Links – March 28, 2017

Protests across Russia and Belarus over the weekend. The main target is corruption. Here’s a backgrounder about the situation in Belarus.  Alexei Navalny, a leader of the opposition in Russia, sparked protests there with a video about Dmitry Medvedev’s corruption (English subtitles). Why the protests focused on Medvedev. They are a problem for Putin too. The discontent is likely to affect Russia’s next election. Photo: A demonstration in Belarus. Read More

Links – March 11, 2017

 

Jeffrey Lewis thinks that North Korea is preparing for nuclear war. The most recent test looks more like practice for war than testing missiles. Lewis and his group at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey have been watching North Korea carefully and analyzing its photos of missiles and what it claims is a nuclear weapon. (photo of the latest launches from that article) More, with helpful diagrams.

Why Donald Trump should strike a deal with North Korea. Read More

Links – March 8, 2017

Quite an article on US cyber attacks on North Korean missile tests. A backgrounder on how David Sanger and Bill Broad got the story. Something like this is a lot of work. And dealing with it is even more work: Why the Trump administration isn’t ready. The difficult decisions and diplomacy ahead.  PhotoAn image distributed by the North Korean government showing the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, visiting a missile test center in North Pyongan Province. Analysts say the pair of engines he is standing in front of could power an intercontinental ballistic missile.CreditKorean Central News Agency, via Reuters Read More

The Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Hacking

I’ve worked through the Steele dossier. Now I’ll look at the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions In Recent US Elections.” In the continuing and ever-changing story of the Donald Trump administration’s relations with Russia, I want to work through, carefully, what we know and don’t know. Far too much remains in the latter category to connect the dots.

The ICA covers similar territory to the Steele dossier. The question of Russian hacking of the election is of concern both to the funders of the Steele dossier and to American citizens generally. In addition, the Steele dossier was available to the authors of the ICA. Since the publication of the ICA, we have learned that the FBI wanted to pay Steele to continue his investigation for them. Read More

The Steele Dossier

In early January, BuzzFeed published a set of documents describing information acquired by a private intelligence firm. The dossier had been in the possession of the FBI and intelligence organizations since late summer and was the basis for several news stories and Congressional comment.

The information was on Russian connections with Donald Trump’s campaign. It consists of reports from various sources on conversations by campaign operatives and Russian officials. The sources are not identified, but some seem to be privy to conversations at high levels within the Russian government. Read More

Links – February 20, 2017

I am continuing to go light on the latest about Donald Trump’s relationship to Russia, in the service of finishing up a major post on the subject. In the meanwhile, here is a selection beyond the New York Times and Washington Post headlines.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that Trump urged him to get closer to Russia.

Concern in Europe about Trump’s stand on Russia.

Russia is bullying Norway.

Thirty-three questions about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

Why Trump can’t come clean on Russia. Read More

Carter Page Again

Carter Page was in Moscow last July, about the time suspicions about Donald Trump’s Russian connnections began to bubble up. We’ve heard more than usual about and from him this past week.

For background, here are recaps from September and November. Page was dropped from the Trump campaign last summer,  when his and Paul Manafort’s Russian connections became an issue. But the two keep popping up in relation to the campaign, clearly friends of or fellow travelers.

Page’s current appearance in the news is via the Intercept, which acquired a bizarre letter Page wrote to the Justice Department claiming that the Clinton campaign was trying to silence him and perhaps damage voting rights in the process. Or something. You can read it yourself and decide.

This is not the first of Page’s writings that might be described as unhinged. You can find more here. He seems to be focused on civil rights analogies in, shall we say, unusual ways.

Judy Woodruff interviewed him last night. His answers were unresponsive word salad, in the way of many in the Trump administration. His strange ideas alone are cause for concern, but there are the connections to Russia as well.