Putin’s Russia Is Crumbling From The Inside

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

This article first appeared on the Atlantic Council site.

At first glance, Russian actions since the 2014 annexation of Crimea appear to signal a resurgence of power in the international system. Increases in military spending, forays into the Middle East and a foreign policy punching above its weight have all served to remind the world that Russia maintains influence on the global stage.

However, behind the Cold War-levels of military activity and violations of international laws are fundamental issues which will plague Russia going forward.

Demographic struggles have stricken the state since World War II, commodity price fluctuations and sanctions have crippled economic output and the current defense spending trends are unsustainable. Against the backdrop of harsh economic reality, the illusion of Russian resurgence can only be maintained for so long, and NATO policymakers should take note.

An increased NATO presence in the Baltics and more robust defense measures are all necessary and proportional steps towards creating a formidable deterrent to protect the United States’s more vulnerable allies in Russia’s neighborhood.

Russia, however, is not the existential threat to Europe that the Soviet Union once was, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Time is not on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s side, and he can only ignore fundamental flaws in the socioeconomic landscape of Russian society for so long.

Building submarines and nuclear weapons will not reinvigorate the Russian economy and could eventually degrade what progress has been made to re-establish Russian prominence on the world stage.

Related: Nolan Peterson: The Syria strike deals Putin a double blow

The inertial nature of demographic pressure makes it an exceedingly difficult problem to address but also allows nations to forecast more easily. By nearly all calculations, Russia’s projected population growth appears stagnant at best. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the population of Russia (despite upward of 9 million immigrants) declined each year until 2013.

04_14_Putin_Vulnerable_01Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 11. Jacob Sharpe writes that the war in Ukraine, once popular among Russians, is now hurting morale and draw attention to the economic malaise at home.SERGEI CHIRIKOV/REUTERS

The combination of a decreased standard of living, a decline in the number of women aged 20 to 30 and an increased mortality rate have all damaged the prospects for growth in Russia. Rosstat, the Russian state statistical agency, estimated that the population will decline 20 percent in the next 35 years if current trends continue. This decline has been halted and even reversed to a minor extent in recent years, but reversing long-term trends will be difficult.

The economic outlook for Russia offers similarly bleak prospects, yet there are some signs of a slight turnaround. When compared to a negative 3 percent growth over the past two years, even the small 1.2 percent growth projected by the Russian finance minister (as well as the World Bank) is something to celebrate. Moscow has made some spending adjustments to reflect current oil prices, and Standard & Poor’s has upgraded its credit rating to stable.

The Russian people, however, are still in dire straits. In 2016, one-quarter of Russian companies cut salaries. Overall, the average Russian wage dropped 8 percent last year and 9.5 percent the year before. International sanctions imposed on Russia continue to cause problems, and energy prices have not recovered to previous highs.

Even as some Russians celebrated the election of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, who has expressed a desire for better relations with Russia and suggested that sanctions may be at least partially lifted, the potential for the removal of sanctions could lead to a speculative capital rush, creating more uncertainty in an already fractured economy.

Worsening the economic downturn is the Kremlin’s spending to modernize and expand its military capabilities amidst declining revenue and depleted reserves.

In a recent defense industry meeting, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that “funding has already been set aside for the coming years and that amount won’t be changed.” That statement doesn’t appear to be entirely correct, as defense spending is set to decrease by 7 percent, but it is telling when other federal departments were dealt 10 percent reductions.

For the time being, it seems this plan has won Putin praise at home and power abroad, but in the long-term it could place him on unsteady ground.  As early as 2015, Russia had begun tapping into its “rainy day fund ” (generally regarded as an emergency measure to address economic slowdowns), and the minor economic recovery is not enough to make up for these shortfalls.

Related: Putin’s Flirtation with Le Pen is likely to backfire

A continuation of this spending behavior combined with budgetary constraints could force Putin to make politically risky fiscal adjustments. He may have convinced his admirers that a bit of budgetary belt-tightening is necessary to ensure Russian security and stature, but economic backpedaling is only digestible for so long.

Even the Ukrainian conflict, once a source of popularity among the Russian people, has begun to hurt morale and highlights the economic malaise at home.

However, Vladimir Putin is not a man to be underestimated, and Russia will remain a threat. It still possesses one of the most powerful militaries in the world, a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons and a reinvigorated willingness to use its political muscle to influence the international system.

Yet while a cursory examination of approval ratings may show an unassailably popular leader, Putin’s power structure is more fragile than it first appears. Financial strain will continue to pressure state-dependent segments of the Russian populace, which have historically been the bedrock of Putin’s support.

It seems Putin’s Russia won’t perish in a Manichean clash in the Fulda Gap, but like the Soviet Union before it, today’s Russia will crumble under the weight of its own mismanagement and economic failure. Perhaps history does repeat itself.

Jacob Sharpe is an intern with the Transatlantic Security Initiative in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

Trump Officials Demand That Russia (Putin) Stop Supporting Mass Murderer Assad

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

Officials in the Trump administration on Sunday demanded that Russia stop supporting the Syrian government or face a further deterioration in its relations with the United States.

Signaling the focus of talks that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to have in Moscow this week, officials said that Russia, in propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, bears at least partial responsibility for Wednesday’s chemical attack on villagers in Idlib province.

“I hope Russia is thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar al-Assad, because every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility,” Tillerson said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Although officials acknowledged that they have seen no evidence directly linking Russia to the attacks, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that Russia should be pressed to answer what it knew ahead of the chemical attack since it has positioned warplanes and air defense systems with associated troops in Syria since 2015.

“I think what we should do is ask Russia, how could it be, if you have advisers at that airfield, that you didn’t know that the Syrian air force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons?” McMaster said on Fox News.

The timing of the comments, with Tillerson heading soon to Moscow, signaled the administration’s intent to pressure Russia to step away from Assad, who is supported by the Kremlin with military aid and diplomatic cover.

The fallout from the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians, plus the U.S. missile strike that came in retaliation for it, adds strain to a rocky relationship that is at its lowest point in decades. A host of issues are responsible, topped by Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and Moscow’s support for separatists in Ukraine, and have prompted U.S. and European sanctions. These topics have now been overshadowed by last week’s missile strike.

The Russians had hoped that relations with the United States might improve under President Trump, who expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign. Tillerson’s nomination and ­confirmation as secretary of state also raised prospects. given the former ExxonMobil executive’s experience negotiating a major deal with Rosneft, the state-controlled oil giant.

But 11 weeks into Trump’s presidency, expectations have been substantially lowered.

“This is a big cold shower,” said Samuel Charap, a Russia analyst with the Rand Corp. “Even if behind closed doors they might engage on other issues in a more pragmatic manner, the public posture is going to be one of emphasizing how they disagree about [Syria]. Putin is not going to want to be seen as chummy with the U.S. secretary of state.”

On Sunday, both Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, cast doubts on Assad’s legitimacy as Syria’s leader. Haley said that eventually the unrest in Syria cannot end if Assad remains in power.

“In no way do we see peace in that area with Russia covering up for Assad,” Haley said. “And in no way do we see peace in that area with Assad at the head of the Syrian government.”

Tillerson noted other instances when Syrian forces deployed chemical weapons, and other attacks on civilians involving barrel bombs and conventional weapons.

“I think the issue of how Bashar al-Assad’s leadership is sustained, or how he departs, is something that we’ll be working [on] with allies and others in the coalition,” said Tillerson, who after weeks of keeping a low profile was making his debut on the Sunday morning talk shows. “But I think with each of those actions, he really undermines his own legitimacy.”

Neither suggested that Assad’s demise was imminent.

“Once the ISIS threat has been reduced or eliminated, I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria,” Tillerson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” using an acronym to refer to the Islamic State militant group.

The U.S. missile strike in Syria carries the implicit threat of a larger U.S. role in the conflict. Tillerson said Sunday that the strike functioned as a warning to any country acting outside of international norms, in an apparent reference to North Korea.

“At least in the short run, it will further complicate efforts to improve the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship, which seemed to be Tillerson’s objective in going to Moscow,” said Jeffrey Mankoff, a Russia analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In the longer term, the threat of further U.S. intervention is a card that the U.S. can play to get the Russians to tighten the screws on Assad — on both the chemical weapons and possibly on accepting a political deal with the opposition.”

Tillerson departed around dawn Sunday for Italy to attend a meeting of the G-7 nations, a bloc of industrialized democracies. He is due to arrive late Tuesday in Russia for his first visit as secretary of state.

He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet, but it is not known if the secretary of state will also speak with Putin, who personally bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson in 2012.

Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said the Russians still hold out hope for a breakthrough, but that depends on whether Putin and Trump hit it off, not on anything Tillerson and Lavrov say.

“Things will only happen as a result of direct personal, sustained contact between Putin and Trump,” McFaul said. “That’s the way things work with Putin.”

But closer ties with Russia also carry political risks for Trump. Should the Trump administration ease sanctions ­imposed over Ukraine, for instance, critics would label it payback for Russia’s ­pre-election hacks targeting Democrats.

Several analysts said that Assad has humiliated Putin by using chemical weapons despite Russia’s guarantee that Syria’s stockpiles would be whisked away. Moscow’s interest in getting sanctions eased is greater than its loyalty to Assad. And that could provide maneuvering room for Tillerson.

That appears to be Tillerson’s calculation, too.

“I do not believe that the Russians want to have worsening relationships with the U.S.,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But it’s going to take a lot of discussion and a lot of dialogue to better understand what is the relationship that Russia wishes to have with the U.S.”

Mike DeBonis and Abby Philip contributed to this report.

Report: Hundreds arrested at anti-corruption protests in Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Report: Hundreds arrested at anti-corruption protests in Russia

Protesters clash with Russian police 01:33

Story highlights

  • Hundreds of arrests reported at the Moscow demonstration
  • Protests come in wake of killing of a vocal Putin critic in Ukraine

Moscow, Russia (CNN)Prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was detained during an anti-corruption protest in the heart of Moscow on Sunday, according to tweets by Navalny and his press secretary.

Navalny downplayed his detention in a series of tweets and encouraged protesters to keep marching.
“Today we are discussing (and condemning) corruption, not the detentions. Well, I was detained. So what. It OK. There are things in life that are worth being detained for,” Navalny tweeted.
Similar demonstrations were planned in 100 cities across Russia on Sunday, according to organizers. Tass, a state-run news outlet, reported that 8,000 people attended the protest in Moscow.
Hundreds of arrests were reported at the Moscow protest. Russian human rights group OVD-Info tweeted that more than 700 had been detained — while state-run news agency Ria Novosti said 500 had been held.

Police detain a protester in central Moscow on Sunday.

“The United States strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters throughout Russia on Sunday,” acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement. “We were troubled to hear of the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny upon arrival at the demonstration, as well as the police raids on the anti-corruption organization he heads.”
Toner said, “Detaining peaceful protesters, human rights observers, and journalists is an affront to core democratic values.”
The protest drew a heavy police presence but remained largely peaceful. Riot officers flanked crowds while plainclothes officers moved among the demonstrators. Police told those on the street that the protest was unsanctioned and asked them to move on.
Navalny praised turnouts for the protests in early morning tweets. “Far East started fine,” he tweeted, referring to a photo of protesters gathering in the city of Vladivostok, located on Russia’s far eastern coast. Navalny also shared photos and tweets from various parts of the country.

‘He is not your Dimon’

The protests are part of a campaign called “He is not your Dimon,” which uses the diminutive form of the Russian name Dmitry to refer to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Navalny has accused Medvedev of amassing a global property empire through various forms of corruption.
In a report published on March 2, Navalny said Medvedev has a portfolio of assets including “huge pieces of land in the most sought-after regions, yachts, apartments in old mansions, agricultural complexes and wineries in Russia and abroad.” Navalny’s report claims this was all purchased through “bribes from oligarchs, and state bank loans.”
Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, told state-run news agency RIA Novosti, “It is pointless to comment on the propagandistic outbursts of a convicted opposition figure, who has already announced he is running some kind of election campaign and fighting against the authorities.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the report “not the first creative effort from this well-known convicted citizen,” according to Tass.

Moscow protest in sight of Kremlin

Protesters in Moscow walked along Tverskaya Street, one of the city’s main arteries that starts at the Kremlin walls. “I can’t support our government, really,” one protester said. “They steal our money using their power.”

Opposition supporters take part in an unauthorised anti-corruption rally in central Moscow on Sunday.

The Moscow Police Department put out a statement Thursday urging people not to attend, calling it illegal and warning of a high risk of “provocative acts, designed to violate public order.” Police said the organizers of the event were offered an alternative location but declined. The Kremlin said Friday the event was “illegal” and a “provocation.”
Navalny, who rose to prominence during the large-scale anti-government protests in Russia in 2011, has announced he plans to run for the Russian presidency in 2018. In February, he was found guilty of embezzlement in a retrial of a case that dates back to 2013. Russian law prevents convicted criminals running for public office, but Navalny has appealed the verdict.
Sunday’s demonstrations come at a time when the safety of critics of Vladimir Putin is under scrutiny. On Thursday, former Russian lawmaker and vocal critic of the Russian government Denis Voronenkov was shot dead outside a luxury hotel in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
Navalny has not commented on the killing. CNN has contacted him for comment.

Poland Confirms Minnesota Man Was Nazi Commander

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

Poland confirms Minnesota man was Nazi commander

March 13 at 2:37 PM
WARSAW, Poland — Poland will seek the arrest and extradition of a Minnesota man exposed by The Associated Press as a former commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in World War II, prosecutors said Monday.Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence gathered over years of investigation into U.S. citizen Michael K. confirmed “100 percent” that he was a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.He did not release the last name in line with privacy laws but the AP has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.

“All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is Michael K., who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region,” Janicki said.

The decision in Poland comes four years after the AP published a story establishing that Michael Karkoc commanded the unit, based on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and Karkoc’s own Ukrainian-language memoir.

Karkoc’s family has repeatedly denied he was involved in any war crimes and his son questioned the validity of the evidence against him after Poland’s announcement, calling the accusations “scandalous and baseless slanders.”

“There’s nothing in the historical record that indicates my father had any role whatsoever in any type of war crime activity,” said Andriy Karkoc.

He questioned the Polish investigation, saying “my father’s identity has never been in question nor has it ever been hidden.”

Prosecutors with the state National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, have asked a regional court in Lublin to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, as Poland does not allow trial in absentia, Janicki said.

“The prosecutor in Lublin intends to direct a motion to the U.S. justice authorities asking that the suspect … be handed over to Poland,” the institute said in a statement.

Janicki added the man’s age was no obstacle in seeking to bring him before justice.

“He is our suspect as of today,” Janicki said.

If convicted of contributing to the killing of civilians in 1944, Karkoc could face life in prison.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota declined to comment on the case.

Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, applauded the decision as an important signal even at this late stage.

“Any legal step that’s taken against these people is very important,” he said by telephone from Jerusalem. “It sends a very powerful message, and these kinds of things should not be abandoned just because of the age of a suspect.”

Prosecutors in Germany shelved their own investigation of Karkoc in 2015 after saying they had received “comprehensive medical documentation” from doctors at the geriatric hospital in the U.S. where he was being treated that led them to conclude he was not fit for trial.

Karkoc’s family says he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Zuroff urged that he be reassessed by independent doctors.

“It is a very common occurrence that elderly individuals facing prosecution for World War II crimes make every effort to look as sick and as infirm as possible,” he said.

The investigations in Germany and Poland began after AP’s story in June 2013, which established Karkoc was a commander of the unit and then lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States a few years after the war.

A second report uncovered evidence that Karkoc himself ordered his men in 1944 to attack a Polish village in which dozens of civilians were killed, contradicting statements from his family that he was never at the scene.

“The Associated Press stands by its stories, which were well-documented and thoroughly reported,” said Lauren Easton, director of AP’s media relations, on Monday.

The special German prosecutor’s office that investigates Nazi crimes concluded that enough evidence existed to pursue murder charges against Karkoc.

AP’s initial investigation found that Karkoc entered the U.S. in 1949 by failing to disclose to American authorities his role as a commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion. The investigation found that Karkoc was in the area of the massacres, but did not uncover evidence linking him directly to atrocities.

The second story, based upon an investigative file originally from the Ukrainian intelligence agency’s archive, revealed that a private under Karkoc’s command testified in 1968 that Karkoc ordered an assault on the village of Chlaniow in retaliation for the slaying of the SS major who led the Legion, in which Karkoc was a company commander.

A German roster of the unit confirmed that Pvt. Ivan Sharko, a Ukrainian, served under Karkoc’s command at the time.

Other eyewitness accounts, both from villagers and members of Karkoc’s unit, corroborated the testimony that the company set buildings on fire and gunned down more than 40 men, women and children.

Other soldiers who served under Karkoc backed up Sharko’s testimony about civilian killings.

Pvt. Vasyl Malazhenski, for example, told Soviet investigators that in 1944 that unit was directed to “liquidate all the residents” of Chlaniow — although he did not say who gave the order.

Sharko also testified in the investigative documents that Karkoc’s company was directly involved in a “punitive mission” against Poles near the village of Sagryn in 1944.

Rising reported from Berlin. Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

Trump Says US Will Never Accept Russia’s Annexation of Crimea

 

UNITED NATIONS — Ukraine’s U.N. envoy says U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has confirmed the Trump administration fully supports his country’s territorial integrity and independence and will never accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Volodymyr Yelchenko told reporters Wednesday that Haley also confirmed in their “very good” recent meeting that the U.S. is “completely against the way Russia is dealing with the eastern part of Ukraine.”

Yelchenko says he’s “absolutely satisfied by her reaction and replies.”

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, and since then fighting between Ukrainian government troops and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 9,600 people in the east.

Yelchenko is the current Security Council president and said members will be briefed Thursday on the latest flare-up in violence.

The U.S. Mission says Haley reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Continue reading the main story

Пожар в Перми 14 сентября 1842 года

Folks, please consider this article, it is quite the read.  http://пожар-в-перми-14…нтября-1842-года/

Книжные памятники Пермского края

Источник: https://uraloved.ru

В сентябре 1842 года в Перми вспыхнул крупнейший в истории города пожар. Ему предшествовали находимые в разных местах города загадочные записки-предупреждения с указанием точной даты пожара… (Смышляев Д. Д. Пожар в Перми 14 сентября 1842 г.: из юношеских воспоминаний // Пермские губернские ведомости. — 1866. — № 48.)

Лето 1842 года было очень засушливым, что способствовало двум крупным пожарам: в Казани и в Перми. Пожар, уничтоживший в августе месяце 1842 года значительную часть города Казани, произвел странное впечатление на пермяков. Почему-то большая часть их стали высказывать опасении и за Пермь. В первых числах сентября, весь город был встревожен слухами о найденных в разных местах анонимных записках, заключавших в себе предуведомление о том, что 14 сентября город Пермь будет выжжен. В некоторых записках жителям даже предлагалось заблаговременно принять меры по спасению имущества.

Пожар 14 (26) сентября по одним данным начался в тёплое солнечное утро, когда многие горожане были в церквях по…

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New Oliver Stone documentary blames U.S. for Ukrainian revolutions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE RBTH.COM MOSCOW RUSSIAN NEWS)

New Oliver Stone documentary blames U.S. for Ukrainian revolutions

November 23, 2016 YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH
Russian television has broadcast Oliver Stone’s controversial documentary film “Ukraine on Fire,” in which he argues that Ukraine’s “Maidan” uprisings of 2004 and 2014 were the result of political maneuvering by the United States.
Anti-government protesters
Anti-government protesters gather at a barricade at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev. Source: Reuters
A controversial new documentary produced by U.S. director Oliver Stone and broadcast on Russian television presents the Ukrainian revolutions of 2004 and 2014 as organized uprisings instigated from outside and planned with U.S. participation.Posted on YouTube and screened by nationwide Russian TV channel REN TV on Nov. 21, the film, titled Ukraine on Fire, features Ukraine’s ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Vitaly Zakharchenko, who served as Ukrainian interior minister under Yanukovych, discussing the events leading up to and following the “Maidan” revolution of 2014.

Trailer for Oliver Stone’s documentary Ukraine on Fire. Source: YouTube / Fred Johs

Stone, an award-winning director who is a staunch critic of Washington’s foreign policy, is no stranger to controversy and has a long history of making political films. He also directed 2015’s Snowden, a biopic of the fugitive former NSA agent turned whistleblower.

Directed by Ukrainian American Igor Lopatenyuk, the film has been criticized for its one-sided portrayal of events in Kiev, with a Ukrainian citizen named Andrei Nezvany posting an online petition two days before the film’s online premiere asking for the picture to be banned because it “falsifies facts” and could “provoke mass protests in Ukraine.”

Ukraine on Fire was made by the Los Angeles company Another Way Productions though the source of the project’s financing is not clear.

CIA protected Ukrainian nationalists in the USSR

The film reports that the CIA closely collaborated with Ukrainian nationalistic organizations against the USSR as far back as 1946, using them as counterintelligence sources. Recently declassified CIA documents apparently bear witness to this.

According to the film, “by the end of 1941 alone the nationalists killed between 150,000 and 200,000 Jews on German-occupied territory in Ukraine,” and the following “strong alliance” allowed them to escape after WWII to Europe, where the CIA helped them hide.For example, the film says that Mykola Lebed, a Ukrainian nationalist and activist who was responsible for mass killings of Poles in Ukraine’s Volyn region under Nazi occupation in WWII, was transferred to the U.S., where he died in 1998 without ever facing trial for his war crimes.

But American collaboration with the Ukrainian nationalists did not end there, claims the film.

U.S. was behind 2004 Orange Revolution

In 2004 Ukraine became a battlefield between Russia and the West. The pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych won the presidential election, though the process was tainted by widespread allegations of intimidation and massive vote-rigging, as well as the poisoning of the pro-Western candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.

In the end, Yushchenko, whose wife had been an employee of the U.S. State Department during the Reagan administration, obtained) the presidency thanks to a peaceful protest that the film claims was inspired from outside the country, resulting in a revote.

Subsequently, the off-screen voice narrates, the Yushchenko government failed to carry out the promised reforms and the “democracy” project, and mired itself in dishonest activities.

Russia did not want to pay for Ukraine’s pro-Europe choice

Viktor Yanukovych became the next Ukrainian president, but his talks with the EU did not go well.

“We had been counting on the International Monetary Fund [IMF]… But for a whole year we were offered unacceptable options… Russia was the last resort. Russia told us: ‘We are ready to work with you as partners, if you take our interests into consideration,'” says Yanukovych in the film.

Commenting on Russia’s introduction of restrictions to trade with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin says that the Kremlin did so only because in the event of integration with the EU “the European Union would basically be entering our territory with all its goods without any negotiations.”

“We said, sure, if Ukraine has decided to do this, this is its choice and we will respect it, but we are not going to pay for this choice,” says Putin in the film.

2014 uprising also financed by U.S., says film

In the film, Zakharchenko tells Stone that the Ukrainian authorities knew that protests were being prepared for 2015. But the sudden halt to integration with the EU (after Russia made Ukraine a counter-offer shortly before Yanukovych was due to sign the agreement at an EU Eastern Partnership summit in Lithuania in late November 2013) accelerated the process. Public organizations financed by NED, journalists receiving U.S. grants and the TV channels created on the eve of the Maidan uprising played an important role, argues the film.

The order to drive away the protesters with force was given by head of the presidential administration Serhiy Lyovochkin, under the pretext of putting a Christmas tree on the square.

“It is an amazing coincidence but Mr. Lyovochkin is a friend of many American politicians,” the documentary reports, showing a photo of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland.When Stone asks Yanukovych if “he felt America’s hand” in the uprising, the former president says that many delegations came to Ukraine but took sides with the protesters, something that only exacerbated the conflict.

“When protesters seize government buildings, is this acceptable? Would it be acceptable if the Ukrainian ambassador had come to the protestors in Ferguson and handed out cookies or accused American policemen? Why was Ukraine treated in this manner?”

Lost World Of Shipwrecks Have Been Found In The Black Sea Off Of Bulgarian Coast

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIME’S, SCIENCE SECTION)

An image of the well-preserved medieval ship found at the bottom of the Black Sea, one of more than 40 wrecks discovered. Photogrammetry, a process using thousands of photographs and readings, produced a rendering that appears three-dimensional.Credit Expedition and Education Foundation/Black Sea MAP

The medieval ship lay more than a half-mile down at the bottom of the Black Sea, its masts, timbers and planking undisturbed in the darkness for seven or eight centuries. Lack of oxygen in the icy depths had ruled out the usual riot of creatures that feast on sunken wood.

This fall, a team of explorers lowered a robot on a long tether, lit up the wreck with bright lights and took thousands of high-resolution photos. A computer then merged the images into a detailed portrait.

Archaeologists date the discovery to the 13th or 14th century, opening a new window on forerunners of the 15th- and 16th-century sailing vessels that discovered the New World, including those of Columbus. This medieval ship probably served the Venetian empire, which had Black Sea outposts.

Never before had this type of ship been found in such complete form. The breakthrough was the quarterdeck, from which the captain would have directed a crew of perhaps 20 sailors.

“That’s never been seen archaeologically,” said Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz, an expedition member at the Center for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, in Britain. “We couldn’t believe our eyes.”

A photogrammetric image of a ship from the Ottoman era that most likely went down between the 17th and 19th centuries. The discoverers nicknamed it the Flower of the Black Sea because of its ornate carvings, including two large posts topped with petals. Credit Expedition and Education Foundation/Black Sea MAP

Remarkably, the find is but one of more than 40 shipwrecks that the international team recently discovered and photographed off the Bulgarian coast in one of archaeology’s greatest coups.

In age, the vessels span a millennium, from the Byzantine to the Ottoman empires, from the ninth to the 19th centuries. Generally, the ships are in such good repair that the images reveal intact coils of rope, rudders and elaborately carved decorations.

“They’re astonishingly preserved,” said Jon Adams, the leader of the Black Sea project and founding director of the maritime archaeology center at the University of Southampton.

Kroum Batchvarov, a team member at the University of Connecticut who grew up in Bulgaria and has conducted other studies in its waters, said the recent discoveries “far surpassed my wildest expectations.”

Independent experts said the annals of deepwater archaeology hold few, if any, comparable sweeps of discovery in which shipwrecks have proved to be so plentiful, diverse and well-preserved.

A photogrammetric image of the stern of the Ottoman-era ship showing coils of rope and a tiller with elaborate carvings. A lack of oxygen at the icy depths of the Black Sea left the wrecks relatively undisturbed.Credit Expedition and Education Foundation/Black Sea MAP

“It’s a great story,” said Shelley Wachsmann of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. “We can expect some real contributions to our understanding of ancient trade routes.”

Goods traded on the Black Sea included grains, furs, horses, oils, cloth, wine and people. The Tatars turned Christians into slaves who were shipped to places like Cairo. For Europeans, the sea provided access to a northern branch of the Silk Road and imports of silk, satin, musk, perfumes, spices and jewels.

Marco Polo reportedly visited the Black Sea, and Italian merchant colonies dotted its shores. The profits were so enormous that, in the 13th and 14th centuries, Venice and Genoa fought a series of wars for control of the trade routes, including those of the Black Sea.

Brendan P. Foley, an archaeologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Mass., said the good condition of the shipwrecks implied that many objects inside their hulls might also be intact.

“You might find books, parchment, written documents,” he said in an interview. “Who knows how much of this stuff was being transported? But now we have the possibility of finding out. It’s amazing.”

ROMANIA

RUSSIA

Bulgaria’s

Exclusive

Economic

Zone

BLACK SEA

BULGARIA

GEORGIA

GREECE

TURKEY

Athens

Experts said the success in Bulgarian waters might inspire other nations that control portions of the Black Sea to join the archaeological hunt. They are Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Dr. Foley, who has explored a number of Black Sea wrecks, said the sea’s overall expanse undoubtedly held tens of thousands of lost ships. “Everything that sinks out there is going to be preserved,” he added. “They’re not going away.”

For ages, the Black Sea was a busy waterway that served the Balkans, the Eurasian steppes, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Greece. It long beckoned to archaeologists because they knew its deep waters lacked oxygen, a rarity for large bodies of water.

The great rivers of Eastern Europe — the Don, the Danube, the Dnieper — pour so much fresh water into the sea that a permanent layer forms over denser, salty water from the Mediterranean. As a result, oxygen from the atmosphere that mixes readily with fresh water never penetrates the inky depths.

In 1976, Willard Bascom, a pioneer of oceanography, in his book “Deep Water, Ancient Ships,” called the Black Sea unique among the world’s seas and a top candidate for exploration and discovery.

A photogrammetric image of a Byzantine wreck, dating perhaps to the ninth century. Superimposed is an image of one of the expedition’s tethered robots that photographed the lost ships.CreditExpedition and Education Foundation/Black Sea MAP

“One is tempted,” he wrote, “to begin searching there in spite of the huge expanse of bottom that would have to be inspected.”

In 2002, Robert D. Ballard, a discoverer of the sunken Titanic, led a Black Sea expedition that found a 2,400-year-old wreck laden with the clay storage jars of antiquity. One held remnants of a large fish that had been dried and cut into steaks, a popular food in ancient Greece.

The new team said it received exploratory permits from the Bulgarian ministries of culture and foreign affairs and limited its Black Sea hunts to parts of that nation’s exclusive economic zone, which covers thousands of square miles and runs up to roughly a mile deep.

Although the team’s official name is the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project, or Black Sea MAP, it also hauls up sediments to hunt for clues to how the sea’s rising waters engulfed former land surfaces and human settlements.

Team members listed on its website include the Bulgarian National Institute of Archaeology, the Bulgarian Center for Underwater Archaeology, Sodertorn University in Sweden, and the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Greece.

An illustration of what the research team believes the medieval ship found in the Black Sea looked like during its heyday. Credit Jon Adams/University of Southampton/Black Sea MAP

The project’s financial backer is the Expedition and Education Foundation, a charity registered in Britain whose benefactors want to remain anonymous, team members said. Dr. Adams of the University of Southampton, the team’s scientific leader, described it as catalyzing an academic-industry partnership on the largest project “of its type ever undertaken.”

Nothing is known publicly about the cost, presumably vast, of the Black Sea explorations, which are to run for three years. The endeavor began last year with a large Greek ship doing a preliminary survey. This year, the main vessel was the Stril Explorer, a British-flagged ship bearing a helicopter landing pad that usually services the undersea pipes and structures of the offshore oil industry.

Instead, archaeologists on the ship lowered its sophisticated robots to hunt for ancient shipwrecks and lost history.

In an interview, Dr. Pacheco-Ruiz of the University of Southampton said he was watching the monitors late one night in September when the undersea robot lit up a large wreck in a high state of preservation.

“I was speechless,” he recalled. “When I saw the ropes, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I still can’t.”

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Dr. Pacheco-Ruiz said the vessel hailed from the Ottoman Empire, whose capital was Constantinople (today Istanbul), and most likely went down sometime between the 17th and 19th centuries. He said the team nicknamed it “Flower of the Black Sea” because its deck bears ornate carvings, including two large posts with tops that form petals.

In an interview, Dr. Batchvarov of the University of Connecticut said most of the discoveries date to the Ottoman era. So it was that, late one night, during his shift, he assumed that a new wreck coming into view would be more of the same.

“Then I saw a quarter rudder,” he recalled, referring to a kind of large steering oar on a ship’s side. It implied the wreck was much older. Then another appeared. Quickly, he had the expedition’s leader, Dr. Adams, awakened.

“He came immediately,” Dr. Batchvarov recalled. “We looked at each other like two little boys in a candy shop.”

Dr. Batchvarov said the wreck — the medieval one found more than a half-mile down — was part of a class known by several names, including cocha and “round ship.” The latter name arose from how its ample girth let it carry more cargo and passengers than a warship.

Dr. Adams said the remarkable color images of the lost ships derived from a process known as photogrammetry. It combines photography with the careful measurement of distances between objects, letting a computer turn flat images into renderings that seem three-dimensional.

He said tethered robots shot the photographic images with video and still cameras. The distance information, he added, came from advanced sonars, which emit high-pitched sounds that echo through seawater. Their measurements, he said, can range down to less than a millimeter.

A news release from the University of Southampton refers to the images as “digital models.” Their creation, it said, “takes days even with the fastest computers.”

Filmmakers are profiling the Black Sea hunt in a documentary, according to the team’s website.

Another part of the project seeks to share the thrill of discovery with schools and educators. Students are to study on the Black Sea, the website says, or join university scientists in analyzing field samples “to uncover the mysteries of the past.”

The team has said little publicly on whether it plans to excavate the ships — a topic on which nations, academics and treasure hunters have long clashed. Bulgaria is a signatory to the 2001 United Nations convention that outlaws commercial trade in underwater cultural heritage and sets out guidelines on such things as artifact recovery and public display.

Dr. Pacheco-Ruiz said the team had so far discovered and photographed 44 shipwrecks, and that more beckoned.

Which was the most important? Dr. Adams said that for him, a student of early European shipbuilding, the centerpiece was the medieval round ship. He said it evoked Marco Polo and city states like Venice. The ship, he added, incorporated a number of innovations that let it do more than its predecessors had and paved the way for bigger things to come.

“It’s not too much,” he said, “to say that medieval Europe became modern with the help of ships like these.”

Bill And Hillary Clinton: Crooks, Thieves, And Sleaze At Every Level Of Their Existence?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE DAILY MAIL.COM’)

Influence peddling, acting for Putin’s ally, hiding classified secrets and sexting – how FIVE separate FBI cases are probing virtually every one of Clinton’s inner circle and their families

  • Scale of FBI investigations into Clinton’s closest aides and friends is becoming clear 
  • Besides Huma Abedin,  a swathe of long-time loyalists are at the center of investigations including Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe 
  • John Podesta ran the Clinton Foundation which is under investigation while his brother Tony is also focus of a probe about foreign corruption 
  • Cheryl Mills already received limited FBI immunity during Clinton email investigation – and is key Clinton fixer 
  • String of other names are being looked at or have been caught up in earlier scandals  

The extent to which Hillary Clinton’s key advisers are now the focus of major FBI investigations is becoming clear.

The Clinton’s’ long-term inner-circle – some of whom stretch back in service to the very first days of Bill’s White House – are being examined in at least five separate investigations. 

The scale of the FBI’s interest in some of America’s most powerful political fixers – one of them a sitting governor – underlines just how difficult it will be for Clinton to shake off the taint of scandal if she enters the White House.

There are, in fact, not one but five separate FBI investigations which involve members of Clinton’s inner circle or their closest relatives – the people at the center of what has come to be known as Clintonworld.

The five known investigations are into: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin’s estranged husband sexting a 15-year-old; the handling of classified material by Clinton and her staff on her private email server; questions over whether the Clinton Foundation was used as a front for influence-peddling; whether the Virginia governor broke laws about foreign donations; and whether Hillary’s campaign chairman’s brother did the same.

The progress of the Clinton Foundation investigation and that into McAuliffe was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. 

The FBI does not generally comment on investigations, so it is entirely possible there are more under way. 

Here are the advisers and consigliere – and how the FBI is looking at them

What does she know: Huma Abedin has been Clinton's shadow for 20 years but now finds herself off the campaign trail and facing new FBI interest

Huma Abedin: secrets and access – and perjury?

Probes: Clinton emails; Clinton Foundation 

Who is she: Currently vice-chair of the Clinton campaign she was has worked with Clinton for 21 years, since she was 19, as among other things, intern, ‘body woman’, chief of staff and senior adviser. 

Huma Abedin is now represented by attorneys as the FBI begins the lengthy process of examining a laptop seized in the inquiry into her estranged husband’s sexting relationship with a 15-year-old.

It is the most recent  stage in the Clinton emails investigation in which the FBI has looked into whether Clinton and her staff broke strict laws on the handling of classified material while she was Secretary of State through their use of the now notorious Clintonemail.com server.

The case appeared to be closed in July when James Comey, the FBI director announced that Clinton would not be prosecuted. It was later made clear there would be no other prosecutions.

However last week’s bombshell announcement that new emails were being examined put the focus squarely on 40-year-old Abedin.

Although the decision had been made not to prosecute, that was on the basis of the existing evidence at the time. But if the search finds new evidence of breaking laws about the handling of classified material, there is nothing to stop a prosecution of Abedin – or anyone else.

That, however, is not the only potential for a brush with the law for Abedin.

The FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation also drags her into the spotlight.

The probe, the Wall Street Journal reported, is into whether the Foundation was involved in financial crimes or influence-peddling.

That would directly draw in Abedin. Her overlapping series of roles while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State has been unmasked by emails published either as a result of lawsuits against the State Department, or hacked from John Podesta’s account.

She was at various times Clinton’s White House deputy chief of staff; her senior adviser; a consultant for Teneo Holdings; working for the Clinton Foundation.

It was also revealed that while she was at the State Department where she was Clinton’s gatekeeper, Abedin received emails from Doug Band – Bill Clinton’s right-hand man at the Clinton Foundation – asking for help and access for ‘friends’ or ‘friend of ours’.

And finally there is the possibility of a federal perjury case.

The discovery of a laptop during the Anthony Weiner sexting investigation by the FBI appears at odds with testimony she gave under oath as part of a deposition in a federal case that she had passed on all relevant devices to the FBI.

Best of friends: Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe with Hillary Clinton as she headlined a fundraiser for the PAC he controls. It then gave $500,000 to the wife of the now FBI deputy director for her own political ambitions

Terry McAuliffe: Clinton cash from China

Probes: Clinton Foundation; links to foreign donations 

Who is he: Currently Democratic governor of Virginia. Has previously been prolific Clinton fundraiser and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and chairman of Hillary’s failed 2008 run for the White House. 

McAuliffe was a board member of the Clinton Foundation from at least 2004, so he will surely be caught up in investigations conducted by the FBI’s Washington DC field office into whether it was used as a front for influence-peddling.

But the overlaps between him and the Foundation go further than that and into his own campaign for governor and related campaigning.

The Washington Post reported in 2015 how he and the foundation had 120 overlapping donors, who had given him, his campaign or his political action committee $13.8 million.

That political action committee then went on to fund another campaign – that of Dr Jill McCabe, whose husband Mark is currently the deputy director of the FBI. He was the assistant FBI director when Jill McCabe was running for state senator in Virginia.

The PAC controlled by McAuliffe, which had received money from Clinton Foundation donors, gave Jill McCabe more than $500,000, prompting her husband to stand back from the Clinton Foundation investigation.

Chinese government front? Wang Wenliang, the billionaire McAuliffe at first claimed he had never met, filmed entering a fundraiser attended by the governor at Clinton's home

Chinese government front? Wang Wenliang, the billionaire McAuliffe at first claimed he had never met, filmed entering a fundraiser attended by the governor at Clinton’s home

Part of the $13.8 million is, however, involved in a second FBI investigation which focuses on McAuliffe personally regarding donations of $120,000 from a Chinese man called Wang Wenliang.

The FBI is investigating whether donations made were in breach of a ban on foreign governments influencing US elections. Wenliang, a billionaire according to Forbes, is a member of the one-party state’s parliament – as well as a donor to the Clinton Foundation.

He is also a US permanent resident and his donations came through a US firm.

This weekend’s tidal wave of revelations also shed new light on a FBI investigation into the donations.

McAuliffe’s attorney was reported by the Wall Street Journal to have said that the investigation focused on whether he had previously failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity.

In May, when the revelation of the FBI foreign donations probe emerged,  McAuliffe denied ever meeting Wenliang. Then he backtracked – saying ‘I did not deals’ – when told by his staff that there were ‘likely’ several meetings.

DailyMail.com revealed footage of him going to a fundraiser also attended by Wengliang.

The venue was Hillary Clinton’s Washington DC home and the attendees included Huma Abedin.

The governor’s lawyer told the Wall Street Journal the probe is focused on ‘whether he failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity’.

Cheryl Mills: Woman at center of Clintonworld

Cut a deal: Cheryl Mills gained partial immunity from the FBI in return for opening her laptop

Cut a deal: Cheryl Mills gained partial immunity from the FBI in return for opening her laptop

Probes: Clinton Foundation; Clinton emails 

Who is she: Long-term Clinton lawyer who advised Bill during impeachment then Hillary over emails; Foundation director; State Department chief of staff.

Cheryl Mills is unusual among Clinton insiders; she has already cut a deal with the FBI.

She exchanged partial immunity from prosecution in return for opening her laptop to FBI review during the Clinton email investigation.

Mills was chief of staff under Clinton at the State Department and communicated extensively on the Clintonemail.com private server.

The deal with the Justice Department – headed by Attorney-General Loretta Lynch –  was hugely advantageous as it also limited the search to no later than January 31, 2015, the point at which  the server’s existence became known to a Congressional committee.

In March backups of Clinton’s emails were destroyed by a technician, a move which could have been seen as illegal destruction of evidence.

And the deal allowed for the destruction of Mills’ laptop. Heather Samuleson, another more junior aide, cut the same deal.

Mills went on to sit in with Clinton on her FBI interview in early July as her attorney, an unusual arrangement given that she had previously been a focus of the investigation.

However the renewed move by the FBI to examine the Huma Abedin emails on the Weiner laptop could set the immunity aside.

If they find new emails, those could open the way for prosecution. Equally, if they examine emails already seen on her laptop and conclude that they represent a case for prosecution over the handling of classified material, that too would be unlikely to be covered by the immunity deal.

Foundation role: Cheryl Mills was deeply involved in the Clinton family charity during a war between Chelsea and Doug Band, her father's right-hand man

Foundation role: Cheryl Mills was deeply involved in the Clinton family charity during a war between Chelsea and Doug Band, her father’s right-hand man

In fact, any part of Mills’ role in setting up the server could now be back in play. She was clearly identified in one of the Wikileaks emails as part of the reason for secrecy around Clinton.

That is only one of Mills’ roles in Clintonworld which the FBI are concerned with.

The other is her role as director of the Clinton Foundation for two periods, 2004 to 2009 and then from 2013 on.

The influence-peddling investigation has not been the subject of public commentary by the FBI but would involve anyone who held a high-level role.

Mills was heavily involved in the Foundation not just as a director, but while she was working at the State Department.

During that time it was at the center of a fierce battle between Chelsea Clinton and Doug Band, in which Band was effectively forced out.

Mills drew up a new structure for all of Bill Clinton’s operations – at the time it was the William J. Clinton Foundation – and, Wikileaks publication of John Podesta’s email shows – took part in a number of exchanges about it.

The State Department has previously said that Mills paid her own way to go to Clinton Foundation meetings in New York.

But neither the department nor the Clintons have addressed whether the FBI is looking at whether the Clinton Foundation monetized access to the Secretary of State through the overlapping roles of, among others, Mills and Abedin.

At her side: Phillipe Reines was effectively Hillary Clinton's chief spin doctor when she was Secretary of State - the point at which the email and Foundation probes center on 

At her side: Phillipe Reines was effectively Hillary Clinton’s chief spin doctor when she was Secretary of State – the point at which the email and Foundation probes center on

Phillipe Reines: What does he know of emails and access?

Probes: Clinton emails; Clinton Foundation

Who is he: Hillary Clinton press secretary when she was senator; press secretary to failed 2008 presidential campaign and spokesman for Chelsea during it; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Hillary; played Donald Trump in debate prep.

As one of her inner circle at the State Department, Phillipe Reines was one of those – he told the FBI – who Clinton turned to for help with her IT issues.

He also bought her an iPad in June 2010, when the technology was new.

Clinton was to go on to claim she only had ‘one device’. Reines meanwhile used both his state.gov email and his personal gmail for government business while in office.

Reines was also deeply involved in responding to the Benghazi committee’s demands for information about the server and the public relations response to it, Wikileaks emails from John Podesta’s gmail have revealed.

However the other Clinton Foundation probe could also drag in Reines.

Reines was a key member of the inner circle when Clinton was Secretary of State.

His official title was ‘deputy assistant undersecretary’ for strategy, effectively her most powerful public affairs adviser.

That means that any knowledge he has of how the Clinton machine in the State Department interacted with the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton Inc machines in Manhattan would be crucial to the FBI investigation

Key role at center of the Clinton web: John Podesta, whose leaked emails were leaked. He took the helm of the Clinton Foundation, which is being probed on whether it peddled access

Key role at center of the Clinton web: John Podesta, whose leaked emails were leaked. He took the helm of the Clinton Foundation, which is being probed on whether it peddled access

John Podesta: ‘Dean’ of Clintonworld

Probes: Clinton Foundation

Who is he: Bill Clinton’s first White House deputy chief of staff and later chief of staff; founder of DC lobbying firm Podesta & Podesta, now the Podesta Group; took charge of the Clinton Foundation in 2011 ; now Hillary campaign chairman; at 67, often seen as the ‘dean’ of the Clinton political machine.

The leaks from John Podesta’s emails revealed by Wikileaks have shown how he was a key player in the Clinton Foundation – at precisely the time that the focus of the FBI influence-peddling investigation is likely to be.

At the time Clinton was Secretary of State and Doug Band, who had effectively run the foundation, wrote a memo which emerged in Podesta’s leaked emails.

In it, Band detailed the overlap between the commercial activities of Bill Clinton and the charitable fundraising of the William J. Clinton Foundation (now the Clinton Foundation) – material which is likely to be pertinent to the influence-peddling case.

Podesta’s role at Foundation lasted into 2012, so his knowledge of how it interacted with Hillary Clinton’s aides – particularly Cheryl Mills, with whom he was in frequent contact, according to the emails – would be relevant to the FBI probe.

Lobbyist: Tony Podesta is the brother of Clintonworld 'dean' John Podesta but is being investigated by the FBI over taking a contract from a firm which may have been a front for corrupt cash from Ukraine's deposed president Viktor Yanukovych - an ally of Vladimir Putin
Lobbyist: Tony Podesta is the brother of Clintonworld 'dean' John Podesta but is being investigated by the FBI over taking a contract from a firm which may have been a front for corrupt cash from Ukraine's deposed president Viktor Yanukovych - an ally of Vladimir Putin

Lobbyist: Tony Podesta is the brother of Clintonworld ‘dean’ John Podesta but is being investigated by the FBI over taking a contract from a firm which may have been a front for corrupt cash from Ukraine’s deposed president Viktor Yanukovych – an ally of Vladimir Putin

Tony Podesta: Dined with Hillary, lobbied for Putin’s ally?

Probe: Undeclared lobbying for foreign government

Who is he: Older brother of John Podesta, with whom he founded what is now The Podesta Group of which he is chairman; social acquaintance of the Clintons; Democratic fundraiser

The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating possible ties to alleged corruption involving the former president of Ukraine – and Podesta’s firm is one of those targeted.

Perhaps surprisingly, the investigation also lapped at the Trump campaign, as its then chairman Paul Manafort stepped down in August when it was revealed that his company was also being investigated.

The broad-based investigation is looking into whether U.S. companies and the financial system were used to enable corruption by the party of former pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, CNN reported.

The Podesta Group hired an independent legal firm to investigate whether it had been misled by the Center for a Modern Ukraine, a not-for-profit group linked to the ousted Ukrainian government, a spokeswoman for the group said in a statement to Reuters in August.

The key to the FBI investigation is that Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates may have been paid by the Yanukovych government to push its case in Washington without declaring that the money came from abroad.

One of the firms Gates appears to have hired to help push the Center for a Modern Ukraine was The Podesta Group.

The FBI will therefore look at whether Podesta knowingly or negligently breached laws requiring all foreign attempts to influence U.S. politics to be registered.

Yanukovych was ousted as Ukranie’s leader in 2014 – and is exiled in southern Russia, after long-term accusations that he was a friend of Vladimir Putin.

The older Podesta, his brother’s emails disclosed, remains extremely close to John, sharing the use of an apartment in New York until earlier this year. Official records also show he is a ‘bundler’ for Clinton who had raised $62,000 by the end of June.

It is a long-standing relationship. One email forced out of the State Department showed how in 2012 the Clinton Foundation used the then Secretary of State to host a dinner at her home where attendees included donors – and Podesta.

Body man: Doug Band was Bill Clinton's personal aide at the White House but went on to effectively run the Foundation - then boasted in a leaked memo of making the ex-president rich

Body man: Doug Band was Bill Clinton’s personal aide at the White House but went on to effectively run the Foundation – then boasted in a leaked memo of making the ex-president rich

Doug Band: Man who made Bill rich

Probe: Clinton Foundation

Who is he: Bill Clinton’s ‘body man’ in the White House; his chief aide after leaving office until 2011; CEO of Teneo Holdings.

The FBI investigation into whether the Clinton Foundation committed financial crimes or was involved in influence-peddling will inevitably focus on one man in particular: Band.

Band was at Bill Clinton’s side to the same extent as Huma Abedin was at his wife’s, starting as his ‘body man’ in the White House, putting himself through law school in the evenings, and then running Bill Clinton’s post-presidency life.

His emails to Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin which have emerged in lawsuits forcing publication by the State Department show how he sent messages asking for meetings for people described as ‘friend’ or ‘good friend of ours’.

Any influence-peddling or financial crimes committed by the Foundation appear to have some connection to them, if they were to exist.

His explosive memo detailing the project to make Bill Clinton rich which he sent to John Podesta made clear how involved he was in 2011 in the Clintons’ lives and finances.

‘Independent of our fundraising and decision-making activities on behalf of the Foundation, we have dedicated ourselves to helping the President secure and engage in for-profit activities – including speeches, books, and advisory service engagements,’ he wrote.

‘In that context, we have in effect served as agents, lawyers, managers and implementors to secure speaking, business and advisory service deals.’

It also put a figure on Bill Clinton’s personal gains via Band.

‘Since 2001, President Clinton’s business arrangements have yielded more than $30 million for him personally, with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years should he choose to continue with the current engagements,’ it said.

His current exact status in the Clinton inner circle appears unclear. On the one hand he has not been pictured with the Clinton’s in many years or listed at their events.

On the other hand, he continues to donate to the Clinton cause and to those of its allies – he was one of the donors to Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe’s PAC which was used to pay $500,000 to the FBI assistant director’s wife for her failed campaign bid.

And in 2013 he asked John Podesta to help remove any stain on his reputation with a glowing letter of reference. Podesta obliged by redrafting it for him.

Inner circle: Justin Cooper set up the Clinton email server and edited Bill's autobiography - but the FBI is also looking into the Foundation he was involved in 

Inner circle: Justin Cooper set up the Clinton email server and edited Bill’s autobiography – but the FBI is also looking into the Foundation he was involved in

Justin Cooper: Smashed BlackBerry with a hammer

Probes: Clinton Email; Clinton Foundation

Who is he: Staff assistant for Oval Office operations in Bill’s White House; Doug Band’s right-hand man; edited Bill’s memoir My Life; registered the notorious Clintonemail.com server; now works for Teneo with Band.

Justin Cooper’s role in the Clintonemail.com secret server started  at the very beginning of its operation: he registered its existence.

At the time he was being paid by the Clintons as a family aide and through the Clinton Foundation.

He told one Congressional Committee – the Oversight and Government Reform Committee – that he had no security clearance.

However as the man with complete control over the server, he had unlimited access to its contents. He also destroyed devices which had been linked to the server, including a BlackBerry smashed with a hammer.

He was not prosecuted under the initial inquiry but if the Huma Abedin-Anthony Weiner record leads to new evidence, such a deal would be off the table.

He was also at the very center of the Foundation’s operations during much of the time Hillary Clinton was in office.

He frequently appears in the leaked John Podesta emails as ‘[email protected]’ and is involved in a series of key meetings.

That would make him a key focus for the other investigation into the foundation he was so intimately involved in was a front for influence-peddling or financial crimes.

Unhappy together: Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner were seen on the day DailyMail.com revealed he had sexted a 15-year-old girl, setting off the explosive chain of events leading to the renewed FBI probe

 Unhappy together: Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner were seen on the day DailyMail.com revealed he had sexted a 15-year-old girl, setting off the explosive chain of events leading to the renewed FBI probe

Anthony Weiner: Sexual sleaze

Probe: Sexting 15-year-old girl 

Who is he: Former New York congressman when Clinton was senator; estranged husband of her key aide Huma Abedin; notorious serial sexter.

The FBI probe into Anthony Weiner is unlike any of the other Clinton associates and their family members.

Weiner is being investigated after DailyMail.com revealed how he had a sexting ‘relationship’ with a 15-year-old girl who told him he was underage.

Notorious image: This is the picture Weiner sent a girl, 15, which was part of the DailyMail.com bombshell which prompted the FBI probe

Notorious image: This is the picture Weiner sent a girl, 15, which was part of the DailyMail.com bombshell which prompted the FBI probe

The girl told DailyMail.com that Weiner spoke about rape fantasies with her. She showed messages in which he spoke about being ‘hard’ and how he ‘would bust that tight p****’.

The revelations came a month after Abedin had announced that her six-year-old marriage to him was over when he was caught sexting a woman in her 40s to whom he sent a picture of himself in bed, apparently aroused, with his son by Clinton’s chief aide sleeping by his side.

The FBI moved on Weiner in the wake of the DailyMail.com revelations and seized all his mobile and electronic devices.

It was on a laptop he had used that they found emails ‘relevant’ to the discontinued Clinton email server investigation –  setting off a bomb under the presidential election.

Weiner’s computer was apparently being searched for child pornography at the time of the discovery.

The FBI now have a fresh search warrant which will allow them to examine the material found on the laptop which had apparently been stored by Huma Abedin.

The material could impact almost every one of the investigations listed by DailyMail.com.

Kremlin Emails Hacked Prove President Putin Is A Liar, A Fraud And A Mass Murderer!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

UKRAINE CRISIS
OCT 27 2016, 6:00 PM ET

Payback? Russia Gets Hacked, Revealing Putin Aide’s Secrets

Karma, it turns out, is a borscht.

A Ukrainian group calling itself Cyber Hunta has released more than a gigabyte of emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, Vladislav Surkov, that show Russia’s fingerprints all over the separatist movement in the Ukraine.

While the Kremlin has denied the relationship between Moscow and the separatists, the emails show in great detail how Russia controlled virtually every detail of the separatist effort in the Russian-speaking regions of the Ukraine, which has torn Ukraine apart and led to a Russian takeover of Crimea.

And unlike the reported Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Ukrainian hack reached deep into the office of the Russian president.

“This is a serious hack,” said Maks Czuperski, head of the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council (DFRL), which has searched through the email dump and placed selected emails on-line.

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“We have seen so much happen to the United States, other countries at the hands of Russia,” said Czuperski. “Not so much to Russia. It was only a question of time that some of the anonymous guys like Cyber Hunta would come to strike them back.”

A senior U.S. intelligence official said the U.S. “had no role” in the hack.

Surkov has been a close aide to Putin for more than a decade, serving as both deputy prime minister and Putin’s deputy chief of staff. The hacked emails date from 2014, a period during which Surkov was called the “gray cardinal” of the Kremlin, Putin’s behind-the-scenes aide responsible for managing Russia’s most crucial operations. He guided separatists not just in Ukraine, but in breakaway “republics” in Georgia as well.

It’s as if the Russians were able to hack the email of Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security director and close aide to President Obama.

Specifically, the anonymous Ukrainian hackers were able to download the Outlook email accounts of Surkov’s assistants, including a “Masha” and a Yevgenia,” according to the DFRL. Surkov himself apparently doesn’t use email. The files included “the inbox, outbox, drafts, deleted email, spam, etc.,” said Czuperski, noting 2,337 messages in total were dumped.

Emails from the Outlook accounts of Surkov’s assistants Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council

A senior U.S. official, asked if the material was authentic, told NBC News that there was “nothing to indicate otherwise.”

Hidden in the one gigabyte file are a variety of materials that provided evidence of Russian involvement at the highest levels in the war in the eastern Ukraine, which has taken the lives of 10,000 people, including the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian Flight 17, shot down by a separatist missile in July 2014 over Ukraine.

There is a list of casualties in the Donbass region of Ukraine sent from a high-ranking separatist official, and a list of candidates for office in a sham election. One email notes that the individuals with asterisks next to their name were “checked by us” and are “especially recommended.” Days later, those same names were announced as having been “elected.”

There are expense reports and a proposal for a government press office in Donetsk, scene of some of the fiercest fighting — a three-person operation for separatist propaganda , with an editor, reporter and webmaster.

One U.S. official told NBC News that the material confirms much of what the U.S. believed was going on at the time, that the Kremlin was running the separatists at a micro-level. In fact, the official noted that Surkov’s name was the first on a list of Russians and Ukrainians placed under executive sanctions by President Obama in March 2014, citing his role in the separatist movement. The action froze his U.S. assets in the United States and banned him from entering the country. Similar sanctions were imposed by the European Union.

CIA planning cyber attack against Putin and Russian officials, NBC News reports 0:29

Czuperski said he believed that since Russian authorities realized they were dealing with a violation of international law, they wanted to keep the details in their emails close-hold. He said that while he believes there is likely more hacked material, and that it may prove politically sensitive, he doesn’t know that for sure, or whether “Cyber Hunta,” like WikiLeaks, will continually dump material.

“It’s all time and probability — how much effort you put in and how much effort the adversary puts in,” he said.

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