Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (191)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The leading Russia theme is the jamming of GPS in Scandinavia during the Trident Juncture EX. Russian propaganda appears to be spread thinly and incoherent. State looks at further Salisbury sanctions, the Russians complain. INF update.

Eidman maps out the 17 Key Features of Putinism. Step argues that the Putin regime has lost confidence in Interior Ministry forces in minority republics and intends to displace them with NG forces. Remizov on the fears of the Buryats and Transbaikal peoples over the influx of Chinese. Kirillova on the immense expansion of Russian intel agencies under the Putin regime.

The dominant Iran topic is the judicial murder of two currency traders as scapegoats for economic mismanagement, exploiting a catch-all clause in Iran’s criminal code. The regime has not changed its spots since 1979 when it committed mass murder.

Turkey update – recovery of the Meskhetian Turks, deported by Stalin to Central Asia, is now an issue, and Turkey declares its support.

Yemen offensive paused. Saudis indict 11 personnel over Khashoggi murder, five with capital offenses.


State Dept Considers Second Round of Sanctions Against Russia Over Skripal Case – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States is actively considering a second, more draconian round of sanctions against Russia over the Skripal case, US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford said on Wednesday.

TASS: World – Niece of ‘Novichok’ victim writing book about their family

Viktoria Skripal said she plans to finish the book by February

UAWire – Russia claims to be fighting off western cyber attacks

The Russian military is taking all measures to ensure the information security of the Defense Ministry due to the increase in the risk of cyber- …

Russia Says U.S. ‘Unpredictability’ Causing ‘Global Concern’

The Kremlin has lashed out over what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says is the recent “unpredictability” of the United States, saying it was causing “deep global concern.”

EU Official Names Russia As Main Disrupter Of Elections In Europe

A top EU official has named Russia as the main source behind activities interfering with elections in Europe but noted that others are also learning from Moscow.

UAWire – Lithuanian Foreign Minister: Russian missiles are dangerous for Europe

Russia has been violating the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF) for several years, the Foreign …

Russia has been in violation of INF treaty for five years now, – US State Department

16.11.18 10:47 – Russia has been in violation of INF treaty for five years now, – US State Department Interagency teams with members from the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community have met with with key European allies, “providing key information” on the reasoning behind the Trump administration’s proposed plan to pull out… View news.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: The 17 Key Features of Putinism, According to Eidman

Paul Goble Staunton, November 15 – Igor Eidman, a Russian sociologist who provides commentary for Deutsche Welle, offers a list of 17 features of Vladimir Putin’s system (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BED1788D239B). It provides a useful checklist, and they are translated below in full:

  1. Economic System: State-monopoly capitalism based on a corrupt alliance of the highest bureaucracy and major criminal business.
  2. Political regime: Authoritarianism with elements of imitation democracy.
  3. Form of Rule: Autocracy.
  4. Ruling ideology: A mix of chauvinism, clericalism, militarism, xenophobia, and a leader cult.
  5. Ruing social stratum: The nomenklatura (the state bureaucracy and special services).
  6. The political and economic elites: The highest levels of the nomenklatura and the oligarchate (criminal big business) connected with it.
  7. The system-forming social practice: Corruption.
  8. The chief economic resource: Natural resources.
  9. The main beneficiary of the economy: The nomenklatura and the oligarchate.
  10. The main social problem: The enormous gap in incomes between the privileged minority and the socially defenseless majority of the population.
  11. The goals of domestic policy: The preservation of the rule of the privileged minority.
  12. The methods of their achievement: Total propaganda and political repression.
  13. The goals of foreign policy: Expansionism, imperial revanchism, and annexationism.
  14. The methods of their achievement: Military aggression, hybrid war, international terrorism, and nuclear blackmail.
  15. The parliament, elections, political parties, the observance of basic political and economic freedoms and the independence of courts bear an imitation character.
  16. The closest analogues to Putinism: fascism, Asiatic etatism, and Latin American caudilloism.
  17. A change of regime: Possible only by a revolution or as a result of powerful external pressure.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow No Longer Trusts MVD in Non-Russian Republics, Ukrainian Analyst Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 15 – Moscow no longer trusts interior ministry forces in non-Russian republics and thus is beefing up its Russian Guard to handle any challenge to the center’s control, Taras Step says. If that is not enough, the Kremlin is prepared to send in regular army forces. In an assessment of the North Caucasus today, the Ukrainian analyst says that this is one of the indications that the situation in the North Caucasus in particular is becoming so close to the boiling point that it may represent “the beginning of the collapse of Russian statehood” (lb.ua/world/2018/11/12/412150_severniy_kavkaz_stanet_li_region.html). Over the last two months, there have been serious challenges to the status quo in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Ingushetia and Stavropol kray, Step says, arguing that these should not be viewed in isolation from each other or the country as a whole. Instead, he insists “the North Caucasus is a reflection of all-Russian trends.” That is because what is happening in the federal subjects there is “one of the elements of the gradual deepening of the systemic crisis in Russia and confirms the tendency when socio-economic dissatisfaction of the population is being transformed into political protests against the existing authorities.” Even as the economy gets worse, Step says, the traditional Russian mechanisms for controlling the situation – reliance on local authorities, propaganda, administrative-police measures and the like – “are losing their effectiveness.” In the North Caucasus, the only “serious restraining factor” now is the money subsidies Moscow provides regional governments. The Ukrainian analyst says that the recent events in the North Caucasus call attention to five trends that are spreading across Russia and deepening “the destructive processes in the domestic policy of Russia.” These include: · First, “the socio-economic problems of the population are gradually shifting into the political realm,” as people are ever less convinced that those in power are going to be able to turn the situation around. · Second, “the efforts of the active part of the population are directed not at the struggle with the regime of Vladimir Putin but toward the resolution of local problems.” In the short term, that helps the Kremlin; in the longer, it will lead these same people to turn their attention on the powers that be in Moscow. · Third, “the regional authorities of the Russian Federation absolutely cannot solve political-economic issues.” The Kremlin controls too many levers, but that control isn’t solving the problems people in the regions face. Instead, Step says, it is making the situation in many cases far worse – and people are increasingly seeing that is the case. · Fourth, people are increasingly aware that “the central powers that be in the Russian Federation do not really want to solve existing problems.” They simply want to keep power. Earlier, they would at least give the impression that they were addressing the problems. Now, they increasingly try to prevent the media from covering developments. · And fifth, “the Russian Guard has finally been formed as the main force resource of the Kremlin for suppressing major popular protests.” In recent times, local MVD units “ignored demands of the central powers to ‘disperse’ the protesters” and even showed that they were on the side of the people rather than the regime. “It is interesting,” Step says, “that such a situation is characteristic for all the republics of the North Caucasus. And the Kremlin sincerely believes that in the case of a serious sharpening of the domestic situation in the Russian Federation, the territorial subdivisions of the MVD could come out against the central power.” Given that danger, it is building up the Russian Guard because that force is “not connected with the local population and the leadership of the regions,” the Ukrainian analyst argues. If the Russian Guard isn’t enough, he says, Moscow is ready to bring in units of the regular army as it did at the end of Soviet times. Moscow does not face such a threat in the immediate future, Step suggests. Its money still matters too much. But if that runs out and over time even if it doesn’t, the situation could deteriorate rapidly and the destruction of Russian statehood could “begin precisely with the North Caucasus.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Many in Buryatia, Transbaikal Fear Chinese Presence Will Grow Now Their Republics are in Far Eastern Federal District

Paul Goble Staunton, November 13 – Despite official efforts to celebrate Vladimir Putin’s decision to shift Buryatia and the Transbaikal Kray from the Siberian Federal District to the Far Eastern one, many in both fear that one consequence of this move will be a dramatically expanded Chinese presence on their territories. Indeed, Rosbalt commentator Dmitry Remizov says that some see this Putin move as intended to hand them over to the Chinese, something many in the republic and region are very much against given the overbearing attitude of Chinese businessmen and officials already (rosbalt.ru/russia/2018/11/12/1745809.html). The shift of the two federal subjects, transforming them from “Siberians” to “Far Easterners,” Remizov says, hasn’t generated any enthusiasm locally. They don’t believe it will improve their situation, and they fear that China will exploit the shift, especially if the far easter hectare program is extended to their territories. While that program is intended to attract residents of other parts of the Russian Federation to the Far East, there are a variety of ways in which Russian citizens can claim the land and then hand it over to foreigners, including Chinese, a violation of the spirit if not in every case the letter of the law. “Residents of Buryatia,” the Rosbalt commentator continues, “have already began collecting signatures on an Internet petition calling on Moscow to return the republic to the Siberian FD.” The petition stresses that Buryats are most concerned that the shift will harm the protection of Lake Baikal because that body of water will now be between two FDs. But they are also worried, Bair Tsyrenov, a deputy of the republic legislature says, that if supervision of Baikal fails, then even more Chinese will move in to purchase land on its shores and even the water contained in the world’s oldest and deepest lake, both of which the Buryats say violates their interests and the interests of the Russian Federation as a whole. The fact that the lake will now be between two FDs rather than within one is troubling, Tsyrenov says. “Of course, these are not different countries, but all the main structures for the lake’s protection remain in the Siberian FD and now it is unclear how these arrangements will be allocated” now that Buryatia has been shifted. Residents of the Transbaikal Kray “on the whole are indifferent” about the transfer, Stas Zakharov of the Chernaya gazeta says; “but they fear there will be a further worsening of their socio-economic situation,” with more outmigration, less investment and more Chinese pouring in because there is no one else. Others, however, have a more dire view of what this change will be. Konstantin Sobolyev of the Transbaikal Popualr Front says that by giving the Chinese additional possibilities for working in the federal subject, it certainly appears that “the government of the Russian Federation is trying to ensure that a popular revolt will occur” in the Transbaikal. Such a possibility, he insists, “is not beyond the mountains” now. This action took place without any consultation by Moscow with the local population. Officials at the center are certain, Sobolyev says, that “’the lord’ knows better how his ‘peasant’ should live and act. But Russians are ever more beginning to doubt in ‘the wisdom’ of the supreme power.” The shift in borders, an act of insanity the population would never have approved if asks, may soon become the trigger for far more serious protests.

Four Russian MiG-31 fighter jets made an emergency landing in Usinsk – Defence Blog

Four MiG-31 fighter jets of Russian Aerospace Forces were forced to make an emergency landing in Usinsk, in the Komi Republic. According to komiinform.ru, in Usinsk, On 16 November, four two-seat supersonic MiG-31 advanced long-range interceptor aircraft made an emergency landing on the alternate airfield. The cause of the emergency landing is unknown at this point, but local source reported that officials of the Russian Aerospace Forces appealed to JSC Komiaviatrans with a request for refueling of its fighter jets. The general director of the company, Alexander Ponomarev, told the media that this issue is now being resolved. Aircraft are now at the airport. As soon as the weather conditions permit, the fighters will return to their combat missions. The MiG-31 is a supersonic interceptor aircraft developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as a replacement for the earlier MiG-25 “Foxbat”; the MiG-31 is based on and shares design elements with the MiG-25. About 500 MiG-31s were produced until the early 1990s, of which 349 were the basic version. The MiG-31 can climb at a rate of 208m a second and has the capacity to fly at 3,000km/h. The ferry and combat ranges of the aircraft are 3,300km and 720km respectively. The maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is 46,200kg. The cruise range and wing loading capacities are 1,620m and 665kg/m² respectively, while the maximum g-load is 5g.

NATO Calls GPS Jamming ‘Dangerous, Disruptive’, Joins Norway in Accusing Russia – Sputnik International

NATO has decided to throw its weight behind Helsinki’s and Oslo’s claims of GPS disruption during the recent alliance drill in Norway. Meanwhile, unsubstantiated allegations of Russian involvement are gaining momentum in the Nordic countries.

Electronic Jamming Between Russia and NATO is Par for the Course in the Future, But it Has its Risky Limits

BRUSSELS — New revelations by the Norwegian military and allied officials that Russia persistently jammed GPS signals during NATO’s recently concluded Trident Juncture exercise in Europe’s High North region are disturbing for their implications. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed, even nominally, Moscow’s tactics. But where to draw the line? The core activities of Trident Juncture took place in southern and central Norway, plus the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea between October 25 and November 7. According to Norway’s Ministry of Defense, the jamming took place between October 16 and November 7 in Russia’s Kola Peninsula. This region shares a common border with northern Norway and NATO partner country Finland, whose military forces also participated in the exercise. NATO officials confirmed the disruption. Speaking in Paris to reporters on November 11, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “we see that cyber, electronic warfare, electronic means are used more and more frequent[ly] in different operations, and therefore we take all these issues very seriously.” Reacting to the Norwegian Defense Ministry’s statement, NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said: “Finland has expressed concern over possible jamming in Lapland. In view of the civilian usage of GPS, jamming of this sort is dangerous, disruptive, and irresponsible. In general, we see cyberattacks and electronic warfare used with greater frequency and severity.” Indeed, Russia has jammed or disrupted all kinds of communications vital to Western forces in recent years, from mobile phone networks during exercises to electronic warfare against US operations on the ground in Syria. Yet allied militaries are no innocents when it comes to jamming either. With so much of their equipment and systems dependent on digital technologies, the more advanced Western armies consider counter-electronic warfare as inevitable and have planned accordingly. The difference with Russia is its intent. “There’s been a pattern of Moscow trying out new electronic jamming and other forms as intimidation,” said Jamie Shea. Recently retired from NATO as assistant secretary general of its Emerging Threats Division, Shea now shuttles between academic and security research posts in the United Kingdom and Brussels. “We’ve seen transmitters going down mysteriously in Sweden, hacking of soldiers’ personal devices in the Baltics, disruptions to mobile phone networks in Lithuania during maritime exercises and so on,” he observed. For example, NATO officials confided at that time that electronic jamming was among the central capabilities they believe were tested during Russia’s largescale Zapad 17 exercise in September 2017 across its Western Military District. Some of these were subsequently carried out to field operations. “Much of these disruptive technologies were used or tested by Russia in Syria, and so it’s logical their application moved up to the north of Europe,” said Shea. “These circumstances suggest that Russia sees NATO activities as an under-the-screen opportunity to test their jamming and other disruptive capabilities.” If so, that has some doctrinal and procedural implications for allied personnel. For example, in future when the allies carry out their traditional post-exercise “wash-up.” or review of an activity, they will need to go beyond traditional lessons learnt about logistics, training or tactical maneuvers to include how Russia exploits the exercise for its own ends. Yet that represents a double-edged sword for Moscow in that the scrutiny will run the other way by using the wash-up to analyze what the Russians are up to. “NATO will have to factor that into its future planning,” said Shea. As Ann Kristin Salbuvik, assistant director of Norway Ministry of Defense, put it in a November 15 e-mail response to me, “electronic jamming appears to have become a regular part of the training activities of the Russian land forces over the past year. Beyond that, we do not wish to speculate as to why we have repeatedly experienced GPS disturbances.” For his part, Shea warned of a red line in this murky electronic environment. “It is one thing to hack into soldiers’ phones, but quite another to jam a GPS signal. That has direct implications far beyond the military by threatening the safe operation of airliners, vessels and other civilian targets. It moves the game from beyond mere cat-and-mouse probing of the enemy to hybrid warfare,” he said. Brooks Tigner reports on EU and NATO foreign, defense, and security policy from Brussels, where he has separated reality from rhetoric for the past twenty-five years.

NATO: Russia jammed GPS signals during exercise with US troops | TheHill

NATO believes Russian forces jammed GPS signals in Norway during a large-scale exercise with U.S.

Russia jammed GPS during major NATO military exercise with US troops – CNNPolitics

The Russian military jammed GPS signals during a major NATO military exercise in Norway that involved thousands of US and NATO troops, the alliance said Wednesday, citing the Norwegian government.

Russia accused of blocking crucial transmissions during NATO exercises – World War 3 | World | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIAN hackers jammed vital satellite transmissions in a bid to disrupt extensive NATO wargames in Northern Europe, according to security officials from Finland and Norway.

Russia jammed GPS signals over Scandinavia during recent NATO exercises, Norway claim | Daily Mail Online

Scandinavian countries have accused Russia of jamming GPS systems during the Trident Juncture exercises (pictured) which took place in Norway over the last month. The Kremlin deny the claims.

Russian military interfered with GPS signals during NATO war games – Axios

It occurred during NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War.

Russian forces blamed for jamming GPS during a large-scale NATO exercise – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

NATO recently held its largest Scandinavian exercise since the Cold War, and when the GPS stopped working, Russia was blamed.

Russian military jammed GPS signals during NATO war games, Norway says | Fox News

Russian military units in the Arctic jammed GPS signals being used during largescale NATO exercises in Norway that ended last week, the Norwegian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Norwegian Defense Ministry: Russia knocks out GPS signal during NATO drill

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Finland: GPS Signal Disruption During NATO War Games Came From Russia

Moscow has denied earlier allegations from Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila

UAWire – Finland accuses Russia of GPS failures during NATO exercises

The Finnish Foreign Ministry said that they agree with the conclusions of the Norwegian military that the interference in the GPS navigation system during the NATO exercises was caused by Russia. Nevertheless, in a statement published on its website, the Ministry said that it believed it was inappropriate to disclose details of this case to the public, it was stated . As noted by the ministry representative, the authorities continue to investigate the incident and are currently discussing this issue with Russia through diplomatic channels. Finland believes that such actions jeopardize air traffic. The Finnish military reported that they detected GPS failures on November 9. Malfunctions were observed in the north and northwest of the country. Due to failures, the air navigation service of Finland sent a warning to pilots. A week before this incident, the military from Norway recorded a problem with the GPS system. Finland believes the failures were caused by Russia, whose activity increased during the NATO exercises Trident Juncture. Later, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said that the failures in the GPS system could be caused by Russia. “Technically, it’s quite easy to break the radio signal, and it’s quite possible that Russia stands behind this failure,” he said. The prime minister viewed this incident as a message for the participants of the NATO exercises.

World War 3: Norway and NATO accuse Russia of interfering in Trident Juncture war games | World | News | Express.co.uk

THE KREMLIN has been accused of interfering with Norwegian GPS signals during NATO’s Trident Juncture military drills, which are being dubbed “war games”.

War Pigs: ‘Forbidden’ Bacon Sparks Swine Pest Alarm During NATO Drill in Norway – Sputnik International

Even a limited outbreak of swine pest, a highly contagious disease common in pigs, could cost the Scandinavian nation $240 million, veterinarians said.

New US Sanctions on Russia Over Skripal Case to Clarify Situation for Businesses – AmCham

Uniindia: New York, Nov 16 (Sputnik) The second wave of US sanctions against Russia over the so-called Skripal affair will not improve the situation for businesses, but will make it clearer, Alexis Rodzianko, the president and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Russia, told Sputnik on Friday.

U.S. considering “more draconian” sanctions against Russia | UNIAN

The United States is actively looking into launching a second, “more draconian” round of economic sanctions against the Russian Federation in connection with the poisoning of ex-GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yullia on the UK soil, that’s according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Christopher Ford. There is no inter-agency decision answer yet on the exact sanctions to be applied.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow has Increased Intel Ops Staff by Four Times Since 1991 and Counter-Intel Even More, Former KGB Illegal Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 14 – Western media have been fixated on a report that Moscow now has 200 case officers working in London alone and handling 500 agents and as many as 75,000 informants and the suggestion by some Russian emigres that half of all their own number serve as Moscow informers. US-based Russian journalist Kseniya Kirillova spoke with Sergey Zhirnov, a former Soviet KGB illegal who defected and now lives in France, about those contrasting claims and about the current state of Russian intelligence and counter-intelligence operations (zimamagazine.com/2018/11/sergei-jirnov/). Zhirnov says that he agrees with the original report and that the numbers the emigres are suggesting are too high – or at least do not reflect what is actually going on. Russians who live abroad but who have family and friends in Russia won’t refuse to answer questions by the KGB but that hardly makes them recruited agents in any meaningful sense. But the former KGB officer’s most interesting comments concern the ways in which Russian intelligence operations are the same or different than they were in the latter years of the Soviet Union. In some ways, the Russian services have become bolder in their use of force, but in the area of political intelligence, not much has changed. “What has changed is something else,” Zhirnov says. “After the collapse of the USSR, present-day Russia did not develop any clear national ideology beside the single ‘national idea’ according to which all around us are enemies but we are ‘a great power.’ The Soviet Union for all its shortcomings had a universal idea” which attracted some and which the KGB used. Russia in contrast “has become a fascist country, and therefore it makes friends with all fascists throughout the world. But I do not think that its activity abroad has been that successful. Of course, if people are dissatisfied with what is happening in their country, they may look for some support abroad; and Russia in this sense may represent for them an interest.” Just like its Soviet predecessor, the Russian intelligence services engage in lobbying and recruitment of those who will push Moscow’s line and in espionage strictly speaking. And again, like its Soviet predecessor, Russia seeks to destabilize its key opponents. What has changed is that now it uses money more often because it lacks an attractive ideological message. What is especially striking now is that so many intelligence operations abroad are undertaken for “internal use” inside Russia and are taken in such a bold way. The Skripal case is an example of this, Zhirnov says; it was “specially prepared just before” Putin’s re-election; and it was carried out with a dangerous boldness that has led to problems. Using the size of buildings that the Russian intelligence agencies operate from, he says, is a surrogate for data on their size. Using them, one can say that Moscow has increased its intelligence work approximately two times from what it was in Soviet times. Given that the Russia’s population is half that of the USSR, its spy effort thus has grown “about four times.” Classic espionage has not only continued but risen in importance. That is because “Putin is a quite specific person; one can even say, a maniac. He doesn’t believe anyone at their word or believe any spoken or printed word. He is capable of believing only secret information.” That means he relies even more heavily on spying that his predecessors. In addition to discussing how much dissidence there was in Soviet times among intelligence officers, Zhirnov makes another key point about today: “The staff of counter-intelligence in Russia has grown more than has that of the intelligence branch.” It tracks those living abroad – and far more Russians now do — and that is especially for Putin. “If for the KGB foreign intelligence was the priority, Putin’s priority is internal security which includes work with the diaspora abroad and even more keeping track of Russian dissidents in that diaspora.”

UAWire – Austrian Chancellor: Espionage scandal will not affect relations between Austria and Russia

Liga.net reports that the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated at a press conference that Austria intends to preserve good relations with Russia, despite the recent espionage scandal. “We have a good relationship with Russia, and this will not change in the future,” stated Kurz. At the same time, the chancellor stressed that Austria will always “prevent and criticize” espionage attempts. Earlier in Austria, a former officer who from the 1990’s had been giving information to Russia regarding Austrian military aviation and artillery systems, was detained. Due to the espionage scandal in Austria, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl canceled her trip to Russia. Austrian Ambassador Johannes Aigner was sent to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to voice a protest. In spring, Austria became one of the few EU countries that did not expel Russian diplomats after the poisoning of the former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. In addition, later Russian President Vladimir Putin was a guest at Karin Kneissl’s wedding.

Novichok hit Zizzi’s releases first Christmas advert after Skripal poisoning – Mirror Online

The Wiltshire branch was closed for eight months as authorities investigated the deadly nerve agent and the interior was completely refurbished

Iran Hangs ‘Sultans Of Coins,’ Second Currency Trader

Iran has executed two men convicted of illegal currency trading as Tehran steps up its crackdown on alleged financial crimes in the face of economic hardships heightened by U.S. financial sanctions.

Two men hanged in Iran for hoarding gold coins as the country wages war on economic crimes – Los Angeles Times

Vahid Mazloumin, dubbed the “sultan of coins,” and Mohammad Esmaeel Qasemi, an accomplice, were hanged in the predawn hours just two months after their trial in front of a newly established court focused on financial cases, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency said.

Iran Hangs Gold Coin ‘Sultan’ in Crackdown After U.S. Curbs – Bloomberg

Iran executed a gold dealer known as the “Sultan of Coins,” in a warning to merchants not to exploit the country’s financial troubles as U.S. sanctions squeeze the economy.

Iran: Two people executed for corruption after unfair TV show trial | Amnesty International

Responding to the news that the Iranian authorities have executed Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi, two men convicted of financial crimes after a grossly unfair trial, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said:

Rights group condemns ‘abhorrent’ execution of gold traders in Iran | Middle East Eye

Amnesty International condemns executions of two men accused of exploiting a surge in gold demand during this year’s currency crisis in Iran

Amnesty slams Iranian execution of two men charged of financial crimes | Arab News

LONDON: After two men convicted of financial crimes were executed in Iran, Amnesty International has strongly criticized the Iranian regime. Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi were put to death after a trial Amnesty has called “grossly unfair.” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said of the case: “With

Iran executes ‘Sultan of Coins’ for financial crimes – CNN

Iran executed two men for financial crimes early Wednesday, punishments that were quickly assailed by Amnesty International as disproportionate and reflective of Tehran’s “shameless disregard for the right to life.”

Iran executes ‘Sultan of Coins’ amid currency crisis – BBC News

Currency trader Vahid Mazloumin and an associate were found guilty of “spreading corruption on earth”.

The ‘Sultan of Coins’ is Executed for Hoarding Two Tons of Gold

Tehran is trying to shore up its currency crisis.

Iran executes men for hoarding gold coins amid currency crisis

Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi were convicted of “spreading corruption on Earth” and executed by hanging.

Iran executes two men for financial crimes as Trump puts nation on verge of economic chaos | World | News | Express.co.uk

Iran executed two men accused of economic crimes on Wednesday, part of an effort to stem financial misconduct as the country faces an economic crisis and new U.S. sanctions targeting its oil sector.

Israel Defence Minister Lieberman resigns over Gaza ceasefire – BBC News

Avigdor Lieberman denounces the cabinet’s decision to accept a ceasefire as “surrendering to terror”.

Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigns over Gaza truce

Avigdor Lieberman has demanded a far stronger response to Palestinian militants’ most intense round of rocket fire against Israel since the 2014 Gaza war.

Turkey Vows To ‘Actively Support’ Meskehtian Turks

Turkey has vowed to continue “to support the cause” of the Meskhetian Turks, voicing solidarity on the 74th anniversary of their deportation from Georgia to Central Asia under Soviet dictator Josef…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 74 Years Ago Today, Stalin Deported Turks from Georgia’s Meskhetia Region and Created a Nation Still without a Homeland

Paul Goble Staunton, November 14 – On this date in 1944, Stalin ordered the deportation of more than 115,000 ethnic Turks from the Meskhetia region of the Georgian SSR in order to clear the way for a possible Soviet invasion of Turkey. But in so doing, the Soviet dictator helped form a new nation, the Meskhetian Turks, who tragically remain without a homeland even now. The Federal Union of European national Minorities has issued a press release on this anniversary declaring that “we continue to support the Meskhetian-Turks in their struggle for the right to return to Georgia” which had been their home from time immemorial before Stalin sent them to Central Asia and Kazakhstan (idelreal.org/a/29599993.html). Because of their size and the fact that they were not an established nation like the other peoples Stalin deported, the Meskhetian Turks have historically attracted less attention than they deserve. Only occasionally are they referred to as during the Fergana pogroms in May-June 1989 and the various moves of portions of the community since that time. Some 105,000 of them have resettled in Russia, mostly in the oblasts, krays and republics of the North Caucasus to judge from the 2010 census; and approximately 21,000 had moved from there to the US under a special program giving them permanent resident status (minorityrights.org/minorities/meskhetians-or-meskhetian-turks/). Both Turkey which many Meskhetians consider a second homeland and Georgia which most consider their first have adopted special programs for repatriation and adaptation. Some Meskhetians undoubtedly would like to go home to Georgia but many fear that the Georgians might turn against them in the future (yenicag.ru/sabir-askeroglu- gruziya-obyazana-obesp). At the present time, the leaders of the nation say, there are more than 600,000 Meskhetians living in Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, the US, Georgia and other countries as well. Were all of them to go back to Georgia, that would dramatically change its ethnic composition – and possibly breed the reaction Meskhetians fear.

Turkey rejects US deal to extradite Erdogan foe Fethullah Gulen | World | The Times

Turkey has reacted angrily to suggestions that it might tone down its attack on Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi if the United States agrees to extradite an opponent of President Erdogan.Officials said today that there was “no connection” between the investigation into Khashoggi’s mur

State Department says U.S. is evaluating Turkish materials on Fethullah Gulen – CBS News

The Justice Department is handling the case but has not made a statement on Gulen

Trump Mulls Letting Turkey Kill U.S. Resident to Help Saudis

President Trump is reportedly looking for ways to extradite American resident Fethullah Gülen to Turkey — so as to persuade Turkish president Recep Erdogan to forgive Saudi Arabia for killing U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudis Halt Yemen Offensive as International Pressure Mounts – WSJ

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has suspended an assault on a vital port city, as Saudi Arabia comes under international pressure to undertake peace talks amid scrutiny of its foreign policy.

Saudi-led coalition halts Hodeidah assault as West presses for Yemen ceasefire: sources | Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition has ordered a halt in its offensive against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen’s main port city Hodeidah, three sources said on Thursday, in an apparent concession to Western pressure to end the war.

‘A price needs to be paid’: US Senate bill targets Saudi Arabia | USA News | Al Jazeera

Bipartisan move follows decision to place sanctions on 17 Saudi nationals involved in killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Senators return to Washington intent on action against Saudis | TheHill

Senators are preparing to put U.S.-Saudi relations back under the microscope after returning to Washington still seething about the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia indicts 11, seeks death penalty for 5, in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder | Fox News

Saudi Arabia indicted 11 suspects and prosecutors were requesting the death penalty for five of them for the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi last month, the kingdom announced.

Khashoggi Case Update: Saudi Prosecutor Says 5 Suspects Should Be Executed : NPR

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor agrees with Turkey, saying Jamal Khashoggi was murdered — but he says the journalist died from a drug overdose, not a brutal hit squad.

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi Prosecutor seeks death penalty – CNN

Five people allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will face the death penalty, Saudi prosecutors said Thursday.

Saudi Arabia distances crown prince from killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – The Washington Post

The public prosecutor indicted 11 people in the killing but said no links to the powerful crown prince.

Putin Says Russia Ready To Cooperate With Saudis And Curb Oil Output

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in cutting oil production to stem a big plunge in oil prices, but he said it is also content with the lower prices.

UAWire – Russia decides to restore Libya

Russia is prepared take part in the work to restore Libya’s economy and social sphere, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as cited by …

 

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