NEWSLINK: “The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki was a historic event – in the worst possible way” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“As I touched down in Helsinki two days ago, I had one small hope — that the ‘summit’ between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would not be a historic one. During my five years serving in the Obama administration, I attended many summits, meetings and talks with Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Putin. Almost all were memorable to me, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “THE HELSINKI SUMMIT – CAN THE ELECTION-INTERFERENCE SHADOW BE LIFTED?” – Valdai Discussion Club/ Timothy Colton/ Harvard

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“The Helsinki summit between Presidents Putin and Trump was their first full-scale … The pair called for “constructive dialogue” without revealing any concrete results from the talks, other than plans for aides to follow up. They did hint at progress toward an understanding over Syria, presumably involving mutual acceptance of continuance of the Assad regime and Russian restraints on Iran, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller’s New Indictment – Do the Feds Take Us for Idiots” – Medium/Mark McCarty

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… The timing of the indictment is of course quite strategic — released right before Trump’s summit with Putin, there will be no time for critiques of the indictments to appear and be digested prior to the meeting; hence, the chances of a successful outcome auguring for peace will be lowered. And how convenient that Assange has been rendered incommunicado just when […]

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NEWSLINK: “Summitgate and the Campaign vs. ‘Peace’; Not surprisingly, Trump’s meetings with NATO and Putin are being portrayed as ominous events by Russiagaters” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“As Cohen pointed out in previous discussions, U.S.-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) summits are a long tradition going back to FDR’s wartime meeting with Stalin in Yalta in 1943. Every American president since FDR met with a Kremlin leader in a summit-style format at least once, several doing so multiple times. The purpose was always to resolve conflicts and enhance cooperation […]

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NEWSLINK: “This Is How Vladimir Putin Manufactures Conflict Between Nations” – Observer/John R. Schindler

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… The casual manner with which Kremlin spies ruthlessly exploit others for their own ends is not a nice story, given that their methods embrace violence and life-ruining measures as nonchalantly as Westerners order a cup of coffee. The cornerstone of the Chekist worldview is provocation, what the Russians call provokatsiya. It’s not new, indeed it was honed into a […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘They Will Die in Tallinn’: Estonia Girds for War With Russia; The head of the tiny NATO member’s special forces details his country’s preparations for a conflict many here see as inevitable” – Politico/Molly K. McKew

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“… The Kremlin invaded Georgia to prevent its accession to NATO. Russia used different means to accomplish the same goal with Ukraine, and then attempted to assassinate the prime minister of Montenegro in a last-ditch effort to forestall the same — all of which expose the Kremlin’s deep paranoia about its former vassals defending themselves from Russian belligerence. The Baltics, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Implausible Deniability: Novichok Victim Dies: Did the Kremlin Really Lose Control of its Deadliest Poisons? The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“… Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley visited … Salisbury and somehow ingested the exotic nerve agent used in the poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter …. Sturgess died. … a 44-year-old mother of three. … the police now have a murder case on their hands.  The masterminds of the Skripal attack, at least, are thought to be […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s performance in World Cup – and the country’s history – are raising doping suspicions” – Los Angeles Times/Kevin Baxter

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Russia will meet Croatia in the quarterfinals Saturday in Sochi, where it will play in a stadium built to stage the opening and closing ceremonies of those now-discredited Winter Olympics. And though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing with the soccer team, its performance here — including a round of 16 win over Spain, the World Cup champion eight […]

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NEWSLINK: “Savchenko kept in individual cell, has ceased hunger strike” – UNIAN (Kyiv)

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

“Tetiana Protorchenko, the press secretary of Ukrainian Member of Parliament Nadiia Savchenko, who has been arrested on charges of plotting a coup, has said the lawmaker is kept in a single confinement cell of a detention center. ‘Nadiia is in an individual cell, she takes a shower once a week. She ceased her hunger strike two weeks ago for taking […]

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NEWSLINK: “A better life prevails over political protests for Russia’s young people; Young Russians turn to social networks to get their news and tend to have conservative views, according to a study by the Centre for East European and International Studies” – Pavel Los, Mikhail Bushuev

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“… The researchers cautioned, however, that Russian young people should not be misunderstood as a homogeneous “unit.” The scholars identified two broad camps among the country’s youth. One side holds conservative views, supports Russia’s regime and values the importance of the Russian “nation,” while the other subscribes to a more liberal view in favor of cosmopolitanism and opportunity equality. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Why the CIA Needs Its Own Horowitz Report; No need to speculate: The intelligence agencies saw Trump as a de facto agent of the Kremlin” – Wall Street Journal/Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“Now that the world has digested the Horowitz report, notice how much of the story it doesn’t tell. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is treated as a closed loop when, in fact, much of its decision making was based on intelligence and advice supplied by other agencies. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Saint Petersburg, Russia, Wins The World Cup Of Condensed Guides To European Culture” – Forbes/Gil Press

St. Petersburg

:… Shamlikashvili … [is] the owner of Indigo Hotel which opened in 2014 as the first of InterContinental Hotels Group’s Indigo brand of boutique hotels in Russia. Like many entrepreneurs in the U.S., Shamlikashvili is an outsider and has arrived at her venture in a circuitous way. She grew up Jewish in Tbilisi, Georgia, and received both an MD from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Former Ambassador McFaul Talks U.S.-Russia Relations and ‘Hot Peace'” – The Washington Diplomat/Aileen Torres-Bennett/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Obama thought very similar to the way I did. There was hardly any daylight, both on substantive issues and analytic framework. …”    

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Summer Folk Head Out to the Dacha” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

“Дача: country cottage … Visitors to Moscow and other large Russian cities will notice two curious things in the summer: enormous traffic jams leading out of the cities on Thursday and Friday evenings, and empty cities on the weekends – with the exception of die-hard football fans, that is. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Grand Dacha Exodus. …”

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NEWSLINK: “In Meeting With Putin, Experts Fear Trump Will Give More Than He Gets” – New York Times/Mark Landler

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials insist that the Trump administration has been tougher toward Russia than the Obama administration was. They cite American sanctions, arming of Ukrainian troops, expulsion of diplomats and vocal public shaming of Russia for its cyberattacks. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Trump catches World Cup fever…but will he watch final with Putin?” – Washington Time/S.A. Miller

Donald Trump

“… The White House is planning a Trump-Putin meeting in Moscow that likely would occur around the same time as the World Cup final July 15. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Aggression Is a Choice; A conversation with Michael McFaul on Putin, Russia, and what the president should read” – The Weekly Standard/Adam Rubenstein

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Putin is not the only decision-maker regarding Russian foreign policy. Internally, there are bureaucratic politics, interest groups, and even economic actors who lobby the Kremlin. After 15 years in the Kremlin, however, Putin has become increasingly isolated from other foreign policy advisors and more confident in his individual talents to conduct Russian foreign policy. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Tech didn’t spot Russian interference during the last election. Now it’s asking law enforcement for help.” – Washington Post

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Silicon Valley companies and law enforcement are starting to talk about how to ward off meddling by malicious actors including Russia on social media in the November midterms, an attempt at dialogue and information-sharing that was absent during the 2016 presidential elections. …”

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NEWSLINK: “In Eastern Europe, Militaries Gird Against Russian Might and Manipulation” – New York Times/Eric Schmitt

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“… The bloggers had borrowed a page from the playbook of Russia’s so-called hybrid warfare, which American and Lithuania officials say has increasingly combined the ability to manipulate events using a mix of subterfuge, cyberattacks and information warfare with conventional military might. The 12-day military exercise, which involved 18,000 American and allied troops spread across four countries formerly part of […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Russia’s Military Is Becoming Even Deadlier [with comment]” – The National Interest/Dave Majumdar

Syria Map

“… From the Russian perspective, Moscow’s campaign in Syria affords the Kremlin invaluable combat experience that is helping it to refine the capabilities of its military forces. … In the Kremlin’s view, one of the most important reasons for Russia to continue its campaign in Syria is to further refine its newly developed precision-guided strike capability. ‘Syria is not a […]

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NEWSLINK: “The World Cup Is Fun. Except for the Russians Being Tortured.” – New York Times/Alexey Kovalev

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Putin has given the Russian security services free rein in the lead-up to the World Cup.  …”

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RUSSIALINK: “A Butterfly on the Football Field” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“In honor of World Cup 2018, I thought I ought to offer the basics of football slang. Here the key word is ‘basics.’ Decades of living next to a stadium – the roar of the crowd, the traffic, the mounted police, the rowdy fans, the loud celebrations, and the tendency to use any courtyard as a public toilet – have […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russiagate’s ‘Core Narrative’ Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence; The unprecedented allegation that the Kremlin ‘attacked America’ and ‘colluded’ with its president in order to elect him is based on two documents devoid of facts or logic” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Cohen reminds listeners that the Russiagate scandal, which first leaked into the media in mid-2016, has already done immense political damage during these two years. …”

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NEW BOOK NEWSLINK: “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age” – Wilson Center

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Please join us for an exclusive look at The Perfect Weapon … In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee …    

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NEWSLINK: “Mattis slams Russia, says Putin ‘attempts to undermine America’s moral authority'” – CNN/Ryan Browne

James Mattis file photo

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis slammed Russia on Friday, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘attempts to undermine America’s moral authority’ and ‘seeks to shatter NATO.’… ‘For the first time since World War II, Russia has been the nation that has redrawn international borders by force in Georgia and Ukraine while pursuing veto authority over their neighbors’ diplomatic, economic and security […]

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NEWSLINK: “After forging new ties with North Korea, Trump administration turns to Russia” – Washington Post/John Hudson, Greg Jaffe, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Days after a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Trump administration is forging ahead with new engagements with another longtime adversary: Russia. … Trump is expected to meet with … Putin next month while he is in Europe for a NATO summit, according to a senior administration official and two diplomats familiar with his schedule. In […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Aging and Inexperienced: Why Russia’s World Cup Squad Is Doomed to Fail; Critics say the team is drawn from the worst generation in the history of Russian football” – Moscow Times/Evan Gershkovich

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… When the final whistle sounded, jeers and whistles rang out from the stands … filled almost entirely with home supporters.  Going into its first domestic World Cup, Russia has now gone without a win in its last seven matches. … drawing against Turkey … losing to Austria — both of which failed to qualify — in its final two […]

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NEWSLINK: “THE EARLY CHAPTERS; Books on the Russia scandal focus on the news. What they need is more history” – Washington Post/Carlos Lozada

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… None of the works on Trump and Russia is comprehensive; the appeal of one or another depends on the angles you obsess over and the blind spots you ignore. …” * * * THE FUTURE IS HISTORY How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia By Masha Gessen. Riverhead. 515 pp. $28 COLLUSION Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Bullying the Big Cities: The Kremlin’s New Approach” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrey Pertsev

Russia Regions Map

“The regional unification of record-high presidential election results has closed the Kremlin bureaucrats’ eyes to the diversity of different parts of the country, their elites, and the preferences of their electorates. In this model, regional masters of balance and public politics are extraneous. But the expulsion of old regional barons is risky: the banner of public pushback and local patriotism […]

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked” – Reuters

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“The top U.S. counterintelligence official is advising Americans traveling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. … William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travelers ….”   […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller asks to secure evidence in ‘Putin chef’ case, citing Russian intelligence and ongoing interference operations” – Washington Post/Spencer S. Hsu

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Federal prosecutors say they believe operations to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing and want a court to tightly control how evidence gathered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Internet trolling in 2016 is shared with a Russian company accused of helping to mislead American voters. … The filing seeking a protective order for documents came in proceedings […]

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NEWSLINK: “The World Cup Is Coming To Russia, Which Means Stray Dogs Are Being Slaughtered” – Deadspin/Karim Zidan

File Photo of Dog at Animal Shelter Jumping Up on Person in Winter Clothing, With Beseeching Look

“… The culling of stray animals has even caused a schism within the Russian population. 1.8 million people signed a petition against the killing of stray animals, while protests are being held in several cities. Even notable Russian actors have spoken out against the campaigns. However, while the brutal slaughter of stray animals has been met with significant domestic and […]

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NEWSLINK: “David Dimbleby on a Russia in crisis and the holes in President Putin’s defence” – The Times (UK)

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“With coercion and cunning propaganda, the president has kept Russians in line. But on a pre-World Cup visit David Dimbleby finds money is running out and the Kremlin’s cultivation of a siege mentality is starting to backfire”

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NEWSLINK: “Are Russia’s soccer fans dangerous? In the West, many people are wondering if mass brawls among fans will mark the World Cup in Russia” – Deutsche Welle

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Russian fans have a negative image in Europe, with many remembering the riots in Marseille during the 2016 European Cup.”  

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup; Long before anyone had heard of Christopher Steele or a “p[**] tape,” there was an investigation into FIFA corruption” – New York Times/Ken Bensinger

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… In stark contrast to England, Russia appeared profoundly unqualified to host a monthlong tournament expected to draw well over three million spectators. For starters, Russia didn’t have a great soccer tradition; its team hadn’t even qualified to play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks to an embarrassing loss to Slovenia. More important, it didn’t have adequate stadiums […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tomorrow Putin answers Russians’ questions on live TV. Here’s what his performance will tell us” – Washington Post/Christine E. Evans/Susanne Wengle

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… Many observers describe these shows as entirely fake, and ‘Direct Line’ is indeed a highly staged and controlled event: Journalists have reported on this year’s preparations and the elaborate rehearsals that those selected to appear undergo. If we look closely at the interactions between Putin and citizens and compare this show with previous ones – this will be the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Top Russian pundit calls for Palestine talks in Moscow” – Asia Times/M.K. BHADRAKUMAR

Map of Israel, Palestine, Holy Land

“In an interview with the influential Russian daily Izvestiya, the well-known ‘Orientalist’ scholar and establishment figure, Vitaly Naumkin, has floated the startling idea that Moscow must play a role in resolving the Palestinian problem. He said, ‘Moscow has long urged for [organizing] a top-level meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Russia, on a Moscow platform. It is necessary to turn […]

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NEWSLINK: “Translating “The Americans,” and Seeing a Mirror of My Own American Experience” – The New Yorker/Masha Gessen

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“… I immigrated to the United States with my parents in 1981, the year the show begins. … * * * In its quest for uncanny accuracy, ‘The Americans’ was full of lessons about Russia, spies, the Cold War, and life. The most important of these, surely, is that eternity will come crashing down when you least expect it to.”

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NEWSLINK: “Who Killed the Kiev Protesters? A 3-D Model Holds the Clues. A team of civilian investigators used cellphone videos, autopsy reports and surveillance footage to reconstruct a virtual crime scene.” – New York Times Magazine/Mattathias Schwartz

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… Most of the deaths occurred within half an hour along a few hundred feet of streetscape. The scene unfolded before dozens of cameramen, smartphones and security cameras. But these recorded fragments from the day were overshadowed by a fight over what they really showed: The claims of grief-stricken activists, who blamed the Ukrainian paramilitary for shooting the protesters, collided […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin’s Russia Became Mafia Heaven; Inside the long, strange story of organized crime taking over the former Soviet Union-and how Russia tamed it only to unleash it on the West. [re: Mark Galeotti]” – ViceCom/Seth Ferranti

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“…  Putin is engaged in this kind of political war with the West—he’s effectively trying to weaponize Russian organized crime against the west. We have seen Russian-based organized crime groups being used to kill enemies of his, to gather intelligence, to move spies across boarders, and raise money for Putin by supporting particular groups or media outlets that he likes […]

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JRL NEWSLINK: “F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware” – New York Times/Louis Lucero II

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Hoping to thwart a sophisticated malware system linked to Russia that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, the F.B.I. has made an urgent request to anybody with one of the devices: Turn it off, and then turn it back on. The malware is capable of blocking web traffic, collecting information that passes through home and office routers, and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Ridiculous To Say FBI Spying Meant To Protect The Trump Campaign; The decision to use Stefan Halper as an informant instead of a messenger cannot possibly be considered a favor to the Trump campaign. It’s as insulting as it is ridiculous to assert.” – The Federalist/Jason Beale

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Jason Beale (a pseudonym) is a retired U.S. Army interrogator and strategic debriefer with 30 years experience in military and intelligence interrogation and human intelligence collection operations. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “The Battle Against Kremlin Propaganda Network RT” – Daily Beast/Jamie Ross

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“The Kremlin-funded news channel RT is facing an existential threat in one of its most important target markets. An onslaught of 10 simultaneous investigations into alleged breaches of impartiality laws leave it in serious danger of losing its broadcasting license in the United Kingdom. After years of broadcasting a pro-Russian take on the day’s news to a small but loyal band […]

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