It couldn’t be more glaringly obvious that he supports Vladimir Putin’s interests while he continues to denigrate long standing relationships with Western allies.
President Trump’s response to Russia’s multi-pronged cyber attacks, from their malware botnets to their attacks targeting the U.S. energy grid and election systems, has been a total joke.
The United States Intelligence Agencies have confirmed that a foreign nation interfered with the 2016 American election process. We know two dozen state’s election systems came under attack. The Intelligence Agencies heads unanimously agree that the Russians will attack the 2018 election. The cyber security head of the Department of Homeland Security has stated that the Russians had successfully penetrated voter registration rolls in several states before the 2016 election. President Trump’s administration has retaliated to these attacks on America’s institutions and infrastructure by penalizing Russians, unfortunately President Trump did not mention the sanctions nor the election meddling during his statement on the nerve agent attack in Britain. President Trump has repeatedly called the Russian election interference a hoax.
President Trump’s administration has done little to mitigate the threat of Russia attacking the 2018 midterm election.
U.S. officials, including former National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster, have claimed that this administration has not done enough to dissuade Russian meddling. Most recently President Trump put the brakes on new economic sanctions on Russia, a day after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley laid out a preliminary plan to impose new sanctions. This decision by President Trump came after the Kremlin denounced the new sanctions plan as *international economic raiding.* Furthermore, NSA Director Admiral Rodgers testified to Congress that Trump has given no order to counter Russian election meddling. While former National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster warned of Russian election meddling and publicly denounced their continued attacks, he was removed by President Trump and John Bolton took his place. National Security Advisor Bolton has been pushing to eliminate a top Cyber-Security position in the White House as he attempts to reorganize the National Security Council.
Russia’s multi-pronged cyber attacks:
Russian cyber interference goes far beyond hacking election systems. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have accused the Russian government of a multi-stage intrusion campaign targeting the U.S. energy grid. These attacks included critical infrastructure in energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water facilities, and aviation facilities. Here is the report by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team where analytic efforts undertaken by DHS and the FBI have found a multistage intrusion campaign perpetuated by the Russian state. This isn’t fake news, the United States is under cyber attack from Russia.
This joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This alert provides information on Russian government actions targeting U.S. Government entities as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. It also contains indicators of compromise (IOCs) and technical details on the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by Russian government cyber actors on compromised victim networks. DHS and FBI produced this alert to educate network defenders to enhance their ability to identify and reduce exposure to malicious activity.
DHS and FBI characterize this activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors who targeted small commercial facilities’ networks where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks. After obtaining access, the Russian government cyber actors conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally, and collected information pertaining to Industrial Control Systems (ICS).
Furthermore, the FBI recently thwarted a sophisticated malware system that is linked to Russia’s military intelligence agency, the Russian malware has infected hundreds of thousands of routers. The Justice Department has announced actions to disrupt the advanced botnet malware system. It is recommended to restart your router as it may be infected.
In Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities, one of the men indicted gave orders to Russian mercenaries to attack a U.S. military base in Syria. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has confirmed that U.S. strikes killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries during the mercenary assault on a U.S. military base.
The United States of America intercepted the communications of close Putin ally and oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, we now know that Yevgeny Prigozhin gave the go ahead for Assad forces and Russian mercenaries to attack a US base in Syria a few months ago.
Yevgeny Prigozhen is a member of Putin’s inner circle. He has also been indicted by Special Counsel Mueller for the role he played in meddling with the 2016 election. The Russian election meddling operation was a sophisticated attack against the West. This operation was funded through Russian fronts, including a catering company run by a close friend of Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin. They used stolen American identities. Operatives bought political ads on social media sites. Operatives visited the United States, travelled across 9 states and discussed escape routes if they were caught inside the country. Operatives bought equipment including burner phones and SIM cards. This operation included hundreds of employees and millions of dollars, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein put it best – the Russians conducted information warfare during the election. According to the indictment Prigozhin met Mikhail Bystrov, a leader of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), regularly in 2015 and 2016. Prigozhin funded the Internet Research Agency and their meddling of the American election. This was a sophisticated operation that spanned over several years. Prigozhin has been Putin’s go to guy for under the table missions, including recruiting mercenaries for the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
The EU and other Western nations are trying to fight back against Russian disinformation campaigns. But it’s not enough without U.S. support.
The European Union is fighting back against Russia’s disinformation campaign, Russia is actively destabilizing democracy in the West. The European Union’s East StratCom Task Force was set up in response to Russia’s disinformation campaign, they’ve done some great work.
The Task Force’s flagship products are its weekly Disinformation Review of pro-Kremlin disinformation stories, its social media accounts and its new website.
In the course of two years, the Task Force has, in addition to substantially improving the EU’s outreach and positive eastward communications, developed a strong EU understanding of the tools, networks and objectives of disinformation, and raised awareness among millions, establishing itself as a leading international source of expertise on the issue. A network has been developed across the continent to identify and report disinformation, creating new channels to reach new audiences and track the most prevalent disinformation myths.
The EU vs Disinformation campaign has now identified over 3,500 disinformation cases in 18 languages. The team’s research is regularly used and quoted by politicians, governments, state agencies, researchers, think tanks and journalists across Europe and beyond.
It has become evident that the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign is an orchestrated strategy to broadcast the same false stories in as many languages as possible, through as many channels as possible and as often as possible. Russian authorities are explicit about this too, for example through the Gerasimov doctrine – the amalgamation of war and political activity – as well as in statements by top Russian generals that “false data” and “destabilising propaganda” are legitimate tools.
The aim of this disinformation campaign is to confuse, denigrate, weaken and destabilise the West by exploiting existing divisions or creating new artificial ones. Outright lies are often deployed, but another common strategy is to spread as many conflicting messages as possible, persuading the audience that there are so many versions of events that it is impossible to find the truth. Particularly obvious examples include the clear obfuscation over the downing of flight MH17, Boris Nemtsov’s assassination and the bombing of a humanitarian convoy in Syria.
Australian Intelligence agencies identified Russia as the state actor behind a series of cyber attacks that hit 400 Australian businesses as well as the UK and the U.S. Great Britain is set to announce a response to Russia’s aggression by proposing an international rapid response unit to counter Russian cyber attacks and assassinations.
We are also doing our part to stop Russian disinformation campaigns as they will target our 2019 Federal election. A leading NATO expert has warned us that we must be prepared for Russian election interference during the Federal elections. In April Prime Minister Trudeau discussed cyber attacks, in particular Russian interference, with our 5 Eye allies. Last year the NATO Secretary General warned of Russia being a cyber security threat as they pushed disinformation targeting Canadian soldiers in Latvia, moreover the Communications Security Establishments (CSE – Canadian intelligence agency) has found cyber threats to democratic processes are on the rise globally and that Canada is at risk. Prime Minister Trudeau has publicly called out Russia’s disinformation campaign.
What has President Trump done?
He suggested a joint cyber security unit with Russia to stop election hacking, he got the idea after meeting Putin at the G20 summit. He later backtracked on this ridiculous suggestion after facing harsh criticism.
Summary of President Trump’s business dealings with Russia:
Last month Buzzfeed released an in depth article about the Trump Moscow Tower project. We learned that Michael Cohen lied to lawmakers in Congress when he claimed to have ended the venture in early 2016. Mr. Cohen had continued to work on the Trump Moscow Tower project up until at least May, when then candidate Trump was close to securing the GOP presidential nomination. Candidate Trump promoted Paul Manafort to Campaign Chairman around this time to corral delegates at the GOP convention, it was at this stage of the campaign where Trump began to publicly change his policy towards Ukraine and Russia. Felix Sater, a long time business associate of the President that was working on this project with his childhood friend Michael Cohen, was in contact with a former GRU officer during the duration of the venture.^
President Trump has made innumerable denials about doing any business with Russia. Yet he signed a letter of intent to build a Moscow Trump Tower in 2015. Moreover, President Trump tried to do business with a sanctioned Russian bank in 2016.
Read what Felix Sater offered President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Felix Sater wanted to work with the Russians to help get Trump elected by showcasing Trump’s negotiation skills. To do this he wanted to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The New York Times story is corroborated by the Washington Post. President Trump signed a letter of intent to build the Moscow Trump Tower during the campaign.
New information on the relationship between Felix Sater and Trump has come to light. Rachel Maddow explains how billionaires from Kazakhstan, who are embroiled in court cases involving money laundering, had their money laundered through Trump properties via Felix Sater. Felix Sater attended Trump’s invite-only victory party to celebrate his presidential victory. Although Trump has tried to distance himself from Sater due to his colourful past, I find it very peculiar that he was allowed into an invite-only event at the Midtown Hilton. Moreover, in July of 2016 we know he attended a secret meeting at Trump Tower.
Months ago there it was reported that Felix Sater was ready and willing to cooperate with Special Counsel Mueller. Paul Wood, World Affairs correspondent for the BBC, wrote the original article for The Spectator. Back in the 90’s Felix Sater was caught up in a massive stock scam and flipped on mob families in New York. Guess who flipped him? He’s on Special Counsel Mueller’s team – Andrew Weissmann. Felix Sater has spoken out against the bad publicity he has been receiving, in his numerous TV appearances he made it clear that he has worked as an informant for American intelligence services.
Christopher Steele has stated that Trump’s hotel and land deals with Russians need to be examined. President Trump has repeatedly denied doing business with Russia, taking a quick look at his Twitter…