Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law to label journalists as ‘foreign agents’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law to label journalists as ‘foreign agents’

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

WORLD Updated: Dec 03, 2019 06:23 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Moscow
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones.
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones.(REUTERS FILE)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial law allowing independent journalists and bloggers to be labelled as “foreign agents”, a move that critics say will violate media freedom.

Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones. The new law, which now extends to individuals, will come into effect immediately, according to a document published on the Russian government website.

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

Nine human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, have expressed concern that the amendments may be aimed not only at journalists, but also at bloggers and internet users who benefit from scholarships, funding or revenues from a relevant media outlet.

NGOs said in a joint statement last month the law was “a further step to restrict free and independent media” and “a strong tool to silence opposition voices”.

Authors of the bill have said it is intended to “perfect” existing legislation on “foreign agents” that already covers NGOs and media organisations. Russia says it wants the law as a tit-for-tat mechanism if its journalists are defined as foreign agents in the West. Russia first passed legislation allowing media organisations to be slapped with the label in 2017, after Kremlin-funded RT television was declared a foreign agent in the United States. Russian opposition politician Alexi Navalny’s organisation has been branded a foreign agent, as has US-financed media outlet Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.

The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West.

The Real Reason Trump Withheld Military Is A Favor To Putin?

The Real Reason Trump Withheld Military Aid To UKraine Is A Favor To Putin?

 

This is just an oped on my part, I am only giving you my opinion about this issue. This is something that I have thought to be the truth ever sense the Ukraine story broke. As most of the world knows President Putin of Russia took the State of Crimea by military force from the country of UKraine a few years ago and Russian forces have been at war with the nation of UKraine in the east of that country ever sense. So, of course Mr. Putin does not want the US selling military arms to the nation of UKraine because those weapons are being used against his Russian soldiers on the battle field. I simply believe that it only makes sense that Mr. Putin wanted Mr. Trump to freeze that weapons sale to the Ukrainian government. As most of the world realizes, including the Republicans in the US Congress and Senate, Mr. Trump is nothing but a Putin Patsy. Now because of all of Mr. Trumps habitual lying he has found himself on the impeachment hot seat, it isn’t like he can actually tell the truth about his collusion with the Russian government to undermine an American Ally. These are just my thoughts, right, wrong or only somewhat correct, or not. What are you thoughts on this matter?

Trump is about to give Putin another gift

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(“Sometimes the only way to explain/predict Trump’s foreign policy is to think ‘what would Putin want the US to do?'”)

Trump is about to give Putin another gift

David A. Andelman, Executive Director of The RedLines Project, is a contributor to CNN, where his columns won the Deadline Club Award for Best Opinion Writing. Author of “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today,” he was formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN

(CNN)Another critical legacy of the post-Cold War era may be on the verge of biting the dust now that President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows member states to conduct unarmed surveillance over one another’s territories and helps verify arms control agreements. Watching Trump drive a stake through the heart of this treaty should be quite a pleasant prospect for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

David Andelman

Though President Dwight Eisenhower first proposed such a treaty in 1955, it did not become a reality until 2002. Since then, the Open Skies Treaty has allowed reconnaissance flights over each of the 34 nations that have signed it — largely NATO nations and others across eastern Europe. This arrangement has allowed American surveillance aircraft to keep track of just what the Russian military is up to in areas like eastern Ukraine, or in Georgia, where Russian troops once tried in vain to seize large swaths of territory.
An American withdrawal from the Open Skies treaty would give Putin more leeway to make forays into areas like eastern Ukraine, where he’d love to keep his actions concealed from western scrutiny. As Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, wrote in a letter to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, “Withdrawal risks dividing the transatlantic alliance and would further undermine America’s reliability as a stable and predictable partner when it comes to European security.”
By withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty, the United States would fulfill Putin’s goals by effectively “driving another wedge into the NATO alliance,” Reif says. President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes may have put it best in a recent tweet: “Sometimes the only way to explain/predict Trump’s foreign policy is to think ‘what would Putin want the US to do?'”
Each time Donald Trump has withdrawn from an international treaty, I’ve declared it his single most cataclysmic move. And each time, he has surprised me by topping his previous actions. He certainly surprised me with the audacity of his decision in 2017 to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, and with his utter failure to understand what the consequences would be. Trump followed this move in 2018 by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear accord, to similarly disastrous consequences. Then there was Trump’s withdrawal from the INF (intermediate nuclear forces) agreement this August, touching off what will inevitably be a new arms race, and certainly freeing up Russia’s ability to test and deploy new generations of advanced missiles threatening America’s allies in western Europe.
Now, the administration is threatening to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies.
“The view within DOD and the State Department is that there continues to be significant value here to the United States and to our allies and partners” in maintaining the treaty, Kingston Reif, director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association, tells me in an interview.
With this treaty in force, Reif says, “The United States has been able to fly over Ukraine and western Russia. These flights have yielded valuable data with respect to the Russian military.” Moreover, since Ukraine is also a signatory to the pact, its military has benefited from intelligence gleaned from these overflights, Reif tells me.
The Open Skies treaty allowed one particularly important flight over eastern Ukraine on December 6, 2018, after Russians attacked Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea. The flight, which included American, Canadian, French, German, Romanian, British and Ukrainian observers on board the OC-135 surveillance plane, “reaffirm(ed) (the) United States’ commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations,” a Defense Department statement said. While the United States does have other sources of satellite surveillance, this particular flight was crucial: It produced images that could be broadly released because they were obtained from this less-classified source. Our ability to make and disseminate these images demonstrated to Russia that the world was watching.
The treaty has also allowed surveillance flights over the heavily armed Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, where the Kremlin has been upgrading its nuclear weapons storage and deployment. These flights have been particularly useful to the Baltic members of NATO, including neighboring Lithuania, where advanced Russian systems pose an immediate and ever-present threat.
To get a sense of the shock and horror Trump’s withdrawal has elicited from America’s strategic establishment, look no further than the United States Strategic Command’s (Stratcom) Twitter account. It quietly asserted its support for the Open Skies Treaty by retweeting Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who wrote that the agreement “helps build confidence & increase transparency.”
It remains unclear why the Trump administration is looking to pull out of the treaty after 17 years. The administration has declined to comment to CNN, or to me, on the cause or the timing of the withdrawal.
Regardless, the treaty offers several critical functions. It supports our NATO allies while providing a security blanket over non-NATO members who are also interested in containing Russian expansion. It also offers us a window into Russia’s military operations, especially those along its borders.
Above all, Trump should start to consider the consequences of his impulsive actions — demonstrated recently and vividly in his ill-conceived decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria, thereby giving Turkey and Russia an open avenue to occupy swaths of territory that they’d long been denied.
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While the consequences of a pullout from Open Skies may be less visible in the short term than those of the US withdrawal from Syria, on the long term, they could prove equally catastrophic.

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

(OPED: by OLDPOET56)

 

I know that there are a lot of people who don’t even know who the Kurdish people are and that is a shame because they have been a Ally to the U.S. military for decades now. They have fought along side our troops in Syria for years now helping us to defang ISIS and other terrorists in that region. The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group of people in the whole world that does not have a country of their own. The eastern population of Turkey has a huge percent of Kurdish people within their borders as well as in N.W. Syria, Northern Iraq and N.W. Iran. We have armed and trained the Kurd people for many years now but now that ISIS is supposedly defunct in Syria President Trump has turned his/our back on these people again but even worse this time.

 

Turkey’s President Erdogan has been trying to commit genocide of the Kurdish people every since he took office. Now, with the help of Iran and Trumps good friend President Putin of Russia President Erdogan has his military set up 20 miles deep into Syria (against the Syrian governments wishes) for the purpose of killing the Kurd’s. This Turk military action is also against the wishes of President Trump’s other good friend the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia MBS. The only reason that I can think of why President Trump would commit treason against the Kurdish people is because of his butt buddy Putin asking him too. For President Trump to agree with this Genocide of the Kurdish people is beneath the dignity of a snakes belly but then again this plays all to true for this President.

TRUMP ‘FAWNING’ TO PUTIN AND OTHER AUTHORITARIANS IN ‘EMBARRASSING’ PHONE Calls

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

TRUMP ‘FAWNING’ TO PUTIN AND OTHER AUTHORITARIANS IN ‘EMBARRASSING’ PHONE CALLS, WHITE HOUSE AIDES SAY—REPORT

As the spotlight on President Donald Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders intensifies, former and current White House officials have described Trump’s interactions with strongman leaders as fawning, deferential and embarrassing, with many of those in the administration “horrified” at his conduct.

The Washington Post spoke with 12 current and former White House officials who said that members of the administration were shocked at the president’s behavior during conversations with authoritarians like Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of the Saudi royal family.

“There was a constant undercurrent in the Trump administration of [senior staff] who were genuinely horrified by the things they saw that were happening on these calls,” one former White House official—who spoke on the condition of anonymity—told the Post.

“Phone calls that were embarrassing, huge mistakes he made, months and months of work that were upended by one impulsive tweet,” the official added.

Aides were particularly concerned about Trump’s calls with Putin. The first call came less than two weeks into the presidency on January 28, 2017.

The call was intended for Putin to congratulate Trump on his victory, but the new president was “obsequious” and “fawning,” even apologizing to the dictator for not calling him sooner, anonymous former White House aides told the Post.

“He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, my people didn’t tell me you wanted to talk to me,'” according to one person with direct knowledge of the call. And in another Putin call, Trump is said to have asked his Russian counterpart for advice on how to deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“We couldn’t figure out early on why he was being so nice to Russia,” a former senior administration official added.

Trump upended long-term U.S. strategy during his calls, for example promising to support Saudi Arabia’s entry into the G7 group of nations. “The G-7 is supposed to be the allies with whom we share the most common values and the deepest commitment to upholding the rules-based order,” one former official told the Post.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses mean it would not have been suitable for admission, but Trump said he would support the country’s efforts anyway, the former official claimed. Ultimately Saudi Arabia was not added to the group.

DOnald Trump, phone, calls, Putin, leaders
President Donald Trump speaks on the telephone in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 24, 2018.SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES/GETTY

The president also reportedly ignored the grave human rights abuses in the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has been waging a zero tolerance campaign against drug dealers and users, in which thousands have been killed.

During an April 2017 call, Trump told Duterte that he was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem,” the Post reported.

Officials said it was a constant battle to keep Trump on track. “You had two to three minutes max,” one former senior administration official said. “And then he was still usually going to say whatever he wanted to say.”

Another said aides quickly had to come to terms with his unconventional, and at times embarrassing, manner. “People had gotten really numb to him blurting out something he shouldn’t have,” one former national security staffer told the Post.

Officials were also concerned that calls with long-time U.S. allies often did not go as smoothly as those with strongmen and dictators. “People who could do things for him—he was nice to,” one former security official said. “Leaders with trade deficits, strong female leaders, members of NATO — those tended to go badly.”

Xi, Putin exchange congratulations on 70 years of diplomatic ties

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Xi, Putin exchange congratulations on 70 years of diplomatic ties

Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday exchanged congratulatory messages on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

Xi said in his message that the China-Russia relationship has achieved the highest level among major-country relations in terms of mutual trust, coordination and strategic value, and has made important contributions to maintaining world peace, stability and development.

Looking back over the past 70 years, the China-Russia relationship has gone through a very extraordinary development path, and with the joint efforts by both sides, the relationship between the two countries has become an example for major countries and neighboring countries in terms of good neighborliness, friendship, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, Xi said.

Especially in recent years, Xi said, under the joint guidance of him and Putin, the two countries have constantly enhanced strategic mutual trust, extended firm political support to each other and carried out close communication and collaboration in international and regional affairs, and bilateral cooperation in various fields has achieved unprecedented development.

Xi recalled his state visit to Russia in June, when he and Putin jointly announced the upgrade of bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, which opened a new history for the China-Russia relationship, with new vitality and broad prospects.

Xi stressed that he highly values the development of China-Russia ties, and is willing to work together with Putin to take the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties to unceasingly guide the China-Russia relationship for a new era towards more new achievements, and make greater contributions to world peace and development.

Xi wished the China-Russia relationship ever growing and the China-Russia friendship ever lasting.

Putin, for his part, said that his country was the first in the world to recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and to immediately establish the closest cooperative relationship with the PRC. The Russia-China relationship has successfully stood the test of time, he said.

In recent years, the two sides have actively carried on fruitful cooperation in various fields, Putin said.

Political dialogues at various levels between the two countries have been constantly reinforced and expanded, and their coordination within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and BRICS, have been strengthened to jointly push for solutions to major international and regional issues, he said.

Putin said he believes that Russia and China will constantly strengthen their relations and cooperation in various fields to bring more benefits to their peoples and make contributions to security and stability in the Eurasian continent as well as the whole world.

On the same day, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian Prime Minster Dmitri Medvedev also exchanged congratulatory messages.

Li said in his message that the Chinese side highly values the China-Russia relationship and is willing to work together with the Russian side, taking the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations as a new starting point, to constantly deepen political mutual trust, unleash cooperation potentials in various fields, establish innovative cooperation models and strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs to further advance the China-Russia relationship for a new era, and enhance regional and world peace, stability and prosperity.

Medvedev said that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has reached an unprecedented level, with major cooperation projects proceeding smoothly in various fields like energy, industry, transportation infrastructure, high technology and culture, and people-to-people exchanges continuing to expand.

He said he believes that through joint efforts, the two sides will inject new power to their comprehensive cooperation.

China, Russia aim to double trade volume, intensify cooperation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘SHINE’ NEWS AGENCY OF SHANGHAI CHINA)

 

China, Russia aim to double trade volume, intensify cooperation

Xinhua
China, Russia aim to double trade volume, intensify cooperation

Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev co-chair the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government in St Petersburg, Russia, September 17.

China and Russia Tuesday agreed to further enhance cooperation in trade, energy and other areas, setting a goal to double bilateral trade volume.

The agreement came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Russia and co-chaired the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Li said China stands ready to better align the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, maintain the growing momentum of China-Russia trade and improve the level of trade and investment facilitation.

He encouraged both sides to strive for the goal to double bilateral trade volume.

China has been Russia’s top trading partner for nine years running. Last year, two-way trade surged by 27.1 percent, breaking the US$100 billion mark for the first time.

Li called on China and Russia to jointly implement the major energy projects, further open up markets to each other and explore the cooperation mode of oil refining and chemical engineering.

He also called for enhanced cooperation in science and innovation, finance, agriculture, sub-national and people-to-people exchanges.

For his part, Medvedev said Russia is willing to further expand trade with China and will work hard to realize the goal of doubling the trade volume.

Besides bilateral cooperation in traditional areas such as energy, Russia will scale up cooperation on hi-tech and promote cooperation in areas including agriculture, industry, aviation and space, nuclear energy to yield more fruitful results, said Medvedev.

Russia attaches great importance to the sub-national cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, he said, adding that the country hopes to conduct more exchanges between young people, universities and local governments.

Li’s visit was made on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations. During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia in June this year, China-Russia relationship was elevated to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

As each other’s biggest neighbors and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and Russia boast healthy and stable ties, said Li.

Against the backdrop of growing uncertain and unstable factors in the international situation, it not only benefits both countries but also contributes to regional and world stability and prosperity that China and Russia enhance strategic coordination, reinforce political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and intensify people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said.

Medvedev said this year is of significance to Russia-China relations as it marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China as well as the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Noting that bilateral ties are now at their best in history, Medvedev said it is Russia’s priority of foreign policy to develop ties with China as it accords with Russia’s own needs.

He said both countries have been coordinating on the international stage and advocating that multilateral international rules should be followed while unilateral sanctions should be opposed.

During the meeting, Li and Medvedev were briefed by vice premiers of China Sun Chunlan and Hu Chunhua, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov, and deputy prime ministers of Russia Dmitry Kozak, Tatyana Golikova and Maxim Akimov.

The two heads of government also had in-depth exchanges of views on international and regional issues of common concern.

After the meeting, Li and Medvedev signed a joint communique of the 24th regular meeting and witnessed the signing of a series of deals in areas including investment, economy and trade, agriculture, nuclear energy, aviation, science and technology, and digital economy.

Li arrived in St Petersburg Monday afternoon for a three-day official visit.

Trump’s G7 performance suggests he’s either a ‘Russian asset’ or a ‘useful idiot’ for Putin

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON INSIDER NEWS)

 

US spies say Trump’s G7 performance suggests he’s either a ‘Russian asset’ or a ‘useful idiot’ for Putin

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump returns after travelling to the AMVETS convention in Kentucky, at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis
President Donald Trump.
 Reuters

Analysis banner

  • Current and former spies are floored by President Donald Trump’s fervent defense of Russia at this year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
  • “It’s hard to see the bar anymore since it’s been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump’s behavior over the weekend was a new low,” one FBI agent who works in counterintelligence told Insider.
  • At the summit, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be readmitted into the G7, refused to hold it accountable for violating international law, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • One former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, told Insider Trump’s behavior was “directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.”
  • A former CIA operative told Insider the evidence is “overwhelming” that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.
  • Meanwhile, a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump’s freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he’s a “useful idiot” for the Russians. But “it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump’s inner circle.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“It’s hard to see the bar anymore since it’s been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump’s behavior over the weekend was a new low.”

That was the assessment an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence gave Insider of President Donald Trump’s performance at this year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France. The agent requested anonymity because they feared that speaking publicly on the matter would jeopardize their job.

Trump’s attendance at the G7 summit was peppered with controversy, but none was more notable than his fervent defense of Russia’s military and cyber aggression around the world, and its violation of international law in Ukraine.

Trump repeatedly refused to hold Russia accountable for annexing Crimea in 2014, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia’s move to annex it, expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and castigated other G7 members for not giving the country a seat at the table.

Since being booted from the G8 after annexing Crimea, Russia’s done little to make up for its actions. In fact, by many accounts, it’s stepped up its aggression.

In addition to continuing to encroach on Ukraine, the Russian government interfered in the 2016 US election and was behind the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in the UK. US officials also warn that as the 2020 election looms, the Russians are stepping up their cyberactivities against the US and have repeatedly tried to attack US power grids.

“What in God’s name made Trump think it would be a good idea to ask to bring Russia back to the table?” the FBI agent told Insider. “How does this serve US national-security interests?”

Trump’s advocacy for Russia is renewing concerns among intelligence veterans that Trump may be a Russian “asset” who can be manipulated or influenced to serve Russian interests, although some also speculate that Trump could just be currying favor for future business deals.

Read more: DOJ watchdog finds James Comey violated FBI policy by sharing memo with The New York Times

‘We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office’

Donald Trump Sergey Lavrov Sergey Kislyak
Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP

A former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was FBI director, didn’t mince words when reacting to Trump’s performance at the G7 summit: “We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.”

“There is no fathomable explanation for why the president said these things,” the former official said. “Letting Russia off the hook for bullying smaller countries and then blaming Obama for it? It’s directly out of the Putin playbook.”

While arguing for Russia to be invited back into the G7, Trump said the country would be helpful in addressing hot-button issues like Iran, Syria, and North Korea and that the alliance was better off with Russia “inside rather than outside.”

But Russia is a staunch ally of Syria’s Assad regime, and it’s also cozied up to Iran in recent years. US military and intelligence officials view Russia as one of the US’s foremost rivals and believe it generally stands in opposition to American interests.

Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative and frequent Trump critic, told Insider there’s been “no question” in his mind for years that the president is behaving like “a spy for the Russians.”

“The evidence is so overwhelming that in my 35 years in intelligence, I have never seen anything so certain,” Carle said, adding that he’s spoken with several intelligence veterans about the matter in the four years since Trump first launched his presidential campaign, many of whom believe Trump’s actions are a threat to national security.

Read more: Russia came out the winner of this year’s G7 summit despite being kicked out, and Trump looked like ‘Putin’s puppet’

“Intelligence assets become convinced to be spies for multiple reasons,” Carle, who specialized in getting foreign spies to become turncoats when he was at the CIA, said in an earlier interview with Insider. “It might start with kompromat or financial hooks, and the asset may be convinced he is acting as a patriot until he becomes accustomed to his role.”

“Trump clearly responds favorably to praise,” he said. “And over the years, the handling officer — Putin, in this case — realizes what the asset wants, and that’s what they provide. Trump wants to be told he’s the greatest, so that’s what you tell him, over and over again, until he comes to believe that is the motivation for his actions.”

‘A useful idiot’ or ‘currying favor’

trump putinReuters

Frank Montoya Jr., a recently retired FBI special agent, told Insider it’s “hard not to think the Russians have an asset in the White House.”

But he added that Trump’s freewheeling and often false statements imply he’s “not playing with a full deck on any matter of state these days. Still, those same delusions are what give me pause when conclusions are reached about the likelihood he is a Russian asset.”

“Useful idiot is more like it,” Montoya said. But he added that given the abundance of meetings and contacts between Trump associates and Russians before, during, and after the election, “it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump’s inner circle.”

Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the CIA and the National Security Agency, agreed that Trump was catering to Putin’s interests, but he disagreed on why.

“I think what’s going on right now is an Occam’s razor scenario,” he told Insider, referring to the philosophical theory that the simplest explanation for an event is often the correct one.

“Trump wants to do deals with Russia when he leaves the presidency,” Deitz said. “We already know he was interested in building a Trump Tower in Moscow before and during the election. The best way of doing a deal with Putin is to be nice to him, so I think what Trump is doing is currying favor.”

He emphasized, however, that regardless of Trump’s motives for being subservient to Putin, “it’s still harmful” to US interests.

“When Trump goes to bed each night, what do you think his last thoughts are: the welfare of the United States, or the size of his bank account?” Deitz added.

Trump’s defense of Putin at the G7 summit didn’t go unnoticed in Russia.

According to The Washington Post, one show on the state-run Rossiya-1 network played a celebratory soundtrack as it showed six video clips of Trump demanding that Putin be given a seat at the table.

The Russian media analyst Julia Davis said that Kremlin-controlled media reacted to Trump’s G7 performance with laughter and mockery.

One anchor rejoiced that “Trump is dancing to Putin’s tune,” while others were amused by the “maniacal persistence” with which Trump was lobbying for Russia.

Read more: Trump’s G7 performance shows how he’s living in a totally different reality and isolating the US from the rest of the world

A familiar pattern emerges

trump putin
Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

This isn’t the first time the president has been accused of working to advance Russia’s interests ahead of the US’s.

Perhaps the sharpest example of this was when Trump and Putin held a bilateral summit in Helsinki last year. After the meeting, Trumpstunned the US national-security apparatus and foreign allies when he sided with Russia over the US intelligence community, blamed “both sides” for the deterioration of US-Russia relations, and praised Putin as being “extremely strong and powerful.”

In 2017, Trump refused to accept the US intelligence-community finding that Moscow meddled in the 2016 race to propel Trump to the presidency.

That May, he fired FBI director James Comey, who was overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election interference and cited “this Russia thing” as the reason. Two days after firing Comey, Trump shared classified intelligence with two Russian officials in the Oval Office and told them firing Comey had taken “great pressure” off of him.

Shortly after, the FBI began investigating whether Trump was a Russian agent.

Russia: Alexei Navalny: Jailed Russian opposition head develops ‘allergy’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

(TRUMP’S PUPPET MASTER PUTIN THE COWARD OF THE KREMLIN STRIKES AGAIN)oped: oldpoet56) 

Alexei Navalny: Jailed Russian opposition head develops ‘allergy’

Alexei Navalny at rally in Moscow, 20 JulyImage copyright EPA
Image caption Alexei Navalny was arrested on Wednesday

Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, has been taken from jail to a hospital in Moscow.

Officials gave no details of his condition but Mr Navalny’s spokeswoman said he had had an allergic reaction with severe facial swelling – something she said he had not experienced before.

A hospital source told Russian media his condition was satisfactory,

Mr Navalny was jailed for 30 days last week after calling for unauthorised protests, which took place on Saturday.

More than 1,000 people were detained during demonstrations against the barring of opposition candidates in forthcoming local elections.

Media caption Police marched away detainees

The European Union criticised the “disproportionate” use of force against the protesters, saying it undermined the “fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly”.

How is Navalny being treated?

Mr Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, tweeted that the opposition leader had never experienced an allergic reaction before.

Presentational white space

He was being given the “necessary medical assistance” in a hospital ward under police protection, she said.

Mr Navalny made his name in Russia as a grassroots anti-corruption campaigner who led the country’s biggest street protests against President Vladimir Putin during the winter of 2011.

He has been repeatedly jailed, usually for his involvement in unauthorised demonstrations, but also (at a retrial in 2017) for embezzlement in a case he says was farcical.

His fraud conviction barred him from standing against Mr Putin in the 2018 presidential election.

Related Topics

Russia: Putin’s Goon Squads Arrest At Least 1,000 Citizens At A Moscow Rally

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Russia protests: Thousand arrests at Moscow rally

Media caption Police marched away detainees

Police in Moscow have detained more than 1,000 people at a rally, in one of the biggest crackdowns in years.

Demonstrators were dragged away from the city hall as security forces used batons against the crowd.

People were protesting against the exclusion of opposition candidates from local polls. The opposition say they were barred for political reasons.

Some of the candidates banned from standing in the 8 September election had been detained earlier.

Officials disqualified about 30 people, saying they had failed to collect enough valid signatures to stand.

At least 1,074 arrests were made at the banned rally, officials say, while monitors reported 1,127 detentions.

Moscow’s Mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, has called the demonstration a “security threat”, and promised to maintain public order.

Anger is widespread among opposition supporters at the way the city is run and the ruling United Russia party.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, was jailed for 30 days on Wednesday after calling for Saturday’s unapproved demonstration.

Mr Putin was on a trip to the Baltic Sea on Saturday for a dive in a submersible. “There are a lot of problems on Earth, so to diminish their amount one has to go up and deep down,” he remarked.

What happened this Saturday?

Last Saturday, more than 20,000 Russians took to the streets, demanding fair elections, and dozens were arrested.

It is unclear how many people turned up for the new unauthorised rally on 27 July but the numbers seem to have been sharply down.

According to police, about 3,500 people gathered, including about 700 journalists.

Police detain a protester in Moscow, 27 JulyImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Riot police detained hundreds of protesters on Saturday

Police in riot gear pushed back the crowd from barriers surrounding the mayor’s office in central Moscow, hauling off detainees to police stations.

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

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A powerful message to the regions?

Oleg Boldyrev, BBC News, Moscow

No -one was under any illusion that the large gathering would impress authorities into letting people express themselves peacefully. This rally went very much the same way others have done – arbitrary detentions, standoffs, crowds breaking off into the side streets.

The question is whether the anger over not being able to nominate a candidate – even for lower-level, city elections – would galvanise Muscovites into bigger, sustained expressions of dissent. After all, there are lots of residents not happy with the way Moscow government and Mayor Sobyanin run the city, or respond to popular concerns.

Police detain a protester in Moscow, 27 JulyImage copyrightREUTERS

Certainly, the would-be candidates, most of them seasoned anti-Putin activists, are hoping that the resentment will linger. That is exactly why policy handlers in the Kremlin are desperate to put a lid on it.

With both Mr Putin’s ratings falling and the United Russia party deeply unpopular, chanting crowds in the capital may send a very powerful message to other regions preparing to hold their elections.

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How did we get here?

Local elections usually attract little attention in Russia.

The Moscow authority does not control the city’s budget or choose key official appointments, and previous votes have passed without major protests or press interest.

But this year some Muscovites are infuriated at what they see as brazen attempts to disqualify independent politicians from running.

Lyubov SobolImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionLyubov Sobol is one of the opposition candidates barred from standing

Candidates were asked to collect 5,000 signatures to stand. This limit was made even harder to match because a signature “means volunteering one’s personal information for the government’s database of opposition supporters”, democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote in the Washington Post.

Many candidates managed to meet the threshold but the electoral commission ruled some signatures ineligible, saying they were unclear or the addresses provided were incomplete, and barred the candidates from taking part.

Opposition groups say the authorities had no reason to rule them ineligible – claims that electoral officials denied. “We have no reason to doubt our experts,” commission member Dmitry Reut said, according to media reports.

Mr Navalny, who addressed the crowds last Saturday, is not one of the candidates, although he stood in Moscow’s mayoral elections in 2013 and won 27% of the vote in a result he disputed.

Ella Pamfilova, the head of the electoral commission, said the protests would not change their decisions. “It doesn’t matter, not even a bit of it,” she said, dismissing the demonstrations as “political”.

The authorities banned this Saturday’s rally on the grounds that there were threats of violence against the commission.

Police then raided the homes of several opposition politicians, and called them in more for questioning.

What’s been the reaction?

Election candidate and opposition leader Dmitry Gudkov tweeted that the council had “died under Putin”.

“The last illusion that we are able to participate legally in politics has disappeared.”

Some newspapers also denounced the raids. Novaya Gazeta ran the headline Moscow City Terror on Friday, while Vedomosti said authorities were using force to suppress the protest “having failed to counter it with political means”.

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Russian government paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, however, accused the opposition of “blackmail” and “an unacceptable attitude to the statutes of law”.

Political analyst Abbas Gallyamov told BBC Russian that the official response was designed to dissuade people from taking part. Any mass action would suggest the opposition had taken the initiative from the government.

Some believe the demonstrations could actually benefit the local authorities by reducing turnout.

“Young opposition supporters will not come to the polls, while the older generation whom the authorities are counting on vote out of habit,” Denis Volkov, an expert at independent think tank Levada Center, told the BBC. “The authorities will orient themselves towards them.”

Diana Qeblawi

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