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The Future of U.S. - Russian Relations

United States Russia Vladimir Putin Hillary Clinton International diplomacy

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#561
caltrek

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What we can learn from the 3,500 Russian Facebook ads meant to stir up U.S. politics

 

https://techcrunch.c...ence-full-list/

 

Introduction:

 

(Technocrunch) On Thursday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a massive new trove of Russian government-funded Facebook political ads targeted at American voters. While we’d seen a cross section of the ads before through prior releases from the committee, the breadth of ideological manipulation is on full display across the more than 3,500 newly released ads — and that doesn’t even count still unreleased unpaid content that shared the same divisive aims.

 

Russia sought to weaponize social media to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election. They created fake accounts, pages and communities to push divisive online content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans.

Many, many of these ads targeted black Americans. From the fairly large sample of ads that we reviewed, black Americans were clearly of particular interest, likely in an effort to escalate latent racial tensions.

 

Many of these ads appeared as memorials for black Americans killed by police officers. Others simply intended to stir up black pride, like one featuring an Angela Davis quote. One ad posted by “Black Matters” was targeted at Ferguson, Missouri residents in June 2015 and only featured the lyrics to Tupac’s “California Love.” Around this time, many ads targeted black Facebook users in Baltimore and the St. Louis area.

facebook-kremlin.jpg?w=730&crop=1

What we can learn from the 3,500 Russian Facebook ads meant to stir up U.S. politics


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


#562
caltrek

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Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch Says Michael Cohen Was a Disappointment

 

https://www.motherjo...-michael-cohen/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) How much work did Michael Cohen do for the company affiliated with Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg that last year paid Cohen $500,000? Not much—at least according to two sources familiar with these payments.

 

Days ago, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, released a report claiming Vekselberg paid half a million bucks to Cohen, the longtime fixer and lawyer for President Donald Trump. The report—which was largely confirmed by the New York Times and NBC News—noted these payments came through an American investment firm called Columbus Nova and its CEO, Andrew Intrater. Following this explosive revelation, Columbus Nova released a statement insisting Vekselberg, a Putin-friendly oligarch who this year was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department, was not involved in the payments to Cohen. And Columbus Nova stated the firm had hired Cohen as a “business consultant regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures.”


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


#563
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Russia Adopts Bill That Could Stymie Trade With US

 

https://www.courthou...-trade-with-us/

 

Introduction:

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s parliament on Tuesday adopted a wide-ranging bill that could freeze crucial exports to the United States and imports to Russia from the U.S. and other countries.

 

The bill, drafted by leading lawmakers at the State Duma in response to the latest round of U.S. sanctions, lays out a wide range of restrictions for U.S. businesses in Russia and for cooperation with the U.S. Among other things, the bill allows the Russian president to “ban or suspend cooperation with a hostile state” and ban imports of goods from unnamed countries.

 

The original bill proposed specific restrictions to U.S. imports including drugs as well as banning crucial exports, such as titanium, to the U.S. But lawmakers toned it down to get rid of references to specific restrictions before adopting the bill.

 

Many lawmakers who backed the bill on Tuesday portrayed it as a warning to the West against further sanctions on Russia.

 

“Everyone who wants to impose these restrictions on our rights and on our citizens needs to understand that Russia will respond to this,” lawmaker Andrei Isayev said speaking of Western sanctions.

Russia-300x200.jpg


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


#564
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Homeland Security Secretary Claims She Hasn’t Seen Intelligence Reports Stating Putin Helped Trump Win

 

https://www.motherjo...nce-assessment/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) In January 2017, US intelligence officials at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency definitively concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin “developed a clear preference” for then-2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump and coordinated a high-level campaign aimed at discrediting his opponent, Hillary Clinton. 

The assessment was also backed by the Senate Intelligence Committee and special counsel Robert Mueller.

 

Despite the well-publicized and unambiguous assessment, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday told a group of reporters, “I don’t believe I have seen that conclusion.”  

 

“That the specific intent was to help President Trump win—I’m not aware of that,” Nielsen continued. “But I do generally have no reason to doubt any intelligence assessment.” She later attempted to clarify the statement, adding that Russian interference affected “both sides.”


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


#565
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The U.S. Considered Declaring Russia a State Sponsor of Terror, Then Dropped It

 

https://www.propubli...onsor-of-terror

 

Introduction:

 

The attempt to kill a former Russian spy in England bore an ominous signature: The assailants used a lethal nerve agent of a type developed in the Soviet Union, and British investigators quickly concluded that only the Kremlin could have carried out such a sophisticated hit.

 

Soon after the March attack, Rex Tillerson, then the U.S. secretary of state, ordered State Department officials to outline the case for designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law. Experts in the department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism began to assemble what they thought was a strong case.

 

But almost as quickly as the review began — within about two days — the secretary of state’s office sent new instructions to drop the initiative, according to State Department officials familiar with the episode.

 

“There are a lot of issues that we have to work on together with Russia,” a U.S. official said. “Designating them would interfere with our ability to do that.”

 

The State Department’s reluctance to impose the terror designation was not a product of Trump administration sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. officials say. Rather, it reflected an ambivalent and at times contradictory policy toward Russia on terrorism issues that stretches back more than a dozen years, American intelligence officials and foreign-policy experts said.


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


#566
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Here's The Email Russian Hackers Used To Try To Break Into State Voting Systems

 

https://theintercept...-systems-email/

 

Introduction:

 

(The Intercept) JUST DAYS BEFORE the 2016 presidential election, hackers identified by the National Security Agency as working for Russia attempted to breach American voting systems. Among their specific targets were the computers of state voting officials, which they had hoped to compromise with malware-laden emails, according to an intelligence report published previously by The Intercept.

 

Now we know what those emails looked like.

 

An image of the malicious email (see below), provided to The Intercept in response to a public records request in North Carolina, reveals precisely how hackers, who the NSA believed were working for Russian military intelligence, impersonated a Florida-based e-voting vendor and attempted to trick its customers into opening malware-packed Microsoft Word files.

 

The screenshot, shown below, confirms NSA reporting that the email purported to originate from the vendor, Tallahassee-based VR Systems, but was sent from a Gmail account, which could have easily tricked less scrupulous users. “Emails from VR Systems will never come from an  ‘@gmail.com’ email address” the company warned in a November 1, 2016 security alert, which included the reproduction of the GRU email.

 

VRS_email-1527096317.png?auto=compress%2


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


#567
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Accused Supporter of Russian Troll Farm Readies Defense

 

https://www.courthou...eadies-defense/

 

Introduction:

 

WASHINGTON (Courthouse News) – A Russian company said Friday it has four courses of attack ready to contest the charge that it funded pro-Donald Trump troll farms during the 2016 election.

 

Nearly four months since special counsel Robert Mueller indicted it along with two other companies and 13 Russian nationals, Concord Management and Consulting LLC to date has been the only entity to respond to the charges. Over the next four months, Concord revealed Friday, it will file a motion to dismiss and a motion for selective prosecution, as well as separate challenges to Mueller’s authority and the grand jury instructions.

 

Concord presented a staggered timeline for the proposed motions in a joint briefing schedulefiled early Friday afternoon in conjunction with prosecutor Jeannie Rhee.

The Russian firm, represented by Eric Dubelier and Katherine Seikaly with Washington-based Reed Smith, will challenge Mueller’s authority first. That motion is due by July 16, with the others to follow in August and September. The government will have about a month to respond to each motion.

 

Dubelier had indicated during a May 16 hearing that Concord would aggressively challenge the indictment, which consists of a single charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States.


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


#568
MrJazz

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It depends on whom friend will be China.



#569
caltrek

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Indicted Russian Firm Calls Case Secrecy Overblown

 

https://www.courthou...recy-overblown/

 

Introduction:

 

WASHINGTON (Courthouse News) – Coining a new catchphrase for its prosecution by special counsel Robert Mueller, a Russian oligarch-owned company accused of tilting President Donald Trump’s election bristled Thursday at “fake law.”

 

“Much more dangerous than fake news,” Concord Management and Consulting LLC said this morning in an opposition brief signed by Reed Smith attorney Katherine Seikaly.

Prosecutors labeled their June 12 motion for a protective order as largely unopposed, but Concord says it would shroud “tens of millions of pages of unclassified discovery” before Mueller has even produced an “iota of discovery.”

 

“Having made this special request based on a secret submission to the court and a hysterical dithyramb about the future of American elections, one would think that the special counsel would cite to case holdings that support this remarkable request,” the brief continues. “But no, instead, the special counsel seeks to equate this make-believe electioneering case to others involving international terrorism and major drug trafficking, and relies only on irrelevant dicta from inapposite, primarily out-of-circuit cases.”

 

Owned by indicted Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a caterer whose connections to the Russian president have earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef,” Concord faces a single count of conspiracy for allegedly funding the troll farms that went into overdrive for Trump in 2016.

 

 

If nothing else, perhaps these lawsuits will help Russian to understand how the legal system of the U.S. works.


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


#570
caltrek

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You know, in some ways it is actually kind of funny how the Russian oligarchs use highly technical and bogus legal arguments to defend themselves against charges related to their attempts to subvert democracy.  They are, of course, the last to defend basic legal rights of dissident elements in their own country.

 

Indicted Russian Firm Contests Mueller Appointment

 

https://www.courthou...er-appointment/

 

Introduction:

 

WASHINGTON (Courthouse News) – Challenging the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, a Russian firm asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss its conspiracy indictment.

 

Represented by Reed Smith attorney Eric Dubelier, the oligarch-owned Concord Management and Consulting LLC says the Department of Justice regulations governing Mueller violate separation-of-powers principles.

 

“Without a proper appointment and express congressional authorization, neither the attorney general nor his subordinates have the inherent authority to empower a private attorney to investigate and prosecute anyone, regardless of citizenship, when he or she deems it is expedient to do so under jurisdictional ground rules that he or she alone sets down,” the 63-page motion says.

 

Concord’s tactic echoes one that proved unsuccessful previously for Paul Manafort, the indicted former campaign manager of President Donald Trump. Both in his criminal case and in a civil lawsuit he brought against the special counsel, Manafort challenged the scope of Mueller’s authority.

 

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected Manafort’s arguments, however, on the basis that Justice Department regulations “do not create any substantive rights for the benefit of individuals under investigation.”


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


#571
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New Delay Sought for Michael Flynn Sentencing

 

https://www.courthou...ynn-sentencing/

 

Introduction:

 

WASHINGTON (Courthouse News) – Prosecutors and defense attorneys both recommended a two-month delay Friday in the sentencing of President Donald Trump’s ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

 

“Due to the status of the special counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” the status report says.

 

The request comes two months after the parties submitted a nearly identical status report on May 1 that sought a 60-day extension.

 

Like the May status report, Friday’s is short on details about why sentencing should be delayed yet again.

 

Flynn pleaded guilty in November to lying to federal investigators about his December 2016 conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

 

He has since been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation of Russian election meddling and possible ties between Russia and the trump campaign.


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


#572
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'It's Not a Joke': CNN's Jake Tapper Breaks Down Mueller's Bombshell Indictments — And What It Means for Trump

 

https://www.alternet...-it-means-trump

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) CNN's Jake Tapper explained why the bombshell indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday were such a significant development in the 2016 election interference case, calling it a "remarkable turn of events."

 

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that Mueller's team has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for the hack of Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.

 

"It comes just hours after President Trump referred to the Mueller probe, again, as a witch hunt, and just a few days before his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin," Tapper said. "The president has said he will bring up the election meddling of 2016, but he has... said it in terms of almost as if he's going to reluctantly bring it up."

 

He continued: "Before these new indictments, these Russian individuals, Mueller had already brought forward 79 criminal charges against 20 individuals and three companies resulting in five guilty pleas and one sentencing."


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


#573
caltrek

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I suppose now that Russia is being run by a kleptocrat instead of a Communist, they can do no wrong in the eyes of the NRA.  Especially if they keep sending over cute females to seduce the brass.

 

The NRA Has Deep Ties to Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina

 

https://www.motherjo...trump-campaign/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) For decades, the National Rifle Association has promoted its hardline politics with appeals to patriotism, freedom, and the staunch defense of the Second Amendment. But now, the controversial gun lobbying group finds itself deeply caught up in a wide-ranging effort to sabotage American democracy by an enemy foreign power. 

 

Federal prosecutors unsealed charges this week against 29-year-old Russian national Maria Butina, a self-styled gun activist with long-running ties to the NRA who worked for Alexander Torshin, a high-level Russian government and banking official from President Vladimir Putin’s party. Butina, who was a graduate student at American University until this spring, began traveling to the United States in 2014 and operated as a “covert Russian agent,” according to an FBI affidavit. She acted as an unregistered foreign agent and participated in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups including the NRA, federal prosecutors say, in order to “advance the interests of the Russian Federation.”

20180718_butina_2000.jpg?w=990

Maria Butina in Moscow, in a photo she posted to Facebook in October 2013


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


#574
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Which Putin-Friendly Russian Oligarch Funded the Alleged Spy Who Penetrated the NRA?

 

https://www.motherjo...ssian-oligarch/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) Maria Butina—the 29-year-old Russian who penetrated the NRA and other conservative groups and who this week was arrested and accused of functioning as a spy for Moscow—allegedly had help from from some well-connected and extremely wealthy men in her motherland. According to a filing submitted in court by federal prosecutors on Wednesday, Butina “has ties to the Russian oligarchy.” The document notes that her private tweets, emails, and chats “refer to a known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.” In other words, a businessman who is close to Vladimir Putin. All of which prompts an important question: Who exactly was this Putin-friendly Russian billionaire who was allegedly assisting Butina?

 

The document doesn’t identify the Russian moneybags. It only includes this description: “This person often travels to the United States and has also been referred to as her ‘funder’ throughout her correspondence; he was listed in Forbes as having a real-time net worth of $1.2 billion as of 2018.”

 

That latter piece of information is a rather specific clue. But if you turn to the Forbeslist, you will find there are 12 Russians listed at the $1.2 billion mark. There are, however, two in this group known to have a close relationship with Putin. The first is Yuri Kovalchuk. Forbes describes him this way:

 

Yuri Kovalchuk is friends with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin; they met when Putin was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. They both had country houses in the Ozero dacha cooperative, and when Putin became president, many of the cooperative’s members’ careers improved. Kovalchuck is now the largest shareholder of Rossiya Bank and has a large stake in Sogaz insurance company.

 

Then there is Boris Rotenberg. (See linked article for further discussion).


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


#575
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Senate Resolution Warns Trump Not to Hand Officials to Putin

 

https://www.courthou...or-questioning/

 

Introduction: 

 

(Courthouse News) – The Senate on Thursday approved a resolution warning President Trump not to let the Russian government question diplomats and other officials, just hours after the White House backpedaled on saying it was considering a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow be allowed to help interrogate U.S. citizens.

Senators voted 98-0 on the resolution introdcued by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., with the backing of Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

 

“That President Trump would even consider handing over a former U.S. ambassador to Putin and his cronies for interrogation is bewildering,” Schumer said before the vote on the non-binding resolution. “This body must agree on the importance of protecting our ambassadors. We should pass it today, not wait, not show any equivocation.”

 

The vote came hours after the White House said President Donald Trump disagrees with a proposal Putin made Monday that would allow the Kremlin to interrogate a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and others.

 

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it.”


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


#576
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Ties to Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina

 

I see the clear ties with Trump-Putin summit here. Bastards desperately trying to sabotage the possible US-Russian reconciliation. The "bottle from novichok" suddenly found for the day before the summit - also the event from this pile.



#577
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More important aspect of US-Russian relations. This must've been done in 2014 (when ANY investments in USA authomatically turned into high-risk and toxic), but better later than never:

 

4954819_d47868f7a8d94460a3f9a0da74a61821



#578
GoldenFngr

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Some think that they know who was behind the crash in US govt bonds in April/May DiZy7riWAAIPoOx.jpg



#579
Alislaws

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Some think that they know who was behind the crash in US govt bonds in April/May DiZy7riWAAIPoOx.jpg

The highlighted area shows a rise rather than a crash? 



#580
GoldenFngr

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The highlighted area shows a rise rather than a crash? 

 

 

This is an increase in bond yields, caused by a fall in prices (a drop in demand).







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

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