly called on Moscow and Washington to begin talks about a mutual rejection of the launch on warning concept,” lest mistakes in the monitoring system lead to war. And that is why Putin’s remarks are so worrisome: Together with those just cited, Putin displayed a disturbing “fatalism” when he said that since Russia would never be an aggressor, those who died as the result of an attack by others “would land in paradise” while the aggressors would “burn in hell,” anything but “an adequate way” of talking about this issue. Golts devotes a significant portion of his article to a listing of all the times in recent months that Putin has talked about nuclear weapons and nuclear war, an indication that it is very much on his mind. The reasons are not far to seek: In the new military confrontation with the West, Russia lacks the resources that the USSR has except for “the nuclear card.” But there is “one problem,” the military analyst continues. “It isn’t enough to have thousands of nuclear warheads. Nuclear arms become an effective element of foreign policy only if the person in charge is viewed as irresponsible” and thus capable of using them. The West viewed the Soviet leaders as such, but until recently, they didn’t view Putin in that way. The current Kremlin leader “initially created for himself the reputation of a completely rational man,” useful for some purposes but not if he wants to be thought capable of launching a nuclear war, Golts says. But that shift suggests Putin is capable of using nuclear weapons as a bluff and constantly raising the stakes given his relative weakness. That process of threat and responding to the threats of others by making more oneself is “how World War I began.” Now, Golts concludes, the risks are much greater as a simple thought experiment about what could happen shows. “Let us imagine that in the course of the next political conflict with the West, Moscow, wishing to demonstrate the seriousness of its intentions, could declare about raising the state of readiness of its nuclear forces. Washington under Trump would respond in exactly the same way,” the Moscow military analyst says. “God forbid that at that moment, the missile warning systems of one of the countries would make a mistake. Were that to happen,” Golts says, then there remains the hope that some cool-headed Lt. Col Petrov will be around” and ready and able of preventing things from getting out of hand.

Putin Lives in a World Without Rules – Bloomberg

It’s chilling when the leader of a nuclear power describes a potential nuclear conflict in terms one might expect from a suicide bomber. But the intellectual foundations of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest geopolitical utterances are even more unsettling: Putin’s policy wonks assume that the world can’t hope for reasonable coordinated action to prevent catastrophic war. Putin told a session of the Valdai Club, set up as a forum for Russian foreign-policy intellectuals to share their views with foreign colleagues, that Russia doesn’t believe in a preemptive nuclear strike but rather in an immediate, deadly response:

Russia Says U.S. ‘Fabricating Pretext’ To Justify Sanctions

Russia has accused the United States of “fabricating a pretext” to impose fresh sanctions against Russia after Washington charged a Russian of conspiring to interfere in U.S. elections.

UAWire – Russia accuses the US of creating false excuses to impose sanctions

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the US of creating excuses to impose sanctions. In response to Washington’s charges against a Russian woman accused of interfering in the Congressional midterm elections, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US is leading “a shameful slanderous campaign” against Russia, which stems from the desire of some American politicians to gain the upper hand in “interparty brawls”. “They use illegible means, including evidently ordered criminal cases with “ludicrous accusations” and “laughable body of proof”. We understand that Washington is fabricating a pretext to impose their notorious sanctions against our country once again. The US clearly overestimates its own power,” the Russian diplomats said. The US Department of Justice accused Elena Khusyaynova, a 44-year-old Russian, of plotting to interfere in the midterm elections of the US Congress, which will be held in November 2018. The US Department of Justice claims that Khusyaynova worked as chief accountant for the Lakhta project, which was financed by the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin and two other companies under his control: Concord Management and Concord Catering.

UAWire – Russian Prime Minister: USSR lived for decades under sanctions

Russia is not going to persuade Europeans to lift anti-Russian sanctions, said by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the press conference following the talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, TASS reported. “Lifting sanctions is a mutually beneficial matter and we should not persuade our partners to cancel anything, we don’t need it,” Medvedev said. He also said that “our European colleagues need it, they should start an initiative themselves”. “If they don’t want to, we will continue living with sanctions,” he added. The prime minister recalled that sanctions are not ‘a matter of life and death’ for Russia. “We did not start imposing these sanctions and it is not us who should terminate them,” he added. The head of the Cabinet noted that the USSR lived for decades under sanctions and ‘nothing happened’. Earlier, Medvedev cited data showing that the total loss of the European Union is about 100 billion euros. He announced in May that it was impossible to cancel the Russian counter-sanctions. “It is impossible to do it. Of course, there should be mutuality. I am not even speaking about the fact that the sanctions on food imports were greeted by our farmers,” he said.

UAWire – Putin believes Trump is determined to stabilize relations between USA and Russia

On Thursday, speaking at the traditional Valdai Forum in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that US President Donald Trump is ready to listen to him and is determined to improve the relations between the two countries. “In my opinion, the current president [of the US] is determined to stabilize and level the relations between Russia and the US,” Putin said and added that “we will see how the situation will further develop”. Putin denied the accusations of Western countries concerning Moscow’s interference in their affairs. At the same time, answering a question about the annexation of the Crimea, Putin said that “Crimea is ours”. The Russian president also noted that his country, despite possessing a modern nuclear missile shield, is not going to use nuclear weapons first but is determined to respond with a nuclear attack, as provided by the Russian Military Doctrine.

The Week In Russia: A Schism, A School Attack, And Putin’s Talk Of Nuclear War

The Russian Orthodox Church reacts to a serious blow in Ukraine, and a school shooting in Crimea leaves 21 people dead, most of them teenagers.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Disintegration Will Be the Result of a Russian Rising, Tsybulenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 19 – The Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 largely because of national movements among the non-Russian nations and was peaceful because of the willingness of ethnic Russians to accept the departure and independence of the non-Russian union republics, Yevgen Tsybulenko says. But the Russian Federation will disintegrate in an entirely different way, with its demise triggered by a rising among ethnic Russians, and will thus likely be more violent as Russians fight among themselves and with the non-Russians as well, the head of the Ukrainian community in Estonia says (afterempire.info/2018/10/19/tsybulenko/). Tsybulenko says that he has no doubt that “Putin’s Russia is falling apart” and thinks that this will happen much sooner than many suppose. I well remember the last years of the USSR – already in 1989 people said that the empire would inevitably disintegrate but predicted that this process would last several decades.” Two years later the USSR was gone. Today, he tells Vadim Shtepa of After Empire, “the Russian system is unprecedentedly corrupt, it is eating through its last reserve funds, and it holds out only because Europe continues to purchase Russian oil and gas. In the 1990s, Russia survived on Russian credits and humanitarian help, but instead of saying thanks, Russia again declared the West an enemy.” “This empire simply will not survive the latest economic crisis,” Tsybulenko says. At the same time, he argues that there will not be “a literal repetition of the disintegration of the USSR.” The disintegration of the Russian Federation is more likely to begin with an ethnic Russian revolt in various parts of the country. Putin’s Russian Guard will cope with the first but be unable to deal with the increasing number of such risings. “In various regions will appear new leaders and they will lay the foundations for a new system of power. In some places, thee will be old bureaucrats; in others, criminal bosses … and in a third, normal politicians of a new generation who will conduct democratic elections.” This will not be an easy or peaceful process, but a normal future requires it. A country as large as Russia “can exist only as a federation, but if the authorities themselves don’t want to have a normal federation, what remains is only an empire and its inevitable falling apart,” Tsybulenko says. And that process will be more violent and spasmodic precisely because Putin has promoted the rise of “angry militant imperialists.” This interview was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the organized Ukrainian community in Estonia, a community with older roots but which Tsybulenko now heads. There are some 25,000 self-proclaimed ethnic Ukrainians in that Baltic country, the third largest ethnic group there, but in fact, there are many more who were Russianized in Soviet times. Tsybulenko says that the Ukrainians supported Estonia’s drive to recover its independence, have worked to ensure that Estonians overcome the Soviet view that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are all one people, and have promoted ties between Tallinn and Kyiv. In other comments, the Ukrainian scholar who is the co-editor of a new book, The Use of Force Against Ukraine and International Law (link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-94-6265-222-4) says that in his view, Putin would be acting irrationally if he sought to seize Narva from Estonia by acting as he did in Ukraine. The Kremlin leader would be resisted not only by Estonian forces but by NATO. Unfortunately, Tsybulenko continues, Putin lives in his own world and therefore one cannot be certain that he will act rationally in this case given that he hasn’t in others.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 20 Oligarch Yachts Cost More than All Russian Navy Ships Built in Last Decade, Military Journal Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 19 – For geographic and historical reasons, the Russian navy has never been the priority that its army has; but Voyennoye obozreniye underlines this, noting that just 20 of the yachts owned by Russian oligarchs cost more than all the ships Moscow has built for the Russian navy over the last ten years. Indeed, the Moscow military journal says with obvious anger and disgust, the price tag of just one of these yachts exceeds the cost of modernizing Russia’s atomic-powered cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov (topwar.ru/148420-20-jaht-rossijskih-milliarderov-prevoshodjat-po-stoimosti-voenno-morskoj-flot.html). The article which draws on Western and Russian sources to paint a picture of these expensive playthings of the country’s super rich is significant in at least three ways: First, it highlights the way in which Putin for all his bluster about national defense has deferred to the oligarchs rather than focused on building the Russian navy. Second, it underscores for a Russian audience just how great income inequality in that country is and how it is affecting not only the private sphere but the public sphere as well. And third, and most important, it suggests, given its source, that there is mounting anger among the Russian military at this situation, a fault line in the Russian elite that is likely to widen.

Brawn vs. brains The Russian National Guard director’s failed quest to beat up Alexey Navalny: a chronology — Meduza

In early September, the head of Russia’s National Guard (a former Putin bodyguard named Viktor Zolotov) challenged anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny to a “duel,” promising to “make mincemeat of him.” In jail at the time, Navalny responded only in mid-October, offering to meet Zolotov in a debate, instead of the ring. A day later, Zolotov expressed his disappointment, saying he had “something else” in mind. Meduza reviews the course of events that led us here.

Russian National Guard Chief Rejects Navalny’s Call For TV Debate

The head of Russia’s National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, has rejected opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s call for a televised debate made in response to Zolotov’s challenge to a “duel.”

Moscow bans ceremony honouring victims of Stalin’s Terror | World news | The Guardian

Organisers of event where names of victims are recited say withdrawal of permission is outrageous

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A 1940 Stalinist Precedent for Putin’s ‘Little Green Men’ in Crimea

Paul Goble Staunton, October 20 – One of the most difficult challenges the Russian authorities present to the West is the Russian government never forgets something if it worked and uses it again and again – unlike Western governments which are inclined to think that even if something works, there is always the chance to make it better by changing it in fundamental ways. Nowhere is this Russian tradition stronger than in the intelligence agencies where the FSB of today is using models drawn from the Soviet KGB, the Cheka and even the tsarist Okhrana. Perhaps the most obvious are Moscow’s false flag operations modelled on “Operation Trust” that Feliks Dzerzhinsky ran against the first Russian emigration in the 1920s. But there are many others, and now a report about one of Stalin’s more remarkable if rarely noted operations has surfaced, a report that suggests what the Soviet dictator did in China’s Xinjiang province in 1940 may very well have been a model for what Vladimir Putin did with his “little green men” in Ukraine. In an article for Russian 7, Dmitry Sokolov describes what he says was “a truly genial plan” to fool the Japanese army by dressing up Red Army men as anti-Bolshevik White Russians, having them address officers as “Your Excellency” rather than comrade, and fitting into life in China’s troubled West (ussian7.ru/post/zachem-v-1940-godu-v-kitay-otpravili-sovets/). According to the historian, Moscow in 1940 assumed that Japan would attack the Soviet Union at its first opportunity and that the USSR could better monitor the threat and perhaps disorder any invasion if it had forces loyal to itself behind what would be the lines in such a conflict. Of course, Sokolov continues, the Soviet authorities recognized that anyone they sent there might be quickly unmasked by the Japanese intelligence services and so they came up with “a secret operation to block Japanese aggression,” one based on “conspiracy above everything else” and one that lasted for three years. What Moscow did was this: it sent an entire regiment of Red Army men from Belarus to Xinjiang dressed not as Soviet soldiers but rather as anti-Bolshevik White Army forces. Not only were they dressed like the Whites, but they addressed each other using tsarist terms and were “severely punished” if they slipped up and used the word “comrade.” Because there were so many remnants of the White movement in China, the Soviet unit play acting as one of their number had little difficulty in fitting it. Many of the local Chinese even welcomed them because White units had helped the Chinese put down Islamic revolts and because the Red Army men playacting as Whites displayed iron discipline. The Japanese never figured out just whom they were up against, and the Soviets redressed as Whites were able to remain undetected until they were withdrawn in 1943 when the possibility of a Japanese invasion appeared to have passed, Sokolov says. The unit was then dispatched to fight against the Germans in the Soviet West. According to the Russian historian, “the most difficult task for the soldiers and officers [of this unit once they were withdrawn from China] was to make the transition from being White Guards and become again soldiers of the Red Army – and also to get accustomed to calling each other “comrade.”

Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections – To Inform is to Influence

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE WASHINGTON, DC 20511 October 19, 2018 Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections Foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy; identifying and preventing this interference is a top priority of the Federal Government. We believe the greatest strength of…

Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCEWASHINGTON, DC 20511   October 19, 2018   Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreig…

The Feds Have the Russian Troll Farm Receipts

New indictment sheds light on Russian election meddlers secretive “Project Lakhta.”

UAWire – Washington: Russia can influence public opinion through RT and Sputnik

In a joint statement of the Director’s office of the National Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Justice, FBI and the US Department of Homeland …

Russian troll threat hasn’t gone away as election day nears – CNNPolitics

The US intelligence community and Silicon Valley may have upped their efforts to prevent interference in November’s midterm elections, but that hasn’t stopped the Russians from trying, a criminal complaint filed on Friday shows.

Is there interference in the 2018 US midterm elections? – ABC News

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

Three Internet Trolls Convicted of Systematic Defamation Against Journalist in Finland – To Inform is to Influence

This article is well worth the read, in its entirety. Notice the denials by the defendants, the evidence is “fabricated” and it’s a plot by “NATO propagandists”. The funding stream remains undetermined. That Russia is involved, I have no doubt. Bäckman has been declared persona non grata by several countries for distributing Russian propaganda and organizing pro-Russian rallies. Several friends who live and work in Finland are terrified of the Russian SVR intelligence service. Russia will not let this decision lie quietly, they will respond in the cowardly fashion in which they committed these crimes against Jessikka Aro (this is the correct spelling). Russian trolls will react anonymously, they lack the courage to claim responsibility. Jessikka Aro and justice have won this round. </end editorial>

Russia’s troll farm doubled its budget in early 2018 – To Inform is to Influence

By Max de Haldevang October 19, 2018 The infamous Russian troll farm in St Petersburg is stepping up its disinformation warfare in 2018, according to a criminal complaint by US authorities against the organization’s accountant. The pro-Putin, oligarch-funded operation spent nearly as much in the first six months of 2018 as it did the entire year before. Between Jan.…

Wishful thinking as a manipulation tool in Russian propaganda |Euromaidan Press |

A Kremlin outlet RT is trusted outside Russia – say two other Kremlin outlets. All three have the same editor-in-chief.

Russia carried out Salisbury attack because Brexit has made Britain ‘weak and isolated’, ex-MI6 chief says

Russia mounted the Salisbury nerve agent attack because it believed Britain was “weak and isolated” after the vote to leave the EU, a former MI6 chief has said. Sir John Sawers said he did not believe the Russians would have used a nerve agent on the streets of a US or German city in the way they are alleged to have done in the attempted assassination of former spy Sergei Skripal. “They thought they could pick on Britain and bully us because we were looking weak,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One. “Actually Theresa May and her Government responded very strongly and forcefully to the Skripal attack but it was only because we were able to carry our European partners, the Americans and others, with us. “It was through engagement with others that we were able to push back and have a credible response to the Skripal attack.”

Inside Europe: Skripal and the Czech connection | Media Center | DW | 19.10.2018

A new twist has emerged in the attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Czech Radio has reported that the two suspects, believed to be Russian military intelligence officers, were in the Czech Republic in October 2014, the same time that Skripal was allegedly briefing Czech intelligence on Russian spying activity. Rob Cameron reports from Prague.

UAWire – Head of Swiss intelligence: Russia has increased spy activities in the country

Head of the Swiss intelligence Jean-Philippe Gaudin stated that there a lot of Russian spies in the country who have recently become more active, Deutsche Welle reported. Gaudin did not mention the exact number of spies but he explained that Russian agents in Switzerland are now become more active than before. He said that the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a criminal case against two Russians, allegedly employees of the GRU (Main Russian Intelligence Directorate), Yevgeny Serebryakov and Alexei Morenets, suspected of involvement in a cyber-attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency in Lausanne. The two Russians are also suspected of attempting to obtain data from the laboratory of radiological and chemical-bacteriological analysis in the Swiss city of Spitz. The laboratory helps to investigate the chemical attacks in Syria and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK. Serebryakov and Morenets were detained in the spring of 2018 in The Hague and were extradited to Russia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the incident a ‘misunderstanding’. In September, Switzerland demanded that Russia stop spy activities in the country. It was noted that since the beginning of the year the Swiss Ministry has summoned three times the Russian ambassador.

Novichok attack hits Salisbury house prices – Investment Property Forum

Russian report: Syria received S-300 PM-2 system

Moscow provides Damascus with 3 S-300 PM-2 anti-aircraft missile systems, Russian newspaper Izvestia cited a Russian Defense Ministry official as saying; new system has advanced radars and high ability to identify targets as well as defeating electronic warfare systems.

Russia supplied Syria with most ‘modernized’ S-300 system – report

Moscow has delivered advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect the country’s troops deployed in the war-torn Arab country in the wake of

UK reconnaissance plane spotted spying on Syria’s S-300 system

Improved versions of the S-300 air defense systems were supplied to Syria by Moscow following a lethal incident near Latakia province, when a Russian recon jet was accidently downed by Syrian air defenses repelling an Israeli air raid. A Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft of the UK’s Royal Air Force has conducted a flight over the territories of Israel and Jordan, near the Syrian border, several flight tracking services reported. An aircraft with the number ZZ666 took off from Souda Bay Air Base on Crete, flew along the southern border of the Arab Republic and then returned to the air base via the same path.

Report: Russia sends Syria improved S-300 to counter Israeli strikes | The Times of Israel

S-300PM-2 batteries boast improved radar and communications, are intended to thwart IDF targeting of Iran-backed forces, Russian newspaper says

Report: Russia transferred highly-advanced S-300 system to Syria – Israel National News

Report claims that in addition to ‘classic’ model, another model with highly-advanced capabilities delivered to Syria.

Syria has a version of S-300 system that no other country has | Muraselon

Russian has supplied Syria with a unique version of S-300 air defense missile system that is entirely district from other traditional versions and has the most state-of-the- art specifications, a Russian newspaper reported. Izvestia, a daily broadsheet newspaper in Russia, quoted a source at the Russian Ministry of Defense saying that the S-300 missile system provided to the Syrian Army is equipped with an advanced radar station, an updated launcher and a mobile command center. “The updated launchers allow the use of powerful, long-range ammunition. Unlike other traditional versions, the advanced S-300 missile system is capable of intercepting medium-range ballistic missiles and hitting targets at a range of 250 km”, the newspaper said. “It can also be operated in conditions of electronic warfare”, it added. The source categorically denied that the S-300 missile system in question will be operated by Iranian experts, confirming that the system can only be run by Russian experts

Iran orders at least 7 journalists jailed and flogged over Dervish protest coverage – Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, August 31, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the harsh sentences Iranian authorities imposed on at least seven journalists over their coverage of protests by a religious order….

Deadly Air Force F-14 Tomcats vs. Iran’s F-4 Phantoms: Who Wins? | The National Interest

But the question we need to ask: did the battle actually happen.

Khashoggi death: Saudi Arabia says journalist was murdered – BBC News

A senior minister blames a “rogue operation” as pressure mounts over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

🇸🇦 Adel al-Jubeir: We don’t know where Khashoggi’s body is, killing a mistake | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Oct 21, 2018 Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has called the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a “grave mistake”. In an interview, Adel al-Jubeir said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no knowledge of the killing and that the individuals involved tried to cover it up after making a mistake in killing the journalist. Meanwhile, Turkey’s president said his country plans to announce details of its investigation on Tuesday. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reports from Istanbul.

Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman didn’t get Khashoggi outrage: report – INSIDER

Mohammed bin Salman was shocked to see the reaction to Khashoggi’s death, and asked Jared Kushner why it was happening, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Turkey gains from grisly drama over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

One of the least appreciated aspects of this drama is the influence of Turkish President Erdogan, who has shown the ability, through the well-timed release of crucial details, to fuel the global outrage against Saudi Arabia or tamp it down.

Saudi Arabia admits Jamal Khashoggi killed in Istanbul consulate | Saudi Arabia News | Al Jazeera

Kingdom sacks intelligence official, arrests 18 Saudis saying missing journalist was killed in a ‘fist fight’.

Who is Ahmed al-Asiri, the sacked Saudi intelligence official? | Jamal Khashoggi News | Al Jazeera

General al-Asiri was fired as the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence services on Friday over killing of Khashoggi.

White House responds to Joaquin Castro’s Kushner allegations: ‘an outrageous slanderous lie’ | TheHill

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded Friday to Rep. Joaquin Castro’s (D-Texas) accusation that Jared Kushner orchestrated the killing of Saudi U.S. based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

 

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