Tag Archives: russia

Is Trump a tool of Putin? See the story & the debunking.

Summary: Another day, another smear about Trump. Our elites are desperate to suppress debate about the issues raised by Trump, hence the focus by political leaders and journalists on personalities, sound bites, and smears. Such as Trump, the tool of Putin!

The solution to the disturbing issues raised by Trump in Campaign 2016

Political Mud

The Left continues their attempts to prevent discussion of the issues raised by Trump (e.g., populism, immigration, globalization). The near-tie with Clinton in the polls show that so far their smears have failed (e.g., Trump as Hilter), so they have become more desperate. Yesterday’s post examined claims that Donald Trump has a perverted attraction to Ivanka. Here is another of their “throw smears on the wall and see what sticks”: “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really A Thing” by Josh Marshal at Talking Points Memo. It’s gotten attention on the Left. Excerpt…

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.”

It was immediately shown to be bogus: “Fact-Checking That ‘Trump & Putin’ Thing” by Jeffrey Carr — Excerpt…

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The US & Russia: Cyber-cooperation against common foes

Summary: Two experts, Emilio Iasiello (cybersecurity) and Matt Epstein (Russia) analyze a rare bit of good news about global security. Despite the powerful political forces in both nations benefiting from the revived cold war, Obama and Putin have sought common cause in the face of the great 21st century challenge of cybersecurity. Note the bias. They mention Russia’s cyberstrikes, but omits mention the US and Israel launched Stuxnet — the cyberwar Pearl Harbor.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Obama and Putin agree

The U.S. and Russia Re-Engage in Cyber Cooperation

By Emilio Iasiello and Matthew Epstein
Posted at Dead Drop (of the LookingGlass Cyber Threat Intelligence Group)
18 April 2016. Posted with his gracious permission.

In late March 2016, the governments of the Russian Federation and the United States agreed to resume their discussions on cyber security cooperation, progress that had been threatened after the commencement of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, and western imposition of sanctions against Russia.  As part of this re-engagement to be held in Geneva this week, the two governments intend on accelerating the agreements in cyber defense first set forth in their 2013 talks.  Following up on this, in April, Russia reached out to the United States for additional assistance in combating Internet crimes, although no details have been offered as of this writing.

In 2013, Russia and the United States had come to consensus on certain areas designed to increase transparency and reduce misunderstanding that could inadvertently impact relations between the two governments, and in turn, build greater trust and foster better cooperation in cyberspace.  These areas include:

  • Facilitating closer working relationship between national computer emergency response teams.
  • Using the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers to quickly and reliably contact the appropriate authorities to reduce misperception and escalation due to cyber-related incidents; however, early indications are that national centers specifically created to address the reduction of IT threats will be established for this purpose. These centers have already been using during Russian preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Creating a direct White House-Kremlin hotline to directly manage a crisis as a result of a cyber incident.

Russia has a similar plan already in place with China, a signed pact in which both governments have agreed not to carry cyber attacks against each other, as well to jointly prevent the use of technology for terrorist purposes and interference in internal affairs that might destabilize internal political and socio-economical situations of both countries.  The pact solidifies both governments’ views as to their perceptions of the threats in the digital domain to their respective national interests, which are in contrast and serve as a counterbalance to the U.S.’ as well as several other Western nations, positions.

While it’s highly unlikely that the Russian/U.S. talks will address the same issues as covered in the China pact, it is nonetheless a positive development in continued confidence-building measures between the two cyber powers, particularly given the tenuousness of the current geopolitical climate.

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Stratfor: Cracks appear in Putin’s Kremlin as the stress on Russia grows

Summary: We tend to see the complex politics of America but assume Putin rules a simple autocracy. Here Stratfor describes the fragile Russian state, under incredible pressure from the collapse of oil prices — while a struggle appears to have begun to control its future.

Stratfor

The Kremlin’s Cracks Are All-Too Familiar

Stratfor, 27 February 2016

Summary

February 27 marks the anniversary of the assassination of Russian opposition heavyweight Boris Nemtsov. His killing sparked two weeks of intrigue in Russia’s top political circles, laying bare previously obscured Kremlin infighting and putting President Vladimir Putin’s continued control in question. The dispute, which went far beyond the death of one opposition leader or even broad factional competition, was in fact a struggle over who controls Russia’s future. In this it mirrored a three-year period of division in the early 1920s that ended in a leadership transition and set the trajectory of the Soviet Union.

Analysis

Struggles among the Kremlin elite are as old as the fortified stone citadel itself. The name Kremlin literally means “fortress inside a city,” a potent metaphor for the murky elite power struggles at the heart of Russia’s bustling government system. For the past decade, the Putin government has been divided into four camps: the powerful Federal Security Services (FSB), the so-called liberal reformists, the hawkish non-FSB security circles and a circle of those who are loyal to Putin alone.

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The hidden truth about Putin’s threat to nuke Turkey in Syria

Summary: Are there any limits to our gullibility? Why have clickbait and wild rumors come to dominate the news? A hot new story raises these questions. A possible answer reveals much about America and the decay of our democracy. {Second of two posts today.}

Ignorance is a choice

A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.

— From Robert Parry’s “Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda?” in Consortium News. Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the AP and Newsweek, and wrote Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (2005) and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ (1999).

It is an exciting story, and might even be true. Bu why would anybody take it seriously with such weak sourcing? We would, in an America where the Outer Party (its managers and professional) read for entertainment, not entertainment.  Zero Hedge, Pat Lang, Naked Capitalism and many others uncritically repeated this story.

I’ve been reporting on this kind of fun rumor since the FM website was created. Cable Cut Fever grips the conspiracy-hungry fringes of the web (resolved here), Robert Fisk’s story about a conspiracy to wreck the US dollarAmerica’s biological attack on the Ukraine arm, The North Pole is now a lake! (Are you afraid yet?), and the secret reason why The Government Stopped Reporting Lake Mead Water Levels. Even better are the recurring stories, such as the countless false rumors from Debkafile, Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons will kill us soon stories, plus the  annual Iran will have the bomb in 5 years stories.

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Stratfor: Russia’s economy burns; they have no good options.

Summary: As Obama’s military requests vast new sums to defend against Russia, Stratfor examines Russia’s crashing economy — and its few options for recovery. Russia is largest casualty of the financial world war begun by the Saudi Princes (bet on them to win). While this great conflict burns the US military dances away to its own delusional but profitable tune.

Stratfor

Russia Has Few Options for Turning Its Economy Around

Stratfor, 5 February 2016

Forecast

  • The Central Bank of Russia will try to reduce high inflation and encourage growth to counter the economy’s rapid deterioration.
  • However, the bank probably will not be able to rely on its biggest tool — the interest rate — to do so, instead turning to less effective means that will have little impact on inflation.
  • While the central bank’s efforts to reform the banking sector will not yield many immediate gains, they could spur growth in the long run by encouraging investment in Russian businesses.
  • Meanwhile, the Kremlin will use its limited resources to prop up Russia’s most important sectors, including agriculture and the military.
  • Still, unrest will likely grow throughout the year as inflation continues to put pressure on the Russian people.

Analysis

Low oil prices have thrown a wrench in many of the world’s economies, but perhaps nowhere more so than Russia. Depressed energy prices have sent the value of the Russian ruble tumbling and inflation soaring, and much of the Russian population is struggling to make ends meet.

The Central Bank of Russia, under pressure to find a solution to the country’s deepening economic crisis, is exploring all of the monetary policy options at its disposal. But the bank will find that its primary tool for combating the inflation wreaking havoc on the Russian economy — adjusting the country’s key interest rate — may be difficult to actually use under the current circumstances. As a result, bank officials will likely be forced to turn to secondary, less effective measures to keep the Russian economy from sliding even further into disrepair.

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