11:14 AM 11/22/2017 – The Real Winner in America’s Russia Crisis Is China

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Trump Makes World’s Dumbest Feud Even Dumber

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He called a UCLA basketball player’s father, “a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.”

‘Poor man’s version of Don King’: Trump continues his war of words with LaVar Ball – Washington Post

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Washington Post
‘Poor man’s version of Don King’: Trump continues his war of words with LaVar Ball
Washington Post
President Trump began the day before Thanksgiving on Twitter, calling out those who he claims have not, in fact, given him their proper thanks. His target, again: LaVar Ball, who Trump had previously called “very ungrateful” for the president’s help in …
Trump lashes out at Ball, says he is an ‘Ungrateful fool!’The Hill
‘Poor man’s Don King’: Trump takes aim at hoops dad LaVar Ball as feud escalatesFox News
Trump labels father of UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’ABC News
CBS News –New York Times –Business Insider –NBCNews.com
all 209 news articles »

9:15 AM 11/22/2017 – There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe | The Early Edition: November 22, 2017 by Pouneh Ahari

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TRUMP-RUSSIA Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team have been quizzing Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner about his interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, according to source familiar with the matter, the questions include Kushner’s possible involvement in efforts to intervene in a controversial U.N. resolution passed in December 2016 that condemned the construction … Continue reading “9:15 AM 11/22/2017 – There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe | The Early Edition: November 22, 2017 by Pouneh Ahari”

8:33 AM 11/22/2017 – Who needs and needed this scandal and this affair, cui bono? Apparently, there is a very broad range of the parties involved and maybe much broader than we could imagine 

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“Fed-up Russian oligarchs seem ready to take down Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump both“, says Bill Palmer.  With the one important and the very interesting for this valid hypothesis and scenario proviso: the Russian “oligarchs” (read: a bunch of shrewd criminals) grew in with the Russian Intelligence and Security Services into one monstrous and inseparable … Continue reading “8:33 AM 11/22/2017 – Who needs and needed this scandal and this affair, cui bono? Apparently, there is a very broad range of the parties involved and maybe much broader than we could imagine”

8:04 AM 11/22/2017 – Donald Trump, Robert Mercer, and a Russian oligarch reportedly all arrive in Palm Beach

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None 22-count indictment returned against suspect in New York City bike path terror attack – ABC News White House military personnel removed amid investigation into contacts with foreign women during Trump’s Asia trip – Washington Post Rex Tillerson’s secret survival weapon – Washington Post Russia’s interference in Kosovo has implications … Continue reading “8:04 AM 11/22/2017 – Donald Trump, Robert Mercer, and a Russian oligarch reportedly all arrive in Palm Beach”

6:58 AM 11/22/2017 – Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do?

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6:58 AM 11/22/2017 – Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do?
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6:58 AM 11/22/2017 – Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do? 

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do? Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein Supervises Mueller Probe But He’s Also A Witness – NPR Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do? – HuffPost “Secrecy World enters the White … Continue reading “6:58 AM 11/22/2017 – Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do?”

6:06 AM 11/22/2017 – “KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS: JARED KUSHNERS HORIZONS…”

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6:06 AM 11/22/2017 – “KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS: JARED KUSHNERS HORIZONS…”

6:06 AM 11/22/2017 – “KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS: JARED KUSHNERS HORIZONS…” 

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john kelly – Google Search Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 at 6:11 AM 1 Share – john kelly – Google Search Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 at 6:10 AM John Kelly – Google News 1 Share John Kelly’s folly Pittsburgh Post-Gazette–Nov 20, 2017 From the cesspool that the White House has become, Chief of Staff Robert Kelly may have emerged last month as the … Continue reading “6:06 AM 11/22/2017 – “KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS: JARED KUSHNERS HORIZONS…””

5:36 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward

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5:36 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward

5:36 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward 

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Politics: “Reuters reported earlier this year that the FBI is examining whether Gorkov suggested to Kushner that Russian banks could finance Trump associates’ business ventures if US sanctions were lifted or relaxed.” … Additional emails that he failed to turn over, according to the committee, involved communication with the anti-secrecy agency WikiLeaks and with a Belarusian-American businessman named … Continue reading “5:36 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward”

5:01 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner 

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Jared Kushner – Google Search Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 at 5:00 AM Jared Kushner – Google News 1 Share Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner Business Insider–7 hours ago Jared Kushner White House Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner arrives to address Congressional interns at the U.S. Capitol Visitors … Report: Trump, frustrated with Jared Kushner and his advice, wants … Continue reading “5:01 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner”
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★★ 150 Minutes ★★ The best of Opera ( Carmen, Traviata, Così fan Tutte, Aida etc etc ) HD – YouTube

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F.C.C. Plans Net Neutrality Repeal in a Victory for Telecoms

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Telecom and internet companies are expected to lobby hard in Washington — and directly to the public — as they did when the current rules were adopted.

Some internet companies were expected to put up a fight to prevent the proposal from taking hold. The Internet Association, an industry group, joined a legal effort in 2015 to protect the existing rules. The agency has already received 20 million public comments, many of them in opposition of changing the rules, since Mr. Pai announced the broad outlines of his thinking early this year.

The big companies that provide internet access to phones and computers have fought for years against broadband regulations. Under the new plan, broadband providers will be able to block access, slow down or speed up service for its business partners in some cases — as long as they notify customers.

“This action will return broadband in the U.S. to a regulatory regime that emphasizes private investment and innovation over lumbering government intervention,” said Joan Marsh, a vice president at AT&T.

Big online companies like Google and Facebook say the repeal proposal would allow telecom companies to play favorites by charging customers for accessing some sites or by slowing speeds to others. The existing rules were written to prevent such arrangements, adopting a policy often called net neutrality.

“We are disappointed that the proposal announced today by the F.C.C. fails to maintain the strong net neutrality protections that will ensure the internet remains open for everyone,” Erin Egan, a vice president at Facebook, said in a statement. “We will work with all stakeholders committed to this principle.”

Small online companies believe the proposal would hurt innovation, because telecom companies could force them to pay more for the faster connections. Only the largest companies, they say, would be able to afford the expense of making sure their sites received preferred treatment. Companies like Etsy and Pinterest, for example, credit their start to the promise of free and open access on the internet.

And consumers, the online companies say, may see their costs go up if, for example, they want high-quality access to popular websites like Netflix, a company that depends on fast connections for its streaming videos. Netflix said on Tuesday that it opposed Mr. Pai’s proposal.

The action “represents the end of net neutrality as we know it and defies the will of millions of Americans,” said Michael Beckerman, chief executive of the Internet Association, a lobbying group that represents Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech companies.

Mr. Pai said the current rules had been adopted to stop only theoretical harm. He said the rules limit consumer choice because telecom companies cannot offer different tiers of service, for example. As a result, he said, internet service companies cannot experiment with new business models that could help them compete with online businesses like Netflix, Google and Facebook.

“It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation,” Mr. Pai said Tuesday.

Comcast, one of the country’s biggest broadband companies, said it would not slow websites that contain legally permitted material.

“We do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content — and we will be transparent with our customers about these policies,” the company said.

In a call with reporters, F.C.C. officials said the blocking and slowing of some content could be seen as anticompetitive. Those practices, they said, would be policed by the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department.

The plan to repeal the existing rules, passed in 2015, would reverse a hallmark decision by the agency to consider broadband a public utility, as essential as phones and electricity. The earlier decision created the legal foundation for the current rules and underscored the importance of high-speed internet service. It was put in place by Tom Wheeler, an F.C.C. chairman under President Obama.

Mr. Pai, who was appointed chairman by President Trump in January, has eliminated numerous regulations during his first year.

The agency has stripped down rules governing television broadcasters, newspapers and telecom companies that were meant to protect the public interest. On Tuesday, in addition to the net neutrality rollback, Mr. Pai announced a plan to eliminate a rule limiting any corporation from controlling broadcasts that can reach more than 39 percent of American homes.

The fight over net neutrality could end up being one of his biggest and most fraught decisions. For more than a decade, the agency has struggled with how to regulate internet service, leading to extended legal battles. The rules adopted under Mr. Wheeler were upheld in 2016 by a federal appeals court in Washington.

The proposal released on Tuesday will probably make its way to court as well. And companies like Google and Facebook are expected to push the public to speak out against the plan. They coordinated a huge online protest against the possible changes in July.

Some of the lobbying could take place in Congress, even though it may change little because Republicans control both houses. Nevertheless, Democrats have vowed to try to reconstruct the strict rules adopted by the F.C.C. in 2015.

The next three weeks promise to hold intense lobbying from both sides, but that might not be the end of it. The regulation of internet providers has already swung once on a change in the Oval Office.

“As good as the F.C.C.’s action is for I.S.P.s, it only assures nonregulation of broadband through 2020,” said Paul Gallant, an analyst at the research firm Cowen.

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Erik Prince – Google Search

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Story image for Erik Prince from Politico

Former Blackwater chief to testify to House panel in Russia inquiry

Politico19 hours ago
Erik Prince, former head of security contractor Blackwater and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been scheduled to testify …
Story image for Erik Prince from The Moscow Times

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince to Appear Before Russia-Trump Probe

The Moscow Times4 hours ago
(Bloomberg) — Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater private security firm and a presence during Trump’s presidential transition, …
Story image for Erik Prince from NBCNews.com

Can Erik Prince Beat the GOP Establishment and Win a Senate Seat?

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Nov 5, 2017
Erik Prince doesn’t live in the state, he’s from the same party as the incumbent, Sen. John Barrasso, and he’s best known for founding a private …
Story image for Erik Prince from Reason (blog)

Trump Defends Roy Moore, Erik Prince Will Testify Before Congress …

Reason (blog)16 hours ago
Erik Prince Chuck Kennedy/MCT/NewscomTrump commented on allegations against Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, saying “he denies …
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There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe – Minnesota Lawyer

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President Donald Trump’s lawyer says the criminal investigation into possible collusion with Russia in last year’s election could be over by December, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is expected to continue well into next year, according to a U.S. official.

Mueller continues to gather evidence and pursue investigative leads, as shown by steps like a subpoena he sent to more than a dozen Trump campaign operatives in October, according to the official with knowledge of the investigation, who requested anonymity to speak about sensitive matters.

Ty Cobb, the top White House lawyer handling the probe, has been consistently optimistic about Mueller’s probe and its likely outcome, predicting the investigative cloud hanging over Trump and the White House should clear by early next year. “The office of special counsel is working diligently to complete its interviews” and the White House has been cooperating with the investigation to expedite its conclusion, Cobb said in an interview.

But the official with knowledge of the investigation, as well as outside legal experts, made clear that months of work still lie ahead for Mueller. For one thing, Mueller indicted Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, last month, as well as another campaign aide, Rick Gates, on charges of money laundering and other crimes. Manafort and Gates have said they aren’t guilty, and Mueller’s litigation against them is expected to continue well into 2018, the official said.

Mueller was given a broad mandate when he was appointed by the Justice Department in May to investigate whether Trump or any of his associates colluded with Russia as well as any other matters arising from that inquiry.

To build his case, Mueller has had to pursue multiple investigate angles beyond the White House, a second U.S. official said. Those include potential obstruction of justice related to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, financial dealings in the U.S. and abroad by Trump family members and associates, and Moscow’s efforts to manipulate Facebook and other social media platforms, the official said.

‘Straw man’

“This investigation will continue through 2018,” said Jeffery Cramer, a former federal prosecutor who is now managing director for Berkeley Research Group LLC.

“It seems like the White House is setting up a straw man and groundless expectations,” Cramer said. “The only running clock is the statute of limitations on any potential charges.”

Cobb has said he expects interviews with White House staff to wrap up shortly after Thanksgiving and that the vast majority of documents requested from the White House by Mueller were handed over last month.

The first official said it’s possible that Mueller’s team of more than two dozen prosecutors and FBI agents will complete an opening round of interviews with key Trump aides who worked in the White House by the end of the year, but additional interviews could be scheduled later.

Among those who have been interviewed are former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg, according to people familiar with the investigation. Mueller has also indicated he wants to speak with White House Counsel Don McGahn and communications director Hope Hicks, said another person close to the inquiry.

The recent subpoena was intended to ensure that Mueller receives all the documents he’s seeking, the first official said. Mueller’s next step is to review the materials to determine whether additional subpoenas are needed or new lines of investigation need to be opened, the official said.

The indictment against Manafort and Gates demonstrates that Mueller is methodically building cases that take time, said the second U.S. official, who also asked to remain anonymous.

Flynn, Trump Jr.

Others whose activity is under investigation include Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the second official said.

Mueller also revealed last month that he secured a cooperating witness — George Papadopoulos, a junior foreign-policy adviser to the Trump campaign who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his contacts with Russian operatives.

“Did Papadopoulos record any conversations after he pleaded guilty?” Cramer, the former prosecutor, asked. “Will Manafort cooperate to spare himself some potential prison time?”

Mueller has staffed his team “with some of the best investigators, former prosecutors, and an individual from the solicitor general’s office who has argued more Supreme Court cases than most anyone,” Cramer said. “This team was not established to take an easy plea on lying to the FBI and Manafort’s money laundering, tax evasion, and lack of proper filings.”

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There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe – Minnesota Lawyer

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Raw Story
There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe
Minnesota Lawyer
President Donald Trump’s lawyer says the criminal investigation into possible collusion with Russia in last year’s election could be over by December, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is expected to continue well into next year, according to 
WATCH: Watergate prosecutor literally laughs at Trump lawyer’s ‘fantasy’ that Muellerinvestigation is endingRaw Story

all 6 news articles »

The Early Edition: November 22, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

SYRIA

The Russian President Vladimir Putin held unannounced talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this week ahead of a summit being held today in the Russian city of Sochi with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the post-conflict scenario in Syria. Nathan Hodge reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Russian officials have stated that their aim is to ensure Assad’s support for a political process, however Assad has been resistant to granting any sort of concession to the Syrian opposition and it is unclear how far Russia would be willing to push Assad to compromise; according to a Trump administration official, the issue of a political transition was not raised during Putin’s call to Trump yesterday, which took place after Assad and Putin’s meeting. Anne Barnard reports at the New York Times.

Russia’s efforts comes as the U.S. effectively granted Russia a leading role in diplomatic initiatives this month in return for an acceptance of a continued U.S. role in Syria and, during Trump and Putin’s phone call yesterday, Putin explained that he had secured a commitment from Assad to cooperate with Russia’s initiatives, and Putin and Trump emphasized their commitment to a political settlement in Syria through the framework of the U.N.-backed peace process in Geneva. Liz Sly, Louisa Loveluck and David Filipov report at the Washington Post.

Putin also spoke with Saudi King Salman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in phone calls yesterday, according to a source in Netanyahu’s office, Putin and Netanyahu discussed Iran’s attempts to expand its influence in Syria and Israel’s opposition to this possibility. Katya Golubkova and Tom Perry report at Reuters.

The U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura called on Syrian opposition groups to come as a united delegation for Geneva talks on Nov. 28, making the comments today at the opening of a three-day conference of Syrian opposition groups being held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, the AP reports.

“There is no solution to the crisis without a Syrian consensus that would achieve the demands of the Syrian people” within the framework of the Geneva process and U.N. Security Council resolution 2254, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said today at the conference in Riyadh. Reuters reports.

A series of Syrian government airstrikes on the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area have killed dozens of people since the forces launched an offensive on the Damascus suburb – which is covered by a Russia, Turkey and Iran-brokered de-escalation agreement –last week, leaving residents fearing that they would be forced to surrender in a similar fashion to the surrender of the formerly rebel-held city of Aleppo last year. Raja Abdulrahim reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Sexual violence against men and boys has been widespread during the Syrian conflict, cuts proposed by the Trump administration to the 2018 international affair budget would worsen the situation, Sarah Chynoweth explains at the Guardian.

The Trump administration has ceded control of post-conflict planning in Syria to Russia and has not done enough to exact concessions from Putin on its core interests, in particular curbing Iran’s role in the region. Michael Crowley writes at POLITICO.

An analysis of the significance of Putin’s meeting with Assad and the dynamics of their relationship is provided by Nick Paton Walsh at CNN.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S. Treasury imposed further sanctions against North Korea yesterday and targeted Chinese individuals and entities doing business with Pyongyang, the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the U.S. is “steadfast” in its “determination to maximize economic pressure” to isolate the country. The sanctions were not directly connected to Monday’s decision to designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, Felicia Schwartz reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. decision to re-designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism was a “serious provocation and violent infringement,” North Korea’s state K.C.N.A. news agency said today, Reutersreporting.

China’s Foreign Ministry said today that it opposes unilateral sanctions in response to the U.S. Treasury announcement, Reuters reports.

North Korea violated the 1953 armistice ending the hostilities in the Korean War by pursuing a North Korean soldier who defected to the South last week, according to the findings of the U.S.-led U.N. Command, a spokesperson saying today that it had notified North Korea of the violations. Joshua Berlinger reports at CNN.

The decision to re-designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism has undermined hopes in the region of talks and diplomacy leading to a de-escalation of tensions, analysts said yesterday, also noting that sanctions would be unlikely to make a real impact and that it may make diplomacy more difficult. Choe Sang-Hun reports at the New York Times.

LEBANON

The Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said that he would “hold off” from handing in his resignation during a meeting with the Lebanese President Michel Aoun today, making the statement after an extraordinary series of events following Hariri’s unexpected resignation announcement on Nov. 4 in a televised broadcast from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, citing the role of Iran and its Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah political and militant ally as the reason behind his decision.

“Today I presented my resignation to the president and he urged me to hold onto it for more dialogue about its reasons and its political underpinnings,” Hariri explained in a televised speech today, Al Jazeera reports.

Hariri made the announcement after returning to Lebanon yesterday and there has been speculation over the circumstances of his resignation, including whether he was pressured by Saudi Arabia to resign and whether the Kingdom had restricted his freedom of movement for two weeks. Erika Solomon reports at the Financial Times.

It remains unclear whether Hariri will rescind his resignation, his return to Beirut comes following intense diplomacy by the French President Emmanuel Macron and trips to Egypt and Cyprus for meetings with their leaders. Louisa Loveluck and Suzan Haidamous report at the Washington Post.

IRAN

An Iranian national was charged by the F.B.I. yesterday for his alleged hacking of H.B.O.’s computer network, adding that the hacker had “worked on behalf of the Iranian military” to target Israeli infrastructure and nuclear software systems. Devlin Barrett reports at the Washington Post.

Iran enjoys the upper hand in every confrontation with Saudi Arabia across the Middle East, the aggressive approach by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is unlikely to achieve a turn-around unless Saud Arabia’s allies are engaged and the Kingdom embarks on a “steep learning curve in the methods of political and proxy warfare.” Jonathan Spyer writes at Foreign Policy.

IRAQ

The Islamic State group carried out a truck bomb at a market in northern Iraq yesterday, killing at least 17 people and demonstrating a return to insurgency tactics as the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate crumbles. Ghassan Adnan and Isabel Coles report at the Wall Street Journal.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. There were no reported strikes conducted on Nov. 19 in Iraq or Syria. [Central Command]

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team have been quizzing Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner about his interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, according to source familiar with the matter, the questions include Kushner’s possible involvement in efforts to intervene in a controversial U.N. resolution passed in December 2016 that condemned the construction of Israeli settlements. It is unclear why Mueller’s team – which is investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia – has been asking about the U.N. resolution, Peter Nicholas, Aruna Viswanatha and Rebecca Ballhaus report at the Wall Street Journal.

The former C.E.O. of private military contractor Blackwater, Erik Prince, is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Prince has been under scrutiny since the Washington Post reported that the U.A.E. brokered a secret meeting between Prince and a Russian close to Putin shortly before Trump’s inauguration. Kyle Cheney reports at POLITICO.

 “Critical data” was destroyed when Russian hackers breached the Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) system in the lead up to the 2016 election, the interim D.N.C. chair Donna Brazile said in an interview yesterday, the D.N.C. has pushed back on the comments saying that there was “no evidence the voter file was compromised.” Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

The U.S. would like the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) to keep their offices in Washington open, the State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said yesterday, adding that the Department are in contact with Palestinian officials amid doubts over the status of the office after the Trump administration threatened to close it due to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s call for Israeli officials to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against Palestinians. Reuters reports.

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson overruled recommendations from an annual human-trafficking report, prompting State Department officials to write a memo criticizing Tillerson for failing to include three countries in a list of those who recruit and use child soldiers. Nauert defended the Secretary of State yesterday, saying that he had based his decision on the “technical” merits of each case, Carol Morello reports at the Washington Post.

The U.S. efforts to revive the Asian “Quad” alliance must overcome obstacles to cooperation, specifically the reluctance of India to work with the U.S., Japan and Australia. Sanjeev Miglani writes at Reuters.

ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe resigned yesterday ending 37 years of rule, the former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as the new president later this week. Euan McKirdy and Dominique van Heerden report at CNN.

“We congratulate all Zimbabweans who raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue,” the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement yesterday, Olivia Beavers reporting at the Hill.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladić has been convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (I.C.T.Y.) today and has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Owen Bowcott and Julian Borger report at the Guardian.

A U.S. airstrike killed more than 100 al-Qaeda-backed al-Shabaab militants in Somalia yesterday, according to the Defense Department’s U.S. Africa Command, Jessica Donati reports at the Wall Street Journal.

A U.S. Navy transporter plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, the Navy’s 7th Fleet said today, eight of the eleven crew members have been rescued. Anna Fifield reports at the Washington Post.

More remains from the body of Sgt. La David T. Johnson were discovered on Nov. 12, the Pentagon revealed yesterday, making the discovery weeks after four Special Forces members in Niger were killed in an ambush and raising further questions about the incident. Alex Horton reports at the Washington Post.

The U.S. military has carried out two airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Libya over the past few days, the U.S. Africa Command said in a statement yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Some Afghan lawmakers and provincial representatives have expressed concern about the U.S.-Afghan air campaign on Taliban-run opium-production plants which was announced Monday, saying that the operations were misplaced, have led to civilian suffering and that the U.S. should focus on Afghanistan’s borders with Pakistan and Iran where the transit of drugs are facilitated. Pamela Constable reports at the Washington Post.

The Uranium One deal “was not a scandal” and the allegations that the Clintons played a nefarious role in the deal, which allowed a Russian state-owned company to extract uranium from the U.S., have been widely undermined. John Ritch writes at the New York Times.

Russia’s upper house today approved a bill allowing authorities to designate foreign media operating in the country as “foreign agents,” the bill was in response to a recent similar measure taken by the U.S., Reuters reports.

The acting U.S. attorney in the case against Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab said that claims that the prosecution was “being driven by domestic Turkish politics” were “ridiculous,” adding that prosecutors were not connected in any way to the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen who has been accused by the Turkish government of being the mastermind behind last year’s failed coup in Ankara. Benjamin Weiser reports at the New York Times.

An analysis of Trump’s potential picks for the Supreme Court following a “refreshed” list of names is provided by S.M. at the Economist.

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Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services – Google Search

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Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from MyPalmBeachPost

Be on lookout for Russians in submarine heading for Trump’s Mar-a …

MyPalmBeachPostNov 21, 2017
The yacht is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the former … and sense of being falsely maligned by the U.S. intelligence services. … Which is why in the interest of national security, we all need to keep an eye …
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from The Atlantic

Gangsters of the Mediterranean

The AtlanticNov 10, 2017
At a time when Russian intelligence and criminal activities have become an … as deferential to Putin’s government as the oligarchs he helped create. … of Russian state power—running guns for the security services, killing …
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from Center for Research on Globalization

How British Ministers, Spies, Oligarchs, Bankers and Russian …

Center for Research on GlobalizationNov 14, 2017
Rifkind was then chair of the Commons intelligence and security … the Russian security services – and that the Conservative Friends of Russia …
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from Mother Jones

Note to Robert Mueller: Hope Hicks Was Part of the Cover-Up

Mother JonesNov 21, 2017
Two days after Donald Trump won the election, Russian Deputy Foreign … dumped the Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence. … Michael Flynn, Trump’s top national security adviser during the campaign, prior to Election Day. … race to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a tycoon close to Putin.
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from New York Times

From Utah, Secretive Help for a Russian Oligarch and His Jet

New York TimesNov 6, 2017
The work on behalf of Mr. Mikhelson, whose gas company is under United States … a back door for evading sanctions, intelligence officials or law enforcement. … “There are serious national security risks when the F.A.A. approves an aircraft … to learn that they had aided Mr. Mikhelson, the Russian oligarch.
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from The Guardian

How Trump walked into Putin’s web

The GuardianNov 15, 2017
The “diplomat” was a British intelligence officer. … In June 1991, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic elected a … A post-communist spy agency, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, had taken …. The Washington- and London-based firms worked for oligarchs litigating against other oligarchs.
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from The Cipher Brief

What Dirt Does Russia Have on You?

The Cipher BriefNov 5, 2017
Russian intelligence officials might clandestinely lure foreign … as then head of the Russian intelligence service, the Federal Security Service or FSB, … a Russian opposition leader, allegedly posing with the exiled oligarch, …
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from Daily Beast

Senate Dems Have Been Privately Investigating Russia’s Europe …

Daily BeastNov 8, 2017
Senate Dems Have Been Privately Investigating Russia’s Europe … how these efforts are led by the government’s security services and buttressed by state-owned enterprises, Kremlin-aligned oligarchs, and Russian criminal groups that have … including in the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Democrats Working on Independent Russia Probe
U.S. News & World ReportNov 8, 2017

Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from Salon

“Secrecy World” enters the White House: What kind of person does …

Salon3 hours ago
According to a declassified intelligence assessment, Putin targeted Democrats and … The details about the illicit cash flows swirling around the Russian leader had … multiple business connections with Russian oligarchs closely allied to Putin. … Erdoğan had attacked his family’s company, Doğan Holding, …
Story image for Russian oligarchs and Russian Intelligence and Security Services from HuffPost

Jared Kushner Keeps Failing To Disclose Connections With Russians

HuffPostNov 5, 2017
… failed to disclose business ties to a Russian oligarch whose deep … Kushner failing to disclose contacts with Russians has become a familiar pattern. … from the federal form that he filled out to gain a high-level security clearance, … in July, when he met privately with the Senate IntelligenceCommittee, …
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Russian oligarchs – Google Search

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These Russian Oligarchs Are Making Donald Trump Rich

NewsweekNov 17, 2017
But that doesn’t mean that Russians aren’t investing in Trump. In fact, at least 63 Russian elites and oligarchs have invested around $100 …
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Birdwatching: The Russian Oligarch

HuffPostNov 20, 2017
Russian Oligarchs are exotic birds. Take for instance the Rybolovlev with its unique interests in potash and da Vinci. The Rybolovlev Trust is …
Story image for Russian oligarchs from Truthdig

The Democrats Used to Love Russian Oligarchs

TruthdigNov 17, 2017
It is the Democrats that have been in “collusion” with Russian oligarchs since the birth of that class out of the rubble of the Soviet collapse.
Story image for Russian oligarchs from The Hill (blog)

Russian oligarch docks yacht in Palm Beach ahead of Trump visit

The Hill (blog)Nov 18, 2017
A prominent Russian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin has docked his 500-foot yacht in the Port of Palm Beach, just days …
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Fed-up Russian oligarchs seem ready to take down Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump both 

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For decades, Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs have been steadfastly loyal to each other for one reason and one reason only: money. He’s made them richer than they ever imagined, and they’ve made him the wealthiest man in the world. However, Putin screwed it all up when his reckless behavior brought costly sanctions against Russia. Now recent developments suggest the fed-up oligarchs may be ready to take down Putin and his puppet Donald Trump.

Not everyone following the Trump-Russia scandal fully grasps this, but it’s always been all about sanctions. The United States placed heavy sanctions against Russia in 2012 after Putin and his cronies murdered a Russian dissident named Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Those sanctions have since personally cost Putin billions of dollars, and his oligarchs have all suffered financially from it as well. When Putin installed Donald Trump into the Oval Office, his primary goal was to get those sanctions lifted. Instead that plan has backfired, and the U.S. is enacting even harsher sanctions against Russia in retaliation for election meddling. That leads us to the events of this past week.

It all started when a pair of major British newspapers simultaneously ran stories claiming that Vladimir Putin is considering quitting in early 2018 so that he doesn’t have to undergo the rigors of running for reelection. These stories were both farces, because Putin has always rigged the elections he’s run in, and therefore he doesn’t need to go through any such rigors. But these two stories were planted in the media by someone. It had to have been done by the Russian oligarchs, and it had to have been for the purpose of letting Putin know that he’s on notice.

This week it was revealed that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin spoke by phone for more than an hour on Tuesday, just ten days after they held a lengthy private meeting in Asia. This suggests they’re both in panic mode, and they’re trying to calibrate their emergency responses. If the oligarchs do decide to take Putin down in order to get the United States to ease Russian sanctions, they’ll take Trump down in the process as well. We could be looking at the Pee Pee Tape after all.

The post Fed-up Russian oligarchs seem ready to take down Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump bothappeared first on Palmer Report.

Revealed: Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump and his cronies runs far deeper and wider than we ever imagined 

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For months, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s work in the Trump-Russia investigation has played out largely in the background. When it comes to the true scope and breadth of his probe, we’ve all had to wait for occasional clues to fall to us like dogs awaiting scraps from the table. However, every once in awhile a detail surfaces which helps fill in the gaps. This time around, that detail is so strikingly out of context that it shows this investigation to be vastly more sophisticated than even the most fervent of anti-Trump people were hoping.

For reasons known only to him, Robert Mueller is investigating the role that Donald Trump’s son-in-law played in a United Nations vote about Israel during the transition period, according to a new Wall Street Journal report (link). Good luck figuring out why, because there’s no context for this new revelation, and we’ve gotten nothing up to this point that would help us understand it. Simply put: Mueller knows things we don’t.

Whenever something has occasionally leaked from Mueller’s camp, it’s usually only because he strategically wants it to leak, and only after he already has a complete handle on the situation. In other words, he believes he already has Jared Kushner nailed on whatever supposed or alleged crime is involved with this United Nations vote – and now he wants Kushner to know that he knows. The end goal here is to force Kushner to cut a deal against Donald Trump, and we’re now seeing this strategy play out.

Moreover, if Robert Mueller is taking this kind of ultra-comphrehensive approach to investigating and pursuing an underling like Kushner, it means he’s taking every bit as detailed of an approach when it comes to pursuing Donald Trump. In other words, by the time we see a headline about Mueller pursuing Trump for money laundering or conspiracy against the United States, it’ll mean that Mueller believes he already has Trump nailed on those crimes. This probe runs far deeper than we ever imagined – and it’s progressed far ahead of where we thought.

The post Revealed: Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump and his cronies runs far deeper and wider than we ever imagined appeared first on Palmer Report.

Military Staff Removed From White House After ‘Incident’ On Trump’s Asia Trip: Report

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The Huffington PostMilitary Staff Removed From White House After ‘Incident’ On Trump’s Asia Trip: Report

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How did 1917 change the west? – Open Democracy

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Open Democracy
How did 1917 change the west?
Open Democracy
Failed utopias lead to the death of idealism, and the likes of Putin and Trump are symbols of thisprocess. As we watch … Slipping into the first person – reckoning with my place in the order of things – allows me to admit another awkwardness that 

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Russia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do?

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The Huffington PostRussia Wanted Trump As President And It Got Him. Now What Does America Do?

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Mueller investigating Kushner’s communication with foreign leaders: report | TheHill

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators are looking into White House senior adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his contact with foreign leaders, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller’s team is probing Kushner’s involvement in the controversy surrounding a U.N. resolution passed in December 2016 that condemned Israeli settlement construction.

Trump, who was president-elect at the time, called for the US to veto the resolution, saying the resolution was “extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

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The UN Security Council passed the resolution days later as the US abstained from vetoing it.

The Journal reports that Israeli officials reached out to several top officials involved in Trump’s transition, including Kushner and former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, and that Mueller’s probe is asking questions about those overtures.

Mueller’s investigators are also looking into Kushner’s role in setting up meetings and communication with foreign leaders during Trump’s transition, according to the Journal.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Kushner turned over documents to Mueller’s team as the special counsel began looking into his role in Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

Kushner has repeatedly figured into the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election due to his presence at meetings last year with Russian officials and representatives. The Washington Post reported earlier this year that Mueller was looking into the Kushner’s business dealings and finances.

Kushner held two meetings with Russians in the month before Trump took office — one with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and another with Sergey Gorkov, the chairman of a state-owned Russian bank.

Kushner, alongside Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MOREJr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, also attended a meeting during the 2016 election at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The senior adviser has also come under fire for repeatedly updating his security clearance disclosure form to include more than 100 names of foreign contacts he’s held meetings or had contact with.

Kushner has denied any wrongdoing or improper communications with Russia during the 2016 election.

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Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner – Business Insider

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Business Insider
Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner
Business Insider
Jared Kushner White House Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner arrives to address Congressional interns at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law …
Mueller investigating Kushner’s communication with foreign leaders: reportThe Hill
“Kelly Has Clipped his Wings”: Jared Kushner’s Horizons Are Collapsing within the West WingVanity Fair
Kushner Worried Mueller’s Probe Would ‘Get’ President TrumpNewsweek
New York Daily News –Wall Street Journal –Washington Examiner –The Week Magazine
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john kelly – Google Search

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john kelly – Google Search

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John Kelly’s folly

Pittsburgh Post-GazetteNov 20, 2017
From the cesspool that the White House has become, Chief of Staff Robert Kelly may have emerged last month as the saddest man in …
Today in Trumpworld — Nov. 21
Politico20 hours ago

Story image for john kelly from Washington Post

For Latino Democrats, fight for ‘dreamers’ underscores tense …

Washington PostNov 19, 2017
… members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus hoped John F. Kelly would be an administration official with whom they could have a good …
Story image for john kelly from Vanity Fair

Kelly Has Clipped his Wings”: Jared Kushner’s Horizons Are …

Vanity Fair13 hours ago
When Donald Trump appointed John Kelly as chief of staff in July, the four-star Marine general arrived with a mandate to bring order to a …
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Palestinians Cut Donald Trump and Jared Kushner Contact After Closure of Washington Office

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The Palestinians have severed all contacts with officials from the Trump administration after it decided to close their official representation in Washington, dealing a blow to any potential resurrection of peace talks with Israel.

Last week, the State Department declined to renew the permit for the office operated by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington. The PLO is viewed in the international community as the official representative of the Palestinians.

“What is the use of holding any meetings with them when they close our office? Our meetings begin from our office, and the arrangements are there,” Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP news agency Tuesday.

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“In practice by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official.”

The note sent by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to official departments and embassies said that “any meeting with an American official is banned regardless of the reason until they back down and treat us fairly,” Bloomberg reported.

The decision means that no Palestinian official will be able to meet with President Donald Trump, his key Middle East adviser Jason Greenblatt, or his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who has been tasked with trying to find a solution to the conflict, while the temporary freeze is in place.

A PLO official and an official in Abbas’ office were not available for comment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the reports. A State Department official, not authorized to comment publicly on the matter, told Newsweek in an email, “We continue to be in contact with Palestinian officials about the status of the PLO office in Washington as well as about our larger efforts to advance a lasting and comprehensive peace. These discussions are ongoing.”

In this handout image provided by the Palestinian Press Office, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump in Ramallah, West Bank, on June 21. Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty

The justification for closing the office is that the Palestinians are threatening to submit cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) about Israel and alleged war crimes.

Rights groups have condemned what they say is the Palestinians’ right to seek an ICC decision on Israel’s conduct during the seven-week 2014 Gaza War, in which its forces were accused of not taking adequate measures to protect civilian live. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed in the ground invasion and aerial bombing of the territory known as Operation Protective Edge. Israel says many of those killed were militants.

“The U.S. threat to close the PLO’s mission in Washington as punishment for seeking justice at the ICC makes any U.S. commitment to justice for serious crimes seem at best selective,” said Omar Shakir, the rights group’s researcher on the conflict.

“Ongoing impunity for such crimes during Israel’s 50-year-occupation stands as a major barrier to a durable, just peace. The Trump administration should stop pressuring Palestine to abandon support for a credible, long overdue path to justice.”

Trump, who has said he wants to strike the “ultimate deal” in negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians after decades of conflict, now has 90 days to decide if “the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel,” and perform a U-turn on the decision to close the office.

Trump and his advisers have reportedly begun work on a Middle East peace plan that seeks to end years of stalemate in part fueled by Israel’s continued military occupation of parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian failure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in nature, as well as what Israel says is incitement for attacks against Jews.

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“KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS”: JARED KUSHNER’S HORIZONS ARE COLLAPSIng – Google Search

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“Kelly Has Clipped his Wings”: Jared Kushner’s Horizons Are Collapsing within the West Wing

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Kushner and Kelly walk along the South Lawn on August 3, 2017.

By Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

When Donald Trump appointed John Kelly as chief of staff in July, the four-star Marine general arrived with a mandate to bring order to a freewheeling West Wing. Gone are the days of staffers waltzing into the Oval Office to lobby the president on policy or supply him with gossip. Trump still tweets, of course, but for the most part Kelly’s cleanup has been successful, according to interviews with a half dozen Trump advisers, current and former West Wing officials, and Republicans close to the administration. The aide who has ceded the most influence in the Kelly era, these people said, is Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. “Kelly has clipped his wings,” one high-level Republican in frequent contact with the White House told me.

It’s perhaps hard to remember now, but it wasn’t long ago when Trump handed Kushner a comically broad portfolio that included plans to reinvent government, reform the V.A., end the opioid epidemic, run point on China, and solve Middle East peace. But since his appointment, according to sources, Kelly has tried to shrink Kushner’s responsibilities to focus primarily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And even that brief appears to be creating tensions between Kushner and Kelly. According to two people close to the White House, Kelly was said to be displeased with the result of Kushner’s trip to Saudi Arabia last month because it took place just days before 32-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested 11 Saudi royals, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin TalalThe Washington Post reported that Kushner and M.B.S., as the prince is known, stayed up till nearly 4 a.m. “planning strategy,” which left Kelly to deal with the impression that the administration had advance knowledge of the purge and even helped orchestrate it, sources told me. (Asked about this, Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded, in part: “Chief Kelly and Jared had a good laugh about this inquiry as nothing in it is true.”)

Where this all leaves Kushner in Trump’s ever-changing orbit is a topic that’s being discussed by Republicans close to the White House. During Kelly’s review of West Wing operations over the summer, the chief of staff sought to downsize Kushner’s portfolio, two sources said. In the early days of the administration, sometimes with the help of a small cadre of Ivy League whiz kids who staff his Office of American Innovation, Kushner dreamed up scores of business “councils” that would advise the White House. “The councils are gone,” one West Wing official told me. With some of their purview being whittled away, “they seem lost,” the official added.

As Kushner’s Russia troubles mount—last Friday the Senate disclosed that he had not turned over e-mails about WikiLeaks, a claim his attorney, Abbe Lowell, denied—insiders are again speculating, as my colleague Emily Jane Fox reported last month, about how long Kushner and Ivanka Trump will remain in Washington. Despite Kushner’s efforts to project confidence about Robert Mueller’s probe, he expressed worry after the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates about how far the investigation could go. “Do you think they’ll get the president?” Kushner asked a friend, according to a person briefed on the conversation.

According to two Republicans who have spoken with Trump, the president has also been frustrated with Kushner’s political advice, including his encouragement to back losing Alabama G.O.P. candidate Luther Strange and to fire F.B.I. Director James Comey, which Kushner denies. (For what it’s worth, Kushner’s choice of Strange prevented Trump from the embarrassment of inadvertently supporting Roy Moore.) Trump, according to three people who’ve spoken to him, has advocated for Jared and Ivanka to return to New York in part because they are being damaged by negative press. “He keeps pressuring them to go,” one source close to Kushner told me. But as bad as the Russia investigation may be, it’s not clear a New York homecoming would be much better for Kushner, given that his family’s debt-ridden office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue could be headed for bankruptcy.

This article has been updated to include a comment from the White House.

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Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner

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Jared KushnerWhite House Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner arrives to address Congressional interns at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has reportedly landed in Mueller’s crosshairs.
  • Mueller’s team has begun to question witnesses about some of Kushner’s conversations and meetings with foreign leaders during the transition.
  • Investigators are also homing in on Kushner’s role in pushing Trump to fire former FBI Director James Comey in May.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is turning up the heat on President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, as he examines potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May.

Mueller’s team has reportedly questioned witnesses about some of Kushner’s conversations and meetings with foreign leaders during the transition, when he famously hosted former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower and asked whether it would be possible to set up a backchannel line of communication to Moscow.

Kislyak then orchestrated a meeting between Kushner and the CEO of Russia’s Vnesheconombank, Sergei Gorkov, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank’s management team, Bloomberg reported last year.

The Kremlin and the White House have provided conflicting explanations for why Kushner met with Gorkov. Reuters reported earlier this year that the FBI is examining whether Gorkov suggested to Kushner that Russian banks could finance Trump associates’ business ventures if US sanctions were lifted or relaxed.

Federal investigators are also examining Kushner’s role in blocking a UN resolution that would have condemned Israel for building settlements in disputed territories, according to The Wall Street Journal, and whether Kushner advised Trump to fire Comey last spring. Kushner reportedly gave Mueller’s team documents related to Comey’s firing earlier this month.

Four people told The Journal that Kushner “pushed” Trump to fire the former FBI director in conversations with the president and his top advisers. His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, downplayed Kushner’s involvement.

“When the president made the decision to fire FBI Director Comey, Mr. Kushner supported it,” Lowell said in a statement.

Kushner has come under heightened scrutiny since last week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee said he forwarded emails about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Trump campaign officials and failed to produce those emails to lawmakers investigating Russia’s election interference.

Additional emails that he failed to turn over, according to the committee, involved communication with the anti-secrecy agency WikiLeaks and with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian. Millian most recently headed a group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.

The Journal reported in September that members of Trump’s legal team wanted Kushner to resign from his position as a senior adviser because of his controversial meetings with Russian nationals during the election and his initial failure to disclose them on his security clearance form.

Kushner has had to revise the form several times, at one point adding more than 100 foreign contacts that he initially failed to disclose. He still does not have a permanent security clearance, which experts say is rare for a senior official who has been in the White House for nearly a year.

They began pushing for his ouster when they became aware of Kushner’s attendance at a meeting organized by his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last June with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. Kushner was the only one at the meeting who currently holds a White House job.

One of Trump’s main lawyers in the probe, John Dowd, told The Journal that he “didn’t agree” with some of his colleagues’ view that Kushner should resign.

“I thought it was absurd,” Dowd said. “I made my views known.”

In an 11-page statement provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee in late July detailing his Russian contacts during the campaign and transition period, Kushner said he “did not recall” the meeting with Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin until he began “reviewing documents and emails in response to congressional requests for information.”

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Mueller Investigating Kushner Foreign Contacts – The Forward

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Investigators employed by special counsel Robert Mueller are looking into presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner’s conversations with Israeli officials during the presidential transition process, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Last December, the Obama administration chose not to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution that was critical of Israeli settlement construction. In the run-up to that vote, Israeli leaders reportedly made contact with several top Trump officials, including Kushner and Steve Bannon, in order to get Trump to help stop either the vote or the Obama administration’s plan not to veto it. Those contacts are the one of the subjects of Mueller’s line of inquiry, the Journal reported.

Kushner, whom President Trump charged with forging an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, is known to be close with Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who once slept in Kushner’s childhood bedroom.

Mueller’s team is reportedly also looking at Kushner’s role in setting up other meetings and discussions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, as well as his role in the firing of FBI director James Comey.

Kushner encouraged Trump to fire Comey, according to multiple reports. The president reportedly now blames him for giving him that advice, which ultimately lead to Mueller’s appointment.

While inquiries about the Israeli government may seem far removed from Mueller’s mandate to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Journal noted that “investigators typically ask a host of questions over the course of a probe, and inquiries don’t necessarily indicate suspicion. Mr. Kushner figures into several events that Mr. Mueller is investigating, including a June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer at Trump Tower” — which Kushner originally failed to disclose on his security clearance forms.

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink

Jared Kushner – Google Search

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Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner

Business Insider7 hours ago
Jared Kushner White House Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner arrives to address Congressional interns at the U.S. Capitol Visitors …
Special Counsel Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With …
Highly CitedWall Street Journal10 hours ago
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Vanity Fair

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The Week Magazine

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Newsweek

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New York Daily News

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Washington Examiner

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The Hill
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Jared Kushner Loves Using Smiley Faces And Exclamation Points …

Newsweek9 hours ago
Jared Kushner, one of President Donald Trump’s closest advisors and the man who has been tasked with brokering peace in the Middle East, …
Story image for Jared Kushner from Newsweek

Palestinians Cut Donald Trump and Jared Kushner Contact After …

Newsweek18 hours ago
The Palestinians have severed all contacts with officials from the Trump administration after it decided to close their official representation in …
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In Russia scandal, Kushner finds himself in an awkward spot

MSNBC14 hours ago
To paraphrase a Simon Maloy joke, if I had a dime for every time Jared Kushner failed to disclose pertinent information, Republicans would try …
Trump Jr. met with man with close ties to Kremlin
Highly CitedCBS NewsNov 20, 2017
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Kushner Worried Mueller’s Probe Would ‘Get’ President Trump – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Kushner Worried Mueller’s Probe Would ‘Get’ President Trump
Newsweek
Jared Kushner was worried about his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, reportedly asking a friend about the ongoing Russia probe: “Do you think they’ll get the president?” The businessman and adviser to the president was reportedly concerned about …
Report: Mueller Probing Kushner’s Talks With Foreign LeadersDaily Beast
US investigator Mueller probing Kushner’s contacts with Israelis — reportThe Times of Israel
WSJ: Mueller’s Team Investigating Kushner’s Contact With Foreign LeadersTPM

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Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward

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Forward
Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials
Forward
Investigators employed by special counsel Robert Mueller are looking into presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner’s conversations with Israeli officials during the presidential transition process, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Last 
Report: Mueller probing Kushner contacts with foreign leadersAxios

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US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan – Washington Post

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US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan
Washington Post
TOKYO — A U.S. Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the Pacific Ocean southeast of the Japanese island of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon, the 7th Fleet said. The aircraft was traveling to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, …
Aircraft carrying 11 crashes in Pacific Ocean on way to USS Ronald ReaganFox News
US Navy aircraft crashes into ocean off Okinawa with 11 on boardCBS News
US Navy aircraft carrying 11 crashes into the Pacific OceanLos Angeles Times
Mirror.co.uk –USA TODAY –Daily Mail
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Russian baritone Hvorostovsky dies at 55 – The Washington Post

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November 22 at 3:37 AM

MOSCOW — Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 55.

Hvorostovsky’s office said in a statement Wednesday that the acclaimed singer “died peacefully” earlier and was “surrounded by family” near his home in London.

“May the warmth of his voice and his spirit always be with us,” the statement said.

Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015, the beloved Russian baritone had all but given up live performances. In June, the Vienna State Opera announced that he had cancelled all upcoming performances.

Hvorostovsky made an unscheduled appearance in front of a rapturous audience at Metropolitan Opera in New York in May to perform an aria from Rigoletto, one of his trademark parts.

U.S. Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan, 8 rescued

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Puerto Rico Economic Development Dept. promotes investment in medical cannabis market – Caribbean Business

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SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy announced Monday that the island was presented to some 14,000 “world leaders” of the medicinal cannabis market as an ideal investment destination.

The island’s pitch was given during the sixth annual Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, a major industry event, held this year in Las Vegas.

“The medical cannabis industry survived Hurricane María. This puts this industry in a privileged position, and at DDEC [Spanish acronym for the Economic Development & Commerce Department] we believe we had to let the world know. Therefore, through the Puerto Rico Medical Cannabis Association [PRMCA] we backed a commercial mission to present Puerto Rico as an investment destination and an ideal international market for medicinal cannabis,” Laboy said in a written statement.

Puerto Rico Medicinal Cannabis Assoc. working with gov’t to explore hemp’s potential

“This effort also served to demonstrate to the pioneers and connoisseurs of this market, who gathered to discuss the latest trends in the industry, that Puerto Rico is up, strengthened and ready to develop this industry so it represents opportunities for the country’s economic growth, generates jobs and provides alternatives for medical treatment to so many patients who need relief from their chronic conditions,” the official added.

Laboy Rivera said that after Hurricane María, the cannabis market, like other industries, faced challenges to be able to conserve crops and continue distribution, as well as working on an ecosystem that involves manufacturing, cultivation, laboratories, dispensaries and education.

“It is extremely important and necessary to deliver the message that Puerto Rico has taken measures to protect the industry and is doing everything necessary to continue developing it at the highest level of quality and competitiveness,” the secretary said.

He added that, during the event, funds were also raised to subsidize the cost of medicine for patients registered in the Medical Cannabis Program in Puerto Rico and to have new patients join it free of cost.

The effort is supported by celebrities such as Montel Williams, a multiple sclerosis patient and Emmy-winning TV personality who, through his LenitivLabs, established a fundraising alliance with the PRMCA.

Puerto Rico revenue projections from medical cannabis called ‘very optimistic’

“We have the ecosystem ready to continue with the production of medicinal cannabis to supply local demand and forge alliances with international business people, which will result in new investments for Puerto Rico. This industry has many opportunities to continue growing, develop new businesses related to this activity and become a significant source of jobs for the country,” PRMCA President Ingrid Schmidt said.

According to PRMCA estimates, the cannabis industry in Puerto Rico has generated more than $35 million for the economy and more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in its short development period.

According to Health Department reports, there are about 12,000 PRMCA-registered patients, who are being treated for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, arthritis and cancer, among other conditions.

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Countering Russian Information Operations in the Age of Social Media

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As investigations into attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election continue, more aspects of Russia’s approach to information warfare are coming to light. A steady stream of new disclosures is revealing a complex blend of hacking, public disclosures of private emails, and use of bots, trolls, and targeted advertising on social media designed to interfere in political processes and heighten societal tensions.

Moscow’s hostile actions are driven by the belief that Russia is already in a state of conflict with the West, led by the United States, and that the internet is a domain for waging this conflict. From the earliest stages of the internet’s development, Russia has held a starkly different view from the West of its benefits and its potential. Russia’s national security establishment immediately saw connectivity as a threat and a potential weapon—and eventually as one that could help achieve regime change and deprive a country of its sovereignty—rather than as an enabler of economic development.

The organization of Russia’s information-warfare capabilities, which include cyber operators, media outlets, and false flag entities, is shrouded in secrecy. In the West, generally only the intelligence community has a clear picture of how Russian capabilities are directed. Barring the sudden appearance of a Russian counterpart to Edward Snowden, the only view into Russia’s information toolbox is provided by cybersecurity companies and criminal prosecutions. The picture is further muddied because the Russian government keeps many of its cyberwarfare actors at arm’s length by employing contractors and former criminals through middlemen, giving Moscow a degree of deniability if caught.

Nevertheless, both Western governments and private industry can take steps to mitigate Russian influence operations. Western governments should swiftly and decisively denounce Russian information activities as soon as they are identified, and their counterintelligence agencies should identify quantitative means to measure the effectiveness of Russia’s methods. Social media companies should more aggressively police their platforms for malicious state-sponsored content, and they should work with news organizations to promote verified and fact-checked content on their platforms.

Background

Russia’s long-standing, overall foreign policy objective is to weaken adversaries, particularly countries on its periphery, those in NATO, and the United States, by any means available, and its information warfare targets social cohesion and political systems toward this aim. During the twentieth century, the Soviet Union exploited freedom of expression in the West by planting and spreading fake news stories. In the last decade, the rise of social media has made this task vastly simpler. And at least since 2016, Moscow has also exploited the sophisticated advertising networks used by legitimate companies and political campaigns to precisely target audiences for disinformation.

Russia worked toward this objective during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, when Russian agents combined technical and psychological measures to sway U.S. voters away from Hillary Clinton and toward Donald J. Trump. Hackers obtained documents and selectively released them to embarrass the Clinton campaign, while their carefully targeted social media operations denigrated Clinton and boosted the Trump agenda.

Russia attempted similar campaigns during the French election in May 2017, but a forewarned French government and media meant that the activities met with only limited technical success and had no significant bearing on the election result. French law prohibits candidates from campaigning and the media from quoting candidates or campaign officials within forty-four hours of a presidential vote. That prevented the French media from disclosing the contents of emails leaked from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in the hours before the vote. French media users also tend to get their news from traditional outlets rather than social media, which further limited the leak’s effectiveness.

It is harder to discern whether or how Russia meddled in the German elections in September 2017. One possible explanation is that after the French experience, Russia chose not to interfere in Germany; another is that Russia did attempt to interfere, but the techniques used were more subtle and are not yet fully understood. (Many of the implements used in the U.S. election are only becoming widely known a year after the event.) But even if Russia’s potential election manipulation is unsuccessful or entirely absent, just its suggestion is enough to cause uncertainty and doubt about the democratic process and hence meet Russia’s objectives.

Russian attempts to sow discord are not confined to elections. Attempts to meddle in U.S. internal affairs have continued since the election. Most recently, Russian internet trolls published divisive messages on social media in response to the controversy over NFL players’ kneeling during the national anthem. According to the research group Alliance for Securing Democracy, more than six hundred Russian-backed accounts promoted hashtags aimed at fueling the debate.

The digital processing of personal data, including browsing history and consumer spending, enables anyone to precisely target selected groups and individuals by geographic location and socioeconomic status. In particular, malicious actors are able to show contradictory messages to different groups of users, categorized by political, ethnic, religious, or demographic characteristics, in order to play on existing tensions within target societies. Information is slowly emerging about the extent to which this method was employed by Russian-linked entities during and after the U.S. presidential election, but its overall effect remains unclear.

Cyber-enabled disinformation can have a measurable objective and effect. One method is for hackers to insert false reports in genuine media outlets. For example, in May 2017, a malicious actor suspected to be from Russia compromised the website of a Qatari state media outlet to attribute to the emir of Qatar remarks praising Iran. This triggered a diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors.

Challenges

The social media ecosystem provides an ideal environment for hostile information campaigns. The more incendiary the information is, the more likely it is to go viral. Many users have lost trust in established news outlets, and they tend to consume information that affirms, rather than informs, their views.

Russia has no need to create new divisions in target societies when it can exploit already-existing fault lines. For example, Russian-backed efforts amplified the controversy about the NFL and the national anthem by promoting the most divisive and extreme voices in the debate. Now, as during the Cold War, the strongest defense against malign Russian influence is to identify the divisions and social ills that provide Russia with leverage. Remedies to these problems are complex and require significant resources and time. However, the Trump administration has shown little interest in confronting Russian cyber operations, and the president himself is actively engaged in the divisive use of social media.

Western states also depend on multinational corporations to constrain information warfare operations. Immediately after the election, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other tech companies denied that their services could have been manipulated by disinformation campaigns. More recently, though, they have acknowledged the scope of Russian operations and have been working with third parties to flag fake news, and they have rolled out technological fixes to counter disinformation and provided limited data on the source of advertisement purchases. Critics in the media and Congress have argued that these companies’ responses have been “frankly inadequate on almost every level” and are unlikely to succeed.

Recommendations

Although the Trump administration seems unlikely to pursue action against Russian information operations, there are steps the U.S. Congress and other governments should consider.

Awareness of the challenge of Russian information warfare is the most potent defense against it. Western nations were initially slow to respond to the multifaceted nature of Russia’s developing online capabilities. The focus in the West was almost exclusively on countering technical threats delivered through cyberspace, such as economic crime, espionage, and attacks on critical infrastructure. This approach neglected the additional capabilities that Russia was building up in other areas of information warfare.

More recently in Europe, however, increasing awareness of the threat has enabled society, media, and governments to put appropriate defenses in place. In Germany, public awareness and interest in hostile information operations had been aroused by the “Lisa” case, in which Russia attempted to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment. The media blackout in France helped blunt the effect of Russia’s interference in the presidential election; but Macron’s campaign was also aware of Russia’s attempts to influence the outcome and took countermeasures. Leaders in other Western nations should be open and outspoken about the nature of the challenge, as doing so has been shown to be highly effective in raising public awareness and decreasing potential targets’ susceptibility to information operations.

Another essential step to countering information warfare is for governments targeted by Russian influence operations to develop a metric of damage that acknowledges a range of objectives, including influencing elections. Countries including the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom have made little visible effort to quantify the success and effectiveness of Russia’s subversion and disinformation campaigns. This raises the risk that targeted governments could misdirect resources and countermeasures against ineffective threats that could reasonably be simply monitored, while overlooking other threats that could cause actual harm.

Once harmful information operations are identified, targeted states should quickly denounce them, both to minimize their effectiveness and to deter other actors that might want to conduct Russian-style operations. Policymakers should also warn other states tempted to combine cyberattacks with social media manipulation that exposure and response will be much more rapid and effective than they were in the 2016 election.

On computers, antivirus software monitors the integrity of critical systems and processes, assessing whether they have been affected by malicious data introduced from outside. Governments should develop an analogous system of identifying sources of misinformation and mapping how they influence online discourse and public opinion. This would allow them to properly assess any effect of Russian subversion on public debate. While the government agency that would conduct this monitoring would vary among countries, in each case the security and counterintelligence agencies responsible for protecting the security and integrity of state systems would need to provide support. The costs involvedin implementing such measures would be a disincentive for any Western government, but they should be weighed against the costs of the loss of political legitimacy, integrity, or, indeed, sovereignty.

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have an important role to play in mitigating the effects of Russian messaging, but their primary objective is generating profits, not defending Western political systems. Attempts to introduce legislation or regulations to restrict online speech, even if they were targeted at Russian disinformation and trolls, could mirror Russian constraints on free expression and could be interpreted as running counter to the values Western societies seek to defend. Nevertheless, tech platforms have an interest in taking firm steps to prevent, for example, the hijacking of profiles of legitimate organizations and individuals for the purpose of disinformation. They also have an interest in cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, as this could provide them with greater understanding of how their systems are abused to systematically deceive their users, as well as of software bugs and other technical vulnerabilities in their products.

To address the specific problem of disinformation, social media companies should continue partnering with journalists and fact-checkers to build trust, even though this is only effective for media-literate users who take the time and effort to assess the legitimacy of sources. The extent that governments can guide such efforts will vary among countries, depending on their constitutional systems and media cultures. In the United States, for instance, the First Amendment greatly limits what the U.S. government can do to vet online media. But where government action is permissible, national media bodies, such as the United Kingdom’s Independent Press Standards Organization and the Office of Communications, should implement proposals for an open review and verification system for online media with the aim of establishing a gold standard for fact-checking and objectivity. Whichever approach countries choose to take, they should recognize that any anti-disinformation system needs protection against the same kind of gaming and abuse as any other open forum to which Russia has access.

To combat the particular challenge of how human psychology is exploited by social media disinformation, governments’ responses should be as interesting as the fake news they are countering. Simple explanations that a particular piece of news is false are not sufficient to engage target audiences. Countermeasures should focus not on fact-checking but on the deceit—emphasizing that people were conned—and, like the original disinformation, should appeal to readers’ emotions rather than their rationality, in order to be effective.

Russian information operations pose a difficult but not insurmountable challenge to targeted governments. But countermeasures should be flexible and adaptable: any success in countering Moscow’s operations will invariably cause the Kremlin to deploy new capabilities. If defenders are not prepared to be alert and agile, they will once more be taken by surprise.

This Cyber Brief is part of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy programThe Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. All views expressed in its publications and on its website are the sole responsibility of the author or authors.

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A Kremlin Defender in Congress Finds Challenges on All Sides – New York Times

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New York Times
A Kremlin Defender in Congress Finds Challenges on All Sides
New York Times
WASHINGTON — For two decades, Representative Dana Rohrabacher has been of value to the Kremlin, so valuable in recent years that the F.B.I. warned him in 2012 that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source worthy of a Kremlin code name.

Spy Circles Suggest Kremlin Is Behind Dozens of Fake Trump Sex Tapes

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President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7, 2017. MIKHAIL KLIMENTIEV/AFP/Getty Images

Attempting to get to the bottom of a complex espionage case, untangling multiple strands of secret agentry, is the most challenging exercise in all intelligence work. It taxes the minds of the most gifted counterspies, particularly when the operation extends over years, even decades, and it involves a complex cast of players, some of them Russian.

A half-century ago, when our Intelligence Community was assessing if there were Kremlin moles inside our spy agencies (spoiler: there were), a nasty bureaucratic fight ensued that dragged on for years. The protagonist was James Angleton, the CIA’s top counterspy for two decades, who coined the term “wilderness of mirrors” to describe the impenetrable mystery of certain espionage operations. In typical Angletonian flourish, he borrowed the phrase from a T. S. Eliot poem to capture the enduring mystery of never quite grasping up from down in a case, or knowing who’s really running the show—and looking at it too closely only leads to more confusion.

I’ve previously written about Angleton’s “wilderness of mirrors,” since it remains a fascinating saga still, and I noted how tricky the counterspy game can be:

One of the alluring aspects of counterintelligence is that very complex cases can turn on very small, sometimes minute, pieces of information. And years of getting to the bottom of an operation can be swiftly overturned when one tiny—and possibly very inconvenient—fact comes to light. This is particularly a possibility when what exactly happened in a case proves hard to pin down. As most cases involving the Russians are.

This is relevant today, since between Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the efforts of our Intelligence Community, the secret side of Washington, D.C., is currently engaged in the biggest counterintelligence investigation since the days of VENONA in the early Cold War, when the FBI and NSA unraveled a vast Kremlin spy apparatus in our country, centered in our nation’s capital.

Seventy years later, it’s the same story, except this time the targets include not just senior White House officials—VENONA revealed that Soviet moles had burrowed deep and high into FDR’s four administrations—but the man in the Oval Office himself. Just exactly what President Donald Trump’s relationship to Moscow is constitutes the cornerstone of the inquiry, and that’s a vexing and complex question, because it requires close examination of Trump’s activities at least going back to 1987, when he took a trip to the Soviet Union.

No part of the investigation has gotten more rubber-necking than any kompromat that the Russians may possess on our president. I’m talking, of course, about the alleged “pee-pee tape” that caught the public’s attention when it was posited by the former British spy Christopher Steele in his now-infamous dossier on Donald Trump, which has become a lightning rod for all sorts of speculation, not necessarily informed.

As I’ve written about the Steele dossier, although a great deal of its raw intelligence has turned out to be true, large portions reek of disinformation— including the most salacious bits. As I explained:

The dossier’s “pee-pee tape” claim is viewed with derision by most Western spies who know the Russians. It’s very likely that the Kremlin possesses kompromat on the president—senior intelligence sources from several countries have confirmed to me that unpleasant videos of Trump exist—yet there’s no reason to believe Steele’s particular claim here, without corroborating evidence.

So, Steele’s porn-worthy allegation appears to be untrue, but the idea that our president has acted out in sexually controversial (and perhaps illegal) ways—and that somebody has filmed it—is taken very seriously by intelligence experts. Ever since Trump announced his candidacy for the White House in June 2015, espionage gossip everywhere has bandied about what might exist to corroborate decades of rumors about Trump’s antics.

It’s plausible that such kompromat exists, given our president’s lifestyle. Forty years ago, when he was partying at Manhattan’s Studio 54 at its cocaine-fueled heyday alongside celebrities and hangers-on (including the just-indicted Paul Manafort and the swinging Roger Stone), it was a wild scene of which Trump boasted: “I would watch supermodels getting screwed, well-known supermodels getting screwed, on a bench in the middle of the room. There were seven of them and each one was getting screwed by a different guy.”

Then there are the allegations that the president’s penchant for pretty girls does not always pay attention to the age of consent. One woman who’s claimed that Trump raped her when she was just 13 years old has repeatedly filed suit against the president, only to drop the case each time, most recently last year. That’s connected to the mysterious case of Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire hedge-funder and convicted sex offender, whose “friends list” reads like a who’s-who of the male half of America’s rich and powerful.

President Trump is on that list, and rumors have swirled for years about his participation in Epstein’s underage sex escapades. There appear to be connections between Epstein’s debased antics and Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort, now termed “the winter White House.” Hard facts remain elusive, however, and perhaps the media’s lack of ardor for getting to the bottom of this sordid case may have something to do with the fact that Epstein’s pals are a powerful bunch—and Bill Clinton is mixed up in this too.

To sum up, the idea that President Trump has been caught on tape doing something sordid is inherently in the realm of the possible. But has he been? Here’s where things get tricky, fast. I’ve investigated this issue for the past couple years. I’ve talked to dozens of well-placed sources (many of them longtime spy-friends), and I can share with you some basic conclusions.

As many as a dozen intelligence services worldwide, on four continents, are in possession of some sort of “Trump tape” featuring sexual escapades of a controversial nature; in some cases, the women involved appear to be underage. Some of these tapes have been shared with the Mueller investigation.

One Western intelligence agency with a solid professional reputation is in possession of an unpleasant Trump tape that they assess “with high confidence” is bona fide, i.e. exactly what it appears to be. They obtained the tape from a trusted source who plausibly had access to it. Over the decades, Trump has traveled widely—including to Russia more than once—and thereby exposed himself to surreptitious filming in numerous countries.

However, here’s the rub: Many of the “Trump tapes” floating around in spy circles worldwide cannot be verified, while some of them are obvious fakes. The Western spy agency that’s holding a Trump tape they’re pretty sure is real has also been approached two other times with tapes that were less solid—and one of them was transparently fake.

It’s obvious to savvy Western counterspies that someone is spreading fake Trump tapes—not all of them high quality—to muddy the waters. The obvious suspect, of course, is the Kremlin. Since the Russians know all about President Trump’s decades of personal antics, including what kompromatexists on him, they appear to be pushing dubious and unverifiable tapes, some of them obviously fake, to create chaos and confusion.

It’s working, and in the current climate, it seems doubtful that any Trump tape can be verified sufficiently to have a mainstream journalistic outfit report its details. After all, with multiple fakes out there, any bona fide tape would require not just rock-solid technical authentication, but also firming up the exact place and date of the incident, plus confirmation from the girl(s) caught on camera too. That seems like an insurmountably high bar to clear at present.

This, then, is yet another successful Kremlin spy operation, one more grand provocation to mess with our Western heads. Although Vladimir Putin is deeply disappointed with President Trump, who has failed to get sanctions lifted off Russia, much less make Washington and Moscow close partners in anything, keeping an increasingly damaged and ineffectual president in the White House, who’s incapable of accomplishing much except rage-tweeting, suits Moscow’s foreign policy needs just fine.

A half-century ago, the Kremlin dispatched multiple dangles and even a fake KGB defector to Washington to confuse American counterspies and, above all, to protect their real moles in our nation’s capital. It worked like a charm. The resulting confusion birthed Angleton’s vaunted “wilderness of mirrors,” and eventually it drove that brilliant and seasoned counterspy over the edge, never to return.

Now, in a more technologically advanced age, the Russians are playing a nearly identical operational game with fake tapes, websites, trolls and bots. The Kremlin appears to have pulled it off again, and it will take years, probably decades, to get to the bottom of the Trump tapes saga—if anybody ever does. Welcome to the Wilderness of Mirrors, Trump Edition.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

Spies Suspect Kremlin Is Pushing Dozens of Fake Trump Sex Tapes

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New York Terror Attack Points to Growing Radicalization of Uzbeks

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Police officers inspect a truck following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

The brutal attack by an Uzbek man on innocent people walking and riding their bicycles along a park path in New York City highlights an increasing trend for citizens coming from a region of the world most Americans know little about: Central Asia.

Comprised of five mostly Muslim nations with a combined total population of roughly 70 million people, the entire region used to be under the thumb of the Soviet Union. Afghanistan is sometimes included in the regional bloc.

Since independence, those nations’—Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan—national development strategies have worked to put the countries on paths to industrialization.

But with that, and globalization, came the introduction of radicalization, too, no thanks in part to several decades of continuing warfare in Afghanistan. That country has been a magnet for Central Asian young men looking to join the Mujahideen in Afghanistan for decades—first against the Soviets, then the Taliban, and for the last 17 years, against the U.S.

In more recent years, young men from Central Asia, a region with a deep history of strongmen and authoritarian rulers have joined jihadist wars across the Middle East and North Africa, and have become recruitment avenue for the Islamic State.

Twenty-nine year-old Sayfullo Saipov, who mercilessly killed eight people and injured 11 more by driving his Home Depot-rented truck in New York, came to the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan, which is the most populous Central Asian nation and has developed a reputation for its citizens becoming radicalized abroad. But there’s an important distinction to be made, says Dr. John Heathershaw, an associate professor at the University of Exeter in England whose research lies in the political and security environments of the authoritarian governments in Central Asia.

“There is an important geographical distinction here,” Heathershaw told the Observer by email on Wednesday. “This is not radicalization in Uzbekistan, but of Uzbeks. There is a pattern this year of persons having left Uzbekistan many years before with little sign or no sign of militancy, and committing terrorist acts in a more permissive (less authoritarian) environment—Russia, Sweden, Turkey, New York City.”

Heathershaw was referring to incidents this year in which an Uzbek man detonated a suicide bomb on a St. Petersburg, Russia train, leaving 15 dead; another drove a truck into a group of pedestrians in Stockholm, Sweden, killing five; and an Uzbek national, Abdulkadir Masharipov, killed 39 revelers at a nightclub in Istanbul; and then Saipov came along on Tuesday.

Saipov had written a note before his attack pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev offered his country’s support to President Donald Trump on Wednesday. In a knee-jerk reaction, Trump earlier on Wednesday called for the permanent end to the visa lottery program that allowed Saipov to come to the U.S., where he worked various jobs in several states before becoming a tractor-trailer driver.

But using Tuesday’s attack to justify any repercussions is folly, argued Heathershaw.

“This should not lead us to jump to the conclusion that liberal states should imitate autocrats,” Heathershaw said. “A better approach is to recognise that this is a transnational phenomenon and we must look at the relationships between push factors in dictatorships and the pull factors which emerge in more open environments. Also, why so many Uzbeks? Their greater number of migrants? Specific recruitment networks within their migrant communities? Their more repressive environment at home? These are the questions, but I don’t think we don’t have the answers yet.”

Heathershaw said there is a large amount of guesswork in detailing the number of Uzbeks who have joined the Islamic State, but he believes roughly 500 have joined group, seeking a brand of militancy that employs terror as a primary negotiating tactic.

That number comes from The Soufan Center, which publishes an annual report on foreign fighters who join the Islamic State and what countries they originate from before joining the jihad.

On Wednesday it was widely reported that Saipov was found by local investigators to be on the radar of federal agencies. Why then, didn’t the feds act earlier? The answer is complicated, but articulated well in the Soufan Center report.

“Given the numbers involved, the real problem for the authorities is in prioritizing tar­gets, and in establishing what sort of approach to take in each case,” the report, written by Richard Barrett and published in October, said. “When a ‘known wolf’, meaning a terrorism suspect, is able to carry out an attack, it is not necessarily because the authorities are paying no attention; it is more likely because they have decided that their attention should be focused elsewhere. Allocating more resources to security is not always the answer; the focus has to be on reducing the threat to manageable levels rather than increasing the capacity of the State to surveil its citizens, a policy that in any case may be more likely to increase terrorism than to reduce it.”

If heavy-handed nation-state responses to security issues is a primary driver of extremism, what can governments do to curb the problem?

As of now, that’s unclear. It’s a tightrope for each country, but here in the U.S. civil freedoms have been slowly dissipating since our own worst-ever attack in New York on 9/11.

Sixteen years later, we’re still trying to figure out how to handle terrorism.

Les Neuhaus is a National and International Politics contributor for the Observer. Follow him on Twitter @LesNeuhaus

New York Terror Attack Points to Growing Radicalization of Uzbeks

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Trump Looks to Terrorism Enabler Russia to Help ‘Solve’ Insurgency

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Surrendering Taliban militants stand with their weapons in Herat, Afghanistan. Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

In a recent Twitter crusade to coax the “haters and fools” into sharing his affinity for a renewed relationship with the Kremlin, President Donald Trump argued why he thinks it’s a “good thing” to get cozy with Moscow: “I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!”

Depends how you define “help.” Russia’s trade with North Korea doubled at the beginning of the yearand the administration has recently acknowledged that Russia helps Pyongyang circumvent sanctions.

Russia also aids the homicidal regime of staunch ally Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs and sarin on civilians. Moscow was focusing airstrikes on enemies of the regime while the non-Assadist Syrian Democratic Forces—who were targeted by Russia in September airstrikes, the Pentagon said—have been the ones fighting and defeating ISIS.

Russia invaded and still occupies part of sovereign state Ukraine, so asking for their “help” there is like asking a burglar to manage the home security system.

And asking Russia to help “solve” terrorism is like asking an arsonist to help with wildfire management.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, told reporters last week that Russia is pushing the “false narrative” of ISIS overrunning the country—there are fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters remaining there, a number that keeps falling, says the U.S. military—in order to justify their support for the Taliban. Linked to that false narrative is Moscow’s yarn that the Taliban are somehow useful minions more into quashing terrorist rivals between their on-again, off-again truces than their unambiguous main goal of crushing democratic Afghanistan and fueling global jihad.

Citing sensitive intelligence, Nicholson would not elaborate on the current nature of Russia’s support. An Afghan commander said last month that they’ve seized Russian weapons and equipment, and a House hearing last week revealed the cache from Russia has included machine guns and other medium-weight weapons.

The Taliban, of course, are longtime kin of al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network; Nicholson said in December that the latter poses “the greatest threat to Americans and to our coalition partners and to the Afghans.” The general also said that Russia’s kinship with the Taliban was intended to “undermine the Afghan government and the NATO effort and bolster the belligerents.”

This administration has followed the Obama-era path of not branding the Taliban as the terrorist group they are, because by encouraging a political settlement they’re encouraging negotiations with a terrorist group. But Taliban attacks have killed several U.S. servicemembers this year and many more Afghans.

In late October, the Taliban vowed to let American hostage Kevin King die of his health problems if they don’t get a prisoner swap. King, a professor at American University in Kabul, was kidnapped by gunmen in August 2016. Somehow, we have yet see an enraged “don’t you dare kill our citizen” presidential tweet aimed at the Taliban.

Russia’s terror connections don’t stop in Central Asia. Through Moscow’s unholy alliance with Assad, Hezbollah have occasionally fought alongside Russian soldiers and have used Russian weapons. Hezbollah commanders told The Daily Beast at the start of the year that Russia was supplying them with laser-guided rockets and anti-tank missiles “with no strings attached”—even if Israel is potentially in the cross-hairs.

And Russia and Iran continue to enjoy their multibillion-dollar arms relationship. So unless you trust Iran—the state sponsor of terrorism whose insidious relationship with al-Qaeda became clearer in Osama bin Laden’s recently released documents—and Hezbollah to “solve” the terror they sow, there’s no reason you should trust their enabler to do the same.

Money and manipulation of global crises for the benefit of the Kremlin will always be more important to that regime than altruism and counterterrorism. If help is what you seek, better look elsewhere while the “haters and fools” continue to be realists.

Bridget Johnson is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center and D.C. bureau chief for PJ Media.

Russia Doesn’t ‘Solve’ Terrorism—It Helps It

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Russia Doesn’t ‘Solve’ Terrorism—It Helps It – Observer

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Observer
Russia Doesn’t ‘Solve’ Terrorism—It Helps It
Observer
In a recent Twitter crusade to coax the “haters and fools” into sharing his affinity for a renewed relationship with the Kremlin, President Donald Trump argued why he thinks it’s a “good thing” to get cozy with Moscow: “I want to solve North Korea 

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Ukraine arrests suspect in 2004 murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov – CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)

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CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
Ukraine arrests suspect in 2004 murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov
CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
Ukraine’s state intelligence agency announced on November 18 that it had detained a man wanted by Interpol for the high-profile murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov in Russia 13 years ago. Russia’s Interior Ministry on November 20 named the …

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Balance of Power: Putin Reaches for Prize with Syrian Victory

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China’s Zimbabwe play | While Beijing’s influence rose during President Robert Mugabe’s tenure, it might gain more if he goes. Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, in position to replace Mugabe, received military training in China decades ago and has backed the idea of using the yuan as legal tender. Mugabe may be impeached as soon as this week, ending his 37-year rule in ignominy.

The Real Winner in America’s Russia Crisis Is China


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4:51 AM 11/22/2017 – US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan – Washington Post

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2:43 PM 11/21/2017 – Countering Russian Information Operations in the Age of Social Media

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Countering Russian Information Operations in the Age of Social Media

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As investigations into attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election continue, more aspects of Russia’s approach to information warfare are coming to light. A steady stream of new disclosures is revealing a complex blend of hacking, public disclosures of private emails, and use of bots, trolls, and targeted advertising on social media designed to interfere in political processes and heighten societal tensions.

Moscow’s hostile actions are driven by the belief that Russia is already in a state of conflict with the West, led by the United States, and that the internet is a domain for waging this conflict. From the earliest stages of the internet’s development, Russia has held a starkly different view from the West of its benefits and its potential. Russia’s national security establishment immediately saw connectivity as a threat and a potential weapon—and eventually as one that could help achieve regime change and deprive a country of its sovereignty—rather than as an enabler of economic development.

The organization of Russia’s information-warfare capabilities, which include cyber operators, media outlets, and false flag entities, is shrouded in secrecy. In the West, generally only the intelligence community has a clear picture of how Russian capabilities are directed. Barring the sudden appearance of a Russian counterpart to Edward Snowden, the only view into Russia’s information toolbox is provided by cybersecurity companies and criminal prosecutions. The picture is further muddied because the Russian government keeps many of its cyberwarfare actors at arm’s length by employing contractors and former criminals through middlemen, giving Moscow a degree of deniability if caught.

Nevertheless, both Western governments and private industry can take steps to mitigate Russian influence operations. Western governments should swiftly and decisively denounce Russian information activities as soon as they are identified, and their counterintelligence agencies should identify quantitative means to measure the effectiveness of Russia’s methods. Social media companies should more aggressively police their platforms for malicious state-sponsored content, and they should work with news organizations to promote verified and fact-checked content on their platforms.

Background

Russia’s long-standing, overall foreign policy objective is to weaken adversaries, particularly countries on its periphery, those in NATO, and the United States, by any means available, and its information warfare targets social cohesion and political systems toward this aim. During the twentieth century, the Soviet Union exploited freedom of expression in the West by planting and spreading fake news stories. In the last decade, the rise of social media has made this task vastly simpler. And at least since 2016, Moscow has also exploited the sophisticated advertising networks used by legitimate companies and political campaigns to precisely target audiences for disinformation.

Russia worked toward this objective during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, when Russian agents combined technical and psychological measures to sway U.S. voters away from Hillary Clinton and toward Donald J. Trump. Hackers obtained documents and selectively released them to embarrass the Clinton campaign, while their carefully targeted social media operations denigrated Clinton and boosted the Trump agenda.

Russia attempted similar campaigns during the French election in May 2017, but a forewarned French government and media meant that the activities met with only limited technical success and had no significant bearing on the election result. French law prohibits candidates from campaigning and the media from quoting candidates or campaign officials within forty-four hours of a presidential vote. That prevented the French media from disclosing the contents of emails leaked from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in the hours before the vote. French media users also tend to get their news from traditional outlets rather than social media, which further limited the leak’s effectiveness.

It is harder to discern whether or how Russia meddled in the German elections in September 2017. One possible explanation is that after the French experience, Russia chose not to interfere in Germany; another is that Russia did attempt to interfere, but the techniques used were more subtle and are not yet fully understood. (Many of the implements used in the U.S. election are only becoming widely known a year after the event.) But even if Russia’s potential election manipulation is unsuccessful or entirely absent, just its suggestion is enough to cause uncertainty and doubt about the democratic process and hence meet Russia’s objectives.

Russian attempts to sow discord are not confined to elections. Attempts to meddle in U.S. internal affairs have continued since the election. Most recently, Russian internet trolls published divisive messages on social media in response to the controversy over NFL players’ kneeling during the national anthem. According to the research group Alliance for Securing Democracy, more than six hundred Russian-backed accounts promoted hashtags aimed at fueling the debate.

The digital processing of personal data, including browsing history and consumer spending, enables anyone to precisely target selected groups and individuals by geographic location and socioeconomic status. In particular, malicious actors are able to show contradictory messages to different groups of users, categorized by political, ethnic, religious, or demographic characteristics, in order to play on existing tensions within target societies. Information is slowly emerging about the extent to which this method was employed by Russian-linked entities during and after the U.S. presidential election, but its overall effect remains unclear.

Cyber-enabled disinformation can have a measurable objective and effect. One method is for hackers to insert false reports in genuine media outlets. For example, in May 2017, a malicious actor suspected to be from Russia compromised the website of a Qatari state media outlet to attribute to the emir of Qatar remarks praising Iran. This triggered a diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors.

Challenges

The social media ecosystem provides an ideal environment for hostile information campaigns. The more incendiary the information is, the more likely it is to go viral. Many users have lost trust in established news outlets, and they tend to consume information that affirms, rather than informs, their views.

Russia has no need to create new divisions in target societies when it can exploit already-existing fault lines. For example, Russian-backed efforts amplified the controversy about the NFL and the national anthem by promoting the most divisive and extreme voices in the debate. Now, as during the Cold War, the strongest defense against malign Russian influence is to identify the divisions and social ills that provide Russia with leverage. Remedies to these problems are complex and require significant resources and time. However, the Trump administration has shown little interest in confronting Russian cyber operations, and the president himself is actively engaged in the divisive use of social media.

Western states also depend on multinational corporations to constrain information warfare operations. Immediately after the election, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other tech companies denied that their services could have been manipulated by disinformation campaigns. More recently, though, they have acknowledged the scope of Russian operations and have been working with third parties to flag fake news, and they have rolled out technological fixes to counter disinformation and provided limited data on the source of advertisement purchases. Critics in the media and Congress have argued that these companies’ responses have been “frankly inadequate on almost every level” and are unlikely to succeed.

Recommendations

Although the Trump administration seems unlikely to pursue action against Russian information operations, there are steps the U.S. Congress and other governments should consider.

Awareness of the challenge of Russian information warfare is the most potent defense against it. Western nations were initially slow to respond to the multifaceted nature of Russia’s developing online capabilities. The focus in the West was almost exclusively on countering technical threats delivered through cyberspace, such as economic crime, espionage, and attacks on critical infrastructure. This approach neglected the additional capabilities that Russia was building up in other areas of information warfare.

More recently in Europe, however, increasing awareness of the threat has enabled society, media, and governments to put appropriate defenses in place. In Germany, public awareness and interest in hostile information operations had been aroused by the “Lisa” case, in which Russia attempted to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment. The media blackout in France helped blunt the effect of Russia’s interference in the presidential election; but Macron’s campaign was also aware of Russia’s attempts to influence the outcome and took countermeasures. Leaders in other Western nations should be open and outspoken about the nature of the challenge, as doing so has been shown to be highly effective in raising public awareness and decreasing potential targets’ susceptibility to information operations.

Another essential step to countering information warfare is for governments targeted by Russian influence operations to develop a metric of damage that acknowledges a range of objectives, including influencing elections. Countries including the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom have made little visible effort to quantify the success and effectiveness of Russia’s subversion and disinformation campaigns. This raises the risk that targeted governments could misdirect resources and countermeasures against ineffective threats that could reasonably be simply monitored, while overlooking other threats that could cause actual harm.

Once harmful information operations are identified, targeted states should quickly denounce them, both to minimize their effectiveness and to deter other actors that might want to conduct Russian-style operations. Policymakers should also warn other states tempted to combine cyberattacks with social media manipulation that exposure and response will be much more rapid and effective than they were in the 2016 election.

On computers, antivirus software monitors the integrity of critical systems and processes, assessing whether they have been affected by malicious data introduced from outside. Governments should develop an analogous system of identifying sources of misinformation and mapping how they influence online discourse and public opinion. This would allow them to properly assess any effect of Russian subversion on public debate. While the government agency that would conduct this monitoring would vary among countries, in each case the security and counterintelligence agencies responsible for protecting the security and integrity of state systems would need to provide support. The costs involvedin implementing such measures would be a disincentive for any Western government, but they should be weighed against the costs of the loss of political legitimacy, integrity, or, indeed, sovereignty.

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have an important role to play in mitigating the effects of Russian messaging, but their primary objective is generating profits, not defending Western political systems. Attempts to introduce legislation or regulations to restrict online speech, even if they were targeted at Russian disinformation and trolls, could mirror Russian constraints on free expression and could be interpreted as running counter to the values Western societies seek to defend. Nevertheless, tech platforms have an interest in taking firm steps to prevent, for example, the hijacking of profiles of legitimate organizations and individuals for the purpose of disinformation. They also have an interest in cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, as this could provide them with greater understanding of how their systems are abused to systematically deceive their users, as well as of software bugs and other technical vulnerabilities in their products.

To address the specific problem of disinformation, social media companies should continue partnering with journalists and fact-checkers to build trust, even though this is only effective for media-literate users who take the time and effort to assess the legitimacy of sources. The extent that governments can guide such efforts will vary among countries, depending on their constitutional systems and media cultures. In the United States, for instance, the First Amendment greatly limits what the U.S. government can do to vet online media. But where government action is permissible, national media bodies, such as the United Kingdom’s Independent Press Standards Organization and the Office of Communications, should implement proposals for an open review and verification system for online media with the aim of establishing a gold standard for fact-checking and objectivity. Whichever approach countries choose to take, they should recognize that any anti-disinformation system needs protection against the same kind of gaming and abuse as any other open forum to which Russia has access.

To combat the particular challenge of how human psychology is exploited by social media disinformation, governments’ responses should be as interesting as the fake news they are countering. Simple explanations that a particular piece of news is false are not sufficient to engage target audiences. Countermeasures should focus not on fact-checking but on the deceit—emphasizing that people were conned—and, like the original disinformation, should appeal to readers’ emotions rather than their rationality, in order to be effective.

Russian information operations pose a difficult but not insurmountable challenge to targeted governments. But countermeasures should be flexible and adaptable: any success in countering Moscow’s operations will invariably cause the Kremlin to deploy new capabilities. If defenders are not prepared to be alert and agile, they will once more be taken by surprise.

This Cyber Brief is part of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy programThe Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. All views expressed in its publications and on its website are the sole responsibility of the author or authors.

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Trump and Putin speak for an hour about Syria, Ukraine, North Korea – Reuters
Forget The Turkeys, Will Trump Be In Need of Pardoning Soon? – Newsweek
Russia Doesn’t ‘Solve’ TerrorismIt Helps It – Observer
The Latest: Trump and Putin discuss Syria in phone call – SFGate
Iran and Saudi Arabia on the brink of a proxy war over Lebanon
A Kremlin Defender in Congress Finds Challenges on All Sides – New York Times
Ukraine arrests suspect in 2004 murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov – CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
‘These Storms Are Just Crazy’: Craft Beer Brewers Feel Effects Of Climate Change
Justice Dept. investigating Harvard over affirmative action policies – Montana Standard
White House: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, Syria on agenda – ABC News
What You Could Not Learn from NYT and WSJ on Kushners Russian Backdoor Email
A Republican tax plan built for plutocrats
Her view of ‘what happened,’ and of what America needs in the future, could not be more wrong. – National Review
Why Turkey Cares about the Trial of Reza Zarrab
Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War – New York Times
All-Clear Then? UK Intelligence, Cops to Probe Themselves Over Terror Attacks – Sputnik International
Sen. Ben Cardin says Trump, Putin must remain in communication despite controversy – Washington Times
Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide could hit 1.6M over the next decade, report says – WBIR-TV
The Wall Street Journal: “North Korea, Terror Sponsor” – The White House (blog)

 

Saved Stories – None
Lawyers see few precedents for DoJs AT&T intervention

Burden of proof will be on regulators to show Time Warner deal would harm consumers
Here’s How President Trump May Be Costing His Hotels Money – Paste Magazine
 


Paste Magazine
Here’s How President Trump May Be Costing His Hotels Money
Paste Magazine
Trump’s Bayrock financiers can be connected to the Kremlin by a couple degrees, and despite Trump distancing himself from Bayrock-connected people like Felix Sater, Trump himself had to sign off on this shady deal, since he has an 18% stake in SoHo (if …and more »

Countering Russian Information Operations in the Age of Social Media – Council on Foreign Relations
 


Council on Foreign Relations
Countering Russian Information Operations in the Age of Social Media
Council on Foreign Relations
The organization of Russia’s information-warfare capabilities, which include cyber operators, media outlets, and false flag entities, is shrouded in secrecy. In the West, generally only the intelligence community has a clear picture of how Russian  

Six suspects face 51 drug and weapons related charges – BarrieToday
 


BarrieToday
Six suspects face 51 drug and weapons related charges
BarrieToday
Project Blackbird began in September 2017 as a joint Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) investigation with the Barrie Police Service including the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB), OPP Central Region Community Street Crime Unit and Provincial … 

Clintons should be investigated – Modesto Bee (blog)
 


Modesto Bee (blog)
Clintons should be investigated
Modesto Bee (blog)
None of this absolves the Trump campaign or calls into question the intelligence community’s conclusion that Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help … Trump’s election chances. But it does underscore that the Russians played both sidesand more »

How Political Comedians Provide Comfort During Times Of Cultural Trauma – NYLON
 

How Political Comedians Provide Comfort During Times Of Cultural Trauma
NYLON
We now know that Trump’s presidency is actually messing with some people’s mental health, but at that point, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, just that I compulsively needed to read the news, even though it sent my emotions into a spiraling mess  

Trump and Putin speak for an hour about Syria, Ukraine, North Korea – Reuters
 


Reuters
Trump and Putin speak for an hour about Syria, Ukraine, North Korea
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone for about an hour on Tuesday and covered topics including Syria, Ukraine, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan, a White House official said. 

Forget The Turkeys, Will Trump Be In Need of Pardoning Soon? – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Forget The Turkeys, Will Trump Be In Need of Pardoning Soon?
Newsweek
While obstruction of justice is a federal crime, during the investigation into Richard Nixon and Watergate, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel ruled that a sitting president could not face criminal proceedings. That does not meanTrump 
No end in sight for Mueller investigationThe Mercury News
Mueller just requested new documents from the DOJ that could spell trouble for Trump and SessionsBusiness Insider
Russia probe: Trump’s tweets could be evidence against him, legal experts sayUSA TODAY
The Hill –Washington Post –Business Insider UK
all 102 news articles »
Russia Doesn’t ‘Solve’ TerrorismIt Helps It – Observer
 


Observer
Russia Doesn’t ‘Solve’ TerrorismIt Helps It
Observer
In a recent Twitter crusade to coax the haters and fools into sharing his affinity for a renewed relationship with the Kremlin, President Donald Trump argued why he thinks it’s a good thing to get cozy with Moscow: I want to solve North Korea  

The Latest: Trump and Putin discuss Syria in phone call – SFGate
 


SFGate
The Latest: Trump and Putin discuss Syria in phone call
SFGate
MOSCOW (AP) The Latest on Syrian president Assad’s visit to Moscow (all times local):. 8:45 p.m.. The White House says President Donald Trump has spoken over the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House says Syria, Iran, North …and more »

Iran and Saudi Arabia on the brink of a proxy war over Lebanon

The resignation of Lebanese PM Saad Hariri masks a deeper conflict in the region
A Kremlin Defender in Congress Finds Challenges on All Sides – New York Times
 


New York Times
A Kremlin Defender in Congress Finds Challenges on All Sides
New York Times
He sailed to re-election again and again, even as he developed ties to Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia. Then came PresidentTrump. As revelations of Russia’s campaign to influence American politics consume Washington, Mr. Rohrabacher, 70, who had no known … 

Ukraine arrests suspect in 2004 murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov – CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
 


CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
Ukraine arrests suspect in 2004 murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov
CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
Ukraine’s state intelligence agency announced on November 18 that it had detained a man wanted by Interpol for the high-profile murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov in Russia 13 years ago. Russia’s Interior Ministry on November 20 named the …and more »

‘These Storms Are Just Crazy’: Craft Beer Brewers Feel Effects Of Climate Change

In the face of Trump’s inaction, dozens sign Brewery Climate Declaration.
Justice Dept. investigating Harvard over affirmative action policies – Montana Standard
 


Montana Standard
Justice Dept. investigating Harvard over affirmative action policies
Montana Standard
Two letters from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division indicate that Harvard has challenged the department’s authority to investigate, and further state that if the school fails to provide documents to the department by December 1, the agency and more »

White House: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, Syria on agenda – ABC News
 


CNN
White House: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, Syria on agenda
ABC News
Trump’s phone call with the Russian president on Tuesday comes a day after Putin met with Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR’ AH’-sahd). Putin hosted Assad at a Black Sea resort ahead of a summit later this week with Russia, Turkey and Iran.
Trump to speak to Putin after Russian President’s Assad meetingCNN
Putin to Speak With Trump on Syria After Meeting Assad in SochiBloomberg
TrumpPutin to talk following Assad’s Russia visitThe Hill
Newsweek –Reuters –Washington Examiner
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What You Could Not Learn from NYT and WSJ on Kushners Russian Backdoor Email
 

If you read only the New York Times or Wall Street Journal stories on the latest Jared Kushner correspondenceemail subject line: Russian backdoor overture and dinner inviteyoud be missing an important piece of the puzzle. Other outlets, like NBC Newswhich broke the story, did not miss the piece. They emphasized it.

The key question here is whether any senior-level Trump campaign aide met with Aleksander Torshin, deputy head of Russias central bank and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, especially following the emails under scrutiny.

This question is even more important since it implicates the defense that Kushners lawyers have staked out for his failure to turn over the emails to Congress. Kushners lawyers said the committee never asked their client for records of proposed meetings that never happened but the episode gave the impression Kushner had something to hide, according to the Washington Post.

According to all accounts, Torshin asked to meet a high-level Trump campaign official during the National Rifle Association annual convention in Louisville, Kentucky in May 2016. His purpose was apparently to pass on some information from Putin to Donald Trump and to see if the presidential candidate would meet with Putin at a later date. Kushner waived off top campaign aides like Rick Dearborn, saying Pass on this, and Kushner added, Most likely these people then go back home and claim they have special access to gain importance for themselves.

According to the New York Times, however, Mr. Torshins outreach fizzledthough it is ambiguous whether the Times is referring to a meeting with Putin or simply Torshins attempt to meet with a top campaign official during the NRA convention. (I read it to mean the latter.) Heres how the paper described the result of Torshins efforts:

Neither Mr. Trump nor his campaign officials attended the veterans dinner, Mr. Clay said. Donald Trump Jr. attended a separate dinner that night, hosted by the National Rifle Association, that Mr. Torshin also attended. Both dinners were in Louisville.

Similarly, the Wall Street Journal wrote:

NBC News reported Friday that the Russia-linked individual in the email was Aleksander Torshin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wanted to meet with a top Trump campaign official during a National Rifle Association convention and suggested he had a message for Mr. Trump from Mr. Putin. Mr. Torshin didnt meet with Mr. Trump at the NRA convention but went to a dinner there that was also attended by Donald Trump Jr., Bloomberg has reported.

But NBC News and Bloomberg had reported one further step: Torshin said he met and had dinner with Don, Jr. that evening at an NRA side event.

NBC News reported:

However, Torshin was seated with the candidates son, Donald Trump Jr., during a private dinner on the sidelines of a May 2016 NRA event during the convention in Louisville, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg. Congressional investigators have no clear explanation for how that came to be, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Torshin discussed the NRA dinner in an interview with Bloomberg in April 2017. Bloomberg wrote, Torshin said in the interview he stayed clear of then-candidate Trump at last years N.R.A. event to avoid controversy, dining with Donald Trump Jr. instead.

Admittedly, Torshins statement is uncorroborated, and some may think thats a reason for the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal not to print it. But really? Dont reporters routinely print the statement of one side of an interaction if the person is willing to go on record, especially if the individual is a principal participant and thus its not second-hand information? Whats uncorroborated is whether the two were seated together at dinner. A fact in the record is that Torshin said they were. Readers would want to know Torshin said this, and they deserved to know it.

The Bloomberg story in April also included a denial of Torshins statement, and that should be noted too. But even that denial acknowledged that the two menTorshin and Don Jr.did, in fact, meet at the NRA dinner, and not just by happenstance. They were introduced by a mutual contact.  According to Bloombergs April story:

A person familiar with the encounter disputed Torshins account, saying Trump Jr. recalls meeting a Russian that night but doesnt recall if it was Torshin. When mutual acquaintances introduced the two men, the pair exchanged pleasantries, then the Russian sat at a table nearby, this person said.

In the past 24 hours additional media outlets are now reporting an on-the-record statement by Alan Futerfas, an attorney representing Don Jr., who admits the two men met through an acquaintance but says that they made small talk for a few minutes and went back to their separate meals.

We may have not even wrestled that admission out of Don Jr. had the only reports been the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I understand reasons to be cautious in reporting information about potential contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians without sufficient support. This was not the occasion to hold back on what readers needed to know to reach their own views about the interactions and about Kushners decision to withhold the email exchange from Congress.

It is also notable that news reports prior to the revelations of Kushners emails also included reference to Torshins dining with Don Jr.:

Torshin had fleeting contact with the future president, who only went so far as to shake his hand. With his son, Donald Trump Jr., things went further: he sat by his side during a private dinner in a restaurant in Kentucky. El Pais

At the most recent NRA Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in May of this year, Sheriff Clarke tweeted a picture of himself with Donald Trump Jr., who was sitting at special guest Torshins table. The Daily Beast

May 21: Donald Trump Jr. dines with Russian banking official A White House official confirmed the two interacted but denied that they dined together Washington Post

A next question to ask is whether Mr. Kushner was ever aware that Don Jr. had met with Torshin at the NRA dinner after all. If so, it could provide a very different interpretation of what he intended by waiving off Dearborn and why he failed to notify Congress of the Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.

Image: Alexander Torshin, National Rifle Association annual convention, Louisville, KY, May 2016.

Read on Just Security »

A Republican tax plan built for plutocrats

The reforms going through Congress clearly reflect the partys priorities
Her view of ‘what happened,’ and of what America needs in the future, could not be more wrong. – National Review
 


National Review
Her view of ‘what happened,’ and of what America needs in the future, could not be more wrong.
National Review
The American political community has not taken adequate notice of Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened (the title is not posed as a question). … She calls Trump an America-bashing misogynist, like Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange (of WikiLeaksand more »

Why Turkey Cares about the Trial of Reza Zarrab
 

In recent weeks, there has been increasing American interest in a previously little-watched judicial saga unfolding in New York district court. Like a Turkish soap opera, it involves a dashing businessman with a pop-star wife, corruption allegations, leaked tapes of private conversations and intrigue at the highest levels of government. The trial of Reza Zarrab on charges of evading Iran sanctions, including any revelations he makes about corruption in the Turkish government, could have significant political and economic implications for Turkey. It could also damage already fraught relations between Turkey and the United States.

This article seeks to unravel and connect the multiple threads in the complex Zarrab case. It begins by outlining the charges against Zarrab and his co-defendants, and it explains why Turkish officials are claiming the trial is a conspiracy by an Islamic cleric. It then reviews how the U.S. administration has handled the case, including outreach by the Turkish president to senior American officials on Zarrabs behalf. The article concludes by considering the trials potential impact on Turkey and bilateral relations.

 

Who is Reza Zarrab?

Reza Zarrab is a Turkish-Iranian businessman. He was arrested in Mar. 2016 in Miami while ostensibly en route to Disneyland with his family. Charged in U.S. District Court in New York, Zarrab is accused of laundering money and helping the Iranian government circumvent U.S. economic sanctions intended to deter its nuclear weapons program. Zarrab allegedly shipped gold to Iran in exchange for oil and natural gas, the gas for gold scheme; this gold helped Iran prop up its ailing currency.

Prosecutors allege Halk Bank, owned by the Turkish state, facilitated the transfers by disguising the nature of the transactions and labeling them as permissible commerce. The banks deputy chief executive officer, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, was arrested in New York in Mar. 2017 and charged with helping Zarrab conspire to evade sanctions on Iran. Four other Turkish officials, including former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Halk Bank Deputy General Manager Suleyman Aslan, were indicted in early September for accepting bribes to promote and protect the scheme, laundering funds and violating sanctions. All deny the charges.

In recent days, questions have arisen about Zarrabs whereabouts. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons website indicated he was released on Nov. 8, and the Turkish foreign ministry contacted U.S. officials to ask his location. Speculation is rife that Zarrab cut a deal and agreed to become a government witness. He has not participated in pre-trial activities for weeks, nor did he appear in court this week. Although lawyers for Atilla were in court for the start of jury selection on Nov. 20, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman postponed jury selection until Nov. 27 without explanation; a scheduled conference will still take place on Nov. 21.

Why are Turkish officials calling this case a Gulenist conspiracy?

As trial preparations began, Turkeys Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag claimed Zarrab was a hostage being forced to testify against the Turkish government. The case is political, lacks any legal basis and is a conspiracy against Turkey, he added. Turkish officials argue prosecutors are relying on evidence fabricated by followers of Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

Fetullah Gulen is an Islamic cleric and scholar, seen as the spiritual leader of a transnational religious movement known as hizmet (Turkish for service). Since Gulen left Turkey in 1999 to avoid political prosecution with courts later acquitting him of all charges he has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. He was granted permanent legal resident status in 2008.

When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the modern Turkish state in 1923 with secularism as a guiding principle he relegated Islam to the private sphere and later banned Sufi orders. Many Sufi followers established underground networks, sought government positions, and created international connections as a means of ensuring the groups survival. Drawn from this tradition decades later, Gulens followers formed non-profit organizations (such as the Rumi Forum), founded charter schools in theU.S. and other countries, and pursued senior government jobs.

After the pro-Islamist Justice and Development party (AKP) came to power in 2002, Gulen actively cooperated with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They shared a goal of ridding the government and military of the Kemalists and secularists who operated a deep state within Turkey. Gulenist police and prosecutors with Erdogans backing pursued an alleged network (known as Ergenekon) accused of conspiring to overthrow the AKP government. Hundreds were imprisoned, and dozens of show trials were held. Most of the suspects were later acquitted by an appeals court given lack of proof, fabricated evidence and illegal wiretapping.

A power struggle began once Erdogan and Gulen no longer had a common enemy. The tension began in 2011, when Erdogan refused to include dozens of Gulenists on AKP party lists for the parliamentary elections.  In 2012, Gulenists opposed Erdogans peace talks with the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers Party, a designated terrorist organization engaged in armed conflict with the Turkish state).  In Nov. 2013, Erdogan closed Gulenist prep schools that prepared students for higher exams; they were also used for fundraising and recruitment.

In Dec. 2013, Turkish police launched corruption investigations based on leaked wiretaps into four government ministers accused of receiving bribes from an Iranian gold trader: Reza Zarrab. Separately, Erdogans son, son-in-law and current Prime Minister Binali Yildirim were investigated for corruption amid leaks of secretly recorded phone calls. It was widely believed Gulenist police and judicial officialswere behind the probes. Erdogan successfully fought back, getting Zarrab out of prison and the charges dropped. Turkish officials have criticized American prosecutors for basing part of their case against Zarrab and Atilla on evidence from this period.

Following this scandal, Erdogan aggressively pursued Gulen and accused his followers of operating a parallel state. In an effort to cleanse government and society of Gulenist influence, the Turkish government closed Gulenist newspapers and television stations, seized companies belonging to Gulens supporters and purged hundreds of government officials including arresting all of the prosecutors, police officers, and judges involved in the 2013 corruption probe. In May 2016, the movement wasdesignated a terrorist organization, Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). The government was also expected to purge Gulenists from senior ranks of the military during the annual promotion and rotation period in Aug. 2016; it is unlikely a coincidence the coup attempt occurred several weeks prior.  While the Turkish government has repeatedly called on the U.S. to extradite Gulen for allegedly orchestrating the putsch and provided 85 boxes of documents as evidence for the extradition Justice Department lawyers have not seen sufficient proof of his complicity to persuade a federal judge of probable cause.

 

How has the U.S. administration handled Zarrabs case?

In events surrounding Zarrabs trial, interactions between the U.S. government and Turkish officials raise rule of law questions for the United States. Erdogan has taken a strong personal interest in Zarrab, discussing him on multiple occasions with the Obama and Trump administrations. He demanded Zarrabs release and Bhararas firing in a meeting with then-Vice President Biden in 2016, while his wife pleaded the case to Bidens wife. Erdogan raised Zarrab in his final phone calls with Obama in Dec. 2016 and Jan. 2017. It was a topic of discussion between Erdogan and Trump as well. Following a September phone call, Erdogan said Trump told him the case in New York was not under his jurisdiction.

Eyebrows have been raised over connections between the Zarrab case and the Trump administration. In March, Trump fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. District Attorney who brought the indictment against Zarrab. (Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked 46 U.S. attorneys to resign. Bharara refused, noting Trump had asked him after the election to remain. Trump called Bharara; he declined to answer, citing rules against sitting attorneys talking to the President. Trump then fired him.) The case has continued under Bhararas former deputy and current Acting District Attorney, Joon Kim.

Also in March, Zarrab made changes to his legal team. He hired Rudy Guiliani, an informal Trump advisor, and Michael Mukasey, a former Attorney General. These lawyers met with Erdogan and senior Trump administration officials in search of a diplomatic solution. Guiliani described his role in a deposition as determining whether this case can be resolved as part of some agreement between the United States and Turkey that will promote the national-security interests of the United States and redound to the benefit of Mr. Zarrab.

In addition, there are questions about Michael Flynns possible involvement. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, is exploring Flynns Turkish activities. Flynn, a Trump campaign advisor and briefly U.S. National Security Advisor, was allegedly offered $15 million to return Gulen to Turkey. Mueller is reportedly examining whether Flynn also discussed ways of freeing Zarrab from court charges.

How will the trial affect Turkey and bilateral relations?

Bilateral relations between the United States and Turkey are poor, in part because of Turkish unhappiness with U.S. failure to extradite Gulen and U.S. cooperation with Syrian Kurdish forces linked to the PKK in the fight against the Islamic State. The countries recently suspended the issuance of visas for each others citizens. American action followed the arrests of two Turkish employees of U.S. consulates: one in Adana accused of links to Kurdish terrorists and one in Istanbul accused of ties to Gulen. The Turkish government then took reciprocal measures. In addition, there are 12 Americans in Turkish prisons on spurious terrorism charges, including pastor Andrew Brunson accused of supporting Gulen. Erdogan appears to be engaging in hostage diplomacy, viewing these prisoners as useful bargaining chips for a prisoner swap. Zarrab has also featured highly on the list of bilateral irritants.

The Turkish government is responding to the Zarrab trial as it did the 2013 domestic investigation: discrediting the evidence, impugning the motives of prosecutors and describing it as a Gulenist conspiracy. This effort seeks to delegitimize the criminal accusations by making them appear politically motivated. In March, Prime Minister Yildirim described the arrest of Halk Banks Atilla as another plan and trick of the Gulen movement. Pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah reported having concrete evidence linking Bharara and Judge Berman to the movement. The Istanbul Public Prosecutors officeclaimed the Turkish Justice Ministry did not provide information from the 2013 case to U.S. authorities, so it has launched an investigation into how Bharara and Kim received recordings and documents.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested the charges were politically motivated. He said “[Gulen’s network] couldn’t succeed in the coup and they are trying in the U.S. and they are getting support from some U.S. institutions. (On twitter, Bharara countered: Turkey FM is a liar. Now lets see what happens in court.) Such rhetoric will fuel anti-Americanism in Turkey and further erode public support for the relationship; it will also damage the already poor perception of the Turkish government in the eyes of Congress and others in Washington.

Although Erdogan is not charged in the American proceedings, any revelations would be personally embarrassing and politically damaging. They could implicate those close to him, including his businessman son and energy minister son-in-law. In preliminary court proceedings, American prosecutors said they had evidence of Zarrabs relationship with Erdogan: taped conversations of Zarrab seeking Erdogans support for his scheme and evidence of donations by Zarrab to charitable foundations associated with Erdogan family members.

If American prosecutors can present persuasive evidence or have Zarrab testify as their witness it would give legitimacy to previously dismissed allegations. Erdogan made charges disappear in Turkey, but he cannot do so in the United States. For all its flaws, the American judicial system is still viewed as strong and credible. Turkish observers have seen American courts challenge Trump administration actions, and they have seen the Zarrab case proceed despite Trump firing the original prosecutor. A trial would shine a bright light on alleged corruption in the Turkish government and could undermine Erdogans narrative about rule of law in Turkey. Disclosures would also raise serious questions about the nature of Turkeys relationship with Iran.

In addition, the trial could harm the Turkish economy. The lira has depreciated in recent months, due in part to the deterioration of U.S.-Turkey relations. Economic challenges could worsen if Zarrab provides damaging information about Halk Bank, other Turkish banks, or the activities of government officials. Such revelations would undermine the international reputation of the Turkish banking system. While businesses may have already accounted for rule of law challenges, an unpredictable political environment could scare off investors. As Erdogans domestic support is partly due to Turkeys economic success, a weakened economy could hinder his prospects in the 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections.

Although it remains unclear at this time whether Zarrab will participate in the trial as a defendant or a government witness, what he says in court will impact Turkish politics, economics, and relations with the U.S. In Turkey, the most damaging allegations involve corruption by senior government officials; their presentation in American court will make them harder to dismiss at home. In the United States, engagement by the Trump Administration has raised troubling questions about its consideration of extra-judicial remedies; perceptions of what was promised could also affect relations between leaders. Thus far, the rule of law is holding here.

Like the best soap operas, the plot continues to thicken. This drama is worth watching.

Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War – New York Times
 


New York Times
Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War
New York Times
Russian officials have said that their aim is to ensure Mr. Assad’s support for a political process to end a conflict that began more than six years ago. But Mr. Assad has consistently resisted compromise with his Syrian opponents, and doubts remain 
Assad tells Putin: Ready to move with political process in SyriaThe BRICS Post
Assad meets Putin in surprise visit to RussiaYnetnews
What I learned about the Russian-American relationship last weekWashington Post
Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceThe National Interest OnlineNewburgh Gazette
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All-Clear Then? UK Intelligence, Cops to Probe Themselves Over Terror Attacks – Sputnik International
 


Sputnik International
All-Clear Then? UK Intelligence, Cops to Probe Themselves Over Terror Attacks
Sputnik International
An inquiry by British police and the spy agency MI5 and into their own conduct in the lead-up to several terrorist attacks in the UK in 2017 is expected to be published soon and will likely clear the agencies of responsibility for mistakes that allowed  

Sen. Ben Cardin says Trump, Putin must remain in communication despite controversy – Washington Times
 


Washington Times
Sen. Ben Cardin says Trump, Putin must remain in communication despite controversy
Washington Times
I don’t mind the conversation, Mr. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said on CNN. The senator was referring to Mr. Trump’s planned conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. But Mr. Cardin said Mr. Trump must use this time to emphasize  

Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide could hit 1.6M over the next decade, report says – WBIR-TV
 


WBIR-TV
Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide could hit 1.6M over the next decade, report says
WBIR-TV
In 2015, there were 39.7 deaths per 100,000 U.S. residents due to drugs, alcohol and suicide compared with 23.1 in 1999 a whopping increase of 72%. That number could go up to 56 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2025, said the report commissioned by …and more »

The Wall Street Journal: “North Korea, Terror Sponsor” – The White House (blog)
 


Sky News Australia
The Wall Street Journal: “North Korea, Terror Sponsor”
The White House (blog)
All of this is part of the larger U.S. effort to cut off the financial and other lifelines that have made a mockery of United Nations sanctions and allowed the Kim crime family to buy off the military and survive in power despite the North’s 
US allies in Asia welcome return of North Korea to list of state sponsors of terrorNew York Post
Trump names North Korea as sponsor of terrorSky News Australia
Trump declares North Korea ‘sponsor of terrorSBS
The Journal Pioneer –Bangkok Post
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11:48 AM 11/21/2017 – Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War – New York Times

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Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War – New York Times
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Sen. Ben Cardin says Trump, Putin must remain in communication despite controversy – Washington Times
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When American Democracy Failed – POLITICO Magazine
Trump campaign adviser Carter Page held high-level meetings with Hungarian officials in Budapest – ABC News
Special Council investigating Russia/Trump ties and Comey’s dismissal – YourErie
Gates movie ties being probed by Mueller; lawyer could pose conflict

 

Saved Stories – None
Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War – New York Times


New York Times
Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes Endgame for Syrian War
New York Times
Russian officials have said that their aim is to ensure Mr. Assad’s support for a political process to end a conflict that began more than six years ago. But Mr. Assad has consistently resisted compromise with his Syrian opponents, and doubts remain 
Assad tells Putin: Ready to move with political process in SyriaThe BRICS Post
Assad meets Putin in surprise visit to RussiaYnetnews
What I learned about the Russian-American relationship last weekWashington Post
Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceThe National Interest OnlineNewburgh Gazette
all 282 news articles »
All-Clear Then? UK Intelligence, Cops to Probe Themselves Over Terror Attacks – Sputnik International


Sputnik International
All-Clear Then? UK Intelligence, Cops to Probe Themselves Over Terror Attacks
Sputnik International
An inquiry by British police and the spy agency MI5 and into their own conduct in the lead-up to several terrorist attacks in the UK in 2017 is expected to be published soon and will likely clear the agencies of responsibility for mistakes that allowed 

Sen. Ben Cardin says Trump, Putin must remain in communication despite controversy – Washington Times


Washington Times
Sen. Ben Cardin says Trump, Putin must remain in communication despite controversy
Washington Times
I don’t mind the conversation, Mr. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said on CNN. The senator was referring to Mr. Trump’s planned conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. But Mr. Cardin said Mr. Trump must use this time to emphasize 

Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide could hit 1.6M over the next decade, report says – WBIR-TV


WBIR-TV
Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide could hit 1.6M over the next decade, report says
WBIR-TV
In 2015, there were 39.7 deaths per 100,000 U.S. residents due to drugs, alcohol and suicide compared with 23.1 in 1999 a whopping increase of 72%. That number could go up to 56 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2025, said the report commissioned by …

and more »

The Wall Street Journal: “North Korea, Terror Sponsor” – The White House (blog)


Sky News Australia
The Wall Street Journal: “North Korea, Terror Sponsor”
The White House (blog)
All of this is part of the larger U.S. effort to cut off the financial and other lifelines that have made a mockery of United Nations sanctions and allowed the Kim crime family to buy off the military and survive in power despite the North’s 
US allies in Asia welcome return of North Korea to list of state sponsors of terrorNew York Post
Trump names North Korea as sponsor of terrorSky News Australia
Trump declares North Korea ‘sponsor of terrorSBS
The Journal Pioneer –Bangkok Post
all 936 news articles »
Clinton Campaign Scandals – The New American

Clinton Campaign Scandals
The New American
She, the DNC, and the liberal media repeated the Putin’s puppet mantra all the way through the election. After Clinton lost toTrump, the mantra reached a fevered pitch. Then, just before President-elect Trump was inaugurated, the liberal media 

and more »

GOP congressman admits he’s quitting because of Trump as wave election looms in 2018 – Shareblue Media


Shareblue Media
GOP congressman admits he’s quitting because of Trump as wave election looms in 2018
Shareblue Media
Trott cited Trump’s comments following the white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, as being an example of how the president only seemed to make matters worse with his erratic actions. Trump said the white nationalist mob included some 

and more »

Idiot. Dope. Kindergartner. – UrbanDaddy

Idiot. Dope. Kindergartner.
UrbanDaddy
… on behalf of the Trump campaign. This week, it’s low-level volunteer Page, who met in September 2016 with a close advisor to the Hungarian prime minister. Hungary is also regarded as a primary central European hub for Russian intelligence services.

Lawyer for former Trump campaign aide may have conflict of interest in Russia investigation, Mueller says – PBS NewsHour


PBS NewsHour
Lawyer for former Trump campaign aide may have conflict of interest in Russia investigation, Mueller says
PBS NewsHour
WASHINGTON Special counsel Robert Mueller says a lawyer for one of Donald Trump’s former campaign aides may have a conflict of interest. Mueller is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. In court papers …

and more »

She put an obscene anti-Trump message on her truck and was arrested. Now she might sue. – Washington Post


Washington Post
She put an obscene anti-Trump message on her truck and was arrested. Now she might sue.
Washington Post
A Texas woman who claims she was targeted and cyberbullied by a sheriff because of her profane anti-Trump sticker says she’s not backing down and is considering filing a lawsuit. The sticker in question on Karen Fonseca’s GMC Sierra pickup reads: F 
Woman with crude anti-Trump sticker adds new decal to her truckCBS News
Woman considers suing sheriff who threatened charges over anti-Trump decalNBCNews.com
‘F__k Trump‘ driver considering civil rights lawsuit against sheriffKHOU

all 73 news articles »

That Time Russians Tried To Hit Up The Trump Campaign But Jared Accidentally Hit The ‘Fuck You’ Button – Wonkette (blog)


Wonkette (blog)
That Time Russians Tried To Hit Up The Trump Campaign But Jared Accidentally Hit The ‘Fuck You’ Button
Wonkette (blog)
An email chain described Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia’s central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as wanting Trump to attend an event on the sidelines of a National Rifle Association convention in 
Trump Jr. met with Kremlin-connected banker at NRA conventionNew York Daily News
Trump Jr.
 
Met With Kremlin-Linked Man During CampaignOpposing Views

all 25 23 news articles »

Why Is Ty Cobb So Optimistic About the Mueller Probe? – The Atlantic


Vanity Fair

Newsweek
Why Is Ty Cobb So Optimistic About the Mueller Probe?
The Atlantic
A fidgety Trump might make the rash decision to fire Mueller, placing himself in much greater jeopardy than he is already, just as his decision to fire Comey in what appears to have been a fit of pique over the FBI’s Russiainvestigation led to Mueller 
Mueller requests DOJ documents related to Comey firing, Sessions …Business Insider 
As the FBI Closes In, Trump’s Lawyers Are Scrambling to Keep Him CalmVanity Fair
 
Trump Tells Himself Mueller Probe Is Almost Done And He Won’t Face Charges For Collusion: ReportNewsweek

White House aides divided over scope, risks of Russia probeChicago Tribune 
Newsweek
 AOLABC NewsWashington Post
 
all 93
 
CNN.com
all 82 news articles »
Trump White House officials panicking as Mueller ‘works through the staff like Pac-Man’: report – Raw Story


Raw Story
Trump White House officials panicking as Mueller ‘works through the staff like Pac-Man’: report
Raw Story
Top White House aides are trying to project calm in the West Wing, even as special counsel Robert Mueller draws closer to the Oval Office with his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and collusion with Donald Trump

and more »

Populism matters beyond just Europe and the US. Here’s why – Open Democracy


Open Democracy
Populism matters beyond just Europe and the US. Here’s why
Open Democracy
In a recent special issue of the International Political Science Review, experts in the politics of a broad array of regions West and East Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Muslim world, and Africa reflected on the emergence and impact of populism 

Top White House lawyer McGahn to take questions in Mueller probe – CNBC


CNBC
Top White House lawyer McGahn to take questions in Mueller probe
CNBC
… been a key player in a number of events at the heart of the ongoing investigations into the president and his top advisors, including the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser and the president’s firing of former FBI director 
Mueller interviews with senior White House officials coming upKY3 

all 77 
Special counsel sends wide-ranging request for documents to Justice DepartmentABC News
‘A long winter’: White House aides divided over scope, risks of Russia probeWashington Post
CNNWashington Examiner
all 76 news articles »

Putin Trump – Google News: Carter Page held high-level meetings with pro-Putin Hungarian government: report – The Hill


The Hill
Carter Page held high-level meetings with pro-Putin Hungarian government: report
The Hill
Congressional investigators are examining former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page’s meetings with pro-Russia Hungarian officials leading up to the 2016 election, ABC News reported on Monday. Page reportedly met in September 2016 in Budapest …
Carter Page Held High-Level Hungarian Meetings for Trump CampaignDaily Beast

all 6 news articles »

 Putin Trump – Google News

Assault rifles to boost terror response – PerthNow


PerthNow
Assault rifles to boost terror response
PerthNow
Mr Dawson said it would enable them to access information such as photographs and criminal records or alerts when they visited a property or stopped a vehicle improving their safety as well as allow them to electronically write infringements.

and more »

Ex-Staffer: Fox News Blocked Me From Probing Trump-Russia Ties – Daily Beast


Daily Beast
Ex-Staffer: Fox News Blocked Me From Probing Trump-Russia Ties
Daily Beast
A former Fox News employee claims the network barred her from investigating ties between President Trump and Russia. Jessica Golloher, a former Fox radio correspondent, said the right-leaning cable outlet prevented her from traveling to Moscow to …
Ex-Fox News Employee Says She Was Blocked From Investigating TrumpRussia TiesBloomberg
Former Fox News employee claims company barred her from investigating Trump’s Russia tiesThe Week Magazine
A Former Fox News Employee Claims That She Was Barred From Investigating TrumpRussia TiesUPROXX

all 13 news articles »

Here’s An Exclusive Look At ‘The President Show’ Christmas Special

It’s the most wonderful, tremendous, luxurious time of the year.

From Charlie Rose to Donald Trump: 6 thorny questions for Washington on sexual harassment – Washington Post

From Charlie Rose to Donald Trump: 6 7 thorny questions for Washington on sexual harassment
Washington Post
Mega-journalist Charlie Rose. The New York Times’s Times’ Glenn Thrush. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), again. The floodgates are open as (mostly) women are emboldened in this post-Harvey Weinstein era to share their stories of powerful men in politics, …

and more »

Donald Trump’s FCC is a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy – The Nation.


The Nation.
Donald Trump’s FCC is a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy
The Nation.
President Donald Trump’s chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, and the Trump-aligned majority on a commission is bent on clearing the way for precisely the sort of media monopoly that FDR and the small-d democrats of his time feared. Last week, the FCC voted 3 

and more »

When American Democracy Failed – POLITICO Magazine


POLITICO Magazine
When American Democracy Failed
POLITICO Magazine
Hollywood has never been famous for courage under fire, but 70 years ago this month it set an all-time low. And in the process it gave us an inadvertent civics lesson in the fragility of our democratic institutions that we’d be wise to study carefully 

Trump campaign adviser Carter Page held high-level meetings with Hungarian officials in Budapest – ABC News

Trump campaign adviser Carter Page held high-level meetings with Hungarian officials in Budapest
ABC News
Travels by Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to meet with senior officials in Hungary during the 2016 presidential election are being closely examined by congressional investigators, given the increasingly close ties between Hungary and Russia and the …

and more »

Special Council investigating Russia/Trump ties and Comey’s dismissal – YourErie


YourErie
Special Council investigating Russia/Trump ties and Comey’s dismissal
YourErie
ABC News has learned that the special counsel is looking into President Donald Trump’s dismissal of James Comey as the Director of the FBI. Sources tell us that Robert Mueller’s team has requested documents from the Justice Department related to the …

and more »

Gates movie ties being probed by Mueller; lawyer could pose conflict

Robert Muellers team is requesting a special hearing in its case against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates due to a potential conflict posed by a lawyer who represents both Gates … Click to Continue »

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4:09 PM 11/19/2017 – Scaffolding Collapses in SoHo, Reports of Injuries – NBC New York

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Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None
Wooden planks everywhere as scaffolding collapses into NYC street – WLS-TV
Ivanka Trump and the fugitive from Panama
11:27 AM 11/19/2017 New US Sanctions to Be Directed at Putin Personally, Piontkovsky Says
Beware of Russian cyberwarfare, NATO chief tells Canada – Toronto Star
2:11 PM 11/19/2017 Kushner under scrutiny in Russian probe The Hill
Фельштинский о стратегических целях РФ: Раскол, ослабление и даже роспуск НАТО, а также развал Евросоюза – GORDONUA.COM
Turkey, NATO alliance should not be ‘undermined’ – Anadolu Agency
NATO Takes ‘Disciplinary’ Action Over Turkey ‘Enemy’ Insult – Military.com
INFORMATION WARFARE: Victory, Deceit And Conceit
Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Nov. 20, 2017 – Stratfor Worldview (press release) (blog)
The Weekly Rundown: Russia Anticipates Sluggish Growth and a Long Reign Appears Over in Zimbabwe – STRATFOR
Russia’s Gay Demons – The New York Review of Books
8:57 PM 11/18/2017 John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses, died at 84 on Nov. 12
fbi – Google News: 10000 more FBI records unsealed from JFK assassination files – The Keene Sentinel
fbi – Google News: FBI report on ‘extremists’ raises ire – Albany Times Union
mueller – Google News: Mark Osler, Board of Contributors: Mueller investigation team lean, organized, smart – Waco Tribune-Herald
mueller – Google News: ‘SNL’ imagines Trump Jr.-Assange meeting in ‘The Mueller Files’ – The Hill (blog)
james b. comey – Google News: Trump Jr.’s incredible history of dumb decisions – The Decatur Daily
fbi – Google News: EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds … – Daily Mail
fbi – Google News: Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up – seattlepi.com
Controversial Trump Tower meeting back in…
South Korean Official Says Trumps Visit Improved Relations
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom – The Hill
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom

 

Saved Stories – None
Scaffolding Collapses in SoHo, Reports of Injuries – NBC New York
 


NBC New York
Scaffolding Collapses in SoHo, Reports of Injuries
NBC New York
A bystander shot this video of firefighters responding to a scaffolding collapse in SoHo. Credit: @eringoscratch/Instagram (Published 19 minutes ago). A large scaffolding collapsed in SoHo, scattering debris across the street, photos and video from the 
Wooden planks everywhere as scaffolding collapses into the street in Lower ManhattanWABC-TV
Breaking: Scaffolding collapse causes injuries in NYC amid gusty windsAccuWeather.com
Several Injured After Scaffold Crashes Onto SoHo StreetCBS New Yorkall 11 news articles »

Wooden planks everywhere as scaffolding collapses into NYC street – WLS-TV
 


WLS-TV
Wooden planks everywhere as scaffolding collapses into NYC street
WLS-TV
Video from reporter Aaron Katersky shows the scene of a scaffolding collapse in SoHo/Lower Manhattan. (Photo/Zeno Mercer via Twitter). WABC. By Eyewitness News. Sunday, November 19, 2017 12:17PM. NEW YORK –. Five people were hurt after …and more »

Ivanka Trump and the fugitive from Panama

Source: Ivanka Trump and the fugitive from Panama
11:27 AM 11/19/2017 New US Sanctions to Be Directed at Putin Personally, Piontkovsky Says
 

11:27 AM 11/19/2017 New US Sanctions to Be Directed at Putin Personally, Piontkovsky Says
Beware of Russian cyberwarfare, NATO chief tells Canada – Toronto Star
 


Toronto Star
Beware of Russian cyberwarfare, NATO chief tells Canada
Toronto Star
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Canadian troops in Latvia are being smeared by Russia-backed onlinepropaganda aimed at undermining the alliance, and it may not be long before Canada sees similar tactics being waged within its borders and more »

2:11 PM 11/19/2017 Kushner under scrutiny in Russian probe The Hill
 

2:11 PM 11/19/2017 Kushner under scrutiny in Russian probe The Hill
Фельштинский о стратегических целях РФ: Раскол, ослабление и даже роспуск НАТО, а также развал Евросоюза – GORDONUA.COM
 


GORDONUA.COM
Фельштинский о стратегических целях РФ: Раскол, ослабление и даже роспуск НАТО, а также развал Евросоюза
GORDONUA.COM
“Раскол, ослабление и даже роспуск НАТО, а также развал Евросоюза. В рамках решения этих двух стратегических задач проводились вторжения в Грузию и Украину, а также вмешательство в европейские выборы на стороне правых политических партий, выступающих за выход своих … 

Turkey, NATO alliance should not be ‘undermined’ – Anadolu Agency
 


Anadolu Agency
Turkey, NATO alliance should not be ‘undermined’
Anadolu Agency
Turkey’s alliance with NATO should not be undermined, Turkish military chief Gen. Hulusi Akar said on Saturday. Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia in Canada, Chief of General Staff Gen. Akar said: NATO is the most …
Erdoğan condemns ‘impudence’ during NATO drillYeni Şafak Englishall 27 news articles »

NATO Takes ‘Disciplinary’ Action Over Turkey ‘Enemy’ Insult – Military.com
 


Military.com
NATO Takes ‘Disciplinary’ Action Over Turkey ‘Enemy’ Insult
Military.com
NATO has taken ‘disciplinary action’ against an individual over an incident in which Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s modern founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were portrayed as enemies, the alliance’s secretary general has said.
NATO apologizes to Turkey over reports Erdogan shown as foeWashington Post
Turkey Hosts Iranian, Russian Foreign Ministers as Turkish NATO Dispute FestersVoice of America
Turkey forces pulled from NATO drillThe Hindu
POLITICO.euThe Guardian
all 308 305 news articles »
INFORMATION WARFARE: Victory, Deceit And Conceit
Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Nov. 20, 2017 – Stratfor Worldview (press release) (blog)
 

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Nov. 20, 2017
Stratfor Worldview (press release) (blog)
Stratfor’s geopolitical guidance provides insight on what we’re watching out for in the week ahead. … 20-21: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Baku, Azerbaijan, and Yerevan, Armenia, to meet his counterparts to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh. 

The Weekly Rundown: Russia Anticipates Sluggish Growth and a Long Reign Appears Over in Zimbabwe – STRATFOR
 


STRATFOR
The Weekly Rundown: Russia Anticipates Sluggish Growth and a Long Reign Appears Over in Zimbabwe
STRATFOR
Russia in the Red? Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, approved the draft federal budget for 2018-20 on Nov. 17, in one of the government’s larger struggles among the elites, ministers and big business. The budget’s conservative estimates and … 

Russia’s Gay Demons – The New York Review of Books
 


The New York Review of Books
Russia’s Gay Demons
The New York Review of Books
Lev Gudkov is a sociologist who seeks to model the emerging new Russia. Marina Arutyunyan is a psychologist who reestablishes the practice of psychoanalysis in Russia after its disappearance under communism. Gessen’s deft blending of these stories …and more »

8:57 PM 11/18/2017 John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses, died at 84 on Nov. 12

John Raines – Google Search Saturday November 18th, 2017 at 9:02 PM 1 Share John Raines – Google Search Saturday November 18th, 2017 at 9:01 PM John Raines – Google News 1 Share John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses … The Boston Globe–2 hours ago WASHINGTON For 43 years, John Raines, a Temple University religion … Continue reading“8:57 PM 11/18/2017 – John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses, died at 84 on Nov. 12”
fbi – Google News: 10000 more FBI records unsealed from JFK assassination files – The Keene Sentinel
 


WDBJ7
10000 more FBI records unsealed from JFK assassination files
The Keene Sentinel
All of the documents come from the FBI’s files. The batch includes 144 that had never been released, and 2,408 that remain partly classified, with much of the material blacked out 54 years after President John Kennedy’s murder in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Jack Ruby invited FBI informant to ‘watch the fireworks’ at parade where JFK was killedSacramento Bee
Jack Ruby told FBI informant to “watch the fireworks” day JFK died: DocumentsWDBJ7
Oswald killer Jack Ruby told FBI informant to ‘watch the fireworks’ the day JFK was shot documentsRT
Daily Mail
all 23 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

fbi – Google News: FBI report on ‘extremists’ raises ire – Albany Times Union
 


Albany Times Union
FBI report on ‘extremists’ raises ire
Albany Times Union
The FBI said it doesn’t target specific groups, and the report is one of many its intelligence analysts produce to make law enforcement aware of what they see as emerging trends. A similar bulletin on white supremacists, for example, came out about the 
FBI’s black ‘extremists’ report ignites fears of return to illegal Fox News
FBI Report on Black ‘Extremists’ Raises New Monitoring FearsU.S. News & World Report
FBI report on “black identity extremists” raises civil rights fearsAxios government watchFox Newsall 5 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

mueller – Google News: Mark Osler, Board of Contributors: Mueller investigation team lean, organized, smart – Waco Tribune-Herald
 


Waco Tribune-Herald
Mark Osler, Board of Contributors: Mueller investigation team lean, organized, smart
Waco Tribune-Herald
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia’s government and may expand his inquiry to investigate the roles of the attorney general and deputy attorney general in the firing of FBI and more »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: ‘SNL’ imagines Trump Jr.-Assange meeting in ‘The Mueller Files’ – The Hill (blog)
 


The Hill (blog)
‘SNL’ imagines Trump Jr.-Assange meeting in ‘The Mueller Files’
The Hill (blog)
… Virginia Dems see gains in Virginia’s House of Delegates MORE Jr., Eric Trump and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange might have looked like in this week’s opening skit, titled “The Mueller Files.” SNL’s Kate McKinnon portrayed Assange, meeting Trump 
‘Saturday Night Live’ Spies on a Meeting Between Donald Trump Jr and Julian Assange (Watch)Variety
‘SNL’s’ Kate McKinnon Proves She Can Be Anyone As She Plays Julian Assange In ‘The Mueller Files’UPROXX
The Mueller Files serves as SNL cold open: Donald Trump Jr …CarterMattall 33

 Jr., Julian AssangeCarterMattall 22

 news articles »

 mueller – Google News

james b. comey – Google News: Trump Jr.’s incredible history of dumb decisions – The Decatur Daily
 


The Decatur Daily
Trump Jr.’s incredible history of dumb decisions
The Decatur Daily 
WASHINGTON With all the documentation of Russian collusion piling up, President Donald Trump’s best excuse may be that his people were too incompetent to organize a conspiracy. Luckily for him, an innocent-by-reason-of-stupidity defense has the 
 
On Twitter and in an interview at the time of former FBI director James BComey’s testimony, he inadvertently confirmed one of Comey’s main points. In a campaign interview, Junior spoke of reporters warming up the gas chamber for Republicans. In
 … 

 james b. comey – Google News

fbi – Google News: EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds … – Daily Mail
 


Daily Mail
EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds …
Daily Mail
A letter newly released from the FBI’s archives may prove that DB Cooper – the 1971 hijacker last seen leaping out of a plane with a fortune in cash – survived his apparent death. The letter, which was sent 17 days after the hijacking appears to 
Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-upseattlepi.comall 2 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

fbi – Google News: Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up – seattlepi.com
 


seattlepi.com
Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up
seattlepi.com
Investigators: D.B. Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up. A fifth Cooper letter obtained through FOIA, allegedly from the real hijacker, team says, FBI not interested in revisiting case. By Daniel DeMay, SeattlePI …
EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds …Daily Mailall 2 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

Controversial Trump Tower meeting back in…

Donald Trump, Jr. met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. Now the man who arranged the meeting says hes ready to talk to Robert Mueller. Joy Reid and her panel discuss.

Read more

South Korean Official Says Trumps Visit Improved Relations

South Koreas Democratic Party leader, Choo Mi-ae, center, and fellow party members watching the results of presidential election exit polls in Seoul in May.
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom – The Hill
 

mikenova shared this story from Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime – Google News.


The Hill
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom
The Hill
Over 35 years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency hired me to become a case officer. I just retired after … At the same time, Vladimir Putin-led Russia regressed into Soviet Union lite. Putin’s Russia … Survival of the Soviet Union might have  

35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom
 

mikenova shared this story .

By Craig Osth, opinion contributor — 11/19/17 10:00 AM ESTThe views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

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5:08 AM 11/13/2017 – A “freak accident” or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message? 

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Stairwell collapse

A “freak accident” or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message?

Interpretation:

San Diego: Son, die e (и – and) go

Barrio Logan community: Barry (? Barrack Obama), I owe, (you,) low gun (? A reference to sanctions against Russia introduced by Pres. Obama)

Etc.

This “accident” should be thoroughly investigated, and it might provide the clues for the understanding of the similar accidents in the past (recall the falls of balconies, for example), and most likely in the future. 

Michael Novakhov

11.13.17

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode Nov. 12, 2017
James B. Comey, called a liar and leaker by Trump, tweets a quote about truth and justice – The Washington Post
Trump voters were motivated by racism, not economic anxiety : The Massachusetts Daily Collegian
Bulgaria’s Richest Man or Mafia Kingpin? Possibly Both | Provocateurs
How Spains Fight Against Gangsters Revealed Russian Power Networks
17 Signs of Trump Team Collusion with Russia – PlanetSave.com
7:10 PM 11/12/2017 Trump Backs U.S. Intelligence
VOA Newscasts – November 12, 2017
PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode Nov. 12, 2017 – YouTube
Trump travels to Vietnam and shakes hands with Putin – YouTube
Donald Trump: Former Top Intelligence Chiefs: Trump Being ‘Played’ By Putin
1:58 PM 11/12/2017 Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles
Just Security: Who in Their Right Mind Would Believe Putin?
organized crime and intelligence – Google News: Lincoln’s spy: How Pinkerton laid the foundation for the CIA and FBI – Salon
Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election : The Two-Way : NPR
putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election – NPR
putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Clapper: Downplaying Russia threat a ‘peril’ to US – CNN
Mueller Immediately Closes Investigation After Hearing Putin Proclaim His Innocence – The New Yorker (satire)
Saved Stories – 1. Trump: Ex-intelligence chiefs: Trump is being played by Putin and US is in ‘peril’
trump authoritarianism – Google News: Russia’s mark: A dangerous fool for a president – Washington Post
medvedev – Google Search
Modi, Trump, Shinzo, Medvedev reach Manila
Trump’s Taxes Have Probably Already Been Hacked – WIRED

 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
children staircase – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story from children staircase – Google News.

Story image for children staircase from KRIS Corpus Christi News

KRIS Corpus Christi News

Multiple children injured after stairway collapse at Vault PK

CBS 8 San DiegoNov 11, 2017
SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Multiple children were injured Saturday night after a stairwell collapse at Vault PK. Witnesses told News 8 a staircase …
More than 20 children hurt after staircase collapses
KRIS Corpus Christi News14 hours ago
Stairwell Collapse At San Diego Indoor Gym Leaves 21 Kids Hurt
<a href=”http://Patch.com” rel=”nofollow”>Patch.com</a>20 hours ago
Authorities investigating stairwell collapse at San Diego gym that …
Highly CitedLos Angeles TimesNov 11, 2017
Dozens of children injured in stairwell collapse in Barrio Logan
Highly CitedThe San Diego Union-TribuneNov 11, 2017

Media image for children staircase from Washington Post

Washington Post

Media image for children staircase from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Media image for children staircase from The San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Media image for children staircase from Patch.com

Patch.com

Media image for children staircase from Mirror.co.uk

Mirror.co.uk

Media image for children staircase from The San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Authorities investigating stairwell collapse at San Diego gym that injured nearly two dozen children
 

mikenova shared this story .

San Diego building inspectors are still trying to determine how a stairwell at an indoor gym in the Barrio Logan community collapsed Saturday night, injuring more than two dozen people, most of whom were children.

The incident occurred about 7:40 p.m. at Vault PK on Main Street near Sigsbee Street, a large warehouse that shares space with a paintball facility and Crossfit gym, officials said. Vault PK specializes in parkour, a physically demanding sport that requires athletes to navigate military-style obstacle courses.

The accident occurred in the midst of an open gym night for ages 5 to 14, according to the gym’s website.

Twenty-one children and two adults, ages 72 and 46, were taken to various hospitals with moderate to minor injuries. Three or four of the victims suffered spinal injuries when a 10-by-30-foot wooden platform collapsed on them, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Steve Wright.

“It could have been much worse,” he said.

The patients were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Mercy, Sharp and UC San Diego Medical Center, Wright said. There were additional people with minor injuries who left on their own, rather than by ambulance, he said.

Zachary Smith, who was there with his son for a birthday party, said he was standing on the platform, which he described as a viewing area, along with about 30 others, when the staircase below collapsed, causing the platform to topple. He fell onto a young girl but neither was seriously hurt, he said. Smith’s son was also on the platform at the time but suffered only minor scrapes.

“It was a freak accident,” Smith said, adding that he believes it could have been avoided because the structure did not appear to be built to hold such weight.

Smith said the collapse sparked chaos with parents scrambling to find their children amid the debris.

One parent who did not provide his name said the stairwell collapsed after so many children were running up and down to get pizza. Many parents were likely using a Groupon that had been offered for the evening’s open gym, he said.

His 11-year-old son was not injured. He said he thought 40 to 50 people would show up for the evening “but there were probably three times that.”

Joe Saari said that when he and his wife dropped off their two children for a few hours, there were 100 to 150 kids at the warehouse, which includes trampolines and bouncy houses. The couple were heading back home to Chula Vista when one of their children called and said there had been an accident.

His kids suffered minor scrapes, Saari said.

A woman said her 13-year-old son was unhurt but “devastated” by the traumatic scene. She said she went inside to get him out and saw one child with blood all over his face.

At Total Combat Paintball, which shares the facility with the gym, the day began normally before the accident.

“It was business as usual until we heard a loud boom come from the gym, at which point our staff and some customers ran over to the gym to help any way we could,” the company said in a statement.

An hour after the incident, the street around the warehouse was lined with ambulances and fire trucks, some leaving with victims inside and yet still more emergency vehicles arriving. One woman stood on the sidewalk, holding an ice pack over one eye while she talked on her cellphone.

Children huddled nearby in groups, some with parents. San Diego police corralled the children and matched them up with parents as they arrived.

City building inspectors were on the scene Sunday to investigate the cause of the collapse.

pauline.repard@sduniontribune.com

kristina.davis@sduniontribune.com


UPDATES:

3:20 p.m.: This article was updated with more comments from witnesses and fire officials.

9 a.m., Nov. 12: This article was updated with new comments from witnesses and fire officials.

11:05 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from San Diego fire officials.

10:30 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from San Diego fire officials.

This article was originally posted at 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 11

PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode Nov. 12, 2017
 

mikenova shared this story from Trump’s YouTube Videos.

From: Trump
Duration: 24:55

On this edition for Sunday, Nov. 12, President Trump arrives in the Philippines, his last stop on a five-nation Asia tour. Also, researchers in Hawaii, already a state leader in renewable energy, are using ocean waves to make electricity. Megan Thompson anchors from New York.

James B. Comey, called a liar and leaker by Trump, tweets a quote about truth and justice – The Washington Post
 

mikenova shared this story .

Former FBI director James B. Comey has been somewhat active on Twitter over the past month, mostly tweeting nature photos and avoiding anything blatantly political.

In one of his latest tweets, he quoted a sermon from the late English Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon about the difference between a truth and a lie: “If you want truth to go around the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go around the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it.”

Trump voters were motivated by racism, not economic anxiety : The Massachusetts Daily Collegian
 

mikenova shared this story from The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Last week, when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly claimed that the Civil War resulted from “a lack of ability to compromise,” he engaged in one of America’s most cherished pastimes: whitewashing history to coincide with a narrative that both sides of a particular conflict had worthy arguments, and the real tragedy was their inability to come to a mutual understanding. Indeed, if not for his history of commanding Department of Homeland Security officials to generalize immigrant populations as criminal, and his ill-considered feud with African-American Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, General Kelly’s behavior could be viewed as largely a product of the education he received growing up. Until the 1970s, U.S. history textbooks across the country routinely referred to the Civil War as the “War Between the States” and depicted secession and Reconstruction as equally egregious mistakes.

While it’s now easy to recognize the folly in portraying both sides of the Civil War as noble and just, we have continued to advance narratives that favor American mythology over uncomfortable truth—none more pervasive than the dogma that voters who supported President Trump did so because of “economic anxiety.” The theory goes that Trump was the only politician to speak to the working class’s financial fears, exacerbated by the daunting forces of globalization, immigration and mechanization. This ignores Trump’s overt sexist and racist appeals during the campaign and repackages them as legitimate economic grievances. In this world, it wasn’t Trump’s conflation of Mexican immigrants with rapists that motivated his supporters; it was his criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This has been generally accepted by vast swaths of the media and political landscapes, with the “New York Times”’ Nicholas Kristoff and the “New Yorker”’s George Packer, as well as liberal Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden coalescing around a similar argument that Trump voters’ motivations were primarily economic in nature. Biden has repeatedly rejected that prejudice was a primary motivating factor for Trump voters, pleading that “they aren’t prejudiced, they’re realistic” and that “they’re not racist. They’re not sexist. But we didn’t talk to them.”

But this is a bunch of malarkey.

Post-election surveys and exit polls tell a much different story of the voting habits of the working class. For instance, it is not well-known that the typical Trump supporter was actually much better off financially than the average American. The median household income of a Trump voter during the primary was $72,000—considerably higher than the median American household income of $56,000, and roughly $11,000 more than the median family income for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters. This trend repeated in the general election, when Trump won more of the voters making $50,000 to $250,000 or higher in a year than Clinton did, and Clinton won more of the voters earning less than $50,000 than Trump did. A Public Religion Research Institute study found that white working class voters in the worst financial shape were actually 1.7 times more likely to support Clinton than Trump, virtually disproving the myth of economic anxiety and suggesting that Trump supporters were more likely to be suburban investment bankers than rural coal miners.

So, what compelled voters to support Trump if not for financial reasons? In a post-election study, University of Massachusetts political science professors Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams and Tatishe Nteta found that voters who denied the presence of racism in the United States were more likely to vote for Trump than those who acknowledged its presence by a 60 point margin, and those who expressed sexist views were more likely to vote for Trump than those who did not by a 20 point margin. All in all, the authors remarked that economic variables “were dwarfed by the relationship between hostile sexism and denial of racism and voting for Trump.” In a similar vein, political scientist Philip Klinkner found that the most predictive question to determine if a white person supported Trump in the primary was not their pessimism on the economy or free trade deals, or even their partisan identification, but if they thought President Barack Obama was a Muslim—a unique falsehood levied against the first Black president and used as political fodder by Trump. Racial animus was the single most potent factor in the 2016 election.

There is an inherent danger in telling one dominant story to communicate the intentions of millions of people. Of course not all Trump supporters are racist or sexist—many even have legitimate economic concerns. But to suggest that these factors played no part in Trump’s ascendance is not only willfully ignorant; it’s disingenuous. The stories we tell about ourselves have meaning. They help to communicate our history and intentions, and most importantly, how we perceive ourselves. It is up to us, then, to tell them honestly and in good faith, and not cast aside difficult conversations for convenient lies.

Matt O’Malley is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at <a href=”mailto:momalley@umass.edu”>momalley@umass.edu</a>.

Related

An equal opportunity holiday?

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY HOLIDAY?

Yesterday finished up one of those calendar occurrences that are oh-so-cherished by members of any student body: a three-day weekend. The reason for this most recent elongated treat was so the country could observe one of its lesser-recognized holidays. I am talking, of course, about Presidents’ Day – or should…

February 19, 2007

In “Archives”

Bulgaria’s Richest Man or Mafia Kingpin? Possibly Both | Provocateurs
 

mikenova shared this story .

You may not know their names, but the world’s Little Known Billionaires wield a hidden economic clout. Read more of this OZY original series.

There’s a saying that goes “Other countries have the mafia; in Bulgaria, the mafia has the country.” Many Bulgarians may reject the notion, but from the look on his face, whether in photographs or the rare interview, Vasil “the Skull” Bozhkov, supposed mafia kingpin and Bulgaria’s richest man, doesn’t disagree. Often shown smirking or reclining with a cigar, Bozhkov, an entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, gives off an air of impervious and unbridled power.

The origin of the nickname is unknown, but glance at a leaked 2009 report on Bulgaria’s most wanted criminals prepared by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires John Ordway, and you’ll find a colorful cast of Bulgarian mob bosses, including the Beret, Big Margin, the Chicken and the Billy Goat. Perhaps Bozhkov is known as the Skull because of his very prominent facial bones, or maybe it’s the way his piercing eyes peer out from deep-set sockets. Or, it could be something more sinister.

Bulgarian mogul Vasil Bozhkov has amassed an extensive collection of rare Thracian artifacts, offering a glimpse of a little-known ancient civilization which has left no written records.

Source Courtesy of CSKA sports

Bozhkov, 61, made his fortune during Bulgaria’s transition from communism to capitalism in 1989. His first company, a currency exchange opened in 1990 in Sofia, quickly expanded into a chain. In 1991, he and two partners formed IGM, a gambling company that started with one casino at the Hotel Rila in Sofia and now has countless sites throughout the city. By the end of that year, Bozhkov had amassed profits so great that he set up a holding company, Nove, which today is comprised of more than 30 businesses with numerous subsidiaries, including the popular Eurofootball lottery.

Though it seems an impossible leap to go from owning a handful of currency exchanges to running a multinational empire in a single year, it’s important to note that just after the fall of socialism, a little went a long way. Bozhkov’s rise in Bulgaria was, in some ways, a preview of the wealth a handful of Russian oligarchs would rapidly amass a few years later thanks to a similar transition, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. “At this time, you could buy a three-bedroom flat in Sofia for $4,000,” explains Lachezar Bogdanov, manager of the Bulgarian economic think tank Industry Watch. “Everything was so cheap that if you had a few million dollars, it was a huge advantage.” And the Skull had more than a few million — in fact, he had a whole bank’s worth of leva. In 1994 he opened the Bulgarian Commercial Industrial Bank, which soon merged with Credit Bank of Multigroup, a savvy move that gave Bozhkov the power to lend himself money through the network of companies under the Nove umbrella.

The Skull has strayed far from the Communist ideals of his childhood, enjoying the opulent lifestyle afforded by his billionaire status.

Born in 1956 in Velingrad, Bulgaria, the man who would become the Skull grew up under the totalitarian regime of Todor Zhivkov, a Soviet bloc Communist who ruled his country with an iron fist for 35 years until his ouster in 1989. It was a period when Bulgaria was a reclusive, agrarian country, sheltered from Western capitalist influences — and utterly devoid of the flashy foreign cars driven by designer-clad gangsters that zip through the streets Sofia today.

Precisely when and how Bozhkov allegedly entered organized crime is unknown, but according to the report from Ordway, a veteran foreign service officer and former U.S. ambassador, he is “Bulgaria’s most infamous gangster.” And while he has never been brought to court for syndicated crime, another leaked report — this one classified in 2005 by former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew — states: “Bozhkov’s illegal activities include money laundering, privatization fraud, intimidation, extortion and racketeering.” Organized crime in Bulgaria, as detailed in Ordway’s report, is particularly active in international money laundering, drug and human trafficking, counterfeiting and contract killing.

Today, the Skull has strayed far from the Communist ideals of his childhood, enjoying the opulent lifestyle afforded by his billionaire status. An avid art collector, he owns hundreds of Roman, Greek and Thracian works of art. In 2011, he loaned artifacts for an exhibition at the National History Museum in Sofia, and to coincide with Bulgaria’s admission into the EU, he was invited to exhibit items from his collection in Brussels. Unfortunately, while Bulgaria boasts some of the richest archaeological sites around, plunderers are known to raid tombs and graves — fueling a black market in ancient treasures that some speculate can be traced to Bozhkov’s extensive collection.

Philanthropic gestures aside, Bozhkov is still seen as a key player in Bulgaria’s deeply corrupt landscape. According to a report published last year by Transparency International, Bulgaria is perceived as the most corrupt country in the European Union on measures that include freedom of the press, independent judiciary and organized crime. “Corruption risks in Bulgaria remain high,” explains Miriam Konradsen Ayed from GAN’s Business Anti-Corruption Portal. “The judiciary is particularly susceptible to corruption due to undue influence from politicians and well-connected businessmen.” And Ordway maintains in his leaked report that bringing reputed mafia ring leaders like the Skull to justice “would be a major victory for the new government and demonstrate to a skeptical European Commission (and Bulgarian public) that the days of impunity are over.”

It’s a reality that may be inching closer. In 2015, Bulgaria adopted two strategic documents — the National Strategy for Preventing and Countering Corruption 2015-2020 and Strategic Guidelines for the Prevention and Counteraction to Corruption 2015-2020, notes Jasna Panjeta, program and outreach director for the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative. She believes the Bulgarian government has made it a priority to increase transparency across all public sectors and says the European Commission’s Cooperation and Verification Mechanism will continue to monitor judicial reform and efforts to curtail corruption and organized crime.

Not everyone agrees that the Skull’s rise to the top is a clear example of corruption. “It’s the way that the system works,” insists Bogdanov, adding that the “entrepreneurs” who made quick starts out of the gate in the early ’90s exploited the opportunities presented by the regime change and gained a major advantage. Infamous gangster or crafty businessman? We tried asking, but the Skull didn’t respond to our request for an interview. And we left it at that.

How Spains Fight Against Gangsters Revealed Russian Power Networks
 

mikenova shared this story .

These were all examples of how making someone’s personal, and sometimes private, information public on the internet led to intense harassment.

Today, each of the cases could easily be termed a form of doxxing — short for “dropping documents.” In the last few years, doxxing has increasingly been used as an online weapon to attack people. People’s “documents” — records of their addresses, relatives, finances — get posted online with the implicit or explicit invitation for others to shame or hector them.

But while doxxing may seem both creepy and dangerous, there is no single federal law against the practice. Such behavior has to be part of a wider campaign of harassment or stalking for it to be against the law.

It was all fascinating and disturbing, and I think leaves people, myself included, with a lot to think about concerning doxxing, its effectiveness and appropriateness both. Reporters, after all, have been doing a form of doxxing for decades.

But to hope of thinking clearly about doxxing, it always helps to better understand it and its practitioners.

So, how do doxxers dox? They use public records, like property records, tax documents, voter registration databases; they scour social media, real estate websites and even do real-life surveillance to gather information. Then, they publish the information online.

For some, doxxing is morally troubling. Law professor Danielle Citron is one. “It provides a permission structure to go outside the law and punish each other,” she says. “It’s like shaming in cyber-mobs.”

Then, there is the matter of doxxing the wrong person.

Here’s an example: After the infamous “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, an attendee wearing an “Arkansas engineering” shirt was identified as Kyle Quinn, a professor at the University of Arkansas. Except Kyle Quinn wasn’t in Charlottesville. That didn’t stop the internet, and so when “Kyle Quinn” was doxxed as one of those torch — bearing protesters in Charlottesville, Quinn spent a weekend in hiding due to the amount of online abuse he subsequently received. The real protester, a former engineering student named Andrew M. Dodson, later apologized.

In some cases, people doxxed after taking part in white supremacist marches have been arrested, lost their jobs or allegedly been disowned by their families.

Other experts question whether doxxing white supremacists is a useful tactic. “Is this an effective means of challenging racist views?” ask Ajay Sandhu and Daniel Marciniak, researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. They argue that doxxing simply isolates people, forcing them into smaller parts of the internet. “You don’t really challenge them, you allow them to exist in those isolated spaces,” Sandhu says.

Some tips on how to protect yourself from doxxing

The short answer is: You probably can’t fully. But we have a few tips that will help make the information you want kept private more secure.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication adds another level of security for online accounts. You should set this up for your social media, online banking, and any account connected to your credit cards (Venmo, PayPal, Amazon), and things with recurring payments that have credit card info like Netflix. For social media, here’s

a how-to from Facebook on enabling two-factor authentication

 for your Facebook account, and here’s one

from Twitter

.

Increase privacy on your social media accounts

There may be, and probably is, personal information that is viewable by the public on your social media accounts. Or your social media accounts are completely public. It’s worth looking at the privacy of those. Here are a few things to do to button those up:

For Facebook, you can adjust your privacy settings

here

. Some boxes to check:

  • Set your profile so it can’t be searched.
  • Set your friends list to private.
  • Set any older content to private, which you can do in bulk.
  • Set all past profile pictures to private.

Also helpful to reduce personal information in your public profile:

  • Remove your header image.
  • Remove any featured photos.
  • Consider removing your profile picture, or making sure it’s something professional/benign in case it gets copied and pasted elsewhere.
  • Check profile pictures and remove or update these images to make sure it’s something professional/benign in case it gets copied and pasted elsewhere.
  • Check who can follow you and/or see your posts.
  • Check account security settings; like Facebook, each platform has privacy/security settings.
  • Consider making Instagram feeds private, as even un-geotagged photos can provide a lot of useful location information.

How strong are your passwords?

Protect your email accounts

Where is your email address located out on the internet? Do you want it there? If not, remove your personal email address from personal websites, social media accounts or wherever else it might be.

Remove yourself from people search sites

Here’s how to remove yourself from many popular people search sites. These sites can reveal relatives, phone numbers, addresses (old and new), etc., that can be used by angry internet trolls to harass you and your family. Some of these sites are more obnoxious than others to opt out of, but if you go through all of them, it will take you out of most of the common online search services. Also, never provide sensitive information like your credit card number or Social Security number while opting out. Each of the links below will take you to the current opt-out page or instructions on how to opt out:

  • PeopleFinders: Search yourself in any states you’ve lived in and click “This is me” to have it removed.
  • Intelius: You need to scan your ID and scratch out your photo and DL number. Within a few days, they should remove you.
  • Whitepages (non-Premium): Search your name on <a href=”http://whitepages.com” rel=”nofollow”>whitepages.com</a> and copy the URL. Then go to the address linked here and paste it in. You’ll need to give them a phone number and then they call and read you a code.
  • Whitepages Premium: Frustratingly, Whitepages Premium results will still show up for you if you remove yourself from <a href=”http://whitepages.com” rel=”nofollow”>whitepages.com</a>. You’ll need to file a ticket with their support staff, but in our experience they’re pretty quick to remove you. Just search for your name in Whitepages Premium, copy the link, and fill out this form.
  • Spokeo: Much like <a href=”http://whitepages.com” rel=”nofollow”>whitepages.com</a>, search yourself on Spokeo and copy the profile URL. Then paste it into the opt-out form here.
  • BeenVerified: This site is very particular about the spelling and form of names. For example, a search result came up for Kenneth Schwencke but not Ken Schwencke. But once you’ve located your name, or versions of your name, opt out here.

Other sites: Once you’ve scrubbed the above listings, it’s a good idea to Google your name and the words “address” or “phone number” and see what comes up. If something does, find a way to manually opt out of each one of those sites.

Worth remembering here: Due to the nature of these services, your name might pop back up on them again. It’s worth it to re-check every few months to see if you’re still listed.

A step further: Data brokers

The sites above often get your information from data brokers. To ensure that your data doesn’t pop back up in other types of “PeopleFinders,” you have to go directly to the data brokers. This, however, can take time and sometimes be complicated. Here’s a list of some of the biggest data brokers and their opt-out pages:

A note on voter files

Voter files are public records in nearly every state, but some states block the release of information for certain people. For example,

Florida conceals voter registration

 information for individuals participating in the state’s Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence and stalking. It’s worth checking with your local or state election authority to see how your state operates.

If you want more, here are some guides we are particularly fond of:

Tips and advice compiled by: Mike Tigas, Ken Schwencke, Jeff Larson, Derek Willis, Julia Angwin and Terry Parris Jr.

17 Signs of Trump Team Collusion with Russia – PlanetSave.com
 

mikenova shared this story from deutsche bank and trump – Google News.


PlanetSave.com
17 Signs of Trump Team Collusion with Russia
PlanetSave.com
One European bank Trump could get loans from reportedly the only US or European bank he could get them from wasDeutsche Bank, which later got busted for laundering Russian money through a bank in Cyprus. Among several KGB- and …and more »
7:10 PM 11/12/2017 Trump Backs U.S. Intelligence
 

mikenova shared this story from The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com.

WSJ.com: World News: Trump Backs U.S. Intelligence Agencies When Asked About Russian Meddling

President Donald Trump said he had full confidence in U.S. intelligence agencies, indicating that he believed a report earlier this year that concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. But he wouldnt say definitively whether he believes the report.
VOA Newscasts – November 12, 2017
 

mikenova shared this story from Voice of America.

Give us 5 minutes, and we’ll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/12/20171112-220000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3

PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode Nov. 12, 2017 – YouTube
 

mikenova shared this story .

Trump travels to Vietnam and shakes hands with Putin – YouTube
 

mikenova shared this story .

Donald Trump: Former Top Intelligence Chiefs: Trump Being ‘Played’ By Putin
 

mikenova shared this story from 1. Trump from mikenova (196 sites).

I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trumps interest in being flattered, former CIA Director John Brennan said

 Donald Trump

1:58 PM 11/12/2017 Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles
 

mikenova shared this story from Trump Investigations Report.

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election : The Two-Way : NPR putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election – NPR putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Clapper: Downplaying Russia threat … Continue reading“1:58 PM 11/12/2017 – Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles…”

Just Security: Who in Their Right Mind Would Believe Putin?
 

mikenova shared this story from 1. Trump from mikenova (196 sites).

This article is co-published with our partners at The Atlantic.

When asked on Saturday about his conversation with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific economic summit in Vietnam, President Donald Trump reported that the Russian president denied interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. That, of course, directly contradicts the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community. Every time [Putin] sees me he says, I didnt do that, and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it, Trump said. The next day, in confusing fashion, he walked back parts of his earlier statement, saying he believes in our intel agencies. (Regarding what, exactly, he left unclear). But he also seemingly doubled down on his previous assertion. I believe that [Putin] feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election, Trump said.

Trump went on to say he hopes to cooperate with Russia to solve global problems like North Korea and Syria. But if he does in fact seek such help, based on the false premise of Putins sincerity, thats bad news. Putin is a world-class liarindeed, hes professionally trained in the art of deception. He grew up in the Soviet KGB, ran Russias brutal internal security service, and has remade the government into a personal fiefdom. He now serves as an unchallenged autocrat. Analysts assess that he is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, despite his modest claim that his official salary is less than $200,000 a year.

Inside Russia, truth and falsehood are purposely clouded so that Putin can create facts serving his own interests and those of his coterie. Truth is only what he says it is, at the time of his choosing. The same truth may well be denied the following day. And conveyers of real truth, including dissidents and reporters, are eliminated.

Putin seems to regard his capacity to assert obvious lies as truth as an exertion of his power. Immediately following the shoot-down of a Malaysian airliner in which 298 civilians were killed, he lied about the circumstances that led to their murder. He denied the illegal use of chemical weapons by his allies in Syria. He lied about the Russian invasion of Crimea and the use of Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, and he covered up the secret state-sponsored doping of Russian athletes. In each case, his deceit has been revealed. Yet he has doubled down on his rendering of the truth, remaining steadfast no matter how ridiculous he appears.

Lets put Putins most-recent denial of interference in the U.S. election in context. It came only a day after Spains defense minister announced that Russian hackers had sought to purposely damage his country by inflaming the issue of Catalonian independence. France, Germany, Estonia, Sweden, Poland, and Hungary, to name a few, have also uncovered dedicated Russian efforts to interfere in their political processes. Russian intelligence operatives have supported violent and far-right wing groups in Europe, and even attempted a coup and assassination attempt in Montenegro. Russia may well have also been involved in efforts to promote Britains exit from the European Union.

This weekends lie hits closer to home. In the U.S. intelligence communitys assessment that Russia deliberately interfered in last years presidential election, it concluded that Putin himself ordered the attack, and that his goals included helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton. In recent weeks, executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google have testified before Congress about Russian infiltration of their platforms to interfere in the election. Moscows misattributed advertisements and fake social-media accounts were seen by millions. Putins agents were even able to foment protests in the U.S. from their desks in Russia.

On top of all this, hardly a week goes by without new stories of Russian trolls, cyber-attacks, deception, or propaganda. Investigations into Russias interference and continued presence in Western social-media networks monopolize the FBI and Justice Departments resources. In a press conference, Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: We feel very confident that the [intelligence community assessments] accuracy is going to be supported by our committee.

To say the least, Trumps willingness to accept Putins blatant lies does not reflect well on him. Setting aside the concern that his acceptance may well be a cynical means of protecting himself from allegations of collusion, trusting Putin over Americas intelligence professionals is a stinging rebuke to those dedicated public servants who work diligently to provide him with the best information available.

Trump cant have it both ways. He cant claim to side with his intelligence agencies while also accepting Putins contention that Russia did not interfere in the election. Trump, in his half-hearted attempt to backtrack on Sunday, couldnt seem to bring himself to complete the sentence: I believe in our intelligence agencies conclusion that the Russia government interfered in the election. Whys that so hard to say?

On the same Saturday afternoon that Trump reiterated his faith in Putin, he called former FBI director James Comey a proven liar and leaker, and former intelligence chief James Clapper and CIA director John Brennan political hacks. Putting aside ones personal feelings about their records, they were life-long public servants who sought to provide non-partisan support to the Republican and Democratic presidents they served. In his backpedaling on Sunday, Mr. Trump did not veer far from those insults. As currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies, and Im with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. His affirmation followed CIA Director Mike Pompeos statement that he stands by the intelligence community conclusions on Russian interference.

For those most worried about Trumps casual use of lies for his own tactical benefit, it is the reality of Russia that is most frightening. It did not take long for Putin to weaken the elements of civil society and centralize power, creating an Alice in Wonderland political atmosphere where up can be down, and down can be up depending on his whim. Certainly, Americas institutions are stronger than Russias, and it is unlikely that Trump possesses Putins savvy. Nonetheless, the defiling of the truth and attacks on this countrys vital institutions are taking a toll and weakening Americas defenses.

Photo Credit: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 – Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP

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 Just Security

organized crime and intelligence – Google News: Lincoln’s spy: How Pinkerton laid the foundation for the CIA and FBI – Salon
 

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Salon
Lincoln’s spy: How Pinkerton laid the foundation for the CIA and FBI
Salon
In Europe, Eugene-Francois Vidocq may be considered the godfather of the former criminal turned secret agent who is largely responsible for the development of the modern, entwined arts of intelligence-gathering and criminal investigation. But stateside 

 organized crime and intelligence – Google News

Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election : The Two-Way : NPR
 

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A day after meeting with the Russian president during an economic summit in Vietnam, President Trump told reporters he sided with U.S. intelligence agencies but believed that Putin “feels” his country “did not meddle in the election.” Jorge Silva/AP hide caption

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Jorge Silva/AP

A day after meeting with the Russian president during an economic summit in Vietnam, President Trump told reporters he sided with U.S. intelligence agencies but believed that Putin “feels” his country “did not meddle in the election.”

Jorge Silva/AP

Mixed statements from President Trump during his Asia trip drew criticisms at home Sunday, particularly over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that his country didn’t meddle in the 2016 U.S. Elections.

On CNN’s State of the Union, former CIA director John Brennan criticized comments Trump made after meeting Putin during the Asia Pacific economic summit in Vietnam in which the president said he believed Putin was “sincere” in his belief that Russia did not interfere in last year’s elections.

“It demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very worrisome from a national security standpoint,” Brennan told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Appearing alongside Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Russia “posed” a threat that is “manifest and obvious,” and echoed concerns about the president’s reputation among foreign leaders.

“I do think both the Chinese and the Russians think they can play him,” Clapper said.

Earlier that day, Trump had told reporters that both Clapper and Brennan, along with fired FBI director James Comey, were “political hacks.” Trump has continually insisted the investigation into Russia meddling is politically motivated, often calling it a witch hunt.

But even as his criticized the former intelligence heads, he said he sided with the agencies all three officials had once lead, as NPR’s Scott Horsely reports, over Putin:

” ‘He said he didn’t meddle,’ Trump said aboard Air Force One when asked whether he had discussed Russia’s interference in the 2016 election with Putin. ‘He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times.’

” ‘He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election, he did not do what they are saying he did,’ Trump added.

“Later on Sunday in Hanoi, and after receiving criticism for his remarks, Trump was asked for clarification on the topic. Trump responded that he agrees with U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in last year’s election.

” ‘I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election,’ he told reporters. “As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.’ ”

Scott goes on to report that a statement from the U.S. State Department says conversations between the two leaders were focused on Syria and defeating ISIS there.

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election – NPR
 

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NPR
Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election
NPR
Mixed statements from President Trump during his Asia trip drew criticisms at home Sunday, particularly over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that his country didn’t meddle in the 2016 U.S. Elections. On CNN’s State of the Union, former CIA and more »

 putin won US 2016 election – Google News

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Clapper: Downplaying Russia threat a ‘peril’ to US – CNN
 

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CNN
Clapper: Downplaying Russia threat a ‘peril’ to US
CNN
The intelligence community released an unclassified version of its assessment in January, saying Putin ordered the electionmeddling to hurt Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and bolster Trump’s successful bid. Putin denies the accusations, and Trump has …
Trump slams former US intel leaders as ‘political hacks’The Hillall 24 news articles »

 putin won US 2016 election – Google News

Mueller Immediately Closes Investigation After Hearing Putin Proclaim His Innocence – The New Yorker (satire)
 

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The New Yorker (satire)
Mueller Immediately Closes Investigation After Hearing Putin Proclaim His Innocence
The New Yorker (satire)
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)The special counsel Robert Mueller announced on Saturday that he was closing the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, effective immediately, after hearing that President Vladimir Putin, of Russia, said he was …and more »
Saved Stories – 1. Trump: Ex-intelligence chiefs: Trump is being played by Putin and US is in ‘peril’
 

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Two former US intelligence chiefs have said Donald Trump poses a peril to the US because he is vulnerable to being played by Russia, after the president said on Saturday he believed Vladimir Putins denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Related: Trump says he’d never call Kim ‘short and fat’ in response to ‘old’ barb

Related: Vietnamese musician and activist evicted after Trump protest

Continue reading…

 Saved Stories – 1. Trump

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Washington Post
Russia’s mark: A dangerous fool for a president
Washington Post
President Trump’s authoritarianism, narcissism and racism threaten our democracy, but his gullibility threatens our national security. A man so uneducated and incurious about the world is willing, like his followers, to buy any crackpot conspiracy 

 trump authoritarianism – Google News

medvedev – Google Search
 

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Story image for medvedev from Rappler

Medvedev’s visit to expand Russian ties with PH

Rappler11 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will be signing several agreements during his visit to the Philippines to attend …
Russia’s PM Medvedev flies in to attend summits
InternationalInterAksyon7 hours ago

Media image for medvedev from Firstpost

Firstpost

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InterAksyon

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Kasmir Monitor

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The Asian Age

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Financial Express

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CNBC
Modi, Trump, Shinzo, Medvedev reach Manila
 

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MANILA, Nov 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Manila on Saturday on a three-day visit to attend the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits where he is likely to reassert India’s push for crafting a global approach to deal with growing challenge of terrorism and radicalisation besides pitching for steps to boost regional trade.
The thorny issue of China’s aggressive military maneuver in the disputed South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear missile tests and overall security architecture in the region will come up for discussion during the ASEAN summit on Tuesday, diplomats said.
On the sidelines of the main events, Prime Minister Modi is likely to have a series of bilateral meetings with a number of leaders including US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev.
A host of leaders including Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have already arrived in the city to attend deliberations at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations), a grouping of 10 influential countries.
The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing in the last few years with focus being on ramping up cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as security and defence.
“Every single country in the ASEAN region wants India to be more engaged in the region in every possible way. That is the real synergy we have with ASEAN,” Indian Ambassador to Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar told PTI.
The US, France and Japan have been pitching for a larger role by India in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to increase its military presence.
Mr Majumdar said terrorism is going to be one of the issues that will be discussed not only during the ASEAN summit but also at the East Asia summit. He said several documents are going to be adopted with an aim to contain terrorism including one on stopping money laundering for the purpose of terrorism.
While ASEAN summit is likely to focus more on trade and investment related issues, leaders at the East Asia Summit are expected to delve deep into issues relating to maritime security, terrorism, non-proliferation and migration.
Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
PM Modi will address the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits on Tuesday. He would also take part in special celebrations of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.
The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.
Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India’s total FDI. India’s investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than USD 40 billion.
India’s proposal to host an international conference on countering radicalisation may also be discussed during the deliberations at Manila as New Delhi is now looking at finalising the dates for the conclave.
Prime minister Modi will also participate in the ASEAN business and investment summit as well as a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The RCEP, comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.
In his maiden visit to the Philippines as the prime minister, PM Modi will also attend a reception by the Indian community and visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Mahavir Philippines Foundation.

Trump’s Taxes Have Probably Already Been Hacked – WIRED
 

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WIRED
Trump’s Taxes Have Probably Already Been Hacked
WIRED
A private investigator named Jordan Hamlett is heading to trial next month in Louisiana for allegedly attempting to illegally obtain President Trump’s income tax returns. Hamlett’s defense attorney says he’s a well-intentioned white hat hacker engaged and more »

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9:23 AM 11/12/2017 No puppet master, no puppet by Michael Novakhov
7:13 AM 11/12/2017 Why do we have all these problems with the counterterrorism and the counterintelligence? | Answer: Because sometimes the F.B.I. Supervisor Wakes to Find a Woman Stole His Gun FBI News Review | The Secrets Of The Black Briefcase
11.11.17 4:26 PM 11/11/2017 Inside Russias Intentionally Bizarre Bid To Sabotage The 2016 Election
5:23 AM 11/11/2017 Прошла любовь, завяли помидоры
5:05 AM 11/11/2017 Mr. Pu does not look very happy
4:35 AM 11/11/2017 Recent Posts 
4:27 AM 11/11/2017 He listens Or so it seems Putin, Trump approve joint statement on Syria-Kremlin Reuters | Opinion: For Putin, the optics of not meeting Trump are bad PBS NewsHour | Trump and Putin agree to defeat IS in Syria BBC News
6:27 PM 11/10/2017 С Президентом США Дональдом Трампом.
2:23 PM 11/10/2017 Recent Posts 
12:47 PM 11/10/2017 RECENT POSTS: The Secrets Of The Black Briefcase | Question: Why do we have all these problems with the counter-terrorism and the counterintelligence? Answer: Because sometimes the F.B.I. Supervisor Wakes to Find a Woman Stole His Gun FBI News Review 

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Inside Russia’s Intentionally Bizarre Bid To Sabotage The 2016 Election

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11.11.2017 14:28
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11.11.2017 14:14
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11.11.2017 12:00
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 5:29 AM 11/11/2017 – Прошла любовь, завяли помидоры… And how about it?!
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 5:29 AM 11/11/2017 – Прошла любовь, завяли помидоры… And how about it?! 1. My News Blogs – 2 from …
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 5:23 AM 11/11/2017 Прошла любовь, завяли помидоры

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