Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (61)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s internal meltdown is a sight to behold, it appears to be accelerating as ever more bizarre measures are legislated.

Iran’s latest outbursts are little more than brazen threats.

While Huwei has dominated PRC media traffic, more interesting are a PLA proposal to ram US warships, Kyrgyz fears of invasion, and a proposal to irrigate arid Western China with water pumped by massive pipelines from Siberian rivers. Europe is experiencing multiple political upheavals.

Most interesting tech media reports are the EMP topic, especially Dr. Pry’s very sharp assessment. Interesting reports on IO and cyber. US domestic politics remain acrimonious.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Is Putin Grooming His Daughter to Succeed Him? Some Russians Think So

Paul Goble Staunton, December 13 – The appearance of Vladimir Putin’s daughter on Russian television has prompted Pavel Lokshin, the Moscow correspondent of Germany’s Die Welt newspaper to raise the possibility that the Kremlin leader may be grooming her to be his successor, something that might allow him to remain in power while no longer in office. After the appearance of Katerina Tikhonova on TV, Russian visitors to YouTube, writers on Telegram channels, and bloggers “immediately” began to raise the possibility that the 32-year-old woman might assume the role of Russian president three years from now (welt.de/politik/ausland/article185355322/Russische-Spekulationen-Baut-Putin-Tochter-Katerina-zu-seiner-Nachfolgerin-auf.htm). Keeping senior positions within the family is a tradition not only in other post-Soviet states like Azerbaijan where the current president is the son of his predecessor, but in Russia as well, Lokshin says. Thus, the new agricultural minister in Russia is the son of Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of Putin’s security council and former head of the FSB. The Die Welt correspondent says that such speculation likely has no more foundation than the natural desire of Russians to figure out who will be their leader after Putin. Many have predicted his departure and replacement in the past, Lokshin points out, and they have proved no more accurate than astrologers. Putin is likely to weather his current problems, the journalist continues; and while he is not as young as he used to be, he is not that old as world leaders go. When he finishes his current term in 2024, he will be 72, the same age as Donald Trump is now. And if he wants to remain, he will almost certainly be able to find a way to arrange that. In another “succession” story, Putin himself told a meeting in Yaroslavl that when Boris Yeltsin proposed that Putin succeed him, Putin replied that he was “not ready.” But Yeltsin replied that Putin was already “’a big boy’” who had worked in the power structures and could do the job (mk.ru/politics/2018/12/13/putin-ne-khotel-byt-prezidentom-kogda-elcin-predlozhil.html).
Russia Rises To Second In Global Arms Sales, With U.S. Still At No. 1
The United States remains the global leader in arms sales, while Russia has surpassed Britain to take the No. 2 spot as it attempts to modernize its military, a leading research group says.
Legal Package On Punishment For ‘Fake News’ Submitted To State Duma
A group of Russian lawmakers has introduced a package of bills in the State Duma envisaging fines of up to 1 million rubles ($15,000) for spreading false “socially significant” information through …
Putin Was Not Ready to Be President When Yeltsin Offered to Run for Election – Sputnik International
YAROSLAVL (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he was not ready to become Russia’s leader when late President Boris Yeltsin first offered him run for president.
Putin Hails Solzhenitsyn As ‘True Patriot’ On Centenary Of His Birth
President Vladimir Putin has praised late Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as a “true and real patriot” after unveiling a statue honoring the Nobel Prize-winning author in central Moscow.
Russia Expels Slovak Diplomat In Spy Dispute
Russia has declared a Slovak military diplomat persona non grata following Bratislava’s expulsion of a Russian diplomat suspected of spying last month.
Russian lawmakers move forward with legislation making it illegal to recruit minors for unpermitted protests — Meduza
Lawmakers in Russia’s State Duma have passed the second reading of legislation that will make it illegal to involve minors in unpermitted public assemblies. First-time offenders convicted under this law will face between 20 and 100 hours of community service, fines as high as 50,000 rubles ($750), or up to 15 days in jail. Repeat offenders will face community service, fines as high as 300,000 rubles ($4,520), or up to 30 days in jail.
Russian lawmakers want to jail Internet users who ‘blatantly disrespect the state’ — Meduza
Three federal lawmakers have drafted legislation that would tweak Russia’s misdemeanor statutes against disorderly conduct to ban the online publication of materials that “blatantly disrespect Russian society, the state, official state symbols, the Russian Constitution, and law enforcement agencies.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says she acted ethically when a reality TV show remodeled her parents’ country home — Meduza
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova insists that she violated no laws or ethics codes when the NTV reality television show “Dachniy Otvet” built a luxurious veranda at her parents’ country home for an episode earlier this month. Zakharova told The Insider that the Foreign Ministry approved her participation on the TV program, arguing that she appeared on the show “as a daughter,” and not as a state official. She says her family contacted the network, asking to be on the show, after acquiring the real estate outside Moscow.
Russia’s media regulator fines Google half a million rubles for ignoring local search-engine censorship law — Meduza
As promised, Russia’s federal media censor has fined Google for failing to comply with a law that requires online search engines to purge any hyperlinks to materials that are banned in Russia. Google has also refused to connect to the federal information system where these websites are listed. For violating Russia’s Internet censorship rules, Google has been fined 500,000 rubles ($7,520) — less than the maximum fine of 700,000 rubles (about $10,530).
Here we go again: Navalny is being sued for defamation once more, this time by the official who wanted to beat him up — Meduza
Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s National Guard, has filed a defamation lawsuit against anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, seeking a cool 1 million rubles (about $15,000). According to Shota Gorgadze, the lawyer representing Zolotov, the lawsuit relates in part to Navalny’s corruption allegations against the National Guard’s leadership involving property holdings. Zolotov says he will donate the money to an orphanage.
Russia has spent the past two years trying to force Google to filter its search results. Here’s the chronology. — Meduza
Moscow unveils Solzhenitsyn monument on what would have been the writer’s 100th birthday — Meduza
Russian hacker who once tormented state officials says he’s starting his own cybersecurity consultancy — Meduza
Vladimir Anikeev, the former leader of the hacktivist group “Anonymous International” (better known in Russia as “Shaltai Boltai” or “Humpty Dumpty”), has announced that he will form his own cybersecurity consultancy. He told the magazine RBC that he’s even considering keeping the “Shaltai Boltai / Anonymous International” brand name.
Hundreds Rally In Kazan Against Government’s ‘Lawlessness’
Hundreds of people have held a demonstration in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan region, to protest against what organizers described as the “lawlessness” of the authorities.
Russian Media Falsely Claim White House ’Denied’ 2016 Election Meddling
U.S. intelligence agencies said there was an influence campaign. Congressional committees are investigating. A special counsel is conducting a criminal investigation. “American intelligence agencies have accused Russia of ‘interfering with elections’ of 2016, as well as links with Donald Trump. This is denied both in the White House and in the Kremlin.”
Russian National Guard Chief Sues Opposition Leader Navalny For Libel
The head of Russia’s National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, has filed a lawsuit against opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, demanding 1 million rubles ($15,000) in compensation for damaging his honor a…
Like ‘Lepers’: Big Plans In Russia’s Far East Leave Locals On Wrong Side Of The Tracks
The Far Eastern city of Svobodny is at the heart of one of Russia’s ambitious 10-year, economic-development projects. But many locals feel the effort is passing them by.
Former Russian Police Officers Jailed For Torturing Suspect To Death
A court in Russia’s Urals city of Nizhny Tagil has handed prison terms to three former police officers convicted of torturing a suspect to death.
Russia Jails Former Police Officer On High Treason Charge
A Russian court has sentenced former police officer Aleksandr Zhitnyuk to 13 years in prison on high treason charges.
Russian Director Serebrennikov’s Trial Adjourned Again
The embezzlement trial of Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov has been adjourned again due to the hospitalization of a co-defendant in the case.
Bashkortostan Supreme Court Cancels Bashkir Activist’s Fine
In a rare move, the Supreme Court in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan has cancelled a lower court’s decision to fine a prominent local activist Fail Alsynov.
‘A Living Hell’: Russia’s ‘Propaganda’ Law Damaging LGBT Youth, HRW Finds
A leading rights watchdog has called on Russian authorities to abolish the country’s law banning gay “propaganda,” arguing it is having a deeply damaging effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and tra…
Russian Rights Activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva Dies At 91
Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a veteran defender of human rights and a prominent Russian opposition figure, has died in Moscow. She was 91.
Veteran Rights Defender Alekseyeva To Be Buried In Moscow
Veteran human rights defender Lyudmila Alekseyeva, who died last week, will be buried in Moscow’s Troyekurovskoye cemetery on December 11.
Russia’s Lyudmila Alekseyeva Remembered As A ‘Force Of Nature’ And ‘Giant’ Of Human Rights
Human rights defenders and diplomats are praising Lyudmila Alekseyeva and her lifetime commitment to the struggle for justice in the Soviet Union and Russia as an inspirational example.
World Doping Experts To Conduct Followup Audit Of Russian Agency
World anti-doping experts are expected In Moscow, as part of a follow-up audit of the Russian anti-doping agency after conditionally reinstating it earlier this year.
World Doping Experts Conducting Follow-Up Audit Of Russian Agency
World anti-doping experts are in Moscow conducting a follow-up audit of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) after conditionally reinstating it earlier this year.
Austria Investigates Russian Biathlon Team For Doping
Austrian authorities say they are investigating Russia’s biathlon team over alleged doping offenses dating back to last year’s world championships in Austria.
‘The Village Is Dying And No One Cares,’ Says Russian Social Worker
Vera Selivanova is a social worker in Shelepovo in Russia’s Kurgan region. She cleans houses, brings in food, and tends gardens. She says soon only the elderly will be left, and then the village will die.
Seven Detained In Russia For Allegedly Supporting Islamic State, Al-Nusra Front
Russian authorities say they have detained seven people suspected of financially supporting two extremist organizations in the Middle East.
Alleged Former Separatist Militant Detained In Russia
An alleged former member of the separatist insurgency in Chechnya has been detained in Russia’s southern Stavropol Krai region.
The Winds Of Chagan, A Post-Soviet Nuclear Ghost Town
An eerie wind is the only sound to be heard in a once-secret northern Kazakh town which used to be the hub of the Soviet nuclear weapons program.
‘Angarsk Maniac’: Russia’s Serial-Killer Cop Gets Second Life Sentence For 56 More Murders
A former Russian police officer who was sentenced in 2015 to life in prison for the killings of 22 women has received a second life sentence for murdering 56 more women.
The Piano Man: Russia’s Off-Key Coverage Of French Protests
The Yellow Vest protesters in France played an ode to Russia on a blocked roadway over the weekend. Or at least that’s what Russian state TV claimed.
Russian Cosmonauts Investigate Mysterious Hole In ISS During Six-Hour Space Walk
Russia’s space agency said two cosmonauts took samples of the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of efforts to resolve the mystery of a small hole found in a craft docked at the station.
Do You Know Your Pelmeni From Your Pierogi?
There are dumplings … and then there are dumplings! Across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, nothing inspires more passionate debate than which dumplings — pelmeni, pierogi, vareniki, or khinkali, to name a few — are better. And which ones are the real deal?
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia has a Large but Weak State, the Worst Possible Combination, Pozharsky Says
Paul Goble Staunton, December 7 – A strong state and a large state are two very different things, even though many Russians assume they are the same, Mikhail Pozharsky says. A strong state is able to enforce its laws, while a big state if it is weak cannot in many cases and becomes a continuing source of corruption. Indeed, around the world, the most common kind of failed state is one that is large and corrupt but weak and ineffectual, able to extract resources from the population by force or corruption but incapable of controlling entire regions or sectors of the country, the Russian commentator says (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C093CC261E2C). “Thus, in certain countries of Latin America,” Pozharsky continues, “the state cannot in general even control certain regions where drug cartels or partisans operate, but in all the other locates has such a quantity of bureaucracy and regulation that there is not branch where there isn’t corruption and cronyism.” According to the commentator, “In Russia, the problem is exactly the same: the state is big but weak. It extends its hand into all spheres of the economy” but it isn’t capable of ensuring that everyone plays by the rules. “There are places in Russia where the powers are even afraid to stick their noses.” It may not be as obvious as in Latin America, but “the essence is the same.” Three examples of this have surfaced recently, Pozharsky says. First, a clinic was found in Moscow where female genital mutilation was carried out on young girls, something the government ought to have intervened against but for some reason didn’t do anything because powerful interests were opposed (gazeta.ru/social/2018/11/28/12075877.shtml). Second, a new report finds that so-called “honor killings” are widespread in the North Caucasus. “The imams approve” this dispatch of women who violate social norms; and “the police go alone. What does the central power do? Nothing,” Pozharsky says (zona.media/article/2018/12/06/srji). And third, the Russian Constitutional Court holds that the Chechen and Ingush leaders “can divide up Chechen and Ingush lands as they like. The federal power has nothing to do with their affairs in this regard” (ria.ru/20181206/1547520742.html). This list could be extended and will, he argues; and it shows that “in general, the Kremlin does not have a power monopoly in Russia. The scary Russian state with all its Russian guards ends where it encounters the power of bearded ones with ‘traditions’ at the ready” and to which the regime in Moscow defers. “It is possible to weaken a strong state;” but that isn’t the challenge in Russia today, Pozharsky concludes.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Soviet Ideology, Russian Tradition Shaped Jihadists in North Caucasus, Garayev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, December 7 – Jihadism emerged in the North Caucasus long before ISIS because their leaders drew on the Soviet ideology and the Russian tradition to promote an armed campaign against Moscow’s control of Muslims in general and the North Caucasus in particular, Denis Garayev says. In a presentation yesterday to a Moscow conference on “The Modernization of Muslim Communities in the 19th and 20th Centuries,” the North Caucasus scholar now teaching at the University of Amsterdam described what to many may seem this paradoxical development (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/328846/). (His presentation drew on an article he published last year on the same topic available atacademia.edu/34835331/Идеология_русскоязычного_джихадизма_до_ИГИЛ_рецепция_советского_как_рождение_постсоветского_радикализма_Государство_религия_церковь_в_России_и_за_рубежом._2017._3._С.170_201.) “In the post-Soviet period in the North Caucasus and in part in other regions appeared an entire generation of jihadist ideologues,” the scholar says. “There were varied people but they were united by the fact that they could speak about jihad in a language accessible to the Russian-language public.” In all cases, they understood it to be about armed struggle against Moscow. Their jihadist discourse, Garayev continues, “was born on the basis of the Soviet intellectual tradition” with “the Islamization of its content taking place later.” The agenda of the jihadists in many cases drew on the agenda of Soviet ideology, although the jihadists put it to a very different use than the Soviets intended. That is particularly the case with four areas, Garayev says. The Soviets criticized “bourgeois nationalism” and so too do the jihadists. The Soviets employed anti-colonial rhetoric which the jihadists accepted and turned against the Soviets. The Soviets spoke about the need for justice and the struggle for justice, ideas the jihadists employed as well. Even the Soviet criticism of the Muslim leaders and hierarchy, on the one hand, and of Sufism, on the other, he continues, “appeared in the works of the ideologues of jihadism.” In short, “the post-Soviet jihadists in the North Caucasus applied the lexical and terminological methods which were well known in the Russian-language cultural space there” because of the work of Soviet ideologists. Indeed, one could say that they simply harvested the seeds the Soviets planted. And the jihadists took more from the Soviet tradition than just general ideological tropes. They drew on the works of Chingiz Aitmatov and especially his novel, A Day Longer than an Age. Moreover, they drew on the works of Lev Gumilyev and particularly his ideas about passionarity. Garayev notes that “Yandarbiyev was a graduate of the Literature Institute. General Dudayev besides being a flier was trained as a political leader. He used the term ‘Rusism’ which before him was employed by the Russian liberal dissident of the 19th century Aleksandr Herzen to denounce the foreign policy of the Russian Empire.” “Namely Dudayev was the one who again made use of this term and thanks to him it returned to the Russian lexicon. Probably he was acquainted with this term from Herzen’s works,” Garayev says. As for Yasin Rasulov, his most famous jihadist work was a reworking of his unsuccessful dissertation for a Soviet university. Another participant in this discussion, Islamicist Igor Alekseyev of the Russian State Humanities University, adds another dimension to Garayev’s argument. He said that “the Russian language of Russian Islam become more Russian,” with Russian Muslims being “strongly Russified regardless of their ethnic attachments.” “For practically all of them, Russian became their native language. A paradoxical situation obtained: Nineteenth century Orthodox missionary and scholar Nikolay Ilminsky wrote that if an alien accepted Orthodoxy, he already had been Russified in his heart.” But the Muslims turned this observation upside down. “Russian Muslims were Russified in their hearts without the acceptance of Orthodoxy.” That happened, Alekseyev continues, because for the generation that came of age at the end of Soviet times, “national languages in fact were foreign tongues.” They might be spoken at home but “the younger generation thinks and writes in Russian.” “They have no problems with translating very familiar Arab terms into Russian. Rather, they have an opposite problem, Alekseyev says.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Dangerous Developments in Putin’s Russia This Week
Paul Goble Staunton, December 7 – Each day seems to bring news of developments in the Russia of Vladimir Putin that are either dangerous in and of themselves or presage an ever worse future for Russians and Russia’s neighbors. Five of the most obvious of these to have emerged in the last few days are the following: · United Russia has adopted a code of ethics for its members which includes among other things the notion that the party should follow the principles of democratic centralism that Lenin introduced into the Bolshevik Party and that critics noted ultimately meant a dictatorship (sobkorr.org/news/5C0A6B9361731.html). · The authorities in St. Petersburg have declared that the signs activists have been putting up on the former residences of those who were victims of Stalin’s crimes are in and of themselves illegal, yet another step toward whitewashing the past (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C0A506906916). · In yet another sign that those who do not vote for Putin’s chosen candidates will suffer, observers are noting that Putin is ignoring those governors Russians voted for but that he did not favor, a sure sign that their regions and republics will be ignored or face cutbacks in aid from the center as well (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C0A573A47AD4). · Now, those who laugh at Putin can be brought up on charges, the latest step away from a time when puppeteers could make fun of him and a move that will likely lead to more Putin jokes rather than fewer although those that do emerge will have to be told only to those people can trust (meduza.io/feature/2018/12/07/smeyatsya-nad-putinym-eto-uzhe-ekstremizm). · And in perhaps the best indication of how bad things are in Russia and how Putin hopes to use some move against Ukraine to distract the attention of Russians from that reality, Ukrainian news, which had receded in importance in recent months on Moscow television, is now dominating broadcasts once again (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C0944C5DBE55).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Wants Residents of Russian Federation to Identify as Members of Single Civic Nation But Only 84 Percent Now Do
Paul Goble Staunton, December 7 – Today, the Kremlin Internet portal published the Strategy of State Nationality Policy for the Period to 2025. Signed by Vladimir Putin, it calls for all residents of the Russian Federation to have a civic national identity but acknowledges that at the present time only 84 percent of them do. The 24-page document (/publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001201812070007) is a revision of the 2012 one. The most important changes involve requirements that the goals outlined in it be achieved, the most important of which is the creation of a unified non-ethnic Russian national identity. But the document itself insists that there is much work to be done in the coming years because one in six residents of the Russian Federation do not share that identity, preferring instead to identify as members of ethnic nations, both Russian and non-Russian or of other communities as well. Whether getting all residents to identify in this way is possible, however, is very much in doubt: the Russian government has not even been able to come up with legislation defining the nature of non-ethnic Russian civic identity despite Putin having set several deadlines for this to happen. In a related move, Putin also confirmed the assignments for various officials outlined at the October 26 meeting of the Presidential Council on Inter-Ethnic Relations. Again, his order laid stress on fulfilling specific goals, including the preparation of a textbook on nationality policy by the end of August 2019 (nazaccent.ru/content/28819-putin-utverdil-porucheniya-po-itogam-zasedaniya.html).
Breaking Badski: Former Russian Science Teachers Caught Making, Selling Drugs
Russian prosecutors in St. Petersburg have indicted two former high-school science teachers who are accused of making drugs in an example of life imitating art.
Moscow Court Cuts Human Rights Lawyer Ponomaryov’s Sentence To 16 Days
A Russian court has reduced the sentence of Lev Ponomaryov, a prominent human rights defender and critic of President Vladimir Putin, from 25 days to 16 days in jail for organizing a protest agains…
Ice Harvest Still A Lifeline In Siberia
In Siberia’s northeastern region of Yakutia, villagers are harvesting ice. Water from the ice is their only source of drinking water through the long winter when the tap water freezes
Buses Shelter Homeless Ahead Of Russian Winter
Ivan Mankovsky runs a homeless charity in the southeastern Russian town of Khabarovsk. He’s converted old buses into shelters to help people get through the winter after their old shelter burned down.
Russian Opposition Activist Gets Three Years In Prison On Weapons-Smuggling Charge
Aleksandr Averin, co-chairman of the unregistered opposition Other Russia coalition, has been sentenced to three years in prison on charges of attempted weapons smuggling.

 

 


 

Belarus Reports

 


 

Lukashenko complains about hints coming from Moscow: “Take oil and join Russia” | UNIAN
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has suggested that under the pretext of “deeper integration,” Moscow seeks to incorporate Belarus into Russia. According to the Belarusian leader, the idea of ​​incorporation is being voiced under the guise of “deeper integration”.
Lukashenko suspects Moscow in attempts to incorporate Belarus into Russia – 112.international
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko expressed the opinion that Moscow wants to incorporate Belarus into the composition of Russia on the pretext of “deep integration” as Interfax-Ukraine reported. “I understand these hints: take the petroleum but come on, destroy the state and enter Russia. I always ask the question: in the name of what such things are done? Did you think about the consequences? How our and your countries will consider this, and how the international society will? They will incorporate the state into the composition of another country by hook or by crook,” Lukashenko claimed.
Ukrainians called me pro-Russian – Poroshenko rejected my proposal – President of Belarus – 112.international
The President of Belarus Oleksandr Lukashenko stated that his offer concerning control on the Russian-Ukrainian border and “elections” in Donbas was not supported by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, as the Head of Belarus said at the press conference in Minsk, Interfax-Ukraine reported. “I was ready to stand on that border as a border guard considering that Russians and Ukrainians treat me well, and hold elections under Minsk Agreements there… And what? Those who need the war to end, primarily Poroshenko and Ukrainians, started refusing it. They found a reason: Lukashenko is pro-Russian,” the Head of Belarus said.
UAWire – Belarus and NATO discuss prospects of cooperation
On December 10, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Andrei Dapkiunas met with the Head of NATO’s Arms Control and Coordination Section, William Alberque before the third round of the experts’ consultations between Belarus and NATO on Confidence and Security Building Measures, the press-service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reports. The parties exchanged their views on the current state and prospects for further Belarus-NATO cooperation and indicated increased efforts by Belarusian and NATO experts to elaborate and fulfill confidence and security building measures. The Deputy Minister also explained the nature of Belarusian concerns for the growth of regional and global tensions, as well as the spread of apprehension and hostilities in the world. “A. Dapkiunas pointed out that the responsible permanent interaction of experts on international security issues lays an irreplaceable foundation for the better understanding and gradual renewal of the former level of trust and cooperation in international security,” the Belarussian Foreign Ministry reported.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

Moldovan Constitutional Court Suspends President For Fifth Time
The ruling came after a request from the Western-leaning ruling Democratic Party lawmakers, who argued that Dodon failed to fulfill his constitutional obligations by repeatedly refusing to sign int…

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

US accuses Russia, Syria of lying about Aleppo ‘chemical attack’ | News | Al Jazeera
Syrian opposition denied launching a poison gas attack in November, saying the government was trying to frame them.
Aleppo attack: US and UK point to Russia, Assad forces – CNNPolitics
The US and UK dismissed Russian and Syrian claims that opposition forces launched a gas attack on Aleppo in late November, saying that pro-Assad forces were responsible.
Syria war: US and UK say alleged rebel chemical attack ‘fabricated’ – BBC News
The US and UK say Syria and Russia made up a story of a chlorine gas attack in Aleppo in November.


Iran: US sanctions will open doors to ‘drugs, refugees and bombs and assassination’ in west | TheHill
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that U.S. sanctions against Iran will result in an influx of “drugs, refugees and bombs and assassination” in the west.
Iran’s Rouhani says sanctions may lead to drugs, refugee, bomb ‘deluge’ | Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predicted a “deluge” of drugs, refugees and attacks on the West if U.S. sanctions weaken Iran’s ability to contain them.
Iran’s President warns US sanctions could increase flow of illegal drugs – CNN
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saturday that the United States’ re-imposed sanctions on Iran will not help his country in fighting drug trafficking and will open doors for illegal drugs into western countries, including the United States.
Iran hackers Charming Kitten targeting US nuclear experts and officials cybersecurity group Certfa says today – CBS News
A cybersecurity group tied the hackers to the Iranian government
AP Exclusive: Iran hackers hunt nuclear workers, US targets – ABC News
Cyberespionage is deeply embedded into the fabric of US-Iranian relations.
Alone at UN, Pompeo blasts Iran nuclear deal, but searches for common ground on missile threat – ABC News
Pompeo urged the U.N. Security Council to “get serious” about Iran.
Iran confirms missile test in defiance of U.S. | Reuters
A senior Iranian military commander has confirmed that Tehran recently carried out a ballistic missile test, to the anger of the United States, the Fars news agency said on Tuesday.
Khomeini’s Great-Grandson Fends Off Firestorm Over ‘Luxurious’ Lifestyle
Revolutionary cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini cut a famously austere public figure on his way to reshaping Iranian life and politics. So what do you expect to happen when conservatives think his great-grandson is living the good life?
Special Envoy Hints U.S. Could Revoke Visas Of Iranian Officials’ Kin
Washington’s special envoy for Iran says the U.S. administration is looking into the visas of relatives of Iranian officials who are residing in the United States with an eye to possible action to …


Israel’s blitz of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels will help win the PR war
Israel prizes stealth and surprise in battle. Yet it’s now conducting a highly publicized military operation, destroying Hezbollah attack tunnels snaking…
Israel Faces a More Formidable Hezbollah Digging In From Lebanon – Bloomberg
The bulldozers growling as soldiers sealed a tunnel that crossed beneath Lebanon’s border into Israel provided the kind of prop Benjamin Netanyahu loves. The Israeli prime minister told diplomats who’d braved fierce rains that Lebanon’s Hezbollah group was waiting for just such a foggy day to send attack squads burrowing into his country.
Exclusive: U.S.-backed SDF vows to fight any Turkish attack in north Syria | Reuters
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces will respond strongly to any Turkish attack but is pressing diplomatic efforts to deter an assault, its commander-in-chief said on Thursday.
Turkey’s Erdogan promises to clear U.S.-backed Kurds from eastern Syria, prompting warning from Pentagon – Los Angeles Times
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to upend an uneasy detente in northern Syria, announcing the launch of a new military operation east of the Euphrates to clear the area of U.S.-backed Kurdish militias.
Syria war: Turkey warns of fresh anti-Kurd offensive in north – BBC News
The move could strain Turkey’s ties to the US, who back the Kurdish militias likely to be targeted.
World War 3: Military action in northeast Syria ‘unacceptable’ – US warns Turkey | World | News | Express.co.uk
THE PENTAGON said yesterday that any unilateral action in northeast Syria would be “unacceptable”, after Turkey announced it would launch a new military operation in the area.
On Iraq’s border with Syria, Iran-backed militia warily eye U.S. forces | Reuters
From a desert hillside guarded by Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitaries, commander Qasim Muslih can spot Islamic State hideouts across the frontier in Syria. But he also keeps a wary eye on U.S. warplanes soaring overhead.


Aide to Mohammed bin Salman ‘supervised torture of female prisoner’
A top aide to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, fired for his role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, personally oversaw the torture of at least one detained female activist earlier this year, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Yemen’s Warring Sides Shake Hands On Deal To Swap Thousands Of Prisoners : NPR
Both sides in Yemen’s conflict are meeting in Sweden for their first face-to-face talks since war broke out in 2015. Yemenis face the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” according to the U.N.
Security chiefs believe Jihadis are plotting a devastating chemical weapons attack in Britain | Daily Mail Online
A chemical weapons attack in Britain is now ‘more likely than not’, according to terror chiefs. Islamic State has been inspired by the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
Cherif Chekatt, France gunman who opened fire at Christmas market, is dead, prosecutor says | Fox News
Cherif Chekatt, the gunman who killed multiple people Tuesday at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, is dead, a Paris prosecutor said Thursday.
Strasbourg shooting suspect, ID’d as extremist, still at large; 5 others arrested | Fox News
Five people have been detained in connection with a manhunt for a suspected extremist who fatally shot three and wounded 11 near a Christmas market in Strasbourg Tuesday evening before fleeing the scene.
Mueller to outline Middle Eastern countries’ efforts to influence US politics: report | TheHill
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly planning to begin releasing information concerning foreign countries’ efforts to interfere in U.S. politics and the 2016 presidential election.
Get Ready for Mueller’s Phase Two: The Middle East Connection
The ‘Russia investigation’ is set to go global. In court filings due to drop in 2019, prosecutors will unveil Middle Eastern countries’ attempts to influence U.S. politics.
NY Times’ Paul Krugman says US part of ‘new axis of evil’ with Russia, Saudi Arabia | Fox News
Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times opinion contributor Paul Krugman tweeted Monday that the United States had joined Russia and Saudi Arabia in a “new axis of evil,” after those three countries and Kuwait objected to the United Nations’ endorsement of a landmark study on global warming. 
Green Beret charged with murdering Afghan man
Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn was charged with premeditated murder for allegedly killing an Afghan man in 2010.
Acceptance Is First Challenge For Afghanistan’s First Female In A Senior Security Post
Hosna Jalil, 26, has made history as the first Afghan woman to be appointed as a deputy minister in the Interior Ministry. But her critics say she is too young and inexperienced to be a leader in t…

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

North Korea and South Korea troops cross Demilitarized Zone border in peace for first time in 70 years to inspect guard posts – CBS News
U.S. efforts to denuclearize North Korea are on hold, but diplomacy between the rival neighbors is continuing apace


US to condemn China over alleged economic espionage: report | TheHill
The Trump administration is reportedly set to condemn China this week over economic espionage and hacking campaigns, a move that would likely increase tensions between the two countries amid a trade war truce.
U.S., China Kick Off a New Round of Trade Talks – WSJ
The U.S. and China started the latest round of trade talks with a phone call involving Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
Trade War Update: China Subverts Tariffs, Trade Gap Gets Wider
China ships goods to the U.S. via Vietnam to avoid tariffs. Meanwhile, global trade growth gets weaker in 2019.
Huawei Arrest Looks Like the Opening Salvo in a New Cold War – Bloomberg
It’s going to get harder to be friends with both global economic giants.
US has a ‘concerted strategy’ to push allies to reject Huawei: Eurasia
The United States is pushing its allies to shut out Chinese tech giant Huawei for 5G networks on national security worries, a Eurasia Group expert says.
China warns of “grave consequences” if Huawei executive isn’t released – CBS News
China called Meng Wanzhou’s detention &quot;unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature&quot;
China urges Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences | Reuters
China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] chief financial officer, calling the case “extremely nasty”.
Huawei Arrest Is a Sign of West’s Exploitation of Legal System – Bloomberg
The West is abusing its legal power to punish people or institutions that do things it doesn’t like.
Free Huawei executive or face consequences, China warns Canada | Canada News | Al Jazeera
Meng Wanzhou faces extradition to the US where she has been charged with fraud and could be jailed for 30 years.
Huawei Arrest Tests China’s Leaders as Fear and Anger Grip Elite – The New York Times
The detention of a Chinese tech executive poses a challenge for President Xi Jinping, who faces pressure to both retaliate and resolve the trade war with America.
Huawei CFO: US case against Meng Wanzhou revealed – CNN
The United States is claiming that the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei covered up violations of sanctions on Iran, according to Canadian prosecutors.
Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers fight for her freedom at bail hearing | Fox News
Attorneys for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, told a Canadian court Monday that their client was willing to wear an ankle monitor and pay a surveillance company to keep tabs on her.
Huawei CFO freed on bail – POLITICO
Meng Wanzhou has been at the center of an international firestorm.
Huawei arrest stokes fears of China reprisals among America Inc executives – Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE: At a closed-door security meeting of US companies in Singapore on Thursday (Dec 6), one topic was high on the agenda: the arrest of a …
China Says Detained Canadian Worked for Group That Was Not Legally Registered – The New York Times
The assertion was China’s first official comment on the detention of Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat now working for a nongovernmental organization.
What to Do About Huawei? – WSJ
China’s turn toward totalitarianism should not shake Western confidence in freedom.
Prosecuting the Chinese Huawei executive is an idiotic way to hold China in check – The Washington Post
Even if the telecom company poses a national security threat, this is not the way to fight it.


Senior Chinese military official urges PLAN to attack US naval vessels in S. China Sea | Taiwan News
The Chinese tabloid Global Times hosted a conference in Beijing, Saturday, Dec. 8 which featured bellicose statements concerning Taiwan and the US.Chinese media reports that the situation in the South China Sea is expected grow more intense over the coming year, with one senior military official also declaring that China should be prepared to attack United States naval vessels, should the U.S. violate Chinese “territorial waters.” TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – At a conference held in Beijing on Saturday, Chinese government and military officials discussed issues in the South China Sea and the current state of relations between the U.S. and China. Chinese media reports that the situation in the South China Sea is expected grow more intense over the coming year, with one senior military official also declaring that China should be prepared to attack United States naval vessels, should the U.S. violate Chinese “territorial waters.” Dai Xu (戴旭), who is President of the Institute of Marine Safety and Cooperation, as well as a PLA Air Force Colonel Commandant, was quoted by the tabloid Global Times saying the following. “If the U.S. warships break into Chinese waters again, I suggest that two warships should be sent: one to stop it, and another one to ram it… In our territorial waters, we won’t allow US warships to create disturbance.”
FBI: China threatens ‘the future of the world’
Chinese spying threatens “not just the future of the United States, but the future of the world,” a senior FBI official told lawmakers Wednesday.
A Weakened China Tries a Different Approach With the U.S.: Treading Lightly – The New York Times
Hobbled by a slowing economy, the Chinese government has opted for a measured response to the arrest of a Huawei executive.
China’s Incapabilities | The Wentworth Report
China’s Incapabilities by David Archibald 10 December 2018  In running a country you can have either productivity or control — one or the other, but not both at once. The Chicoms under Dictator Xi have reverted to type and have opted for control. They are favouring state-owned enterprises at the expense of privately-owned companies. Productivity in the former is one third that of the latter. China’s standard of living will fall as a consequence. Capitalism is a far more efficient allocator of capital than any other system. As long as there is a shortage of labor, people in capitalist countries will have the highest standard of living possible for human societies. A story told by Dr. Cheng Xiaonong about China’s misadventures in trying to be a competitive chip maker bear this out. China began researching chip technology in the 1960s, and starting importing U.S. and European technology in the 1970s. Nevertheless Chinese microchips were about 15 years behind standards in the West and 20 years behind in terms of production efficiency. China’s first attempt at catching up with the West in microchips was the ‘Microchip Project 908’. It took too long to start up, so that its product was already several generations behind when it entered the market. That failure was followed by ‘Microchip Project 909’, which also failed, for the same reasons.
Dozens of Chinese Christians detained in raid on underground church, group says | Fox News
Chinese authorities detained at least 80 Christians in a raid on a prominent church that operates outside the umbrella of the Beijing government’s official Protestant organization, a U.S.-based advocacy group said Monday.
U.S. silent as China arrests Protestant pastor and members of congregation – ThinkProgress
Google’s ‘internal effort’ for a Chinese search engine
Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the House of Representatives that he “will be transparent” if the search giant moves forward on plans that have garnered mounting criticism.


Chinese state hackers reportedly responsible for data breach affecting 500 million customers at Marriott, the US government’s biggest hotel provider | Business Insider
US investigators have reportedly traced the massive data breach on Marriott customer data to Chinese hackers, a move that will likely exacerbate ongoing US-China economic tensions.
Marriott hack led by Chinese, report says – CNN
A massive data breach at a hotel group owned by Marriott has been traced to Chinese hackers working for the Ministry of State Security, the country’s civilian spy agency, according to The New York Times.
Marriott hack may give Trump bargaining chip in China trade talks
The Obama administration struck a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015, agreeing that neither country would steal personal information of the other’s citizens. 
Hackers are making their attacks look like they came from the Chinese government
Because Chinese hackers often use publicly available tools for their operations, it is easy to mimic their signature viruses.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kyrgyz Angry at China’s Detention of Their Co-Ethnics in Xinjiang, Fearful Beijing Plans to Absorb Their Country
Paul Goble Staunton, December 7 – Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan are increasingly agitated by reports that China has incarcerated some 50,000 of their co-ethnics in Xinjiang in political re-education camps on trumped up charges that the Kyrgyz there, one of the most un-Islamic of Turkic peoples, are Islamic radicals. And other Kyrgyz are upset about the influx of ethnic Chinese into Kyrgyzstan, their intermarriage with Kyrgyz women, and their increasing prominence in the economy and public life. Some even fear that if this trend continues, Kyrgyzstan will be absorbed by China within two decades. Marat Tagayev, a member of the Committee for the Support of Chinese Kyrgyz, says that only three to five percent of the Kyrgyz in Xinjiang are religious Muslims; but despite that, Beijing is oppressing them as if they are (ritmeurasia.org/news–2018-12-07–desjatki-tysjach-kirgizov-opredeleny-kitajskimi-vlastjami-v-trudovye-lagerja-39983). Other members of the committee say the same thing and note that anti-Chinese attitudes are intensifying in Kyrgyzstan as a result. Those attitudes had been growing because of the increasing number of Chinese who now live and work permanently in the republic. There are an estimated 100,000 ethnic Chinese out of the country’s six million people. They occupy prominent places in trade and business, something Kyrgyz don’t like. But Bishkek can do little: at present, Kyrgyzstan owes 40 percent of its foreign debt to China and depends on China for trade and the development of the Silk Road. That has already led some in the population to protest. According to Bishkek political analyst Igor Shestakov, there have been pickets at the UN office about the Chinese. But because the government hasn’t taken a strong position on the re-education camps, ever more Kyrgyz media figures and politicians are speaking out, often in extremely radical ways. One Kyrgyz parliamentary deputy, Tazabek Ikramov, has even suggested that if things continue as they are now, Kyrgyzstan’s national security will be at risk and even that “20 years from now, we could become a province of China” (kyrtag.kg/ru/news/cherez-20-let-kyrgyzstan-riskuet-stat-kitayskoy-provintsiey-deputat-ikramov).
UAWire – China wants to buy Siberian river water from Russia
China is hoping to solve its water deficit in a number of regions with Russia’s help. The Chinese Association for Exchanges and Collaboration between Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and China has already sent the corresponding letter to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. One of the options proposed by China is an intergovernmental project to divert water from Russia’s Altai Krai to western China through Kazakhstan. The construction of the water pipeline would cost an estimated $80 billion, according to RBC news agency. The proposed construction project will include two stages. Firstly, by 2026 they plan to build the first of the Russia – Kazakhstan – Western China water pipelines, with a capacity of 600-700 million cubic meters, as well as a network of distribution pipelines. Secondly, by 2040 they may implement “modern farming” and other projects intended to “improve water use efficiency in the border territories of China, Kazakhstan and Russia”. The pipeline from Russia to China will have an estimated length between 1,200 and 1,500 km. Based on this, the budget for the project’s first stage could be $10.3-13.4 billion, and the second (between 2027 and 2040) as much as $70-75 billion. Of this, $30-40 billion will be the budget of the infrastructural part, and the remainder will be for the investment program. China has put its interest in Russian water on the agenda of the joint Russia-China summits and commissions. In particular, the topic was discussed on the sidelines of the SCO summit in June, and “received political support”, according to the letter’s authors. In their opinion, the project could be part of the Chinese initiative to create a global transport and investment infrastructure, the “One Belt One Road” initiative, which combines the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.


Japan Triples Its F-35 Order | War Is Boring
Japan is planning to launch fighters from aircraft carriers for the first time since World War II | Business Insider
Japan unveiled plans to develop the country’s first aircraft carrier in over seven decades on Tuesday.
Canada is caught between China and U.S., and feeling alone
In years past the U.S. might have defended Canada when came it under attack and other countries would know the U.S. had Canada’s back. Not now.
Australia’s planned defence inventory already looks obsolete
Our military is changing as fast as it can and as speedily as the taxpayer dollars can be spent.
Parliamentary defence committee needs the power to pursue a national security strategy | The Strategist

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

The Divided Kingdom – Quillette
A Review of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin, Pelican (October 25, 2018), 336 pages. While reading National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, I got the impression authors Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin were betting men. They point out—in the first few pages—had you bet £100 on Leave winning the 2016 Referendum on the day of the vote, June 23, you’d have won £300 in the morning and £900 in the evening. That betting markets tacked against Leave during the course of polling gives one a sense of the groupthink among much of the UK’s commentariat—something Goodwin, in particular, doesn’t share, even though he voted Remain.
U.S. Diplomat To Press European, Balkan Allies On ‘Russia’s Aggression’
A senior U.S. diplomat is traveling to Central Europe and the Western Balkans to shore up support against what the State Department calls “Russia’s aggression on the region.
Germany CDU election: The ‘mini’ Merkel win
On Friday, delegates from the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Hamburg elected Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, known as ‘AKK’, as the new leader of the party.
Putin’s East German identity card found in Stasi archives – report | World news | The Guardian
Russian president’s photo and card discovered among Soviet-era personnel files in Dresden
Stasi ID card belonging to Putin found in East German secret police archives 
Researchers in Germany have chanced upon a Stasi ID card that was issued to Vladimir Putin during his time as a KGB officer in East Germany at the end of the Cold War.
Putin’s East German Secret-Police ID Found In Archive, German Media Reports
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s old East German secret police identity card has been found in the archives in Dresden where he served as a KGB officer in the 1980s, German media reported.


UAWire – Frenchman brandishing DPR flag in Paris has Russian citizenship
Xavier Moro, the man who waved a DPR flag during Yellow Jacket protests in Paris, has double citizenship – French and Russian. He admitted to this in a broadcast of the propaganda program 60 Minutes on the TV channel Russia 1. In saying so, he was trying to refute the claims that the riots in France had been supposedly organized by Russia. “The Yellow Jackets movement in France is anti-maidan, it is completely spontaneous, autonomous. Neither Trump, nor the State Department, nor Lavrov came with cakes… I have been in the Yellow Jackets movement, and will continue to be, as long as Macron remains president,” Moro said, adding that he does not deny having Russian citizenship.
Macron’s concessions set to blow out French deficit | Reuters
France is on course to overshoot the European Union’s budget deficit ceiling next year without new spending cuts after President Emmanuel Macron caved in to anti-government street protests.
France yellow vest protests: Macron promises wage rise – BBC News
The French president says the anger of “yellow vest” protesters is “deep and in many ways legitimate”.
Macron’s Proposal to Mollify Yellow Vest Protesters Fails to Impress – The New York Times
The economic problems of the working poor and middle classes will be largely unaffected by the plan of President Emmanuel Macron to raise the minimum wage and exempt some income from taxes.
MACRON RIOTS: France in flames as Yellow Vests launch BLACK TUESDAY protest | World | News | Express.co.uk
VIOLENT protests have erupted once again in France with the ‘yellow vest’ movement demanding even more concessions from Emmanuel Macron. The demonstrations has seen further clashes with riot police and fires set off across the country as the French President battles to stay in office.
France ‘yellow vest’ protests should be a lesson for green activists in the US | Fox News
The protests in France should be a lesson for green activists here in America – people simply do not want these radical taxes forced on them.


What the ECJ ruling means for Brexit | News | The Times
The court has decided that, in legal terms, the UK has the sovereign power to unilaterally revoke Article 50, and thereby remain in the EU, without the permission of other member states. The court rejected arguments from the government that it could not rule on a hypothetical issue and from the
Britain free to cancel Article 50, rules ECJ | News | The Times
Brexit can be cancelled after a second referendum against leaving the European Union or a vote in the House of Commons, Europe’s highest court in Luxembourg ruled today.In a victory for Remain campaigners seeking to reverse Brexit, judges at the European Court of Justice have given MPs a new option
Britain Can Decide On Its Own To Stop Brexit, European Court Rules | HuffPost
The ruling comes the day before an important vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Brexit: Amber Rudd says Plan B options plausible – BBC News
Amber Rudd is the first cabinet minister to raise alternative options if MPs reject the PM’s plan.
Minister: UK could try Norway model if Brexit deal rejected | Fox News
Britain could consider a so-called “Norway-plus” deal with the European Union if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to win lawmakers’ approval for her Brexit deal, a senior British Cabinet minister said Saturday.
EU refuses to help British PM over Brexit, says ‘it is not open for renegotiation’  
Britain’s embattled Prime Minister Theresa May will go back to London empty-handed on Friday, after racing to Brussels to try to get a few more concessions from the EU. 
May’s plea for EU help on Brexit cast as failure at home | Reuters
Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempt to win assurances from the European Union on her Brexit deal was cast at home as a humiliating failure that did nothing to ease the parliamentary deadlock over Britain’s departure from the bloc.
Why Theresa May delayed Parliament’s Brexit vote
Addressing the House of Commons on Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a vote on her Brexit withdrawal or transition agreement with the European Union. May’s delay of this vote is a big deal. It proves that her plan lacks the support of the House of Commons. Still, it was necessary for a simple reason.
No-confidence vote live: Theresa May facing leadership challenge – CNN
View the latest news and breaking news today for U.S., world, weather, entertainment, politics and health at CNN.com.
The Road to a Bad Brexit – WSJ
The politicians failed to seize the opportunity the voters offered.


Czech Republic exposes network of Russian intelligence agents – 112.international
Czech Republic Security Information Service (BIS) reported on prevention of the activity of dozens of Russian and Chinese intelligence officers and exposed the network of one of the Russian special services, Head of BIS Michal Koudelka claimed this, reports the press office of the service. According to the head of the Czech intelligence, over the past five years, his department has prevented and stopped the activities of dozens of Russian and Chinese intelligence officers, either recommending not to give them accreditation or sending them out using the so-called “silent method”. Related: Russian intelligence attempts to recruit Ukrainian citizens ‘We had an exceptionally successful period of cooperation with the Czech security forces and foreign partners,’ he added. It should be noted that on October, the National Security and Defense Council commissioned law enforcement authorities to increase the protection of the information resources of the Central Election Commission and the voter register in connection with the possible intervention of Russia.
Czech Intelligence Rejects President’s Criticism On Reports Of Russian, Chinese Spies
The Czech Security Intelligence Service (BIS) has rejected President Milos Zeman’s accusations that it is giving him “wrong” data about intensification of spying activities in the country by Russia…
UAWire – Czech Republic uncovers a network of Russian Special Service agents
The Security Information Service of the Czech Republic, also called Bezpečnostní Informační Služba or BIS, announced that in the last five years …
BIS: Russia Buying Businesses In Czech Republic For Influence – To Inform is to Influence
The Czech Intelligence Service (BIS) notes Russian acquisitions of Czech companies are a part of Russia’s larger influence operations against the Czech Republic. Annual Report on Security Information Services for 2017 # Annual Report 2017#BIS Published: 3.12.2018 Annual Report on Security Information Services for 2017 Source: https://www.bis.cz/vyrocni-zpravy/vyrocni-zprava-bezpecnostni-informacni-sluzby-za-rok-2017-d85907e6.html


Hungary Creates New Court System, Cementing Leader’s Control of Judiciary – The New York Times
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government will control hiring and promotion of judges in the new courts, which will rule on politically crucial matters like electoral law.
Protests as Hungarian parliament passes ‘slave law’ on overtime | News | Al Jazeera
Controversial amendment to labour laws approved, trade unions and opponents call it a ‘slave law’.
Hungarians protest against ‘slave law’ overtime rules | Reuters
Thousands of Hungarians protested in Budapest on Saturday against a proposed new labor law that allows employers to ask for up to 400 hours of overtime work per year, a move its critics have billed as the “slave law”.
Hungary protests: Thousands rally against ‘SLAVE LAW’ overtime rules | World | News | Express.co.uk
THOUSANDS of Hungarians took to the streets in Budapest to protest new labour rules proposed by Viktor Orban’s ruling party which opponents have dubbed the “slave law”.
Hungary’s controversial ‘slave law’ passes, sparking protests in parliament – CNN
Hungary’s parliament was thrown into scenes of turmoil following the vote on the new legislation, with opposition lawmakers sounding air horns and angrily confronting Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Hungary: Anti-govt protesters confront police at Parliament | Fox News
A few thousand anti-government protesters confronted police Thursday night outside Hungary’s Parliament, temporarily retreating when officers used pepper spray and tear gas to drive them back.
Netanyahu’s Negotiating With Neo-Fascists for a ‘Consensus View’ of the Holocaust
To the consternation of Diaspora Jews who feel increasingly threatened, Israel’s prime minister is making nice with Europe’s far-right leaders and compromising history.


Opposition Politician In Siberia Granted Asylum In Lithuania
A Russian opposition politician from Siberia says he has fled to Lithuania, where he obtained political asylum.
UAWire – Poland negotiates purchase of additional missile systems from USA
The Polish Defense Ministry is in talks with the United States on the acquisition of Patriot missile systems and HIMARS artillery rockets systems, stated Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. “In March 2018, I signed an agreement with the American side on the purchase of a Patriot missile system. We are currently negotiating on further contracts, for example, the purchase of HIMARS systems. We are waiting for the consent of the US Congress. The State Department has already given consent. I think we are on the right path to equip the Polish army with modern equipment that will hold back a potential aggressor,” the Polish Radio quotes the Minister as saying. Błaszczak said that he plans to increase the strength of the Polish Army, provide the army with the best military equipment, and strengthen the presence of the Polish Army in NATO structures to better maintain the military cooperation between Poland and the United States. It was reported that the first Patriot missile systems will arrive in Poland in 2022. The contract value is 4 billion 750 million dollars.
U.S. Backs Kosovo’s Plan To Create Army, Says Process Will Take ‘Many Years’
The United States has backed Kosovo’s moves to establishing a regular army, but it tried to reassure those opposed to the move by insisting the process will take “many years.”
Thousands protest in Serbia over attack on opposition politician | Reuters
Thousands of people rallied peacefully in downtown Belgrade on Saturday to protest over an attack on an opposition politician and demand policy changes by President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive party.


Gunman Opens Fire in Brazilian Cathedral, Killing at Least 4 – The New York Times
The shooting took place at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Campinas, Brazil, killing four people and injuring four others, the authorities said.
Maduro accuses U.S. official of plotting Venezuela invasion, gives no evidence | Reuters
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday, without providing evidence, that U.S. national security adviser John Bolton was leading a plan to invade the South American country, which is increasingly at odds with Washington as its socialist economy collapses.

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

Peter Pry | EMP Attack May Be Undeterrable, US Air Force Suggests | Newsmax.com
One of the most important conclusions in a new report by the U.S. Air Force’s recently established Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (EDTF) is traditional deterrence, based on threat of retaliation, may not work against nuclear EMP attack. One of the most important conclusions in a new report by the U.S. Air Force’s recently established Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (EDTF) is traditional deterrence, based on threat of retaliation, may not work against nuclear EMP attack. EDTF’s independent analysis concurs with warnings made by the Congressional EMP Commission for 17 years. A single nuclear weapon detonated over the United States at high-altitude (30 kilometers or higher) would produce no blast or radioactive fallout or other effects injurious to people, usually associated with nuclear blasting a city, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Instead, a high-altitude nuclear burst would generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), like a super-powerful radio wave that would cause protracted blackout of electric grids and destroy all kinds of electronics across a vast region. Communications, cars, airplanes, computers, electronics that support business and finance, industrial production and the supply of food and water, would suddenly be destroyed, literally at the speed of light. A nuclear weapon burst 30 kilometers above the United States would generate an EMP field on the ground about 600 kilometers in radius. Catastrophic consequences would cascade far beyond the EMP field, causing the electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures to collapse over a much larger region. Such an EMP attack could be delivered by a balloon, an aircraft doing a zoom climb, or a short-range missile launched off a freighter. Any of these attack modes could be executed anonymously, thwarting deterrence. A nuclear weapon burst 400 kilometers over the U.S. would generate an EMP field on the ground 2,200 kilometers in radius, covering most of North America, including all 48 contiguous United States, most of Canada and much of Mexico. A satellite or medium-range missile launched off a freighter could execute such an EMP attack anonymously, thwarting deterrence.
Military warns EMP attack could wipe out America, ‘democracy, world order’ – To Inform is to Influence
The report is available here.   </end editorial> In an extraordinary and sobering report meant to educate the nation on a growing threat, a new military study warns that an electromagnetic pulse weapon attack such as those developed by North Korea, Russia, and Iran could essentially challenge the United States and displace millions. “Based on the totality of…
Military warns EMP attack could wipe out America, ‘democracy, world order’
In an extraordinary and sobering report meant to educate the nation on a growing threat, a new military study warns that an electromagnetic pulse weapon attack such as those developed by North Korea, Russia, and Iran could essentially challenge the United States and displace millions.


The Pentagon wants to enlist AI to protect AI
In testimony before a House subcommittee, leaders from the Pentagon’s research wing discussed what it will take to maintain an edge in artificial intelligence.
Here’s the latest on Lockheed’s massive long-range anti-ballistic missile radar
Lockheed’s gigantic long-range discrimination radar is proceeding on track for a 2020 debut in Alaska.
Rafael envisions mothership for optionally manned vehicles
Israeli defense company Rafael is working to create a network of manned and unmanned armored vehicles, with one acting as a mothership to coordinate the use of their weapon systems against targets.
Russia’s 5th Generation Stealth Fighter Jet to Be Armed With Hypersonic Missiles | The Diplomat
Russia’s Su-57 is slated to be armed with a new hypersonic air-to-surface missile.
This Pictures Should Terrify Russia, North Korea and China Like Nothing Else | The National Interest
The B-21 is coming. 
F-35’s Hacking Vulnerability | Could the F-35 Be Hacked?
The high-tech fighter can hide from radar, but hackers are a different matter.
Navy Aircraft Carriers Are Getting a Big Firepower Boost (Thanks to the F-35) | The National Interest
The Navy’s first-of-its-kind carrier-launched F-35C has been conducting aerial maneuvers, weapons integration, “cyclical” flight take-off missions and other war operations from the flight deck of a Nimitz-Class carrier in recent weeks, marking the first operational tests of the stealth fighter slated to deploy in 2021.
China’s Naval Future: 6 Aircraft Carriers? | The National Interest
Could Beijing really pull it off? It would be expensive. 
The Navy Is Trying to Make the Littoral Combat Ship A Killer (Good Luck) | The National Interest
The LCS began development in the late 1990s, when the Chinese and Russian navies were weaker than they are today. Around 2014, U.S. Navy leaders realized the sailing branch had a problem.
Meet America’s Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier: The Reason Why the Navy Is Unstoppable | The National Interest
The ultimate weapon? 
New Research Might Locate Flight MH370—And Solve One of the Greatest Aviation Mysteries of All Time
Danish researcher Martin Kristensen’s mathematical model cites a slew of probable crashing locations for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
Data analysis could help locate the missing Malaysian MH370 plane – MIT Technology Review
Despite the most expensive search in history, Malaysian Airlines MH370 has never been found. A new mathematical model suggests searchers have been looking in the wrong location.
Meet America’s Skipjack-Class Submarine (And Russia’s Worst Nightmare) | The National Interest
We explain why. 
What Pearl Harbor Still Has to Teach Us | The National Interest
Once again we’re seeing some of the same drivers of the conflicts of the 1930s bubbling to the surface.
Why Japan Failed at Pearl Harbor | The National Interest
Tokyo knew it was awakening a “sleeping giant.” So why did it attack?

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

How the US lost the (dis)information war – To Inform is to Influence
One of the better overviews of the evolution of Russian Information Warfare in its current state.  Alisa Lockwood really names names and points fingers accurately.  Surkov is implied as the chief of Russian information warfare and I quite agree.  This work is fairly complete.  I disagree with only minor points, not worth mentioning,  </end editorial> How…
GEC Receives $40 Million – To Inform is to Influence
I have a call in to the GEC to confirm they received the money. </end editorial> Trump Admin. Declares War on Russian, Chinese, Iranian Propaganda Adam Kredo December 11, 2018 4:57 pm The State Department has launched a new effort to counter propaganda and disinformation campaigns launched across the globe by a host of rogue…
Global Engagement Center
Confession: Belarusian Played Angry Ukrainian In Russian TV Report Slamming Euromaidan
After a Russian blogger exposed a young Belarusian for playing a disgruntled Ukrainian in a Russian state TV report criticizing Euromaidan, the man came forward and confessed to a “monstrous mistake.”
Fake News, Soviet-Style: The Armenian Earthquake Rescue That Was Too Good To Be True
The astonishing story of six people rescued from the rubble 35 days after a devastating 1988 earthquake grabbed headlines around the world — before it was unmasked as “fake news.”
Probe of U.S.-funded news network that called George Soros a ‘Jew of flexible morals’ finds additional offensive content – The Washington Post
Investigation into broadcast targeting Democratic megadonor has led the U.S.-backed Radio and Television Martí to pull multiple articles from its website.
Are more offensive cyber operations actually a deterrent?
Experts say it is hard to judge if the Trump administration’s cyber strategy is protecting America.
Behind the White House’s plan to be more aggressive in cyberspace
How North Korean threats, disappearing Russians and massive Chinese hacks led the Trump administration to a new cybersecurity strategy.
How the Joint Staff’s cyber role has changed
The character of war is evolving, and so has the Joint Staff’s part in integration efforts.
Emerging technologies could tip the scales for cyber defense
One top Department of Defense leader has an optimistic outlook on the future of network defense.
How DHS Is Trying to Sort Good Cyber Tools from Snake Oil – Defense One
The department is investing in ways to do apples-to-apples comparisons of the many cyber products on the market.
5 assumptions that should change how we think about hackbacks
If private companies were able to obtain the right to hack back legally, the risks for blowback is likely more significant than the opportunity for potential gains.
Does IT compliance mean good cybersecurity? Experts disagree.
The NIST guidelines are at the center of a debate about how — and if — the United States government and American businesses can protect sensitive data
Here’s what the Army is saying about its new electronic warfare solution – To Inform is to Influence
By: Mark Pomerleau A U.S. Army official is describing results from the recent deployment of an urgent electronic warfare capability to Europe as mixed. In light of advanced Russian capabilities in theater, the U.S. Army decided it couldn’t wait for the current trajectory of the service’s official program schedule for the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management…

US Domestic Policy Reports


Bolton Outlines a Strategy for Africa That’s Really About Countering China – The New York Times

In Africa, the president’s national security adviser said, the greatest threat is not from poverty or Islamist extremism but from an expansionist China, as well as Russia.
U.S. Sets New Africa Strategy, Condemns ‘Predatory’ Practices Of Russia, China
The United States has denounced the “predatory” practices of Russia and China in Africa as it unveiled a refocus of its strategy that will include an end to “indiscriminate assistance across th…
Bolton threatens to pull aid for ‘unproductive’ UN missions in Africa, vows reform | Fox News
National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the administration’s strategy for Africa on Thursday, and warned that the U.S. would not longer support “unproductive” United Nations peacekeeping missions — and promising to advance U.S. interests on the continent.
From Small Wars to Great Power, Trump’s Africa Reset Could Change US Military’s Role – Defense One
The U.S. is cutting 10 percent of its counterterrorism troops in Africa. Will China and Russia fill the gap?
New Armed Services Chair Says He Will Fund Military, Not Drive Foreign Policy ‘Like McCain Did’ – Defense One
\’My job is to make sure we have the resources…I try not to get into debates,’ Inhofe says in an exclusive interview.
Trump’s New Vetting Center Just Opened. Will It Make Us Safer? – Defense One
Too little is known about the visa and immigration center, including the extent of its authority and whether adding a bureaucratic layer will cause …
Pentagon to Take Over All Security Clearances in Nine Months, Officials Say – Nextgov
The move will mean absorbing the National Background Investigations Bureau and its 2,000 employees.


Haley: Russia making it ‘impossible’ to have relationship with US | TheHill
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday ripped Russia over its aggressive actions beyond its borders, saying it makes having a relationship with the U.S. “impossible.”
Haley: I used Trump’s ‘unpredictable’ behavior to my advantage at UN | TheHill
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she would leverage President Trump’s “unpredictable” behavior to her advantage when dealing with foreign diplomats at the U.N.
Nikki Haley: Trump Would ‘Ratchet Up The Rhetoric,’ I’d Use It At UN | HuffPost Australia
The outgoing United Nations ambassador said she would tell other ambassadors that agreeing with her proposals could “keep him from going too far.”


Kyiv Court: Lawmaker’s Release Of Manafort Documents Interfered In U.S. Election
A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.
CIA reportedly went into ‘panic mode’ when Trump appeared to side with Putin over US intelligence community in Helsinki | Business Insider
The CIA reportedly went into “panic mode” in July when President Donald Trump, in a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, appeared to side with Putin about the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Former U.S. Ambassador To Russia: Putin Got Just What He Wanted With Trump ‘Chaos’ | HuffPost Australia
The withdrawal of the American leadership creates an “extraordinary” vacuum for Putin, says Michael McFaul.

 

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