Archive

Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

Putin: U.S. Deep State Plotting To Hack Russian Election

November 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the US Deep State of plotting to interfere with Russia’s election. 

Putin, who is up for election again on March 18, 2018, claims the CIA wants to influence the Russian election in revenge for his stance against the New World Order.

Express.co.uk reports: Putin also said allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia, which have led to the banning of several Russian athletes ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, seemed to be aimed at disrupting Russia’s presidential vote in March.

The Russian vote is pitched to be one of the more bizarre electoral battles in the nation’s history, with TV host and socialite Ksenia Sobchak set to challenge the longtime leader.

Opposition leaders said the Kremlin had convinced the 36-year-old to take part in order to make a mockery of the election and distract voters from the issues.

Vladimir Putin’s critics said she is being held up as a “laughing stock” in order to reduce the credibility of any opposition to the current president.

Ms Sobchak previously starred as host of a Russian reality TV show and was a well-known socialite nicknamed ‘the Russian Paris Hilton’.

 

Russia and America Are Conducting Massive Nuclear Exercises (and No One Cares)

November 12, 2017 1 comment

Nuclear weapons exercises in both Russia and the United States go mysteriously unreported in leading American newspapers.

Both Russia and the United States undertook major tests of their respective nuclear forces at the end of October 2017. Oddly, that was not sufficiently newsworthy and no coverage appeared in America’s leading newspapers. It’s particularly strange—and even ironic—because the steady drip of articles alleging every type of Russian conspiracy, from manipulation of social media to meetings with senior Trump administration officials to the supposed attempted penetration of voting systems, has been front-page news every day, playing no small part in accelerating the downward spiral in U.S.-Russia relations.

One half expects a spate of new revelations detailing the current administration leader’s unexplained fondness for borsht and pelmeni. All joking aside, a simple miscalculation in this most crucial bilateral strategic relationship could rather quickly destroy both nations and end life on earth. As long as American media outlets do not cover these nuclear exercises, which are ominous developments, they seemingly can escape any culpability for bringing on the “new Cold War,” its catastrophic risks and the related consequences.

Some would prefer to suggest that cyber tensions, election-interference allegations, accusations regarding nefarious activities in crises from Syria to Afghanistan to North Korea—not to mention the escalating proxy war in East Ukraine—are all discreet and complex issues demanding U.S. strategic attention, that will not, however, cumulatively lead to a U.S.-Russia nuclear showdown. But that all too tenuous assumption is belied by high-level assessments from the Pentagon, as well as these recent nuclear weapons exercises that admittedly have become quite commonplace. Even if the actual chance of military conflict remains thankfully low, it is extremely disturbing, and wholly contrary to the national interest. The stoking of further tensions with Moscow will cost Americans trillions of taxpayer dollars—a fool’s errand if there ever was one.

At one level, this is just a case of bad journalism—the failure to distinguish the titillating (e.g. the Steele dossier) from the truly important (e.g. nuclear force modernization and crisis doctrines). How poorly informed the U.S. political establishment is by such bad choices made regularly in the country’s newsrooms is suggested, for example, by the somewhat remarkable fact that neither the New York Times, nor the Washington Post, bothered to report on President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran on November 1 either. If Washington’s so-called “adversaries” are coalescing against it, America, so it seems, will remain blissfully ignorant. The newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta provided significant space to discussing both nuclear exercises. As I have done for years with my Dragon Eye column in sharing insights from Chinese press and academic writings, here I will endeavor in a new column called Bear Cave, to impart some perspective on Russian strategic viewpoints in the hopes of contributing in a small way to deescalating bilateral tensions, which now genuinely threaten world peace and stability.

The title of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta piece may itself convey some frustration with the pointlessness of the mutual show of force: “Moscow and Washington Frightened One Another with Nuclear Might.” In a rare bit of Russian optimism, the article observes that U.S. Strategic Command had actually informed the Russian Ministry of Defense regarding the nuclear exercises in advance in conformity to the START-3 Agreement. As a seeming point of pride regarding Russian status, the article observes pointedly that Beijing was not so informed, since it is not a party to such agreements. Dismissing any “politically correct blather” of antiterrorism doctrines for nuclear forces, this analysis suggests that “in fact, both Washington and Moscow were training for an exchange of nuclear blows against one another.”

The Russian analysis concedes that the Global Thunder exercise organized by U.S. Strategic Command “looks like a saber-rattling by the Americans of a nuclear cudgel in response to Russian training and combat launches of ballistic and cruise missiles last week.” In the Russian exercise, according to the article, four intercontinental ballistic missiles were apparently launched. Lest anyone be confused regarding the payload, the article explains these missiles are “intended to carry nuclear warhead payloads.” Three missiles were launched from submarines (both Northern and Pacific fleets), while the fourth was a Topol rocket fired from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The exercise also involved a sortie of Russian bombers of several types and so the “entire nuclear triad of Russia was tested.” This exercise was undertaken with the direct participation of the supreme commander of the Russian armed forces President Vladimir Putin, according to the article, as if to underline that he is the only world leader who could likely reduce nearly the entire U.S. homeland to glowing rubble well inside of an hour.

Happily, the article does mention some additional context for the recent U.S. nuclear tests, including the ongoing North Korea crisis, which the Nezavisimya Gazeta article states was “provoked by Pyongyang.” And yet the next sentence states quite unequivocally that Moscow is “extremely nervous” regarding the continuous buildup of U.S. forces in Northeast Asia. That point raises yet another cost of the new Cold War. In addition to the risk of catastrophic war and enormous resources wasted on military rivalry, we may add the further escalation of regional conflicts, whether in the Middle East or Northeast Asia, that have resulted from deepening mistrust among the great powers, which now seem more interested in the concept of “relative gains,” vice genuine conflict management.

My first instructor in Russian politics, Professor Richard Pipes, told his charges some decades ago not to take seriously analyses of Russia written by people who have never been to Russia, nor speak a word of the Russian language. But one does not have to speak Russian to appreciate that the costs of the new Cold War will reach far in excess of trillions of dollars for Americans when expenses for additional nuclear and conventional systems are tallied together to meet “the high-end challenge.” This lamentable trend was actually noted among Russian experts as well. And while some Russian hawks are undoubtedly cheerful about such developments, as are some American hawks, the great majorities in both countries will suffer under such burdens. Instead of badly needed investments in infrastructure, health care, green energy and education, we, and Russians too, will have more nuclear (and conventional) weaponry.

Hawks may continue their boisterous rejoicing: there will be no relaxation of grave international tensions any time soon. The noxious fusion of neoconservative and neoliberal thinking in the Washington “Blob” will continue to coalesce around the supposedly grave “challenge to the liberal order.” And the Blob’s “grand Russian conspiracy,” which is long on xenophobia, innuendo and spooky techno-bling, but appallingly short on evidence or historical context, will regrettably stifle any progressive policy agenda that seeks to put first America’s domestic priorities.

Lyle J. Goldstein is professor of strategy in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He can be reached at goldstel@usnwc.edu. The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. government.

Image: Reuters

FOIA Documents: FBI Scrambles To Preserve Records In Clinton ‘Uranium One’ Scandal

November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Mac Slavo

New FOIA documents are showing proof that the FBI was investigating the “Uranium One” scandal back in 2015. Now, internet sleuths are doing the job of the mainstream media, and have discovered Hillary Clinton’s IT guy trying to strip the former presidential candidate’s name from emails – and that isn’t all.

Months after the Peter Schweizer book Clinton Cash exposed the Russian collusion scheme, along with an article in the New York Times which laid out allegations of criminal malfeasance by the Clintons, their charitable foundation, and several associates, new FOIA documents are shedding light on the scandal being ignored by the mainstream media.

Twitter user Katica (@GOPPollAnalyst) – who notably discovered Hillary Clinton’s IT guy “Stonetear” asking Reddit users how to strip Clinton’s name from archived emails – discovered several Preservation and Records requests sent by an FBI special agent to various agencies involved in the approval of the Uranium One deal on August 28th, 2015, as first published by The Conservative TreehouseKatica found the requests buried in an FBI file released via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

While the Clinton email investigation was launched in March of 2015 after it was revealed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal server and non-approved email accounts to conduct government business, reports from August, 2015 revealed that the FBI investigation was actually a criminal probe – though most assumed it was simply covering Clinton’s mishandling of classified information and not the content of her emails.

What Katica discovered is that weeks after the criminal probe began, the FBI sent notices to nearly every agency involved in the Uranium One approval process to preserve records. –iBankCoin

This is very important, and a big deal, considering the agencies who received the request included the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI James Clapper), The National Counter Terrorism Center, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

katica-foia-1_0

Five days after the initial requestthe same FBI agent sent another round of notifications to the same agencies, adding the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) to the list.  The next day, September 3rd, 2015, three more agencies were added to the preservation request. Those were: The CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Department of Defense (DOD)

At this point, every single member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which signed off on the Uranium One deal was served with a notice to preserve the records. 

The sequence of events highlights a criminal probe starting in early August 2015, followed by notifications to the “Uranium One” CFIUS participants in late August 2015. If you consider the larger Clinton timeline; along with the FBI special agent requests from identified participants; and overlay the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as the leading entity surrounding the probe elements and the fact that the CFIUS participants were the recipients of the retention requests, it seems like too much to be coincidental, and to think this is unrelated to the Uranium One scandal and the more alarming implications.

While the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton was sold as a simple matter of mishandling of classified material, we now have proof that the FBI set their sights on the Uranium One scandal weeks after they began looking into Hillary Clinton’s emails. It is also known that five FBI field offices and the IRS have been investigating the Clinton Foundation on accusations of pay-to-play and other criminal acts.

No wonder the leftist mainstream media is more worried about what Donald Trump feeds koi fish than the major scandal unfolding right before our eyes.

For the entire timeline of events, please click here. 

Will Russia’s Su-57 PAK-FA Stealth Fighter also be Moscow’s Sixth Generation Warplane?

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

A senior Russian official has suggested that the Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA could be upgraded to become a “6th generation” fighter.  However, it is not clear what a “6th generation” fighter would mean in the Russian context.

The United States Air Force and the United States Navy are both looking at what they might need for their next-generation fighter aircraft, but the aside from some general top-level characteristics, those future requirements remain undefined. Given that the Russians have yet to field an operational fifth-generation aircraft, it remains unclear what Moscow conceives as a so-called sixth generation fighter.

“This is actually a splendid plane and it can embrace both fifth-and sixth-generation features. It has huge modernization potential,” former Russian Aerospace Force commander and current chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev told the TASS news agency. “Importantly, it is the best among the existing versions by its stealth characteristics. It incorporates all the best that is available in modern aviation science both in Russia and in the world.”

The United States Air Force has already started to look at options for a next-generation successor to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor that is called the Penetrating Counter Air (PCA). However, the U.S. Air Force is very carefully studying exactly what it needs before jumping into a formal program of record. Indeed, while its is likely that the PCA will be a new aircraft of some sort, the service had not committed to developing an entirely new jet fighter. It’s keeping its options open for what might be needed in the post-2030 era.

The U.S. Navy is also conducting an analysis of alternatives to examine exactly what the service needs for its Next Generation Air Dominance—sometime called the F/A-XX—program. Like the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy is looking a broad spectrum of potential options to counter potential threats in the 2030s and beyond. The service has not committed to anything because it doesn’t yet know what capabilities it will need.

Thus, it is unclear how the Russians could have simply decided without any serious analysis exactly what kind of capabilities their air force will need in the far distant future. Certainly, there is very little basis to support the conclusion that the current Su-57 airframe would still be relevant in three decades time as a top-of-the-line air superiority fighter.

It’s likely that Bondarev, who is no longer a serving Russian military officer, was simply expressing his personal opinion. Russian sources indicated that power inside the country rests purely with the executive branch and comments from the legislative branch should not be taken seriously.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Image: United Aircraft Corporation

Russian Leader Putin Issues Devastating Order As Tensions Over North Korea Skyrocket

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Sources: The Daily StarThe Conservative Daily Post

The main concern as the North Korean crisis escalates is how Russia and China will respond when America needs to act. It is reaching a point where “need” is the appropriate word, too. Sadly, the news from the Daily Star tells us that Russia is going to side with evil over good, just as Putin has been doing by standing with Iran.

Two F/A-18 fighter jets scrambled to escort the Russian TU-95 bombers away from the warship on Sunday,” the Star writes. Russia has a history of buzzing our planes and disrespecting our waters, so this action seems to be a continuation of that dishonor. This was a devastating order from the Russian leadership that should never have been issued.

While Russia fumes about NATO sitting on their border in order to fight terror, Putin seems to have a problem with the U.S. wanting to prepare for promised North Korean aggression. Two nuclear-capable “Bears” were halted “just 80 miles away from the vessel, the USS Ronald Reagan,” the same vessel that was radioactively poisoned in Japan.

Due to the Hermit Kingdom’s constant boasting, bragging, and testing, President Donald Trump dispatched the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Nimitz to the area. This is to be expected since he plans the visit the region only next week.

U.S. officials have called the interception of the Russian planes “safe and professional,” yet it can not be overlooked that this was a provocation that was unwarranted.

Russian strutting could easily lead to an escalation and this is something Putin fully understands but refuses to accept as fact.

America had caught their former Cold War nemesis in June conducting belligerent and threatening flight patterns and in that case, their actions were considered “unsafe” by officials.

Their jets were even said to be flying “erratically” as they conducted their hazardous flight maneuvers. One miscalculation under such circumstances could see a great number of dreadful outcomes, any of which could lead to World War Three.

If this is the way that Russia plans to act as America confronts a crazed regime that has promised to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons, then perhaps things have already gotten much, much worse than anyone had feared.

 

Facebook, Twitter Admit Russian Groups Attempted to Undermine Trump Presidency After Election

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Lawyers representing Facebook and Twitter revealed that Russian groups on their social networks tried to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency after the election.

Politico reports that lawyers from Facebook and Twitter told a Senate Judiciary panel on Tuesday that Russian-linked agents on their social networks following election day in November 2016 attempted to undermine President Trump’s victory. Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch outlined to the Senate Judiciary panel how a Russian trolling group known as the Internet Research Agency generated content after November 8th focusing on “fomenting discord about the validity of [Trump’s] election.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked at the hearing, “During the election, they were trying to create discord between Americans, most of it directed against Clinton. After the election you saw Russian-tied groups and organizations trying to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy. Is that what you saw on Facebook?”

Stretch and Twitter general counsel Sean Edgette confirmed that Graham’s description was “accurate.”

James Lewis, an international cyber policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, believes that Russians’ anti-Trump misinformation campaign fits with the Kremlin’s information warfare strategy.

“Their goal is to create confusion and dissent. The target is the U.S. and NATO, not any particular candidate. They just want chaos,” Lewis said. “It went from being a grudge match against Clinton to what they thought was a priceless opportunity to inflict harm.”

Russia Dismisses U.S. Sanctions on Russian Defense Firms: U.S. ‘Is Not The Center of The World’

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

(CNSNews.com) – Moscow has responded dismissively to the State Department’s publication of a list of Russian defense and intelligence entities blacklisted for business by foreign companies, although the move could have tangible consequences for the world’s second-largest arms exporter.

“The United States is not the center of the world,” deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov told the Tass news agency.

“We will push ahead with our own development in cooperation with many partners around the globe,” Ryabkov added. “If the Americans strip themselves of prospects for normal economic cooperation with us, it is their choice. We will be able to devise methods and antidotes that will let us minimize the costs of such policies.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the move “unfriendly.”

President Trump in August signed into law legislation targeting Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine, rights abuses, cyber attacks, and interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The measure separately also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

The list sent to Congress late last week in line with that law names 33 defense entities and six intelligence bodies. They include Russia’s main state weapons exporter Rosoboronexport and aviation companies Sukhoi and Tupolev, as well as its domestic (FSB), foreign (SVR), and military (GRU) intelligence agencies.

Rosoboronexport alone accounts for some 85 percent of the country’s total arms exports, according to a 2017 Defense Intelligence Agency report on Russian military power.

The legislation does not impose sanctions on the listed entities themselves, but provides for penalties for foreign companies and entities that undertake “significant” transactions with them.

Russia was the world’s second biggest exporter of weaponry in 2012-2016, accounting for 23 percent of all major arms exports, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data. (The U.S. led with 33 percent.)

Fifty-one countries bought arms from Russia during that period, with 70 percent of the exports went to just four countries – India, Vietnam, China and Algeria.

India, a major Russian customer, was also the world’s biggest importer of arms in 2012-2015, accounting alone for almost 13 percent of global arms imports in 2012–16, SIPRI reports.

India is also a key Asian ally of the U.S., and a senior State Department official briefing reporters on background was asked how the new legislation could affect relationships with U.S. allies and friends which possess Russian weaponry – and will presumably have the need for spare parts for years to come.

The official pointed to the “significance threshold” in the legislation, and said transactions viewed as less than significant would be excluded.

“Obviously, we’re going to consider the totality of circumstances in any individual case when making a decision,” the official said, adding that criteria taken into account would include the size and scope of the transaction with Russia, the type of items transferred, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. at stake in a particular transaction.

Some Russian politicians view the sanctions as merely an attempt by the U.S. to muscle out a serious business competitor.

 

Vladimir Shamanov, who chairs the Russian equivalent of the House Armed Services Committee, said it was notable that the administration drew up the list at a time when Russia’s arms sales competitiveness is “surging.”

“Due to its weakness, the United States is going off the deep end trying to harm our country. It is clear that the competitiveness of our military-industrial complex has demonstrated its efficiency to the whole world,” Tass quoted Shamanov as saying.

“Even those countries which are in the friendly blocs with America or are its shadow allies – even they have started purchasing Russian weapons, first of all the air defense systems,” he added.

The latter comment likely alluded to Turkey, which although a NATO ally signed a deal early last month to buy advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.

NATO responded by pointing out that the Russian systems would not be compatible with alliance equipment. The move also apparently violates decisions reaffirmed at a NATO summit in Warsaw last year suspending all military cooperation, and agreeing to “address, as appropriate, existing dependencies on Russian-sourced legacy military equipment.”

Asked about Russian claims that the U.S. was simply trying to dominate the international arms market, the State Department official said it was neither Congress’ intent in passing the legislation nor the administration’s intent in enforcing it, to view it “as some sort of competitive tool.”

%d bloggers like this: