Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (79)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Developments in the Mideast, Europe and the US have been of most interest and impact. In the Russophone world, Belarus is looking increasingly exposed.


 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Where The Streets Have One Name — Stalin
One Russian village has named all 25 of its side streets after Soviet leader Josef Stalin — and residents say they have no problem with it.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ever More Russians are Sharing Their Anger about Regime, New Poll Finds
Paul Goble Staunton, April 13 – For months, polls have shown that Russians are increasingly unhappy with the Russian powers that be; but now, a new survey shows that they have passed yet another marker on the path to more open demonstrations of that anger: more than half of all Russians say they are hearing criticism of the regime from families and acquaintances. According to the Public Opinion Foundation, 63 percent of Russians in the course of the last month say they have heard family or friends criticize the powers that be, an increase of two percent over the month before. Only a third said they had not heard such comments (actualcomment.ru/nedovolstvo-rastet-rossiyane-stali-chashche-kritikovat-vlast-1904131220.html). Given that only 45 percent say that they personally feel that way, this development means that the anger they feel is now being communicated to others, something that will along with deteriorating economic and social conditions lead to a more dramatic increase in anger than would otherwise be the case and make protests more likely. That is because such comments have the effect of legitimizing and crystallizing feelings among those who until now have not been willing to admit to themselves just how upset they may be with the situation.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: More than Five Million Russians Not Given Chance to Declare Their Nationality in Last Census, Tishkov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Academician Valery Tishkov, former Russian nationalities minister and a senior advisor to Vladimir Putin on nationality issues, says Russia’s Federal Agency on Nationality Affairs must be upgraded to the status of a state committee and must immediately focus on the nationality section of the upcoming 2020 census. The second task is especially urgent, Tishkov says, because in the 2010 census, some who gathered data did so by using state records than by speaking directly with people. As a result, “5.6 million citizens of Russia were left without a nationality simply because no one asked them what it was” (nazaccent.ru/content/29679-federalnoe-agentstvo-po-delam-nacionalnostej-predlozhili.html). That must not be allowed to happen again, the academician, who has been actively involved in the preparation and processing of all post-Soviet Russian censuses, argues, because the country needs accuracy on this point as well as all others. The implication of his words, however, is that everyone wants to declare a nationality, a view he has not always been associated with. Tishkov’s criticism of the way in which census takers acted in order to save money or time is only the latest indication of the many problems Russian censuses have – and despite his call are likely to have again next year. Many residents of Russia don’t want to respond to census inquiries, and officials have difficulties with coming up with accurate numbers as a result. However, Tishkov’s own suggestions about how the census should deal with nationality, including allowing people to declare themselves members of two or more ethnic communities at once and to register as members of a sub-ethnos rather than just a nation or nationality, are controversial (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/bashkir-national-organization-seeks.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/moscows-plans-to-divide-up-tatars-now.html). How this will play out over the next year before the census and the year or two after during its processing very much remains to be seen.
HRW Warns Against New Russian Move To Crack Down On Freedom Of Expression, Assembly
The Russian government is developing a draft law that will “further jeopardize” freedom of expression and assembly in the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned.
Duma votes to require those preparing and distributing foreign news in Russia to have Moscow’s permission | Euromaidan Press |
The Duma on first reading has voted to approve amendments to the administrative code that would impose fines on anyone preparing or distributing foreign news on the territory of Russia if they do so without permission from the Russian authorities. If passed, the amended provision of the administrative code would impose fines on individuals of up to 3,000 rubles (50 US dollars) and on companies or offices of up to 30,000 rubles (500 US dollars) for each violation. The Russian authorities could certainly make use of these fines to set the stage for the closure of offices of foreign media and especially foreign broadcasters, by setting up a superficially legal arrangement they could employ rather than the more informal pressures they apply now. Such actions by Moscow, of course, could ultimately cut off Russians from news and information that did not follow the Kremlin line; but even before that, it could have a deleterious effect on the stories that foreign media and foreign broadcasters prepare and broadcast inside Russia. The impact on broadcasters like Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and VOA is likely to be especially severe. During the Cold War, these and other stations like them broadcast to Soviet audiences via shortwave. The transmission sites were abroad and thus beyond the reach of the Kremlin. But with the end of communism and the USSR and changing media consumption habits, most of these Western broadcasters shifted from shortwave to FM radio band. On the one hand, that change has made it far easier for audiences to listen to them as anyone with experience of short-wave knows. But on the other, it has meant that in most cases, these outlets had to locate their transmission sites inside the countries to which their broadcasts were directed, something that has given some post-Soviet governments a whip hand over them. Because these regimes can deny broadcast facilities, those who want to reach the population sometimes hold their fire lest they be closed down and not able to reach their intended audience at all. That has had two unfortunate consequences, both of which will be exacerbated by the new Russian measure. On the one hand, it sometimes means these stations do not criticize the authoritarian regimes in Russia and elsewhere as they deserve, thereby subverting their own raison d’etre and allowing the regime to point to such broadcasts, when they echo the official line, as evidence that the regimes are telling the truth and that foreigners are on their side, not the people’s.
‘Our claim that Masliayeva doesn’t tell the truth has been confirmed’ Defense attorney explains what’s changed in case against top Russian theater directors — Meduza
On April 8, the Moscow City Court released three defendants in the “Seventh Studio” case from house arrest. Kirill Serebrennikov, Sofia Apfelbaum, and Yury Itin were instead permitted to sign a pledge not to leave Russia until their cases are concluded. On April 11, Moscow’s Meshchansky Court was scheduled to issue a sentence for Seventh Studio’s former accountant, Nina Masliayeva. Special procedures were applied to her trial because she had confessed to embezzlement, reached a plea deal, and given testimony against the case’s other defendants. However, a judge has decided to refer Masliayeva’s case back to prosecutors due to “violations in the plea agreement” and violations of Masliayeva’s right to legal defense. Irina Poverinova, the attorney for Russian Academic Youth Theater (RAMT) director Sofia Apfelbaum, told Meduza about what this new development in Masliayeva’s case could mean for her own client.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Media Work to Cover Up Dangerous Trend: FSB Now Can Kill Muslims Once It Declares Them Terrorists, Eidman Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 13 – The Moscow media are working overtime to convince people that the killing of two Muslims in Tyumen was the result of a completely legitimate action against terrorists, especially given that local people have raised questions about what happened there already (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/what-really-happened-in-tyumen-counter.html). Now, Russian sociologist and commentator Igor Eidman says that in his view, what occurred in Tyumen is a repetition of what happened not long ago in Nizhny Novgorod, when, as journalist Irina Slavina reported, the FSB “killed random people and then declared them to be terrorists” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2336364326426533&id=100001589654713). In the earlier case, the security service didn’t even bother with “the imitation of an exchange of gunfire. They simply shot Muslims like wild dogs,” the commentator says. If the FSB were acting as a true counter-intelligence service, it would seek to arrest real terrorists so it could interrogate them and find leads on others. But in Russia today, it is more “advantageous” to FSB officers at least “to declare the believers terrorists, to imitate a battle and to kill them – and then to receive for this medals and promotions.” After all, the bosses will be “satisfied as they’ve been ordered to ‘drown terrorists in the outhouse’” from the very top. This is the latest case of Chekists acting on the principle that “when you cut trees, the chips fly” and is a well-proven way to make a career, while “maintaining the historical traditions” of the Soviet and Russian security services, Eidman says. That is all very understandable, he continues, but what is unfortunate is that “liberal society (with rare exceptions) does not devote any attention to these ‘days of open murders.’ It is sufficient to declare an individual an Islamist terrorist and you can do anything with him with impunity.” At the same time, one cannot fail to recall the lesson of Pastor Niemoeller about the Nazis’ step-by-step moves against groups that Hitler hated. Under contemporary Russian conditions, his words can be updated to “Now they have come for the Muslims, but whom will they ‘liquidate’ tomorrow?”
What’s the story with the investigation into St. Petersburg’s 2017 subway bombing? Defendants say they were abducted and tortured at a ‘secret FSB prison’ — Meduza
More than two years have passed since a terrorist attack in the St. Petersburg subway. The day before the second anniversary, the trial against the alleged perpetrators got underway. There are 11 suspects in the case, all of whom maintain their innocence. Some of the defendants also say they were tortured at a “secret FSB prison.” Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin explains how the case began, the allegations against federal agents, and how some have defended the government’s interrogation methods.
Russia Says Two Suspected IS Militants Killed In Raid
Russia’s Investigative Committee says two suspected members of the extremist Islamic State group have been “liquidated” in a security operation in central Russia.
Russian Court Orders Parole For Ex-Student Convicted Of Seeking To Join IS
A Russian court has ordered the release on parole of Aleksandra Ivanova, a former university student who was convicted of trying to join the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
Russian federal agents lock down part of a Siberian city in search of suspected ISIS terrorists — Meduza
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says a counter-terrorist operation is underway in Tyumen, a city on the Tura River, in the vast region of Siberia, a source in the agency told the news service Interfax. The FSB says it has information that armed members of the terrorist group ISIS are hiding at a private residence in Tyumen, allegedly plotting a terrorist attack.
Crushing the anarchists Following a suicide attack on the FSB, Russia has cracked down on leftist activists nationwide, sweeping up more than a few random bystanders — Meduza
On Halloween last year, a 17-year-old anarchist set off a bomb inside the Federal Security Service’s office in Arkhangelsk, killing himself in the blast. An investigation into the terrorist attack has led to a sweeping crackdown on leftist activists across Russia, with many arrests, hundreds of raids, and some felony charges. Federal agents have taken a special interest in “Narodnaya Samooborona” (Popular Self-Defense), the country’s biggest anarchist organization, which the authorities blame for the Arkhangelsk bombing and more than 200 other “extremist actions.” Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin looks at the persecution of anarchists, following the attack on the FSB, and how the campaign has dragged in random bystanders.
Russian Environmental Activists Protest Dump North Of Moscow
Protesters demanded authorities clean up a garbage dump near the Russian town of Klin, north of Moscow. Dozens of environmental activists demonstrated on April 14 and condemned plans to expand the dump and build an incinerator.
Russian Rights Activist Says His Home Surrounded
A rights activist in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Ingushetia says police have surrounded his house in the town of Karabulak, 20 kilometers north of the region’s capital, Magas.
Russian Court Postpones Serebrennikov Trial In Good Sign For Defense
A Russian judge has ordered a new study of evidence in the case against theater director Kirill Serebrennikov and his co-defendants and postponed the next hearing in their trial for two months.
Photo: Kirill Serebrennikov, recently released after almost two years of house arrest, receives national theater awards — Meduza
Director Kirill Serebrennikov receives a Golden Mask award for his ballet “Nureyev” on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. “Nureyev” was named the best ballet of 2019. Serebrennikov also received the award for Best Director for his staging of “Little Tragedies.” Eight days before the Golden Mask awards ceremony, Serebrennikov was released after nearly two years under house arrest. He is the best-known defendant in the “Seventh Studio” embezzlement case, which his supporters say is politically motivated.
‘Musicians remain silent and afraid’ How Russia’s legendary Sound Recording State House changed hands, and became linked to a presidential agency and Dmitry Medvedev’s sneakers — Meduza
Since last summer, two state enterprises have been exchanging property in Moscow: the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and the “Izvestia” publishing house (which no longer has any connection to the newspaper or website that bears the same name). The main asset being transferred from VGTRK to Izvestia is the Broadcasting and Sound Recording State House (GDRZ), which was traded for the building that houses the studio for a national TV talk show hosted by Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov. Since last August, Russia’s musical public has been petitioning the country’s leaders, warning that GDRZ’s new owners plan to liquidate the unique studios that recorded generations of classical musicians, closing down a space where two national orchestras rehearsed until recently. The head of the Izvestia publishing house is 38-year-old Ekaterina Smirenskaya, whose father is business partners with Vladimir Dyachenko. According to an investigative report released two years ago by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sometimes uses Dyachenko’s name when placing orders through foreign online stores.
Pussy Riot Member Briefly Detained In Moscow
A member of the punk protest band Pussy Riot was briefly detained by police in Moscow, said a member of the anti-Kremlin group.
Police in St. Petersburg arrest 11 LGBTQ-rights activists at annual ‘Day of Silence’ protest — Meduza
Police in St. Petersburg arrested 11 LGBTQ-rights demonstrators at the city’s annual “Day of Silence” protest. According to the website OVD-Info, the activists picketed the Great Gostiny Dvor department store plaza on Wednesday. After one arrest, the remaining demonstrators made their way toward the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, wearing red tape over their mouths. Police started arresting more people, as they marched, including some minors.
Russian LGBT Activists Detained At St. Petersburg Protest
Russian police detained 11 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights activists taking part in an annual Day of Silence protest in St. Petersburg on April 17. Around 50 protesters sealed their mouths with red tape and marched through the city’s streets. Russia passed a law in 2013 banning the spread of gay “propaganda.”
Parents Despair As Kids Hit By Gene Disorder
A rare genetic disorder called CLN2 causes children to lose the ability to walk, see, and speak, with most not living beyond their teens. Five-year-old Nastya, from Kamenka in Russia, is one of an estimated 1,500 worldwide suffering from it.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians’ Reactions to Notre Dame Show Theirs is a European Country Whatever the Kremlin Says, ‘Nezavisimaya gazeta’ Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 18 – Some Russian talk show hosts and commentators said that the Notre Dame fire symbolized the the death of liberal civilization “under the pressure of immigrants and because of the short-sightedness of liberal elites. Some more thoughtful Russians talked about the failure of people to react equally strongly to the decay and destruction of churches in Russia. Both those reactions – and especially the first – have garnered much coverage in Moscow and the West, but according to the editors of Nezavismaya gazeta, the reaction of ordinary Russians pointed in a different direction, one that is much more important for the future of the country (ng.ru/editorial/2019-04-17/2_7559_red.html). “Hundreds of Russian users of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posed in social networks photographs of Notre Dame de Paris made during their visits to France,” the editors say. “Some have been there several years ago, some last summer and some not long ago. Many have been to Paris many times.” “For them, the cathedral is not simply a symbol but a place to which they are personally attached. This is a natural reaction, indicative and important” because it shows that Russians are quite ready to “consider someone else’s cathedral and someone else’s symbol their own,” a very different approach than the one Russian political leaders suggest. “If one believes what politicians say, Russia is counterposing itself to Europe and the West and defending its special path.” But the reaction of Russians to the fire in the center of Paris says just the opposite “Russian citizens consider themselves and their country as part of the European cultural and civilizational space.” To be sure, Nezavismaya gazeta continues, “in the Russian social-political realities, there are Asiatic aspects” such as the subservient attitude of Russians toward their rulers regardless of whether they are tsars, general secretaries or presidents. For the people, “the state is more important than the individual, and the individual must be grateful to the state for all good things.” But despite that, “Russia with its cities, architecture, dress and cuisine is a European country,” the editors say. “Russians learn European languages and even emigrate to the West but not to the East.” Even those who want to oppose the West do so from within it, speaking of it “not as something alien but as their own.” At the present time, “a very great deal is being done so that a wall between Russia and Europe (and more widely the West) will become real, institutionalized and not limited to words alone,” Nezavisimaya gazeta continues. Moscow officials routinely argue that “it is much easier for us to deal with and reach agreement with China, India and other growing Asian countries” than with European ones. But “in practice,” Russians don’t believe this or act on it. Instead, “the majority of them do not know the languages of Asian countries, their culture, literature, art of history.” “Mentally, a Chinese or an Indian is for them far more mysterious than any European,” and “no Asian architectural ensemble, even the most popular equals Notre Dame de Paris,” the Moscow paper says. The Petrine breakthrough to Europe, with all its twists and turns, “has turned out to be a success. Russia is accustomed to think of itself as part of European and Western civilization even though sometimes its elites begin to deny this.” Isolationist impulses may appear to be carrying the day, but reactions to the fire in Paris show that they won’t for long.
Film About Afghan War Attacked As ‘Unpatriotic’ By Russian Veterans
A group of Russian veterans says a new film about Soviet troops in Afghanistan is “unpatriotic” and should be banned, while the director says it is an honest account of a disastrous conflict.
Snap Cat: Former Poachers Swap Guns For Cameras To Save Russia’s Snow Leopard
A group of former poachers in Russia’s Altai region is helping activists monitor the endangered snow leopard by placing cameras in remote mountain locations where once they set deadly traps.
Polar bear gets lost in Russia, hundreds of miles from home | Fox News
Residents of a village in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula have been stunned by the sight of a polar bear prowling for food — hundreds of miles away from its usual habitat.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Turkic Nations within Russian Federation Fight Moscow’s Effort to Divide and Assimilate Them
Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – Since Soviet times, Moscow has promoted the division and linguistic assimilation of the Turkic peoples under its control, but many of the latter are fighting back with plans to form common languages either among all of them or among sugroups in order to be in a better position to resist and to reach out to Turkey. That resistance faces many obstacles, including some that have nothing to do with Moscow’s policies such as variations in the orthographic and phonetic patterns found in this broader linguistic community. But it is important not only for the survival of these nations but also as an indication of Moscow’s intentions. As Ramazan Alpaut of the IdelReal portal points out in an important article, some Turkic groups are growing in number while others are declining, according to the Russian census, but in all cases, those speaking the native languages make up an ever smaller share of these populations (idelreal.org/a/29102022.html). In recent decades, Moscow has promoted a linguistic policy specifically aimed at the Turkic nations, Alpaut says. On the one hand, it has encouraged them to cooperate in ways that allow this to serve as an attractive advertisement to Turkey. But on the other, it has insisted that this take place not in a Turkic language but in Russian (idelreal.org/a/29063142.html). Suher Ecker, a Turcologist at Ankara’s Bashkent University, says that the Soviets exaggerated the phonetic differences in the Turkic languages of the Soviet population in order to separate and thus weaken the Turkic peoples and make them more susceptible to rapid Russian assimilation. He argues that it would be possible to develop a single language standard for all of these Turkic peoples, who are part of the Kipchak group. Such a language would have to be based on Turkish and not as many assume on Tatar and Bashkir because those two Turkic languages are orthographically and phonetically more distinct than the other Turkic tongues. (Ecker doesn’t say and Alpaut doesn’t develop the point, but this fact explains some of the reasons why these two largest Turkic nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation face particular challenges in extending their influence to other Turkic nationalities there.) Tatarstan historian Damir Iskhakov says that the Soviet policy of changing the alphabets to divide Turkic nations in some cases had just the opposite effect. In both the Altai and Khasia, he says, the creation of a literary language had the effect of uniting several Turkic groups into one nation, the Altai in the first case and the Khakass in the second. In contrast to Ecker, the Tatar scholar argues that Tatar could be modified sufficiently to become a common Turkic language within the Russian Federation, a basis for unity among that country’s Turkic nations and at least a half-way house toward the formation of a common Turkic language worldwide. Bashkir could converge with Tatar as a first step in this process. A lot will depend on Moscow’s policies, he continues. “If Moscow’s interests remain directed at assimilation, then the implementation of this policy would mean with opposition from the center. If, however, Moscow sees in this the possibility of extending tis cultural influence, then the Tatar factor could be used to extend Russia’s influence.” A third view on these complicated issues is offered by Garun-Rashid Guseynov, a socio-linguist from Daghestan, argues that using Tatar as a base for unity will be difficult because of the specific vocalism in Tatar and the differences between Tatar and the Turkic languages of the North Caucasus. He proposes instead the formation of a common set of norms for the Kuman subgroup of Turkic languages which include Kumyk, Karachayevo-Balkar and Crimean Tatar “in combination with Nogay,” although unifying that grouping would face “problems of a phonetic character.”
Russia’s Gazprom Resumes Buying Turkmen Gas After Three-Year Halt
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom says it has resumed imports of natural gas from Turkmenistan that it stopped three years ago.
Armenia, Azerbaijan FMs Open Nagorno-Karabakh Talks In Moscow
The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers have started talks in Moscow on the conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Tajik President To Visit Russia, Hold Talks With Putin
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon is due to arrive in Moscow on a two-day official visit, the Kremlin says.
Leaving “Tat Vegas”: Tatarstan Nuclear And Casino Bets Go Bust
A small town in Tartarstan has struggled after losing two major sources of employment before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. Many residents have moved out of the place once called “Tat Vegas.”

Belarus Reports

 


 

Lukashenka Invited To Brussels Dinner
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been invited to a dinner hosted by European Council President Donald Tusk to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership in Brussels on …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: iSANS Report about Moscow’s ‘Creeping Attack on Belarusian Sovereignty’ – Part 1
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Last month, a group of foreign policy and security analysts from Europe and the United States assembled in Warsaw as the International Strategic Action Network for Society (iSANS) to compile and discuss a 120-page report on what it called Russia’s ‘creeping attack” on Belarusian sovereignty, moves intended to end with Moscow’s absorption of that country. Because so many of the participants have close ties with governments in the region and because the situation is so fluid, the conference and the report were “off the record.” But participants have allowed Belarusian opposition journalist Aleksandr Otroshenkov to publish excerpts of it (reform.by/isans-dlya-russia-pogloshcheniye-belarus/). Below are the key points of the report, which has attracted a great deal of attention in the Russian patriotic media, that the Belarusian journalist has published in what he describes as the first installment. When he posts more online, Window on Eurasia will do a follow on to include them as well. · “Russia is exerting active, serious and growing pressure on the information and social space of Belarus through various channels.” · “In recent months, this attack has acquired the character of ‘a hybrid war.’ Governmental, quasi-private, and non-government initiatives form a broad system of influence directed at so-called ‘deep integration.’” · “Pro-Russian influence is being conducted in a directed and coordinated fashion by the Presidential Administration of Russia. It is being financed from government and private sources and carried out by Russian and Belarusian actors, united in several networks.” · “The organizers and executors of the anti-Belarusian action are mostly politicians and activists who promote an imperial, Russian-nationalist, sharply conservative, extreme right and anti-Western ideology. Many of them took an active part in the preparation and carrying out of aggression in Ukraine and in earlier conflicts in which Russia was a participant.” · This effort along with economic pressure will grow in the runup to the Belarusian presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019-2020. The absorption of Belarus is to take place no later than 2023-2024, but it may occur earlier. · “Lukashenka is not a real guarantor of the independence of his country. He is an irrational player who holds onto power as a guarantee of his own security and does not wish to carry out any real reforms.” · “However toothless it seems at present, the Union State to a large extent provides legal cover for the carrying out of various projects and activities, the final goal of which is the incorporation of Belarus” into the Russian Federation and “in fact, the restoration of the Russian Empire in new borders.” · Among the means Moscow is using to support this drive are the corruption of local elites and military officers, the deployment of pro-Russian activists within Belarus, massive financing of pro-Russian groups there, massive propaganda attacks via Russian television, and “the establishment of a propaganda network around and within the state being attacked consisting of a large number of propagandistic sites, pages, and account sin social networks for promoting a pro-imperial ideology.” · A turning point in this effort came in December 2011 when Grigory Rapota, a senior KGB general and foreign intelligence operative with great experience of work in the western direction” became secretary of the Union State. It is interesting that his successor in his former place of work – as plenipotentiary for the Volga Federal District – then became Mikhail Babich, the current Russian ambassador in Belarus.” · Moscow’s effort against Belarus has been designed by the same people who took the lead in designing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including most prominently Vladislav Surkov and Sergey Glazyev. · “If between 2014 and 2016, the situation in Belarus often was treated in public in Russia together with the ‘Ukrainian’ question, over the last two years, one must note that Belarus has become ever more a separate subject.” And in recent months, it has been subject to especially harsh and even scurrilous attacks. · Such attacks started in the nationalist and imperialist media but have become mainstream, with memes promoted earlier only by marginal groups now at the center of discussion in state media.
Secretly-prepared constitutional changes will open way to Anschluss of Belarus by Putin, Matskevich says – Euromaidan Press |
Vladimir Matskevich, a leading Belarusian thinker and sociologist, says that the Belarusian people must demand the convention of a constituent assembly to block efforts by the Lukashenka regime to make constitutional changes that will open the way for an Anschluss of Belarus by the Russian Federation. Matskevich made his proposal in “an open letter to citizen Alyaksandr Lukashenka” on Facebook four days ago. That has provoked an enormous discussion in Belarus; and the philosopher has now discussed what prompted him to make this proposal. He tells Deutsche Welle that he chose the form of an open letter to the Belarusian leader to attract attention but in fact he wanted his words to reach the Belarusian people because of his fears over the rising tensions within Belarusian society and the dangers that Lukashenka is preparing the basis for a de facto and possibly de jure annexation of Belarus by Russia. Matskevich says he is not afraid of suffering repressions for his ideas: that can happen to anyone who speaks out and even to those who don’t in Lukashenka’s Belarus. Instead, he is worried in the first instance by “the high level of tension which exists now in Belarusian society,” tension that opens the way to violence and provocations. Such tensions are rising not only because of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections but also because of constant talk in Russia and Belarus about the possibly that the two countries may soon combine into one. Russians are being told that Belarusians want this, but clearly many don’t. And this is leading to an “unhealthy” increase in social tensions. The philosopher says that he is very much aware that “a document is now being prepared about giving the Treaty about the establishment of a Union State of Belarus and Russia the status of a constitutional act,” a move that he suggests will involve inserting in the constitutions of both countries “words about the supremacy of the Union Treaty over the laws” of each. In legal terms, “this may be presented as the unification of equal partners, but in fact, that is a stupidity. There cannot be any equal union of Belarus and Russia, the countries are too different demographically, economically, and in terms of their political regimes. Therefore, for Belarus, such a union would mean annexation.” What is especially worrisome, Matskevich continues, is that “work over the constitution in Belarus is being conducted in secret.” That ignores the fact that the sovereign in Belarus is not the government but the people. And therefore the convention of a Constituent Assembly is a way to ensure that the voice of the people is heard. Moreover, such an assembly would send a clear message to Russia that “there are no legal bases or plausible reasons to swallow Belarus without the sovereign decision of its people. It is obvious that Russia doesn’t need the annexation of Belarus; this is needed only by the Putin regime.” (emphasis supplied) The Belarusian people today are insufficiently active to take this step, Matskevich acknowledges; but he adds that opening the discussion of such a possibility can become the basis for awakening them from their slumber given the dangers that Putin and Lukashenka represent for their future. He also acknowledges that many Belarusian and Russian analysts dismiss the possibility of any Anschluss but says that his experience as an analyst convinces him otherwise and that he is quite prepared to be dismissed by some as the little boy who cried “wolf” when there wasn’t one. According to Matskevich, there is a wolf – and Belarusians need to think about what to do.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka Tears Down 50 More Crosses at Kuropaty, Infuriating Belarusians and Religious Leaders
Paul Goble Staunton, April 14 – Only nine days after provoking near universal anger among Belarusians and revulsion in Western capitals by having his forces tear down 70 crosses at the site of the Kuropaty mass graves near Minsk, Alyaksandr Lukashenka compounded his offense by having them destroy 50 more yesterday. For details on this latest action, see svaboda.org/a/29878781.htmlreform.by/blagoustrojstvo-prodolzhaetsja-v-kuropatah-snova-snosjat-kresty/and belta.by/society/view/bolee-100-dobrovoltsev-prinjali-uchastie-v-subbotnike-po-blagoustrojstvu-kuropat-343874-2019/. This time the actions were taken by about 100 participants in a Soviet-style Saturday work session, and leaders announced that they were planting trees in place of the metal crosses. But their actions provoked a counter-demonstration by Belarusians outraged by this attack on religion and national identity and negative commentaries by Catholic and Orthodox leaders. Archbishopp Tadeusz Kondrusevich, the head of the Catholic Church of Belarus, was particularly outspoken (catholic.by/3/news/belarus/9673-ne-znostse-kryzho-zvarot-artsybiskupa-tadevusha-kandrusevicha-suvyazi-z-novym-znosam-kryzho-u-kurapatakhcharter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/13/330446/ and belaruspartisan.by/politic/460591/). Noting that not ten days had passed since the Belarusian authorities had dishonored the chief symbol of Christianity, the archbishop sharply criticized this repetition, arguing that the destruction and removal of the crosses has inflicted “a deep wound on the heart of the believer.” He said that they and all the Christians in Belarus were now “a voice crying in the wilderness.” The Belarusian Orthodox Church did not issue an official statement, but its press secretary, Sergey Lepin, on his LiveJournal page said that he had thought the problems were in the past after the days since the original destruction of crosses occurred on April 4. But that has turned out to be not the case (serge-le.livejournal.com/475920.html and belsat.eu/ru/news/press-sekretar-bpts-uchastnikam-navedeniya-poryadka-v-kuropatah-nuzhno-pokayatsya/). Lepin said he wasn’t authorized to make any general comments but added that if among those who were involved in the destruction of crosses this time around there were any Orthodox, such people should speak with their spiritual advisors and determine whether they need to repent of their actions.

Ukraine Reports

 


 

LIVE | Порошенко і Зеленський. День дебатів | Вибори 2019 – YouTube

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Instant Ban For Iran’s IRGC On Instagram: Social-Media Giant Blocks Commanders’ Sites
Instagram has removed webpages featuring several Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commanders, including elite Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, which has led to a call for Iran to block Instagra…
Iran says all US troops in the Middle East “terrorists” – Vox
Trump labeled part of Iran’s government, the IRGC, as terrorists. Iran just labeled US troops in Middle East terrorists too.
Iran Calls US Middle East Forces “Terrorists” – To Inform is to Influence
In the genre of the Onion, when Iran labeled US Forces in the Middle East as terrorists, those US forces shook with fear. That’s a sarcastic publication, by the way. There was no quaking with fear, no tears were shed, and certainly very, very few people gave a… darn. There really isn’t any change because Iran has always called the US and US forces bad things since 1979. This is not a declaration of war by Iran. This is not a declaration that more resources have been directed at US forces in the Middle East. No new intelligence assets, no new weapons, no additional forces have been directed to surveil, interdict, attack, or even engage with US forces – in talks or otherwise. This is a symbolic move by Iran, meant to show Iranian citizens that Iran can play with the “Big Boys”. In reality, it is a meaningless gesture. The parliamentarians in Iran know their efforts are viewed as meaningless but they seem to be duty-bound to put on a show. </end editorial>
Iran’s parliament labels U.S. troops in Mideast as terrorist – AOL News
Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami introduced the bill authorizing the government to act firmly in response to “terrorist actions” by U.S. forces.
The Revolutionary Guards Are Ready to Strike Back – Foreign Policy
The Trump administration has labeled Iran’s most powerful military branch a terrorist organization—and put Americans around the world in danger.
Exclusive: Dispute flares among U.S. officials over Trump administration Iran arms control report – Reuters
A new Trump administration report on international compliance with arms control accords provoked a dispute with U.S. intelligence agencies and some State Department officials concerned that the document politicizes and slants assessments about Iran, five sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Iranian who removed headscarf pardoned from year in prison | News | Al Jazeera
Lawyer of Vida Movahed says court sentenced her in March after finding her guilty of encouraging public ‘corruption’.
Iran Is Peddling a Million Barrels of Oil Again. No One Wants It – Bloomberg
An Iranian exchange has offered investors as much as 6 million barrels of oil so far this year. Only a single deal closed, for the minimum 35,000 barrels.
‘DOWN WITH USA’ Iranians march through Tehran after Washington blacklists elite force | World | News | Express.co.uk
THOUSANDS of Iranians have taken part in angry anti-American demonstrations after Washington listed elite Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organisation.
Designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terror group could jeopardize U.S. troops
The White House aimed to shake things up when it designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization. It worked.
Iran’s Social-Media Struggles Laid Bare By Telegram And Cleric’s Viral Moment
Polling and a Friday Prayer leader’s gaffe suggest the filtering of hugely popular digital messaging and sharing apps has failed to keep Iranians off them.
Opinion | Iran Should Reconcile With America – The New York Times
Isn’t it time to abandon the policies that have kept the people of Iran and the United States apart since 1979?
Iraqis To The Rescue? Iranians Wary Of Paramilitary Forces Sent For ‘Flood Relief’ Efforts
Iranians are wary about the arrival of Iraqi paramilitary forces, who officials say will help only with the flood relief efforts.
Iraqi militias reject U.S. naming of Iran’s Guards as terrorist group – Reuters
A group of Iraq’s Shi’ite militia groups said on Saturday that they strongly rejected the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist organization by the United States.


Why Isn’t Oil-Rich Russia Helping Its Syrian “Ally” Survive The Fuel Crisis? – To Inform is to Influence
Written by Andrew Korybko on 2019-04-17 It’s seemingly inexplicable to many that one of the world’s top oil exporters won’t help its “ally” survive the ever-worsening fuel crisis, but upon closer consideration and after much-needed critical thinking, it becomes clear that Russia intends to politicize this crisis in order to compel Syria into undertaking further concessions related to…
UAWire – Israeli company publishes satellite images of Russian Iskander missiles in Syria
The Israeli company ImageSat International (ISI), specializing in satellite photography, took a photo of the Iskander-M complex at the Russian …
UAWire – Israel attacks Syrian Masyaf despite Russian S-300 anti-aircraft systems
Early morning on Saturday, April 13, the Israeli air force flew low over the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. According to the Lebanese news agency NNA, the flight was accompanied by a strong roar and frightened the sleeping population of the city. This happened after, according to the Syrian agency SANA, Israeli aircraft fired rockets at a military base near the city of Masyaf in the province of Hama. While hitting the targets in Syria, the Israeli military aircraft had been in Lebanese airspace. According to foreign monitoring organizations, one of the targets was a factory “producing high-precision rockets in the village of al-Zaui”, as well as in the village of Sheikh Radwan, which “stationed the Iranian and Syrian military”. Allegedly, two soldiers were killed and 17 were injured as a result of the attack. The center for the development and production of missiles in the Syrian Masyaf area has been attacked at least five times since 2017. A military observer for the Ynet news portal, Ron Ben-Yishai, pointed out that the Masyaf area stations Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, one of the first anti-aircraft systems transferred to the Syrian army after the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft was shot down. According to an Israeli military expert, Iranians (presumably members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC) could have resumed missile production, hoping that the presence of S-300 air defense systems in the area would deter Israeli attack. The Syrian state news agency SANA reported citing its own sources, that as a result of the early morning air strike in the Syrian province of Hama on April 13, several buildings were destroyed and three soldiers were injured. According to SANA, “The Israeli air force launched an attack from Lebanese airspace on a military target near the city of Masyaf.” Several missiles were shot down by Syrian air defense systems.
Syria’s air defenses intercept missiles near city of Hama – Reuters
Israeli planes targeted a military position near the province of Hama in Syria on Saturday, but Syrian air defenses intercepted and downed some of the rockets, Syrian state television said on Saturday.
Syria says Israeli air attack injures six soldiers | News | Al Jazeera
Damascus says its defence system struck down some missiles during the Israeli air attack on a military position in Hama.
UAWire – General involved in Russia’s operation to annex Crimea to head Russian forces in Syria
Russian Colonel General Andrey Serdyukov, who commanded the operation to seize Crimea in 2014, led the Russian military group in Syria, reports …
Shamima Begum was cruel enforcer in Isil’s morality police, say Syrian witnesses
Shamima Begum, the Bethnal Green schoolgirl, served in the Islamic State&rsquo;s &ldquo;morality police&rdquo; and also tried to recruit other young women to join the jihadist group, well-placed sources have told The Telegraph.


Turkey’s economy is spiraling as Erdogan’s AKP requests new election
More capital flight lies ahead for Turkey as President Erdogan’s party calls for new city elections, analysts predict
Thwarted in Istanbul Election Recount, Erdogan’s Party Applies for Rerun – The New York Times
The call for a fresh vote is seen as a last-ditch attempt by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allies to avoid losing control of Turkey’s largest city.
Turkish central bank needs to be fully independent: IMF Europe chief
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has espoused keeping interest rates down despite rising inflation, currently at more than 19%.
Turkey’s Purged Workers Carve Out New Life in Kurdish Region
Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast is the center of a decade’s long Kurdish insurgency by the PKK. Across the region, in a security crackdown, tens of thousands of people have been fired from their state jobs, accused of supporting the insurgents. For many that means a radical career change, Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Have Turkey’s Elections Produced a Challenger to Erdogan?
The AKP receives its greatest electoral setback in its 16 years in power.
Turkish Opposition Has Historic Victory Confirmed in Istanbul, as Erdogan Seeks to Overturn Vote
After 17 days of recounts, opposition victory confirmed in Istanbul mayoral election, but Erdogan continues to try to overturn vote in bid to hold onto Turkey’s largest and richest city
Erdogan lashes out at Financial Times over report on economy | Fox News
Turkey’s president has lashed out at the Financial Times and other western media, accusing them of falsely portraying the economy as being on the brink of collapse.
Turkey’s central bank is boosting its reserves with ‘off balance sheet’ short-term swaps — and investors are aghast | Business Insider
Turkey’s central bank has caused consternation amongst analysts and investors after admitting that much of its publicized currency reserve figures are held in short-term swap contracts.
Turkey Criticizes US for Designating Iranian Force Terrorist
US re-imposed sanctions on Iran, including on its energy sector, last November, after President Donald Trump pulled out of landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal
What Happens in Istanbul Will Not Stay in Istanbul
On March 31, Turkey went through yet another historic election. On the surface, the election itself is not that important: Unlike the parliamentary and


Yep, it’s Bibi again – AEI
Decisiveness, security-mindedness, bluntness, and economic well-being trumped political correctness, character assassination, and hand-outs in Israel. The Democratic Party should take note.
Netanyahu’s re-election will push Israel towards an even more extreme phase of polarisation | The Independent
To Bibi or not to Bibi – that was the joke floating around social media last week. The knife-edge elections, which took place on Tuesday, were more of a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu’s 10-year right-wing rule than anything else.
Netanyahu Begins Building Fragile Coalition in Israel – WSJ
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began trying to form a government that will support him if he is charged with corruption and won’t splinter over the disagreements that fractured his last coalition.


Shells hit Tripoli as Haftar’s two-week siege rages – Reuters
Shells slammed into a Tripoli suburb overnight, piling on the suffering to civilians from a two-week assault by commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces to take Libya’s capital from an internationally-backed government.
Libya offensive stalls, but Haftar digs in given foreign sympathies – Reuters
Military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s intended lightning seizure of Libya’s capital has stalled, but he is unlikely to face real pressure from abroad to pull back as the arrival of hardline opponents bolsters his war cry against “terrorism”.
Libya crisis: Egypt’s Sisi backs Haftar assault on Tripoli | World news | The Guardian
Warlord also understood to have private support of Saudi Arabia and the UAE
As Haftar meets Sisi, GNA forces shoot down LNA fighter jet | News | Al Jazeera
More than 120 people have been killed since renegade General Khalifa Haftar’s forces launched a push to seize Tripoli.
Protests in Libya against Haftar’s offensive | News | Al Jazeera
Khalifa Haftar is considered a hero by his supporters but a war criminal by others.
Libyan Forces Fighting for the Capital Disavow Extremists – The New York Times
The U.N.-backed government appeared to be responding to a report in The New York Times and a statement from the European Union.
Saudis ‘gave Libya’s Haftar millions of dollars before offensive’ | News | Al Jazeera
Wall Street Journal says Riyadh offered millions of dollars to Khalifa Haftar to help pay for his Tripoli campaign.
Saudi Arabia Promised Support to Libyan Warlord in Push to Seize Tripoli – WSJ
Days before Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to seize the capital and attempt to unite the divided country under his rule, Saudi Arabia promised tens of millions of dollars to help pay for the operation, according to senior Saudi advisers.
Italy says military intervention ‘cannot be a solution’ in Libya – Reuters
Italy’s prime minister has said any foreign military intervention in Libya would not resolve the latest conflict in its former colony, warning that it might trigger a refugee exodus across the Mediterranean.


Algeria’s magistrates threaten to boycott July presidential poll | News | Al Jazeera
Judges say they will not oversee the vote if it is held under same judicial framework and Bouteflika-era institutions.
Police use tear gas, arrest scores of protesters in Algeria | Algeria News | Al Jazeera
Friday’s protests the first since interim leader Abdelkader Bensalah set presidential elections for July 4.
Sudan’s Feared Intelligence Chief Resigns in Another Victory for Protesters – The New York Times
Demonstrators, who remain encamped in large numbers outside the country’s military headquarters, had called for his brutal agency to be dismantled.
Sudan crisis: Military council arrests former government members – BBC News
The transitional military council says it will approve a prime minister of the opposition’s choosing.
ICC Rejects Probe Into U.S. Actions In Afghanistan : NPR
The judges at the International Criminal Court said that the probe would be “inevitably doomed to failure.” It’s a victory for the White House, which has spoken out against an investigation.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Kim Jong-un to visit Russia in late April for first-ever meeting with Putin — Meduza
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly accepted an invitation from Vladimir Putin to visit Russia. According to the Kremlin’s official website, Kim and Putin will meet in late April. It’s still unclear where the two leaders will meet, though the North Korean media has suggested it could happen in Vladivostok, near Russia’s border with China and North Korea.
Kremlin Says North Korean Leader To Visit Russia Later This Month
The Kremlin has announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to visit Russia within the next 12 days.
Vladimir Isachenkov | It’s Official: Kim Jong Un Is Heading to Russia | The Diplomat
The Kremlin says North Korea’s leader will visit Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin this month, making good on years of rumors.
US envoy heads to Moscow as rumors of Putin-Kim meeting heat up – CNN
The United States special representative for North Korea is headed to Moscow amid rumors in South Korean media that Kim Jong Un is planning to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon.
Acting Pentagon chief: North Korea weapon test was ‘not a ballistic missile’ | TheHill
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan confirmed Thursday that North Korea conducted a weapons test the day before, but said the weapon was “not a ballistic missile.”
What US intelligence believes happened with North Korea’s weapons test – CNNPolitics
The US does not believe North Korea successfully launched a fully operational new weapon after Pyongyang claimed it had conducted a “new tactical guided weapons firing test” on Wednesday, according to a US official directly familiar with the latest assessment.
North Korea’s Latest Weapons Test: Short in Range but Long in Message – The New York Times
Experts say Kim Jong-un is returning to saber rattling as he tries to regain leverage over President Trump after their failed summit meeting in Vietnam.
Analyst: Kim Jong Un talks to Trump like he’s a teenager – CNN Video
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is calling on the US to stop “its current way of calculation” if it is interested in continuing diplomatic talks, according to a report from the country’s state news agency KCNA. CNN’s Brian Todd reports.
North Korea test-fires a new tactical guided weapon
North Korea said it test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon” in an announcement Thursday that was possibly an attempt to register displeasure with the deadlock in nuclear talks with the United States without causing those coveted negotiations to collapse.
North Korea test-fires a new tactical guided weapon
The latest revelation comes less than two months after the collapse of nuclear talks between Trump and Kim in Vietnam.
North Korea Reveals Test-Firing Of New Tactical Guided Weapon : NPR
The country’s official newspaper reported leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test and is continuing to upgrade his country’s military. The report said the weapon carried a “powerful warhead.”
North Korea willing to take part in talks if US has ‘right attitude’ – BBC News
North Korea’s leader says a third summit with President Trump is possible if the US changes tack.
Kim Jong Un Sends Message to Trump With Military Visit – WSJ
North Korea is signaling a firmer stance toward the U.S. following the breakdown of denuclearization talks, with leader Kim Jong Un visiting a military unit for the first time this year.
Kim says US must stop ‘current way of calculation’ to continue nuke talks – CNNPolitics
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is calling on the US to stop “its current way of calculation” if it is interested in continuing diplomatic talks, according to a report from the country’s state news agency KCNA.
N.Korea’s Kim could meet with Russia’s Putin next week: sources – news world | UNIAN
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may hold his first-ever summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week when Putin travels to the Far East on his way to an international conference in China, sources said Monday. Speculation has been mounting that a summit between Putin and Kim might be imminent with their senior officials recently seen traveling to each other’s capital.
Trump’s third date with Kim will likely be as unsuccessful as the last one (opinion) – CNN
Trump has already struck out twice with North Korea, and barring any major strategic shifts, the third time probably won’t be any different, writes Samantha Vinograd.
Third Trump Kim North Korea summit possible – Vox
The “excellent” relationship between Trump and Kim Jong-Un might be enough to get the two leaders in a room, but not necessarily to a resolution between their countries.
Trump and Kim Tease Another Pointless Peace Summit
President Trump and Kim Jong-un are teasing the idea of another peace summit, despite the fact that Kim seems reluctant to give the U.S. another chance, and the U.S. has gotten nowhere with North Korea since the last two times they got nowhere.
Satellite images may show reprocessing activity at North Korea nuclear site: U.S. researchers – Reuters
Satellite images from last week show movement at North Korea’s main nuclear site that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel, a U.S. think tank said on Tuesday.
North Korea’s new nominal head of state guided Kim Jong Un from the beginning – Reuters
North Korea’s new nominal head of state is a long-time loyalist with deep ties to the ruling Kim family and whose fortunes have closely followed the rise of leader Kim Jong Un, analysts said.
Kim Jong Un Appoints More Generals in Latest North Korea Shakeup – Bloomberg
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un elevated the ranks of dozens of military officers in the latest display of his grip on power amid a stalemate in nuclear talks with the U.S.
North Korea releases shots of thousands of soldiers obediently ‘celebrating’ the re-election of Kim Jong Un, who will now be known as the ‘supreme representative of all the Korean people’ | Daily Mail Online
State media in North Korea now referred to Kim Jong Un as ‘supreme representative of all the Korean people’ on Friday as a rally took place celebrating the head of state in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong Un’s ‘princess’ sister may have been kicked out of North Korea’s ruling body, suggesting a fall from favour | Business Insider
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may have been kicked out of North Korea’s high-profile ruling politburo, NK News reported, suggesting a fall from favour.
North Korean Defector Whose Escape Went Viral Speaks Out In U.S. TV Interview | NBC Nightly News – YouTube
NBC News Published on Apr 15, 2019 In an NBC News Exclusive, the North Korean soldier who made a desperate dash for freedom, and headlines around the world, is speaking out in his first U.S. television interview with Keir Simmons. » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC


Are Russia and China really forming an alliance? – AEI
Diverging histories, roles in the world economy, and global objectives mean that claims of a Russia-China alliance are exaggerated.
New Chinese Media Campaign Rolls Back Curtain of Secrecy on Their Air Forces. – The Aviationist
Videos Produced for Western Media Provide Unprecedented Look at Chinese Forces. Chinese state media outlet CGTN (China Global Television Network) has recently started an unprecedented campaign of documentary videos featuring Chinese military units. Some of the most interesting are of their rapidly expanding naval aviation program. The videos are specifically produced for English-speaking, western audiences and are distributed through outlets like YouTube. China has historically been extremely guarded about depictions of their military, especially new programs, in the media. As with the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era, images and video of new Chinese military aviation programs were previously difficult to find and of generally poor quality. This new media trend by the state-sponsored news outlet is a significant shift in policy and messaging about China’s military. The shift accompanies other interesting changes in Chinese media depicting its military. CGTN’s new military reports have been hosted by one of their most senior correspondents, Han Bin. Bin, who holds a Master’s degree in journalism from the prestigious Goldsmiths University in London, has been reporting on Chinese affairs since 1995. His assignment and leadership to this new era of Chinese defense journalism signals the government’s commitment and significance of the move to provide greater transparency to the Chinese military.
China’s Plans to Dominate Space | The National Interest
Here’s what we know.
President Trump Called Jimmy Carter To Talk About China : NPR
Trump called Carter on Saturday, the first time the two had spoken, Carter said. He said Trump told him he is particularly concerned about how China is “getting ahead of us.”
White House says Jimmy Carter wrote Trump ‘beautiful letter’ on China | TheHill
President Trump spoke with former President Carter (D) after the latter wrote a “beautiful letter” about the administration’s ongoing trade negotiations with China, the White House said Monday.
Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago pleads not guilty | Miami Herald
Yujing Zhang pleaded not guilty after her arrest at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. The Chinese national was arrested carrying ‘malware’ but a federal prosecutor Monday said that identification may have been a ‘false positive.’
Judge denies bail to Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago over ‘extreme’ flight risk | TheHill
A federal judge on Monday denied bail to a Chinese woman who was arrested after illegally attempting to enter 
US to press allies to keep Huawei out of 5G in Prague meeting
The United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for China’s Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks, sources say.
China Is Beating the US in the Rare-Earths Game – Defense One
It’s time for the administration to use its powers to preserve America’s access to vital defense materials.


China Enlarges Its Circle in Europe, and Tries to Convince Europeans It Comes in Peace – The New York Times
On Friday, Greece joined the thickening ranks of China’s economic allies in Europe. But European officials remain wary of China’s intentions.
Some Chinese nationalists see justice for Summer Palace razing in Notre Dame fire – CNN
As the world watched in horror at pictures of the Notre Dame burning, some in China saw another story in the flames: that of retribution.
Huawei’s rise to the top wasn’t pretty – CNN
If history is anything to go by, Huawei will fight tooth and nail to survive, and it won’t be afraid to get dirty to maintain its global dominance in the face of growing international headwinds.
Volkswagen CEO ‘not aware’ of Uighurs detained in China’s Xinjiang, despite having a factory there – The Washington Post
As many as 1 million Uighurs and members of other minority groups — mostly Muslim ones — are being held without charges in brutal internment camps.


Grading China’s Belt and Road – AEI
Through the economic activities bundled under the Belt and Road, Beijing is pursuing a vision of the 21st century defined by great power . . .
Tsai says Chinese drills threaten Taiwan but is not intimidated – Reuters
Taiwan is not intimidated by China’s military drills this week, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday, after the latest Chinese military maneuvers were denounced by a senior U.S. official as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.
Chinese businesses in Malaysia watch developments on railway project
Malaysia’s relationship with China is under scrutiny in the Southeast Asian country ahead of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s working visit to Beijing in April.
Indonesia elections: Jokowi, Prabowo and the topic of China
Economic nationalism and issues of religious identity are at the forefront of Indonesia’s upcoming elections as the world’s largest Muslim-majority country goes to the polls on Wednesday.
Faith Politics on the Rise as Indonesian Islam Takes a Hard-Line Path – The New York Times
Ahead of the presidential vote this week, Indonesian candidates are polishing their religious credentials to appeal to a growing conservative populace.
Indonesia: 193m people, 17,000 islands, one big election. Here’s what you need to know | World news | The Guardian
Vote on 17 April is world’s biggest direct presidential election with more than 800,000 polling stations set up
Indonesia election: Widodo declares victory amid dispute – BBC News
The incumbent leader said he had clearly won the vote, despite his challenger’s claims to the contrary.

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Reporters Facing Tougher Task Amid Hatred Fueled By Politicians: RSF
Hostility toward journalists often expressed by political leaders is putting media at risk globally, the watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual report published on April 18.
Analysts say why a US-EU trade war is unlikely to happen
Despite U.S. threats over new tariffs on Europe and the latter’s willingness to retaliate, analysts are not expecting a trade war between the economic giants for several reasons.


Brexit Heralds a Decline of Anglo-American Power – Defense One
The UK’s all-but-inevitable departure from the EU may well scuttle NATO. U.S. officials must be prepared.
Pollsters: Britain’s Governing Conservatives Heading For Electoral Wipe-Out
Party faces historic loss in next month’s European Parliament elections
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party may force the Tories to pick a side | News | The Times
For a Conservative Party that vowed to take Britain out of the European Union on March 29, elections to the European parliament nearly two months later were never going to be pretty. On one level it is not surprising that a pair of polls conducted this week show Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party surgi
Brexit deal: Nigel Farage can save us from ‘poison’, says Guy Verhofstadt | News | The Times
Nigel Farage is “the only thing that can save” the European Union from being “poisoned” by a never-ending Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt has warned.The European Parliament’s Brexit chief, a passionate supporter of a United States of Europe, today attacked EU leaders for allowing Britain to delay Brexit at
Brexit battles are about to get bloodier – CNN
On Friday, the United Kingdom missed its second Brexit deadline. By accepting the European Union’s offer to remain until October 31, Theresa May all but guaranteed that the UK, which voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago, will participate in the European parliamentary elections next month.
Nigel Farage launches Brexit Party ahead of European elections – BBC News
Ex-UKIP leader calls for “democratic revolution”, as Annunziata Rees-Mogg named among candidates.
Nigel Farage Returns As Britain Faces Nightmare New Brexit Elections
Theresa May’s abject Brexit failure means Britain will have to hold elections it didn’t want. Right-wing leader Nigel Farage is among those hoping to take advantage of the chaos.
Brexit Forever: Eventually People Will Grow Tired Of This And The U.K. Will Remain
The risk of a hard Brexit has collapsed. No Brexit at all? Rising fast.
Join my Nato or watch critical thinking die | Comment | The Sunday Times
Seventy years ago this month Nato was established to protect western Europe and the freedoms of its inhabitants from the threat of Soviet communism. It has become clear to me that we now need a similar organisation to protect western intellectuals from a growing threat to academic freedom.The Nort


Notre Dame fire: Macron must tread a fine line between Catholic heritage and modern secularism | News | The Times
The reconstruction of Notre Dame will be fraught with risks for President Macron as he seeks to find a path between France’s Catholic heritage and its contemporary secular culture.In a country where religion is associated with the hated ancien régime toppled in the 1789 revolution, and where today’s
Notre Dame Cathedral fire: In Paris, France’s identity crisis blazes
France, like much of Europe, is in a contentious struggle over its identity. The damage to such an important structure has scorched our illusions.
‘God’s Punishment’: Serbian Tabloids Say Notre Dame Fire Result Of Flying Kosovo’s Flag
The Serbian president has expressed solidarity with France while the press aligned with him fans the flames of nationalism over the Notre Dame blaze.
Yellow Vest Protests Continue Ahead of Macron Debate Results – Bloomberg
France’s Yellow Vest protesters took to the streets for a 22nd straight Saturday, leading to clashes with police in the southwestern city of Toulouse, while the capital remained calm.
A 500-pound bomb is detonated in Germany — more than seven decades later – Los Angeles Times
About 600 people were evacuated in Frankfurt so specialists could deal with a World War II-era bomb in the Main River. The blast was larger than expected.
Is Spain Heading for an Electoral Wreck? – Foreign Policy
In this month’s election, the choice could boil down to a government influenced by a xenophobic party or one under constant threats by separatists.
Mass Graves From Franco Era Become Spanish Election Issue
Activists and relatives pushed for the excavations after the then-Socialist government passed the 2007 Law of Historical Memory, which allowed exhumations of mass graves and condemned atrocities committed during Franco’s regime


Ecuador says hit by 40 million cyber attacks since Assange arrest
Ecuador said on Monday it has suffered 40 million cyber attacks on the webpages of public institutions since stripping Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of political asylum.
Ecuador’s president gives bizarre reason for revoking Julian Assange’s asylum – AOL News
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno didn’t mince his words when asked why his administration withdrew WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s asylum. 
Julian Assange Is Under Arrest. Will WikiLeaks Continue To Be Relevant? : NPR
Julian Assange probably won’t have access to his laptop computer for a while, but that may not mean that the organization he created won’t still release secrets and, potentially, affect elections.
Assange Lawyer: Ecuador Spread Lies about WikiLeaks Founder
Jennifer Robinson tells Sky News that Ecuador is making ‘pretty outrageous allegations’ to justify allowing British police into its embassy Thursday in order to take Julian Assange into custody
Takeaways from the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
The arrest is likely to trigger a debate over press freedom and call attention to unresolved questions about Assange’s role in the release of stolen Democratic emails leading up to the 2016 presidential election, part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently concluded investigation.
US gave verbal pledge of no death penalty for Assange: Sources – ABC News
United States officials gave verbal assurances to Ecuadorian authorities that WikiLeak founder Julian Assange would not face the death penalty in the U.S.
Julian Assange affidavit unsealed
An affidavit detailing the alleged crimes of Julian Assange was unsealed Monday, revealing more about what investigators knew regarding the WikiLeaks founder’s communications with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
US promised Ecuador it wouldn’t seek death penalty for Assange
The Ecuadorian ambassador to Germany struck the deal with U.S.-German ambassador Richard Grenell about six months after the country decided it would try to evict Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, in March 2018.
Ecuador’s president says Assange tried to use its embassy to spy – Reuters
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange repeatedly violated his asylum conditions and tried to use the Ecuadorian embassy in London as a center for spying, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
Assange used embassy for ‘spying’, says Ecuador president | News | Al Jazeera
President Lenin Moreno accuses the Australian national of setting up ‘centre for spying’ from Ecuador’s London embassy.
This photo got Julian Assange kicked out of Ecuadorian embassy
This is the photo that reportedly got Julian Assange kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy –
John Oliver Defends WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: Extradition ‘Worrying for a Number of Reasons’
The late-night host reluctantly came to the defense of Assange over the DOJ’s attempts to extradite him to the U.S.
Why is the left blinkered to claims about Assange and sexual assault? | Nesrine Malik | Opinion | The Guardian
In the hierarchy of progressive political causes women are relegated to the bottom of the pile, says Guardian columnist Nesrine Malik
Julian Assange being held in Belmarsh, ‘Britain’s Guantanamo Bay’ – Business Insider
As Assange awaits for potential extradition to the US, he’s been sent to Belmarsh, considered to be one of the UK’s most famous prisons.
Dov S. Zakheim | Assange Should Get What He Deserves | The National Interest
The First Amendment to the Constitution does not protect someone from shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Similarly, it does not protect a so-called journalist who maliciously harms the nation’s security, as Assange did. by Dov S. Zakheim Julian Assange claims that he is a journalist. My foot. He may or may not have been a paid Russian agent, but for all intents and purposes he was. His aim was to do as much damage to the United States as he possibly could. With the help of a traitor named Chelsea Manning he undermined American diplomacy and probably endangered American lives. He followed up that triumph of treachery by attempting to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, most likely working in cahoots with the Kremlin. While he did not determine its outcome, he certainly contributed to it and, in doing so, certainly did not displease his Russian collaborators. Genuine journalists do not have evil intentions. Those who leaked the Pentagon papers did so because they were concerned that the United States government was lying to its people even as thousands of young Americans were dying in the rice paddies of Vietnam. Woodward and Bernstein went after “All the President’s Men” because they discovered that the White House was obstructing justice. Assange’s objective was neither to get to the truth behind the pursuit of a war whose costs in lives and treasure were continuing to mount, or to prevent any further attempts to undermine the American system of checks and balances. His objectives were purely malign. Were his motives truly noble, he might perhaps have investigated the goings-on in Trump Tower during the summer of 2016. Assange is desperately fighting extradition to the United States because he knows that he is no different from an accomplice to Al Qaeda. Their aims are identical; both seek to weaken, if not destroy, America and the democratic system it embodies. Assange’s defenders are already screaming that his extradition and inevitable conviction in an American court will silence investigative journalism in the United States and elsewhere. That is as nonsensical as Assange’s claim to be a journalist. Both arguments should be treated with the contempt they deserve. There are limits to free speech that apply to journalists just as they do to ordinary citizens. The First Amendment to the Constitution does not protect someone from shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Similarly, it does not protect a journalist who maliciously harms the nation’s security, as Assange did. Those who believe otherwise are by definition America’s enemies, and deserve whatever punishment the courts mete out to them. Moreover, just because the Espionage Act is ninety-five years old does not mean that it no longer is relevant; it can and should be the basis for prosecuting those who deliberately seek to undermine America’s security. If, as many hope, Assange is extradited to the United States and convicted under the Espionage Act or another statute, it should indeed cast a pall over those whose malign intentions endanger Americans. It will in no way restrict the activities of legitimate investigative journalists who uncover true improprieties on the part of government at any level and in any place. As for Assange, he should spend the rest of his life behind bars. Too bad that, thanks to the generosity of the American taxpayer, he will still be able to enjoy three good meals a day, engage in sports and other activities, and even earn a degree. Were he in another country’s prison, the Lubyanka for example, life after Wikileaks would not be so good. Dov S. Zakheim was an under secretary of defense (2001–2004) and a deputy under secretary of defense (1985–87). He is vice chairman of the Center for the National Interest.
Labour Party Says UK Should Oppose Assange Extradition to US
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says the US is trying to have Assange extradited because he exposed ‘evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan’
Julian Assange must face Swedish justice first – MPs and peers – BBC News
More than 70 MPs and peers write to the home secretary backing Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden.
Calling Assange a ‘narcissist’ misses the point – without WikiLeaks we would live in darker, less informed times | The Independent
“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” and “ha, ha, I hit them” say the pilots of a US Apache helicopter in jubilant conversation as they machine-gun Iraqi civilians on the ground in Baghdad on 12 July 2007.
Assange is indicted, but not for publishing secrets – Los Angeles Times
Don’t use the WikiLeaks case to undermine press freedom.
Tucker Carlson: Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president | Fox News
Tucker Carlson: The real reason everyone is mad at Julian Assange
How Much Did WikiLeaks Damage U.S. National Security? : NPR
This question has been a source of debate since the group published hundreds of thousands of U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010, many related to U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange arrest designed to stop him pressing mysterious panic button – INSIDER
WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, was dramatically arrested and dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday.
Julian Assange Can Expect The Full 5 Years In An American Jail—Here’s Why
If the Wikileaks founder is extradited, lawyers for a hacker who helped leak documents to Assange’s organization think he’ll be punished as severely as their client.
Ecuador releases Julian Assange for rudeness, spying, and poop – Vox
Assange kicked out of Ecuadorian Embassy by Moreno and is now in UK custody before possible US extradition.
Hillary Clinton: Julian Assange ‘has to answer for what he has done’ – CNNPolitics
Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Julian Assange — whose organization, WikiLeaks, played a damaging role in her 2016 electoral defeat — needs to “answer for what he has done.”
Does Trump still love Wikileaks… or what? – BBC News
The US president says Wikileaks is “not his thing”. We look in the archives to see if it ever was.
As Ecuador Harbored Assange, It Was Subjected to Threats and Leaks – The New York Times
The Ecuadorean Embassy in London protected the WikiLeaks founder from prosecution for years, but its tolerance wore thin.
Where Is Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder? Belmarsh Prison – Bloomberg
Without consistent internet access, medical attention or the ability to go outside, Julian Assange complained that his almost seven-year stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London was uncomfortable. The WikiLeaks founder’s living conditions may now be a lot worse.
Julian Assange & Russia Collusion: Why Not Charge Him? | National Review
Why not charge Julian Assange with the 2016 “collusion” conspiracy, too?
Ecuador spent nearly $1 million each year to host Julian Assange
Ecuador blew through nearly a million dollars a year hosting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London, officials revealed Saturday.
Ace Swedish coder held by Ecuador was defender of Assange | Fox News
An ace Swedish programmer has been arrested in Ecuador in an alleged plot to blackmail the country’s president over his abandonment of Julian Assange.
What Happened to Julian Assange’s Cat After Embassy Eviction? WikiLeaks Says It is Safe, ‘Will be Reunited in Freedom’
Assange’s cat was actually rescued by his attorneys last October, claims WikiLeaks.
Where’s Michi? Assange’s cat makes diplomatic exit | News | The Times
As spies and diplomats wrangled over the conditions of Julian Assange’s arrest, an altogether different game of cat and mouse was being played. Mystery surrounds the fate of Michi, the Wikileaks founder’s tabby. When asked of its whereabouts by The Times yesterday, a gruff voice at the embassy said
Assange cat: Whatever happened to Embassy Cat? – CNN
Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, there’s an important question that begs answering.
Assange’s Cat Has Left The Ecuadorian Embassy : NPR
Assange was arrested Thursday after the Ecuadorian Embassy in London said he was no longer welcome. But what happened to the self-proclaimed master of “counter-purrveillance?”


Finland’s Social Democrats party seals narrow election win | Finland News | Al Jazeera
Social Democrats win 40 seats in the 200-seat parliament, two more than the right-wing Finns Party.
Finland election: voters may pick first leftist prime minister in two decades | World news | The Guardian
Antti Rinne’s Social Democrats are leading the opinion polls but nationalist Finns party are not far behind
Finland election: Leftist party tipped to win vote – BBC News
A centre-left party is predicted to win but an anti-immigrant party is likely to make gains too.
The Right’s New Rallying Cry in Finland: ‘Climate Hysteria’ – The New York Times
With the immigration issue losing some of its sizzle, populists are now capitalizing on fears of climate activism by liberal, urban elites.
Finns to vote on how best to save their welfare state | Fox News
Finns will be voting Sunday in a parliamentary election shaped by debates on how best to preserve their generous welfare model despite having one of the world’s most rapidly aging populations.


Serbia Wants Russia To Play Larger Role In Kosovo Talks
Serbia says it wants its ally Russia to play a larger role in EU-mediated talks with Kosovo.
Thousands rally in Serbia against President Aleksandar Vucic | Serbia News | Al Jazeera
Ruling party members barricade themselves inside parliament to prevent takeover of power by fascists and thugs.
Thousands rally in Serbia against populist leader Vucic | Fox News
Thousands of people have gathered for a protest rally against Serbia’s populist President Aleksandar Vucic.
Serbia Unfiltered
The photographer capturing the happiness and heartbreak of Serbia’s industrial hinterland.
Proposed Ban On Filming Police In Republika Srpska Sends Chill Through Bosnia’s Media
In Bosnia’s Serb entity, it’s perfectly legal to film police officers on the job. For now.
Albanian opposition clashes with police in anti-govt protest | Fox News
Albanian opposition parties have rallied in the Tirana, the capital, calling for the government’s resignation and an early parliamentary election.
Bulgaria Seizes 288 Kilos of Heroin in Truck From Iran 
The haul was the biggest amount of heroin seized at Bulgaria’s borders this year, the customs agency says

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Protecting democracy: Modernizing the Foreign Agents Registration Act – AEI
To say that foreign influence in the United States has dominated today’s political discourse would be an understatement. At the center of this discussion is the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), an important tool designed to safeguard against foreign influence in the US. But FARA, created on the precipice of World War II, is in need of significant modernization to adequately safeguard our democracy.
Facebook bans UK far-right groups and their leaders – CNN
Facebook has banned a number of far-right groups and their leaders in the United Kingdom after determining that they “spread hate.”
Facebook bans UK far right groups and leaders – BBC News
A dozen named groups and individuals will be purged from the social network, it said.
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp back up after widespread outages | CBC News
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were temporarily down early Sunday but were running again for most users by 9 a.m. ET.
Female scientists hit out at ‘sickening’ trolls targeting Katie Bouman over first black hole picture
Female scientists have claimed that social media is facilitating &quot;brutal&quot; and &quot;sickening&quot; misogyny after trolls repeatedly targeted the woman whose work contributed to the first picture of a black hole in space.
Internet trolls attempted to discredit Katie Bouman’s work on black hole project | Fox News
Katie Bouman became an overnight celebrity after a viral photo circulated the internet following her work that helped lead to the first image of a black hole Wednesday and then the internet trolls tried to discredit her.
Trolls Target Female Scientist
Katie Boumann’s rise to scientific stardom came with a downside: online trolls who claimed her work was really done by a man, CNN reports. The 29-year-old MIT graduate helped create the algorithms… Science News Summaries. | Newser
American Businesses Stayed Quiet On Chinese Hackers, Amid Concerns For Profits : NPR
The U.S. has largely failed to stop Chinese cybertheft of U.S. companies, but the companies themselves led the charge in keeping it under wraps.
What the Air Force learned from insurgents’ networks
Air Force leaders plan to experiment this summer with a mesh network that would allow military users in hard-to-reach areas to connect to the service’s top secret network and share intelligence information without the fear of losing service.
CRS: U.S. Military Electronic Warfare Research and Development: Recent Funding Projections – To Inform is to Influence
Congressional Research Service U.S. Military Electronic Warfare Research and Development: Recent Funding Projections  
Air Force hopes new organization can boost electronic warfare
Air Force leaders are touting the creation of a new information warfare organization earlier this month as a way to show the increasing importance of cyber and electronic warfare capabilities.
What ‘Game of Thrones’ Teaches Us About Intelligence – Defense One
George R.R. Martin’s maesters are close to Kent’s ideal intelligence professional — with illuminating similarities and differences.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Pentagon reveals new details of Army Guard missile brigade unique mission – Defence Blog
The Pentagon on Friday has revealed additional details about the unique mission of the Colorado Army National Guard’s 100th Missile Defense Brigade. 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense), known as 100th MDB (GMD), is a multi-component Army National Guard brigade headquartered at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The mission of 100th MDB (GMD) is ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) of the United States. “To me, it’s very simple,” said Army Maj. Jason Brewer, the chief of missile defense operations with the brigade. “If a rogue nation or other entity shoots an ICBM, inter-continental ballistic missile, at us, we intercept it.” It’s a mission the brigade — the only unit of its type in the Army National Guard and one staffed with both active component and Army Guard Soldiers — has been doing since 2003, when it was activated. It’s also a mission that isn’t quite as simple as it may sound. “You’ve got to think on your feet and you’ve got to look at things with a different lens,” said Brewer. “In this mission, everybody has to be a subject matter expert, because there is so much you have to learn. This is really an outside-the-box mission.” Relying on a network of satellites and radar systems to detect and track potential ballistic missile launches, the job requires both technical and technological mastery, but also an analytical approach, said Brewer, adding that the mission training standards are high. “We’re held to a 90% standard,” he said. If [the teams] don’t get 90% on their [training] then they fail and have to do it all over again. It’s a no-fail mission.” Brewer and many other brigade Soldiers take the no-fail creed to heart. “We can intercept missiles that are inbound to the United States, and it doesn’t get any more important than that,” he said, describing the mission as being “deployed in place.” “When you’re deployed, you’re on that mission every day,” said Brewer. “You’re really thinking about that mission, you’re studying that mission. When you’re sitting at the console, it’s the same thing.”
New Nuclear Missiles’ Cost Estimate Changes Again – Defense One
The fight over America’s nuclear missile future gets cloudier, as Air Forces says expensive silo improvements would be needed for any new ICBMs.
The cost of new intercontinental ballistic missiles is going up. Here’s why the Air Force isn’t concerned.
But will Congress be satisfied with the explanation?
DARPA’s director on how the Pentagon can transition innovation
Steven Walker, the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, shares his thoughts on the Defense Department’s relationships with the tech community and the Pentagon’s next moonshot.
How the Navy’s Top Commander Botched the Highest-Profile Investigation in Years – Defense – GovExec.com
The Navy said it was abandoning all remaining criminal charges against sailors involved in fatal accidents in the Pacific. Here’s how the actions of …


Redacted Version Of Mueller’s Russia Report To Be Released April 18
The U.S. Justice Department says Attorney General William Barr plans to release a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential electi…
5 fights to expect after the Mueller report is released – CNNPolitics
Sometime in the next 72 hours, we expect Attorney General William Barr to release a redacted version of the 300+-page report compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller and aimed at examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Former FBI official: Trump can still be impeached despite Mueller report summary [Video]
A former top FBI official has said special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report could offer enough evidence to allow Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Emboldened by His Attorney General, Trump Confronts Mueller Report Head-On – The New York Times
The president’s plan of attack is to act as if the report itself is extraneous to his attorney general’s brief letter, aides said.
The Trump-Putin Relationship, As Dictated by the Kremlin – Defense One
Why does the White House cede control of the narrative to the Russians?
Barr: Russia Tried To Interfere In U.S. Election, But No Evidence Of Collusion By Trump Team
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said an investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has confirmed that the Russian state tried to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
U.S. Attorney General Under Fire Before Release Of Redacted Mueller Report
Democrats in Washington are accusing U.S. Attorney General William Barr of attempting to shield President Donald Trump from negative findings in the special counsel’s report on Russian election i…


Trump predicts ‘Crazy Bernie Sanders,’ ‘Sleepy Joe Biden’ will be 2 Dem ‘finalists’ in 2020 race | Fox News
President Trump offered his thoughts Tuesday night on which two Democratic contenders he thinks will face off in the 2020 presidential primary.
Settlement Reunites 2,700 Central American Children With Parents in the U.S. : NPR
A federal court settlement benefits those who had been conditionally approved to join their parents already residing legally in the U.S. under an Obama administration program.


Qanta Ahmed: Ilhan Omar is a disgrace to Islam and doesn’t represent my Muslim religion | Fox News
Rep. Ilhan Omar continues to be an embarrassment and a disgrace for me and other American Muslims with her outrageous, ignorant, anti-Semitic and now anti-American comments. She projects a distorted and patently Islamist interpretation of Islam – a religion that in reality stands for the values of justice, peace and ethical conduct.
Muslim Activist: Ilhan Omar does not represent my religion – American Politics – Jerusalem Post
“Ilhan Omar’s grotesque trivialization of a national tragedy amounts to an explicit denial of 9/11,” said physician Qanta A. Ahmed.
Pinkerton: Ilhan Omar Is a Game-Changer for Democrats
My bet is that most Democrats would rather be talking about healthcare than Rep. Ilhan Omar, the by-now-notorious Democrat from Minnesota.  
Pollak: Ilhan Omar Views Muslims as the Real Victims of 9/11
Ilhan Omar thinks Muslims are powerless to question themselves. It is not a view shared by all Muslims, but it does hurt Muslims as a whole.
Ilhan Omar Should Visit The 9/11 Memorial And Museum
Demonstrating a shocking level of ignorance and callousness, Rep. Ilhan Omar recently said to a gathering of supporters of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), speaking of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” That’s right. She described the 9/11 attacks at a fundraiser for CAIR – a Hamas front organization and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing case – as merely “some people did something.” Wow. Just wow.
Bernie Sanders on Twitter: “Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.”
 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter: “Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today. @IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of
Congress. We must speak out. “First they came…”… https://t.co/AvSV1Q49em”
 
Elizabeth Warren on Twitter: “The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion. It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.”
 
Charles M. Blow | Demonizing Minority Women – The New York Times
Representative Ilhan Omar is the latest target in a trend of conservatives attacking women of color.
Ilhan Omar has become the target of a dangerous hate campaign | Moustafa Bayoumi | Opinion | The Guardian
Fox News, New York Post and Donald Trump are contributing to a climate of vigilantism that threatens every Muslim in America today
Americans Still in Shock After Congresswoman’s 9/11 Remarks – JOL
Booker: Trump’s 9/11 tweet was ‘vicious, crass, disgusting’ | TheHill
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in an interview published Saturday said President Trump’s recent tweet targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was “vicious, crass, disgusting.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar says she saw increase in death threats since Trump shared 9/11 video – INSIDER
President Trump on Friday shared a video on Twitter cutting to sound bites of Omar saying “some people did something” juxtaposed with footage from the attacks.
Pelosi moves to ensure Ilhan Omar’s safety, calls for Trump to take down video | Fox News
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday that she’s taken steps to ensure the safety of Rep. Ilhan Omar following President Trump’s tweet of a video that, according to critics, showed the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Tlaib says Dem leadership should do more to support Omar: ‘They put us in photos when they want to show our party is diverse’ | TheHill
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) expressed frustration over how Democratic leadership is handling criticism of Rep.
Fox’s Wallace not ‘comfortable’ playing full 9/11 video tweeted by Trump | TheHill
Fox News’s Chris Wallace said Sunday that he was not “comfortable” playing the entirety of a video President Trump tweeted Friday showing scenes from the 9/11 terrorist attack combined with remarks from Rep.
Omar cites more death threats against her since Trump tweet
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar says she’s faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump spread around a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 2001 terrorist attacks. “This is endangering lives,” she said, accusing Trump of fomenting right-wing extremism
Why the “I Stand With Ilhan Omar” Hashtag Has Is All Over Twitter
On Friday, Trump tweeted a spliced video of Ilhan Omar speaking at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in March about how terrorism leads to Islamophobia. The footage was edited against images of the 9/11 attacks. Trump wrote “we will never forget” in his tweet of the video.
CNN Panel Divided Over Omar And Whether She Bears Blame For Her 9/11 Comments | The Daily Caller
A CNN panel on Sunday’s &quot;State of the Union&quot; quickly divided over Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and comments she made about 9/11 during a recent speech.
Pelosi: Capitol Police working to ‘safeguard’ Omar after Trump 9/11 tweet – POLITICO
Ilhan Omar says she has “experienced an increase in direct threats on my life.”
US Muslim congresswoman says she won’t be silenced by Donald Trump 
One of America’s first Muslim congresswomen has vowed not to be silenced after Donald Trump led an attack on her for controversial remarks she made about 9/11.
In Attacking Ilhan Omar, Trump Revives His Familiar Refrain Against Muslims – The New York Times
The president hopes to resurrect a major theme of his 2016 campaign for his re-election bid in 2020. This time, he has picked a specific target.
Twitter Urged to Suspend Donald Trump After President Accused of ‘Sharing Propaganda Videos Trafficking in Hate Speech’ Over Omar Attack
The Women’s March started a petition on Saturday to get Donald Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts suspended after the president posted a video attacking congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Jews have strong grounds for a new exodus — from the Democratic Party
The cancer is fast-moving and invasive, and if Democrats don’t excise it from their midst, they will make it impossible for Jews to comfortably remain.
Pelosi: Democrats have ‘no taint’ of anti-Semitism in their party – CNNPolitics
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the President is “bankrupt of any ideas” whenever he accuses the Democratic Party of pushing an anti-Semitic agenda and flatly denied the party was growing more hostile to Jews.
Pelosi rips AOC, says her posse in Congress is ‘like five people’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just sent some more shade to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Pelosi plays down influence of AOC wing of Democrats, says it’s ‘like 5 people’ | Fox News
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tried to tamp down the perceived influence of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive freshman Democrats, saying their wing in Congress was “like five people.”
Freshman congresswoman Omar responds to President Trump’s tweet – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Pelosi slams Trump for using 9/11 footage to criticize Ilhan Omar
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi President Donald Trump’s use of video footage of the 9/11 attacks to criticize Rep. Ilhan Omar, saying the president “shouldn’t use the painful images of 9/11 for a political attack.”
Ilhan Omar, in bizarre clip, jokes about people saying ‘Al Qaeda’ in menacing tone | Fox News
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, in a newly resurfaced clip of an old interview, joked about people saying “Al Qaeda” and “Hezbollah” in a severe tone — while noting nobody says words like “America” that way. 
Trump Assails Ilhan Omar With Video of Sept. 11 Attacks – The New York Times
President Trump used Twitter on Friday to target Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, for remarks she made during a speech last month on civil rights and Muslims in America.
Trump shares video about Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 comments as she faces death threats | Business Insider
President Donald Trump on Friday shared a video on Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comments on the September 11, 2001, terror attacks as the freshman lawmaker has faced death threats.
AOC thanks Bernie Sanders for having Ilhan Omar’s back after Trump attack
Sen. Bernie Sanders went to bat for Rep. Ilhan Omar on Friday night — calling her a “leader with strength and courage” — in a tweet that was later praised by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
AOC faces backlash for using ‘First they came … ‘ Holocaust poem in defense of Omar | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., continues to ignite outrage while defending freshman colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar, this time by using a poem about the Holocaust to defend the Minnesota Democrat.
AOC defends Omar after Trump 9/11 video, calls on more Dems to speak out
Freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Talib called on other Democrats to defend their fellow Congresswoman after the president tweeted a video attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
New York Post: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘psycho’ class war | Fox News
To what extent is income ­inequality a genuine concern for our society as a whole, and to what extent are people ­using income inequality as a mask for being angry at the rich for ­being rich and especially at the ­super-rich for being too rich?
Google News – Liberals’ frustration with Pelosi rises over her response to Omar dispute
The remarks of the freshman member of Congress during an address to a Muslim rights organization spawned controversy, but it was just a snippet. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post and Atthar Mirza/The Washington Post) The far left’s frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the rise, as liberal advocates and lawmakers fume that she hasn’t done enough to defend freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar from attacks by President Trump and other Republicans and has undermined their policies and leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Omar’s allies over the weekend were upset by what they viewed a…


Trump accuses papers of downplaying indictment of ex-Obama counsel | TheHill
President Trump on Friday accused top newspapers of downplaying the indictment of former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig in a case related to the now-concluded Russia investigation.
Ex-Obama Aide Denies Guilt In Ukraine Lobbying Case
Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements and concealing information about work he performed in 2012 for Ukraine in a case that origin…
Greg Craig’s rise and fall: From John Hinckley’s lawyer to Obama White House counsel – to indicted power player | Fox News
Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig’s indictment this week represented a stunning fall for the high-powered Washington lawyer — who aside from his work in the Obama administration represented everyone from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr. 
W. Samuel Patten sentenced to probation after steering Ukrainian money to Trump inaugural – The Washington Post
The political consultant provided “substantial assistance” in the special counsel’s Russia probe and other ongoing investigations, U.S. prosecutors said.
U.S. Lobbyist Sentenced To 3 Years’ Probation In Ukraine-Linked Case
The sentence came after Samuel Patten asked the court for leniency and prosecutors said that he had provided substantial assistance.
Lobbyist sentenced to probation for funneling money to Trump inaugural from foreign nationals
A federal judge sentenced Sam Patten to 36 months of probation for funneling $50,000 of money from foreign politicians to Trump’s Inauguration Committee.

 

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