Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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An unusually active week in all theatres. Russia’s internal meltdown continues, notable are Nemtsov remembrance marches, women’s prison report, and ongoing hostage situations. Belarus’ Lukashenko flip-flops daily on Russia vs. West. Moldova’s elections – Russia did poorly overall.

More saber rattling from Tehran. ISIS collapses, yard by yard, how long the insurgency lasts remains to be seen. Israeli election update.

DPRK nuclear summit follow established regime negotiating tactics. SCS disagreement continues. PRC trade negotiations continue. Updates on Uighur oppression.

Fascinating political developments in the UK, in France the yellow vests lose traction.

Capabilities reports dominated by multiple fighter and RPV program reports and updates. Some excellent WW2 analysis by Telenko.

US domestic politics remain turbulent. Much on Manafort and Cohen.


 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin has Forgotten What Stalin Knew: Attacking Nations Opens the Way for Rise of Islam
Paul Goble Staunton, February 24 – Following the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin promoted the formation of non-Russian republics in Muslim regions of his country less because he wanted the nations they represented to flourish than because he was convinced that such individual nations could become a bulwark against the rise of Islam and thus a combined Muslim threat to Moscow. Now, Vladimir Putin is unwittingly reversing this process, attacking non-Russian nations and their languages. And not surprisingly, this is contributing to exactly what Stalin was clever enough to avoid and at a time when the spread of Islam and even more of Islamist ideas may constitute a larger threat to the central government than they did in the 1920s. Putin’s readiness to support Chechnya in its land grab against Ingushetia not only sparked continuing protests in that republic but also opened the way for an increasingly independent Muslim leadership to play a far larger role in opposition to the civil authoriteisthan it had played in decades (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/12/shariat-court-challenge-to-ingush.html). Now, something potentially far more fateful is taking place in Tatarstan where Moscow is seeking to weaken not only that Middle Volga republic but to undermine the unity of the Tatar nation (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/putin-using-salami-tactics-to-destroy.html andwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/tishkovs-continuing-attack-on-unity-of.html). In the short term, this attack on Turkic peoples within the current borders of the Russian Federation may open the way for pan-Turkism, another threat Stalin successfully opposed by creating the non-Russian republics and a danger that the Kremlin at least appears to recognize it has to respond to (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/fsb-reportedly-setting-turkish.html). But a new announcement by the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of the Republic of Tatarstan shows that something else is happening, at least in part because of Moscow’s attacks on the Tatars and Tatarstan: a new drive to promote Islamic values as central to the identity of the Tatars and of Tatarstan. The leadership of The atarstan MSD says that the draft Strategy for the Development of the Tatar People “devotes insufficient attention to Islam, which is one of the main factors for the preservation of Tatar national identity (dumrt.ru/ru/news/news_21688.html and delreal.org/a/29784572.html). “Our main goal,” Rafik Mukhametshin, the deputy mufti of the republic, says, “is to involve religious organizations in the task of preserving national self-consciousness. At present, in the regions of the country, Tatar schools are being closed, but mosques remain open,” at least in part because of Putin’s “optimization” programs. Dzhalil Fadyyev, the chief kady of Tatarstan, adds that there are currently about 5,000 Tatar schools in the villages; but there number is declining. And in many places without a Tatar school, there is still a mosque making that institution more central to the survival not only of the Tatar language but the Tatar nation. “We say that the village preserves the nation, and therefore, particular attention must be devoted to the status of the Tatar mosque and also to the problems for the creation of favorable conditions for the work of rural imam,” the kady continues. And Fadyyev joined with other members of the MSD leadership in insisting that “it is impossible to unite the Tatar nation only around its native language,” especially given that “its knowledge and use is severely limited.” Thus, it appears that if Putin gets his way and closes still more Tatar schools, the mosque and Islam will become more important in a region where many have always assumed the mosque and Islam will be less so – and so the Kremlin leader will recreate or even exacerbate a problem Stalin worked hard to solve.
Russians Pay Tribute To Nemtsov Outside Kremlin
Mourners have laid flowers at an improvised memorial to slain Russian politician Boris Nemtsov in downtown Moscow. The former deputy prime minister and opposition leader was shot dead on a bridge overlooking the Kremlin on February 27, 2015. Rallies commemorating Nemtsov took place in Moscow and other Russian cities on February 25.
Moscow March Commemorates Slain Kremlin Critic
Thousands of Muscovites joined a February 24 march commemorating Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and opposition leader who was gunned down just meters from the Kremlin on February 27, 2015. Rallies marking the anniversary of his killing were held across Russia.
Russians Commemorate Slain Kremlin Critic Nemtsov
Thousands of people were marching in Russian cities on February 24 to commemorate slain Kremlin critic and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov.
Thousands march in memory of slain Russian opposition leader Nemtsov | Fox News
Thousands of Russians rallied in central Moscow on Sunday in memory of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin who was assassinated in 2015 on a bridge near the Kremlin. 
‘Welcome To Hell’: Life In A Notorious Russian Women’s Prison
From kittens tossed into blazing furnaces to prisoners losing fingers slaving for hours at sewing machines in a rat-infested sweatshop, IK-14 prison for women in Russia’s central region of Mordovia is one of the most dreaded female correctional facilities in the country. Such is the notoriety of the prison, women condemned to serve there often take extreme measures to avoid it, including slitting their wrists. And Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said the reputation of prison IK-14 was known across Russia. “As the inmates say, ‘If you haven’t done time in Mordovia, you haven’t done time, ” said Tolokonnikova, who herself served prison time at the facility in 2013. In a letter published in September 2013, Tolokonnikova complained about the slave-labor conditions at the prison, as well as abuse faced by prisoners. She wrote that women were forced to work 16 or 17 hours a day with one day off every eight weeks.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Declining Incomes among Russians Put Future of Country’s Middle Class at Risk, Chepurenko Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 27 – The declining incomes of Russians over the last few years are not only leaving all but the very wealthiest residents of that country poorer than they were but putting at risk the formation and survival of the politically critical middle class in the country, according to Aleksandr Chepurenko of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. The sociologist says “the societal function of the middle class is to support social stability: the middle class fears losing that which it has earned by work and therefore it is responsible in its political behavior” (znak.com/2019-02-27/v_rossii_ischezaet_sredniy_klass_byudzhetniki_intelligenciya_zagadochnaya_russkaya_dusha). Such a class began to appear in Russia in the 1990s when the state was weak,” and consequently “we can speak about the middle class in Russia as being in its first generation,” a collection of people who having lost everything at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s nonetheless were able by their own efforts to claw their way back to relative well-being. The emergence of such people gave hope for the future, but in the last two decades with the creation of the power vertical, they have been eclipsed by “a quasi-middle class,” people with roughly the same incomes but whose money comes not from their own efforts but as a result of rents offered by the state in exchange for loyalty, Chepurenko continues. “These people did not risk anything: they simply accepted decisions” from above and therefore played and play a very different social-political role. Among the most prominent of these are the siloviki, “’the holy cow’ for our powers that be.” As long as the pie was growing, all of them could continue to get more without difficulty. But when the pie ceased to grow but in fact became smaller, a problem arose and is only intensifying, forcing them not to fight for the creation of new wealth but for the division of existing wealth among them. As a result, the sociologist says, there have now emerged “a large number of conflicts of some siloviki structures with others.” Big businessmen, who are not part of the middle class either, “are interested in stability but not in a free, competitive market system characteristic of a democratic society.” They thus are not like the middle classes in the US and other Western countries in either their behavior or their role. The real middle classes, whenever it is possible, “vote in favor of the market and a competitive economy.” In Russia, they are deprived of the possibility of voting in that way because of the destruction of parties who favor such outcomes. And that has led to some dangerous trends, including withdrawal from normal political life. All of this is hidden by the fact that Russians tend to evaluate middle class only by income which means that many government or quasi-government employees are included in it even though they have different values and different behaviors, Chepurenko says. Many in fact hold values directly antithetical to the genuine middle class. The situation is not good for either the real middle class or these people, but the reasons are different: Earnings from entrepreneurship are down by half over the last decade or so, but possibilities for the lower levels of the bureaucracy are down as well. The differences between these two and even the decline of both have been hidden not only by the propensity of Russian scholars to measure the middle class solely by income but also by the explosion of consumer credit as people in both categories try to maintain their lifestyles by borrowing. That isn’t sustainable for very much longer, he suggests. To change this situation, Chepurenko continues, the government would have to do what it did in the early 1990s, reducing its role in the economy, eliminating many “’economic crimes,’” reducing pressure on businesses and so on. But it is far from clear that it will take these steps, although some economic developments already on view in the West may appear. Thee include the rise of what some call “the precariate,” the group of people at the bottom of the middle class who work as adjuncts in universities or hold multiple jobs in order to try to maintain a middle-class way of life. There is some evidence that Russia is going in this direction as well. “But we could go in a different direction than the West and continue to surprise the entire world by our weapons, our ballet and our sports, and then, in the absence of necessary economic, political, and social conditions, our middle class will not disappear because it simply has not appeared.” Today, that seems the more likely prospect.
‘I want to serve my country.’ Known for her colorful anti-Kremlin activism, Maria Baronova explains why she just took a job with ‘Russia Today’ — Meduza
Maria Baronova, known for her past activism as an anti-Kremlin oppositionist, has accepted a new job at RT, the state media outlet formerly known as Russia Today. Baronova, who previously served as an aide to State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev and supervised former-oil-tycoon-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s human rights movement “Open Russia,” is now a managing editor at RT’s Russian-language edition, where she will head up a new charity project, the name of which borrows from a famous Soviet rock song that translates roughly to “We’ll Take It From Here.” RT says the initiative will exist on social media and messenger platforms. Meduza special correspondent Ilya Zhegulev spoke to Baronova to learn more about her plans at RT, and to find out how one of the most visible activists of Moscow’s 2011–2012 street protests came to work at a state propaganda outlet. Zhegulev also asked if Baronova has changed her views on Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Putin.
‘Damn you, math, we meet again!’ A Russian YouTuber tries his hand at analyzing the country’s pension reforms — Meduza
The Russian YouTube personality BadComedian recently reviewed a film starring the rapper Basta. The online critic, who typically confines himself to trashing films on the grounds of their own quality, spent the final third of this particular 45-minute review criticizing Basta for his politics. The rapper has publicly supported the Russian government’s pension reform proposal, which includes an unpopular increase in the country’s retirement age. Like Russia’s political leaders and federal TV anchors, Basta has framed the reforms as a difficult but necessary measure, telling those who disagree to “find themselves an economics textbook and a calculator.” BadComedian took up the challenge and tried to use statistics to prove that pension reform was unnecessary. The next day, Basta gave in to the YouTuber’s position and apologized for his political advocacy. However, there are serious flaws in BadComedian’s economic analysis. Meduza asked Maxim Buyev, an economist and leading administrator at Russia’s New Economic School, to analyze the video blogger’s misconceptions and explain why Russia’s pension system really does face a series of slow-acting but serious problems.
Top investigator says the Russian justice system’s 0.51-percent acquittal rate proves his agency’s effectiveness — Meduza
Alexander Bastrykin, a secret poet better known as the director of Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee, says the country’s staggeringly low acquittal rate is proof positive of his agency’s bang-up job. In comments reported on Friday by the news agency TASS, Bastrykin said Russia’s 0.51-percent acquittal rate in 2018 (just 516 not-guilty verdicts all year) demonstrates the stability and high quality of investigators’ work. By that metric, however, the Investigative Committee under-performed when compared to 2017, when Russia’s acquittal rate was just 0.42 percent.
RUSSIALINK: “Spokesman suggests Putin unhappy with prosecution of businesspeople” – Interfax – To Inform is to Influence
Read this sentence carefully: “businesses should not be constantly facing the threat of prosecution, constantly feeling the risk of criminal or even administrative punishment”. Indeed, if a business is complying with all applicable laws, there should be no reason to be anxious about an arrest, prosecution, and punishment. But these words, spoken by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, mean that Russian businesses should be able to break the law without the worry of prosecution and punishment. Carrying this logic one step forward, President Putin is stating that the rule of law should not apply to Russian businesses. In this particular case, US financier Michael Calvey was imprisoned after his arrest. Nevermind that he was a flight risk. Now it appears that Russia wants to institutionalize lawlessness. If this is not his intent with his words, he grossly misspoke and complete imparted the wrong meaning. But why else would the Russian President’s spokesman make such a statement in regards to a US financier? </end editorial>
‘I think it could get worse’ – BBC News
Paul Whelan, a former US marine accused of spying in Russia, has spoken to the BBC for the first time since his arrest.
Hailed To Handcuffed: Putin-Feted Surgeon Accused Of Removing A Billion From The Coffers
President Vladimir Putin lauded the opportunities his government had created for young people in his state-of-the-nation address on February 20. The same day, in Novosibirsk, a young heart surgeon …
UAWire – Baring Vostok asks Putin to intervene in Calvey case
In an open letter published on its website, Baring Vostok has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to personally take control of the …
American Financier’s Detention In Moscow Rattles Investors
A major U.S. investor in Russia is potentially facing a long jail sentence after being arrested on financial fraud charges. It’s the latest case to shock an already wary foreign investment community in Moscow.
Firm Of Arrested U.S. Investor Calvey Asks Putin To Intervene
Russia-based private-equity group Baring Vostok has appealed to President Vladimir Putin to “take personal control” of a criminal investigation into its jailed American founder and five other execu…
Moscow Court Denies U.S. Investor’s Appeal Against Pretrial Detention
A Russian court has ruled that American investment-fund manager Michael Calvey should remain in pretrial custody, rejecting his appeal to be moved to house arrest.
Russian Media Executive Igor Malashenko Found Dead In Spain
Media reports in Russia say that Igor Malashenko, a well-known television and print media executive, journalist, and political analyst, was found dead in Spain on February 25.
Russian Prison Warden Gets The Boot Over Cushy Treatment Of Gangster
Authorities say the warden of a prison in Far Eastern Russia’s Amur region will be fired for providing a prominent convicted criminal with privileged treatment in the penitentiary.
Human Rights Groups: Tajik Activist Forcibly Returned From Russia Faces Politically Motivated Prosecution
Tajik and Russian officials have arbitrarily detained and forcibly returned to Tajikistan an opposition activist who resurfaced in Dushanbe earlier this month from self-imposed exile, human rights groups say.
Prominent Soviet-Era Russian Film Director Georgy Daneliya In Medically Induced Coma
One of the most popular Soviet-era film directors, Georgy Daneliya, has been hospitalized with pneumonia and put into a medically induced coma in Moscow.
The Blind Leading The Blindfolded Through Yekaterinburg
A blind Russian man is offering blindfolded tours of Yekaterinburg to people with who can see. Vladimir Vaskevic says the tour gives people a chance to enter his world and to experience the Russian city through touch, sound, smell, and taste.
Russian Woman Sentenced To 10 Years In ‘Krasnodar Cannibals’ Case
A court in Russia’s southern region of Krasnodar has sentenced a woman to 10 years in prison in connection with a murder case known as the “Krasnodar cannibals,” officials at the regional directora…
Reports: Criminal Charges Filed In Russian ‘Whale Prison’ Case
Russian news agencies say authorities have filed criminal charges against the owners of four companies in the Pacific region of Primorye for holding dozens of captive whales in shoddy and cramped c…
Reports: American killed by car in Russia’s St. Petersburg | Fox News
An American citizen has been killed when a car ran up on the sidewalk along the main thoroughfare in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
Russian cargo ship with ‘drunk’ captain on board crashes into motorway bridge, tearing huge hole | The Independent
A Russian cargo ship with a “drunk” captain on board smashed into a motorway bridge in South Korea as cars drove along it.
‘Drunk’ Russian sailor crashes massive cargo ship into South Korean bridge | Fox News
A Russian cargo ship crashed into a bi-level bridge on the coast of South Korea while its captain was drunk
‘We’re an ordinary Soviet family’ Russian officials seize six children whose father says he’s being persecuted because he believes the USSR never collapsed — Meduza
Last September, Karelia’s Supreme Court took away the Kiselyovs’ children, after officials concluded that the married couple failed to provide adequate education and living conditions. Over the past several years, the family has been cited a dozen times for different violations. In response to the ruling, the Kiselyovs resorted to “evacuation.” The court then issued an arrest warrant for Lydia Kiselyova, who managed to evade the authorities until mid-January with her five children in tow. On January 17, police finally tracked her down in Moscow, where they pulled her off a bus and seized all the children, whose ages range from four to thirteen. They haven’t spoken to either of their parents since. Anatoly Kiselyov, Lydia’s husband and an activist with the “Union SSR” trade union, says he’s certain the loss of his children is punishment from the local authorities for his controversial political views.
‘This Machine Is Alive’: Retro Russian Steam Engine Back On The Tracks
For the first time in more than 40 years Russia has a steam-powered rail route.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

UAWire – Russia donates $9 million worth of air defense weapons to Tajikistan
Russia donated $9 million worth of air defense systems to Tajikistan, reports TASS with reference to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The report specifies that this delivery includes radar stations designed to detect and track airborne objects, as well as transmit target designation to air defense systems in Tajikistan. The military equipment transfer was carried out in accordance with the Tajikistan’s Armed Forces modernization program, noted the ministry. The Kremlin also pointed out that Russia considers this program a key instrument for boosting combat capability of Moscow’s ally in the Central Asian region. In September 2018, Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, announced that Baku had purchased military products from Moscow for more than $ 5 billion. He also noted the growth in purchases of military equipment from Russia. In July of the same year, the Kremlin reported that Russia delivered $200 million worth of weapons to Armenia under a loan agreement.

Belarus Reports

 


 

Lukashenko agrees to common currency with Russia with issuing center in St. Petersburg
It is possible to create a common currency that will be “a common ruble,” not Russian ruble in the Union State, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said.
Lukashenka Says Russia Won’t ‘Swallow’ Belarus, But Further Integration A ‘Must’
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says Russia has no intention of “swallowing” Belarus but added that further integration between the two countries is a “must.”
Belarus plans to improve relations with NATO, further pursue strategic military cooperation with Russia – Defense Ministry
The Belarusian Defense Ministry has confirmed its strategic course toward partnership with Russia, at the same time voicing the need to gradually improve relations with NATO countries.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka Main Source of Explicit ‘Pro-Russian Messages’ in Belarus Media, New Study Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 25 – Many assume that it is Russian television’s penetration of the Belarusian marketplace that delivers the most pro-Russian messages there, but in fact, a study by the Belarusian Association of journalists finds that “the main source of pro-Russian messages” in Belarus is “the head of the Belarusian state,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The study, based on monitoring of electronic and print media in the republic, did find that almost exactly half (49 percent) of the programming on television channels in Belarus is produced in or in cooperation with Russia (baj.by/be/analytics/prodvizhenie-russkogo-mira-idet-cherez-belorusskie-tv-kanaly-bazh-prezentoval-monitoring, discussed in detail at thinktanks.by/publication/2019/02/25/kto-v-avangarde-prorossiyskoy-propagandy-v-belarusi.html). But despite the massive Russian presence, the study concludes, “propaganda of the idea of ‘the Russian world’ takes place via ‘its own Belarusian television channels which are financed out of the [Belarusian] state budget and included in the obligatory television package,” including not unimportantly Lukashenka’s own remarks. Maksim Zhbankov, a media expert who led the study, says that it focused on “three levels of the creation of a Russia-centric information field: first are the political declarations and official chronicle, second the global context where we observe a common Russia-centric picture of the world … and a third level” which he says is the most interesting. This level involves indirect Russian influence through Russian television series or entertainment programs. This is the resource through which are farmed the very same Russia-centric pictures of the world but already not at the level of mass consciousness but of mass subconsciousness.” The number of explicit pro-Russian messages is relatively small, the study says; but their impact is greater for two reasons, the absence of alternative messages and the negative treatment of anything that challenges the Russia-centric vision of the world that Moscow and clearly to a certain extent Minsk want to promote. “The main source of pro-Russian propaganda in Belarus,” the study says, “remains television. Despite the declarations of the Belarusian authorities about increasing Belarusian content … 60 percent of primetime television is more than 60 percent of Russian origin.” But what is striking is the Belarusian-produced content is often more pro-Russian than the Russian is. Thus, “the relative percentage of materials with messages of Russian propaganda relative to the total number of materials on [Moscow’s] Sputnik Belarus turns out to be less than on [Minsk’s] Belarus-1 television channel,” the journalistic study says. And the impact of this and of the background motifs is far stronger than any propaganda explicitly directed toward Moscow. According to Belarusian observers, this study confirms that “the measures which the Belarusian authorities have taken to defend the information space of the country are not adequate to the real threat.” They do not even acknowledge, the journalists suggest, the way in which this threat not only takes many forms but is helped along by Belarusian media as well.
Belarus hands over four MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia – Defence Blog
Belarus has officially handed over four MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia as part of military-technical aid, according to Belarus’ media reports. According to several media reports, a delegation of the Serbian Ministry of Defense and Air Force, led by Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, attended the handover ceremony in Baranovichi, Brest Oblast on 25 February. Speaking at the ceremony, Vulin underlined that Belarus’ military-technical aid is of great importance for his country. “We can freely say that we now have 14 MiG-29, which is a number that we could not dream of in 2012 when President Vucic became Minister of Defense at that time. His personal relations with President Lukashenko [of Belarus] showed how important they are,” he said. Vulin also said the two countries share military and economic cooperation. Andrei Fedin, Head of the Central Office for Planning and Coordination of Technical Support, First Deputy Chief of Armament of the Belarusian army, noted: “Belarus-Serbia contacts develop vigorously. The two defense ministries share their best practices in a broad spectrum of activities. The Belarusian military is ready to help bolster the defensive capability of the brotherly country of Serbia. We are handing over the MiG-29 aircraft and wish they would get off the ground only during exercises and festivities.” According to BelTA, upon request of the Serbian army specialists of 558 Aircraft Repair Plant will perform repairs and upgrades of the aircraft, which were handed over on 25 February.
‘Nastya Rybka’ Says FSB Warned Her Not To Go Home To Belarus
A Belarusian escort and self-described sex trainer who claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election says the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) “stron…
Belarus Backs Off Talk Of Reporting Young Nonvirgins To Police
Spectacular backlash over an Interior Ministry suggestion that gynecologists would be obliged to inform police if young patients appeared to have lost their virginity.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

U.S. Expresses Concerns While Welcoming ‘Generally’ Fair Moldova Vote
The United States says it welcomes the assessment by international monitors that Moldova’s February 24 parliamentary elections were “competitive and generally” fair, but it adds that its shar…
Moldova’s Vote Is a Cautionary Tale for Pro-European Forces – Bloomberg
Corruption and mismanagement are undermining pro-European political forces and empowering Russia-leaning ones.
Copycat Hacks: Moldovan Facebook Trolls Used Russian Tactics To Promote Kremlin Foes
In an operation copying the tactics of Russian social-media trolls, a network of fake Facebook accounts worked with real account holders in Moldova to promote the ruling Democratic Party’s parliame…
UAWire – Russia accuses Moldova’s Democratic Party leader of money laundering two days before elections
Russian police suspect the Moldovan billionaire and leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc, of illegally withdrawing 37 billion rubles ($ 0.5 billion) from Russia. “Citizens of Russia and Moldova created international criminal community in order to carry out large-scale illegal money laundering operations. The organizers of illegal activities are citizens of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Plahotniuc and Veaceslav Platon,” reads the statement on the website of the Russian Interior Ministry. According to the investigation, in 2013-2014, the accused sold foreign currency from their Russian accounts to foreign clients using fictitious documents. Clients then received this money in rubles according to the Moldovan courts’ decision, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs considers to be “false”. In 2017, Plahotniuc was arrested in absentia in Russia by the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. The Moldovan businessman and politician was accused of attempted murder committed by a group of persons for mercenary reasons, based on political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity (Article 30 and Part Two of Article 105 of the Russian Criminal Code). Plahotniuc was included in the international wanted list. Platon is behind bars in Moldova. In 2017, a court in Chisinau sentenced him to 18 years in prison for a large-scale fraud and money laundering (Article 190 and 243 of Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova).
Moldova Parliament Speaker accuses Russia of election meddling – news world | UNIAN
The Speaker of the Moldovan parliament, vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, Adrian Candu, accused Russia of attempting to intervene in the country’s electoral process. Russian authorities used a number of tools to interfere the election campaign, he told reporters.
Moldovans vote for new government amid talk of protests and poisoning – Reuters – news world | UNIAN
Moldovans are voting in an election on Sunday that is likely to produce a hung parliament, splitting the eastern European country between pro-Western and pro-Russian forces at a time when its relations with the European Union have soured. The campaign has been dogged by controversy.
Mercury Rising: Moldovan Opposition Shows Blood Tests To Back Poisoning Claim On Eve Of Elections
Days before crucial parliamentary elections, Moldovan opposition leaders have accused the ruling party of intentionally poisoning them.
Moldova’s Elections Could Determine Whether Country Moves East Or West
Voters in Moldova are going to the polls on February 24 in parliamentary elections that could determine whether the tiny, impoverished Eastern European country moves closer to Moscow or the Europea…
Voters From Moldova’s Separatist-Held Area Line Up For Parliamentary Vote
Moldovans have been voting in a general election. Voters from Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region came by bus to the government-controlled villages of Dorotcaia and Cosnita to cast their ballots on February 24. Moldova’s mainly Russian-speaking Transdniester declared independence from Moldova in 1990, which resulted in a short but bloody war in 1992. The conflict ended with a cease-fire agreement after Russian troops in the region intervened on the side of the separatists. Some 1,400 Russian troops remain in Transdniester, despite UN calls to remove them.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Zarif’s sudden offer to resign rattles Iran, Rouhani yet to reply | News | Al Jazeera
President Rouhani is yet to accept his foreign minister’s resignation, a move that could undermine fragile nuclear deal.
Mohammad Javad Zarif: Iran’s foreign minister submits resignation – BBC News
Mohammad Javad Zarif announces his resignation in an Instagram post, apologising for “shortcomings”.
Iranian Communications Minister Accused Of ‘Internet Espionage’
Prosecutors in Iran have filed a complaint against the minister of communications and information technology for alleged “Internet espionage,” state media report.
Iran still holding up its end of nuclear deal, IAEA report shows | Reuters
Iran has remained within the key limits on its nuclear activities imposed by its 2015 deal with major powers despite growing pressure from newly reimposed U.S. sanctions, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog showed on Friday.
UN nuclear watchdog: Iran maintains compliance with 2015 pact | TheHill
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog confirmed Friday that Iran remained within key parameters set in the 2015 nuclear pact it signed with the U.S. and other world powers.
Iran Begins Massive War Games to Show Off Its First Ever Submarine Missiles
The drills were designed “to protect the territorial waters of our country, maintain lines of communication and promote the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Iran starts Gulf war games, to test submarine-launched missiles – Business Insider
The three-day war games will stretch from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean and include more than 100 ships, according to Iranian state media.
Iran Shows a new Ship-Killing Torpedo Launched From a Submarine
The system uses a torpedo to launch an anti-ship missile.
Iran Test-Fires Cruise Missile From Submarine In Military Drill
Iran has test-fired a cruise missile from a submarine during annual naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, according to state media.
Iran claims successful submarine launch of cruise missile | TheHill
Iran state media reported Sunday that the country had successfully tested a cruise missile during naval exercises by the Strait of Hormuz, according to
Iran says it made successful submarine missile launch in Gulf war games | Reuters
Iran successfully tested a cruise missile on Sunday during naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.
Iran’s president faces calls to resign over economic crisis
President Rouhani faces anger from clerics, hard-line forces and an ever-growing disaffected public that now threatens his position.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, faces impeachment bid – Washington Times
As Iran marked the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution, a white-turbaned Shiite cleric at one commemoration targeted President Hassan Rouhani, a fellow clergyman, with this sign: “You who are the cause of inflation; we hope you won’t last until spring.”
Iran says it has many options to neutralize ‘illegal’ U.S. sanctions: Tasnim | Reuters
Iran said on Saturday it had many options to neutralize the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on its oil exports, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, adding that Tehran’s regional influence could not be curbed as demanded by Washington.
Iran in SHOW OF STRENGTH as it test its latest warship, vowing to ‘CONFRONT threats’ | World | News | Express.co.uk
IRANIAN naval forces launch large-scale war games in Gulf of Oman, showcasing a brand-new cruise missile submarine.
Iran Power Struggle Erupts Over Architect of Nuclear Deal’s Fate – Bloomberg
Just last week in Munich, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif looked to be in his element as he addressed his global audience from the podium, dismissing Israeli accusations and taking swipes at U.S. policy failures in his neighborhood.
Iran’s president rejects the resignation of his foreign minister – CNN
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has rejected the resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to the country’s semi-official Fars news agency.
Hijabs & Harassment: How Iran Soured Its ‘Sisters’ On The Revolution
Women were out in the streets four decades ago, too, chanting for the demise of the shah. But it became apparent to some of them very early on that their male co-revolutionaries didn’t necessarily …


Trump Declares ISIS ‘100%’ Defeated. That’s ‘100% Not True,’ Ground Reports Say. – The New York Times
The Pentagon scrambled to respond to President Trump’s remarks about how much land has been taken from the Islamic State.
Trump surprises allies, claims US-backed forces reclaimed 100% of ISIS territory in Syria – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump declared Thursday that US backed forces have retaken 100% of the territory once claimed by ISIS in Syria, an announcement that surprised US officials and regional allies leading the fight who told CNN the battle isn’t over.
Trump claims ‘100 percent’ of ISIS caliphate defeated in Syria – ABC News
President Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that “100 percent” of the ISIS caliphate – the self-proclaimed Islamic state in Syria — has been defeated.
Last of the civilians to leave ISIS areas defend the group’s radical ideology – CNN
She was covered from head to toe in black. Identifying herself only as Um Bassam, the mother of Bassam, she told me she was 25 years old, the mother of four children, a widow, and from the city of Aleppo. 
U.S. Allies Spurred a Partial Reversal of Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan, Official Says – WSJ
The Trump administration decision to keep hundreds of U.S. troops based in Syria was driven by allies who said they wouldn’t stay behind to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State without an American presence, a senior U.S. defense official said.
Wise Rethink on Syria – WSJ
Some 400 U.S. troops will stay in the country to deter ISIS and Iran.
Pentagon Wins a Reprieve with Trump Approval of ‘Residual’ Forces in Syria – Defense One
General Dunford is “confident” U.S. allies will now agree to stay, but for how long remains undetermined.
Tunnels, civilians slow capture of Islamic State’s last Syria pocket | Reuters
More than a thousand foreign jihadists could still be sheltering among civilians in Islamic State’s final stronghold in east Syria, a shred of land riddled with defensive tunnels, an official with the U.S.-backed force trying to defeat them said on Sunday.
More people leave Syria’s last IS holdout | Fox News
Evacuations from the last pocket of territory held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria have continued amid a standoff between the militants and the U.S.-backed forces besieging them.
As the battle against ISIS grinds to a close, no one knows how many people are inside its shrinking territory – The Washington Post
According to one European estimate, Western military planners have been operating on the assumption that as many as 10,000 people may have remained in ISIS’s last haven. 
Iraq says it will prosecute French ISIL fighters | News | Al Jazeera
Iraq’s president says all ISIL fighters who committed crimes against his country will be put on trial in Iraq.
Assad meets Khamenei in first Iran visit since Syrian war began | Reuters
Syrian President Bashar al Assad made his first public visit to his closest regional ally Iran since the start of Syria’s war in 2011, meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Monday and championing their alliance, state media reported.
Pompeo rejects legal claim by ISIS wife: ‘She’s a non-citizen terrorist — she’s not coming back’ | Fox News
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to “Fox News Sunday,” forcefully rejected a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration this week by the father of an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join the Islamic State group, saying in no uncertain terms that she is a “non-citizen terrorist” who “is not coming back.”
The Trump administration reverses on a major strategic blunder in Syria – The Washington Post
The president opts to keep some 400 U.S. troops in the country rather than sticking with the disastrous full military withdrawal he proposed in late 2018.
US-backed troops close in on final stronghold of ISIS in Syria
Fighting is focused on Baghouz, a sunburnt, bomb-scarred village spanning just a fifth of a square mile along the Euphrates River — and the only scrap of land still held by ISIS.
SDF looks to clear more civilians from last ISIL pocket in Syria | ISIS/ISIL News | Al Jazeera
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces vow to keep ‘corridor’ to final ISIL holdout open for fleeing civilians.
Trump backs off total Syria withdrawal | TheHill
Trump’s shift followed months of pressure from U.S. lawmakers, European allies and defense officials
Trump administration signals ISIS foreign fighters could be sent to Guantanamo Bay – ABC News
The Trump administration has signaled that ISIS foreign fighters could be sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison.
In Latest Shift, Trump Agrees to Leave 400 Troops in Syria – The New York Times
His decision to commit 200 troops to a multinational force in the northeast — in addition to 200 in the southeast — came after European allies refused to send troops if the United States would not.
Truckloads of ISIS fighters and their jihadi brides line up to leave terrorists’ last frontline | Daily Mail Online
Some 300 IS militants, along with hundreds of civilians believed to be mostly their families, were seen leaving the militants’ last patch of territory in the remote village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.
Syria: Thousands of civilians still living under ISIS control – CNN
Thousands of civilians remain inside ISIS’s last enclave in Syria, a commander with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Friday.
Erdogan says safe zone on Syria border must be under Turkey’s control | Reuters
Any safe zone along Turkey’s border with Syria must be under Turkish control, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk.


🇸🇦 🇺🇸 Saudi Arabia replaces ambassador to US with first female envoy l Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Feb 24, 2019 Saudi Arabia has appointed its first female ambassador to serve as its top diplomat in the United States, pulling a son of King Salman back to the kingdom to serve as deputy defence minister amid deteriorating ties with the US after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Push to end U.S. support for Saudi war hits Senate setback | TheHill
A House-passed resolution that would withdraw U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen is running into a procedural roadblock in the Senate. 
Iraq’s Paramilitaries Are Turning on Their Own Ranks | Chatham House
A feud within the Popular Mobilization Units will change the shape of the organization and the nature of Shia politics in Iraq.
Britain to expand ban on Lebanon’s Hezbollah, calling it terrorist group | Reuters
Britain said on Monday it plans to ban all wings of Hezbollah due to its destabilizing influence in the Middle East, classing the Lebanese Islamist movement as a terrorist organization.
Egypt rejects UN criticism of trials for hanged convicts | Fox News
Egypt has rejected criticism from a U.N. human rights body about a recent spike in executions allegedly involving confessions made under torture, saying Cairo categorically rejects any infringement into the affairs of its judiciary.


Netanyahu To Meet Putin in Moscow Amid Strained Ties
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid tensions over the grinding war in Syria and Moscow’s support for Iran.
Anyone but Bibi: Rivals join forces in challenge to Israel’s Netanyahu, who forms alliance with extreme right – Chicago Tribune
Rivals are joining forces in an attempt to end Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long run as prime minister.
At home and abroad, Netanyahu faces backlash for far-right alliance | Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has touched off rare criticism from AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, over an election alliance with a far-right party loyal to the policies of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane.
Netanyahu Sparks Outrage Over Pact With Racist Party – The New York Times
An increasingly desperate Israeli prime minister has aggravated already fraught relations between Israel and Jews in the diaspora.
UAWire – Netanyahu: Iran’s presence in Syria will be main topic of the meeting with Putin
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is in Moscow, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Before his departure, the …
American Israel lobby AIPAC condemns Netanyahu deal with far-right party – The Washington Post
Netanyahu encouraged inclusion of a far-right faction shunned by most U.S. Jewish groups to shore up his power base.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Trump’s Hanoi Hail Mary failed to score – CNNPolitics
His presidency under siege at home and with his own open musing about the prospects of a Nobel prize, President Donald Trump flew to the other side of the world to meet one of the world’s most notorious tyrants on a long-shot peace mission.
Opinion | After the Trump-Kim Failure – The New York Times
The president was right to walk rather than accept a bad deal, but look out ahead.
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “All false reporting (guessing) on my intentions with respect to North Korea. Kim Jong Un and I will try very hard to work something out on Denuclearization & then making North Korea an Economic Powerhouse. I believe that China, Russia, Japan & South Korea will be very helpful!”
 
Graham warns Kim Jong Un: You’ll ‘regret’ playing Trump – YouTube
Fox News Published on Feb 27, 2019 South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham weighs in on the factors that led up to both Trump-Kim Jong Un summits and the goals coming out of them. #Hannity #FoxNews
Schwarzman: Failed North Korea talks brings US and China closer
Despite the high stakes economic battle between the United States and China, Beijing’s top concern is North Korea’s nuclear policy, Schwarzman says.
Neither Trump nor Kim seemed willing to budge on key issues, resulting in summit breakdown | Fox News
From what could be gleaned at President Trump’s Thursday news conference in Hanoi, it seemed that his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ultimately failed because both sides stood firm on the matters most important to them. For North Korea it was sanctions and for the U.S. it was denuclearization.
Trump walks away from deal with North Korea’s Kim over sanctions demand | Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had walked away from a nuclear deal at his summit with Kim Jong Un because of unacceptable demands from the North Korean leader to lift punishing U.S.-led sanctions.
Trump-Kim Summit Updates: ‘Sometimes You Have to Walk,’ Trump Says as Talks Collapse – The New York Times
President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, cut short their second and final day of talks in Hanoi, Vietnam.
President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s Talks Ended Early. Watch the Press Conference | LIVE | TIME – YouTube
TIME Started streaming 3 hours ago President Donald Trump’s nuclear negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam have been abruptly cut short, and ended without a deal. The White House announced Thursday that Trump’s planned press conference was being moved up by two hours – to 2 p.m. local time. Originally, that was when Trump and Kim were joining to sign a joint agreement, but according to the White House Press Secretary, “No agreement was reached at this time.”
The United States Is Still Trying to Sell North Korea on Denuclearization – Defense One
Days before Donald Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong Un, an administration official admits that Kim may not be prepared to part with his nuclear weapons.
Trump’s North Korea Shift in Kim Summit Fraught With Peril – Bloomberg
Pursuing a more limited agreement risks upsetting allies, emboldening foes and encouraging nuclear proliferation.
Trump says he doesn’t think Kim Jong Un knew about Warmbier | Fox News
President Donald Trump told reporters in Vietnam he didn’t think North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was involved in the death of American college student Otto Warmbier.
President Trump, Kim Jong Un dined on pear kimchi, chocolate lava cake at ‘social dinner’ | Fox News
There were none of his “favorite fast foods” at President Trump’s dinner with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday night in Hanoi — but rather traditional American and Korean dishes with an upscale twist.  
Trump offers public embrace of Kim Jong Un hours before summit begins – The Washington Post
In Hanoi, president called the authoritarian leader ‘my friend’ and touted a path forward for North Korea.
What Trump Needs To Keep In Mind In His Summit With North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
President Trump has initiated a serious dialogue with North Korea — whether it will be productive depends on whether the administration takes into account the following realities.
Ex-CIA Station Chief: In Trump-Kim summit, here’s what Trump should ask for | Fox News
Realistically, what can we expect to come out of the second summit this week between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi?
On Eve Of 2nd Trump-Kim Summit, Is North Korean Reactor Producing Plutonium? : NPR
Days before President Trump and Kim Jong Un are to meet in Vietnam, satellite images show no river ice downstream from the key North Korean facility at Yongbyon — a sign the reactor may be running.
The Trump-Kim Summit Is Diplomacy. Democrats Should Support It. – Defense One
Trump has wisely shifted tactics. Democrats should not let politics undermine reasonable diplomacy.
Dutch Seize 90,000 Bottles Of Russian Vodka Believed Bound For North Korea
Dutch officials say they confiscated about 90,000 bottles of Russian vodka thought to be headed for North Korea in violation of international sanctions.
Spanish police investigate incident at North Korean Embassy in Madrid that left woman hurt | Fox News
Spanish authorities were investigating an incident at the North Korean Embassy in Madrid on Wednesday after assailants reportedly barged into the building, bound and gagged workers before fleeing the building with electronics.
Kim Jong Un may not even need a nuclear deterrent anymore thanks to this stunning weapon | Fox News
The North Korean dictator has a stunning weapon that’s not even on the negotiating table: cyber, and an army of 6,000 hackers supported by China.
Yongbyon: The heart of North Korea’s nuclear programme – BBC News
It’s the heart of North Korea’s nuclear programme – and a stumbling block for a deal with the US.
North Korea’s Kim begins long train trip to Vietnam for summit with Trump: report | Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set off by train for Vietnam on Saturday, for his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump next week, media reported, and hours later, two witnesses saw a train crossing into China from North Korea.
White House vows to shed Obama-era policy of ‘cowering’ before North Korea ahead of second Trump-Kim summit | Fox News
As President Trump prepares to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for their second one-on-one summit, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday and Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News the administration will abandon what he called the Obama administration’s policy of “praying” and “cowering” before the rogue regime.


Pompeo: US to make sure China can’t blockade South China Sea | Fox News
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is committed to ensuring the South China Sea remains open to all kinds of navigation and that “China does not pose a threat” of closing the busy sea lanes.
US warships just sailed through the Taiwan Strait again, ignoring China’s repeated warnings | Business Insider
Two US Navy warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, sending a message to Beijing, which has warned the US to “tread lightly” in the closely watched waterway.
US Navy dispatches destroyer, cargo ship through Taiwan Strait in message to China | Fox News
The U.S. Navy dispatched a guided-missile destroyer and a cargo ship through the Taiwan Strait Monday, the latest in a series of American military maneuvers intended to send a message to Beijing that the United States will continue its support of Taiwan in the face of recent threats by the Chinese government.
South China Sea: Indonesia And Vietnam Prove Duterte Wrong
Indonesia’s and Vietnam’s moves have proved Duterte wrong: standing up to China doesn’t lead to war
China Develops Non-Lethal Microwave Radar Weapon: Global Times
(Bloomberg) — China is developing a non-lethal weapon system based on microwave radar technology, Global Times reported, citing an interview with the project’s chief engineer, surnamed Su.
China army uses mock-up of T-90 tank for combat training – Defence Blog
A mock-up of a Russian-made T-90 main battle tank, based on wheeled platform, was spotted at Chinese Army proving ground. The photograph was shared online triggering an avalanche of comments, from the suggestion that a Chinese army will be used this T-90 mock-up for combat training of its troops. The specific role of the realistic mock-up has not yet been clarified by Chinese officials but some experts said that it will be used to test on-board equipment of Army’s attack helicopters and fighter jets. Similar mock-ups of military vehicles and defense systems used in many parts of the world for training purposes. The T-90 is a third-generation Russian battle tank introduced in 1992 by the manufacturer Uralvagonzavod. The T-90 quickly became a staple armor solution of the Russian Land Forces for its cost-effective blend of firepower, handling and durability. This tank is an improved version of Soviet-era T-72 and originally called the T-72BU, but later renamed to T-90. 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. The largest export operator is India which obtained 620 tanks in knock-down kits for local assembly and plans to produce 1 000 tanks locally. Additionally, export operators are Algeria, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Venezuela.


Trump declares ‘signing summit’ for imminent trade deal with China – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump declared Monday he would participate in a “signing summit” with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as the world’s two largest economies edged closer to a trade deal.
China Trade Talks: Trump Vents Frustration With Lighthizer – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump and his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, have grown increasingly frustrated with each other as a China trade deal stays elusive with a key deadline less than a week away, said people inside and close to the administration.
US and China trade war: CSI 300 jumps after Trump delays tariff hike – CNN
US President Donald Trump has given Chinese stocks a boost by giving the two countries more time to reach a trade deal. Chinese leader Xi Jinping also added fuel with postive comments about the financial industry.
Donald Trump’s trade showdown with China and how it will affect you – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Donald Trump again delays an ultimate showdown with China over trade, but the future of the global economy, and your livelihood, depends on a deal eventually being done, writes Ian Verrender.


Trump delays increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, cites progress in talks
Trump had planned to increase tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports into the United States if a deal were not reached by Friday between the world’s two largest economies. The president said in a tweet that progress had been made on a host of divisive areas
Amid US-China trade dispute, companies say there’s one area of change
The American Chamber of Commerce in China said Tuesday that 59 percent of its members believe Beijing’s enforcement of intellectual property protection has improved in the last five years.
Experts: US anti-Huawei campaign likely exaggerated
State-sponsored hackers have shown no preference for one manufacturer’s technology over another, these experts say. Kremlin-backed hackers, for instance, adroitly exploit internet routers and other networking equipment made by companies that are not Russian.
Huawei – CNN
Huawei on Thursday pleaded not guilty to federal charges that it tried to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile.
U.S. Senate Report Slams Confucius Institutes | Time
The report calls for the complete overhaul or closure of the Chinese government-funded learning centers at U.S. universities.
Senate investigators warn of Chinese state-run centers at more than 100 U.S. colleges
Senate investigators are warning that China has opened government-run centers at more than 100 American college campuses.


This map shows a trillion-dollar reason why China is oppressing more than a million Muslims | Business Insider
The Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority in Xinjiang, western China, are living in one of the most heavily-policed and oppressive states in the world. This map helps explain why.
China suddenly takes BBC news off air after Muslim detention camps mentioned | The Independent
China censored a TV report about its detention of more than a million Uighur Muslims in “re-education camps” by suddenly cutting off the broadcast, according to a BBC reporter. Stephen McDonell filmed the moment the World Service Newsday programme went off air as he began to speak about the treatment of the Turkic ethnic minority in the northwestern Xinjiang province.
Turkey urges China to protect religious freedom in Xinjiang | Turkey News | Al Jazeera
Chinese authorities must respect human rights of Muslims, including freedom of religion, Turkish FM says.
Turkey, Britain raise China’s treatment of Uighurs at U.N. rights forum | Reuters
Turkey and Britain voiced concern on Monday at China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling on Beijing to protect freedom of religion and cultural identity.
US tech company says it will no longer sell equipment to China to expand Uighur DNA tracking capability | Fox News
Massachusetts-based biotech company, Thermo Fisher, declared this week that it would no longer allow China to purchase its equipment – which is believed to have been used to help the ruling Communist Party create a DNA database of the country’s Uighur minority.
China bars millions from travel for ‘social credit’ offenses | Fox News
BEIJING (AP) — Forgot to pay a fine in China? Then forget about buying an airline ticket.
China blocks 17.5 million plane tickets for people without enough ‘social credit’ | The Independent
The Chinese government blocked 17.5 million would-be plane passengers from buying tickets last year as a punishment for offences including the failure to pay fines, it emerged. Some 5.5 million people were also barred from travelling by train under a controversial “social credit” system which the ruling Communist Party claims will improve public behaviour.


Saudi Arabia, China do $10B oil deal, brush off Xinjiang, Khashoggi – Business Insider
Saudi Arabia signed 35 economic-cooperation agreements with China worth $28 billion at an investment forum during the visit, the news agency SPA said.
South Korea scrambles fighter jets after Chinese military aircraft enters air defense zone – Defence Blog
According to several media reports, South Korea scrambled fighter jets to intercept a Chinese military aircraft that entered the South’s air defense zone, called the KADIZ. “The aircraft entered the country’s air defense identification zone, called the KADIZ, at around 8:03 a.m. near Ieo Island and exited at 8:27 a.m.”, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The Chinese aircraft was believed to be a military reconnaissance plane. “It re-entered the KADIZ at 9:34 a.m. near the southeastern city of Pohang, and flew between Ulleung and the easternmost islets of Dokdo, eventually leaving the air defense zone at 12:51 p.m.” added in Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC). The Republic of Korea Air Force deployed fighter jets to counter a Chinese military plane flying in the country’s air defense domain without notice and sent a warning message, the JSC said.
Japan to push ahead with U.S. base relocation despite Okinawa referendum result | Reuters
A majority of voters in a referendum on Okinawa opposed a plan to relocate a U.S. military base within the southern Japanese island, but the central government said on Monday it intended to press ahead with its construction plans.
Okinawa referendum rejects relocation for US military base | Fox News
The residents of Japan’s southwestern island region of Okinawa have rejected a relocation plan for a U.S. military base that was put to a referendum, dealing a blow to a bilateral security deal stalled for years.
Okinawans set to vote on US military base relocation | News | Al Jazeera
Japanese islanders to hold non-binding referendum as pressure mounts on government to halt multibillion-dollar project.
Okinawa votes in referendum on US military base relocation | Fox News
The people of Okinawa are voting on a plan for a U.S. military base relocation in a referendum that will send a message on how they feel about housing American troops in Japan.
Taiwanese game mocks Chinese president, and Chinese gamers review bomb it – Polygon
Devotion, which launched Feb. 19, apparently contained some placeholder assets comparing Chinese president Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, which is a bigtime no-no.
Chau Chak Wing wins defamation case against Sydney Morning Herald | Media | The Guardian
Herald’s new owner, Nine, says it will appeal against the $280,000 in damages it has been ordered to pay Chau
Australia’s Liberal Party Releases National Security Plan Ahead of May Elections | The Diplomat
The plan broadens the church of national security but it doesn’t provide much clarity. Ahead of Australia’s May elections, Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week launched the Liberal Party’s national security policy plan, A Safer Australia. A Secure Future. While the plan lists big-ticket funding commitments across a range of traditionally security focused areas, it is noteworthy in its distinct broadening of the church of national security, and includes details on economic planning, domestic violence, and vaccination schedules. The inclusion of these nontraditional issues may well be welcome to some; however, without a clear notion of how these issues fit within the wider frame of national security – or without even a clear conception of what Australia’s national security outcomes are – the plan poses more questions than it answers.

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

When European Countries Retreat From Democracy, How Should the U.S. Respond? – Foreign Policy
The question looms large during Pompeo’s visit to Central Europe.
In Israel and UK, the political center is making a comeback (opinion) – CNN
The bold moves to the political center in Britain and Israel may not be sustainable, says Frida Ghitis, but amid Brexit chaos and a turbulent election in Israel, this surge toward the pragmatic, responsible center shows a much-needed ray of hope for the future.
Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Agenda Is Breaking Russia’s Grip On Poland | Watts Up With That?
From The Daily Caller Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter Natural gas from the U.S. is flooding Polish markets as the European country seeks to loosen Russia’s grip on its energy security, The New York Times reports. Russia supplies roughly half of Poland’s fuel, but long-term contracts with American companies signed by Poland’s state-owned gas giant…
U.N. Court Tells Britain to End Control of Chagos Islands, Home to U.S. Air Base – The New York Times
The International Court of Justice said Britain acted unlawfully in 1965 when it detached a group of islands from Mauritius, at the time a British colony, to facilitate an American military lease.


Jeremy Corbyn: U.K.’s Labour Party to Back Second Brexit Referendum
Could potentially allow the public another shot at rejecting departure from EU in its entirety.
Britain’s Labour Party leader backs Brexit referendum | Reuters
Britain’s opposition Labour Party will back a new referendum on Brexit after parliament defeated its alternative plan for leaving the European Union, its eurosceptic leader Jeremy Corbyn said, softening his reservations about a second popular vote.
U.K.’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says party will back new referendum on Brexit
Britain’s main opposition party took a big step toward backing a second Brexit referendum amid concerns the country could crash out of the European Union.
Jeremy Corbyn, Under Pressure From His Labour Party, Backs New Brexit Vote – The New York Times
Mr. Corbyn’s support for a second referendum cheered pro-European Britons, but his shift is no guarantee that a so-called “people’s vote” will happen.
Labour war erupts between Jeremy Corbyn’s aides and his closest shadow ministers over new Brexit policy
THE leader’s advisers were accused of watering down the party’s backing for a second referendum by saying it must not be a choice between Theresa May’s deal and Remain. A source also said Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry ‘misspoke’ over Labour campaigning for Remain in a new poll.
Labour will win more votes than it loses by backing another referendum | Peter Kellner | Opinion | The Guardian
The polls are clearly in favour of Jeremy Corbyn’s policy shift, says former YouGov president Peter Kellner
Thanks, Corbyn, Now Bring On That Second Brexit Vote – Bloomberg
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn says he’s in favor. Better late than never.
McDonnell says amendment for second Brexit referendum could happen early | Politics | The Guardian
Labour to push for another vote if May’s Brexit deal fails, shadow chancellor confirms
Referendum pledge angers Corbyn allies | News | The Times
Allies of Jeremy Corbyn turned on the Labour leader yesterday over his decision to back a second referendum. He was criticised in a shadow cabinet meeting the morning after his surprise announcement that he would support another vote if he could not get the deal he wants through the Commons. Th
Theresa May Is Said to Face Calls to Quit Within Three Months – Bloomberg
Theresa May must resign as British prime minister and Conservative leader later this year after delivering Brexit, according to politicians at the highest levels of her own government.
May gains two weeks’ Brexit reprieve from MPs | Reuters
Prime Minister Theresa May won a two week reprieve on Wednesday from British MPs, who postponed a threatened rebellion aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit after she agreed to a possible delay to Britain’s departure from the EU.
May Raises Stakes Before Brexit Showdown as EU Hatches Plot – Bloomberg
Theresa May once again postponed a final vote on her Brexit divorce agreement, raising the stakes in a battle with members of her own cabinet who are fighting to avert a no-deal exit.
Why the Party Defections Over Brexit Are a Cautionary Tale for the U.S. | The New Yorker
Amy Davidson Sorkin reports on the fracturing of the Labour Party in Britain, exacerbated by Brexit, and why that pattern may soon be replicated in the U.S.
How Remainers could accidentally save Theresa May’s Brexit deal | Business Insider
LONDON – A plan by Remain-supporting MPs to force Theresa May to take a no-deal Brexit off the table could be the key to passing her Brexit deal, growing numbers of Conservative MPs now believe.
Brexit: Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke issue delay warning – BBC News
Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke say extending Article 50 is better than “crashing out” of the EU.
Brexit anger and uncertainty can be explained through fish – CNN
The economic “food chain” of British seafood — catching, trading and serving fish — highlights the knot of issues that have bedeviled the UK’s efforts to divorce from the EU.


Berger quitting over anti-Semitism Labour’s worst day, says Watson – BBC News
Tom Watson says when MP Luciana Berger left Labour it was the party’s “worst day of shame”.
Antisemitism is a badge of shame, says Labour deputy Tom Watson | News | The Times
The departure of Luciana Berger is a “badge of shame” for Labour, Tom Watson said, as he stepped up the pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to rid the party of antisemitism.Labour’s deputy leader said that he was seeking a meeting with the party’s leader to discuss what he said was the “number one issue” fa
Labour doesn’t have zero tolerance of antisemitism if Chris Williamson is an MP | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian
It’s clear that the party should remove the whip from the MP, who claimed it was too apologetic to the Jewish community, says Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland
Labour MP Chris Williamson suspended in anti-Semitism row – BBC News
Chris Williamson had apologised for saying the party had “given too much ground” over the issue.
Corbyn’s new low: Labour leader tries to save close ally in vile anti-Semitism storm – only to be shamed into suspending him by 38 of his own furious MPs
Humiliated Jeremy Corbyn was forced to suspend ally Chris Williamson yesterday after a revolt by 38 moderate Labour MPs. Labour had initially refused to withdraw the whip from Chris Williamson.
If Labour sacked Chris Williamson over his ‘pattern of behaviour’ — they should look at Corbyn too as he’s up to his neck in anti-Semitism
ANTI-Semites and extremist cranks have poured into Labour since one of their own became leader in 2015. And it is clear — from the whitewash report that secured Shami Chakrabarti her shameful peerage, to yesterday’s reluctance over sacking Chris Williamson — that the party just doesn’t care.


Germany Recalibrates After 2 Years Of Trump : NPR
Senior officials in Berlin who oversee the trans-Atlantic relationship tell NPR there continue to be concerns about the “German-bashing we hear out of Washington.”
‘Verdammt’: Just when you thought the worst was over, Germany’s economy moved dangerously close to falling ‘over the edge’ into recession | Business Insider
 
CEO Of U.S. Gun-Maker Faces Jail In Germany : NPR
A decade after Sig Sauer inked a deal to sell up to $306 million worth of pistols to Colombia’s National Police, company CEO Ron Cohen is facing jail time in Germany for making the sale.


In France, Popular Support for Yellow Vests Cools Off – WSJ
The French public has begun to turn against the yellow vest movement, with a new poll for the first time showing majority supporting an end to the protests. The shift in sentiment offers a sign of relief for President Macron.
Macron’s popularity gains as ‘yellow vest’ support wanes: poll | Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity has recovered to levels not seen since “yellow vest” protests broke out in mid-November as support for movement wanes, a poll showed on Monday.
French yellow vest protesters seek momentum on 15th week – ABC News
After Confronting Macron, France’s Yellow Vest Movement Turns on Itself – WSJ
The protest movement is bitterly divided over whether to coalesce into a formal organization or keep its antiestablishment roots, as it presses President Macron for change
Thousands of yellow vest protesters take to the streets across France for a 15th weekend running | Daily Mail Online
Among the many rallies around Paris and in other French cities, hundreds gathered around the Eiffel Tower, which resulted in French police using tear gas to disperse yellow-vest protesters.
French farmers warm to Macron as he calls on EU to keep budget big | Reuters
European Union agriculture is threatened by divisions inside the EU and competition from rival trading blocs, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday, calling for a large budget to defend EU goals on food quality and environmental protection.


Greece’s invisible minority – the Macedonian Slavs – BBC News
Greece has long denied that it has a Macedonian minority. Will this now change, asks Maria Margaronis?
Russia offers financial aid to Italy’s far-right leader Salvini
Russia offered to provide financial aid for Italy’s Salvini in the upcoming EP elections
Spain Tops Italy as World’s Healthiest Country: Report | Time
Maybe it’s something in the paella: Spain just surpassed Italy to become the world’s healthiest country, according to a Bloomberg index.


Trudeau’s Ex-Attorney General: ‘Veiled Threats’ Were Made to Drop Case – The New York Times
Jody Wilson-Raybould said she was pressured to end a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The opposition called for Mr. Trudeau’s resignation.
Political Scandal Worsens for Canada’s Justin Trudeau – WSJ
A firestorm surrounding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became more damaging as his ex-justice minister accused his top aides of repeatedly pressuring her to drop the prosecution of a global engineering and construction firm.

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

The American AI Initiative: Bluster or Gangbuster? | Center for Strategic and International Studies
President Trump signed an executive order (EO) yesterday outlining the American AI Initiative, a five-part national strategy to maintain U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence (AI). While long overdue, this is a critical first step in developing a concrete and coherent approach to building the technological foundation of the next generation of economic growth.
How Perception of Fossil Fuel Futures Have Evolved | Watts Up With That?
An Engineer’s Perspective By Ronald Voisin, A couple decades ago an international team of volcanologists arranged for the tag-on launch of a first generation orbiting gravimeter in order to study volcanism (the legitimate auspicious being pure scientific endeavor). While that intended function was successful, a much more important capability unexpectantly came to pass. Subsequent generations…


Complementary Airpower: The Case for the F-15X | RealClearDefense
America depends on airpower. Airpower underpins the military options leaders use to enhance deterrence and if deterrence fails, to fight and win with minimum casualties. A key element of America’s…
A Legacy Fighter, The F-15 Mission is Complete | RealClearDefense
The United States Air Force maintains the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. Attaining and maintaining air superiority has been a top priority of U.S. military…
The US Air Force doesn’t want F-15X. But it needs more fighter jets.
The top two Air Force leaders made it clear that buying new fourth-generation planes was not their first choice.
Stealth Shortage? The Air Force Cannibalized a Stealth F-22 Raptor Squadron | The National Interest
Why? 
Conference call confusion: Is the joint French, British fighter program ‘terminated’?
Confusion arose surrounding the Franco-British Future Combat Air System project, as Dassault Aviation’s CEO said the project was “terminated.”
New Photos of F-117 Stealth Jet Flying Over Panamint Valley Appear on Social Media – The Aviationist
Several photos of an F-117 Nighthawk flying very low over rolling desert terrain appeared on Instagram and Twitter this Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The photographs, posted on both the “SWC_Addiction” Instagram and by Neil Jackson (@NeilJackson10) on his Twitter account, show the silhouette and some barely visible, grainy, high contrast detail of an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. The photos were taken “working the flats at Panamint at 200 feet” according the Neil Jackson’s Twitter post. This area is near the Nellis Test and Training Range and the region some people refer to as “Area 51”. The photos, are noteworthy for a number of reasons. The F-117 was officially retired from USAF service in April, 2008. Since then some photos of the aircraft flying over the Nellis Test and Training Range have surfaced on social media, but they have been rare. A large section of an F-117 fuselage was observed being moved on a flatbed truck along Route 95 adjacent to the Nellis Test and Training Range in Nevada near Creech AFB in back in November, 2017. While no official information about any ongoing F-117 flight operations is readily available, it would appear the aircraft are performing some test or training role in the region. Back in July 2018, Youtube user “pdgls” filmed two F-117 flying again at Tonopah Test Range. The video shows two F-117s taking off in sequence as Night (or Knight – 9th FS callsign) 17 and 19. The shape of the Black Jet can be clearly identified as it maneuvers over TTR. Here’s what The Aviationist Editor David Cenciotti wrote about the sighting in a detailed article published back then: Needless to say, the reason for the F-117 flights remains a mystery. Whilst the pretty basic pattern activity carried out by Night 19 is coherent with a periodic flight required to maintain currencies and airworthiness certificates, the seemingly more complex stuff conducted by Night 17 after it changed callsign to Dagger 17 seems to suggest there is some more interesting work for Black Jet. Indeed, as often explained here at The Aviationist, although it is a “legacy” radar-evading aircraft, the F-117 can still be used to support a wide variety of tests and developments: new radar or Infra Red Search and Track systems, new SAM (surface to air missiles) batteries, new RAM (Radar Absorbent Material) and coatings; or even 6th generation combat planes and next generation AEW (Airborne Early Warning) platforms. They might be supporting stealth UCAVs (unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) research and, as explained above, someone has also speculated some have been converted into drones. Moreover, we can’t completely rule out the possibility Nighthawk are used as adversaries/aggressors against real or simulated systems, if not within the context of a Red Flag (the audio you can hear above, from the beginning to 04:30 hours, was recorded during Red Flag on Jul. 25, although the activity is probably completely unrelated to the F-117 sorties) as part of complex LVC (Live Virtual Constructive) scenarios, where actual assets are mixed up with virtual ones. While everything about these photos is interesting, of particular note is the aircraft’s very low altitude and high bank angle. Moreover, according to Jackson, the aircraft operated in the area for quite some time (about two hours). The Instagram account where the photos appeared features images taken from the nearby low-flying training areas in Death Valley, California, a very short flight from the Nellis Test and Training Ranges commonly referred to as “Area 51”.
Check Out This Incredible Footage Of An F-117 Flying Low Over Death Valley Today. – The Aviationist
Earlier today we have posted some cool shots of an F-117 Nighthawk flying very low over the flats in beautiful Panamint Valley in Death Valley National Park. Those photographs were taken on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. Today, February 27, the same (or another) F-117 stealth jet flew again very low over Death Valley. However, this time, the iconic jet was filmed as it overflew a lucky bystander. Here’s the video posted on Instagram by our friends at AirshowStuff.
B-1 bombers participated for the first time in joint air defense war games – Defence Blog
The Air Force’s B-1B Lancer long-range strike bombers participated, for the first time, in Joint Air Defense Exercise. A statement from the U.S. Air Force claims that B-1B Lancers, F-15E Strike Eagles and regional coalition partner aircraft have been involved during Joint Air Defense Exercise 19-01, a regularly scheduled three-day training event focused on increasing the readiness of air defense assets in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. “This is the first time a B-1 has been integrated into JADEX,” said Maj. Ricardo Lara, Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) chief of exercises. “It gave us an opportunity to practice combined air operations with multiple aircraft and partners dedicated to regional defense to develop command and control tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).” The multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time. During joint air defense war games, B-1B bombers can imitate a potential enemy aircraft such as the Russian Tu-160 or Chinese H-6. Along with the live-fly portion, JADEX also included Navy ships and Army defense assets that participated in combined defense training. As well, the exercise consisted of robust table-top and simulated scenarios to test joint coalition C2 partners in all domains.
Air Force forces Boeing to make changes after problems with KC-46 production
Problems with foreign object debris led to a weeklong grounding at a key Boeing plant.
Northrop Grumman to integrate advanced radar system onto B-52H and B-1B – Defence Blog
U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp reported a successfully integrated the advanced AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) system onto multiple configurations of F-16 aircraft and is now taking the next step in expanding to additional platforms, including the U.S. Air Force (USAF) B-52H Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer bombers as well as the U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C/D Hornet strike fighter. Northrop Grumman’s SABR system design leverages proven, fifth-generation Active Electronically Scanned Array radar capabilities of the AN/APG-77 on the F-22 Raptor and the AN/APG-81 on the F-35 Lightening II. SABR provides a reliable, cost-effective, off-the-shelf, low-risk radar upgrade solution for multiple platforms. “The SABR and SABR-Global Strike family of radars provides differentiating capability for air dominance and strike missions,” said Tom Jones, vice president and general manager, airborne C4ISR systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our hot production and sustainment lines are already in place to support our current and future customers’ needs for decades to come.” Northrop Grumman’s SABR is under consideration by Boeing for the B-52 Bomber Modernization Radar System, which includes engineering, manufacturing, development and delivery of an initial seven radar units. The USAF has expressed a desire to upgrade the entire B-52 fleet with a new radar system. Additionally, a version of SABR has been developed for the B-1B fleet. Northrop Grumman is in full-rate production of SABR in support of F-16 upgrade programs for international and domestic customers. The company stands ready to deliver this advanced radar capability for additional platforms, including the F/A-18C/D, B-52H and B-1B.
Air Force reports E-3G delay, pushes AWACS Block 40/45 final milestone into mid-2024 | InsideDefense.com
The Air Force has delayed a key milestone for its $2.7 billion, E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System Block 40/45 upgrade program stemming from shortfalls identified during testing and delays in delivering new hardware by prime contractor Boeing.
Lockheed Unveils F-21 Fighter, a Beefy F-16 Concept It’s Pitching to India – Defense One
It’s the company’s latest attempt to secure a $15 billion deal for 114 new fighter jets.
Australia bolsters capabilities, training opportunities for its P-8A aircraft
Australia has 12 P-8As on order, and an order for three more aircraft currently subject to an acquisition approval process.


CSBA Analyst Calls For F-35C Redesign | Defense content from Aviation Week
A U.S. defense expert says the U.S. Navy should redesign the Lockheed Martin F-35C to perform a future role as a fleet defense fighter and long-range bomber escort.
What does Australia think of the F-35? One Air Force commander details his experience
The commander of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Air Combat Group has provided insight into his experience with the Joint Strike Fighter.
Melting missiles: just one problem with F-35s stopping North Korea rockets
Looking for a quick way to stop North Korean missiles immediately after lift-off, the Pentagon is studying as a near-term option whether a group of F-35 fighter jets hovering around North Korean airspace could pick off freshly-launched rockets. In its current form, the idea defies physics, missile defense
Singapore to buy 4 F-35 fighter jets for testing: Ng Eng Hen – Channel NewsAsia
Singapore will place an order for four F-35 fighter jets for complete testing with the option for eight more, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen …
Poland Making Steps Towards Procuring 32 F-35 Fifth Generation Jets? – The Aviationist
During a press conference held today and reported broadly by the Polish media, the head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, placed a major emphasis on acquisition of the new fighter aircraft for the Polish Air Force. The main argument used by the Polish official, when justifying the procurement, was the number of incidents and reduced reliability of the post-soviet inventory of the Polish military aviation (MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft types). The conference concerned the introduction of a new Technichal Modernization Plan, that would cover the period between 2017 and 2026. The document outlines the modernization effort that is to be undertaken by the MoD over the term in question. Błaszczak suggested that, within the framework of the newly adopted technical modernization plan, Harpia program is a priority. The Polish official emphasized the role that 5th generation airframes play in the structure of the modern military – they act as a force multiplier. And this has been the role assigned to them by Błaszczak during his speech – the new jets are to complement the F-16s. Given that the only 5-generation aircraft available on the market now is the F-35, the Polish official has been probably referring to the Lockheed Martin’s latest platform. Overall, the value of the new Technical Modernization Plan issued by the MoD is contained in an amount of PLN 185 billion (49B USD), which means that the amount is 45 billion zlotys (12B USD) higher than in case of the preceding document. Other air-domain programs pursued and defined by the Polish MoD include the following: Kruk program (English: Raven; procurement of attack helicopters for the land forces, in order to replace the aging Mi-24 Hinds); Gryf (English: Griffin; Medium endurance UAVs); Ważka (English: Dragonfly; micro-UAVs for urban reconnaissance); Płomykówka (English: Barn Owl; IMINT/RADINT/SIGINT aircraft). Among the abovementioned air-domain programs, Kruk and Harpia have been listed among the priorities of the Polish MoD. The remaining elements of the Technical Modernization plan include: Narew (named after one of the Polish rivers; SHORAD system procurement); Cyber.mil.pl (modern cyber capabilities program, aimed at reinforcing the said domain in the Polish military); Wisła (named after the longest Polish river, Vistula; medium range air defense system procurement); Miecznik (English: Swordfish; coastal defense vessel program); Orka (English: Orca; new submarine procurement program); Regina (self propelled howitzers acquisition; the platform uses the name Krab – English: Crab); Rak (English: crayfish; 120 mm self-propelled mortars acquisition); Homar (English: Lobster; rocket artillery program); Pustelnik (English Loner; light infantry ATGM acquisition); Borsuk (Badger; IFV development); and Mustang (high mobility vehicle acquisition). Notably, and which is quite worrying, the newly adopted modernization plan does not include any rotary-winged aircraft. The Perkoz (English: crested grebe) program that was aimed at acquiring the Mi-2 Hoplite successor has been postponed beyond the year 2026, and also no information has been released with regards to other medium helicopter acquisitions. It seems, at the same time, that the Mi-2 that had its 50th anniversary of service in the Polish military last year, will be operated for at least 6 decades, Defence24.pl’s Juliusz Sabak suggests.
F-35 Demo Team Full Aerial Demonstration practice at Luke AFB Feb.25 2019 – YouTube
Italian Air Force Plans To Phase Out AMX In Favor Of F-35 | Combat Aircraft content from Aviation Week
Targeting and reconnaissance pods extended the AMX’s life as a cost-effective ground-attack and recce platform, but the aircraft will be retired in 2021.


Boeing introduces new unmanned system for global defense customers
MELBOURNE, Australia, Feb. 27, 2019 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] has introduced its newest unmanned platform, the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
Boeing Unveils ‘Loyal Wingman’ UAV Developed In Australia | Defense content from Aviation Week
Boeing Airpower Teaming System is a fighter-like unmanned aircraft specifically designed to be exportable globally.
Boeing unveils ‘loyal wingman’ drone
The concept is designed to perform the role of a loyal wingman to manned platforms and is being developed in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force. A prototype is expected to fly in 2020.
Boeing showcases stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle – Defence Blog
U.S. aerospace manufacturer Boeing showcased the technology demonstrator of the multi-mission stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle at this year’s Avalon Air Show in Australia. The aerospace giant reported Boeing has introduced its newest unmanned platform, the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. Designed for global defense customers by Boeing Australia, it is the company’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States. The aircraft will complement and extend airborne missions through smart teaming with existing military aircraft. A model of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow by the Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP. As a research and development activity, the Australian Government and Boeing will produce a concept demonstrator called the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program that will provide key learnings toward the production of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
Australia partners with Boeing on new combat drone build – Strategy – iTnews
$40m to further develop prototype.
Combat drones capable of deadly force set to join Australian military arsenal – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
There are few details around the classified project, but the drone’s primary purpose will be to conduct electronic warfare and reconnaissance missions in areas where it is too dangerous to send manned aircraft.
Australian fighter-sized UAS unveiled – Australian Aviation
Australia changes how it will buy drones for shipborne operations. How is industry reacting?
This change in procurement strategy appears to reduce the burden of risk on the Royal Australian Navy and lessen concerns about operating outdated technology by the time the platform enters service.
Northrop pitches optionally manned Firebird to monitor Australia’s coasts
Australia is seeking information for a new maritime surveillance capability.
Northrop to deliver Triton drone to Australia in 2023, says Air Force official
Australia is acquiring the multiple intelligence gathering version of the Triton.
The Materialization of Plan Jericho: Building a Wingman for a 5th Generation Air Force – Second Line of Defense


Pentagon Wants Satellites That Can Dodge Incoming Fire – Defense One
As China and Russia move to weaponize space, the U.S. military is working to give its constellations a “fighting chance.”
Polish company offers its small suicide drones for Australian Defense Forces – Defence Blog
Polish defense company WB Group is offering a new and enhanced variant of loitering munition system Warmate, also known as small suicide drone, for Australian Defence Forces. According to the company’s statement, the company has signed an agreement for distribution of the loitering munition system Warmate with its Australian partner CABLEX. The agreement was signed in the presence of Australian Ministry of Defence Industry Mr. Steven Ciobo and Polish Ambassador in Australia Mr. Michał Kołodziejski. Warmate is a loitering munition designed to loiter the battlefield and attack targets by self-destructing into them. A loitering munition is a weapon system category in which the munition loiters around the target area for some time, searches for targets, and attacks once a target is located. Formal signature of the agreement, on behalf of WB GROUP and CABLEX took place on February 28 at AVALON 2019, one of the largest aviation, aerospace and defense events for the Asia Pacific. The agreement with CABLEX stipulates that the company will be the exclusive distributor of WARMATE in Australia and the system integrator according to the requirements of the Australian armed forces. “We are pleased with today’s agreement to provide Australia with a high-quality, affordable solution,” said Piotr Wojciechowski, the president of WB GROUP” the agreement means not only providing the loitering munition system WARMATE to the Australian Army but also strengthening the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the defense sector”. The selection of the mission profile is being performed by choosing the proper payload/warhead just before the system operation. The payloads are interchangeable by sharing common interfaces. WARMATE can be operated as an autonomous and independent system, being transported by the army or Special Forces troops. The system has also the capability of being installed onboard the military vehicles, such us the terrain vehicle or armored personnel carrier. The subsystem as the Ground Control Station or Ground Data Terminal can be seamlessly integrated with the vehicle?s onboard installation making it a part of the system.
Turkish aerospace giant to develop new heavy attack helicopter – Defence Blog
The Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and Turkey’s aerospace giant, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), signed a deal for the Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project on Friday. According to Daily Sabah, at SSB headquarters, the signing ceremony was attended by SSB Chairman İsmail Demir and representatives of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), TAI and the defense industry. The deal was signed by İsmail Demir, TAI General Manager Temel Kotil and TAI Chairman Oğuz Borat. The Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project, known as ATAK 2, has been launched to meet TSK’s requirements in this field. The project aims to design and produce an effective and advanced attack helicopter with high maneuverability and performance that is capable of carrying a large useful load, resistant to challenging environmental factors and equipped with state-of-the-art technology target tracking and imaging, electronic warfare, navigation, communications and weapon systems. The project also aims to maximize the use of domestic systems to ensure supply security and export freedom. The Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project is expected to play an important role in reducing external dependency in the defense sector, implementing domestic, national and innovative solutions with the fund of knowledge gained in current domestic projects and increasing the effectiveness of the TSK. Conceived as a combination of T129 ATAK and T625, a new helicopter will use the sub-systems such as transmission, rotor systems and landing gears developed under the T625 Utility Helicopter Project as well as the technological know-how, operational experience and achievements gained through the T129 ATAK Helicopter Project.
First HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters prepares for maiden flight – Defence Blog
The U.S. helicopter maker Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin, reported a two fully assembled HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRH) are preparing for their maiden flights, which will occur before mid-year at the Sikorsky West Palm Beach site in Florida. Both aircraft, which are being built for the U.S. Air Force, were transported late last year toWest Palm Beachfollowing final assembly at Sikorsky’s facility inStratford, Connecticut. The aircraft test readiness review was completed inOctober 2018. The CRH HH-60W flight test team is currently preparing both aircraft for flight by conducting final installation of instrumentation and ground run testing. This marks formal entry into the flight test program that culminates in Ready Assets Available (RAA), allowing the Air Force to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
Navy Abandons $760 Million Torpedo Defense System – Task & Purpose
The U.S. Navy has shed light on a previously highly classified project meant to protect aircraft carriers from the grave and widespread threat of torpedos, and it’s been a massive failure.
Rheinmetall offers new combat vehicles to the Australian Army – Defence Blog
German weapons maker Rheinmetall has announced on 1 March an offer of new Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and Lynx Manouevre Support Vehicle (MSV) to the Australian Army. Under the tender, the Australian Army is offered the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) with the Lance turret, Lynx Manouevre Support Vehicle (MSV), an established and growing network of suppliers across Australia, continued use of the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Queensland, and a comprehensive support and training system. The Lynx IFV and the Lynx MSV have been designed and tested to meet the demanding requirements of the Australian Army, NATO and NATO allies. Lynx establishes a vehicle system with unmatched levels of survivability, mobility, lethality, knowledge, and growth that will excel in close combat operations. The modular architecture of the Lynx also delivers significant cost benefits by drawing on Rheinmetall’s expertise and extensive development of contemporary combat vehicles. This results in a system that requires only two Lynx base vehicle configurations to achieve the nine roles sought under the Australian Army’s RFT. The modular system architecture also covers the four additional roles sought in the Australia Army’s Request for Information, including a mortar variant, a logistics variant, and a protected amphibious Lynx. Lynx provides protection against the full spectrum of threats including blast, IED, direct and indirect fire, cluster munitions, and anti-tank guided missiles. With enhanced lethality and the mobility of a main battle tank, Lynx will enable Army to cope with the complex nature of warfighting in diverse environments and against a range of adaptive threats.


Airmen killed during World War II crash honored 75 years later – CBS News
Tony Foulds witnessed a crash that killed 10 U.S. airmen
US officials honor UK man who tends memorial of US Airmen | Fox News
U.S. officials have honored a British man who has for decades tended a memorial for 10 U.S. World War II airmen who sacrificed their lives to save children in Sheffield, England.
Airman returns grandfather’s captured Japanese battle flag
An airman traveled to Japan to personally return a Japanese battle flag that was captured by his grandfather during World War II.
Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » BIG WEEK Day Two, February 21, 1944, Plus 75 Years
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Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Big Week Day 3, Feb 22, 1944, Plus 75 Years
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Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Big Week, Day 4 Feb 23, 1944, Plus 75 Years
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Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Big Week, Day 5, Feb 24, 1944, Plus 75 Years
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Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Big Week Day 6, Feb 25, 1944, Plus 75 Years
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Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » The “After Big Week” Assessment, plus 75 years
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IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Mozilla may treat Aussie staff as ‘insider threats’ to code base – Security – iTnews
Seeds of mistrust sewn by anti-encryption laws.
The Navy’s vision in a new era of information warfare
The Navy’s 10th Fleet releases a document outlining imperatives for its cryptologic and cyber warfare community.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Patrick Shanahan, acting defense secretary, floats ‘wholesale redesign’ of U.S. border security – Washington Times
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Saturday after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border that the government needs a broader, more effective approach to border control.
The acting defense secretary fired a weapon at the border. Here’s why that’s unusual – CNNPolitics
While visiting troops on the US-Mexico border Saturday morning, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford tried out some of US Customs and Border Protection’s “less lethal” devices.
Legislative Hurdle Delays US Space Command Stand-Up – Defense One
Pentagon can’t move ahead until Congress repeals a provision in the 2019 defense authorization act.
Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula and Douglas A. Birkey | A Change in Vector – The Mitchell Institute on building America’s future bomber force
The United States faces an inflection point regarding how it projects power in an environment defined by burgeoning threats and a complex set of security imperatives. Since the end of the Cold War, Americans have rightfully assumed their nation possessed military superiority, no matter the situation. Today, however, that assumption is radically changing. We are now in an era where multiple competing nations are concurrently developing strategies and fielding advanced capabilities specifically designed to counter US combat power. As the Senate Armed Services Committee declared in 2018: “The array of national security threats facing the United States is more complex and diverse than at any time since World War II. The strategic environment has not been this competitive since the Cold War. Simply put, America no longer enjoys the comparative edge it once had over its competitors and adversaries.” Opponents have observed America’s long-established pattern of operations and are developing methods to negate our strategies. The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review predicted as much 18 years ago: “Future adversaries could have the means to render ineffective much of our current ability to project power overseas. Saturation attacks with ballistic and cruise missiles could deny or delay US military access to overseas bases, airfields, and ports.” That “future” is now. It is necessary to reassess long-held assumptions regarding the capability and capacity of US military force structure, in particular the size of the Air Force’s bomber fleet—which is now the smallest it has been since the founding of the service in 1947. America ended the Cold War with over 400 bombers arrayed to fight one enemy—the Soviet Union. Countering multiple adversaries demands a more capable hybrid force comprised of new B-21s, as well as modernized legacy bombers—the B-1B, B-2, and B-52. Bombers are the most cost-effective option to deliver long-range, rapid power projection capacity and capability to combatant commanders around the globe. In the Mitchell Institute’s recently released study, Building the Future Bomber Force America Needs: The Bomber Re-Vector, we make the case to grow the Air Force inventory to a force of 270 bombers: 180 B-21s, plus 90 legacy bomber aircraft. This approach departs from the Air Force’s current plan to retire the B-1B and B-2 before the B-21’s initial production allotment is completed, a budget- and personnel- driven decision that preceded the release of the new National Defense Strategy in 2018. The Air Force plan would yield a force of 175 bombers, inadequate to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy. Premature divestiture of legacy bombers risks an even greater shortage in the event of B-21 production delays or a curtailed buy. History teaches it is unwise to divest a capability until the replacement is guaranteed.
General Goldfein on Building the USAF of the Future | RealClearDefense
General Goldfein on Building the USAF of the Future | RealClearDefense
Fighter jock culture may be holding Air Force back, Rand study says
The Air Force has long been dominated by fighter pilots at senior leadership levels. It may be time for that to change..
Losing on All Fronts: The Mattis Resignation and Trump’s Failed Strategies for America’s Wars | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Note: This commentary updates a previous version to reflect the impact of Secretary Mattis’ resignation and the announcement of major U.S. force cuts in Afghanistan
Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, ret. – I Ran the Air War Over Gaddafi. Here’s Why The US Should Stop Backing the Yemen War – Defense One
One hopes Jared Kushner said it in Saudi Arabia, but Congress should curtail the Pentagon’s participation in this war.


Trump announces nomination of Kelly Knight Craft to be ambassador to United Nations – The Washington Post
Craft, the current envoy to Canada, and her husband have been major donors to Trump and the GOP.
Trump announces Kelly Knight Craft as nominee for UN ambassador | Fox News
President Trump on Friday announced Kelly Knight Craft, the current ambassador to Canada, as his nominee to become the next United States ambassador to the United Nations.
On Foreign Trips, Pence Steps Out of Trump’s Shadow but Always Stays on Message – The New York Times
Vice President Mike Pence is commonly seen around Washington as a mute helpmate to a bombastic president. On foreign soil, he has toyed with the idea of branching out — just not too far.
The Impossible Job of Speaking Truth to Trump – Defense One
How do you offer intelligence to a president who’s not interested—and keep your job?
US in virtual tie with Russia on global confidence, poll finds | US news | The Guardian
Gallup poll measuring opinion in 133 countries and areas in 2018 found 31% approved of US leadership and 30% for Russia
U.S. Leadership Falls Further Behind China In Global Regard, Gallup Poll Finds : NPR
The U.S. maintained a strong lead in the annual poll for years until 2017, when its worldwide approval rating plummeted to 30 percent. That number increased slightly in 2018.


Lawyers For Trump Ex-Campaign Chairman Ask For Leniency Ahead Of Sentencing
Defense lawyers made the arguments in a court filing, just two days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his own sentencing memo, which called Manafort a “hardened criminal.”
Paul Manafort: Prison term Mueller is seeking will be ‘a life sentence’
Lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort urged a judge to sentence him to ‘significantly’ less than 10 years in prison in D.C. case.
Paul Manafort’s Lawyers Argue He Has Been Unfairly ‘Vilified’ Before Sentencing – The New York Times
In a filing, defense lawyers suggested Mr. Manafort was facing the prospect of dying in prison only because he had been unfairly caught in the Russia inquiry’s spotlight.
Mueller called Manafort a ‘hardened’ criminal who ‘repeatedly and brazenly violated the law’ in a harsh sentencing memo | Business Insider
The special counsel Robert Mueller’s team called Paul Manafort a “bold” and “hardened” criminal in a new sentencing memo unsealed on Saturday.
Paul Manafort Gave Konstantin Kilimnik 75 Pages of Polling Data, Docs Suggest
Footnotes in legal documents from Manafort’s lawyers reveal the large volume of data he handed over.
Mueller Court Filing Says Manafort Does Not Deserve Leniency In Sentencing
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told a U.S. judge that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, “repeatedly and brazenly” broke the law and does not deserve any…
Manafort’s lawyers taunt Mueller for not tying him to Russian interference in 2016 election – CNNPolitics
Paul Manafort’s legal defense team, in one of its last opportunities to hit back at prosecutors, taunted special counsel Robert Mueller for not bringing a case that tied the former Trump campaign chairman to Russian government interference in the 2016 election.
Russian Spy or Hustling Political Operative? The Enigmatic Figure at the Heart of Mueller’s Inquiry – The New York Times
Konstantin V. Kilimnik is central to two of the most tantalizing elements in the special counsel’s investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Paul Manafort’s lawyers ask for leniency: This is not ‘murder, drug cartels, organized crime’
Paul Manafort’s legal team is arguing that he should receive a much shorter sentence than the 10 years that could be handed down.
Are New York Democrats handing Paul Manafort a case for pardon? | TheHill
Prosecutors want to reduce state constitutional protections in efforts to keep him behind bars.
Demands grow for a public Mueller report | TheHill
Demands are growing for special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report to be made public, with lawmakers and legal experts raising concerns about how and when that could happen.
What happens if Mueller finds Trump fingerprints in Russia conspiracy? | Reuters
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to submit to U.S. Attorney General William Barr a report detailing his findings in the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and any links to the Trump campaign.
Mueller Appears After Something Really Big: Reading Between the Lines in Advance of the Special Counsel’s Report | Vanity Fair
The trick to understanding Mueller’s intentions may lie not in his hundreds of pages of previous indictments and filings, but in the material that he has omitted from them. Is the great unwritten story of Russian collusion hiding in plain sight?
House Democrats target Trump’s personal finances – POLITICO
Why did Deutsche Bank lend money to Trump business when others refused?
Butina Set To Appear In U.S. Court After Foreign Agent Guilty Plea
The upcoming sentencing comes as U.S. senators have begun inquiring into two meetings that Butina, and her Russian backer Aleksandr Torshin, held in 2015 with two top U.S. financial officials.
Washington Lawyers Move To Delay Deadline For Turning Over Lesin Autopsy Records
City lawyers in Washington, D.C., have moved to delay turning over autopsy documents related to the death of former Russian Press Minister Mikhail Lesin, following a judge’s order to release the files.


Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!”
Michael Cohen: Donald Trump calls ex-lawyer’s testimony ‘shameful’
President Donald Trump says his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen lied during his testimony before a congressional panel.
Michael Cohen testimony undermined Russia collusion narrative at 4 points, Tucker Carlson says | Fox News
Testimony this week by former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen has undermined Democrats’ longstanding claims that President Trump’s team colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said Thursday.
Cohen in the Colosseum – WSJ
The legal fixer unloads on his former boss, with little new information.
Michael Cohen’s pathetic ‘Cry for Me, Argentina’ performance | TheHill
Cohen was conflicted and prostituted himself to the top of the Trump Organization — but he did not make it, or America, a better place.
Opinion | Michael Cohen’s Testimony About Trump – The New York Times
Readers discuss a dramatic hearing in which Mr. Cohen expressed regret for his actions on behalf of the president and was harshly attacked by Republicans.
Yes, Michael Cohen’s a liar and a criminal. So how come you believed him? – The Washington Post
Michael Cohen, in his testimony before Congress, was an example of how someone who has stood before a judge at the lowest moment of his life, acknowledging participation in criminal acts, can become a credible witness.
Why 1 simple lie by Michael Cohen could invalidate his entire testimony – CNNPolitics
In order for Michael Cohen to be seen as a credible and reliable source on Donald Trump’s business dealings, political activities and character — both in and out of the White House — the President’s former fixer must be viewed as a changed man, someone who lied, yes, but has now seen the light and spent his House hearing on Tuesday telling the truth and nothing but the truth about his former boss.
Michael Cohen’s Damning Portrayal of Trump as a Lying, Racist Crook | The New Yorker
John Cassidy writes about Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, including his descriptions of payments to Stormy Daniels and an alleged conversation between Roger Stone and Donald Trump about a Wikileaks plan to dump e-mails damaging to the Clinton campaign.
Cohen Preparing To Accuse Trump On WikiLeaks, Moscow Tower
Michael Cohen, a former personal lawyer and “fixer” for President Donald Trump, plans to testify in Congress on February 27 that Trump knew in advance about a leak of e-mails that would damage his …
Four big takeaways from Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony – The Washington Post
Cohen depicts a racist criminal in the Oval Office who issues directives to subordinates in the language of a mob boss.
Michael Cohen’s opening statement makes no sense
The script for Michael Cohen’s opening statement to Congress on Wednesday is basically the shorter, less well written version of “Fire and Fury.”
Cohen Testimony: How Trump Lies Makes It Hard to Pin Him Down – Bloomberg
His testimony demonstrates the unlikelihood of a smoking gun on Russia and collusion.
Cohen testimony against Trump unethical – Dems commit abuse of power | Fox News
Congress and the corrupt Washington Establishment set a new low for abuse of power Wednesday with the testimony of Michael Cohen before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
David Bossie: Michael Cohen spends a day lying about Trump to aid Democratic witch hunt | Fox News
By calling on convicted liar and tax evader Michael Cohen to spend all day Wednesday telling more lies about President Trump at a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Democrats hit a disgraceful new low in their taxpayer-funded partisan attacks on the president.
Pollak: Michael Cohen Hearing Marks the End of Government ‘Oversight’ | Breitbart
The Michael Cohen hearing made crystal clear why Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the chair of the oversight committee, renamed it last month.
Michael Cohen’s Jewish moments from dramatic House testimony – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post
This was Cohen’s first extended public appearance implicating President Donald Trump in crimes that will send Cohen to prison for three years.
Republicans missed chances to challenge Michael Cohen, defend Trump
The cumulative effect over the seven-plus hours of Cohen’s testimony was that Trump, who was in Vietnam meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was left looking both legally and personally exposed – without a vigorous defense from members of his party who have traditionally gone to bat for him in public.


The Identity Crisis Facing Both Republicans and Democrats – WSJ
Both Republicans and Democrats are in the midst of—and in fact, may be near the end of—significant realignments that are altering who they are and what they stand for, Gerald F. Seib writes.
Trump’s Secret to Victory in 2020: Hispanic Voters – POLITICO Magazine
Yes, it’s true: The man who wants to build a wall to keep out immigrants is winning over just enough Latinos to get re-elected. Unless Democrats figure out how to stop him.
Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn share the same weaknesses — Quartz
The two old socialists have done an impressive job at shifting progressive politics from the staid status quo. Now they should leave the matter of governing to others.
Handicapping the 2020 Democratic presidential race is pointless until Joe Biden announces if he’s running
While it’s difficult for political commentators to resist the temptation to handicap the 2020 Democratic presidential race, the truth is that it’s effectively pointless until former Vice President Joe Biden announces whether he is running.
Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other?
Donald Trump benefited from Democratic infighting in 2016, and could win a second term if the large 2020 field of candidates go after each other. An advance agreement to hold down conflict could be critical to Democratic victory prospects.
Trump’s wall: Securing his base or splitting it? | TheHill
So far, Trump has played to his base, despite its size. His course has worked pretty well for him.
DNC chair: GOP labeling Democratic policies socialist because ‘they’re wrong on the issues’ | TheHill
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez on Sunday pushed back against Republicans likening certain Democratic policies to socialism, and compared some hallmarks of President Trump’s time in office to “repressive socialist regim
2020 poll: 77 percent of Democrats back socialism, but most voters don’t
The Democratic Party’s lurch left to socialism has the strong support of liberal voters, but it’s a loser of an issue in the 2020 election, according to a new survey.
Conservative critics accuse Ilhan Omar of new anti-Semitic attack, this time focusing on ‘dual loyalties’ | Fox News
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose previous comments on Israel were condemned as anti-Semitic just weeks ago by senior members of her own party, seemingly doubled down on Wednesday night, suggesting that some politicians in Washington are “pushing for allegiance” to Israel.
Omar: Israel Hawks Have ‘Allegiance to a Foreign Country’
Representative Ilhan Omar attacked “the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” After a slightly anti-Semitic comment (“It’s all about the Benjamins”), she is going all in.