Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (94)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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  1. Yet again, a great many reports on Russia’s domestic meltdown;
  2. Updates on former Soviet republics – Belarus and Central Asia of interest;
  3. Syria updates, Saudi / UAE weapons procurement, ISIS, Libya etc;
  4. DPRK TBM tests continue, politics and defectors;
  5. A deluge of reporting on the PRC: defence and strategy, PLA White Paper, Trade war, Hong Kong, Dissenter detentions, Muslim detentions, Pacrim, Japan-RoK trade war, Chinese students in AUS fight over HK;
  6. UK / Brexit,  Germany, France, Poland updates, POTUS suggests blockade of Venezuela (cheap but effective);
  7. Influence, privacy and lots of cyber;
  8. US domestic reports – NDAA, defense confirmations, DNI quits, politics debate;


Russia / Russophone Reports



Former flight attendant with reportedly intimate ties to Russia’s defense minister owns a $23.5-million mansion, say investigative journalists — Meduza
A former flight attendant with Russia’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (MChS) made billions of rubles on contracts with her employer and the Defense Ministry, according to a new investigative report by The Insider. The website’s sources close to the agency say Elena Shebunova has long and close personal ties to Sergey Shoigu, Russia’s former MChS minister and current defense minister.
‘Everything is still just as bad now as it was yesterday’ The head of Russia’s ‘Committee Against Torture’ explains the new evidence of summary executions in Chechnya — Meduza
On July 23, the human rights groups “Memorial” and the “Committee Against Torture,” together with the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, held a press conference where they presented new evidence of torture, abductions, and summary executions in Chechnya in January 2017. The team of journalists and activists obtained testimony from witnesses who were held at that time at the same police base that reportedly houses Chechnya’s “secret prison.” Meduza special correspondent Kristina Safonova spoke to Igor Kalyapin, the chairperson of the Committee Against Torture, about how he expects the new evidence to influence the human rights situation in Chechnya and Russia more broadly.
Siberian Activists Fight To Commemorate Gulag Victims
Two women in a Siberian village, with the help of a volunteer search group, have been working to locate the graves of people who died in a gulag settlement in the 1930s. But reburying the victims and creating a memorial would require official permission, and the local authority says he would rather not “poke around in the past.”
Clothes Make The Meme: Russian Oil Chief’s Puffer Jacket Mocked On Social Media
Igor Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the CEO of state oil giant Rosneft, is being lampooned on social media for his expensive taste in puffy coats.
Protesters Detained In Moscow Ahead Of Rally Called By Navalny
Several Russian opposition figures have been detained hours before an unsanctioned rally in Moscow as police established a heavy presence in the Russian capital.
Couched In Defiance: Russian Activist Carried From Electoral Office Amid Crackdown
Russian opposition activists are trying to run for seats on Moscow’s city council but they say they are being blocked getting on the ballot by authorities. One prominent would-be candidate took her protest into election commission headquarters. After midnight, she was shown the door.
Bear Behind Bars: A Story Of Inhuman Bondage
An American prisoner’s creation of Bear — a lovingly drawn cartoon character who is also behind bars in Russia — helped him bypass jail censors and give outsiders a truer picture of his ordeal.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Must Not Only Cease to Be the Capital; It Must Cease Being a Single City, Khodakovsky Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 25 – It is axiomatic among Russian regionalists (and many others as well) that for Russia to become genuinely free and federal (or confederal) Moscow must cease to be the capital and that the renewed country must either shift its center to another existing city or build a new capital altogether. But few have addressed the issue of what should happen to Moscow itself once it loses its status as an imperial capital and becomes a Russian city like any other. Now, one has. And in a provocative article in Region.Expert, Gleb Khodakovsky argues that for Russia to be free, Moscow must be divided up into its component parts ( Not only s Moscow “the clearest symbol of the present-day empire,” he argues, but in its current form, the line between “’city’” and “’federal’” has been blurred to the point of non-existence, leading Muscovites to view themselves not as residents of a city but as rulers of the country, a status no one elected them to. As a result, the uniquely Muscovite urban consciousness that existed when Moscow was not the capital has been destroyed or at least “does not find definite political embodiment” in the city. Steps must be taken too recover that consciousness, and it may be, the regionalist writer argues, that this will require dividing up the current metropolis into several cities. The current fight about registering candidates for the city country, Khodakovsky says, is directly connected with the fact that Moscow isn’t allowed to be a city but has become a monstrous imperial center, one in which “the authorities can’t allow opposition deputies to have control over their corrupt schemes.” But the city council question is bigger than that, he continues. Forty-five deputies for a city of 20 million is far too few for the representatives to be closely connected with the population and its requirements. There needs to be a dividing up of the city and the creation of equally large or even larger city councils in each of them. Such a dividing up, of course, will not involve putting up barbed wire fences among them. Just the reverse: the new cities will interact with each other directly rather than through the constant mediation of some powers above them. And this will help overcome “the main problem of the empire, the suppression of civic self-administration by gigantic state institutions.” There is growing evidence that residents of the current city of Moscow want something like this in the fact that they are protesting against renovations and plans for trash dumps that they had no role in designing. The most obvious dividing lines are the various small towns which existed up to the early 20th century but which have been absorbed and obliterated since. That is the easy part of such a transformation, Khodakovsky says. The bigger challenge is to deal with the central region. He says that he would like to see it included in a city dominated and controlled by the students of the Moscow University who would be able to exploit the archives of the former central institutions like the KGB, the foreign ministry and the Kremlin. The regionalist writer says that he is quite ready to accept criticism of his plan as “utopian,” but he adds that his only justification for offering it is “the absence of other acceptable variants.” Muscovia — and its capital!– delenda est. The two things are interrelated and unless they are both addressed, the peoples and regions of the current country won’t be free. “The preservation of the current situation is impossible,” Khodakovsky says. “Already in the Soviet period, the borders of the city had passed all reasonable limits and the natural cultural and natural milieu was destroyed. The only wise way out,” he says, “is ‘puncturing’ the Moscow bubble,” by stripping it of its role as capital and dividing it up into human-sized cities.
Russian Authorities Drop Charges Against First Suspect, Detain Second In Killing Of Rights Activist Grigoryeva
Russian authorities have dropped charges against a suspect detained on suspicion of killing LGBT rights activist Yelena Grigoryeva in St. Petersburg and say they have taken another person into cust…
Police arrest second suspect in murder of St. Petersburg LGBTQ rights activist — Meduza
Investigators in St. Petersburg have arrested a second suspect in the murder of LGBTQ rights activist Yelena Grigoryeva. Police previously apprehended a Kyrgyz national named Davron Mukhamedov, who reportedly confessed to robbing Grigoryeva, but identified another person who “actually killed” her.
A new inquisition Banned artists and Chechnya’s fight against ‘uncultured’ music — Meduza
One does not simply “musician” in Chechnya. This article looks at the “expert council” tasked with filtering the local music scene. These gatekeepers have the authority to crush local singers’ careers, whenever they feel their lyrics or melodies are insufficiently “cultured” or excessively foreign. Want to perform at a wedding? Hoping to attain stardom on YouTube? If you’re living in Chechnya, you have to impress these officials, or else.
Russian Constitutional Court judge wants Gazprom to foot bill for demolished homes in protected zones — Meduza
Gadis Gadzhiyev, a judge on Russia’s Constitutional Court and a member of the Civil Law Codification Presidential Council, has suggested legislation that would require Gazprom to pay compensation for demolishing cottages located in gas pipelines’ protected zones. Under current laws, compensation payments for the demolition of homes near pipelines falls to local officials, who lack the means to fulfill these obligations.
Police make arrest in gruesome murder of Russian Instagram star – CNN
Moscow police said Wednesday they had made an arrest in the headline-grabbing murder of a Russian Instagram star, according to a statement released by the Russian Ministry of Interior (MVD).
Russian Instagram influencer found dead, body stuffed in a suitcase
Instagram influencer Ekaterina Karaglanova’s parents found the Russian travel and fashion blogger stabbed to death and stuffed in a suitcase in her Moscow apartment on Friday.
Ekaterina Karaglanova: Ex Maxim Gareyev Allegedly Confessed to Killing Russian Instagram Star
Maxim Gareyev, 33, said in a video released by Russian authorities that he felt “insulted and humiliated” by Ekaterina Karaglanova’s repeated put-downs.
Russian Instagram influencer’s ex-boyfriend arrested, confesses to murder in police video | Fox News
An ex-boyfriend of an Instagram influencer in Russia discovered dead, stuffed in a suitcase in her own Moscow apartment last week has confessed to her murder, according to officials.
Tearful, Terrified, And Televised: Chechen Teen Apologizes For Criticizing Authorities
Sixteen-year-old Magomed Akhmatov recently appeared on Chechen television in tears, apologizing profusely for criticizing Chechen and Russian leaders on social media. Several other Chechens who have spoken out about social and political issues have wound up making similar public apologies.
Prominent Russian Journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza Sr. Dies Age 59
Vladimir Kara-Murza Sr., one of Russia’s most prominent journalists and a pioneer of independent post-Soviet television, has died at the age of 59 in Moscow.
More Than 1,000 Evacuated In Russia’s Irkutsk Region Due To Flooding
Authorities in the southeastern Siberian region of Irkutsk have evacuated more than 1,000 people because of heavy rain.
Heavy Floods Continue In Russia’s Irkutsk Region
Over 1,700 residential houses remain flooded in Russia’s Irkutsk region after the second wave of floods caused by heavy rains, the Emergencies Ministry reported on July 31. The first wave of floods hit the region at the end of June and continued through the middle of July. In total, nearly 11,000 houses were flooded in 109 settlements, affecting more than 42,000 people. Twenty-five people died in the floods, and seven others were reported missing.
Russia Battles Wildfires As Trump Offers Help
Russian emergency services and military are battling wildfires that have raged for days across swathes of Siberia, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to offer help.
State Of Emergency Declared In Southern Siberia Over Wildfires
Russia has declared a state of emergency over wildfires in Krasnyarsk Krai and the Irkutsk region with fumes engulfing an area larger than the European Union.
Siberia wildfires: Russian cities are choking in smoke from massive blazes – Vox
Trump called Putin to offer help.
Rural Russia Abuzz As Beekeepers Rally To Thwart Pesticide Use
Russia’s beekeepers are railing against the use of pesticides that are decimating the country’s bee population, amid an epidemic that has left acres of land strewn with insect corpses and led to an…
Russian Beekeepers Blame Farmers For Mass Bee Deaths
Beekeepers in Russia’s central Tula region are reporting mass deaths in their bee colonies. They’re blaming the overuse of an insecticide no longer used within the European Union. Tula is just one of 30 Russian regions that have seen mass bee deaths this summer.
Animal Samaritan: Volunteer Goes Out On A Limb To Save Lives
A Russian physics professor spends his free time as a volunteer high in the trees of Yekaterinburg, saving animals that have gone astray.
The Show Goes On At Moscow’s Roma Theatre
Moscow’s Romen Theater opened in 1931 as a showcase for Romany performers and a symbol of the Soviet Union’s “friendship of the peoples.” While Russia’s 200,000 Roma continue to face poverty and isolation, the emphasis here remains on song and dance.
A Russian Space Cargo Ship Just Fell to Earth. See Its Fiery Demise! | Space
The Russian-built Progress cargo ship went down in flames (on purpose) on Monday (July 29) and a space station astronaut made sure to capture its fiery doom on camera.
Trump Calls Putin To Offer Help Battling Siberian Fires
U.S. President Donald Trump has offered to help Russia battle widespread forest fires in Siberia as he seeks to repair Washington’s fractious relationship with Moscow.
Russian Embassy: Trump offers Putin help in fighting Siberian wildfires – POLITICO
The Russian Embassy said Putin was grateful for the offer.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports



The Deadly Winters That Have Transformed Life For Herders In Mongolia : NPR
Mongolia’s herders are accustomed to cold, but the extreme conditions of the country’s terrible winters, known as dzuds, killed countless livestock and livelihoods. Herders have had to adapt.
Why The Long Face? Kazakhstan’s Saiga Antelope
The curious creature at the center of a deadly turf war in the wilderness of Central Asia.
Endless Hate: Uzbekistan Bans Turkish Soap Opera For Not Upholding Country’s ‘Values’
A private Uzbek TV channel has taken a popular Turkish soap-opera off the air for the second time amid criticism that it is not compatible with Uzbek values.
In Uzbekistan, The Fraught Politics Of Building Demolitions
Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov has given new order regarding compensation for people those homes or shops are demolished as part of city renewal plans. But it took two dramatic protests to pro…

Mongolia’s Capital Banned Coal To Fix Its Pollution Problem. Will It Work? : NPR
Winter nights in Ulaanbaatar can drop to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Many residents without electricity burn coal to heat their homes, leading to toxic air and health problems.
Barron Trump gets a horse from Mongolia’s president
President Trump on Wednesday welcomed Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga — who gave a horse to first son Barron Trump, which the commander in chief said would be named “Victory.”
Trump names horse gifted by Mongolian president: ‘Victory’
Trump settles on name for horse gifted by Mongolian president: ‘Victory’
Mongolia’s Long Road To Mining Wealth : NPR
Mongolia is undergoing a dramatic transformation from a pastoral society to one whose economy is based on mining, especially copper and coal. With the change has come opportunity — and loss.

Belarus Reports



Window on Eurasia — New Series: Humanitarian Integration of Belarus by Russia Most Dangerous Kind, Yeliseyev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 29 – The integration of Belarusian government, military and economic institutions by Moscow in the latter’s pursuit of the deepening of ties between the two countries has attracted more attention, but humanitarian integration, Andrey Yeliseyev says, is far more dangerous and insidious because it “reduces to nothing all our national distinctiveness.” The political scientist at the EAST-Center, says many, by focusing on what might be called “hard” integration Alyaksandr Lukashenka has resisted, are missing Moscow’s increasing efforts to promote the “soft” kind about which the Belarusian leader doesn’t appear to care ( Lukashenka, Yeliseyev says, isn’t prepared to make many concessions about political sovereignty but is prepared to allow Russians to make further inroads in the humanitarian sphere in order to get Moscow to provide oil, gas, and favorable loans. For him, the analyst says, “Belarussianness is of no value.” But if the Belarusian language and Belarusian culture are marginalized or even destroyed, the political scientist says, the country will lose the basis for its independent existence in the future even if for the time being it can keep at least partial control of its economy and political institutions. According to Yeliseyev, talk about “soft Belarusianization” is misplaced. “It hasn’t even begun” at least by the government. “The average Belarus hasn’t noted such phenomena as I am sure any poll would confirm.” Some private initiatives are taking place, but they act on their own in spite of the government rather than with its assistance. In the key areas of the media and education, he continues, Minsk has been “a complete zero.” Indeed, it has even taken steps that make the situation with regard to the Belarusian language even worse, precisely what Moscow wants and far more dangerous in the long run than any concessions on the economy or even the military.
Lukashenko says not going to hold Belarusian presidential election in 2019
Belarus Condemns Second Man To Death This Year
A man was sentenced to death in Belarus for double murder on July 31, despite repeated calls by the European Union for the abolition of capital punishment in the only European country that still carries out executions.




Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports



U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighters return to skies of Syria – Defence Blog
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters are again conducting operations over Syria, according to online investigator with the nickname ‘Samir’. The online investigator has compared recently published F-22’s photos during aerial refueling mission above an ‘undisclosed location’ and satellite imagery to verify the location where each photograph was taken. Using Google Maps and other mapping techniques, he determined their exact location. According to Samir, photo of F-22 Raptor fighter jets was taken above northeast of Raqqa, Syria on July 29. “KC-135 refueling F-22 northeast of Raqqa on 29 July 2019,” Samir said on Twitter. Last month, the U.S. Air Force announced that the fifth-generation jet fighters have arrived in Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar for the first time to “defend American forces and interests in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.” The U.S Air Force has reported that F-22 Raptors, from the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., is currently serving its first deployment to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to defend American forces and interests in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command. “This historic deployment is a total force effort consisting of Airmen from the 1st Fighter Wing and 192nd Wing, with the support of the 633rd Air Base Wing, who train and deploy alongside one another, providing a ready force for the United States Air Force,” said in a statement. But nothing was said about the participation of the F-22 Raptor fighters in the operation in the sky of Syria.
UAWire – Israel launches missile strike on Syria
The Israeli army launched a missile attack on the southwest part of the Syrian Golan Heights, reported the Syrian news agency SANA. According …
UAWire – Three Russian mercenaries killed in Syria
Three Russian mercenaries from the new private military company (PMC) Shchit (“Shield”) have been killed, Novaya Gazeta reports, citing its own …
Girl dies after saving sister’s life in heart-stopping photo
Horrified father watches daughters teetering on edge of bombed building.

US Senate allows arms sales to Saudi Arabia, sustaining Trump vetoes
The U.S. Senate failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto of resolutions meant to block U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.
Senate fails to override Trump veto stopping Saudi weapons sales
By a vote of 45-40, the Senate fell short of the two-thirds votes needed to overturn a presidential veto.
How One Researcher Helped Facebook Bust Saudi Disinfo Campaign
Facebook announced Thursday the Saudi government had engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on the platform, crediting research from Bellingcat.
Facebook announces first takedown of influence campaign with ties to Saudi government – CNN
Facebook said Thursday it had found evidence of something cyber security and national security experts have long suspected: people tied to the government of Saudi Arabia have been running covert campaigns on Facebook and Instagram in a bid to prop up support for the kingdom and attack its enemies.

First on CNN: US transports another alleged American ISIS fighter back from Syria to face trial – CNNPolitics
A federal grand jury in Dallas on Thursday indicted an American ISIS suspect who had been transported back to American soil from Syria.
US man accused of trying to join the Taliban to kill American soldiers
A 33-year-old man faces terror charges after his arrest at a New York airport while allegedly en route to join the Taliban.
Delowar Mohammad Hossain arrested: American citizen allegedly joining Taliban arrested at JFK Airport – CBS News
Investigators said he was about to fly off to join the Taliban, with the goal of killing American soldiers
UN-recognised GNA attacks key Haftar airbase in central Libya | News | Al Jazeera
Tripoli-based government says it took down munitions depot and hit military transport aircraft at Al Jufra airbase.
Libya: Attack on field hospital near Tripoli kills five doctors | News | Al Jazeera
UN-recognised government’s health ministry says five doctors died in air attack by Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
Hamza Bin Laden Dead | National Review
The U.S. has received intelligence that suggests Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor, Hamza, is dead, NBC News first reported.
Hamza Bin Laden ‘killed in air strike’ – BBC News – YouTube
BBC News Published on Aug 1, 2019 Hamza Bin Laden, the son of al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, died in an air strike, US media outlets report, citing intelligence officials. The place and date of death were unclear. The Pentagon did not comment. Bin Laden, thought to be aged about 30, had released audio and video messages calling for attacks on the US and other countries. As recently as February, the US government offered $1m (£825,000) for information leading to his capture.




Trump downplays latest North Korean missile tests – POLITICO
“They’re short range missiles, and many people have those missiles,&quot; the president says.
Trump plays down North Korea missile tests, likely to continue talks
U.S. President Donald Trump plays down North Korea’s third missile launch in about a week, saying that “short-range missiles” are “very standard.”
North Korea allegedly made 12 nuclear weapons since Singapore
Experts from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency came to that conclusion after analyzing satellite imagery which showed activity at the North’s nuclear sites had ramped up since the historic meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Wall Street Journal issues correction regarding North Korean nuke story
Days after reporting that Defense Intelligence Agency analysts suspect that North Korea has built a dozen nuclear weapons since President Trump met with Kim Jong Un last year, the Wall Street Journal on Saturday issued a correction that changed the story dramatically.
North Korea launches two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korea says – CNN
North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said in a statement, the second such launch in less than a week.
North Korea fires two ballistic missiles in second missile launch in a week – BBC News
Pyongyang had called the earlier launch a “solemn warning” to South Korea over planned military drills with the US.
Trump sent photos of his visit to Kim Jong-Un: report | TheHill
President Trump reportedly sent photos from his recent meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un at the border of North and South Korea at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to Kim as a means of encouraging the resumption diplomatic talks between the two c
Despite ‘Loss Of Faith’ In Kim Jong Un, The U.S. Tries Again For A Nuclear Deal : NPR
After multiple frustrations, U.S. strategists are asking if the North Korean leader is capable of making the nuclear deal the Trump administration wants.
North Korea’s new weapons take aim at the South’s F-35 stealth fighters
North Korea specifically developed news missiles and rockets to target a base that will host F-35A fighter jets, according to some weapons analysts.
North Korea Releases Detained Russian Fishing Boat, Crew
North Korea has released a Russian fishing boat with a crew of 15 Russians and two South Koreans after it was detained for allegedly violating entry regulations, officials say.
US citizen released from North Korea says he spied for US, South Korea | Fox News
A U.S. citizen who was convicted of espionage in North Korea but was later freed has admitted he was indeed spying for the U.S. and South Korea — surreptitiously trying to collect sensitive information and also highlighting that not all of the Hermit Kingdom’s pronouncements about captured spies are exaggeration, paranoia or propaganda.
North Korea Hostage Freed by Trump Details His CIA Work and Torture in Prison Camp: ‘I Became a Traitor Overnight’
Kim Dong Chul was one of three American citizens released from North Korean prisons and returned to the U.S. in 2018.
South Korea’s Tough Choice: The US or China? – Defense One
Caught between its security ally and its top trading partner, Seoul is trying to have it all.
North Korean soldier defects across the DMZ, South Korea says
The South Korean military detained a North Korean soldier who crossed the demilitarized zone separating the countries, South Korean officials said Thursday.
North Korean soldier defects to South by crossing DMZ at night | TheHill
A North Korean soldier crossed the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) late Wednesday night and defected to South Korean forces, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.
North Korean soldier fleeing Kim Jong Un’s regime makes midnight dash to freedom across DMZ – The Washington Post
The man eluded land mines and other fortifications to reach South Korea, where military officials said he would be assessed.

The Asian Century Is Over – Foreign Policy
Beset by conflicts, stagnating economies, and political troubles, the region no longer looks set to rule the world.
China is winning the ideological battle with the U.S. – The Washington Post
America’s model of liberal democracy is losing the argument.
China’s Head-Spinning Defence White Paper | RealClearDefense
The difference between how China sees the world and howthe world sees China can lead to a seriously dizzying view. Readers of the white paper China’s National Defence in the New Era can be…
China Outlines Space War Plans
China’s strategy for developing advanced space weapons were disclosed this week in Beijing’s first defense white paper issued in years.
WW3 fears: China warning to the West – do not ‘sow distrust’ in South China Sea | World | News |
BEIJING has demanded the West and other nations not “sow disgust” in the highly territorial South China Sea.
China is watching
Obviously, global perception shouldn’t define U.S. policy. But if we talk about how today’s rhetoric might be interpreted by allies, which we do, we certainly should consider how it might be interpreted by adversaries.
But What About China? – Defense One
To treat great-power competition as an afterthought is irresponsible, even dangerous. The 2020 presidential candidates did just that.
China’s Giant Spy Drone Just Tailed a U.S. Navy Cruiser | The National Interest
But Beijing’s years of investment in drones are finally starting to pay off, if the Soar Eagle’s July 2019 mission tailing Antietam is any indication.
Chinese PLA Personnel Completes Training for S-400 Air Defense System in Russia | The Diplomat
About 100 PLA servicemen have completed a training course in Russia for maintaining the S-400 air defense system.
An up-close look at Talisman Saber 2019
Defense News gets a close look at refueling operations during Exercise Talisman Saber 2019.
Japan’s new amphibious brigade launches beach landings during Talisman Sabre drills
One amphibious landing was a large-scale, extended operation designed to outmaneuver an entrenched, capable opposition force.

Congress to China: ‘Stop Stealing Our Stuff’ – Foreign Policy
Republican Rep. Mark Green talks about forthcoming bipartisan legislation that would protect U.S. technology from Chinese espionage.
US-China trade talks resume in Shanghai with tempered expectations
Trade representatives from the U.S. and China will begin their first official in-person meeting since the G-20 truce, but neither side is showing any sense of urgency for a trade deal.
U.S.-China Trade Talks Set To Resume In Shanghai : NPR
U.S. trade negotiators are heading to Shanghai for talks with their Chinese counterparts this week, but there appears to be little pressure for a settlement in the year-old conflict.
The US and China are talking again. But they’re still trading accusations – CNN
US and Chinese trade negotiators are soon expected to meet face-to-face for the first time since their leaders declared a temporary truce in late June.
Trade jitters running high at U.S. companies ahead of new U.S.-China talks – Reuters
Worries about the U.S.-China trade war are running high during the current U.S. quarterly reporting season, with companies as diverse as Juniper Networks and O’Reilly Automotive bemoaning the consequences but saying they are finding ways to weather the storm.

Fear Won’t Stop China’s Digital Silk Road | Center for Strategic and International Studies
A version of this commentary was originally published by the Financial Times on July 11, 2019. It is reprinted here with permission. “The biggest of big brothers is increasingly helpless against communications technology.” So said former U.S. president Ronald Reagan 30 years ago in London. Having recently left office, Reagan was triumphant. He saw democracy on the rise in Hungary, Poland, and even China. The Soviet Union was crumbling. The West had won.
U.S.-China Trade Talks Resume With Modest Expectations – WSJ
Negotiators for the U.S. and China will face off in Shanghai this week in another attempt to piece together a trade accord, amid considerably lowered expectations. Modest wins might be obtainable, however.
U.S. Recycling Efforts May Undermine China’s Rare-Earth Monopoly | Fortune
Reusing the magnets found in everyday technology could be key in repelling China’s rare-earth threats.
China June rare earth magnet exports to U.S. fall 3.9% from May – Reuters
China’s exports of rare earth magnets to the United States fell 3.9% in June from the previous month, customs data showed on Saturday, as concerns persist that Beijing will curb supply of rare earth products as part of its trade war with Washington.
Beijing says China stepping up U.S. soy imports, yet to show up in U.S. data – Reuters
Chinese state media said on Sunday the United States has shipped several million tonnes of soybeans to China since the two countries’ leaders met in June, although U.S. government data shows that the volume was much less.
China Says U.S. Trade Talks to Continue With September Meeting – Bloomberg
China and the U.S. plan to meet again in September to extend trade talks, as the latest round of negotiations in Shanghai ended with signs the sides discussed Chinese purchases of American farm products — a key demand of President Donald Trump.
No U.S.-China Trade Deal Yet; Talks To Resume In September : NPR
The White House called the brief talks in Shanghai this week between top U.S. and Chinese officials “constructive” and said negotiations are expected to pick up again in early September.
Top U.S., China Diplomats Meet Amid Trade, Security Tensions – Bloomberg
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the importance of cooperation with the U.S. following talks with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, one day after the latest negotiations in Shanghai yielded incremental signs of concrete progress in their trade war.
Slow Progress in Trade Talks Is Partly a Result of China’s New Tactic to Wait – WSJ
Plodding progress in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China this week is partly the result of a new tactic from Beijing, which increasingly thinks waiting may produce a more favorable agreement.
Conciliatory tone as top diplomats from United States and China meet – Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi met face-to-face for the first time this year on Thursday and Wang said they discussed ways to promote China-U.S. ties despite “recent disturbances”.
U.S.-China trade deal: Low expectations after Trump tweets about state of negotiations – CBS News
Mr. Trump claimed China is &quot;praying&quot; for him to lose in 2020 as stalled trade and tariff talks resume in Shanghai
Chinese Billionaire Indicted on Charges of Evading Nearly $2 Billion in Tariffs – WSJ
A powerful Chinese billionaire has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he evaded nearly $2 billion in tariffs as part of a conspiracy to smuggle massive quantities of aluminum into the U.S.
Chinese billionaire faces charges in $1.8-billion scheme to smuggle aluminum through L.A. – Los Angeles Times
A Chinese billionaire and the company he founded were accused of hatching a scheme to avoid paying $1.8 billion in tariffs by disguising “huge amounts” of aluminum as pallets and smuggling the material into the United States, according to a federal indictment unsealed late Tuesday.
Pompeo jabs at China’s ‘bad behavior,’ defends US tariffs
“We want free and fair trade, not trade that undermines competition,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
Pompeo criticizes China after meeting top diplomat in Bangkok – Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday criticized China’s actions in Asia after meeting his Chinese counterpart for the first time this year amid political tension between the two countries.
Trade war: China urges US back down after Trump’s $300 billion tariff threat
China’s foreign ministry reportedly said Friday that while Beijing did not want a trade war with the U.S., it was not afraid to fight one.
Trumping China on tariffs: Why the president’s move hiking levies make sense – New York Daily News
China’s ruler, Xi Jinping, must now be reeling. Thursday, just after a high-level American trade delegation left Shanghai, President Trump tweeted his intention to impose on Sept. 1 an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods.
The Coming Collapse of China – Wikipedia
The Coming Collapse of China is a book by Gordon G. Chang, published in 2001, in which he argues that the Communist Party of China is the root cause of many of the People’s Republic of China’s problems and will cause its collapse in the near future.[1] He claimed that the hidden nonperforming loans of the “Big Four” Chinese State banks would likely bring down China’s financial system and its communist government in 2006, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017.
Trump’s Trade War Has Hurt Both the U.S. and China – Bloomberg
There are signs of economic losses in both China and the U.S.
Stocks plunge worldwide on US-China trade war worries
Trump’s announcement of 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods surprised investors after the White House said Beijing promised to buy more farm goods.
Tariffs on iPhones, toys and other Chinese-made goods coming Sept. 1, Trump says – CNN
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will add a new tariff on $300 billion of Chinese-made products on September 1, which would effectively put a tax on all Chinese goods coming into the United States.
China Wants to Hit Back at Trump. Its Own Economy Stands in the Way. – The New York Times
Beijing’s leaders have increasingly focused on rekindling growth as the trade war drags on and negotiations prove difficult to control or predict.

Why Hong Kong’s protesters study Ukraine’s revolution — Quartz
This feels awfully familiar.
Hong Kong protests: Beijing promises to ‘punish violence’ | World | The Times
The Chinese government gave its full support to Hong Kong’s flailing chief executive, Carrie Lam, and urged her to “punish” lawbreakers in order to protect the territory’s businesses, in remarks that will do little to defuse its two-month political crisis. The rare press conference, by the governmen
China Backs Hong Kong Officials, but Leaves Protests for Them to Solve – The New York Times
Officials in Beijing defended the Hong Kong government but failed to address demonstrators’ demands for more police accountability and greater democracy.
Violence is escalating in Hong Kong. Here are three potential outcomes
Beijing is set to deliver a formal response to the ongoing Hong Kong protests at 3 p.m. local time on Monday.
Hong Kong protesters disrupt train services, cause commuter chaos – Reuters
Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters blocked train services during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, causing commuter chaos in the latest anti-government campaign to roil the former British colony.
China Endorses Embattled Hong Kong Chief and Police Crackdown on Protesters – WSJ
China’s top office for Hong Kong affairs used a rare news conference to endorse the territory’s leader and the police’s handling of increasingly violent clashes, signaling that Beijing is unlikely to yield concessions as it pressures the semiautonomous city to quell the unrest.
Hong Kong protesters block trains as Beijing blames West | World | The Times
China has blamed western powers for the protests in Hong Kong but has placed responsibility for dealing with the pro-democracy protests firmly on the shoulders of Carrie Lam, the chief executive.In a rare public appearance yesterday, two representatives of the Beijing agency responsible for
China doesn’t understand Hong Kong’s protests. That’s a big mistake. – The Washington Post
Its leaders’ old tactics aren’t working.
US monitoring Hong Kong as Chinese forces amass at border
The reason for the buildup, which includes the Chinese military or armed police, was not clear but came amid violent protests in the region, Bloomberg reported.
Hong Kong’s Government Can’t Just Wait Out the Protests – Bloomberg
Does the government want a solution? Waiting and hiding is not a strategy.
When a Mob Attacked Protesters in Hong Kong, the Police Walked Away | Visual Investigations – YouTube
The New York Times Published on Jul 30, 2019 After a violent mob attack in Hong Kong, protesters accused the police of ignoring their calls for help. We reconstruct what happened that night.
White House Told Officials to Go Easy on China Over Hong Kong – WSJ
The Trump administration offered guidance to officials to maintain a measured response to antigovernment protests in Hong Kong over fears that any public statements favoring demonstrators would derail U.S. efforts to get a trade deal with China.
Hong Kong protests: China blames US for mass demonstrations – CNN
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday accused the United States of influencing the increasingly violent pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for two months.
China’s Hong Kong PLA garrison releases video with scenes of ‘anti-riot’ operations – Reuters
As Hong Kong’s political crisis simmers amidst heated protests, China’s People’s Liberation Army in Hong Kong released a video showing footage of “anti-riot” exercises and its top brass warned violence is “absolutely impermissible”.
Video of Hong Kong Protesters Using Lasers Against Police Goes Viral, Then China’s Military Shares Its Own Video
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison released a clip displaying not only their guns blazing, but also warships and aircraft as part of their “anti-riot” techniques.

China sentences trailblazing online activist to 12 years in prison – The Washington Post
Huang Qi, founder the 64 Tianwang website that aired accounts of government abuse and corruption, was sentenced for “disclosing state secrets.”
China’s first ‘cyber-dissident’ jailed for 12 years | World news | The Guardian
Huang Qi, who ran a website reporting on sensitive topics, is accused of leaking state secrets
K-Pop’s Big China Problem – Foreign Policy
Chinese stars are spinning off in their own orbit as politics gets in the way of profit.

Christian Persecution: China Orders Towns to Count How Many Citizens Believe in God and Monitor Them |
China’s central government is putting pressure on officials to track the number of Christians living in their towns, and threatening repercussions if the figures don’t add up, according to a report.
Sign of the times: China’s capital orders Arabic, Muslim symbols taken down – Reuters
Authorities in the Chinese capital have ordered halal restaurants and food stalls to remove Arabic script and symbols associated with Islam from their signs, part of an expanding national effort to “Sinicize” its Muslim population.
Arabic, Muslim symbols ordered taken down in China’s capital | News | Al Jazeera
Campaign in Beijing marks a new phase in drive aimed at ensuring religions conform to mainstream Chinese culture.
China Says Most Muslims Have Been Released From Camps. Others Say: Prove It. – The New York Times
The announcement is impossible to independently verify in tightly controlled Xinjiang, and runs counter to accounts of detentions compiled by activists.
Beijing’s top Uyghur official claims most inmates have left Xinjiang camps – CNN
A senior Chinese official has alleged that authorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang have released most detainees held in government internment camps, but refused to be drawn on how many people remained in the mass detention program.
China says most Uighur Muslims released from Xinjiang internment camps – Vox
It’s doubtful that a majority of detainees have left the camps. Those who have may be doing forced labor in factories.
China says most people in Xinjiang camps have ‘returned to society’ – Reuters
Most people sent to mass detention centers in China’s Xinjiang region have “returned to society”, a senior official from the area said on Tuesday, but he declined to give an estimate of how many have been held in recent years.
How China Lost Hong Kong – Foreign Policy
Compromise or crackdown are the only options left for Beijing.

Pompeo hopes to help patch up Japan-South Korea ties – Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would encourage the two biggest U.S. allies in Asia – Japan and South Korea – “to find a path forward” from a dispute that has roiled their ties when he meets their foreign ministers this week.
Centuries-old Japan-Korea dispute something Russia and China can exploit – CNN
While Japan and South Korea may not agree on who owns a cluster of tiny, rocky islands off their coastlines, they do agree that Russian bombers shouldn’t be flying above them.
Japan Imposes Broad New Trade Restrictions on South Korea – The New York Times
The clash, which has its roots in World War II-era grievances, has spooked markets and provoked U.S. worries over the impact on China and North Korea.
Japan to strike South Korea off trusted export list as rift deepens – BBC News
South Korea is fiercely opposed to the move, which Japan says is due to national security concerns.
Second S Korean man sets himself ablaze in apparent Japan protest | South Korea News | Al Jazeera
Police find bag containing a memo and leaflet criticising Japan over decision to tighten controls on high-tech exports.
Police: South Korean Man Set Himself Ablaze to Protest Japan | Time
Police say a 72-year-old South Korean man is in critical condition after setting himself ablaze apparently to express his anger toward Japan

World’s first international cable car to connect China to Russia with an eight-minute journey
A Dutch architecture practice unveils new designs for the world’s first international cable car set to connect Russia and China.
Japan’s election result unlikely to stop Aegis Ashore deployment despite controversy
Opposition to the proposed deployment of Aegis Ashore cites health concerns from radar and electromagnetic emissions, as well as fear that the system could become a target in an armed conflict.
Korean Fat Leonard? Feds probe new US Navy corruption case in Asia
The Department of Justice is probing new allegations of husbanding services corruption in Asia in a case with strong echoes of the Fat Leonard scandal that has rocked the Navy for more than half a decade.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo: We are a tolerant nation – CNN
In his first international television interview since being re-elected in May, Indonesian President Joko Widodo denied being concerned about the rise of fundamentalism in his country, saying that the Islam practiced there is tolerant and progressive.
China, an Eye on Elections, Suspends Some Travel Permits to Taiwan – The New York Times
The move appeared intended to influence politics on the self-governing island, and possibly to prevent exposure to Taiwan’s democratic elections or sentiment that favors Hong Kong’s protesters.

University of Queensland student attacked by pro-China activists bombarded with death threats | Daily Mail Online
A student involved in organising anti-Chinese Communist Party protests at an Australian university has received shocking threats against himself and his family. 
Pro-China and pro-Hong Kong students clash at University of Queensland | Australia news | The Guardian
Students backing the Chinese government allegedly ripped up pro-Hong Kong signs and blasted Chinese national anthem
Students clash over their views on China at the University of Queensland – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Punches are thrown as student anger rises at the University of Queensland over the Hong Kong pro-democracy protest movement and persecution of minorities in China.
‘I was shocked’: UQ protest against Chinese government turns violent
Punches were thrown and drinks were spilled over protesters about midday at the University of Queensland as tension grew.
UQ students ‘shocked’ by intimidation tactics in China-Hong Kong protest clash – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Chinese students from the pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps at the University of Queensland say they were subjected to intimidation tactics after what started as a peaceful pro-democracy protest escalated into a violent scuffle.
UQ protests reflect anxiety about Chinese influence
The student protesters at the University of Queensland (UQ) reflect a growing anxiety on some university campuses about the extent of Beijing’s reach.
Identification fears at UQ China protests
Some international students held back from protesting against a controversial Chinese education program at UQ over fears of being identified by Chinese authroities, students say.
Queensland university students protest ‘China-funded education’
More than 70 protesters attended a Chinese funding demonstration a Queensland university, held peacefully after violent clashes last week.
Hong Kong protests: ‘I’m in Australia but I feel censored by Chinese students’ – BBC News
Protests backing the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong have led to heated clashes in Australia.

Foreign Policy Reports



The Conservatives have surged in opinion polls after Boris Johnson became prime minister | Business Insider
The Conservatives have enjoyed a bounce in the opinion polls after Boris Johnson became prime minister.
‘Boris bounce’: UK Conservatives surge in opinion poll – Reuters
Britain’s Conservative Party has opened up a 10-point lead over the opposition Labour Party since Boris Johnson took over as prime minister, an opinion poll showed.
Boris Johnson’s Conservatives top ‘extraordinary’ opinion poll in Wales as Labour support plummets to lowest ever level | Business Insider
Boris Johnson’s Conservatives lead an “unprecedented” opinion poll in Wales days after he became prime minister, with support for the Labour Party plummeting to its lowest ever level in the country.
Boris Johnson to make his first visit to Wales as PM after ‘extraordinary poll show Tories overtaking Labour in popularity – The Sun
Brexit deal between UK and Australia ’within weeks’! Boris brings ‘new opportunity’ | World | News |
AUSTRALIA wants a new post-Brexit trade deal with the UK as soon as possible, “maybe even weeks”, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.
Brecon and Radnorshire by-election: Lib Dem win bolsters ‘Remain alliance’ strategy | News | The Times
Boris Johnson’s working majority in the Commons was cut to one today after the Lib Dems clinched victory in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.The Lib Dems took the seat with 13,826 votes, compared with 12,401 for the Conservatives. While the Tories squeezed the Brexit Party to 10.5 per cent of
Boris Johnson’s Party Loses Seat To Liberal Anti-Brexit Parties : NPR
The results of the special election leave the ruling prime minister’s government with a single-seat majority just as he tries to navigate a difficult departure from the EU.
Defeat in the Brecon by-election has stymied any plans Boris Johnson had for an early general election | The Independent
As Boris Johnson approaches the moment of truth on Brexit, he has one fewer vote in the House of Commons. Jane Dodds, the new Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, will take Jo Swinson’s party up to 13, and add one to any vote for remaining in the EU or against a no-deal Brexit.  Last night’s result will also discourage the new prime minister from an early dash for a
Welsh By-Election, Brexit & Boris Johnson — Does Brexit’s Fate Hang on a Welsh By-Election? | National Review
In a Welsh by-election, it will be hard for Brexiteers to decide which party to vote against. Here’s a creative solution.
Pound Slumps to Lowest Since 2017 as No-Deal Brexit Risk Flares – Bloomberg
The pound slid to its lowest level in more than two years and gilts rallied as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped up preparations for a no-deal Brexit with just about three months left until the nation exits the European Union.
Assuming EU will not budge, Britain ramps up preparations for no-deal Brexit – Reuters
The British government is working on the assumption that the European Union will not renegotiate its Brexit deal and is ramping up preparations to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 without an agreement, senior ministers said on Sunday.
Getting good trade deal from EU could be ‘much easier’ after no deal Brexit, Raab claims – live news | Politics | The Guardian
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Boris Johnson’s first visit to Scotland as prime minister
Pound nears multi-year low on Brexit, ‘very real chance’ of more drops – INSIDER
Boris Johnson’s vow to pull the UK out of the EU at the end of October, with or without a deal, has hammered the currency. It could get worse.
Brexit Means Bad News for the British Pound – Foreign Policy
The markets think leaving the European Union won’t be a sterling outcome.
Congress warns that Irish border is key to trade deal with US | News | The Times
Congress will not approve a US-UK trade agreement if Boris Johnson pulls Britain out of the European Union without protecting free movement across the Irish border, the head of the committee that must agree the deal has warned.Richard Neal, the chairman of the Ways and Means committee through whic
Will Brexit Be the End of the United Kingdom? – Foreign Policy
The prospect of a hard border is making many Irish on both sides wonder if they’d be better off together.

Macron To Host Putin At French Mediterranean Fort In August
French President Emmanuel Macron said he has invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin for talks next month at the Bregancon fort off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Trump threatens France over digital tax – these nations could be next
France isn’t the only country pushing for a digital tax on tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook.
Merkel’s ‘Shakes’ Perceived As EU Tremors In The Balkans
Lawmakers in aspiring EU member Montenegro cite speculation about the German chancellor’s health woes to punctuate criticism of Brussels — possibly signaling mounting Euroskepticism.
No country for old men? Poland scraps income tax for youngsters – CNN
A new law that comes into effect next week will scrap income tax for roughly 2 million young workers in Poland.
Anti-Gay Brutality in a Polish Town Blamed on Poisonous Propaganda – The New York Times
Mob violence against gay men and lesbians has raised grave concerns about the steady stream of anti-L.G.B.T. language delivered by politicians.
Polish rights campaigners gather in Warsaw to condemn homophobic violence – Reuters
Over 1,000 people gathered in Warsaw on Saturday in support of LGBT rights a week after the first pride march in the city of Bialystok was marred by violence.
Trump to travel to Poland, Denmark in late August | TheHill
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to Poland and Denmark at the end of August to meet with each country’s leaders and commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II in Warsaw.
Melania Trump: First Lady announces heartbreaking visit to Poland this August | World | News |
MELANIA TRUMP will be making a heartbreaking trip to Denmark and Poland at the end of August.

Trump officially designates Brazil a non-NATO ally | TheHill
President Trump on Wednesday officially designated Brazil as a major non-NATO ally, making it easier for the South American country to purchase U.S. weapons and defense equipment.

Trump Says He’s Considering Blockade or Quarantine of Venezuela – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump said he may order a blockade of Venezuela, where the U.S. has sought to depose President Nicolas Maduro.
Trump says he is considering a blockade or quarantine on Venezuela
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he is considering a quarantine or blockade of Venezuela, as the United States steps up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power.
ICE Asks If You’ve Seen Venezuela’s Minister Tareck El Aissami – Bloomberg
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement published a photograph of Venezuela Industry Minister Tareck El Aissami, one of President Nicolas Maduro’s closest allies, with the question, “Have you seen this most wanted fugitive?”
UAWire – Russia refuses to participate in conference on Venezuelan conflict
Russia decided not to participate in the international conference on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela on August 6 in Lima. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that the Ministry has studied the purpose of the conference “in support of democracy” and considered it inappropriate. According to Moscow, the dialogue does not make sense without representatives of the government of Nicolás Maduro. “It is unlikely that 100 delegations with different views will be able to agree on measures of real assistance” at a one-day meeting, stated Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Venezuelan bolivar depreciated rapidly in July | Miami Herald
The currency, which was relaunched a year ago with an exchange rate of 60 bolivars per dollar, was quoted Tuesday at 12,231 bolivars on the black market, an accelerated increase compared to the 7,846.31 bolivars per dollar on July 1.
Venezuela’s Citgo Stake Can Be Seized, Appeals Court Says – WSJ
A U.S. appeals court said Venezuela’s stake in U.S.-based oil refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp. could be seized to satisfy a judgment against the country, a blow to its U.S.-backed opposition government.
Venezuela Faces Loss of Citgo — and Desperately Needed Dollars – Bloomberg
Venezuela could lose its largest U.S. asset after a court allowed a Canadian gold miner to seize shares of Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s parent to satisfy an arbitration award.
U.S. Marines ‘likely’ to enter Venezuela, says socialist party No. 2 – Reuters
Venezuelan Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello on Saturday predicted U.S. Marines will “likely” enter the South American country, speaking a week after a confrontation between aircraft belonging to the two countries’ armed forces.
Brazil Tells Russia, Other BRICS Nations To Hear Venezuelans’ ‘Cry For Freedom’
Brazil’s top diplomat has urged his counterparts in the BRICS grouping of countries — Russia, India, China, and South Africa — to listen to Venezuelans’ “cry for freedom” and to support that co…
Chevron Wins 90-Day Venezuela Waiver Despite Agency Opposition – Bloomberg
Chevron Corp. and four oil services companies won a last-minute U.S. government reprieve to continue producing oil in Venezuela, albeit only for a 90-day period.
Chevron gets the green light to stay in Venezuela — for at least another three months – CNN
Chevron received a last-minute reprieve from the Trump administration Friday that will allow it to continue operating in Venezuela. Chevron is the last remaining major American oil company in the crisis-ravaged country.



IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports



No, Lyme Disease Is Not an Escaped Military Bioweapon – Defense One
The Lyme bacterium was living in the wild decades before the disease was even identified. And there\’s plenty more to disprove the conspiracy theories.
Siri records fights, doctor’s appointments, and sex (and contractors hear it) | Ars Technica
In a new report, Apple takes its turn in the crosshairs over how it reviews user recordings.
Apple contractors ‘regularly hear confidential details’ on Siri recordings | Technology | The Guardian
Workers hear drug deals, medical details and people having sex, says whistleblower
Apple contractors frequently hear sensitive info in Siri recordings
As much as Apple emphasizes privacy, it hasn’t completely avoided eyebrow-raising behavior. The Guardian has learned from a source that Siri quality control co…
When Trump Threatens Google, Here’s What He Doesn’t Get – Defense One
Days after the Treasury Secretary cleared the U.S. tech giant of national security concerns, the president was rage-tweeting again.

How Leon Panetta’s ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’ warning shaped Cyber Command
In 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that a cyber attack on critical infrastructure could have catastrophic consequences rivaling Pearl Harbor.
The next cybersecurity concern for NATO? Space
A new report warns that the cybersecurity vulnerabilities related to military space systems, specifically terminals and command-and-control systems, deserves renewed attention from NATO countries.
State election offices made for an easy target for Russian hackers
A new Senate report shows Russian-backed hackers targeted U.S. states through lax security, documenting holes in state networks and by infiltrating voter registration databases.
The challenge in securing critical information
In the United States, the rapid advancement of connected devices poses a major security threat to critical information.
IRS missing basic IT security measures
The federal government’s watchdog recommends the Internal Revenue Service implement over 100 old and new recommendations to address a significant deficiency in the agency’s control over its reporting systems.
No prison for British cyber expert in malware case
FBI agents had been investigating the 25-year-old British cybersecurity wunderkind for years. Less than two months after his claim to fame, they arrested him and accused him of creating malware to steal banking passwords.
Cisco settles with cybersecurity whistleblower, setting a precedent
Cisco has settled with federal, state and local agencies for $8.6 million in a first-of-its-kind whistleblower case involving cybersecurity issues.
Cisco to Pay $8.6 Million to Settle Government Claims of Flawed Tech – The New York Times
The Silicon Valley company, a major government contractor, was accused of selling video surveillance software that it knew had a security issue.

US Domestic Policy Reports



Esper takes over Pentagon
Arm Secretary Mark Esper is now secretary of Defense, the first confirmed leader of the department since James Mattis departed.
Inhofe urges Republicans to unify and back budget deal for military’s sake
With Senate Republicans split on whether to pass a bipartisan $2.7 trillion budget deal, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe worked to rally senarors to the defense spending increase the deal represents.
Divided Senate passes 2-year budget deal with military boost
The U.S. Senate sent the president a $2.7 trillion budget plan with roughly $45 billion more in military funding over two years, despite complaints from fiscal conservatives the measure would raise the federal deficit.
Hyten Poised For Confirmation Despite Sexual Assault Claims – Defense One
His accuser, who took a front-row seat at his confirmation hearing, says the Air Force four-star is lying to Congress.
Pentagon No. 2 confirmed by Senate
The Pentagon’s top two leaders are in place for the first time this year.
Aircraft mission-capable rates hit new low in Air Force, despite efforts to improve
The Air Force’s aircraft readiness continued its multi-year slide in fiscal 2018, as the overall mission-capable rate for the aging fleet dropped below 70 percent — its lowest point in at least six years.
Let the US Air Force Move Ahead with Its Heavy-Lift Rocket Program – Defense One
Lawmakers\’ attempt to force the service to allow more companies to bid on satellite launches would do more harm than good.
Facial Recognition is Changing CBP Operations – Defense One
The tech is freeing up Customs and Border Protection employees—once they learned to trust it.
Top US Navy SEAL tells commanders in light of misconduct: ‘We have a problem’ – CNNPolitics
The top US Navy SEAL recently sent a blistering letter to the force, writing in boldface type, “We have a problem,” following several high profile incidents of alleged misbehavior by the US Navy’s elite service members, CNN has learned.
Top Navy SEAL commander writes scathing letter saying the force has a problem in the wake of SEAL scandals | Business Insider
Navy Special Warfare Rear Adm. Collin Green told his unit explicitly, “We have a problem,” in a letter obtained by obtained by CNN.
How China is influencing Hollywood movies (and Tom Cruise’s new Top Gun jacket) | Times2 | The Times
Yay, Top Gun is back! Did you see the trailer for the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which “dropped” last week? It shows Tom Cruise, as everyone’s favourite flying ace Maverick, going supersonic in jets. It shows Tom Cruise tearing across the screen on a motorbike. And it shows Tom Cruise, crucially, sp
Ted Cruz: Hollywood Censored ‘Top Gun’ Sequel for China |
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is accusing Hollywood of appeasing China in regards to the new Top Gun film that features Tom Cruise.
Trump’s foreign policy only creates crises for fictions establishment loves
President Trump hasn’t, in fact, pursued disorder for its own sake. What he has done is to discard various false foreign-policy dogmas — mostly to salutary effect.
The Bill for ‘America First’ Is Coming Due – Defense One
Two of America’s closest treaty allies have announced military efforts explicitly designed to exclude the United States.
America Doesn’t Need a Grand Strategy – Foreign Policy
Searching for the next holy grail of foreign policy is stopping the United States from solving the world’s most pressing problems.

U.S. Intelligence Chief To Step Down After Tenure Marked By Clashes With Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump is replacing the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, whose assessments of security threats from Iran and Russia were often contradicted by the president.
Trump’s intelligence chief resigned after the White House repeatedly suppressed his warnings about Russian interference, New York Times reports | Business Insider
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats repeatedly found his warnings about the threat posed by Russia suppressed by the White House, The New York Times reported Sunday amid his resignation from the post.
Dan Coats to Step Down as Intelligence Chief; Trump Picks Loyalist for Job – The New York Times
President Trump said Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas, a staunch defender of the president, would replace Mr. Coats, who was an important link to the Republican establishment.
Dan Coats to depart and John Ratcliffe will be nominated, Trump tweets – CNNPolitics
Dan Coats will step down as the director of national intelligence on August 15, President Donald Trump announced Sunday in a tweet, a departure that marks the most recent chapter in Trump’s tense and puzzling relationship with the US intelligence community.
Trump may bypass protocol to name acting intelligence chief while Ratcliffe awaits confirmation – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump may go outside the normal protocol to name an acting director of national intelligence to serve until his choice, Rep. John Ratcliffe, is confirmed, three sources tell CNN.
Doubts emerge about Trump pick for US intelligence chief
Rep. John Ratcliffe’s dearth of relevant experience may especially matter at a time when current and former government officials expect Russia to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s Pick for Top Intelligence Post Overstated Parts of His Biography – The New York Times
Aides revised old claims about Representative John Ratcliffe’s role in prosecuting a prominent terrorism case.
Can Trump’s Pick for Intel Chief Tell the President What He Needs to Hear? – Foreign Policy
Critics say John Ratcliffe may be too political to be believed as the next director of national intelligence.
Fox News Analyst Warns Trump Is ‘Locking Down The Intelligence Community for His Purposes’
“It’s more about protecting Trump than America,” Mary Anne Marsh said.
4 tasks facing the next director of intelligence
The Intelligence Authorization Act lays out several priorities Congress has for whomever replaces Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.
Barr and ‘Five Eyes’ pledge unity on ’emerging threats’ — but questions on Huawei and ISIS remain
The so-called “Five Eyes” nations agreed on a lot coming out of their security summit in London this week, but didn’t end up with concrete plans for two major challenges: the security threat posed by Chinese tech firm Huawei, and the stalemate over how to deal with thousands of foreign-born Islamic State fighters held in Syria.

Devin Nunes says 3 groups need to be examined to understand origins of Trump-Russia ‘cover-up’
Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes said there are three known groups that need to be examined to understand fully the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.
House Dems blast Trump insider in new report, allege profit motive in push for Saudi nuclear plan – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Trump Adviser Said to Have Pursued Saudi Nuclear Deal as He Sought Administration Role – The New York Times
A report from the House Oversight Committee disclosed new details of how Thomas Barrack, a close friend of the president’s, sought to employ his influence.
Trump friend with business ties to Middle East pushed to shape U.S. policy in the region, House Democratic report says – The Washington Post
A new report by the House Oversight Committee concludes that Los Angeles-based investor Thomas J. Barrack Jr. sought to influence administration policy on the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
Obama issues veiled rebuke by sharing anti-Trump op-ed accusing president of ‘poisoning our democracy’ – New York Daily News
Former President Obama on Saturday appeared to endorse an anti-President Trump commentary from former members of his administration, calling him out for “poisoning our democracy.”
Elijah Cummings: Trump blasts Baltimore-based district as ‘disgusting,’ ‘rodent infested mess’ – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump attacked another prominent African American lawmaker on Saturday, tweeting that his Baltimore district is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
Democratic debate: Left-wingers accused of playing into Trump’s hands with ‘fairytale’ policies | World | The Times
The left-wing frontrunners for the Democratic Party presidential nomination faced a sustained assault on their radical plans for America, as they were forced to fight accusations from more moderate candidates that their policies would hand President Trump a second term in the White House. Bernie San
AOC says Palestinians ‘have no choice but to riot’ against Israel | Fox News
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agreed that Israel is “criminal” in its treatment of Palestinians, whom she said have no other choice but to “riot” against the Jewish state.
Republican Danielle Stella, aiming to unseat Ilhan Omar, charged with felony | Fox News
A Minnesota congressional candidate hoping to unseat Ilhan Omar with promises of being tough on crime faces felony shoplifting charges, according to a report.
Opinion | Ilhan Omar: It Is Not Enough to Condemn Trump’s Racism – The New York Times
The nation’s ideals are under attack, and it is up to all of us to defend them.
Pro-Trump Republican aiming to unseat Ilhan Omar charged with felony theft | US news | The Guardian
Exclusive: Danielle Stella, reported to support baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, arrested twice this year over alleged shoplifting
Ilhan Omar challenger Danielle Stella charged with felony
Danielle Stella, a 31-year-old supporter of President Trump who hopes to unseat Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, was arrested twice this year in the thefts of 279 items worth more than $2,300 from a Target and $40 worth of goods from a grocery store, The Guardian reported.
Ann Coulter: How we became the world’s suckers on immigration | TheHill
Looking at our immigration policies compared to the rest of the world, you’d think America lost a bet.
The Pension Fund Apocalypse | Zero Hedge
All they have contrived is to defer the day of reckoning. Solutions are available, but none are politically palatable; meanwhile the misallocation of capital could drive the trend rate of economic growth inexorably lower.
Dershowitz: Open Letter to The New Yorker Exposes False Allegations |
As I have previously written, The New Yorker has commissioned a hit piece that seems calculated to silence my voice on President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel. Here below is a letter I sent to the editor, the writer and the fact checkers. I have received only a formal response assuring me that the article will be fair. I replied that this will be up to the readers and the courts to judge. Having been contacted by your “fact” checkers, I now understand the thrust of Connie Bruck’s hit piece: You must know there is no actual evidence that I engaged in sexual misconduct or even met my false accusers — because I did not. So, you appear determined to concoct a false narrative of my life, going back more than 40 years to my first marriage, that falsely suggests that I am the kind of person who “could” or “might” have engaged in such misconduct. To support your false narrative, you began your negative “research” – as you acknowledged to my son — by sourcing a Holocaust denial site that circulates false stories about prominent Jews, including me. You then interviewed my enemies, my critics, dissenting students and especially anti-Israel and, in some cases anti-Semitic, zealots. The original reporting, which took place over many months, did not include interviews with longtime friends and associates who know me well and can present a more balanced perspective. You agreed to speak to a handful of such people only at the last minute, after I complained to the editor. But even then when some people called you, you told them the story was closed. Let’s see if you include the positive comments that contradict your story, that some of these people relayed to you.