Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (187)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Sanctions seem to be the main Russian theme on the foreign policy front. Kirillova on Russia’s exclaves, legal and illegal. INF and Arctic. Prigozhine in the Russian media again. Nordstream, Russian cash exports, and how Russia paid for Qatar’s buy of Rosneft shares – is there anything left in Russia not faked?

To spite the UK, Moscow renames a city square after Kim Philby. Austria very unhappy about the exposure of a Russian spy. Proud Bear in the UK – blowback if ever.

Updates on Iran, Syria, Libya, and Turkey.

Sanctions Wheel – Sputnik International

US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino announced that the United States intends to proceed with new sanctions against Russia over the Skripal case. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova declared that while the United States implemented sanctions against Russia on at least 62 occasions in recent years, Moscow won’t bow down to ultimatums. Zakharova delivered her statement as US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino announced that the United States intends to proceed with new sanctions against Russia over the Skripal case. Palladino also said that State Department needs time to complete its consultations with Congress on potential new sanctions against Russia, adding that the United States is carefully considering the impact future sanctions could have on US national security interest.

U.S. Government Imposes Sanctions on Supporters of Russia’s Occupation of Crimea and Forcible Control of Eastern Ukraine

Today, the United States imposed financial sanctions on three individuals and nine entities that are supporting Russia’s attempt to integrate the Crimea region of Ukraine through private investment and privatization projects or who are engaging in serious human rights abuses in furtherance of Russia’s occupation or control over parts of Ukraine. The sanctioned individuals are Andriy Volodymyrovych Sushko, Aleksandr Basov, and Vladimir Nikolaevich Zaritsky. The sanctioned entities are the Ministry of State Security of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, Mriya Resort and Spa, Limited Liability Company Garant-SV, Limited Liability Company Infrastructure Projects Management Company, Joint Stock Company Sanatorium AY-Petri, Joint Stock Company Dyulber, Joint Stock Company Sanatorium Miskhor, KRIMTETS, AO, and Limited Liability Company Southern Project. As a result of today’s announcement, all of these individuals’ and entities’ property and interests in property that are subject to the U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. individuals and entities are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. Today’s action reinforces the Crimea Declaration of July 25, 2018, which states that the United States does not and will not recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. The designations underscore the United States’ steadfast partnership with Ukraine and the European Union in unified opposition to Russia’s illegal purported annexation and occupation of Crimea and use of force to control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Eastern Ukraine. For further information, please see the Department of Treasury’s press release available here.

U.S. Sanctions Persons, Entities Over Activities In Russian-Occupied Crimea

The United States is imposing a new round of financial sanctions related to Russia’s aggression of Ukraine.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Militarizing and Repressing Kaliningrad for the Same Reason as in Crimea, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 8 – Thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainians and the Crimean Tatars, the entire world has been kept up to date about the ways in which Moscow has militarized and repressed that occupied Ukrainian peninsula under the cloak of the war hysteria that the Kremlin has been promoting. But far less attention has been given to the fact that Moscow is doing exactly the same things and for exactly the same reasons in other border regions of the Russian Federation and the exclave of Kaliningrad in particular, Kseniya Kirillova says, noting that these are “twin links” in a single imperial chain ( Moscow has made this clear, the US-based Russian journalist says, in articles like that of Boris Dzhereliyevsky in the influential Voyennoye obozreniye where he stresses that the military threat from NATO means that the Russian authorities must suppress any “regionalist” dissent ( The Moscow military commentator says that “in this sense one can really compare Kaliningrad Oblast with Crimea: both subjects of the Federation fulfill the functions of a forward military base, providing security to the country in the distant approaches to it.” There can be no doubt that the US and NATO would like to take both of these away from Russia. In support of that argument, Kirillova says, Dzhereliyevsky invokes “the traditional Russian argument about a threat from NATO, openly recognizing that in reality there are neither NATO rockets or anti-missile systems.” But he insists that if the US leaves the intermediate range missile accord, the US will put such weapons there in the immediate future. Already, he continues, “the Russian oblast is literally surrounded by arms” and within it, there is “the subversive activity of a fifth column under the leadership of Western strategists.” Among those he lists as part of this “’fifth column’” are The Baltic Republic Party, the Baltic Advance Guard of the Russian resistance, and the Committee for Social Self-Defense.” They are assisted in their NATO-assigned task by “a multitude of completely respectable groups which ostensibly are involved with issues of local studies and investigations of the cultural heritage of East Prussia.” But these are covers for the projection of German “’soft force’” onto Russian territory. Dzereliyevsky argues, Kirillova continues, that what these outside groups are doing now in Kaliningrad is exactly what they were doing in Ukraine 20 years ago. And he calls for the suppression of all such activities in order to promote public order and national security against NATO efforts to undermine both. According to the Moscow military analyst, “the anti-Russian hysteria which has seized the Baltics, the unending reports about the supposed violation by the Russian military of the air and sea spaces of those republics can be considered as a form of preparation for the blockade of Kaliningrad, full or partial.” “One of the Kaliningrad separatists, Semyon Bessonov,” Dzhereliyevsky writes, “has talked about an algorithm for separating the oblast from Russia. In his opinion, disorders will begin after which NATO will close the air space to Russian planes. Then the oblast authorities … will support the participants of meetings calling for independence from Russia.” “The ‘creeping annexation’ of the kray to the European Union will thus begin,” Bessonov says. Dzhereliyevsky does say that “the chances for the fulfillment of this plan are happily not great.” “Despite all the efforts of this ‘fifth column,’” he says, “the absolute majority of Kaliningraders are patriots of their country and do not want to know anything about some ‘Baltic identity.’ The oblast in recent years has been transformed into a genuine fortress which no one will be able to take with bare hands.” To make sure that remains true, however, Dzhereliyevsky continues, requires that any “more or less resonant manifestations of separatism” be nipped in the bud – a virtual call to arms for a new wave of repression in Kaliningrad like the one that has long been going on in Russian-occupied Crimea. “It is obvious,” Kirillova concludes, “that the military hysterial of the Kremlin and the repression of regionalist civil communities are mutually interconnected links of one and the same imperial policy.”

America Must Make Sure It Can Fight and Win a Nuclear War. That’s Why the INF Treaty Died. | The National Interest

The best way for the US to avoid war, and to ensure its survival and achieve victory if war occurs, is to have a modern, flexible nuclear capability. Such a capability will hopefully deter any and all foes, but national security cannot be based on the hope of deterrence alone. Should deterrence fail, the US must have the wherewithal to fight, survive and win a nuclear war.

NATO’s Arctic Exercise is a Good Start to Standing Up to Russian Militarization of the High North | The National Interest

Give Russia credit for being able to accomplish what not even Trump could do: awaken a newly invigorated NATO, able to mount a credible response to Russia.

The Secrets Of Russia’s Warrior Graves

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has published the identities of 206 men who it says served for a shadowy Russian mercenary group called Vagner, in conflicts including Ukraine and Syria. Gravestones in Tolyatti, western Russia, record when four of those men died — but where and how?

An accomplice to the founder of the ‘troll factory’ comes forward and says Russia’s U.S. election interference wasn’t a Kremlin initiative — Meduza

The newspaper Novaya Gazeta has published an interview with Andrey Mikhailov, the man who allegedly helped catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin build a media empire. Mikhailov says he agreed to speak to the news media as retribution for an incident last year, when he claims men with ties to Prigozhin abducted him, brought him to a forest, and beat him. In the interview, Mikhailov discussed the creation of the St. Petersburg “troll factory,” and the staging of various “provocations” against Prigozhin’s enemies and competitors, as well as several journalists. Novaya Gazeta says Mikhailov’s claims are supported by open-source information and private materials provided to its reporters. Meduza offers the following summary of the interview.

Russia’s Internet Research Agency may have been behind Facebook election meddling – To Inform is to Influence

Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY Published 1:57 a.m. ET Nov. 7, 2018  SAN FRANCISCO – A web site claiming to represent Russia’s Internet Research Agency says it ran a network of fake accounts that attempted to interfere in the midterm elections. Acting on a tip from the FBI, Facebook announced Monday night that it removed more than 100…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Oligarchs have Stolen and Sent Abroad 10,000 US Dollars from Every Russian Man, Woman and Child, Eidman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 7 – A Duma deputy drawing on a study by the Tax Justice Network says that almost 1.5 trillion US dollars have been illegally sent abroad by Russian businessmen and politicians, an amount, Igor Eidman says, represents “about 10,000 dollars stolen from every Russian from babes in arms to the elderly.” The Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says that works out to 40,000 US dollars stolen from every family of four, an amount equal to the cost of two foreign cars or of a small apartment, both of which are far beyond the reach of most Russians but not the thieving oligarchs ( And that is only part of the money these people have stolen from their fellow citizens. They have sent even more abroad via at least superficially legal ways or wasted it inside the country, Eidman continues. “It is difficult even to imagine such sums.” But Russians need to make the effort in order to understand what the Putin regime has done and is doing to them. Another way to grasp what has been happening, he says, is to recognize that Russia has exported approximately 5.4 trillion US dollars in natural resources since Putin came to power – an amount equal to 36,000 US dollars for every Russian and 144,000 US dollars for a family of four. In many resource-exporting countries, the government ensures that some of the money earned goes back into the pockets of the population. But not so in Russia, Eidman points out. “Russians,” he asks, “have you ever seen any of this money” or the many goods and services it could have bought instead of London townhouses and luxury yachts for the rich? Two other articles today underscored his point. The first, a new Higher School of Economics study reported that the level of social inequality in Russia having fallen over the last dozen years is not on the rise once again as the result of inflation and the slow rate of increases in wages and salaries ( And the second, by Nakanune commentator Yevgeny Rychkov, brought together a series of horrific comments by officials and the upper classes which show that an entire generation of elites has grown up whose members view themselves as entitled to everything they have and more and the less well-off as nothing more as a burden ( Such people clearly believe that they have the right to everything they can steal; and they will thus have little interest in stemming the outflow of Russia’s wealth or diverting it back to the population. The only change they will introduce, if given the chance, is to direct even more of this money into their own pockets and not those of the Russian people.

U.S. Energy Secretary Warns Sanctions Still Possible Over Nord Stream 2 Project

Washington may still impose sanctions over the construction of an underwater natural-gas pipeline between Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has said.

US Energy Secretary Perry sees zero indications that US could ever support Nord Stream 2

09.11.18 13:10 – US Energy Secretary Perry sees zero indications that US could ever support Nord Stream 2 U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says America may still impose sanctions on Russia over the construction of an underwater natural-gas pipeline to Germany through the Baltic Sea. View news.

Exclusive: Russian state bank secretly financed Rosneft sale after foreign buyers baulked | Reuters

It was billed as the deal that proved Russia remained open for business.

Exclusive: Russia clashes with Western oil buyers over new deals as sanctions loom | Reuters

Russian energy majors are putting pressure on Western oil buyers to use euros instead of dollars for payments and introducing penalty clauses in contracts as Moscow seeks protection against possible new U.S. sanctions.

UAWire – Russian government debt auction fails for third consecutive week

For three weeks running, the Russian Finance Ministry has been failing in its attempts to borrow money on the market, reports. At the …

What’s Bad for Trump Is Worse for Putin – Foreign Policy

The Kremlin can expect more sanctions and more investigations from a Democratic House.

Moscow names city square after Kim Philby to honour British defector 

Moscow has named a square in honour of Kim Philby, one of Britain&rsquo;s worst traitors, in a seemingly provocative response to condemnation of the Kremlin over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Moscow names square after British double agent Kim Philby | World news | The Guardian

Square near spy agency HQ takes name of MI6 officer who defected to Russia in 1963

Moscow Square Renamed To Honor British Defector Kim Philby

A square near the Moscow headquarters of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has been named after Kim Philby, a British spy who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963.

Austrian FM cancels Russia visit over spy scandal

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has cancelled her visit to Russia after a retired Austrian military officer was detained on suspicion of collecting intelligence for Moscow, Austrian media reported on Friday. According to the ORF television channel, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made a relevant statement on Friday. Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek also spoke to reporters. It was Kunasek who informed Kneissl of suspicions in regard to the retired officer. Kurz and Kunasek said that the Prosecutor’s Office is currently conducting an investigation. Kneissl was expected to visit Russia on December 2-3, the media said.

Austrian colonel suspected of spying for Russia for decades, Vienna says | Reuters

Austrian authorities have questioned a recently retired senior military officer on suspicion of spying for Russia for decades, and demanded an explanation from Moscow, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Friday.

Retired Austrian Officer Suspected Of Spying For Russia

Austria says a recently retired military officer is suspected of having spied for Russia for almost 20 years, prompting Vienna to cancel a visit next month by Austria’s foreign minister to Moscow.

The Russians and Saudis look guilty by design – AEI

In extreme cases like those of Khashoggi and Mr. Skripal, Western democracies should say enough is enough, and impose sanctions that raise the price of such killings. What do the poisoning of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal in the U.K. and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey have in common? The perpetrators in both cases did little to conceal their involvement in the attacks. Their grim methods and brazen execution drew the world’s eyes immediately to the governments in Moscow and Riyadh. Many of the first reports after each attack suggested that their messiness was owing to poor planning. In the case of Mr. Skripal, how else to explain the failure of Russian agents to avoid being recorded by Britain’s well-known security-camera system, or the paper-thin cover the agents were given? As for the Khashoggi case, why deploy such a large hit squad, conspicuously arriving on jets direct from Riyadh? Sharper observers may wonder whether these attacks bear all the marks of planned spectacle. It appears the master planners, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, designed the plots not only to eliminate their direct targets, but also to send a fearsome signal to other current and potential dissidents.

We are PROUD BEAR! Celebrating Russian Brexit WIN!

We are Proud Bear. We are collective of Russia GRU agents retrained in fields of digital telephony and Myspace. For years we help people of England make freedom from the European Union and democracy voting. Here is how:

Spoof London billboards seek to celebrate Putin’s ‘role’ in Brexit | Reuters

Spoof billboards celebrating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “contribution” to Brexit have been put up in London by a satirical group which says it wants to secure recognition for the role Russian military intelligence played in the referendum.

U.S. Exempts Iran’s Chabahar Port From Sanctions In Nod To Afghanistan

The U.S. State Department says it is exempting Iran’s big port project in Chabahar from sanctions in recognition of its importance to landlocked Afghanistan.

Failure Forecast: Sanctions Won’t Work on Iran | The National Interest

The truth is that President Trump has no real strategy for Tehran.

The True Cost of Punishing Iran With Snapback Sanctions | The National Interest

Washington’s allies will seek ways to undermine its ability to use its economy as a weapon.

UAWire – US expresses concern over deployment of Russian S-300 missile systems in Syria

The United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey once again stated Washington’s concern over the Russian S-300 …

UAWire – Libyan Marshal meets with Russian Defense Minister

On Wednesday, November 7, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu met the commander of the Libyan National Army Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the …

Jamal Khashoggi’s body dissolved in acid, say Turkish officials — Quartz

It’s the latest smoking gun since the journalist and government critic disappeared after entering Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate in early October.