Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · United States

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (60)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s internal meltdown is simply remarkable, what is amazing is that it still exhibits the cohesion it does. MidEast developments continue along a predictable track. Many interesting reports on the DPRK and PRC. Europe is in political turmoil along multiple tracks. AUS opens the door to Chinese and Russian cyber penetration on a vast scale. Nauert reported to be the intended replacement for Amb Haley. Update on the unravelling of Russia’s influence network in DC, as Manafort’s contractors are investigated.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


Director Of National Intelligence Daniel Coats On Russia’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty Violation – To Inform is to Influence

Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats on Russia’s INF Treaty Violation Earlier this week, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats conducted a briefing with press on Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty.  Please see below for his opening statement, as prepared for delivery. Thank you all for joining me today. For many of us who lived…
MI6 chief wants new generation of spies to help fight against Russia in cyber war
The spymaster’s declaration comes as his foreign intelligence service rapidly expands from 1,600 to 2,400 personnel
MI6 Chief Calls for ‘4th Generation Espionage’ to Combat Rogue States | Newsmax.com
According to The Telegraph report, MI6 Chief Alex Younger is calling for a new era of spying in order to keep Great Britain safe from rogue regimes intent on perpetual confrontation with the U.K.
MI6 chief calls for new era of spying using AI and robots to combat rogue states
The head of MI6 will on Monday highlight the urgent need for a new era of spying in which artificial intelligence and robotics are deployed to combat rogue states hellbent on &ldquo;perpetual confrontation&rdquo; with the UK.
British agents have DIED protecting EU from terror attacks, MI6 boss reveals in plea for post-Brexit security
Alex Younger said UK agents have done ‘exceptionally difficult and dangerous work’ in countries such as France and Germany
Alistair Bunkall on Twitter: “Head of MI6, Alex Younger ‘C’ gives a rare speech: “intelligence work on its own can’t stop every attack or prevent every evil. But it can shorten ears and it can and does save lives””
Slovakia to purchase 14 F-16V fighters to replace its ageing MiG-29 jets – Defence Blog
Ministry of Defense of Slovak Republic (MoD) is moving on with plans to equip its force with latest and most advanced 4th generation fighter to replace its ageing MiG-29 jets. The Slovak Ministry of Defence, represented by National Armaments Director Col Vladimír Kavický, has signed respective Technical Arrangements for launching the MiG-29 fighter jet fleet replacement process. Also in an interview on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum, MoD State Secretary Róbert Ondrejcsák said of the Russian defense industrial relationship: “We are cutting off as quickly as we can. “The most important connection with Russia is still the MiG-29, which is still Russian manufactured, and it’s what we are cutting now with the decision about the F-16s,” Ondrejcsák said. “There several are other smaller systems.”
U.S. State Department approves sale of HIMARS to Poland – Defence Blog
The U.S. Department of State has approved a possible $655 million Foreign Military Sale to Poland of HIMARS M142 Launchers and missiles, the U.S. Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) announced in a 29 November statement. The government in Warshawa had requested from the US long-lead items; 20 HIMARS M142 launchers, 36 guided multiple launch rocket systems, nine guided multiple launch rocket system M30A1 alternative warheads, 30 Army Tactical Missile Systems, 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems and associated equipment. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. This sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key allies in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase security. Poland intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. This will contribute to Poland’s interoperability with the United States and other allies. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The HIMARS is a light multiple rocket launcher mounted on a medium-sized tactical truck. Each launcher is run by a crew of three personnel and can fire either six 227mm M270 rockets or one MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System surface-to-surface missile. It has a range of approximately 100 miles and a 360 degree firing radius. This HIMARS is an improved upgrade from the launcher pod system originally mounted to Bradley tank frames. This upgrade makes the truck, frame and launcher pod much lighter, which allows the system to be more easily loaded and deployed off of a plane than its tank-track predecessor.
NATO Gives Bosnia Green Light To Move Toward Membership
NATO foreign ministers have agreed to activate the military alliance’s program of advice and assistance for Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite Bosnian Serb objections to membership.
UAWire – Finland disallows Putin’s friend to build a house near the military training area
Finnish authorities have banned businessman Boris Rotenberg, who is close to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, from building a residential …
Russia Just Launched Five Objects Into Space. One Problem, There Were Supposed To Be Four – To Inform is to Influence
The available information suggests that the Russians may have put yet another secretive “killer satellite” into orbit. BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK NOVEMBER 30, 2018 The Russian military says it successfully placed three classified communications satellites into orbit today, along with the upper stage of the rocket that put them there.  But according to the U.S. military’s Combined…
Russian TV Crew’s ‘Suspicious Behavior’ Triggers Military Alert, Public Warning In Britain
British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has called on the public to report suspicious activity near army sites after a Russian TV crew prompted an alert at a highly sensitive military facility, the Daily Mail newspaper reports.

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

CSTO Summit Postponed Due To Armenia’s Snap Elections
The Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has postponed its summit initially scheduled for later this month, the Kremlin says.
‘Extremism’ Probe Launched Against Jehovah’s Witnesses Leader In Russia
Authorities in Russia’s Far Eastern Kamchatka region say they have launched a criminal investigation against a local leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.
Russian Minister Says Authenticity Of War Legend Beyond Dispute, ‘Amoral’ To Dig Further 
Vladimir Medinsky has been one of the most vocal defendants of “Panfilov’s 28 men,” a Soviet wartime legend largely debunked by historians.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians No Longer Approve Putin More than They Do Their Governors, Levada Center Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 30 – The collapse in the approval ratings Vladimir Putin enjoys among Russians has attracted widespread attention, but one aspect of that has not – and now a Levada Center poll has highlighted what may be the most dangerous aspect of this for the Putin system: Russians no longer approve Putin more than they do their governors. As long as Putin’s rating was higher than other federal officials or the heads of the federal subjects, its fall was of relatively little significance. Putin might be becoming less popular, but compared to all other officials and political leaders, he still had a large lead and thus could claim a kind of comparative advantage. Now that has changed. Today the Levada Center reported and various news outlets noted that “the level of approval for Putin has fallen to the level of that of governors” (levada.ru/2018/11/29/odobrenie-institutov-vlasti-7/ and politsovet.ru/61105-uroven-odobreniya-putina-upal-do-gubernatorskogo.html). That development is all the more fateful because while Putin’s rating has fallen, the support by the Russian population for their governors has increased, a shift that means many Russians may not be more inclined to look to the heads of the federal subjects rather than to the Kremlin leader as the most effective people in the political system. That has at least two consequences, either of which could prove very serious to the future of the Putin system. On the one hand, at least some governors are likely to view this as providing the basis for a more aggressive stance toward the center, something that the Kremlin now has a smaller margin of error to counter. And on the other hand, it is not beyond anyone’s imagination that some federal politician or a major regional one for that matter may decide to try to organize a regional fronde against Putin, something a few commentators have speculated about but that now has a far stronger basis than ever before.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Gumilyev’s Eurasian Vision of Slavic-Turkic Unity Said Gaining Ever More Support in Moscow
Paul Goble Staunton, December 2 – Scholars, activists and political figures from Russia and the Turkic world have been meeting in Moscow for an international forum entitled “The Russian-Turkic World: A Response to Global Challenges” and promoting ideas associated with Lev Gumilyev and other Eurasianist thinkers. Adgezal Mamedov, an Azerbaijani researcher who helped organize the meeting, says that in the view of participants, “the Slavic-Turkic world represents a special, independent civilization having both Eastern and Western aspects but not corresponding either to the East or the West (moderator.az/ru/news/211809.html). Thus, he continues, this civilization “on the one hand is part of Europe but on the other is an alternative to Europe” and will only be strengthened as Slavic and Turkic nations recognize how similar they are in history and mentality and how different they are from the Europeans and the Asians. According to Mamedov, “we are seeking through the prism of key moments of our common history to set ourselves apart from the present-day geopolitical system. The dynamics of the development of the past, present and future of the Eastern-Slavic and Turkic world makes it an exceptional region and a new geopolitical center.” The Azerbaijani scholar said he began studying the links between the Slavic and Turkic world in 2002, drawing on the works of Lev Gumilyev, Nikolay Trubetskoy, Petr Savitsky, S. Efron and other literary figures and researchers who now are called ‘Eurasians” and who “saw that the roots of Russian statehood … have much in common with the Turkic world.” “When we began,” Mamedov says, “we didn’t even think about the response we would get. The Slavic-Turkic unity was out understanding toward which we should move. However, honestly, we were pleasantly surprised by the genuine interest in this idea in Russia” and its spread across the former Soviet space. Support for it is growing “in Azerbaijan, Russia and Uzbekistan,” he continues. “Next month a conference will take place in Kazakhstan” whose purpose will be to respond to the late Samuel Huntington’s suggestions that there would inevitably be a clash of “all against all” in Eurasia. Slavic-Turkic unity is not only intellectually important but a means to ensure that the Harvard professor’s predictions will not come to pass, Mammedov concludes.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Nearly 40 Percent of Russians Believe Immigrant Workers are Taking Jobs from Them
Paul Goble Staunton, December 6 – Even as decline makes immigrant workers even more important for the future of the Russian economy and some in Moscow are even talking about a ministry of immigration to promote it (fergana.agency/news/103326/), almost 40 percent of Russian Federation residents believes immigrants are taking away jobs from Russians. According to recent surveys by the Public Opinion Foundation, 39 percent of Russian residents believe that migrants are taking jobs that should be held by the indigenous population. That attitude is higher in large cities (45 percent) and Moscow (54 percent) where there are more immigrants and lower in rural areas (34 percent) where there are fewer (fom.ru/Nastroeniya/14114). Such attitudes may be intensifying, the surveys suggest, because immigrant workers are more visible and because there are reports that as their incomes are rising, they are sending more of their wages home, with the amount of such transfers projected to rise for Uzbekistan alone from 4.8 billion US dollars now to 7.2 billion in 2021. But a more likely explanation, journalist Kirill Sokov points out on the Rhythm of Eurasia portal, is that jobs have become more scarce for Russians as a result of domestic economic difficulties, Russians are more focused on those from abroad who are employed in Russia (ritmeurasia.org/news–2018-12-06–tret-zhitelej-rossii-schitajut-chto-migranty-zanimajut-ih-rabochie-mesta-39957). Russia is far from the only country in which such attitudes are widespread, but its demographic decline puts the government in a difficult position: if it doesn’t take in more immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus, the Russian economy will fall still further; but if it does, Russians will be angrier about the influx.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Even Russian Beer is Being Corrupted – and More Bad News from the Russian Domestic Front
Paul Goble Staunton, December 4 – Some days, it must be hard for Russians to read or listen to the news because so much of it is bad, even if seldom reported beyond the borders of their country. Today, for example, brought reports that the rules governing production of beet are to be changed to boost profits for brewers but harm its taste (https://ura.news/news/1052361993). In addition to that depressing fact, made worse by the fact that it came just before the winter holidays, there were at least seven other stories in Russia today that can hardly have brought a smile to anyone reading them: · Officials said that there is likely to be a bread shortage after the winter holidays and that even if there isn’t, prices for this most basic consumer item will increase significantly (rusmonitor.com/v-rossii-deficit-khleba-posle-rozhdestva-glavnyjj-produkt-podorozhaet.html). · Russian law allows the government to confiscate the property of Russians convicted of some crimes, but in the latest iteration of the old Radio Armenia joke that if communists took over Saudi Arabia, in five years the kingdom would have to import sand, RBC reported that the government is actually losing money on this program (rbc.ru/economics/04/12/2018/5c054f819a7947d6e3d961ad). · Not only are the number of air routes declining, but now Russians have been told that the country’s pilot-training system has more or less collapsed, a development that means it will be even more difficult than before to keep the current routes going (ura.news/news/1052361981). · In an example of even good news being bad, government reports that the number of young Russians ready to serve as professionals in the infantry has risen by 15 percent over the last year have been undercut by the obvious explanation: they are looking for jobs in the military because they can’t find them in the civilian sector (function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12206467). · The commander of Russia’s Baltic Fleet has only embarrassed the country by his suggestion that Immanuel Kant was “a traitor to the motherland” who wrote some books which the admiral certainly as not read let alone understood. His comments came as he urged sailors not to vote for Kant as the name for the Kaliningrad airport (znak.com/2018-12-03/glava_shtaba_baltiyskogo_flota_nazval_filosofa_immanuila_kanta_predatelem_rodiny). · Not to be outdone in the race to the bottom, a teacher in Khabarovsk has told her charges that wearing a Navalny button is the equivalent of engaging in propaganda for Nazi concentration camps (meduza.io/news/2018/12/04/uchitelnitsa-iz-habarovska-sravnila-noshenie-znachka-navalnogo-s-propagandoy-natsistskih-kontslagerey). · And finally a new VTsIOM poll reported that young Russians consider their country’s constitution to be quite democratic but that they do not see it as having any connection with the reality they see around themselves every day (politikus.ru/v-rossii/114423-vciom-molodezh-schitaet-konstituciyu-demokratichnoy-no-otmechaet-ee-razryv-s-realiyami.html).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Seriously Underestimating Rate and Impact of Melting of Permafrost in North, German Geographer Says
Paul Goble Staunton, December 3 – The central Russian government is failing to recognize the speed with which permafrost underlying half of the country is now melting even though the degradation of the northern landscape is undermining existing infrastructure and making further development of the North ever more expensive, Mathias Ulrich says. A specialist at Leipzig’s Institute of Geography, a center for research in the Russian North since Soviet times, draws that conclusion on the basis for his investigations of permafrost melt and its impact in the Republic of Sakha (dw.com/ru/немецкий-географ-в-россии-недооценивают-скорость-таяния-вечной-мерзлоты/a-46506194). There, more than almost anywhere else, Ulrich says, the impact of the increasingly rapid melting of permafrost is in evidence both because of the formation of thermokarst lakes which are destroying pasture and crop land and because of the fact that every year, the level of permafrost is falling by seven centimeters from the surface. In the past, the upper stratum of the permafrost has melted during the summer and then refrozen; but now, as a result of climate change, possibly from natural causes but exacerbated by human activity, ever more of the permafrost layer melts in the summer but does not refreeze in the winter, Ulrich says, leading to the formation of lakes and bog lands. Those can no longer be used for agriculture, and they are leading to the collapse of infrastructure like oil and gas pipelines, highways, railways, and even entire cities and towns. And the degradation of the permafrost is adding new costs to any project civil or military for the development of Russia’s far north. Russian scholars and local populations understand this, but in Moscow and throughout European Russia, many Russians and especially Russian officials have failed to recognize both the speed of this process and its consequences, the German geographer says. They view it as a local problem and thus not their concern. Were less of Russia not in the far north, that might be understandable; but so much of Russia is in the permafrost zone, such a view is indefensible. But even more, Ulrich says, it fails to take into account something else: what is happening in this zone affects everyone, including Russians who live further south. As the permafrost layer melts and doesn’t refreeze, various greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, and these in turn accelerate the process of global warming not only in the north but everywhere, creating a cycle which is both vicious and ever-expanding whether officials admit it or not.
Russian propaganda TV channel says sorry for fake report about Ukraine’s Maidan anniversary (Video) | UNIAN
Russian propaganda TV Channel One has apologized for a fake report about Ukraine’s Maidan anniversary where a Belarusian citizen was shown as a poor Ukrainian activist. The Russian propagandists claim stringers were involved in the production of the video.
Paradise And Hell In Siberian Switzerland
An area of Russia known as the Siberian Switzerland is being torn apart by coal mining. The works threaten the future of the indigenous Shors people who live a hard, simple life.
Suboptimal optimization Cutbacks to Russia’s social spending are erasing jobs and childcare in remote towns — Meduza
On November 20, the website 7×7 published online correspondence between Anna Vlasova, a woman living in the town of Suoeki, and Artur Parfenchikov, the governor of the Republic of Karelia. Vlasova wrote to her governor to complain that her town has no kindergarten, explaining that she has no one to care for her children, while she’s at work. Parfenchikov’s response was harsh: he told the woman to “work something out with the grandmothers” or “hire a nanny, like everyone does.” When these messages found their way to Russia’s news media, the governor rushed to Suoeki to meet Vlasova in person and “solve the problem.” Vlasova’s situation isn’t unusual, however. Thanks to the “optimization” initiative underway in Karelia and other regions across the country, officials are shutting down kindergartens, schools, and hospital wards, and laying off staff. In a special report for Meduza, Petrozavodsk Govorit correspondent Georgy Chentemirov takes a closer look at the fallout from these budget cuts.
Two Higher School of Economics professors explain how the Russian Constitution keeps democratization hopes alive — Meduza
Promoting their new book, “Authoritarianism and Democracy,” Higher School of Economics professors Elena Lukyanova and Ilya Shablinsky spoke to Novaya Gazeta this week. In the interview, the two legal scholars argue that Russia’s current Constitution represents a “narrow democratic portal for the future transit to democracy.”
‘Mocking Putin is tantamount to extremism’ Students at a grade school in Vologda are reported to the police after posting memes about teachers and Russia’s president — Meduza
The “CARtON_83 Studio” Vkontakte community is the creation of sixth graders at the Vologda Multi-Disciplinary Lyceum, a school for gifted children from across Russia, according to the institution’s website. “Carton 83” got its start in March 2018 as a closed group, but the students later opened it up to the public, and membership peaked at about 80 people.
Russian state TV pundit says he will stage a rap festival at a nudist beach in Crimea next year — Meduza
State television pundit Dmitry Kiselyov says he will organize a three-day rap music festival at a nudist beach in Crimea in August 2019. “You can’t ban rap anymore than you can ban obscenities. It’s a cultural phenomenon that we face,” Kiselyov told the radio station Govorit Moskva on December 6. The pro-Kremlin pundits says he will stage the concert next summer as a response to the “hype” generated by his December 2 evening TV broadcast, where he defended rappers against Russia’s ongoing police crackdown on live performances.
A contractor accused of embezzling money from a Kremlin project says federal investigators robbed him — Meduza
Andrey Kaminov — the head of the “Ateks” federal state unitary enterprise and a suspect in the embezzlement case against several contractors and state officials involved in remodeling one of Putin’s presidential residences — says more than $30,000 disappeared from his personal savings, when federal investigators and FSB officers seized his assets on March 21, 2017.
‘The principal tried to intimidate me with the psych ward’ A 10th grader in St. Petersburg talks about his uphill battle to form a student union — Meduza
On December 3, an activist in the “Pedagogue” inter-regional education trade union named Andrey Demidov wrote on Facebook that a 10th grader in St. Petersburg is trying to form a student union at his high school. When the school learned about the boy’s plans, administrators allegedly threatened to expel him and alert the police. The young man’s name is Leonid Shaidurov, and Meduza spoke to him, to find out more about what he hopes to accomplish with a student union.
‘I think there’s a list out there somewhere’ A prominent folklorist and anthropologist in St. Petersburg explains how he was fired and why Russia fears religious sects — Meduza
On December 3, folklorist and anthropologist Alexander Panchenko announced on Facebook that he was fired from St. Petersburg State University. He says the school’s administration kicked him off the faculty back in August without any explanation. One of Russia’s leading specialists on folk Orthodoxy and Russian mystical sects, Panchenko believes he lost his job because he gave expert testimony in a trial against representatives of a Pentecostal church, “essentially shattering the prosecution’s case.” Meduza spoke to him to learn more about the circumstances of his dismissal and to find out why the Russian state fights against religious groups.
Moscow court sentences 77-year-old human rights icon to 25 days in jail for promoting an ‘unpermitted rally’ in support of youths charged with extremism — Meduza
On December 5, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court sentenced 77-year-old “For Human Rights” executive director Lev Ponomaryov to 25 days in jail for repeated violations of Russia’s laws on public assemblies.
Russian Human Rights Activist Ponomaryov Jailed For 25 Days For Protest
A Russian court has sentenced Lev Ponomaryov, a prominent human rights defender and critic of President Vladimir Putin, to 25 days in jail for organizing a protest against the arrests of activists.
Fraud Trial Of Russian Director Adjourned After Co-Defendant’s Hospitalization
The embezzlement trial of Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov has been adjourned for five days due to the hospitalization of a co-defendant in the case.
St. Petersburg Plaques Commemorating Soviet Purge Victims Ruled ‘Illegal’
City authorities in St. Petersburg have ruled that plaques commemorating victims of Soviet persecutions are “inexpedient” and “illegal” and should be removed from the streets.
Russian HIV Prevention Group Closes After Fine Under ‘Foreign-Agent’ Law
A Russian nongovernmental organization focused on preventing the spread of the HIV virus that causes AIDS says it has closed its office in the Siberian region of Altai Krai because it has not been …
‘Criticism Is Not Welcome’: The Rise and Fall of Russia’s TV2
TV2 in Tomsk, Siberia was one of the last free and independent regional media outlets in Russia. But the company’s unfettered journalism was not in sync with the country’s increasingly restrictive political climate. The station’s broadcasts were shut down at the end of 2014. The story of Tomsk TV starkly illustrates both the power of a free press and how it can be silenced.
IAAF To Announce Whether Doping Ban Against Russia Will Be Lifted
Russia’s athletics federation (RUSAF) will learn on December 4 whether the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will lift a ban imposed against it in 2015 over widespread dop…
Depardieu Gets New Residence In Siberia After Tax Scandal In Mordovia
French actor Gerard Depardieu, who was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin in 2013, has formally registered as a resident of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk after a tax-related…
Russian military train derails west of Omsk – Defence Blog
21 carriages were overturned as a result of the derailment of a military train In the Omsk region, on 1 December. It is noted that the train carried artillery systems and other military vehicles the repair plant. According to the Ministry of Defense of Russia, none of the personnel not injured. “After the repair work, the platforms with the equipment will be sent to their destination,” noted at a statement. Incident occurred at 537 km of the Sverdlovsk railway. The causes of this incident are still unknown.
Inmates In Russia’s Far East Launch Hunger Strike To Protest Prison Conditions
Eight inmates in Russia’s Far Eastern Sakha-Yakutia region have launched a hunger strike to protest conditions at the prison where they are being held, the head of a regional human monitoring group says.
Moscow School Evacuated After Student With Knife Threatens To Cut Himself
A Moscow high school was evacuated after a 16-year-old student brought a knife into the building and threatened to cut himself, authorities said.
Trio Prepares For First Soyuz Manned Launch Since October Incident
One Russian cosmonaut and two astronauts from the United States and Canada are set to board the first manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) since an aborted launch in October.
Soyuz Rocket Launch Succeeds After October Failure
A Soyuz MS-11 rocket has successfully launched from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The December 2 liftoff follows after a failed start which forced the Russian-U.S. crew into a hard landing in October. This time, the mission set out to deliver a three-person Russian, American, and Canadian crew to the International Space Station. (NASA via Reuters)
Manned Soyuz Spacecraft Docks At ISS
The first manned Soyuz flight since an aborted launch in October has “successfully docked” at the International Space Station (ISS), Russian space agency Roskosmos says.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

UAWire – Newly elected president of Georgia: this is not the time to be friends with Russia
The newly elected president of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili stated that she had never talked about cooperation with Russia, reported BBC. “This …
Russia’s VTB Bank Starts Allowing Use Of MIR Payment Cards In Kazakhstan
One of Russia’s leading banks, VTB, says it has started to allow its automated teller machines (ATMs) in Kazakhstan to accept Russia’s MIR payment cards.
Two Armenian Pilots Killed In Military Jet Crash
An Armenian military aircraft has crashed during a training mission, killing its two pilots.

Belarus Reports

 


 

Russian attache earlier deported from Ukraine for espionage continues “diplomatic” work in Belarus – media | UNIAN
Russian Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, the ex-intel officer and Putin’s special envoy, was had once been denied Ukrainian approval for leading the Russian embassy in Kyiv, someone from his current diplomatic team in Minsk has a more extensive Ukrainian experience. The journalists note his role in undermining Ukrainian statehood in early 2014.
UAWire – Belarus to require identification for internet usage
Belarus is introducing a law requiring the users of online resources to identify themselves. According to Interfax, this rule has been added to the new version of the law “On the mass media” which came into force on December 1. During the first stage of the procedure, citizens will register and sign a user agreement including their telephone number, which is in turn linked to certain passport details. The agreement must contain a warning that users are not allowed to post messages online containing information the dissemination of which is prohibited by Belarusian legislation. Users’ accounts will be activated when the owner of the web resource sends them an SMS with an activation code. Each cellphone number can only be used to register one account on each online resource.
Belarusian Activists Fined For Mocking Police Statue In Minsk
Two Belarusian activists have been fined for mocking a statue of a tsarist-era policeman in Minsk.
Hero In Ukraine, Hated In Belarus
Mikhail Zhyzneuski, who was shot dead during the Euromaidan protests of 2014, is considered a hero in Ukraine. But in his home city of Homiel in Belarus, his grave has been vandalized and his family say they have been treated as pariahs.
Belarusian Man Brings Graveyard to Digital Life
A Belarusian man is creating a free digital index of the country’s largest cemetery in the western city of Hrodna to help people track down their ancestors. He has previously helped Americans trace their ancestors’ graves in Belarus and put them in touch with living relatives.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

UAWire – Moldovan Parliament threatens to dismiss President Dodon from office
The Moldovan Parliament may suspend President Dodon, stated Moldovan Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu, reported DW. Candu said that the deputies may adopt a corresponding resolution by the end of this year, despite the fact that their four-year mandate expired on November 30. The speaker added that after the expiration of powers, the parliament has no right to pass laws, but it can pass resolutions. “Parliament will not have to pass a law to suspend the president, since this can be done by a decision of the legislative body,” Candu said. Candu said that the decision to dismiss Dodon from office is due to the violation of Constitution by him and his refusal to sign five laws adopted by the parliament. Candu referred to Article 89, “In the event the President of the Republic of Moldova commits certain actions infringing upon the constitutional provisions, he/she shall be dismissed from office by the Parliament based on a majority vote of two thirds of it’s the parliament members.”
Romania Blocks Critical EU Text About Moldova
Romania has blocked European Union foreign ministers from adopting recent conclusions by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council that are critical of Moldova, several EU diplomats have told RFE/RL.
Dodon Thanks Putin For Helping Moldovan Migrant Workers Return For Election
Moldovan President Igor Dodon has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in removing bureaucratic barriers that were preventing Moldovan labor migrants in Russia from returning to Moldov…

Ukraine Reports

 


 

Polish military-industrial complex open to broader cooperation with Ukraine – 01.12.2018 14:25 — Ukrinform News
The military-industrial complex of Poland is open to new directions of military cooperation with Ukraine.
Another Ukrainian region joins campaign to ban movies, books, songs in Russian | UNIAN
Another Ukrainian region has joined a campaign to ban the use of cultural products, namely movies, books, songs, etc., in the Russian language in the public. The decision is non-binding.
Archaeologists find 2 kg of silver coins in Kyiv’s historic reserve (Photo) | UNIAN
Head of the Cultural Heritage Department at the Kyiv City State Administration Oleksandr Nykoriak says archaeologists have found 2 kilograms of silver coins in the territory of the Ancient Kyiv Historic Reserve. Scientists suggest that the treasure was buried by a local banker during the years of the Ukrainian revolution.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Iran test fires ballistic missile capable of carrying warheads, Pompeo says
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran’s government test-fired a medium-range missile “that is capable of carrying multiple warheads” on Saturday.
Iran pushes back on Pompeo, says missile program is defensive | TheHill
Iran on Sunday pushed back against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s condemnation of its missile test, denying that Tehran is a breach of United Nations resolutions and saying it will continue such tests in the future.
Pompeo says Iran tested ballistic missile, in violation of UN resolution | Fox News
The Trump administration on Saturday accused Iran of test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile, with the capability to strike parts of Europe and the Middle East — a move the U.S. says is in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
Pompeo rips Iran’s missile test: Increases ‘risk of escalation’ | TheHill
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned Iran’s testing of a missile that he said can reach Europe and anywhere in the Middle East, calling it a violation of a United Nations resolution restricting the Islamic Republic’s missile progra
Iranian TV: Terror attack kills 3 in southeastern port city | Fox News
Iranian state television says a “terrorist attack” has killed at least three people and wounded several others in the southeastern port city of Chabahar.
Iran: Suicide attack hits police post in Chabahar | Iran News | Al Jazeera
State television Press TV said several people were also injured in the attack that targeted a police post in port city.
Turkish FM reveals why they chose to buy Russia’s S-400
Turkey decided to buy Russia’s S-400 air defence systems as Moscow offered the best deal when Ankara needed such weapons, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut
Iran unveils new domestically made warship | News | Al Jazeera
Sahand destroyer can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply, according to state media.


New Documents Rewrite ISIS’ Origin Story – Defense One
A secret biography suggests that Abu Ali al-Anbari defined the group’s radical approach more than any other person.
The Senate is Poised to Pass the Yemen Resolution. Now What? – Defense One
The House is almost certain not to take up the measure while Republicans are still in control. But what about next year?
Senate heading for historic vote to pull US military aid to Saudi Arabia
The Senate could begin debating a measure as early as Monday that would override the Trump administration and force the withdrawal of U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Russian TV Accuses Trump Of ‘Double Standards’ Over Khashoggi
Television channels aligned with the Russian government have seized on what they call America’s “double standards,” in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to ignore evidence implicating the Saudi Crown Prince in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
See Lindsey Graham’s scathing rebuke after CIA briefing – YouTube
CNN Published on Dec 4, 2018 Leaving the briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he is highly confident that Mohammad Bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
After CIA Briefing, Senators Lay Blame On Saudi Crown Prince In Khashoggi Killing | HuffPost
“There’s not a smoking gun. There’s a smoking saw,” Lindsey Graham said.
Khashoggi murder: Saudi crown prince ‘ordered, monitored’ killing, Senator Bob Corker says – CNNPolitics
Republican senators reacted with outrage Tuesday after leaving a classified briefing about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, promising swift action to confront both Saudi Arabia and the White House’s timid response to the killing.
Turkey wants Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman top aides arrested in Jamal Khashoggi murder – CBS News
Istanbul prosecutor files application for warrants for Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aides accused of being &quot;among the planners&quot; of the murder
Jamal Khashoggi’s private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing – CNN
In his public writings, Jamal Khashoggi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was measured. In private, the Washington Post columnist didn’t hold back.
Pompeo: no intelligence directly links Saudi prince to Khashoggi killing | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he has seen all the intelligence possessed by the United States on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and repeated that no direct evidence links Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the incident.
UN jet to shift 50 wounded Houthi rebels to Oman | News | Al Jazeera
Saudi-UAE coalition says arrangement requested by UN envoy Griffiths as goodwill gesture before Sweden peace talks.
Yemen war: Wounded Houthis rebels to be evacuated – BBC News
The first such move in the bloody four-year conflict is designed to pave the way for peace talks.
MI6 chief ‘perplexed’ over Matthew Hedges case – BBC News
The man known as “C” says he “can’t understand” how Matthew Hedges was accused of spying for MI6.
Putin and Mohammed bin Salman handshake: Kremlin says Russian president was just being friendly – The Washington Post
That bro-shake between Putin and the Saudi crown prince? Totally normal, Russia says.


Israel’s Army Says It Found Tunnels Dug By Hezbollah Beneath Border With Lebanon : NPR
Israel says its Operation Northern Shield will “expose and destroy” a series of tunnels that it says Hezbollah dug into Israel from Lebanon, where the militant group is based.
Israel military says will expose Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon | Reuters
Israel’s military said on Tuesday it had begun an operation to “expose and thwart” cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon dug by the Iran-backed Lebanese movement Hezbollah.
Israel begins operation to ‘expose and thwart’ Hezbollah tunnels – CNN
Israel’s army says it launched an operation along its northern border with Lebanon to “expose and thwart cross border attack tunnels.”
Israeli Police Recommend Netanyahu Be Charged With Bribery In Telecom Case | HuffPost
Police said they’d uncovered enough evidence to charge the prime minister and his wife with bribery and fraud.

 


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


 

Donald Trump and North Korea’s Peace Talks Are Working, Even With ‘New’ Missile Sites, Experts Say
Experts say North Korean missile sites covered by recent reports have been long known to U.S. intelligence and that Washington and Pyongyang were still talking.
Trump wants Kim to know he likes him and will fulfill his wishes, South Korean leader says | Reuters
Donald Trump wants North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to know that he likes him and will fulfill his wishes, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday, a day after meeting the U.S. president at an economic summit in Argentina.
S. Korea’s Moon: Trump wants to grant Kim Jong Un’s wishes | Fox News
South Korea’s president says U.S. President Donald Trump told him he has a “very friendly view” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wants to grant his wishes if he denuclearizes.
With new meeting, Trump rewards Kim Jong Un’s misbehavior
North Korea has failed to follow through on commitments it made to get rid of its nuclear weapons. This should trigger punishments, but the consequence for dictator Kim Jong Un is to be another meeting with President Trump, says national security adviser John Bolton.
North Korea Expands Long-Range Missile Base, Analysts Say – WSJ
North Korea is expanding military facilities thought to house long-range missiles that can hit the U.S., according to a think-tank report that revives doubts about the regime’s sincerity in disarmament negotiations.
Report: Images Show Expansion at North Korea Missile Base | Time
Despite Kim Jong Un’s pledge to reduce his country’s nuclear capabilities
North Korea Seen Expanding Missile Base : NPR
Satellite images reveal tunneling and other construction activity at two sites near the Chinese border that are believed to house long-range missiles that could in theory reach the United States.
North Korean soldier defects to South Korea, military says
A North Korean soldier fled across a heavily fortified border to defect to South Korea early Saturday, the military in Seoul said, just as the rivals began taking steps to reduce military tensions.
Is North Korea’s MiG-29 Fleet Growing? | The Diplomat
License production contracts with Russia and technical assistance deals may be strengthening North Korea’s air force.
South Korea sends a train into North for the first time in a decade – The Washington Post
The project to link the two countries’ rail networks can only go ahead if sanctions are lifted.


US Navy sails ships through Taiwan Strait – CNNPolitics
The US Navy sailed two ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, according to US Pacific Fleet which oversees operations in the area.
China has ‘stern’ words with U.S. over ship in South China Sea | Reuters
China said on Friday it had lodged “stern representations” with the United States after the U.S. Navy sailed a ship through the contested South China Sea, passing near islands claimed by China.
China has ‘stern’ words with US over ship in South China Sea – AOL News
Tension between the two powers in disputed Asian waters comes as their relationship has been strained by a row over trade.


Trump And Xi Strike A Temporary Trade War Truce At G-20 Summit | NBC Nightly News – YouTube
NBC News Published on Dec 2, 2018 Under the agreement, the U.S. won’t raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods at the start of the new year and China agreed to buy more U.S. goods, the White House says. China also agreed to consider the opioid fentanyl as a controlled substance.
Trade war: Trump-Xi cease-fire at G-20 is a mistake, says researcher
Adam Triggs, director of research for the Asian Bureau of Economic Research at Australian National University, said it was “a mistake” for U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to have made any bilateral trade deal in Argentina.
Trump is losing the trade war with China based on his favourite report card, and it’s probably going to keep getting worse | Business Insider
Shrinking the US trade deficit has been a key goal of President Donald Trump’s trade war.
China tried to strike at Trump — and missed the mark entirely – The Washington Post
China went for a kill shot with its retaliatory tariffs. It ended up shooting itself in the foot.
The Huawei arrest is a gloriously stinging rebuke to Xi Jinping
Canada’s arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is a stinging rebuke of Xi Jinping’s Chinese government. It exposes China’s economic malfeasance and undercuts Xi’s global economic agenda.
Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Arrested in Canada – Bloomberg
Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer was arrested in Canada over potential violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, provoking outrage from China and complicating thorny trade negotiations just as they enter a critical juncture.
Huawei: CFO’s arrest sends shudders through stock markets – CNN
The arrest of a top Chinese tech executive at the request of the United States has sent shock waves through stock markets.
Huawei Arrest Gives U.S. Leverage Over China on Technology – Bloomberg
Does it know what to do next? The government must decide what it wants from an explosive move that has angered China.
Asia markets: OPEC meeting, US-China trade, currencies in focus
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, is said to face extradition to the United States. Tech stocks throughout Asia plunged on Thursday.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou arrest: China says U.S. trying to ‘stifle’ its rise
State media linked to China’s ruling Communist Party accuse Washington of trying to halt China’s global rise by arranging arrest of Huawei executive.
What is Huawei, and why the arrest of its CFO matters – CNN
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou has sent stock markets plunging and threatens to derail the tenuous US-China trade truce.
Bolton didn’t know about Huawei CFO’s arrest during Trump, Xi meeting, spokesperson says – CBS News
National security adviser had suggested earlier he knew of the high-profile arrest during the G-20 meeting


Patriotic Propaganda In China? – To Inform is to Influence
Running a marathon is difficult enough, but to be handed a wet flag during the final leg may have caused a Chinese racer to lose the lead. He Yinli is being both chastised and supported, in that she was closing in on the lead runner when she was handed the Chinese national flag. She wound up placing behind the winner, the ongoing debate in China is if she purposefully discarded it or if it slipped or if she was being unpatriotic or practical. She didn’t ask to hold the national flag, and it seems as if a second flag was even offered, which she declined. It is uncertain if CCTV, the race’s organizer, schemed to drag her with the Chinese national flag. Perhaps it was the Chinese Foreign Propaganda office. From personal experience, I once remarked to a Chinese State Security officer escort that there were so few Chinese flags flying when I was in Shanghai, perhaps China is learning that a flag may be viewed as one of the signs of patriotism. </end editorial>
Chinese gene-editing scientist is missing amid rumours of arrest | Daily Mail Online
Reports claimed Chinese scientist He Jiankui was placed under house arrest in Shenzhen after making an appearance at a conference on gene editing in Hong Kong last Wednesday.
China Is Using U.S. ‘War On Terror’ Rhetoric To Justify Detaining 1 Million People | HuffPost Australia
The U.S. now wants to punish China for its treatment of a Muslim minority group. In 2002, it let Chinese officials interrogate members of the community at Guantanamo Bay.


U.K.’s Intelligence Chief: Britain Faces Tough Decision on Huawei’s 5G Technology – WSJ
The head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency said the U.K. had a tough decision to make on whether to allow Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to supply a 5G mobile network in the country.
MI6 boss Alex Younger warns the UK must develop groundbreaking mobile technology or risk being at China’s mercy
ALEX Younger said the UK needs to be at the forefront of breakthroughs to keep its citizens safe in the coming decades. Mr Younger said we risk being crowded out by China in the quest for ‘the future of knowledge’.
MI6 boss Alex Younger tells Britain: beware march of Chinese technology giants | News | The Times
The head of MI6 has questioned whether a Chinese telecoms giant should be involved in Britain’s next-generation mobile network amid fears over spying. Alex Younger, 55, said that “some decisions” about Huawei must be made after the US, New Zealand and Australia, all close intelligence partners,
Alex Younger: MI6 chief questions China’s role in UK tech sector – BBC News
He says decisions need to be taken about the role of China in new 5G communications networks.


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Said Using Polls to Prepare Russians for Giving the Kuriles Back to Japan
Paul Goble Staunton, November 30 – Seventeen percent of Russians are now ready to support the handing back to Japan of some of the Kurile Islands, up from only four to eight percent a decade or more above. This trend suggests, Yevgeny Rychkov of Nakanune says, “the powers that be using polls to prepare” Russians for such a transfer (nakanune.ru/articles/114648/). Overwhelming majorities still oppose such a move, the journalist says, but the increase suggests two things. On the one hand, it is a clear indication that the Kremlin if it wants to can create support for such an “unthinkable” action among a population supposedly as committed as Vladimir Putin is never to give back anything that Russia has control of. And on the other, while the Kuriles are a special case – they are tiny, although strategically important, and a key to a breaking apart of the international coalition against Moscow – they are far from the only case where a different approach by the Kremlin could make the return of territories far less unthinkable than many now believe. Among the most obvious of these, of course, is returning Crimea to Ukraine from which Putin violently and illegally seized it and Abkhazia and South Ossetia which Putin used military force to detach from the Republic of Georgia. The new Russian polls should encourage those who oppose Putin’s imperialistic acts of aggression. Of course, as commentator Boris Kagarlitsky says, there are two things to keep in mind: First, Russians are overwhelmingly opposed to giving back land to anyone lest that trigger a process over which they would lose control. And second, the Kremlin will decide what is in its interest rather than what is in the interest of the population on this issue as on all others. If Russians are against giving back any territory but Putin decides it is in his interest to do so, the commentator says, then Russia will give it back; and if they shift and show a willingness to give back territories belonging to others but the Kremlin leader is opposed, then this won’t happen as long as he is in office. But at the same time, it certainly appears that Putin wants to generate support for what he may be about to do one way or another and it also appears that the Russian people are not nearly as committed to the existing borders of the Russian Federation as many inside that country and abroad invariably assume.
UAWire – Media: Russia preparing to hand over Kuril Islands to Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin have appointed special representatives to negotiate the signing of a …
US government, Boeing to help Japan upgrade missile, electronic warfare capabilities for F-15 jets
The Japanese Defense Ministry requested $89 million to upgrade two of its F-15J/DJ interceptors in its latest budget request for its next fiscal year.
Japanese acquisition officials reveal next steps in search for advanced fighter jet
Japan’s next-generation fighter will replace the F-2 around the mid-2030s.
One Marine rescued, 6 missing after planes collide off Japan | Fox News
One U.S. Marine was rescued, but six others were missing late Wednesday after two Marine Corps aircraft collided while refueling in mid-air during a regularly scheduled training exercise off the coast of Japan.

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Opinion | It Doesn’t Matter Who Replaces Merkel. Germany Is Broken. – The New York Times
The erosion of the country’s postwar order has created a populace open to messages and movements previously banished to the fringes.
Germany’s conservative CDU party to vote on Merkel’s successor | Germany News | Al Jazeera
Leadership frontrunners are Merkel protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her rival Friedrich Merz.
Merkel’s party votes for new leader, and new era in Germany | Reuters
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats vote on Friday to decide who replaces her as party leader and moves into pole position to succeed her as German chancellor.
Merkel’s legacy is at stake as her CDU party votes for her successor – The Washington Post
Either Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer or Friedrich Merz will be picked as new CDU leader on Friday.
Party Race to Succeed Merkel Throws Russian Pipeline in Doubt – WSJ
The three main contenders to succeed Angela Merkel as chairwoman of Germany’s largest political party have called for a review of a gas pipeline between Germany and Russia, potentially putting the party at odds with the chancellor’s government.
Germany’s Merkel bids emotional farewell to CDU party – BBC News
The German chancellor thanks the Christian Democrats as she steps down after 18 years as leader.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to be chancellor, but is no ‘mini-Merkel’
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the front-runner to become the new leader of Germany’s biggest political party, considers herself much more than a Merkel clone.


France fuel protests: Here’s what’s happening and why it matters
Violent protest in Paris has left analysts contemplating what this could mean for embattled President Emmanuel Macron, amid a resurgence in populist politics ahead of European elections next year.
Violent protests in France reveal a hard-to-heal fracture | Fox News
A grassroots protest movement in France has ballooned and radicalized, unleashing anger that devastated the heart of Paris in weekend riots and revealed a fracture in the country between the haves and have-nots.
Macron Returns to Turmoil, as France Weighs State of Emergency – The New York Times
After a summit meeting in Argentina, President Emmanuel Macron surveyed the destruction left after the “Yellow Vest” protests.
Brussels riots: French riots spread to Belgium as HUNDREDS rampage at home of EU | World | News | Express.co.uk
BELGIAN police used water cannons and deployed tear gas in central Brussels to drive back protesters inspired by France’s ‘yellow vest’ anti-tax movement as demonstrators forced the European Commission headquarters into a temporary lockdown
The Latest: France’s Macron scraps fuel tax after protests – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
The Scourge of the Red Notice – Foreign Policy
How some countries use Interpol to go after dissidents and debtors.


Britain can unilaterally stop Brexit Article 50 process, EU lawyers say – CNN
The British government has the power to unilaterally halt the Brexit process, a top EU legal adviser has said.
May Loses Control Over Brexit Endgame in U.K. Parliament War – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is locked in a power struggle with the British Parliament that looks set to determine the final shape of Brexit.
UK Parliament just dealt a blow to Theresa May. What’s next for Brexit? – Vox
The UK Parliament voted to give itself more say if the Brexit deal fails. It’s going to make things interesting.
Brexit Vote: Theresa May Reaps What She Sows – Bloomberg
The prime minister’s efforts to sideline parliament have backfired massively. Now it’s hard to know who’s really at the wheel of Brexit.
May’s Brexit vote could plunge the UK into fresh political chaos
Theresa May needs 320 lawmakers to agree with her plan to leave the European Union.
As Brexit crunch nears, campaign for new referendum gathers pace | Reuters
After losing the most contentious referendum in British history, James McGrory went for a drink in The Hope pub near London’s medieval meat market. Amid butchers in bloodied coats, his dream of reversing Brexit seemed hopeless.
The Guardian view on May and parliament: a pattern of contempt | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian
Editorial: Theresa May’s style of government is destined to fail in the absence of a Commons majority
The British Government Was Found To Be In Contempt Of Parliament Over Brexit | TIME – YouTube
TIME Published on Dec 5, 2018 Britain’s Parliament dealt Prime Minister Theresa May’s government two bruising defeats Tuesday, and that was before lawmakers began an epic debate that will decide the fate of May’s European Union divorce deal and her political career.


Vladimir Putin Defies Donald Trump as Russian President Comes to Venezuela’s Rescue Following U.S. Sanctions
The Russian leader has expressed support for strongman Nicolás Maduro, but the Kremlin did not specify what kind of aid Caracas may receive.
Putin Expresses Support To Visiting Venezuelan Leader
Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced his support for his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, who traveled to Moscow amid a spiraling economic crisis in the Latin American country.
Venezuela’s Maduro Announces Billions Of Dollars In Russian Investment
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has announced more than $6 billion in Russian oil and gold mining investments in the crisis-wracked South American country.
Russia may be handing Venezuela a $6 billion lifeline | Miami Herald
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Russia had agreed to invest more than $6 billion in the country’s oil and mining sectors.


George Soros-backed university is ‘forced out’ of Hungary, will move to Vienna
Central European University confirmed Monday that it will move its U.S.-accredited degree programs from Budapest to Vienna from next September.
Soros-founded university says it has been kicked out of Hungary as an autocrat tightens his grip – The Washington Post
Central European University has been the target of an aggressive campaign by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Top Hungary university forced to shut down | Hungary News | Al Jazeera
Critics believe is part of efforts to silence dissenting voices by closing the Central European University in Budapest.
Soros-funded Central European University is pushed out of Hungary, after the Trump administration failed to save it – The Washington Post
Central European University is being kicked out of Hungary, exposing the limits of U.S. influence.


Tsipras: Mending fences with Russia
When then Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias decided last July to expel two Russian diplomats serving in Athens and ban two more from entering Greece, many were surprised and worried. Kotzias had justified his decision by blaming Kremlin for attempting to interfere with “sensitive” matters of Greek politics relating to the Balkans, especially the process initiated by both Athens and Skopje governments to normalize their relations after years of dispute. Kremlin responded by expelling two Greek diplomats from the Russian capital.
Global study: Threat of terror falling worldwide, far-right violence rising in North America, Western Europe | Fox News
A new global study is showing the threat of terror is falling worldwide.
New Information on 1961 Hammarskjold Plane Crash | Time
New details have been received that could shed light on the mysterious 1961 plane crash that killed U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold.
Another diplomat was diagnosed with ‘Havana syndrome.’ Here’s what we know. – The Washington Post
The mysterious illness — which causes symptoms similar to a concussion — has baffled doctors and diplomats for years.

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

When totalitarian regimes play by different rules in tech, here’s how the US military can compete
Even as the Pentagon speaks about the importance of strategic cooperation with China, differing approaches to technology development could leave the U.S. struggling to keep up.
Quantum Computing That Can Crack Modern Encryption More Than a Decade Away – Defense One
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggests encryption-cracking quantum computers are possible, but won’t be …
The F-35 Is About to Get A Lot Smarter – Defense One
A California company is looking to accelerate the Defense Department’s embrace of artificial intelligence, starting with some of its most important …
TsAGI confirms development of a new Russian advanced high-speed helicopter – Defence Blog
The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky (TsAGI) has confirmed the development of a new Russian advanced high-speed helicopter. According to the promo video release put out by TV studio of Roscosmos, TsAGI scientists work on improving the advanced high-speed helicopter’s performance. Released footages also showing the 3D model of new Russian high-speed helicopter which corresponding to images that was previously published. On 27 November, CEO of the Zhukovsky Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) Kirill Sypalo told TASS that for a project of a new advanced high-speed helicopter also will be created flying laboratory on the basis of the Ka-52 helicopter. “Sergei Mikheyev [the Kamov Design Bureau’s chief designer] plans to start work in the imminent future to create a flying laboratory of the advanced high-speed helicopter on the basis of the Ka-52 helicopter,” Kirill Sypalo said. According to the TsAGI chief, the work on the advanced high-speed helicopter is proceeding in two directions. In the first area of work, some developments, such as the new layouts of blades and rotors will be installed on existing Mi helicopters. In the second area, specialists are developing a helicopter of a principally new scheme whose project has been presented by the Kamov Design Bureau. On October, in Russian social media “accidental” leaked the images of an advanced high-speed helicopter whose project has been presented by the Kamov Design Bureau.
Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Is No Game Changer | The National Interest
A fancy photo shoot can’t reverse an economic slump, nor can it magically conjure hundreds of new stealth fighters. Russia’s Su-57 might be a media star. But it’s on track to play no meaningful role in Moscow’s military strategy.
Defeating Drone Threats – To Inform is to Influence
I hate articles which are just manufacturing Press Releases or advertisements. This is one. I include it, however, because it does give a fairly simplistic overview of drones and anti-drone systems. The best thing, however, is a study they cite. The study cited in the Press Release is at Counter-Drone Systems – Center for the Study of the Drone, but unfortunately, I had to track down the report. I suggest page 4 as a synopsis, the chart is outstanding. It’s 23 pages of goodness and anti-drone warmth. As an FYI, I began working closely with UAVs/drones in 1995. All the drones we had in planning and pre-production then are still the predominant platforms today. I’ve seen a few get bigger but I’ve also seen them get much, much smaller. The quadrocopter is a much later development and appears to be “a” platform of choice. </end editorial>

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Kremlin Watch Briefing: The EU has to start taking pro-Kremlin disinformation seriously – To Inform is to Influence
Last week’s events concerning the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign Can’t see images?https://preview.mlsend.com/e9r3l6 START TAKING PRO-KREMLIN DISINFORMATION SERIOUSLY Open Letter by European Security Experts to the President of the European Commission J. C. Juncker and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini The European Commission continues to fail to deliver a practical response to…
Plan to combat fake news proposed as EU elections approach | Reuters
The European Union’s executive proposed on Wednesday spending more money to counter fake news on the Internet, establishing an early warning system to alert governments and pushing tech companies do more to stop disinformation before next year’s EU elections.
EU warns tech giants on Russian fake news
Social media platforms are told to tackle fake accounts and the spread of fake news more effectively before the European elections next May – or face regulation.
In rare speech, MI6 chief says cyber brings ‘potentially existential challenge’
In his second public speech ever, the head of the British intelligence agency described in stark terms a growing digital divide between liberal countries and
Alliance for Securing Democracy Launches New Tool to Analyze Russian Interference Operations – To Inform is to Influence
December 6, 2018 On December 4, 2018, The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) launched the Authoritarian Interference Tracker, a new interactive tool that tracks and analyzes Russian interference operations across the transatlantic space since 2000. You can view the Authoritarian Interference Tracker here. You can also watch the launch event here. The event to launch the Tracker featured remarks…
Macedonia’s former ruling party organized a trolling apparatus for spreading hate speech, threats – To Inform is to Influence
A Macedonian government propaganda, wiretapping, and troll farm operations are exposed.  Shades of Russia. </end editorial> Posted 3 December 2018 A former Macedonian government official revealed on November 28 that the right-wing populist party VMRO-DPMNE created a ‘system’ for spreading hate speech through organized mass trolling efforts. The VMRO-DPMNE  ruled the country from 2006 until 2017,…
Chess Is An Important Part Of Russian Soft Power – To Inform is to Influence
Yet another tool in the Russian Information Warfare toolbox. The author does not come out and say that Russians are manipulating the game, but the implication is still there. Perhaps that same approach applies to World Cup Soccer/Football. </end editorial>
Australia encryption laws passed and could damage digital security – INSIDER
Many are worried that governments or criminals could exploit “back door” access to personal information.
Australia has become the first western country to pass a bill forcing tech companies to hand over your encrypted data | South China Morning Post
Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google and others say the move will create a back door to users’ data and inevitably undermine security for everyone

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Former U.S. President George Bush, Who Presided Over End Of Cold War, Is Dead At 94
George Bush, the 41st president of the United States, has died at the age of 94. Bush was president from 1989 to 1993 — a pivotal span of the 20th century that saw the collapse of both the Iron Cu…
Goodbye, George H.W. Bush. The world will miss a great president — and I will miss a friend. – The Washington Post
President George H.W. Bush accomplished so much, and his quiet style made much of his success possible.
I wasn’t supposed to like George H.W. Bush — Then I got to know him | Fox News
I first met George H.W. Bush, who died Friday at age 94, not long before he was elected as Ronald Reagan’s vice president in 1980. At the time, if anyone was predisposed not to like the future vice president and president, it was me.


Trump to announce Heather Nauert as pick for UN Ambassador Friday, sources tell Fox News | Fox News
President Trump will tweet Friday morning that he is nominating State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, replacing outgoing official Nikki Haley, multiple sources tell Fox News.
Trump To Pick Heather Nauert, Former Fox News Anchor, As U.N. Ambassador, Source Says : NPR
From Fox &amp; Friends to the State Department, and now likely to the United Nations. President Trump is expected to make the announcement Friday.
Trump to Pick Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador, Sources Say – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump has settled on State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to replace departing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, according to three people familiar with the matter.


Trump Eyes Talks With Putin, Xi To Halt ‘Uncontrollable Arms Race’
U.S. President Donald Trump says he is certain that “at some time in the future” he, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin “will start talking about a meaningful halt t…
Donald Trump Slams Massive Military Spending He Once Celebrated, Bemoans ‘Uncontrollable Arms Race’
The president previously called the decision the “most significant investment in our military and our war fighters in modern history.”
Trump calls US defense spending ‘crazy,’ pledges talks with Putin and Xi
With a bold statement, Trump took a step toward cutting back the 2020 budget request for the Pentagon.
US lawmakers tangle over nuclear arsenal, Russia treaties
Get up to speed with this week’s blizzard of partisan messaging about America’s nuclear arsenal.
The U.S. urgently needs new icebreaker ships to patrol the Arctic. Will Trump’s border wall get in the way?
President Donald Trump’s administration allocated $750 million for a new icebreaker. The Senate approved the funds — only for the House to divert them to the border wall.
Net Assessment: The Establishment Strikes Back – War on the Rocks
Hop aboard! In this episode, the crew dissects the recently released report of the National Defense Strategy Commission. Melanie, Chris, and Bryan weigh


Manafort Could Face New Charges, Sentencing Likely In March
The special counsel investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election may file additional charges against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.
Manafort tried to make deal with Ecuador on Wikileaks’ Assange: Report
During a 2017 meeting with Ecuador’s incoming president, Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort tried to negotiate a deal that would see Ecuador get economic concessions from Washington in exchange for Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange, according to The New York Times.
Top Dem: Cohen plea suggests Putin ‘has leverage over the president’ | TheHill
Rep.
Trump: Michael Cohen Should Serve ‘Complete Sentence’ For Things ‘Unrelated’ To Campaign | HuffPost Australia
The president attacked his former lawyer, insisting he should serve “a long prison term” for his plea deal.
3 charged– including exec with past ties to Clintons– in alleged scheme to defraud Pentagon billions, DOJ says | Fox News
Three Northern Virginia men –including one who reportedly celebrated New Year’s Eve in 1999 with the Clintons– were charged last week for their alleged roles in a scheme to defraud the Pentagon after receiving an $8 billion contract in 2012 to provide food and supplies to troops in Afghanistan.
U.S. Special Counsel: No Prison Time For Flynn, Former National Security Adviser
The U.S. special counsel investigating interactions between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian officials has recommended that Trump’s first national-security adviser receive no prison…
Investigators focusing on foreign lobbying by firms linked to Manafort: report | TheHill
Prosecutors with the Justice Department (DOJ) are ramping up their investigation into the foreign lobbying of two firms linked to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,

 

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