8:33 AM 10/1/2017 – Kim Philby: Documents that Kim Philby passed to USSR on display for first time

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Kim Philby – Google Search

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Even in Death, the Spy Kim Philby Serves the Kremlin’s Purposes

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A new portrait of the British double agent Kim Philby, second from right, at a state art gallery in Moscow. Mr. Philby defected to the Soviet Union …
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… trapped in a wilderness of mirrors inside British intelligence which was reeling from the betrayal of Kim Philby who fled to Moscow in 1963.
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Moscow reveals cables sent to USSR by British double agent

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Philby was one of the legendary “Cambridge Five” spy ring of upper class men embedded in the British establishment who were recruited to …

Moscow reveals cables sent to USSR by British double agent, Europe News & Top Stories

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MOSCOW (AFP) – A new exhibition in Moscow has made public for the first time secret documents that British double agent Kim Philby sent to his Soviet handlers.

Considered one of the KGB’s most productive Western recruits – and Britain’s biggest Cold War traitor – Philby passed information to Moscow from the 1930s until he was discovered and fled to the Soviet Union in 1963. He died in 1988 at the age of 76.

Philby is still celebrated as a hero by the KGB’s successor agency, the FSB, and Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR.

SVR director Sergei Naryshkin opened the exhibition “Kim Philby in espionage and in life” at the Russian Historical Society last month. It will run until Oct 5.

“Philby was able to do a lot to change the course of history, to do good and bring about justice. He was a great citizen of the world,” Naryshkin said at the opening, where guests included KGB veterans mentored by Philby.

Philby was one of the legendary “Cambridge Five” spy ring of upper class men embedded in the British establishment who were recruited to spy for the Soviet Union during their time at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s.

Most of the documents displayed in the exhibition are from the 1940s and come from the archives of the SVR.

The British cables are marked “top secret” in red. Some of them have been translated into Russian, with one addressed personally to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

One of the documents is a 1944 cable intercepted by Philby from the Japanese ambassador in Italy back to Tokyo about a meeting with fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Another reveals information on British and American operations in Albania in 1949.

‘Patriot of both his homelands’

“Thanks to Philby, all of these reached Stalin’s desk,” said Konstantin Mogilevsky, head of the Kremlin-backed History of Fatherland Foundation, which helped organise the exhibition.

“Philby was a patriot of both his homelands: Britain and the Soviet Union,” said Mogilevsky, claiming “he never put the lives of his British colleagues in danger”.

Mogilevsky compared Philby to Edward Snowden, who leaked details of US surveillance programmes and was later granted asylum in Russia.

“What Snowden did was not for money or to make his life better – quite the opposite, he made it a lot worse. In that sense they are similar,” he said.

“Russia has always valued those kind of motives,” he added.

The exhibition also includes Philby’s account of fleeing Beirut on Jan 23, 1963, after a KGB handler warned him he had been uncovered.

After telling his wife at that time, Eleanor, he would meet her at a restaurant for dinner, he escaped on a cargo ship headed for Odessa in Ukraine.

Philby’s 85-year-old Russian widow Rufina Pukhova-Philby, who met him after his defection, attended the opening.

She contributed cigars Cuban leader Fidel Castro gave to Philby and an armchair formerly owned by Guy Burgess, another member of the Cambridge Five who defected to Moscow and died in 1963.

Cold War nostalgia

The exhibition opened ahead of Russian state-controlled Channel One television airing a three-part documentary series based on Philby’s career and love life later this autumn.

The Russian intelligence community has a sense of nostalgia for their Soviet heyday, said Sergei Grigoryants, a rights activist who studies Russia’s secret services.

“There is a huge longing for those years,” he said.

“They are upset that Russia’s current spies are people who are in it for money or as a result of blackmail – not for ideological motives like in the 1930s.” But for the Cambridge Five, the reality in Moscow proved far from the socialist dream they imagined back in Britain.

The exhibition makes no mention of Philby’s struggle to adapt to life in the USSR, where he was kept under surveillance and never fully mastered the language.

“He didn’t understand the world around him,” Grigoryants said.

Nevertheless, Philby remained an avowed Communist until his death.

The exhibition displays his address in 1977 to KGB officers on the 100th birthday of KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky.

“May we all live to see the red flag hanging over Buckingham Palace!” Philby said.

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Even in Death, the Spy Kim Philby Serves the Kremlin’s Purposes

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Mr. Philby, highly educated, well spoken and driven by hostility to fascism rather than by greed, fits perfectly with the image that Soviet and Russian intelligence operatives have of themselves. “He was an idealist,” said Mikhail P. Lyubimov, a former K.G.B. officer in London who saw Mr. Philby frequently in Moscow after his defection. “I knew him quite well. His idea was that he was not serving Stalin but the people.”

The Philby exhibition, which opened just a few days after the unveiling in Moscow of a giant statue in honor of the inventor of the Kalashnikov automatic rifle, is “all part of the drive to create a national idea that revolves around the military and special services,” said Mark Galeotti, a researcher on Russian security and intelligence issues at the Institute of International Relations in Prague.

Mr. Gaelotti said the celebration of Mr. Philby’s exploits also fit into efforts by security service veterans to rehabilitate the reputation of Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, the ruthless founder of the Soviet security apparatus whose statue in front of Lubyanka, the headquarters of the Soviet K.G.B., was toppled by pro-democracy protesters in 1991.

Among Mr. Philby’s personal papers now on display is the handwritten text of a message he sent to K.G.B. officers in 1977, the 100th anniversary of Dzerzhinsky’s birth. Hailing Dzerzhinsky as “your great founder,” he wished Soviet secret service officers “every success in your important and responsible labors” and expressed hope that “may we all live to see the red flag flying on Buckingham Palace and the White House.”

Mr. Philby, a senior officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, the intelligence agency also known as MI6, started working for Soviet intelligence in 1934 after falling in love with a young Austrian communist in Vienna. But while Mr. Philby’s 54 years of service to the K.G.B. were largely driven by an ideological commitment to Marxism, the spy has now been rebranded as a Russian patriot.

The Moscow exhibition, which also includes Mr. Philby’s favorite pipe and armchair, along with other homey personal knickknacks, presents Mr. Philby as a principled idealist who rallied to Moscow’s side — and stayed there – because of his love for Russia and his determination to battle injustice and fascism, a catchall category now used to vilify Ukraine’s pro-Western government and new NATO members in the Baltics.

The exhibition is put on by the Russian Historical Society, a state organization run by Sergei Y. Naryshkin, who is also the chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or S.V.R., the successor agency to the foreign intelligence arm of the K.G.B.

“He consciously chose to cooperate with the Soviet Union because of his antifascist beliefs, principles of fair world order, principles of liberty, of social fairness,” Mr. Naryshkin, a close ally of President Putin, said this month at the opening of the exhibition, “Kim Philby: The Spy and the Man.”

Konstantin Mogilevski, director of the historical society’s “fatherland history” collection and an organizer of the Philby exhibition, said the tribute to the K.G.B. spy “is not propaganda” but an effort to show the human face of a man “who made a choice to serve Moscow” and stuck with it.

Mr. Philby, who never wavered in his loyalty despite Moscow’s 1939-41 pact with Hitler and the invasions of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968, was long regarded as a hero in the Soviet Union, which hailed him as a committed Marxist, put his face on a postage stamp and buried him in the Kuntsevo cemetery in Moscow along with other Soviet heroes, including the secret police agent who murdered Leon Trotsky.

One of the documents on display, however, hints at the suspicion and distrust that greeted Mr. Philby when he first fled to Moscow in 1963, slipping out of Beirut, Lebanon, aboard a Soviet ship bound for Odessa. The partial transcript of a 1977 speech he gave to K.G.B. officers in Moscow records Mr. Philby saying: “It is the year of my first visit to the Soviet intelligence headquarters. It has taken me a long time to get here.”

Christopher Andrew, a Cambridge University professor and the author of classic books on Soviet espionage, said Mr. Philby had to wait 14 years after his arrival in Moscow before being received at the intelligence headquarters “because they didn’t trust him.”

Mr. Lyubimov, the former K.G.B. officer, said this was not true, explaining that Mr. Philby had fallen under suspicion among members of Stalin’s intelligence service during World War II but “was completely trusted” once he got to Moscow in 1963. Mr. Lyubimov also disputed widespread accounts by witnesses of Mr. Philby being drunk and despondent in Moscow. “When he first came to Russia, because of the shock of the whole affair, he was just drinking but this did not continue a long time,” Mr. Lyubimov said.

All the stolen British documents put on display — marked in red with the words “Top Secret. To be kept under lock and key. Never to be removed from the office” – relate to World War II. Most are reports on intercepted messages sent to Tokyo by Japanese diplomats on the state of the German military and other secret matters. They include a report by a Japanese envoy in Italy on Mussolini’s account of how Hitler had sustained “minor injuries” and had his hair burned during a failed assassination attempt in East Prussia in July 1944.

More significant – and far more damning to Mr. Philby, as far as the British are concerned – is a copy of a September 1949 intelligence report sent to Stalin and his foreign minister, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, based on information provided in London, presumably by Mr. Philby.

It details secret Anglo-American plans to train “émigré-fascists” from Albania in Malta and the Greek island of Corfu and send them back to Albania to start a “partisan movement” against the Communist government of Enver Hoxha. It says chillingly that the information had been passed on to a Soviet adviser to Albania’s Interior Ministry so that it could “take corresponding measures.”

Hundreds of Albanians died after the Western-trained anti-Communist agents were captured as soon as they landed by sea and were then either executed on the spot or killed after brutal interrogations that led to the arrest and often execution of their family members, too.

The betrayal of the 1949 Albania subversion operation, planned and executed by Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, Mr. Philby’s employer at the time, and the C.I.A., was one of the most disastrous episodes for Western intelligence during the Cold War. Similar subversive operations into western Ukraine also failed miserably.

Debate continues about how much Mr. Philby contributed to the failure of these and other Anglo-American plots to undermine Communism but, from Russia’s perspective, one thing is clear: Western intelligence agencies have labored tirelessly to undermine Russia’s interests. This narrative has gained new force since street protests toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president in 2014, an event for which Russia blames “fascists” working in league with the C.I.A.

Mr. Philby, Mr. Galeotti said, was indeed a lifelong enemy of fascism but “would be spinning in his grave” over his portrayal in Moscow as a defender of narrow Russian national interests. “This was a man motivated by Marxism, not by love of Russia,” he said. “Presenting him as a great Russian patriot is far from the truth.”

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Moscow reveals cables sent to USSR by British double agent – The Straits Times

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Moscow reveals cables sent to USSR by British double agent
The Straits Times
The Russian intelligence community has a sense of nostalgia for their Soviet heyday, said Sergei Grigoryants, a rights activist who studies Russia’s secret services. “There is a huge longing for those years,” he said. “They are upset that Russia’s 

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Big witnesses still missing from congressional Russia probe – Washington Examiner

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Big witnesses still missing from congressional Russia probe
Washington Examiner
Three congressional committees have been investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 electionsfor the last eight months, combing through thousands of documents, a torrent of leaks to the media, and dozens of interviews in public and behind closed doors.

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Even in Death, the Spy Kim Philby Serves the Kremlin’s Purposes – New York Times

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New York Times
Even in Death, the Spy Kim Philby Serves the Kremlin’s Purposes
New York Times
Mr. Philby, a senior officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, the intelligence agency also known as MI6, started working for Soviet intelligence in 1934 after falling in love with a young Austrian communist in Vienna. But while Mr. Philby’s 54 
Moscow reveals cables sent to USSR by British double agentThe Straits Times

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4:07 PM 9/30/2017 – Former CIA station chief warns of ‘authoritarian internet’ – by News 

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Former CIA station chief warns of ‘authoritarian internet’by News Saturday September 30th, 2017 at 12:58 PM News’s YouTube Videos 1 Share From: News Duration: 03:12 Daniel Hoffman speaks out about his concerns. European right wing alliance – Google Search Saturday September 30th, 2017 at 11:41 AM European Right Wing Alliance – Google News 1 Share Anti-EU parties face funding cuts EUobserver–Sep 15, … Continue reading “4:07 PM 9/30/2017 – Former CIA station chief warns of ‘authoritarian internet’ – by News”

Puerto Ricans fire back at Trump for critical tweets – CNN

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CNN
Puerto Ricans fire back at Trump for critical tweets
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Several Puerto Ricans contacted by CNN stood up for San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who apparently provoked the Trump tweet with a call for more aid, and many said the Puerto Rican community at home and abroad is already working together.
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Social media companies must respond to the sinister reality behind fake news 

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Research highlights need for paid political content to come with clear disclosures, write Philip Howard and Bence KollanySocial media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have begun to share evidence of how their platforms are used and abused during elections. They have developed interesting new initiatives to encourage civil debate on public policy issues and voter turnout on election day.

Computational propaganda flourished during the 2016 US presidential election. But what is most concerning is not so much the amount of fake news on social media, but where it might have been directed. False information didn’t flow evenly across social networks. There were six states where Donald Trump’s margin of victory was less than 2% – Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If there were any real-world consequences to fake news, that’s where they would appear – where public opinion was evenly split right up to election day.

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British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters – The Guardian

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The Guardian
British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters
The Guardian
… targeted by the Trump campaign. David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York, has discovered a transatlantic legal mechanism that he hopes will give him access to information being sought by both the FBI and the 

British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters 

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Legal mechanism may help academic expose how Big Data firms like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook get their information

A US professor is trying to reclaim his personal data from the controversial analytics firm that helped Donald Trump to power. In what legal experts say may be a “watershed” case, a US citizen is using British laws to try to discover how he was profiled and potentially targeted by the Trump campaign.

David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York, has discovered a transatlantic legal mechanism that he hopes will give him access to information being sought by both the FBI and the Senate intelligence committee. In recent weeks, investigators looking at how people acting on behalf of Russia targeted American voters have focused on Trump’s data operation. But although the FBI obtained a court order against Facebook to make it disclose evidence, the exact way in which US citizens were profiled and targeted remains largely unknown.

In the US, Americans have almost no rights over their data whatsoever

It really is a David and Goliath fight and I think it will be the model for other citizens’ actions against other big corporations

Related: Big data’s power is terrifying. That could be good news for democracy | George Monbiot

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Justice allows Senate panel to interview FBI officials – CNNPolitics – CNN

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Justice allows Senate panel to interview FBI officials – CNNPolitics
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(CNN) The Justice Department has agreed to let the Senate judiciary committee interview two senior FBI officials who could provide firsthand accounts about the …

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Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who … – ProPublica

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The special counsel wanted to question a Turkish businessman with interests in Turkey, Russia and the U.S. — and ties to people with criminal records.
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Special counsel Robert Mueller has assembled a team of 16 seasoned prosecutors – ABC News

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Vanity Fair
Special counsel Robert Mueller has assembled a team of 16 seasoned prosecutors
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller has assembled a team of more than a dozen seasoned prosecutors to probe Russian interference in the 2016 election, including any potential collusion between Russian agents and members of Donald Trump’s campaign.
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Mueller Subpoenas Biz Associate Of Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Client – TPM

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Mueller Subpoenas Biz Associate Of Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Client
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Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a subpoena compelling a business associate of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying client to testify before a grand jury earlier this month, ProPublica reported Friday. Sezgin Baran 

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Senate Intelligence Committee to provide Russia investigation update – Washington Times 

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Capitol Hill’s leading investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election will gather next week to provide a public update on their inquiry, in addition to issuing a warning that foreig Source: Senate Intelligence Committee to provide Russia investigation update – Washington Times

How Arnold Mesches Turned His FBI Surveillance Files Into Eerily Prescient Works of Art – The Intercept

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The Intercept
How Arnold Mesches Turned His FBI Surveillance Files Into Eerily Prescient Works of Art
The Intercept
Using a Freedom of Information Act request, Mesches obtained a box filled with his own 760-page FBI file, discovering that from 1945 to 1972, he’d been carefully watched. Throughout his life as an acclaimed painter as well as an activist, the FBI had 

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Former CIA station chief warns of ‘authoritarian internet’

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From: News
Duration: 03:12

Daniel Hoffman speaks out about his concerns.

European right wing alliance – Google Search

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Anti-EU parties face funding cuts

EUobserverSep 15, 2017
Anti-EU parties and their affiliated foundations may see their EU … the rightwing European Alliance for Freedom (EAF), and the European …
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rightwing party in the new German government

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rightwing alliance – Google Search

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right wing alliance – Google Search

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Right Wing Alliance Launches Campaign To Strike ‘Mortal Blow …

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Just before Labor Day weekend, The Guardian dropped one helluva piece about a right wing allianceof so-called think tanks who have …
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German military investigating rightwing extremism within its ranks

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German military investigating rightwing extremism within its ranks … West Germany officially joined the trans-Atlantic alliance in 1955. However …
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Russian – German right wing alliance – Google Search

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There is meddling in Germany’s election — not by Russia, but by US …

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AfD Shakes Up Germany’s Election—But It Has an Espionage Backstory

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Leadership member of the hard-right party AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) Alice Weidel addresses a press conference on the day after the German General elections on September 25, 2017 in Berlin. JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

Germany went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new federal parliament—and a new national government—and the results stunned Europe and the world. Although center-right Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office, since her party came out on top in the vote tallies, in truth the election stands as a stern rebuke of her and her party’s governance since 2005. For a politician widely considered the de facto leader of the European Union, and even hailed as the “leader of the free world” by some, including Hillary Clinton, this is a serious setback.

Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) received one-third of the votes, 33 percent, far ahead of the second-place Social Democrats (SPD) with 20.6 percent, but for both parties this represented a big drop-off since the last elections. In 2013, the CDU and the SPD got 37 and 29 percent, respectively, and Sunday’s tallies are the lowest for both parties since the establishment of the Federal Republic in 1949, out of the ashes of Nazism and the Second World War.

The big news here is the rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Founded only four years ago, this new right-wing party barely competed in the 2013 election, garnering only 1.9 percent of the vote, but on Sunday the upstart AfD won 12.6 percent, which will give them 94 seats in the incoming parliament in Berlin, what Germans call the Bundestag. For the first time since 1990, a new party will be seated in the Bundestag, and it’s on the far-right. The AfD did especially well in economically lagging regions of the former East Germany, where 26 percent of men voted for the party.

Several other parties hovered around the 10-percent mark, including the libertarian-leaning Free Democrats (10.7), the former East German Communists rebranded as Die Linke (9.2), and the environmentalist Greens (8.9). As the chastened Social Democrats show no interest in a grand coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the only way the chancellor can form a government will be in coalition with some of these smaller parties. The likeliest outcome is the so-called “Jamaica” coalition from the colors of that country’s flag: black for the CDU, yellow for the Free Democrats, and green (obviously) for the Greens.

Merkel will keep the upstart AfD out of government at all costs, viewing them as pariahs and extremists. Ironically, this new rival is very much her own creation, inadvertently. Born out of frustration with Berlin’s costly bailouts of Greece and other bankrupt EU states, the AfD takes its name from one of Merkel’s less popular aphorisms, when she repeatedly stated Germany had “no alternative” but to financially bail out Southern Europe from its insolvency.

This was far from popular with many Germans, a notoriously frugal bunch that loathes debt; as late as 2011, only one-third of Germans had a credit card, and most personal transactions are still in cash. Merkel then made things worse by opening Germany’s doors to migrants in 2015, which made her deeply unpopular with many working-class Germans. The arrival of two million migrants in 2015—relative to population, this would be like the U.S. taking in eight million migrants in 12 months—has caused serious political heartache in certain quarters.

That anger made up some of the AfD’s appeal on Sunday. There are definite wings of the party. Some supporters are financially-minded, worried about the cost of Germany’s dragging along the EU and its vast debts. Others fret about migrants, many of them Muslim, bringing crime, welfare skimming, and terrorism to the country. Then there’s the hard-right element of the party, people who are uncomfortably sympathetic to Germany’s troubled past.

In other words, there are neo-Nazis lurking in the AfD. This is a serious matter, since unlike in America, it’s not legal to fly Nazi flags and shout Hitlerian slogans in public. There is no free speech in Germany about such touchy matters, and people really do wind up in jail for acting out their Nazi fantasies. The march-turned-riot this country witnessed in Charlottesville in August would have been shut down in Germany the minute anybody unfurled a swastika.

Exactly how many neo-Nazis there are in AfD ranks is a tricky question. Some party bigwigs have walked close to the line. Alexander Gauland, a party leader, recently suggested that Germany should act like any other country and be “proud” of its soldiers in both world wars. Such a comment, which would be uncontroversial in most places, was greeted with outrage in Germany, where any public esteem for the Nazi period is verboten.

If the AfD is harboring neo-Nazis, this is a matter for Germany’s intelligence services too. Since the creation of the Federal Republic, the domestic intelligence agency, the mouthful Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), has monitored political extremists looking for unhealthy dissent, left and right. Uncovering subversion—specifically anything that threatens Germany’s democratic values—is one of the BfV’s main jobs, and it has watched the AfD closely since its birth.

Last month, Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s interior minister, frankly admitted that the security services had their eye on the AfD, looking for subversion. Although the party on the whole was “not extremist,” less moderate elements in the AfD did merit examination, de Maizière explained. At the same time, after a review of AfD online activities in part of the former East Germany, the security service concluded that the party was substantially right-wing but not engaged in openly subversive activities.

Germany has shut down neo-Nazi parties before. In 1952, the authorities banned the Socialist Reich Party, which saw itself as Hitler’s heirs and was staffed by former Nazis. It also had the secret backing of Soviet intelligence, which sought to manipulate West German politics during the Cold War.

More recently, the standard-bearer for such views has been the National Democratic Party (NPD). Founded in 1964, it’s a fringe party that has never won any seats in the Bundestag, although it’s intermittently won seats at the state level in Germany. The NPD doesn’t make much effort to hide its Hitlerian sympathies but usually stays on the right side of Germany’s restrictive laws on such matters, if only just.

The party has been of intense concern to the BfV from its birth, and here’s where things get interesting: German authorities have tried more than once to ban the NPD on the grounds that its aims are undemocratic, yet all efforts have failed to stand up in court. The biggest push came between 2001 and 2003, and the case went to Germany’s highest court. There the NPD triumphed on the revealing grounds that, since the party was so filled with BfV agents, it was impossible for the court to assess what the NPD really stood for. Many of its most Nazified members turned out to be clandestine government operatives. The BfV, in effect, was in control of the NPD, and its numerous agents provocateurs were running the show.

Given this recent history, questions must be raised about the AfD as well, not least because the party has worrisome ties to Russia. Party higher-ups are enthusiastic fans of Vladimir Putin, while Kremlin outlets like RT and Sputnik laud the party on a regular basis. Moreover, the election campaign witnessed an explosion of pro-AfD activity online, including Twitter bots, emanating from Russia—just as the Kremlin did in the United States last year.

To be fair, the former Communists of Die Linke are every bit as Russophile as the AfD—which means that Putin has friends on the left and right of Merkel, amounting to 22 percent of the vote on Sunday—while top SPD officials take Kremlin money without any concern for appearances or conflicts of interest. Germany has a problem with illicit Kremlin influence that extends far beyond just the AfD.

That said, the BfV’s interest in the AfD, now the country’s third-biggest political party, encompasses counterintelligence concerns as much as worries about extremism. The arrival of the AfD in the Bundestag will shake up German politics in a manner that’s not been seen in decades, even though the party will not be in government. They will force debate on issues that Chancellor Merkel would prefer to avoid, above all migration and assimilation of newcomers.

It would therefore be wise to watch how the AfD reacts to its newfound limelight. Already cracks are appearing in the party. Less than 24 hours after electoral triumph, Frauke Petry, the leader of the AfD’s more moderate wing, announced she would not take her parliamentary seat, citing chaos inside the party. This stunning news may push the AfD even further to the right. Expect more bumps in this road.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

AfD Shakes Up German Election—but It Has an Espionage Backstory

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Upstart AfD Shakes Up German Election–but It Has an Espionage Backstory 

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Germany went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new federal parliament – and a new national government – and the results stunned Europe and the world. Although center-right Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office, since her party came out on top in the vote tallies, in truth the election stands as a stern rebuke of her and her party’s governance since 2005. For a politician widely considered the de facto leader of the European Union, and even hailed as the “leader of the free world” by some, including Hillary Clinton, this is a serious setback.

Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) received one-third of the votes, 33 percent, far ahead of the second-place Social Democrats (SPD) with 20.6 percent, but for both parties this represented a big drop-off since the last elections. In 2013, the CDU and the SPD got 37 and 29 percent, respectively, and Sunday’s tallies are the lowest for both parties since the establishment of the Federal Republic in 1949, out of the ashes of Nazism and the Second World War.

The big news here is the rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Founded only four years ago, this new right-wing party barely competed in the 2013 election, garnering only 1.9 percent of the vote, but on Sunday the upstart AfD won 12.6 percent, which will give them 94 seats in the incoming parliament in Berlin, what Germans call the Bundestag. For the first time since 1990, a new party will be seated in the Bundestag, and it’s on the far-right. The AfD did especially well in economically lagging regions of the former East Germany, where 26 percent of men voted for the party.

Several other parties hovered around the 10-percent mark, including the libertarian-leaning Free Democrats (10.7), the former East German Communists rebranded as Die Linke (9.2), and the environmentalist Greens (8.9). As the chastened Social Democrats show no interest in a grand coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the only way the chancellor can form a government will be in coalition with some of these smaller parties. The likeliest outcome is the so-called “Jamaica” coalition from the colors of that country’s flag: black for the CDU, yellow for the Free Democrats, and green (obviously) for the Greens.

Merkel will keep the upstart AfD out of government at all costs, viewing them as pariahs and extremists. Ironically, this new rival is very much her own creation, inadvertently. Born out of frustration with Berlin’s costly bailouts of Greece and other bankrupt EU states, the AfD takes its name from one of Merkel’s less popular aphorisms, when she repeatedly stated Germany had “no alternative” but to financially bail out Southern Europe from its insolvency.

This was far from popular with many Germans, a notoriously frugal bunch that loathes debt; as late as 2011, only one-third of Germans had a credit card, and most personal transactions are still in cash. Merkel then made things worse by opening Germany’s doors to migrants in 2015, which made her deeply unpopular with many working-class Germans. The arrival of two million migrants in 2015 – relative to population, this would be like the United States taking in eight million migrants in 12 months – has caused serious political heartache in certain quarters.

Read the rest at The Observer …

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Looking for quick end to probes? Not likely

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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has allegedly hired a lawyer to represent him in the Russian election meddling investigation. Aidan Kelley has the story. Buzz60

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner and Chairman Richard Burr prepare to hear testimony on Russian intervention in the elections on June 28, 2017.(Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo, European Pressphoto Agency)

WASHINGTON — Anxious to see the results of all those Russia investigations going on in Congress and in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office? Well, take a deep breath. It’s likely to be awhile.

The constant stream of news about witnesses, subpoenas and closed-door testimony may make it feel like the Russia probes have been going on forever, but Mueller has only been on the job about four and a half months and the three congressional committees conducting inquiries didn’t really start digging in until spring.

That’s not long when you consider that the Watergate investigation of Richard Nixon took about 20 months — considered relatively fast — and the Whitewater investigation of Bill Clinton, which morphed into the Monica Lewinsky investigation, spanned about five years.

“The public and the press have always been impatient about how quickly these types of investigations are moving, but they have gotten more so,” said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the special deputy chief counsel for the House Iran-Contra Committee’s investigation of the Reagan administration. “The 24-hour news cycle means that speculation outruns the actual investigation and demands responses.”

Tiefer estimated that it could take Congress until spring and Mueller about a year to begin to show initial results, such as preliminary reports from the committees or the first round of indictments from the special counsel.

The special counsel, the Senate and House Intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee are all investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

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“They have difficult obstacles to overcome,” Tiefer said. Among them: convincing reluctant witnesses to cooperate, obtaining scores of documents from both inside the U.S. and Russia, and trying to persuade one of the targets to break ranks and become a witness for the prosecution.

Attorney Richard Ben-Veniste, who served as an assistant special prosecutor in the office of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and chief minority counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee, said the Russia probe and Watergate are “roughly comparable in terms of the complexity.”

“Judged by other investigations and given the breadth of this one, I don’t think the public should be too expectant, but rather appreciate the complexity … and scope of the areas that both Mueller and congressional investigators are charged with looking into,” Ben-Veniste said.

Bruce Udolf, a criminal defense attorney in Florida who served as an associate independent counsel during the Whitewater investigation, said he believes Mueller is “moving at lightning speed” in putting together a team of investigators and questioning witnesses.

Mueller is dealing with complicated issues of money laundering and obstruction of justice, with witnesses and evidence scattered across the globe, Udolf said.

“Of necessity, it’s going to take a very long time,” he said. “I would be surprised if it was completed in less than a year. But it sounds like he’s making a lot of progress. I’m sure his team is working around the clock.”

It’s more important that an investigation be thorough than fast, Udolf said.

“You turn over one stone, and it leads you down another path,” he said. “And you’re dealing with people who are trying to prevent you from doing your job, which is getting to the truth.”

In this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

Lanny Davis, an attorney who specializes in crisis management and a former spokesman and special counsel for ex-president Bill Clinton, said no one wants these kinds of investigations over faster than an innocent target.

Davis said the best thing an attorney with an innocent client can do is cooperate fully with prosecutors and congressional investigators to help speed up the process.

“You have to do the opposite of what you’re taught to do as a private lawyer, which is to resist and drag things out,” Davis said. “In this situation, if investigators don’t ask for something, you offer it to them anyway. You drown them with paper, facts, and transparency.”

However, it can sometimes be difficult for attorneys to convince their clients that this counter-intuitive strategy is the best way to go. Often, Davis said, a client’s initial reaction will be: “What, are you kidding me? Whose side are you on?”

“You have to convince them that the way to end the investigation is to help investigators, not stop them,” he said.

However, when an attorney has a client who may be guilty, that strategy must change, Davis said. He said the response still can’t be “resist, resist, resist” because that could end up getting a client charged with obstruction of justice.

“You still have to cooperate,” he said. “But you don’t open the kimono and say come on in.”

Former senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat who served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003, is urging Congress to complete its investigations well before the midterm elections in November 2018.

“I think there needs to be a real sense of urgency by Congress because of the possible consequences to the country,” Graham said. “There could be another round of Russian meddling. They need to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening again.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a recent interview that “it’s still fairly early in the investigation.”

“We’re making progress, but it’s very hard to give a timeline,” he said.

Ben-Veniste said he has faith in both Congress and Mueller.

“I look forward with some confidence, having seen the people both in Congress and the special counsel’s office, to them conducting a credible and thorough investigation, and I feel confident we’ll have answers in due time,” he said.


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