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 “Sweden arrests tech worker said to be Russian spy”
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 “Kleptocracy in America: Russian-style corruption, driven by global oligarchs, enabled by US elites”
“Deliberate, coordinated effort by top Trump campaign officials to subvert the will of the American people”
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.
Read the rest “Retired CIA operative warns us "Convergence Is Worse Than Collusion"”
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?
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.
How much more evidence does America need that Donald Trump isn't working for us, but for Russia? Read the rest “Like Putin, Trump wants U.S. out of NATO”
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort provided an individual identified as a Kremlin agent with internal campaign polling data, while Russia's military was executing a political attack on the United States presidential elections of 2016. Read the rest “Manafort gave polling data to Kremlin agent while Russia attacked U.S. elections”
Happy nuke year, everyone! Man, the Trump administration's recklessness really makes people feel like they can just say whatever they want with no consequences. Read the rest “U.S. Strategic Command tweets nuclear war joke on New Year's Eve”
Every year, Jennifer Jenkins and Jamie Boyle from the Duke Center for the Public Domain compile a "Public Domain Day" list (previously) that highlights the works that are not entering the public domain in America, thanks to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which hit the pause button on Americans' ability to freely use their artistic treasures for two decades -- a list that also included the notable works entering the public domain in more sensible countries of the Anglophere, like Canada and the UK, where copyright "only" lasted for 50 years after the author's death.
Read the rest “Happy Public Domain day: for real, for the first time in 20 years!”
Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade had it out with Sarah Huckabee Sanders this morning after Sanders defended Trump's decision to pull the US out of Syria.
Agreeing with co-host Steve Doocy, Sanders said that pulling out of Syria was always Trump's plan. “Anybody that says they’re surprised by this has simply been living under a rock.”
"Sarah, he is giving Russia a big win," Kilmeade argued. "Vladimir Putin praised him. He also is doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing. He said President Obama is the founder of ISIS. He just refounded ISIS because they got 30,000 men there and they are already striking back with our would-be evacuation. The president is really on the griddle with this."
Although it looked like Kilmeade, clearly agitated, had more to say on the matter, his co-hosts shut it down real fast with a "Alright Sarah, we wish you a very merry Christmas!" Read the rest “Trump "just refounded Isis" says Fox's Brian Kilmeade to Sarah Sanders”
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Donald Trump’s surprise announcement of U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, calling it “the right decision.” Nice to know the boss approves! Read the rest “'Donald's Right.' Putin praises Trump Syria withdrawal tweet as 'the right decision'”
Hacked EU cables released this week warn that Russia may already have nuclear weapons in Crimea. The private diplomatic messages describe annexed area of Ukraine as a ‘hot zone,’ and Donald Trump as a ‘bully.’ Read the rest “Moscow might have nukes in Crimea, hacked EU cables warn”
After Donald Trump was sworn in as President, Russia's information warfare teams focused on a new target: special counsel Robert Mueller. Read the rest “Robert Mueller was target of Russian infowar, Senate report reveals”
Maria Butina, 30, stood in a D.C. federal court this morning and told the judge that she “knowingly engaged in conspiracy against the United States.” Then, one hour into the hearing, she stood again and said one word: “Guilty.”
The accused Russian spy acknowledged that she acted "under direction of" a Russian official who has been identified as Alexander Torshin.
She has signed a plea agreement with the U.S. that requires her to cooperate fully with any relevant federal, state, or local investigations. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office may want to talk with her about a few things. Read the rest “Maria Butina pleads GUILTY. Russian spy “knowingly engaged in conspiracy against the United States””
State-owned TV network Russia-24 ran a story about an impressive humanoid robot named Boris that wowed attendees at a youth technology conference. Turns out, Boris the Robot was actually a man inside a commercially-available, high-end robot costume. From The Guardian:
A photograph published by MBKh Media, the news agency founded by the Vladimir Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, appeared to show the actor in the robot suit ahead of the forum on Tuesday in Yaroslavl, a city about 150 miles north-east of Moscow.
The organisers of the Proyektoria technology forum, held each year for the “future intellectual leaders of Russia”, did not try to pass off the robot as real, the website reported.
But whether by mistake or design, the state television footage did just that. “It’s entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics,” an anchor reported. “Especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots.”
Read the rest “Impressive robot praised by Russia state television revealed to be a man in a costume”