Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (80)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

I especially love this parody piece: Admiral Kuznetsov Converted to Submarine | Russia Without BS

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Russia’s domestic meltdown continues. Major updates on Iran, Syria, Libya, Africa and Sri Lanka. Putin-Kim fizzled summit, PLA Rocket Forces updates, PLA Navy update, PRC espionage, trade war and Huawei, Belt and Road Forum, and PacRim updates.

Europe and Venezuela updates. Cyber and IO.

Much on US domestic politics, especially defense sector and Russia.


Russia / Russophone Reports



Gorbachev Spokesman Denies Report Of Ex-Soviet Leader’s Hospitalization
A spokesman for Mikhail Gorbachev has denied a report that the former Soviet leader had been hospitalized.
Half of Russians Say They Don’t Know Why Easter Is Celebrated – Poll
Exactly half of Russian respondents correctly named resurrection when asked what the religious holiday celebrates.
Curb Your Criticism? First Russian Fined For ‘Disrespecting’ Putin Doubles Down On Critique Of President
A Russian man is unbowed after being convicted for insulting President Vladimir Putin after calling the president an obscene word online.
High-ranking Russian FSB official arrested on suspicion of taking large bribe — Meduza
Kirill Cherkalin, who leads a branch of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), has been arrested after accusations that he accepted a large bribe, TASS reported. Two former employees of the same branch, Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasiliev, were also arrested on suspicions of major fraud. The FSB did not release any additional information about the purported crimes.
Russia’s ruling political party releases viral campaign videos ahead of local elections outside Moscow — Meduza
The Moscow region’s Odintsovsky District is holding local elections on April 21. To drum up support among a younger demographic, candidates from United Russia, the country’s ruling political party, recently released three music videos. The website was the first to write about the rap mashups.
‘A roughly painted, cheap fake’ The restoration of Moscow’s Stone Flower Fountain cost more than a billion rubles. Why? — Meduza
In early April, photos of the newly renovated Stone Flower Fountain began popping up on social media. The Moscow landmark is one of four historic fountains located in the VDNKh exhibition park, and a total of almost three billion rubles ($46.3 million) were spent to restore all four. Local activists expressed frustration at the fountain’s “coarse” new look, and restoration specialists advised the public to wait a few years for the elements to return the flower to a more natural-looking state. The company that renovated the fountain has won almost every major restoration contract in western Russia in recent years — and it has been involved in a string of corruption scandals. The company even offered to help the French government restore the Notre Dame cathedral.
Arson Reported At Russia’s Largest Yeshiva During Passover
Jewish officials say a fire was set at the largest yeshiva in Russia as the faithful were gathered there before the start of the Jewish Passover holiday.
Members Of Outlawed Russian Nationalist Group Sentenced In Siberia
A court in the Russian city of Novosibirsk has convicted three members of an outlawed nationalist opposition group of plotting mass unrest in a case linked to rallies ahead of the centennial of the…
Putin Says Russia Will Host Summit In August With Presidents Of Iran, Azerbaijan
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Iranian President Hassan Rohani at a summit in Russia during August.
Russian FSB Says Two Participants In Basayev’s 1999 Attack On Daghestan Detained
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says that two alleged members of a group led by late Chechen separatist field commander Shamil Basayev that attacked Daghestan in 1999 have been apprehended.
U.S. Slaps Travel Ban On Chechen Prime Minister
The United States has imposed an entry ban on Muslim Khuchiyev, the prime minister of Russia’s North Caucasus Chechen Republic.
Russia Criticizes U.S. Travel Ban On Top Chechen Lawmaker
Russia has criticized the United States for imposing a travel ban on Chechnya’s prime minister, promising an unspecified response to the move.
Reduce, Recycle, And Feed The Worms: A Russian Activist Aims For Zero Waste
Anna Kondratyeva, an environmental activist in the Russian city of Perm, is trying to reduce her household’s waste to nearly zero. With careful shopping habits, recycling, and a home composting system, she and her husband are close to reaching that goal.
Polar Bear Roaming Around Russian Village Airlifted Home | Time
A polar bear found roaming around a village in eastern Russia, hundreds of miles away from its usual habitat, has been airlifted back home.
The Next Aral Sea? Caspian Suffers Impact Of Pollution, Climate Change
Disappearing seals, plummeting fish stocks, and a falling water level all point to the deteriorating health of the Caspian Sea. Ahead of Earth Day, observed on April 22, environmentalists in Azerbaijan have warned that it will take rapid action to save the Caspian from the fate of its eastern neighbor, the dying Aral Sea.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports



Window on Eurasia — New Series: Circassian National Movement Saved and Empowered by the Internet, Kabard Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Moscow might have been able more or less indefinitely to continue its divide-and-rule strategy against the Circassian nation had it not been the Internet, a technology that allowed the members of a community Moscow had artificially divided up into various “nationalities” to come together as one, Andzor Kabard says. The Kabard activist who lives in New York exile says that even with the upsurge of national feeling at the end of Soviet times, Moscow was keeping the Circassians divided. But it had not counted on the power of the Internet which the Circassians used to raise both their issue at the Sochi Olympics and their national consciousness ( Kabard’s powerful words on this point merit extensive quotation: No one can say how long things might have continued in this way, but eventually Circassian nationalists were rescued by American technology. This painful picture was radically changed by the rapid spread of the internet and Russia’s success in winning the competition for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, which coincided with the rise of a new generation. During the 2000s, Circassian youth had full access to the possibilities provided by the internet, which had finally spread like wildfire among them. First internet forums, and then social media groups became a focus for meeting people and exchanging ideas for crystallising a core of a new generation of Circassian nationalists. For the first time in 150 years, people living in dozens of countries around the world, but mostly in Turkey and Russia, suddenly had an opportunity for direct contact and could coordinate their positions and plan public actions together without any mediation from “professional Circassians” in the pockets of the Turkish and Russian authorities. The majority of Circassian activists who appeared in the 2000s and 2010s were trained in the school of internet battles. All that was left was to find an agenda to organise around. And one soon appeared. It was presented to them by Russia itself, when Sochi chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Black Sea city of Sochi holds a special place in Circassian history. It was the home of the “Great Free Assembly” (1861), i.e. the parliament of the independent Circassian Confederation. The last battles of the Caucasian War took place here. The whole of the city’s famous beaches are one big cemetery, where thousands of people lie in common graves. These people were driven onto the shore by Russian troops and died as they awaited deportation to the Ottoman Empire. Here, in the mountains, Grand Duke Mikhail Romanov took the victory salute in 1864, celebrating the destruction of Circassia and the culmination of the colonisation of the Caucasus. The Sochi Olympic Games were planned to coincide with the 150th anniversary of those celebrations, although, as it turned out afterwards, there was no specifically Circassian component planned for the event. The whole thing appeared to be – and indeed was – an attempt to comprehensively wipe the memory of the Circassian people from the history of these parts. But it had the opposite result. In 2007, the news from Guatemala announcing the choice of venue for the Olympics brought an instant reaction on the internet. At first, no one knew what to do about it, but soon a protest action was put together, demanding the recognition of the Russian Empire’s genocide of the Circassian people. This demand, breaking like thunder during the 1990s but gradually becoming quieter in the 2000s, spread through the international press. These events gave new momentum to the process of integration in the Circassian community, mobilising the most active people. They also coincided with a campaign leading up to the 2010 Russian census, when the internet provided opportunities for publicity and recruiting of supporters, as well as coordinating activists’ efforts in other countries were used to their fullest. Both these subjects later dropped from the headlines as the Circassian community’s attention switched to helping evacuate people from Syria, home to one of the largest Circassian diasporas in the world. Thanks to the efforts of private donors, coordinated through social media, around 2,000 Syrian Circassians were repatriated to their historic homeland, albeit as labor migrants and restricted by quotas originally allotted to Adygea and Kabardino-Balkaria. This tragedy allowed the subject of Circassian repatriation to be raised with Moscow, but in 2012 it was already clear that Russia wasn’t interested in talks. The futility of hoping for a constructive dialogue with the current Russian government had already been proven. Later, in correspondence with the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, a problem emerged: Syrian Circassians are nowhere officially treated as Circassians in Russia. This has complicated the assertion of their interests, which in its turn has reminded Russian Circassians of their own situation. Today, when a new campaign for a single Russian language term for Circassian ethnic identity has started in the run up to Russia’s national census in 2020, a new hashtag, #ImACirassianAreYou (#яЧеркесАты)? has appeared – and a new resource devoted to this issue has been opened, a thematic mail-out has been organised and now there is an entire galaxy of Circassian groups on social media and messaging services, as well as close coordination with the media. Today’s technology and resources are reaching their target audiences so much more easily than nine years ago, helped, apart from anything else, by the appearance of smartphones. The arrival on the internet of new people, including members of an older generation who knew life in the USSR and have little idea of today’s Circassian national discourse, makes it imperative to repeat a lot of stuff that internet veterans have known for ages. But at the same time, practically every Circassian family in Russia is now aware of the issues.

Belarus Reports



UAWire – Belarus to demand compensation from Russian Transneft for low-quality oil
Belarusian Concern Belneftekhim will demand compensation from Russian company Transneft for a low-quality oil delivery, said the Concern’s chairman Andrei Rybakou, reports BelTA. “All possible consequences will be discussed with Transneft at the upcoming meeting. The Belarusian side will insist on working out compensation mechanisms,” Rybakou said. “The oil must be replaced with a quality product that does not contain more than the permissible concentration of organochlorine. We are working on this and waiting for updates from the Russian side,” the chairman noted. “We have concluded agreements with the Belarusian side for pumping oil which stipulate, among other things, how to proceed in case there is an excess of organic chlorides in the oil. We will act in accordance with these agreements”, said Transneft representative Igor Demin as quoted by RBC news agency. “It was revealed on the evening of April 19 that low-quality Urals oil was being exported from Russia. The Mozyr Oil Refinery was the first to announce the receipt of low-quality oil. Some samples showed an excess of organochlorine compounds that amounted to 100 times the accepted norm. These compounds can spoil heat-exchange equipment and catalyst systems, their repair can take six months and more, and the damage can cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” Rybakou stressed.
Lukashenka Calls Belarus’s Next Presidential Election For 2020
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has announced that the country’s next presidential election will be held in 2020, but the parliamentary elections will be held in 2019.
Belarusian Opposition Cancels Annual Chernobyl March Over Demand To Pay Police
Belarusian opposition groups have cancelled an annual protest march in Minsk commemorating victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster after they were told they would have to pay the…

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports



UAWire – Russian military clash with Iranian forces in Syria
Two Russian servicemen were injured when the Russian military police stationed in Syria clashed with fighters of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clash, according to the London-based Al-Araby publication, occurred near the city of Mayadin in the Deir ez-Zor province. The reason for the fighting was the detention of the Russian convoy at the Iranian checkpoint. Two Iranian soldiers were killed in the firefight that followed. Al-Araby reports that there have already been several clashes between the Russian military police and parts of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Syria. According to the publication, this is the result of the fight for the control of the strategic facilities in Syria. Al-Araby also mentions the clash in the area of the international airport in Aleppo. The Russians demanded that the Iranians and their allies leave the territory. After the refusal there was an armed fight, which ended only after a Russian military helicopter appeared in the air above the airfield. Several people died as a result of the fight. The first battalion of the Russian military police, the so-called Chechen battalion, was deployed in Syria in 2016. Its mission was to ensure the rule of law and security of the staff of the Russian Reconciliation Centre, deminers, personnel of mobile hospitals and humanitarian convoys.
Iran sanctions: Goldman Sachs rules out an oil price rally
Goldman Sachs expects the United States’ decision to end exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying oil from Iran to have a limited impact on crude prices.
Iran oil sanctions: Strait of Hormuz in focus as oil prices rise
Analysts at Barclays said Monday that approximately 20% of all the sea-borne crude and condensates passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s parliament approves bill labelling US army as ‘terrorist’ | USA News | Al Jazeera
Move comes after US said that no country would any longer be exempt from sanctions if it continues to buy Iranian oil.
Iranian parliament labels entire US military as terrorists
Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that labels all U.S. military forces as terrorist, state TV reported, a day after Washington ratcheted up pressure on Tehran by announcing that no country would any longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if it continues to buy Iranian oil.
Trump wants to push Iran to the point of no return – The Washington Post
But he may end up just alienating allies and raising gas prices.
Iran sanctions aren’t a realistic path to peace | TheHill
The negotiating table is exactly where Iran and America alike should seek to be. Iran does not pose a significant or immediate threat to U.S. security.
Trump’s `Zero’ Pledge on Iran Oil Sales Tests Key Relationships – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump has warned other countries for months that they must choose between doing business with Iran and the U.S. Now, the president will show how serious he is about a decision to deny any exceptions from his ban on Iranian oil exports.
China signals plan to flout US sanctions on Iranian oil
China signaled an intention to defy U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil industry on Tuesday, denouncing the loss of a waiver renewal as an unacceptable threat against “normal energy cooperation” with Tehran.
Iran oil sanctions: China and India will remain defiant against US
President Donald Trump’s administration announced Monday that buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
Gas Prices Could Rise to $3 Per Gallon Average Due to Donald Trump’s Iran Policies, Analyst Warns
Gas prices in the U.S. have risen for nine straight weeks.
Khamenei names new chief for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – Reuters
Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has replaced the head of the influential Revolutionary Guards Corps, state TV reported on Sunday, days after the United States designated the elite group a foreign terrorist organization.
Iran’s top leader picks new Revolutionary Guard chief – The Washington Post
Iran’s supreme leader has appointed a new head to the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, just after the U.S. designated the paramilitary force a terrorist group
Washington Post: State Department to announce all countries importing Iranian oil will be subject to US sanctions – CNNPolitics
The State Department is set to announce all countries that continue to import Iranian oil will be subject to US sanctions, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
No more waivers: The United States will try to force Iranian oil exports to zero – The Washington Post
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce Monday that every country must stop importing Iranian oil or face U.S. sanctions.
Exclusive: U.S. carves out exceptions for foreigners dealing with Revolutionary Guards – Reuters
The United States has largely carved out exceptions so that foreign governments, firms and NGOs do not automatically face U.S. sanctions for dealing with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards after the group’s designation by Washington as a foreign terrorist group, according to three current and three former U.S. officials.
Iran says ready for U.S. waivers end, as Guards threaten to shut Hormuz – To Inform is to Influence
Iran is threatening to close down the international waters of the Straits of Hormuz in an effort to stand up to the United States.  On May 2nd the US is ending waivers for those countries currently importing Iranian oil. This is a move calculated to strangle Iran’s economy. The bottom line is the United States…
Trump’s Big Iran Oil Gamble – Foreign Policy
By seeking to cut Iranian exports to zero, the U.S. president is taking a major economic and political risk.
With China Defiant on Iranian Oil, Trump’s Sanctions Strategy is Tested
The United States announced earlier this week that it is stopping exemptions given to five countries that continue to buy Iranian oil, saying they must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions. China, the top buyer of Iranian oil, and Iran’s neighbor Turkey, are resolutely opposing the move, putting the Trump administration’s approach of using sanctions to force foreign policy changes to the test. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this story.
Iran’s FM Javad Zarif: I don’t think Donald Trump wants war | News | Al Jazeera
In an interview with Reuters, Iran’s foreign minister said John Bolton and Netanyahu could lure the US into conflict.
Tehran appoints new IRGC chief commander | FDD’s Long War Journal
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Hossein Salami as the new chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on April 21, replacing Mohammad
US eases effects of sanctions on Iran’s elite guard force | Fox News
The Trump administration is granting major exemptions to new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Return of Iran sanctions work against Trump’s oil objectives | TheHill
For several months, he has jawboned Saudi Arabia to increase production in order to lower gasoline prices for American consumers.
Trump pressure will fail because Iran has a ‘Ph.D. in sanctions busting,’ says Iran’s Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said his country had decades of experience evading U.S. economic sanctions and would survive this latest round of pressure.
Oil prices fall, pulling back from the week’s six-month highs
Quality concerns forced the suspension of some Russian crude exports to Europe while the U.S. prepared to tighten sanctions on Iran.

The Syrians Don’t and Won’t Toe the Iranian Line: Explaining a Most Curious Alliance
The war in Syria has played up all the classic clichés that have defined the Middle East for the last many decades: democracy versus authoritarianism,
Rumors seek to drive U.S. and Iran into conflict in eastern Syria – Middle East – Jerusalem Post
The false reports of airstrikes come in the context of both the US-IRGC tensions and tensions between the SDF and the Syrian regime.
Assad urges progress on Idlib deal ahead of Syria talks | Daily Mail Online
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday called for progress on a stalled buffer zone deal around jihadist-dominated Idlib region ahead of fresh talks…
True ISIS believers regroup inside refugee camp, terrorize the ‘impious’ – The Washington Post
Tensions are rising between the Islamic State’s female loyalists and others who fled the battlefront of the group’s self-declared caliphate.
Amal Clooney seeking Islamic State woman for Yazidi crimes | Fox News
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney says she is requesting the transfer of a female member of the Islamic State extremist group to face justice for crimes against women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority and American hostage Kayla Mueller, who was killed in 2015.
Ten Kosovo women under house arrest after returning from Syria – Reuters
Ten women repatriated to Kosovo from Syria at the weekend have been placed under house arrest on charges of participating in terrorist groups, a court said on Tuesday.
‘We Pray For The Caliphate To Return’: ISIS Families Crowd Into Syrian Camps : NPR
“The women and children who have been raised on the mentality of ISIS and terrorism need to be rehabilitated,” an official warns. “Otherwise, they will be the foundations of future terrorism.”

Netanyahu wants to thank Trump by naming new Golan Heights community after him
Newly re-elected Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu wants to express his gratitude to President Donald Trump by naming a Golan Heights community after him.

Tripoli forces push opponents back slightly south of Libyan capital-witnesses – Reuters
Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government have pushed their eastern opponents back on parts of the frontline south of Tripoli, despite the attackers flying overnight air strikes on the capital, witnesses said on Sunday.
Trump praises Haftar in apparent reversal of US policy on Libya | News | Al Jazeera
In apparent reversal of US policy, Trump praises Haftar for fighting ‘terrorism’ and securing Libya’s oil resources.
Trump praises Libyan general Khalifa Haftar as his troops march on US backed government in Tripoli – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump spoke with Libyan general Khalifa Haftar Monday, praising his role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s vast oil resources even as Haftar’s troops continue their offensive against the UN and US-backed government in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Armed men crossing from Libya alleged to be French spies | News | Al Jazeera
Tunisia’s presidency denies report that group with diplomatic passports who attempted to enter was French intelligence.
The Libyan strongman who went from CIA asset to Trump favorite
President Trump blindsided the international community and many of his own diplomats last week when he endorsed a Libyan military strongman whose forces are threatening the capital Tripoli.
Libya: Detained refugees shot as clashes near Tripoli continue | News | Al Jazeera
Refugees and migrants request immediate medical assistance as several people are reportedly wounded by gunfire.
A Warlord Rises in Libya, and Trump Is Praising Him – Defense One
It\’s Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan general who is leading his forces against the government the U.S. still officially backs.
After Tripoli assault, Libya’s next battle could be over banks – Reuters
Eastern Libya commander Khalifa Haftar has thrown much of his military forces into attacking Tripoli, but the outcome of the offensive could be determined by a separate battle — to keep open the parallel finance system that funds his soldiers.
‘Neighbourhoods turning into battlefields’ around Libyan capital | Libya News | Al Jazeera
Tripoli experiences shortages of water, power and medical supplies amid clashes between rival Libyan camps, ICRC says.
Trump’s Bet on Libyan Strongman Will Backfire – Bloomberg
A full-blown assault on Tripoli is no recipe for stability, let alone a democratic political system.
Trump’s Support for Haftar Won’t Help Libya – Foreign Policy
The United States should be working to help negotiate peace rather than fanning the flames of another failed war.
Trump Backed Haftar’s Attack on Tripoli, Libya, Officials Say – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump indicated in a phone call with Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar last week that the U.S. supported an assault on the country’s capital to depose its United Nations-backed government, according to American officials familiar with the matter.
Trump appears to contradict his own secretary of state in a phone call where he indicated the US supported an attack on Tripoli’s UN-backed government | Business Insider
President Donald Trump appeared to contradict existing US State Department policy through his alleged endorsement of a militia’s ground offensive against the UN-recognised government in Libya, according to numerous news reports this week.

Turkey arrests suspected UAE spies, probes Khashoggi link | Saudi Arabia News | Al Jazeera
Citing judicial sources, Anadolu Agency says the two suspects face charges of ‘political and military espionage’.
Turkey Furious at France, US Over Armenian Remembrance
France was first major European country to recognize the massacres as genocide in 2001
France Holds First ‘Armenia Genocide’ Remembrance Day
France was first major European country to recognize the massacres as genocide in 2001 and Macron announced national day of remembrance in February this year

Saudi Arabia executes 37 people for “terrorism” – CNN
Saudi Arabia has executed 37 men convicted of terror-related crimes, the kingdom’s official news agency said Tuesday.
Exclusive: Saudi Arabia said they confessed. Court filings show some executed men protested their innocence – CNN
Leaked documents obtained by CNN reveal that some of the men who were recently executed in Saudia Arabia claimed that their confessions were false and had been obtained through torture.

ISIS Claims First Attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo – The New York Times
Islamic State propagandists said the group was responsible for an assault that left eight Congolese soldiers dead. It was the group’s first Congo attack.
Islamic State Says Fighters Struck Congo’s Army for First Time – Bloomberg
Islamic State claimed to have carried out its first attack inside the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying Thursday on its Amaq news agency that fighters killed three government soldiers.
A Russian company’s secret plan to quell protests in Sudan – CNN
When anti-government protests erupted in Sudan at the end of last year, the response of President Omar al-Bashir came straight from the dictators’ playbook — a crackdown that led to scores of civilian deaths.
Sudan’s military leader vows to hand ‘power to people’ | News | Al Jazeera
But opposition alliance says it’s cutting contact with military council because it’s ‘not serious’ about ceding power.
Suitcases stuffed with $6.7M in cash reportedly found at home of Sudan’s ousted president | Fox News
The former president of Sudan who was ousted by the country’s military after months of protests is now reportedly under investigation for money laundering after large amounts of cash were discovered at his home.
India Is Changing Some Cities’ Names, And Muslims Fear Their Heritage Is Being Erased : NPR
Officials have been altering names to become more Hinducentric. “It is very dangerous for national integrity and unity,” says a historian. The changes accelerated ahead of this year’s elections.
UN: Pro-government forces kill more Afghans than armed groups | News | Al Jazeera
Afghan and international forces killed at least 305 civilians and wounded 303 between January and March, UN says.
Khalilzad responds to report that U.S. and Afghan forces killed more Afghan civilians than Taliban – The Washington Post
“Unintended consequences are devastating.”
SIGAR: Drug lab bombing was a dead end, and most metrics for success or failure in Afghanistan are ‘classified or nonexistent’
The drug lab bombing campaign in Afghanistan that was championed as a game-changer didn’t have the intended effect of hitting the Taliban’s purse and was probably a waste of resources.
Gold worth billions is smuggled out of Africa – new analysis
High prices are luring more and more Africans into prospecting for gold. It’s a livelihood for them, but states suffer as it’s smuggled out in huge volumes.

Live Updates: Sri Lanka explosions – CNN
In Colombo and across Sri Lanka, deadly explosions targeted churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.
Sri Lanka ‘was warned of Easter Day bombings’ | News | The Times
At least 290 people were killed and more than 500 were injured as explosions tore through Easter church services and luxury hotels in co-ordinated attacks on Sri Lanka’s Christian community and tourism industry yesterday. Eight Britons and six other foreigners were among those confirmed to hav
Police Warned That Sri Lanka Churches Were Bombing Targets – The New York Times
Multiple explosions killed more than 200 people at churches and across the country. Thirteen people have been arrested.
Sri Lanka bombings killed three children of Asos owner and Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen, he announces | The Independent
Bombings that killed hundreds of victims at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka were carried out by a local militant group with help from international terrorists, the government has said. Cabinet minister Rajitha Senaratne said seven suicide bombers who struck on Easter Sunday were Sri Lankan citizens linked to National Thowheed Jama’ath.
Sri Lankan government blocks social media and imposes curfew following deadly blasts – The Washington Post
The block comes amid a string of deadly explosions that killed more than 200 people.
ISIS suspect gave advance warning of Sri Lanka bombings, source says – CNN
An ISIS suspect arrested in India named Islamist extremist Zahran Hashim as leading a plot to attack targets in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Attack ‘Is the Wave of the Future’ – Foreign Policy
Returning Islamic State fighters are spreading “a really viral ideology” and looking for vulnerable countries to target, says terrorism expert Anne Speckhard.
Sri Lanka’s Perfect Storm of Failure – Foreign Policy
There were many chances to stop the Easter Sunday attacks. The government missed them all.
Sri Lankan officials shut down Facebook, WhatsApp after bombing
Critics believe the measure could prove more harmful than helpful as locals try to communicate in the wake of the deadly Easter bombings.
Sri Lanka expats wait to reconnect amid social media block | Fox News
Sri Lankan authorities flicked the off switch on most social media after Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels killed hundreds of people, a dramatic reaction that reflects accumulated distrust in the capability of American internet companies to control harmful content.
Cleric ‘mastermind’ behind Sri Lanka attacks known for hate-filled online sermons, possible ISIS ties | Fox News
Over the past three years, radical Islamic cleric Zahran Hashim, alternately known as Mohammed Zahran, amassed an online following of thousands for hate-filled online sermons – delivered before a banner depicting the enkindled Twin Towers – and composed of impassioned calls for “all non-Muslims be eliminated.”
Inside the comfy lives of suspected Sri Lanka terrorists
The suicide bombers who killed at least 359 people in Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday terror attacks were largely well off and included one who studied law in Australia, officials said Wednesday.
Sri Lanka’s leader calls for officials’ firings as Easter suicide bombers revealed to be ‘well-educated people’ who studied abroad | Fox News
Sri Lanka’s president is calling for the resignations of the country’s defense secretary and national police chief Wednesday after officials admitted to suffering a “major lapse” in communications in the lead-up to the Easter Sunday bombings, which have left more than 350 people dead.
In Sri Lanka, who knew what, and when did they know it? | TheHill
Claims that wide-scale terrorism was in the offing might have been met with skepticism by security analysts.
Muslims flee, Christians grieve in Sri Lankan town torn by violence – Reuters
As mourners buried the remains of Christian worshippers killed by the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, hundreds of Muslim refugees fled Negombo on the country’s west coast where communal tensions have flared in recent days.
Sri Lanka’s Muslims Face an Angry Backlash After Easter Sunday Attacks – The New York Times
The country had little history of Christian-Muslim violence, but when Muslim extremists bombed churches on Easter Sunday, everything changed.
Sri Lanka bombings: Security camera captures attackers before Easter bombings – CBS News
One bomber was the lone unmasked man in images released by ISIS. Two others were brothers
Sri Lanka suicide bomber previously arrested and released, government says – CNN
One of the Sri Lanka suicide bombers was previously arrested by police and then released, a senior Sri Lankan government spokesman told CNN Thursday.
Terrorists in Sri Lanka swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi | FDD’s Long War Journal
The Islamic State has released three written statements and a video claiming responsibility for the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The video shows the
Sri Lanka Suicide Bombers Included Two Sons of a Spice Tycoon – The New York Times
The aura of success surrounding Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim, head of a Sri Lanka spice empire, crashed on news that two of his sons were Easter Sunday bombers.
The Religious Tensions Behind the Attacks in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan attacks risk setting off sectarian violence across the region.
Sri Lanka’s President Blames Aides for Not Warning Him of Bombing Threats – The New York Times
President Maithripala Sirisena said he did not get important intelligence pointing to planned attacks, and that there would be a “total reorganization” of the security apparatus.
Sri Lanka revises bombings death toll down by 100 | News | Al Jazeera
Health ministry says 253 people were killed, blames difficulty in counting ‘badly mutilated’ bodies.
Sri Lanka suicide bombers became distant, ‘totally crazy’ in years leading up to Easter massacre, siblings say | Fox News
Sisters of the alleged Sri Lanka suicide bombers revealed Thursday that their siblings – who have been described by officials as “well-educated people” — became increasingly distant and “totally crazy” in the years leading up to the coordinated Easter Sunday massacre.
Sri Lankan Accused of Leading Attacks Preached Slaughter. Many Dismissed Him. – The New York Times
The man accused of masterminding the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels never hid his hatred. “We all underestimated him,” a resident of his hometown said.
Sri Lanka authorities say Easter attack leader killed in one of nine hotel bombings | Fox News
The suspected leader of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka died in the Shangri-La hotel, one of six hotels and churches targeted in the attacks that killed at least 250 people, authorities said.
Mystery surrounds the source of the Sri Lanka attacks (opinion) – CNN
Peter Bergen writes that while no group has yet claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka attacks, the targets of the attacks — churches packed with the faithful on Easter Sunday and five-star hotels catering to foreigners — have also figured in previous attacks.
Washington Post faces backlash after Sri Lanka attacks for focus on ‘far right’ | Fox News
The Washington Post sparked backlash on Monday for an article that focused on reaction from the “far right” after the Sri Lanka attacks on Christians, with at least one analyst saying it’s been a common focus for the newspaper after multiple crises, regardless of the cause.
Sri Lanka’s Christians and Muslims Weren’t Enemies – Foreign Policy
The country’s real divide has been between Buddhists and Muslims, but the Easter attacks may change all that.
From Christchurch to Colombo, Islamists and the far right are playing a deadly duet | Scott Atran | Opinion | The Guardian
The atrocities in Sri Lanka are part of a spiral of violence that poses profound questions for liberal societies, says anthropologist Scott Atran
Qanta Ahmed: Sri Lanka attacks illustrate Islamist war on Christianity that is opposed by most Muslims | Fox News
The horrific Easter Sunday bombing attacks that killed more than 350 people and wounded over 500 at churches and high-end hotels in Sri Lanka are the latest evidence of the war being waged on Christianity, Western society and others by radical Islamists.
Sri Lanka’s women terrorists, then and now – AEI
The involvement of women in the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka should not come as a surprise. Women’s involvement in terrorism in the country has deep roots.






From Russia, Not Much Love: Kim-Putin Meeting Proves Light on Substance – WSJ
A summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin ended with a joint pledge to forge closer ties, but no public promise from Moscow of economic assistance to mitigate the pressure of sanctions.
UAWire – Putin agrees to visit North Korea
Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-un to visit North Korea. It was reported that during the meeting in …
Putin builds his ‘authoritarian axis’: Kim Jong Un summit the latest move designed to damage US power abroad | Fox News
Almost anywhere in the world where the United States is pushing back against a despotic or rogue regime – from Iran, Syria and North Korea to Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Sudan – Moscow has made no secret of its efforts to side with the American adversary and issue lifelines to their controversial leaders.
Putin, North Korea’s Kim Hold First Face-To-Face Talks
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Far Eastern State University campus on Russky Island near the city of Vladivostok on April 25. The summit — the first ever between Putin and Kim — came after talks collapsed between the United States and North Korea over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Putin, Kim Hold ‘Meaningful’ Talks During First Face-To-Face Meeting
Russian President Vladimir Putin said after his first face-to-face talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Pyongyang needs international “security guarantees” before it ends its nuclear program.
Putin To Brief China On Kim Talks, Says Willing To Share Details With U.S. As Well
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing to brief Chinese leaders on his just-concluded summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said he is also willing to share details of th…
UAWire – Putin and Kim Jong Un discuss economic cooperation
The first round of negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok on Thursday lasted …
The secret world of Russia’s North Korean workers – BBC News
North Korean migrants working in Russia are facing uncertainty due to UN sanctions.
Kim Jong Un accuses US of acting in bad faith as he leaves Vladivostok – CNN
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he believes the United States acted in “bad faith” at the Hanoi summit, North Korean state media reported.
US acting in ‘bad faith’ over North Korea denuclearization stalemate, Kim says | Fox News
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the U.S. has been acting in “bad faith” since his Hanoi meeting with President Trump over the stalemated issue of North Korean denuclearization.
Welcome to Trump’s version of ‘strategic patience’ with North Korea – The Washington Post
An Obama-era policy gains new credence.
Trump reportedly paid North Korea $2 million for care of Otto Warmbier
President Donald Trump approved payment of a $2 million bill issued by North Korea for the care of American citizen Otto Warmbier who returned to the U.S. in a coma, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Kim Jong Un’s arrival in Russia for Putin summit hit by train mishap | Fox News
Kim Jong Un’s grand arrival in Russia for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin encountered a minor hitch on Wednesday.
Putin, Kim Jong Un shake hands as Russia hosts North Korean leader for first summit | Fox News
Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for talks Thursday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying the summit should help plan joint efforts to resolve a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Turning up the Heat on North Korea | The National Interest
Washington should use the Proliferation Security Initiative to advance its goals.
Kim looks to Russia as sanctions bite North Korea’s economy | Fox News
Two months after he failed to win a badly needed easing of sanctions from President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is traveling to Russia in a possible attempt to win its help as the U.S.-led trade sanctions hurt his country’s already-struggling economy.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia before summit with Putin
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘I have long dreamed of visiting’: Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia for talks with Putin – The Washington Post
This is the first time Kim and Vladimir Putin will meet, but no major agreements are expected. 
Kim Jong Un Arrives In Vladivostok To Meet Putin
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived by train in Russia’s far eastern port city of Vladivostok on April 24, a day before he is due to meet there with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The talks are expected to focus on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Kim traveled from Pyongyang on an armored train for the nearly 700-kilometer trip.
Kim Jong Un Makes Landmark First Trip To Russia
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was greeted with pomp, ceremony, and heavy security as he arrived in Vladivostok on April 24 ahead of a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kim traveled from Pyongyang on an armored train for the nearly 700-kilometer trip to the city in Russia’s Far East.
What a Putin-Kim summit means for North Korean peace talks | TheHill
Among the potential mediators in this standoff, South Korea is still the one with the most skin in the game.
Putin’s summit with Kim Jong Un complicates potential North Korea deal
It’s no secret that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has had plenty of meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Those meetings have long been on the U.S. radar and have the potential to complicate any peace deal that went against Beijing’s regional interests. Now, North Korea is looking beyond its neighbor and Kim’s next high-profile meeting is slated to be with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
North Korea leader Kim to meet with Putin in Russia, report says | Fox News
North Korea on Tuesday confirmed that leader Kim Jong Un will soon visit Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
Kim-Putin: North Korean and Russian leaders to meet for first time – BBC News
There’ll be a lot of history and potential behind the North Korean leader’s first Russian visit.
Kim Jong-un’s famous running bodyguards frantically polish his armoured train as he arrives in Russia for crunch talks with Vladimir Putin
The troupe of nervous bodyguards became a overnight sensation last year when they were first filmed jogging alongside Kim’s limo as it drove through the streets of Singapore
Pompeo shrugs off North Korea’s insults, says he will remain negotiator – The Washington Post
“Still in charge of the team,” the secretary of state said of himself after Pyongyang demanded he step aside in denuclearization talks.
North Korea slams Bolton’s call for sign of denuclearization as ‘dim-sighted,’ ‘nonsense’
North Korea has criticized National Security Adviser John Bolton’s “nonsense” call for Pyongyang to show that it’s serious about giving up its nuclear weapons.
North Korea’s New Strategy: Be Passive-Aggressive – WSJ
North Korea’s modest provocations in recent days reveal a pivot in its strategy after the failed Hanoi nuclear talks: escalate tensions to convey its frustration but keep its actions measured enough to ensure the U.S. and South Korea don’t abandon diplomacy.
South Korean President Moon has a message for Kim Jong Un from Trump, sources say – CNNPolitics
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has a message from President Donald Trump to relay to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean diplomatic sources told CNN Friday.
US authorities arrest former Marine in raid of North Korean embassy in Spain | TheHill
N Korea embassy raid in Madrid: ‘US Marine arrested’ – BBC News
Christopher Ahn is the first person to be arrested over the incident, reports say.
North Korea Test Was of Ground-Combat Weapon, South Korea Says – Bloomberg
A weapon tested by North Korea is thought to have been a guided weapon for ground combat and not a ballistic missile, South Korea’s military said, indicating it was a conventional weapon and not one subject to international sanctions.
North Korea is still playing games
On Thursday, North Korea continued to play games, announcing that it had tested a “new-type tactical guided weapon.” On Friday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was quick to downplay the launch, pointing out that “it was not a ballistic missile.”
North Korea Hits a Man With Glasses – The New York Times
A senior North Korean official dismissed President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, as “dim-sighted” after he demanded more evidence of willingness to give up nuclear weapons.
North Korea didn’t fire a ballistic missile — here’s what US intelligence believes it actually tested | Business Insider
North Korea announced Wednesday evening that it had tested a “new tactical guided weapon,” leading to a lot of speculation about what North Korea, a volatile nation known for its nuclear and missile tests, may have actually fired off.
9 mind-blowing facts about North Korea’s economy | Business Insider
North Korea is one of the most secretive nations in the world.
American accused of attacking North Korean embassy in Spain denied bond
Christopher Philip Ahn is accused of being among the group that allegedly entered the embassy in February with knives, iron bars, machetes and imitation handguns and left with a mobile phone, computers and hard drives, federal prosecutors said.

Putin backs Xi’s vision of a new world order as Russia, China look to deepen ties – The Globe and Mail
The veiled shot at Washington from Chinese soil marked the latest indication that Russia and China have found increasingly common cause at a moment of U.S. disengagement with some of the institutions of global leadership
Xi Jinping’s Rocket Force is nullifying U.S. military primacy in Asia
Many Chinese missiles now rival or outperform those of the United States. This new reality could render American aircraft carriers obsolete in a war with China.
New missile gap leaves U.S. scrambling to counter China |
Under Xi Jinping, Beijing has elevated its missile forces to a point where many rockets in the Chinese arsenal now rival or outperform those of the United States. This dramatic shift could render American carriers – the backbone of U.S. military…
RIP Aircraft Carrier: How Russia or China Could Send These Warships to the Bottom | The National Interest
A few ideas.
China Challenge: Xi’s army is replacing the U.S. as Asia’s mightiest
Under Xi Jinping, China has closed the gap on U.S. firepower and in some areas surpassed it. American victory over China in a regional war is no longer assured.
China shows off its new destroyer during massive display of naval power | Business Insider
China showed off a new naval weapon, the first of a new generation of hard-hitting destroyers, at a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy on Tuesday.
China shows off new destroyer as Xi views naval parade – Reuters
China showed off the first of its new generation of guided missile destroyers on Tuesday as President Xi Jinping reviewed a major naval parade through mist and rain to mark 70 years since the founding of China’s navy.

On board a Chinese naval ship – BBC News
BBC’s Robin Brant reports from on board a training ship on display to celebrate 70 years of China’s navy.
China defense: Beijing kicks off major naval parade marking 70 years
The Chinese people love peace and countries should not threaten each other with the use of force, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday as he kicked off a large-scale naval parade marking 70 years since the founding of China’s navy.
China wants ‘tranquillity’, navy chief says ahead of new warships reveal – Reuters
China’s navy wants maritime “tranquillity and good order”, its chief said on Monday, ahead of a parade to mark its 70th anniversary at which the military is expected to display new warships including nuclear submarines and destroyers.
South China Sea: Beijing to show new warships on navy anniversary
China will show off new warships including nuclear submarines and destroyers at a parade next week marking 70 years since its navy’s founding, a senior commander said on Saturday.
China to show off new warships next week | TheHill
The Chinese Navy will host a massive maritime parade Tuesday where the Chinese armed forces will show off new destroyers, aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines for the first time.
China using US-built satellites to increase police, military power | Fox News
A fleet of American-built satellites is serving the Chinese government in ways that challenge the U.S.
China Exploits Fleet of U.S. Satellites to Strengthen Police and Military Power – WSJ
Tangled ownership and offshore firms helped Beijing win access to superior technology, despite U.S. law preventing satellite sales to China. U.S. firms including private-equity giant Carlyle Group and Boeing Co. indirectly facilitate the efforts.
DOJ charges two people with economic espionage to benefit China | TheHill
A New York man who formerly worked as an engineer for General Electric and a Chinese businessman have been charged by the Justice Department with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.
US government accuses Chinese pair of stealing GE secrets – CNN
The US government has alleged that a GE engineer and Chinese businessman stole tech secrets with the intention of passing them onto Beijing.
Former State Department worker, 63, pleads guilty in China spy case | Fox News
A former State Department employee admitted Wednesday to misleading investigators about accepting thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits from Chinese intelligence agents in exchange for information.

China’s Xi Signals Approval for Trump’s Trade War Demands – Bloomberg
Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed some 40 world leaders at the Belt and Road forum in Beijing, but his speech may have been aimed at a head of state not in the audience: U.S. President Donald Trump.
Competition with China requires new technology transfer rules for US allies and Silicon Valley
The time has come for new defense export reforms, says a former Pentagon official and key staffer for Sen. John McCain.
US attacks Huawei and China, without its own 5G strategy
Experts say the Trump administration lacks a clear approach to 5G that goes beyond attacking Huawei, the world’s biggest supplier of telecommunications equipment.
CIA reportedly says Huawei funded by Chinese state security – CNET
Telecomm giant received funding from China’s military, The Times reports.
CIA warning over Huawei | News | The Times
A Chinese telecoms giant that wants to supply vital technology for Britain’s new 5G mobile network has received funding from branches of Beijing’s state security apparatus, the CIA has told spy chiefs.American intelligence shown to Britain says that Huawei has taken money from the People’s Liber
Huawei row: UK to let Chinese firm help build 5G network – BBC News
The US wants its intelligence allies, including the UK, to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant.
UAWire – China refuses to share profit from joint plane venture with Russia
Russian United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) ran into problems when it attempted, in collaboration with China, to create the first Russian wide-body passenger aircraft since the times of the USSR. Two sources close to UAC told the Russian publication Vedomosti that having agreed to split the cost of creating the CR929 airliner ($20 billion) in half, the Chinese partner, COMAC, does not want to allow Russia access to the key Chinese market allowing it to turn a profit from selling the aircraft there. COMAC proposed to divide sales so that in China, where the demand for the aircraft will be more than a thousand units in the next 20 years, the Chinese company will do the selling. It proposed that Russia garner profit from selling in Russia, where the market capacity is significantly lower (only 50-120 aircrafts), as well as globally where it would have to compete with Boeing and Airbus models. This jeopardizes the entire project because China’s proposal deprives the venture of any meaning for the Russian side. The Vedomosti sources complained that the whole point was to enter the Chinese market and “win back” the expended costs there. In effect, China is proposing that Russia take on the commercial risks of moving the aircraft to foreign markets and, at the same time, refuse to profit from sales in the most promising market for the product, explained Fyodor Borisov, a leading researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics. Three people close to UAC reported that the two sides have another serious disagreement: in which country will the type certificate for the CR929 be issued. UAC planned that, since it will be the main designer, then its design would be registered in Russia and it would become the type certificate holder. Meanwhile, China is insisting that a Chinese company be the type certificate holder and it is very difficult to negotiate, the source in UAC said. Essentially, the Chinese are squeezing Russia out of the project. UAC is seriously considering the option in which, instead of an equal partnership, it would become merely a contractor for Chinese COMAC, selling solutions, technologies and components. If adhering to such a scheme, for example, another holding company, Russian Helicopters, would collaborate with China. It would develop separate nodes for a Chinese heavy helicopter. Despite Beijing’s rigid stance, engineering continues. China is receiving documentation and competencies. Until all issues are resolved, it would be worthwhile to stop everything, but this is a political question, a source in the UAC states.
U.S. adds another China e-commerce site to ‘notorious’ IP blacklist – Reuters
The United States on Thursday added China’s third-largest e-commerce platform to its list of “notorious markets” for violations of intellectual property rights and kept China on its priority watch list for piracy and counterfeiting concerns.

Xi Jinping is determined to end all poverty in China by 2020. Can he do it? – CNN
In the small village of Gaibao, locals are filming short videos of their unspoiled and idyllic countryside on the Kwai streaming app.
China will keep supporting economy as ‘pressure’ lingers: politburo
China will maintain policy support for the economy, which still faces “downward pressure” and difficulties after better-than-expected first quarter growth, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body said on Friday.
How China Defends Its Muslim Uighur Detention in Xinjiang – Bloomberg
At the Shu Le County Education Center, a sprawling three-story complex in China’s far west region of Xinjiang, the dormitories feature bars on windows and doors that only lock from the outside.
The Uighurs – Bloomberg
In its far western region of Xinjiang, China says it’s fighting separatism and religious extremism among Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group. To some outsiders, it’s building a 21st-century gulag, combining police-state repression backed by high-tech facial recognition systems with old-fashioned internment camps and re-education techniques culled from the Cultural Revolution. A United Nations assessment said tens of thousands to “upwards of 1 million” Uighurs have been detained. As the scale and braz
Hong Kong Umbrella Movement Leaders Are Sentenced to Prison – The New York Times
Nine pro-democracy activists were convicted of public nuisance crimes for their involvement in an 11-week occupation of the city’s roads in 2014.

Putin, Dozens Of Other Leaders Gather In China For ‘Belt And Road’ Summit
Leaders from dozens of countries have begun arriving in China to attend the April 25-27 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
Xi tells world leaders he’s committed to reform
Chinese President Xi Jinping spent a good portion of his speech Friday at the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road forum discussing his country’s plan for further economic reforms.
Xi Seeks To Reassure Critics Over $1 Trillion Belt And Road Project
Chinese President Xi Jinping says his plan to recreate the old Silk Road is designed to increase and enhance international trade cooperation, as he bid to reassure critics of the $1 trillion infras…
Belt and Road forum: China’s ‘project of the century’ hits tough times | World news | The Guardian
Raft of countries including Turkey have refused to attend latest summit amid growing concern about debt diplomacy

Understanding Japan’s southwest islands buildup | The Japan Times
Japan is upgrading its military presence in the East China Sea in response to China’s active challenging of Japanese sovereignty. by Michael Macarthur Bosack Apr 22, 2019 Article history PRINT SHARE NIIGATA – First, Yonaguni. Then, Amami Oshima and Miyakojima. Next is Ishigaki. Each of those southern islands have seen or will see expansion of Ground Self-Defense Force units and facilities. This expansion of the Self-Defense Forces’ presence across the “first island chain” is part of Japan’s “southwest island defense” design. The personnel there are positioning against a potential Senkaku Islands crisis and increasing transit of Chinese military aircraft and vessels through the area. For Japan, self-reliance is particularly important with these bases because of the “gray zone” threat they represent. Of course, as with most things defense-related in Japan, domestic politics plays a notable role in the process, and negotiating acceptance of the new facilities without imposing too many operational constraints will be a challenging balancing act for the government.
Trump will be new Japanese Emperor’s first foreign guest – CNN
Japan’s new emperor has yet to ascend the throne, but he already has his first foreign guest lined up: United States President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump to meet Japan’s new emperor on trip there next month
Donald Trump will be the first world leader to meet Japan’s new emperor when he and first lady Melania Trump travel there next month.
What is the US role in countering Chinese Communist Party influence operations in Taiwan? – AEI
How can the United States support Taiwan, as mandated by the Taiwan Relations Act, without supporting the electoral prospects of a particular party? That i
US-Vietnam Relations in the Headlines with First Indo-Pacific Commander Visit | The Diplomat
The interaction spotlighted the ongoing activity in the defense relationship, both bilaterally as well as in the wider Indo-Pacific region.
Philippines’ Duterte gives Canada 1 week to take back garbage or ‘we will declare war’ | Fox News
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday reportedly threatened he’d “declare war” against Canada within the next week if the country fails to remove tons of garbage that was shipped to Manila years ago.
A French warship has sailed through the Taiwan Strait, angering China – Business Insider
A French warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait this month, apparently angering Beijing. The US Navy routinely transits the strait, despite Chinese opposition.
Exclusive: In rare move, French warship passes through Taiwan Strait – Reuters
A French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, U.S. officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely to be welcomed by Washington but increase tension with Beijing.
China: Fears over Chinese ships near Australian US naval base on Manus Island
Hi-tech Chinese ships have been detected near Manus Island as the United States and Australia begin naval base upgrades closeby.
JAMES O’NEILL: When Better than at an Election to Have a Serious and Overdue Debate About Defence and Foreign Policy Objectives? | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations
 The current election cycle presents a golden opportunity to have a serious discussion about Australia’s defence and foreign policies. These have been notably lacking from both major parties. In a recent article in The Australian newspaper (3 April 2019) their foreign editor Greg Sheridan in an article entitled “Feeble Defence is Still our Nation’s Shame,”…



Foreign Policy Reports



We can’t impose freedom on the world | Comment | The Times
‘Your city was an inspiration to the world,” cried David Cameron, barely audible above a cheering crowd in Benghazi in 2011, “as you threw off a dictator and chose freedom!” Heady days. But it hasn’t worked out. Today Libya has two governments at war with each other. One is a super-militia led by an
Disinformation Is Drowning Democracy – Foreign Policy
In the new age of lies, law, not tech, is the answer.
Against Visegrád – AEI
The formal and informal alliances between European countries ought to reflect the new alignments of interests and values. If instead Central and Eastern European leaders insist on preserving an ossified Visegrád bloc, they risk being caught off guard and without reliable allies when the next crisis hits.
A threat in Trump’s back pocket: Shaking up the global oil industry – POLITICO
Some lawmakers want to take on OPEC. Now they’re itching for Trump to get on board with an idea he backed before becoming president.

Vice chief of UK Defence Staff talks Brexit, budget and littoral ships
Where’s the money for Britain’s future littoral strike groups?
The U.K. has announced plans for a new littoral strike group, but few details are public.
Brexit: How 1922 Committee could change the rules to oust Theresa May | News | The Times
Just as they are split over Brexit, Conservative MPs are also split over Theresa May’s departure.They pretty much all want her to go — it is the question of when she goes that is exercising them.Hardline Brexiteers want the prime minister to have triggered a leadership election at the very latest by
Conservative MPs want Theresa May to resign as prime minister in ‘a matter of days’ | Business Insider
LONDON – Backbench Conservative MPs will meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans to force Theresa May out as prime minister “within a matter of days,” as anger over her decision to delay Brexit boils over.

Study finds Germans increasingly hostile to asylum-seekers | Fox News
A study has found that Germans are increasingly hostile toward asylum-seekers, whereas prejudices toward other minorities such as homeless or gay people have declined.
Lara Trump says Angela Merkel’s decision to welcome refugees led to ‘the downfall of Germany’ | Business Insider
Lara Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law and an official on his campaign, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the country’s doors to Middle Eastern refugees “led to the downfall of Germany.”
Fearing Populism, France and Germany Flee Into the Past – Foreign Policy
Europe’s top economies are trying to take on China and the United States by resurrecting industrial policy. Brussels is not happy.
France’s Yellow Vest protesters return to the streets enraged by billions pledged to rebuild Notre Dame | Fox News
Yellow vest protestors in Paris battled police during violent clashes Saturday–newly enraged at the billions of dollars that have been pledged to rebuild fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral, overshadowing their anti-wealth cause.
Yellow vest protesters say Notre Dame donations better spent fighting poverty
The $1 billion raised to help rebuild fire-ravaged Notre Dame has sparked outrage among Paris’ yellow vest protesters, who say the vast sum could be better spent fighting poverty.
Macron Sees Value in ‘Fruitful Confrontation’ With Germany
It’s sometimes necessary to find compromise, French president says
France’s Macron responds to yellow vests with promise of reforms – BBC News
France’s president responds to five months of weekly protests against economic inequality.
Macron’s Main Measures in Response to ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests
During rare press conference by Emmanuel Macron, French president responds to months of “yellow vest” protests with new measures
U.S. WWII bomb detonated in Germany, causing widespread damage
A spokeswoman for the Bavarian city, Dagmar Obermeier-Kundel, said the 250- kilogram bomb still shattered windows in several surrounding buildings.

Julian Assange: New video shows Wikileaks founder’s erratic behaviour in Ecuador embassy | The Independent
Newly released video footage shows Julian Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, behaving erratically during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The clip obtained by the Mail Online depicts Mr Assange punching and kicking the air and swinging his arms around, seemingly in an attempt to entertain himself.
Julian Assange performs a bizarre Kung Fu work out in Ecuadorean embassy | Daily Mail Online
EXCLUSIVE: New videos show Julian Assange, 47, with fists clenched and his arms pumped as he frantically boxes with an imaginary sparring partner at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

US Ambassador’s Passover Wishes in Polish Met with Anger
Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher wished Jews a happy Passover in Polish, and the reaction has been a wave of angry comments on Twitter
Children beat effigy of Judas in Poland, amid persistence of ‘medieval anti-Semitism’ – The Washington Post
Like the Dutch practice of blackface, it’s a tradition that endures.
Polish Town Celebrates Easter With Anti-Semitic Effigy, Government Calls it ‘Idiotic’
Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski denounced the revival of the abandoned tradition, echoing condemnation across Poland and the world.

Thousands gather for rally supporting populist Serbia leader | Fox News
Thousands are gathering in Belgrade for a mass rally in support of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who is seeking to counter months of protests demanding more democratic freedoms in the Balkan country.
Montenegrin authorities seize drugs on navy training ship – Reuters
Montenegrin military police have seized around 50 kilograms of drugs on board a naval training ship, hours before it was scheduled to take students on a training cruise, the defence ministry and local media said on Friday.
Drugs found on Montenegro military training ship | Fox News
Montenegro’s defense ministry says the army has discovered drugs hidden on a navy training ship ahead of its planned journey to Turkey and Greece.

Disaffected Venezuelan Military Tell of Rising Desertions to Brazil |
Venezuelan military personnel are deserting to Colombia and Brazil in growing numbers, refusing to follow orders to repress protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, six of them told Reuters. A lieutenant and five sergeants of the National Guard, the main force used by the Maduro government to suppress widespread demonstrations, said the bulk were going to Colombia, the most accessible border, but others like themselves had left for Brazil. Colombian immigration authorities said some 1,400 Venezuelan military had deserted for Colombia this year, while the Brazilian Army said over 60 members of Venezuela’s armed forces had emigrated to Brazil since Maduro closed the border on Feb. 23 to block an opposition effort to get humanitarian aid into the country.
Cuba dubs Bolton ‘pathological liar’ over Venezuela troops charge – Reuters
Cuba branded U.S. national security adviser John Bolton a “pathological liar” on Thursday for his allegation that it has troops stationed in ally Venezuela and said the latest U.S. sanctions would further hurt but not vanquish the Cuban people.
Sen. Scott says Venezuela could become ‘Syria’ if Maduro not ousted | Miami Herald
Florida Sen. Rick Scott visited the Colombian-Venezuelan border this week and said more sanctions, and military intervention, are needed to oust Maduro and force aid into the country.
Sen. Rick Scott Casually Calls For US To Consider Invading Venezuela | The Daily Caller
Florida Sen. Rick Scott reiterated Wednesday a call for the U.S. to consider invading Venezuela, a scenario Russia said would have &quot;catastrophic&quot; consequences.
Guaidó says liberator Simón Bolívar allowed foreign military intervention
CARACAS, Venezuela – Since President Donald Trump and more than 50 other countries recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president, the 35-year-old engineer — whose father is a retired airline pilot and mother is a retired teacher — has been asking Venezuelans to join his protests. Embattled President Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who Hugo Chávez chose as his successor in 2013, has the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The superpowers’ friction escalated when the U.S. declared Maduro’s re-election illegitimate.
US invites Maduro’s followers to run for office
Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro’s political followers will be allowed to run for office in elections that follow an eventual fall of the regime, a top U.S. diplomat pledged Thursday.
Venezuelan Opposition Congress Considers Call for New Elections – Bloomberg
Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly on Wednesday took up a proposal to change the nation’s electoral authorities and convene general elections within seven to nine months as opponents of President Nicolas Maduro look to keep up the pressure on the autocrat’s socialist regime.
John Feffer | What’s Behind Bolton’s Attacks on the “Troika of Tyranny”?
With all eyes focused these days on Trump and his myriad crimes, John Bolton’s speeches are a reminder that even worse options are waiting in the wings.
Venezuelan crisis: Russia and China accuse the US of warmongering – Caribbean News Now
CARACAS, Venezuela – China and Russia have criticised recent moves by the United States in Latin America, where both countries accuse the US of warmongering and meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations. President Donald Trump’s administration has stepped up efforts to overthrow the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro in favour of Juan Guaidó, the National Assembly head who launched a challenge to Maduro’s authority in January, declaring himself acting president. US Southern Command chief Navy Admiral Craig Faller told Foreign Policy recently that defence officials “are on the balls of our feet” in anticipation of taking action. A representative from Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, responded last Thursday to these comments, stating that this reaffirms Russia’s fears that US military action in Venezuela is not an abstraction, but a possible reality that is admitted in Washington. Referring to recent reports that the US had held high-level meetings considering the use of force against the crisis-stricken socialist-led state, Zakharova told reporters, “Another pseudo-reason for getting ready for a military invasion is the need to contain Russian influence in Venezuela.” “Once again I would like to repeat: all Russian actions on Venezuelan territory are consistent with the legal government of the Bolivarian Republic,” she added, recalling US invasions of countries such as Yugoslavia and Iraq. “Apparently, the US military is really considering the possibility of repeating this sad experience—to start bombing civilian structures and people, who are guilty only of supporting the legitimate president of their country that does not like Washington.”
Activists occupy Venezuelan embassy in confrontation over Trump policy
Liberal activists are bracing for a showdown with the Trump administration Thursday at an unusual location: Venezuela’s embassy.
Venezuelan opposition envoy Gustavo Tarre addresses OAS | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera
The body recognised Juan Guaido’s envoy earlier this month in a move Nicolas Maduro called ‘criminal’.
US diplomat: Half of Venezuela’s population may flee Maduro regime
Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro’s attempt to stay in power could ultimately drive half the country’s population to seek refuge abroad, according to a key U.S. diplomat.
Drug trafficking keeping Maduro in power in Venezuela, analysts say | Fox News
It has been more than three months since the U.S. accelerated its onslaught of economic sanctions, words of warning and announced it was backing a completely new interim President – heightening official expectation that the Nicolas Maduro-led regime of Venezuela would crumble within a few days, if not a few weeks. Only the socialist dictatorship has failed to fall. While there an array of factors to blame, analysts are pointing to illicit trafficking rings as a fundamental Maduro lifeline.
Venezuela’s Guaido calls for ‘largest march in country’s history’ | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera
US-backed opposition leader calls on his supporters to rally in Venezuela’s streets on May 1.
Venezuela’s Guaido calls for ‘largest march in history’ to oust Maduro – Reuters
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Friday called on supporters to take to the streets on May 1 for what he called “the largest march in the history” of the South American country to keep the pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to leave power.
Venezuela’s Juan Guaido wages election-style campaign to replace Maduro – The Washington Post
Opposition leader declared himself interim president in January; military remains loyal to Maduro
Venezuela congress to weigh 2020 PDVSA bond payment next week – Reuters
Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly expects to vote on making a $71 million bond interest payment when it meets next week, a lawmaker and a member of state-run oil company PDVSA’s ad-hoc board of directors said.
Rosneft wants ‘Reuters’ news agency banned in Russia for report about Venezuela — Meduza
The Russian state oil company Rosneft says a recent report by the news agency Reuters contains “patently false” information that President Nicolas Maduro is funneling money from Venezuelan oil sales through Rosneft to evade U.S. sanctions.
UAWire – Russian oil giant Rosneft wants to ban Reuters in Russia
The Russian oil company Rosneft has accused the Reuters news agency of “lying and disseminating rumors in the interests of its clients&quot;. …
Trump administration’s Cuba restrictions seen as drag on its economy
The administration’s new measures against Cuba mark a hard shift right that is likely to hurt its economy, experts says, amid a debate on their effectiveness.
Food Shortages In Cuba Are Raising Fears Of A New Economic Crisis | TIME – YouTube
TIME Published on Apr 19, 2019 After two decades of relative stability fueled by cheap Venezuelan oil, shortages of food and medicine have once again become a serious daily problem for millions of Cubans. Subscribe to TIME ►►

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports



Regulators Around the World are Circling Facebook – The New York Times
Facebook revealed that it expects a record fine from the F.T.C. That could be one of many moves against the company by governments on four continents.
Facebook is cracking down on personality quizzes – CNN
More than a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is cracking down on personality quizzes. Kind of.
Israel’s Information Campaigns: An Alternative to Kinetic Strikes – To Inform is to Influence
By Yaakov Lappin April 17, 2019 BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,144, April 17, 2019 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In recent months, the Israeli defense establishment has made increasing use of “information campaigns,” or exposure through the media of enemy activity that has been detected by Israeli intelligence. This modus operandi has developed into an alternative to kinetic strikes.…
How the Navy is changing its thinking on information warfare
Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, the Navy’s top information warfare officer, reveals how the service is shifting as the battlefield evolves.
Formjacking and the new threats to government
Federal security experts have received a wake-up call about the increasing pace and evolving tactics of cyber criminals. Here’s what threats they can expect to see more of.
U.S. Intelligence Agencies Must Adapt to Cyberspace or Fail
Russian social media meddling in the 2016 U.S. election should serve as a wake-up call: U.S. intelligence community must shift its focus from counterterrorism to a suite of new technological threats, from AI to deepfakes and disinformation warfare.
A Mystery Agent Is Doxing Iran’s Hackers And Dumping Their Code – To Inform is to Influence
ALYSSA FOOTE NEARLY THREE YEARS after the mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers began disemboweling the NSA’s hackers and leaking their hacking tools onto the open web, Iran’s hackers are getting their own taste of that unnerving experience. For the last month, a mystery person or group has been targeting a top Iranian hacker team, dumping their secret…
Russia: Adversary or Enemy? Depends on Your Definition of Cyber Attack. – To Inform is to Influence
Tom McCuin / Apr 22, 2019 The Department of Justice released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” on Thursday. Predictably, it won’t be changing any minds. But it does reinforce one particular point that I’ve been making in this space for the last two years: Russia…
A Close Look at France’s New Military Cyber Strategy
“Cyber warfare has begun and France must be ready to fight it,” Florence Parly, the French minister for the armed forces, declared on Jan. 18. Parly was
Fort Bragg Army cut power to thousands as cyber-attack test | Charlotte Observer
Fort Bragg Army base in eastern North Carolina went into a “blackout” for more than 12 hours as part of cyber attack military exercise. The base sought to see ‘real world reactions’ to a power outage.
In era of ‘defend forward,’ what does success look like?
U.S. Cyber Command’s new operating philosophy of “defend forward” has helped clarify how the Department of Defense can protect the United States from cyberattacks, a Pentagon official said April 23.
Admiral Kuznetsov Converted to Submarine | Russia Without BS
SEVEROMORSK– Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced that the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, will be converted to an “advanced, high-tech submarine.” This announcement contradicted earlier reports that the carrier would be scrapped after suffering damage during an incident involving a floating dry-dock. “Western media has always laughed at our aircraft carrier, but we are…

US Domestic Policy Reports



Trump admin aiming for major nuclear deal with Russia and China. – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump has his eyes on a new foreign policy prize: a grand nuclear deal with Russia and China, that he sees as a potential signature foreign policy achievement. However, some arms control experts are concerned the effort could backfire.
Trump orders staff to prepare arms-control push with Russia and China – The Washington Post
Despite withdrawing from other nuclear pacts, the president has bristled at the cost of a new arms race and says he wants to reach new deals. 
Russia’s New Surveillance Plane Just Flew Over Two Of America’s Top Nuclear Labs – The Drive
The route also covered a number of Army and Air Force bases, a major proving ground, and one of America’s last chemical weapon storage sites.
Pacific Commander Davidson Asks Congress to Fund ‘Regain the Advantage’ Plan Aimed at China – USNI News
Probe Clears Acting Defense Secretary of Favoring Boeing While at Pentagon – WSJ
The Defense Department Office of Inspector General has concluded that acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan didn’t seek preferential treatment for his longtime former employer Boeing while serving in government, removing a major hurdle to his formal nomination to the post.
Shanahan cleared in Pentagon investigation
The move could set Shanahan up for a long-awaited nomination to the full secretary of defense position.
Air Force secretary raised ethical concerns about Shanahan
Heather Wilson told the Pentagon’s IG that she
Trump to nominate Shanahan as permanent defense secretary: sources | Fox News
President Trump is expected to formally nominate Patrick M. Shanahan to be his permanent defense secretary as soon as next week, two administration officials tell Fox News. This, after an internal Pentagon investigation concluded that the acting defense secretary did not show any bias in favor of his former employer, aerospace giant Boeing.
Pentagon inspector general report on Shanahan, Boeing expected next week – CNNPolitics
A Pentagon inspector general report examining whether acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated his ethics agreement is expected to be made public by the end of next week, according to a defense official familiar with the matter.
The Pentagon’s new budget is less drone filler, more drone killer
The new budget shows a tighter outlook on a scattershot field of counter-drone solutions.
Trump transfers background investigation power to Pentagon
The Department of Defense will now formally take over background investigations for the entire federal government..
Prosecutors, NCIS investigator accused of ‘misconduct’ in war crimes case
The SEAL is accused of stabbing to death an unarmed and seriously wounded Islamic State prisoner of war during a 2017 deployment to Iraq, plus shooting an old man and a young girl in a violent spree that prosecutors contend might have claimed hundreds of lives.
Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes – The New York Times
The Navy investigation of a highly decorated platoon leader who now faces court-martial found a subculture that prized aggression and protected wrongdoers.
Navy SEALs were warned that reporting crimes could end their careers – INSIDER
They were reportedly told the Navy might “pull their birds,” causing them to lose their elite status as US Navy SEALs. They came forward anyway.
Will Trump pardon Michael Behenna, an Army Ranger who killed an al-Qaeda suspect in Iraq – The Washington Post
Former Army Ranger Michael Behenna is asking the president for vindication after an appeals courts refused to overturn his 2009 murder conviction.
All This ‘Innovation’ Won’t Save the Pentagon – Defense One
The Defense Department, a hierarchy fixated on technology, is unequipped to confront a world of disruptive challenges.
Make America Strategic Again | The National Interest
Washington’s foreign policy, which shifts from one contested region to another, does not address the underlying misalignment at the heart of U.S. foreign policy: a lack of public will and support for excessive deployments abroad, and an outdated view of evolving, contemporary challenges.
Why U.S. Foreign Policy Won’t Recover From Donald Trump
It is tempting to pin the degradation of U.S. foreign policy on President Trump and his retrograde views, but the erosion of American power predated him by a good long while.
Criminal Referrals for Leaks of Sensitive Government Information Have Surged – Management Matters – Management –
The number of criminal prosecutions for leakers only scratches the surface of those who disclose government secrets, however.

Mueller report may result in Russian sanctions but not better behavior | TheHill
The Kremlin may still see subterfuge as a useful tool to undermine America’s values and cohesion.
Mueller report: was Russia’s election meddling a strategic failure? – Vox
Putin won the political battle, but the war’s outcome is still uncertain.
Here’s Russia’s playbook for disrupting the 2020 election
Unwitting or Not, Donald Trump is Still Complicit in Russia’s Attack on America | Opinion
To understand the role Trump played for Vladimir Putin, look no further than the story of Chicken Little and Foxy Loxy.
Democrats divided over impeachment of President Trump | World | The Times
Hillary Clinton’s closest aides led calls to impeach President Trump over the contents of the Mueller report yesterday, but they came in the face of resistance from Democratic party leaders who fear that it would rally voters to support his re-election.The Clinton team was joined by Alexandria Ocasi
Mystery lingers around Manafort data transfer — the unanswered question at the ‘heart’ of the Mueller investigation – New York Daily News
Special counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up his investigation without solving one of the most alarming mysteries in the entire Russia saga: Why did ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort share reams of internal polling data with a suspected Russian spy?
Russian Foreign Ministry official says Mueller report contains ‘no evidence’ of election meddling — Meduza
Georgy Borisenko, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, says Robert Mueller’s report contains no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “There’s nothing there that would attract attention. It actually confirms the absence of any argument that Russia supposedly meddled in the American elections. There’s not a shred of evidence there. In fact, the report’s authors concede that they have no evidence,” Borisenko says.
Putin’s Use of Tycoons as Trump Emissaries Exposed by Mueller – Bloomberg
Shortly after news emerged that Hillary Clinton had phoned Donald Trump to concede the presidential election early on November 9, 2016, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund received a message from New York: “Putin has won.”
FBI had doubts about top Trump dossier source before Carter Page FISA warrant renewals
The FBI reportedly had doubts about one of the Trump dossier author’s top sources after an interview in January 2017.
Mueller Report? What Mueller Report? As America Scrutinizes Document, Moscow Claims ‘More Important Things To Do’
When a redacted version of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation report was issued in Washington, Moscow was ready with a mix of studied disinterest and well-practiced disdain.
Mueller Report Likely to Renew Scrutiny of Steele Dossier – The New York Times
The special counsel revealed that some claims in the dossier appeared to be false while others were impossible to prove. Republicans have vowed to investigate.
‘Washington is a bit hysterical’: French envoy offers advice as he bids adieu – POLITICO
From ‘the ultimate bureaucrat’ Barack Obama to ‘it is what it is’ Donald Trump, the departing French ambassador reflects on navigating D.C.
Top 10 things the media got wrong about ‘collusion’ and ‘obstruction’
The prestige press has some explaining to do — for subjecting the nation to a long, cruel ordeal named “collusion” and “obstruction.”
Prodded by Putin, Russians Sought Back Channels to Trump Through the Business World – The New York Times
The Mueller report shows how Russia’s efforts to connect with the Trump team spun into high gear after the election as the Kremlin dispatched oligarchs and bankers to find inroads.
Mueller report reveals extent of Russian election interference
References to President Trump in the report from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling dominated headlines when it was finally released Thursday.
No Collusion Is Not Good Enough | The National Interest
Mueller’s report confirmed that this president has demeaned the office he holds. And in so doing he has demeaned the United States.
Kessler: Real Reason the FBI Investigated Trump |
Kessler: Real Reason the FBI Investigated Trump
Fact Check: Russian Interference Was More Than ‘Facebook Ads’ As Kushner Said : NPR
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser said the investigations into Russian interference have been more damaging then the interference itself. But there was more to it than online ads.
Inside The Mueller Report, This Man Found A Photo Of His Dad Being Used By Russians : NPR
Coal miner Lee Hipshire was photographed in 1976 emerging from a mine after a long day’s work. Years after his father’s death, his son found out the photo was used by Russian trolls to support Trump.
Paul Manafort sent to minimum security federal prison camp in Pennsylvania – media – news world | UNIAN
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been transferred to a minimum-security prison near Scranton, Pa., to serve his federal prison sentence after being convicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation. Manafort is set to be released on Christmas Day 2024.
Trump: Russia investigations an attempted ‘coup’ – POLITICO
“This was a coup,” Trump told host Sean Hannity on Fox News’ “Hannity.” “This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.”
Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of ‘destroying the lives’ of his campaign staffers | TheHill
President Trump argued Thursday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “destroyed the lives” of his campaign staffers, appearing to refer to the prosecution of former Trump campaign staffers in the now-shuttered special counsel investigati
UK Spy Agency says Claim it Spied on Trump is Utterly Ridiculous
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that a former CIA analyst, Larry Johnson, had accused Britain of spying on the Trump campaign

U.S. Judge Sentences Russian National Maria Butina To 18 Months In Prison
A U.S. judge has sentenced Russian national Maria Butina to 18 months in prison following her guilty plea late last year to a charge of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.
Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced 18 Months in Prison: ‘I Destroyed My Own Life’
The government says she illegally courted U.S. figures, including conservatives and NRA leaders, on behalf of Moscow.
‘Not A Spy In The Traditional Sense:’ How The Butina Case Lifted The Lid On Alleged Russian Operations
Ahead of Russian agent Maria Butina’s sentencing, U.S. prosecutors offered a window on how the FBI views Russian intelligence operations.
U.S. Prosecutors Seek 18-Month Sentence For Russia’s Butina
U.S. prosecutors are asking a judge to hand Russian citizen Maria Butina an 18-month sentence after she pleaded guilty late last year to a charge of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

Furious Trump orders officials to boycott correspondents’ dinner – POLITICO
The president, angry at the political media, throws a wrench into its annual gala.
Leader of militia detaining migrants allegedly said group trained to assassinate Soros, Clinton, Obama, complaint says
Larry Mitchell Hopkins allegedly said the group was “training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama,” according to court records.
Biden Enters Campaign Talking Charlottesville, But Saying Much More – Defense One
The former vice president declares “a battle for the soul of this nation,” with global leadership easter eggs hidden within.
Ilhan Omar claims US forces killed ‘thousands’ of Somalis during ‘Black Hawk Down’ mission, resurfaced tweet shows | Fox News
A resurfaced tweet from Rep. Ilhan Omar saw the Minnesota Democrat claim U.S. forces killed “thousands” of Somalis during the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” mission — despite multiple analysts concluding the number was much smaller.
Critics blast Ilhan Omar over old ‘Black Hawk Down’ tweet
Freshman US Rep. Ilhan Omar came under fire once again on Monday for allegedly exaggerating the number of Somalis killed during the 1993 military operation that inspired the film “Black Hawk Down,” according to a report.
N.J. professor accused of attempted arson at St. Patrick’s Cathedral had booked hotel near Vatican –
Marc Lamparello entered the church with gasoline cans, lighter fluid and butane lighters, police said.