JRL NEWSWATCH: “Made men; The enduring grip of the men-and mindset-of the KGB” – The Economist

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

A meticulous account of Vladimir Putin’s consolidation of power in Russia. “… as [Catherine] Belton shows [in Putin’s People], the continuity between the Soviet agency that nurtured … Putin as a young officer, and the security-based behemoths that bestride today’s Russia lies less in institutions than in mentality. … that believes anybody can be turned; that advantage can be sought […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senate panel backs assessment that Russia interfered in 2016” – AP/ Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“A [heavily redacted] bipartisan Senate report … confirms the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to sow chaos. Senators warned that it could happen again …. This is the fourth of five reports the Senate panel will release …. Previous reports reviewed Russian efforts to breach state election systems and manipulate social media, and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “AG Barr just signaled that things are about to get ugly for the Russia collusion team” – The Hill/ Kevin R. Brock

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… The AG is logically being briefed on the progress and findings of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation, which he commissioned to examine how the empty Russia collusion case got started in the first place and if it involved any wrongdoing on the part of the government. It is a safe bet that … Durham is collecting evidence beyond the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Cold War roots of Putin’s digital-age intelligence strategy” – Washington Post/ Greg Myre

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

“Spying may be the world’s second-oldest profession, but … Putin has certainly given it a fresh makeover. To fully grasp what Russia did in the 2016 U.S. presidential election – and hopes to replicate … – … look back to the end of the Cold War. Putin was a young Soviet KGB officer in Dresden, East Germany … as the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Can Russia Use the Coronavirus to Sow Discord Among Americans?” – New York Times/ Thomas Rid

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Conditions are ripe: The pandemic is sweeping right into campaign season, and Trump’s response is highly contested. “Close observers of Russian disinformation tactics in electoral interference have two big questions as the 2020 election approaches: How large is the appetite for escalation among Russian intelligence agencies this time around? And where was, and is, S.V.R., Russia’s counterpart to the C.I.A.? […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference” – CNN/ Jeremy Diamond, Jake Tapper, Zachary Cohen

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

“The U.S. intelligence community’s top election security official …, Shelby Pierson, told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election with the goal of helping … Trump get reelected. [But while t]he US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia Is Rooting for Both Trump and Sanders; The Russian government is again trying to meddle in the presidential election. In doing so, they’re working to aid two very different candidates” – New York Times

FBI Headquarters File Photo

  “… We know that about a month ago, the F.B.I. went to Bernie Sanders. … The F.B.I. frequently comes around to give general warnings to all the candidates, but that’s not what this was all about. This was about a very specific finding. And their message was, we have reason to believe that the Russians, through their own calculus, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign” – Washington Post/ Shane Harris, Ellen Nakashima, Michael Scherer and Sean Sullivan

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“U.S. officials have told … Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign … according to people familiar with the matter. … Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill also have been informed …. It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken. U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to […]

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AUDIO JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Russia And Other Foreign Actors Sow Disinformation In Elections” – NPR

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

“Russian disinformation is again a topic of conversation leading up to the presidential election. What is Russia doing to interfere …? … [T]hat question came up in a briefing the intelligence community’s election security czar gave House members …. [M]ultiple reports say that the meeting focused on Russia’s supposed preference for … Trump … so anger[ing] the president that he […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Alexander Galitsky: From Soviet Engineer to Libertarian Investor; The father of the Russian internet tells The Moscow Times he wants to kill all borders and warns that society is falling behind technology.” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – February 21, 2020) “If you ask me, I would say ‘kill borders’ – they don’t need to exist at all,” says Alexander Galitsky, pushing his closed notebook to the side as he warms to his topic. “All these borders and all these rules exist only for politicians. We don’t have borders with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ex-MI6 spy ‘fabricated dossier on Trump and prostitutes'” – Sunday Times (UK)/ Tim Shipman

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“The dossier on Donald Trump … by … former MI6 spy Christopher Steele …accus[ing Trump] … of being compromised by Russia, was a … ‘fabrication,’ according to … leading British spy writer[] Nigel West [who] … revealed he was hired by a … Republican law firm to assess the dossier in 2017 and concluded that large parts of it were […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Foreign Threats More Numerous, Sophisticated as 2020 Election Looms, Official Says; Concerns about Russia interference rose anew this week after experts reported hackers had targeted company caught up in Trump impeachment” – Wall Street Journal

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The top U.S. intelligence official for election security warned that adversaries seeking to interfere in the 2020 elections have become ‘more sophisticated’ as states prepare to hold the voting season’s first primaries and caucuses next month …” Click here for: “Foreign Threats More Numerous, Sophisticated as 2020 Election Looms, Official Says; Concerns about Russia interference rose anew this week after […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “David Corn and the Steele dossier: Just checking the facts!” – Washington Post/ Erik Wemple

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… Why not make a ‘priority’ of telling readers that the dossier at the heart of that long-ago pre-election story lies in tatters within an FBI spreadsheet?” Click here for: “David Corn and the Steele dossier: Just checking the facts!” – Washington Post/ Erik Wemple Eleventh in a series on the media’s handling of the Steele dossier. Read the rest […]

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Musings II … The “Intelligence Community,” “Russian Interference,” and Due Diligence

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

Did the U.S. “Intelligence Community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election? (Jackmatlock.com – Jack Matlock – June 29, 2018) Most commentators seem to think so. Every news report I have read of the planned meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in July refers to “Russian interference” as a fact and asks whether the matter will be discussed. […]

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AUDIO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “In New Book, Journalist Alleges Russian Links To Mysterious Deaths Abroad” – NPR/ Dave Davies

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

“In 2006, as Russia was preparing to host the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, its parliament passed a law legalizing extrajudicial killings of accused ‘extremists’ abroad. … [Journalist Helen] Blake maintains that Russia subsequently engaged in an assassination program that targeted exiled Russian oligarchs, security officials and others critical of the Kremlin. … Her new book From Russia with Blood, […]

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Maria Butina’s New Job? Maybe Advocating For Other Russians Held In U.S. Prisons

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – Nov. 19, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/maria-butina-s-new-job-russians-u-s-prisons/30281107.html) During and after the 15-month prison sentence she served after admitting to working as an unregistered foreign agent, Maria Butina complained about both her sentence — “this is absolutely absurd” — and her treatment in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top Secret Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe, Security Officials Say” – New York Times/ Michael Schwirtz

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

“… a destabilization campaign in Moldova … the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria …. a thwarted coup in Montenegro. … an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in Britain using a nerve agent. … Western security officials have … concluded that these operations, and potentially many others, are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilize […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin denies that man identified by U.S. media as spy and defector ever worked at Presidential Affairs Directorate” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) – Oleg Smolenkov, who some media have described as a former high-ranking Russian official who spied and ultimately defected for the United States, has never served at the Russian Presidential Affairs Directorate, Yelena Krylova, the directorate’s spokesperson, told Interfax. “Such a person hasn’t worked for us,” Krylova said when asked by Interfax to comment on the […]

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Protest technologies: can innovation change the balance of power in Russia? Russian civil society is becoming more effective with the help of technology. But how far does the solidarity created online go?

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

(Opendemocracy.net – Gregory Asmolov – August 23, 2019) Gregory Asmolov is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King’s College London’s Russia Institute. He researches the role of information technology in crisis situations. Crisis situations, whether natural disasters, armed conflicts or political protests are often accompanied by a cycle of technical innovation. And if it’s a question of political conflict, each […]

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Mission: Impossible? Ukraine’s New President Ventures To Reform Powerful State Spy Agency [Excerpt]

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – KYIV, Aug. 17, 2019 – full article text appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-zelenskiy-reform-state-spy-agency-sbu-/30114589.html) When Ukraine’s domestic security service revealed last year that it had faked the death of a dissident Russian journalist to expose a team of hit men allegedly hired by Moscow to destabilize the country […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Cold War in Cyberspace; Western military hackers have penetrated Russian targets, from tech giants to the nationwide power grid, reports say” – Transitions Online/ Ky Krauthamer

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… a U.S. Senate report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election … relayed intelligence assessments that Russian government hackers scanned electoral systems in all 50 states, looking for weaknesses …. Russian meddling reportedly continued as the 2018 midterm elections neared … [DHS indicated that there were] ‘numerous actors … regularly targeting election infrastructure, likely for different purposes, including […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NSA Forms Cybersecurity Directorate Under More Assertive U.S. Effort; Anne Neuberger, tapped as head, warns against ‘not engaging in the fight'” – Wall Street Journal/ Dustin Volz

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“[NSA] will create a cybersecurity directorate later this year as part of a wider effort to more closely align the agency’s offensive and defensive operations, U.S. officials said. Anne Neuberger has been tapped to lead the new directorate, slated to become operational Oct. 1. The creation of the directorate and selection of … Neuberger coincide with a broader fusion of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Accountability’? The Mueller Hearing Is How Trump Escapes” – The New Yorker/ Susan B. Glasser

“After so much waiting – a hundred and twenty-four days, to be precise, since Robert Mueller’s report was delivered – perhaps it was bound to be a disappointment. Still, three hours after the former special counsel took the witness stand on Wednesday to testify about his investigation of President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election … MSNBC anchor […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia in the Gray Zone” – Aspen Institute/ Kathleen Hicks

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

“… Russia is waging campaigns … [to influence world affairs with a] significant number of … tactics … [falling] between routine statecraft and direct and open warfare …. Americans … familiar with Russia’s disinformation efforts in the United States and its use of ‘little green men’ in Ukraine … may be less attuned to stepped-up Russian political and economic coercion […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “It’s been more than a month since Ivan Golunov was framed, charged, and released. What’s happened to his story since?” – Meduza

FSB Building file photo

“… thirty leading Russian and international news outlets … published the report Ivan Golunov was working on … before his arrest. Journalists from seven Russian media sources had already begun working to complete the report …. Golunov’s exposé … shed light on corruption and FSB ties in the Moscow funeral industry. … [and] includes allegations of misconduct committed by intelligence […]

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Putin has Always Opposed Liberalism, Moscow Commentators Say

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 29, 2019) Many in the West were taken aback by Vladimir Putin’s attacks on liberalism in his recent Financial Times interview, but two Russian commentators have pointed out what should have been obvious to everyone: Putin has been fighting against what he defines as liberal values his entire professional life. Petr […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The new musketeers; The improbable careers of Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards; Proximity is power” – The Economist

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

“… Putin has become closer than most to the men of Russia’s Federal Protective Service (fso). Since 2016, four fso officers from his personal guard have been appointed regional governors …. A fifth became head of the newly formed National Guard. … [Alexey] Dyumin was elevated in 2013 to a post in the defence ministry … command[ing] special forces … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian internet giant Yandex takes rare stand against state snooping” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

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

“The primacy of Russia’s security state is beginning to crimp the global growth of the country’s information technology sector. That could foretell hard choices for the government over what it will prioritize.” “Russia has always been some version of a national security state, in which individuals, companies, and other group interests are expected to unquestioningly submit to the needs and […]

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Fred Weir: “[Re NYT ‘Potential Clash Over Secrets Looms Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A.’]” – facebook/fred.weir

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

(Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor Correspondent – Facebook post – May 30, 2019 – facebook.com/fred.weir/posts/10218476254873823) “Here is one of those stories, in this case a huge NYT exclusive, that make my jaw drop with disbelief. I don’t know much about the intelligence biz — it’s not really my beat — but I do know that there is virtually no chance […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “American Hustle; What Mueller Found – and Didn’t Find – About Trump and Russia” – Foreign Affairs/ Stephen Kotkin

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Russian intelligence organizations … could manage entirely on their own to hack e-mail accounts, line up cutouts such as WikiLeaks to disseminate damaging material, impersonate Americans on social media, and study elementary research available in open sources about battleground states and swing voters. * * * … The sections of the report that treat what Russia intended and achieved […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “When flats become safe deposit boxes. Videos showing incredible amounts of money seized from officials and security services convince ordinary people of total corruption of state apparatus.” – Vedomosti/ Pavel Aptekar

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

“The phrase … a ‘flat where the money lies’ is increasingly … literal … [when there is] confiscation from yet another high-ranking official or security services officer of colossal amounts of cash stored … at home, in bags and packages. … Rosbalt … and … other media … reported … money and valuables worth R12bn … confiscated from FSB [Federal […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sergei and Yulia Skripal are alive, but not available for contact – relative” – Interfax

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

YAROSLAVL. May 18 (Interfax) – Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, who were poisoned in April 2018 in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, are alive, but they are not maintaining contacts with their relatives in Russia, Viktoria Skripal, Sergei’s niece, said in an interview with Interfax on Saturday. “As far as I know, [Sergei […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Investigation Will Continue; Counterintelligence agencies must find it hard to believe the cupboard is already bare” – The Atlantic/ John Sipher

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Mueller’s Russia probe is over, and … Trump on Friday again described the probe as a ‘Witch Hunt,’ [yet] the FBI is almost certain to continue its counterintelligence investigation into Russian espionage efforts related to the 2016 election. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “The Russia story cannot die — CNN, the Democratic Party, others have too much invested in it” – Fox/ Tucker Carlson

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… Barr first served as Attorney General in the George H.W. Bush administration. That was 1991. … Then this February, purely by process of elimination, basically as he was the one guy could get confirmed, Barr became Attorney General of the United States once again. The Mueller investigation was nearly over when he got the job. Barr probably didn’t expect […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Great Firewall of Russia? Kremlin puts key bricks into place.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

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

“Russians have enjoyed a relatively freewheeling internet, but that is likely to change with a new surveillance law. How will the Russian public respond to their online life being closely monitored and constrained?” “Officially, Russia’s new Sovereign Internet Law is aimed at addressing problems that are vexing governments globally: the proliferation of ‘fake news’ and illegal content, the disturbing reach […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hacked Emails Appear To Reveal Russia Is Backing Comedian Likely To Be Ukraine’s Next President” – Newsweek/ Cristina Maza

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… hacked emails suggest … Zelenskiy may have a powerful patron of his own: the Kremlin. … Ukraine’s security services … are investigating whether Zelenskiy’s campaign received financing from members of the Russian security service … supporting the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic … self-proclaimed, pro-Russian separatist proto-state in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. … [A] Ukrainian hacking group associated […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Democrats’ Denial Over The Lack Of Russian Collusion Could Re-Elect Trump” – The Federalist/ Jonathan S. Tobin

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Doubling down on accusations and demanding the un-redacted Mueller report is no substitute for collusion myths, but Democrats’ inability to let it go helps the president.” “… The Democratic Party absorbed a hard blow when … the Mueller investigation determin[ed] there was no collusion with Russia involving the president or his campaign. … Expecting members of Congress like … Adam […]

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Kirk Bennett: “Tying Up the Loose Ends of Russiagate”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Subject: TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS OF RUSSIAGATE Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2019 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS OF RUSSIAGATE The unfinished business of Russiagate consists of clearing the names of innocent people; holding senior bureaucrats to account for errors of judgment and abuses of power; and restoring the tarnished image of democratic governance. By Kirk […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Mueller Won’t Say: Did he investigate the Steele dossier? If not, he didn’t really investigate.” – Wall Street Journal/ Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

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

“… the exact words of Attorney General William Barr: ‘The Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump … conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.’ How is it possible to investigate these ‘allegations’ without holding the Steele dossier, the only […]

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Steve Shabad: “Response to Matt Bivens [Re: Russiagate]”

White House

Subject: Response to Matt Bivens Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2019 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@gmail.com> To: davidjohnson@starpower.net Response to Matt Bivens (JRL #50 “Russiagate: The Great Tragic Comedy of Modern Journalism”) From Steve Shabad [Bivens: blog.usejournal.com/russiagate-the-great-tragic-comedy-of-modern-journalism-fd2a451aaa25][russialist.org/jrl-newswatch-russiagate-the-great-tragic-comedy-of-modern-journalism-matt-bivens/] Matt Bivens’ essay on what he calls the “tragic comedy of modern journalism” made for provocative reading, and I agreed with some of his points. […]

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Butina incarcerated in U.S. losing weight due to prison food, long period of stress – newspaper

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – Russian citizen Maria Butina, who is incarcerated in the United States, has been losing weight because of the long period of stress and unhealthy food, yet her father Valery Butin hopes that Maria will be sentenced before April 15 and deported to Russia, the newspaper Izvestia said on Wednesday. “On the whole, Masha is alright, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “When the Mueller report shows Trump didn’t collude with Russia, will anyone be punished?” – Fox News/ Tucker Carlson 3.21.19

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Once the Mueller report appears, and it becomes incontrovertible that whatever his faults, Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians, the many people who have persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians, ought to be punished. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “35 Key People Involved In The Russia Hoax Who Need To Be Investigated; As their desperate search for collusion continues, Democrats want to interview 81 people. Try this list instead.” – The Federalist/ Willis L. Krumholz

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have just sent letters to 81 people … associated with … Trump or the Russia probe … to continue their hunt for proof of Russia collusion … as … Mueller’s investigation appears to be winding down. … Was the Kremlin behind this whole thing, in order to sow distrust in the American political […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In connection with Maria Butina, FBI agents reportedly questioned people close to Dmitri Simes, the president of the Center for the National Interest” – Meduza

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“While investigating Maria Butina for illegal foreign agent activities, the [FBI] reportedly explored her ties to Russian-American political expert and Center for the National Interest president Dimitri Simes, who has co-hosted a talk show on Russian state television since 2018. Two sources who know Simes told the online project Otkrytye Media (Open Media) that FBI agents previously questioned them about […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia spread ‘disinformation’ on Skripal attack; Report says state media spread seven different conspiracy theories about the attack” – Financial Times/ Solape Alatise, David Bond

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

“Russian state media published 138 contradictory accounts of the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal last year …”

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NEWSLINK: “Is Mueller taking orders from Russia?” – American Thinker/ Taylor Day

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

“… Though he was an integral part of the sketchy deal that delivered a considerable amount of uranium to Russia, and as I’m forever the silver-lining kind of girl, it would be charming if Democrats came full circle and investigated Mueller for his own involvement with Russia. …”

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Gangster Geopolitics: The Kremlin’s Use of Criminals as Assets Abroad

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Mark Galeotti – January 17, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/gangster-geopolitics-kremlins-use-criminals-assets-abroad) Mark Galeotti is a senior associate fellow of RUSI and a senior non-resident fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague, as well as a 2018-19 Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. His most recent book is “The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia” (Yale, 2018) [Amazon: […]

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World-Renowned Scientific University Quietly Untangles Itself From Russian Billionaire

Viktor Vekselberg file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

(Article ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – Jan. 14, 2019 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/mit-quietly-untangles-itself-from-russian-billionaire/29708417.html) Nine years ago, Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg was welcomed with open arms by U.S. companies, universities, and even the government. Washington’s relations with Moscow were being reset, and Vekselberg was heading a Kremlin-backed initiative called Skolkovo to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Soldier, spy: more details of Vladimir Putin’s past revealed; Russian president, on a visit to a fortress, says he commanded a howitzer artillery battalion” – The Guardian/ Marc Bennetts

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

“… Putin has revealed that he commanded an artillery battalion during the Soviet period, a detail of his shadowy biography … previously unknown. … Putin’s official biography makes no mention of [it] …. According to the Kremlin, Putin joined the KGB immediately after graduating [in law] from … Leningrad State University in 1975. … [spending] 16 years … rising to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Curious Story of an American Arrested by the Kremlin” – Stratfor/ Scott Stewart

Kremlin and River

“Highlights Russia has arrested an American corporate security director, Paul Whelan, but he doesn’t have the profile befitting a non-official cover intelligence officer, even though there are elements in his background that would bring him to the attention of the Kremlin’s security services. Russian authorities arrested Whelan not long after Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty in a U.S. court […]

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