Anthony Weiner scheduled for early release next spring – 10:56 AM 10/12/2018

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Saved Stories – The News and Times
Saved Stories – The News and Times
Anthony Weiner scheduled for early release next spring – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com

Anthony Weiner scheduled for early release next spring
NBCNews.com
Anthony Weiner, the Democratic former U.S. representative from New York who typed away his career one sext at a time, is scheduled to be released three months early next year from a special medical prison, according to prison records. Weiner, 54, began …
Anthony Weiner, Who Admitted Sexting with Teen, Has Prison Sentence Shortened for Good BehaviorPEOPLE.com Weiner to be released from prison earlyCNN
Anthony Weiner to be released early from federal prisonPolitico 

Anthony Weiner reportedly to be released from prison early for ‘good conduct’Washington Times 
Weiner on track for early release
 
In Touch Weekly
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CBS News
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FBI director defends ‘limited’ Kavanaugh background probe – Washington Post


Washington Post

FBI director defends ‘limited’ Kavanaugh background probe
Washington Post
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray defended his agents’ handling of a background investigation into then-Supreme Court nominee Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, saying that it was “limited in scope” and followed standard procedures. Wray was pressed at a Senate  
FBI Director Defends Kavanaugh Investigation as ‘Standard’New York Times
 hearing by … 

FBI’s Wray confirms White House limited limits on Kavanaugh probePolitico
FBI Director: Kavanaugh background probe ‘limited in scope’CNN
HuffPostWall Street JournalNewsweekThe Hill
all 123 chief: ‘Usual process was followed’ for Kavanaugh background investigationThe Hill
FBI director says bureau is investigating 5000 terrorism cases across the worldABC News
Washington ExaminerBloombergCNN
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Roberts refers judicial misconduct complaints against Kavanaugh to federal appeals court in Colorado – Washington Post


Washington Post

Roberts refers judicial misconduct complaints against Kavanaugh to federal appeals court in Colorado
Washington Post
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Wednesday referred more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints filed recently against Brett M. Kavanaugh to a federal appeals court in Colorado. The 15 complaints, related to statements Kavanaugh made during … 
Complaints filed against Brett Kavanaugh are transferred to Colorado court for handlingUSA TODAY

Ethics complaints against Brett Kavanaugh have not been resolved yetCNBC 
exceptional circumstances – DC CircuitDC Circuit

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New York man wanted to blow himself up on the National Mall on Election Day – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com

New York man wanted to blow himself up on the National Mall on Election Day
NBCNews.com
The FBI has arrested an upstate New York man accused of building a bomb that he intended to use to blow himself up on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Election Day, authorities said Wednesday. Court documents say Paul Rosenfeld, 56, of Tappan …
NY Man Planned Election Day Bombing In DC: US AttorneyPatch.com
Feds charge man charged with constructing bomb he intended to detonate on National MallNewsday

all 57 news articles »

Armed man arrested near California park where camper was shot dead in front of daughters: cops – Fox News


Fox News

Armed man arrested near California park where camper was shot dead in front of daughters: cops
Fox News
California man shot and killed while on camping trip with his two young girls, 2 and 4, at Malibu Creek State Park campsite. Southern California authorities on Wednesday arrested an armed man near the area where a father was gunned down during the …
Sheriff’s investigators arrest man who may be linked to string of burglaries in Malibu and CalabasasLos Angeles Times

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US, Russia astronauts making emergency landing – Phys.Org


Phys.Org

US, Russia astronauts making emergency landing
Phys.Org
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speak prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur …more.
Astronauts escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocketBBC News
US and Russian Astronauts Blast Off to the International Space StationTIME
Russians ready two-man Soyuz for space station launchCBS News
Space.com –KSL.com
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Rocket Fails, and American and Russian Astronauts Make Emergency Return – New York Times


New York Times

Rocket Fails, and American and Russian Astronauts Make Emergency Return
New York Times
A rocket carrying an American and a Russian astronaut failed minutes after liftoff Thursday morning, but the two crew members safely made an emergency return to Earth, the space agencies of both countries said. The capsule had parachuted to Earth about …
American, Russian alive after Soyuz rocket headed to space station fails on launchWashington Post
Soyuz rocket failure forces NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonaut to make emergency landingCBS News
US, Russian astronauts safe after emergency landingYahoo News
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F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet – BBC News


BBC News

F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet
BBC News
The US military has temporarily grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets in the wake of a crash in South Carolina last month. Inspections are to be carried out on faulty fuel tubes. An official report questioned earlier this year whether the F-35 
All US F-35s grounded worldwideMilitary Times
Military grounds all F-35s worldwide for inspections after September crashWashington Examiner
Pentagon grounds global fleet of F-35 fighter jets after first ever crashSky News

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Virginia judge: Paul Manafort plea deal in Washington ‘highly unusual’ – Washington Examiner


Washington Examiner

Virginia judge: Paul Manafort plea deal in Washington ‘highly unusual’
Washington Examiner
The federal judge who oversaw the federal trial against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Virginia called the plea deal in the District to dismiss the deadlocked charges only after he has finished cooperating with special counsel Robert …

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Wall Street dips again, inflation data calms nerves – Reuters


Reuters

Wall Street dips again, inflation data calms nerves
Reuters
(Reuters) – U.S. stocks steadied slightly after their worst day in eight months on Thursday as a smaller-than-expected rise in consumer prices suggested inflationary pressures were easing, weakening the case for an aggressive campaign of further 

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Stock market, after worst rout since February, shifts between small gains and losses – USA TODAY


USA TODAY

Stock market, after worst rout since February, shifts between small gains and losses
USA TODAY
U.S. stocks appear to be taking a breather in early trading Thursday, vacillating between positive and negative territory after the market’s biggest rout since February the previous day. That drop in U.S. stocks was followed by sizable losses in Asian 
What is behind the global stock market sell-off?Financial Times

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“Будёновцы”: «Ещё бы буденовки надели»!!! – 10.9.18 – They should have put on their “budenovka” hats…

“Будёновцы”: «Ещё бы буденовки надели»!!! – 10.9.18 – They should have put on their “budenovka” hats, too!!! – В ГРУ нашли виновного в провалах — Блоги — Эхо Москвы, 09.10.2018
Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm …

Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm but it ain’t. – M.N.) – Google Search – 8:04 AM 10/9/2018
Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm …

Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm but it ain’t. – M.N.) – Google Search – 8:04 AM 10/9/2018
Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm …

Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm but it ain’t. – M.N.) – Google Search – 8:04 AM 10/9/2018
Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm …

Skripal, Yanukovych, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, Vekselberg, Akhmetov – (Sounds Like a Law Firm but it ain’t. – M.N.) – Google Search – 8:04 AM 10/9/2018
Сотрудники ГРУ Чепига и Мишкин участвовали в захвате госучреждений на востоке Украины – Recent Tweets…

Сотрудники ГРУ Чепига и Мишкин участвовали в захвате госучреждений на востоке Украины – Recent Tweets Review – 4:15 AM 10/11/2018
Russian Lessons: Федот, да не тот! – Salisbury Poisoning 2018 News Review – UPDATE – 4:52 AM 10/11/2018…

Russian Lessons: Федот, да не тот! – Salisbury Poisoning 2018 News Review – UPDATE – 4:52 AM 10/11/2018
Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia pictured in Salisbury Zizzi restaurant at heart of poison plot thesun.co.uk/news/5756370/e…

Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia pictured in Salisbury Zizzi restaurant at heart of poison plot thesun.co.uk/news/5756370/e…


Posted by mikenov on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 3:36pm
Russian military reportedly unhappy with a series of embarrassing blunders by its spies abroad businessinsider.com/russia-reporte… #salisburypoisoning #feedly

Russian military reportedly unhappy with a series of embarrassing blunders by its spies abroad businessinsider.com/russia-reporte… #salisburypoisoning #feedly


Posted by mikenov on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 4:20pm
Internet research is the practice of using Internet information – 12:52 PM 10/11/2018 russia-news.org/2018/10/11/int…

Internet research is the practice of using Internet information – 12:52 PM 10/11/2018 russia-news.org/2018/10/11/int…


Posted by mikenov on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 4:53pm
Russia News: Internet research is the practice of using Internet information – 1:05 PM 10/11/2018 trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2018/10/1…

Russia News: Internet research is the practice of using Internet information – 1:05 PM 10/11/2018 trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2018/10/1…


Posted by mikenov on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 5:07pm
10:07 AM 9/25/2018 – Declassify the Russia investigation documents

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Declassify the Russia investigation documents Anta-nan-arivo Mad-aga-scar Mal-a-gasy – Google Search Anta-nan-arivo Mad-aga-scar Mal-a-gasy – Google Search anta-nan-arivo mad-aga-scar – Google Search anta-nan-arivo mad-aga-scar – Google Search antananarivo madagascar – Google Search Madagascar probing US diplomat death in Antananarivo with State Department security, 1 person detained US diplomat found dead in … Continue reading“10:07 AM 9/25/2018 – Declassify the Russia investigation documents”
Operation Novichok – The Postcard from Salisbury | Sergei Skripal – 7:59 AM 10/7/2018

Operation Novichok – The Postcard from Salisbury News and Times from mikenova News and Times from mikenova (14 sites) mikenov on Twitter: Operation Novichok – The Postcard from Salisbury – 7:15 AM 10/7/2018 russia-news.org/2018/10/07/ope… Russia News: Operation Novichok – The Postcard from Salisbury – 7:15 AM 10/7/2018 mikenov on Twitter: Operation Novichok – The Postcard … Continue reading“Operation Novichok – The Postcard from Salisbury | Sergei Skripal – 7:59 AM 10/7/2018”
Donald Trump may be drawn into double agent Sergei Skripal’s ‘poisoning’ – 8:05 AM 10/7/2018

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Donald Trump may be drawn into double agent Sergei Skripal’s ‘poisoning’ skripal and steel dossier – Google Search skripal and steele dossier – Google Search skripal and steele dossier – Google Search skripal and steele dossier – Google Search skripal and steele dossier – Google Search skripal and steele … Continue reading

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9:07 AM 10/4/2017 – TRUMP-RUSSIA Updates

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TRUMP-RUSSIA

A series of Russian-linked Facebook ads were specifically targeted at voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, two battleground states that were instrumental to Trump’s victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to four sources, the ads promoted divisive messages and were intended to sway public opinion. Manu Raju, Dylan Byers and Dana Bash reveal at CNN.

The intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election is expected to be largely endorsed by Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) today when they give an interim status update on the committee’s investigation at a public event, it is not expected that they would release an interim report. Karoun Demirjian and Greg Miller report at the Washington Post.

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer at the center of a controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign officials in June 2016, during a visit to Moscow in April 2016, prompting questions about Rohrbacher’s relationship with Russia. Elias Groll reports at Foreign Policy.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (D.H.S.) decision to stop federal agencies and departments from using Kaspersky Lab software was based on the “totality of evidence, including on the most part open-source information,” a senior D.H.S. cybersecurity official said yesterday, making the comments after the D.H.S. directed the removal of Kaspersky software in September due to alleged links with Russian intelligence. Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Some Russian-linked Facebook pages tried to pass for local content, with four accounts continuing to post divisive messages as recently as August 2017. Georgie Wells reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts

Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (5 sites)
The World Web Times: Las Vegas Shooting: Gunman Wired Thousands to Philippines Days Before Attack The New York Times

Source: Las Vegas Shooting: Gunman Wired Thousands to Philippines Days Before Attack – The New York Times

The World Web Times

Trump – from Huffington Post

Trump – from Huffington Post from mikenova (1 sites)

They promoted anti-Muslim sentiment, CNN reported.

Donald Trump

Trump News Review

1. Trump from mikenova (196 sites)
Russian Intelligence services – Google News: FSB supports imposing anonymity ban on instant messengers – TASS
Trumpism – Google News: Drexel University Prof Blames Las Vegas Shooting on ‘Trumpism’ and White Men – legal Insurrection (blog)
trump and putin – Google News: Putin says Trump is listening to Russia’s views on North Korea crisis – Reuters
Putin Trump – Google News: Putin says Trump is listening to Russia’s views on North Korea crisis – Reuters
trump psychological assessment – Google News: Hey, Donald! Listen up! – The Philadelphia Citizen
Donald Trump: Putin: Russia will support Iran nuclear deal even if US withdraws
trump narcissist – Google News: How to negotiate with a narcissist and maintain your cool and win – Financial Post
Sebastian Gorka – Google News: Sebastian Gorka, former Trump aide, recalled as stellar teacher – MyAJC
Donald Trump – Google News: Al Franken on Donald Trump’s North Korea threats: I don’t understand him – Salon

 

Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Donald Trump’s passion for cruelty – The Conversation CA
An estimated 10 million saw Russia-linked Facebook ads – WJLA
HP Enterprise Let Russia Scrutinize Cyberdefense System Used by Pentagon – Fortune
Trump’s company had more contact with Russia during campaign, according to documents turned over to investigators – Houston Chronicle
Facebook and Google pledged to stop fake news. So why did they promote Las Vegas-shooting hoaxes? – Los Angeles Times
Vladimir Putin among world leaders offering condolences to Donald Trump over Las Vegas shooting – The Independent
Here come those pro-Trump Russian Facebook ads
felix sater – Google News: Trump’s Company Had Extra Contact With Russia During 2016 Election Campaign, Documents Reveal – Newsweek
Trump’s Company Had Extra Contact With Russia During 2016 Election Campaign, Documents Reveal – Newsweek
Vladimir Putin Sends Condolences To Trump Following Las Vegas Shooting – Newsweek
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner private email scandal explodes
Domestic terrorism programs would be cut under Trump – CNN
Guns, explosives found at home of ‘lone wolf’ Las Vegas shooter – FRANCE 24
Welfare Programs Could Be the Next Target of a Donald Trump Executive Order – The Root
The Electoral College: A Safeguard For Stable Elections – Heritage.org
Donald Trump falls apart
The Guardian view on Las Vegas and Puerto Rico: a tale of two Americas | Editorial
Thanks to the EU, the UK’s privacy law may solve the mystery of Facebook and the last US election – Boing Boing
Public health factors may have affected 2016 US presidential election results – EurekAlert (press release)
Russia tells official who bought Trump-branded Florida condos: You’re fired – Miami Herald
Unhealthiest US counties made ‘dramatic’ switch from Obama to Trump in 2016, study finds – The Independent
Facebook Gives Russia-Linked Ads to Congress – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
WATCH LIVE: Trump leads moment of silence for Las Vegas victims – WJLA
Counties with poor health were far more likely to vote Trump: New analysis shows public health was one of the … – Daily Mail

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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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Story image for Kim Philby from New York Times

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

New York Times7 hours ago
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 …
Story image for Kim Philby from CNN

In Russia, an old spy story comes in from the cold

CNNSep 28, 2017
It’s been more than 60 years since Kim Philby, an upper-class Englishman with legendary charm, slipped aboard a Russian freighter in Beirut …
Story image for Kim Philby from The Guardian

Documents that Kim Philby passed to USSR on display for first time

The GuardianSep 22, 2017
Kim Philby was the most notorious of the “Cambridge five”, British communists who spied for Moscow and evaded suspicion for years due to …
Story image for Kim Philby from Le Point

Des archives de l’agent double Kim Philby dévoilées à Moscou

Le Point4 hours ago
Kim Philby était le plus efficace de ceux que les historiens ont appelé les “Cinq de Cambridge”, cinq anciens étudiants de la prestigieuse …
Story image for Kim Philby from The Weekly Standard

The Spy Who Loved Animals

The Weekly StandardSep 15, 2017
The Cambridge spies—Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, and John Cairncross—who burrowed into the heart of the …
Story image for Kim Philby from Reuters

John le Carre’s George Smiley beats James Bond, British spy …

ReutersSep 28, 2017
… trapped in a wilderness of mirrors inside British intelligence which was reeling from the betrayal of Kim Philby who fled to Moscow in 1963.
Read the whole story
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Cambridge Five – Google Search

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Story image for Cambridge Five from The Sun Daily

Moscow reveals cables sent to USSR by British double agent

The Sun Daily8 hours ago
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.

Read the whole story
· · · ·

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
CNN
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.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Says Trump Is ‘Going Straight to Hell’New York Times
‘It’s a disgraceful job’: Puerto Rican congressman slams Trump over hurricane responseWashington Post
Trump picks risky Puerto Rico fightPolitico
Los Angeles Times –Fox News –Business Insider
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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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CNN
Justice allows Senate panel to interview FBI officials – CNNPolitics
CNN
(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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ProPublica
Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who …
ProPublica
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.
New Report Sheds Light On Mueller’s Inve | The Daily CallerThe Daily Caller
Mueller Subpoenas Biz Associate Of Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Client …TPM

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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
ABC News
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.
Robert Mueller Is Facing His Biggest Question Yet: Should He Prosecute the Cover-Up Before He’s Certain There’s a …Vanity Fair
Mueller begins interviewing White House staff for Russia probe: reportThe Hill
Robert Mueller reportedly starts interviewing White House staff for Russia probeWashington Examiner
Asia Times –Politico –CBS News
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Mueller Subpoenas Biz Associate Of Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Client – TPM

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TPM
Mueller Subpoenas Biz Associate Of Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Client
TPM
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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Story image for European right wing alliance from EUobserver

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 …
Story image for European right wing alliance from Modern Diplomacy

rightwing party in the new German government

Modern Diplomacy22 hours ago
The reasons to vote for rightwing AfD are the problems, not the AfD itself. … However, a non-representative survey by the Counter Narco-Terror Alliance … other countries and foremost Germany’s European partner countries.
Can Germany Make an Unwieldy Coalition Work?
SPIEGEL ONLINESep 29, 2017
Germany’s grave new world
MENAFN.COM19 hours ago
Media image for European right wing alliance from MinnPost

MinnPost

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Daily Mail

Media image for European right wing alliance from SPIEGEL ONLINE

SPIEGEL ONLINE
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rightwing alliance – Google Search

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Right Wing Alliance Launches Campaign To Strike ‘Mortal Blow …

PlunderbundSep 8, 2017
Just before Labor Day weekend, The Guardian dropped one helluva piece about a right wing allianceof so-called think tanks who have …
Story image for rightwing alliance from Deutsche Welle

German military investigating right-wing extremism within its ranks

Deutsche WelleSep 29, 2017
German military investigating right-wing extremism within its ranks … West Germany officially joined the trans-Atlantic alliance in 1955. However …
Story image for rightwing alliance from USA TODAY

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

USA TODAYSep 20, 2017
An alliance of mostly anonymous online trolls and extremist agitators … Instead, they said, right-winggroups in the United States were behind …
Euro slips on Merkel’s losses, fractured parliament
InternationalDeutsche WelleSep 25, 2017

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right wing alliance – Google Search

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Story image for right wing alliance from Plunderbund

Right Wing Alliance Launches Campaign To Strike ‘Mortal Blow …

PlunderbundSep 8, 2017
Just before Labor Day weekend, The Guardian dropped one helluva piece about a right wing allianceof so-called think tanks who have …
Story image for right wing alliance from Deutsche Welle

German military investigating rightwing extremism within its ranks

Deutsche WelleSep 29, 2017
German military investigating rightwing extremism within its ranks … West Germany officially joined the trans-Atlantic alliance in 1955. However …
Story image for right wing alliance from NPR

Germany’s Political Earthquake: Making Sense Of The Right Shift In …

NPRSep 24, 2017
… is that of nationalist rightwing party Alliance for Germany, or AfD. … Some members have espoused the values of the extreme right, and one …
Euro slips on Merkel’s losses, fractured parliament
InternationalDeutsche WelleSep 25, 2017

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Russian – German right wing alliance – Google Search

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Story image for Russian - German right wing alliance from USA TODAY

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

USA TODAYSep 20, 2017
But everyone in Germany is getting these rightwing party … The Alliance for Securing Democracy has concluded that Russia has meddled in …
Merkel 4.0: centre stage in a turbulent world
InternationalExpatica GermanySep 24, 2017
AfD: What you need to know about Germany’s far-right party
InternationalDeutsche WelleJan 22, 2017
Media image for Russian - German right wing alliance from Reuters

Reuters

Media image for Russian - German right wing alliance from CNBC

CNBC

Media image for Russian - German right wing alliance from Foreign Policy (blog)

Foreign Policy (blog)

Media image for Russian - German right wing alliance from NPR

NPR

Media image for Russian - German right wing alliance from Eyewitness News

Eyewitness News

Media image for Russian - German right wing alliance from RT

RT
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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 …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionage  

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Trump slams Facebook as lawmakers await ads amid Russia probe – Reuters

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Reuters
Trump slams Facebook as lawmakers await ads amid Russia probe
Reuters
Facebook and other technology companies are coming under increased scrutiny amid the Russiainvestigations. The probes, being conducted by several congressional committees along with the Department of Justice, have clouded Trump’s tenure since …
Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg feud over Facebook’s role in politicsThe Sydney Morning Herald

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Can Trump Fire Mueller? President’s Powers Over Russia Investigation a Hot Debate – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Can Trump Fire Mueller? President’s Powers Over Russia Investigation a Hot Debate
Newsweek
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s job security was a topic of debate Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and legal experts were torn over whether Congress could, in fact, protect the former FBI director were President Donald Trump to issue a 
IRS shares info with special counsel in Russia probe – CNNPoliticsCNN
Bills to Protect Mueller Are Bipartisan, but the Path Forward Is UncertainNew York Times
Mueller investigation into Trump and Russia: Congress may not be …McClatchy Washington Bureau
Politico –Crain’s Chicago Business –US Government Publishing Office –UVA Law – University of Virginia
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Trump-Russia investigators close in on sources named in explosive dossier – The Independent

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The Independent
Trump-Russia investigators close in on sources named in explosive dossier
The Independent
Meanwhile, the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, leading a separate investigation into the Kremlins’ activities, have contacted and taken evidence from a number of figures named in the dossier, including one, The Independent has learned, who has …

Trump-Russia investigation may target Reddit posts, says senator’s aide – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Trump-Russia investigation may target Reddit posts, says senator’s aide
The Guardian
Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, announced last week that the site was “actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference”, adding that: “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy.
What We Know—and Don’t Know—About Facebook, Trump, and RussiaWIRED
Update: Russian Interference in 2016 US Election, Bots, & Misinformation – Twitter BlogTwitter Blog
Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisionsWashington Post
CNNMoney
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Does Trump’s team have a Clinton email problem? – CNN

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CNN
Does Trump’s team have a Clinton email problem?
CNN
The use of private email by senior Trump White House advisers creates an unacceptable risk that the activities of the Trump White House will not be properly documented, ongoinginvestigations by Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller will be …
Why Did Jared Kushner Register to Vote as a Woman?GQ Magazine

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Trump’s Systematic, Deliberate Deception Is an Impeachable Offense – Foreign Policy (blog)

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Foreign Policy (blog)
Trump’s Systematic, Deliberate Deception Is an Impeachable Offense
Foreign Policy (blog)
If there is evidence of obstructive intent, Trump’s repeated and emphatic public attacks on theinvestigation cannot fail to fill out to his detriment the picture of a president committed to undermining law enforcement. This is perhaps a risk that the 

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Looking for quick end to probes? Not likely

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CLOSE

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.

Read more:

Legal experts split on constitutionality of bills to protect Robert Mueller in Russia probe

Congress should protect evidence gathered by Mueller in Russia probe, experts warn

Congress struggles to figure out which Russia investigation trumps the others

“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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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’

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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 …
Story image for European right wing alliance from Modern Diplomacy

rightwing party in the new German government

Modern Diplomacy22 hours ago
The reasons to vote for rightwing AfD are the problems, not the AfD itself. … However, a non-representative survey by the Counter Narco-Terror Alliance … other countries and foremost Germany’s European partner countries.
Can Germany Make an Unwieldy Coalition Work?
SPIEGEL ONLINESep 29, 2017
Germany’s grave new world
MENAFN.COM19 hours ago
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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 right-wing extremism within its ranks

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German military investigating right-wing extremism within its ranks … West Germany officially joined the trans-Atlantic alliance in 1955. However …
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There is meddling in Germany’s election — not by Russia, but by US …

USA TODAYSep 20, 2017
An alliance of mostly anonymous online trolls and extremist agitators … Instead, they said, right-winggroups in the United States were behind …
Euro slips on Merkel’s losses, fractured parliament
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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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Germany’s Political Earthquake: Making Sense Of The Right Shift In …

NPRSep 24, 2017
… is that of nationalist rightwing party Alliance for Germany, or AfD. … Some members have espoused the values of the extreme right, and one …
Euro slips on Merkel’s losses, fractured parliament
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There is meddling in Germany’s election — not by Russia, but by US …

USA TODAYSep 20, 2017
But everyone in Germany is getting these rightwing party … The Alliance for Securing Democracy has concluded that Russia has meddled in …
Merkel 4.0: centre stage in a turbulent world
InternationalExpatica GermanySep 24, 2017
AfD: What you need to know about Germany’s far-right party
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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 …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionage  

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Trump slams Facebook as lawmakers await ads amid Russia probe – Reuters

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Trump slams Facebook as lawmakers await ads amid Russia probe
Reuters
Facebook and other technology companies are coming under increased scrutiny amid the Russiainvestigations. The probes, being conducted by several congressional committees along with the Department of Justice, have clouded Trump’s tenure since …
Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg feud over Facebook’s role in politicsThe Sydney Morning Herald

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Can Trump Fire Mueller? President’s Powers Over Russia Investigation a Hot Debate – Newsweek

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Can Trump Fire Mueller? President’s Powers Over Russia Investigation a Hot Debate
Newsweek
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s job security was a topic of debate Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and legal experts were torn over whether Congress could, in fact, protect the former FBI director were President Donald Trump to issue a 
IRS shares info with special counsel in Russia probe – CNNPoliticsCNN
Bills to Protect Mueller Are Bipartisan, but the Path Forward Is UncertainNew York Times
Mueller investigation into Trump and Russia: Congress may not be …McClatchy Washington Bureau
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Trump-Russia investigators close in on sources named in explosive dossier – The Independent

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The Independent
Trump-Russia investigators close in on sources named in explosive dossier
The Independent
Meanwhile, the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, leading a separate investigation into the Kremlins’ activities, have contacted and taken evidence from a number of figures named in the dossier, including one, The Independent has learned, who has …

Trump-Russia investigation may target Reddit posts, says senator’s aide – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Trump-Russia investigation may target Reddit posts, says senator’s aide
The Guardian
Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, announced last week that the site was “actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference”, adding that: “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy.
What We Know—and Don’t Know—About Facebook, Trump, and RussiaWIRED
Update: Russian Interference in 2016 US Election, Bots, & Misinformation – Twitter BlogTwitter Blog
Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisionsWashington Post
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Does Trump’s team have a Clinton email problem? – CNN

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CNN
Does Trump’s team have a Clinton email problem?
CNN
The use of private email by senior Trump White House advisers creates an unacceptable risk that the activities of the Trump White House will not be properly documented, ongoinginvestigations by Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller will be …
Why Did Jared Kushner Register to Vote as a Woman?GQ Magazine

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Trump’s Systematic, Deliberate Deception Is an Impeachable Offense – Foreign Policy (blog)

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Foreign Policy (blog)
Trump’s Systematic, Deliberate Deception Is an Impeachable Offense
Foreign Policy (blog)
If there is evidence of obstructive intent, Trump’s repeated and emphatic public attacks on theinvestigation cannot fail to fill out to his detriment the picture of a president committed to undermining law enforcement. This is perhaps a risk that the 

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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.

Read more:

Legal experts split on constitutionality of bills to protect Robert Mueller in Russia probe

Congress should protect evidence gathered by Mueller in Russia probe, experts warn

Congress struggles to figure out which Russia investigation trumps the others

“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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6:41 PM 9/28/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters | Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal

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Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters
Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Our System Is Rigged – HuffPost
Wray installed as FBI director, replacing Comey – Fox News
Wray installed as FBI director; Trump absent at ceremony – San Francisco Chronicle
Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be found – USA TODAY
The Latest: Senate Dem Not Impressed With Twitter Briefing – U.S. News & World Report
28.09.2017 01:27
28.09.2017 16:00
28.09.2017 18:47
Paul Manafort just reached the end of his rope
Week In Review – The South Florida Times
Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry – Financial Times
Insider reveals the specific criminal charges Robert Mueller will bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators
Evidence mounts that Russia used Facebook to sow political chaos in the US – Business Insider
Fake NewsIncluding From Russian SourcesSaturated Swing States That Trump Barely Won – Mother Jones
Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? The Atlantic The World Web Times
distrust of mainstream media – Google Search
Rightwing populist AfD dominates German Twitter, new study shows
Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election Quartz
Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election, study says – The Washington Post
Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

 

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Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters

mikenova shared this story from US elections and russia – Google News.

Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election
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WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Twitter officials on Thursday briefed U.S. congressional investigators probing howRussian-backed internet trolls, bots and targeted ads may have been used on the microblogging site to influence last year’selection.

Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal

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Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey
Akron Beacon Journal
He replaces James Comey, who was fired in May by President Donald Trump after fewer than four years on the job. The ceremony at FBI headquarters on Thursday was notable because neither Comey nor Robert Mueller, who preceded him as FBI director, …

Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters

mikenova shared this story from US elections and russia – Google News.


RT
Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election
Reuters
N) officials on Thursday briefed U.S. congressional investigators probing how Russian-backed internet trolls, bots and targeted ads may have been used on the microblogging site to influence last year’s election. Colin Crowell, Twitter’s vice president 
Reddit may be probed over its role in alleged Russian meddling into 2016 US elections reportRT
Twitter: Russia spent $US274,100 on ads during 2016 US electionThe Sydney Morning Herald
Russian group spent $274000 on Twitter ads during US electionPhys.Org
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

mikenova shared this story from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

The Trump administration temporarily waived the Jones Act, which had inhibited access to needed hurricane relief supplies, for Puerto Rico, according to the New York Times. The century-old law says only American-built, -owned and -operated vessels can ship goods transported within the United States. On Monday, eight members of Congress submitted a letter to the Department of Homeland Security requesting the temporary waiver, asserting that temporarily lifting the act would facilitate the transportation of supplies to the devastated island.

On Thursday, Chung Eui-young, South Koreas national security adviser, stated that the country expects the United States could begin to more regularly send strategic military assets to the South by the end of the year, the Washington Post reports. The Pentagon has not yet confirmed the decision. While Chung did not specify what the strategic assets would be, the term likely refers to B-52 bombers, stealth warplanes, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, as South Korean officials often suggest.

Yesterday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned of a response following the Trump administrations restriction of Russian military flights over U.S. territory, Reuters reports. Both the United States and Russia have questioned the others compliance with the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement allowing unarmed aerial observation flights over territories of the participating states. On Tuesday, the United States announced it was restricting Russian military flights over U.S. territory after Moscow prohibited U.S. observation flights over Kaliningrad.

President Vladimir Putin announced that he oversaw the destruction of Russias last chemical weapons yesterday, while also rebuking the United States for not acting similarly, according to the Times. The event was broadcast on state television and presented an opportunity for Putin to assert the United States was not fulfilling its deadline to destroy its chemical weapons pursuant to the Chemical Weapons Convention. A State Department official retorted Putins claim, saying the United States fully complies with the treaty and remains committed to completely destroying its chemical weapons by 2023. The treaty, signed in 1993, had an initial deadline of 2007 before it was extended to 2012.

Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will resign on October 1, the Post reports. Rosenberg reportedly declined Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenteins suggestion that he serve as the presidentially appointed head of the DEA or in another Justice Department position. In July, Rosenberg notably criticized Trumps comments concerning treatment of criminal suspects in an email to DEA employees. He has also been at odds with Justice Department officials over DEA requests to grow marijuana for research in an administration which supports stricter marijuana enforcement. Rosenbergs replacement will likely address similar issues over marijuana enforcement and research, in addition to handling the opioid crisis.

On Thursday, Twitter participated in a closed-door hearing with House and Senate intelligence committee staff concerning Russias used of the social media platform and the 2016 election, CNN reports. Facebook participated in a similar hearing this month that revealed the tech giant sold more than 3,000 election ads to a Russian agency. Yesterday, the House committee stated they plan on holding an open hearing with the tech companies in the next month. In a related event, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement last night dismissing Trumps accusation that Facebook was biased against the president, instead arguing the social media platform will continue to work to build a community for all people.

Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor accused of leaking classified material, admitted she smuggled a classified report in her pantyhose, according to Politico. A transcript of Winners interrogation, which federal prosecutors filed on Wednesday, revealed the admission and other details related to the case. The 25-year-old linguist sent the report, which concerned Russian spearfishing attacks against U.S. voter registration databases, to The Intercept. Winners trial is currently set for March 1. If convicted, prosecutors say Winner would face at least nine years in prison under sentencing guidelines.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bob Bauer argued that the presidents untruthful claims about the Russian investigation could have legal consequences.

Robert Chesney unveiled a joint blog post series surrounding the Fifth Annual Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict.

Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the latest National Security Law Podcast.

Nora Ellingsen provided a roundup of this months international terrorism prosecutions.

Our System Is Rigged – HuffPost

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Baltimore Sun
Our System Is Rigged
HuffPost
For the first few months of his presidency, Donald Trump delighted in showing guests an electoral map of the country in which huge splotches from the South through the Midwest and into the far West were red, indicating Trump’s support. He was right, of …
Does Trump have a chance to be a two-term president? Bigly.Baltimore Sun
Trump’s re-election effort will be the most vicious campaign you’ve ever seenThe Week Magazine
Alabama tide portends another angry voter waveWashington Examiner

all 337 news articles »

Wray installed as FBI director, replacing Comey – Fox News

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Fox News
Wray installed as FBI director, replacing Comey
Fox News
Trump fired Comey in May, and Mueller was appointed as special counsel the following week to oversee an FBI investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Comey, Mueller skip ceremony for Wray’s installation as FBI directorPolitico
Chris Wray formally installed as FBI director, replaces fired ComeyCBS News

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Twitter finds hundreds of accounts tied to Russian operatives – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune
Twitter finds hundreds of accounts tied to Russian operatives
Chicago Tribune
“There’s plenty of evidence that Russian intelligence services have been on Twitter for years and have used Twitter to amplify messages and inserted lines of attack in ways that got amplified by mainstream and partisan media,” said Alex Howard, deputy …
Are Russia’s ‘Friends’ Hiding in Your Facebook Feed?The Nation.
Twitter just told Congress it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents found on FacebookRecode
Senator Berates Twitter Over ‘Inadequate’ Inquiry Into Russian MeddlingNew York Times
CNET –The Guardian –Washington Post –Twitter Blog
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Wray installed as FBI director; Trump absent at ceremony – San Francisco Chronicle

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San Francisco Chronicle
Wray installed as FBI director; Trump absent at ceremony
San Francisco Chronicle
Trump fired Comey in May, and Mueller was appointed as special counsel the following week to oversee an FBI investigationinto potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Grassley threatens to subpoena FBI officials for answers on Comey, Clinton, RussiaFox News
Senate Investigators Will Interview FBI Officials About Trump’s Firing of ComeyNewsweek
Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be foundUSA TODAY
Politico
all 16 news articles »
Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be found – USA TODAY

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Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be found
USA TODAY
Nominee Chris Wray under the spotlight … Wray, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1992, left the Justice Department in 2005 to join the law firm of King & Spalding, where he represented major corporations in state and federal investigations. He

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The Latest: Senate Dem Not Impressed With Twitter Briefing – U.S. News & World Report

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Inc.com
The Latest: Senate Dem Not Impressed With Twitter Briefing
U.S. News & World Report
Twitter shared those findings with the House and Senate intelligence committees Thursday. The committees have beeninvestigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and how Twitter and Facebook were used to spread of misinformation …
Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in ElectionNew York Times
Twitter just told Congress it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents found on FacebookRecode
Twitter Faces Questions About Russia’s Interference in 2016 ElectionInc.com
Fortune –CBS News –Washington Post –Twitter Blog
all 498 news articles »
28.09.2017 01:27

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28.09.2017 16:00

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28.09.2017 18:47

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Paul Manafort just reached the end of his rope

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller raided Paul Manafort’s house in July, a sign that he was willing to take any aggressive measures necessary to convince Manafort to flip on Donald Trump in exchange for leniency. Mueller further warned Manafort that he was going to be indicted if he didn’t cooperate yet that still hasn’t happened. Mueller’s only reason for waiting is a strategic one, giving Manafort additional rope. Now he’s run out of that rope.

After Manafort learned that he was going to be indicted if he failed to cooperate, he responded by taking a paying gig with yet another foreign government. The whole thing came off as one last attempted cash grab by Manafort before the gig was up; perhaps he was hoping to keep the money as part of his deal with the Feds, or perhaps he just couldn’t help himself. Whatever the reason, Mueller decided to sit back and let it play out, even while letting word slip out that Manafort had been wiretapped before and during the campaign just to make sure he knew he was going down in the end.

Manafort took a gig working for the Kurdistan independence movement, which is more than a bit sketchy, both because the United States has taken a position against the movement, and because those are the kinds of gigs that got him into such legal trouble to begin with. The vote on the independence referendum took place on Monday. No one among the media or the public seems to know whether Manafort ended up traveling to Kurdistan for the vote, as he had reportedly been contemplating. But it’s a given that Mueller wouldn’t have let Manafort leave the country if he didn’t want it to happen.

We still don’t know why Robert Mueller strategically decided to wait until Paul Manafort’s Kurdistan gig was over before making a move on him. But we’ve periodically been reminded that Mueller is quietly three steps ahead of all of us. Now that the gig is over, the jig is up and we’ll soon see Mueller’s next move against Manafort play out.

The post Paul Manafort just reached the end of his rope appeared first on Palmer Report.

Week In Review – The South Florida Times

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The South Florida Times
Week In Review
The South Florida Times
Michael Cohen was appearing privately before the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of multiple congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the presidential race and potential ties to the Trump campaign. Special counsel … In a prepared 

Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry
Financial Times
In 2009, a fugitive Kazakh oligarch arranged a meeting in London with the head of an international private intelligence agency. Mukhtar Ablyazov, a slim man in his …. Born in 1963 to a family of modest means in a Kazakh village near theRussian 

Insider reveals the specific criminal charges Robert Mueller will bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still quietly working his way through the various aspects of the most complex criminal investigation in United States history. His actions, such as subpoenas and FBI raids and specific hires and impending indictments, have tipped off bits and pieces of where he’s headed. But now a Department of Justice insider has revealed the specific criminal charges that Mueller can be expected to bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators.

Jimmy Gurulé was an Assistant Attorney General in the George W. Bush administration, giving him specific expertise when it comes to putting together the pieces and figuring out specifically what a prosecutor like Mueller is aiming toward. Gurulé appeared on the Brian Williams show on MSNBC on Wednesday night, and he laid out the various criminal charges that he expects Mueller to bring in the Trump-Russia probe.

According to Gurulé the list includes obstruction of justice, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (a law which centers around campaign fundraising), violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. He didn’t spell out which charges will be brought against which individuals, but based on prior reporting, some of it can be put together rather easily.

For instance, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn are accused of being in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, while the inclusion of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act suggests that someone on Trump’s team may have committed criminal hacking, or conspired with the Russians to commit criminal hacking. The larger question, of course, is which of these charges apply to Donald Trump himself.

Robert Mueller cannot put Donald Trump on trial; only Congress can try the President for alleged crimes. But Mueller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, as was the case during Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. There are legal scholars such as Professor Laurence Tribe who believe Mueller can indict Trump for crimes, even if he can’t try him for those crimes. The point of that would be to demonstrate such obvious guilt that Congress would have no choice but to finish Trump off. Once Trump is ousted from office, he can then be prosecuted in a regular court of law.

The post Insider reveals the specific criminal charges Robert Mueller will bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators appeared first on Palmer Report.

Evidence mounts that Russia used Facebook to sow political chaos in the US – Business Insider

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Business Insider
Evidence mounts that Russia used Facebook to sow political chaos in the US
Business Insider
Indeed, though Russia backed Trump’s candidacy during the election, the report noted that the fake Facebook group’s biggest swell in activity came after the president ordered a missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat airfield in April. Trump made the 

Fake NewsIncluding From Russian SourcesSaturated Swing States That Trump Barely Won – Mother Jones

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Mother Jones
Fake NewsIncluding From Russian SourcesSaturated Swing States That Trump Barely Won
Mother Jones
Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be 

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Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? The Atlantic The World Web Times

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Source: Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? – The Atlantic

distrust of mainstream media – Google Search

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The media’s credibility crisis

Duke ChronicleSep 26, 2017
While distrust of the mainstream media often emerges from the right, the survey’s results suggest it would be inaccurate to define this skepticism …

Media unrelenting vs. Trump

The Tand <a href=”http://D.com” rel=”nofollow”>D.com</a>Sep 25, 2017
From Charlottesville to Hurricane Irma, the liberal media are … Is it any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
Story image for distrust of mainstream media from Orlando Sentinel

Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump

Orlando SentinelSep 26, 2017
Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump … any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
Rightwing populist AfD dominates German Twitter, new study shows

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Research published today by a group at Oxford university shows that the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) drives more Twitter traffic than any major German party, and more even than non-partisan discussion of the upcoming general election itself.

The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags associated specifically with the AfD appeared in more than 30 per cent.

The AfD, which hopes to win its first seats in the German parliament on Sunday, is “highly salient in the German Twitter sphere”, the study concludes. Lead researcher Lisa-Maria Neudert told the FT that the AfD “absolutely dominates” German political Twitter traffic.

Ms Neudert said: “AfD is very vocal on social media. They have a big following and a good communications strategy, a social media-first strategy.” The study does not distinguish between Twitter traffic supporting the AfD and that opposing it.

The study also found that the overall proportion of traffic generated by highly automated accounts, known as bots, was “not substantial”, although the level of automation was highest for traffic using AfD-related hashtags.

The AfD is the most successful rightwing populist party in Germany since the second world war. Its stated aim is “the self-preservation not the self-destruction of our state and our people” and its policies include the “closure of all German borders”. The party is expected to win 50 or more seats in Sunday’s election.

The study’s publication comes after a week in which dominant social media companies faced renewed scrutiny over their — largely opaque — role in shaping political discourse. Facebook handed over information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election after revealing that Russian-linked users had purchased at least $100,000 worth of advertising on the site.

Original FT analyses of Twitter and Facebook data show how the AfD’s social media position has the potential to provide the fulcrum for a shift in German political discourse towards the far right, and that such a shift may already be in progress.

Mapping the Twitter relationships between more than 700 Bundestag candidates identified as users of the social media platform by transparency campaign group Abgeordnetenwatch.de shows the extent to which the AfD is distinct from the political mainstream. Candidates for the major parties are more likely to follow each other, whereas few AfD candidates follow those of other parties and vice versa.

Ms Neudert, the Oxford researcher, put the number of Twitter users in Germany at 1m — a fraction of the more than 30m German Facebook users. However, she noted, Twitter is considered important by “opinion leaders and influencers” and serves as a channel for open communication between politicians and journalists.

With over 350,000 likes — more than two of the largest parties, CDU and SPD, put together — the AfD has a similarly formidable Facebook presence. While user engagement with the party on Facebook grew steadily throughout the refugee crisis of summer 2015, its biggest ever boost came after an outcry over a spate of sexual assaults in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve 2015, when the number of reactions to AfD posts tripled to more than 380,000 within a month. Many of the perpetrators of the assaults were asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, and the episode helped to push the AfD’s level of Facebook engagement to new heights.

It was not only the level of engagement with the party that rose following the New Year’s Eve attacks. The tone of the AfD Facebook page changed: words and phrases which, in Germany, are most closely associated with the Nazi era began to appear more frequently in the comments users were posting on the page.

Based on academic research and interviews with two leading German political language researchers, the FT compiled a list of 25 terms associated with the Nazi era and/or other German nationalistic ideologies. We then used original software to determine how often these terms appear in user comments on the AfD Facebook page.

In May 2015, an average of 2.6 of the terms were used across all comments per AfD post. A year later, this figure had risen to 29.6 — an increase of 1,100 per cent. Among the most frequently used terms were “Volksverräter” (traitor to the people) and “Altparteien” (establishment parties), both of which have strong Nazi connotations.

Terms such as “national” and “patriot” have also seen rises in frequency. While ostensibly uncontroversial, these are among the terms with a more problematic history in Germany.

The number of distinct Facebook users to use such terms in comments also increased, and though the use of this language has fallen since its peak in early 2016, it remains significantly higher than for much of the page’s existence.

Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election Quartz

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Twitter executives will be grilled tomorrow morning (Sept. 28) on Capitol Hill by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

The main focus of the questioning will be automated Twitter accounts, a.k.a. bots, and whether Twitter is doing enough to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one person briefed on the committee’s preparations told Quartz.

Twitter’s bot army is so widespread that as many as 15% of its monthly active users—49 million, based on Twitter’s latest figure for its total user base—may be bots, estimated a study (pdf, p. 9) of English-speaking accounts earlier this year. Groups like Securing Democracy are attempting to track Russian propaganda on the network, by tracking “hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks” there.

“We’ve heard they [Twitter] don’t do a good job of removing ‘sock puppet IDs’ [Twitter users pretending to be someone else] or Russian bots,” the person briefed said. Senators are worried that bots spewing political spam or hijacking conversations result in real information getting buried, this person said. They’re also interested in what effect bots retweeting articles and information may have on Google search results. Facebook may be doing a better job of monitoring its users and customers, and removing harmful fake ones, the committee believes.

“There a universal appreciation that bots are becoming problematic on Twitter,” Robert Gorwa, a researcher with the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet Institute, told Quartz. “What isn’t appreciated is how much Twitter has enabled this by encouraging automation.” Twitter’s developer policies tell users how to use automation and the company provide guides on how to use bots to spread messages, he noted.

In the early days of Twitter, bots were easy to spot by their “egg” avatars, unusual ratios of following to followers, or obviously machine-written tweets. Now, as many have fleshed-out Twitter profiles or even entire online personalities (pdf, p. 16) and technology has improved, “they’ve gotten so sophisticated, we can’t recognize them,” Gorwa said.

A Twitter spokesman told Quartz the company was cooperating with the committee and confirmed it would brief it this week. “Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our terms of service,” the spokesman said.

Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election, study says – The Washington Post

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Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

After massive Kremlin-led disinformation campaigns against German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the height of the 2015-2016 migration wave, many expected such tactics to be a major element of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to influence the German parliamentary elections. While disinformation remains one of Russia’s primary tools to subvert the West, the Kremlin has a larger strategy.

There are two games Russia plays.

First, Russia has a long-term strategy to disrupt Western democracies by exploiting their internal problems and supporting local extremists and pro-Kremlin forces. A principled response to Putin’s occupation of Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova—such as Merkel’s— is harder to pull through. As Russia sees it, if you cannot defeat the other team, tear down the playing field.

Secondly, Moscow employs short-term campaigns on a tactical level. This includes supporting Kremlin-preferred politicians and policies and attacking their opponents with hostile means. Such support was awarded to Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, the “leave” vote in the Brexit referendum, and the “no” vote in the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. If such tactics are successful, Putin celebrates because he perceives the opponent as more dangerous.

The Russian authorities and their proxies use a wide variety of tools to achieve soft regime change, meaning getting Putin-friendly politicians into office. With politicians who are soft on Russia, Putin gets effective allies who are less willing to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity or stand up to Russia’s subversive efforts in the West.

Knowing this, Moscow’s view of German politics becomes more clear.

Due to Merkel’s principled position, Germany is the key architect of Europe’s sanctions against Russia. That’s why she is the prime target of Putin’s hostile actions and is demonized by Russian puppet media.

Outside of the Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), every major party wants to soften Germany’s position on Russia. Conservative CSU, Merkel’s close partner, focuses its rhetoric on a “business-first” approach, no matter Russia’s violations of international law. The leader of center-right liberal FDPA, a probable coalition member, has publicly flirted with removing Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Germany’s foreign policy focus. The Greens, another probable coalition partner, have strong anti-Putin messaging, but its rhetoric verges on anti-American as well, helping Moscow massively.

On the far left is Moscow’s reliable ally Die Linke. Their agenda is clear: Bash the West and the U.S. for everything and always relativize Russia’s atrocities. On the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose funding remains unclear, openly advocates for Russia; one of its foreign policy priorities is appeasement. It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. Both vocalize Russia’s foreign policy objectives and have real political presence, though they have limited influence on German and EU policy as a whole. They drive conversation about policies the Kremlin cares about, but they cannot directly influence their implementation.

Putin’s goals in Germany are obvious: Break Berlin’s policy on sanctions and support for Ukraine, put Germany at odds with Washington, and push through Nord Stream 2 to side line Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe and increase Berlin’s dependency on Russian energy supply.

Who in the German political establishment shares these goals? The Social Democrats (SPD). There are various possible roots for the SPD’s submissive policy towards Putin. It might be the phantom pain of Ostpolitik, a feeling that SPD has nothing to contribute on foreign policy other than differing with CDU on Russia. It might be the schroederization effect, where some leaders see the former chancellor’s lucrative Russian business deals as a potential path for themselves. It’s astounding that Schröder’s work for Putin doesn’t matter to SPD—he even got a hero’s welcome at its last party convention. It took Putin’s self-proclaimed friend accepting another position within Russia’s state-linked companies for German press to begin criticizing him. Schröder isn’t the only Putin-friendly former SPD boss. Matthias Platzeck also serves in the broader Kremlin-linked network, presiding over Deutsch-Russisches-Forum,” frequently talking to Russian propaganda mouthpiece Sputnik, and befriendingformer KGB officer and Putin inner circle oligarch Vladimir Jakunin, who now runs his pro-Putin influence network directly from Berlin.

It’s not only former leaders; current leaders are adopting similar policies. SPD senior figures are the established advocates for Nord Stream 2—basically teaming up with Putin against Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe. SPD leadership has called for the U.S. nuclear umbrella to be withdrawn from Germany, advocated for “phasing-out” sanctions against Russia (which CSU does all the time), opposes any additional sanctions on Russia, and called NATO reassurance exercises in Poland “warmongering.”

The ultimate reason that the Social Democrats support Putin’s foreign policy objectives may never be known, but the party is Putin’s most important advocate in the German political establishment. In contrast with Die Linke or AfD, SPD can shape policies.

Best-case scenario for Moscow is a CDU/CSU-SPD coalition, which would force Angela Merkel to be softer on Russia. Under this coalition, countries concerned with Russian aggression would have a principled backer in her, but Berlin wouldn’t be the leading force pushing back against Russia’s subversion of European democracies. Moreover, the Kremlin’s short-term project in Germany is Nord Stream 2, of which SPD is a key proponent. Because SPD has invested enormous political capital in it, Merkel wouldn’t block it—to do so would be too politically expensive. With this option off the table, Moscow will have its friends run the German opposition.

With SPD likely being out of the next coalition, Moscow lost big-time.

Jakub Janda is the head of the Kremlin Watch Program at the Prague-based European Values Think-Tank. He consults for governments on how to counter hostile foreign influence operations.

The Real Loser of Germanys Election: Vladimir Putin

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M.N.: Putin’s Rightwing TwitterCracy as a New World Order: Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight – Politico | Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones | Social media giants called to testify by US Congress | Social media Trojan Horse in U.S. elections 2016 – Google Search | Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? – The Atlantic | Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election Quartz | Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election, study says – The Washington Post | Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

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Putin’s Rightwing Twittercracy as a New World Order

The unusual by the recent standards, “minimal Twitter political bots activity in Germany”, so much in contrast with the situation in the U.S., may be viewed and interpreted as the fact lending support to the “German Hypothesis”: Russian and German Intelligence Services concluded the “nonaggression pact” with each other, namely the agreement on noninterference in each others’ elections, while directing their joint efforts against the U.S.. The Occam razor principle applies here, in the interpretation of this comparison, too. 

This operation may also have the strategic goals of demonstrating the advantages of cyber-security and information-security agreements, which are the Russian long desired objectives, in the face of potential threats to the nature and the structure of the current regime (e.g. elections) in the age of the Internet and Social Media. 

The recent offerings of Danayan gifts in this area might serve as a confirmation of this thesis. “Beware of Russians (or anyone for that matter) bearing gifts”. Apparently, the (psychological, political, military, etc., etc.) concepts and precepts of the Trojan Wars, the wars of deception, as opposed to the predominance of the brutal force, (or their modern variety, the “hybrid”or “intelligence” wars, with the prominent cyber component), survived for millennia. This is a subject for a nice study in and by itself. 

Michael Novakhov

9.28.17

How Germany fought off the Fake News scourge

“In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany.

The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts, sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win
A new study reveals how junk content—including from Russia—hit Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and beyond.
DENISE CLIFTONSEP. 28, 2017 1:00 AM

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 200,000 Americans working for broadcast television and cable programming, 197,000 employed in digital publishing and broadcasting, 183,000 working for newspapers, 99,000 working for magazines, 86,000 in radio, and 64,000 employed in the editing and production of books. Asking survey respondents to briefly summarize their feelings about the daily work of one million strangers is asking for an impossible…

Twitter’s bot army is so widespread that as many as 15% of its monthly active users—49 million, based on Twitter’s latest figure for its total user base—may be bots, estimated a study (pdf, p. 9) of English-speaking accounts earlier this year. Groups like Securing Democracy are attempting to track Russian propaganda on the network, by tracking “hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks” there.

The use of bots and trolls in the 2016 presidential election has become a point of national concern, especially since Facebook revealed that 470 accounts and pages managed by a notorious Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, bought more than 3,000 ads during the election season. Many independent researchers have mapped how information increasingly flows back and forth among such platforms as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, with each amplifying and sometimes manipulating information appearing on other platforms.

Lawmakers and Capitol Hill investigators have pushed major technology companies to disclose what they know about deployment of propaganda and disinformation on their platforms during the campaign.

Howard said junk news originates from three main sources that the Oxford group has been tracking: Russian operatives, Trump supporters and activists part of the alt-right, a group that includes white nationalists, anti-Semites and others who rail against “political correctness.” 

“Those three kinds of organizations shared a lot of content and push a lot of each other’s content,” Howard said. “They worked in concert. They worked to the same ends, the goal being getting polarizing stuff into the swing states… 

The report identified 16 ­battleground states. Of those, the researchers said, 12 received higher-than-normal flows of propaganda and other low-quality information near the election: Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, Missouri and Arizona, along with Virginia, New Hampshire and Florida. Four battleground states — Iowa, Minnesota, Maine and Wisconsin — got less low-quality information on Twitter than the nation as a whole.”

The Russian authorities and their proxies use a wide variety of tools to achieve soft regime change, meaning getting Putin-friendly politicians into office. With politicians who are soft on Russia, Putin gets effective allies who are less willing to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity or stand up to Russia’s subversive efforts in the West.

Knowing this, Moscow’s view of German politics becomes more clear…

On the far left is Moscow’s reliable ally Die Linke. Their agenda is clear: Bash the West and the U.S. for everything and always relativize Russia’s atrocities. On the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose funding remains unclear, openly advocates for Russia; one of its foreign policy priorities is appeasement. It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. Both vocalize Russia’s foreign policy objectives and have real political presence, though they have limited influence on German and EU policy as a whole. They drive conversation about policies the Kremlin cares about, but they cannot directly influence their implementation.

Putin’s goals in Germany are obvious: Break Berlin’s policy on sanctions and support for Ukraine, put Germany at odds with Washington, and push through Nord Stream 2 to side line Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe and increase Berlin’s dependency on Russian energy supply.

How Germany fought off the Fake News scourge

In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany. The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts, sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win
A new study reveals how junk content—including from Russia—hit Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and beyond.
DENISE CLIFTONSEP. 28, 2017 1:00 AM

Poll: Donald Trump Has Embarrassed America And Really Needs To Stop Tweeting Now
Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics – The Independent
The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – Washington Post
27.09.2017 22:22

Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? – The Atlantic – The World Web Times

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The media’s credibility crisis

Duke ChronicleSep 26, 2017
While distrust of the mainstream media often emerges from the right, the survey’s results suggest it would be inaccurate to define this skepticism …

Media unrelenting vs. Trump

The Tand <a href=”http://D.com” rel=”nofollow”>D.com</a>Sep 25, 2017
From Charlottesville to Hurricane Irma, the liberal media are … Is it any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?

Story image for distrust of mainstream media from Orlando Sentinel

Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump

Orlando SentinelSep 26, 2017
Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump … any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
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Research published today by a group at Oxford university shows that the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) drives more Twitter traffic than any major German party, and more even than non-partisan discussion of the upcoming general election itself.

The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags associated specifically with the AfD appeared in more than 30 per cent.

The AfD, which hopes to win its first seats in the German parliament on Sunday, is “highly salient in the German Twitter sphere”, the study concludes. Lead researcher Lisa-Maria Neudert told the FT that the AfD “absolutely dominates” German political Twitter traffic.

Ms Neudert said: “AfD is very vocal on social media. They have a big following and a good communications strategy, a social media-first strategy.” The study does not distinguish between Twitter traffic supporting the AfD and that opposing it.

The study also found that the overall proportion of traffic generated by highly automated accounts, known as bots, was “not substantial”, although the level of automation was highest for traffic using AfD-related hashtags.

The AfD is the most successful rightwing populist party in Germany since the second world war. Its stated aim is “the self-preservation not the self-destruction of our state and our people” and its policies include the “closure of all German borders”. The party is expected to win 50 or more seats in Sunday’s election.

The study’s publication comes after a week in which dominant social media companies faced renewed scrutiny over their — largely opaque — role in shaping political discourse. Facebook handed over information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election after revealing that Russian-linked users had purchased at least $100,000 worth of advertising on the site.

Original FT analyses of Twitter and Facebook data show how the AfD’s social media position has the potential to provide the fulcrum for a shift in German political discourse towards the far right, and that such a shift may already be in progress.

Mapping the Twitter relationships between more than 700 Bundestag candidates identified as users of the social media platform by transparency campaign group Abgeordnetenwatch.de shows the extent to which the AfD is distinct from the political mainstream. Candidates for the major parties are more likely to follow each other, whereas few AfD candidates follow those of other parties and vice versa.

Ms Neudert, the Oxford researcher, put the number of Twitter users in Germany at 1m — a fraction of the more than 30m German Facebook users. However, she noted, Twitter is considered important by “opinion leaders and influencers” and serves as a channel for open communication between politicians and journalists.

With over 350,000 likes — more than two of the largest parties, CDU and SPD, put together — the AfD has a similarly formidable Facebook presence. While user engagement with the party on Facebook grew steadily throughout the refugee crisis of summer 2015, its biggest ever boost came after an outcry over a spate of sexual assaults in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve 2015, when the number of reactions to AfD posts tripled to more than 380,000 within a month. Many of the perpetrators of the assaults were asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, and the episode helped to push the AfD’s level of Facebook engagement to new heights.

It was not only the level of engagement with the party that rose following the New Year’s Eve attacks. The tone of the AfD Facebook page changed: words and phrases which, in Germany, are most closely associated with the Nazi era began to appear more frequently in the comments users were posting on the page.

Based on academic research and interviews with two leading German political language researchers, the FT compiled a list of 25 terms associated with the Nazi era and/or other German nationalistic ideologies. We then used original software to determine how often these terms appear in user comments on the AfD Facebook page.

In May 2015, an average of 2.6 of the terms were used across all comments per AfD post. A year later, this figure had risen to 29.6 — an increase of 1,100 per cent. Among the most frequently used terms were “Volksverräter” (traitor to the people) and “Altparteien” (establishment parties), both of which have strong Nazi connotations.

Terms such as “national” and “patriot” have also seen rises in frequency. While ostensibly uncontroversial, these are among the terms with a more problematic history in Germany.

The number of distinct Facebook users to use such terms in comments also increased, and though the use of this language has fallen since its peak in early 2016, it remains significantly higher than for much of the page’s existence.

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Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election — Quartz

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Twitter executives will be grilled tomorrow morning (Sept. 28) on Capitol Hill by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

The main focus of the questioning will be automated Twitter accounts, a.k.a. bots, and whether Twitter is doing enough to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one person briefed on the committee’s preparations told Quartz.

Twitter’s bot army is so widespread that as many as 15% of its monthly active users—49 million, based on Twitter’s latest figure for its total user base—may be bots, estimated a study (pdf, p. 9) of English-speaking accounts earlier this year. Groups like Securing Democracy are attempting to track Russian propaganda on the network, by tracking “hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks” there.

“We’ve heard they [Twitter] don’t do a good job of removing ‘sock puppet IDs’ [Twitter users pretending to be someone else] or Russian bots,” the person briefed said. Senators are worried that bots spewing political spam or hijacking conversations result in real information getting buried, this person said. They’re also interested in what effect bots retweeting articles and information may have on Google search results. Facebook may be doing a better job of monitoring its users and customers, and removing harmful fake ones, the committee believes.

“There a universal appreciation that bots are becoming problematic on Twitter,” Robert Gorwa, a researcher with the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet Institute, told Quartz. “What isn’t appreciated is how much Twitter has enabled this by encouraging automation.” Twitter’s developer policies tell users how to use automation and the company provide guides on how to use bots to spread messages, he noted.

In the early days of Twitter, bots were easy to spot by their “egg” avatars, unusual ratios of following to followers, or obviously machine-written tweets. Now, as many have fleshed-out Twitter profiles or even entire online personalities (pdf, p. 16) and technology has improved, “they’ve gotten so sophisticated, we can’t recognize them,” Gorwa said.

A Twitter spokesman told Quartz the company was cooperating with the committee and confirmed it would brief it this week. “Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our terms of service,” the spokesman said.

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Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

After massive Kremlin-led disinformation campaigns against German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the height of the 2015-2016 migration wave, many expected such tactics to be a major element of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to influence the German parliamentary elections. While disinformation remains one of Russia’s primary tools to subvert the West, the Kremlin has a larger strategy.

There are two games Russia plays.

First, Russia has a long-term strategy to disrupt Western democracies by exploiting their internal problems and supporting local extremists and pro-Kremlin forces. A principled response to Putin’s occupation of Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova—such as Merkel’s— is harder to pull through. As Russia sees it, if you cannot defeat the other team, tear down the playing field.

Secondly, Moscow employs short-term campaigns on a tactical level. This includes supporting Kremlin-preferred politicians and policies and attacking their opponents with hostile means. Such support was awarded to Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, the “leave” vote in the Brexit referendum, and the “no” vote in the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. If such tactics are successful, Putin celebrates because he perceives the opponent as more dangerous.

The Russian authorities and their proxies use a wide variety of tools to achieve soft regime change, meaning getting Putin-friendly politicians into office. With politicians who are soft on Russia, Putin gets effective allies who are less willing to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity or stand up to Russia’s subversive efforts in the West.

Knowing this, Moscow’s view of German politics becomes more clear.

Due to Merkel’s principled position, Germany is the key architect of Europe’s sanctions against Russia. That’s why she is the prime target of Putin’s hostile actions and is demonized by Russian puppet media.

Outside of the Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), every major party wants to soften Germany’s position on Russia. Conservative CSU, Merkel’s close partner, focuses its rhetoric on a “business-first” approach, no matter Russia’s violations of international law. The leader of center-right liberal FDPA, a probable coalition member, has publicly flirted with removing Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Germany’s foreign policy focus. The Greens, another probable coalition partner, have strong anti-Putin messaging, but its rhetoric verges on anti-American as well, helping Moscow massively.

On the far left is Moscow’s reliable ally Die Linke. Their agenda is clear: Bash the West and the U.S. for everything and always relativize Russia’s atrocities. On the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose funding remains unclear, openly advocates for Russia; one of its foreign policy priorities is appeasement. It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. Both vocalize Russia’s foreign policy objectives and have real political presence, though they have limited influence on German and EU policy as a whole. They drive conversation about policies the Kremlin cares about, but they cannot directly influence their implementation.

Putin’s goals in Germany are obvious: Break Berlin’s policy on sanctions and support for Ukraine, put Germany at odds with Washington, and push through Nord Stream 2 to side line Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe and increase Berlin’s dependency on Russian energy supply.

Who in the German political establishment shares these goals? The Social Democrats (SPD). There are various possible roots for the SPD’s submissive policy towards Putin. It might be the phantom pain of Ostpolitik, a feeling that SPD has nothing to contribute on foreign policy other than differing with CDU on Russia. It might be the schroederization effect, where some leaders see the former chancellor’s lucrative Russian business deals as a potential path for themselves. It’s astounding that Schröder’s work for Putin doesn’t matter to SPD—he even got a hero’s welcome at its last party convention. It took Putin’s self-proclaimed friend accepting another position within Russia’s state-linked companies for German press to begin criticizing him. Schröder isn’t the only Putin-friendly former SPD boss. Matthias Platzeck also serves in the broader Kremlin-linked network, presiding over Deutsch-Russisches-Forum,” frequently talking to Russian propaganda mouthpiece Sputnik, and befriendingformer KGB officer and Putin inner circle oligarch Vladimir Jakunin, who now runs his pro-Putin influence network directly from Berlin.

It’s not only former leaders; current leaders are adopting similar policies. SPD senior figures are the established advocates for Nord Stream 2—basically teaming up with Putin against Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe. SPD leadership has called for the U.S. nuclear umbrella to be withdrawn from Germany, advocated for “phasing-out” sanctions against Russia (which CSU does all the time), opposes any additional sanctions on Russia, and called NATO reassurance exercises in Poland “warmongering.”

The ultimate reason that the Social Democrats support Putin’s foreign policy objectives may never be known, but the party is Putin’s most important advocate in the German political establishment. In contrast with Die Linke or AfD, SPD can shape policies.

Best-case scenario for Moscow is a CDU/CSU-SPD coalition, which would force Angela Merkel to be softer on Russia. Under this coalition, countries concerned with Russian aggression would have a principled backer in her, but Berlin wouldn’t be the leading force pushing back against Russia’s subversion of European democracies. Moreover, the Kremlin’s short-term project in Germany is Nord Stream 2, of which SPD is a key proponent. Because SPD has invested enormous political capital in it, Merkel wouldn’t block it—to do so would be too politically expensive. With this option off the table, Moscow will have its friends run the German opposition.

With SPD likely being out of the next coalition, Moscow lost big-time.

Jakub Janda is the head of the Kremlin Watch Program at the Prague-based European Values Think-Tank. He consults for governments on how to counter hostile foreign influence operations.

The Real Loser of Germany’s Election: Vladimir Putin

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Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 – Google Search

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Story image for Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 from CNN

Clinton opens door to questioning legitimacy of 2016 election

CNNSep 18, 2017
Clinton is in the midst of a media blitz to promote her new memoir, “What … they had been working toward, and the perfect Trojan Horse for Putin,” Clinton writes. … overturned their recent presidential election and ordered a new vote. … they were supposed to win,” Trump posted on social media in March.

Story image for Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 from The Guardian

Trojan horse: the real story behind the fake ‘Islamic plot’ to take over …

The GuardianAug 31, 2017
In the media, the term “Trojan horse” quickly became shorthand for a …. but educationalists in the UShave studied similar approaches with …. Ofsted singled out its excellent provision for social, moral and religious care. … Birmingham city council had £650m cut from its budget between 2010 and 2016.

Story image for Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 from Observer

The Real Loser of Germany’s Election: Vladimir Putin

ObserverSep 25, 2017
The Real Loser of Germany’s Election: Vladimir Putin … Angela Merkel during the height of the 2015-2016 migration wave, … of Putin’s hostile actions and is demonized by Russian puppet media. … It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. … The Social Democrats (SPD).
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Clinton opens door to questioning legitimacy of 2016 election

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The comment, a remarkable step for the former Democratic nominee, exemplifies Clinton’s belief that President Donald Trump and his campaign could have knowingly received help from Russian operatives in the 2016 election.

Clinton has said previously that she conceded to Trump quickly and attended his inauguration because the nation’s peaceful transfer of power is critical. But her comments to NPR signal that as the depths of Russia’s interference are revealed she could envision a time when she questions Trump’s legitimacy as president.

NPR’s Terry Gross asked Clinton directly during the interview whether she would “completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?”

“No. I would not,” Clinton said.

close dialog

Gross asked: “You’re not going to rule it out?”

“No,” Clinton said. “I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Clinton is in the midst of a media blitz to promote her new memoir, “What Happened,”

a reflection on her stunning loss in the 2016 election

 and diagnostic for the Democratic Party going forward. The subsequent book tour has thrust Clinton back into the public eye after months largely out of the news.

In the book, Clinton casts Trump as a toxic but hapless leader who won the White House by preying on the nation’s fears. Nowhere in the book, however, does she directly question his legitimacy, although she certainly comes close in the 500-page memoir.

Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, reiterated in a statement after the interview aired that the former secretary of state “has said repeatedly the results of the election are over but we have to learn what happened.”

“I would hope anyone in America concerned about the integrity of our democracy would feel the same way if we got there. But we’re not,” Caplin said. “Right now Bob Mueller and several congressional committees are investigating to what extent the Russians impacted our election and who exactly helped them do so.”

Clinton devotes an entire chapter to Russia, saying that the nation’s intervention in the 2016 election — which is currently being investigating by a host of congressional panels and a special counsel — led to Trump’s win.

“In many ways, Trump is the embodiment of everything they had been working toward, and the perfect Trojan Horse for Putin,” Clinton writes.

She adds, “No foreign power in modern history has attacked us with so few consequences, and that puts us all at risk.”

Clinton, in her interview with Gross, adds that there are likely no avenues, however, for her to challenge the 2016 results if she feels she needs to.

“Basically I don’t believe there are. There are scholars, academics, who have arguments that it would be, but I don’t think they’re on strong ground,” she told Gross. “But people are making those arguments. I just don’t think we have a mechanism.”

“What happened in Kenya, which I’m only beginning to delve into, is that the Supreme Court there said there are so many really unanswered and problematic questions, we’re going to throw the election out and redo it,” Clinton said. “We have no such provision in our country. And usually we don’t need it.”

Clinton’s comments are sure to further Trump’s deeply held belief that investigations into Russia — and Democrats’ calls for further pressure on the White House — are nothing more than the left’s attempts to rewrite the 2016 election and make up for Clinton’s loss.

“This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win,” Trump posted on social media in March. “The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality.”

In her book, Clinton also wrote that once the election was over, she felt she needed to help the transition to Trump’s presidency go smoothly.

“Still, I felt a responsibility to be there,” she wrote about attending Trump’s inauguration, no matter how painful. “The peaceful transfer of power is one of our country’s most important traditions.”

And she made the same case hours after her crushing loss, as she stood before the nation and her supporters to publicly concede the election.

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power,” she said. “We don’t just respect that. We cherish it.”

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Social media giants called to testify by US Congress

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Three of the biggest social media giants on the planet, Facebook, Google and Twitter, have been called to testify in front of the Congressional investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump has made Twitter into a powerful alt-advertising media of his own, but says Facebook is lined up alongside the ‘lamestream’ media.

The trio is expected to give public testimony from November 1 but as yet none have confirmed they will attend.

The three companies have already been summoned to testify in front of the US Senate.

statistical studies of 2016 elections – Google Search

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Story image for statistical studies of 2016 elections from ThinkProgress

5 false statistics Trump’s voter fraud panel will use to restrict voting

ThinkProgressSep 11, 2017
President Trump’s “election integrity” commission is scheduled to hold its … voting swung New Hampshire’s Senate election in 2016, and voting groups … who will present a series of sham statisticsand questionable studies to …

Oxford Computational Propaganda Project – Google Search

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Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Mother Jones

Mother Jones

Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election …

Washington Post6 hours ago
Propaganda and other forms of “junk news” on Twitter flowed more … said the researchers at Oxford’s Project on Computational Propaganda.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Quartz

Congress is investigating how Twitter bots may have influenced the …

Quartz13 hours ago
… to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one … the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from CNN

The fake Tea Party Twitter account linked to Russia and followed by …

CNNSep 21, 2017
Part of the Russian propaganda campaign during the election involved … the director of the Computational Propaganda project at the Oxford …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Financial Times

Rightwing populist AfD dominates German Twitter, new study shows

Financial TimesSep 19, 2017
The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Council on Foreign Relations (blog)

Bashing Facebook Is Not the Answer to Curbing Russian Influence …

Council on Foreign Relations (blog)Sep 20, 2017
Monica Kaminska is a DPhil candidate and previously worked on the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from TechCrunch

Tech companies automate autocratic media in China around the world

TechCrunchSep 6, 2017
Samuel Woolley is the Director of Research of the Computational Propaganda Project at the OxfordInternet Institute, University of Oxford.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Toronto Star

Toronto Star

Social media ‘bots’ tried to influence the US election. Germany may …

Science MagazineSep 13, 2017
Lisa-Maria Neudert of the Computational Propaganda Project at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is comparing current bot activity …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Computerworld

Disinformation as a service? DaaS not good!

ComputerworldSep 9, 2017
The phrase “computational propaganda” is closely associated with the Computational Propaganda Project at Oxford University, which coined …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Evolve Politics

The Tories are wasting YOUR tax money on Army ‘PsyOps’ to create …

Evolve PoliticsSep 15, 2017
A recent report from leading academics at the University of Oxford … The report authored by The Computational Propaganda Project at the …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Voice of America

When Fake News Is Official News

Voice of AmericaSep 19, 2017
… a study for the Oxford Internet Institute on “Computational Propaganda … but on closer inspection seems to be the personal project of a Polish …
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Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?

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US voters shared large volumes of polarizing political news and information in the form of links to content from Russian, WikiLeaks and junk news sources. Was this low quality political information distributed evenly around the country, or concentrated in swing states and particular parts of the country? In this data memo we apply a tested dictionary of sources about political news and information being shared over Twitter in over a ten day period around the 2016 Presidential Election. Using self-reported location information, we place a third of users by state and create a simple index for the distribution of polarizing content around the country. We find that (1) nationally, Twitter users got more misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content than professionally produced news. (2) Users in some states, however, shared more polarizing political news and information than users in other states. (3) Average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states, even when weighted for the relative size of the user population in each state. We conclude with some observations about the impact of strategically disseminated polarizing information on public life.

Download here.

Philip N. Howard, Bence Kollanyi, Samantha Bradshaw, Lisa-Maria Neudert. “Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?” Data Memo 2017.8. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk.

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Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win – Mother Jones

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leirbagarc/123RF; FrankRamspott/Getty

Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.

While it’s unclear what effect such content ultimately had on voters, the new study only deepens concerns about how the 2016 election may have been tweaked by nefarious forces on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. “Many people use these platforms to find news and information that shapes their political identities and voting behavior,” says Samantha Bradshaw, a lead researcher for Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project, which has been tracking disinformation strategies around the world since 2014. “If bad actors can lower the quality of information, they are diminishing the quality of democracy.”

Efforts by Vladimir Putin’s regime were among the polarizing content captured in the new Oxford study. “We know the Russians have literally invested in social media,” Bradshaw told Mother Jones, referring to reports of Russian-bought Facebook ads as well as sophisticated training of Russian disinformation workers detailed in another recent study by the team. “Swing states would be the ones you would want to target.”

The dubious Twitter content in the new study also contained polarizing YouTube videos–including some produced by the Kremlin-controlled RT network, which were uploaded without any information identifying them as Russian-produced. All the YouTube videos have since been taken down, according to Bradshaw; it’s unclear whether the accounts were deleted by the users, or if YouTube removed the content.

The Oxford researchers captured 22 million tweets from Nov. 1-11, 2016, and have been scrutinizing the dataset to better understand the impact of disinformation on the US election. The team also has analyzed propaganda operations in more than two dozen countries, using a combination of reports from trusted media sources and think tanks, and cross-checking that information with experts on the ground. Their recent research has additional revelations about how disinformation works in the social-media age, including from Moscow:

In studying Russia’s propaganda efforts targeting both domestic and international populations, the Oxford researchers found evidence of increasing military expenditures on social media operations since 2014. They also learned of a sophisticated training system for workers employed by Putin’s disinformation apparatus: “They have invested millions of dollars into training staff and setting targets for them,” Bradshaw says. She described a working environment where English training is provided to improve messaging for Western audiences: Supervisors hand out topical talking points to include in coordinated messaging, workers’ content is edited, and output is audited, with rewards given to more productive workers.

One telltale sign of bots stems from a group of accounts that tweet much more frequently than typical humans—or accounts that tweet on exact intervals, say, every five minutes. The bot-driven accounts may lack typical profile elements such as profile pictures (see also: the generic Twitter egg) and often don’t engage in replies with other social-media accounts. In addition to spreading fake news, “they can also amplify marginal voices and ideas by inflating the number of likes, shares and retweets they receive, creating an artificial sense of popularity, momentum or relevance,” the Oxford team reported recently.

While it’s difficult for researchers to untangle how many Twitter bots are Russian-controlled, they regularly see Russian accounts in the mix: For example, on Twitter, they found accounts following Donald Trump that tweeted most frequently during Russian business hours and switched regularly between English and Cyrillic.

On Facebook, it’s much more challenging to sort out which content is bot-driven, says Bradshaw. That’s in part because on Facebook, bots typically operate pages or groups, which can be even more opaque than individual accounts.

The Oxford researchers also found that bots infiltrated the core conversations among their Twitter data during the election period—and several of their analyses revealed that bots supported Trump much more than Hillary Clinton. A separate research effort by Emilio Ferrara at University of Southern California, cited in Oxford’s report, determined that about one fifth of campaign-related tweets during the month before the election likely was generated by bots. Ferrara’s team recorded 4 million tweets in that time period posted by about 400,000 bots.

In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany. The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts, sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

But the battle is only beginning. In the hands of bad operators “the bots get a bit smarter,” Bradshaw says. When those controlling them realize that the bots are being tracked, for example, they may adjust the frequency that they tweet in order to fly below researchers’ radar. Bradshaw also notes that voice-simulation technology combined with video-simulation technology is making it increasingly possible to create fake news—say, a video showing politicians making statements that they never actually said. “In innovations in technology,” she cautions, “the attackers always have the advantage.”

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones

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If you were Russia and you wanted to influence the American election, where would you target your efforts? Swing states, of course. Even Vladimir Putin knows that.

And apparently that’s exactly what they did. Denise Clifton reports:

Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.

About a fifth of this traffic was generated by bots. As we used to say back in the day, read the whole thing.

Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones

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Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News
Mother Jones
And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to and more »

Poll: Donald Trump Has Embarrassed America And Really Needs To Stop Tweeting Now

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A majority say he’s not fit to serve as president.

The Trump Voter Paradox – New York Times

1 Share

New York Times
The Trump Voter Paradox
New York Times
And the clout of the authoritarian, white identity wing of the Republican Party is such that Trumpis governing to please this wing first and foremost. From his apocalyptic threats to Kim Jong-un to his call for the firing of protesting N.F.L. players 

Facebook Russian Ads That Influenced Election Released To Congress – news9.com KWTV

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news9.com KWTV
Facebook Russian Ads That Influenced Election Released To Congress
news9.com KWTV
Facebook has agreed to disclose ads to Congress that were purchased by Russians on the social media platform in that country’s effort to influence the 2016 election, the company announced Thursday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the brief announcement in …
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Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight – Politico

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Politico
Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight
Politico
Twitter’s power to influence the news cycle makes it a convenient tool, people who have studied the social network’s role in the election say. “The fastest way to move a story from outlying media to mainstream media is to promote it on Twitter,” said 
Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisionsWashington Post
Exclusive: Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and FergusonCNNMoney
Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders and TrumpPoliticoall 315 news articles »

Twitter to talk to House, Senate in Russia probe – New York Daily News

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New York Daily News
Twitter to talk to House, Senate in Russia probe
New York Daily News
FILE- This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Social media giant Twitter will visit Capitol Hill Sept. 28, as part of the House and Senateinvestigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics – The Independent

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The Independent
Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics
The Independent
Ms Sheehy wrote in her chapter: “Beneath the grandiose behaviour of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, … Dr Lee has long complained that psychiatrists seeking to warn of what she has called Mr Trump’s 

The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – The Washington Post

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The department sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Sept. 22 after Grassley said he was preparing subpoenas for the two to appear. But the department said Jim Rybicki and Carl Ghattas could only speak to the committee if they avoided questions “directly relating to, or interfering with” the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Both Mueller and the Judiciary Committee are probing President Donald Trump’s firing of Comey in May and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a letter Wednesday, Grassley asked the department for clarification, saying he would still subpoena the witnesses if they wouldn’t talk about certain topics.

The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – Washington Post

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The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in the2016 election (all times local):. 7:30 p.m.. The Justice Department has agreed to allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to interview two FBI officials close to and more »

27.09.2017 22:22

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6:50 AM 9/28/2017 – Oxford University study: “Nationally, Twitter users got more misinformation… Average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states… political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany”

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Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?

“In this data memo we apply a tested dictionary of sources about political news and information being shared over Twitter in over a ten day period around the 2016 Presidential Election. Using self-reported location information, we place a third of users by state and create a simple index for the distribution of polarizing content around the country. We find that (1)

  • nationally, Twitter users got more misinformation,

polarizing and conspiratorial content than professionally produced news. (2) Users in some states, however, shared more polarizing political news and information than users in other states. (3)

  • Average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states,

even when weighted for the relative size of the user population in each state. We conclude with some observations about the

  • impact of strategically disseminated polarizing information on public life.

Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?

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US voters shared large volumes of polarizing political news and information in the form of links to content from Russian, WikiLeaks and junk news sources. Was this low quality political information distributed evenly around the country, or concentrated in swing states and particular parts of the country? In this data memo we apply a tested dictionary of sources about political news and information being shared over Twitter in over a ten day period around the 2016 Presidential Election. Using self-reported location information, we place a third of users by state and create a simple index for the distribution of polarizing content around the country. We find that (1) nationally, Twitter users got more misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content than professionally produced news. (2) Users in some states, however, shared more polarizing political news and information than users in other states. (3) Average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states, even when weighted for the relative size of the user population in each state. We conclude with some observations about the impact of strategically disseminated polarizing information on public life.

Download here.

Philip N. Howard, Bence Kollanyi, Samantha Bradshaw, Lisa-Maria Neudert. “Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?” Data Memo 2017.8. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk.

Read the whole story
· ·

Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win – Mother Jones

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leirbagarc/123RF; FrankRamspott/Getty

Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.

While it’s unclear what effect such content ultimately had on voters, the new study only deepens concerns about how the 2016 election may have been tweaked by nefarious forces on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

“Many people use these platforms to find news and information that shapes their political identities and voting behavior,” says Samantha Bradshaw, a lead researcher for Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project, which has been tracking disinformation strategies around the world since 2014. “If bad actors can lower the quality of information, they are diminishing the quality of democracy.”

Efforts by Vladimir Putin’s regime were among the polarizing content captured in the new Oxford study. “We know the Russians have literally invested in social media,” Bradshaw told Mother Jones, referring to reports of Russian-bought Facebook ads as well as sophisticated training of Russian disinformation workers detailed in another recent study by the team.

“Swing states would be the ones you would want to target.”

The dubious Twitter content in the new study also contained polarizing YouTube videos–including some produced by the Kremlin-controlled RT network, which were uploaded without any information identifying them as Russian-produced. All the YouTube videos have since been taken down, according to Bradshaw; it’s unclear whether the accounts were deleted by the users, or if YouTube removed the content.

The Oxford researchers captured 22 million tweets from Nov. 1-11, 2016, and have been scrutinizing the dataset to better understand the impact of disinformation on the US election. The team also has analyzed propaganda operations in more than two dozen countries, using a combination of reports from trusted media sources and think tanks, and cross-checking that information with experts on the ground. Their recent research has additional revelations about how disinformation works in the social-media age, including from Moscow:

In studying Russia’s propaganda efforts targeting both domestic and international populations, the Oxford researchers found evidence of increasing military expenditures on social media operations since 2014. They also learned of a sophisticated training system for workers employed by Putin’s disinformation apparatus: “They have invested millions of dollars into training staff and setting targets for them,” Bradshaw says. She described a working environment where English training is provided to improve messaging for Western audiences: Supervisors hand out topical talking points to include in coordinated messaging, workers’ content is edited, and output is audited, with rewards given to more productive workers.

One telltale sign of bots stems from a group of accounts that tweet much more frequently than typical humans—or accounts that tweet on exact intervals, say, every five minutes. The bot-driven accounts may lack typical profile elements such as profile pictures (see also: the generic Twitter egg) and often don’t engage in replies with other social-media accounts. In addition to spreading fake news, “they can also amplify marginal voices and ideas by inflating the number of likes, shares and retweets they receive, creating an artificial sense of popularity, momentum or relevance,” the Oxford team reported recently.

While it’s difficult for researchers to untangle how many Twitter bots are Russian-controlled, they regularly see Russian accounts in the mix: For example, on Twitter, they found accounts following Donald Trump that tweeted most frequently during Russian business hours and switched regularly between English and Cyrillic.

On Facebook, it’s much more challenging to sort out which content is bot-driven, says Bradshaw. That’s in part because on Facebook, bots typically operate pages or groups, which can be even more opaque than individual accounts.

The Oxford researchers also found that bots infiltrated the core conversations among their Twitter data during the election period—and several of their analyses revealed that bots supported Trump much more than Hillary Clinton. A separate research effort by Emilio Ferrara at University of Southern California, cited in Oxford’s report, determined that about one fifth of campaign-related tweets during the month before the election likely was generated by bots. Ferrara’s team recorded 4 million tweets in that time period posted by about 400,000 bots.

In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany. The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts,

sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

But the battle is only beginning. In the hands of bad operators “the bots get a bit smarter,” Bradshaw says. When those controlling them realize that the bots are being tracked, for example, they may adjust the frequency that they tweet in order to fly below researchers’ radar. Bradshaw also notes that voice-simulation technology combined with video-simulation technology is making it increasingly possible to create fake news—say, a video showing politicians making statements that they never actually said. “In innovations in technology,” she cautions, “the attackers always have the advantage.”

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones

1 Share

If you were Russia and you wanted to influence the American election, where would you target your efforts? Swing states, of course. Even Vladimir Putin knows that.

And apparently that’s exactly what they did. Denise Clifton reports:

Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.

About a fifth of this traffic was generated by bots. As we used to say back in the day, read the whole thing.

Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones

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Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News
Mother Jones
And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to and more »

 

Oxford Computational Propaganda Project – Google Search

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Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Mother Jones

Mother Jones

Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election …

Washington Post6 hours ago
Propaganda and other forms of “junk news” on Twitter flowed more … said the researchers at Oxford’s Project on Computational Propaganda.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Quartz

Congress is investigating how Twitter bots may have influenced the …

Quartz13 hours ago
… to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one … the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from CNN

The fake Tea Party Twitter account linked to Russia and followed by …

CNNSep 21, 2017
Part of the Russian propaganda campaign during the election involved … the director of the Computational Propaganda project at the Oxford …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Financial Times

Financial TimesSep 19, 2017

The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Council on Foreign Relations (blog)

Bashing Facebook Is Not the Answer to Curbing Russian Influence …

Council on Foreign Relations (blog)Sep 20, 2017
Monica Kaminska is a DPhil candidate and previously worked on the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from TechCrunch

Tech companies automate autocratic media in China around the world

TechCrunchSep 6, 2017
Samuel Woolley is the Director of Research of the Computational PropagandaProject at the OxfordInternet Institute, University of Oxford.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Toronto Star

Toronto Star

Social media ‘bots’ tried to influence the US election. Germany may …

Science MagazineSep 13, 2017
Lisa-Maria Neudert of the Computational Propaganda Project at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is comparing current bot activity …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Computerworld

Disinformation as a service? DaaS not good!

ComputerworldSep 9, 2017
The phrase “computational propaganda” is closely associated with the Computational Propaganda Project at Oxford University, which coined …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Evolve Politics

The Tories are wasting YOUR tax money on Army ‘PsyOps’ to create …

Evolve PoliticsSep 15, 2017
A recent report from leading academics at the University of Oxford … The report authored by The Computational Propaganda Project at the …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Voice of America

Voice of AmericaSep 19, 2017
… a study for the Oxford Internet Institute on “Computational Propaganda … but on closer inspection seems to be the personal project of a Polish …

 

Read the whole story
· · · ·

Statistical studies of 2016 elections – GS

[PDF]Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election – Stanford University

https://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/fakenews.pdf

by H Allcott – ‎2017 – ‎Cited by 94 – ‎Related articles

Following the 2016 election, a specific concern has been the effect of false … The upper end of previously reported statistics for the ratio of page …. toward the Republican Party, using data from the American National Election Studies (2012). 

________________________________________

Poll: Donald Trump Has Embarrassed America And Really Needs To Stop Tweeting Now

1 Share

A majority say he’s not fit to serve as president.

The Trump Voter Paradox – New York Times

1 Share

New York Times
The Trump Voter Paradox
New York Times
And the clout of the authoritarian, white identity wing of the Republican Party is such that Trumpis governing to please this wing first and foremost. From his apocalyptic threats to Kim Jong-un to his call for the firing of protesting N.F.L. players 
Next Page of Stories
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Page 2

Facebook Russian Ads That Influenced Election Released To Congress – news9.com KWTV

1 Share

news9.com KWTV
Facebook Russian Ads That Influenced Election Released To Congress
news9.com KWTV
Facebook has agreed to disclose ads to Congress that were purchased by Russians on the social media platform in that country’s effort to influence the 2016 election, the company announced Thursday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the brief announcement in …

Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight – Politico

1 Share

Politico
Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight
Politico
Twitter’s power to influence the news cycle makes it a convenient tool, people who have studied the social network’s role in the election say. “The fastest way to move a story from outlying media to mainstream media is to promote it on Twitter,” said 
Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisionsWashington Post
Exclusive: Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and FergusonCNNMoney
Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders and TrumpPoliticoall 315 news articles »

Twitter to talk to House, Senate in Russia probe – New York Daily News

1 Share

New York Daily News
Twitter to talk to House, Senate in Russia probe
New York Daily News
FILE- This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Social media giant Twitter will visit Capitol Hill Sept. 28, as part of the House and Senateinvestigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics – The Independent

1 Share

The Independent
Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics
The Independent
Ms Sheehy wrote in her chapter: “Beneath the grandiose behaviour of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, … Dr Lee has long complained that psychiatrists seeking to warn of what she has called Mr Trump’s 

The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – The Washington Post

1 Share

The department sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Sept. 22 after Grassley said he was preparing subpoenas for the two to appear. But the department said Jim Rybicki and Carl Ghattas could only speak to the committee if they avoided questions “directly relating to, or interfering with” the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Both Mueller and the Judiciary Committee are probing President Donald Trump’s firing of Comey in May and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a letter Wednesday, Grassley asked the department for clarification, saying he would still subpoena the witnesses if they wouldn’t talk about certain topics.

The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – Washington Post

1 Share
The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in the2016 election (all times local):. 7:30 p.m.. The Justice Department has agreed to allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to interview two FBI officials close to and more »
Next Page of Stories
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27.09.2017 22:22

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Documentary Explores Dodgy Financial Ties of Trump Associate occrp.org/en/investigati… via @OCCRP 

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Documentary Explores Dodgy Financial Ties of Trump Associate occrp.org/en/investigati… via @OCCRP


Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 8:40pm

27.09.2017 22:41

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Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate panel invites Facebook, Google to testify in Russia probe | DHS says Russia didn’t hack Wisconsin election systems | Sonic Drive-In investigates credit card breach

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Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We’re here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you’re a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we’re here to give you …

THE BIG STORY:

–SENATE PANEL INVITES FACEBOOK, GOOGLE TO TESTIFY IN RUSSIA PROBE: The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a request for Facebook to testify in an open hearing to examine how foreign actors may have used social media companies to influence the 2016 election, The Hill has learned. Committee leaders have also invited Twitter and Google to testify at the hearing set for Nov. 1, according to a source familiar with the matter. Facebook confirmed Wednesday that it has received the invitation to appear at the hearing, but it is not clear yet whether the company will accept. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election 5 senators call for US to shutter embassy in Havana MORE (R-N.C.) said that it’s not important to him that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or other top executives necessarily show up. “I think it’s more important that we get the person who’s most capable of talking about the technical aspects of what they need to do to identify foreign money that may come in and what procedures if any need to be put in law that make sure elections are not intruded by foreign entities,” Burr said. The Senate panel has been probing Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, including alleged attempts at mounting an influence campaign using social media. Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain Facebook under fire over Russian ads in electionMORE (Va.), the panel’s top Democrat, has pushed for such a hearing since August, after Facebook revealed that the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm with links to Kremlin allies, had purchased $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 presidential campaign. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” Warner said after the revelation. “There’s going to be I think much more.”

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

–TRUMP THINKS FACEBOOK COLLUDED WITH MEDIA AGAINST HIM: President Trump on Wednesday seemed to suggest that Facebook had colluded with the news media against him during the 2016 presidential race. The president’s comments come after the social media platform told investigators it discovered that thousands of political ads published on its platform over the past two years were linked to fake accounts based in Russia. “Facebook was always anti-Trump.The Networks were always anti-Trump hence,Fake News @nytimes (apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?” the president tweeted. He added: “But the people were Pro-Trump! Virtually no President has accomplished what we have accomplished in the first 9 months-and economy roaring.”

ADVERTISEMENT

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

MORE PROOF RUSSIA IS TAKING ALL OF OUR ENERGY: The chair of the House Science Committee is investigating whether Russia has purchased advertisements on Facebook and other platforms to influence the U.S. energy market. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is pressing Facebook, Twitter, and Google for information and documents on any Russian entities that have purchased anti-fracking or anti-fossil fuel ads. The letters are part of the committee’s broader oversight of “what appears to be a concerted effort by the Russian government to influence the U.S. energy market,” Smith wrote in letters to the tech giants’ CEOs this week. “In light of Facebook’s disclosure of over $100,000 in social media advertising associated with Russian accounts focused on the disruption and influence of U.S. politics through social media, it is likely that Russia undertook a similar effort using social media to influence the U.S. energy market,” Smith wrote. The Republican chairman is looking for any and all information “regarding Russian entities purchasing anti-fracking or anti-fossil fuel advertisements or promotions” dating back to 2010.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

AN AGENCY UPDATE:

NEW FBI CHIEF ON ‘GOING DARK:’ In his written testimony for a Senate Homeland Committee hearing Wednesday, new FBI head Christopher Wray reiterated the FBI’s long-held stance that tech companies use of strong encryption is a key problem for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was a reversal from the position he took at his July hearing, when he called for “balance” between civil liberties and security.

“[W]e are seeing more and more cases where we believe significant evidence resides on a phone, a tablet, or a laptop — evidence that may be the difference between an offender being convicted or acquitted.” Wray wrote.

“Some observers have conceived of this challenge as a trade-off between privacy and security. In our view, the demanding requirements to obtain legal authority to access data — such as by applying to a court for a warrant or a wiretap — necessarily already account for both privacy and security,” he later added.

Under former chief Jim Comey, who deemed encryption’s thwarting of investigations “going dark,” the FBI asked lawmakers to mandate some mechanism to circumvent device security for use when the FBI had a warrant to investigate a device.

Former CIA and NSA head Michael Hayden, a House working group on encryption, nationally recognized encryption experts and others argue that so-called “backdoors” are hazardous for reasons that have nothing to do with civil liberties. Instead, they argue, creating backdoors introduces new ways for hackers to steal data.

A LIGHTER CLICK: 

Flight RTM27 to Facebook is ready for boarding.

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

SONIC DRIVE-IN MAY FEATURE HEAVILY IN 5M CREDIT CARD BREACH: Sonic Drive-In restaurants suffered a breach in its credit card processing systems, possibly contributing as many as 5 million credit card accounts to a dark web criminal marketplace, according to independent journalist Brian Krebs.

Krebs’s sources purchased samples from a newly listed archive of credit card accounts on an online criminal market. The sample accounts appeared to be linked to recent purchases at Sonic.

It is unclear if all the credit cards in the archive were stolen from the fast food chain.

A representative from the company told Krebs it is still investigating the extent of the breach.

The cache of cards is being sold under the name “Firetigerrr” on a popular marketplace at a higher-than-average cost per account, something Krebs chalked up to the freshness of the data for sale.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

WHAT’S IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

STATE VOTING SYSTEMS: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Tuesday that it made an error when it notified the state of Wisconsin that Russian hackers scanned the state’s voter registration system.

The Associated Press reported that the agency initially thought hackers accessed systems operated by state election officials, but told those officials Tuesday night that hackers instead accessed the state’s Department of Workforce Development.

“Based on our external analysis, the WI IP address affected belongs to the WI Department of Workforce Development, not the Elections Commission,” a Homeland Security official wrote in an email.

A member of Wisconsin’s Elections Commission expressed outrage to the AP in an email, accusing the Trump administration of possibly organizing a cover-up.

“Either they were right on Friday and this is a cover up, or they were wrong on Friday and we deserve an apology,” Elections Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen said.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every ‘Dreamer’ in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE thinks the media overreacts to the Russia investigation. (The Hill)

NIST will release a revamped risk management framework for public comment on Thursday. (The Hill)

Is Reddit the next Russian influence target? (The Hill)

Russia is ordering secure communications app Telegram to decrypt messages. (Meduza)

Facebook says it deleted multiple accounts to protect the German elections. (Reuters)

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ZEMBLA – The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians – YouTube

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Watch ZEMBLA: The dubious friends of Donald Trump part 3: The billion dollar fraud. – YouTube

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Documentary Explores Dodgy Financial Ties of Trump Associate

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A documentary made in collaboration with OCCRP on the Central Asian money links of a former associate of US President Donald Trump aired on Wednesday after surviving a last-minute legal challenge.

Felix Sater. (Photo credit: Zembla, Dutch Public Television)Felix Sater. (Photo credit: Zembla, Dutch Public Television)

The documentary, on the Dutch public television program Zembla, uncovers fresh details on the relationship between the Russian-born Felix Sater, once a Trump business associate, and the exiled family of Viktor Khrapunov. The Kazakhstani businessman, a former mayor of Almaty, now lives in Switzerland, having been accused by the city of embezzling more than US$ 300 million.

The documentary is the third part of a series called “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump.” The latest episode explores deals worth millions of dollars involving twice-convicted mob associate Sater and the Switzerland-based Khrapunovs.
Viktor Khrapunov’s son, Ilyas, sought an injunction from a Netherlands court on Monday to block the airing of the documentary. On Wednesday morning, a judge in the city of Lelystad ruled against the request.

OCCRP contributed research to the film as part of a three-month collaboration with Zembla and McClatchy newspapers in the United States.

Earlier reporting, appearing in McClatchy, revealed that Sater helped the Khrapunovs invest more than $40 million in US real estate since 2012. Lawyers for the city of Almaty are currently claiming in two US civil suits that the money had been embezzled by the Khrapunovs from Kazakhstan.

The Khrapunovs deny the allegations, and say they are victims of persecution by Kazakhstan’s government.

The US investments include the purchase for over $3.1 million of three apartments in the Trump SoHo tower in New York, which had been co-developed by Bayrock Group, a real estate development company where Sater was managing director.

They also included the 2013 purchase for $29 million of a mall in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the $1.2 million purchase of a former insane asylum in Syracuse, New York.

New Revelations

For the new documentary, reporters for OCCRP, Zembla, and McClatchy conducted interviews and examined company and court records in countries including Cyprus, Belize, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the US.

The documentary reveals that Bayrock – along with KazBay, its Dutch joint venture with the Khrapunovs – is accused of involvement in the family’s alleged money laundering. The firm is included in a list of 83 companies that Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice have alleged were used to launder the money.

The documentary also explores the role of Dutch companies in the network of Ilyas Khrapunov’s father-in-law, Mukhtar Ablyazov, a tycoon who has been convicted in absentia for embezzling more than $5 billion while running a Kazakh bank.

A Belgian former employee of the Khrapunovs, Nicolas Bourg, has alleged in a sworn affidavit to a New York court that millions of dollars used to fund the Khrapunovs’ US property investments came from Ablyazov. If true, the allegation could connect the investments to the $5 billion fraud for which Ablyazov has already been convicted.
Lawyers for the Khrapunovs have denied Bourg’s allegation.

See the full documentary below.

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Robert Mueller probing Russian oligarchs multimillion donations to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell – by Bill Palmer trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/2… 

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Robert Mueller probing Russian oligarchs multimillion donations to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell – by Bill Palmer trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/2…


Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 12:22pm

27.09.2017 16:16

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27.09.2017 19:00

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Mogilevich, Putin and Trump | TrumP Россия 

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Source: Mogilevich, Putin and Trump | TrumP Россия

What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign – Talking Points Memo 

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Source: What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign – Talking Points Memo
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FBI Has ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Problems – Google Search

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Story image for FBI Has 'Systemic' Misconduct Problems from Newsweek

Department of Justice Says FBI Has ‘Systemic‘ Misconduct Problems …

Newsweek19 hours ago
The case is one in an ongoing probe by Department of Justice that found “systemic” misconduct problems at the FBI where the bureau was not …
FBI Has “Systemic Issues” Dealing with Misconduct
The District Sentinel News Co-opSep 26, 2017

Story image for FBI Has 'Systemic' Misconduct Problems from Newsweek

White Nationalism Is As Much Of A Threat To US As ISIS, FBI’s Open …

Newsweek25 minutes ago
“We have had zero hearings on the threat of domestic terrorists and the … there were “systemic” problems within the FBI that included failure to properly … of serious misconduct, and FBI employees failing polygraph tests.

Justice Department Reveals ‘Systemic‘ Misconduct Often Ignored at …

<a href=”http://ticklethewire.com” rel=”nofollow”>ticklethewire.com</a>4 hours ago
The Justice Department’s Inspector General revealed the FBI was not … that “systemic” misconduct issues were not properly addressed.

FBI has 1000 open investigations into violent white supremacy, domestic terror: Agency chief – ABC News

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Washington Examiner
FBI has 1000 open investigations into violent white supremacy, domestic terror: Agency chief
ABC News
The FBI has about 1,000 open investigations into potential domestic terrorists, including people who may be linked to extremist white supremacy, white nationalism and environmental movements, the agency’s new chief, Christopher Wray, told Congress 
FBI Director Christopher Wray: Terrorists becoming more sophisticated with cyberattacksWashington Examiner
FBI Director: Terrorist Drones ‘Coming Here Imminently’ [VIDEO]The Daily Callerall 7 news articles »

FBI investigating 1000 white supremacist, domestic terrorism cases – Washington Post

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Washington Post
FBI investigating 1000 white supremacist, domestic terrorism cases
Washington Post
The FBI is conducting about 1,000 investigations of suspected white supremacists or other types of domestic terrorists who might be planning violence, top federal officials told Senate lawmakers Wednesday. Christopher A. Wray, in his first 
FBI has 1000 open investigations into violent white supremacy, domestic terror: Agency chiefABC News
Trump Will Skip FBI Director Ceremony, Amid Bureau’s Russia InvestigationNewsweek
Report: Trump skipping ceremony for FBI director amid Russia probeThe Hill (blog)
Washington Examiner –The Daily Caller
all 12 news articles »

Department of Justice Says FBI Has ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Problems and Isn’t Reporting Serious Issues With Agents

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After using computers at the FBI to download naked photos of women and talking for months with a foreign national, an FBI agent stayed employed for years—and wasn’t even disciplined.

The case is one in an ongoing probe by Department of Justice that found “systemic” misconduct problems at the FBI where the bureau was not reporting “high-risk security concerns” made against agents, according to a memo released Tuesday.

The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General reviewed a sample of 78 FBI employees who failed polygraph exams. They went over the cases, then checked whether the allegations were reported. The review found a number of cases with “serious allegations of misconduct” that were never reported or dealt with properly, the memo said.

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The FBI’s policy on misconduct that involves “high-risk security concerns” requires the bureau to report it in writing to its inspection division, which then sends allegations on to the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, the memo said.

The FBI claimed they may have passed on the misconduct allegations verbally in meetings, but no written documents were found. The bureau did not reply to requests for comment Tuesday about the probe.

In one case, investigators found an FBI agent who worked in the IT department was viewing and printing photos of “scantily clad” women on a bureau computer, the memo said.

More than a year after the FBI knew of the allegations, the IT specialist, who was not identified, again admitted to using a computer to download and print naked photos. The agent also admitted to making a fake Facebook account and talking with a foreign national for about six months, according to the memo.

The employee was then barred from viewing sensitive information, but the probe questioned why it took a year to investigate the misconduct, especially since within that year, the employee failed three polygraph tests.

“Allegations against employees with access to [sensitive information] are particularly important given the potential risk to U.S. national security,” the memo states.

Officials say the agent failed a fourth polygraph test about the allegations but denied that the foreign national was connected to any intelligence service.

More than two years after the allegations surfaced, the agent remained employed and was never disciplined. The employee ended up retiring and was eligible to receive a federal retirement plan, the memo states.

Officials said in the memo they are worried the FBI isn’t handling misconduct appropriately and “concerns are heightened because all FBI employees have top secret clearance” that allows them access to classified information.

The Department of Justice asked for the FBI to immediately correct these issues and gave them 30 days to make changes or provide a plan that would outline changes.

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Department of Justice Says FBI Has ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Problems and Isn’t Reporting Serious Issues With Agents – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Department of Justice Says FBI Has ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Problems and Isn’t Reporting Serious Issues With Agents
Newsweek
After using computers at the FBI to download naked photos of women and talking for months with a foreign national, an FBI agent stayed employed for years—and wasn’t even disciplined. The case is one in an ongoing probe by Department of Justice that …and more »

Bills to Protect Mueller Are Bipartisan, but the Path Forward Is Uncertain – New York Times

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New York Times
Bills to Protect Mueller Are Bipartisan, but the Path Forward Is Uncertain
New York Times
WASHINGTON — A majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee appeared on Tuesday to back legislation that would provide an added layer of job protection for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in last year’s 
Special counsel Robert Mueller to interview White House officials in coming daysABC News
Bill aimed at preventing Trump from firing Mueller hits snagNew York Post
The IRS and special counsel Mueller just took a big step forward in the Russia probeBusiness Insider
USA TODAY –News & Observer –CNN –CNN
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The Wreckage of Anthony Weiner 

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The former congressman’s imprisonment for sexting with a teenager is his final disgrace. But the damage he caused lives on.

US violent crime jumps by most in 25 years 

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Source: US violent crime jumps by most in 25 years

Violent crime increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says – Washington Post Monday September 25th, 2017 at 3:01 PM 

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Violent crime increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says – Washington Post Monday September 25th, 2017 at 3:01 PM Fbi – Google News 1 Share Washington Post Violent crime increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says Washington Post Violent crime increased in the United States for a second consecutive year in 2016, remaining … Continue reading “Violent crime increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says – Washington Post Monday September 25th, 2017 at 3:01 PM”

Download audio: https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/ftw-podcast-2016-cius-092517.mp3/@@download/file/ftw-podcast-2016-cius-092517.mp3

1:11 PM 9/25/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: The Next Big Focus In The Russia Investigations: Social Media : NPR

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks FBI, This Week: 2016 Crime in the United States Report Released FBI fbi statistics 2017 – Google Search The Next Big Focus In The Russia Investigations: Social Media : NPR 4:06 PM 9/24/2017 Through soft power and propaganda, Russia is trying to topple democracy in the USA Deadly Tennessee church shooting: … Continue reading “1:11 PM 9/25/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: The Next Big Focus In The Russia Investigations: Social Media : NPR”

Download audio: https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/ftw-podcast-2016-cius-092517.mp3/@@download/file/ftw-podcast-2016-cius-092517.mp3

Christopher Wray – Google Search

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Story image for Christopher Wray from Washington Examiner

FBI Director Christopher Wray: Terrorists becoming more …

Washington Examiner3 hours ago
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the evolving nature of terror groups remains a persistent threat to America, and the ability of groups like al …
FBI investigating about 1000 white supremacist, domestic terrorism …
<a href=”http://NOLA.com” rel=”nofollow”>NOLA.com</a>43 minutes ago

10:46 AM 9/25/2017 – FBI Releases 2016 Crime Statistics | US violent crime jumps by most in 25 years – FT 

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M.N.: On average, and with the latest numbers, it looks like the steady progressive increase (see graph above), at about 10 to 5% a year. It also looks like the Presidential election years are marked by the sharper increases than the Mid-term election years, which appear to follow them in this trajectory.  By the way, … Continue reading “10:46 AM 9/25/2017 – FBI Releases 2016 Crime Statistics | US violent crime jumps by most in 25 years – FT”

Download audio: https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/ftw-podcast-2016-cius-092517.mp3/@@download/file/ftw-podcast-2016-cius-092517.mp3

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FBI Director Christopher Wray: Terrorists becoming more sophisticated with cyberattacks – Washington Examiner

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Washington Examiner
FBI Director Christopher Wray: Terrorists becoming more sophisticated with cyberattacks
Washington Examiner
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the evolving nature of terror groups remains a persistent threat to America, and the ability of groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to use social media as well as hacking and cyber attacks has increased and 
FBI has 1000 open investigations into violent white supremacy, domestic terror: Agency chiefABC News
FBI investigating 1000 white supremacist, domestic terrorism casesWashington Post
Trump Will Skip FBI Director Ceremony, Amid Bureau’s Russia InvestigationNewsweek
New York Daily News –The Hill (blog) –Newsmax
all 12 news articles »

Current Threats to the Homeland — FBI

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Good morning Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member McCaskill, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the current threats to the homeland. Our nation continues to face a multitude of serious and evolving threats ranging from homegrown violent extremists to cyber criminals to hostile foreign intelligence services and operatives. Keeping pace with these threats is a significant challenge for the FBI. As an organization, we must also be able to stay current with constantly changing and new technologies that make our jobs both easier and harder. Our adversaries—terrorists, foreign intelligence services, and criminals—take advantage of such modern technology to hide their communications, recruit followers, plan and encourage espionage, cyber attacks or terrorism, to disperse information on different methods to attack the U.S. homeland, and to facilitate other illegal activities. As these threats evolve, we must adapt and confront these challenges, relying heavily on the strength of our federal, state, local, and international partnerships.

Counterterrorism

Preventing terrorist attacks remains the FBI’s top priority. The terrorist threat against the United States remains persistent and acute. From a threat perspective, we are concerned with three areas in particular: (1) those who are inspired by terrorist propaganda and act out in support; (2) those who are enabled to act after gaining inspiration from extremist propaganda and communicating with members of foreign terrorist organizations who provide guidance on operational planning or targets; and (3) those who are directed by members of foreign terrorist organizations to commit specific, directed acts in support of the group’s ideology or cause. Prospective terrorists can fall into any one of these three categories or span across them, but in the end the result is the same—innocent men, women, and children killed and families, friends, and whole communities left to struggle in the aftermath.

Currently, the FBI has designated the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and homegrown violent extremists as the main terrorism threats to the Homeland. ISIS is relentless and ruthless in its campaign of violence and has aggressively promoted its hateful message, attracting like-minded extremists. The threats posed by foreign fighters, including those recruited from the United States, are extremely dynamic. These threats remain the highest priority and create the most serious challenges for the FBI, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and our foreign, state, and local partners. We continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters traveling in support of ISIS, as well as homegrown violent extremists who may aspire to attack the United States from within. In addition, we are confronting a surge in terrorist propaganda and training available via the Internet and social networking media. Due to online recruitment and indoctrination, foreign terrorist organizations are no longer dependent on finding ways to get terrorist operatives into the United States to recruit and carry out acts. Terrorists in ungoverned spaces—both physical and cyber—readily disseminate propaganda and training materials to attract easily influenced individuals around the world to their cause. They encourage these individuals to travel, or they motivate them to act at home. This is a significant transformation from the terrorist threat our nation faced a decade ago.

Unlike other groups, ISIS has constructed a narrative that touches on all facets of life, from career opportunities to family life to a sense of community. The message isn’t tailored solely to those who are overtly expressing signs of radicalization. It is seen by many who click through the Internet every day, receive social media push notifications, and participate in social networks. Ultimately, many of the individuals drawn to ISIS seek a sense of belonging. Echoing other terrorist groups, ISIS has advocated for lone offender attacks in Western countries. Recent ISIS videos and propaganda specifically advocate for attacks against soldiers, law enforcement, and intelligence community personnel.

Many foreign terrorist organizations use various digital communication platforms to reach individuals they believe may be susceptible and sympathetic to extremist messages, however, no group has been as successful at drawing people into its perverse ideology as ISIS. ISIS has proven dangerously competent at employing such tools for its nefarious strategy. ISIS uses high-quality, traditional media platforms, as well as widespread social media campaigns to propagate its extremist ideology. Social media also helps groups such as ISIS to spot and assess potential recruits. With the widespread distribution of social media, terrorists can spot, assess, recruit, and radicalize vulnerable persons of all ages in the United States either to travel or to conduct a homeland attack. Through the Internet, terrorists overseas now have direct access into our local communities to target and recruit our citizens and spread the message of radicalization faster than we imagined just a few years ago.

ISIS is not the only terrorist group of concern. Al Qaeda maintains its desire for large-scale spectacular attacks, however continued CT pressure has degraded the group, and in the near term, al Qaeda is more likely to focus on supporting small-scale, readily achievable attacks against U.S. and allied interests in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Simultaneously, over the last year, propaganda from al Qaeda leaders seeks to inspire individuals to conduct their own attacks in the United States and the West.

In addition to foreign terrorist organizations, domestic extremist movements collectively pose a steady threat of violence and economic harm to the United States. Some trends within individual movements will shift as most drivers for domestic extremism, such as perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, socio-political conditions, and reactions to legislative actions, remain constant. We are most concerned about the lone offender attacks, primarily shootings, as they have served as the dominant mode for lethal domestic extremist violence. We anticipate law enforcement, racial minorities, and the U.S. government will continue to be significant targets for many domestic extremist movements.

As the threat to harm the United States and U.S. interests evolves, we must adapt and confront these challenges, relying heavily on the strength of our federal, state, local, and international partnerships. The FBI is using all lawful investigative techniques and methods to combat these terrorist threats to the United States. Along with our domestic and foreign partners, we are collecting and analyzing intelligence concerning the ongoing threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations and homegrown violent extremists. We continue to encourage information sharing, which is evidenced through our partnerships with many federal, state, local, and tribal agencies assigned to Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country. Be assured, the FBI continues to strive to work and share information more efficiently, and to pursue a variety of lawful methods to help stay ahead of threats to the homeland.

Intelligence

Integrating intelligence in all we do remains a critical strategic pillar of the FBI strategy. The constant evolution of the FBI’s intelligence program will help us address the ever-changing threat environment. We must constantly update our intelligence apparatus to improve the way we use, collect, and share intelligence to better understand and defeat our adversaries. We cannot be content to only work the matters directly in front of us. We must also look beyond the horizon to understand the threats we face at home and abroad and how those threats may be connected.

To that end, we gather intelligence, consistent with our authorities, to help us understand and prioritize identified threats, to reveal the gaps in what we know about these threats, and to fill those gaps. We do this for national security and criminal threats, on both a national and local field office level. We then compare the national and local perspectives to organize threats into priorities for each of the FBI’s 56 field offices. By categorizing threats in this way, we place the greatest focus on the gravest threats we face. This gives us a better assessment of what the dangers are, what’s being done about them, and where we should prioritize our resources.

Integrating intelligence and operations is part of the broader intelligence transformation the FBI has undertaken in the last decade to improve our understanding and mitigation of threats. Over the past few years, we have taken several steps to improve this integration. First, we established an Intelligence Branch within the FBI, headed by an executive assistant director who drives integration across the enterprise. We also developed and implemented a series of integration-focused forums that ensure all members of our workforce understand and internalize the importance of intelligence integration. We now train our special agents and intelligence analysts together at the FBI Academy, where they engage in joint training exercises and take core courses together prior to their field deployments. As a result, they are better prepared to integrate their skillsets in the field. Additionally, our training forums for executives and front-line supervisors continue to ensure our leaders are informed about our latest intelligence capabilities and allow them to share best practices for achieving intelligence integration.

I also urge the Congress to renew section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is due to sunset at the end of this year. Section 702 is a critical tool that the intelligence community uses properly to target non-U.S. persons located outside the United States to acquire information vital to our national security. To protect privacy and civil liberties, this program has operated under strict rules and been carefully overseen by all three branches of the government. Given the importance of section 702 to the safety and security of the American people, the Administration urges Congress to reauthorize title VII of FISA without a sunset provision.

Counterintelligence

The nation faces a rising threat, both traditional and asymmetric, from hostile foreign intelligence services and their proxies. Traditional espionage, often characterized by career foreign intelligence officers acting as diplomats or ordinary citizens, and asymmetric espionage, often carried out by students, researchers, or businesspeople operating front companies, is prevalent. Foreign intelligence services not only seek our nation’s state and military secrets, but they also target commercial trade secrets, research and development, and intellectual property, as well as insider information from the federal government, U.S. corporations, and American universities. Foreign intelligence services and other state-directed actors continue to employ more creative and more sophisticated methods to steal innovative technology, critical research and development data, and intellectual property, in an effort to erode America’s economic leading edge. These illicit activities pose a significant threat to national security and continue to be a priority and focus of the FBI.

Our counterintelligence efforts are also aimed at the growing scope of the insider threat—that is, when trusted employees and contractors use their legitimate access to steal secrets for personal benefit or to benefit a company or another country. This threat has been exacerbated in recent years as businesses have become more global and increasingly exposed to foreign intelligence organizations. We are also investigating media leaks, when insiders violate the law and betray the nation’s trust by selectively leaking classified information, sometimes mixed with disinformation, to manipulate the public and advance their personal agendas.

In addition to the insider threat, the FBI has focused on a coordinated approach across divisions that leverages both our classic counterespionage tradecraft and our technical expertise to more effectively identify, pursue, and defeat hostile state actors using cyber means to penetrate or disrupt U.S. government entities or economic interests.

Finally, we have initiated a media campaign to increase awareness of the threat of economic espionage. As part of this initiative, we have made a threat awareness video, titled The Company Man, available on our public website, which has been shown thousands of times to raise awareness and generate referrals from the private sector.

Cyber

Virtually every national security and criminal threat the FBI faces is cyber-based or technologically facilitated. We face sophisticated cyber threats from foreign intelligence agencies, hackers for hire, organized crime syndicates, and terrorists. These threat actors constantly seek to access and steal our nation’s classified information, trade secrets, technology, and ideas—all of which are of great importance to our national and economic security. They seek to strike our critical infrastructure and to harm our economy.

As the committee is well aware, the frequency and impact of cyber-attacks on our nation’s private sector and government networks have increased dramatically in the past decade and are expected to continue to grow. We continue to see an increase in the scale and scope of reporting on malicious cyber activity that can be measured by the amount of corporate data stolen or deleted, personally identifiable information compromised, or remediation costs incurred by U.S. victims. Within the FBI, we are focused on the most dangerous malicious cyber activity: high-level intrusions by state-sponsored hackers and global organized crime syndicates, as well as other technically sophisticated attacks.

Botnets used by cyber criminals are one example of this trend and have been responsible for billions of dollars in damages over the past several years. The widespread availability of malicious software (malware) that can create botnets allows individuals to leverage the combined bandwidth of thousands, if not millions, of compromised computers, servers, or network-ready devices to conduct attacks. Cyber threat actors have also increasingly conducted ransomware attacks against U.S. systems, encrypting data and rendering systems unusable—victimizing individuals, businesses, and even public health providers.

Cyber threats are not only increasing in scope and scale, they are also becoming increasingly difficult to investigate. Cyber criminals often operate through online forums, selling illicit goods and services, including tools that can be used to facilitate cyber attacks. These criminals have also increased the sophistication of their schemes, which are more difficult to detect and more resilient. Additionally, many cyber actors are based abroad or obfuscate their identities by using foreign infrastructure, making coordination with international law enforcement partners essential.

The FBI is engaged in a myriad of efforts to combat cyber threats, from improving threat identification and information sharing inside and outside of government to developing and retaining new talent to examining the way we operate to disrupt and defeat these threats. We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.

Going Dark

The rapid pace of advances in mobile and other communication technologies continues to present a significant challenge to conducting court-ordered electronic surveillance of criminals and terrorists. Unfortunately, there is a real and growing gap between law enforcement’s legal authority to access digital information and its technical ability to do so. The FBI refers to this growing challenge as “Going Dark,” and it affects the spectrum of our work. In the counterterrorism context, for instance, our agents and analysts are increasingly finding that communications and contacts between groups like ISIS and potential recruits occur in encrypted private messaging platforms.

The exploitation of encrypted platforms presents serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to identify, investigate, and disrupt threats that range from counterterrorism to child exploitation, gangs, drug traffickers and white-collar crimes. We respect the right of people to engage in private communications, regardless of the medium or technology. Whether it is instant messages, texts, or old-fashioned letters, citizens have the right to communicate with one another in private without unauthorized government surveillance, because the free flow of information is vital to a thriving democracy. Our aim is not to expand the government’s surveillance authority, but rather to ensure that we can obtain electronic information and evidence pursuant to the legal authority that Congress has provided to us to keep America safe. The benefits of our increasingly digital lives, however, have been accompanied by new dangers, and we have seen how criminals and terrorists use advances in technology to their advantage.

The more we as a society rely on electronic devices to communicate and store information, the more likely it is that information that was once found in filing cabinets, letters, and photo albums will now be stored only in electronic form. When changes in technology hinder law enforcement`s ability to exercise investigative tools and follow critical leads, those changes also hinder efforts to identify and stop terrorists who are using social media to recruit, plan, and execute an attack in our country.

In the criminal context, we are seeing more and more cases where we believe significant evidence resides on a phone, a tablet, or a laptop—evidence that may be the difference between an offender being convicted or acquitted. If we cannot access this evidence, it will have ongoing, significant impacts on our ability to identify, stop, and prosecute these offenders. In the first 10 months of this fiscal year, the FBI was unable to access the content of more than 6,000 mobile devices using appropriate and available technical tools, even though there was legal authority to do so. This figure represents slightly over half of all the mobile devices the FBI attempted to access in that timeframe.

Where at all possible, our agents develop investigative workarounds on a case-by-case basis, including by using physical world techniques and examining non-content sources of digital information (such as metadata). As an organization, the FBI also invests in alternative methods of lawful engineered access. Ultimately, these efforts, while significant, have severe constraints. Non-content information, such as metadata, is often simply not sufficient to meet the rigorous constitutional burden to prove crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. Developing alternative technical methods is typically a time-consuming, expensive, and uncertain process. Even when possible, such methods are difficult to scale across investigations, and may be perishable due to a short technical lifecycle or as a consequence of disclosure through legal proceedings.

Some observers have conceived of this challenge as a trade-off between privacy and security. In our view, the demanding requirements to obtain legal authority to access data—such as by applying to a court for a warrant or a wiretap—necessarily already account for both privacy and security. The FBI is actively engaged with relevant stakeholders, including companies providing technological services, to educate them on the corrosive effects of the Going Dark challenge on both public safety and the rule of law.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The FBI, along with its U.S. government partners, is committed to countering the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat (e.g., chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) and preventing terrorist groups and lone offenders from acquiring these materials either domestically or internationally.

Domestically, the FBI’s counter-WMD threat program, in collaboration with our U.S. government partners, prepares for and responds to WMD threats (e.g., investigate, detect, search, locate, diagnostics, stabilization, and render safe WMD threats). Internationally, the FBI, in cooperation with our U.S. partners, provides investigative and technical assistance as well as capacity-building programs to enhance our foreign partners’ ability to detect, investigate, and prosecute WMD threats.

Conclusion

Finally, the strength of any organization is its people. The threats we face as a nation have never been greater or more diverse and the expectations placed on the Bureau have never been higher. Our fellow citizens look to us to protect the United States from all of those threats, and the men and women of the Bureau continue to meet and exceed those expectations, every day. I want to thank them for their dedication and their service.

Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member McCaskill, and committee members, I thank you for the opportunity to testify concerning the threats to the Homeland. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

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mogilevich putin – Google Search

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Story image for mogilevich putin from WhoWhatWhy / RealNewsProject (blog)

Everything You Need to Know About Felix Sater

WhoWhatWhy / RealNewsProject (blog)Aug 29, 2017
US authorities came to see Mogilevich, who is described as close with Putin, as not only a danger to the financial system but a potential threat …

Story image for mogilevich putin from RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The Metals Magnate And Manafort: A Kremlin Confidant Is Drawn …

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertySep 22, 2017
Mogilevich was among those named in a lawsuit filed by former … And we discussed a lot of issues, from Putin to women,” Kilimnik said via text …

Story image for mogilevich putin from thenews.pl

thenews.pl

Russiagate in Poland

Project SyndicateSep 14, 2017
The American press has reported that both D’Amato and Mogilevich … It is in Putin’s interest to sow discord in the West, especially within the EU …

Story image for mogilevich putin from WhoWhatWhy / RealNewsProject (blog)

Why FBI Can’t Tell All on Trump, Russia

WhoWhatWhy / RealNewsProject (blog)Mar 27, 2017
US authorities came to see Mogilevich, who is described as close with Putin, as not only a danger to the financial system but a potential threat …

Story image for mogilevich putin from War is Boring

Trump Aides and Russian Mobsters Pulled Strings in Putin’s …

War is BoringApr 1, 2017
At the same time, associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, …. This meant taking on Firtash, Mogilevich and the Russian mafia, and RUE.
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Semion Mogilevich Relationship With Putin

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Before his death by poisoning, ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, recorded a tape.

In it, he claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “good relationship” with one of the most notorious mobsters in the world, a Ukrainian man named Semion Mogilevich.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that Mogilevich, one of the top 10 most wanted fugitives, has spent the last few decades trafficking drugs, trading nuclear material, and orchestrating contract murders and international prostitution.

Indicted in 2003 for countless fraud charges, Mogilevich now primarily lives in Moscow. His location allows him to maintain close ties to the Bratva, or The Brotherhood, aka the Russian mob.

The ‘Boss Of Bosses’

A 5’6″ and a portly chain smoker, Mogilevich is known as “boss of bosses” in one of the biggest mafia states in the world.

Born in 1946 in Kiev, Ukraine, Mogilevich once acted as the key money laundering contact for the Solntsevskaya Bratva, a super-gang based in Moscow. He has since held over 100 front companies and bank accounts in 27 different countries, all to keep the cash flowing.

In 1998, the FBI released a report naming Mogilevich as the leader of an organization with about 250 members. Only in operation only four years, the group’s main activities included arms dealing, trading nuclear material, prostitution, drug trafficking, oil deals, and money laundering.

Between 1993 and 1998, however, Mogilevich caught the FBI’s attention when he allegedly participated in a $150 million scheme to defraud thousands of investors in a Canadian company, YBM Magnex, based just outside Philadelphia, which supposedly made magnets. With his economics degree and clever lies, Mogilevich forged documents for the Securities and Exchange Commission that raised the company’s stock price nearly 2,000%.

When asked about YBM by BBC in 2007, Mogilevich replied: “Well if they found old-fashioned hanky panky [i.e., suspicious activity], it’s up to them to prove it. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to FBI files.”

Semion MogilevichFBI

“What makes him so dangerous is that he operates without borders,” said Special Agent Peter Kowenhoven, who has worked on Mogilevich’s case since 1997. “Here’s a guy who managed to defraud investors out of $150 million without ever stepping foot in the Philadelphia area.”

In 1998, the Village Voice reported on hundreds of previously classified FBI and Israeli intelligence documents. They placed Mogilevich, also known as “Brainy Don,” as the leader of the Red Mafia, a notorious Russian mob family infamous for its brutality. Based in Budapest, members held key posts in New York, Pennsylvania, Southern California, and even New Zealand.

“He’s the most powerful mobster in the world,” Monya Elison, one of Mogilevich’s partners in a prostitution ring, told the Voice. He claimed he’s Mogilevich’s best friend.

Geopolitical Influence

Arguably one of Mogelivich’s most concerning characteristics is his influence in Europe’s energy sector. With only a $100,000 bounty on his head, he controls extensive natural gas pipelines in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Right now, Russia supplies about 30% of Europe’s gas. Ironically, the country’s largest pipeline to the rest of Europe shares a name with the mob — Bratstvo.

Europe GasREUTERS

John Wood, a senior anti-money laundering consultant at IPSA International wrote an entire report on Mogelivich. According to his research, the Ukrainian-born Russian mobster had long planned his stake in Europe’s gas.

In 1991, Mogilevich started meddling in the energy sector with Arbat International. For the next five years, the company served as his primary import-export petroleum company. Then, in 2002, an Israeli lawyer named Zeev Gordon, who represented Mogilevich for more than 20 years, created Eural Trans Gas (ETG), the main intermediary between Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Some reports show that Gordon registered the company in Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash’s name.

After that, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine’s Centragas Holding AG teamed up to establish Swiss-registered RosUkrEnergo (RUE) to replace ETG. Firtash and Gazprom reportedly roughly split the ownership of RUE.

In 2010, however, then prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, said she had “documented proof that some powerful criminal structures are behind the RosUkrEnergo (RUE) company,” according to WikiLeaks. Even before, the press had widely speculated about Mogilevich’s ties to RUE.

Dmitry FirtashDmytro Firtash, one of Ukraine’s richest men, (R) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich take part in an opening ceremony of a new complex for the production of sulfuric acid in Crimea region in April 2012.Reuters

Although Firtash has repeatedly denied having any close relationship with Mogilevich, he has admitted to asking permission from the mobster before conducting business in Ukraine as early as 1986, Reuters recently reported. At the request of the FBI, Firtash was arrested in Austria for suspicion of bribery and creating a criminal organization.

Mogilevich may even have a working relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a published conversation between Leonid Derkach, the former chief of the Ukrainian security service, and former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma.

“He’s [Mogilevich] on good terms with Putin,” Derkach reportedly said. “He and Putin have been in contact since Putin was still in Leningrad.”

A Free Man

In 2007, Mogelivich told BBC that his business was selling wheat and grain.

In 2008, however, Russian police arrested Mogelivich, using one of his many pseudonyms, Sergei Schneider, in connection with tax evasion for a cosmetics company, Arbat Prestige. Mogilevich ran that company with his partner, Vladimir Nekrosov. Three years later, the charges were dropped.

Considering the US doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Russia, as long as Mogilevich stays within Putin’s borders, the “boss of bosses” will likely remain a free man. He’s believed to have Russian, Israeli, Ukrainian, and Greek passports.

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What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign – Talking Points Memo

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In recent weeks, Facebook has received the lion’s share of attention when it comes to the social media component of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election. But the service the President so frequently and famously uses hasn’t received quite the same level of scrutiny yet—perhaps because it’s much harder to nail down exactly what happened on Twitter during the 2016 campaign.

Much of the activity on Twitter is a morass of bot traffic, spam accounts mobbing hashtags and plain old harassment, so teasing out the Twitter component of a coordinated influence campaign that spanned multiple platforms is a seriously tall order. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have proposed some of the first regulations that would specifically affect Twitter and Facebook; a Twitter spokesman told TPM that, regarding regulation, “we are open to discussing this with the FEC and Congress.”

There are a few facts about Russian-linked activity on Twitter during the 2016 campaign we already know thanks to published reports, but there’s much more that remains unclear. Answers to some of those unanswered questions could emerge from Twitter’s closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks spread propaganda on Twitter

The primary arms of the Russian disinformation campaign operated on Twitter—in fact, you still can visit the Twitter pages for DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, two of the outlets for emails stolen from Democratic organizations and operatives.

Twitter has a laissez-faire attitude toward who can and can’t use its network; short of distributing something illegal or advocating violence—and sometimes even then—users can do pretty much whatever they want with impunity. In this case, it appears to have given useful platforms to what the U.S. intelligence community says were fronts for a Russian intelligence service.

The Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks accounts haven’t tweeted since January 2017 and December 2016, respectively.

Groups of synchronized, automated accounts promoted Trump in the interest of Russians

Russian intelligence also used networks of automated accounts, or social botnets, on Twitter, although it’s hard to tell which were actually harnessed by the GRU and which were simply a function of Russia’s burgeoning cybercrime industry. Much of the work that has been done tracking bot accounts is inductive, which has made the task of labeling bot accounts a perilous one. Plenty of amateur Trump-Russia sleuths have managed to look foolish for accusing run-of-the-mill conservative Twitter users of being Russian bots.

But some of the reasoning is convincing and comes from reliable sources. Cybersecurity researcher Brian Krebs, formerly a reporter for the Washington Post, noted that any time he criticized Putin, it mysteriously generated defensive tweets about Trump. He also observed that the service’s like and retweet buttons were being used as part of a strategic offense.

Russian-linked accounts promoted fake news stories

Russian social botnets appear to have been used to promote a lot of far-right news hashtags, according to Hamilton 68, a program that tracks probable bots of Russian origin. This is in itself not especially unusual. Twitter charges to promote tweets and tags on its service, so an underhanded advertiser may feel the need to promote its work through a network of linked accounts that will get it the requisite number of likes and retweets.

But a January report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in noted that Russian state-affiliated bloggers had prepared such a campaign for Clinton’s victory. “Before he election, Russian diplomats had publicly denounced the US electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results,” the report’s authors wrote. “Pro- Kremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign, #DemocracyRIP, on election night in anticipation of Secretary Clinton’s victory, judging from their social media activity.”

At other moments, Russian Twitter users glommed onto the far-right news of the day, including the conspiracy theory that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich had something to do with the stolen emails.

Russians ran at least one pro-Trump news account

The @tpartynews account had some 22,000 followers and regularly insulted Black Lives Matter activists. The account was followed by former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka, who himself has been linked to far-right racist and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary.

How much bot traffic was actually directed by Russian intelligence?

Bot traffic on Twitter is vast. While it accounted for 33 percent of pro-Trump tweets during the run-up to the 2016 election, it also accounted for 22 percent of pro-Clinton tweets. It’s very difficult to tell which tweets are of Russian origin and which Russian tweets are part of a Kremlin influence campaign. Much of this simply speaks to a vulnerability on the platform that activists have been complaining about for years: Twitter’s sign-up process is very simple and open to abuse by anyone who, for whatever reason, wants to promote a malicious agenda or harass other users.

To what extent did Russia use Twitter’s ad technology?

We now know Russian operators used Facebook to run ad campaigns around divisive social issues. They made use of the company’s microtargeting capabilities, which are especially effective at locating people who may be sympathetic to the deluge of anti-Clinton, pro-Trump news that the GRU had already seeded through WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. Twitter hasn’t yet answered the question of whether Russian intelligence was able to operate to its satisfaction merely using botnets and sock-puppet accounts like @tpartynews, or whether it needed to buy promoted tweets or hashtags; so far there’s no evidence that it did.

Why are some Russian accounts dormant while others are still active?

One group tracking Russian bots notes that many of them haven’t stopped tweeting. In fact, they tweeted in support of alt-right groups in the aftermath of the slaying of Heather Heyer at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Again, some of this is inductive reasoning: ProPublica identified one account as a bot by noting it used a stolen photo, sent five tweets in a single minute that all used a URL shortener, and that the account’s tweets “were reported to use similar language from Russian government–backed outlets Sputnik and RT.” Of course, all this could be true of a human account, too.

What does Twitter plan to do about any of this?

Twitter is due on Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday. The company has thus far been tight-lipped about its strategy for dealing with malicious foreign governments trying to tamper in each others’ elections—similar influence campaigns in France and Germany have taken place since the American election. The company may come up with some kind of internal proposal for enhancing its ability to detect and root out activity like the GRU influence campaign in much the same way it, along with Facebook, has agreed to help the U.S. deal with social media accounts run by the Islamic State.

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Manafort’s Offer to Russian Oligarch Was Tied to Disputed Deal – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Manafort’s Offer to Russian Oligarch Was Tied to Disputed Deal
Bloomberg
When Donald Trump’s campaign chairman offered private briefings to a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin last year, he wasn’t only appealing to a superpower, he was pursuing a personal mission: the end to a costly dispute over a failed …and more »
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