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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

In chapter 11 of Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton discusses Vladimir Putin blaming her for Russian civil unrest following the December 2011 parliamentary elections. By December of 2016, accounts began appearing in the press attesting to Putin’s interference in our election as a direct response to Hillary’s purported influence over the Russian protestors.

Now, The Hill reports that U.S. intelligence sources heard and transcribed a Russian intel agent bragging about his organization targeting Hillary.

US spies heard Russian intelligence agent vowing to target Clinton: report

US spies heard Russian intelligence agent vowing to target Clinton: report
© Getty

U.S. spies reportedly heard a Russian military intelligence officer bragging about his organization planning to target Hillary Clinton in May 2016.

The officer told a colleague that GRU would cause havoc in America’s presidential election, Time reported Thursday.

The officer reportedly described the intelligence agency’s effort as retribution for what Russian President Vladimir Putin considered Clinton’s influence campaign against him while serving as secretary of State.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials told Time that American spies transcribed the conversation and sent it to headquarters for analysis.

Time reported that an official document based on the raw intelligence was then circulated.“We didn’t really understand the context of it until much later,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said.

Putin publicly accused Clinton of conducting a major operation against Russia when protests erupted in more than 70 cities in 2011.

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Yesterday a FOX News story circulated saying that Hillary Clinton had “a mixed mind” about the firing of James Comey. It was based on anonymous sources, of course. Hillary Clinton has issued no public statement on the matter.

Then there is this from Hillary’s close confidante, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

White House Spokeswoman Says Hillary Clinton Would Have Fired James Comey ‘Immediately’

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday asserted without any corroboration that Hillary Clinton would have fired FBI Director James Comey “immediately” had she won the election last fall. She added, “thank God she didn’t [win].”

Huckabee Sanders, filling in for Sean Spicer at Wednesday’s press briefing, tried to defend President Trump’s decision to abruptly dismiss Comey late Tuesday — a move that caught much of Washington off guard and sparked outrage from Democrats and several key Republicans as well.

“Most of the people that are declaring war today are the very ones that were begging for Director Comey to be fired,” Huckabee Sanders said. “If Hillary Clinton had won the election, which thank God she didn’t, but if she had… she would have fired Comey immediately.”

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Huckabee Sanders’s boss, Sean Spicer, was caught hiding in the bushes outside the White House Tuesday night.

This same White House barred American press from the Oval Office yesterday while letting the Russian cameras in the room believing that the photos would not be released.

Not only were they played, they admitted they were tricked … amazed that the Russians lied to them! Not so good at reading Russian minds, it seems.

Trump with Lester Holt today:

HOLT: Were you angry with James Comey when he went public and said he can’t support your unsubstantiated charges of wiretapping, that your predecessor wiretapped you?

TRUMP: I was surprised he said it but I wasn’t angry. There’s a big thing going on right now which is spying and it’s — you can call it anything you want — the unmasking and the spying and to me that’s the big story right now. That’s a very, very big story.

Hmmmmm… wonder what minute drones the Russians scattered around the West Wing.

идиот!

Trump Official: We ‘Let the Biggest Perpetrator of Fake News into the Oval Office’

Team Trump is “either in bed with the Russians or too stupid to understand the severity of this mistake,” an official fumed after Kremlin press got exclusive Oval Office access.

05.11.17

Two senior administration officials, one an Obama holdover and the other a Trump appointee, told The Daily Beast that the resulting reliance of U.S. media on a propaganda arm of a foreign government let Russia set the public tone of the meeting and embarrassed the administration amid already contentious discussions with Russian diplomats.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to candidly express their views. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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You probably saw some photos like this from yesterday kindly provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry since American photo journalists were barred from the Oval Office during this meeting.

My prediction was incorrect about a Lavrov/Tillerson meeting. They did indeed meet at the State Department although Tillerson was not included in the White House sit-down.

Then there is this. The bolded emphasis is mine.

The Arctic Council: Fostering Cooperation, Preservation, and Prosperity in the Far North

By: David A. Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Icebergs float off the port of Ilulissat, Greenland. June 17, 2016.

The Arctic is a special place.

Its awe-inspiring natural beauty suggests a land untouched by time. But it is not a park — people have been living in the Arctic for thousands of years. Today, the ways of life of Arctic peoples, along with the Arctic itself, is changing rapidly and profoundly. Many of these changes — environmental, social and economic — transcend national borders, making international cooperation critical for the Arctic’s future.

The Arctic Council serves as the forum where Arctic nations and peoples collaborate to protect the Arctic’s environment while also fostering development of its economic potential in responsible and sustainable ways. This week in Fairbanks, Alaska, the United States will proudly conclude a successful two-year Arctic Council Chairmanship with concrete achievements that will improve economic and living conditions in the Arctic region; enhance Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship; and strengthen the resilience and adaptation capabilities of Arctic communities in the face of climate change.

Several of our achievements during our Chairmanship deserve special attention. The Council completed an assessment that identifies gaps in telecommunications capabilities across the region which, when remedied, will improve the lives and boost the economies of the countries in the Arctic region. The Arctic Council has also created a groundbreaking new tool, the Arctic Ship Traffic Database, to track shipping routes and prepare for an anticipated increase in activity. This surge in shipping will stimulate investment in infrastructure and benefit the economies of Arctic nations.

To ensure continued responsible development in the Arctic, the Arctic Council focused on initiatives that enhance the safety and good stewardship of the region. As we see more human activity in the Arctic, we need to be better prepared to protect the people who live and work there. Under U.S. leadership, the Council worked together to enhanced search and rescue readiness through live exercises. The recent entry into force of an agreement to cooperate on oil spills in the Arctic and an updated guide on how to respond if one happens help prepare and protect us from potential challenges in the future.

We are especially proud to announce a landmark scientific cooperation agreement, through negotiations led by the United States and Russia, which will usher in a new era of Arctic science by breaking down the barriers to research and exploration in the region. Together, we will increase our knowledge about the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.

Left: Alaskan Sunset in July near Anchorage — 12:10 am. Right: placid view in Tutka Bay with near mirror-like conditions reflecting grand mountain scenery off the waters. Alaska, Kenai Peninsula, Kachemak Bay. (NOAA National Ocean Service)

Alaska is America’s Arctic. It is tough, beautiful, and complex.

The United States looks forward to hosting the foreign ministers of the other Arctic nations and leaders of indigenous Arctic groups in Fairbanks this week to celebrate the conclusion of our successful chairmanship. We wish great success to Finland which will serve as the next chair. Thanks to the dedication of the many groups and individuals supporting it, we know the Arctic Council will continue to preserve and protect the economic opportunities and unique beauty of the Arctic for future generations.


Originally published on blogs.state.gov on May 10, 2017.

Oh those shipping routes! And about those “challenges and opportunities,” does oil figure in there in some sneaky way? Sigh!

Related:

Hillary Clinton to Canadians: Watch Putin in the Arctic as well as in Europe

#WatchThis Space: Arctic Activity

Arctic Activity…. #WatchThisSpace! Keep Watching!

 

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The Crisis

by Thomas Paine


December 23, 1776

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

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So, last night when we were, depending on our locations, mixing the dinner salad or driving the kids to soccer, James Comey, who was at work in Los Angeles meeting with agents there, was summarily fired by Donald Trump who did not have the grace to learn that Comey was not at the location (FBI HQ) where the letter firing him was sent and leaked the letter to news media so that Comey found out via TV while working. This is the shoddiest, shabbiest way I have ever seen anyone fired.  It was worse than doing it by post it.  Worse than a text or Facebook PM. It was a WTF kind of firing.

No love is lost between Team Hillary Clinton and the guy obsessed with her emails. He probably had a lot to do with some of her election results.  If she had prevailed, none of this would have happened because no matter how inimical he was to her candidacy, she would never have fired him.

Before we arise in a standing ovation that Comey is gone, let’s assess the fact that the guy who fired him remains, and he is POTUS. He will be meeting today with Sergei Lavrov and apparently his own Secretary of State, Tillerson, will not be in on the meeting. How weird is that?


Do you see any kind of agenda here? Consolidation of influence at the top – not a good thing.  President Obama always trusted Secretary of State Clinton to meet effectively with FM Lavrov. Why does Trump not trust Tillerson similarly? Despots consolidate influence at the top.

Still laughing about how Comey was terminated? He was getting close to Trump’s Russian relations.  Trump fired him in a way that was supposed to humiliate him – and probably did.

But that is nothing to celebrate. Comey was wrong-headed in some ways and deservedly should feel sick about how he wrong-headedly affected the election. Nevertheless he served – honorably  as far as we know.  He did not deserve to be treated like a used mophead.

Think before you laugh or celebrate. You never know. The next head on the chopping block could be your own. See The Tudors, The Borgias, The White Queen, The White Princess. Yes, we codified treason in our Consitution so those things would not happen, but look at James Comey!

We should be very careful and skeptical about the firing of the head of the FBI.

Don’t celebrate. Cerebrate! (Think!)

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Never mind that the melting of the ice cap has a human cause — well mind, but put it aside for the moment.

The Arctic: Source of Conflict or Cooperation?

Tillerson and Lavrov are expected at this week’s meeting of Arctic Council at time of heightened tension

An icebreaker in Russia’s port of Dudinka earlier this month.

An icebreaker in Russia’s port of Dudinka earlier this month. Photo: LEV FEDOSEYEV/TASS/ZUMA PRESS

KITTILA, Finland—In normal times, a meeting of the Arctic Council wouldn’t usually attract much attention.

The intergovernmental forum was established 20 years ago to enable the eight countries with territory inside the Arctic Circle—the U.S., Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland—to discuss how to protect the polar region’s unique environment.

But at a time of heightened geopolitical tension, this week’s meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, carries extra significance. With U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, due to attend, the meeting that begins on Wednesday could have broader strategic consequences—both for the Arctic and the world.

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Speech describes ‘obstacles’ to national security interests, but former official says it shows secretary of state is ‘clueless’

The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said Donald Trump’s “America first” approach to the world means decoupling US foreign policy from values such as human rights and freedom.

Addressing state department diplomats and staff, Tillerson said there were times when insistence that foreign countries abide by US values got in the way of the pursuit of national interests.

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There is probably no statement by a U.S. Secretary of State crazier than what Tillerson said.

It is hard to believe that this is the same State Department Hillary Clinton headed only four plus years ago. Unrecognizable!

Many moons ago I said that Barack Obama should have had Lisa Murkowski over for lunch to congratulate her on her write-in victory.  He did not.  That was a stupid mistake.   A political idiot would have known to do that.  Right.  That includes Trump.  But Hillary would have.

Murkowski is a key figure in our Arctic interests.

I wonder if she will be at Tillerson’s side, as she was at Hillary’s,  at this next Arctic Council event.

Or will they just be ramming through the ice pack to free up the lanes and let Russia drill, baby, drill?

There is common ground. The melting ice caps are an issue.  Protection of the ecosphere is an issue.

We are an Arctic nation. Our values should help form our policies.

Do you still wonder why Russia interfered with our election? Do you think it was for fun?

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Ten days into the new administration, a Russian military push in the Arctic was the subject of concern and a post here. At the time, both Russian appropriation of Arctic waters for drilling and Russian control of Arctic sea routes as those waters thaw (guess why) were the issues. Days later, on Thursday February 2 came this post: Throwback Thursday: I TOLD You to #WatchThisSpace!!!  The issue there was disclosure of oil company funds going to foreign governments.

Here we are 13 weeks later, and oh what a tangled web we see described by Dr. Vanessa Neumann in The Daily Beast today.  Dr. Neumann, Daily Beast points out, is “a Venezuelan-American and president of the trade integrity and political risk consultancy Asymmetrica.”

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Double Deal

Russia Gave to Citgo, Then Citgo Gave to Trump

Many big oil companies funded Trump’s inauguration. Only one is deeply in debt to the Kremlin.

Dr. Vanessa Neumann

Dr. Vanessa Neumann

04.27.17

The oil company’s half-million donation to Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee wasn’t illegal. But it certainly wasn’t moral. And the cash may have come from the Kremlin, at least indirectly.

Recently released Federal Election Commission filings show that Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (known as PDVSA) gave Trump more money than Shell or Walmart. The donation is unusual for PDVSA: Citgo had not donated to previous presidential inaugural committees.

Citgo’s donation to the Trump Inaugural Committee and the horrifying images emerging from Venezuela’s weeks of brutally repressed protests (26 killed, 437 injured, and 1,289 arrested—according to Venezuela’s attorney general; Venezuelan prisoner rights NGO Foro Penal says 1,536 have been “detained” as of April 25) are connected: Russian money and influence is behind both of them. Some of those detained are tortured in Venezuela’s equivalent of CIA headquarters, known as “The Tomb,” for its subterranean torture chambers. The Inaugural Committee donation came days after Citgo (a Delaware-incorporated company with operational headquarters in Houston) mortgaged 49.9 percent of its holdings to Rosneft, an oil company controlled by the Kremlin. That enabled Citgo’s parent company PDVSA to make its bond payments. Rosneft is sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. So is its CEO, Igor Sechin, “Russia’s Darth Vader.” One of the most feared men in Russia, Sechin is close to Vladimir Putin and is one of Putin’s key instruments of geopolitical power. Net net: If Venezuela defaults on its bond payments, Rosneft (i.e., Putin & Co.) could own several refineries, nine pipelines, and distribution terminals all across the Eastern U.S., from Texas to Maine, without any government oversight. If the Russians end up owning Citgo, they will be using American consumers to fund their autocracy and Assad’s brutality in Syria.

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Yes, you read that correctly.  No, your eyes do not deceive you.  Holy moly!  Sechin’s name comes up as does, in a very disturbing way, Rosneft.  Where did we see those names before?  Oh, right!  The Christopher Steele memos!  Those documents were highlighted in a second, then seemingly unrelated, post here also on February 2:  Throwback Thursday Part II: The Russians, the Memos, the Sanctions – The Art of the Steal.

Dr. Neumann has pulled the whole cat’s cradle into a coherent web that reaches, now, from the Arctic to the Caribbean to the Middle East and remains about Russia, oil, money, Syria, and elections, and threatens a new refugee crisis.

As we approach the 100th day, remember this from 13 weeks ago?  We still do not know who bought those shares. It’s a good guess that Carter Page knows.

The deal on the sale of a 19.5 percent stake in Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft will bring Moscow some $11.1 billion in revenues, the company announced Saturday.

Hillary Clinton and her team tried to warn us. But, you know, emails, wikileaks, ‘flawed,’ ‘ill,’ and ‘shrill.’ Not the perfect (female) candidate – which is the enemy of not just the good, but of the best yet.

10-19-16-z-15

Keep watching this space!  Here’s a pretty picture for #ThrowbackThursday.

 

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Hillary for America’s Communications Director, Jennifer Palmieri, penned this op-ed for the Washington Post.

Democrats can still fight back now. Here’s how.

March 24

Jennifer Palmieri was communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

At the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last summer, Jake Sullivan and I took to our golf carts one afternoon to make the rounds of the television networks’ tents in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center. It is standard for presidential campaign staffers to brief networks on what to expect during that night’s session. But on this day, we were on a mission to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Sullivan was Clinton’s policy adviser. He had been Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, a deputy to then-Secretary Clinton at the State Department and a lead negotiator of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. He is a widely respected national security expert and, as he does every day, he spoke carefully, without hyperbole. All we had to go on then was what had been reported by the press. We weren’t sure if Russia was doing this to undermine Americans’ faith in our political process or if it was trying to make Trump the next president. But we wanted to raise the alarm.

We did not succeed.

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