Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria

Visitors and Russian military police officers walk toward the Citadel, Aleppo’s famed fortress. Russian news outlets say thousands of Russians have been deployed in Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor since 2015. When President Vladimir Putin announced Monday Dec. 11, 2017, that Russia’s campaign in Syria was drawing to a close, he did not mention this secret force.

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Before he was killed by a sniper in Syria at age 23, Ivan Slyshkin wrote a poignant message on social media to his fiancee: “We will see each other soon — and I will hold you as tight as I possibly can.”

But Slyshkin’s name won’t be found among the Russian Defense Ministry’s official casualties in the fight against Islamic State extremists. That’s because the young man who left his hometown of Ozyorsk in the Ural mountains was one of thousands of Russians deployed to Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor known as Wagner, which the government doesn’t talk about.

Slyshkin’s gravestone depicts him holding a machine gun, according to a local news website Znak.com that sent a reporter to his March 2 funeral in Ozyorsk, where friends said he joined Wagner to earn money to pay for his wedding. Continue reading

China, Russia Deploying ‘Sharp Power’ to Quietly Penetrate Democracies

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

Sharp power centers on distraction and manipulation

China and Russia have spent billions of dollars over the past decade on state-run propaganda campaigns disguised as commercial ventures in an effort to shape public opinion and policy debates in democracies around the world, according to a new report by the National Endowment for Democracy.

To accomplish this, Beijing and Moscow have deployed a diverse array of tools, including people-to-people exchanges, cultural activities, educational programs, and the development of media enterprises with global reach.

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Former Kremlin Foreign Policy Advisor Karaganov: We Are In A New More Perilous Cold War

Sergey Karaganov (Source: Karaganov.ru)

 

Former Kremlin Foreign Policy Advisor Sergey Karaganov stated that the world is living in a new Cold War, which is worse than the previous one.[1] “Nowadays the risk of war is much greater than in the past. One of the reasons is that there is no system of agreements, no hot lines and no channels for consultation between the defense ministries. We have prevented a war in Europe by disrupting plans to involve Ukraine into Western alliances. If Ukraine had become a member of NATO, a war would have become unavoidable,” said Karaganov.

He further stated that Russia and China are the “main providers of security” in the world today, explaining that China is providing economic security, while Russia is providing military-strategic security. According to Karaganov, Europe is becoming increasingly focused on itself, while America is destabilizing the world. He then added that multipolarity that Russia had vigorously promoted in order to destroy the unipolar American system is no longer a goal in itself. “Now it is just a transitional period in the history of international relations,” said Karaganov.

Following are excerpts from Karaganov’s interview:[2]

Russia And China Are The Main Providers Of Security In The World Today

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Uranium One and New START

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov finalized the New START treaty in February 2011. Last month, the Uranium One case resurfaced when news reports revealed that the FBI apparently covered up information about illegal Russian attempts to lobby Mrs. Clinton. (Associated Press/File) Photo by: Jens Meyer

 

Some U.S. national security officials are urging an investigation of the burgeoning Uranium One scandal to focus on whether the New START arms treaty with Russia was compromised by Moscow payoffs and not just by Obama administration policies that sought to curry favor with the Kremlin.

The Obama team, through the Treasury Department-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), approved the 2010 sale of 51 percent of Canada-based Uranium One to JSC Atomredmetzoloto, or ARMZ, the mining arm of Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy agency. The merger gave Russia control of some 20 percent of U.S. uranium extraction capability.

In 2015, it was revealed that nine lobbyists for Uranium One paid the Clinton Foundation, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable organization, $145 million before, during and after the deal was approved. Bill Clinton also traveled to Moscow, where he was paid $500,000 by a Russian government-linked bank for a speech. Continue reading

Why is Russian DNA Being Collected?

Why is Russian DNA Being Collected?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the DNA of Russians is being collected by foreign agents, perhaps for the purpose of developing “ethnic bioweapons.”

 

In a recent speech to a human rights gathering, Russian President Vladimir Putin made the claim that “U.S. special services agents” were collecting DNA samples from Russians of different ethnic groups as part of the development of a possible ethno-biological weapon.

“Do you know that the biological material is collected all over the country for different ethnic groups and peoples living in different geographical area of the Russian Federation? The question is why they are doing it, and they are doing it purposefully and professionally,” he said. “We are an object of great interest. Of course, we do not need to have any fear about it. Let them do whatever they want, and we must do what we have to do.” Continue reading

Clinton campaign, DNC helped pay for work on dossier about Russia and Trump

 

The dossier has become a lightning rod amid the intensifying investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia.

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C., firm, to conduct the research. Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. Continue reading

Ignoring empty threats, Iran tightens its military noose around Israel

Hamas’ Saleh Arouri in Tehran.

 

Iran pressed ahead with its plans this week, regardless of the loud scorn and threats poured on Tehran from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Cairo and Washington.

On Friday, Oct. 20, less than two weeks after Saleh Arouri, Deputy Chief of the Hamas political bureau, approved an Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation agreement between his party and the rival Fatah, he was leading a large Hamas delegation to Tehran. Continue reading

Israel reportedly behind discovery of Russian antivirus company’s spy links

Computer hacking

 

Israeli spy services were reportedly behind the United States government’s recent decision to purge Kaspersky Lab antivirus software from its computers, citing possible collusion with Russian intelligence. Last month, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a directive ordering that all government computers should be free of software products designed by Kaspersky Lab. Formed in the late 1990s by Russian cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky, the multinational antivirus software provider operates out of Moscow but is technically based in the United Kingdom. Its antivirus and cybersecurity products are installed on tens of millions of computers around the world, including computers belonging to government agencies in the US and elsewhere. But last month’s memorandum by the US government’s domestic security arm alarmed the cybersecurity community by alleging direct operational links between the antivirus company and the Kremlin. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia says to buy Russia S-400 defence systems, other arms

 

Saudi Arabia signed on Thursday preliminary agreements to buy S-400 air defence systems and receive “cutting edge technologies” from Russia during King Salman’s landmark visit to Moscow, the Saudi military industries firm said.

The agreement was announced as King Salman, who is on the first official trip to Russia by a Saudi monarch, and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks at the Kremlin. Continue reading

Russia Increases Economic Support For North Korea As China Backs Away

 

Over the past two months, China, North Korea’s economic benefactor and formally the source of 90% of its foreign trade, has been withdrawing financial support, ostensibly under the auspices of US sanctions, as Communist Party leaders try to rein in the North’s nuclear program to appease the US and prevent a potentially destabilizing conflict on its border – a development that would be particularly unwelcome during the Communist Party’s upcoming national congress.

As we reported earlier this week, North Korea’s thriving black-market economy (the county earns hundreds of millions of dollars a year from illegal weapons sales, along with other illicit activities rumored to include counterfeiting of US dollars and the manufacture of methamphetamine) has helped blunt the economic impact of UN sanctions meant to reduce the country’s legitimate exports by 90%. Continue reading

Putin Orders End To US Dollar Trade At Russian Seaports

The commercial sea port of Novorossiysk

 

Whether in response to rising scorching tensions with the US, or simply to provide support for the ruble, on Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to approve legislation making the ruble the main currency of exchange at all Russian seaports by next year, RT reported citing the Kremlin website. Continue reading

The REAL Russia Scandal

MELISSA BARREIRO/TRUMPET

 

Is Vladimir Putin trying to strengthen the Trump presidency—or weaken it?

Claims that United States President Donald Trump secretly cooperated with Russia to steal the 2016 United States presidential election have been making headlines for over a year. New allegations seem to come out every week, but none of them are backed up by proof against the president.

WikiLeaks published 19,252 e-mails hacked from the accounts of seven key Democratic National Committee staff members on July 22, 2016. These staff members are chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chief executive officer Amy Dacey, chief financial officer Brad Marshall, communications director Luis Miranda, press secretary Mark Paustenbach, broadcast media director Pablo Manriquez and finance director Jordan Kaplan.

The e-mails revealed that under Schultz’s leadership, key officials within the Democratic Party worked to sabotage the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders so Hillary Clinton would win the party nomination. Many Sanders supporters were outraged. Schultz apologized and resigned in disgrace. Continue reading

U.S. to Remain Dependent on Russian Rocket Engines for Years Despite Billions Poured Into Domestic Alternatives

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is launched / Getty Images

 

Industry officials say military won’t move fully to American-built engines until at least 2024

The Pentagon will remain dependent on Russian rocket engines to launch military satellites into space through at least the mid-2020s, despite the U.S. government allocating billions of dollars to defense contractors to produce an American-made replacement.

The projection adds several years to initial targets laid out in 2014 by lawmakers and senior Air Force officials, who ordered the United States begin phasing out Russia’s RD-180 engines amid national security concerns spurred by the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. Continue reading

U.S. Open to Providing Weapons to Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis walks past honour guards during a welcoming ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine August 24, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

 

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is signaling his support for suppling the Ukraine with weapons. During a visit to that country Thursday, Mattis said Washington would keep up pressure on Russia over what he called its aggressive behavior.

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Russia reveals fleet of ‘INVISIBLE’ supersonic stealth fighter jets as WW3 fears grow

Sukhoi-57

The jet has another year of testing before units enter military service in 2019 [Getty]

 

RUSSIA has unveiled its first fleet of ‘invisible’ stealth fighter jets as the world teeters on the brink of World War Three.

The Sukhoi-57 will rival the American F-22 and Chinese Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31 combat planes, the Kremlin has boasted.

Military officials claim “cutting-edge” stealth technology will make the £120million jet near-invisible to enemy radars. Continue reading