Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (92)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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  • A great many reports on Russia’s domestic mayhem;
  • Reports Iran has hijacked a second British tanker;
  • Turkey attacks Kurds;
  • Intensive reporting on the PRC: defence and strategy, Hong Kong, Muslim detentions, Pacrim;
  • EU leadership shuffles, UK, France, Germany updates, Italy neo-Nazis and Venezuela;
  • Misc US domestic reports;

 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

UAWire – Kremlin to rewrite Russian constitution to keep Putin in power
Russia’s senior leaders are continuing to prepare the population for an extensive revision of the constitution that will reshape the country’s …
Russian Presidential Rights Council Rejects Stalin Monuments On State Property
A commission of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council has said the erection of monuments to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on state land across the country is unacceptable.
U.S. Says Russia Denies Teacher Visas, Accuses Moscow Of Using Children As ‘Pawns In Diplomatic Disputes’
U.S. officials say more than two dozen teachers at a Moscow school operated by the U.S. and British embassies have been denied work visas for the new school year, and accused Russia of using school…
‘It’s Not Pretty To Snoop’: Tatarstan’s Muslims Decry Plans To Install Surveillance Cameras In Mosques
Islamic leaders in Tatarstan have been asked to provide access to mosques in preparation for the launch of a surveillance system under orders from the Russian region’s Ministry of Digital Developme…
Kazan Principal Turns To European Court In Fight For Tatar Language
The director of a private school in Russia’s Tatarstan region has filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against a partial ban imposed by Russia’s federal authorities on Tat…
New Videos Emerge That Appear To Show More Torture At Notorious Russian Prison
The Russian newspaper Novaya gazeta has published more videos purportedly showing inmates at a notorious prison colony being tortured and abused by guards.
Russia’s Memorial Lists 75-Year-Old Jailed Researcher As Political Prisoner
The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has listed a jailed 75-year-old researcher at a Russian rocket and spacecraft design facility who is charged with treason as a political prisoner.
Moscow Protesters Support Opposition Candidates
An estimated 1,000 people joined an opposition rally in Moscow on July 14. The event prominently featured Ilya Yashin and Lyubov Sobol, two opposition candidates who were denied the chance to run in city council elections set for September 8. The crowd marched to the headquarters of the Moscow Election Commission and demanded a meeting with its head, Valentin Gorbunov. The rally was called after the commission rejected signatures sponsoring several candidates for the upcoming municipal elections.
Moscow Election Commission Chief Agrees To Meet Independent Candidates After Police Crackdown
The Moscow Election Commission chief has agreed to meet with independent candidates for the city council, or City Duma, a day after police violently dispersed demonstrators who demanded such a meet…
Moscow Rallies Protest Oppressive Election Discrimination – To Inform is to Influence
Moscow unfairly discriminating against opposition candidates, and citizens are angered.  Even RT published a report on this, Demonstrators rally for disqualified opposition candidates in Moscow city election RT Validated: Police arrest dozens at Moscow vote protest BBC06:16 More Than 2 Dozen Detained at Moscow Election Protest Voice of America18:01 Sun, 14 Jul Demonstrators rally for…
Moscow Protesters Demand Opposition Candidates Be Included On City-Council Ballots
Around 1,000 people have gathered in central Moscow to demand that opposition candidates be included on ballots for the September 8 Moscow City Duma elections.
Russian Opposition Politician Barred From Election To Moscow City Council Vows To Appeal
Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin has vowed to appeal the Moscow Election Commission’s July 15 decision to disqualify him from running in the elections for the capital’s city council, the C…
Four Moscow Police Fired Over Golunov Case
Four Moscow police officers have been dismissed over a drug-trafficking case launched against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was released on June 11 amid a public outcry and accusations…
Police Violently Disperse Anti-Landfill Protest In Moscow Region
Russian police have used force to disperse a demonstration against deforestation near Moscow.
Director Of Russian Energy Firm Arrested In Moscow
The former owner of Russia’s largest independent oil refinery said its director has been arrested in Moscow.
Ex-owner of Russia’s largest independent oil refinery arrested in Moscow – Reuters
A former owner of the debt-laden Antipinsky refinery, Russia’s largest independent oil-processing plant, was arrested in Moscow, his company said in a statement on Sunday.
Siberian Mayor Resigns After State Equipment Used To Save His Property During Deadly Floods
The head of a district in Russia’s Siberian region of Irkutsk has resigned after a probe was launched into allegations that he ordered local emergency services to safeguard his property during rece…
‘She was absolutely unstoppable’ A friend remembers Natalya Estemirova, the legendary human rights advocate killed in Chechnya 10 years ago today — Meduza
July 15, 2019, marks a decade since the day human rights advocate Natalya Estemirova was murdered. Estemirova was a history teacher in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, until she decided in 2000 to turn her passion for human rights into a full-time job. In 2000, she took a position at the Grozny branch of Memorial, an international human rights organization that drew its mission from remembering the Stalinist purges but quickly came to be a bastion for contemporary civic advocacy as well. On July 15, 2009, Estemirova was kidnapped outside her home and killed. Human rights organizations around the world are still demanding an impartial investigation of that crime and legal consequences for those responsible. Journalists Shura Burtin and Yulia Orlova sat down with Estemirova’s friend Tanya Lokshina, the deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch, to hear her memories of Estemirova’s life and work.
Ten Years After Her Abduction And Death, No Justice For Russian Rights Activist Natalya Estemirova
Russian and international human rights groups have criticized Russia for failing to bring to justice those responsible for the abduction and killing of rights activist Natalya Estemirova 10 years ago.
Daughter Blames ‘System’ Built By Putin, Kadyrov For Rights Activist Estemirova’s Death
The daughter of Natalya Estemirova, the Russian rights activist who who was abducted and killed 10 years ago, said she blames President Vladimir Putin, the leader of Chechnya, “and the whole syst…
Ingush Activist Sent To Pretrial Detention Over Violence At Rallies Against Chechen Border Deal
A court in Kabardino-Balkaria has placed Ingush activist Zarifa Sautiyeva in pretrial detention.
Russian Woman Detained For Online Purchase Of Unregistered Drug For Ill Son
A Russian woman was detained by police after she purchased online an unregistered prescription drug for her ill son.
More Video Emerges Of Russian Prison Abuse
More video has emerged appearing to show violent abuse in a Russian prison. The video, published by the Novaya Gazeta news website, raises new questions about conditions at Yaroslavl prison — which was at the center of a torture scandal last year.
Russian National Guard to be vested with authority to guard all domestic cannabis and opium poppy crops — Meduza
Russia’s National Guard has prepared draft documents that would transfer all authority to guard crops of narcotic plants to its agents. The documents indicate that the National Guard would negotiate agreements with farmers to guard fields of plants like cannabis and opium poppies intended for medical, scientific, or educational purposes. Guards within the government agencies that control poppy and cannabis cultivation will also be permitted to provide security for those crops. Private security companies will only be allowed to guard poppy fields that are not intended for opium production. The new plan follows the recent passage of a law permitting the domestic cultivation of narcotic plants for a range of non-recreational purposes.
Driver In Deadly Russian Bus Crash Reportedly Had History Of Speeding
At least six people have been killed and several more injured in a bus accident in the Russian region of Bashkortostan.
Eight Injured Evacuating ‘Strange-Smelling’ Plane At Moscow Airport
Eight passengers were injured while evacuating a Boeing 737 aircraft in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after midnight on July 19.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Ultimate Indignity – Extortion Widespread in Russian Morgues
Paul Goble Staunton, July 14 – Throughout their lives, Russians have to make payoffs to get into the right school, secure medical treatment, avoid false charges of driving offenses, and on many, many other occasions. But perhaps the ultimate indignity is this: morgues across the Russian Federation are refusing to release their bodies for burial unless and until relatives pay bribes. Morgue workers routinely say that they won’t give out a death certificate without such payments and point out that without such papers, it is “impossible” to buy anyone. Grieving relatives says, URA news agency journalist Mikhail Bely says, that there is now “a real mafia” in the morgues (ura.news/articles/1036278450). Morgue officials in contrast say that the money they request is only intended to cover their costs which have risen even as state financing in this sector as in many others has been cut back. They say that what workers in the morgues are asking for are simply fees that someone has to pay. Most Russians, already in a state because of the death of someone close to them, simply pay, Bely continues, and that gives workers in the morgue the upper hand, according to consumer affairs defenders like Konstantin Tolkachev, director for the Center for the Defense of Consumer Rights. He points on that under Russian law, morgues are required to release bodies within 14 days of receiving them and to do so without charge. But many Russian don’t know that and so they are victimized. Many Russians are now being forced to hand over 10,000 to 30,000 rubles (160 to 500 US dollars) simply to get the necessary certificate. Russians should not have to pay, but as in so many areas where Putin’s optimization is leaving sectors without the necessary funds, one can at least understand some of the requests of the morgue workers. Anton Avdeyev, a specialist on the funeral industry, says the problem is truly serious. Some morgues are being forced to close, and that means people often have to go great distances to get such services. Among the places where morgues have been shut down is Arkhangelsk Oblast. In the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, there are now no funds to move bodies to places where doctors can examine the bodies to determine cause of death. One morgue official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that it wasn’t good that morgue workers were exploiting the grief of relatives to make money as so many do. This is “incorrect.” But at the same time, he said, the people who work in morgues are people too. “They want to eat and have good clothes.” One can understand why they do what they do.
Trial Set For Man Charged With Stealing Valuable Painting From Moscow Museum
A trial date has been set for the man suspected of stealing a 20th-century painting by a Russian artist from Moscow’s state-run Tretyakov Gallery in January.
Russia summons U.S. diplomat in Moscow in protest over visa row – To Inform is to Influence
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia summoned a representative of the U.S. embassy in Moscow on Thursday to issue a protest after U.S. officials alleged Russia had refused visas to teachers at an international school in Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said. The ministry said in a statement it had not denied the visas, but that teachers…
Diesel-Flavored Fish Fuel Russian Environmental Protests
In Russia’s Komi Republic, a major petroleum hub, crude oil leaks from pipelines and seeps into the ground and water. The routine spills are too small to attract international attention, but they add up to an environmental crisis. Now a group of local activists is fighting to make oil producers clean up their mess.
Poseurs From The Blue Lagoon: Russians Seek Toxic Pit Pics
Russians wanting to impress their followers with vacation shots on social media can spend a fortune getting to a tropical paradise, or just find their way to a toxic waste dump in Siberia.
Siberian Toxic Lake Selfies: Guards to Stop Tourists – Bloomberg
A rush by residents of the Russian city of Novosibirsk to snap selfies in and around a nearby toxic reservoir dubbed the ‘Siberian Maldives’ has prompted the power company that uses it as a dump to set up a 24-hour guard.
‘Siberian Maldives’ Investigated For Environmental Violations
Russian prosecutors say they are investigating whether environmental-protection regulations are being properly implemented at an industrial dump site, nicknamed the Siberian Maldives for its turquo…
Don’t swim in Siberian ‘Maldives’ lake, Instagrammers warned | CNN Travel
A Russian lake known as the “Siberian Maldives” because of its bright turquoise waters, is a highly toxic artificial pond and anyone swimming in it could be in danger, warns the company whose coal plant uses it to dump ash.
Mexican Court Sentences Russian To Nearly 40 Years In Prison For Fatal Stabbing
Mexican authorities say a court has sentenced a Russian man to nearly 40 years in prison after finding him guilty of stabbing a man during a fight in the Mexican resort of Cancun.
The Cosmonaut Without A Country
The amazing story of Sergei Krikalev, who was stuck in space during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia Successfully Launches Next-Generation Space Telescope
A Russian Proton-M rocket has successfully launched a new cutting-edge space-based telescope after several days of launch delays.
The Long Arc Of A Gorbachev-Era Dream To Map The Universe
A Russian rocket is hurtling Russian and German X-ray telescopes some 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in a pioneering effort to map black holes, inspect galaxy clusters, and rewrite the history o…

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Beware Of Extremists — And Women! Uzbeks Get Islamic Sermons At Airport Before Flying To Russia
Imams in Uzbekistan are now giving speeches to Russia-bound migrant workers, urging them to remain loyal to their families and homeland, and to stay away from terrorist groups and women.

Belarus Reports

 


 

Hitler, Cows, And Lesbians: 25 Years Of Lukashenka’s Outlandish Views
Bizarre, outrageous, and controversial. During his 25 years in power, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has often provoked shock and surprise with his public statements.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

Merkel Urges Moldova To Speed Up Reform Pace
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Moldova’s new pro-European government to continue on the path of reforms and step up the fight against widespread corruption, saying Berlin would offer Chi…

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Second ‘British’ tanker ‘Mesdar’ seized near Iran after veering off course – Mirror Online
The second ship, the Mesdar Crude Oil Tanker, is also heading towards Iran after owners of the first ship Stena Impero, said they were unable to contact crew onboard
Stena tanker seized by Iran, with reports of second | TradeWinds
One UK-flagged tanker and another Liberian-flagged tanker were reportedly taken Friday
BREAKING: Iran Has Seized A British Oil Tanker
.07/19/2019 15:20:59PM EST.
Iran seizes British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz – Daily Sabah
Iran said Friday it seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, a fresh escalation in confrontations in the strategic waterway that has become a…
The US reportedly sending 500 troops to Saudi Arabia to counter Iran – Business Insider
A CNN report says that the US is preparing to send 500 troops to a remote Saudi base that would be difficult for Iran’s missiles to hit.


U.S. to Send About 500 More Troops to Saudi Arabia – The New York Times
The roughly 500 troops are part of a broader tranche of forces sent to the region in recent months after tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalated.


UAWire – Russian Khmeimim Air Base in Syria comes under another drone attack
The Russian Defense Ministry reported that Russian military repelled another attack on Khmeimim air base in Syria. Russian Defense Ministry says that this time the militants tried to attack the base using three unmanned aerial vehicles, reports RIA Novosti news agency. “On the night of July 12 with the help of Russian air defense system three UAVs were timely detected and destroyed at a safe distance from the air base,” reports the Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria Alexei Bakin. According to him, during the attack, no one was hurt, and there was no material damage as well. This is not the first such attack on the Russian airbase in Syria. One of the last attacks with the use of the drones occurred in late June. Then Russian Defense Ministry noted that Russian Air Defense repelled the attack. Militants tried to attack the base using two drones. Russian Air Defense also had to repel rocket attacks on Khmeimim. There were several such attacks in May. All missiles were detected and destroyed by air defense.
Assad Hasn’t Won Anything – Foreign Policy
After years of bloody warfare, it’s time to recognize what the Syrian dictator rules over: a chronically violent and chaotic failed state.


Turkish diplomat shot dead in Iraqi Kurdistan | Fox News
Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – At least one Turkish diplomat was killed in a shooting that took place on Wednesday in the Iraqi Kurdish capital, Kurdish security officials and Turkish media stated.
Turkish diplomat and Iraqi civilian shot dead in Iraqi Kurdistan – BBC News
Turkey’s president condemns the “heinous attack”, in which an Iraqi civilian was also killed.
Turkey bombs Kurdish region in Iraq after diplomat killed | Turkey News | Al Jazeera
Turkish defence minister said the attack ‘dealt a heavy blow’ to the ‘terrorist’ Kurdish armed group, PKK, in Qandil.


Yemen Has Been a Saudi Prince’s War. Now It’s His Quagmire. – The New York Times
The withdrawal of Saudi Arabia’s key ally in Yemen leaves Prince Mohammed with few good options. Now he is asking for increased American help.
ISIS supporters who beheaded Scandinavian hikers in Morocco sentenced to death | Fox News
Three men who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group after brutally killed two Scandinavian women hiking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco have been sentenced to death.
US House votes to block Saudi, UAE arms sales, bucking Trump veto threat
The U.S. House voted Wednesday to block White House plans for select sales of smart bombs and related components to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, baiting President Donald Trump’s veto.
House votes to block Trump’s Saudi arms sale | TheHill
Congress and President Trump are headed for a second veto showdown over Saudi Arabia after the House approved three resolutions Wednesday to block emergency arms sales to the kingdom.
Ilhan Omar proposes resolution supporting boycott of Israel
Omar’s resolution seeks to push back against US laws banning the boycott of Israel and affirms the right of Americans to organize boycotts of foreign…
Libya’s Civil War: Navigating its Dangerous New Phase
The commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, has launched a new foreign-backed air campaign to unseat the U.N.-backed

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Donald Trump Says North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘Doesn’t Smile A Lot’ But He Did ‘When He Saw Me’
“That’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” said President Donald Trump.
North Korea accuses the US of holding a ‘rehearsal of war’ with military drills in South Korea, and claims Washington is planning a ‘surprise’ invasion | Business Insider
North Korea has accused the US of readying for war by holding drills with South Korea’s military, and said the Trump administration is “reneging on its commitments.”
Trump Is Running Out of Time to Denuclearize North Korea – Defense One
So what does he have time to accomplish?
How did Kim Jong Un get his Mercedes-Benzes? – CNN Style
A new report traces the origins of two armored Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard vehicles owned by Kim Jong Un and how they got to Pyongyang.
Here’s How North Korea Gets Luxury Goods Despite Sanctions | Time
A report by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) maps out North Korea’s supply network for getting luxury goods into the country
A new trade war is brewing among US allies Japan and South Korea — Quartz
The roots of this spat go back to World War II.
Japan-Korea Cold War Shows Up in Trade, Migration Data – Bloomberg
A lack of trade, investment and migration between the countries feeds a chilly relationship.
South Korea calls Japan reports of North Korea sanctions breach ‘grave challenge’ – Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday Japan’s reported accusations that South Korea had exported banned goods to North Korea posed a “grave challenge” amid a growing dispute over Japanese export curbs.
Japan-South Korea dispute ‘disturbing and unhelpful’ for economy: DBS
Tensions between Japan and South Korea come as the U.S. and its trading partners are embroiled in a global trade war.
South Korean man sets himself on fire outside Japanese embassy in Seoul – CNN
A man in his seventies has died after self-immolating inside his car in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, authorities in the South Korean capital said Friday.
South Korean man dies of self-immolation as Japan dispute worsens | Japan News | Al Jazeera
Police say elderly man phoned an acquaintance to say he planned to self-immolate to express his ‘hostility’ to Japan.


Trump says his friendship with Xi not as good – POLITICO
The two leaders agreed to resume trade talks, which broke off in early May.
The Abyss Is Opening Under China-U.S. Relations – Foreign Policy
Cool heads are needed in both Beijing and Washington.
China’s Vision of Victory | The National Interest
Jonathan D. T. Ward’s book has the potential to serve as a starting point for a new stage of the conversation on China, one that America desperately needs to have.
China holds military drills after US approves arms sale to Taiwan | China News | Al Jazeera
Move comes as Taiwanese president seeks to bolster ties with Caribbean allies amid diplomatic struggle with China.
China holds drills in Taiwan Strait, calls for sanctions against US companies – CNN
The Chinese government held military drills off the coast of Taiwan as tensions rise between Beijing and Washington over US support for the island that China views as a renegade province.
In a snub to China, Taiwan’s leader visits U.S. | Reuters.com
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in the United States on Thursday on a trip that has angered Beijing, warning that democracy must be defended and that the island faced threats from “overseas forces.” Grace Lee reports.}
Intel officials warn of China’s growing threat to American tech secrets
While concerns over Huawei’s involvement in 5G get a lot of attention, intelligence officials warn that China’s efforts to steal American intellectual property go much farther, encompassing artificial intelligence, agriculture and more.


China Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP Says – Bloomberg
Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions.
Could Hong Kong Become Another Estonia? | The Diplomat
The independence of the Baltic states also seemed unthinkable — until it became reality.
Hong Kong Protests : Asia’s Canary in a Coal Mine | National Review
What happens there will at least set expectations for other nations that are struggling for freedom in the shadow of China.
Hong Kong protesters, police clash as demonstrations target Chinese traders – Reuters
Hong Kong protesters clashed with police on Saturday in a town near the boundary with mainland China where thousands rallied against the presence of Chinese traders, seizing on another grievance following major unrest over an extradition bill.
Opinion | Ai Weiwei: Can Hong Kong’s Resistance Win? – The New York Times
A loss to Chinese authoritarianism would set a frightening precedent for the world.
Hong Kong’s propaganda battle is playing out in the media — and in cyberspace – The Washington Post
Hong Kong could reshape what modern protest looks like in the face of authoritarian regimes.
Hong Kong protesters resume chorus of opposition to extradition bill – Reuters
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people rallied for a second day on Sunday in an area popular with mainland Chinese shoppers, as deep-seated anger and frustration at the government’s handling of an extradition bill refuses to dissipate.
Clashes erupt as Hong Kong protest targets Chinese traders – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Protesters clash with cops in rally against China traders
Thousands of people turned out in the border town of Sheung Shui, not far from the Chinese city of Shenzhen, to demand that traders from China stop buying goods in Hong Kong to sell on the mainland. The protest started out peacefully, but devolved into skirmishes with police.
Hong Kong’s protesters dig in for long summer of discontent – Reuters
Hong Kong’s extradition bill demonstrations have mutated into a much bigger and more complex animal, ripping open old wounds and expanding a political fight as the city battens down for a summer of protests.


US declares China’s religious persecution ‘the stain of the century’ as Beijing fumes
President Trump’s administration hammered China over the repression of Uighur Muslims and other religious minorities for the second day in a row, at a forum that has Beijing’s communist rulers fuming.
Pompeo calls China’s treatment of Uighurs ‘stain of the century’ – Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority the “stain of the century” and accused Beijing of pressuring countries not to attend a U.S.-hosted conference on religious freedom.
Mike Pompeo: China’s Uighur Treatment ‘Stain of the Century’ | Time
“China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time; it is truly the stain of the century,” the Secretary of State said
‘Stain of the century’: US denounces China’s treatment of Uighurs | News | Al Jazeera
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says China is ‘home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time’.
Muslim nations are defending China as it cracks down on Muslims, shattering any myths of Islamic solidarity – CNN
Last week, a number of Muslim-majority countries praised China’s human rights record, dismissing reports of a widespread crackdown on Muslims there. Experts say it’s proof of Beijing’s growing power.
Saudi Arabia defends letter backing China’s Xinjiang policy – Reuters
Saudi Arabia on Thursday defended signing a letter along with 36 other countries in support of China’s policies in its western region of Xinjiang, where the United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained.
Chinese diplomat Lijian Zhao condemns racial segregation in Washington – The Washington Post
The diplomat brought up race in DC in response to criticism of China for its ongoing crackdown on Uighurs and Muslims.
Chinese Diplomat Deletes Tweet on Race That Angered Susan Rice – Bloomberg
A senior Chinese diplomat deleted a tweet that prompted former U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice to call him a “racist disgrace” as China’s diplomats become increasingly vocal on the social media platform.
Move over Trump: China’s tweeting diplomats open fresh front in propaganda fight – Reuters
Tweets from Chinese diplomats abroad, including seasoned ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, have opened a fresh front in Beijing’s increasingly assertive approach to diplomacy and propaganda and may be a sign of things to come.
China’s Retort Over Its Mass Detentions: Praise From Russia and Saudi Arabia – The New York Times
After 22 countries deplored China’s treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region, 37 nations praised China’s “contribution to the international human rights cause.”
Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison – Four Corners
Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison.


‘We’re Almost Extinct’: China’s Investigative Journalists Are Silenced Under Xi – The New York Times
Reporters were once a force for accountability in China. But President Xi Jinping has brought about what critics call a “total censorship era.”
Beijing to impose sanctions on U.S. firms involved in $2.2B Taiwan arms deal – POLITICO
Foreign Minister Wang Yi says the U.S. is &quot;playing with fire&quot; by meddling in Taiwan affairs.
Four Britons among teachers and students arrested in China over alleged drug offences | The Independent
Four Britons are among a group of students and teachers arrested in China over drug-related offences. Police said 19 people had been detained, including 16 foreigners, after a drugs bust centring on an English language school in the city of Xuzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Among those arrested were seven teachers and nine students, according to local media.
Canadian citizen detained in eastern China – CNN
A Canadian citizen has been detained in Yantai, a city in northeastern China, Global Affairs Canada confirmed to CNN.
Canada says another citizen detained in China amid diplomatic tensions – Reuters
A Canadian citizen has been detained in the Chinese city of Yantai, a Canadian government spokesman said on Saturday, an incident that comes amid chilly diplomatic relations between the two countries.


More than 50 companies reportedly pull production out of China due to trade war
The pace of companies moving production out of China is accelerating, according to the Nikkei Asian review.
China’s economy growth cools further amid US tariff war | Fox Business
The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.2 percent, but was lower than a year ago.
China slowdown could prompt measures leading to high debt, analysts say
As China’s economic growth declines, some analysts say Beijing may have to spend more on infrastructure, adding to concerns about high debts.


China says will cut ties with US firms selling arms to Taiwan | China News | Al Jazeera
US companies vulnerable to sanctions include tank engine maker Honeywell and private jets maker Gulfstream.
Populist Mayor Is Picked to Run Against Taiwan’s President – The New York Times
Han Kuo-yu, the mayor of Kaohsiung, favors closer ties with China, offering voters a stark contrast to President Tsai Ing-wen, who is often sharply critical of Beijing.
Taiwan defends U.S. arms deal after China sanctions threat
Taiwan on Saturday defended a proposal to purchase $2.2 billion in arms from the U.S., following a Chinese announcement that it would sanction any American companies involved in the deal.
Taiwan’s president to stop over again in the US. China will be infuriated
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to stop over in the U.S. on Friday on her way back from visiting diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, a move that’s sure to make China angry.
China-Friendly Mayor Tops Foxconn’s Gou to Vie for Taiwan Leader – Bloomberg
Taiwan’s main opposition party snubbed billionaire Foxconn founder Terry Gou and chose a maverick mayor as its best hope of returning to power in January’s presidential election, with incumbent Tsai Ing-wen facing an uphill reelection bid.
Vietnam, China embroiled in South China Sea standoff – Reuters
Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been embroiled in a weeks-long standoff near an offshore oil block in disputed waters of the South China Sea, which fall within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, two Washington-based think-tanks said on Wednesday.
UAWire – Japan-Russia peace treaty talks fall through yet again
A new round of Russian-Japanese peace treaty negotiations has come to nothing. Since the end of World War II, a peace treaty between Japan and …
In Global Tech Battle, a Balky U.S. Ally Chooses China – WSJ
The Philippines has thrown in wholeheartedly with Chinese companies to expand its telecommunications network, shunning American warnings about cybersecurity risks. Some in the country worry they’re now vulnerable.
Exclusive: Canada set to postpone Huawei 5G decision to after vote, given sour ties with China – sources – Reuters
Canada is likely to postpone a decision on whether to allow China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to supply 5G network equipment until after the October federal election, given increasingly strained relations with Beijing, say three well-placed sources.
Yang Hengjun: Australia ‘deeply disappointed’ at criminal detention of writer in China | World news | The Guardian
Foreign minister Marise Payne says the government has expressed concern for Yang’s welfare
Chinese Australian writer Yang Hengjun facing possible charges after six months in China jail – CNN
A China-born Australian writer accused by Chinese authorities of espionage has been moved to a detention center in Beijing after six months of house arrest, paving the way for formal indictment, one of his lawyers said Friday.

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Europe’s new top politician Ursula von der Leyen faces challenges over Brexit, economic reforms
The European Union’s executive body elected its first female president, Ursula von der Leyen, on Tuesday to navigate Brexit and social and economic reforms.
Ursula von der Leyen: Europe’s likely next leader warned against relying on far-right support – CNN
Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen is on the verge of succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker to become the European Commission’s first female president on Tuesday — if leaders of the 28 EU member states have their way.
Ursula von der Leyen fights for last-gasp support as EU faces crisis | World | News | Express.co.uk
URSULA von der Leyen faces a final desperate bid to convince the European Parliament to support her bid to become the next president of the European Commission and avert an ‘institutional crisis’.
Ursula von der Leyen pleads with MEPs not to sabotage her appointment as EU chief | News | The Times
Ursula von der Leyen has pleaded with MEPs to confirm her as the first woman to hold the post of European Commission president hours before a vote tonight.The German defence minister has offered the European parliament incentives on social and environmental legislation in a last-minute attempt to ov
Who is Ursula von der Leyen? Germany’s former defence minister is set to take Europe’s top job | Business Insider
Trump’s new EU foil: Another ‘strong female German leader’ – POLITICO
Ursula von der Leyen wins plaudits from U.S. national security officials, but even some of her fans worry that her ascent will further fray the tenuous U.S.-EU relationship.
Christine Lagarde resigns as head of IMF – media – news economics | UNIAN
Christine Lagarde has said she will step down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The nominations to select Lagarde’s successor will start coming in soon enough. But the selection raises once again an old sore in arrangements for the leadership of the IMF and the World Bank.
What Christine Lagarde Brings to the ECB: Flexibility – WSJ
The career of the next European Central Bank chief shows the institution is getting a diplomat and negotiator, not a technocrat or economist. “She is extremely charming and that is part of her style of politics.”
On Path to ECB, Lagarde Resigns as IMF’s Chief – WSJ
Christine Lagarde submitted her formal resignation as managing director of the International Monetary Fund to prepare for the nomination process to be the next president of the European Central Bank and to allow the IMF to begin finding her successor.
Swedish Government Won’t Sign `Problematic’ UN Nuclear Treaty – Bloomberg
Sweden has decided not to sign the UN treaty on nuclear arms, calling it problematic and unrealistic.


Conservatives are conditioning us to accept the breakup of Britain | Business Insider
British Conservatives are openly discussing whether Brexit will lead to the breakup of the country currently known as the United Kingdom. Conservatives are becoming comfortable with the breakup of the UK and their personal role in its destruction. Theresa May’s cabinet has discussed a document which says there is a “real risk” of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland leaving the union of Great Britain. Conservatives want to deliver Brexit regardless of the cost. If the UK were to break up, it would likely leave the Conservative party with a permanent majority in an English House of Commons.
Johnson and Hunt told no-deal Brexit ‘threat to research’ – BBC News
The Royal Society tells the Tory leadership candidates the UK collaborates more with the EU than the US.
In British PM race, a former Russian arms tycoon wields influence
Tory donor Alexander Temerko presents himself as a foe of Brexit and Putin. To @Reuters, he’s described his ex-Kremlin ties and praised Brexit and Boris Johnson
Special Report: In British PM race, a former Russian tycoon quietly wields influence – Reuters
For almost a decade, Alexander Temerko, who forged a career at the top of the Russian arms industry and had connections at the highest levels of the Kremlin, has been an influential figure in British politics. He’s one of the Conservative Party’s major donors. He counts Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to be Britain’s next PM, among his friends.
Ambassador row: Other leaks may be in circulation says Met Police – BBC News
Following the UK ambassador email leak, police warn publishing such emails may be a criminal offence.
Outlets risk prosecution for publishing Kim Darroch leaks: Scotland Yard – Washington Times
Media outlets could face criminal charges for publishing leaked documents belonging to outgoing British ambassador, Kim Darroch, the London Metropolitan Police warned Saturday.
‘Police state’: Media and MPs decry Met Police threats to prosecute journalists who publish leaked Kim Darroch cables | The Independent
Editors, ministers and lawyers have criticised the Metropolitan Police for encroaching on press freedom by warning journalists they could face prosecution for publishing leaked government documents. Scotland Yard risked turning the UK into a “police state”, MPs claimed, after a senior officer said it may be a “criminal matter” for the media to disclose information contained in
Trump’s Favorite Ambassador Makes a Very Trumpian Splash in Berlin – WSJ
Richard Grenell, the U.S. envoy to Germany, embodies the diplomatic doctrine of the Trump administration and its posture toward allies in Europe: engagement, public criticism that rankles host nations, some achievements and some unbridgeable divides.
Kim Darroch affair: How do we put an end to the fallout? Put him in the House of Lords
In her last moments in office, Theresa May has an easy solution to the Sir Kim Darroch affair. Put him in the House of Lords and leave the question of his successor to her successor.
Alan Turing will be the face of the £50 note – CNN
Alan Turing, a crack code-breaker and visionary mathematician who was convicted under Victorian-era homophobic laws, will be the face of Britain’s new £50 note.
Alan Turing, Computing Genius And WWII Hero, To Be On U.K.’s New 50-Pound Note : NPR
For decades, Turing’s status as a giant in mathematics was largely unknown, thanks to the secrecy around his computer research and the social taboos about his sexuality.


Ex-Ecuadorian president confirms Assange meddled in US election from London embassy – CNNPolitics
Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Tuesday his country was aware that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was interfering in the 2016 US presidential election from the safety of Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he lived under political asylum until this year.
How Julian Assange Conspired With RT, Wikileaks, And Russian Hackers Before The US 2016 Elections – To Inform is to Influence
This is an excellent investigative article by CNN, granting us unprecedented insight into the meetings between RT, Wikileaks, Russian hackers, Guccifer 2.0, and DCLeaks. We do not know the relationship between Assange and these Russias and their proxies. It is implied but not proven that visitors to the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange stayed for years, carried information in to Assange on thumb drives – but not the massive data dumps. We never learn how the massive data dumps were conveyed to Assange. What is missing is how Russian intelligence was directed to do work on behalf of and provide stolen information to Assange, and, therefore, Wikileaks. We do not know who made that decision or who was overall in charge of the releasing Russian intelligence-information provided to Assange. We do not know the relationship between Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency and any of the players in this article, yet they are indicted by Mueller but not mentioned in this article. We do not know the relationship between any of the players in this article and Vladisilov Surkov, widely assumed to be overall in charge of Russia’s Information Warfare efforts. What is not mentioned in the article is why. All three of the following are possible. To Russia, only #3 carries any weight. Prevent the election of Hillary Clinton Promote the election of Donald Trump Undermine the democratic process in the United States (which increase Russia’s Throw Weight) We can assume that Russian President Putin approved of the overall operation and received periodic updates, Russian assets were working on his behalf to pull off the biggest operation in history to undermine the US. We have heard the GRU was involved in this operation, but we have not heard anything of the involvement of the FSB or the SVR. The FSB was involved in other Information Warfare activities during this time period, we have proof from various former FSB intelligence officers resume’s saying such. Any operation outside Russia is usually conducted by the SVR, therefore at a minimum coordination between the SVR and at least the GRU would have been conducted for virtually infiltrating the DNC in Washington DC. We do not know who reviewed the purloined material from the DNC. We do not know how or who reviewed and released the material from the DNC for release to Wikileaks. We do not who did the same for John Podesta’s emails. Various Western news media have stated Russian efforts were in support of Donald Trump. Others have stated that the efforts were only to stop the election of Hillary Clinton. What is not said in the United States is that the operation might have been to merely weaken the United States and the West. In most of the rest of the world, Russian information warfare efforts are directed at “The West”. In most of the rest of the world, Russian Information Warfare is designed to increase Russian relative standing. </end editorial>
Julian Assange: Ecuadorian Embassy was visited by Russian hackers says report | World | News | Express.co.uk
JULIAN ASSANGE was visited by Russian hackers for “hours at a time” in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential elections at his London Ecuadorian embassy hideout, a new security report claims.


France to create space command within air force: Macron – Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he had approved the creation of a space command within the French air force to improve the country’s defense capabilities.
French space force: Macron announces creation of space force command
On the eve of Bastille Day celebrations, Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a French space force command within the French air force.
Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. This is how it was saved. – The New York Times
A baffling alert. A race to the wrong building. Notre-Dame still stands only because firefighters decided to risk everything, a New York Times reconstruction has found.


Right-wing extremism is a growing worry in Germany after series of attacks
Politicians and public figures in Germany who speak out about far-right extremism and other topics are often on the receiving end of both threats and violence.
Merkel confidante Kramp-Karrenbauer is Germany’s new defense minister
The politician had recently said she would rather remain at the helm of the Christian Democratic Union than take a Cabinet position.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: Merkel’s heir takes defence job to rebuild support | World | The Times
The woman widely expected to be the next German chancellor was today made defence minister in an attempt to restore her credibility after a series of gaffes. The appointment of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took Berlin by surprise because she had insisted that she wanted to stay out of government. S
German government backs mandatory vaccinations for all schoolchildren – CNN
Parents in Germany who fail to vaccinate their children could face hefty fines after the German government backed a bill requiring all children to receive a measles jab before entering school or kindergarten.
Germany introducing mandatory measles vaccination for kids – AOL News
The German government is proposing a measure to make measles vaccinations mandatory for children and employees of kindergartens and schools.


Italy seizes ‘combat-ready’ missile in raids on far right – BBC News
Some of the groups investigated in Italy are said to be linked to militia units in eastern Ukraine.
Italian police seized an air-to-air missile and Nazi paraphernalia from three men – CNN
Italian police have seized “an arsenal of military weapons,” including an air-to-air missile, and Nazi paraphernalia from three men, one a former political candidate for an extreme right party.
Italy seizes missile, guns in raids on neo-Nazis | Italy News | Al Jazeera
Arrests made after cache of arms, including air-to-air missile, rocket launchers as well as Nazi memorabilia found.


Srebrenica Massacre: Supreme Court Says Dutch Troops Were 10% Liable : NPR
The case centers on the deadly days after the city of Srebrenica fell on July 11, 1995, when some 25,000 refugees sought safety with Dutch U.N. peacekeepers.
Srebrenica massacre: Dutch state ‘10% liable’ for 350 deaths – BBC News
Victims’ relatives slam a court ruling that found the state part liable for 350 of the 8,000 deaths.


UAWire – Venezuelan military exercises to involve Russian equipment
Russian-produced military equipment will be used in Venezuela’s upcoming military drills, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told …
State Deptartment looking at redirecting Central American aid to Guaido – CNNPolitics
A State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN Wednesday that the State Department is looking to redirect some funding originally designated for the Northern Triangle — Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — to embattled Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Venezuela’s debts to China, Russia would be restructured through Paris Club: Guaido advisor – Reuters
Loans to Venezuela from President Nicolas Maduro’s allies Russia and China would be renegotiated though the Paris Club if Maduro leaves power, an advisor to the opposition said on Wednesday, responding to concerns about favorable treatment for the two countries.
Venezuela crisis: Trump administration ‘plans to divert $40m in aid’ to Guaido-led opposition | The Independent
Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly planning to divert more than $40m in humanitarian aid for Central America to support the US-backed opposition in Venezuela. 
Venezuela Defies Sanctions to Sell $40 Million in Gold Reserves – Bloomberg
Venezuela sold about $40 million worth of gold last week, defying numerous U.S. sanctions that threaten to cut off Nicolas Maduro’s autocratic regime, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Venezuelan authorities arrest 2 Guaidó security guards – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Maduro criticizes UN human rights report in letter – CNN
Embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has written a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to reject the content of a report in which Bachelet highlighted “patterns of violations of all human rights” at the hands of the Venezuelan state.
Cuba takes first step in railways upgrade with Chinese, Russian help – Reuters
Cuba’s first new train passenger cars in more than four decades set off on their maiden journey across the island on Saturday in what the government hopes will prove a total revamp of its decrepit railway system with help from allies Russia and China.
Cuba hopes for slight growth as Trump pummels Caribbean island – Reuters
Communist-run Cuba put on a brave face Saturday at a mid-year session of the National Assembly, the government insisting it would not let a growing financial crisis and mounting pressure from the administration of President Donald Trump thwart development.


UK police identify suspect behind leaked envoy memos: Sunday Times – Reuters
The suspect behind the leak of confidential memos from Britain’s Washington ambassador, which sparked a major diplomatic rift with the United States, has been identified, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. “They think they know who did the leaking,” an unnamed government source told the paper. “It’s now a case of building a case that will stand up in court. It was someone with access to historical files. They went in and grabbed a range of material. It was quite crude.” Both the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday reported that intelligence officials from the GCHQ eavesdropping spy agency were about to join the investigation to find the suspect by scouring email and phone records. The Mail also published further memos from Darroch, defying a police warning that media which did so could be committing a criminal act. The paper said Darroch had written to the British government in May 2018 that Trump had decided to unilaterally withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers for “personality reasons” because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama. Darroch had said in the cable that the Trump administration was “set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism”, the paper said. Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer had warned the media not to print any more leaked documents, saying it could breach the Official Secrets Act. However, he was widely criticized by editors and politicians including the foreign minister Jeremy Hunt and ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, the two men battling to replace Theresa May as prime minister when she steps down in just over a week’s time. “It cannot be conceivably right that newspapers or any other media organization publishing such material should face prosecution,” Johnson, the frontrunner, said.
Kim Darroch knew how to navigate Trump’s swamp. Others can learn from him. – The Washington Post
I worked for the departing British ambassador. Here are some lessons from his tenure.
UK ambassador vouched for ‘legit’ dossier author, said Trump killed Iran deal to spite Obama, leaks show | Fox News
President Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal last year in an act of “diplomatic vandalism” to spite Barack Obama, according to a new leaked diplomatic cable purportedly written by British ambassador Kim Darroch in 2018.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

How the US Can Fight Russian Disinformation for Real
For the past three years, I have been on the front lines of the information war, most recently in Ukraine, Lithuania, and Georgia. I have worked alongside, interviewed and briefed policymakers throughout the region, and these experiences have presented a grim picture: the United States is abdicating its leadership in countering Russian disinformation. Where we ought to be setting the rules of engagement, the tone, and the moral compass in responding to Russia’s information war, the United States has been a tardy, timid, or tertiary player, with much of our public servants’ good work on this issue stymied by domestic politicization. Disinformation is not a political issue; it is a democratic one. Beyond that challenge, the United States has not invested sufficient resources to be competitive in the fight against disinformation. Russian information warfare continues to target the United States and our allies, as well as the rules-based international order. However, countering it has not been a budgetary priority. Below I outline how the tactics and tools of Russian disinformation in Europe and Eurasia have changed over the past several years, explain the necessity to match American investments in fighting disinformation to the severity of the problem, and describe several areas that deserve further investment. Observations from Ukraine, Lithuania, Georgia I spent the spring of 2019 in Ukraine and Lithuania, which elected new presidents this year, and Georgia, which is currently engaged in mass protests against Russian influence. My research there illustrates how Russian disinformation has become less overt over the past three years, increasingly emphasizing private, hard-to-track, and harder-to-counter informational vectors. In Ukraine, early in the election cycle, the State Security Service (SBU) uncovered a Russian plot to rent Facebook accounts from Ukrainians and use them to place political ads. Despite the SBU’s discovery and the fact that this behavior is strictly against Facebook’s terms of service, this monetization of influence seems to have continued. Facebook pages, groups, freelance boards, and standalone websites all advertised that any Facebook account more than six months old with at least 200 friends can earn about $100 per month — around one-third of the average Ukrainian salary — simply by handing over its account details to an advertiser. In both Ukraine and Lithuania, as around the world, disinformation is spreading on increasingly-private platforms, namely “closed” or “secret” Facebook groups and encrypted messengers. Levels of trust within groups, often organized around a single theme or on one side of the political spectrum, is high, hastening the spread of low-quality information and outright falsehoods, while the ability of social media platforms, journalists, and researchers to track the flow of that information is low, given the privacy settings of these groups. Globally, groups are increasingly being used to organize disinformation campaigns or, worse, coordinate hate speech and violence. Problematically, Facebook is now incentivizing this behavior through its so-called “pivot to privacy,” which emphasizes communication in more private fora. In Georgia, where opposition to the Russian government is strong and awareness of Russian information operations is high, Russian disinformation is delivered via domestic outlets that carry a nationalist or traditionalist message, themes which find strong support in Georgian society and are considered at odds with the country’s Western aspirations. The tools of soft power, including cultural organizations and the Orthodox Church, also provide the Kremlin an important vector to exert influence. This use of domestic entities as vectors of disinformation was one of the themes of recent anti-Kremlin protests in Tbilisi. In short, the age of political advertising being paid for in rubles is waning. As disinformation moves “underground” and becomes harder to track and debunk on a case-by-case basis, equipping individuals is the key to countering it. Our Investments Must Match the Severity of the Problem Russia is not afraid to make large investments, both monetary and human, into its information operations. The editor-in-chief of RT, Russia’s state-sponsored foreign propaganda outlet, described how after the Russia-Georgia War, in which Tbilisi’s ad hoc international outreach on English-language TV channels such as CNN eclipsed Moscow’s PR efforts, “it became absolutely clear to everyone…why we need such a thing as an international television channel representing the country. This is in itself a lesson. And of course, they began to pay more attention and understand that it costs money.” That understanding appears to have continued; the planned budget for RT—arguably one of the least effective arms of the Russian government’s information warfare efforts, and certainly only a small part of the overall Russian disinformation ecosystem—is $277 million in 2020. Despite the attention paid to Russian disinformation over the past three years, the United States has not yet had a similar budgetary realization. I am not advocating that the United States match the Russian government’s spending on information warfare, nor am I arguing that we mimic its tactics. Instead, we must invest more in the tools already at our disposal, with an eye on empowering individuals, not endlessly fact-checking or playing whack-a-troll. Empowering Individuals Though Russian disinformation has changed since it entered the American awareness, it is still targeting the fissures in our societies and information ecosystems. To address this, Congress should invest more in programs that: Teach people how to navigate the modern information environment including through digital literacy training and civics programs. These programs would not simply teach people to separate “real” and “fake” news, but assist them in sampling a range of viewpoints to inform their daily lives and the criticism that is healthy for any democracy, while developing greater immunity to conspiratorial versions of the truth. The most impactful programs are likely to be presented outside of the context of responding directly to Russian disinformation, such as IREX’s Learn to Discern program. Inject more reliable information into the ecosystem. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America are invaluable resources in the Europe and Eurasia region, even in countries with a seemingly robust media environment. RFE/RL and VOA represent a standard for in-depth, fact-based, non-partisan journalism as a public good. Rather than decreasing funding for these efforts in the Europe and Eurasia region, their funding should be bolstered, allowing them to compete more effectively in an increasingly crowded media environment. The United States should also invest in the sustainability of local and independent media outlets. Often USG-funded programs focus on capacity-building though there is a great deal of excellent regional journalism. Independent Russian journalists were the first to uncover the so-called St. Petersburg “troll factory,” for instance, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project relies on networks of local investigative reporters to break large, complex stories such as the exposure of the Panama Papers. Independent outlets in Eastern Europe and Eurasia face the same challenges as those in the United States: in the age of online advertising, they struggle to reach their audiences and to turn a profit. Helping them achieve those goals and continue their reporting for another year is more critical than another standard journalistic training. Engage people in countries on the front lines of the information war with firsthand educational and exchange experiences in the United States. It is impossible to calculate the return on investment of programs including Fulbright, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and the Future Leaders Exchange Program. These experiences are more powerful than any fact-check or counter-disinformation program; they provide participants with a firsthand look at American governance, values, and culture. It is time for the US government to get serious about addressing disinformation and do so, in part, by targeting those most affected by it. None of these initiatives are political; they focus on empowering individuals to be active and informed citizens through generational investments in democratic discourse, civic engagement, and truth. Ultimately, these recommendations are a manifestation of America’s greatest strength: our values. Nina Jankowicz is a Wilson Center Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute. Editor’s note: This column has been shortened and edited from testimony Jankowicz gave to the US House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on July 10, 2019.
Get Ready To Buy Google, Apple, Facebook And Amazon
If Google, Apple, Facebook or Amazon sells-off because of the new French digital tax, get ready to buy.
Having fun using FaceApp? Think again — you give up more data than you think with this Russian-made app – To Inform is to Influence
From the JIOWC OPSEC Support: FaceApp is a popular new smartphone app that allows users to apply filters (such as to make themselves look older, look like another gender or lighten their skin tone) onto selfies which they later upload. Problem is, it’s made by a small company based in Russia and–according to its terms…
FaceApp security “risks” not worth it for 2020 presidential campaigns, Democratic National Committee warns – CBS News
Artificial face-aging app has exploded in popularity, but given tech experts' concerns over privacy, DNC says &quot;benefits of avoiding the app outweigh the risks&quot;
The DNC reportedly sent out an alert to 2020 campaigns telling them to delete the viral ageing app FaceApp over Russia concerns | Business Insider
2020 presidential campaigns reportedly received an alert from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Wednesday advising them to delete FaceApp, the viral Russian photo-editing app whose terms of service allow it to use a person’s photos and likeness for unspecified purposes.
Russian Social-Media App Faces Scrutiny From U.S. Senator
U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is calling for an investigation over national security and privacy concerns into a popular face-editing app whose developer is based in Russia.
FTC to fine Facebook $5 billion for privacy lapses: reports
The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Facebook over the company’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Old software makes new electoral systems ripe for hacking
An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts. That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” and will no longer get support and patches.
Pentagon studies how to secure 5G and beyond
The Defense Science Board published an unclassified summary of its study into 5G technologies.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Inside the Pentagon’s Game of Musical Chairs – Defense One
Richard V. Spencer is the year’s third acting defense secretary — but there are a lot more moving pieces than that.
Esper Assures Wary Senators He’ll Keep Military Out of Politics – Defense One
During his confirmation hearing, the SecDef nominee was asked about Trump, China, and Russia — and not Afghanistan, ISIS, or al-Qaeda.
U.S. House passes $733-billion defense policy bill after Trump threatens veto – Reuters
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $733-billion defense policy bill on Friday, defying President Donald Trump’s veto threat by including provisions like a clampdown on funding for his planned wall on the border with Mexico.
Military budget showdown set as Democrats advance authorization bill over GOP objections
The $733 billion military policy bill includes a host of progressive priorities, including limits on the nuclear weapons arsenal and new rules for transgender recruits.
Air Force’s next-gen ICBM program takes another step forward
Will Boeing or Northrop Grumman nab the ultimate prize?
Pentagon redirects $282M to close ISR gaps
The Department of Defense is using reprogramming actions to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs.
How DoD is trying to adapt to the information overload age
Mark Esper, the secretary of defense nominee, discussed the need to update the Pentagon’s thinking on information operations.
Radiation levels in Marshall Islands higher than Fukushima, Chernobyl, study finds | Fox News
Radiation levels across the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, where the United States conducted more than 65 nuclear tests during the Cold War, are still alarmingly high — even higher than Fukushima and Chernobyl in some parts, a new study shows.
Radiation in Marshall Islands far exceed Chernobyl: study
Researchers at Columbia University tested soil samples on four uninhabited isles and discovered that they contained concentrations of nuclear isotopes that are “significantly” higher than those near Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Background gamma radiation and soil activity measurements in the northern Marshall Islands | PNAS
Abstract We report on measurements of external gamma radiation on 9 islands in 4 atolls in the northern Marshall Islands, all of which were affected by the US nuclear testing program from 1946 to 1958 (Enjebi, Ikuren, and Japtan in Enewetak Atoll; Bikini and Enyu in Bikini Atoll; Naen in Rongelap Atoll; and Aon, Elluk, and Utirik in Utirik Atoll). We also report americium-241, cesium-137, plutonium-238, and plutonium-239,240 activity concentrations in the soil samples for 11 islands in 4 northern atolls (Enewetak, Japtan, Medren, and Runit in Enewetak Atoll; Bikini and Enyu in Bikini Atoll; Naen and Rongelap in Rongelap Atoll; and Aon, Elluk, and Utirik in Utirik Atoll) and from Majuro Island, Majuro Atoll in the southern Marshall Islands. Our results show low external gamma radiation levels on some islands in the Enewetak Atoll and Utirik Atoll, and elevated levels on Enjebi Island in the Enewetak Atoll, on Bikini Atoll, and on Naen Island in the Rongelap Atoll. We perform ordinary kriging on external gamma radiation measurements to provide interpolated maps. We find that radionuclides are absent from all Majuro soil samples, and that they are present at highest activity concentrations in samples from Runit and Enjebi islands (Enewetak Atoll), Bikini Island (Bikini Atoll), and Naen Island (Rongelap Atoll). We contextualize all results by making comparisons between islands and to various standards, as well as to regions of the world affected by nuclear accidents. We also discuss implications for informed decision-making by the Marshallese and local atoll governments and their people on issues pertaining to island resettlement.
Trump meeting with potential replacements for Dan Coats
President Trump is reportedly thinking about pushing out Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and has held informal meetings with people who could replace him.
Dan Coats: Trump again considering replacing intelligence chief – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump has discussed with advisers over the past few days the possibility of replacing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, sources familiar with the discussion said.
Peter Thiel slams Google’s ‘seemingly treasonous’ links to China, which he says should be investigated in a ‘not excessively gentle manner’ | Business Insider
Silicon Valley’s most high-profile supporter of Donald Trump has bashed Google for being “seemingly treasonous.”
Peter Thiel says the FBI and CIA should investigate Google
Billionaire investor Peter Thiel spoke at the National Conservatism Conference, where he called Google’s work in China “seemingly treasonous,” Axios reported.


Who Is Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s New White House Press Secretary? : NPR
In a previous role Stephanie Grisham was involved in an effort to boot a reporter from covering the Arizona House. Generally liked by reporters, she can be fierce in defending those she works for.
Mnuchin: US will ensure bitcoin doesn’t become secret bank account
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the U.S. will police cryptocurrencies with “very, very strong” regulations.
Ousted UK ambassador leaked US intelligence
According to one current and one former U.S. government official speaking on the condition of anonymity, Darroch repeatedly leaked classified U.S. intelligence information, including highly classified information, to a journalist for a U.S.-based media outlet. The sources are consolidated by the reaction my related inquiries have received from other government officials. These leaks are unrelated to the diplomatic cables which sparked Trump’s anger and Darroch’s departure. Still, one source says that the U.S. government was so alarmed by Darroch’s leaks that it launched an official investigation to find the source of the information. That source described the leaked intelligence as “very sensitive,” and suggested that exigent U.S. security concerns motivated the investigation. That source says that non-U.S. government derived records showed the ambassador and journalist exchanging messages on a continuing basis. The source emphasized that these communications were not derived from U.S. government actions. A second source, a career government official, described the leaks as “unprecedented.” The Washington Examiner has been unable to confirm how long any investigation continued or whether it has since been suspended. But concern inside the U.S. government over the leaks was significant. One of the sources said that the ambassador repeatedly transmitted highly classified U.S. originator-control intelligence information to the journalist. ORCON intelligence, as it’s called in the intelligence world, is closely held and carefully distributed. At least some of this information was classified at the “Five Eyes” alliance classification level, meaning it was distributed by the U.S. only to Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. Some intelligence may also have been classified at the U.S.-U.K. only level. Such intelligence is transmitted only on the condition of established protocols and the assumption it will be closely held. The implications here are thus significant for two reasons.
UK ambassador scandal will make diplomats think twice before hitting send – CNN
Diplomacy was dealt a hammer blow this week, and Kim Darroch’s sudden departure from Washington will have many diplomats wondering if they could be next.
Trump Finds a Trade Fight He Doesn’t Like in Uranium Imports – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump has found a trade fight he doesn’t like.
Uranium company with interests in Utah sees stock plummet as reports swirl over Trump trade decision – The Salt Lake Tribune
Donald Trump rejects quotas for uranium imports – Washington Times
President Trump has decided not to impose quotas on imports of uranium, despite a finding by the Commerce Department that U.S. reliance on foreign uranium poses a national-security threat.
Judge withholds ruling on acquitting Flynn partner – POLITICO
Bijan Rafiekian is on trial for acting as an unregistered agent for Turkey during his work for Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm.
Judge considering throwing out case against Michael Flynn’s lobbying partner – CNNPolitics
Judge Anthony Trenga is considering throwing out the conspiracy and foreign lobbying charge that Michael Flynn’s ex-lobbying partner faces because the evidence prosecutors have presented at trial this week has been “very, very circumstantial.”
Armed 69-year-old ‘antifascist’ shot dead after firebombing immigration centre | The Independent
A rifle-armed 69-year-old has been fatally shot by the police after throwing incendiary devices at an immigration centre in Tacoma, Washington Officers were called to the privately run prison at around 4am where the man, identified in local media as Willem Van Spronsen of Vashon Island, had set a vehicle alight with the explosives. He is also believed to have attempted to
The New Anti-Semitism – WSJ
In Europe and the U.S., rising political forces on both the right and the left have revived old patterns that scapegoat Jews for society’s ills
Can Ilhan Omar Overcome Her Prejudice? – WSJ
I was born in Somalia and grew up amid pervasive Muslim anti-Semitism. Hate is hard to unlearn without coming to terms with how you learned it.
Jewish Groups Condemn Trump For Using Israel as a “Shield” to “Echo Talking Points of White Nationalism”
“As Jews, we’re all too familiar with this kind of divisive prejudice,” wrote Jonathan Greenblatt, the organization’s CEO and national director.
Omar introduces resolution defending boycott of Israel, likens it to boycotts of Nazi Germany, Soviet Union | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed a resolution this week supporting the right to boycott Israel, likening the boycott of the Jewish state to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Omar introduces resolution affirming ‘right to participate in boycotts’ ahead of possible vote on anti-BDS bill | TheHill
Rep.
Did the US Invent Lyme Disease in the 1960s? The House Aims to Find Out – Defense One
A decades-old conspiracy theory says Cold War bioweapons research is sickening tens of thousands of Americans a year.
Donald Trump tells AOC and Ilhan Omar to ‘go back’ to their ‘original’ countries | The Independent
Donald Trump has said some Democrat congresswomen from countries “whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.
Trump tells progressive Democrats to go back and fix ‘broken and crime infested places’ they came from | TheHill
President Trump on Sunday lashed out at a group of progressive Democrats, saying the female lawmakers should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” before criticizing policies in the U.S.
Trump tells progressive freshman congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their ‘broken and crime infested’ countries | Business Insider
President Donald Trump tweetedSunday morning asking the “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” to “go back” to their “corrupt” and “broken and crime infested” countries. He claimed the congresswomen, most likely referring to the “Squad” of freshman progressives, were “loudly […] and viciously telling the people of the United States […] how our government is to be run.”
Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump | TheHill
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she stands with the four Democratic congresswomen of color whom President Trump suggested should “go back” to where they came from even though three were born in the U.S. and all are U.S.
Angela Merkel criticizes Trump and stands in ‘solidarity’ with congresswomen he attacked – CNN
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that US President Donald Trump’s racist comments about four Democratic Congresswomen “undermine America’s strength” and that she stands in “solidarity” with the women.