Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (71)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Northern NATO very active preparing for the worst. Another Russian program crashes. Update on US hostages in Russia. An abundance of reports on Russia’s descent. Belarusian backflips, daily. Moldova update esp. elections.

More saber-rattling by Tehran. After blaming the US and Israel for Baluchi retribution, Tehran turns on Islamabad. More on Witt. The death of the Caliphate has produced a deluge of media traffic. Assad regime tries to capitalise on US withdrawal. Israeli election update. Kashmir update.

DPRK update – summit speculation, kidnapping in Italy and rations dominate. China trade negotiations, Huawei, and surveillance are dominant themes. Miscellaneous PacRim reports.

Meister’s analysis of Nordstream 2 hits the key point – the pipeline was never in Germany’s national interest. Much on France, UK political schisms, the spat between Poland and Israel and how Russia has been feeding it, Hungary increasingly the subject of ridicule, Balkans, Spain and other topics.

Capabilities – EPAWSS, F-21 redux, Falcon, M1A2C, and a couple of excellent historical items. Russian propaganda, Facebook and many interesting reports on cyber.

In the US, Space Force to be adjunct to AF, vale to the legendary and rightfully admired LtGen Muellner. Russia investigation and Manafort’s descent.



NATO / EU / Russia Reports

 


 

NATO forces prepares for War in extreme cold weather conditions – Defence Blog
A statement from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization claims that the Dutch and Czech forces from one of NATO’s battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance are taking part in cold weather training in Lithuania. According to a statement, this month, soldiers are learning how to survive in extreme weather conditions. Allied troops focused on building shelters to protect themselves from the elements. “It is important not to build your shelter too high. Hot air rises and cold air goes down. To keep warm with these temperatures you want to stay close to the heat,” said a Dutch private in the infantry company. The Dutch soldiers also practiced ice diving, being immersed in freezing water with their equipment. The Czech troops learned how to camouflage their positions. “We are training in this weather because we need to be prepared for all conditions,” said a Czech first lieutenant and deputy company commander. “The benefit is especially good for the younger soldiers. There is a 16 years age difference between the youngest and oldest soldiers. And that also goes for experience. In these trainings we are all getting to the same level,” added a Czech first lieutenant and platoon commander. NATO’s enhanced forward presence consists of four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. These battlegroups, led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States respectively, are multinational, and combat-ready, demonstrating the strength of the transatlantic bond. Their presence makes clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. Additionally, last month,the United Kingdom’s naval warfare force has announced that Royal Marines have arrived in the high north for their first test on the UK’s new mission to defend the Arctic. The elite commandos are training hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle, honing their survival and combat skills in temperatures as low as -30°C alongside NATO allies. Minister of Defence Gavin Williamson underlined the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Arctic in September, putting the area central to the security of the United Kingdom. “Obviously, the temperature is something you’re fighting against, but we have all the best kit, equipment and attitude to deal with it” said Lance Corporal Sean Johns “As the UK’s specialists in extreme cold weather warfare, Commando Forces, led by 40 Commando Royal Marines, are currently operating above the Arctic Circle to maintain and develop our warfighting skills in one of the world’s most extreme environments,” said Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard, Officer Commanding of 40 Commando.
Lithuania receives additional missiles for Javelin anti-tank weapon systems – Defence Blog
The Ministry of the National Defense Republic of Lithuania has announced that additional missiles for the Javelin anti-tank weapon systems procured by the Defence Materiel Agency have been delivered to Lithuania. According to a statement, the worth of the procurement is over $20 million, $5 million of which is financial support of the United States of America. The additional systems will be provided to units of the Lithuanian Land Force in order to strengthen defense capabilities of Lithuania. “The U.S. is Lithuania’s strategic partner and a key ally for security in the Baltic region. The Javelin anti-tank system procured from the U.S. is a particularly significant increase of long-term combat capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and enhancement of the effectiveness of deterrence,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. The Javelin medium-range anti-tank missile system is an advanced weapon capable of destroying modern, explosive reactor armour (ERA)-fitted main battle tanks in daylight and at night at a distance of 75 meters – 2.5 kilometers. The system uses “fire-and-forget” principle: when the target is locked and a missile is fired, it guides itself all the way to the target, which increases protection of the unit since it can change its location without having to wait for the missile to hit its target.
Russia cancels the order for improved Mi-28NM attack helicopters – Defence Blog
The Russian Defense Ministry has canceled plans to order improved Mi-28NM attack helicopters, according to Interfax news agency. One possible aspect of canceled order of Mi-28NM is a relatively high price for the helicopter. “Despite repeated attempts by the military to lower the price of a production aircraft, the Russian Helicopters company refused to accept the conditions of the Ministry of Defense,” one of the agency’s source said. According to him, for more than three months, the Russian Defense Ministry was preparing to conclude a state contract with the Russian Helicopters company to supply the production batch of Mi-28NM attack helicopters, but at the last moment, the parties could not reach an agreement on the contract cost. In turn, a source in the Russian Air and Space Forces told Interfax that the canceled to order the Mi-28NM would not affect the combat capability of army aviation. “At the moment, the development work on the modernization of the previously delivered Mi-28 helicopters is successfully completed,” he said. The Russian Helicopters company did not provide any comment on this. The Mi-28NM is an improved version of the Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter. Work on the new version was kicked off in 2009. The Mi-28NM is a comprehensive redesign was expected to serve as Russia’s flagship attack helicopter for the foreseeable future. The helicopter is designated to strike the armor, carry out reconnaissance and provide target acquisition. It is equipped with totally new radar with a new plan-position indicator, a new operating system and other systems, as well as use precision-guided munition.

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Moscow Court Extends Pretrial Detention Of U.S. Citizen Paul Whelan
A Moscow court has extended the pretrial detention for former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is being held in Russia on an espionage charge.
Russia charges Baring Vostok’s Calvey with fraud | Russia News | Al Jazeera
US investor Michael Calvey, founder of multibillion-dollar Baring Vostok investment fund faces up to a decade in jail.
Investment Manager Michael Calvey Denies Fraud Allegations
Michael Calvey, the American founder of one of Russia’s largest private-equity firms, appeared in a Moscow court to deny allegations that he committed large-scale fraud.
These are Russia’s charges against American investment manager Michael Calvey, and here’s why he says it’s all baloney — Meduza
What prosecutors say: First Collection Bureau (PKB), a company owned by the American investment manager Michael Calvey, borrowed 2.5 billion rubles ($37.7 million) from Vostochny Bank. Instead of repaying that loan, Calvey transferred his shares in another company called IFTG to Vostochny Bank in February 2017, telling the bank’s board of directors that the shares were worth nearly 3 billion rubles ($45.3 million). In February 2019, Vostochny Bank board member Sherzod Yusupov went to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and accused Calvey and the other participants in the deal of deceiving him. The FSB says it then verified these allegations, finding an audit assessment allegedly stating that IFTG was worth just 600,000 rubles ($9,050), not 3 billion rubles. Prosecutors say this is how Calvey and his accomplices committed fraud.
Here’s what we know so far about the criminal case against one of Russia’s biggest foreign investors, U.S. citizen Michael Calvey — Meduza
This week, police in Moscow detained Michael Calvey, the U.S. founder of the private equity group Baring Vostok. The other suspects in the case are Baring Vostok partners Vagan Abgaryan and French citizen Philippe Delpal, investment director Ivan Zyuzin, First Collection Bureau CEO Maxim Vladimirov, and Alexey Kordichev, an adviser to Norvik Banka’s board chairman.
Russia Formally Arrests American Businessman – WSJ
The American founder of a private-equity firm detained this week in Moscow on fraud charges was formally arrested and is set to remain in custody for at least about two months.
Russian court extends custody of Baring Vostok’s Calvey until April | Reuters
A Russian court on Saturday ordered Michael Calvey, the U.S. founder of one of Russia’s biggest private equity firms accused of fraud, to be kept in custody until April 13.
Kremlin ‘Very Closely Following’ Detention Of U.S. Investor
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the Kremlin is following the situation involving the detention of a prominent American investment-fund manager who is accused of large-scale fraud …
Moscow Court Orders American Financier Held In Custody Pending Trial
A Moscow court has sanctioned the arrest of a prominent American investment-fund manager who is accused of large-scale fraud.
Soviet cosmonaut Leonov flees from Russia – news world | UNIAN
Alexey Leonov, a Soviet cosmonaut who received the highest Soviet title of USSR Hero twice has left Russia. According to his family, Leonov “left for treatment” while journalists say the departure could be connected with a series of arrests in the company he is affiliated with – Baring Vostok. Alexey Leonov, a Soviet cosmonaut who received the highest Soviet title of USSR Hero twice has left Russia. The agency notes that the 84-year-old cosmonaut is a member of the advisory committee of the investment company Baring Vostok, whose head, U.S. citizen Michael Calvey, was arrested on Saturday, charged with embezzling RUB 2.5 billion ($37.7 m) from Vostochny Bank, CrimeinRussia reported citing Interfax. Assistant to Leonov, Natalya Filimonova stated that the cosmonaut had left the country to undergo treatment abroad. According to her, the departure was pre-planned and has nothing to do with the case of Baring Vostok.
Baring Vostok Senior Partners Take Charge After its Founder Arrest
US investor to be held in custody until April 13, judge cited flight risk
Russian Official Calls U.S. Investor’s Detention ‘Emergency For Economy’
The chairman of Russia’s parliamentary body of financial control has called the detention of a prominent American investment-fund manager who is accused of large-scale fraud in Russia an “emergency…
UAWire – US accuses Russia of violating consular agreements in Calvey case
The arrest of Baring Vostok founder Michael Calvey, one of the largest American investors in the Russian economy, is well on its way to becoming …


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin’s ‘National Projects’ Haven’t and Won’t Significantly Change Russian Realities, Inozemtsev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 18 – The announcement that the Russian government will spend 25.7 trillion rubles (400 billion US dollars) over the next six years is supposed to encourage Russians that things will get better, Vladislav Inozemtsev says; but an examination of the past two rounds of such projects shows that the only beneficiaries have been officials and their allies. The very idea of “developmental projects” arose in Russia in 2008 when Dmitry Medvedev came to office and promised massive investment in healthcare, demography and infrastructure (spektr.press/koshelek-dlya-byurokratii-vladislav-inozemcev-o-tom-pochemu-rossijskie-nacproekty-obogaschayut-chinovnikov-a-ne-stranu/). The results have been anything but promising: In 2007, there were 400,000 HIV cases in Russia; now there are most likely 1.3 million. The number of cancer cases has grown from 2.4 to 3.5 million, life expectancy has supposedly increased from 67.4 to 73.2 years from birth, but the size of the population remained stagnant and has now again begun to decline. For ten years, the new highway from Moscow to St. Petersburg was promised but not built. The high-speed rail network from Moscow to Kazan wasn’t either; “and all major projects (from Vladivostok to Sochi and the Crimean Bridge) were more for show” than actions that had a positive impact on the country. “In other words,” Inozemtsev says, “it is difficult to believe that ‘national projects’ fundamentally changed Russian reality.” And the case of those announced in the May 2012 decrees have fared no better: the number of hospitals and schools has continued to fall, and qualified personnel are ever more concentrated in major cities. That prompts the question, he says, “why then do the authorities again proceed along a path which doesn’t lead to success?” The answer lies in the fact that “the attitude of Russian bureaucrats to state finances is that they somehow belong personally to them and not to the Russian people.” Instead of investing in people as other countries do and measuring success in terms of how they live, the Russian government allocates money to officials who decide how to spend it, all too often on projects from which they benefit either directly or indirectly rather than on anything that benefits the population. The measure of success in the Russian bureaucracy is the amount of funds one controls not the success of the projects one is supposed to promote. That leads to increasingly bloated budgets that do not have real world consequences beyond enriching the bureaucratic stratum around the Kremlin. “As a result, we have what we have: Russian roads are among the most expensive to build in the world, but what is still more surprising is that from 2003 to 2017, the length of new automobile roads fell from 3200 to 1900 kilometers a year” even as the cost of the highway construction program mushroomed from 124 billion to 630 billion rubles (two billion to 10 billion US dollars). The same thing is true across the board, Inozemtsev says. The government cracks down on waste, fraud and abuse, but only to keep the bureaucracy “in tone” rather than to address the underlying problem. As a result, “’the priority national projects’ today are in essence a single national project: the elaboration of a system to support the personal interests of the thieving bureaucracy,” (emphasis added) not in the interests of the population or the business community. And this system is getting worse as each new wave of national projects introduces measures which are easier to fudge. Instead of talking about the number of kilometers of new roads to be built, the latest projects speak of the percentage that meet federal standards and so on and so forth across the board. Consequently, “all that is worth knowing about national projects is this,” Inozemtsev concludes: they put money in the hands of the bureaucrats.” In Russia that is a national project. Putting money in the hands of ordinary Russians is “something alien and contradicts the basic features of Russian statehood.”
Volunteers sifted through tens of thousands of hours of footage to spot election fraud near Moscow. Here’s what they found. — Meduza
In the months since Russia’s nationwide gubernatorial elections on September 9, 2018, Moscow Oblast has emerged as one of the regions with the most widespread record of election fraud. As early as December, news emerged of massive “carousels,” or systems by which voters circulate among precincts and vote multiple times in each, in the city of Balashikha on Moscow’s outskirts. Carousels require the cooperation of election officials, and the violations in Balashikha led to multiple investigations and resignations. To find the “carousel riders,” election observers used recordings from surveillance cameras posted in voting sites. Here, Meduza reports on what might be an even more notable instance of mass corruption near Moscow on Election Day. Observers in the city of Roshal told Meduza that official turnout figures there far exceeded the turnout they observed on camera not just in one but in all eight of the city’s precincts.
A Russian bill would ban election observers from traveling to regions outside their own. It’s a very bad idea. — Meduza
Russian Duma deputy Mikhail Romanov has announced that the legislative body plans to introduce new limits on election observers under which observers would only be permitted to monitor elections within their own regions. Central Election Commission Deputy Chair Nikolai Bulaev agreed that limiting the observation of regional elections to people who are eligible to vote in a given region would be a good idea. Meduza asked Grigory Melkonyants, the co-chair of the “Golos” (“Voice”) movement, to explain why observers travel to elections in regions outside their own and what dangers the new Duma bill might bring about.
Jailed ‘For Clicking A Mouse’: Russian Activist Recounts Three Years Behind Bars
One of the first Russians imprisoned for justifying terrorism by reposting offensive material speaks about his experiences behind bars.
St. Petersburg Refuses Permission For Nemtsov Memorial Rally
Authorities in St. Petersburg have denied permission to hold a march in the city center on February 24 to mark the fourth anniversary of the killing of opposition political leader Boris Nemtsov.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Pension Reform Producing Three Tectonic Shifts in Russian Society, Pryanikov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 19 – The pension reform Vladimir Putin oversaw last year continues to cast a far larger shadow on Russian society than anyone expected, Pavel Pryanikov says. It has set in motion three “tectonic shifts” with the population which together are certain to cause more problems for the powers that be in the future than they already have. In a Facebook post, the editor of the Tolkovatel portal argues that last year’s “pension reform is broader than simply a reform.” It is something that has divided Russian society in new ways and put each of the groups within it in motion in possibly unexpected ways (facebook.com/ppryanikov/posts/2292972120747834). The changes the boost in retirement age imposed affected three different groups very differently, a fact that helps to explain why there were not massive protests against it. Those just before retirement age suffered the most; those who had already retired may even have benefitted; and the young far from retirement did not feel that the reform really affected them at all.Those But the absence of mass protests so far, Pryanikov says, does not mean that there won’t be major protests about this issue in the future. Three “techtonic shifts” strongly suggest otherwise. First, over the next decade, the share of the population facing retirement will grow significantly, and that cohort will see what it has lost relative to its predecessors. Second, the commentator says, “ever more people are beginning to understand that their hopes for a social state are minimal and that they must organize their own life, without counting on the state.” Those in this category, perhaps 20 to 25 percent of the population, will demand the state do more or get out of the way so that they can take care of themselves. And third, according to the analyst, ever more people will move from regions that are decaying to regions doing better, such as the capitals, thus adding to the numbers of the first two categories. That in turn will mean that those not prepared to put up with what the government is doing will become smaller especially in key urban areas. Today, Novyye izvestiya reprints Pryanikov’s suggest and also the reaction of others who do not agree with his interpretation as well as his reaction to their critical comments (newizv.ru/article/general/19-02-2019/pensionnaya-reforma-zalozhila-tri-tektonicheskih-sdviga-v-obschestve). Journalist Mikhail Sokolov rejects his categories and says there won’t be any such “shifts.” Instead, those who are the losers will simply die off; and those who are offended will chose exit over protest. And political activist Aleksey Tsvetkov says that the falling value of labor that Pryanikov’s model suggests will win the regime support from business interests. Pryanikov responds that the decline in the price of labor will occur in the first instance in the regions and that that will have the effect of driving even more people into the megalopolises, thus leading to the creation of the situation he anticipates and creating more problems for the regime in the future.
Russians, Feeling Poor and Protesting Garbage, Suffer Winter Blues – The New York Times
Plans to ship Moscow’s trash to the provinces are aggravating economic unrest. Confidence in Russia’s direction and in President Vladimir V. Putin have dropped.
Russia’s Memorial Says Leader Of Anti-Landfill Protests Is Political Prisoner
Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center says the leader of anti-landfill protests in the city of Kolomna near the Russian capital is a political prisoner.
Russian Human Rights Group Labeled ‘Foreign Agent’ Again
Russia’s Justice Ministry has labeled a well-known human rights group a “foreign agent” for the second time.
Moscow police reportedly testing facial recognition glasses — Meduza
Moscow’s municipal Department of Information Technology is testing augmented reality glasses with embedded facial recognition capabilities, a source in the city government told RBC. The company Ntechlab, which is known for creating the unusually powerful facial recognition tool FindFace, is reportedly behind the project.
Wave Of Police Raids Amid Russia’s Trash Protests
Protests against waste disposal sites in Russia have prompted a wave of police raids. Protesters say they’re being targeted for raising legitimate environmental concerns.
Garbage Grenades: Activists Say Police Raids Aimed At Laying Waste To Landfill Protests
The authorities have conducted searches at the homes of 15 activists of a protest movement against Moscow’s garbage-disposal plans in the Kolomna area outside Moscow. Public anger is reaching a boi…
Forget The Party Line, Watch Your Waistline: Russia May Consider Girth Limits 
Under President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government has moved to rein in the media, regional leaders, and dissent, among other things. What’s next, waistlines? Senior officials seem intrigued by…
Russian Teen Gets Prison Term For School Attack
A Russian teenager who attacked a teacher with a meat cleaver and fired an air gun into her face during an assault in September 2017 has been sentenced to seven years and three months in prison.
Floors Collapse At Russian University, No Casualties Reported
Several floors of a university building in the Russian city of St. Petersburg have collapsed.
Russian anti-corruption leader releases a report about unsanitary school catering in Moscow, but a fake image spoils the big reveal — Meduza
Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has published a new investigative report featuring an interview with a woman identified as Natalia Shilova, who says she used to work at a business called “Moscow Schoolboy.” In a video recording, she describes how the company supplies the city’s schools and kindergartens with low-quality food. According to the magazine RBC and anti-corruption researchers at the political party Yabloko, Moscow Schoolboy has ties to catering magnate and Putin ally Evgeny Prigozhin.
Former Warden Of Yaroslavl Prison Detained In High-Profile Investigations
The former warden of an infamous prison in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, has been arrested in high-profile torture probes, a human rights group says.
Muscovites Slam Flawed New Flats
Some residents of condemned Soviet-era housing blocks in the Kuntsevo district of Moscow — known as “Khrushchyovka” after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev — have been waiting 10 years to relocate. But many are now reluctant to move in to new apartments because of what they say are major flaws.
Dozens of armed men start enormous fight in Moscow café — Meduza
Yashar Aliev, the owner of the Neolit café in southeast Moscow, said 40 – 50 Chechen men entered the restaurant on the evening of February 14 and began attacking the establishment. The men were reportedly wearing masks and carrying firearms.
Russian Court Rules HIV-Positive Woman Can Adopt Child
In a reported first for Russia, a court outside Moscow has allowed an HIV-positive woman to adopt a child.
Former Russian Intelligence Officer Released From Prison
Former Russian intelligence officer Vladimir Kvachkov, known for his radical views about the Russian leadership, has been released from prison after his conviction for incitement to hatred was annu…
Donations Help Keep Russian Doctor On The Streets
Yevgeny Kosovskikh provides free medical care to homeless people in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. After Current Time first aired a story about his work last year, donors came forward with money and supplies to keep his mobile practice running.
Spruced Up: Host City For World Student Games Becomes A Potemkin Village
Spruces stuck into snow and fake facades: how one Russian city is preparing for the World Student Games.
Russian Journalist, Rights Activist Briefly Detained At Amsterdam Airport
The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta says one of its correspondents and a human rights activist have been detained at an airport in Amsterdam.
IAAF Allows More Russian Athletes To Compete As Neutrals
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) says it had cleared 21 Russian athletes to compete in coming international competitions — albeit not under their national flag.
Russian Widow Protests By Bringing Coffin With Dead Husband’s Body To Local Government Building
A Russian woman on February 21 placed an open coffin containing the body of her deceased husband in front of the regional government building in Samara in the Volga region, in protest against what …
Russian Prosecutor Seeks 12-Year Prison Term For Woman In ‘Krasnodar Cannibals’ Case
A prosecutor has asked a court in southern Russia to sentence a woman to 12 years in prison in a case which came to be known as the “Krasnodar cannibals.”
Imprisoned Baby Whales Bound For China, Claim Russian Activists
The Russian prosecutor’s office has begun an investigation into accusations of illegal whaling. Activists claim 87 belugas and 11 killer whales, which are being held near Nakhodka in Russia’s Far East, have been captured for sale to aquariums in China rather than for legal scientific purposes.
Russian Archipelago Ends State Of Emergency After Polar Bear Invasion
Russian officials have declared the end of a state of emergency in parts of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago after what had been described as a “mass invasion” of polar bears in the islands’ human…

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Georgian PM Praises NATO’s ‘Open-Door Policy’
The prime minister of Georgia, an ex-Soviet republic that aspires to join NATO, has hailed the Western military alliance’s decision to allow North Macedonia to join.
Georgia’s Ex-President Saakashvili Resorts To Swiftian Satire
A day after taking a DNA test to prove his pure Georgian ancestry, former President Mikheil Saakashvili shared an image of himself being taken prisoner by scores of tiny people.
A Little Communist Fine-Tuning? Armenians Revisit Their National Anthem
An Armenian politician stirs a long-simmering pot with a call for the country’s national hymn to be replaced by its Soviet analog.
Turkmenistan’s Unreal Harvest
Turkmen authorities claimed a bumper cotton harvest, but an opposition website says leaked figures show cotton and wheat harvests were significantly lower.

Belarus Reports

 


 

Belarus to respond jointly with Russia if intermediate-range missiles deployed in Europe: Lukashenko – news world | UNIAN
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has expressed some concerns about the possible deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe due to the situation surrounding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). The Belarus president says he believes Vladimir Putin who claims Russia never violated the INF Treaty.
UAWire – Former NATO Secretary-General: Belarus faces annexation by Russia
The former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in an interview with LIGA.net, stated that Belarus faces the threat of annexation by …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: If Belarus Becomes Part of Russian Federation, Status of Non-Russian Republics Could Increase
Paul Goble Staunton, February 18 – Were Belarus to become part of the Russian Federation, it would likely have, at least for some extended period, a special status within that new country, something that could have an impact very different from what the Kremlin currently imagines, Aleksandr Razuvayev suggests. It could have the effect of leading to demands by at least some non-Russian republics for an increase in their status to match what Belarus might have; and that would have the effect of promoting a more federalist system than now and certainly one far less like the new homogenous empire that Vladimir Putin appears to want. In a commentary for Nezavisimaya gazeta, the economist and financial analyst says that Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s suggestion that the unification of Russia and Belarus could only be achieved by referendum has consequences far greater than might appear at first glance (ng.ru/blogs/razuvaev/tatarstan-mozhet-poluchit-osobyy-status-v-soyuze-kak-i-belorussiya.php). According to Razuvayev, “the times of authoritarian empires such as the USSR or Romanov Russia, for example, have passed. The prototype of the empire of the future apparently is the European Union. Ideally, it has a single currency and a common foreign and defense policy with the preservation of the statehood of the subjects included in the Union.” To the extent that Belarus acquires such status in a new Union state, he continues, other non-Russian (and potentially predominantly ethnic Russian) areas “will be able to aspire” to that enhanced status. Each of them could become issuers of currency and collectors of taxes, something that would change the Russian state fundamentally. Such a model would be controversial and opposed by many in Moscow; but, the economist says, it is probable that “this is the best choice for the integration of the entire post-Soviet space.” In short, if Moscow wants to expand its influence over the former union republics, it is going to have to concede more powers to the federal subjects within its current borders. Under such an approach, Razuvayev continues, “the Russian Federation would be able to offer its partners a unique product – security and sovereignty. Russia is the only country which has military parity with the US and NATO;” and the West views Russia and the other post-Soviet states primarily as a source of raw materials and cheap labor. Changing the relations of the post-Soviet states with each other could set the stage for changing the latter; but such changes will almost certainly require changing the way Moscow deals with its federal units, Tatarstan in the first instance but other non-Russian and even Rusian ones as well. If Moscow refused to give Belarus and these federal subjects greater status, it would not only make it even less likely that Belarus would agree to join the Russian Federation but it would make it almost impossible for Moscow to hope to integrate the former Soviet space under its leadership and thus make the achievement of one of Putin’s most passionately held goals highly unlikely.
Putin: No state fully independent – news politics | UNIAN
Russian President Vladimir Putin, following a three-day visit of Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, said that “there are simply no fully independent states in the world.” To this, Lukashenko noted that this relates even to Russia.
Russia May Absorb Belarus: ‘We’re Ready to Unite,’ President Says
The two nations agreed to a “union state” arrangement in the late 1990s.
Lukashenko allows possibility of Belarus-Russia merger – news world | UNIAN
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko claims that his country’s sovereignty is “sacred”, comparing it to an icon, but at the same time noting that he is ready for integration as far as the peoples of the two countries want it. The president says he and Putin could “unite” the countries as early as tomorrow, but the question is whether the Russians and Belarusians are ready for this.
EU Extends Belarus Arms Embargo
EU ambassadors on February 20 extended for another year an arms embargo against Belarus and sanctions on four Belarusian citizens.
Belarusian Horsepower: Ingenuity And Half An Audi
Belarusian villager Alyaksey Vusikau has figured out how to rein in his fuel expenses: by cutting his car in half and harnessing it to his horse.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: English and Chinese Replace Russian as Second Language in Minsk Railroad Station
Paul Goble Staunton, February 19 – Whatever may be happening in talks between Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin about the future of the union state, something is occurring that means anything they agree to about closer integration will be undermined on the ground by steps that the Belarusian government is now taking. Not only are Russian place names disappearing, Sergey Artyomenko reports, replaced across that country by Belarusian language ones even though almost all Belarusians speak Russian, but in the main railroad terminal in the Belarusian capital Russian has been dropped as the second language replaced by English and Chinese (regnum.ru/news/society/2576004.html). The Russian commentator is outraged by this development. According to him, “the overwhelming majority of residents of Belarus are Russian speakers” and “among Minsk residents, the number of Belarusian speakers is close to the margin of error.” Thus, these changes make no sense and are insulting. He cites the Bulba of Thrones telegram channel to the effect that this has been going on for six years, usually without any explanation and on orders from above rather than after the passage of a law or public discussion (t.me/bulba_of_thrones/147). But it is clearly “state policy.” “In Russian-speaking Minsk, there almost do not remain any street signs in Russian and Russian signs on government institutions are also being taken down without any explanation,” Artyomenko says. And where the signs are bilingual, the two languages are not Belarusian and Russian but Belarusian and English. The Belarusian Constitution specifies that Belarusian and Russian are both state languages and enjoy equal rights. But Minsk is now making it clear that that is not the case and has introduced a new term as put of its “Belarusianization” campaign: “the language of the nation” which is Belarusian. Between 1991 and 1994, Belarusian nationalists controlled the government and promoted Belarusian, Artyomenko continues; but when Lukashenka became president in 1994, he stopped this drive. And in 1995, Belarusians voted overwhelmingly to recognize Russian as the second state language. Now, however, at a time when Moscow and Minsk are talking about deepening their integration, Lukashenka is overseeing a return to the Belarusianization policies of his predecessors. “Russian place names in Belarus are ‘disappearing’” and doing so without any discussion.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

UAWire – Moldova begins construction of pipeline connecting it to European gas supply system
Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip and Romanian Deputy Prime Minister for the Implementation of Strategic Partnerships Ana Birchall took part …
AP interview: Moldova president says country needs Russia
CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova’s president said Thursday the former Soviet republic needs good relations with Russia, amid uncertainty about the future of the European Union. President…
Moldova’s Dodon: EU Uncertainty Highlights Need To Keep Close Russia Ties
Moldovan President Igor Dodon says his country needs to maintain good relations with Russia amid uncertainty about the future of the European Union.
Ahead Of General Election, Moldovan Opposition Leaders Say They’ve Been Poisoned
Two Moldovan opposition leaders have accused the authorities of poisoning them, three days before parliamentary elections.
UAWire – Moldova denies entry to Russian TV journalists
Moldova’s border police have denied entry to the film crews of Russian NTV and Russia-1 TV channels on an assignment to interview President Igor …
UAWire – Moldova complains to UN about Russia’s failure to provide access to Moldovan pilots released from Taliban captivity
The Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration wrote on Facebook that Moldovan authorities complained about Russia to a …

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Iran Mocks Trump Admin as U.S. Preps New Campaign to Crush Tehran
Iran’s top diplomat boasted that the Trump administration’s international gathering this week to galvanize the globe against Tehran was a colossal failure.
Iranian FM: Chances of war with Israel are great – Israel National News
“No one criticizes Israel but rather us; the danger of war increases when no one refers to Israel.”
Iran’s foreign minister says risk of war with Israel is ‘great’ – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post
“The risk is great and the risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law,” he said, pointing the finger at Israel and the United States.
Javad Zarif warns it would be ‘suicidal’ to go to war with Iran
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC News’ Richard Engel that it would be “suicidal” to go to war with his country.
Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great | Reuters
Iran’s foreign minister accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its behavior and that of the United States was increasing the chances of a clash in the region.
World War Three alert: Iran warns against ‘suicidal’ US strike after leaked Israeli video | World | News | Express.co.uk
IRAN has warned that any American military strike against the country would be a “suicidal mission” – following leaked footage of Gulf leaders discussing how to deal with the “Iranian threat”.
Iran summons Pakistan envoy to protest against suicide attack | News | Al Jazeera
Tehran ‘explicitly conveyed’ to Islamabad it expects ‘serious and decisive action’ against the Jaish al-Adl armed group.
Iran hits back at Pence comments, calling US ‘biggest source of destabilization’ in Middle East | TheHill
Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday rejected Vice President Pence’s criticism of the Iranian government, decrying the U.S. as the “single biggest source of destabilization” in the Middle East.
US ‘Possibly’ Sabotaging Iran’s Satellite Launches Amid Failed 2nd Try – Zarif – Sputnik International
The comments arrived on the heels of Mike Pence’s outspoken remarks at a Middle East symposium in Poland, where he dwelled on Iran plotting “a new Holocaust”. Days earlier, a satellite image emerged sporting an empty launch pad and a burn mark on it at the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Iran’s Semnan Province.
Iran’s second satellite launch failed, FM Zarif confirms – Daily Sabah
Iran’s bid to launch a second satellite in the past two months has failed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with NBC News…
Iran confirms second failed satellite launch, alleges possible US sabotage | The Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Zarif tells NBC the ‘same gang’ who pushed for Iraq War are ‘at it again’ by encouraging Trump administration to confront Tehran
Iran confirms second failed satellite launch: NBC News | Reuters
Iran bid to launch a second satellite in the past two months has failed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with NBC News published on Friday.
Iran presents new Fateh submarine armed with cruise missile: TV | Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States.
Iran Guards Commander Ties Pakistan, Saudi, UAE to Deadly Attack – Bloomberg
The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards criticized Pakistan for providing support to terrorists who killed 27 personnel in a suicide bomb attack in southeast Iran this week.
Iran Criticises EU Trade Mechanism Aimed at Bypassing US Sanctions – Zarif – Sputnik International
A Special Purpose Vehicle, called INSTEX (short for Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges) was created by Paris, Berlin, and London at the beginning of February in order to continue trade with Tehran.
Mike Pompeo Meets with Top European Diplomat after Mike Pence Slams EU Approach to Iran | National Review
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, just one day after the vice president rebuked the EU.
Europe says it will stick with the Iran deal, defying a U.S. demand – The Washington Post
Vice President Pence had launched a broadside against Europeans for skirting U.S. sanctions.
Pence urges Europeans to withdraw from nuclear deal with Iran as tensions with allies grow – The Washington Post
At a conference on Middle East issues, he accused European nations of working to ‘break’ U.S. sanctions against ‘that vile regime’ in Tehran.
Pompeo stresses importance of U.S. friends, a day after Pence blasted key allies – The Washington Post
Secretary of state says United States will no longer take “our true allies, our partners for granted.”
Iran’s man grabs European spotlight with anti-Trump focus – POLITICO
The Iranian foreign minister lashes out at the United States and demands Europe do more to save the nuclear deal.
Anti-Iran Warsaw meeting was a huge failure for the Trump administration – Vox
The US held an anti-Iran conference in Warsaw, Poland, this week. America did more damage to itself than Tehran.
Iran leader GLOATS with Putin and Erdogan as US pulls out of Syria | World | News | Express.co.uk
IRAN, Russia and Turkey’s leaders welcomed Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria as “a positive step” after they met to decide the future of the war-stricken country.
Suicide bomber was a Pakistani, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claims | Pakistan News | Al Jazeera
Three Iranians were also part of the cell behind February 13 attack that killed 27 elite security forces, says official.
Iran warns Pakistan to crack down on Jaish al-Adl | News | Al Jazeera
Revolutionary Guard commander says if Pakistan fails to take action at once, Iran will take its own ‘revenge’.
Iran says Pakistan to ‘pay high price’ over attack, warns Saudi | Reuters
Iran warned neighboring Pakistan on Saturday it would “pay a heavy price” for allegedly harboring militants who killed 27 of its elite Revolutionary Guards in a suicide bombing near the border earlier this week, state television reported.
Thousands Attend Funeral For Iranian Revolutionary Guards
Thousands have turned out in Iran for the mass funeral of 27 Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) troops killed in a suicide car bombing near the border with Pakistan on February 13.
Iran Says Deadly Attack On Revolutionary Guards Planned In Pakistan
Iran’s parliament speaker has said that an attack that killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was “planned and carried out from inside Pakistan.”
Iran arrests militants linked to attack on Revolutionary Guards | Reuters
Revolutionary Guards have broken up a group of militants in southeast Iran who were linked to a suicide bombing that killed 27 guards near the border with Pakistan last week, the Corps said on Monday.
Tehranis Surround Morality Police Van, Spring ‘Hijab’ Detainees
In a rare incident, Iranians forced the controversial police in charge of enforcing the dress code to release two young women they had detained over their veils.


Isolated and Adrift, an American Woman Turned Toward Iran – The New York Times
Monica Witt’s defection to Iran appears to have been part of a radicalization that began in military service and accelerated in graduate school.
Iran Intelligence Expert Discusses Iran’s Efforts To Spy On The U.S. : NPR
NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Heather Williams, an Iran intelligence expert at the Rand Corporation, about the former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran.
Alleged US Air Force defector walked into Iranian spy recruiting ground – ABC News
More than a year before she allegedly defected, Air Force counterintelligence officer Monica Witt attended a film conference in Iran.
Air Force Defector to Iran Severely Damaged U.S. Intelligence Efforts, Ex-Officials Say – The New York Times
Monica Elfriede Witt had access to the names of double agents working for the American government and knew the workings of United States military operations across the Middle East.
Meet ‘Charming Kitten,’ the Iranian Hackers Linked to Air Force Defector – Foreign Policy


Hundreds of civilians are evacuated before the final assault on ISIS who refuse to surrender | Daily Mail Online
Dozens of trucks were seen packing hundreds of people from ISIS’ last stronghold at Baghouz in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as a brutal siege batters the extremists final enclave.
Civilians Held by Islamic State in Syria Go Free – WSJ
Several hundred of the last civilians trapped by Islamic State in the militant group’s remaining sliver of territory left, which suggested the extremist group was near a surrender to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.
Operation to destroy ISIL’s final vestige hits evacuation snag | ISIS/ISIL News | Al Jazeera
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces surrounded fighters at Baghouz village but won’t attack until all civilians are out.
ISIS wife begging for US return ‘willing to pay her debts,’ lawyer says; critics say ‘jihadists have no space’ | Fox News
The lawyer representing the family of an Alabama woman who is now begging to return to the U.S. after fleeing and joining ISIS years ago tells Fox News that “she is willing to pay whatever debts she has to society” – even if it means serving a lengthy prison sentence.
Besieged IS militants refuse to surrender, ask for an exit | Fox News
More than 300 Islamic State militants who are holed up in a tiny area in eastern Syria are refusing to surrender to U.S.-backed Syrian forces and are trying to negotiate an exit.
ISIS militants refuse surrender, attempt to negotiate exit | TheHill
Hundreds of militants fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are refusing to surrender in the Syrian village of Baghouz despite being surrounded by U.S.-aligned Syrian forces.
Amid final battle to oust ISIS, a desperate struggle to survive – The Washington Post
Escapees tell of dire food shortages, earthshaking airstrikes and jihadists turning their guns on each other.
Convoy of civilians leaves last ISIS village in Syria | Fox News
A convoy of some 2000 people is said to have rolled out of Deir Az Zor in Syria’s northeastern province on Wednesday, signaling the last civilian evacuation ahead of the last battle against the remaining ISIS militants holed up inside.
Iran says suicide bomber was a Pakistani national | Fox News
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander says the suicide bomber who carried out last week’s deadly attack on the elite military force was a Pakistani national.
Islamic State group: Civilians evacuated from last Syria enclave – BBC News
The last of the group’s militants are said to be “entrenched inside” as hundreds of civilians leave.
Iran will not rule out possibility of military conflict with Israel | Reuters
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accused Israel of engaging in “adventurism” with its bombing campaigns in Syria and said he could not rule out the possibility of a military conflict between the countries.
Iran holds naval war games in Strait of Hormuz amid US tensions | News | Al Jazeera
Week-long exercises in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman will include Iran’s first submarine-launched missiles.
Alabama ISIS bride’s father sues Trump administration over citizenship, seeks her return – CNNPolitics
The father of the Alabama woman who joined ISIS is suing the Trump administration over her US citizenship and seeking her return.
UN concerned about some 200 families trapped in IS enclave | Fox News
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says she is concerned about the condition of some 200 families trapped in the last remaining area held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria.
European Leaders Loathe To Repatriate ISIS-Fighter Citizens : NPR
They say there’s rarely enough evidence to prosecute. “The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go,” Trump tweeted.
European leaders hit at Trump’s demands that they take back ex-ISIS citizens from Syria – The Washington Post
Trump threatened E.U. allies that they would face terrorist attacks unless they took swift action to repatriate their citizens.
The English Voice of ISIS Comes Out of the Shadows – The New York Times
For years, an anonymous narrator extolled the Islamic State’s brutality in videos seen around the world. “I don’t regret it,” a Canadian captured in Syria says.
Fabien Clain, French jihadist and ‘voice of Paris attacks’, reported killed – BBC News
The French jihadist who claimed the 2015 attacks for IS is thought to have died in an air strike in Syria.
Battle to Capture Last of Islamic State Territory Slows – WSJ
Islamic State militants hiding among civilians have slowed an advance by U.S.-backed coalition forces in Syria, said the top American ground commander, a setback in the fight to reclaim the last vestiges of Islamic State’s territory.
Islamic State group plans to rebound with more attacks – MI6 – BBC News
The intelligence chief also expresses concern about people returning from Syria with “dangerous” skills.
Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ is on the brink of defeat in Syria
U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are closing in on the Islamic State’s last enclave on the Euphrates, bringing its self-declared caliphate to the brink of total defeat.
Without territory or new recruits, Islamic State is in its death throes | Jason Burke | Opinion | The Guardian
Dimninished and cornered, the terrorist group has lost its appeal for young Muslims
ISIS down to half a square kilometer in Syria: commander – Al Arabiya English
Extremists defending the very last pocket controlled by ISIS in eastern Syria are trapped in an area of half a square kilometer, a top commander said
ISIS now controls just 700 square meters in Syria, says SDF – CNN
ISIS now controls an area of Syria measuring just 700 square meters, a commander with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said Saturday.
Last stand in Syria for fighters of so-called Islamic State – YouTube
euronews (in English) Published on Feb 16, 2019 The US-backed rebel force in eastern Syria which is leading the assault on so-called Islamic State says its last piece of territory will fall “in a very short time”.…
“Final battle” of ISIS is in its final days, says commander of U.S.-backed Syrian forces – CBS News
Military officials say they severely underestimated the number of civilians inside that village when they launched the offensive to crush the last remnants of the so-called caliphate one week ago
The collapse of Isis will inflame the regional power struggle | World news | The Guardian
From Russia to Turkey and Iraq, the rout of the caliphate brings new political considerations and shifting alliances
U.S.-backed forces close in on last square mile of ISIS territory in Syria – CBS News
Apart from sporadic gunfire, all you can hear now is silence
SDF troops seize Daesh’s massive weapons cache in eastern Euphrates region (video)
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 P.M.) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) seized a massive weapons cache that was abandoned by the Islamic State
SAS join final battle against ISIS as ‘lots of British women’ fee Baghuz | Daily Star
SAS commandos will be involved in the US-led coalition operation to wipe out the remaining ISIS fighters from Syria, Daily Star Online can reveal.
U.S.-backed Syria force seeks help with Islamic State prisoner ‘time bomb’ | Reuters
Hundreds of foreign jihadist fighters held in Syria represent a “time bomb” and could escape and threaten the West unless countries do more to take them back, the Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed authorities holding them said on Monday.
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them……..”
Trump urges European allies to take back hundreds of ISIS fighters
The United States is asking its European allies to “take back over 800” ISIS fighters that have been captured in Syria and put them on trial, President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday.
Donald Trump calls on Europe to take back hundreds of captured IS fighters | News | DW | 17.02.2019
President Donald Trump is upping pressure on US allies in Europe to “take back” IS fighters captured in Syria. So far, European nations have been wary of calls to repatriate citizens who fought for IS.
Trump Says Europe Must Take ISIS Prisoners or They’ll Be Freed – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump demanded that European nations take back their citizens who joined Islamic State and were captured by U.S.-allied forces in Syria and Iraq, warning the prisoners would otherwise be released.
ISIS fighters have been fleeing into Iraq, perhaps with millions of dollars in tow – CNN
More than 1,000 ISIS fighters have likely fled from Syria into the mountains and deserts of western Iraq in the past six months, and they may have up to $200 million in cash with them, according to a US military official familiar with situation.
France snubs Trump’s appeal to repatriate IS fighters en masse, for now | Reuters
France will for now not act on U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for European allies to repatriate hundreds of Islamic State fighters from Syria, taking back militants on a “case-by-case” basis, its justice minister said on Monday.
Shamima Begum, ISIS fighter’s wife, losing U.K. citizenship after speaking out in interview, lawyer says – CBS News
London teenager who left Britain four years ago to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to be stripped of U.K. citizenship, her family's lawyer says
Deborah Haynes on Twitter: “Don’t be fooled into a false sense of security by headlines about the imminent defeat of Islamic State (#ISIS) as a holder of territory in Syria and Iraq. That fight – while long, bloody and dangerous – was the easy bit. https://t.co/F3z8lgNujE”


Vladimir Putin’s Big Push Into the Middle East – WSJ
Free of Soviet-era baggage, Russia is busy cultivating ties across the region, including key U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia
Chemical attacks: Syrian military linked to more than 300 strikes, report says – The Washington Post
A German research group said it has “credibly substantiated” 336 uses of chemicals such as nerve agents and chlorine since 2012.
Ankara says only Turkish forces should be in Syria safe zone: Anadolu | Reuters
Only Turkish forces should deploy in the planned safe zone in northeast Syria, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency as saying on Friday.
U.S. Will Leave 200 ‘Peacekeeping’ Troops In Syria : NPR
Two months after President Trump announced a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country, the White House says the contingent will remain for an unspecified period of time.
About 200 US troops to stay in Syria following Trump’s order for ‘full’ removal – CNNPolitics
The White House said Thursday that a small contingent of US troops will remain in Syria following President Donald Trump’s order for a “full” withdrawal of the American military from the country.
U.S. Says 200 ‘Peacekeeping’ Troops To Stay In Syria After Pullout
The United States says it will at least temporarily leave 200 “peacekeeping” troops in Syria after a planned pullout of the main U.S. force from the war-torn country.
Exclusive: U.S. general recommends arming, aiding Syrian fighters after pullout | Reuters
The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Is a ‘Positive Step’ and Will Help Assad ‘Re-Establish Control,’ Iran, Russia and Turkey Agree
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Russia, to discuss bringing the Syrian conflict to a
Germany’s Merkel Warns U.S. Against Withdrawing From Syria, Afghanistan
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that a hasty U.S. pullout from Syria runs the risk of strengthening the roles of Russia and Iran in the Middle East.
Commander of US-backed forces fighting ISIS asks US to keep troops in Syria – CNNPolitics
The commander of the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces is asking the US and its coalition partners to provide air support and keep up to 1,500 troops in Syria as part of an effort to stabilize the country.
U.S. cannot back Syrian forces who align with Assad: U.S. commander | Reuters
The United States will have to sever its military assistance to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battling Islamic State if the fighters partner with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or Russia, a senior U.S. general said on Sunday.
Syria’s Assad Tells Kurds That U.S. Will ‘Put You In Their Pocket’ to Use As ‘Bargaining Tools’
“To those groups who are betting on the Americans, we say the Americans will not protect you,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said.
Syria’s Assad pledges no bargaining over constitution | Reuters
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday his government would not bargain over the country’s constitution with the Turkey-backed opposition, lambasting a U.N. peace process that aims to rewrite its terms.
Syria’s Assad: U.S. will sell out those relying on it – AOL News
U.S. forces have long supplied arms and training to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish YPG militia, the main U.S partner in the battle
Assad: Only the state can protect groups in northern Syria – ABC News
Assad adviser rejects idea of granting Syrian Kurds autonomy | Reuters
A senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday flatly rejected the idea of giving Syrian Kurds a measure of autonomy, saying such a move would open the door to the partition of the country.


The limits of Russo-Israeli cooperation | TheHill
Israel thus finds itself on the horns of a serious strategic dilemma.
Netanyahu cancels Putin meet as rivals make last-minute efforts to unite – Israel News – Haaretz.com
Likud sources say the prime minister canceled the meeting in Moscow as main rival Gantz in talks with Yair Lapid to merge
Netanyahu Rivals Explore Alliance to Try to Unseat Israel’s Long-Serving Prime Minister – WSJ
Two of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most formidable opponents are in talks to form a united front, and face a deadline this week to declare whether they will join their camps to try to unseat him.
Netanyahu gives up role as Israel’s foreign minister | Reuters
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday handed over his role as foreign minister to intelligence minister Israel Katz, giving up the portfolio he has held since 2015.
Netanyahu courts ‘frightening’ extreme right party ahead of Israel elections – CNN
In 1988, extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane’s party was banned from Israel’s parliament for being racist and undemocratic. Now his followers are making a comeback, courted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he seeks a fifth term as the country’s leader.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, just united with a political party that experts say is like the KKK | Business Insider
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of President Donald Trump, is facing criticism after embracing a far-right political party with unabashedly racist and ultranationalist beliefs.


Pakistan-Based Jihadists Kill 40, and Indians Demand a Response – WSJ
As elections approach, Modi is under pressure from enraged citizens.
Pulwama attack: Pakistan warns India against military action – BBC News
Pakistan says only dialogue will resolve differences as India mourns its dead in Kashmir.
Pulwama attack: Narendra Modi blames Kashmir bombing on Pakistan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the blame for Thursday’s bombing squarely on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir.
Kashmir attack: Washington keeps quiet on tensions between India and Pakistan – The Washington Post
The U.S. foreign policy community is muted on the attack in Kashmir.
The Kashmir attack leaves the U.S. and India facing a dilemma about Pakistan – The Washington Post
An overreaction to the deadly suicide bombing by a Pakistan-based group would only increase tensions over Kashmir.
‘Baby Face Bilal’: Toddler Accused Of Shooting At Cops
Police in Pakistan accused a small boy of shooting at a police van. He was just 15 months old at the time of the purported incident. Senior investigators are now doubting it happened.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

North Korea’s Kim shuffles nuclear talks team after defections, spying allegations | Reuters
Veteran North Korean diplomats are being sidelined from nuclear talks ahead of a second summit with the United States as recent defections and allegations of spying undermine the trust of leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean officials and experts say.
What To Expect From North Korea At The Next Trump-Kim Summit : NPR
Analysts weigh the possible offers North Korea’s leader could make later this month in Vietnam.
Top North Korean official says his country faces major food shortages, blaming weather and sanctions
As the Trump administration prepares for a showdown with Kim Jong Un next week, North Korea admits in a letter that it faces major food shortages because of sanctions and natural disasters.
North Korea warns of food crisis, slashes rations before next leaders’ summit | Reuters
North Korea has warned that it is facing a food shortfall of some 1.4 million tons in 2019 and has been forced to almost halve rations, blaming high temperatures, drought, floods and United Nations sanctions in a memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.
Vietnam summit: Kim’s ‘done deal’ coming to fruition? | TheHill
Washington unwittingly is crediting Kim Jong Un as maintaining an upper hand in nuclear negotiations with North Korea.
North Korea’s ‘socialist utopia’ needs mass labor. A growing market economy threatens that | Reuters
In January, thousands of North Korean students traveled to Mount Paektu, a sacred mountain where the ruling family claims its roots and where leader Kim Jong Un is building a massive economic hub at the alpine town of Samjiyon.
North Korean Defector Thae Yong Ho Shows How Kim Makes a Chump of Trump
Kim Jong Un used the threat of war—and Trump’s own hysterical rhetoric—to create a situation where he appears a peacemaker, and U.S. forces are out of the peninsula.
North Korea accused of abducting its former ambassador’s daughter | World news | The Guardian
Daughter of Jo Song-gil, former Rome envoy who fled embassy, reportedly repatriated
North Korea Spy Case Grips Italy, With Alleged Kidnapping – Bloomberg
Allegations that North Korean spies kidnapped the daughter of an ambassador after his defection are gripping Italy, with the fractious populist coalition at loggerheads over the case.
North Korean envoy separated from his daughter, former ambassador claims – CNN
The daughter of a missing North Korean diplomat who is believed to be seeking asylum in Europe was separated from her parents and returned to Pyongyang, a prominent defector claimed this week.
Vietnam memorial to North Korea pilots marks bygone alliance | Fox News
In a rice field in northern Vietnam, 14 headstones are an enduring symbol of the wartime friendship of Vietnam and North Korea.
Peace Treaty, and Peace Prize, for North Korea Appear to Tempt Trump – The New York Times
As President Trump meets again with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, his role as a peacemaker is clearly weighing heavily on his mind.


US, Chinese trade negotiators will face off at White House – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump’s top negotiators will press hard in this week’s talks with their Chinese counterparts to close gaps on issues spanning everything from currency manipulation to halting Beijing’s practice of forcing American companies to give up their technology in exchange for market access.
As China Trade Talks Resume, Trump Pushes an Ambitious Agenda – WSJ
The Trump administration is racing to strike a deal that will result in long-term reforms—and prove that tariffs are an effective battering ram to open markets around the world.
A US-China trade deal nears, Beijing may get what it wants: Commentary
An election-bound Trump wants the China trade problem out of the way to bask in the spotlight choreographed by Chinese puppeteers during the North Korean summit later this month, Michael Ivanovitch writes.
US, China outline deal to end trade war: Reuters
The United States and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, according to Reuters, which cited sources familiar with the negotiations.
Dear China, Get Ready For 25% Tariffs
Why would Trump bring two more China hawks to the negotiating table, especially if they are anti-Trump Democrats?
US-China trade war: Deal needs enforcement, says Chamber of Commerce
Any trade deal between the U.S. and China will need an enforcement mechanism, an American business association official said on Tuesday.
Huawei Founder Slams U.S. Charges as ‘Politically Motivated’ – The New York Times
Ren Zhengfei had previously avoided passing judgment on the case, citing respect for the legal process. Now he appears to be sharpening his language.
China accuses US of trying to block development after Pence Huawei comments | TheHill
China’s government accused the Trump administration of “fabricat[ing]” reasons to stifle the country’s economic growth on Monday after Vice President Pence called a top Chinese technology company a security threat to the U.S.
The US cannot crush us, says Huawei founder – BBC News
Ren Zhengfei says the firm will survive despite security concerns and his daughter’s legal troubles.


China Abandons Cybersecurity Truce With U.S., Report Says – Bloomberg
China largely abandoned a hacking truce negotiated by Barack Obama as President Donald Trump embarked on a trade war with Beijing last year, according to the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike Inc.
How China and Russia are readying themselves for a US cyber war
The web is a frontier in a hardening confrontation between the autocratic world and the democratic one.
Huawei 5G: UK spies think risks can be managed – CNN
The United Kingdom could undermine an American-led campaign to keep Chinese tech company Huawei out of super-fast 5G mobile networks around the world.
The Latest: NATO chief warns about China’s 5G mobile deals | Fox News
The Latest on Munich Security Conference (all times local): 6 p.m.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei: “We will never” provide Chinese government with any information – CBS News
In his first TV interview with an American journalist, Ren Zhengfei spoke with &quot;CBS This Morning&quot; co-host Bianna Golodryga


Exposed Chinese database shows depth of surveillance state
The Chinese database Victor Gevers found online was not just a collection of old personal details.
China surveillance firm tracking millions of Muslims leaves database exposed, researcher says | Fox News
A Chinese surveillance firm using facial recognition technology left one of its databases exposed online for months, according to a prominent security researcher. 
China uses facial recognition to track millions of Muslims in Xinjiang — Quartz
A report suggests that the names, ID numbers, addresses, and other details were attached to logs of location data for nearly 2.6 million residents of Xinjiang.
China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise – The New York Times
The Chinese authorities turned to a Massachusetts company and a prominent Yale researcher as they built an enormous system of surveillance and control.
The Muslim World Looks On as China Persecutes Its Muslims – WSJ
Governments that are quick to decry abuses elsewhere have hesitated to denounce the crackdown, fearing a loss of Chinese investment and support.


Russia, China expects to sign heavy helicopter contract in coming months – Defence Blog
Russian state-owned corporation Rostec has confirmed that Russia and China will sign a contract on the creation of a heavy helicopter in coming months. According to Russian media reports, Viktor Kladov, the director of international cooperation and regional policy at Rostec said that Russia and China to sign heavy helicopter contract within 30-60 days. “We have prepared and will sign in the coming two months a contract of the century with China on joint development, production and sales of the new generation heavy-lift helicopter. We have spent four years of intense talks on this project,” Kladov said. According to the official, the helicopter will be more powerful than US Sikorsky but smaller than Russia’s Mi-26 and will have cargo capacity of 15 tonnes. Experts estimate that the demand for the new model in China could top 200 rotorcrafts for the period until 2040. The helicopter will be designed for around-the-clock operation in hot climates, in highland areas and in all weather conditions. It will be suitable for a wide range of missions: transportation, evacuation, firefighting and many others. The new helicopter will be equipped with the new AI-136T turboshaft engines. The new engine is an upgraded version of D-136 and developed by the Ukrainian Motor Sich and Ivchenko-Progress companies. The AI-136T delivers 11,500 hp at maximum trust setting at surrounding temperatures of up to 50ºC. It also has an emergency mode which provides up to 14,500 hp. Maximum output of the original D-136 is 11,500 hp at temperatures no higher than 15ºC. So the new engine is expected to significantly improve the helicopter’s performance in hot-and-high conditions. It is proposed that the future Russian-Chinese heavy-lift helicopter will receive a Russian-made engine leveraging the technology of the domestically produced engine PD-14.
Former Chinese Military Chief Sentenced to Life in Prison for Corruption – WSJ
A Chinese military court sentenced a former top commander, Fang Fenghui, to life in prison for corruption, among the highest-ranking generals snared by Xi’s campaign to cleanse the military.
China’s former military chief of staff jailed for life for corruption | World news | The Guardian
Fang Fenghui convicted of bribery offences and unclear source of assets in crackdown


No need for Shinzo Abe: Trump already nominated for Nobel Peace Prize | Reuters
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not saying whether or not he nominated Donald Trump for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, but the question may be moot: the U.S. president has been put forward by others for the prestigious award.
Vietnam receives the second batch of new T-90 tanks from Russia – Defence Blog
According to several media reports, the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) has received the second batch of new Russian-made T-90S main battle tanks. The second batch of T-90S tanks from Russia arrived at a Vietnamese seaport on 21 February. The first 32 T-90S MBTs were delivered in early January 2019. In total, Vietnam ordered 64 T-90S tanks in Russia. The T-90S tanks are likely to be used as replacements for the ageing T-55s, few of which remain operational. The T-90S is a tracked combat vehicle featuring 125mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, advanced fire control system, heavy armor protection and also powered by a 840-horsepower (hp) V-84MS engine. The gun is stabilized in two planes and is loaded by an autoloader. The autoloader ensures a high rate of fire (up to 7 to 8 rounds per minute) which favorably distinguishes the T-90S from most of foreign MBTs. A 12.7mm roof-mounted machine gun enables the commander to deliver pinpoint fire on air and ground targets using remote control actuators. The tank is fitted with an automated fire control system allowing the gunner and the commander to effectively fire the gun, coaxial machine and antiaircraft machine gun at the halt and on the move, day and night. The T-90S features unrivaled 4-level protection: a low silhouette and small side and front areas; an electro-optical countermeasures system; composite armor; general-purpose explosive reactive armor. Its high cross-country capacity, mobility and maneuverability are ensured by a powerful diesel engine, a reliable running gear, manual transmission with hydraulic steering actuators, a deep-water fording kit, and tracks that can be fitted with rubber pads.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen issues a warning to the world over China – CNN
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has sent out a warning to Asia in the face of mounting aggression from Beijing.
Former New Zealand leader: ‘We need to learn to listen to China’ – CNN
A former New Zealand prime minister has been quoted lavishing praise on China as the country’s current leader continues to deny reports of a rift between Wellington and Beijing.
Britannia Helps Rule the Waves – Foreign Policy
The Royal Navy’s return to Asia can guarantee the freedom of the seas.
Exclusive: China’s Dalian port bans Australian coal imports, sets 2019 quota – source | Reuters
Customs at China’s northern port of Dalian has banned imports of Australian coal and will cap overall coal imports from all sources to the end of 2019 at 12 million tonnes, an official at Dalian Port Group told Reuters on Thursday.

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Stefan Meister | Nord Stream 2: The Dead-End of Germany’s Ostpolitik | Berlin Policy Journal – Blog
The fight about the pipeline was supposed to give Germany cause to rethink its foreign-policy. Instead, Berlin is supporting a project that will hurt its credibility. Now that Germany has agreed with France and other member states on new EU regulations for the controversial Nord Stream 2 project, the path for the pipeline to be built seems clear. Nevertheless, the German government is mistaken if it believes that it has satisfied its critics with this deal. Berlin has, from the beginning, underestimated the damage this project would do to its image. Its support for Nord Stream 2 demonstrates how the German government puts the national interest ahead of European and international strategic questions, thereby hurting its credibility in the long-term. Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and with the help of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the discussion about Germany and the EU’s energy independence from Russia has continued to intensify since 2014. The German government claimed for years that this was a purely commercial endeavor. But then in April 2018, at a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko, Chancellor Angela Merkel recognized for the first time that the political factors surrounding Nord Stream 2 also had to be taken into account. By not turning against the project, the German government supported it from the start. Sigmar Gabriel, formerly the economy and energy minister and later foreign minister, assured Vladimir Putin at a 2015 meeting in Moscow that he would personally campaign to have the project under German jurisdiction. While the current agreement does not achieve that, Germany is nevertheless now responsible for negotiating the EU regulations and possible exceptions to them. And yet the objectives and repercussions of Nord Stream 2 go beyond Germany and run counter to German and EU interests.
UAWire – Finland, Estonia, and Latvia agree to establish regional gas market
The Estonian state-owned company Elering AS, which operates electrical and gas networks, stated that an agreement was signed with the energy …
UAWire – Swedish Swedbank suspected of laundering billions of euros including from Russia
Swedish Swedbank is suspected of systematic money laundering, which lasted for about a decade, and was associated with the Baltic branches of …
UAWire – 30 people suspected in Ukrainian money laundering through Austrian Meinl Bank
The Austrian Prosecutor’s Office has identified 30 suspects in the case of Ukrainian money being laundered through Meinl Bank, Deutsche Welle …


‘Spreading Like a Poison’: Anti-Semitic Acts Increase in France – WSJ
A spate of anti-Semitic incidents has accompanied France’s yellow-vest protests in recent weeks, raising fears that the movement is stirring up hatred in the nation that is home to Europe’s largest Jewish population.
Macron condemns anti-Semitic abuse at ‘yellow vest’ protest | News | Al Jazeera
Anti-Semitic remarks ‘will not be tolerated’, said French president following an attack on a prominent intellectual.
Gilets jaunes: How much anti-Semitism is beneath the yellow vests? – BBC News
There have been reports of anti-Semitic abuse from some French protesters, writes the BBC’s Lucy Williamson.
Macron announces crackdown on anti-Semitism in France – BBC News
France’s president says that attacks seem to be at their worst level since World War Two.
French TV cuts Facebook live feed from Jewish cemetery after anti-Semitic abuse | Reuters
A French TV channel said on Wednesday it had been forced to cut short a live Facebook broadcast from a desecrated Jewish cemetery in eastern France because of an onslaught of anti-Semitic commentary.
More than 90 tombstones desecrated at Jewish cemetery in France | TheHill
More than 90 graves were desecrated with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans at a Jewish cemetery in France amid a spike in attacks targeting Jewish people across the nation in recent weeks,
Thousands rally against anti-Semitism in France after spike in attacks
Thousands of people rallied across France after a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks that included vandals daubing swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery.
Anti-Semitic Taunts by Yellow Vests Prompt French Soul-Searching – The New York Times
The insults hurled at Alain Finkielkraut, a prominent intellectual, crystallized a number of dark elements in a climate of public tension.
Thousands Rally Against Anti-Semitism in France After Vandalism of Jewish Cemetery – The New York Times
France’s major political parties and Jewish organizations organized rallies across the country against anti-Semitism, responding to a sharp spike in incidents targeting Jewish people and sites.
France anti-Semitism: Jewish graves desecrated near Strasbourg – BBC News
Nearly 100 graves are damaged at a Jewish cemetery, ahead of marches against anti-Semitism.
As anti-Semitism rises in France, Macron’s government struggles to respond – The Washington Post
The increasing attacks on French Jews have coincided with the yellow vest protest movement.
Thugs scrawl swastikas on gravestones at Jewish cemetery in France just hours before mass rally against anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism remains a scourge in France – a country which is home to the biggest Jewish community in Europe
Jewish graves desecrated in France as people hit streets to combat ‘poison’ of anti-Semitism | Fox News
About 80 graves have been desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in France, the latest anti-Semitic attack in the string of hateful incidents this year that sparked an all-out protest on Tuesday.
Emmanuel Macron CONDEMNED over Yellow Vest protests – ‘We can NO LONGER tolerate it’ | World | News | Express.co.uk
THE FRENCH opposition has accused the government of failing to keep the lid on the sometimes violent protest movement against fuel taxes, which quickly morphed into a people’s rebellion.
TV station cuts Facebook stream over anti-Semitic remarks
France 3, a French TV channel, said on Wednesday it had been forced to cut short a live Facebook broadcast from a desecrated Jewish cemetery in eastern France because of an onslaught of anti-Semitic commentary.
France news: Yellow Vests leader threatens to ‘BRING DOWN government’ | World | News | Express.co.uk
THE leader of the Yellow Vest movement that has wreaked havoc across Europe with violent protests that triggered the collapse of the French economy has declared he has “militiamen ready to bring down the government” following a shock meeting with the Italian coalition.
France: Syrian suspect accused of crimes against humanity | Fox News
French authorities have filed preliminary charges of complicity in crimes against humanity against a Syrian suspected of involvement in a bloody secret police crackdown on opposition activists.


How the Independent Group complicates the Parliamentary maths
The first rule of politics is to learn how to count.
U.K.’s New ‘Independent Group’ Joined By 3 Conservative Lawmakers : NPR
“The hard-line, the anti-EU awkward squad that have destroyed every leader for the last 40 years are now running the Conservative party from top to toe,” lawmaker Anna Soubry said Wednesday.
Brexit: Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston abandon May’s Party – The Washington Post
The three are joining a new “Independent Group” of centrist Labour and Conservative members of Parliament.
Up to 15 British ministers may vote to stop UK from leaving EU on March 29 – Bloomberg | Reuters
As many as 15 British government ministers may vote to stop the United Kingdom leaving the European Union on March 29 in the event that no Brexit deal has been agreed, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Brexit: Theresa May warned dozens of Tories could rebel over no-deal – BBC News
Leaders of a group of normally loyal Conservative MPs warn Theresa May over her Brexit strategy.
Senior Tories ready to resign unless May rules out no-deal Brexit | News | The Times
Two former Conservative cabinet ministers today warned that they too would quit the party if Theresa May fails to rule out a no-deal Brexit.Justine Greening said that she was staying in the party “for the moment”, but warned that the Tories would no longer be a credible force if they simply became “
U.K. Inches Toward Brexit Deal With EU as May Faces Defections – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is racing to find a way out of the Brexit impasse amid mounting evidence that an agreement is within reach.
EU Expects May to Request Three-Month Delay to Brexit – Bloomberg
The European Union expects U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to be forced to request a three-month delay to Brexit, two EU officials said.
May Pleads for Brexit Plan Unity Before Talking to EU Leaders | Time
Prime Minister May launched an appeal to Conservatives to unite behind her Brexit plan before more talks with European Union leaders.
From Europe, Brexit is like ‘watching a car crash in slow motion’
Europeans in the unofficial capital of the European Union have some choice words to describe Britain’s attempt to leave the 28-country bloc.
Labour split: Ian Austin’s departure is not about Brexit | News | The Times
Ian Austin today became the ninth MP to quit the Labour Party in a week. Like the previous eight, particularly Luciana Berger, Joan Ryan and Mike Gapes, he majored on antisemitism in explaining his decision. “I am appalled at the offence and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have caused to Jewish people,” Mr Austin, the adopted son of a refugee from the Holocaust, told the Express & Star. “It is terrible that a culture of extremism, antisemitism and intolerance is driving out good MPs and decent people who have committed their life to mainstream politics.
Labour MP Ian Austin quits over party’s ‘culture of antisemitism’ | News | The Times
A close ally of Gordon Brown today became the ninth Labour MP to quit the party, blaming “a culture of extremism and antisemitism”.Ian Austin, 53, a former minister, said that he was quitting the “broken” party because he was “ashamed” of what it had become under Jeremy Corbyn.However, he said that
Seven lawmakers quit UK Labour Party citing Brexit ‘betrayal’, anti-Semitism | Reuters
Seven Labour lawmakers quit on Monday over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and a row over anti-Semitism, saying Britain’s main opposition party had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”.
MP Joan Ryan quits Labour for Independent Group – BBC News
Joan Ryan says she cannot remain in a party which tolerates a “culture of anti-Jewish racism”.
Seven MPs leave Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – BBC News
The MPs – including Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna – urge others join them, as Jeremy Corbyn says he is “disappointed” at the split.
7 U.K. Parliamentarians, In Protest Of Jeremy Corbyn, Leave Labour Party : NPR
The seven politicians said that persisting anti-Semitism and leader Jeremy Corbyn’s “complicit” role in Brexit led to their resignations. They say the party “has changed beyond recognition.”
Seven UK lawmakers resign from Labour party citing ‘Brexit,’ ‘bullying’ and ‘anti-semitism’
Labour’s Brexit stance and its handling of anti-semitism has resulted in seven lawmakers leaving the party.
The hard lessons to be learnt from the SDP split from Labour | News | The Times
“I don’t think the comparison with the SDP stands up to scrutiny,” said Angela Smith when asked about the lessons she took from the rise and fall of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s. It was an understandable reply. But it wasn’t right.Watching the gang of seven perform, and reading their sta
UAWire – British politician expelled from his party over plans to visit Crimea
The deputy chairman of the Libertarian Party UK and Member of the European Parliament, Bill Etheridge was forced to leave the party after it …
Jeremy Corbyn’s secret link to the tormentor of pregnant Jewish MP Luciana Berger | Daily Mail Online
The Mail on Sunday can reveal previously undisclosed links between Mr Corbyn and Alex Scott-Samuel (right), who has led the drive to force out Ms Berger.
British politician expelled from party for intention to visit occupied Crimea – 112.international
The deputy chairman of the little-known UK Libertarian Party and MEP Bill Etheridge was forced to leave the party after it became known of his intention to head a delegation of British politicians and entrepreneurs in occupied Crimea. This is reported by the BBC. “We sent Mr. Etheridge a compromise agreement, suggesting his departure from the party on March 29, 2019. He refused to sign the agreement, but subsequently sent a letter confirming that he would leave the party on March 29,” said Party Chairman Andrew Withers. He added that the actions of Etheridge are detrimental to the party’s reputation. According to the Libertarian Party’s chairman Paul Borthwood, who also planned to go to Crimea, was also expelled from the party.
Britons who helped the Nazis during World War II still receiving pensions from Germany | Daily Mail Online
A group of Belgian MPs have claimed that British and Belgian citizens are among those believed to be receiving around £378.26 to £1,108.70 per month from the German government.
Karl Marx’s grave has been defaced with anti-communist graffiti


Germany Posts Record Surplus, Bolstering Trump Claim on Trade Imbalances – WSJ
Germany’s current-account surplus was the world’s largest for the third year in a row in 2018, confirming deep disparities in the global economy that have drawn ire from the Trump administration and helped justify U.S. efforts to reset global trade rules.
Germany refuses to bow to UK pressure to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia | The Independent
Germany has refused to bow to pressure from Britain to start selling arms to Saudi Arabia again.


UAWire – Warsaw: Russia foments feud between Poland and Israel
The Russian “troll brigades” that are active in the Polish segment of social networks have been deliberately spreading anti-Israeli and anti- …
Poland seeks apology from Israel on alleged Holocaust role remark | Israel News | Al Jazeera
Israeli foreign minister’s comment on alleged collaboration of Poles with Nazis threatens national ties, Warsaw says.
Poland awaiting Israel’s apology for minister’s comments | Fox News
A Polish government official says Warsaw is still waiting for Israel’s government to apologize for comments the acting foreign minister made about Poles and their role in the Holocaust.
The Latest: Poland pulls out of Israel meeting over comments | Fox News
The Latest on the dispute between Poland and Israel (all times local): 11:35 a.m.
Poland PM cancels Israel trip after Netanyahu’s Holocaust comment – BBC News
Mateusz Morawiecki will not now visit Israel, after PM Benjamin Netanyahu said “Poles co-operated”.
Polish PM cancels trip to Israel in wake of comments on Poles in Holocaust | Reuters
Poland’s prime minister has canceled a trip to Israel in the wake of reported remarks made by his Israeli counterpart suggesting Polish complicity during the Holocaust, an aide in his office told Polish media on Sunday.
Israel denies Netanyahu’s Holocaust comment in Poland | Poland News | Al Jazeera
Poland summons Israeli envoy amid reports PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Poles helped Germans in WWII killing of Jews.
Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust | Reuters
Poland summoned Israel’s ambassador on Friday and threatened to scupper a summit in Jerusalem after reported comments in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
Israeli leader Netanyahu, after meeting with Pence, forced to spend extra night in Poland after plane breaks down | Fox News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to spend Thursday night in Warsaw, Poland, after problems with his plane.
Israeli PM Netanyahu’s plane is damaged in minor crash ahead of take-off in Poland | Daily Mail Online
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his entire entourage were on-board the chartered El Al plane when a vehicle towing the aircraft on the runway crashed into it at Warsaw airport in Poland.
Netanyahu misquoted on Holocaust in Poland, his office says | Fox News
The Israeli government said Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was misquoted by a newspaper on the extremely sensitive issue of Polish behavior during the Holocaust, seeking to defuse a diplomatic crisis.


Hungary and Sweden in diplomatic spat after Swedish minister likens Orban’s policies to Nazi Germany | Fox News
A diplomatic row engulfed Hungary and Sweden after a Swedish official likened the Hungarian government’s efforts to boost its birth rate with Nazi Germany.
Viktor Orban’s anti-EU campaign mocked by Brussels chief – ‘It’s almost Monty Python like’ | World | News | Express.co.uk
AN ANTI-BRUSSELS campaign launched by Hungary has been mocked by a European Commission chief who likened it to something produced by the comedy group Monty Python.
Hungary’s ruling party doesn’t belong in Europe’s center-right: Juncker | Reuters
The party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban should leave the mainstream European center-right grouping, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, comparing Orban to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.


North Macedonia Says Police Prevent ‘Terrorist Act’ By Islamic State Backers
Police in North Macedonia have prevented a planned “terrorist act” by supporters of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the Western Balkan nation’s Interior Ministry says.
Far-right activists stage torchlit march in Bulgarian capital | Reuters
More than 2,000 far-right activists from several European countries staged a torchlit procession through Sofia on Saturday to honor a Bulgarian pro-Nazi general, despite opposition from the Balkan country’s political parties and Jewish groups.
Bulgarian nationalists remember pro-Nazi general with torch march – Business Insider
The Lukov March went ahead despite opposition from the Balkan country’s political parties and Jewish groups.
Spanish government gives Franco family ultimatum in effort to exhume dictator’s remains – CNN
Spain’s government has given the family of Francisco Franco 15 days to decide where the former dictator should be reburied, as they race to exhume and relocate his remains before the country’s snap election takes place in April.
General Franco’s family given two week ultimatum to decide where dictator’s body should be buried | The Independent
The descendants of former military dictator General Francisco Franco have been given a two-week ultimatum to decide where his body should be reburied. Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939 to his death in 1975, is due to be exhumed from a mausoleum at the Valley of the Fallen near Madrid next month. However, Spanish authorities have so far failed to agree a new burial site with


Female aide to secret police chief under Pinochet arrested in Australia, faces extradition to Chile | Fox News
A former aide to the infamous chief of Chile’s secret police force was arrested in Australia on Tuesday over her alleged involvement in a kidnapping during the military rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet.


The Pences and Jared Kushner visited Auschwitz – Business Insider
The American vice president, second lady, and White House adviser visited the former Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife makes their first visit to Auschwitz | Daily Mail Online
Vice President and his wife Karen visited Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration and death camp in southern Poland, on Friday morning to remember those killed by the Nazis.

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

America’s greatest advantage against China is slowly eroding
America’s forever wars are letting China technologically catch up. Now, that experience in conflict may turn out to be America’s best edge.
Boeing receives $24,1M for upgrade F-15 electronic warfare capabilities – Defence Blog
The Pentagon announced Sunday that Boeing has been awarded a $24,1 million modification to previously awarded contract FA8634-17-C-2650 for F-15 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System engineering and manufacturing development and initial operational test and evaluation. According to a statement, this modification provides for the procurement of hardware and systems engineering program management for the F-15E Operational Test and Evaluation jets. Work is expected to be completed by June 1, 2021. As to Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System, or EPAWSS, is a program of upgrades F-15 aircraft electronic warfare capabilities to detect and identify air and ground threats, employ counter-measures, and jam enemy radar signals. Providing both offensive and defensive electronic warfare options for the pilot and aircraft, EPAWSS offers fully integrated radar warning, geo-location, situational awareness, and self-protection solutions to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats in signal-dense contested and highly contested environments. Equipped with advanced electronic countermeasures, it enables deeper penetration against modern integrated air defense systems, providing rapid response capabilities to protect the aircrew. An all-digital system, it requires a smaller footprint than previous systems, allowing it to seamlessly integrate new capabilities and remain current. A platform-level solution, it provides the F-15 with improved reliability and maintainability, helping reduce long term life cycle costs to keep the aircraft fielded now and into the future.
Lockheed Martin unveils new F-21 fighter aircraft at Aero India 2019 – Defence Blog
The US aerospace giant reported Lockheed Martin has unveiled the new fighter aircraft during Aero India 2019 exhibition in Bangalore. A new fighter was unveiled by Lockheed Martin called the F-21. It’s intended for India and based on the F-16. According to a company’s representatives, the new combat aircraft is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force. “The F-21 provides unmatched ‘Make in India’ opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced airpower future,” said in the company. “The new [F-21] designation highlights our commitment to delivering an advanced, scalable fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force that also provides unrivaled industrial opportunities and accelerates closer India-US cooperation on advanced technologies,” he added. The company will build the plane in collaboration with Tata Advanced Systems, the firm said. “The F-21 is different, inside and out, Vivek Lall,” vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in a statement. Lockheed is competing with Boeing’s F/A-18, Saab’s Gripen, Dassault Aviations Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and a Russian aircraft, in a bid to win a large military order worth over $15 billion for the Indian air force order.
F-21. For India, from India. – YouTube
Lockheed Martin Published on Feb 19, 2019 Meet the F-21. Specifically configured for the Indian Air Force, the F-21 provides unmatched ‘Make in India’ opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced airpower future.
Israelis show “S-300 killer” (VIDEO)
Israel Aerospace Industries has expanded its range of rifle munitions. Yesterday, February 18, the press service of the company published a promotional film “Kamikaze” droni called Mini Harpy. The new “single” unmanned drill is positioned as a means to combat radar and not only. In promotional video Mini Harpy destroys mobile radar 96L6E on the chassis MZKT-7930, used in the Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-300 and C-400.
Israeli firm UVision opens US subsidiary, with eye toward kamikaze drones market
A maker of loitering munitions is seeking to expand its business in the U.S.
Source: Israeli F-35 destroyed Chinese-made radar during airstrikes in Syria – Defence Blog
 
Lockheed Martin-led team revealed details of new Falcon air defense system – Defence Blog
Lockheed Martin-led defense industry team has revealed details of its proposal for a new mobile open short-to-medium range air defense systems during IDEX 2019 exhibition. Lockheed Martin, Saab, and Diehl Defence unveiled collaboration to counter emerging short and medium-range threats with new Falcon weapon system. Falcon integrates Diehl’s 40-kilometer range Infra-Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled (IRIS-T) SLM interceptor and vertical launcher, Saab’s 360-degree AESA Giraffe 4A radar through Lockheed Martin’s flexible SkyKeeper command and control battle manager. Falcon’s open architecture allows the system to easily integrate into any air operations center. Threats such as unmanned aerial systems carrying lethal payloads, cruise missiles that can attack from any direction, and fixed and rotary winged aircraft capable of delivering ordnance at extended ranges, demand a technologically advanced solution that Falcon delivers. “Our international customers are looking for the next generation short and medium range air defense solution. Falcon is threat driven and ready now,” saidScott Arnold, Lockheed Martin vice president and deputy for Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “Falcon is a great example of working with our customers to identify potential gaps and find rapid-response solutions to take on today’s evolving threats.”
China showcases mobile laser weapon system at IDEX 2019 – Defence Blog
 
ATK gets $173M contract to turn existing artillery shells into smart weapons – Defence Blog
Alliant Techsystems Operations, known as ATK, was awarded a $173,6 million modification (P00059) to contract (W15QKN-13-C-0074) for Precision Guidance Kit M1156. A statement from the Pentagon claims that the work will be performed in Plymouth, Minnesota, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 14, 2022. The M1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), is a U.S. Army-designed precision guidance system to turn existing 155 mm artillery shells into smart weapons. The M1156 is a GPS guidance kit with proximity and detonating fusing functions. This fuse, when attached to the tip of a 155 mm High Explosive (HE) projectile, helps to correct its ballistic trajectory. Thus, turning a current stockpile of conventional HE ammunition into near precision projectiles while simultaneously reducing the logistic footprint for our armed forces. Small aerodynamic fins allow the system to steer the shell on target. Its GPS receiver compares the PGK’s flight pattern to the coordinates of where it should hit, and the fins adjust its path to match where the round will actually impact. A fail safe exists where if the shell does not impact within 150 m (490 ft) of the intended target, it will land but not explode; the PGK “decides” five seconds after launch whether it expects to impact close enough to detonate. With the acquisition of this technology, Troopers will have the ability to fire rounds with greater precision and lethality while reducing the potential for collateral damage to friendly troops and non-combatants.
U.S. Army releases first image of new M1A2C tank with active protection systems – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army on Friday released the first detailed images of the next version of the Abrams tank with active protection systems. The new images – made at U.S Army Yuma Proving Ground revealed the M1A2C Abrams main battle tank with the Rafael Advanced Defence Systems-developed Trophy HV hard-kill active protection systems (APSs). The M1A2C (also know as M1A2 SEPv3) is the latest variant of Abrams tanks in production, which concluding testing at the Yuma Proving Ground, one of the largest military installations in the world. This version rectifies many of the space, weight and power issues identified during Operation Iraqi Freedom and will be the foundational variant for all future incremental upgrades. In addition to having improved survivability, the Abrams M1A2C can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant. Improvements focus on increasing the electrical power margin, Vehicle Health Management Systems, integrated counter-improvised explosive device protection, a new Auxiliary Power Unit, embedded training and an ammunition data link. It is the most reliable Abrams tank ever produced, will decrease the Army’s logistic burden, and leads the Army in enterprise-level connectivity to maintenance and supply systems. The M1A2C is equipped Trophy APS that eliminates enemy threats, such as rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. The Israeli government first developed the Trophy technology and the U.S. Army began developing the system for the Abrams about two years ago. Production of the system would be a collaboration between General Dynamics Land Systems, Leonardo DRS and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. General Dynamics Land Systems is the Abrams tank Original Equipment Manufacturer; Rafael is the Original Equipment Manufacturer of the Trophy Active Protection System and is in partnership with Leonardo DRS.
This Russian Submarine Is the Size of a World War II Aircraft Carrier (Armed with 192 Nukes) | The National Interest
A history lesson. 
A U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornet Has Been Painted In Russian Su-30SM Flanker-style Color Scheme – The Aviationist
As already explained, although the U.S. Navy has retired its last operational “Legacy Hornets” on Feb. 1, 2019, several F/A-18A+, C and D remain in service with both the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy squadrons, including VFC-12 from NAS Oceana and VFA-204 from NAS New Orleans Joint Reserve Base, the Blue Angels (that are transitioning to the Super Hornets) and the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC – pronounced NAW-DIK). Based at NAS Fallon, Nevada, NAWDC “is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development. NAWDC provides service to aircrews, squadrons and air wings throughout the United States Navy through flight training, academic instructional classes, and direct operational and intelligence support. The command consists of more than 120 officers, 140 enlisted and 50 contract personnel. NAWDC flies and maintains F/A-18C/D Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, E/A-18G Growlers, F-16 Fighting Falcons and MH-60S Seahawk helicopters.” Interestingly, among the aircraft operated by NAWDC for their advanced combat warfare courses (including the 13-week “Topgun” course), there is also a “Legacy Hornet” (BuNo 164678/46 red) that was painted a dark grey paint job clearly inspired by the Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker color scheme. The photos in this post were taken by our friend hawgwash04. They show the NAWDC F/A-18C departing NAS Forth Worth Joint Reserve Base on Feb. 5, 2019.
In 12 Minutes, Everything Went Wrong – The New York Times
How the pilots of Lion Air Flight 610 lost control.


Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » BIG WEEK, Plus 75 Years
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of Operation Argument otherwise known as BIG WEEK. When on Sunday February 1944 the 8th Air Force went after the Luftwaffe in the skies over Germany to take Air Superiority for the Normandy invasion in June 1944. These were the results of the 1st day of combat —
SPITFIRE 944 – YouTube

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

EU East StratCom Task Force: The Leperous Distilment of Disinformation – Disinformation Review – To Inform is to Influence
Share Tweet Forward 21 February 2019 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* The Leperous Distilment of Disinformation     Sleeping within my orchard My custom always of the afternoon, Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole, With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial, And in the porches of my ears did pour The leperous distilment     William Shakespeare;…
How to upgrade your thinking and avoid traps that make you look stupid | New Scientist
Even the most intelligent people can make ridiculous mistakes – but there are simple things all of us can do to act more wisely and avoid blinkered thinking
Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t warned about the worst crisis in Facebook’s history, and it points to something rotten in the firm’s culture | Business Insider
After 18 months, 73 witnesses, 4,350 questions, and countless hours of evidence, British lawmakers delivered an excoriating verdict on Facebook’s year from hell.
Facebook Blocks ‘Wildly Popular’ RT-Run Page
RT’s editor in chief says Facebook has blocked a page run by the Russian state-run television channel — a move that hasn’t been confirmed by the U.S-based social media giant.
Patients, health data experts accuse Facebook of exposing personal info | TheHill
A group of patients and health data experts is accusing Facebook of misleading users about how their personal health information can be manipulated and exposed without patients’ explicit permission.


Microsoft Says Russia-Linked Hacking Group Targeted European Think Tanks, NGOs
Software giant Microsoft says it has uncovered a series of cyberattacks by hackers linked to Russia targeting democratic institutions, think tanks and nonprofit organizations in Europe, highlighting concerns of possible interference in European Union elections in May.
Russian Hackers Targeted European Research Groups, Report Says – To Inform is to Influence
“Russian officials have denied that Moscow had any role in the hacking attempts.” Russia has no honor and never will. </end editorial> By Karen Weise Feb. 20, 2019 SEATTLE — A group of hackers associated with Russian intelligence targeted civil society groups across Europe ahead of May elections there, Microsoft said on Tuesday. The attacks,…
New report questions effectiveness of cyber indictments
A new report from CrowdStrike asserts indictments of hackers has had little effect in deterring continued malicious cyber behavior globally.
After DNC and France’s Macron, Australia becomes latest target of ‘state actor’ cyberattack – The Washington Post
The United States, Germany and France are among the countries hit by foreign cyber attacks since 2016.
We’ve been hacked – so will the data be weaponised to influence election 2019? Here’s what to look for
If another country wants to weaponise data hacked through Australia’s parliament, we’ll likely see them try to inflame religious and ethnic differences, and drive votes to minor parties.
Rethink 2%: NATO ‘Defense Spending’ Should Favor Cyber – Defense One
Today, a dollar or euro spent on network security goes farther than one spent on conventional arms.
White House Orders Agencies to Defend the Skies From Cyberattacks – Defense One
In its National Strategy for Aviation Security, the Trump administration called on the government to be more proactive in spotting threats to U.S. …
Can the Army’s Strykers be hacked? Cyber vulnerabilities found in upgunned vehicles
A report reveals cyber vulnerabilities in the platform.
US officials sound the alarm over daily conflicts
In recent months, officials said that the United States is engaged within the information sphere in heightened operations with adversaries while there is no declared conflict.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Trump Officially Directs Pentagon to Create Space Force, Within Air Force – Defense One
If Congress approves, Space Force would exist like the Marine Corps within the Navy Department.
Pentagon chief briefing irks lawmakers, draws expletives from Sen. Lindsey Graham
During a briefing last weekend, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan got into a heated exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham over the Syria policy.
George K. Muellner: 1943-2019 – Air Force Magazine
Retired USAF Lt. Gen. George Muellner, fighter pilot, test pilot, a classified programs specialist, a top Boeing technologist Boeing, a senior aerospace-industry leader, a former AFA chairman of the board, and more, died Feb. 11.
Mitchell Institute’s Deptula on Muellner’s legacy, Nuclear C2, USAF F-15 Plan – YouTube
Defense & Aerospace Report Published on Feb 15, 2019 Lt. Gen. David Deptula, USAF Ret., dean of Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies discusses the legacy of Lt. Gen. George Muellner, USAF Ret., the Institute’s recent report on nuclear command and control and the Air Force’s plan to acquire new F-15 fighters with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL GEORGE K. MUELLNER > U.S. Air Force > Biography Display
Lieutenant General George K. Muellner is principal deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Washington, D.C. He serves as the Air Force acquisition executive in carrying out the management responsibilities for the Air,


Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration for UN ambassador nomination, State Department says | Fox News
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the U.N. ambassador nomination, the department said Saturday.
Former Fox News Host Heather Nauert Withdraws From Consideration To Replace Nikki Haley As United Nations Ambassador
“I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations. However, the past two months have


Trump Lashes Out At ‘Treasonous’ Officials Involved In Russia Probe
President Donald Trump has lashed out at key officials involved in U.S. special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
McCabe’s shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on | TheHill
There is no constitutional provision for the FBI, DOJ lawyers or someone such as Andy McCabe to force a president from office.
Jason Chaffetz: FBI’s Andrew McCabe should be on trial, not a book tour | Fox News
Andrew McCabe lied multiple times to federal investigators.  
Former FBI Official Says Trump May Have Committed Crime In Firing Comey
The former acting director of the FBI says U.S. President Donald Trump may have committed a crime if he fired a previous chief of the law-enforcement agency in an attempt to end the probe into his …
Attorney General William Barr should release the full Robert Mueller report when it’s finished
When special counsel Robert Mueller concludes his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, it will be up to Attorney General William Barr to determine how much of the report to disclose to Congress and the public. He should release the full report.
Trump Russia: Mueller report may never be fully revealed – CNNPolitics
Robert Mueller’s report could land within days, yet rather than offering definitive answers, his hotly anticipated filing might only ignite a new controversy — over how much of the special counsel’s conclusions most Americans get to see.


Judge says Paul Manafort gave false statements to investigators to protect a Russian conspirator
Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was “lying to minimize” the extent of his interactions and communications with associate Konstantin Kilimnik.
Former Trump Campaign Chairman Manafort Could Face 19-24 Years In Prison
Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, could face 19 to 24 years in prison on tax and bank-fraud charges, according to a new court filing by the U.S. special counsel.
Paul Manafort could get 19 to 24 years in prison and fined millions of dollars, prosecutors say
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors say that under sentencing guidelines Paul Manafort could get 19 to 24 years in prison.
Mueller’s team says Paul Manafort deserves up to 24.5 years in prison – CNNPolitics
Paul Manafort defrauded banks, the IRS and other federal authorities out of greed, and thus should spend perhaps all his remaining years alive behind bars, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office said Friday night.
White House Spokeswoman Confirms Being Questioned By Special Counsel
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has confirmed that she has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has been tasked with investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. preside…


The Supreme Court unanimously says states can’t steal your car
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it’s unconstitutional for states to steal people’s cars. That’s a great step forward in cracking down on civil asset forfeiture and the practice of states and cities seizing personal property as a means to raise money.
Arrested Coast Guard Officer Planned Mass Terrorist Attack ‘On A Scale Rarely Seen’ : NPR
Christopher Paul Hasson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, allegedly wanted to “kill every last person on earth” in a crusade to establish a “white homeland,” according to officials.

 

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