Saturday, August 13, 2016

"We’re up against “the biggest counterintelligence threat faced by this country since the early Cold War..." - Vladimir Putin Has Already Won Our Election

"The gross intelligence failures of the Obama years combined with the Trump campaign’s bizarre bromance with Putin have birthed a genuine security crisis for the United States. We need to squarely face how bad things really are. This week a senior Intelligence Community official in Washington told me, with the GOP nominee acting as the Kremlin’s unwitting agent, we’re up against “the biggest counterintelligence threat faced by this country since the early Cold War... 
The bottom line is that Vladimir Putin has managed to penetrate our government and subvert our democracy in a fashion we haven’t seen in decades. Our press and politicians increasingly dance to a tune being called in Moscow. No matter who wins our election on November 8, the Kremlin looks set to be the real winner." - Vladimir Putin Has Already Won Our Election

Vladimir Putin Has Already Won Our Election

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty Images)
The news keeps getting worse. Alarming evidence of how deep the Kremlin’s got its tentacles in Washington mounts by the day. Large-scale hacking by Russian cyber-warriors didn’t just hit the Democratic National Committee, it stole emails from a wide array of top power-players, including the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO’s military boss.
Systematic Russian cyber-attacks on the DNC and related political targets in Washington were detected over a year ago by the National Security Agency, which monitors foreign cyber shenanigans, but the highly classified nature of this intelligence made it difficult to alert Congress about Kremlin espionage.
That the Russians stood behind this operation, using well-known hacking cut-outs, was established early by NSA. “It was the Kremlin, we had them cold,” explained an NSA official with direct knowledge of the case: “Moscow didn’t care we knew, they were unusually brazen.”
Although Democrats were the main focus of this espionage effort, prominent Republicans got hit too. Sen. John McCain was a target of the Russians, which is no surprise given his reputation as a hardliner on Kremlin matters. When President George W. Bush stated that he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and “found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy…I was able to get a sense of his soul,” McCain famously retorted, “I looked in Putin’s eyes and I saw three letters—a K, a G, and a B.”
Under President Putin, Moscow again refers to United States as their Main Adversary, just as the KGB did during the last Cold War, and there can’t be many American politicians that Putin and his Kremlin loathe more than straight-talking John McCain.
To be clear, there’s nothing strange about a country spying on its adversaries. Everybody spies, and here the Russians are merely doing what any state would do—and what NSA does to the Russians and others right now. Espionage, human or electronic, is a normal aspect of the SpyWar that’s technically illegal but everybody participates in.
What the Russians are now engaged in, though, is something different and more serious. The Kremlin is weaponizing stolen information for political effect. This is something like what American spies term covert action, which includes the use of propaganda for political advantage over foreign adversaries.
Our press and politicians increasingly dance to a tune being called in Moscow.
However, what the Kremlin is doing here is far more aggressive since it’s aimed at directly influencing American politics in an election year. This falls under the rubric of what Russian spies call Active Measures, and they’ve been doing this a long time. This was a Moscow staple during the Cold War, when the KGB used Western fronts to disseminate disinformation—a mix of truth and fiction aimed at distorting political debate.
This was sometimes effective at confusing Western publics, particularly when Active Measures employed realistic-looking fake NATO or American documents, and some of the KGB’s more enduring disinformation schemes—for instance, the lie that the Pentagon created AIDS—still reverberate today, over three decades after the Kremlin launched them.
The Russians are still playing this game. Wikileaks, nowadays a transparent Kremlin front, disseminated some 20,000 purloined DNC emails that were stolen by Russian intelligence. Now we have another hacking group that’s really a Russian spy front pushing stolen information to embarrass the Democrats. They’ve just released the personal phone numbers and email addresses of virtually all the Democrats in the House of Representatives. It’s no wonder Hillary Clinton and her campaign are worried about the Kremlin launching an October Surprise to cripple the Democrats on the eve of our election.
Make no mistake about what Moscow’s up to here. This is a brazen effort to intimidate American elected officials, showing the Kremlin’s secret power over our country’s politics. In the Cold War we called this subversion, meaning trying to undermine our political system, and what Putin’s doing right now is nothing less than a direct, albeit covert, attack on our democracy.
That said, the most insidious impact of the Kremlin’s Active Measures on our democracy is how it creates fake arguments over fake issues—to distract pundits, politicians, and the public from the real issues we face. The current Russian regime excels at this, and under President Putin such KGB tricks have been used to shift domestic politics into the realm of fantasy, where “nothing is true and everything is possible,” in the words of the top analyst of this political trickery. Now Moscow is doing this to America.
This is how our news cycle gets taken over by non-stories based on half-truths (when not outright lies) that portray Russia in a positive light and the West in a negative one. This was somewhat easier to detect in the last Cold War, when Moscow’s mouthpieces were usually left-wingers who spouted easy-to-spot Kremlinisms.
Putinism has mixed up those political categories and today’s Useful Idiots and Fellow Travelers (to use vintage KGB terms with current relevance) can now be found on both the left and the right, in the United States just as in Europe. Hence we have Stephen Cohen, a lefty professor who’s taken the Kremlin line for decades, and who’s married to the editor and part-owner of The Nation, being extolled by certain Republicans for his pro-Putin pontifications. Recently the right-wing agitator Roger Stone, a Trump mouthpiece, praised Cohen’s pro-Russian arguments as a “bitch-slap” in a memorable tweet.
The central role of the Donald Trump presidential campaign must be acknowledged here. As I’ve explained in column after column, the GOP nominee has surrounded himself with advisors who possess troubling ties to Moscow, some of whom are on the Kremlin payroll. It’s therefore no surprise that Trump is now mouthing crude Russian propaganda on the campaign trail, including hisoutrageous smear of President Obama as the “founder” of the Islamic State, which has been a staple of Russian Active Measures for a couple years now.
The increasing Kremlinization of the Trump campaign merits a close look. Its mouthpiece Stone, whoadmits he’s been in touch with Julian Assange, in sync with the Wikileaks founder insists that all the hacking of the Democrats has nothing to do with Moscow—even though, when directly confronted by Bill Maher over his Kremlin links, Assange refused to answer the question and awkwardly redirected.
This is classic disinformation, with a subtle wink taking the place of argument and fact. This KGB technique has insidiously burrowed its way deep into the Trump campaign. Assange recently gave an interview in which he slyly hinted that Seth Rich, a young DNC staffer murdered last month in Washington, may have been a Wikileaks source. The implication is that Rich spilled Clinton’s secrets and was therefore gunned down in cold blood.
This is an ugly slur for which Assange presented no evidence—since there isn’t any, this being no more than an attack on a dead man who can’t respond to the accusation—and soon it was being parroted by the right-wing online echo chamber that fervently backs Trump. This crowd likes to nebulously pin myriad unsolved deaths on Team Clinton in a fact-free fashion, and soon the Trump campaign joined the bandwagon.
Like clockwork, Roger Stone pointed a finger at the Clintons in Seth Rich’s unsolved murder. Stone has blamed the Clinton machine for countless crimes, including homicide, so this was nothing new. Except that this particular Active Measure is coordinated with Kremlin fronts like Wikileaks for political effect—to hurt the Democrats to Moscow’s benefit. Although there’s zero evidence that Seth Rich leaked DNC secrets, much less that his tragic death had anything to do with the Clintons, you can expect this nasty lie to live online for decades to come. Kremlin disinformation operations, like diamonds, are sometimes forever.
There’s an obvious pattern at work here. Take the lie that Obama “founded” ISIS. Much of this stems from reports last year that the White House, through the Pentagon, was secretly backing the Islamic State in Syria. This line, peddled by fringe websites both left and right, was given a smidge of credibility by shady comments made by Mike Flynn, the Trump campaign’s national security guru, who also happens to be very friendly to the Kremlin. But the essence of the story is provably falseand the Pentagon intelligence report this Big Lie is based on actually says the opposite of what the conspiracy-mongers claim. In this arena, facts have no meaning anymore.
Kremlin lies have become disturbingly routine in our politics. This goes beyond Trump. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, has made statements every bit as pro-Putin as anything emanating from Team Trump. In an interview with RT, the Kremlin propaganda network, Johnson defended the Kremlin’s theft of Crimea in early 2014, stating that it was an internal Russian matter since Ukraine was really “like Puerto Rico” is to America, in other words a territory, not a sovereign country.
Things are no better on the left, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein is strangely friendly to the Kremlin too, calling for close partnership with Moscow during an appearance on—you guessed it—RT. Stein attended that network’s anniversary gala in Moscow last year, sitting at the same table of honor with President Putin as—you guessed it—Mike Flynn. Stein’s pro-Putin utterances are finally getting media attention, and she’s not helped her case by featuring Julian Assange, whom she’s hailed as a “hero,” as a keynote speaker at the Green Party’s recent convention.
Then there’s the matter of Hillary Clinton. None can fairly accuse her of sympathy for the Kremlin—I’m sure she’s seething with rage at Putin right now over his efforts to steal the election for Trump—but her inner circle, too, possesses questionable financial ties to Moscow, while some of her dealings with Russian firms have rightly raised suspicions among security experts.
To say nothing of her awful security lapses in EmailGate, which have rendered the country and her campaign vulnerable to espionage and blackmail. There’s every reason to believe that the Kremlin has her emails from her time as secretary of state, even the 30,000 deleted ones, while NSA experts I know think many of the subsequent hacks of the DNC can be traced back to Hillary’s slipshod computer security during Obama’s first term. Putin now possesses a vast trove of compromising materials, what the Russians term kompromat, on Hillary and her party thanks to her inattention to basic security.
We are therefore in the strange situation that the only major presidential contender in this election cycle lacking troubling ties to the Kremlin is the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders—who actually honeymooned in the Soviet Union back in 1988.
The gross intelligence failures of the Obama years combined with the Trump campaign’s bizarre bromance with Putin have birthed a genuine security crisis for the United States. We need to squarely face how bad things really are. This week a senior Intelligence Community official in Washington told me, with the GOP nominee acting as the Kremlin’s unwitting agent, we’re up against “the biggest counterintelligence threat faced by this country since the early Cold War.”
In other words, we’re back to the late 1940s, when our government was swarming with Kremlin moles in most of our cabinet departments and security agencies. They were giving Moscow everything they could get their hands on, from political gossip to top secret war plans, even how to make an atomic bomb. Communist agents and fronts were pervasive in our political life too.
The way we beat back that Kremlin spy offensive was with excellent intelligence, above all VENONA, the above-top-secret NSA program that gave a unique look into the clandestine operations of Soviet intelligence and its agents in the West. VENONA was how we knew Alger Hiss was a Communist spyand how we knew the Rosenbergs gave Moscow the atomic bomb.
VENONA was so valuable, our ace in the espionage hole, that hardly any American officials knew about it. The press and pundits knew nothing of it until after the Cold War’s end. Even President Harry Truman was briefed on VENONA only near the end of his tenure in the White House. This need to protect NSA’s great secret regrettably led to decades of wild rumors about the true extent of Soviet espionage back in the 1940s.
We need another VENONA to defeat the Kremlin’s current spy offensive—but do we have one? Regrettably there’s no reason to think we do. Our slipshod government cannot keep the most basic secrets these days, so it’s doubtful they could protect something so valuable as VENONA again.
To say nothing of the defection to Moscow three years ago of Edward Snowden, who took vast troves of highly classified materials with him. Since the Kremlin now admits Snowden’s their agent, it’s safe to assume he’s told the Russians everything about NSA he ever knew.
The bottom line is that Vladimir Putin has managed to penetrate our government and subvert our democracy in a fashion we haven’t seen in decades. Our press and politicians increasingly dance to a tune being called in Moscow. No matter who wins our election on November 8, the Kremlin looks set to be the real winner.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.
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.
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Has Donald Trump hit bottom?

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Putin gets new right-hand man as chief of staff exits

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Signed in as mikenova
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Свыше двух тысяч заложников в Сирии освобождены из плена ИГ -

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Свыше двух тысяч заложников в Сирии освобождены из плена ИГ
Более двух тысяч мирных жителей, которых боевики террористической группировки «Исламское государство» (ИГ) использовали в качестве живого щита при отступлении из сирийского города Манбидж, были освобождены. Об этом в субботу, 13 августа, сообщает The Guardian со ...
ИГ освободило пленников, которыми боевики прикрывались при отступленииРИА Новости
ИГ отпустило сотни используемых в качестве живого щита мирных жителей на севере СирииГазета.Ru
ИГ отпустило заложников, которых взяло при отступленииВедомости
Взгляд -ТАСС -Аргументы и факты -Радіо Свобода
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Like Hitler, Putin Believes West Won’t Live Up to Its Commitments, Piontkovsky Says

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 12 – Like Hitler, Vladimir Putin believes that the West will not live up to its commitments, Andrey Piontkovsky says, a view that some in Western governments are unwittingly encouraging by continuing to send senior officials to Moscow to seek agreement with him much as Neville Chamberlain did with the Nazi leader by going to Munich.

            The Russian commentator now in exile makes this argument in an essay on the portal, drawing on what he suggests are Ekho Moskvy chief editor Aleksey Venediktov’s remarkable statements about Putin’s thinking in an interview given last week to the Polish journal, “Nowa Europa Wscodnia.”

            (Piontkovsky’s commentary is at Venediktov’s interview appeared in Polish (,post.html). A Russian translation of the Moscow editor’s remarks can be found at

            In his interview, Piontkovsky says, Venediktov explained that he sees his task as a journalist not to justify or judge those in power but rather to penetrate, understand and communicate “their internal logic.” That makes his comments about Putin’s intentions even more interesting and valuable because they are really Putin’s rather than Venediktov’s.

            Given that, the Russian commentator says, one can conclude that the Kremlin leader has some specific views that the West and Russians as well need to focus on and figure out how they should react.

            First, it is now clear from Venediktov’s remarks, that Putin “wants to return to the international arrangements of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements. Such a model makes the world more secure because the powers divide among themselves responsibility and control,” with Moscow having responsibility “for the Donbass and for all Ukraine.”

            What is occurring in Ukraine, in this Putinist view, “is creating a disbalance in international relations.”

            Second, according to the editor relaying what Putin thinks, Poles do not need “to fear Russian tanks.”  If anyone should be concerned about their movements, it should be the Baltic countries because “our main idea is the defense of ‘the Russian world.’” That doesn’t exist in Poland, but it does in Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic countries.

            And third, when his Polish interviewer pointed out that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are members of NATO and thus beneficiaries of the Washington Treaty’s Article 5, “Putin-Venediktov” responded with an updated version of Hitler’s question, “’Are you prepared to die for Danzig?’”

            Piontkovsky suggests that Venediktov’s interview represents “an exceptionally concentrated performance of ‘The Triumph of Putin’s Will,’” one that confirms the arguments of others that the Kremlin leader has long been living “in another reality.” And from that interview, the Russian commentator draws three conclusions.

            First, he says, “Putin as before is demanding the impossible.” He wants complete control over the entire former Soviet space. That is “impossible not because the West would never agree to that.” Some there, like “the useful bourgeois idiot Trump have agreed.” But it is impossible because the peoples of that region will never agree to such a restoration of Russian dominance.

            Second, Venediktov’s words show that Putin’s “insane conception of ‘the Russian world’ hasn’t been discorded by the Kremlin despite its crushing failure in Ukraine,” but only dropped for a time from Moscow’s propaganda arsenal and is ready to be used again this time to justify Russian intervention in the Baltic countries.

            And third, according to Piontkovsky, Putin despite all the statements by NATO leaders remains “firmly convinced just as Hitler was in 1939 that the fat, hedonist and decadent West is not ready to die for any Narva” but will yield and seek to force countries on the former Soviet space to yield in the face of Russian nuclear power.

            Putin certainly knows that Russian conventional arms are not capable of competing with Western militaries and consequently, as he has said for a long time, he “places his hopes on nuclear weapons considering that his regime has qualities which will allow him to outplay the West in a direct clash of wills and force it to retreat.”
            In this, the Russian commentator says, the Kremlin leader “intends to play with the West not nuclear chess but nuclear poker, raising the stakes and hoping that the other side will fold and retreat, surrendering its allies in the process.” And his hopes are based on his willingness to act aggressively and without regard to the loss of human life.

            Putin believes this, Piointkovsky continues, because he has seen the way the West has reacted to North Korea which has only a tiny nuclear arsenal and thus believes that as “Krim Put In” with “an enormous nuclear arsenal” he will be able to achieve his goals of reordering the world’s geopolitical arrangements.

            Venediktov has thus performed a useful service with his August 4 interview. Now, the West has been “forewarned” about Putin’s intentions to act aggressively a la Hitler and as a leader armed with nuclear weapons.  “This is a very serious challenge,” and the West needs to figure out how to respond so as not to allow either a nuclear war or a Putin victory.

            According to the Russian commentator, “in the era of Krim Put In, nuclear containment must be personal,” that is, based on the necessity of recognizing what Putin is about and what he is prepared to do rather than assuming that he is a member of the club with whom foreign leaders can negotiate with others who present difficulties.

            The constant visits to Moscow of Western diplomatic leaders to seek agreement with Putin are “senseless and tragicomic” because they only serve to convince Putin that he is right, that threats work, and that the West will not stand up but rather be willing to sacrifice almost anything in order to maintain peace in our time.

            Of course, Piontkovsky says, the West must talk with the Kremlin leader, but it must do so “very carefully” and in a language he understands rather than assuming that he speaks the same language with the same meaning they do.

            Russians also need to draw conclusions from all this, he concludes. They must recognize that once again there country is ruled by “a maniac who is driven by his deviant complexes and who is pursuing absurd foreign policy goals which not only have nothing in common with ensuring the security of the country but also put under threat its very existence.”

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13 Radio Armenia Jokes from Soviet Times Highlight How Little Russians have Changed 

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 12 – Radio Armenia jokes were so popular in Brezhnev’s times that officials couldn’t refer to the real Radio Armenia without provoking laughter among their audiences.  But what is striking now is how much many Radio Armenia jokes reflect the ways in which Russians still think about their country and the world.

            A collection of 13 of these jokes published last week makes that conclusion clear ( They highlight both how much and how little has changed in the way in which Russians view the world despite living in an entirely different political system and an entirely new country.

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘If everything is so good with you, why is everything so bad?’” To which it replies: “Because that is the way the dialectical law of unity of opposites works.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘What is the difference between democracy and dictatorship?” To which it replies, “In a democracy, the people openly shows its dissatisfaction with its government, but in a dictatorship to other governments.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘What is the difference between television and a chamber pot?’” To which it replies: “Not much: there is shit in both, but in the chamber pot, it is easier to see.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘How can you distinguish correct news from a provocation?’” To which it replies: “If the news is presented by the BBC and rejected by ‘Pravda,’ the news can be trusted.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘Will there be money under communism?’ To which it replies: “The Yugoslav revisionists assert that there will be. The Chinese dogmatists assert that there won’t be. We however approach the question dialectically: some will have it and others won’t.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘Must a communist pay his party dues on the bribes he gets?’” To which it replies, “if he is a real communist, then of course, he must.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘Is there a way out of a situation with no way out?’ To which it replies: “Radio Armenia no longer answers questions about agriculture.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘When will things get better?’ To which it replies: “Things already were better.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘What is the average life expectancy in the USSR?’” To which it replies, “Ten year: seven before school and three after going on a pension.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘What is the main distinction between tsarism and developed socialism?’” To which it replies, “Under tsarism, power passes from father to son, while in developed socialism, it goes from one idiot to another.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘How is a pessimist different from an optimist?’” To which it replies: “A pessimist asserts that things will not get worse, but an optimist believes that they will.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘With what countries does the USSR have a border?’” To which it replies, “with whatever countries it wants.”

·         “Radio Armenia is asked: ‘How many feelings do Soviet people have?’” To which it replies, “Six: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and a feeling of deep gratitude.”

But if Russians have changed less than many think, the Russian state’s attitude toward humor has changed a great deal. In an article in “The Moscow Times,” Elena Rasputina points out that “comedy and censorship in Putin’s Russia [are] no laughing matter” (

Aleksandr Arkhipova, a folklorist who specializes in Russian humor, says that when Putin first came to power, people joked about his KGB past. Then as he became more repressive they revived old jokes from Stalin’s time.  But now, she says, “Putin is almost never the butt of a joke.”

Instead, in public performances on radio or television, “xenophobic and sexist sketches” have replaced the political jokes of the past. According to Arkhipova, on one program that had been famous for its political humor, now “jokes about racial and gender stereotypes dominate” and there is almost no show that does include racial jokes about Barack Obama.

The only kind of political jokes that can pass muster with the censorship and self-censorship of station managers are those that “are inherently anti-Western and in praise of the Kremlin.” One recent sketch, she continues, “showed Putin and the Russian ruble defeating the euro and the dollars.

Nonetheless, there are some political jokes about Putin; and Rasputina shares two of them. In the first, it is said, “an angel and two demons live inside President Vladimir Putin’s brain. Every day, they decide how to rule Russia. The angel, being outnumbered, always loses, and the demons are left to do as they please.”

And in the second, “a hungry Vladimir Putin woke up at night and made his way to the fridge. Inside, there was a portion of meat jelly. “Stop trembling,” he said. “I’m coming for the yogurt.”

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Is Ivanov’s Dismissal Putin’s Leningrad Affair?

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 13 – Vladimir Putin’s decision to replace Sergey Ivanov with Anton Vaino as head of the Russian Presidential Administration has generated almost as many explanations and predictions as there are people making them.  (For a useful selection of these,

            Some suggest that Ivanov wanted to retire, others that Putin wanted to replace friends with servants, and still others that the Kremlin leader faces a systemic crisis and must replace cadres so as not to be constrained about continuing or changing his current political course (

            Given the murkiness of Kremlin politics, it is entirely possible that each of these captures some of the truth or alternatively that none do and that this latest Putin move reflects nothing more than the Kremlin leader’s general penchant for stirring the pot in the name of maintaining stability and himself in power.

            But there is one additional possible explanation with potentially far-reaching consequences that has received relatively little attention: Putin has replaced a committed Russian nationalist who could plausibly challenge him for the top job in Russia with an ethnic Estonian whose very nationality precludes that possibility.

            Vaino now joins Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who has Tuvin roots, as yet another non-Russian near the top of the political pyramid in Moscow, thus reducing the strength of the Russian party there that Putin’s own policies encouraged but that has sufficient strength among Russians that Putin may consider it a threat to him.

            There is an obvious precedent for that: Stalin’s moves against Russian communist party officials and senior commanders immediately after World War II, moves that are generally known as the Leningrad affair, in which those who had been most enthusiastic in following the Soviet dictator’s nationalist line during the war were pushed aside and in some cases killed.

            Because Stalin did not allow the RSFSR to have its own party organization or many of the other attributes of a national republic, it was often the case not only in 1946-47 but both before and after that many Russian nationalists looked to the Northern capital for leadership – and that Moscow moved harshly to keep such people from gaining independent power.

            Since 1991, the situation has changed. Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, doesn’t play the same role in Russian thinking. Instead, the Russian party if one can call it that is centered in the siloviki and in their positions near the throne. Such people are a potential threat to the leader even when he is pursuing policies that seem to reflect theirs.

            Their removal does not then necessarily signal a change in the direction of the Kremlin leader but rather ensures that the policies he pursues are his alone and that he rather than a group decides on their parameters. Given Putin’s desire for untrammeled power in all things, getting rid of such people just as Stalin did is from his point of view not only expedient but necessary.
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Vandals censor image of Putin snogging Trump in Lithuania

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Much-published mural of Russian president and US presidential candidate destroyed with white paint in Vilnius
An image of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump engaged in a passionate embrace was apparently too much for some in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.
The internationally famous mural of the Russian president and the US presidential candidate, dubbed on the wall of the BBQ restaurant Keulė Rūkė, was covered over with white paint last night.
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Hacker Releases More Democratic Party Documents

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“Guccifer 2.0,” believed to have ties to Russia, claimed responsibility for the breach, which included lawmakers’ personal cellphone numbers and email addresses.

For Most Russians, ‘There is No Money,’ But for Rich Muscovites , Models Fight in Pool of Black Caviar

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 13 – Even as Dmitry Medvedev was provoking anger for his remark that “there is no money but have a nice day,” a group of rich Russian bankers and officials were celebrating the Russian ruble at a lavish party in which two models wrestled with one another in a pool filled with black caviar.

            Their “battle” was captured on a video that has gone viral in Russia, sparking outrage and reminding everyone few mind living in huts until someone builds and then flaunts a palace nearby (The video is at For a Russian account, see

                Organized by the Russian Agency for International Projects in Culture, Education and Sport, the evening was devoted not only to the 700th anniversary of the creation of the Russian ruble but also to three other “Russian currencies from time immemorial – oil, caviar, and furs.”  It attacked bankers, businessmen and senior officials.

            Vyacheslav Tetekin, a Duma deputy, said that this reminded him of  “’a celebration in the time of a plague. Demographer Yury Krupnov said that it showed the triumph of feudalism in Russia and the reduction of most of its population to “second class” status while the rich partied without regard to anyone else.

            And one Russian regional paper pointedly noted that “there is no money for you. But for us, models fight in a pool filled with black caviar.”  Some who viewed the clip said it highlighted the degeneration of the elite; others, however, suggested that the whole thing was “patriotic” and that they could feel in it “the spiritual bindings” Vladimir Putin likes to talk about.

On 90th birthday, Fidel Castro thanks Cuba, critiques Obama

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Fidel Castro has written a long letter thanking Cubans for their support on his 90th birthday and once again criticizing President Barack Obama.

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Hearing continued for former VA physician assistant

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) - A preliminary hearing has been delayed for a former physician assistant accused of sexually abusing patients at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth.
Mark Wisner's hearing on a charge of aggravated sexual battery was scheduled for Thursday but it was continued until Sept. 15.
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Hafiz Saeed, head of ISIS in Afghanistan, killed in U.S. drone strike 

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The reputed head of Islamic State's Afghanistan branch, Hafiz Saeed, was killed by an American airstrike in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border,  Pentagon officials confirmed Friday.
Saeed, who is the purported leader of the group's Afghan and Pakistan faction — known as Islamic State of Khorasan — was ...

Intel officials told lawmakers about Russia's hacking of Democratic Party last year: Report 

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Congressional leaders were warned last year about an apparent hacking campaign being waged against the Democratic Party by Russia, but were forced to stay quiet in lieu of potentially leaking details about a classified investigation into the matter, Reuters reported Friday.
Details about the operation were disclosed last summer to ...

Mentally Ill Kennedy: Calling Trump ‘Crazy’ a Disservice to Those with Mental Deficiencies 

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Mentally ill ex-congressman Patrick Kennedy fretted on Friday that calling Donald Trump “crazy” does a disservice to those with mental deficiencies.
“Whether you’re a person who suffers, as I do, from a mental illness or addiction,” Kennedy said, “we’re all in this as Americans, and we shouldn’t be putting one another down no matter what the difference amongst us is.”
Kennedy, son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, talked with CNN’s Poppy Harlow about his op-ed published Monday in the Washington Post, titled “Stop calling Trump ‘crazy.’ It demeans people with mental illness.” In his article, Kennedy claimed that calling Donald Trump crazy is a disservice to those who suffer from mental illness, which includes the ex-congressman.
Harlow asked Kennedy to walk through his argument, saying, “You say do not use this word, no matter how much you may not like a candidate, no matter how much you might think what they say is preposterous, do not use the word crazy.”
“I don’t know why we would want to join in that kind of attack, and I’ve never heard the word ‘crazy’ uttered with compassion. It’s just a demeaning word,” Kennedy said.

Military Officials Distorted ISIS Intelligence, Congressional Panel Says 

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The United States Central Command altered its analysis to portray a more optimistic picture of the war than events in Iraq and Syria warranted, a report concluded.

No, Obama is Not the Founder of ISIS 

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He’s done it again. A couple weeks ago, it seemed that Donald Trump’s gaffes would be difficult to top. First the Republican nominee encouraged the Russians to steal Hillary Clinton’s missing emails—a criminal act of espionage. Then he repeatedly attacked a Muslim Gold Star immigrant family whose Army officer son was killed in Iraq.
Yet Trump’s managed to top even those virtuoso own-goals. His sly encouragement of Second Amendment enthusiasts who might want to assassinate the Democratic nominee caused outrage and encouraged mounting defections from the GOP over Trump’s lack of self-control. It’s never a good day in politics when the Secret Service must have a word with a candidate about assassinating his rival.
Now he’s blown past even that low point by stating that President Obama is the founder of the Islamic State, the notorious ISIS. Wednesday night at a spirited Florida rally, Trump said, “In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama… He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. He founded ISIS… I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”
Although this wasn’t the first time Trump has pointed a finger at Obama and Clinton as having created ISIS, the emphasis he placed on saying “founder” repeatedly caught the attention of the commentariat. Even some Trump supporters were more than a little taken aback by the GOP nominee’s gleeful tarring of the president as an alleged jihadist.
Thursday morning Hugh Hewitt, a well-known Republican commentator who’s backed the GOP nominee, interviewed Trump and gave him a golden opportunity to repudiate his incendiary words. Trump did nothing of the sort, instead doubling down on his accusation. The exchange was so shocking it’s worth quoting at length:
Read the rest at The Observer…

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageTerrorismUSG  

Today's Headlines and Commentary

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U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State stated on Friday that they had launched a final assault to flush the remaining ISIS fighters out of the city of Manbij. The Syria Democratic Forces, buttressed by U.S. airpower, said that today’s assault would be the last operation in the campaign for the city in northern Syria. Located near the Turkish border, Manbij has been a critical gateway for prospective Islamic State fighters looking to join the so-called caliphate. Reuters has more.
According to Al Jazeerafighting continues to rage in Aleppo between rebels and government forces, even during the daily three-hour ceasefires promised by Russia to allow humanitarian groups to access the war-torn city. Trucks carrying food were unable to enter Aleppo on Thursday because of intense bombardment. Russian warplanes continued to target Aleppo’s medical facilities, among other public spaces, despite the Kremlin’s promise of a three-hour daily ceasefire.
The Associated Press reports that Syrian government airstrikes hit the only hospital earmarked for women and children in rebel-occupied parts of Aleppo on Friday. A market and a village were also hit. The strikes killed at least 18 civilians, including activists, rescue workers, hospital staffers, and children. In response to the onslaught, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the United Nations to supervise humanitarian access into Aleppo, arguing that Russia’s unilateral three-hour daily ceasefires are insufficient to avoid a humanitarian crisis.
The Associated Press also tells us that Russian airstrikes killed at least 20 civilians in an attack on the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa on Thursday. Activists said the operation killed at least 20 civilians.
Meanwhile, discussions continue between Turkey and Russia regarding a proposed coordinated anti-ISIS bombing campaign. The two countries are working to strengthen their ties, which were frayed after Turkey downed a Russian plane that crossed into Turkish airspace last  year. The Hurriyet Dailyhas more on the prospective counterterrorism partnership.
The United Nations is investigating evidence of a toxic gas attack on a rebel-held area of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Rebels said the attack was carried out by government forces using chlorine gas, killing four people and leaving many injured. The BBC has more, including footage of people experiencing difficulties breathing while receiving treatment in a Syrian hospital. The Guardian reports that the act of dropping chlorine on Aleppo would be a war crime if confirmed, according to UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura.
The New York Times takes a closer look at the Syrian regime’s use of chlorine gas. Because of its widespread use for a number of legal purposes, chlorine was not one of the substances destroyed by the international community in 2013 when Syrian President Bashar al Assad agreed to join the Chemical Weapon Convention.
The Hill reports that the Pentagon will not reveal how many U.S. soldiers are actually deployed in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. government will only disclose the number of full-time troops deployed—about 3,825 in Iraq and 300 in Syria—but the number of troops on the ground, including temporary deployments, is much higher. Republican lawmakers accused President Barack Obama of using temporary deployments and frequent personnel rotations as a means of circumventing the caps on troop levels implemented by the president.
In the New York TimesNick Kristof writes that the United States’ failure to contain or end the ongoing civil war in Syria constitutes the gravest mistake of Obama’s presidency. Kristof likens the crisis in Syria to the atrocities committed in places such as Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur, and predicts that the growing refugee problem will only feed further extremism.
As the Islamic State’s losses on the conventional battlefield pile up, the Washington Post looksbeyond the possible demise of ISIS to warn that new conflicts may emerge in Iraq between current allies. While Sunni extremism has unified a broad coalition of groups—including Kurdish peshmerga, Iraqi armed forces, Shiite militias, and some moderate Sunni groups—analysts warn that deep-seated disagreements over the distribution of power, money, and territory have not been resolved.
The New York Times reports that Islamic State fighters are still lurking in their former stronghold of Sirte, despite the organization’s defeat by forces aligned with the internationally recognized Libyan government. But both city officials and military commanders said large swathes of the city have been secured by the government. Officials credited U.S. air support as a major factor in their swift victory but dismissed claims that British and U.S. special forces played a role on the ground as attempts to discredit the Libyan government as a puppet of foreign regimes.
According to Reutersa U.N. envoy to Libya said support for the country’s embattled unity government is “crumbling” as public dissatisfaction swells over the regime’s inability to provide basic public goods. These grumblings have been exacerbated by an economy that is reeling from a weakening currency that is raising prices of needed imports.
Turkey’s government now searching for several military officers and diplomatic staff posted overseas, who fled their posts in the wake of the failed coup and may be seeking asylum abroad, according to the Wall Street Journal. Turkey’s pursuit of these exiles could further strain its already fractured relationships with its Western allies. At least one officer was based in Virginia and is already requesting asylum from U.S. authorities.
The Associated Press tells us that Ukraine put its troops on combat alert Thursday along the country’s eastern border amid an escalating war of words with Russia over Crimea. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued the order after Moscow accused his country of sending several groups of “saboteurs” to carry out attacks in Crimea, killing two Russians. Kiev has denied these claims as “fantasy” and “a provocation.” The BBC has more.
Reuters writes that the Kremlin has further ramped up the pressure by announcing war games in the Black Sea and convening President Vladimir Putin’s security council. In New York, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting at Ukraine's request to discuss the growing tensions.
The United States is weighing another round of sanctions against Russia to punish the Kremlin for its alleged role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the ongoing political season.Any commitment to increased sanctions would have to be paired with a public declaration that Russia was responsible for the attack. The Journal has more.
The Philippines wants formal negotiations with China to explore pathways to peace and cooperation, the Southeast Asian nation's special envoy, Fidel Ramos, said on Friday. Ramos, a former Filipino president, was speaking near the end of a trip to Hong Kong undertaken in a bid to rekindle his country’s ties with China, which have been soured by the ongoing maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
Reuters reports that the Philippines are also in the midst of talks with Japan to obtain two large coast guard ships to help patrol the contested waters. Although Japan does not have a territorial claim in the South China Sea, it is involved in a related dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea. Beijing has warned that Tokyo’s interference in the South China Sea will further destabilizing the region.  
The Guantánamo parole board has cleared for release an Algerian captive who was for a time considered for prosecution as part of a Pakistan-based bomb-making cell, the Pentagon announced Thursday. The man, who received a letter of endorsement from one of the guards, said he intended to run a pizza parlor near his mother’s home in Algiers. He is the 35th detainee approved for release among the 76 captives currently in the detention facilities.
The German government proposed a broad range of measures on Thursday to bolster security and combat terrorism, its strongest official response so far to two recent attacks by terrorists pledging loyalty to the Islamic State and a deadly shooting rampage in Munich. Many of the measures, which include closer monitoring of refugees and enhanced surveillance, seem likely to win legislative approval but have prompted concerns in a country that is deeply protective of privacy and civil liberties. A record 1.1 million foreigners migrated to Germany last year and the country received 442,000 asylum requests.
Police in Brazil have arrested two men suspected of supporting the Islamic State in the second phase of raids that earlier led to the detention of 12 people immediately preceding the Olympic Games. The men were arrested in Sao Paulo, the country’s second largest city.
Pakistani lawmakers approved a cybersecurity bill that grants regulators broad powers to remove or block content they deem offensive or dangerous. Security officials defended the legislation as a necessary tool to combat terrorism, but critics allege that its vague language could be exploited to suppress free speech and unfairly prosecute dissidents. Reuters has more.
CNN fills us on violence in Thailand, where 11 bombs went off in five different provinces across the country. At least four Thai nationals were killed and 36 others were injured, including ten foreigners. No group has yet claimed responsibility. Thailand, which has been plagued by political instability, is approaching the one-year anniversary of a devastating bombing at a Bangkok shrine. The BBC hasmore.
ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare
Michael Knapp drew our attention to Russia’s recent territorial claims in the Arctic.
Toby Levy assuaged our privacy concerns regarding the privacy threat Pokémon Go represents.
Benjamin Wittes flagged a first round legal victory for Twitter over the question of whether CDA §230 immunizes the company against civil lawsuits over its provision of services to terrorist groups.
Matthew Wein dissected and dismissed Donald Trump’s proposed blanket ban of Muslim immigrants as both immoral and unfeasible.
Paul Rosenzweig highlighted the work of two researchers who discovered a security key that protects Microsoft devices and may help restart the encryption debate.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
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Page 4

The Early Edition: August 12, 2016 

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US backed forces launched a final assault on the Syrian city of Manbij, close to the Turkish border in Syria, today. [Reuters]
There was no sign of Russia’s promised “humanitarian window” in Syria’s Aleppo yesterday as fighting between government and rebel forces continued, reports Al Jazeera. Trucks carrying aid were unable to enter the city due to heavy bombardment.
Germany’s foreign minister called for UN-supervised humanitarian aid delivery in Aleppo, saying today that humanitarian access cannot be under the single-handed control of one side in the conflict. [AP]
Russia sent long-range bombers to hit several Islamic State targets in Syria, including the terrorists’ de facto capital of Raqqa, yesterday, report the AP’s Zeina Karam and Philip Issa.
Turkish warplanes will actively participate in operations against the Islamic State in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said yesterday, as a Turkish delegation conducted talks in Russia aimed at coordinating actions on Syria and other bilateral issues. Çavuşoğlu also called on Russia to “carry out anti-Daesh operations together” with Turkey. [Hürriyet Daily News]
The UN is investigating reports of a chlorine gas attack on a rebel-held part of Aleppo, reports theBBC, UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura saying that, if confirmed, the attack would amount to a “war crime.”
Chlorine was not included in the US and Russia-brokered deal for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013, because of its widespread use for legal purposes, reports Russell Goldman at theNew York Times.  Aid groups and doctors on the ground in Syria say the attack, which left left a woman and two children dead and dozens injured, is one of numerous chlorine gas attacks in Syria since the 2013 sarin gas assault on a Damascus suburb, after which the Assad regime agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons stockpile.
Experts warn that the frequent use of chemical weapons risks normalizing war crimes. [The Guardian’s Emma Graham-Harrison]
US Central Command reports about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were “consistently more optimistic” than those of analysts on the ground, a report published yesterday by a House task force into alleged intelligence manipulation at the command has found. The Obama administration “wanted a good news story,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan), one of the three GOP lawmakers leading the task force, told the Hill’s Julian Hattem.
The Pentagon has refused to confirm the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria, a sticking point over which critics are pressing the DOD for more transparency, reports Kristina Wong for the Hill. While the military does disclose the total number of full-time troops deployed – currently about 3,825 in Iraq and 300 in Syria – aside from knowing the figure is “much higher,” it is unclear how many ground troops, including temporary deployments, there are inside the two countries. 
British schoolgirl Kadiza Sultana who left London last year to join the Islamic State in Syria is believed to have been killed in a Russian airstrike on Raqqa. The BBC reports that Kadiza’s family heard reports of her death a few weeks ago, but had not been able to independently confirm it. Then-16-year-old Kadiza flew to Turkey from London on February 17 last year, along with two other girls, both 15, who are still in Syria.
Allowing Syria’s civil war to drag on unchallenged has been President Obama’s “worst mistake,”Nicholas Kristof writes at the New York Times. While Obama is right to be cautious about military involvement, says Kristof, he is wrong when he says there is nothing the US can do about the “horrible” situation in Syria.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on the front line in the Iraqi town of Tus Khurmatu are now looking across it at Shiite militias, ostensibly their allies when the Islamic State controlled a village less than a mile away, reports Liz Sly for the Washington Post. If the upcoming offensive on Mosul goes well, that will likely be the end of the terrorists’ self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq. But new conflicts – between the Peshmerga, Iraqi Army forces, Shiite militias and a few Sunni ones – may erupt instead.
US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out 18 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on August 10. Separately, partner forces conducted nine strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
Several overseas military officers and diplomats who left their posts after the failed coup on July 15 are being sought by the Turkish government, report Dion Nissenbaum and Emre Peker at the Wall Street Journal, including some who have reportedly requested asylum in the US. The manner in which Turkey deals with these individuals could have significant impact on Turkey’s relationship with the US and European Union capitals.
Two military attaches who escaped to Greece after the coup fled to Italy, Turkey’s foreign minister said yesterday, while a naval officer based in the US has also gone missing. [AP’s Suzan Fraser]  Turkey’s defense minister has said he believes there are 33 military attaches in total still missing, all likely to be in Italy. [Reuters]
Turkey is working on a decree to meet demand for new air force pilots, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said today, to make up for the shortage now that tens of thousands of soldiers, officials and bureaucrats have been dismissed or arrested following the coup attempt. [Reuters]
Islamic State fighters are still lurking in Libya’s Sirte, Libyan officials warn, adding that they are unaware of exact numbers. The New York Times’ Rod Nordland and Nour Youssef report.
Support for the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Libya is “crumbling” due to increasing power outages and a weakening currency, and its struggle to impose its authority in the face of the political and armed rivalries riving the nation, the UN envoy to Libya has said. [Reuters]
Ukraine put its troops on combat alert along the border with Crimea yesterday as the “war of words” with Russia over Crimea escalated. Nataliya Vasilyeva reports for the AP.
Ukraine’s envoy to the UN has asked Russia to provide evidence to support its accusations that Ukraine is carrying out armed incursions into Crimea, telling the UN Security Council that some 40,000 Russian troops have amassed on the Crimea-Ukraine border. [BBC]
Russia’s President Putin summoned his security council while Russia’s Navy announced war games in the Black Sea the day after the accusations were made. Putin vowed to take counter-measures against Ukraine for the alleged attacks. [Reuters’s Andrew Osborn]
What has caused the latest spat and what will happen next? CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh discusses the timing of the renewed tension, what is being done about it, and the likely outcomes.
There are various reasons why alleging terrorism by Ukraine may serve Russia well, reports Adrian Karatnycky at POLITICO, who points out that it took Russia four days to make a public statement about the alleged attacks by Ukrainian special forces. Conversely, Ukraine has no strategic or economic interests in launching a violent attack on Crimea.
It seems unlikely that Putin will really want to risk a fresh conflict in Crimea for now, suggests theFinancial Times. While his standoff with the West is moving in his favor in some areas, he may have decided that some “military theatrics” are needed to distract attention from a failing economy as parliamentary elections approach next month.
US officials are considering imposing economic sanctions on Russia in response to the hacking of Democratic Party organizations, but hadn’t reached a decision on how to proceed as of yesterday, reports Damian Paletta at the Wall Street Journal.
Top members of Congress have been aware that Russian hackers were targeting the Democratic Party for over a year, reports Joe Uchill for the Hill. Members of both parties in the House and Senate met with intelligence officials last summer, but were barred from disclosing the attack to its victims in case intelligence gathering methods were compromised.
The DNC is to form a Cybersecurity Advisory Board to prevent future attacks on its network. It will be composed of “distinguished experts in the field,” acting DNC Chair Donna Brazile wrote in a memo. [the Hill]
The Philippines is seeking formal discussions with China to consider options for peace and cooperation in the South China Sea, the Philippines’ special envoy to China, Fidel Ramos, said today.  He was speaking as his trip to Hong Kong to attempt to restore ties with China soured over a maritime dispute in the South China Sea drew to a close. Reuters’ Venus Wu reports.
Japan and the Philippines are in talks for the transfer of two large Japanese coastguard ships to Manila to help patrol the disputed South China Sea, Japan’s foreign ministry has said today. The ships form part of a deal on defense equipment. [Reuters’ Manuel Mogato]
Pakistani captive Sufiyan Barhoumi has been cleared for release by the Guantánamo parole board,Carol Rosenberg reports for the Miami Herald. In a short decision, the board said his release “presents some level of threat in light of his past activities” – he was for a time considered to be part of a Pakistan-based bomb-making cell – but that he had behaved well in prison, lacks “extremist views,” and was able to offer a detailed plan for his future in Algiers.
The US announced an extra $1.15 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia this weekas the ceasefire in Yemen collapsed and the Saudi-led coalition resumed its bombing campaign of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. Alex Emmons at The Intercept reports that America has already sold over $20 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia since the war began in March 2015.
Canadian Aaron Driver who was killed by police on Wednesday after he detonated an explosive device in a taxi in southern Ontario prepared a martyrdom video before he attempted to carry out a terrorist attack, reports Rob Gillies for the AP. Canadian police say they were tipped off by US authorities at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, after which it was a “race against time” to identify and locate Driver.
Driver had been in contact with the British teenager convicted of inciting terrorism over the 2015 Anzac Day plot to behead a police officer in Melbourne, Australia, Canadian police have said. They did not reveal the nature of the communications, reports Ben Doherty at the Guardian.
Over a dozen lawmakers have written to President Obama to urge a UN arms embargo on South Sudan following the fighting in its capital last month, Jason Patinkin reports for the AP. A draft UN Security Council resolution calls for a vote on an arms embargo if it emerges that South Sudan’s authorities have blocked the deployment of a regional force to try to restore calm.
Germany revealed its new range of antiterrorism measures yesterdayincluding closer monitoring of refugees and enhanced surveillance. It is the German government’s most comprehensive response to the terror attacks recently targeting Europe, reports Alison Smale at the New York Times.
The measures may mean that refugees moving to Germany will now have to give police permission to search their social media accounts, Germany’s interior minister announced yesterday. A pilot scheme will see border police taking the smartphones of those refugees who do not have passports, report Philip Oltermann and Jon Henley for the Guardian.
A Saudi Arabian woman and her three children have been stopped in Lebanon from entering Syria to join the Islamic StateSaudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said today. A number of Saudis have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, reports the AP. This incident was a rare moment of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
Police in Rio De Janeiro arrested two alleged Islamic State sympathizers Thursday in the second of two phases of raids, the first of which led to the detention of 12 people in the days leading up to the start of the Olympic Games. The arrestees have not been identified. [AP]
Pakistan passed the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill late last nighta measure aimed at ensuring security against the growing threat of terrorism, among other things. The bill’s vague language risks curtailing free speech and may lead to unfair prosecutions, human rights and pro-democracy activists have argued. [Reuters]
A Palestinian teenager stabbed and wounded an Israeli teenager with a screwdriver in east Jerusalem yesterday before running away, Israeli police have said. [AP]
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Vladimir Putin and Syria - Greenville Daily Reflector

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Greenville Daily Reflector

Vladimir Putin and Syria
Greenville Daily Reflector
This cave-in to Mr. Putin would be so sweeping that some senior Obama administration officials have not concealed their doubts: In an interview with The Post's David Ignatius, Director of National Intelligence James RClapper Jr. questioned whether ...

and more »

FBI widens hacking probe as more are Democrats targted in wide ... - Washington Times

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Washington Times

FBI widens hacking probe as more are Democrats targted in wide ...
Washington Times
A hacking campaign that recently compromised the Democratic National Committee and an official fundraising wing of the party was more severe in scope than ...
Politics|Hack of Democrats' Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials SayNew York Times
Exclusive: Congressional leaders were briefed a year ago on hacking of Dem...Reuters

all 88 news articles »

Ukraine gives Britain intel about Russian ‘hybrid war’ tactics in Crimea 

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Ukrainian intelligence and defense officials are sharing intelligence with Britain about cutting-edge Russian military tactics in the Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine.

Buffalo FBI office steps up efforts to battle cyber thieves -

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Buffalo FBI office steps up efforts to battle cyber thieves
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Believe it or not millions of people in the U.S. are victims of Internet crime each year, but only an estimated 15 percent report crimes to law enforcement, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. In the meantime ...

FBI, mental health facility blamed for ignoring Scott killer's warning signs - Knoxville News Sentinel

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Knoxville News Sentinel

FBI, mental health facility blamed for ignoring Scott killer's warning signs
Knoxville News Sentinel
HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — There was plenty of blame to go around Thursday for the senseless shooting death of a Scott County homeless shelter director. A clinical psychologist blamed a Knoxville mental health facility. A defense attorney blamed the FBI.

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Page 5

FBI: 9063 allowed to buy guns in 2015 who shouldn't have been - Greenville News

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Greenville News

FBI: 9063 allowed to buy guns in 2015 who shouldn't have been
Greenville News
COLUMBIA — The number of times the FBI allowed sales of guns with incomplete background checks jumped by thousands last year even as the process received increased scrutiny and calls for reform following the mistaken sale of a gun to a South Carolina ...

and more »

Justice Department denied FBI requests to investigate Clinton Foundation - Washington Times

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Washington Times

Justice Department denied FBI requests to investigate Clinton Foundation
Washington Times
The Obama administration rejected requests from three FBI field offices that wanted to open public corruption probes of the Clinton Foundation, according to a report that added to headaches for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Alerted ...
DOJ Blocked FBI Investigation Into Potential Public Corruption at Clinton FoundationLawNewz
Surprise: DOJ denied FBI request to open corruption probe into dealings between Clinton Foundation and State Dep't ...Hot Air 
FBI wanted DOJ to probe Clinton Foundation but DOJ refused:report
 New York Daily News

Washington Free BeaconTownhall-Breitbart News- Judicial Watch
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EXCLUSIVE: Joint FBI-US Attorney Probe Of Clinton Foundation Is Underway - Daily Caller

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Terror suspect says he was paid FBI informant and 'baffled' by charges - Charlotte Observer

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Charlotte Observer

Terror suspect says he was paid FBI informant and 'baffled' by charges
Charlotte Observer
In a statement from his Mecklenburg County Jail cell given to the Observer by his mother, Hendricks claims to have been a paid informant of the FBI since 2009 who helped the agency identify potential terrorists. Code name: “Ahkie,” a variation of the ... 
Man accused of being IS recruiter says he was FBI informantMinneapolis Star Tribune

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Canada security questioned after FBI tip thwarts attack - Reuters

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Canada security questioned after FBI tip thwarts attack
The RCMP said Driver, one of only two Canadians currently subject to a peace bond, was not under constant surveillance before the tip from the FBI came on Wednesday morning. Driver's father, Wayne Driver, questioned why authorities did not intervene ...
FBI Tip Helped Canadian Cops Thwart Bomb Plot Moments Before It UnfoldedVICE
Canada Terror Suspect Dies After FBI Tip Leads to StandoffBloomberg
FBI Alerted Canadian Police to Terror Threat Posed by Man Flagged as Security RiskWall Street Journal
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty -BBC News -CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
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FBI Expands Hacking Investigation - Bloomberg

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FBI Expands Hacking Investigation
The FBI has high confidence the Russian government hacked U.S. Democratic Party groups and the personal e-mails of political operatives, according to a person familiar with the findings. Bloomberg's Michael Riley reports on "Bloomberg ‹GO›." (Source: ...

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Page 6

Man accused of being IS recruiter says he was FBI informant -

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Man accused of being IS recruiter says he was FBI informant
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina man accused of trying to recruit people to join the Islamic State group says he had been paid by the FBI since 2009 to help identify potential terrorists. In a statement his mother delivered to The Charlotte Observer ...
Terror suspect says he was paid FBI informant and 'baffled' by chargesWBTV
US terror suspect claims to be 'paid FBI informant'South China Morning Post

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4-Year-Old Boy Accused of Hacking FBI Database : -

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4-Year-Old Boy Accused of Hacking FBI Database :
A 4-year old kid from the Californian metropolis, who must remain anonymous, was arrested this morning for breaking into the internal network of the FBI on three different occasions, allegedly to gather information about his mother's new boyfriend ...

Bill Clinton accuses FBI of serving up a 'load of bull' - New York Post

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New York Post

Bill Clinton accuses FBI of serving up a 'load of bull'
New York Post
Bill Clinton is accusing the FBI director of serving up “the biggest load of bull I've ever heard” — marking the first significant public comments from the husband of the Democratic nominee on the scandal that's plagued his wife's campaign for over a ...
The FBI Always Gets Its Man (or Woman) and May Still Get HillaryTownhall
Letter: FBI not recommending charges against Clinton was purely politicalTri-City Herald

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DIA said thank you to Deputy Director Doug Wise at a farewell ceremony 

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DIA said thank you to Deputy Director Doug Wise at afarewell ceremony hosted by DIA Director LtGen

Hacker again plagues US Democrats, calls presidential campaign a “farce”

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August 13, 2016, 11:42 AM (IDT)
In a post to his WordPress blog, the hacker who calls him/herself Guccifer 2.0 uploaded an Excel file Friday revealing the cell phone numbers and private e-mail addresses of nearly every Democratic member of the House of Representatives, their staffs and campaign personnel. The same vandal claimed to have previously passed 20,000 Democratic National Committee e-mails to Wikileaks.
 Federal investigators speculate that “Guccifer 2.0” who claims to be Romanian and an “unknown hacker with a laptop,” may be acting for Russian intelligence in targeting the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.  In the new message, the hacker brands the US presidential elections a “farce” that is “being settled behind the scenes as it was with Bernie Sanders.” He added: "The big money bags are fighting for power today. They are lying constantly and don’t keep their word. The MSM [mainstream media] are producing tons of propaganda hiding the real stuff behind it.”

Russian S-400 anti-missile batteries posted on Crimea

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August 13, 2016, 12:02 PM (IDT)
Amid rising tension around the Crimean Peninsula, the Russian Defense Minister Friday announced the deployment of anti-missile weapons there, including S-400 air defense batteries, the most advanced interception systems of their kind. Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin vowed to take steps against clashes between Russian security forces and what he called Ukrainian bandits in North Crimea. Kiev denied any Ukrainian state forces were involved in military activity in the peninsula.
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CIA Official: 'Cloud Has Been a Godsend' - Nextgov

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CIA Official: 'Cloud Has Been a Godsend'
One of the CIA's top security officials said the cloud infrastructure built by Amazon Web Services is improving the spy agency's cybersecurity posture and speed to mission handling national security threats. “Cloud has been a godsend for folks trying ...

Fidel Castro's 90th birthday marked with 90-metre cigar

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A veteran Cuban cigar-maker rolls what is believed to be the world's longest cigar to mark the 90th birthday of Fidel Castro.

Former President Clinton: Email Server Controversy Is 'Load of Bull' 

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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton defended his wife on Friday, saying the controversy about her use of a private email server is “the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard.” The former U.S. leader, responding to a question about Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness at a forum sponsored by Asian-American organizations, said it would be ”inconceivable [that] all the prominent national security people, including Republicans, would have endorsed her” if they did not believe in her ability to...

Putin fires chief of staff, sign of fatigue with old guard

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President Vladimir Putin on Friday abruptly replaced his longtime chief of staff with a low-profile younger aide, the latest in a series of moves by the Russian leader to rid himself of members of his old guard.

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Mexico arrests alleged founding member of Zetas cartel

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Mexican police say they have re-arrested a former soldier who was allegedly one of the founders of the Zetas drug cartel.

Vladimir Putin Fires His Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday fired Sergei Ivanov, his chief of staff and one of his closest allies, in the most high-profile power reshuffle at the Kremlin in years.
The Kremlin’s press office on Friday issued Putin’s order to “relieve Sergei Ivanov of his duties.” The stern statement was followed by footage of a meeting of Putin, Ivanov and the new chief of staff, Anton Vayno.
Despite the clear appearance that Ivanov had been forced out, Putin insisted he was making the move at Ivanov’s request because he had been too long in the job.
“I’m happy with how you handle tasks in your line of work,” Putin said. “I remember well our agreement that you had asked me not to keep you as chief of the presidential administration for more than four years and that is why I understand your desire to choose another line of work.”
Former KGB officer Ivanov, a former defense minister and deputy prime minister, has been seen as one of Putin’s closest allies. Ivanov was considered a likely successor to Putin before Putin chose Dmitry Medvedev to run for president in 2008 when he was unable to stand himself due to term limitations.
In a symbolic gesture, Putin on Friday appointed Ivanov a special envoy for transportation and environment, a stunning downgrade for the man who has been considered one of the most influential people in Russia.
In a subtle hint to the fact that his political career is over, the 63-year-old Ivanov in the televised remarks on Friday thanked Putin for his “high assessment of my work during the past 17 years.”
Ivanov was also taken off the Security Council, Russia’s top security body which includes Putin, chairs of the parliament and chiefs of security services.
Vayno, 44, the new Kremlin chief of staff, has worked in Putin’s protocol department and was recently Ivanov’s deputy.
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Russians Suspected of Hacking Democrats Also Went After Republicans, Researchers Say - Daily Beast

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Daily Beast

Russians Suspected of Hacking Democrats Also Went After Republicans, Researchers Say
Daily Beast
Cybersecurity experts have linked one of the groups that stole emails from the DNC to a campaign against lawmakers and officials, including John McCain. For weeks, Democratic politicians have been bracing for the release of more embarrassing emails ...
Russian Hacking Campaign Hits Republicans, TooForeign Policy (blog)
DNC announces formation of cybersecurity board in email hack's aftermathWashington Times 
Fearing more hacks, Dems beef up cybersecurityPolitico

Slate Magazine (blog)-U.S. News & World Report- New York Post-Newsmax
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Hacker Releases Personal Information of Hundreds of Democrats 

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A hacker who has taken credit for two breaches of U.S. Democratic Party organizations released email addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information of nearly 200 lawmakers Friday. The hacker, who calls himself Guccifer 2.0, posted a contact sheet with 194 former and present members of Congress, as well as a list of database passwords on his Wordpress site.  The hacker said the U.S. presidential elections "are becoming a farce", citing the earlier breach of the...

In ominous sign, Afghan government partner berates President Ghani

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KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan government chief executive Abdullah Abdullah has sharply criticized President Ashraf Ghani, a dramatic public break that exposed long-simmering tension within the former election rivals' fragile unity government.

Russia's Putin dismisses head of Kremlin administration Ivanov

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Ivanov on Friday and appointed Anton Vaino, Ivanov's former deputy, in his place, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Russian Officials Report Soldier's Death In Syria

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The death in Syria of a Russian soldier from the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria has been reported, the republic’s governor has said.

Biden Urges Poroshenko To Avoid Escalating Tensions With Russia

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko "to do his part to avoid escalating tensions" with Russia over Crimea, the White House said on August 12.
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As Trump struggles, Clinton goes on offense to win over GOP

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Clinton is seizing opportunities presented by a volatile presidential race to expand her base of support heading into the fall, seeking to position the Democratic Party for a sweeping victory in November....

Kremlin fires Putin's longtime ally Ivanov

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday fired Sergei Ivanov, his chief of staff and one of his closest allies, in the most high-profile power reshuffle at the Kremlin in years....

Russia's Putin sacks chief of staff Sergei Ivanov

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has unexpectedly dismissed his chief of staff Sergei Ivanov.
Mr Ivanov has been part of Mr Putin's trusted inner circle for many years.
The 63-year-old has now been made a special representative for environmental and transport issues.
A statement from the Kremlin said that Mr Putin had "decreed to relieve Ivanov of his duties as head of the Russian presidential administration", but gave no reason.
Mr Ivanov's former deputy, Anton Vaino, has been appointed as his successor.
Mr Putin told a Russian TV station on Friday that Mr Ivanov asked to leave the post, and recommended that Mr Vaino should replace him.
Mr Ivanov has been chief of staff since 2011. He served previously as a deputy prime minister and defence minister.
He is a member of the Russian Security Council and a former member of the KGB state security service, like Mr Putin.
In the late 1990s, when Mr Putin was head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which replaced the KGB, Mr Ivanov was appointed as his deputy. When Mr Putin came to power, he named Mr Ivanovas one of the five people he trusted most.

Two dead in apartment complex blast in Maryland, US,

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Two people have been killed, dozens injured and others left missing after an explosion at an apartment complex in Maryland, US.

Trump Tries to Brand Obama, Clinton With Islamic State

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Donald Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama “founded” the Islamic State may be just the latest controversy in a volatile election season, but those comments could have far-reaching consequences on perceptions of the U.S. internationally and on the continual media dilemma over how to cover remarks by the unconventional candidate. In a campaign rally Thursday, Trump called Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “the MVPs of ISIS,” reiterating claims from a day...

RedBlueAmerica: Whither Reaganism?

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For 40 years, Ronald Reagan’s ideas — and the idea of Reagan — have guided the GOP: Republican candidates for offices high and low have claimed his mantle, and even Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have had to contend with his legacy. But Donald Trump is a departure from that tradition.
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