Democratic Party lawsuit says Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks conspired to hack 2016 presidential campaign

The Democratic National Committee today filed a lawsuit against the Russian government, Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and WikiLeaks, alleging the Trump campaign 'gleefully welcomed Russia's help.' Court papers describe a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign, and throw the election for Donald Trump through a complex and well-funded global disinformation campaign.

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The upside of big tech is Russia vs Telegram, but the downside is Cloudflare vs SESTA

Yesterday, I wrote about the way that tech-sector concentration was making it nearly impossible for Russia to block the encrypted messaging service Telegram: because Telegram can serve its traffic through giant cloud providers like Amazon, Russia can only block Telegram by blocking everyone else who uses Amazon. Read the rest

Russia blocks Google & Amazon IP addresses, saying they're used by Telegram app Putin just banned

Russia's communications regulator says it has blocked IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon because Moscow claims the internet addresses are used by the Telegram messaging service that was banned by Putin's regime this week.

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FBI, DHS, and UK cyber agency warn of Russia internet attack that targets routers

The United States and Britain today accused Russia of launching a new wave of internet-based attacks targeting routers, firewalls and other computer networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe.

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Russian investigative journalist who wrote about Russian mercenaries in Syria dies from fall

Russian investigative journalist Maxim Borodin died in a hospital after falling from his fifth floor apartment in Yekaterinburg on Friday. Recently Borodin had been writing about the Syria-based activities of a Russian mercenary organization called the "Wagner Group." Officials say there is no sign of foul play, but one of Borodin's friends, Vyacheslav Bashkov, said that security personnel had surrounded his apartment the day before he fell.

From BBC:

Journalists in Russia have often been harassed or attacked in recent years for their work. On the same day that Maxim Borodin was found fatally injured, the editor of an official regional newspaper was assaulted in Yekaterinburg, reports say.

Much of Russia's media is controlled by the state and Russia is ranked 83rd out of 100 countries for press freedom by Freedom House.

One of Russia's best-known investigative reporters, Anna Politkovskaya, was shot dead in a lift at her block of flats in 2006. Politkovskaya exposed Russian human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Anna Politkovskaya's reports were highly critical of President Vladimir Putin Two years later, journalist Mikhail Beketov was left brain-damaged. He had highlighted corruption and fought against the planned destruction of the Khimki forest near Moscow to make way for a road. He died in 2013.

Oleg Kashin, was severely injured in an assault in Moscow in 2010. He had been reporting on protests against the Khimki forest highway.

Last year, well-known Russian radio presenter Tatyana Felgengauer was stabbed in the neck while at work at her radio station, Ekho Mosvky.

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Prosecutors got 'covert' warrants to search Michael Cohen's email, here's what we know of their findings

A court filing in the case of President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen shows that prosecutors obtained “covert” search warrants on multiple email accounts belonging to Cohen. An early report says “Cohen is in fact performing little to no legal work,” according to sources, and “zero emails were exchanged with President Trump.”

If that's the case, attorney-client privilege doesn't apply.

According to all that is publicly known, Trump does not use email, personally. Others may read out the contents to him, or print out the messages. But he doesn't email.

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'The Unbitten Elbow' by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

Reader recommended, and absolutely delightful, The Unbitten Elbow depicts the fervor and zelotry of the Soviet state as it rots from the brain to the heart.

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is another fantastic Soviet era writer of dystopic fiction. Folks in Russia were already living in the worst dystopia most Westerners could imagine. In The Unbitten Elbow, we see an old Russian proverb, that the elbow is always near but impossible to bite, tested by the strength of an entire nation.

Absurdity abounds in this 10-15 minute read.

The Unbitten Elbow by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky via Amazon Read the rest

New Zealand: we'd expel Russian spies but there don't seem to be any here

New Zealand set about expelling any Russians who might be spies, but couldn't find anyone who fit the profile. Apropos of nothing, there is a subreddit called "Maps Without New Zealand" dedicated to world maps that omit the island nation, as if the creator simply forgot that it existed or never knew in the first place. Read the rest

How Russian investigative journalists working for precarious free press outlets exposed the "troll factory"

St Petersburg's Internet Research Agency -- AKA "The Troll Factory" -- is in the news since Robert Mueller indicted 13 of its employees, but it first came to public attention in 2013, when investigative reporters working for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta revealed that the agency was working to manipulate Russian public opinion in favor of Putin and the Kremlin and against opposition politicians by flooding Russian online discussions with thousands of "patriotic" posts made under a welter of pseudonyms. Read the rest

Russian nerve agent attack may leave Skripals with 'limited mental capacity'

The military-grade nerve toxin attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia may have left the victims with 'compromised mental capacity,' a British judge said on Thursday. It is unclear whether the former Russian double agent and his adult child will recover from being poisoned with what the UK says was a Russian chemical weapon known as 'Novichok.'

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White House Chief of Staff in a rage after leak reveals that Trump congratulated Putin against Cabinet advice

After Vladimir Putin stole another Russian election, Trump placed an official call to the Kremlin; his national security advisors' briefing notes for the call included the all-caps instruction "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" -- naturally, Trump congratulated Putin. Read the rest

Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization, demands Russia documents

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has issued a subpoena to the Trump Organization for an array of documents, including those related to contact with Russia.

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“Highly Likely” Russia behind poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal & daughter, British PM Theresa May says

Sergei Skripal was convicted of spying by Russia in 2006.

Russia-made nerve agents, chemical weapons of war, were used to poison a former spy who was living in the United Kingdom, and his daughter. That is the determination of the intelligence agencies of Britain, said Prime Minister Theresa May today from London.

She says an inter-agency investigation found that the mysterious poisoning of Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, is being treated as a political assassination by Russia on British soil.

Prime Minister May today said it was an “indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin in public comments last week obliquely seemed to take responsibility, while not addressing the event directly. “Those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves,” Putin said, as news of the ex-spy's poisoning first broke.

Russia is known for bold and cruel assassinations—-by chemical agents-- of citizens it identifies as traitors to the state. But the audaciousness of this attack, on an elderly man and his adult child in a sleepy small town, was notable.

On MSNBC as the news broke this afternoon, U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul said, “This is outrageous, They went to a town and poisond a pensioner in Salisbury, Hundreds of people were poisoned and injured. Read the rest

Trump invited Putin to 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow with this personal letter

Donald Trump was so eager for Vladi­mir Putin to attend his 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, he personally wrote the Russian President a letter inviting him. Robert Mueller's investigative team somehow got a copy of the document. It is the first known communication that shows Trump trying to establish contact directly with Putin.

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Mike Rogers: Trump hasn't authorized US Cyber Command to disrupt Russia's ongoing election hack ops

Admiral Mike Rogers, America's Cyber Command chief, told lawmakers today that President Donald Trump and his administration have not granted him the 'authority to disrupt Russian election hacking operations where they originate.' Huh. Wonder why.

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Trump and the weird attention economy of Facebook

When you try to buy online ads from Facebook's self-serve ad-auctioning platform, merely being the highest bidder isn't enough to guarantee that your ads will get through: Facebook multiplies your bid by a software-generated prediction about how responsive the audience will be to it, so the clickbaitier your ad is, the less it costs to place it. Read the rest

Some free short stories from Soviet-era science fiction author Anatoly Dneprov

This week I found several stories by Anatoly Dneprov, shared free on the series of tubes we call the internet.

Anatoly Dneprov, a science teacher, wrote wonderful, fast-paced, and oh-so very representative of Russia science fiction in the 1950s and 1960s. Not only does Dneprov masterfully communicate the headspace of living in a dystopic society, but his ideas about self-replicating machines, 3D printing and number of other things-to-come are eerie to the point of disbelief.

The Purple Mummy is a fantastic story about first contact coming from someplace completely unexpected. In just a few pages, as these stories are short, Dneprov launches quite a few huge ideas, and brings the story to a conclusion that doesn't feel lacking. Advances in medicine, the birth of 3D printing, and some very Russian existentialism over an anti-Universe are all strung together in a way that makes more sense than it should.

I also enjoyed his short The Maxwell Equations.

Links are via the Internet Archive and offer all the e-versions you might want.

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