SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “NATO Dusts Off a Cold War Skill: Moving Troops; Alliance is holding its biggest military exercise in decades, testing its ability to transport soldiers and equipment by road, rail and water” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Michaels

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War. … [involves] 50,000 troops …. [m]oving forces from 30 countries to Norway for … Trident Juncture …. [T]en thousand vehicles, 250 aircraft and 65 ships were dispatched …. * * * NATO and the [EU] … [have] agreed to deepen cooperation … including [with] mobility. The EU … spends billions … annually [on] infrastructure … [and] is adding NATO [ strategic transportation] requirements …. NATO … leaders approved … a new command to oversee logistics … and another to ensure Atlantic and Arctic sea lanes remain open …. * * * After Crimea’s seizure, NATO … realized how far their logistics capabilities had atrophied as alliance territory expanded. A dozen ex-communist countries had joined …. Yet NATO planners had ‘zero knowledge’ of their … infrastructure …. NATO launched a survey …. * * * Europe’s next step will be arranging trucks, ships and railcars that can be summoned on short notice …. Buying civilian equipment with military uses doesn’t count toward NATO members’ spending commitments ….”

Click here for: “NATO Dusts Off a Cold War Skill: Moving Troops; Alliance is holding its biggest military exercise in decades, testing its ability to transport soldiers and equipment by road, rail and water” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Michaels







 

SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Russia opens criminal probe over failed rocket launch” – AFP

File Photo of Soyuz Rocket on Launchpad with Gantry, adapted from image at nasa.gov with photo credit: Bill Ingalls; adapted by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.info :: www.stevencwelsh.com

“Russian investigators … opened a criminal probe into a failed rocket launch that caused a two-man crew to make an emergency landing shortly after blast-off to the [International Space Station] …. U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were rescued without injuries …. An ‘anomaly’ with the booster led to the voyage … being aborted two minutes in, NASA said. The Russian space industry has suffered a series of problems in recent years, including the loss of a number of satellites and cargo spacecraft. [Roscosmo is headed by] Dmitry Rogozin … appointed by … Putin ….”

Click here for: “Russia opens criminal probe over failed rocket launch” – AFP









SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Russia conducts huge exercise with its nuclear forces” – Military Times

Map of Russia with Russian Flag

“The Russian military says it has conducted a massive test of the nation’s strategic nuclear forces … featur[ing] launches of ballistic missiles by the navy’s nuclear submarines from the Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. … long-range bombers also fired cruise missiles, the ministry said …. It added that Russia’s early warning system successfully spotted and tracked all launches. … test[ing] the chain of command from its main control room down to military units. …”

Click here for: “Russia conducts huge exercise with its nuclear forces” – Military Times







SCW NEWSWATCH: “Russia Says Syria’s Assad Will Stay and World Has Given Up Trying to Remove Him”

Syria Map

“… Accused by a number of Western nations and their Middle Eastern allies of war crimes, Assad has managed to largely overcome a 2011 rebel and jihadi uprising with the support of Russia and Iran. * * * The United States, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were among the countries to fund efforts to overthrow the Syrian leader. The rise of ultraconservative Sunni Muslim organizations such as the Islamic State … and a sweeping Syrian military comeback … have changed the dynamics …. Defense Secretary James Mattis [said] in August that the U.S. goal was to ‘move the Syria civil war into the Geneva process so the Syrian people can establish a new government … not led by Assad and give them a chance for a future that Assad has denied them, with overt Russian and Iranian support.’ A document submitted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top diplomats … stressed that their countries would not support Syrian reconstruction efforts ‘before the beginning of political process led by the United Nations to achieve a comprehensive, honest and true political transition that cannot be reversed,’ according to Saudi Arabia’s Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. …”

Click here for: “Russia Says Syria’s Assad Will Stay and World Has Given Up Trying to Remove Him”







SCW NEWSWATCH: “Russia signs pact for six nuclear reactors on new site in India” – Reuters

Asia Map, adapted from image at cia.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“India and Russia … signed a pact to build six more nuclear reactors at a new site in India following summit talks …. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also agreed to cooperate on India’s plan for a manned space mission. Russian state-owned reactor manufacturer Rosatom said … the two countries want to build six Russian-design nuclear reactors on a new site in India, boost nuclear cooperation in third countries and new nuclear technologies and are considering building nuclear plants together. The firm said Russia would offer to build its third-generation VVER reactor on the new site and would increase the level of participation of Indian companies …. [T]he pact is not a firm contract … but an agreement to work toward a contract. … India has not chosen the new site yet, which could be controversial …. Last year, the Russian and Indian governments signed an agreement to build reactors 5 and 6 on the site and Putin said at the time that Russia is ready to build a dozen reactors in India over … 20 years. …”

Click here for: “Russia signs pact for six nuclear reactors on new site in India” – Reuters







SCW NEWSWATCH: “Syrian rebels start to withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib buffer zone” – Reuters

Syria Map

“Syrian Turkey-backed rebel groups began to withdraw heavy weaponry from a demilitarized zone agreed [upon] by Turkey and Russia in northwest Syria on Saturday, rebels said. The Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) rebel alliance said in a statement the process of withdrawing heavy weapons had begun, but the fighters would remain in their positions …. Under the deal … rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of this month … and heavy weaponry must be withdrawn by Oct. 10. The NFL … said … rebels would remain … to assist Turkish troops monitoring and patrolling …. The main jihadist group in the Idlib area, Tahrir al-Sham, has yet to say whether it will comply with the agreement.”

Click here for: “Syrian rebels start to withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib buffer zone” – Reuters







 

Half of Senate Confirms Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, 50-48; Controversy Over Kavanaugh and Abortion, Blasey Ford

File Photo of Portion of U.S. Capitol Dome and U.S. Flag, adopted from .gov image by Steven C. Welsh

#Senate #Kavanaugh #SupremeCourt #Abortion #BlaseyFord #Trump

Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, on Oct. 6, 2018, was confirmed to a seat as Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court by a Senate vote of 50-48.

One Senator voting “present,” indicating that, while she would have voted “no,” she was pairing her vote, presumably as a courtesy, was pairing her vote with another Senator who was absent for his daughter’s wedding.



There was recurring bedlam from the Senate gallery, with Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly instructing the Sergeant at Arms to restore order.

So Kavanaugh was not actually confirmed by a majority of the Senate itself, but merely a slight majority of those Senators present. Had one vote changed to the negative, Pence could have broken the tie in favor of confirmation. Apparently if all Senators had been present, the Senator attending the wedding, and the Senator pairing her vote with him, would have made the total 51-49, also resulting in confirmation.

Supreme Court Facade with Parkland and Blossoming Trees, adapted from image at supremecourt.govThe Kavanaugh nomination drew controversy on multiple counts. Some proponents of decriminalized abortion suggested that Kavanaugh might become the deciding vote on the Court to scale back or reverse past decisions blocking prosecutions for abortion, while others suggested the Kavanaugh would actually uphold abortion.



The author of this article repeatedly raised concerns about Kavanaugh’s association with outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Kavanaugh’s ongoing publicly professed admiration for Kennedy.

Kennedy is one of the main architects of judicially spawned abortion in the United States, as well as a major architect of judicially fostered homosexual jurisprudence. Kennedy was the deciding vote and co-author of the Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey decision in 1992 that carried forward decriminalized abortion when it essentially upheld but modified Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh clerked for Kennedy within a year or so of that decision.

Kennedy would later vote, and co-author, Supreme Court jurisprudence promoting the idea of sodomy, homosexuality and homosexual “marriage” as Constitutional rights.

Kavanaugh updated and reaffirmed his association with Kennedy during Kavanaugh’s nomination process by declaring Kennedy to be a champion of liberty, leaving a legacy of liberty. As pointed out by the author, that position defies the notion that the first liberty is the right of the innocent not to be deprived of life, as well as the concept that a government’s legitimacy is grounded up its defense of human life, one of the tenets of other basic principles such as justice and peaceful social order.



Meanwhile, however excruciating or involved the confirmation and investigative process might have become, there appeared to be no definitive resolution of questions raised about past alcohol-related criminal sexual wrongdoing by Kavanaugh, alleged by psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, or other issues raised by Ford or others. One might wonder why, and how, a process that became so intrusive and so involved did not manage to get to the bottom of what actually did, or did not, happen.

In the past, a scholar of evidence raised the point that, regardless of a generalized American concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” in law, itself, there are different standards of proof for different frameworks and different purposes. For example, a criminal proceeding aimed at depriving life or liberty requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while a civil proceeding considering financial compensation only requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence. Even within a civil proceeding, there are different levels of proof for such steps as summary judgment, dismissal, the awarding of legal fees against a frivolous claim, and so forth.

In the case of a confirmation hearing, the issue is not whether to deprive the nominee of life or liberty, or of extracting money damages. The issue is whether to abstain from providing a position of great power. So, even though the subject matter relates to allegations of criminality and allegations of tortious misconduct, the standard of proof, and the willingness to remain neutral by not moving forward with confirmation, presumably could be different than the standards of proof for a criminal trial or civil proceeding.







 

SCW NEWSWATCH: “Nearly 200 Unvaccinated Children Sent Home From Schools Across North Dakota” – Newsweek

Medical Symbol

“Nearly 200 children who returned to school unvaccinated have been sent home across North Dakota … * * * One of the new required shots for school children is the meningococcal conjugate vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds entering the 11th and 12th grades … [addressing] a serious bacterial infection that can cause meningitis and ‘possibly lead to death or permanent disability within hours of first symptoms’ …. the disease can also have … non-fatal consequences [such as] ‘… lifelong … neurological damage or loss of limbs. …’ Parents can ask for [moral or religious] exemptions …. Children who have been excluded usually return within three days, according to West Fargo Public Schools. … [T]he immunization rate for measles, mumps and rubella … [has a] national median of 94 percent, reported Inforum.”

Click here for: “Nearly 200 Unvaccinated Children Sent Home From Schools Across North Dakota” – Newsweek







SCW RUSSIAWIRE TRANSCRIPT, LINKS, WANTED POSTER: “U.S. Charges Russian GRU Officers with International Hacking and Related Influence and Disinformation Operations” – DOJ

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, adapted form image at uscourts.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.info ve :: www.stevencwelsh.com

FBI wanted poster and DOJ news release follow further below

Click here for:


In the latest round of U.S. indictments of Russian figures in connection with espionage, hacking, or other covert activities, the U.S. Department of Justice, on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, announced an indictment, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, of Russian GRU military intelligence officers Leksei Sergeyevich Morenets, Evgenii Mikhaylovich Serebriakov, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov and Alexey Valerevich Minin, for conspiracy, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to launder money.

The Russian hacking and other covert activities were alleged to included activities targeting: international efforts against Russia’s state-sponsored program athletic doping; international efforts to enforce international norms regarding chemical weapons; and Westinghouse in western Pennsylvania.




[TRANSCRIPT OF DOJ NEWS RELEASE FOLLOWS]

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 4, 2018
[justice.gov/opa/pr/us-charges-russian-gru-officers-international-hacking-and-related-influence-and]

U.S. Charges Russian GRU Officers with International Hacking and Related Influence and Disinformation Operations

Conspirators Included a Russian Intelligence “Close Access” Hacking Team that Traveled Abroad to Compromise Computer Networks Used by Anti-Doping and Sporting Officials and Organizations Investigating Russia’s Use of Chemical Weapons

A grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania has indicted seven defendants, all officers in the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, for computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, beginning in or around December 2014 and continuing until at least May 2018, the conspiracy conducted persistent and sophisticated computer intrusions affecting U.S. persons, corporate entities, international organizations, and their respective employees located around the world, based on their strategic interest to the Russian government.

Among the goals of the conspiracy was to publicize stolen information as part of an influence and disinformation campaign designed to undermine, retaliate against, and otherwise delegitimize the efforts of international anti-doping organizations and officials who had publicly exposed a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program and to damage the reputations of athletes around the world by falsely claiming that such athletes were using banned or performance-enhancing drugs.

The charges were announced at a press conference by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott W. Brady, FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Cyber Division, Eric Welling, and Director General Mark Flynn for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“State-sponsored hacking and disinformation campaigns pose serious threats to our security and to our open society, but the Department of Justice is defending against them,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “Today we are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia’s state-sponsored doping program. The defendants in this case allegedly targeted multiple Americans and American entities for hacking, from our national anti-doping agency to the Westinghouse Electric Company near Pittsburgh. We are determined to achieve justice in these cases and we will continue to protect the American people from hackers and disinformation.”

“The investigation leading to the indictments announced t (link is external)oday is the FBI at its best,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The actions of these seven hackers, all working as officials for the Russian government, were criminal, retaliatory, and damaging to innocent victims and the United States’ economy, as well as to world organizations. Their actions extended beyond borders, but so did the FBI’s investigation. We worked closely with our international partners to identify the actors and disrupt their criminal campaign – and today, we are sending this message: The FBI will not permit any government, group, or individual to threaten our people, our country, or our partners. We will work tirelessly to find them, stop them, and bring them to justice.”

“We want the hundreds of victims of these Russian hackers to know that we will do everything we can to hold these criminals accountable for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Brady.  State actors who target U.S. citizens and companies are no different than any other common criminal:  they will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The defendants, all Russian nationals and residents, are Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, 41, Evgenii Mikhaylovich, Serebriakov, 37, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, 32, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, 30, and Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, 27, who were each assigned to Military Unit 26165, and Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov, 46, and Alexey Valerevich Minin, 46, who were also GRU officers.

The indictment alleges that defendants Yermakov, Malyshev, Badin, and unidentified conspirators, often using fictitious personas and proxy servers, researched victims, sent spearphishing emails, and compiled, used, and monitored malware command and control servers.

When the conspirators’ remote hacking efforts failed to capture log-in credentials, or if the accounts that were successfully compromised did not have the necessary access privileges for the sought-after information, teams of GRU technical intelligence officers, including Morenets, Serebriakov, Sotnikov, and Minin, traveled to locations around the world where targets were physically located.  Using specialized equipment, and with the remote support of conspirators in Russia, including Yermakov, these close access teams hacked computer networks used by victim organizations or their personnel through Wi-Fi connections, including hotel Wi-Fi networks.  After a successful hacking operation, the close access team transferred such access to conspirators in Russia for exploitation.

Among other instances, the indictment alleges that following a series of high-profile independent investigations starting in 2015, which publicly exposed Russia’s systematic state-sponsored subversion of the drug testing processes prior to, during, and subsequent to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (according to one report, known as the “McLaren Report”), the conspirators began targeting systems used by international anti-doping organizations and officials.  After compromising those systems, the defendants stole credentials, medical records, and other data, including information regarding therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), which allow athletes to use otherwise prohibited substances.

Using social media accounts and other infrastructure acquired and maintained by GRU Unit 74455 in Russia, the conspiracy thereafter publicly released selected items of stolen information, in many cases in a manner that did not accurately reflect their original form, under the false auspices of a hacktivist group calling itself the “Fancy Bears’ Hack Team.”  As part of its influence and disinformation efforts, the Fancy Bears’ Hack Team engaged in a concerted effort to draw media attention to the leaks through a proactive outreach campaign.  The conspirators exchanged e-mails and private messages with approximately 186 reporters in an apparent attempt to amplify the exposure and effect of their message.

Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, both of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.  Defendants Morenets, Serebriakov, Yermakov, Malyshev, and Badin are each also charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft, which carries a consecutive sentence of two years in prison.  Defendant Yermakov is also charged with five counts of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Defendants Yermakov, Malyshev, and Badin are also charged defendants in federal indictment number CR 18-215 in the District of Columbia, and accused of conspiring to gain unauthorized access into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

According to the indictment:

Context of the Hacking and Related Influence and Disinformation Efforts

In July 2016, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Person Report (the “First McLaren Report”) was released, describing Russia’s systematic state-sponsored subversion of the drug testing process prior to, during, and subsequent to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.  This investigation had the support of advocates for clean sports, including the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES, Canada’s anti-doping agency). Eventually, in some instances only after arbitration rulings by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS/CAS), approximately 111 Russian athletes were excluded from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by a number of international athletics federations, including track-and-field’s International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).  The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) further imposed a blanket ban of Russian athletes from the 2016 Paralympic Games, which were also held in Rio.

Intrusion Activities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Days after the release of the First McLaren Report and the International Olympic Committee’s and IPC’s subsequent decisions regarding the exclusion of  Russian athletes, the conspirators prepared to hack into the networks of WADA, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and TAS/CAS.   The conspirators, including specifically defendants Yermakov and Malyshev, procured spoofed domains (which mimicked legitimate WADA and TAS/CAS domains) and other infrastructure, probed such entities’ networks, and spearphished WADA and USADA employees.  Although Yermakov and Malyshev are both alleged to have prepared to send spearphishing e-mails to TAS/CAS, the indictment does not allege that organization was compromised.

Likely as a result of the conspirators’ failure to capture necessary log-in credentials, or because those victim accounts that were successfully compromised did not have the necessary access privileges for the sought-after information, defendants Morenets and Serebriakov, in at least one instance with the remote support of Yermakov, deployed to Rio to conduct hacking operations targeting and maintaining persistent access to Wi-Fi networks used by anti-doping officials.  As a result of these efforts, in August 2016, the conspirators captured that IOC official’s credentials and thereafter used them, and another set of credentials belonging to the same official to gain unauthorized access to an account in WADA’s ADAMS database and medical and anti-doping related information contained therein. (The broader ADAMS database was not compromised in the intrusion.)

Also in 2016, a senior USADA anti-doping official traveled to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics and Paralympic games.  While there, the USADA official used Wi-Fi at the hotel and other Wi-Fi access points in Rio to remotely access USADA’s computer systems and conduct official business.  While the USADA official was in Rio, conspirators successfully compromised the credentials for his or her USADA email account, which included summaries of athlete test results and prescribed medications.

Intrusion Activities in Lausanne, Switzerland

In mid-September 2016, WADA hosted an anti-doping conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.  On September 18, 2016, defendants Morenets and Serebriakov traveled to Lausanne with equipment used in close access Wi-Fi compromises.  On or about September 19, 2016, Morenets and Serebriakov compromised the Wi-Fi network of a hotel hosting the conference and leveraged that access to compromise the laptop and credentials of a senior CCES official staying at the hotel. Other conspirators thereafter used the stolen credentials to compromise CCES’s networks in Canada, using a tool used to extract hashed passwords, the metadata of which indicated it was compiled by Badin.

Intrusion Targeting Anti-Doping Officials at Sporting Federations

In December 2016 and January 2017, conspirators successfully compromised the networks of IAAF and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) and targeted computers and accounts used by each organization’s top anti-doping official.  Among the data stolen from such officials were keylogs, file directories, anti-doping policies and strategies, lab results, medical reports, contracts with doctors and medical testing labs, information about medical testing procedures, and TUEs.

Related GRU Influence and Disinformation Operations

On September 12, 2016, shortly after the compromise of the IOC official’s ADAMS credentials, but before the compromise of USADA’s and CCES’s networks, conspirators claiming to be the hacktivist group Fancy Bears’ Hack Team used online accounts and other infrastructure procured and managed by Unit 74455, as well as the website fancybears.net, to publicly release TUEs, other medical information, and emails stolen from anti-doping officials at WADA, USADA, CCES, IAAF, FIFA, and approximately 35 other anti-doping agencies or sporting organizations.  In some instances, the WADA documents were modified from their original form.  Ultimately, the Fancy Bears’ Hack Team released stolen information that included private or medical information of approximately 250 athletes from almost 30 countries.

The conspirators’ release of the stolen information was, in some instances, accompanied by posts and other communications that parroted or supported themes that the Russian government had used in its official narrative regarding the anti-doping agencies’ investigative findings.  From 2016 through 2018, the conspirators engaged in a proactive outreach campaign, using Twitter and e-mail to communicate with approximately 186 reporters about the stolen information.  After articles were published, conspirators used the Fancy Bears’ Hack Team social media accounts to draw attention to the articles in an attempt to amplify the exposure and effect of their message.

Other Targets of the Conspiracy

The conspiracy is also alleged to have targeted other entities in the Western District of Pennsylvania and abroad that were of interest to the Russian government.  For example, as early as November 20, 2014, Yermakov performed reconnaissance of Westinghouse Electric Company’s (WEC) networks and personnel.  In the following months, Yermakov and conspirators created a fake WEC domain and sent spearphishing emails to WEC employees’ work and personal email accounts, which were designed to harvest the employees’ log-in credentials.

More recently, in April 2018, Morenets, Serebriakov, Sotnikov, and Minin, all using diplomatic passports, traveled to The Hague in the Netherlands in furtherance of another close access operation targeting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) computer networks through Wi-Fi connections.  All four GRU officers intended to travel thereafter to Spiez, Switzerland, to target the Spiez Swiss Chemical Laboratory, an accredited laboratory of the OPCW which was analyzing military chemical agents, including the chemical agent that the United Kingdom authorities connected to the poisoning of a former GRU officer in that country.  However, Morenets, Serebriakov, Sotnikov, and Minin were disrupted during their OPCW hacking operation by the Militaire Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (MIVD), the Dutch defense intelligence service.  As part of this disruption, Morenet’s and Serebriakov’s abandoned the Wi-Fi compromise equipment, which they had placed in the trunk of a rental car parked adjacent to the OPCW property.  Data obtained from at least one item of this equipment confirmed its operational use at multiple locations around the world, including connections to the Wi-Fi network of the CCES official’s hotel in Switzerland (the dates the conspirators conducted the Wi-Fi compromise of the senior CCES official’s laptop at the same hotel), and at another hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in December 2017.

***

In connection with the unsealing of the indictment, and in an effort to limit further exposure of the private lives of victim athletes, the FBI seized the fancybears.net and fancybears.org domains pursuant to court orders issued on October 3, 2018, in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  Moreover, the maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence of a defendant will be determined by the assigned judge.

The FBI, led by the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Field Offices, conducted the investigation that resulted in charges announced today.  The FBI’s investigation was assisted by a parallel, independent Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance throughout this investigation, as did the MIVD, the Government of the Netherlands, Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General, the U.K.’s National Security and Intelligence Agencies, and many of the FBI’s Legal Attachés and other foreign authorities around the world.

Note: More information can be found at [justice.gov/opa/documents-and-resources-october-4-2018-press-conference]

National Security Division (NSD)
Press Release Number:
18 – 1296






 

 

SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Russian spies accused of targeting watchdog investigating UK chemical attacks, probe into MH17 crash[; U.S. indicts Russian military intelligence figures” – Fox News

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code, adapted from image at ornl.gov

“Russia’s military spy service has been behind a wave of massive cyber attacks … with targets ranging from the international chemical weapons watchdog group to the probe into the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane over Ukraine, officials said Thursday. … the [UK] National Cyber Security Centre … [indicated] that Russia’s GRU has engaged in ‘indiscriminate and reckless’ cyber attacks … target[ing] ‘political institutions, businesses, media, and sport.’ * * * ‘… demonstrat[ing] their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms … with a feeling of impunity and without consequences,’ U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. … [T]he cyber attacks … [are said to] include the 2016 hack of the [DNC] … published … by WikiLeaks, and the leaking of top athletes’ medical records. Also on Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department charged seven Russian military intelligence officers with hacking anti-doping agencies and other organizations either remotely or … ‘on-site’ ….

[The] indictment … said that the GRU targeted … hacking victims … [for] support[ing] a ban on Russian athletes … and … condemn[ing] Russia’s state-sponsored … doping …. Prosecutors said the Russian spies also targeted a Pennsylvania-based nuclear energy company and an international organization … investigating chemical weapons in Syria and the poisoning of a former GRU officer.”

Click here for: “Russian spies accused of targeting watchdog investigating UK chemical attacks, probe into MH17 crash” – Fox News



Kremlin and St. Basil's at Night





SCW NEWSWATCH: “Exit Strategy: Rule of Law and the U.S. Army [Excerpt and Link]” – U.S. Army War College/ Shima D. Keene/ September 2018

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

[text provided for informational purposes or to spur reflection and debate; inclusion does not imply specific or particular endorsement]
 
[Click here for: “[PDF] Exit Strategy: Rule of Law and the U.S. Army [Excerpt and Link]” – U.S. Army War College/ Shima D. Keene/ September 2018]

“CONCLUSION

The importance of establishing rule of law in post-conflict states has been recognized as key in delivering stability in fragile states in the short, medium, and long term. This is in the interest of the U.S. Army and its partners not only from a [counterinsurgency] COIN perspective, but also to protect U.S. security interests both at home and abroad. To that aim, assistance is required to ensure that in post-conflict environments, the management and maintenance of security is successfully transferred to civilian organizations such as the police and the justice system more generally. It is only when this successful transition occurs and sustainable rule of law has been established that military commitments can cease. As such, it is essential that the end state to a successful civilian handover form part of a plan for disengagement after an intervention.
 
However, one key challenge for organizations (such as the police) emerging from conflict is the requisite to transition from a combat function to a more traditional policing function. This is difficult due not only to a lack of the necessary skill sets, but also because of the need for a fundamental change in mindset about the purpose of policing. The U.S. Army can play an important role in facilitating the establishment of effective rule of law institutions and practices in post-conflict states in many ways. Additionally, a lack of appreciation of the importance of civilian institutions and their role in establishing rule of law will lead to an exacerbation of the problem.
 
Delivering rule of law interventions is a complex task involving multiple stakeholders. Numerous challenges exist, each of which can prevent the establishment of effective and sustainable rule of law institutions. This in turn is likely to lead to a requirement for further military support from the U.S. Army resulting in even longer term deployments in what can become an unending conflict. In order to avoid unintended consequences which will have the impact of undermining rule of law interventions carried out by the U.S. Army and its partners more broadly, the following recommendations should be considered in shaping future U.S. Army interventions relating to establishing rule of law as part of its future COIN and state building missions. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1: Contextual Understanding Develop a broad understanding of the rule of law landscape in the post-conflict state in question, and identify key challenges which may deter the establishment of effective and sustainable rule of law institutions.
 
Recommendation 2: Unintended Consequences Consider the potential unintended consequences of U.S. Army interventions in training local police forces and other rule of law interventions, and determine how can these be mitigated or avoided.
 
Recommendation 3: Strategic Objectives Reevaluate objectives to ensure that expectations are realistic in terms of what is to be achieved and the timescale in which to achieve them. Consider the impact of short-term mission objectives in attempting to achieve medium to long-term objectives. Recommendation 4: Sustainability Ensure that rule of law interventions are sustainable after withdrawal of troops and form part of U.S. Army exit strategies. Ensure that these are integrated into post-conflict planning before intervention is considered.
 
Recommendation 5: COIN versus State Building Address the existing confusion between the combat element of COIN operations and state building missions, and understand how this conflict can undermine both operations.
 
Recommendation 6: Police Training Determine the role that the U.S. Army should play in facilitating a transition from military to civilian rule of law, and exercise particular attention to challenges relating to corporate culture.
 
Recommendation 7: Skills Shortages Determine when and how rule of law mechanisms and advisors should be integrated into stability operations and consider how the U.S. Army could better utilize its Reserve Forces to provide capacity and specialist skills to facilitate civilian transition.
 
Recommendation 8: Corruption and Human Rights Abuses[:] Adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward corruption and human rights abuses and provide remedial education where such practices may have become institutionalized.
 
Recommendation 9: Management and Oversight: Provide management and oversight of third party contractors through deployment of the U.S. Army Corps of Engi neers to ensure that construction projects relating to rule of law interventions are completed to the required specifications.
 
Recommendation 10: International Liaison Highlight other partner institutions the U.S. Army could or should be engaging with to ensure a coordinated approach to the establishment of effective rule of law institutions and practices in the host country.” 

[Click here for: “[PDF] Exit Strategy: Rule of Law and the U.S. Army [Excerpt and Link]” – U.S. Army War College/ Shima D. Keene/ September 2018]

[more publication information set out further below on this webpage]





[original publication, at https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pubs/download.cfm?q=1387 contains the following notice:

“Shima D. Keene
September 2018

The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. Authors of Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) and U.S. Army War College (USAWC) Press publications enjoy full academic freedom, provided they do not disclose classified information, jeopardize operations security, or misrepresent official U.S. policy. Such academic freedom empowers them to offer new and sometimes controversial perspectives in the interest of furthering debate on key issues. This report is cleared for public release; distribution is unlimited.
∗∗∗∗∗
This publication is subject to Title 17, United States Code, Sections 101 and 105. It is in the public domain and may not be copyrighted.”]





SCW NEWSWATCH & VIDEO: “Saudis and Russia Open the Oil Taps While the Market Shrugs” – Bloomberg/ Elena Mazneva/ Annmarie Hordern/ Dina Khrennikova/ Grant Smith/ Jack Farchy

Oil Wells and Sunset

“Russia and Saudi Arabia are pumping an extra 1 million barrels a day of oil and could do even more. Yet the market [has had only a muted price reaction]. After their September meeting … spurred prices to a four-year high, the world’s two largest oil exporters sought … to ease … price worries of consumers, and the U.S. president. Russia is pumping record volumes of crude … Saudi Arabia is almost there …. … Trump has been blaming [OPEC] for rising crude prices ever since he [ended] the [Iran] nuclear agreement … and reimpose[d] sanctions. Last month, the group appeared to rebuff his calls for a rapid production increase to offset the drop in Iranian shipments, prompting a surge in prices and even harsher rhetoric. … Russia … already broke its post-Soviet production record last month [and] could add another 200,000 to 300,000 barrels a day of supply within a ‘few months,’ according to Energy Minister Alexander Novak. The oil price is … probably ‘a bit too high,’ he said ….”

Click here for: “Saudis and Russia Open the Oil Taps While the Market Shrugs” – Bloomberg/ Elena Mazneva/ Annmarie Hordern/ Dina Khrennikova/ Grant Smith/ Jack Farchy










If You Are Prolife, You Need to Oppose the Kavanaugh Nomination

File Photo of Portion of U.S. Capitol Dome and U.S. Flag, adopted from .gov image by Steven C. Welsh

Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was one of the architects of Abortionism as the deciding vote and co-author of the 1992 Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey decision that modified Roe v. Wade yet carried forward the decriminalization of abortion.

Yet, within a year, current Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh signed on as a law clerk for Anthony Kennedy. Rather than repudiate that decision and apologize, during his nomination process, Kavanaugh instead has ratified and updated his association with Kennedy by calling Kennedy a champion of liberty, saying Kennedy has left a legacy of liberty.



So Kavanaugh clerked for a pro-abortion Justice who was the deciding vote keeping abortion going, and now promotes the pro-abortion Justice as a “champion of liberty.”

If you are prolife, you need to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination. And, if you do not, it calls into question whether you were ever pro-life to begin with.

Kavanaugh additionally allowed pro-abortion Condolleeza Rice to help introduce him before the Judiciary Committee.

Kavanaugh’s association with powerful, celebrity pro-abortion figures implies a shocking lack of moral conscience and poor judgment.

Abortion is the biggest human rights violation of our time, and he has associated himself with it by his actions and his remarks.



Human life, and the right of the innocent not to be killed, is the most fundamental of liberties, making abortion one of the biggest enemies of liberty. Protection of innocent human life also is one of the foundations of legitimate government, one of the excuses government has for existing in the first place. Yet Kavanaugh has associated himself with enemies of the right to life and persons who thereby have set themselves against the defense of American lives.

Working for a pro-abortion judge, alone, is enough to make Kavanaugh unfit. Yet calling a pro-abortion judge a champion of liberty means that Kavanaugh is a person who stands liberty upside-down and someone whose analytical intellect is either wholly unfit or twisted by self-serving dishonesty.

One can only speculate as to Kavanaugh’s motives, then and now.

Yet one of the biggest problems with abortion today is the risk that something horrific and unthinkable, the deliberate taking of defenseless human life, has become “business as usual” or routine. Kavanaugh’s casual attitude towards saluting Kennedy contributes to a climate of human life being regarded as cheap and expendable.

Kavanaugh’s flippant, oblivious attitude stands in the way of the necessary readjustment of public attitudes about this widespread human rights violation.

As such, Kavanaugh might even be responsible for deaths already. Women in difficult situations, pressured into confused acquiescence with the killing of their child, might back their way into because some segments of society wish to blur over the nature of the situation. Kavanaugh has added to the blur.

Given his origins as a local Washingtonian child of privilege, we have no idea to what extent Kavanaugh is a self-serving social climber who decided to “go along to get along.” We know that, amidst accusations of drunken, underaged, psychopathic, criminal behavior, Kavanaugh, in a sometimes emotionalistic set of responses, blurted out defensive remarks about his high school class rank — as if that piece of data had any relevance whatsoever to the charges.

Now, Kavanaugh did not even go to the best school for boys in the Washington area. That would be Saint Anselm’s Abbey Academy, traditionally one of the top-10 schools in America for SAT scores. Kavanaugh went to a different school that presumably is respectable academically, yet is more of a posh, country-club-like school. Yet if, all these years later, as a would-be grown-up, aKvanaugh still gets excited about his class rank, to the point that he apparently thinks it helps deflect accusations of criminality, just how important was it to him to climb the social ladder, such as with Yale, plumb judicial clerkships and so forth.

Kavanugh is somebody who was made a partner at Kirkland & Ellis less than a decade out of law school, with no law firm experience, based solely on his judicial clerkships, a brief stint with the Solicitor General and his work for Special Prosecutor Ken Starr.

Did Kavanaugh really not care about the mass murder of innocent American babies in the womb, if being oblivious to that horror meant fluffing his resume with a Supreme Court clerkship, instead of rejecting involvement with a human rights violator?

Is his desire to fluff his credentials now so great, that he wants to continue gliding along in the giddy heights of legal profession and Washingtonian elites, by fantasizing that the clerkship was something impressive, with a champion of liberty, rather than a black mark on his record that should bar him from his own judicial appointment?

In any event, his current posture makes him morally and intellectually unfit for judicial office.

If you, yourself, want to be known as prolife, you cannot support him. If you do support him, you are making it “open season” to expose yourself as not being prolife.

And that goes for the big-money anti-abortion groups that have decided to endorse Kavanaugh personally instead of simply addressing the broader issue. With roughly 60 million surgical abortions in the United States and counting, it would be silly to refer to anything like a “pro-lif establishment.” Yet, to the extent that some big-money nonprofits have tainted themselves by endorsing a troubled nominee like Kavanaugh, they also have exposed themselves as not being a good source of insight or leadership, as not being authentically prolife; and as not being an appropriation destination for financial gifts.

Again, if you, yourself, want to be known as prolife, you cannot support Kavanaugh. If you do support him, you are exposing yourself as not being prolife.





SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Ukraine needs Azov Sea base to counter new Russian threat: military chief” – Reuters

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“Ukraine will build a military base on the Azov Sea and has sent more forces to the area to counter a worsening Russian threat, Ukraine’s armed forces head [said] … referring to an arm of the Black Sea [where Ukraine and Russia both have coastlines]. Ukraine has been at loggerheads with Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and more than 10,000 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian troops and Moscow-backed separatists. Ukraine and NATO countries accuse Russia of supplying troops and heavy weapons to eastern Ukraine, which Moscow denies. Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of the General Staff, said Russia had moved beyond covert fighting in the Donbass region, home of a Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency, to building up its military presence on Ukraine’s borders and nakedly aggressive actions against ships sailing to Ukrainian ports. * * * … Muzhenko said [U.S.-supplied] Javelin[] [anti-tank missiles] ha[ve] been tested … but … not … deployed in battle …. Asked whether Ukraine wanted to buy the U.S. Patriot air defense system, he said various options were being considered.”

Click here for: “Ukraine needs Azov Sea base to counter new Russian threat: military chief” – Reuters





Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia





SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Russia begins missile system delivery to Syria, warns West on peace talks” – Reuters

Syria Map

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday Moscow had started delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria … Russia, along with Iran, has helped Assad recover huge amounts of lost territory in Syria without persuading him to agree to any political reforms. It has also pushed its own talks with Iran and Turkey, known as the Astana process. … Some diplomats have said [an] Israeli incident [involving Syria shooting down a Russian plane during an incursion by Israeli jets] and a Turkish-Russian deal to suspend an offensive on the last rebel-held stronghold of Idlib could provide a window to push for … U.N. Security Council [UNSC] resolution 2254 [aiming to end the] conflict in Syria. The [UNSC] … has mandated [that] U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura … get a deal on a new constitution, new elections and a reform of Syria’s governance. …”

Click here for: “Russia begins missile system delivery to Syria, warns West on peace talks” – Reuters







SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Huge Military Drills Show Both the Limits and the Durability of China-Russia Ties” – RAND/World Politics Review

Asia Map, adapted from image at cia.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“In the largest Russian military exercise since the height of the Cold War, Moscow … [in September] deploy[ed] 300,000 troops, 900 tanks and 1,000 aircraft in central and eastern Russia. … [for] ‘Vostok 2018,’ or East Exercise 2018 …. for the first time ever, Chinese military forces … participate[d], with plans to send[] 3,200 troops and 30 aircraft over the border into eastern Russia. … highlight[ing] two important, seemingly contradictory [aspects of] the relationship between China and Russia. First, the appearance of military cooperation masks deep strategic distrust and suspicion below the surface. … [Yet] strong incentives and a lack of alternatives provide a sturdy foundation for a continued strategic partnership going forward. Vostok 2018 represents the latest in a series of combined Chinese-Russian military exercises stretching back more than a decade. Their militaries have been training together since 2005, and China and Russia have been holding joint naval exercises every year since 2012, including near each other’s respective hotspots. Last year, China sent three naval ships to its first jointly held exercise with Russian forces in the Baltic Sea. In 2016, the two navies carried out a joint exercise in the South China Sea … [after] a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejecting China’s territorial claims in the contested waterway. Warm political statements by top Chinese and Russian leaders have complemented these military actions. …”

Click here for: “Huge Military Drills Show Both the Limits and the Durability of China-Russia Ties” – RAND/World Politics Review/Timothy R. Heath or click here for longer version