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Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

Having studied Russian at Moscow State University and having been a Ford Foundation Fellow in Soviet Studies, Condoleeza Rice was George W. Bush’s Russia expert. No one, Republican or Democrat, questioned her qualifications in that realm.

It is, therefore, stunning that she has chosen to side with Vladimir Putin against her successor at the State Department, Hillary Clinton.

dailycaller.com

Rice Blames Hillary For Russian Election Meddling

Benny JohnsonReporter At Large

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put some of the blame for Russian election on Hillary Clinton in a wide-ranging MSNBC interview on Thursady

Rice, who has considerable experience with Vladimir Putin, did not hold back on her assessment of the motivations behind Russian election meddling.

She said that then-Secretary of State Clinton criticizing Putin for Russia’s 2012 elections encouraged the foreign leader to seek revenge. Rice said that Putin is an “eye for an eye” kind of person and that he was out to hurt Clinton in order to prove that America could also have flawed elections.

“With Vladimir Putin, this was an eye for an eye. He’s an eye for an eye kind of person, and Hillary Clinton criticized his election. Now he wants to show that he can sow chaos in ours.”

 

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Condi is wrong on several counts.

1. Hillary commented (no she did not “meddle” – that is something different but back to that later) on the 2010 Russian parliamentary elections not Putin’s 2012 presidential election.

In her memoir of her State Department years, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton portrays Putin’s worldview as “shaped by his admiration of the powerful czars of Russian history” and his view of geopolitics as a zero-sum game. Following the December 2010 parliamentary elections in Russia, widespread reports of fraud brought tens of thousands of protestors out into the frigid Russian streets. Hillary recalls stating, “The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted…. That means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.” She goes on to describe Putin blaming her for “setting the tone” for the widespread demonstrations that followed the elections. Nothing in Hillary’s memoir nor elsewhere  provides any account of Hillary speaking out against Putin’s 2012 reelection or any protests, for that matter.

2.  Hillary Clinton was not “meddling” when she made her comments. This is meddling. As secretary of state, Hillary was well within her “paygrade” to make a comment regarding elections and unrest in another country.

3. Victim-blaming is always a cheap shot and always wrong! It is especially disturbing coming from a former secretary of state about her successor. I have this quote in the right sidebar here. It bears repetition. “What I have always found is that when it comes to foreign policy, it is important to remember that politics stops at the water’s edge.” -HRC 11-04-10. Had Condi remained at the State Department in December 2010, she, too, would have been expected to comment on the elections and protests in Russia – especially given her academic background. Would her remarks have been so different?

The cyber attacks against independent election observers that Hillary describes in Chapter 11 of Hard Choices foreshadow some of what we saw happen here in 2016. Some. But not all. Not the worst. We also deserve fair, free, transparent elections and commentary about a foreign country from a candidate never justifies elements from that country interfering in our elections in any way.

Reuters Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with President-elect Barack Obama’s Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

 

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If this is found to be the case, what is the solution?


By Joe Rothstein

Donald Trump spent much of the 2016 campaign warning us that the result of the presidential election would be rigged. Events of the last few weeks suggest he may have been right and that his presidency is illegitimate.

Here’s what we have learned in those last few weeks:

1. The Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin’s government engaged in propaganda and hacking campaigns to influence the outcome of 2016 U.S. election. The use of “hacking” in their assessment is significant for reasons I’ll discuss in a moment.

2. The Russian propaganda campaign mirrored the way the Trump campaign itself used Facebook advertising to target voters, strongly suggesting collusion.

3. The National Security Agency and Equifax, two of the most secure data repositories in the world, reported that they were successfully hacked, undermining claims that state and county voting systems, many built on consumer software, were impenetrable to outside manipulation.

Let’s first consider the propaganda question.

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Remember?

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

#WatchThis Space: Arctic Activity

Arctic Activity…. #WatchThisSpace! Keep Watching!

Reminder: Arctic Activity

Update: The Arctic and The Paris Agreement

Now this!

U.S. Treasury Fines Exxon $2M for Violating Russia Sanctions

In other news, this.

Tillerson to Shut Cyber Office in State Department Reorganization

And then this.

Russia says in talks with U.S. to create cyber security working group: RIA

Many parts moving very fast!  Whoa, Nellie! Time out!

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) calls a time-out during a multiple question from an Indian journalist, as India’s Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna smiles during their news conference at the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington June 13, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

#WatchThisSpace

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Here is the report everyone is talking about today. Rarely do I post an article before reading and fully digesting it myself, but this is different. Based on sources deep inside the Russian government, this report validates what we suspected knew all along: that Putin directed these initiatives and that the target, specifically, was Hillary Clinton. So, without having read more than a few paragraphs, I am posting it here to provide immediate circulation. It is long. It is important.

Hacking Democracy

Timeline

(Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election interference.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

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It is also important that we thank the Washington Post team for their dogged pursuit of the truth. We have seen in the past as we see today that persistent investigative reporting is essential to keeping the government on task.  The task is uncovering the truth.

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When I found this article this morning about Venezuelans fleeing to the U.S., I was reminded of a warning I posted not long ago.  The post I was looking for was this one from almost a month ago with an embedded article in which Dr. Vanessa Neumann warned that the next refugee flood would be from Venezuela. Looks like she was right.

What I found in the process, however, was something that had not popped up in my previous searches for archival material documenting Putin’s animus toward Hillary Clinton.

Lo’ and behold this!

With an embedded article from VOA (Voice of America) reporting on the post-parliamentary election demonstrations of December, 2011, this post deserves another look.

Putin: Let Them Wear Tin-Foil Hats!

December 26, 2011

What is striking here is the nature of the demonstrations as described by VOA.

Traditionally, opposition movements march under one banner. They wave similar signs, chant the same slogans and follow a recognized leader. For a ruler, it is easy to negotiate with an organized adversary.

But the key to understanding what happened on Sakharov Avenue Saturday was the proliferation of handmade signs. A myriad of individuals across Moscow dreamed up their own messages, and then fashioned them on kitchen tables, on office computers that can be also used for gaming as Overwatch, with the use of boosting, with the different OW prices you can find online.

Putin is not facing an organized opposition movement. He faces something worse: an atomized, but spreading mood of disrespect and rejection.

SNIP

In another Kremlin blooper, the President’s twitter account erroneously released a tweet that described protesters as sheep that provide sex.

In an initial reaction, a large bearded man attended the Dec. 10 protest holding a homemade sign. A big red X was painted over a reasonable depiction of a woolly lamb. The caption: “I am Not a Sheep.”

By Saturday, this theme had evolved into a group of five young women and men holding an even bigger sign, reading: “We are Not Sheep.” They were dressed, head to toe, as rabbits.

SNIP

Other protesters took aim at Mr. Putin’s charge that the protesters were paid by foreign governments and activated by a secret signal from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Signs demanded: “Hillary, Where is My Money?” “Hillary, I am waiting for my money,” “Let’s bankrupt the State Department.”

One man held a sign announcing: “I am Here For Free.”

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Well, wow!  This raises a few questions.

Does any of this seem familiar?  Yes.

  1. The Kremlin was tweeting insults against Putin’s adversaries.
  2. The protestors were creative and made their own signs, some about the tweets and others about the alleged source of the protests.
  3. The protests allegedly originated from Hillary Clinton’s, and therefore U.S. government, interference.
  4. Putin accused her of paying the demonstrators who struck back by asking for their pay or stating they were there demonstrating for free.

This all happened five-and-a-half years ago. Where are we now?

  1. In spite of it all, Putin was elected amid accusations of vote-rigging and followed by opposition protests and counter-demonstrations of support which some reported they were forced by employers to attend. Others claimed they were paid.
  2. The entire Gestalt has the appearance of a playbook.
  3. Somebody gave the playbook to Donald Trump.

There are differences. It does seem that Trump is aware of how Putin played the game.

There are constitutional differences. Putin had previously served two presidential terms ending in 2008. The Russian constitution permitted another run after a hiatus of sorts. Medvedev had stepped in as president for four years while Putin retained leadership of the party. American presidents may not run again after serving two terms. The Russians knew very well whom they were getting in 2012.

While the Russian demonstrations were characterized as “atomized,” implying, to some extent, spontaneous on diverse issues, our marches have been organized around issues by groups with permits. We have, however, like the Russians, been accused of being paid for demonstrating. Some signs in our marches have stipulated that we do this for free in own own free time.

Our next march, the March for Truth, is scheduled for June 3. Again the main march will be in D.C. with large marches in other major cities. From the look of the map on this page, many sister-marches have been organized in every state and also in Europe.  If you cannot get to a major city, you can find one near you or even organize your own in your area.

We are left, finally, with one last question. Will we end up, as Russia did, under the thumb of the guy we protest?

Since the 2011 protests were against parliamentary elections the people perceived as rigged, Putin was working with a legislature sympathetic to him.  We, currently, are in the same boat. We do have the opportunity, with special elections and the mid-terms in 2018, of overturning the majority party in the Senate and the House.

If we do not do everything we can to flip the necessary seats, we can indeed end up with a Congress that will do little if anything to oppose draconian measures the Trump administration proposes.

One of the many issues the Russians protested in 2011 was this, also according to the VOA article.

Others protesters noted that the Kremlin sent condolences to Pyongyang after the death of Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s “Supreme Leader,” but neglected to send condolences to Prague after the death of Vaclav Havel, the anti-Soviet activist and elected President of the Czech Republic.
On Sakharov Avenue, named after the Soviet-era dissident, elderly protesters carried black and white photographss of the late Czech President, with the inscription: “Havel Would Be With us!”

Hillary Clinton, of course, attended Havel’s funeral with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Hillary wore a headpiece Havel had an artist friend make for her.

As I said at the time of publication:

As far as we know, it does not transmit secret signals.  Neither does the State Department have a budget sufficient to pay off all of Russia.  It is not known whether Putin’s treasury is large enough to provide tin-foil hats for the populace, but given their mood, we doubt they would wear them.  More likely, if that guy with the Picasso display is any barometer,  they would find some artful way to use the tin foil to fire back at Putin.

Right, but they ended up with the dude anyway.

 

 

 

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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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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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