Buden-Ovtsi! Or a good “Maskirovka”?- 2:49 PM 10/29/2018

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Buden-Ovtsi!

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally
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German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks – The News and Times
German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal
End of era beckons as sources say Merkel to give up CDU party chair
Missing Lion Air Plane Crashes With 189 Passengers on Board
Doomed Indonesian plane with 189 on board had asked to return to base
Voice of America: International Edition 2330 EDT – October 28, 2018
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Spy who brought UK-Russia ties down

 

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks 

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search
Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally
The U.S. and Global Security Review
German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks – The News and Times
German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal
End of era beckons as sources say Merkel to give up CDU party chair
Missing Lion Air Plane Crashes With 189 Passengers on Board
Doomed Indonesian plane with 189 on board had asked to return to base
Voice of America: International Edition 2330 EDT – October 28, 2018
Putin: Syrian crisis won’t be resolved without Iran – 5:22 AM 10/29/2018 – The News and Times
Is It Time to Build Stealth ‘AIP’ Submarines? – 5:11 AM 10/29/2018 | Global Security News
US Accuses Russia Of Developing Antisatellite Laser – 4:59 AM 10/29/2018 – The News and Times
October 29, 2018 | Global Security News
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Georgian boxer attacks coach after losing match – 4:49 AM 10/29/2018 | Global Security News
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What’s in a name? – Google Search – 5:46 AM 10/27/2018🤞
3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections …
3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections might hold the keys to the understanding the underlying forces behind the recent events. – Michael Novakhov | Global Security News
Spy who brought UK-Russia ties down – Google Search
Spy who brought UK-Russia ties down

 

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally – Google Search

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally

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Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally


Russia’s independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper has received nine live sheep dressed in press jackets from an unknown source just days after publishing an investigative report about businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Three cages, each containing three sheep, some with blue vests saying “Press, Novaya Gazeta,” were left in front of the paper’s Moscow office on October 29. The cages also had signs on them saying “Novaya Gazeta.”

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for sending the animals.

The newspaper on October 22 published a report by journalist Denis Korotkov that quoted a purported security aide of Prigozhin as saying the businessman was involved in several attacks against his opponents, including at least one killing.

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin (file photo)
SEE ALSO:

NOVAYA GAZETA REPORT: ‘PUTIN’S CHEF’ INVOLVED IN ATTACKS, KILLING

Prigozhin, known as Vladimir Putin’s “chef” because of his work to organize catering events for the Russian president, has been indicted by U.S. investigators for allegedly trying to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He is also accused of playing a key role in Russia’s support for separatists fighting against government forces in eastern Ukraine.

Korotkov’s article was published less than a week after a funeral wreath was anonymously sent to his home with a note calling him “a traitor to his country.”

Unknown persons on October 18 also left a basket containing a severed ram’s head and red carnations at the newspaper’s office with a note saying, “To Novaya Gazeta’s chief editor with greetings to you and Korotkov.”

Novaya Gazeta — which has had five of its reporters killed since 2000 for their work — says Russian authorities are conducting a smear campaign against Korotkov in response to allegations he has endangered the lives of Russian soldiers’ families by publishing personal information about Russian military pilots in Syria.

The U.S. and Global Security Review

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German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks – The News and Times

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German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal
End of era beckons as sources say Merkel to give up CDU party chair
Missing Lion Air Plane Crashes With 189 Passengers on Board
Doomed Indonesian plane with 189 on board had asked to return to base
Voice of America: International Edition 2330 EDT – October 28, 2018
Putin: Syrian crisis won’t be resolved without Iran – 5:22 AM 10/29/2018 – The News and Times
Is It Time to Build Stealth ‘AIP’ Submarines? – 5:11 AM 10/29/2018 | Global Security News
US Accuses Russia Of Developing Antisatellite Laser – 4:59 AM 10/29/2018 – The News and Times
October 29, 2018 | Global Security News
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Georgian boxer attacks coach after losing match – 4:49 AM 10/29/2018 | Global Security News
1. My Blogs
What’s in a name? – Google Search – 5:46 AM 10/27/2018🤞
3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections …
3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections might hold the keys to the understanding the underlying forces behind the recent events. – Michael Novakhov | Global Security News
Spy who brought UK-Russia ties down – Google Search
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German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal
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Wall Street Journal
German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback
Wall Street Journal
BERLIN—Chancellor Angela Merkel and her beleaguered government suffered a new blow after both her party and its coalition partner suffered losses in Sunday’s election in one of Germany’s wealthiest states. The poor showing in Hesse, home to …
‘It’s a very bad result’: German voters deal another blow to Angela Merkel in HesseCNBC
Angela Merkel Gets New Election Setback in GermanyNew York Times
Merkel’s troubles mount as her party stumbles in German regional electionsWashington Post
KSLA –Financial Times –The Guardian
all 645 news articles »
End of era beckons as sources say Merkel to give up CDU party chair
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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders of her conservatives on Monday that she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman, senior party sources said, heralding the end of a 13-year era in which she has dominated European politics.

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her earphone during a news conference with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (unseen) in Prague, Czech Republic, October 26, 2018. REUTERS/David W. Cerny/File Photo

Merkel, 64, has been chairwoman of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2000 and chancellor since 2005. Party sources said Merkel wants to remain chancellor until 2021, when the next federal election is due.

The announcement, which effectively accelerates the process for the CDU to settle on and groom Merkel’s successor, caused the euro to fall briefly and German government bond yields rose.

Stepping down as CDU chairwoman would further undermine Merkel’s authority, which has already been dented this year by two regional election setbacks and a close ally losing his role as leader of her conservatives’ parliamentary group.

Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015 – a move that still divides the bloc and Germany.

“We are witnessing a continuation of the pattern in place ever since Merkel’s mistakes in the 2015 migration crisis: the gradual but steady erosion of her political power,” said Carsten Nickel, managing director at Teneo, a consultancy.

“Rather than outright instability in Germany and Europe, it simply means a continuation of the current leadership vacuum.”

Monday’s news came as a surprise to CDU party officials, who had expected Merkel to seek re-election as chairwoman at a party congress in Hamburg in early December.

The shock move started the race in the CDU to succeed Merkel. It also raises questions about whether she can stage manage a smooth exit.

Merkel is under pressure from her Social Democrat coalition partners to deliver more policy results and the center-left party could yet pull out of the government at a mid-term review next year.

Germany’s other leader CDU chancellors – Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl – both had messy ends to their time in office.

SUCCESSION RACE

Merkel standing down from the party chair would allow a new CDU chairman or chairwoman to build a profile before the next national election.

Party sources said Merkel’s favored successor, CDU party secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, had announced her candidacy for the party chair.

Rome’s decline irks city dwellers

Party sources also said that Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader of Merkel’s conservative alliance, was ready to put himself forward for the CDU chairmanship.

Merkel’s weakness at home may limit her capacity to lead in the European Union at a time when the bloc is dealing with Brexit, a budget crisis in Italy and the prospect of populist parties making gains at European parliament elections next May.

When Merkel came into office in 2005, George W. Bush was U.S. president, Jacques Chirac was in the Elysee Palace in Paris and Tony Blair was British prime minister.

Her decision comes on the heels of a second electoral setback in as many weeks for Merkel’s conservative alliance. In a vote in the western state of Hesse on Sunday, the CDU came out top but lost 11 percentage points in support compared to the last election in 2013.

“With these latest results, it has simply become untenable that Merkel continues to lead the CDU,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director at Eurasia Group, a consultancy.

Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

Missing Lion Air Plane Crashes With 189 Passengers on Board
German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback – Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

German Voters Deal Angela Merkel’s Coalition Another Setback
Wall Street Journal
BERLIN—Chancellor Angela Merkel and her beleaguered government suffered a new blow after both her party and its coalition partner suffered losses in Sunday’s election in one of Germany’s wealthiest states. The poor showing in Hesse, home to …
‘It’s a very bad result’: German voters deal another blow to Angela Merkel in HesseCNBC
Angela Merkel Gets New Election Setback in GermanyNew York Times
Merkel’s troubles mount as her party stumbles in German regional electionsWashington Post
KSLA –Financial Times –The Guardian
all 645 news articles »
End of era beckons as sources say Merkel to give up CDU party chair

mikenova shared this story .

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders of her conservatives on Monday that she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman, senior party sources said, heralding the end of a 13-year era in which she has dominated European politics.

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her earphone during a news conference with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (unseen) in Prague, Czech Republic, October 26, 2018. REUTERS/David W. Cerny/File Photo

Merkel, 64, has been chairwoman of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2000 and chancellor since 2005. Party sources said Merkel wants to remain chancellor until 2021, when the next federal election is due.

The announcement, which effectively accelerates the process for the CDU to settle on and groom Merkel’s successor, caused the euro to fall briefly and German government bond yields rose.

Stepping down as CDU chairwoman would further undermine Merkel’s authority, which has already been dented this year by two regional election setbacks and a close ally losing his role as leader of her conservatives’ parliamentary group.

Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015 – a move that still divides the bloc and Germany.

“We are witnessing a continuation of the pattern in place ever since Merkel’s mistakes in the 2015 migration crisis: the gradual but steady erosion of her political power,” said Carsten Nickel, managing director at Teneo, a consultancy.

“Rather than outright instability in Germany and Europe, it simply means a continuation of the current leadership vacuum.”

Monday’s news came as a surprise to CDU party officials, who had expected Merkel to seek re-election as chairwoman at a party congress in Hamburg in early December.

The shock move started the race in the CDU to succeed Merkel. It also raises questions about whether she can stage manage a smooth exit.

Merkel is under pressure from her Social Democrat coalition partners to deliver more policy results and the center-left party could yet pull out of the government at a mid-term review next year.

Germany’s other leader CDU chancellors – Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl – both had messy ends to their time in office.

SUCCESSION RACE

Merkel standing down from the party chair would allow a new CDU chairman or chairwoman to build a profile before the next national election.

Party sources said Merkel’s favored successor, CDU party secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, had announced her candidacy for the party chair.

Rome’s decline irks city dwellers

Party sources also said that Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader of Merkel’s conservative alliance, was ready to put himself forward for the CDU chairmanship.

Merkel’s weakness at home may limit her capacity to lead in the European Union at a time when the bloc is dealing with Brexit, a budget crisis in Italy and the prospect of populist parties making gains at European parliament elections next May.

When Merkel came into office in 2005, George W. Bush was U.S. president, Jacques Chirac was in the Elysee Palace in Paris and Tony Blair was British prime minister.

Her decision comes on the heels of a second electoral setback in as many weeks for Merkel’s conservative alliance. In a vote in the western state of Hesse on Sunday, the CDU came out top but lost 11 percentage points in support compared to the last election in 2013.

“With these latest results, it has simply become untenable that Merkel continues to lead the CDU,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director at Eurasia Group, a consultancy.

Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

Missing Lion Air Plane Crashes With 189 Passengers on Board

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Doomed Indonesian plane with 189 on board had asked to return to base

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PAKISJAYA, Indonesia (Reuters) – An Indonesian aircraft with 189 people on board crashed into the sea on Monday as it tried to circle back to the capital, Jakarta, from where it had taken off minutes earlier, and there were likely no survivors, officials said.

Relatives of passengers of Lion Air, flight JT610, that crashed into the sea cry at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, Belitung island, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Hadi Sutrisno via REUTERS

Lion Air flight JT610, an almost new Boeing 737 MAX 8, was en route to Pangkal Pinang, capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining region. Rescue officials said they had recovered some human remains from the crash site, about 15 km (9 miles) off the coast.

Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record is patchy. If all aboard have died, the crash will be the country’s second-worst air disaster since 1997, industry experts said.

(Graphic: Flight path of Indonesia’s Lion Air flight JT610 – tmsnrt.rs/2OV3w18)

The pilot had asked to return to base (RTB) after the plane took off from Jakarta. It lost contact with ground staff after 13 minutes.

“It’s correct that an RTB was requested and had been approved but we’re still trying to figure out the reason,” Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee, told reporters, referring to the pilot’s request.

“We hope the black box is not far from the main wreckage so it can be found soon,” he said, referring to the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

Search and rescue agency head Muhmmad Syaugi told a news conference earlier that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft’s emergency transmitter.

Yusuf Latief, spokesman of national search and rescue agency, said there were likely no survivors.

At least 23 government officials, four employees of state tin miner PT Timah and three employees of a Timah subsidiary, were on the plane. A Lion Air official said one Italian passenger and one Indian pilot were on board.

The plane went down in waters about 30 meters to 35 meters (98 to 115 ft) deep. Items such as handphones and life vests were found, along with the body parts.

Ambulances were lined up at Karawang, on the coast east of Jakarta, and police were preparing rubber dinghies, a Reuters reporter said. Fishing boats were being used to help search.

Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group, told reporters the aircraft had had a technical problem on a flight from the resort island of Bali to Jakarta but it had been “resolved according to procedure”.

Sirait declined to specify the nature of the issue but said none of its other aircraft of that model had the same problem. Lion had operated 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and it had no plan to ground the rest of them, he said.

The accident is the first to be reported involving the widely sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s workhorse single-aisle jet.

Privately owned Lion Air said the aircraft had been in operation since August, was airworthy, with its pilot and co-pilot together having accumulated 11,000 hours of flying time.

‘BE PATIENT’

Safety experts say nearly all accidents are caused by a combination of factors and only rarely have a single identifiable cause.

The flight took off in clear weather at around 6.20 a.m. and was due to have landed in Pangkal Pinang at 7.20 a.m.

Distraught relatives of those on board arrived at the airport in Jakarta and Pangkal Pinang.

“Be patient, pray the best for papa,” one woman arriving at Jakarta airport told a sobbing girl.

The woman declined to speak to reporters.

President Joko Widodo told a news conference authorities were focusing on the search and rescue, and he called for the country’s prayers and support.

VERBATIM: Khashoggi death could destabilize region

The effort to find the wreckage and retrieve the black boxes represents a major challenge for investigators in Indonesia, where an AirAsia Airbus jet crashed in the Java Sea in December 2014.

Under international rules, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will automatically assist with the inquiry, backed up by technical advisers from Boeing and U.S.-French engine maker CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and Safran.

Boeing was deeply saddened by the loss, it said in a statement, and was ready to provide technical assistance for the investigation.

Data from FlightRadar24 shows the first sign of something amiss was around two minutes into the flight, when the plane had reached 2,000 feet (610 m).

It descended more than 500 feet (152 m) and veered to the left before climbing again to 5,000 feet (1,524 m), where it stayed during most of the rest of the flight.

It began gaining speed in the final moments and reached 345 knots (397 mph) before data was lost when it was at 3,650 feet (1,113 m).

Indonesia’s worst air disaster was in 1997, when a Garuda Indonesia A300 crashed in the city of Medan, killing 214 people.

Founded in 1999, Lion Air’s only fatal accident was in 2004, when an MD-82 crashed upon landing at Solo City, killing 25 of the 163 on board, the Flight Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety Network says.

In April, the airline announced a firm order to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 narrowbody jets with a list price of $6.24 billion. It is one of the U.S. planemaker’s largest customers globally.

Additional reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa, Cindy Silviana, Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska Nangoy, Bernadette Christina in JAKARTA, Jamie Freed in SINGAPORE and Tim Hepher in HONG KONG; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel

Voice of America: International Edition 2330 EDT – October 28, 2018

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US synagogue massacre. Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil presidential election. Plight of the world’s refugees. New York Marathon-Hudon River Miracle connection. Sounds of Harld Melvin & The Blue Notes.

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2018/10/29/20181029-033000-VEN060-program_hq.mp3

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Putin: Syrian crisis won’t be resolved without Iran – 5:22 AM 10/29/2018 – The News and Times

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Global Security News: 1. US Security from mikenova (86 sites): Test Feed Using Fields: Question for the Navy: Is It Time to Build Stealth ‘AIP’ Submarines?

Robert Farley

Security,

The United States has not built a diesel-electric submarine since 1959. Is it time for a change?

All in all, there is no question that AIP-equipped boats pose a threat, under some conditions, to the large nuclear attack submarines that many great navies have come to rely on. However, this does not necessarily mean that the best response for the U.S. Navy is to invest in these conventional subs.

Is It Time to Build Stealth ‘AIP’ Submarines? – 5:11 AM 10/29/2018 | Global Security News

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Global Security News: 1. US Security from mikenova (86 sites): Test Feed Using Fields: Question for the Navy: Is It Time to Build Stealth ‘AIP’ Submarines?

Robert Farley

Security,

The United States has not built a diesel-electric submarine since 1959. Is it time for a change?

All in all, there is no question that AIP-equipped boats pose a threat, under some conditions, to the large nuclear attack submarines that many great navies have come to rely on. However, this does not necessarily mean that the best response for the U.S. Navy is to invest in these conventional subs.

US Accuses Russia Of Developing Antisatellite Laser – 4:59 AM 10/29/2018 – The News and Times

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Russia international behavior – Google News: US Accuses Russia Of Developing Antisatellite Laser, Other Counterspace Weapons – SpaceWatch.Global

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Boxing fans were left shocked when a fighter on the Hughie Fury-Kubrat Pulev undercard attacked his own trainer ring-side.

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October 29, 2018 | Global Security News

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Boxing fans were left shocked when a fighter on the Hughie Fury-Kubrat Pulev undercard attacked his own trainer ring-side.

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Boxing fans were left shocked when a fighter on the Hughie Fury-Kubrat Pulev undercard attacked his own trainer ring-side.

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What’s in a name? – Google Search – 5:46 AM 10/27/2018🤞

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3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections …

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3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections might hold the keys to the understanding the underlying forces behind the recent events. – Michael Novakhov
3:17 AM 10/28/2018 – The very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections might hold the keys to the understanding the underlying forces behind the recent events. – Michael Novakhov | Global Security News

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M.N.: The “Skripal story”, retold nicely in this review by “Sandeep Dikshit”, offers more puzzling questions than the reliable answers or even assumptions or conjectures. 

I feel more and more convinced that Skripal is one of the important “nerve centers” of the current conspiracy against the US and the “West”, as I shared these thoughts earlier. It looks like he was able to establish the very close, controlling ties with Russian and consequently, the global organised crime communities during his , as I suspect, staged imprisonment. This is the historical tradition on the part of the Soviet and the Russian Secret Services of using “the closely related criminal element” for their own historical and political purposes.

Supposedly, this “Operation Skripal”, the goal of which apparently, was the deep penetration and control of the Western power structures and Intelligence Services,  might have been a part of the possible larger “left-wing, pro-communist plot” to restore the Soviet power and the Soviet union. (See also Colonel Kvachkov.) 

The recent waves of the “Performance Crimes”, including the yesterday, 10.27.18 events, bear the strong marks of the association with the Organised Crime, with the specific (stylistic) twist of the professional coordination by the experienced military intelligence officer. 

I think humbly, my dear friends, as I mentioned earlier, that the very careful and in-depth investigation of Skripal and all his connections might hold the keys to the understanding the underlying forces behind the recent events. 

Michael Novakhov

3:14 AM 10/28/2018

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Sandeep Dikshit

THE title itself should make the book fly off the bookshelves at airports and malls where attention spans are lower. Its author Mark Urban is a serial author with a nose for the topics that will sell like hot cakes at precisely such places. Hitting the stands within six months of poisoning, one might wonder at the quality between the covers. But in keeping with his honesty of acknowledgement, which runs through the book, Urban discloses that he had met Sergei Skripal a few times as a subject matter for a book on East-West espionage after the Cold War. His poisoning converted that raw material and a bit more into a book.

Sergei Skripal’s name never rang a bell during the eight years he lived in London, unlike, say, Oleg Kalugin (still living) or Alexander Litvinenko (assassinated), who were deemed important enough to have been tried in absentia in Moscow. Despite his two foreign postings, Skripal was nowhere in hierarchy and access, as compared to fellow defectors Oleg Gordievsky (KGB chief in London) and Vasili Mitrokhin, the librarian of KGB’s foreign intelligence service.

Yet, Skripal’s case has created waves than the cumulative murmurings after the poisoning of Litvinenko and Gordievsky. It is this knot that Urban tries to explore and unravel. An understandable suspicion about books of this nature and originating from London is that these could be inspired by operatives of Vauxhall Cross, the gleaming MI-6 headquarters. It is not unknown.But the rendering here is open ended. There are no conclusions in the book that intelligence agencies so covet. For, the Skripal case is far from over: a secret report lies unopened in the Geneva vaults of the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons; a subsequent death of two vagabonds has opened a new line of inquiry; and, there could be more revelations, if and when Skripal or his daughter can recall the turn of events on that day.

By mid-1970s, Skripal was an operative of the Soviet Special Forces. The story jumps from his uneventful years in the Soviet Union to the first overseas posting in Malta (1984-89) where both, his boss Burlatov and he were on sale. On his second posting to Madrid (1993-96), MI6 enrolled him after he rolled out the Russian military intelligence’s (GRU) organisational chart.Back in Moscow, he made two deliveries of books containing notes in secret ink till he was passed over for promotion to Major-General and retired at 48 in 1999. This was a time for troubles in Russia when corporate, personal and espionage interests blended and Skripal, by his admission, began freelancing with his former contacts.

His luck ran out when his former Malta boss Burlatov was arrested and then murdered in prison. In 2004, Skripal was next, transferred to Lefortovo prison with its quaint rules and after conviction, sent to the harsher Potma prison where temperatures sank to -30º.

So, who outed Skripal and Burlatov? Skripal believes it was a Spanish double agent who Madrid exposed. But others say Russians knew at the time when as a pensioner he would ask leading questions from his serving colleagues.

Then Ghost Stories happened. The US uncovered a network of deep penetration Russian agents, including the glamorous Anna Chapman, and prompt Moscow ownership of their operations set the stage for a swap of spies. Skripal was freed in 2010 and opted to stay in London where the MI6 made him comfortable.

After eight uneventful years, he and his daughter began frothing from the mouth while sitting on a bench in a park in Salisbury. Details unravelled in a slow pirouette and when it was established that a deadly chemical had been used, 150 Russian diplomats were expelled. Significantly, the enthusiasm to expel was confined to the US, the UK and Ukraine — three countries with an existentialist angst against Russia — which accounted for two-thirds of the expulsions.

This has triggered a minority view that the poisoning was a false flag operation — an operation where the home side creates an incident to implicate the opposing side. Why would Putin risk western outrage barely weeks before he was to be re-elected as President? Then there is evidence of how the rabidly anti-Russia Boris Johnson shaped the narrative with outlandish claims.

Urban, however, dismisses these conjectures as part of a Russian tactic of releasing counter theories. His counter is that Putin wanted a 70/70 result — get 70 per cent of the vote from a 70 per cent overall voter turnout. Russophobia was guaranteed to get the voter out. There is also Putin’s alleged fetish for assassinations, such as the murder of a retired general fiercely critical of Yeltsin in 1999 that Skripal believes helped him become Prime Minister after a couple of months.

There is also the suggestion that Skripal was living up to the maxim that that intelligence officers never retire and he seemed to be playing the field again, thus making him a target. Putin may also have ordered the hit to deter anyone from spying for Britain again.

While the media speculated, British investigations identified the chemical as Novichok A. But that claim got muddied after the Russian foreign minister claimed that it was BZ, manufactured by NATO countries.

There is no unimpeachable argument on either side. But perhaps the endgame to ensure Russia’s isolation by exploiting the Skripal affair was achieved. The uproar ensured that Donald Trump couldn’t get Russia into G 7 and CAATSA, an anti Russia-Iran-North Korea law, that is also causing India much anguish, had a smooth sailing in the American Congress.

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Sandeep Dikshit

THE title itself should make the book fly off the bookshelves at airports and malls where attention spans are lower. Its author Mark Urban is a serial author with a nose for the topics that will sell like hot cakes at precisely such places. Hitting the stands within six months of poisoning, one might wonder at the quality between the covers. But in keeping with his honesty of acknowledgement, which runs through the book, Urban discloses that he had met Sergei Skripal a few times as a subject matter for a book on East-West espionage after the Cold War. His poisoning converted that raw material and a bit more into a book.

Sergei Skripal’s name never rang a bell during the eight years he lived in London, unlike, say, Oleg Kalugin (still living) or Alexander Litvinenko (assassinated), who were deemed important enough to have been tried in absentia in Moscow. Despite his two foreign postings, Skripal was nowhere in hierarchy and access, as compared to fellow defectors Oleg Gordievsky (KGB chief in London) and Vasili Mitrokhin, the librarian of KGB’s foreign intelligence service.

Yet, Skripal’s case has created waves than the cumulative murmurings after the poisoning of Litvinenko and Gordievsky. It is this knot that Urban tries to explore and unravel. An understandable suspicion about books of this nature and originating from London is that these could be inspired by operatives of Vauxhall Cross, the gleaming MI-6 headquarters. It is not unknown.But the rendering here is open ended. There are no conclusions in the book that intelligence agencies so covet. For, the Skripal case is far from over: a secret report lies unopened in the Geneva vaults of the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons; a subsequent death of two vagabonds has opened a new line of inquiry; and, there could be more revelations, if and when Skripal or his daughter can recall the turn of events on that day.

By mid-1970s, Skripal was an operative of the Soviet Special Forces. The story jumps from his uneventful years in the Soviet Union to the first overseas posting in Malta (1984-89) where both, his boss Burlatov and he were on sale. On his second posting to Madrid (1993-96), MI6 enrolled him after he rolled out the Russian military intelligence’s (GRU) organisational chart.Back in Moscow, he made two deliveries of books containing notes in secret ink till he was passed over for promotion to Major-General and retired at 48 in 1999. This was a time for troubles in Russia when corporate, personal and espionage interests blended and Skripal, by his admission, began freelancing with his former contacts.

His luck ran out when his former Malta boss Burlatov was arrested and then murdered in prison. In 2004, Skripal was next, transferred to Lefortovo prison with its quaint rules and after conviction, sent to the harsher Potma prison where temperatures sank to -30º.

So, who outed Skripal and Burlatov? Skripal believes it was a Spanish double agent who Madrid exposed. But others say Russians knew at the time when as a pensioner he would ask leading questions from his serving colleagues.

Then Ghost Stories happened. The US uncovered a network of deep penetration Russian agents, including the glamorous Anna Chapman, and prompt Moscow ownership of their operations set the stage for a swap of spies. Skripal was freed in 2010 and opted to stay in London where the MI6 made him comfortable.

After eight uneventful years, he and his daughter began frothing from the mouth while sitting on a bench in a park in Salisbury. Details unravelled in a slow pirouette and when it was established that a deadly chemical had been used, 150 Russian diplomats were expelled. Significantly, the enthusiasm to expel was confined to the US, the UK and Ukraine — three countries with an existentialist angst against Russia — which accounted for two-thirds of the expulsions.

This has triggered a minority view that the poisoning was a false flag operation — an operation where the home side creates an incident to implicate the opposing side. Why would Putin risk western outrage barely weeks before he was to be re-elected as President? Then there is evidence of how the rabidly anti-Russia Boris Johnson shaped the narrative with outlandish claims.

Urban, however, dismisses these conjectures as part of a Russian tactic of releasing counter theories. His counter is that Putin wanted a 70/70 result — get 70 per cent of the vote from a 70 per cent overall voter turnout. Russophobia was guaranteed to get the voter out. There is also Putin’s alleged fetish for assassinations, such as the murder of a retired general fiercely critical of Yeltsin in 1999 that Skripal believes helped him become Prime Minister after a couple of months.

There is also the suggestion that Skripal was living up to the maxim that that intelligence officers never retire and he seemed to be playing the field again, thus making him a target. Putin may also have ordered the hit to deter anyone from spying for Britain again.

While the media speculated, British investigations identified the chemical as Novichok A. But that claim got muddied after the Russian foreign minister claimed that it was BZ, manufactured by NATO countries.

There is no unimpeachable argument on either side. But perhaps the endgame to ensure Russia’s isolation by exploiting the Skripal affair was achieved. The uproar ensured that Donald Trump couldn’t get Russia into G 7 and CAATSA, an anti Russia-Iran-North Korea law, that is also causing India much anguish, had a smooth sailing in the American Congress.


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