Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby RocketMan » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:25 am


Foreigners are suspicious.
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:26 am

Thousands took to the streets in Moscow to demand democracy.

Putin responded with arrests and violence.

It’s a reminder that there’s nothing authoritarians fear more than the people.

Julia Ioffe

Verified account

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Julia Ioffe Retweeted Телеканал Дождь
After the police turned up at independent TV station's @tvrain's offices, my friend Sasha Perepelova, the editor-in-chief, is called in for questioning. This would only happen with orders from Putin, whom Trump asked for advice on how to deal with journalists.
https://twitter.com/juliaioffe/status/1 ... 0905077767


Russian Agents Sought Secret US Treasury Records On Clinton Backers During 2016 Campaign
Whistleblowers said the Americans were exchanging messages with unsecure Gmail accounts set up by their Russian counterparts as the US election heated up.

Anthony Cormier
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Jason Leopold
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on December 20, 2018, at 12:49 p.m. ET

US Treasury Department officials used a Gmail back channel with the Russian government as the Kremlin sought sensitive financial information on its enemies in America and across the globe, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

The extraordinary unofficial line of communication arose in the final year of the Obama administration — in the midst of what multiple US intelligence agencies have said was a secret campaign by the Kremlin to interfere in the US election. Russian agents ostensibly trying to track ISIS instead pressed their American counterparts for private financial documents on at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.

Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.

Russia’s financial crimes agency, whose second-in-command is a former KGB officer and schoolmate of President Vladimir Putin, also asked the Americans for documents on executives from two prominent Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League and the National Council of Jewish Women, as well as Kremlin opponents living abroad in London and Kiev.

In an astonishing departure from protocol, documents show that at the same time the requests were being made, Treasury officials were using their government email accounts to send messages back and forth with a network of private Hotmail and Gmail accounts set up by the Russians, rather than communicating through the secure network usually used to exchange information with other countries.

Got a tip? You can email tips@buzzfeed.com. To learn how to reach us securely, go to tips.buzzfeed.com.
Analysts at an elite agency within Treasury first warned supervisors in 2016 that the Russians were “manipulating the system” to conduct “fishing expeditions.” And they raised fears that the Treasury’s internal systems could be compromised by viruses contained in emails from the unofficial Russian accounts. But staff continued using the Gmail back channel into 2017, despite repeated internal warnings that Russia could be trawling for sensitive financial records — including Social Security and bank account numbers — to spy on, endanger, or recruit targets in the West.

The Treasury Department refused to tell BuzzFeed News why its officials were communicating with unofficial Gmail accounts at the same time that Russia was sending the suspicious requests, or to say whether it eventually turned over any documents in response. Nor would officials answer any other specific questions about the matter.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “Treasury does not discuss or comment on confidential communications with foreign governments, including to confirm whether or not they have occurred. We have notified our Office of the Inspector General of these allegations.”

Want to support more reporting like this? Become a BuzzFeed News member today.

But documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News reveal that Russia’s attempts to extract information about Western targets triggered alarms inside the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, a powerful unit of the Treasury Department with exclusive access to the most comprehensive and sophisticated financial database in the world.

Officials at FinCEN said they reported the use of the back channel to Treasury’s counterterrorism unit and security office, and requested an investigation. They said it was a breach of protocol and that it exposed the Treasury to potential hackers because the Russian messages contained attachments — a common way for intruders to worm inside an organization’s servers.

“If the attachment had a virus it could infiltrate the server,” a senior FinCEN official told BuzzFeed News. This source said insiders have been concerned that their internal records could have been corrupted.

The FinCEN officials reported the incidents in July and August 2016, and claim that there was no substantive investigation of the matter. These sources said that other senior officials continued to use the back channel even after they were told to stop by the Treasury’s office for security.

They suspected that the Russian agency making the requests, called Rosfinmonitoring, set up by Putin in 2001 to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, was closely tied to Russia’s espionage apparatus.

“They are passing information that may have interest to the Russians for other reasons,” a FinCEN official wrote to colleagues in March 2017. “One has to wonder what the heck is going on here.” This official filed for whistleblower protection and quit last year.

“If you are a Russian government entity and you are communicating with Americans, you have an FSB officer sitting right next to you and that officer is probably sending the email.”
In emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News, FinCEN insiders expressed shock that staff in another Treasury office had agreed to communicate with the Russians outside of normal, secure channels. FinCEN uses an encrypted portal called the Egmont Secure Web to exchange information with more than 160 other countries, including Russia, and to keep sensitive financial data out of the wrong hands.

A former US intelligence official who served in Russia for many years told BuzzFeed News that the use of unsecure accounts is a major red flag for espionage activity.

“Rosfinmonitoring is under the command and control of the FSB,” the former intelligence officer said, referring to Russia’s spy agency. “If you are a Russian government entity and you are communicating with Americans, you have an FSB officer sitting right next to you and that officer is probably sending the email.”

The first chapter in this extraordinary chain of communications began in late 2015, when a unit of the Treasury Department called the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes entered into an agreement, named the ISIL Project, that called for Russia and the US to share information on financial institutions in the Middle East suspected of supporting ISIS.

According to a senior FinCEN intelligence analyst, Russia’s subsequent actions suggest that was just a cover. “What we were seeing with Russia was the fruition of a long-term strategy to try and compromise Treasury by cultivating civil servants. That’s why we sounded the alarm and reported it.”

It was not the only time that concerns about serious counterintelligence threats were raised at the elite financial intelligence unit during the past two years.

Six sources told BuzzFeed News that at least two FinCEN analysts were reported to Treasury’s inspector general over suspicions that they might have been working against the interests of the US.

One analyst was a man with close family ties to Ukraine. He was tracking the finances of corrupt foreign officials in a job that requires a security clearance. Four sources said they were told by security officials at the agency that the analyst turned out not to have one. He had applied for clearance during his previous posting at the State Department, they were told, but was denied it because of suspicious contacts with foreigners. The sources said the man also had unusual contacts with his colleagues both before and after he was fired. Shortly after he was escorted out of FinCEN early last year, he showed up outside a coworker’s apartment building late at night and asked questions about investigations and internal Treasury databases. The coworker reported the encounter to supervisors.

The man’s uncleared access to sensitive information was considered such a major national security breach that FinCEN was stripped of its authority to grant security clearances for some time, according to these four sources. FinCEN’s security chief was later placed on administrative leave.

A second employee was suspended after he was caught traveling to other countries without informing his supervisors — something that FinCEN analysts are forbidden to do because of the value their data could have to foreign powers. A Treasury spokesperson declined to answer detailed questions about these matters.

These revelations are the latest evidence of the disarray inside America’s financial intelligence system, which a two-year BuzzFeed News investigation has laid bare.

FinCEN is a critical US law enforcement agency that each day collects and analyzes thousands of bank reports about suspicious financial behavior. Analysts have played a key role in current investigations by the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller, assisting FBI agents with inquiries into the murky finances of President Donald Trump and his associates.

Yet hundreds of internal records and interviews with more than a dozen insiders — from frontline workers to senior leaders — show an agency in turmoil, torn apart by turf battles, sinking morale, and internal chaos. Officials there say that, as a result, the unit struggles to hold the line against global money launderers, terrorist organizations, and drug cartels, and lies vulnerable to foreign threats.

Critical financial records on some Trump associates and Russian figures, collected by FinCEN analysts, have not been turned over to Congress, despite numerous requests. And more than a dozen FinCEN officials say that a rivalry with another unit of the Treasury Department cost them several crucial hours of work to track suspects’ movements in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack.

The disarray bled into FinCEN’s daily output. One analyst wrote an investigative memo last year that was shared with the FBI, falsely connecting a member of Trump’s inner circle to a notorious Kremlin bagman. BuzzFeed News reviewed that memo and quickly debunked it; a spelling error led the analyst to mistake an unrelated person for the Putin financier.

At least 10 FinCEN employees have filed formal whistleblower complaints about the department. The whistleblowers say they tried multiple times to raise concerns about issues they believed threatened national security, but that they faced retaliation instead of being heeded. Some of FinCEN’s top officials quit in anger. One senior adviser has been arrested and accused of releasing financial records to a journalist.

That adviser, a whistleblower named Natalie Mayflower Edwards, first sounded the alarm in the summer of 2016. She went on to speak with six different congressional committee staffers to air her concerns. In July and August 2018, she met again with staffers of one of the Senate committees investigating Russian interference during the presidential campaign. In those meetings, she told the staffers that FinCEN withheld documents revealing suspicious financial transactions of Trump associates that the committee had requested.

Along with a colleague, Edwards wrote a letter last year to six congressional oversight committees. In it, the analysts included documentary evidence and Edwards wrote, “I have brought forward lawful documented evidential disclosures of violations of law, rule, and regulations, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, and substantial and specific danger to public safety and I have NOT been protected against reprisal.”

Edwards added that she reported the “wrongdoing” to her supervisor, the inspector general, Treasury’s general counsel, Treasury security personnel, and the counterterrorism unit, requesting an internal investigation, as well as alerting the Office of Special Counsel, the federal government agency that deals with whistleblower complaints. Despite her disclosures, she wrote, “I continue to be retaliated against.”

“May Edwards took it on herself to try and protect everyone here as well as national security,” a senior FinCEN official told BuzzFeed News. “Nobody listened to her or some of the other brave whistleblowers who came forward. They’re all now paying a high price.”

Over the past two years, BuzzFeed News reporters have spoken at length to 12 individuals inside FinCEN. These men and women asked for anonymity to draw back the curtain on breakdowns inside the world’s most powerful financial watchdog. They described an agency turned upside down, where failures left them vulnerable to foreign threats, hampered their ability to investigate financial crimes, and ultimately put the public in danger.

Alexei Druzhinin / TASS
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Yuri Chikhanchin, the head of Rosfinmonitoring.

A high-risk agreement

The foundations of the Treasury Department’s highly unorthodox relationship with its Russian counterpart were built late 2015, sources and internal documents show.

One of FinCEN’s key jobs is to work with other governments to track illicit money networks and shell companies across the globe. Nearly 160 countries, including Russia, have agreements to share bank information through a secure network.

But Russia chose to work outside that system — and it began by building a relationship with a unit of Treasury called the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.

Senior officials from the terror unit had multiple meetings with top officials at Rosfinmonitoring to discuss jointly tracking the financing of ISIS. Among the negotiators was the Russian financial watchdog’s second-in-command, Yuri Korotky. Korotky went to a KGB finishing school the same year that Putin finished his training there, and worked for the KGB’s successor, the FSB, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Rosfinmonitoring / Via Rosfinmonitoring.ru
Yuri Korotky
Rosfinomintoring did not return detailed messages seeking comment.

Korotky and other Russian officials proposed that Rosfinmonitoring trade information directly with the US as part of their joint effort to defeat ISIS. But almost immediately, the Russians reneged on their end of the bargain.

Rosfinmonitoring was slow to share data. It sought ways to work around FinCEN, the Treasury office that had sole access to the data it wanted, and whose analysts were skeptical of sharing information directly with Russia. By the summer, Rosfinmonitoring had made a series of requests about individuals and companies seemingly unconnected to ISIS or jihadi terror.

Among them were Alexander Lebedev, a newspaper publisher and Putin critic based in London. The Russians asked for financial tracking documents on a company tied to the Panama Papers, the multinational investigation that embarrassed the Kremlin by revealing Putin’s financial network. Throughout 2016, Rosfinmonitoring asked for documents on nearly two dozen entities that FinCEN insiders believed were enemies of the Kremlin.

Even more concerning: Documents show senior officials within the Terrorist Financing unit were communicating with Hotmail and Gmail accounts set up by the Russians, rather than using the standard secure channels.

“They sent this to a GMAIL account? Is that normal?”
When she found out, FinCEN’s chief of staff was stunned.

“They sent this to a GMAIL account? Is that normal?” she asked in an email to a half dozen colleagues on Nov. 28, 2016.

The chief of staff was responding to Treasury colleagues who were discussing with Rosfinmonitoring the outlines of their agreement to track terrorism financiers.

“Unfortunately, Rosfin does prefer throwaway gmail accounts as their preferred method to communicate,” a FinCEN intelligence official responded.

In March 2017, this same official wrote to supervisors to warn that Russia was manipulating the system. She said that the Terrorist Financing unit, which set up the collaboration with Russia, wasn’t forthcoming about the extent of its relationship with that country and wouldn’t let FinCEN attend meetings with its representatives.

GOPFinancialServices / YouTube / Via youtube.com
Jamal El-Hindi speaks at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance.

A power vacuum

Just as the Kremlin started fishing, a new leader took over FinCEN.

Jamal El-Hindi has spent nearly two decades at Treasury. When he was named acting director of FinCEN in June 2016, he assumed control of one of the most important law enforcement bodies in the US.

But during his tenure, FinCEN has withered.

About 70 full-time jobs have gone unfilled, sources said, and El-Hindi canceled popular programs that insiders felt helped them recruit young, talented analysts. Employees grumbled about a laggardly pace inside the building and complained that basic reports once took days to be approved but were now being held in limbo for weeks.

Twelve current and former employees said El-Hindi was notoriously late to meetings. Unlike his predecessors, he did not set yearly priorities, they said. One veteran supervisor said that on El-Hindi’s watch, FinCEN became too cautious and too concerned with the optics of its work rather than the substance.

Obtained by BuzzFeed News
A slide from the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results.
“El-Hindi’s failure to make decisions is legend at FinCEN,” this official said. “At one point, the previous director had him put together a decision-making seminar in hopes he might learn how to decision-make.” BuzzFeed News sent El-Hindi detailed messages personally and through Treasury, but received no response. The previous director also did not respond to queries.

A new director, Ken Blanco, took over the unit in November 2017.

“Treasury does not comment on personnel actions or matters,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

By 2017, morale at FinCEN ranked dead last among every unit at the Treasury Department. Frustrated by the dysfunction, seasoned employees started leaving for more lucrative work in the private sector. That’s when officials in a rival department made a lunge for FinCEN’s greatest asset.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images
Whistleblowers say the US Treasury Department has been consumed by chaos during the past two years.

Turf war

The unit of Treasury that monitors suspicious bank transactions outside the US is called the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, a sister unit of the terror department that had struck the deal with the Russians. Now, by the fall of 2016, the OIA wanted more authority over FinCEN’s vast database of suspicious financial transactions across the globe.

The unit proposed a “realignment” that would have peeled off FinCEN’s authority over the database, some of its employees, and a piece of its budget. FinCEN staffers were aghast. They worried that El-Hindi was too weak to fend off the incursion and that it would hamper the office’s ability to fight financial crime. They also said the move by OIA was illegal, because it would cross the bright line that is supposed to separate intelligence agencies that collect information abroad from those that collect information on US citizens and residents.

OIA’s maneuver led to an open revolt inside FinCEN. More than a dozen workers reported the matter to their supervisors or to Congress. In September, an attorney from OIA got into a heated exchange with a small group of FinCEN employees, according to eight sources and internal documents.

After BuzzFeed News published a report about the allegations last year, Sens. Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch sent a letter to the Department of Treasury’s inspector general, Eric Thorson, requesting a briefing about the matter.


After months of investigation, Thorson’s office concluded there was no merit to the complaints, which included the allegation that OIA analysts illegally snooped on the banking records of American individuals and companies.

His office noted, however, that OIA has been working for a decade without proper guidelines on how it handles US citizens’ information. The audit report recommended that OIA “as expeditiously as possible” submit its rules to the Department of Justice for approval, which the agency did earlier this year.

El-Hindi wanted his department to “get along” with OIA, these sources said, and did little to stand in that office’s way. In fact, emails show that he instructed his workers not to take their complaints to Congress — which the whistleblowers viewed as a staggering betrayal.

But the FinCEN employees spoke out anyway.

At least 10 filed formal whistleblower paperwork, many for the first time in their government careers. In meetings with six different congressional committees, two of the whistleblowers described a litany of misconduct at Treasury, including Russia’s attempt to gather intelligence on its enemies during the 2016 election. To this day, the committees have done little to address those whistleblowers’ concerns.

Ultimately, FinCEN won out. The realignment failed and the unit retained control over its records. But its battle with OIA wasn’t over.

Dave Thompson, Carl Court / Getty Images
FinCEN analysts were involved in the search for suspects after terrorist incidents at the Manchester Arena and the London Bridge.

Desperate hours

In May 2017, a bomb exploded at an Ariana Grande concert in northwest England and killed 23 people. The following month, knife-wielding terrorists attacked pedestrians near London Bridge.

Because the US has access to the largest set of financial records in the world, the British turned to the Americans for help. In the first frantic moments following an attack, FinCEN’s financial databases can reveal important information about the killers, others in their network, or whether another plot is imminent.

FinCEN analysts sprang into action, racing to their headquarters in Northern Virginia to begin searching for clues on a Saturday night. But when they arrived, they discovered that everyone on duty had been locked out of the classified networks that they depended upon. They couldn’t open links from the FBI about the suspected terrorists they were supposed to be chasing and they couldn’t trace the suspects’ funding.

That night, two dozen FinCEN employees learned that the digital keys they needed to unlock classified data had expired without warning. The suspects remained on the run in London, but FinCEN was unable to help track them.

The office that administered those security keys was OIA, FinCEN's rival department.

Staffers were furious.

“We have escalated the critical problem to key individuals,” one of the whistleblowers wrote in an email, “and we still DO NOT have the ability to complete our mission or fully protect the American people.”

OIA blamed the FinCEN employees for forgetting to update their permissions. But more than a dozen FinCEN officials said they saw the incident as retaliation for their earlier power struggle. OIA had sent its own staffers an email weeks earlier reminding them to apply for new keys, but had not sent that same email to anyone at FinCEN. OIA officials blamed that oversight on “time” and “resource restraints.”

The divide grew, and made its way to Congress, where Republican Steve Pearce, chair of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, demanded answers. The Treasury Department’s inspector general stepped in again to investigate, and concluded that OIA had done nothing wrong — though he did acknowledge the strained relationship between OIA and FinCEN.

The whistleblowers told BuzzFeed News they have largely given up on seeing anyone at FinCEN, OIA, and TFFC held accountable for the chaos that they say has torn the Treasury apart over the past two years.

“It is very hard to measure the sum total of the damage done,” said one of the whistleblowers, a senior FinCEN official. “We are treading water right now.”
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:25 am

seemslikeadream » Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:26 am wrote:Thousands took to the streets in Moscow to demand democracy.

Putin responded with arrests and violence.

It’s a reminder that there’s nothing authoritarians fear more than the people.

Right, and the same has occurred here: our 'leaders' -- from both establishment parties -- have responded to protests with arrests and violence.

Our leaders --from both parties -- are corrupt and commit fraud.

Putin is no different. Our focus should be on corruption/fraud committed here, by BOTH Establishment parties. Trump is no more a 'friend' of Putin than any other leader we've had -- he simply displays it more overtly as part of his overarching trolling campaign, which has been immensely successful at keeping a sizable demographic fixated on HIM [and/or Russia, for that matter] rather than focusing on the larger systemic issues plaguing this system, supported by both establishment parties.

Trump is nothing more than the current figurehead of an ongoing, historical campaign AGAINST the People by the establishment parties. Impeaching Trump -- if such a thing ever happens -- will NOT, in any way, ALTER our predicament here. It will not, in any way, be a 'step in the right direction'. We've been played by both establishment parties for some time, and they're only getting more blatant about it.

In short, they're getting increasingly adept at keeping us distracted to maintain their status quo.

These tactics, however, are only effective so long as a majority continue to subscribe to the satire. If the 'learned' folks within this board continue to fall prey to the magic spells, there is far less hope for those entranced by the lure of Network News.
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:27 am

the only person stopping the election security bill right now is Mitch McConnell and he's getting a big aluminum plant in Kentucky so he does not care about election security

https://www.newsweek.com/mitch-mcconnel ... ia-1451361

Bipartisan Senate panel concludes Russia penetrated all 50 States’ election systems and is poised to change vote tallies. But trump & McConnell still block all defensive measures.

Sanctioned Russian Oligarch's Company to Invest Millions in New Aluminum Plant in Mitch McConnell's State
https://www.newsweek.com/company-russia ... ll-1397061.

Republican senator from Kentucky Rand Paul caught helping Russia — and it wasn’t Moscow Mitch this time
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/07/republ ... 5Q.twitter

Rand Paul Fights Sanctions on Russian Pipeline
https://www.thedailybeast.com/nord-stre ... itter_page
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby RocketMan » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:45 am

Yeah, if you say "Mitch McConnell" enough, it will magic the Democratic Party's complicity right away. Keep going.

Meanwhile Pelosi will continue her vicious fight against the progressive left wing elements in her own party and keep funding the obscene bi-partisan American War Machine and Empire abroad.

Or am I permitted to say these things, being from a foreign country? Actually, my country is RIGHT NEXT TO RUSSIA. Perhaps I have been cultivated since 2008 to be a Russian sleeper agent here, designed to sow doubt of the Exceptional American System and discord in the West, while reporting STRAIGHT TO COMRADE PUTIN.

Could it be...?

And why is it exactly that you cannot manage a single word of criticism of the Democratic party or even its decrepit leadership?
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:52 am

Nadler makes an impeachment inquiry

The impeachment process has begun

July 26 2019

Nadler is the chairman of the Judiciary committee he does not need Pelosi permission to start an impeachment

I know how the impeachment process works ....I am very familiar

and btw I also know trump has been owned by the mob since the day he was born


Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past two years, you will have heard the words ‘Trump’ and ‘Russia’ in the same sentence at least once. As furious debate around Russia’s alleged election interference burgeons with each new Mueller indictment, fresh issues, like shadowy Russian donors to Trump’s suspiciously large inauguration fund, continually rear their heads. But, some would argue, Trump’s flirtation with Russia began long before his election campaign; long before Putin came to power; long, even, before the Soviet Union collapsed.
In his new documentary, Active Measures, Jack Bryan argues Trump was compromised decades ago through his financial ties to the Russian Mafia; a criminal organisation which, in the words of House of Trump, House of Putin author, Craig Unger, is “an adjunct of the Russian Government”. The argument goes that following a series of bankruptcies when Trump was around $4bn in debt, Russian criminals effectively bought him, and in return used Trump Tower, in New York, as a “money-laundering cathedral”. Since the 1980s, at least 13 people with proven or suspected Russian mafia links have owned or lived in Trump Tower apartments, or other Trump properties. Some have even conducted criminal operations out of them.


On the other side of the world, were Trump’s five failed attempts to build a hotel in Moscow. During the final attempt, from 2015 to early 2016, the financing of the deal was handled by Trump’s New York business associate, Felix Sater. A childhood friend of Michael Cohen, the President’s former lawyer and “fixer”, Sater’s many suspected Russian Mob contacts include Semion Mogilevech; the “boss of bosses”, the “most powerful mobster in the world” and a driving force behind the group’s North American criminal operations. Discussing the Moscow hotel project, on the eve of Trump’s nomination, Sater wrote in an email to Cohen, “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected”.
But what is the Russian Mafia? And why are so many of them in New York?

Since the 1980s, at least 13 people with proven or suspected Russian mafia links have owned or lived in Trump Tower
Sometimes referred to as the Bratva (“the brotherhood”), the Russian Mafia is a blanket term for all organised crime across the former Soviet Union. In a time of Tsars and pomp, when most Russian citizens were peasants, these thieves and bandits were literal Robin Hoods – stealing from the rich and dividing their spoils amongst the poor. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin tried to wipe out this Vorovskoy Mir (thieves’ world) but they lived on. It was in the Soviet era that vory-v-zakone (“thieves-in-law”) were born, as their leaders fought their way to the top of the pecking order in Soviet labour camps. An honour code became more defined; their status confirmed by complex tattoos still used today.
With the end of World War Two, the death of Stalin and the fall of the Soviet Union, more and more gangs emerged, capitalising on the flourishing black market and political instability which followed. Over time, the old honour code was replaced with a kind of ‘every man for himself’ approach. Mikhail Gorbachev loosened the restrictions on private enterprise, opening up new opportunities for these criminal gangs. At one point, the Russian Mafia was said to control up to two-thirds of Russia’s economy, with many ex-KGB members joining up and becoming criminal bosses. On the eve of the USSR’s dissolution, there were formalised meetings to carve up control of post-Communist Russia. As the USSR fell, the sudden shift to a market economy allowed gangsters and corrupt government officials to “loot” state-held assets such as oil and banking, Unger says, leaving them with huge amounts of ‘dirty money’ to invest. From here came the oligarchs; individuals who had grown rich from privatisation, or simply corrupt ex-government officials who spent years lining their pockets on the job. Where there were oligarchs, there was private “security” and these “security” forces, journalist Misha Glenny has argued, were “quite simply the Mafia”.
Back in the 1970s, the Soviet Union allowed the first of its citizens to emigrate to the United States, including many Soviet Jews fleeing religious persecution. Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay became home to a small number of Russian criminal gangs. Between the 1970s and mid-1990s, around 200,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union settled in New York, Long Island, Westchester County and New Jersey; around a quarter of them in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach area. Known as ‘Little Odessa’, it became home to the New York Russian crime family’s biggest names and was a hotspot for heists and gangland executions.
Russian-born Evsei Agron emigrated to New York in 1975, and swiftly took leadership of Russian organized crime at Brighton Beach. He rented and ran criminal operations out of an office at notorious event space, El Caribe Country Club, owned by Michael Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, who would later pass ownership to Cohen and his siblings. (Cohen reportedly sold his share after Trump won the election.)
In 1984, former Soviet Army pilot David Bogatin, who had arrived from Russia seven years earlier, bought five luxury condos in Trump Towers for $6 million. At the time, Unger says, Russian mobsters were beginning to invest in high end New York real estate as a means of money laundering, and Trump Towers was only the city’s second high-rise building to accept anonymous buyers. Bogatin was later found to be a leading member the New York Russian mob. His brother had run a $150m stock scam with Mogilevich himself, who was expanding his multi-billion-dollar crime syndicate into America at the time (though Mogilevich himself never settled in the States.) This, it is believed, was the first time Donald Trump did business with the Bratva.
Following Agron’s 1985 assassination, Marat Balagula succeeded him. After Balagula was convicted of bank fraud and fled the country, Boris (“Biba”) Nayfeld, Balagula’s former bodyguard, become the new leader in 1986. Like Agron and Balagula before him, Nayfeld continued to use El Caribe for his many nefarious enterprises.

Alexander Litvinenko

Who was Alexander Litvinenko, who were his assassins, and why was he killed?
In 1987, Bogatin pleaded guilty to his role in a huge gasoline-bootlegging scheme which had been run by Russian Mobsters (led by Balagula and his associate Igor Roizman) with the help of the New York Mafia. After Bogatin fled the country, his five Trump Tower condos were seized by the Government, who concluded he bought them to launder money and hide assets.
1987 was also the year Trump made his first trip to Russia to discuss the possibility of building a luxury hotel in Moscow, in partnership with the Soviet Government. Arranged by the highest echelons of the Russian civil service, there are theories the KGB had also had a hand in the visit. After five failed attempts, the hotel was never built, but Trump met many wealthy and influential Russians in the process.
https://www.crimeandinvestigation.co.uk ... ork-part-1

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Jeff » Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:26 am wrote:I haven't yet, though I've quoted a few times from Blowing Up Russia. I mean to post something on the blog about him tonight.

Thanks for the thread, seems.

Who Poisoned Alexander Litvinenko? Radioactive thallium link
Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:49 am


Jeff » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:08 am wrote:
Penguin wrote:Ive heard rumours that Putin was/is a pedophile, and that would have been the reason he never served KGB abroad - only in domestic service. Was claimed that the first thing Putin did upon reaching presidency was purge those old KGB files on him..

Litvinenko wrote this four months before his poisoning:

The Kremlin Pedophile

By Alexander Litvinenko

A few days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin walked from the Big Kremlin Palace to his Residence. At one of the Kremlin squares, the president stopped to chat with the tourists. Among them was a boy aged 4 or 5.

'What is your name?' Putin asked.

'Nikita,' the boy replied.

Putin kneed, lifted the boy's T-shirt and kissed his stomach.

The world public is shocked. Nobody can understand why the Russian president did such a strange thing as kissing the stomach of an unfamiliar small boy.

The explanation may be found if we look carefully at the so-called "blank spots" in Putin's biography.

After graduating from the Andropov Institute, which prepares officers for the KGB intelligence service, Putin was not accepted into the foreign intelligence. Instead, he was sent to a junior position in KGB Leningrad Directorate. This was a very unusual twist for a career of an Andropov Institute's graduate with fluent German. Why did that happen with Putin?

Because, shortly before his graduation, his bosses learned that Putin was a pedophile. So say some people who knew Putin as a student at the Institute.

The Institute officials feared to report this to their own superiors, which would cause an unpleasant investigation. They decided it was easier just to avoid sending Putin abroad under some pretext. Such a solution is not unusual for the secret services.

Many years later, when Putin became the FSB director and was preparing for presidency, he began to seek and destroy any compromising materials collected against him by the secret services over earlier years. It was not difficult, provided he himself was the FSB director. Among other things, Putin found videotapes in the FSB Internal Security Directorate, which showed him making sex with some underage boys.

Interestingly, the video was recorded in the same conspiratorial flat in Polyanka Street in Moscow where Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Skuratov was secretly video-taped with two prostitutes. Later, in the famous scandal, Putin (on Roman Abramovich's instructions) blackmailed Skuratov with these tapes and tried to persuade the Prosecutor-General to resign. In that conversation, Putin mentioned to Skuratov that he himself was also secretly video-taped making sex at the same bed. (But of course, he did not tell it was pedophilia rather than normal sex.) Later, Skuratov wrote about this in his book Variant Drakona (p.p. 153-154).

http://www.chechenpress.co.uk/english/n ... 5/01.shtml

RocketMan » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:33 am wrote:Just a reminder, never to be forgotten. Luke Harding is awful.

RocketMan » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:50 pm wrote:Did no one post this yet?

I wonder if Luke Harding has a copyright on "collusion rejectionist". :lol: :lol: :lol:

Jeff » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:47 pm wrote:Andrei Lugovoi: I will never stand trial in Britain for Litvinenko poisoning

Luke Harding in Moscow
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 12 October 2010 17.25 BST

He is the man behind the most serious diplomatic fallout between Britain and Russia since the cold war. If Scotland Yard is to believed, he is also the person who put a fatal dose of radioactive polonium into Alexander Litvinenko's tea, in one of the most notorious assassinations of the modern age.

Today Andrei Lugovoi said it was time for Britain to "move on" from Litvinenko's agonising death four years ago, and to drop attempts to extradite him to the UK. Speaking before William Hague's arrival , on a first visit to Moscow as foreign secretary, todayLugovoi said he would never travel to Britain to stand trial. "The British press has trampled on my reputation. My family and I have suffered great unpleasantness. I'm not going to compromise [by going to Britain]. The only trial I'll accept is one in Russia."


Lugovoi has admitted he met Litvinenko in London on 1 November 2006, the day the latter was poisoned. The meeting took place at the Millennium hotel, in Grosvenor Square, London, he said, and included another Russian business associate, Dmitry Kovtun. Lugovoi said he could not remember whether Litvinenko drank tea. "Generally he preferred Pepsi or cola." But he scoffed at the idea that he had poured or dissolved radioactive polonium-210 into Litvinenko's drink.


Speaking at a rustic-themed restaurant in Moscow owned by his 24-year-old daughter, Tatiana, he jokingly referred to Anna Chapman, the Russian at the centre of this summer's unprecedented spy swap between the US and Russia. "I would like to meet her. I think I will meet her," he said. "If any British film company invites me to play the role of James Bond, I'll ask her to be my Bond girl. My only demand is that I get an Aston Martin car as an honorarium."

After the scandal surrounding Litvinenko's death, Lugovoi, a former KGB officer turned businessman, was elected to Russia's parliament – a sign of strong support from Putin, then Russia's president, and a position that gave him immunity from prosecution.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oc ... -poisoning

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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:33 pm

Ursula Perano
2 hours ago
Leading Putin critic Alexei Navalny hospitalized with mysterious illness
Navalny himself amongst a crowd.
Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny was hospitalized Wednesday for an "allergic reaction," following his arrest during mass protests against election authorities in Moscow, according to his spokeswoman. Navalny's personal doctor later wrote on Facebook that she does not believe he is suffering from an allergic reaction, but the effects of "undefined chemical substances."

Why it matters: Navalny is an anti-corruption lawyer whose fierce opposition to Vladimir Putin has caused him to be arrested and jailed by Russian authorities a number of times. Navalny's spokeswoman says he has never had an allergic reaction in his life, raising questions about whether his illness could in fact be the product of political retaliation. Putin has been accused of poisoning or having political opponents assassinated in the past.

Police reportedly did not want Navalny to be transported to the hospital, and relented only when the ambulance crew threatened to make a scene, according to Navalny's spokeswoman.
About 20 journalists who showed up at the hospital where Navalny is being treated have been detained by police, according to Russian media.
Of note: The "allergic reaction" is not Navalny's first physical ailment resulting from his advocacy. In 2017, a chemical attack on his face caused him to lose 80% of his vision in one eye, per his website.

Go deeper: Russian police arrest more than 1,300 protesters at Moscow rally
https://www.axios.com/alexei-navalny-vl ... gn=organic

Alexei Navalny: 'I have never had an allergy'
Alexei Navalny at a rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov in February 2019Reuters
Alexei Navalny, pictured at a rally in memory of assassinated politician Boris Nemtsov in February, was detained last week
Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition figure, has questioned reports he suffered an acute allergic reaction after being taken ill in jail.

"I have never had an allergy. Not to food or pollen or anything else," he wrote in a blog post.

The 43-year-old was taken to hospital with a swollen face, eye problems and rashes on his body. He was in jail for calling for unauthorised protests.

His doctor suggested he might have been exposed to "some toxic agent".

Mr Navalny has since been discharged from hospital and has returned to jail.

What did Alexei Navalny say?

In a statement in Russian posted on his blog and written from his cell, Mr Navalny said he had never had an allergic reaction in his life. He added that his wife suffers from allergies, meaning he knows what they look like.

"At night, I woke up with a hot and prickly face, ears and neck," he wrote. "I felt like I'd had my face rubbed with glass wool."

"I had the thought, maybe I've been poisoned."

Mr Navalny was sent to the hospital in the morning, where the doctors diagnosed him with "contact dermatitis".

Police marched away detainees
Mr Navalny wrote in his blog post that his lawyers and doctors were not given his diagnosis, and that a detailed report emerged about his diagnosis on Russian news agency Interfax that he himself had not been told.

While he did not outright deny the possibility of an allergic reaction, Mr Navalny said police at his hospital room door were acting "like they had something to hide".

He said he was sure the local police did not poison him, as "they were shocked by the sight of me more than I was". But he suggested the Russian authorities were "stupid" enough to do so.

Mr Navalny's doctor Anastasia Vassilieva earlier told AFP news agency it was "absurd to call it an allergy". He "needs to be under close medical supervision", she said, and should be allowed to call his relatives.

In a Facebook post, Ms Vassilieva had complained that she had been barred from visiting Mr Navalny. But based on what she saw of him through a door, she said he may have been injured by a "chemical substance from a third person".

Before Mr Navalny was released from hospital, his medical team said they were able to gain access to him and had arranged for samples of his hair and T-shirt to be tested independently.

Anastasia Vassilieva speaking outside Hospital #64 in MoscowEPA
Anastasia Vassilieva, Mr Navalny's personal doctor, said it was "absurd" to put his condition down to an allergic reaction
Mr Navalny was jailed for 30 days last week after calling for unauthorised protests, which took place on Saturday.

Nearly 1,400 people were detained during the demonstrations against the exclusion of opposition candidates from local elections.

Presentational grey line
'A thorn in the Kremlin's side'

Analysis box by Steve Rosenberg, Moscow correspondent
Alexei Navalny is Russia's most prominent opposition activist - and one of President Putin's most vocal critics.

That's why news of a sudden illness makes headlines.

Especially if it's a sudden illness contracted in a Moscow jail.

There's been no confirmation that Mr Navalny was poisoned. But his doctors - and his supporters - are keen to know what sparked such sudden symptoms.

He is no stranger to health scares. Two years ago Mr Navalny was the victim of an assault. He suffered a chemical burn in his right eye after someone threw green-coloured antiseptic in his face.

He is a constant thorn in the Kremlin's side. The authorities know that, with President Putin's personal ratings falling, the charismatic anti-corruption activist has the ability to mobilise anti-Kremlin sentiment.

But it's too early to conclude that his current state of health is connected to his political views or activities.

Presentational grey line
Media reports said about 20 people, including journalists, were also detained after gathering outside the prison hospital on Sunday night where Mr Navalny was being treated.

Russian media report that most of the activists detained over the weekend have now been released.

However, about 150 were still in custody on Monday. They are facing judicial hearings and may be charged in connection with the unauthorised rally.

Who is Alexei Navalny?

The 43-year-old made his name in Russia as a grassroots anti-corruption campaigner.

He led the country's biggest street protests against President Putin in 2011 and has repeatedly been jailed, usually for his involvement in unauthorised demonstrations.

Mr Navalny suffered a serious chemical burn to his right eye in 2017 after he was assaulted with antiseptic dye.

He attempted to stand in last year's presidential race but was barred because of previous fraud convictions in a case he says was politically motivated.

What happened during the protests?

Thousands of Russians took to the streets last Saturday to demand fair elections. The demonstrations came after 30 opposition candidates were barred from standing in local races this September.

Officials said the candidates had failed to collect enough valid signatures to stand, but opposition groups argued that the barring was politically motivated.

Police detain a protester in Moscow, 27 JulyReuters
Russian officials said nearly 1,400 people were detained in Saturday's protests
Mr Navalny helped to organise the demonstrations. Officials said they had arrested nearly 1,400 people - making it one of the biggest crackdowns in recent years.

Images from Saturday showed police in riot gear pushing crowds from the mayor's office in central Moscow.

A number of protesters could be seen bleeding, while at least two members of the security forces reportedly received eye injuries from pepper spray.

The Moscow's mayor office has given official approval for a further protest on 3 August, according to a report in the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Putin Opposition Leader Jailed Again After Suspected Poisoning
Richard GonzalesJuly 29, 20195:55 PM ET

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny attends a protest in Moscow, Russia, on July 20.
Pavel Golovkin/AP
A prominent Russian opposition leader was discharged from a Moscow hospital Monday and sent back to jail, despite claims by his doctor that he may have been poisoned by an unknown chemical agent while in custody.

A day earlier, Alexei Navalny, 43, was hospitalized with what was initially described as an "allergic reaction." His spokesman said he had exhibited "severe swelling of the face and skin redness," a reaction he had never had in the past.

Navalny was arrested several days before an opposition demonstration held on Saturday and is currently serving a 30-day sentence. More than 1,300 people were detained after protesting the exclusion of opposition candidates from Moscow's city council elections.

Navalny raised the possibility that he had been poisoned by a chemical agent while in jail, according a blog post cited by the Associated Press. His physician, Dr. Anastasiya Vasilyeva, said she suspected that Navalny could have been chemically poisoned, although that suspicion could not be confirmed. Vasilyeva said Navalny had been returned to jail before being properly tested, but she had taken his hair samples in hopes of getting an independent assessment.

Navalny's attorney, Olga Mikhailova, also blamed his condition on an unknown chemical substance.

The opposition leader has been targeted before. In 2017, he suffered a partial loss of vision after being assaulted and doused with a green antiseptic. His sight was restored after he sought treatment abroad.
https://www.npr.org/2019/07/29/74640123 ... -poisoning
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:53 am

Why the Kremlin launched Stalinist-style mass raids
The resurgence of opposition is worrying the Russian government.

22 hours ago
Law enforcement officers arrest a participant in a rally calling for opposition candidates to be registered for elections for the Moscow city Duma in Moscow on August 3, 2019 [Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov]
Law enforcement officers arrest a participant in a rally calling for opposition candidates to be registered for elections for the Moscow city Duma in Moscow on August 3, 2019 [Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov]
This week, President Vladimir Putin launched the biggest security operation of his 20 years in power. Since the early hours of September 12, raids on apartments and offices were launched across Russia - from Vladivostok in the east to St Petersburg in the west. Those targeted were activists, NGO workers, human rights defenders, journalists and even environmentalists.

The main focus of the campaign was the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) founded by opposition activist Alexei Navalny, which over the past few years has released a number of investigations into high-level corruption and exposed the lavish lifestyles of government officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

While FBK's headquarters in Moscow were repeatedly searched over the summer, this time security forces raided its offices in 43 cities across the country. The operation was expanded to include a number of other organisations and individuals, including Golos, an election watchdog, activists from the environmental movement Ekovahta, members of the Yabloko party, the parents of Krasnodar journalist Alexander Savelyev and many others.

The formal excuse for most of the raids was the criminal case against FBK, which last month was accused of laundering money. The fund relies exclusively on crowdfunding to operate, but according to the persecution, the transfer of donated funds constituted a criminal offence. Whether this will actually stand in court - even a biased one - is doubtful, but it has given the state security apparatus an excuse to launch the biggest raid campaign since Stalinist times.

It has also allowed it to literally rob FBK and other organisations of funds. These raids have been accompanied by the confiscation of not just documents but also all expensive technology, including phones and computers (and in some cases even coffee machines). At the same time the bank accounts of FBK itself and its employees, along with many activists, journalists and human rights defenders, have been frozen. Even if they are eventually released, it will not be any time soon. In this way, the Kremlin has left many political opponents without any means of subsistence.

But what necessitated behind such a massive intimidation campaign?

In late spring, FBK activists and other members of the opposition launched a campaign to collect signatures and register as candidates for the local duma elections. City dumas are rather powerless bodies which discuss and vote on local policies as a measure of formality; as a result, there has been little public interest in such elections previously.

And yet, even though FBK members managed to collect the required number of signatures, they were denied registration by the local authorities.

In response, FBK and other opposition candidates who were disqualified rallied the public to take to the streets and protest. This resulted in a series of demonstrations, which the Ministry of Interior responded to by deploying an ever-growing force ordered to brutally beat and detain. Thousands of people were arrested and dozens of protesters were charged with criminal offences. This, however, did not dissuade people from protesting.

The overreaction of the Kremlin increased public outrage and dissent. Its actions helped the opposition immensely in transforming an otherwise banal vote for the largely powerless city dumas into a major society-wide cause and a rallying point for opposition-minded people.

After scoring a major victory by demonstrating its ability to mobilise a large number of people in the capital, the opposition did not stop there. It was determined to make the most out of this unique political moment.

Since FBK and other opposition activists were barred from running, Navalny's team came up with a plan called "smart voting". The premise was to rally its supporters to vote for anyone who can beat the candidate of the ruling United Russia party at any given city district.

This strategy turned out to be quite successful. In Moscow, the ruling party lost some 13 seats; in the new 45-member city duma, it will hold only 25 (down from 38). Its losses would have been even bigger, perhaps it would have even failed to gain a majority, were it not for a mass campaign of falsification in some districts. While the new make-up of the city duma will not necessarily undermine United Russia's grip on administrative power, the vote has demonstrated that the ruling party has lost the capital.

The raids came just days after the results of the election were announced. Clearly, the mass mobilisation over the summer which culminated in the vote worried the Kremlin so much that it had to launch a nation-wide operation of intimidation against political activists.

So far there has been no major reaction from the international community on this sweeping operation. Given that there are already sanctions in place, there is not that much else that can be done. That, in effect, means that the opposition is alone in its challenge to Putin.

Will it manage to respond to the growing pressure and intimidation? This question, of course, no one can answer with certainty. While a mass uprising to the scale of Euromaidan is unlikely, people do not seem scared. A couple of years ago, such a "terror" campaign would have shocked people and intimidated them into silence. Today, however, judging by public reactions on social networks, people are angry and ready for action.

The bad news for the Kremlin is that it seems it has used up almost all its intimidation tactics, which do not seem to be working any more.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opini ... 40436.html

Did Russian intelligence hire a criminal to execute a Chechen dissident in Berlin?
A Chechen refugee was killed in Berlin in August, his suspected killer was carrying a Russian passport. Historian Mark Galeotti sees parallels between this case and the attack on double agent Skripal in the UK.

Demonstrators outside the Russian embassy
Protesters demonstrated outside the Russian embassy in Berlin against the suspected assassination of the Chechen war veteran in August.
When the Chechen refugee Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was shot dead in a park in central Berlin, media were quick to report that his alleged killer was a Russian national.
DW: Khangoshvili fought against Russia in the second Chechen war. Is it possible to compare his murder in Berlin with the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripalin the UK in 2017?
Mark Galeotti: This was probably an assassination choreographed by state elements in Russia. We don't know whether the initial impulse came from Moscow or Kadyrov, the Chechen leader. However, whilst Kadyrov is a vengeful individual, linked to the killing of Chechen dissidents in Europe and beyond, Bellingcat's work tracking the alleged killer 'Vadim Sokolov,' looking at how he got his passport, where he operated and the fact that he is not a Chechen, shows it was probably on Moscow´s orders.
Read more: Salisbury: What we know a year after the Skripal poison attack
What do you think the motive was behind Khangoshvili's murder?
Galeotti:It's a combination of two things. One is clearly that he would have been on these long lists of people whom the Russian state would quite frankly rather see dead than alive. But why him specifically, why now? There are suggestions that he was involved in attempts to cause trouble back in Chechnya and more generally rallying dissident Chechens across Europe.
What are your thoughts on the alleged killer?
Galeotti:The assumption is that he would have been an employee, or at least contracted by, one of the Russian intelligence services. The individual could have been working for the Federal Security Service, the FSB, infamous for its dealings with Chechens. But this individual probably wasn't a conventional intelligence officer because there are reports that he has a series of tattoos. He may well be a gangster who was recruited by the FSB.
Can you talk in more detail about the tattoos? According to media reports, the alleged killer has a tattoo of a crown and a panther on his left hand, as well as a snake on his right. What does this mean?
Galeotti:The days when tattoos had fixed meaning in Russian criminal sub-culture are over. However, generally, a crown is a symbol for a relatively high ranking gangster leader, not quite a godfather though. Panther tattoos are typical for inmates of prison camps in Siberia or the Russian Far East. The snake is more difficult to interpret as there are many versions — but all of these are criminal, not army, tattoos.
Why would this sort of criminal be sent to assassinate someone?
Galeotti:The world of information is changing the world of espionage. It is getting harder and harder to make it possible for an undercover spy to operate using multiple identities and across several countries – CCTV, biometric passports and so on complicate it all.
The Russians are increasingly using people whom you might call "single use" assassins. We saw this with the Skripals, whose assassins were also not professional agents, they were "Spetsnaz" (Russian Special Forces – Editor's note). The Russians know that their identity is going to be revealed so they pick people who can do the work and go back to their regular jobs.
Mark Galeotti
Mark Galeotti is a British historian specializing in Russian intelligence services.
The alleged assassins who tried to poison Skripal travelled around Western Europe prior to the murder attempt. But the Berlin suspect, named Vadim Sokolov, apparently hadn't been anywhere before the Berlin assassination…
Galeotti:The Skripal assassins were potentially involved in intelligence operations (in Western Europe – Editor's note.)
But what is unusual is how quickly and easily Sokolov got a visa through the French Consulate. He had very flimsy documentation – he listed an address which didn't exist, said he worked for a company which he didn't name. We know how hard it is for ordinary Russians to get visas.
The suspected killer planned to leave Germany a day after the killing, not immediately after the attack, like the Skripal assassinators did. Why?
Galeotti:There is lots of speculation but probably the people who planned the operation were afraid that the authorities would immediately close the airports. By taking more time he may have thought he could get out more easily. Russian intelligence services are normally quite good at what they do but they do make mistakes. In part because they are so active, and sometimes have to choose people not just from their A team but also from their B or C teams.
If the investigation finds that this was a political assassination, should Germany and other countries introduce new sanctions?
Galeotti:There has to be some kind of response. NATO is good for military solidarity but in terms of these non-military attacks, which involve everything from hacking to assassinations, there hasn´t been that much solidarity. Not only does Germany have to take a stand, but it also needs its allies' support.
Mark Galeotti is a Honorary Professor at University College London, specialist in Russian Intelligence Services and author of "The Vory: Russia's super mafia."
https://www.dw.com/en/did-russian-intel ... a-50288786

Chechens take to the streets in Paris demanding faster investigation of Khangoshvili’s murder
11:35 / 09.09.2019
Chechens take to the streets in Paris demanding faster investigation of Khangoshvili’s murder
Photo: Chechen News From France
Some of them had their faces covered.

A rally was held outside the German embassy in Paris Saturday with people demanding to expedite the investigation of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili’s murder.

According to the Chechen News From France Telegram channel, more than two hundred Chechens from all over France gathered for the protest. They demanded a thorough investigation and punishment for the criminals involved in the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.

According to Kavkaz.Realii, the rally was arranged by the Bart Marsho Association, which unites the Chechen diasporas in Europe. It is noted that some of those gathered had their faces covered. They explained that saying they did not want to be recognized, as they do not want the Russian authorities to know their whereabouts. The protesters carried flags of independent Ichkeria, Ingushetia and France.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent, who was shot dead in Berlin on August 23. The shooter had approached him on a bicycle, fired a gun with a silencer at the head and tried to escape. The police detained a 49-year-old Russian suspect. Some German politicians believe that the offender is linked to the Russian special services.
https://en.crimerussia.com/internationa ... s-murder-/

Chilling conspiracy theory behind Vladimir Putin's rise to power
NZ Herald
In 1999, hundreds of Russians died in a series of bombings. A grisly theory emerged that it was an inside job orchestrated to bring Vladimir Putin to power. Photo / Getty Images

It's been almost 20 years since Vladimir Putin became President of Russia.

Two decades on, the dictator has a prevailing legacy; Russia's economy and standard of living grew rapidly during his regime, political and journalistic freedoms diminished, and he developed a powerful personality cult.

His strongman image has been supported by consistently high approval ratings, and he's been credited with reforming the country's economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union, reports News.com.au.

But embedded in his legacy is a dark conspiracy theory that suggests he was responsible for one of the worst human tragedies in recent history.


In 1999, Mr Putin was a political nobody. He sat below then-president Boris Yeltsin, the leader of the "Unity" party, who had an approval rating of 2 per cent.

At the time, this party was not a popular one. The country's economy had broken down thanks to a financial crisis the previous year, and Mr Yeltsin had little public support. It was also reeling from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Mr Putin himself had an approval rating of just 1 per cent, and most assumed that when Mr Yeltsin stepped down and he took over, he would be imminently disposed of.

Vladimir Putin pictured with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in December 1999. Photo / AP
The Russian apartment bombings changed everything.

In 1999, shortly after Mr Putin was elected Prime Minister of Russia, a series of bombs exploded in a number of apartment buildings across the country's major cities.

All the bombings were set to go off at night, and designed to inflict the maximum number of casualties by targeting the weakest, most critical elements of the buildings' structure.

More than 300 people were killed and over 1000 injured in the cities of Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk.

The bombings were attributed to Chechen terrorism, sparking fear across the country and driving up support for the Russian military in invading neighbouring Chechnya — a war fronted by Mr Putin himself.

A bombed apartment building in the Russian city of Volgodonsk. Photo / AP
Mr Putin took a strongman approach to the bombings.

On September 24 that year, he said: "We will pursue the terrorists everywhere. If they are in an airport, then in an airport, and, forgive me, if we catch them in the toilet, then we'll rub them out (mochit) in the toilet …. The question is closed once and for all."

He authorised the aerial bombing of parts of Chechnya and an assault to recapture the breakaway southern province.

The Chechens denied involvement in the bombings, and to date, no Chechen has ever been named or prosecuted in connection with the attacks.

Many opponents of the Kremlin are convinced that Russia's FSB security services orchestrated the attacks to bring one of their own into power. Photo / AP
In December 1999, Russia held its parliamentary election. On New Year's Eve, president Yeltsin resigned over corruption allegations and Mr Putin was appointed acting President in a Kremlin ceremony.

At the presidential elections of the following March — despite barely running a campaign — Mr Putin won with 54 per cent of the vote.


Many opponents of the Kremlin are convinced that Russia's FSB security services, which Mr Putin led prior to his 2000 election win, orchestrated the attacks to bring one of their own into power.

A week after the second Moscow bombing, a fifth bomb of the same nature was discovered in the basement of a building in Ryazan, southeast of the capital.

Police were called to a block of flats in the area and the bomb was diffused. That same evening, a telephone service employee in the city tapped into long distance phone conversations and detected a chat in which an out-of-town person said to the others that they should "split up" and "make your own way out".

In 1999, hundreds of Russians died in a series of bombings. A grisly theory emerged that it was an inside job orchestrated to bring Vladimir Putin to power. Photo / Getty Images
The number was traced to a telephone exchange unit serving FSB offices. Three people were arrested for putting the bomb in the building, who turned out to be agents of the FSB.

Initially, Russian authorities had declared the Ryazan bomb to be a major threat. Mr Putin himself praised the vigilance of the citizens and used the incident to call for the air bombing of Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.

But following the arrest of the FSB operatives, authorities claimed it was actually a "security training" exercise.

Historians have since compared the Russian apartment bombings to the September 11 bombings in New York. But unlike with the Americans, Russian authorities obstructed all efforts to pinpoint who exactly was responsible for the apartment bombings and why.

"The Americans several months after 11 September 2001 already knew everything — who the terrorists were and where they come from," said Russian journalist Yuliya Kalinina. "We, in general, know nothing."

People who have attempted to investigate the source of the attacks have been killed. Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist and staunch critic of Mr Putin's federal presidency, was gunned down in 2006. Sergei Yushenkov, a liberal Russian politician who was chairing a parliamentary inquiry into the bombings, was also shot dead.

Yuri Shchekochikhin, an MP who had written articles raising doubts about the official version of the bombings, died from suspected poisoning in 2003. His medical documents were never found.

In 2003, John McCain lent support to the theory that Russia's FSB was behind the bombings. Photo / Getty Images

In 2003, US senator John McCain lent credence to these claims. "It was during Mr Putin's tenure as Prime Minister in 1999 that he launched the Second Chechen War following the Moscow apartment bombings," he said in a speech to the US Senate. "There remain credible allegations that Russia's FSB had a hand in carrying out these attacks.

"Mr Putin ascended to the presidency in 2000 by pointing a finger at the Chechens for committing these crimes, launching a new military campaign in Chechnya, and riding a frenzy of public anger into office."

Yuri Felshtinsky, historian and co-author of the book Blowing Up Russia, claimed Russia's security services were directly responsible for the apartment bombings.

The book claims they were a false-flag operation ordered to bring Mr Putin to power and justify the invasion of Chechnya.

Back then, he recently told The Times, no one would have believed he was prepared to kill 300 of his own people just to win power.

"But now, after so many more deaths, the invasion of Georgia, the thousands killed on both sides in the conflict in Ukraine, people are ready to believe he could have had a hand in the bombings," he said.

Felshtinsky wrote the book with his friend Alexander Litvinenko, a former FSB agent and British-naturalised Russian defector who was mysteriously poisoned in London in 2006. Mr Litvinenko ingested polonium-210 in London, later dying of acute radiation syndrome.

A UK public inquiry found that the poisoning was "probably approved" by the FSB — and Mr Putin himself.

Mr Putin has addressed the claims himself. In March 2000, he dismissed the conspiracies as "delirious nonsense".

"There are no people in the Russian secret services who would be capable of such crime against their own people," he told the Kommersant newspaper. "The very allegation is immoral."

To date, the mystery of who bombed the Russian apartments remains unsolved — and we may never know for sure who was behind them.

But whether through careful deliberation or consequential timing, they were no doubt instrumental in giving birth to a dictator for life.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/a ... d=12267801
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby Sounder » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:04 am

The quoted part of this article does no service to the thesis of the title.

Chilling conspiracy theory behind Vladimir Putin's rise to power

Back then, he recently told The Times, no one would have believed he was prepared to kill 300 of his own people just to win power.

"But now, after so many more deaths, the invasion of Georgia, the thousands killed on both sides in the conflict in Ukraine, people are ready to believe he could have had a hand in the bombings," he said.

No one would have believed? What a laugh riot. Invasion of Georgia? Just wow. Putin is responsible for the deaths in Ukraine, 'thousands killed on both sides'? In a conflict started with a western backed coup? What the hell are you western exceptionalist xenophobes smoking?
All these things will continue as long as coercion remains a central element of our mentality.
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:11 am

What the hell are you western exceptionalist xenophobes smoking?

was that a quote from ...it would be helpful or maybe you were not referencing my post :shrug:

western exceptionalist xenophobes smoking??

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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby Sounder » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:39 pm

was that a quote from ...it would be helpful or maybe you were not referencing my post

Were or are there quotation marks around those words? Then those are my words.

I laugh at the stunning lack of introspection of people that have for two years screamed bloody murder about so called Russian meddling, yet now are able to shift gears seamlessly towards implying that we westerners have a duty and obligation to 'save' the Russians from their despotic leader.

The western exceptionalist slip is showing.
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:32 pm

these words are yours?

Back then, he recently told The Times, no one would have believed he was prepared to kill 300 of his own people just to win power.

"But now, after so many more deaths, the invasion of Georgia, the thousands killed on both sides in the conflict in Ukraine, people are ready to believe he could have had a hand in the bombings," he said.
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:56 pm

No those words are Felshtinsky's and from the article you posted. He is the author of the 9/99 book and documentary, with Litvinenko as co-author by the way, and funded by Heritage, but nevertheless work I found solid.

Anyway, plenty have always believed the 9/99 operation was an FSB job, including me as it unfolded and ever since. Since the FSB actions were tantamount to confession. I once talked to Felshtinsky about maybe bringing him to NY as a speaker at a 9/11 research event, on the basis of "see, these things do happen," but it was pretty clear he'd never go for it once he figured out it would be a 9/11 research event, so I didn't follow up.

9/99 tells you Putin's a bad dude with a bad crew capable of bad things, which, duh, and that the post-KGB state was ready to do some pretty fucking inexcusable drastic shit to avoid the collapse (or, possibly, a legit democracy) that might follow on the Yeltsin disaster. But it doesn't tell you anything necessarily about Georgia, the Ukraine war, the Western #Russiagate fantasia, the Skripals, or or or... my feeling is, however, it probably tells you a lot about the fate of Litvinenko.

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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby DrEvil » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:40 pm

Sounder » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:04 pm wrote:The quoted part of this article does no service to the thesis of the title.

Chilling conspiracy theory behind Vladimir Putin's rise to power

Back then, he recently told The Times, no one would have believed he was prepared to kill 300 of his own people just to win power.

"But now, after so many more deaths, the invasion of Georgia, the thousands killed on both sides in the conflict in Ukraine, people are ready to believe he could have had a hand in the bombings," he said.

No one would have believed? What a laugh riot. Invasion of Georgia? Just wow. Putin is responsible for the deaths in Ukraine, 'thousands killed on both sides'? In a conflict started with a western backed coup? What the hell are you western exceptionalist xenophobes smoking?

Um.. Russia did invade Georgia, in case you didn't know. Granted, it was in response to the Georgian president's attempt to drag NATO into a war with Russia (the TV broadcast where he has realized he fucked up bad and is literally chewing on his tie is priceless), but still, the invasion happened.

Russia also funds Ukrainian separatists and supply them with arms and troops (the recent prisoner exchange should be a pretty clear indication of that, or Russian soldiers posting to social media from inside Ukraine), so yes, they do bear some responsibility for the bloodshed happening there, regardless of who started it, because once it's started it doesn't help when you send more guns.

Putin is essentially what Americans are terrified that Trump will become, but at least Trump isn't jailing Sanders or Clinton on trumped up (pun entirely incidental) tax-evasion charges yet (he just fantasizes about it publicly), unlike his hero Putin who already has a nice track record of jailing or killing his opponents, and more recently mass raids on the political opposition after the disastrous local elections.
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Re: Why Do People Apologize For Russia?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:45 pm

but trump is trying to jail McCabe as we speak

and Jack I really would like Sounder to speak for himself, he needs to clarify his statement
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