putin

How can spies from democracies compete with spies from autocracies?

Economist international editor Edward Lucas devotes 4,000+ words in the new issue of Foreign Policy to the changing landscape of state espionage in the 21st century; it's not particularly well-organized (if there's a reason for the order in which his thoughts are laid out, I couldn't find it), but despite that, it's well worth a read, even if there's lots I don't agree with here. Read the rest

Trump sends Pompeo to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov, May 12-14

The administration of Donald Trump is sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on May 12-14, says the U.S. State Department.

What could they possibly be planning to discuss? Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and winning the 2020 election, my top guesses. Read the rest

Venezuela military coup? Guns fired at Maduro protesters, Internet blocked, Guaidó with soldiers claims ‘final phase’

Military coup supported by Trump admin appears under way in Venezuela.

Russian agent Maria Butina sentenced to 18 months in prison

Butina 'jeopardized this country's national security' says judge

Man fined $471 for calling Putin a “fantastical f***head”

Yuri Kartyzhev (34) of Novgorod, Russia, was fined for hurting President Putin's feelings after he referred to the country's leader as a "fantastical fuckhead." He was the first person to be charged under a new law that forbids people from saying anything "disrespectful" about government officials.

From The Independent:

By Wednesday afternoon, a tweet introducing the #Putinisafantasticalf***head hashtag was trending, with over 5,000 engagements. As some pointed out, its 2,400 retweets amounted to a potential £870,000 in fines.

The collective Russian internet’s quicker wits said they were interested to know where Kartyzhev had gone wrong: perhaps Putin was not a fantastical f***head, but a real one?

Leonid Volkov, a prominent aide to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, led the charge on Twitter: “If the phrase fantastical f***head is offensive, how can we say it without offending government?,” he wrote.

Image: Kremlin Read the rest

Read the full text of the Mueller report here, as redacted by Barr

Dems fight for unredacted report's release

Russian agent Maria Butina to be sentenced in U.S. on April 26

The admitted agent for Russia was connected with the NRA and pro-Trump U.S. political groups.

Here's what Jair Bolsonaro, Trump, and Putin have in common

The first line of Jon Lee Anderson's long-awaited profile of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro in the New Yorker is a real killer. “The authoritarian leaders taking power around the world share a vocabulary of intolerance, insult, and menace...” Read the rest

Two Russia-backed hacker groups target Europe ahead of elections, FireEye reports

Security services firm FireEye says two hacker groups known to be sponsored by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin are waging cyber-attacks currently against European government systems. Read the rest

Sponsor of the "Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act" sues Twitter cow-account for $250 million

Devin Nunes (previously) is a Trump-loyalist whose scandals have ranged from secretly moving his family farm to make it easier to hire undocumented workers to a bizarre obsession with the Steele Dossier; and like a lot of far-right types, he's big on "preventing frivolous lawsuits" (which is to say, he wants to make it harder for the public to sue companies that harm them, which is why he cosponsored last year's Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act. Read the rest

Paul Manafort sentenced to 47 months in prison in Virginia trial, sentencing in Washington DC case next week

Trump's former campaign chief faced up to 25 years in prison, was sentenced to less than four.

Sweden arrests tech worker said to be Russian spy

In Sweden, officers of the Swedish Security Service have arrested a person who worked “in a high-technology sector” and is believed by investigators to be a Russian agent. Read the rest

Kleptocracy in America: Russian-style corruption, driven by global oligarchs, enabled by US elites

As Naomi Klein documents in her classic and seminal book The Shock Doctrine, disasters and upheavals are the bread-and-butter of global looters, who use the collapse of civil society or the default of debtor states to privatize state assets at pennies on the dollar, then milk them into further crises, which create more chances for looting -- but the collapse of the USSR was different, because the spies and strongmen who rode out that collapse ensured that public assets were only given to domestic looters, not off-shore oligarchs. Read the rest

Nancy Pelosi: 'What does Putin have on Trump, politically, personally or financially?'

“Deliberate, coordinated effort by top Trump campaign officials to subvert the will of the American people”

Retired CIA operative warns us "Convergence Is Worse Than Collusion"

I heard former CIA 'clandestine serviceman' Jon Sipher on Renato Mariotti's fantastic podcast On Topic.

Sipher describes how Trump and Putin's colliding interests are far more threatening to the future of democracy than answering the question "was there collusion?"

The entire story was published by The Atlantic here.

Two Donald Trump supporters were recently photographed at a rally wearing shirts emblazoned with the phrase i’d rather be russian than a democrat. To some supporters of President Trump, praising Russia and denigrating Democrats is simply a means of expressing tribal loyalties, or of goading liberals. However, as heated political rhetoric becomes part of the media landscape, such fringe views are becoming more mainstream, displaying an increasing convergence of interests between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the views of Trump supporters.

While many Americans are concerned that the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Trump’s outright convergence of interests with Putin’s Russia may well prove far more damaging for U.S. interests in the long run. Convergence can be defined as distinct groups doing the same things for different reasons, or as a unity of interests evolving from separate starting points. Both Putin and Trump seek to inject chaos into the U.S. political system. They support an assault on U.S. foreign-policy elites, encourage fringe and radical groups, and envision a United States untethered from traditional allies. They also share a willingness to utilize informal and semi-legal means to achieve their goals. The common interest shown by Russia and the alt-right in exploiting fears surrounding the routine Jade Helm military exercise in Texas in 2015?

Read the rest

Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress about The Moscow Tower Project

Trump received 10 personal updates from Michael Cohen and encouraged a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin. “Make it happen,” Trump said of the Putin meeting.

Like Putin, Trump wants U.S. out of NATO

How much more evidence does America need that Donald Trump isn't working for us, but for Russia? Read the rest

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