Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (82)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Another tumultuous week. Russia’s descent into the abyss continues, as the sorry chronicle of domestic decay depicts. Post Soviet republic updates.

Iran is a major topic this week, with the US deploying four Buffs and a CVBG to discourage Iran’s proxies from actioning reported directives to attack, while reports also emerge of a sealift effort to deploy TBMs to Syria. Much on Iran sanctions and related politics. Russia kicks off offensive against Idlib. Updates on ISIS. Gaza attacks on Israel. Turkey update – Lira dives on news of election rerun. Libya and other.

DPRK tests an Iskander lookalike. Fallout from Russia summit. DPRK smuggling freighter seized. PLA updates, especially CVA #3 and naval capabilities. Trade war updates – Beijing resets negotiations to embarrass POTUS. Cultural Revolution Redux? Armyworm plague may destroy harvests. Muslim internment update. Japan updates.

EU elections and other mayhem in Europe. Venezuela update – the regime continues to hold out and pleads for Russian troops and sanctions relief.

Facebook again a major topic, plus some interesting cyber reports.

Much on the US domestic front. Excellent analysis by Graham, Woolsey and Pry on the EMP hardening challenge – and how preceding administrations were AWOL on this critical issue. Shanahan finally nominated for SECDEF – media are correct that POTUS’ opponents in Congress will make the confirmation difficult. Space Force and other defense programs. Russia update – Steele report under increasing scrutiny as a disinformation effort. Excellent blog on energy exports. Many reports on the current discord in Congress.



 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Main Problem isn’t Populism but Two Forms of Elitism, Emil Pain Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 5 – Russia’s main problem isn’t populism, Emil Pain says. Indeed, it does not really exist being instead just as much an imitation of political reality as Russian democracy is. Instead, “the real problem is Russia is elitism in its two basic forms,” the paternalist one in the state based on tradition and the “snobbish” version held many among the liberal intelligentsia. The specialist on ethnic conflicts at the Higher School of Economics says it is critical to understand this reality if one is to avoid falling into despair or continuing approaches based on either that may make the problems Russia faces even more than they would otherwise be (liberal.ru/articles/7360). The Russian state operates on the base of “paternalistic elitism,” a view that those in power should make the decisions and that those in the population should accept them. What is striking, Pain says, is that many liberals also are deeply suspicious of the ability of the people to rule. They want only to change the rulers, not the system of elite rule. Many of the liberals are afraid that the state itself is under threat because of globalism, but an examination of the situation in the world shows the vitality of the state rather than its fragility. There are few indications that it or the international order are collapsing, despite the criticism both have received. But what is more important, the Russian scholar says, is the failure of many to recognize that what is going on is not something new but rather something that has been embedded in liberal democracy since its founding and that has always been a threat to its survival unless other conditions are met. “Liberal democracy,” Pain continues, “is an extremely fragile historical phenomenon, based on the combination of material of two different and to a large extent contradictory traditions: the liberal tradition of John Locke, oriented toward individual freedom, and the democratic tradition of Jean-Jacques Rousseau which emerged from the idea of the supremacy of collective popular sovereignty and civic equality.” Those two things have always been at odds; and more than 70 years ago, Joseph Schumpeter suggested that they could come apart and threaten the whole: “With the development of mass democracy,” he wrote in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, “popular sovereignty in the form the classic model of democracy understood ceases to correspond to the demands of the times.” What is needed to keep them together, Pain argues, is “a third connecting link, the civic nation.” Without that, without “a society which controls the state for the achievement of social and national interests,” the two will almost inevitably pull apart. And it is that which is now under threat. “By the end of the 20th century, the idea of the combination of liberalism and democracy on the basis of recognition of popular sovereignty was supported both by liberal social scholars and the majority of leftist intellectuals from among the post-Marxists,” the Moscow sociologist says. But despite that, “the threat of a breakdown in the links between these two blocks of values constantly remained. Under conditions of globalism, this threat grew still more and to a large degree conditioned the current crisis of liberal democracy.” “The growth of cultural diversity increased the cultural heterogeneity of nation states, the distance between rulers and ruled, and between elites and masses did as well.” And the current wave of what people call populism is a protest against this, “not so much a protest against progress” as many imagine as a form of “anti-elitism.” And that makes the problem of identity central at the present time. Many ordinary people feel excluded from the state, fear that the state is being used to protect minorities but not them, the majority, and feel that the state and the majorities must be defended especially in the wake of September 11. As Pain observes, “one extreme position is giving rise to others, and inattention to the place of the ethnic majority in identity politics has become one of the causes of the unprecedented growth of national-populist movements speaking in the name of this majority,” a pattern many analysts have been slow to recognize. Instead, Pain continues, all too many who view themselves as defenders of liberal democracy have instead become defenders of a “snobbish elitism” which casts doubt on the ability of the people to participate in politics and thus makes liberal democracy as embodied by them an object of attack by the people. But populism is not nearly the threat to the state that many such people have imagined. It has been contained even where it appeared to win out because of the values of the community at large, and many of the triggers behind it, including the migration crisis, have eased over the last several years. And while populism carries with it the risk of the rise of authoritarian leaders, it also can serve to revive democracy by restoring the balance between liberalism and democracy that in some places has tilted too far in the opposite direction, the Russian scholar suggests, making the current situation an opportunity rather than a mortal threat.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: State-Supported Pseudo-Cossacks of Kaliningrad Little More than ‘Militarized Criminals’ Working for Moscow, Feldman Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 7 – There were never any real Cossacks on the territory of what is now Kaliningrad Oblast. It was part of the Russian Empire only for five years, and after Stalin annexed it at the end of World War II, there was no possibility of creating anything like a Cossack community until the very end of Soviet times. But beginning in 1990s, some activists proclaimed that they were Cossacks and seeking and getting government support, they created what today number 29 Cossack communities, 24 of which are part of the Baltic Cossack Union headed by self-proclaimed Ataman Maksim Buga, regional activist Mikhail Feldman reports (region.expert/baltkazaki/). No one should confuse these people with real Cossacks, he says. Instead, these are little more than “militarized criminals” who are all too happy to take money from the state to do its dirty work both against protesters at home and in various hotspots abroad. In both places, their supposed separation from the state gives the authorities the kind of deniability they seek. “Ataman” Buga is typical of the breed, Feldman says. Trained as a Marxist-Leninist leader for the Soviet army, suspected of corruption in his regular job, and ready to fight others at the drop of a hat, the ataman spends more time struggling against other “Cossacks” for state money than he does promoting Cossack values. He was prominently involved in an attack on participants of an October 2014 anti-war march in Kaliningrad. Other pseudo-Cossacks involved with him in these attacks were brought to trial but let off with suspended sentences because of their service to Moscow in the course of the annexation of Crimea. Buga for his part takes enormous pride in this role. In a recent interview, Feldman reports, the ataman said that “several dozen Kaliningrad Cossacks had taken part in the Syrian armed conflict” and that others had “fought in Ukraine on the side of the separatists of the Donbass.” “At first glance,” Feldman says, “it appears strange that ‘the Baltic Cossacks’ up to now are the subject of interest for the finance commission [of the Kaliningrad oblast] and not of its department for the struggle with organized crime.” But a moment’s reflection will dispel any sense that this is strange. Both Nazi Germany and Haiti used similar nominally unofficial groups, the storm troopers in the first case and the tonton matouts in the second, to do their dirty work at home and abroad, and “the federal authorities and the oblast government under their control can count on this means of preserving control over the region in tense times.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Sacrilege without Punishment’ – Desecration of Graves Spreads Across Russia
Paul Goble Staunton, May 3 – Thefts from graves and vandalism of grave markers has flourished in Russia for many years, with people stealing bronze letters and even marble grave markers, desecrating such monuments, or even opening graves to get at valuables. The graves of prominent soldiers are quite often broken into by those who want medals or uniforms. But recently, this plague appears to have spread if one is to judge from discussions online following reports of vandalism and grave robbing at Moscow’s Vakhtangov Cemetery, Irina Mishina writes in Novyye izvestiya (newizv.ru/news/society/03-05-2019/svyatotatstvo-bez-nakazaniya-pochemu-oskvernenie-mogil-stalo-obychnym-delom). The Vakhtangov is one of the most honored in Russia, but it is also almost unprotected against vandals and thieves. It has only six guards to cover the 66 hectares of burial sites, and it does not have a single video camera which might discourage or help catch those who engage in this form of sacrilege to the dead. Officials at the Ritual Services office of the city of Moscow say that family members are responsible for insuring against such losses or, if they lack insurance, can appeal directly to the managers of the cemetery. But Mishina says they answered her inquiry on this point so formally that she suspects many turn to the office in hopes of something better. Some of the vandalism may be the work of hooligans, but participants in the online discussion suggest that other factors are at work including criminal groups who sell brass or marble or what they can steal from graves or even funeral services company who take ready-made grave markers from a cemetery and sell them others. But an interior ministry official says that “besides this cemetery mafia,” those who engage in such attacks on cemeteries include those who are drunk or those who need money for drugs. And he adds that sometimes people attack graves “consciously, for example out of ethnic or family hatred or because of political convictions.” Prior to 1996, such violence was treated as a form of hooliganism and punished as such. In that year, Mishina reports, new laws were put on the books imposing work requirements up to 360 hours, detention for as much as three months and dispatch to labor camps for as much as a year. But experts say few are punished severely making this a crime many assume they can commit with impunity. The last time the Russian government published statistics on this crime was in 2007 when Rossiiskaya gazeta reported that 515 cases had been opened, 148 people sentenced, and one sent to the camps (https://rg.ru/2007/09/25/vandaly-delo.html). Since that time, the Novyye izvestiya journalist says, official sources have only spoken about “an increase in such kinds of crime. How many have been convicted and sentenced remains a mystery.” Clearly, the recent online discussion indicates, the number of such crimes is going up despite any punishments being imposed.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Literature No Longer has the Standing Abroad It Once Had
Paul Goble Staunton, May 2 – Russians have long comforted themselves with the fact that however many bad things others can say about them and their country, foreigners typically have ranked the great Russian writers as among the greatest of all. But now, new surveys in Britain and France suggest that is no longer the case. If one looks at various lists of the best novels of all times, Moscow journalist Irina Ziganshina says, one cannot fail to be troubled by the fact that Russians are no longer represented in them in the ways that they were only several generations ago (newizv.ru/article/general/02-05-2019/reyting-russkoy-literatury-v-mire-upal-do-istoricheskogo-minimuma). A survey by the BBC of one million listeners intended to identify the 200 best novels of all times and peoples had few Russian works. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina was the highest at 54th place, “Dostoyevsky was still lower, and Chekhov wasn’t there at all because he didn’t write novels.” Of course, this is an English list with a typically English focus, she says. But a French list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century compiled by Le Monde is equally dispiriting for Russians. Solzhenitsyn did figure at 15th place, but the only two other Russians there were Vladimir Nabokov, an émigré, and Mikhail Bulgakov. And a Norwegian list had only one Russian on it as well. Any such list is subjective, but more “objective” measures aren’t encouraging either, Ziganshina continues. Using data on purchases of books and library uses, one finds that foreigners rarely turn to Russian writers these days. Pushkin who gets the most attention ranks highest among the Russians – at 61st place overall (club.berkovich-zametki.com/?p=46899). And if one considers Google searches, not a single Russian writer ranks in the top 50. According to one American outlet, fewer than one of every translated books into English is now from the Russian – at a time when most people do not need translations but books produced in their own languages by their own writers. This doesn’t mean that Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky or Turgenev aren’t greater than many modern American or British or German writers or that Russian literature is dying. But it does mean that it doesn’t have the pull it once did, a reflection of changing fashions abroad and the changing image of Russia in the age of Putin.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Negative Voting against Opposition Helps Putin Maintain Support, Gallyamov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 7 – People in many countries often vote against someone rather than for him or her by casting their ballots for those they dislike less. That phenomenon has now come to Russia, Abbas Gallyamov argues, where popular attitudes toward opposition figures are helping Vladimir Putin to consolidate his support. On the one hand, this means that much of Putin’s reported support may be negative: people support him because they don’t like the opposition. But on the other, it is a resource for the Kremlin leader that is often ignored despite the fact that it helps him win his electoral majorities, the political analyst and former Putin speech writer says. Gallyamov says that popular reaction to Aleksey Navalny is one indication of this. The opposition leader has been making the same charges for so long and the lives of Russians have not gotten better that many voters see him as part of the political order and not an agent for change. Thus, they decide to stick with Putin (echo.msk.ru/blog/gallyamov_a/2421747-echo/). “In general,” the analyst says, “one cannot be a key political player and remain at the same time an outsider. After one or two campaigns into the role of the latter, you either pass from the scene or begin to be transformed into a ‘systemic’ politician.” And that changes how people assess you and gives advantages to the incumbent. The radicalism of the declarations of many opposition figures, Gallyamov continues, adds to this. Many Russians who would like to see real change instead see in the current constellation of opposition figures people who raise the specter of revolt and disintegration, things they don’t want. And so they continue to vote for Putin, even if with less enthusiasm. “Until the opposition recognizes this,” he says, “it with one hand will be taking votes from Putin and with the other giving him votes.” A major reason for this failure on the part of the Russian opposition, Gallyamov argues, is that its members have no confidence that they can ever win an election. And so they behave in radical ways that make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they actually sought to win by appealing to voters on issues of concern to them, the opposition would have a better chance than it thinks. Such “’breakthrough’” elections in which the opposition defeats the incumbent even in authoritarian regimes are not as rare as all that. They’ve even happened in Russia, in 1989 and close in 2011 when the regime despite all its powers could not orchestrate a victory for United Russia. “The possibilities for authoritarian powers to secure the necessary result in fact are strongly exaggerated,” Gullyamov says. One can beat them. But to do so, one must talk less about revolutions which people don’t want and will vote against than about specific changes that will win over those who otherwise will continue to vote for Putin.
Secretive Blogger Rips Into Kremlin, One Click at a Time
Alexander Gorbunov, the author of StalinGulag, has been called a hero by fellow Russians
Multiple St. Petersburg government agencies simultaneously publish complaints that ‘provocateurs’ ruined the mood at May Day demonstrations — Meduza
Several administrative committees within St. Petersburg’s municipal government simultaneously posted identical messages that blamed “provocateurs” for “disturbing the good mood for Petersburg residents” on May 1.
The author of one of Russia’s most popular Telegram channels has verified his identity in a new interview — Meduza
Alexander Gorbunov has confirmed in an interview with the BBC Russian Service that he is the author of StalinGulag, one of the most popular Telegram channels in Russia. The 27-year-old Makhachkala native launched the channel in 2016, three years after starting an anonymous Twitter account with the same name.
UAWire – Morgan Stanley to withdraw from Russia
In the first quarter of 2020, the American investment bank Morgan Stanley will notify the Bank of Russia that it is ceasing its banking activity …
Russia offers 2.5 million acres of land to Chinese farmers, but will it ease Beijing’s soybean shortage? | South China Morning Post
A deal with Moscow could help China feed its voracious appetite for soybeans, but analysts are sceptical about the quality of the plots on offer.
Blow on online privacy: Russia introduces messenger user IDing by phone number – news world | UNIAN
The decree of the Russian government introducing messenger user identification by phone number takes effect starting Sunday, May 5. A respective document was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on November 6, 2018. Mobile operators will be obliged to include information about the apps their subscribers use into their databases
Russian Authorities Arrest Man Linked To Brutal 2010 Attack On Prominent Reporter
Russian authorities said they have arrested a man accused of involvement in the brutal beating nine years ago of prominent Russian journalist Oleg Kashin.
Moscow Court Sentences Russian Soccer Players To Prison For Assault
A Moscow court has sentenced two prominent Russian soccer players to prison terms for an assault on a government official last year, an attack that sparked wide outrage.
HRW: Chechen Authorities Conducted New Campaign Against Gays In Early 2019
Human Rights Watch said authorities in the Russian region of Chechnya renewed a campaign of intimidation and torture against gays and bisexual men earlier this year, with several men telling the gr…
Wartime Barracks Still A Squalid Home to Russia’s Poor
Saratov in central Russia is considered the cradle of the Russian gas industry. But despite the city’s wealth in resources, some locals still live in barracks built more than 70 years by German prisoners as temporary housing. Ceilings are supported by props, and sewage flows through the streets.
Lying Down On The Job: The Tombstones Of Stavropol
At some Russian cemeteries, gravestones reveal more than the names and ages of those buried there. At one cemetery in Stavropol, many tombstones depict the profession or hobby to which a person dev…
The Sad Optimist Behind One Of Russia’s Sharpest Social-Media Accounts
For several years, Aleksandr Gorbunov has been anonymously entertaining millions with his biting commentary on life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Now, the StalinGulag blogger believes the authorities…
Report: Friend Of Detained Pussy Riot Member Also Taken Into Custody In Moscow
A member of the Russian feminist protest group Pussy Riot says a close friend of a detained group member has been taken to custody by Russia police without explanation along with her boyfriend.
Russian Journalist Sergei Dorenko, Who Covered Kursk Disaster, Dead At 59
Russian journalist Sergei Dorenko has died in Moscow, Russian media reported.
Stalled De-Stalinization: Many Russians Still Celebrate Ruthless Leaders
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, numerous cities and streets have been renamed, and statues have been destroyed to forget the past. But many Russians still have nostalgia for some of the most ruthless leaders.
In wake of 77-year-old human rights icon’s December jail sentence, his third nonprofit faces fines for failure to register as ‘foreign agent’ — Meduza
Moscow’s Meshchansky Court has assigned a fine of 300,000 rubles (almost $4,600) to “In Defense of Prisoners’ Rights,” a nonprofit run by the human rights activist Lev Ponomarev. The court accused the foundation of failing to enter its identifying information in the Russian government’s registry of so-called foreign agents.
Reports: Russian Prosecutors Demand Prison Sentences In Soccer Players’ Assault Case
Russian news agencies say prosecutors have asked for 17- and 18-month prison sentences for two soccer players whose beating of a government official at a Moscow coffee shop sparked wide outrage.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Central Asian Security Services ‘Feel at Home in Russia,’ Khamroyev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 7 – Political relations between Moscow and the governments of the countries of Central Asia may vary, but “the special services of the countries of Central Asia feel themselves at home” and work closely with Russian security services to oppress people from the region that either Moscow or their home governments don’t like, Bakhrom Khamroyev says. That represents a threat in the first instance to those who come to Russia for work or who are fleeing from oppression at home; but in the longer term, it means that these ties will make it even harder for the peoples of Central Asia to fight against and ultimately overcome the authoritarian regimes in their homelands. Khamroyev, who is currently awaiting trial in Moscow for an entirely legal one-person protest there against the Tajik government’s jailing of its political opponents, says that he is doing what he can to expose these links in order to defend the rights of his nation at home and in Russia (yenicag.ru/pravozashhitnik-specsluzhby-stran-cent/295379/). He has set up the Assistance legal aid center to provide assistance to Tajik and other Central Asians in Russia. It is registered with the state and is entirely legal, but, Khamroyev notes, he and it have been subject to attack both by Tajik security service officers operating in Russia and by Russian security officers as well. Central Asian migrants in Russia, because of the pathetic state of civil society there, have few means of defending themselves and, apart from his group, no collective means. There are individual lawyers who work in this sphere, he says; “but their efforts cannot be called coordinated and mostly migrants have to represent themselves by themselves.” In the course of the interview, Khamroyev makes some intriguing comments about conditions of Central Asian migrants in Russia. “First of all,” he says, “there are no ghettos in the classical sense in Russia now. This term is a scarecrow from the lexicon of xenophobes.” The authorities consciously oppose their formation to undermine ethnic identity. They block the construction of mosques, they close non-Russian language schools, they put obstacles in the way of those who wear hijabs or study national languages, and they deport Central Asian activists. All this and similar measures “do not promote ghettoization,” despite the claims of some Russians. Moreover, the Tajik rights activist continues, “migrants are seeking to adapt themselves to Russian society, especially the children” who are learning Russian and Russian norms. But what is striking, Khamroyev says, is that often Russian officials are more frightened of Russian-speaking and Russian-adapted Central Asians than it is of those who are less integrated. Indeed, he says, it is often these integrated people who are at the top of the list for deportation back to Central Asia.
Several Detained At Rival Victory Day Demonstrations In Georgia
Celebrations marking the 74th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany were marred in Georgia on May 9 by shouting matches between rival demonstrators and the booing of President Salome …
Georgian Draft Dodgers Find Loophole In God To Avoid Army
Georgian political party’s church ordains priests to allow them a way out of conscription.

Belarus Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Entirely Illegally, Belarus Authorities Work Hand in Glove with Moscow to Hold Ingush Activist
Paul Goble Staunton, May 9 – In an entirely illegal fashion, the Belarusian police have held Ingush activist Ismail Nalgiyev who was transiting Minsk on his way to Prague, making no charges against him, denying him a lawyer, and then coming up with alleged administrative violations that will be the subject of a hearing tomorrow. On the back and forth in this case, see zamanho.com/?p=7487, fortanga.org/2019/05/podrobnosti-zaderzhaniya-v-aeroportu-minska-ingushskogo-aktivista-ismaila-nalgieva/,caucasustimes.com/ru/v-minske-sostoitsja-sud-nad-ingushskim-aktivistom-nalgievym/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/335240/ and zamanho.com/?p=7476). Had Moscow requested that he be detained on the all-Russian warrant the Russian government has issued, Nalgiyev could in principle have been held subject to a deportation hearing. But there is no indication that happened. Instead, it appears Minsk has anticipated such a request and decided to act in a more Orthodox manner than the patriarch. Meanwhile, the Ingushetia ombudsman for human rights dismissed reports that activist Akhmed Barakhoyev was suffering because of the conditions of his detention. Those reports at least after Barakhoyev’s removal to Vladikavkaz, the ombudsman said, are simply not true (zamanho.com/?p=7502 and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/335255/).

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

UAWire – Moldovan MPs demand explanation from prime minister after Ukraine lifts sanctions from Metallurgical Plant in Transnistria at his request
A group of Moldovan parliamentarians demanded an explanation from the Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip regarding the letter he wrote to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in which he requested to remove sanctions from the Moldovan Metallurgical Plant (MMP), the largest taxpayer in the so-called Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, reports Radio Liberty. “What are the legal requirements of MMPs under Moldovan legislation that guarantees the factory’s withdrawal from the sanctions of a warring country? What is the government policy regarding economic operators from the separatist region that accumulate astronomical debts of around $ 7 billion in a corporation in which the Government of the Republic of Moldova is a minority shareholder, and thus chooses not to protect the interests of the country? ”, they asked in a corresponding request. The head of the largest opposition party in Moldova, Andrei Năstase, urged European institutions to speak out about Philip’s actions. Previously it was reported that the head of the Moldovan government, Pavel Filip, helped to remove Ukrainian sanctions from the Moldovan Metallurgical Plant (MMP), which is located in the unrecognized Transnistria, by allegedly writing a letter to Poroshenko.

 

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan on Twitter: “1 of 2: Last night’s announced deployment of the @CVN_72 and a @USAirForce bomber task force to the @CENTCOM area of responsibility, which I approved yesterday, represents a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces.”
 
Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan on Twitter: “2 of 2: We call on the Iranian regime to cease all provocation. We will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on US forces or our interests.”
 
Iran news: As US B-52 bombers reach region, Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander says today US “will not dare” attack – CBS News
As U.S. B-52 bombers arrive in region as part of Trump administration's reaction to &quot;escalatory indications&quot; of possible attack, Iran remains defiant
Trump’s top intelligence and military advisers held unusual meeting at CIA on Iran, officials say
John Bolton convened a meeting at the CIA last week with the administration’s top intelligence, diplomatic and military advisers to discuss Iran, say officials.
David Petraeus: Iran’s economy is in a ‘tailspin’ and it would be ‘suicide’ to start a war with US – CNN
Crushing sanctions from the United States have sent Iran’s economy into a “tailspin,” ex-CIA director David Petraeus told CNN Business.
US Carrier, Bombers Arrive in Middle East to Deter Iran
Request for more military assets was ‘in direct response to a number of troubling and escalatory indicators and warnings’ from Iran, CENTCOM commander says
US B-52 bombers land in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat | Fox News
The B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran are beginning to arrive at a major American air base in Qatar.
U.S. B-52 bombers land in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat – Los Angeles Times
Air Force images show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Thursday. Others landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday.
Why the U.S. Just Deployed B-52s to the Middle East
After six decades, the B-52H bomber is one of the most powerful, flexible aircraft in U.S. military service.
U.S. carrier to deter Iran passes through Suez Canal – Reuters
The U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, deployed by President Donald Trump’s administration to the Middle East as a warning to Iran, passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday, the Suez Canal Authority said.
Iran reportedly told proxy forces to target Americans in region
The US military is tracking threats including possible missile attacks launched by small ships in the Persian Gulf, assaults by Iranian-trained Shiite militias in Iran, and strikes against US ships by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Flash Point Between America and Iran Could Be Iraq’s Militias – Defense One
U.S. troops and Iran-backed fighters had an alliance of sorts in the anti-ISIS campaign. With Washington and Tehran at odds, could they turn on each other?
Iran Gave Proxies Green Light To Attack U.S. Forces, Officials Tell NBC News | NBC Nightly News – YouTube
NBC News Published on May 9, 2019 Iran’s UN Ambassador denied the allegation, which comes after the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and ramped up sanctions last week. » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews
‘Dangerous game’: US, Europe and the ‘betrayal’ of Iran | USA News | Al Jazeera
US hardens stance on a defiant Iran, raising risk of war and leaving Europe scrambling to protect 2015 nuclear deal.
Pompeo can’t convince Iraq to antagonize Iran to please the US, experts say – ThinkProgress
 
Trump may be underestimating Iran’s resolve in resisting nuclear sanctions
Trump may be underestimating Iran’s resolve in resisting nuclear sanctions
Pompeo cancels climate change-focused trip to see melting glaciers in Greenland – ABC News
Before canceling the trip, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized aspects of melting ice sheets as good economic opportunity.
Exclusive: U.S. commander says he could send carrier into Strait of Hormuz despite Iran tensions – Reuters
The commander overseeing U.S. naval forces in the Middle East told Reuters on Thursday that American intelligence showing a threat from Iran will not prevent him from sending an aircraft carrier through the vital Strait of Hormuz, if needed.
Trump to Iran: Call me, maybe – POLITICO
“What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me,” Trump told reporters on Thursday.
How Trump just separated himself from Pompeo and Bolton on Iran
President Trump on Thursday distanced his Iran position from that of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.
US sanctions on Iran are ‘deliberately provocative’: Carnegie expert
U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran and deployment of a carrier strike group to the region are “deliberately provocative,” says Jarrett Blanc from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Opinion | Can Anyone Save the Iran Nuclear Deal? – The New York Times
Maybe Europe — if we’re lucky.
The US is sending a ton of firepower to take on Iran — here’s everything headed its way | Business Insider
The US military is sending a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East as a show of force to Iran. There is a ton of firepower heading that way.
U.S. Deployment Triggered by Intelligence Warning of Iranian Attack Plans – WSJ
Unusually specific intelligence reports about fresh Iranian threats to American forces in the Middle East triggered a request by the U.S. military command in the Middle East for additional assistance as a deterrent against possible aggression, U.S. officials said Monday.
US official: Intel indicates Iran moved missiles by boat
The decision to send an aircraft carrier and a group of Air Force bombers to the Middle East was based in part on intelligence indications that Iran had moved short-range ballistic missiles by boat in waters off its shores, an American official said Tuesday.
B-52 bombers are off to rebuff Iran after threats to US troops; DoD won’t say what those were
The mission comes as Iran is expected to announce plans to withdraw from parts of the 2015 nuclear deal this week, one year after the U.S. abandoned the agreement.
4 B-52s deploying to Middle East amid threat of “possible attack” – CBS News
Administration officials cite threats of a possible attack by Iran or allied fighters on American troops in the region
Aircraft carrier sent to Middle East after indications Iran planned attack on US forces – ABC News
The U.S. sent an aircraft carrier and bombers to the Middle East in response to indications that Iran planned an attack on U.S. forces in the region.
Pentagon chief cites ‘credible threat’ from Iran as reason for moving strike group to Middle East
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said that the decision to deploy a U.S. carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East came after “indications of a credible threat” from Iran.
Carrier strike group deployment offers opportunity to sharpen Iran policy | TheHill
The deployment increases the prospects for genuine diplomacy — the best hope for avoiding conflict.
Trump Administration Inflated Iran Intelligence, U.S. Officials Say
John Bolton and other Team Trump hawks are trumpeting intelligence that Tehran is readying attacks on U.S. forces. They’re exaggerating the threat, officials tell The Daily Beast.
Iran pulls out of parts of nuclear deal, sets 60-day deadline to renegotiate terms | Fox News
Iran’s president said Wednesday the country will stop complying with parts of an Obama-era nuclear deal and set a 60-day deadline for new terms of the landmark pact before resuming higher uranium enrichment.
Iran nuclear deal: President Hassan Rouhani announces partial withdrawal – CNN
Iran will partially withdraw from a landmark nuclear deal signed with six other nations in 2015, amid heightened pressure from the United States in recent weeks.
‘Ghost’ Tankers, Bartering, and Middlemen: Iran’s Playbook For Selling Oil In The Face Of U.S. Sanctions
Iran can employ several tactics as it looks at ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions on its vital oil industry. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Iran Threatens To Resume High-Level Uranium Enrichment Amid U.S. Sanctions
Iran’s president said the Islamic republic will resume high-level enrichment of uranium if world powers do not protect its interests against U.S. sanctions.
Iran moving ballistic missiles by boat, US officials say – CNNPolitics
Intelligence showing that Iran is likely moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf was one of the critical reasons the US decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region, according to several US officials with direct knowledge of the situation.
Iranians evacuate after unidentified aircraft seen in east Syria – Middle East – Jerusalem Post
Local sources told Deir EzZor 24 that the aircraft were not Russian, Iranian or Syrian. A large presence of military vehicles has been reported in the area since the aircraft were spotted.
Pompeo in Iraq: After Berlin meeting with Merkel was canceled, questions swirled – The Washington Post
Some viewed the canceled meeting as the latest downward turn in transatlantic relations.
Pompeo on surprise Iraq visit amid rising Iran tensions | Iran News | Al Jazeera
US secretary of state makes unannounced Baghdad stop on eve of first anniversary since pullout from Iran nuclear deal.
Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Iraq to discuss tensions with Iran – CNNPolitics
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday after abruptly canceling a planned trip to Berlin amid escalating tensions with Iran.
Europe responds to Iran’s nuclear deal threat
The EU has responded firmly to Iran’s threat to roll back its 2015 nuclear deal commitments, saying in a statement Thursday that it rejects any ultimatums but remained committed to the multilateral pact.
Iran’s Nuclear Deal Pullout Will Backfire – Bloomberg
It will unite rather than divide the U.S. and Europe.
Bolton’s dangerous Iran announcement | TheHill
For Washington to be cowed by Tehran is not the elephant afraid of the mouse — that’s too generous to the Iranian regime. It’s the elephant afraid of a flea.
Senior Military and Trump Officials in Washington Escalate Iran Warnings – Defense One
General says sending aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers is not a pretext for war.
Executive Order on Imposing Sanctions with Respect to the Iron, Steel, Aluminum, and Copper Sectors of Iran | The White House
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that: It remains the policy of the United States to deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East. It is also the policy of the United States to deny the Iranian government revenue, including revenue derived from the export of products from Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, that may be used to provide funding and support for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups and networks, campaigns of regional aggression, and military expansion. In light of these findings and in order to take further steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995, and to supplement the authorities provided in the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (subtitle D of title XII of Public Law 112-239), I hereby order: Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State: (i) to be operating in the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sector of Iran, or to be a person that owns, controls, or operates an entity that is part of the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sector of Iran; (ii) to have knowingly engaged, on or after the date of this order, in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sectors of Iran; (iii) to have knowingly engaged, on or after the date of this order, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran; (iv) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this section; or (v) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this section.
Trump inches toward military confrontation with Iran – POLITICO
The Trump administration has redirected an aircraft carrier to the region as Iran is expected to pull back on commitments to freeze its nuclear program.
How Dangerous Are U.S.-Iran Tensions? – Foreign Policy
Washington cites Tehran’s “warnings” in deploying a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. The question is whether the threat is real.
Iran Appears Ready to Reduce Compliance With Nuclear Deal – The New York Times
The Iranians hinted that they would reduce their compliance with the Iranian nuclear agreement on the eve of the anniversary of President Trump’s repudiation of the deal.
Trump administration message on Iran: ‘Don’t do business’ with them
President Trump signals the U.S. won’t stand for Tehran’s “support of terrorism” and threats to restart its nuclear program, says Perry.
‘Psychological warfare’: Iran dismisses US naval deployment | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Official says US announcement on sending carrier strike group to Middle East is ‘clumsy use of an out-of-date event’.
USS Lincoln strike group deployed to send Iran ‘clear and unmistakable’ message, Bolton says | Fox News
The U.S. is sending the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in order “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime.”
US deploying carrier, bomber task force in response to ‘troubling’ Iran actions – CNNPolitics
The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran, US national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday.
Aircraft carrier sent to Middle East after indications Iran planned attack on US forces – ABC News
U.S. sending aircraft carrier and bombers to Middle East in response to clear indications Iran planned an attack on U.S. forces in the region.
US dispatched aircraft carrier to send message to Iran | Fox News
The White House said Sunday that the U.S. is deploying military resources to send a message to Iran.
Trump to impose new sanctions against Iran: report | TheHill
The Trump administration is reportedly expected to announce additional sanctions on Iran within the coming week.
Iran to sell oil in ‘grey market’ as US tightens sanctions | USA News | Al Jazeera
Minister says Tehran is mobilising all resources to sell oil on grey market to bypass US sanctions on Iranian crude.
Iran using all resources to sell oil in ‘grey market’: deputy minister – Reuters
Iran has mobilized all its resources to sell oil in a “grey market”, bypassing U.S. sanctions that Tehran sees as illegitimate, state media quoted Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia as saying on Sunday.
Sanctions on Iran are biting, but the goal is elusive – Los Angeles Times
President Trump’s oil sanctions are punishing Iran’s economy. But it’s an illusory victory because sanctions rarely, if ever, change an adversary’s behavior.
How will Trump’s Iran oil gamble affect the global economy? | Iran | Al Jazeera
We look at US sanctions on Iran and whether there is enough oil from the US, Saudi Arabia and UAE to fill the void.
Oil investors aren’t paying enough mind to this ‘red-hot’ conflict
As U.S.-China trade talks and tensions with Iran put pressure on oil prices, energy expert John Kilduff gives investors the key levels to watch.
US tightens restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme | USA News | Al Jazeera
In further pressure on Tehran, US renews five of seven sanctions waivers while Rouhani urges unity in the ‘war on hope’.
Trump’s Iran Policy Is Becoming Dangerous – Foreign Policy
Growing evidence suggests the U.S. president is traveling a path toward war—whether he knows it or not.
The Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal – Defense One
Tehran says it will stop complying with elements of the accord unless the countries that remain live up to their commitments. But those five states are …
European Deal Signatories Criticize U.S. Move On Iran Nuclear, Oil Sanctions
The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany expressed concern about the U.S. decision not to extend two waivers related to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other…
Iran sentences president’s brother to prison for corruption | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Hossein Fereydoun, a close confidante of President Hassan Rouhani, rejects the ruling and vows to appeal.


UAWire – Russian Khmeimim airbase in Syria attacked twice in one day
On Monday, May 6, The Russian Khmeimim airbase in Syria was shelled twice, reports RBC with reference to a report from the head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in the Syrian Arab Republic, Major General Viktor Kupchishin. “Both times the fire originated in the east, coming from the area of ​​the Zawiya settlement located in the Idlib de-escalation zone and controlled by the Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham group,” Kupchishin said. According to him, a total of 36 missiles were fired at the base. The militants controlled the shots using a drone. The air defense systems command repelled the shelling and there were no casualties or damage to the base, the Center said. “All the militants’ missile launch points were detected and countered by the Russian air forces and artillery fire of the Syrian government forces,” Kupchishin added. He noted that in the Idlib de-escalation zone, there has been an increase in cease-fire violations by illegal armed groups. Ministry of Defense headquarters also reported that during the day, in addition to Khmeimim, the settlements of Al-Suqaylabiyah, Mgayr, Buraydij and As-Sifsafeh were shelled several times. Militants fired using mortars, multiple launch rocket systems and artillery guns. On May 2, the militants attempted to attack the Khmeimim base and according to the Defense Ministry, the shots were fired by militants belonging to illegal armed groups operating out of Qalaat al-Mudiq and Bab Atiq. The attack was repelled, there were no injuries and no damage was done to the base’s infrastructure.
Russia’s Payback Will Be Syria’s Reconstruction Money – Foreign Policy
But international donors—and Bashar al-Assad—aren’t playing along yet.
Russia and Syria’s Final Assault on Idlib ‘Will Be a Disaster; There Will Be Massacres,’ Says Trapped Medic
Regime airstrikes have pounded Syria’s Idlib province, with clashes reported between government and rebel ground forces.
Syrian government troops launch an offensive against rebels in the country’s northwest – Los Angeles Times
Syrian government forces attack rebel-held areas in the country’s northwest, marking the latest offensive against the rebels’ last stronghold in Idlib province.
Dozens killed as Russian, Syrian air attacks in Idlib intensify | Syria News | Al Jazeera
The escalation has raised fears that a truce that lasted almost eight months in Idlib will be declared over.
UAWire – Russia and Assad launch major air attacks against Idlib and Hama
The Hama and Idlib provinces have been the target of at least 110 air attacks by Russian and Syrian government aircraft, the Syrian Observatory …
Assad sends ground troops into Idlib | World | The Times
Syrian regime forces have begun a ground offensive against insurgents in the northwestern province of Idlib, posing a new test for Turkey and its allies who have tried to prevent an upsurge in fighting.Wave after wave of Russian and regime jets and helicopters have poured missiles and barrel bombs
Damascus presses Idlib attack, artillery hits Turkish position – Reuters
Syrian government forces and their Russian allies pounded the rebel-held northwest of Syria with air strikes on Saturday, sources in the area said, as artillery hit a Turkish military position there, underlining the risk of wider escalation.
‘I can’t express what I saw’: Children killed in Idlib air raid | News | Al Jazeera
Activists say several civilians killed on Tuesday as government-led attacks intensify in Idlib, Hama provinces.
Russia and Turkey landgrab ‘behind fresh Syria bombardment’ | World news | The Guardian
Twelve healthcare centres destroyed in bombardment of Idlib province


Ceasefire appears to take hold in Gaza, ending deadly weekend of hostilities – CNN
Israel and militant factions in Gaza appear to have reached a ceasefire after a violent weekend that saw the some of the worst fighting between the two sides since 2014, when full-blown war broke out.
Israel strikes Gaza targets in response to Palestinian heavy rocket fire | Fox News
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired scores of rockets into southern Israel Saturday, prompting an Israeli response with airstrikes and tank fire.
As the Gaza crisis continues, Jewish-Palestinian solidarity is growing. Netanyahu must be terrified | The Independent
My first memory of the news was when I was five, after hearing that former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated. As a Jew, my relationship with Israel developed against a backdrop of the separation barrier, settlements and the open air prison that is Gaza.
Clashes Between Israel and Gaza Intensify as Death Toll Rises – The New York Times
Three Israelis were killed, the first civilians to die in clashes with Gaza since the 2014 war. Gaza health officials say 15 Palestinians have been killed since Friday.
More than 600 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza in less than 24 hours, death toll rises | Fox News
The death toll continues to rise Sunday on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border in one of the most intense flare-ups of violence in the region in years, shattering a month-long lull in attacks.
Did Israel Have the Right to Bomb Hamas’ Cyber HQ? – Defense One
The May 5 counterstrike raised questions — and set precedents.


Cars, Contracts and Debt: What Istanbul’s Mayor Found in 17 Days – The New York Times
Before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey forced a do-over of the Istanbul election, the opposition leader Ekrem Imamoglu found evidence of wasteful spending by Mr. Erdogan’s allies, he said.
Judicial Probes into Opposition Victories Add Pressure for Istanbul Revote
Investigations into Istanbul mayoral elections increase expectations of a repeat amid economic and political fears
Turkey Orders New Election for Istanbul Mayor, in Setback for Opposition – The New York Times
The electoral authorities’ decision annuls a devastating defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party, and raises the prospect of social unrest.
Turkish election board orders new vote for Istanbul mayor after ruling party loss – The Washington Post
The decision came after the Justice and Development Party or AKP appealed for the cancellation of the March 31 vote because of what it said were irregularities.
Istanbul in turmoil after mayor’s removal | World | The Times
President Erdogan’s opponents face a bitter seven-week election battle to try to retake control of Istanbul after the mayor of Turkey’s biggest city was stripped of office last night in a move seen as a major blow to democracy in the country.Ekrem Imamoglu — the candidate for the Republican People’
In Istanbul Election Do-Over, Erdogan’s Opponents Unify – The New York Times
A day after the authorities annulled a result that embarrassed the president, several minor candidates withdrew to avoid splitting the vote.
International outcry over Istanbul election re-run – BBC News
The EU and member states sharply criticise decision to re-run mayoral election lost by ruling party.
Turkey’s Erdogan defends Istanbul election re-run amid protests – BBC News
The decision to repeat the poll has been criticised across Europe, and sparked protests in Turkey.
Turkey Pays the Price for Erdogan’s Istanbul Election Do-Over – Bloomberg
Its currency hit a seven-month low after the election board invalidated the opposition CHP party’s victory.
Turkish Lira Continues to Fall Despite Backdoor Tightening – WSJ
The Turkish lira continued to slide after the central bank temporarily tightened monetary policy in an attempt to make it harder for investors to bet against the currency.
Turkey’s central bank steps in after the lira nosedives to an eight-month low
The currency has been ranked the worst-performing in emerging markets for several consecutive weeks.
Erdogan’s Long Arm in Europe – Foreign Policy
Turkey is seeking influence and votes throughout the EU and spreading ideas that imperil efforts to integrate the Turkish diaspora.
Opinion | Turkey Will Keep Voting Until Erdogan Gets His Way – The New York Times
His decision to rerun a municipal election his party lost in Istanbul shows a growing weakness.
Turkey’s President Erdogan refuses to give up Istanbul without a fight – CNN
There’s an old saying in Turkish politics: “Who wins Istanbul, wins Turkey.” The country’s biggest city and commercial heart is undoubtedly its biggest political prize and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t about to give it up without a fight.
Speculation Grows in Turkey After Jailed Kurdish Leader Allowed to See Lawyers
Ankara’s surprise move to allow attorneys visit Abdullah Ocalan after eight years stokes talk of changes in policies and breakthrough in ending impasse over Syrian Kurdish militia


Libya: Battle for Tripoli becomes a sandbox for outside powers – CNN
The grinding war of attrition for control of the Libyan capital is nearly a month old. It has already claimed the lives of at least 392 people and nearly 2,000 have been wounded, according to UN figures. Thousands more have been displaced and there is widespread fear that clashes will intensify ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.
Libyan officials: Militant attack kills 9 troops at LNA base | Fox News
Islamic State militants on Saturday killed at least nine soldiers in an attack on a training camp for the self-styled Libyan National Army in the country’s southwestern desert, officials said.
Bombing Outside Revered Sufi Shrine in Pakistan Kills at Least 8 – The New York Times
The attack against adherents of a moderate form of Islam took place on the second day of the holy month of Ramadan, when militants often step up violent acts.
Pentagon quietly stopped training Afghan pilots after 40% of cadets deserted while in US – News Break
The Pentagon had no choice but to shut down a US-based program to train Afghan Air Force pilots after it emerged that nearly half of the cad
Let the Terrorists Win? | The National Interest
According to some media commentators, killing terrorist leaders is counterproductive, dismantling their organizations gives them what they want, and stopping them from recruiting is wrong.
ISIS’s Church Attacks Break Mohammed’s Own Pledges – Foreign Policy
Assaults on Christian sites show terrorists are apostates as well as murderers.
Muslim shops in Sri Lanka attacked as tensions remain after Easter Sunday bombings – CNN
Violence erupted in a Sri Lankan town bombed on Easter Sunday after a largely Catholic mob attacked Muslim-owned shops and a vehicle — prompting church authorities to call for calm and no further hostilities against Muslims in the area.
Sri Lanka bombings mastermind Zahran Hashi recruited rich brothers via Facebook to fund attack, blow themselves up, officials say – CBS News
&quot;We suspect the two brothers used their money from the spice business to finance the bombings,&quot; and then blew themselves up, police investigator says
Sri Lanka Bombers Secured Unusual Source of Help: Their Families – WSJ
Unlike many terrorist organizations, Islamic State draws wives and children into attacks such as the spate of bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. This makes the deadly violence even harder for security officials to spot and contain.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

What Putin Wants with North Korea | The National Interest
Moscow has no core national interests at stake, but it does see a chance to throw a cog in Washington’s policy wheels.
Mike Pompeo on “Face the Nation”: U.S. doesn’t expect North Korea to “tell us the truth” in talks – CBS News
In a bold move on Friday, North Korea launched several short-range missiles which landed in the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean government
North Korea’s Kim orders stronger strike power; U.S. seizes cargo ship – Reuters
The leader of North Korea ordered its military to boost its strike capability as he directed another missile firing, state media said on Friday, as tensions grew over tests that appeared to show preparations for a new advanced missile system.
North Korea’s New Weapon Likely to Better Evade Missile Defense – WSJ
The short-range missiles tested by North Korea could strike much of South Korea and may be able to carry a nuclear warhead, providing Pyongyang with extra firepower as diplomatic frictions grow with Washington.
North Korea’s Newest Missile Appears Similar To Advanced Russian Design : NPR
Experts say the missile, tested on May 4 as part of a “strike drill,” could be a new and destabilizing weapon on the Korean Peninsula.
Can South Korea’s defense shield thwart the North’s new short-range missile?
Some analysts believe the guided weapon could a modified version of the Russian-made Iskander short-range ballistic missile.
North Korea launches ‘unidentified’ projectile – CNN
North Korea has fired at least one unidentified projectile, South Korea’s military said Thursday, adding yet another complication into the stalled negotiations with the United States and peace talks with South Korea.
North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles, South Korea’s military says
North Korea fired unidentified projectiles on Thursday, according to the South Korean military, less than a week after leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and missiles.
North Korea missile launch won’t derail diplomacy, Mike Pompeo says
North Korea’s missile launches Saturday “didn’t present a threat to the United States” and its allies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.
Images show North Korea missile launch as Pyongyang tests Trump – CNNPolitics
A new satellite image obtained by CNN shows the smoke trail of a Friday rocket launch by North Korea that is likely a short-range missile, according to the group that analyzed the picture.
North Korea launches ‘barrage’ of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan: Officials – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
North Korea launches short-range ‘projectiles’: report | Fox News
North Korea reportedly launched multiple unidentified short-range “projectiles” on Saturday.
North Korea faces food crisis after poor harvest, U.N. says – Reuters
Four in ten North Koreans are chronically short of food and further cuts to already minimal rations are expected after the worst harvest in a decade, the United Nations said on Friday.
North Korea faces deepening food crisis amid ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions – The Washington Post
President Trump told his counterpart in South Korea that humanitarian help is “timely and positive,” but Washington remains firm on wider sanctions.
North Korea Urgently Needs Food Aid After Worst Harvest in Decade, U.N. Says – The New York Times
The United Nations says four out of every 10 North Koreans are in urgent need of food aid after the country recorded its worst harvest in a decade.
Otto Warmbier’s Mother Likens North Korea to ‘Absolute Evil’ – The New York Times
Ms. Warmbier called diplomacy with North Korea a “charade” and urged world leaders to keep pressure on the country.
Mother of Otto Warmbier calls U.S. diplomacy with North Korea a ‘charade’ – The Washington Post
Cindy Warmbier’s first public comments on the nuclear negotiations come at a time when Washington and Pyongyang have essentially stopped communicating.
Otto Warmbier’s mother says North Korea ‘a cancer on earth’, calls diplomacy a ‘charade’ | Fox News
Cindy Warmbier, the mother of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who was detained and held in North Korea who died after he returned back to the U.S. in 2017, called the hermit kingdom “a cancer on the earth.”
Reporter’s Notebook: North Korea’s UN ambassador silent about Otto Warmbier | Fox News
When we saw Kim Jong Un’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, leaving the U.N. Secretariat building, I thought that his sudden appearance presented an opportunity for Fox News to ask the questions his government has long not seen fit not to answer.
US suspends effort to retrieve war dead from North Korea – BBC News
The decision to halt the programme follows the failed Hanoi summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Pentagon suspends efforts to recover troop remains from North Korea | Fox News
The Pentagon has suspended talks with North Korea about recovering more remains of missing American soldiers from the  Korean War — one of the key pledges to come out of the first summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore last June.
North Korean ship used to illicitly transport coal is seized over sanctions violation, US announces | Fox News
A North Korean cargo vessel used to transport coal — in violation of international sanctions against the rogue regime — was seized, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday, just hours after the hermit kingdom fired two suspected short-range missiles.
U.S. Takes Control Of North Korean ‘Sanctions-Busting’ Ship : NPR
U.S. authorities say it is the first-ever seizure of a North Korean cargo vessel for breaking international sanctions. The coal ship has been detained in Indonesia for the past year.
U.S. seizes North Korean ship suspected of violating U.N. sanctions
The Justice Department asked a federal judge to give the U.S. ownership of a North Korean ship that was caught shipping coal in violation of U.N. sanctions.
Trump China tariffs: North Korea policy might ‘blow up in his face’
According to one expert, the recent downturn in U.S.-China trade talks may not bode well for Trump’s denuclearization dialogue with Pyongyang.
Last defendant charged in airport killing of Kim Jong Un’s brother is released – Los Angeles Times
A woman from Vietnam tried in the killing of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was released from a Malaysian prison.
The karaoke-loving chemist suspected of killing Kim Jong Nam | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on May 4, 2019 The man suspected of creating the poison that killed the North Korean leader’s half-brother, King Jong Nam, is living in China Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained exclusive images of a North Korean man suspected of being involved in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Ri Jong Chol is a chemist who was detained and then released by Malaysian authorities. Al Jazeera’s Will Jordan reports.
South Korea Is Getting New Destroyers, Submarines and Maybe F-35s on ‘Aircraft Carriers’? | The National Interest
The South Korean government on April 30, 2019 approved plans to acquire new destroyers and submarines for the country’s fast-growing navy.


US warships sail near Chinese islands, as tensions escalate: report | Fox News
Two U.S. warships on Monday sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China, a move that comes at a time of tense relations between the two nations.
Two U.S. warships sail in disputed South China Sea – Reuters
The U.S. military said two of its warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday, a move that angered Beijing at a time of tense ties between the world’s two biggest economies.
U.S. Warships Challenge China Sea Claims for Third Time in 2019 – Bloomberg
Two U.S. warships sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday, challenging Beijing’s claims for the third time this year amid simmering trade tensions.
China slams US warships operation in South China Sea | News | Al Jazeera
China expresses its ‘resolute opposition’ after two US destroyers travel near Spratly islands claimed by Beijing.
Pentagon disputes Biden’s assessment of China, says country is a ‘strategic competitor’ | Fox News
A top Pentagon official on Friday disagreed with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s claim on the campaign trail that China isn’t really a competitor of the United States.
PLA’s furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon
China lacked a reliable second-strike capacity, but its ballistic missile subs are changing that. Now, the U.S. is hunting the vessels in a Cold War-like joust.
The Navy and Marines Are Deploying a ‘Lightning Carrier’ to the Pacific
Capable of carrying more F-35B’s than ever before.
Naval Showdown: Is China’s Navy Catching Up to America? | The National Interest
In short, the Chinese fleet is growing and modernizing, but America still deploys a heftier and more heavily-armed naval force with much greater aerial firepower.
China’s Military Can’t Conquer Taiwan Just Yet: Pentagon Report | The National Interest
Beijing does, however, have options for attacking Taiwan that do not involve a full-scale blockade or invasion. “The PLA is capable of accomplishing various amphibious operations short of a full-scale invasion of Taiwan,” the American report explains.
China will build string of military bases around world, says Pentagon | World news | The Guardian
Locations could include Middle East, Pakistan, and western Pacific to protect Belt and Road Initiative, report says
New satellite images may reveal China’s new, advanced aircraft carrier under construction – CNN
New satellite images published by a US think tank may provide the world’s first look at China’s next aircraft carrier, as construction progresses on a mysterious large vessel in a shipyard outside Shanghai.
China has a 3rd aircraft carrier in the works, and it could be a really big deal, Pentagon reveals | Business Insider
China is working on a third aircraft carrier, one expected to be much more technologically advanced and powerful than its predecessors, the Department of Defence said in its new report on China’s growing military might.
Satellite images show China is building its third and largest aircraft carrier: reports | Fox News
Images released by a Washington-based think-tank show construction on China’s third and largest aircraft carrier, activity analysts believe might challenge U.S. strategic superiority in East Asia.  
New report explains how China thinks about information warfare
The Chinese military has established a Network Systems Department, which is responsible for information warfare.
Chinese spies acquired NSA tools, used them to attack US allies: report | TheHill
A leading cybersecurity firm found evidence Chinese intelligence operatives repurposed National Security Agency (NSA) hacking technology in 2016 to attack American allies and private firms in Europe and Asia,
How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.’s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks – The New York Times
The latest case of cyberweapons escaping American control raises questions about the United States’ expensive and dangerous digital arsenal.
Pacific Century: H.R. McMaster Takes On China | Hoover Institution
Hoover fellow and former national security advisor H.R. McMaster joins the Pacific Century to discuss the rise of China.


China to Send Senior Official to Trade Talks in Washington – The New York Times
Vice Premier Liu He, a confidant of China’s leader, will lead a Chinese team seeking to head off higher American tariffs threatened by President Trump.
China says it’s still preparing for US trade talks, won’t give details
A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not confirm whether Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would still be among the negotiators.
Pompeo Attacks China and Warns Britain Over Huawei Security Risks – The New York Times
Cooperation with the Chinese company could put American intelligence sharing with Britain at risk, the secretary of state said on a London visit.
Exclusive: China backtracked on nearly all aspects of U.S. trade deal – sources – Reuters
The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.
Removing the threat of a trade war with China is not enough. The deal must have structural reforms. – The Washington Post
Trump must insist on maximum structural reforms from Beijing.
China says it is prepared to respond to all kinds of outcomes on US trade talks
Beijing has made adequate preparations to respond to the U.S. on trade, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.
Trump on new trade war tariff threat: China ‘broke the deal’ in talks
U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that China “broke the deal” in the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks.
Trump Says China ‘Broke’ Trade Deal as Liu Heads to Washington – Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump declared that China’s leaders “broke the deal” he was negotiating with them on trade, ratcheting up his rhetoric ahead of fresh talks already clouded by imminent tariff increases and Beijing’s threats of retaliation.
China overplayed its hand with Trump on trade, and it could cost them dearly – CNN
China and the United States were moving towards an agreement to end a months-long trade war when, suddenly, it all fell apart this week. “The escalation of trade friction is not in the interests of the people of the two countries and the people of the world,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
Trump may have made it tougher for US to ‘win’ trade war with China
U.S. President Donald Trump turned up the heat on China this week and on Friday increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
US tariff hike on Chinese goods kicks in: China vows ‘necessary countermeasures’ – CNN
A trade war between the world’s two largest economies is escalating again, after the United States hit China with higher tariffs and Beijing vowed to retaliate.
Rebecca Grant: Game over for China as Trump lays down new trade rules | Fox News
Live eels, denim and desk lamps: those are just a few of the 5,745 imports from China now at the center of the U.S.-China trade war.
Petraeus: America’s trade leverage over China won’t last forever – CNN
America’s negotiating advantage over China in trade talks won’t last forever, former CIA Director David Petraeus told CNN Business.
The Panama Canal Could Become the Center of the U.S.-China Trade War – Foreign Policy
Panama’s strategic and symbolic importance place it at the heart of growing trade tensions.


China’s Xi Jinping causes alarm with mass student trips to the country – CNN
An unremarkable Communist Party directive has sparked painful memories of past trauma for millions of people across China, with many drawing parallels with one of the most notorious policies of the Cultural Revolution.
What was the May Fourth Movement? – The Washington Post
100 years ago, students protesters filled Tiananmen Square.
Why Does a Student Protest Held a Century Ago Still Matter in China? – The New York Times
A demonstration that became known as the May 4 Movement was a watershed for China. Here’s why.
Voracious pest threatens China’s crops, could boost need for imports
A crop-eating pest first detected in China about five months ago is spreading rapidly and could hurt production of key crops critical to the populous nation’s food supply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fall armyworm – Wikipedia


China denies having ‘concentration camps,’ tells US to ‘stop interfering’ – CNN
Beijing has rejected US accusations of operating “concentration camps” in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, with a government spokesman telling Washington Monday to “stop interfering in Chinese domestic affairs.”
China Detains Uighurs In Xinjiang For ‘Extremist Thoughts’ They Didn’t Know They Had : NPR
“I’ve learned what I should and what I shouldn’t do,” a detainee tells NPR during a Chinese government-led media tour in Xinjiang. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are held in internment camps.
Revealed: new evidence of China’s mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang | World news | The Guardian
Guardian and Bellingcat investigation finds more than two dozen Islamic religious sites partly or completely demolished since 2016
CNN captures rare images China doesn’t want you to see – YouTube
CNN Published on May 7, 2019 Beijing has rejected US accusations that the Chinese government has detained large numbers of Muslims in the Xinjiang region in what former detainees describe as re-education centers with prison-like conditions. CNN’s Matt Rivers investigates. #China #CNN #News
Muslim Re-education Camps in China Are Needed to Avoid Terrorist Attacks, State Media Claims
An editorial argued that China did not “have to be swayed by the whining” of the international community.
China putting minority Muslims in ‘concentration camps,’ U.S. says – Reuters
The United States accused China on Friday of putting well more than a million minority Muslims in “concentration camps,” in some of the strongest U.S. condemnation to date of what it calls Beijing’s mass detention of mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups.
In Push for Trade Deal, Trump Administration Shelves Sanctions Over China’s Crackdown on Uighurs – The New York Times
During trade talks, U.S. officials have avoided confronting China about its persecution of Uighurs despite bipartisan pressure, fearing such a move could harm a deal.


China just took another step toward putting a Canadian to death, in apparent retaliation for its arrest of Huawei’s CFO | Business Insider
China on Thursday took another step toward executing a Canadian man on charges of drug smuggling, in what has been regarded as retaliation for Canada’s arrest and detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.
Mongolian couple die of bubonic plague after eating marmot, triggering quarantine | Fox News
A Mongolian couple died of the bubonic plague after eating raw marmot, prompting a six-day quarantine that left a number of tourists stranded in the region.
Japanese Foreign Minister Heading To Russia For Peace Deal Talks
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is heading to Russia for a new round of talks on a decades-old territorial dispute that has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace agreement and formally end World War II.
Lavrov Says ‘Extremely Significant’ Differences Still Exist With Japan On Peace Accord
There are still “extremely significant” differences between Russia and Japan over a World War II peace agreement that Tokyo hopes will end a territorial dispute between the two countries, Russian …
Disputed islands exhibit arguing Japanese sovereignty to be relocated to larger space – The Mainichi
TOKYO — A museum in Hibiya Park in the capital’s Chiyoda Ward that displays materials related to the Senkaku Islands and the Takeshima islets is bein
Govt mulls deploying GSDF members on MSDF ships to protect remote islands – The Japan News
The government has begun studying the possibility of deploying about 200 to 300 Ground Self-Defense Force members on Maritime Self-Defense Force transport vessels to reinforce the defense of remote islands and conduct patrol activities around Okinawa Prefecture’s Senkaku Islands and the Nansei Islands in the East China Sea, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
Indonesia sinks 51 foreign boats to fight illegal fishing | The Independent
Indonesian authorities have sunk 51 foreign ships as part of the government’s efforts to clamp down on illegal fishing.  The seized ships were sunk on Saturday at five ports across the archipelago, which has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds, the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry said in a statement. 
South China Sea: Indonesia sinks scores of boats as rift with Beijing deepens | World | News | Express.co.uk
INDONESIA has sunk dozens of foreign boats within just hours to deter illegal fishing in its waters bordering the highly contended South China Sea, as the country continues to assert its sovereign authority over the area.

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

How Authoritarians Manipulate Elections – Defense One
From Russia to Venezuela, the strongmen who have destroyed democratic institutions won high office at the ballot box.
Anti-Europe Parties Aren’t Anti-Europe Anymore – Foreign Policy
Instead of promising to protect people from the European Union, populists have started promising to make the EU protect the people.
EU’s Tusk warns of risks in rise of U.S. tech giants – Reuters
The world needs to be wary of the rise of tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, comparing their powers to those of countries such as China, European Council President Donald Tusk said in Warsaw on Friday.
European Parliament Members Seek Explanation For Lukashenka’s Dinner Invite
Five members of the European Parliament have demanded an explanation as to why Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been invited to a dinner in Brussels marking the 10th anniversary of th…
Macron’s Party Falls Behind Le Pen’s Far Right in EU Election Poll
The party of far-right leader Marine Le Pen will top the upcoming European Parliament elections with 22 percent of the vote, just ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s REM party, an Ipsos poll relea…
Report: Danish Bank Executive Charged In Russia-Linked Money-Laundering Scandal
A Danish newspaper reported that prosecutors have charged a former chief executive of Danske Bank for his involvement in one of the world’s biggest money-laundering scandals.


Pompeo Visits London to Reaffirm US-UK Ties
Topics on agenda include differences over Iran’s nuclear program and China’s involvement with a British communications network
Britain’s Post-Brexit Conundrum — America or China?
In looking for post-Brexit trade deals, Britain must balance traditional allies with other ambitions
Gavin Williamson accused of saying Theresa May’s diabetes makes her UNFIT to govern | Daily Mail Online
Gavin Williamson was allegedly heard saying that Theresa May’s Type 1 diabetes meant she was unable to discharge her responsibilities as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Gavin Williamson ‘wanted to invade Africa’ and risked war with China, say May allies | Business Insider
LONDON – Theresa May’s former Defence Secretary, who was sacked this week following a leak inquiry, was dismissed following concerns about his plans to ‘invade Africa’ and risk war with China.
Corbyn’s praise for deeply antisemitic book | Comment | The Times
In July of 1899, the editor of the Manchester Guardian asked the radical writer John Atkinson Hobson if he would go to South Africa to report on the trouble between the British and the Boers. The reports that Hobson sent back were collected in a book published in 1900 entitled The War in South Afric


UAWire – Macron hopes Russia will remain a member of the Council of Europe
During a meeting with CE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he hopes that Russia will remain a …
Orange: French executives on trial for harassment after a wave of suicides – CNN
French telecom company Orange and its former chief executive have gone on trial in Paris, accused of pursuing a strategy to destabilize employees that resulted in a wave of suicides a decade ago.


Pompeo abruptly cancels Berlin visit | TheHill
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly canceled a visit to Berlin on Tuesday due to “pressing issues” and is expected to reschedule his meetings there, officials announced.
Pompeo meeting with Merkel cancelled over ‘pressing issues’ | Fox News
The U.S. State Department says a planned meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chancellor Angela Merkel has been canceled.
Pompeo Cancels Germany Visit; Russia Says New Lavrov Meeting Expected Next Week
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has abruptly canceled a visit to Germany hours before he was due to arrive in Berlin, because of what a spokesman said were “pressing issues.”
Pompeo abruptly cancels trip to Germany – CNNPolitics
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to Germany, where he was planning to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel “due to pressing issues,” the State Department said early Tuesday.
Remains of Nazi Victims to be Buried in Berlin
The remains of political prisoners who were executed by the Nazis and dissected for research will be laid to rest


UAWire – President Duda wants to secure Poland’s membership in the EU and NATO in the Constitution
During the celebration of Poland’s Constitution Day, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the state’s membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance should be added to the Constitution, reports Ukrinform. According to the opposition, the ruling party is against such a move. “We have a constitution and we need to discuss any potential amendments. We should debate whether or not the EU membership should be included in the constitution and we must add a guarantee that we will be a member of his large union in the constitution. Personally, I am convinced that this should be the case,” Duda stressed. The Polish President added that state membership in NATO should also be included in the constitution. In turn, the speaker of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), Beata Mazurek, tweeted about the possibility of engaging in dialogue regarding this entry into the Polish constitution. At the same time, the leader of the oppositionist Civic Platform Party (RO), Grzegorz Schetyna, stated that Andrzej Duda’s statement regarding this issue “should not be taken seriously” since PiS opposes such a move. Earlier, Duda said that NATO should strengthen its military presence in the Black Sea in order to demonstrate its readiness to pushback against any aggressor. According to him, NATO should take this issue as seriously as possible considering Russian aggression in Ukraine and the tense situation in the Black and Baltic Seas.
Respect constitution, EU’s Tusk tells Polish leaders – Reuters
European Council President Donald Tusk called on Poland’s political leaders to respect the constitution in a speech in Warsaw on Friday, amid speculation that he may return to domestic politics when his EU term ends in November.
Woman held in Poland for adding LGBTQ rainbow to revered icon
The activist, 51-year-old Elzbieta Podlesna, could face up to two years in prison or a stiff fine if convicted.
A woman faces prison for posters that show a famed icon of Jesus and the Virgin Mary with rainbow halos – CNN
Polish police say Elżbieta Podlesna put up posters of the revered Black Madonna that showed the Virgin Mary and Jesus with rainbows from the LGBT flag as the halos. Now she could face two years in prison for offending religious feelings.
Pope: North Macedonia Proof of Peaceful Coexistence Amid Diversity
Pope Francis is highest profile international figure to visit since country changed its name in January as part of effort to join EU, NATO
Bulgaria Offers Chilly Welcome as Pope Francis Tries to Mend a Schism – The New York Times
A Bulgarian Orthodox prelate likened efforts to unify the churches to welcoming the Antichrist, while some Bulgarians shrugged off the pope’s pleas on behalf of migrants.
Pope visits Bulgaria to inspire support for refugees, gets push back from Orthodox – The Boston Globe
Pope%20Francis%20went%20to%20Bulgaria%20on%20a%20mission%20to%20encourage%20the%20majority%20nationalist%2C%20anti-migrant%20country%20to%20practice%20compassion%20for%20the%20refugees%20seeking%20asylum%20there.%20Meanwhile%2C%20the%20conservative%20Bulgarian%20Orthodox%20Church%20did%20not%20participate%20in%20any%20of%20the%20Pope%E2%80%99s%20events.%20
Pope Praises North Macedonia As ‘Bridge Between East And West’
Pope Francis called North Macedonia a “crucible of cultures and ethnic and religious identities” and he encouraged the small Balkan nation to press forward with efforts for closer integration w…
In darkness, Hungary deports Afghan family of 6 to Serbia | Fox News
Hungary has deported a family of six asylum-seekers to Serbia, making them cross a gate in the border fence in the dark, with no one waiting for them on the Serbian side.
Hungary deports 2nd Afghan family to Serbia overnight | Fox News
A human rights group says a second family of Afghan asylum-seekers, including three children and their pregnant mother, has been deported to Serbia in the middle of the night.
Serbian Defense Minister Sparks Controversy By Using Pejorative For Albanians
Among themselves, ethnic Albanians can say it, and often do. But a Serbian minister has crossed a line by using a slang word referring to them.


Notre Dame Fire Released Astronomical Lead Levels Into Air
Hundreds of tons of lead were used to construct the cathedral’s frame.
Scientists liken Anglo-Saxon burial site to King Tut’s tomb | Fox News
Archaeologists say an underground chamber discovered accidentally by road workers may be the site of the earliest Christian royal burial in Britain.
Secrets of Anglo-Saxon tomb found behind Aldi supermarket revealed – CNN Style
Precious artifacts unearthed in 2003 at an Anglo-Saxon burial site dating to the 6th century go on display at Southend’s Central Museum in the UK on Saturday.


Venezuela detains senior opposition leader Edgar Zambrano | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera
The deputy leader of the opposition-dominated National Assembly has been arrested by intelligence agents.
After failed military uprising, No. 2 leader of Venezuelan congress is towed to jail in car | Fox News
Security forces arrested National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano, the No. 2 leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress, Wednesday as President Nicolás Maduro’s government began going after foes tied to a failed attempt to stir up a military uprising last week.
Russian Collusion in Venezuela – WSJ
Why does Donald Trump believe Putin instead of his advisers?
Failed Venezuela coup was fake news — designed to fool people in two nations | Salon.com
CNN and the New York Times made major reporting errors in covering the failed coup. Was it laziness or propaganda?
U.S. Lifts Sanctions on Venezuelan General Who Broke Ranks With Maduro – WSJ
The Trump administration lifted sanctions on a Venezuelan general who broke ranks with President Nicolás Maduro’s regime in an effort to encourage others to do the same, and warned Venezuela’s top judges of consequences if they don’t back opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
Our Venezuelan Embassy protest aims to push peace and diplomacy over war – The Washington Post
If Venezuela and the U.S.can come to an agreement about their embassies, that could be the beginning of talks that might roll back the Trump administration’s reckless policy.
UAWire – Lavrov after talks with Pompeo: US does not want war in Venezuela
After meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday 6 May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that no one in the …
UAWire – Maduro asks Russia for more soldiers and protection from sanctions
The contingent of Russian soldiers in Venezuela may be enlarged, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza announced on Monday after a visit to …
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó suggests he’s open to an American military option – CBS News
&quot;We are open to options that offer a low social cost and that will grant us the ability and the stability to hold a truly free election,&quot; Guaidó told CBS News
Venezuela’s Guaido says he’s considering asking US for military intervention: ‘I will evaluate all options if necessary’ | Fox News
Venezuela’s opposition leader, whose most recent call for a military uprising failed to bring disputed leader Nicolas Maduro’s to his feet, said in a recent interview that he is considering asking the United States to intervene in the embattled South American country.
Exclusive: Pence to offer ‘carrots’ to Venezuela military, warnings to judges – Reuters
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is set on Tuesday to offer new incentives to Venezuela’s military to turn against President Nicolas Maduro, responding to an attempted uprising that fizzled out last week, a senior administration official told Reuters.
Yon Goicoechea, Venezuela opposition leader, on Maduro, Guaidó and the crisis in Venezuela — CBSN interview today – CBS News
Yon Goicoechea said the opposition's communications with Russia occurred for at least a year &quot;on several levels&quot;
Venezuela Special Action Force (FAES) accused of murdering civilians – CNN
More than 8,200 people died in extrajudicial killings in Venezuela between 2015 and 2017, estimates Amnesty International. And the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused state-aligned groups of targeting Venezuelan civilians for murder and kidnapping for years.
US lifts sanctions for Venezuelan general who defied Maduro | Fox News
The U.S. has lifted sanctions on a top Venezuelan general who broke ranks with President Nicolás Maduro, trying to help the opposition regain momentum in the face of a government crackdown following last week’s failed uprising.
US to send hospital ship to help with Venezuelan refugees | Fox News
The Pentagon says a U.S. Navy hospital ship is preparing to deploy to Latin America to provide medical services in countries where several million Venezuelans have taken refuge.
U.S. Navy big hospital ship to deploy in Latin America against the backdrop crisis in Venezuela – Defence Blog
The U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs has confirmed that the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is scheduled to deploy in June from Naval Station Norfolk to the Caribbean, Central America and South America to conduct humanitarian medical assistance missions in support of regional partners and in response to the regional impacts of political and economic crises in Venezuela. During a five-month humanitarian mission, U.S. military medical personnel will work alongside partners to provide medical assistance to communities based on needs identified by host-nation health ministries, and help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems in countries hosting Venezuelans who have fled the country’s crisis. Countries hosting the USNS COMFORT during the mission will be announced at a later time. “The USNS COMFORT represents our enduring promise to our partners in the Western Hemisphere —our shared neighborhood,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. “U.S. Southern Command is committed to the region in support of our Caribbean and Latin American partners, as well as displaced Venezuelans who continue to flee the brutal oppression of the former Maduro regime and its interlocking, man-made political, economic and humanitarian crises.” This marks the hospital ship’s seventh deployment to the region since 2007, second deployment to the Western Hemisphere in the last six months, and reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas and the people of Venezuela. The USNS COMFORT operation is part of the deepening of our engagement in the region under the health pillar of theU.S.-Caribbean 2020 Strategy. USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is the third United States Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy-class hospital ship to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet. The USNS prefix identifies Comfort as a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the Military Sealift Command (MSC).

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Opinion | It’s Time to Break Up Facebook – The New York Times
Mark Zuckerberg is a good guy. But the company I helped him build is a threat to our economy and democracy.
Facebook should not be broken up: Commentary
Facebook is not a monopoly in its actual market — advertising — and the product it offers is not essential to the U.S. economy or society. Even worse, it’s not clear that breaking Facebook up would solve the biggest problems with the platform, such as misinformation and data collection.
Chris Hughes Is a Backstabbing Loser – Washington Free Beacon
Facebook founder Chris Hughes has finally found his moral compass. Just not soon enough to affect his bottom line.
Facebook Bans White Supremacists And Anti-Semites From Platform : NPR
The social media platform said it was banning the high-profile individuals for engaging in hate. Jones called it an “authoritarian” move.
Trump asks why ‘radical left wing media’ are allowed on Twitter, Facebook | Fox News
President Trump on Saturday asked why “radical left wing media” like CNN and the New York Times are allowed to be on Twitter and Facebook due to their “so wrong” coverage of the Russia investigation — as he raised concerns about the banning of conservative figures from the social media platforms.
Singapore fake news law polices chats and online platforms – BBC News
It allows authorities to order online platforms and chat apps to remove messages and post corrections.
Google says Singapore’s fake news law could hamper innovation – Reuters
Google said on Thursday an anti-fake news law passed by Singapore’s parliament could stunt innovation, a quality that the city-state wants to nurture under plans to expand its tech industry.
Tech Companies Are Deleting Evidence of War Crimes – Defense One
Algorithms that take down “terrorist” videos could hamstring efforts to bring human-rights abusers to justice.
Big Tech Is as Monolingual as Americans – Foreign Policy
The biggest barrier to policing social media is language.


Unnerving amount of sensitive data lives exposed
A new report by Varonis shows how much data is exposed both in government and industry. Varonis field CTO talks to Fifth Domain’s Daniel Woolfolk.
Cyberattack cripples Baltimore’s government computer servers
The Tuesday problems come just over a year since another ransomware attack hit Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system, prompting a worrisome 17-hour shutdown of automated emergency dispatching.
European, American authorities bust ‘world’s largest darknet marketplace for contraband’
European and American investigators have broken up one of the world’s largest online criminal trafficking operations in a series of raids in the United States and Germany, authorities said Friday.
Germany arrests 3 in ‘Wall Street Market’ darknet probe
European and American investigators have broken up one of the world’s largest online criminal trafficking operations in a series of raids in the United States and Germany, authorities said Friday.
Microsoft offers software tools to secure elections
Dubbed

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

William Graham, R. James Woolsey & Peter Vincent Pry | The EMP Executive Order — Where Were Bush and Obama? | National Review
A threat that could literally mean the end of civilization is finally getting the attention it needs under Trump. Washington and the press call almost everything an “existential threat” these days. But the threat from a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse (EMP) really is one, as our congressional commission reported in 2017: The critical national infrastructure in the United States faces a present and continuing existential threat from combined-arms warfare, including cyber and manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, as well as EMP from a solar superstorm. During the Cold War, the U.S. was primarily concerned about an EMP attack generated by a high-altitude nuclear weapon as a tactic by which the Soviet Union could suppress the U.S. national command authority and the ability to respond to a nuclear attack — and thus negate the deterrence value of assured nuclear retaliation. Within the last decade, newly-armed adversaries, including North Korea, have been developing the ability and threatening to carry out an EMP attack against the United States.
How Much Will It Cost to Protect America’s Electrical Grid? Who Will Pay? – Defense One
The answers are: Likely tens of billions of dollars, and probably us, the electricity customers.


Trump nominates Shanahan as next defense secretary
The former Boeing executive may formally replace retired Gen. Jim Mattis in the Pentagon’s top office.
Shanahan nomination sets up ‘referendum’ on Trump’s policies – POLITICO
His nomination gives Democrats an opening to attack the administration’s handling of issues including Mideast conflicts, the border and transgender troops.
Trump Taps Shanahan To Lead DOD, Ending Months of Speculation – Defense One
The nomination marks the beginning of the end of the tenure of the longest-serving acting defense secretary.
Trump officials’ military threats divide Senate GOP – POLITICO
Some Republicans want Congress to vote on any new interventions abroad.
A serious financial problem looms at the Pentagon
Recent business reforms threaten to create a serious financial problem at the Pentagon, and both parties in Congress should be concerned.
A Space Force That Would Make A Difference
Within the upcoming weeks, Congress will decide whether to support a proposed new armed service for military operations in space. To fully deliberate that choice, they must first define the problem. Our national security space architecture faces many challenges: a poor track record of space system acquisition; inadequate funding; a lack of focus on developing and managing space personnel; appropriate integration of National Guard and Reserve personnel; and insufficient warfighting attention on the space domain. These issues are framed by the greater operational challenge endangering overall U.S. military capability—our military, intelligence, and commercial space assets are all highly vulnerable to demonstrated and growing threats. Our national response to this challenge must include two priority objectives: First, the entire national security space community must transition from viewing space as a sanctuary to space as a warfighting domain; and second, the current cadre of space operators must transition from providing support for warfighters inside the atmosphere to also fighting in, from and through space as warfighters themselves. To do this, they must be organized, trained, and equipped specifically for this new purpose. It is one thing to build and operate a support system as a service provider, and quite another to engage as a formidable, effective combatant.
CBO: Space Force Could Cost $3B Up Front, $1.3B Annually – Defense One
The new independent analysis comes as lawmakers weigh the creation of a new branch of the military.
Marines experiment with ‘mini-carriers’ for their stealthy fighters
The amphibious assault ship Wasp traversed the South China Sea with 10 F-35Bs parked on the deck.
Marine pilots lack airspace, ordnance to realistically train for a near-peer Pacific fight, watchdog says
Outdated ranges and old technology are no match for up-to-date aircraft with complex missions.
The Pacific Fleet has drawn a ‘red line’
The regime in the Pacific has changed, and so have the standards.
The US military’s logistical train is slowly snaking toward China
A failed Venezuela coup, Iranian missiles and Russian hybrid warfare make for interesting side stories, but the center of military policy is increasingly gravitating elsewhere.
Trump pardons ex-Army lieutenant convicted of killing suspected Al Qaeda terrorist in 2009 | Fox News
President Trump has pardoned a former Army lieutenant who was convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda.
Another undeserved military honor for LBJ
When former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters smashed champagne bottles against a metal star atop the bow of the ship named for him last month, the crowd roared, patriotic streamers shot skyward, and there were smiles all around.
Ex-intelligence analyst charged with leaks to reporter
A man that worked as an Air Force intelligence analyst and later as a contractor assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has been charged under the Espionage Act.


Trump, Putin Discuss Nuclear Accord, Venezuela, Mueller Report, Says White House
U.S. President Donald Trump talked on the telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than one hour on May 3, tackling the possibility of a new nuclear accord, the denuclearization of …
How on Earth could Trump have just had a positive conversation with Putin?
When an American president speaks with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on major international issues of disagreement, it should be a forthright discussion. Or some variation on that theme of diplomatic disagreement.
NBC News on Twitter: “Asked if President Trump pressed President Putin during their call on Mueller’s findings of extensive Russian election interference, the White House demurred to accusing the Obama admin. of not taking Russian election interference seriously.”
Trump, Putin discussed Mueller report and agreed no collusion, White House says
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both agreed “there was no collusion between Moscow and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in a call between the two leaders on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
FBI’s Steele story falls apart: False intel and media contacts were flagged before FISA | TheHill
The FBI likely knew Christopher Steele was paid by a political client and facing an Election Day deadline to broadcast raw intelligence.
Russian Efforts to Exploit Racial Divisions in 2016 Found Firm Ground in U.S., Report Says – To Inform is to Influence
By Mihir Zaveri and Jacey Fortin May 6, 2019 Russian disinformation operations to exploit racial tensions during the 2016 presidential election in the United States found firm ground in a country where legislators have long sought to suppress the black vote, according to a report released Monday. The report, “State of Black America,” was released…
Beyond the Ballot: How the Kremlin Works to Undermine the U.S. Justice System – To Inform is to Influence
May 1, 2019 DOWNLOAD THE REPORT The U.S. justice system is under attack as part of a long-term Russian effort to undermine the appeal of democracy and weaken the West. Via multi-platform disinformation opera­tions, Kremlin-backed operatives work to exacerbate existent divisions within populations and increase overall mistrust and paranoia against democratic institutions. In the process,…
Russian interference goes beyond swaying elections: US report – To Inform is to Influence
Charissa Yong US Correspondent In Washington It began as a crime story in June 2016 about the lewd behaviour of a seven-year-old refugee boy towards a five-year-old American girl in Twin Falls, Idaho. But the incident quickly morphed into fake news that the girl had been gang-raped at knifepoint by Syrian refugees, who exchanged high-fives with…
Hundreds Of Ex-U.S. Prosecutors Say Trump Would Be Charged If He Weren’t President
Under a Justice Department policy dating back to the early 1970s, U.S. presidents cannot be criminally charged while they are in office. A president could be charged after leaving office, however.
U.S. Lawmakers Clash Over Whether Russia Investigation Into Trump Is ‘Case Closed’
U.S congressional leaders have clashed over whether the investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election is, in fact, over, despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller having for…
Hilton: Dems Just Want to Talk About Russia & Mueller, Further Divide Americans | Fox News Insider
Steve Hilton said in his opening monologue that Democrats are desperate to keep the focus on the Mueller report and Russia.
Executive Privilege: The Real Fight Is Yet to Come – Bloomberg
The big questions are going to come up in a hurry – and they might put us in uncharted legal territory.
McConnell rails against Mueller report politics in blistering floor speech: ‘Case closed’ | Fox News
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a scorching floor speech on Tuesday, accused Democrats of rooting for a “national crisis” for political gain as he appealed to lawmakers to move on from the Russia controversy now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is complete. 


Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Our ‘Xanatos Gambit’ President’s Energy Export Strategy Tree
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Trump juggles crises in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela | TheHill
President Trump is facing a key stretch on foreign policy with escalating situations challenging his leadership in North Korea, Venezuela, China and Iran all in the span of a few days.
Trump Faces Growing Foreign Policy Tests – WSJ
President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy is being challenged on four fronts at once, creating an extraordinary test of the White House’s ability to manage multiple crises and deliver on its ambitious agenda.
Iran, Venezuela puts spotlight on Trump adviser John Bolton | TheHill
Crises around the globe are shining a bright spotlight on John Bolton a little more than a year into his tenure as President Trump’s national security adviser.
Venezuelan Embassy’s Power Cut Off in Tense Washington Standoff – The New York Times
An extraordinary stalemate at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington has become a proxy for the political crisis vexing the South American nation.
Are we watching John Bolton’s last stand? – The Washington Post
Trump: I ‘temper’ Bolton’s hawkish instincts – POLITICO
&quot;He has strong views on things but that’s okay. I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing,&quot; Trump said
Trump: John Kerry ‘Should Be Prosecuted’ Under Logan Act
“What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me. John Kerry speaks to them a lot, and John Kerry tells them not to call.”
Trump: John Kerry should be prosecuted for Iran contacts – YouTube
CNN Published on May 9, 2019 President Donald Trump accused former Secretary of State John Kerry of violating the Logan Act by continuing to contact leadership in Iran. Kerry’s team responded saying the president is “wrong about the facts and wrong about the law.” #Trump #Kerry #CNN #News
Trump: Inaccurate stories about me is not freedom of the press
President Trump railed against inaccurate stories about him while talking with reporters in the Oval Office on Friday.
President Trump hits news media on World Press Freedom Day
President Donald Trump attacked the media on Friday after being asked about World Press Freedom Day and how he could mend relations between his administration and the Fourth Estate.
Democratic Party Tolerance of Anti-Semitism Exposes Leftward Lurch | National Review
The inability of the national Democratic party to take a strong, declarative, and unequivocal stand against anti-Semitism will cost them dearly, and not only with Jewish voters.
Trump & Anti-Semitism: Democrats Play the Projection Game | National Review
 The Left’s anti-Trump attacks occur despite his pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli statements and actions.
Omar fires back at Pence for saying she ‘doesn’t know what she’s talking about’ | TheHill
Rep.
Before fake news: Bernie Sanders warned in the 1980s TV media wanted to ‘manipulate people’s minds’
Newly unearthed tapes from Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ time as mayor show a great distrust for the media.
Details of Sanders’ Soviet ‘honeymoon’ exposed, as entourage member recalls shock at Bernie’s America-bashing | Fox News
New details emerged Friday about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ infamous honeymoon in the Soviet Union back in the 1980s — including an anecdote about how his America-bashing abroad prompted one of his traveling companions to walk out of the room. 
Ilhan Omar on Twitter: “Women of color have heard this before. Instead of “we disagree,” it’s “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” They have to make us feel small. This from an Administration that thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax.… https://t.co/uSpVyKUwp4″
 
Rashida Tlaib slams New York Times for ‘dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free’
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., accused the New York Times of “dehumanizing” Palestinians after the Times released a story with a headline recounting the most recent exchange of attacks between Israel and Palestinians.
Muslim children in a Philadelphia school sing about ‘chopping off the heads’ | Daily Mail Online
The clip, which was posted by the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in Philadelphia last month, shows a group of children wearing Islamic headdress adorned with Palestinian symbols and colors.
‘We will chop off their heads’: Young girl in Philadelphia Muslim group reads bloodthirsty poem
An American Muslim group posted a video on Facebook of children speaking in Arabic about chopping off heads and “eternal torture.”
Omar, Tlaib refuse to see Hamas’ hate is same as the synagogue shooter’s
Last week, the nation joined in a chorus of condemnation when a self-avowed white nationalist killed one woman and wounded three other worshippers at the Chabad…
FACT CHECK: Did U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar Say ‘If Israel Is So Innocent, Then Why Do They Insist on Being Jews?’
A quote needn’t make sense for some people to believe it’s genuine.
Attempt to hack email server stunned Clinton aide, FBI files show | Fox News
“omg.” That was the three-letter response from top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin when told by Justin Cooper, the technology professional overseeing Clinton’s private home-based email server, shortly after midnight on a Sunday in January 2011 that “someone was trying to hack us.”
Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s reaction to email hacking: ‘omg’
Top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin was shocked to learn that a hacker tried to gain access to Clinton’s private email server — writing “omg” when she was alerted to it, newly released FBI records show.
Chelsea Manning released from jail after refusing to testify before grand jury | Fox News
Chelsea Manning was freed from jail on Thursday following a roughly two-month stint behind bars, officials said.
Chelsea Manning: Jailed US analyst walks free after refusing to testify to WikiLeaks grand jury | The Independent
The former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after she was jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Ms Manning spent 62 days in jail on contempt charges but was released as the term of the grand jury she was supposed to give evidence to expired. However the ex Army employee, who served seven years of a 35-year

 

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