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The Future of U.S. - Russian Relations

United States Russia Vladimir Putin Hillary Clinton International diplomacy

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#521
Maximus

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The US Justice Department ratcheted up pressure on Russia on Friday, issuing sanctions to approximately 40 companies and individuals it says were involved in the Ukraine conflict. The list includes bureaucrats, a deputy minister and leading businessmen.

 
The press release announcing the new measures came just as the US Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker was holding talks with Russian counterpart, presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, in Dubai. It is unlikely to have improved the chances of their success.
 
Even before today’s development, it was expected there would be a further digging in on the Russian side. In an extended interview with the Kommersant newspaper on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said the West had been infected by “unprecedented” Russophobia, making negotiations impossible. “It wasn’t even like this during the Cold War,” he said.


#522
caltrek

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FBI investigating whether Russian money went to National Rifle Associaiton to help Trump

 

http://www.mcclatchy...e195231139.html

 

Introduction:

 

(McClatchy) Washington - The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

 

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

 

It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

 

It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.

 

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because Mueller’s investigation is confidential and mostly involves classified information.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#523
caltrek

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Russian Politician Who Reportedly Sent Millions to NRA Has Long History in Spain

 

https://www.propubli...istory-in-spain

 

Introduction:

 

(Pro Publica) As the Spanish police investigated the presence of a notorious Russian organized crime group on the resort island of Mallorca in 2012, they realized that a key figure described by some of the suspects as their “godfather” was a powerful Moscow politician: Alexander Torshin.

 

Spanish prosecutors decided in the summer of 2013 to arrest Torshin, who was then a senator, officials say. Police set up an operation to capture him during a visit to Mallorca, but he mysteriously canceled the trip at the last minute, apparently as the result of a tip, authorities said. Torshin was never charged, while the other suspects were convicted of money laundering. Last year, he publicly denied any wrongdoing in the Spanish money-laundering case.

 

Now, Torshin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has reemerged as a potentially important figure in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s inquiry into suspected Russian support for the campaign of President Donald Trump.

 

Yesterday, McClatchy Newspapers reported (see article above) that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, now a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, funneled money to the National Rifle Association that was subsequently spent in support of the Trump campaign. The NRA reported spending $30 million on advertisements and other aid to Trump, part of a record $55 million that the group spent during the 2016 campaign cycle, according to the McClatchy story.

 

It is illegal for foreign groups and individuals to contribute directly or indirectly to political campaigns in the United States. A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the report Thursday.

20180119-alexander-torshin-3x2.jpg

Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia Alexander Torshin addresses a round table meeting in Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 14, 2016. 

(Alexander Shalgin\TASS via Getty Images)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#524
Laviduce

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and the circus of the US establishment continues...



#525
caltrek

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Trump's Ploy: Play the Victim of a Deep-State Conspiracy

 

https://www.alternet.org/trumps-ploy

 

Extract:

 

(Alternet) President’s Trump’s impromptu remark that he is willing to speak "under oath" with special prosecutor Robert Mueller can be read as a sign of his "preternatural confidence," or proof that he is a "nightmare" client. But that would miss the point…

 

Bluster or Blunder?

 

It's tempting to focus on Trump’s possible performance as a witness. One lawyer who took a deposition from Trump forced him to admit 30 lies. Cobb preemptively expressed the hope that Mueller would not set a "perjury trap."

 

Loose talk from Trump could strengthen the case that he obstructed justice, already a focus of Mueller’s investigation. Presidential perjury might even find its way into a bill of impeachment. Trump supporters on Twitter and Fox News warned him not to make good on the offer.

 

It’s also tempting to say the GOP’s conspiracy theories are "loony." The Republican charges of a “secret society” inside the FBI are based on a single text sent by an FBI lawyer, who has since been removed from Mueller’s team. The text has “no apparent tie to other messages sent before or after it.”

 

The insinuation that FBI director James Comey sought to block Trump’s election is ludicrous. When Comey resurrected the non-issue of Hillary Clinton’s email server on the eve of the 2016 election on the flimsiest of pretexts, Trump defended him for what he said was an overdue action

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#526
caltrek

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and the circus of the US establishment continues...

 

Indeed:

 

The GOP Has Gone All In on a Loony New Conspiracy Theory

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) No matter that it’s a flimsy conspiracy theory constructed on a single text message between lovers, Republicans are all in on this “there’s a ‘secret society’ in the FBI to destroy Donald Trump” thing. Even if they make themselves look like fools.

 

Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is the kind of establishment guy who about 15 months back probably did not imagine himself being asked for comment on whether the FBI was out to get Trump based on the evidence of a single personal text message, so … he’s trying not to comment.

 

I just asked Mnuchin if he thinks there's a secret society in the FBI conspiring against the president. "I'm not going to comment on that"

 
 

Problem being, if he’s unwilling to say “no, this is loony,” then he’s complicit. But that’s Mnuchin, so eager to suck up to Trump he won’t draw any line, anywhere, ever. As a fun side note, Mnuchin should know from secret societies: he was a Skull and Bones member at Yale.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#527
Maximus

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Highlights

 
  • The United States is mulling its options to increase pressure on Russia over its reported election meddling and disinformation campaigns. Moscow is preparing for expanded sanctions by attempting to insulate its government, companies and elites.
  • While Russia has mostly shielded itself from sanctions affecting its ability to issue sovereign debt, the possible targeting of its most powerful and wealthy citizens, even if not implemented, will ripple deep into Russia’s core.
  • As the poverty rate in Russia expands, the population's dissatisfaction with widespread corruption and the exorbitant wealth held by the elites is growing. A list detailing that wealth could spark pushback on the Kremlin during this pivotal election year.

 



#528
TheComrade

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So, they have released this list with nearly all the Russian ruling elite. All these people and their property may become (or not become) targets of US sanctions & the main message USA sending them is the exactly the same as they have sent to Ukrainian oligarchs in 2014: "you must turn away from your government or else..."

 

The problem is that Russia is not Ukraine. Most of Russian "kleptocrats" will see exactly the opposite message: "You should not keep you money in the West, this is not safe anymore. Perhaps, it would be wiser to return them back to Russia untill it's not too late".

 

Therefore, i rather support these new sanctions. In the long-term, they're perfectly fit with Putin's program of "nationalisation of elite".



#529
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White House to Congress: Russia sanctions not needed now

 

The Trump administration informed lawmakers Monday that new Russia sanctions called for in a bipartisan bill passed last year are not necessary yet because the measure is already "serving as a deterrent."

 
The announcement came as lawmakers in both parties nudged the administration to implement a sanctions legislation that passed overwhelmingly in July — with only five no votes in both the House and Senate. The sanctions bill requires the imposition of penalties by Monday against entities doing "significant" business with Moscow's defense and intelligence sectors, unless Congress is notified that prospective targets are "substantially reducing" that business.

Well it seems Trump is delaying implementing the sanctions as long as possible, but even he can only hold off a near unanimous bipartisan Congress vote for so long.



#530
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Russian Journalists Just Published a Bombshell Investigation About a Kremlin-Linked “Troll Factory”

 

https://www.motherjo...-troll-factory/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) A notorious Russian internet “troll factory” spent about $2.3 million during the 2016 election cycle to meddle in US politics, paying the salaries of 90 “US desk” employees who helped wage disinformation campaigns via social media that reached millions of Americans. The operation also contacted US activists directly and offered them thousands of dollars to organize protests on divisive issues, including race relations.

 

These revelations and many more came out in an investigation published on Tuesday by the Russian newspaper RBC about the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a tech firm based in St. Petersburg, Russia, that has developed a specialty in spreading pro-Kremlin messages in the West.

 

The IRA has been written about before by a number of news outlets, and by RBC itself. But this latest piece from RBC—a respected business newspaper in Russia known for angering the Kremlin with its reporting on Putin’s associates—is the first to home in on the IRA’s operations during the 2016 US election.

 

RBC’s investigation reveals an unprecedented level of detail about the money and staffing that went into IRA’s US-influence operation. Here are some of the key data points:

  • By the middle of 2015, as the US election was ramping up, the IRA’s staffing had increased to between 800 and 900 people. The organization had also shored up its arsenal of media tools to include “videos, infographics, memes, reporting, news, analytical materials,” and more.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#531
caltrek

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Note that the above story refers to a Russian based media source. Here is an extract from the English translation of that Russian based media story:

 

Investigation of RBC: how the "troll factory" worked in the US elections

 

https://www.rbc.ru/magazine/2017/11/59e0c17d9a79470e05a9e6c1
 


 

 

RBC magazine conducted its investigation: we managed to find and confirm the involvement of employees from Savushkin at least 120 communities and thematic accounts, analyze their content and calculate the total costs for the campaign. Is the scale of the work of the "trolley factory" comparable with the excitement caused in the US around this story?

Spring 2015, in front of the monitor gathered several people. On the screen of the computer a rather monotonous picture: people approach the square in New York, look around, look at the phones, again inspect the surrounding space and after a while leave.

A few days before, targeting New Yorkers in Facebook, an event was being promoted, the essence of which was to get a free hot dog - you just need to come to the designated place at the appointed time. No guests came for sandwiches. But other people enjoyed: with the help of city street webcams for events on the square in the online mode observed from St. Petersburg, from the office on the second floor of the "lair of trolls."

The action was to test the efficiency of the hypothesis - is it possible to remotely organize the event in the US cities. "Just testing the possibilities, experiment. And he was a success, "- recalling one of the employees of the" factory ", does not hide his joy. From this day, that is, almost a year and a half before the election of the US President, a full-fledged work of "trolls" began in the American community.

In March 2015 on the portal SuperJob there was a vacancy "Internet operator (night)". The salary of 40-50 thousand rubles. with the schedule of work 2/2 (from 21:00 to 09:00) in the office in the Primorsky district searched for an employee whose job duties include writing "on the given topic", "news information and analytical". In the list of requirements for the applicant - "free English", including "confident possession" of written language, and creativity.
 

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#532
caltrek

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START from the basics to maintain nuclear stability

 

https://thebulletin....-stability11471

 

Introduction:

 

(Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) Crimea. Syria. Hacking. Sanctions. Each day that goes by, the rift between the United States and the Russian Federation widens. The two countries have reached a critical point in bilateral relations, yet few people are talking about one looming threat: the expiration of New START (formally known as the Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms) at the end of 2021. Due in part to deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia, it can no longer be assumed that this nuclear weapons treaty will be renewed.

 

Signed in 2010, New START represents years of diplomatic hard work toward creating a stable and reliable nuclear relationship, but the United States and Russia seem to be adversaries again. While some might suggest that allowing New START to expire—or canceling it without some form of replacement—would be an appropriate response to the increasing hostility, that would be a catastrophic mistake. Now, more than 25 years removed from the Cold War, many may not see the potential risks to allowing the treaty to expire.

More than just numbers. New START is a follow-up to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) signed in 1991. The original treaty’s name implies that it simply reduces the numbers of nuclear weapons, but in fact it also permits both countries to collect data on the movements and locations of weapons. Treaty provisions allow inspectors from both Russia and the United States to conduct 18 short-notice, on-site inspections each year. These inspections allow the two countries to verify each other’s declarations by visiting deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapon sites.

 

Having boots on the ground in Russia allows US inspectors to verify that the Russian government is being truthful about the types and locations of its weapons. In addition, safe and secure handling of these mostly aging weapons remains a top priority, and one best observed in person. Relying on rival countries to take each other at their word is a tricky business—and one that these two countries have never been keen on doing.

 

Despite other disagreements, both sides have taken full advantage of the opportunity for inspections. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#533
TheComrade

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Paranoia and shakespearean passions in Washington:

 

TRUMP’S PAYBACK ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS: THE EMPTY KREMLIN LIST

 

On July 28, the US Senate voted 98-2 to adopt the new Combating America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). President Donald Trump had little choice and signed it into law on August 2...

 

The most interesting element of the new law was section 241. It called on the secretary of the treasury, in consultation with the director of national intelligence and the secretary of state, to submit within 180 days a detailed report identifying “the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs” in Russia...

 

This anticipated report was called the “Kremlin list” and it was due at midnight on January 29. The obvious aim was to identify those who had made their fortune on illicit contacts with the Kremlin. The various US government bodies involved clearly carried out conscientious work along these lines.

 

At the last minute, however, somebody high up—no one knows who at this point—threw out the experts’ work and instead wrote down the names of the top officials in the Russian presidential administration and government plus the 96 Russian billionaires on the Forbes list.

 

In doing so, this senior official ridiculed the government experts who had prepared another report, rendering CAATSA ineffective and mocking US sanctions on Russia overall... If this excerpt of the Kremlin phone book will have any effect, it will solidify the Russian elite behind Putin, while the authors of CAATSA aspired to split the Russian elite and offer prominent Russians the option to live safely in the West.

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:



#534
TheComrade

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Btw, the (rhetorical) question to Caltrek and others: don't you think that openly declared aim "to split the Russian elite and offer prominent Russians the option to live safely in the West" is a clear and obvious meddling, much more serious than those mystical and elusive "Russian hackers"



#535
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Paranoia and shakespearean passions in Washington:

 

TRUMP’S PAYBACK ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS: THE EMPTY KREMLIN LIST

 

99.99% sure this has something to do with this: CIA director met with Russian spy chief amid 2018 election concerns, two ambassadors say



#536
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In a further 11 cases, CAS ruled that doping violations had been committed but that lifetime bans were not justified and the punishments were cut to a ban for the 2018 Games alone.

 

The IOC said the decision "may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping," and added that it could yet appeal the decision at the Swiss Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court.
 
Among the reinstated athletes were cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov, men's skeleton gold medalist Alexander Tretiakov and women's skeleton world champion Elena Nikitina.
 
Aleksandr Zubkov, the double Olympic bobsled champion and Russian flag bearer in Sochi, is among the 11 whose doping bans were upheld.

John Lennon dares you to make sense of this

Spoiler

#537
TheComrade

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The main thing is that most of olympic medals from Sochi-2014, illegally and unjustly taken away from Russian athletes, were given back. IOC and WADA failed with their position that "we're no need any proofs, this is self-evident, all Russians are dirty just by definition". As result, Russia is again number one in medal score and this already caused the rage and butthurt among our "western partners".

 

I have no any illusions, this was just a small (though very symbolic) victory in long and hard war. This is not the end, there will be other victories and defeats.



#538
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3 Russian spy chiefs visited the US days before Trump decided against new sanctions on Russia

 

The officials who head two of Russia's top spy agencies visited the US last week to meet with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and discuss issues related to counterterrorism, two people familiar with the matter told Business Insider.

 
Sergey Naryshkin of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service and Alexander Bortnikov of its Federal Security Service met with Pompeo to discuss the US's and Russia's mutual interest in counterterrorism.
 
A third official, Igor Korobov — who leads the GRU, Russia's military intelligence unit — visited the US at the same time as Naryshkin and Bortnikov but did not meet with Pompeo, one of the people said. Naryshkin and Korobov are among several Russian officials barred from entering the US under existing sanctions.
 
Former diplomats and intelligence officials stressed that US intelligence heads often meet with their counterparts from adversarial nations to work together on issues of national security, like terrorism.
 
"It is routine for senior foreign intel officials to come to the US, Russians included," said Glenn Carle, a former CIA operative. "It is not common if they have been banned entry, however."
 
He continued: "The Russian explanation that they received a waiver on national security grounds rings true. It would be the [CIA director] or the White House, and perhaps the State Department, that would authorize the waiver."


#539
Alislaws

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Btw, the (rhetorical) question to Caltrek and others: don't you think that openly declared aim "to split the Russian elite and offer prominent Russians the option to live safely in the West" is a clear and obvious meddling, much more serious than those mystical and elusive "Russian hackers"

Obviously not! America interferes with other countries, that's totally normal and something they have been doing openly for decades.

 

When someone does it to THEM, ​then ​it becomes an unacceptable imposition on the sovereignty of the nation!



#540
Maximus

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Btw, the (rhetorical) question to Caltrek and others: don't you think that openly declared aim "to split the Russian elite and offer prominent Russians the option to live safely in the West" is a clear and obvious meddling, much more serious than those mystical and elusive "Russian hackers"

Obviously not! America interferes with other countries, that's totally normal and something they have been doing openly for decades.

 

When someone does it to THEM, ​then ​it becomes an unacceptable imposition on the sovereignty of the nation!

 

Understandable, but do these historical misdoings, which the US is certainly not alone in committing, mean that the United States should now simply roll over and let a great power (Washington's nuclear rival) wage open information warfare against it and its allies? 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: United States, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton, International diplomacy

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