9:45 AM 12/9/2017 – Dozens of Russian ‘imposter accounts’ run by Kremlin-backed agency posed as US news outlets on Twitter, study finds – The Independent

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Dozens of Russian ‘imposter accounts’ run by Kremlin-backed agency posed as US news outlets on Twitter, study finds – The Independent

Russian propaganda once again seeking to “topple” Angela Merkel – UNIAN
War in 140 Characters by David Patrikarakos from trenches to Twitter – Financial Times
War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the … – Vox
Trumping Democracy: Buying And Selling Your Profile – Malibu Arts Journal
Is Media Driving Americans Apart? – New York Times
Company That Ran Trump’s Campaign Has Arrived in Brazil – Folha de S.Paulo
Rampant social media misuse puts future of popular platforms at risk … – CBC.ca
Trump Campaign’s Data Vendor, Cambridge Analytica, Says It Is Moving Away From US Politics – Forbes
Rep. Jim Jordan Asks FBI Director: Did Peter Strzok Use the Dossier … – Breitbart News
The Justice Department-Trump dossier connection – Fox News
The Daily Vertical: Let The Power Games Begin
Steve Bannon officially discloses source of $2 million in personal debt – Center for Public Integrity
The Evolving Stalemate Between Russia and the West
Michael Flynns Shady Past at DIA and Before Reveals He Was a Fraud
Every Secret Trump / Russia Contact: Chronologically – HuffPost
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hiring practices under FBI investigation: report
Congress Must Charge Stonewalling DOJ, FBI With Contempt – Newsmax
How Russia Cheats – The New York Times
europe far right – Google Search
neo-fascism – Google Search
CEO of Trump Campaign Data Firm Will Testify to House Panel in Russia Probe – Bloomberg
NPR News Now: NPR News: 12-09-2017 7AM ET
As I See It: The Puerto Rico experiment – The Daily News of Newburyport
Column: Annus Horribilis – SouthFloridaGayNews.com

 

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Dozens of Russian ‘imposter accounts’ run by Kremlin-backed agency posed as US news outlets on Twitter, study finds – The Independent


The Independent
Dozens of Russian ‘imposter accounts’ run by Kremlin-backed agency posed as US news outlets on Twitter, study finds
The Independent
He used to check Twitter almost every day to read the news, until he decided to quit last month (though he didn’t delete his account). Twitter recently revealed that more than 36,000 Russian-linked accounts generated about 1.4 million automated 

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Russian propaganda once again seeking to “topple” Angela Merkel – UNIAN


UNIAN
Russian propaganda once again seeking to “topple” Angela Merkel
UNIAN
It is time for Merkel to go that’s about everything Russian propaganda publications offer, while clearly playing into the hands of the Kremlin strategists who have long been seeking to divide Europe by toppling its strongest leader, LB.ua reports 

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War in 140 Characters by David Patrikarakos from trenches to Twitter – Financial Times


Financial Times
War in 140 Characters by David Patrikarakos from trenches to Twitter
Financial Times
War in 140 Characters is a fascinating tour of how social media is being used in conflict the world over, from the propagandaand recruiting frequently covered in the press, to how informal groups are gathering to fact-check claims online. The tale of 

War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the … – Vox


Vox
War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 
Vox
“There was this utopian idea that the internet would set us free.”

and more » 21st century
Vox
Social media has transformed the way that wars are waged, covered, and consumed. David Patrikarakos, a London-based author and journalist, begins his book War in 140 Characters with this claim. Though wars are still fought on the battlefield, they …
War in 140 Characters by David Patrikarakos from trenches to TwitterFinancial Times

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Trumping Democracy: Buying And Selling Your Profile – Malibu Arts Journal


Malibu Arts Journal
Trumping Democracy: Buying And Selling Your Profile
Malibu Arts Journal
This narrow lens highlights the lingering ideological problems left by Trumping Democracy. Mercer backed Brexit and Trump, okay, but why? Why have Facebook, Twitter, and Google been allowed to collect and sell user data? Why do shabbily-dressed

Is Media Driving Americans Apart? – New York Times


New York Times
Is Media Driving Americans Apart?
New York Times
The digital world offers no shortage of potential villains: targeted Russian ads; shadowy purveyors of fake news; political consultants like Cambridge Analytica wielding big data and cutting edge psychology; and formerly fringe media players like 

Company That Ran Trump’s Campaign Has Arrived in Brazil – Folha de S.Paulo


Folha de S.Paulo
Company That Ran Trump’s Campaign Has Arrived in Brazil
Folha de S.Paulo
Of the many controversial aspects surrounding Trump’s presidential campaign, at least one has been exported to Brazil and will most likely be a part of the 2018 election. Cambridge Analytica is a pioneering company that merges behavioral psychology 

Rampant social media misuse puts future of popular platforms at risk … – CBC.ca


CBC.ca
Rampant social media misuse puts future of popular platforms at risk 
CBC.ca
Social media was designed to help us keep up with friends and share photos, to unite diverse people with distinct ideas and democratize the way we discover information. Instead, they’ve fostered the rampant spread of propaganda and untruths, enabled
 

CBC.ca
… post, comment on and share online are then used to sway your sentiment “and have purportedly been responsible for the Brexit vote, led to President Trump’s election victory, led to an increase in the polarization of people’s beliefs to extremes
 

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Trump Campaign’s Data Vendor, Cambridge Analytica, Says It Is Moving Away From US Politics – Forbes


Forbes
Trump Campaign’s Data Vendor, Cambridge Analytica, Says It Is Moving Away From US Politics
Forbes
As investigators continue to probe the 2016 presidential election, one of Donald Trump’s primary partnersdata companyCambridge Analyticasays it has shifted its focus away from U.S. politics. The company, which entered the U.S. political market in 

Rep. Jim Jordan Asks FBI Director: Did Peter Strzok Use the Dossier … – Breitbart News


Breitbart News
The Justice Department-Trump dossier connection – Fox News


Fox News
The Justice Department-Trump dossier connection
Fox News
WALLACE: I want to go back to the other point, though, because a lot of the focus today was on this FBI agent Peter Strzokwho was removed from the campaign in July after Robert Mueller, removed from the investigation in July after Robert Mueller found 

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The Daily Vertical: Let The Power Games Begin

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From: rferlonline
Duration: 01:56

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.
Originally published at – https://www.rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-let-power-games-begin/28905016.html

Steve Bannon officially discloses source of $2 million in personal debt – Center for Public Integrity

mikenova shared this story from Cambridge Analytica – Google News.


Center for Public Integrity
Steve Bannon officially discloses source of $2 million in personal debt
Center for Public Integrity
Fired Trump lieutenant’s reveal follows investigation by Center for Public Integrity.
We now know who Steve Bannon owes $2 million – Raw StoryRaw Story

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The Evolving Stalemate Between Russia and the West

mikenova shared this story .

At the beginning of 2017, it appeared as if the strained relationship between Russia and the West was about to undergo a substantial shift. U.S. President Donald Trump, who had campaigned on a platform of improving relations with Russia, was about to be inaugurated. Upcoming elections in the core European Union states of France and Germany offered the possibility that Euroskeptic parties would rise to power, leading to a major change in those countries’ positions, including on maintaining sanctions against Russia. Furthermore, it appeared as if solidarity within NATO, as well as support for Western-leaning states like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, was in danger of weakening substantially.

But as 2018 approaches, it’s clear that instead of waning, Western pressure against Russia has intensified. In the United States, lawmakers wrested the power to withdraw U.S. sanctions against Russia away from the president, partially as a result of the numerous investigations launched into the extent of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Trump essentially was forced to cede his power to unilaterally lift the penalties in July, and Congress subsequently enacted a stronger sanctions regime against Moscow.

In France, the National Front, a Euroskeptic party, and its pro-Russian presidential candidate Marine Le Pen reached the second round of the country’s presidential election, but Le Pen lost to centrist Emmanuel Macron in the decisive vote. Russia certainly had tried to influence the result in favor of Le Pen, but the exposure of the cyberwarfare and information campaigns it had used to try to influence the outcome of U.S. elections and the revelation that the Kremlin was employing the same techniques in Europe, blunted their effectiveness. The same held true during the German general elections in September, where despite Russian efforts, the anti-establishment Alternative for Germany party did not gain substantial traction, even though it did outperform expectations. After the dust of the European elections settled, the European Union maintained its cohesiveness, and its members voted unanimously to extend sanctions against Russia through the end of 2017.

In the meantime, neither the European Union nor NATO has backed away from the countries on the European/Russian borderland. The United States and the European bloc have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, and NATO has followed through with the deployment of semipermanent battalions to Poland and the Baltic states. On its side of the border, Russia has built up its forces as well, and while there has been no major confrontation between Russia and NATO, their military standoff has maintained the intensity of past years.

What’s Ahead in 2018?

Several key issues will shape the direction of ties between Russia and the West in 2018. One is the conflict between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian government in Ukraine’s east, which is entering its fourth year. Following an escalation of violence along the frontlines in the separatist Donbas region shortly after Trump’s inauguration, military activity has decreased in intensity in recent months. The conflict has now taken on the “semi-frozen” nature typical of those in other Russian-backed breakaway territories in the former Soviet space. In the meantime, diplomatic activity between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian separatist conflict picked up after a suggestion by Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that a U.N. peacekeeping force be deployed to Eastern Ukraine.

Putin’s proposal and associated diplomatic efforts have raised the question of whether the end of the Ukrainian conflict could be in sight in 2018. But given the gap between Russia and the West over the nature and parameters of a potential U.N. mission in Donbas, prolonged negotiations are likely before any agreement could be struck. Russia, on one hand, has suggested the deployment of a limited force purely to protect observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on the line of contact between Ukrainian security forces and the separatists. But Ukraine and the United States have both called for a deployment to span all of Donbas, including along the border between the separatist territory and Russia. That option essentially would represent a complete abandonment of Russia’s strategic position in Donbas, given that Moscow is thought to funnel troops and weapons to support the rebels over the border. While Russia can use the peacekeeping proposal to show its willingness to negotiate over the conflict in an effort to stave off additional Western pressure, it does not mean that Russia will capitulate to the Ukrainian-U.S. position. What’s more, Russia could drive an escalation of fighting if it suited its needs.

Depending on what ongoing U.S. investigations over Russian election meddling reveal, the United States could escalate its sanctions regime against Russia. And although Trump does not support it, key members of his administration are openly considering sending lethal weaponry to Ukraine. If the United States decides to take either of those actions, Moscow could choose to respond by escalating the conflict in Eastern Ukraine — or responding elsewhere in an asymmetric fashion.

A longtime driver of tensions between Russia and the West has been the ongoing military buildup by both sides along the European borderlands, which shows no signs of slowing. Russia is expected to permanently deploy Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems to its Kaliningrad enclave on a permanent basis at the beginning of 2018, while NATO will set up new Atlantic and logistics commands, as well as increase coordination efforts on Black Sea patrols and cyberdefense capabilities. The continued buildups could add pressure that would interfere with the resumption of already stalled arms control talks between the United States and Russia.

Michael Flynns Shady Past at DIA and Before Reveals He Was a Fraud

mikenova shared this story from Observer.

Michael Flynn, former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, leaves following his plea hearing at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse December 1, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The fall from grace of retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn is one of the strangest sagas in the annals of America’s military and intelligence services. Just one year ago, his star could hardly have been more ascendant, named as the National Security Advisor to newly-elected President Donald Trump. However, he flamed out of that job in just 24 days, a record. Then, last week, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about discussions with top Russians, leaving his reputation is in tatters.

How all this happened will be debated for years as the full saga of the Trump White House’s secret ties to Moscow unfolds and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation moves forward like a steamroller, slowly crushing all in its wake. Flynn, the military intelligence professional turned felon, will feature prominently in that sordid story. Now that he’s cooperating with Mueller against President Trump, copping per his plea deal to a relatively minor charge that he may serve no jail time for, Flynn’s role has changed, but it’s no less important.

Just how deeply enmeshed Flynn was with the Russians is now coming into focus. Public embarrassments like appearing at the 10th anniversary gala for RT, Moscow’s propaganda network—including sitting at the head table with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president—were just the tip of the iceberg. That Flynn took Kremlin money for that controversial appearance should have hinted at worse misdeeds.

For instance, Flynn was lobbying for Russian interests, including lucrative nuclear power deals around the world. This is hardly a normal retirement job for pensioned U.S. Army generals. It now appears Flynn was involved with this while serving as Trump’s national security consigliere. He’s reported to have texted a business colleague that a big nuclear deal was “good to go,” meaning Flynn could now get sanctions lifted off Russia, in the middle of Trump’s inaugural address last January.

What makes Flynn’s implosion especially shocking is this represents his second major career blow-up in five years. His initial fall from grace came in August 2014, when President Barack Obama cashiered him as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency after two difficult years in that job. Although Flynn, in his usual dissimulating fashion, portrayed his firing as a political act—weak President Obama, unserious about the jihadist threat, was threatened by Flynn’s straight talk about terrorism, the story went—the truth is Flynn was dumped from DIA for incompetence. That seldom happens in Washington, and it is nearly unheard-of at top levels of our Intelligence Community.

His tenure there was a disaster, marred by arrogance, cluelessness, and gross mismanagement. As I’ve previously reported:

DIA has always been an also-ran in our Intelligence Community—a dumping ground where military careers go to die more often than prosper—but Flynn believed he could be the boss who turned DIA around to match CIA and NSA in the Washington spy game. Alas, he was wrong.

The civilian workforce at DIA is uninspired even by Beltway standards, and they objected when Flynn repeatedly threatened them with firing if they didn’t submit to his radical plans for the agency. It turned out Flynn was better at thinking about Big Ideas than actually implementing them, and his reform plans for DIA went essentially nowhere.

After two years under Flynn, DIA employees had enough and were in more-or-less open revolt. The final straw came with a bizarre presentation to the workforce by a staffer which encouraged women to not be “Plain Jane” and wear makeup at work: “No flats…Paint your nails…Brunettes have more leeway with vibrant colors than blondes or redheads.”

Although Flynn apologized to his agency, the damage was done. The White House had no choice but to move him out, along with his deputy—a rare move in the Department of Defense to cashier a whole leadership team.

In the aftermath of Flynn’s epic flameout at DIA, it merits asking why he was ever considered for that job at all. There’s an interesting backstory here that requires a bit of unpacking yet reveals the essential fraudulence of the entire Flynn enterprise.

Commissioned in the Army in 1981, for most of his career Flynn was never a major player in the Army or the IC. He was a tactical intelligence guy, and he fatefully lashed himself to Stanley McChrystal, one of the fastest-rising generals in the Army after 9/11. Flynn’s career rose between 2004 and 2007, when he served as the intelligence boss for the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, the spooky snake-eaters who at the time were killing terrorists all over Iraq and Afghanistan. In the mid-aughts, under General McChrystal, JSOC was transformed into a highly lethal secret outfit, and Flynn played a major role there.

Specifically, Flynn oversaw the development of timely, multi-source tactical intelligence that aided JSOC in killing terrorists at an unprecedented rate. Intelligence-driven targeting of bad guys was a big hit with the brass inside the Beltway, and Flynn’s name began to get noticed beyond JSOC. There were always whispers, however, that Flynn was claiming credit for important work done by his underlings, which wouldn’t be unusual in our military.

Flynn was still a relative unknown in spy circles, but that changed at the beginning of 2010, when a sensational study appeared that lambasted American intelligence performance in Afghanistan. Titled Fixing Intel, this was a wonky jeremiad that pulled no punches, using words like “marginally relevant,” “ignorant,” “hazy,” and “incurious” to describe U.S. intelligence work in Afghanistan in a scathing fashion.

What made this particularly odd was the study’s author was the intelligence boss of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan at the time: Mike Flynn. He listed himself as the lead author, alongside two junior analysts. It’s not every day that the boss publicly attacks his own organization, recommending its complete overhaul on grounds that it has utterly failed.

Even more noteworthy was that the study was published by a Washington think-tank, the Center for New American Security. Flynn had jumped outside the Pentagon to attack his own organization, something that troubled some policymakers in the nation’s capital. However, as a means of getting publicity, this was a brilliant ploy, and Flynn immediately became the talk of egghead cocktail parties in Washington.

Fixing Intel was released by CNAS with fanfare, including a key plug by Tom Ricks, a CNAS official who had long been the doyen of military reporting inside the Beltway. With Ricks’ endorsement, Flynn was now officially a man with Big Ideas, and his star rose quickly inside the secret bureaucracy. Before long, he was plucked from Afghanistan to take a plum senior IC staff job in Washington, which introduced him to the right people. Only a few months later, in April 2012, Mike Flynn was nominated by the White House to take over DIA. The rest of the story, we know.

Except there was a key piece missing until just a few days ago. Tom Ricks played a pivotal role in Flynn’s rapid rise in Washington. However, he now wonders if he “helped create a monster,” to use Ricks’ own words. In a shocking column he published last week, Ricks admitted he got CNAS to run Flynn’s study in January 2010. Flynn’s harsh critique was important and needed an airing, Ricks explained: “He seemed to be a breath of fresh air, exactly what the military establishment needed.” However, there’s a big problem with that narrative, as Ricks now concedes:

I have reason to suspect Flynn may have had little role in actually writing the paper. On the other hand, he read it, saw that it was good, and agreed to lend his name—and rank—to it. His endorsement gave the paper a major boost. Otherwise it likely would have gone nowhere, and Flynn might now be a name unknown.

It’s not unusual for a top official to lend his name to a wonky study that otherwise might not get read by anyone. However, Flynn listed himself as the study’s lead authorwhich he was not. This was strongly suspected at the time in intelligence circles, something that Ricks seems to have missed—with fateful consequences.

Mike Flynn was never the savvy intelligence intellectual he pretended to be, which explains why his directorship at DIA was such a disaster. While a competent tactical intelligence guy, Flynn had no idea how the big game was played inside the Beltway, so he dropped the ball when he was let on the field. This also explains how Flynn seemed to have no idea that his calls to the Russian embassy might be intercepted by the FBI, an astonishing ignorance for a career intelligence officer. Then again, there’s a lot that Mike Flynn ought to have known but somehow didn’t.

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. 

Mike Flynn Was Always a Fraud

Every Secret Trump / Russia Contact: Chronologically – HuffPost

mikenova shared this story from trump russian money – Google News.


HuffPost
Every Secret Trump / Russia Contact: Chronologically
HuffPost
… about money he was owed by Ukrainian officials. Manafort also instructs Hope Hicks to disregard media questions about his own relationships with Russian oligarchs. On April 3rd, 2016 Papadopoulos emailed seven Trump campaign officials regarding his 

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hiring practices under FBI investigation: report

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CLOSE

Andrew Cuomo’s administration is under FBI investigation for a decades-old practice of spreading governor’s office employee salaries across the payrolls of various other state agencies and authorities, according to the Times Union. Jon Campbell / Albany Bureau

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t offered an end-of-session agenda for the New York Legislative session, which ends Wednesday.(Photo: AP)

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Friday dismissed an apparent FBI investigation into its hiring practices as a “charade,” pointing to previous New York governors that have used a similar personnel strategy.

The Times Union of Albany reported Friday that federal investigators have interviewed a number of Cuomo employees in recent months who work in the governor’s office but are actually on the payroll of various other state agencies and authorities.

For years, New York governors have used that hiring strategy to inflate their own staff while seemingly keeping the governor’s office budget down on paper.

Cuomo is no exception: Dozens of his staffers are paid by the Dormitory Authority, Department of Transportation and other state entities other than the governor’s office, payroll records show.

An FBI spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday, while a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s Eastern District declined to confirm or deny any investigation.

A spokesman for Cuomo defended his administration’s hiring policies, calling the apparent line of FBI questioning “absurd.”

“In this environment, anyone can ask about anything, but the fact is the longstanding practice of detailing staff from Agencies to work in the Executive Chamber dates back over 50 years to at least the Rockefeller administration and extends to the White House and the federal Department of Justice,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said in a statement.

“Given that the Federal Department of Justice and the White House have a long history of utilizing this practice, perhaps the FBI can investigate them when this is charade is over.”

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The hiring practice has been used by New York governors dating back at least three decades, when then-Gov. Mario Cuomo — Andrew’s father — pledged to cut his personal payroll by 10 percent but actually used other state agencies to add workers to his staff, according to a 1984 article in The New York Times.

The current governor has used the strategy dating back to when he took office in 2011, but has expanded it significantly in recent months.

In March, Cuomo announced the hiring of 27 employees, including several who once worked for Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

More than 20 of those employees work in Cuomo’s office, but only five are actually on the governor’s office’s payroll, according to the Times Union.

That includes Carolyn Pokorny, Cuomo’s chief special counsel for ethics, risk and compliance. She is paid $158,000 a year by Empire State Development, the state’s economic-development branch. Penny Lowy, Cuomo’s appointments secretary, is paid $150,000 a year by the state Office of General Services.

As of November 2016, about of 40 percent of Cuomo’s total staff was paid by other agencies, according to the paper.

It wasn’t clear Friday what laws the FBI is focusing on in its investigation, but the Times Union reported investigators have focused in part on hiring letters and other documentation given to new employees.

In his statement, Azzopardi said investigators should “call George Pataki” if there are questions about the hiring practice. The Republican governor also used the hiring strategy when he was in office from 1995 through 2006.

“‎The agencies are all part of the same executive branch, and this administration follows the exact same lawful hiring process we inherited from previous administrations stretching back decades,” Azzopardi said.

Cuomo’s office has been investigated by the FBI and federal prosecutors before.

In 2014, then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara began investigating Cuomo’s abrupt shuttering of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, a corruption-busting panel the governor had set up to probe wrongdoing in Albany.

But in January 2016, Bharara announced there was “insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime.”

Early next year, Cuomo’s former top aide Joseph Percoco will stand trial. He’s accused of accused of accepting $287,000 from a Maryland-based power company and a Syracuse developer, both of whom had substantial business before the state.

Percoco has pleaded not guilty.

<a href=”mailto:JCampbell1@Gannett.com”>JCampbell1@Gannett.com</a>

Jon Campbell is a correspondent with USA TODAY Network’s Albany Bureau. 

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Congress Must Charge Stonewalling DOJ, FBI With Contempt – Newsmax

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Congress Must Charge Stonewalling DOJ, FBI With Contempt
Newsmax
Rosenstein had appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel under a Judicial Order confirmed by then-FBI Director James BComey into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the 
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How Russia Cheats – The New York Times

mikenova shared this story .

The Kremlin dismissed the details of both schemes as “absurd,” but on Tuesday Russia was barred from the 2018 Winter Games for its state-backed cheating. Some individual Russian athletes may compete independently in neutral uniforms, but the Russian flag will not appear when the Games begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The details of the sports scandal — deconstructed by Russian whistle-blowers who have provided rare insider insights — offer perhaps the purest case study of Russia’s drive to dominate, its brazen methods and, in part, its motivation to influence the American presidency.

In a declassified intelligence report released early this year, United States officials said Russia’s attacks on the election had been, for Mr. Putin, partial payback for the doping scandal, which he repeatedly called an American-led effort to defame Russia. Last month, as new medals were stripped from Russian Olympians, Mr. Putin said the disqualifications were the United States’ attempt to undermine his re-election.

In fact, sports regulators and investigators who conducted the multiple investigations into Russia’s doping are headquartered in Canada, and the Olympic leadership in charge of disqualifying athletes is based in Switzerland. It was the former president of that staunchly neutral country, Samuel Schmid, who conducted the latest investigation for the Olympic committee, resulting in Tuesday’s sanctions.

In scrutinizing Russia, sports and antidoping officials have said they acted on objective forensic and scientific evidence of Russia’s fraud: documents, data, lab analyses and glass bottles of urine with telltale signs of tampering. Just as allies of the special counsel Robert Mueller have done this year in the context of the election inquiry, the officials have defended their impartiality and interest in plain facts.

Three key whistle-blowers helped provide those facts: Grigory Rodchenkov, Russia’s former longtime chief antidoping chemist, as well as Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian runner and a former employee of the nation’s antidoping agency. All now live in the United States, in undisclosed locations from which they have spoken openly about years of coordinated cheating. The Justice Department, too, has taken interest in their evidence.

Dr. Rodchenkov, whose personal diaries cataloged each day of cheating in Sochi, came to the United States only after Vitaly Mutko — Russia’s deputy prime minister and former sports minister — asked him to resign in light of growing global suspicions about the extent of the nation’s cheating, which the chemist had helped mastermind.

“Today we also have a meeting, how to come from defensive to offensive,” Dr. Rodchenkov wrote to me in an email on Nov. 10, 2015, having initially denied wrongdoing in our early exchanges. At that meeting, Mr. Mutko effectively dismissed him and set off a dramatic chain of events: “Freedom!” he wrote in another email that night.

Dr. Rodchenkov’s tell-all account, reported in The Times in May 2016 and detailed in the documentary “Icarus,” culminated in Russia’s Olympic ban this week. It was instrumental in motivating some Russian officials to temper their rigid denials and acknowledge that an “institutional conspiracy” had existed, though they maintained it had not been state sponsored.

Still, before this week’s final sanctions were announced, global athletes, antidoping advocates and some sponsors had expressed concern about a growing crisis in international sports, pointing to the long delay by both regulators and Olympic officials in responding to evidence of widespread cheating that went even beyond Sochi.

As those critics wondered when or if sports officials would penalize Russia for its systematic transgressions by rescinding Olympic medals and condemning the state-supported schemes, they questioned not just fundamental frailties in drug-testing controls but also the independence of antidoping authorities.

One year later, similar basic questions about separation of power have taken on renewed relevance in American politics as a result of Russia’s breaches. Those questions have followed Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks on the independence of the Justice Department, in defiance of the post-Watergate norms intended to insulate law enforcement from partisan and personal agendas.

In the same way that Mr. Trump has avoided acknowledging evidence of Russia’s interference in the election, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, took more than a year to accept the extensive evidence of Russia’s interference in the Sochi Olympic lab operations.

Other sports officials, such as the president of skiing’s governing body, initially told me that the evidence on Russia was conspiratorial or “too Hollywood,” just as some Republican lawmakers have doubted the legitimacy of Mr. Mueller’s mandate.

In drawing out his decision-making until this week, Mr. Bach called for due process and stressed the importance of giving Russia a fair chance to defend itself.

One defense came just after the early penalties for Russian athletes at the 2016 Olympics: a set of cyberattacks. A group known as Fancy Bear — which American intelligence officials tied to Russia’s main military intelligence unit, the G.R.U. — published the hacked private medical records of top American athletes, as well as the private emails of antidoping officials who had lobbied for a ban on Russia.

The hackers — the same group that stole emails from the Democratic National Committee’s servers and released them ahead of the 2016 election — called the athlete records proof of illegal drug use by stars such as Simone Biles and Serena Williams. All athletes had received necessary clearances to use the substances in question, and none of the information constituted a violation.

In a fiery interview in Moscow last year, Mr. Mutko, the former sports minister and current deputy prime minister, echoed Mr. Putin, arguing that Russia had been disadvantaged globally. In sports as in all things, he said, the decks were stacked against the nation.

This week, he was barred from attending any future Olympics, though he remains at the helm of Russia’s 2018 soccer World Cup.

“Somebody has to take the responsibility,” he said in July 2016, three months before Mr. Putin promoted him. “There must be a master at home.”

Correction: December 8, 2017An earlier version of the photo caption with this article misstated the location of Sochi. It is in Russia, not Japan.

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europe far right – Google Search

mikenova shared this story from europe far right – Google News.

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Is Europe’s far right a threat to democracy?

<a href=”http://Aljazeera.com” rel=”nofollow”>Aljazeera.com</a>2 hours ago
So, are Europe’s liberal values under assault, at risk from the far right, or is that an exaggeration? Are some on the left guilty of crying wolf? “There is absolutely no threat to liberal democracy in Europe,” says David Goodhart, author of The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics.
Story image for europe far right from Bloomberg

Europe’s Far Right Won’t Keep Winning If It Can’t Govern

BloombergDec 5, 2017
From Liechtenstein and Bulgaria to Norway and the Czech Republic, it was a good year for farrightparties in Europe. 1 While none of the strong election results were sufficient for a full takeover, it was enough to allow most of them to become a full-fledged part of government. 2 So are they leaping at this …
Story image for europe far right from EURACTIV

Europe’s new farright should admit Muslim migrants can benefit the …

EURACTIVDec 6, 2017
Europe’s far-right are lying to their own populations: study after study across a range of countries has shown that the far-right’s claims about the impacts of immigration are false. Studies of the effect of increased immigration in Europe in the 1990s found that it increased the efficiency and flexibility of labour markets, allowing …
Story image for europe far right from Washington Post

How Poland became a breeding ground for Europe’s far right

Washington PostNov 13, 2017
BERLIN — Few countries suffered as much under the Nazis as Poland did during World War II. And yet, more than 70 years later, it has become a center on the continent for the far right — and liberal critics say the government isn’t doing anything about it. In fact, they say, the Polish far right feels …
neo-fascism – Google Search

mikenova shared this story from neo-fascism – Google News.

Story image for neo-fascism from Quartz

Italy’s neo-fascism is what happens when you normalize extremism

QuartzDec 1, 2017
“Scrap nostalgias, acquire moderates who are no longer scared of neofascism.” With time, AN’s sanitized version of fascism earned a place in the democratic debate. A reliable ally of Silvio Berlusconi’s rightwing party Forza Italia, AN joined all of the governmental coalitions that had Berlusconi as prime …
Story image for neo-fascism from iNews

The media is normalising neo-fascism for clicks

iNewsDec 4, 2017
The media is normalising neo-fascism for clicks. Nigel Farage appeared on The Andrew Marr Show to defend Trump’s tweets featuring anti-Muslim videos. (Image: BBC). Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 4 days Monday December 4th 2017. What stunning gladiatorial spectacle can we next expect on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show?
Story image for neo-fascism from Washington Post

Why neo-fascists are making a shocking surge in Poland

Washington PostNov 13, 2017
Nowadays, neo-fascism and open racism are no longer the province of national parties. In part as a consequence of the borderless Europe they claim to hate, these are now international movements. Large contingents of Hungarian, Slovak and Italian neo-fascist groups came to Warsaw to join the march; …
60000 Join Far-Right March on Poland’s Independence Day
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Nov 12, 2017

CEO of Trump Campaign Data Firm Will Testify to House Panel in Russia Probe – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
CEO of Trump Campaign Data Firm Will Testify to House Panel in Russia Probe
Bloomberg
Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix. Photographer: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP. The chief executive officer of a data firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign is set to testify in private before the House Intelligence Committee as 

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NPR News Now: NPR News: 12-09-2017 7AM ET

NPR News: 12-09-2017 7AM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr.mc.tritondigital.com/NPR_500005/media/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2017/12/09/newscast070625.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=569604362&t=podcast&e=569604362&ft=pod&f=500005

 NPR News Now

As I See It: The Puerto Rico experiment – The Daily News of Newburyport

As I See It: The Puerto Rico experiment
The Daily News of Newburyport 
On Oct. 20, George Page, titular head of Google’s Project Loon, sent hundreds of helium-filled balloons from their launching site in Nevada to Puerto Rico. The balloons were controlled by inflating and deflating the balloons so they could catch winds
 
The first thing Virgin Air’s Richard Branson noticed when he crawled out of his cellar after Hurricane Irma was the solar array. It lay on the ground unharmed while his Caribbean home and everything surrounding it had been totally destroyed. People
 

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Column: Annus Horribilis – SouthFloridaGayNews.com


SouthFloridaGayNews.com
Column: Annus Horribilis
SouthFloridaGayNews.com
I’ve endured a full year of The Donald as President, endless sexual harassment scandals, continued attacks by Republican lawmakers on the Middle Class, tax breaks for the wealthy, my brother’s diagnosis of two separate cancers, stagnant wages for

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