• Manafort shared Trump campaign polling with Konstantin Kilimnik, a cut-out to Russian intelligence

    While he was the chairman of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, Paul Manafort shared internal campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a cut-out for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service. Analysts believe he is, in fact, a Russian intelligence operative. It appears that the Trump campaign’s internal data Manafort shared with Russian intelligence was aimed to help the GRU to make the Kremlin’s social-media disinformation effort on behalf of Trump more targetd and effective, especially in suppressing the African American vote for Hillary Clinton. Kilimnik was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury on 8 June 2018 on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice by attempting to tamper with a witness on behalf of Manafort.

  • Evidence mounts suggesting “Country A” is Russia

    Alston & Bird, a law firm with experience representing Russian interests, is involved in the mystery grand jury subpoena case assumed to be related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The case involves a foreign-owned corporation — a financial institution — which is refusing to turn over documents and incurring a daily $50,000 fine.

  • Drinking water safety guidelines in the U.S. vary widely from state to state

    Analysis of existing state and federal guidelines shows discrepancies in recommended safe levels of toxic contaminants PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. The findings of a new study highlight the need for enforceable federal standards and more health protective limits on these contaminants in drinking water to safeguard the health of millions of people whose water supplies have been contaminated.

  • EU to sanction Iranian intelligence agency for foiled terror plots

    The European Union (EU) announced that it would place a unit of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and two of its agents under sanctions for attempted terror plots on European soil, Reuters reported Tuesday. The EU’s decision follows two well-publicized attempted terror attacks against dissidents in Paris and Denmark last year.

  • The group dynamics that make terrorist teams work

    Acts of terrorism are harrowing and can cause extensive damage and tragic deaths, and they have been occurring with alarming frequency over the last decade. Scholars, governments and analysts have spent a lot of time exploring individual motivations of terrorists. However, terrorist activities are typically performed by groups, not isolated individuals. Examining the role of team dynamics in terrorist activities can elucidate how terrorist teams radicalize, organize and make decisions. There is a common misconception in the West that leaders of terrorist groups are recruiting and brainwashing people into giving up their lives to establish a new political order. This is an incorrect model that has been vastly exaggerated in the media, based on a Western understanding of leadership.

  • Russian agents in Western media

    The exposure of a journalist of the German magazine, Der Spiegel, Claas Relotius, who falsified materials for his articles, was a real shock and sharply raised the issue of the availability of effective tools for controlling misinformation in the media community. In the early 1960s, Der Spiegel was involved in another scandal, when it ran a series of investigations by journalist Conrad Ahlers, who severely criticized and accused the then German Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss of unprofessionalism and corruptionit. Strauss was forced to resign – but we now know that the conflict between Strauss and Der Spiegel was part of a Soviet special operation aimed at discrediting Strauss, who might have become the next chancellor of West Germany.

  • Cuban lovelorn crickets, not a sonic weapon, made U.S. diplomats ill: Study

    In late 2016, U.S. diplomats in Havana began to report ear pain, dizziness, confusion – and some showed symptoms of mysteriois brain injury. The diplomats said that their symptoms occurred after they repeatedly heard a high-frequency noise. The State Department withdrew half its embassy staff, and several studies concluded that the high-frequency noise was generated by a sonic weapon. A new study argues that the high-frequency noise was created by local crickets.

  • Hundreds of German politicians hacked – except those on the pro-Russia far right

    The personal and job-related information of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, senior politicians, and members of the Bundestag from all political parties was released by hackers and posted to Twitter. The leaked information included office letters, internal memos, departmental communicatin, contact details, office access passcodes, and more. The only politicians who were not hacked and the information of which was not released: Members of the populist, far-right, pro-Russia Aleternative for Germany (AfD). In the run-up to the fall 2017 federal election in Germany, the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence, helped the AfD by employing the same combination of hacking and social media disinformation the GRU had succefully used to help Donald Trump win the 2016 U.S. election. The Russian campaign was successful, and the AfD is now the thiord-largest party in the Bundestag.

  • For your spies only: Cold War prisoner swaps

    While Russia has detained and officially charged Paul Whelan — a dual U.S.-British citizen — with espionage, questions have arisen over whether this is a real spy case or just another move in a decades-old Cold War game. Is the 48-year-old private-sector corporate security executive guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Some think so.

  • Many hate crimes never make it into the FBI’s database

    The FBI’s latest numbers showed a 17 percent increase in reported hate crimes in 2017. But what does this actually say about the actual number of hate crimes occurring in the U.S.? Not much. The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 mandates that the FBI publish statistics specifically for crimes motivated by bias, and a broad network of state laws require that hate crimes are both tracked and prosecuted. Despite this, a variety of problems plague the implementation of these laws.

  • Charlotte’s Women’s March disassociates from national organization over anti-Semitism

    Organizers of the Charlotte’s Women’s March have changed their name and disassociated themselves from the national movement over expressions of anti-Semitism by the March’s leadership. In November, Teresa Shook, the founder of the Women’s March, called on the movement’s current co-chairs to resign over anti-Semitic rhetoric and bigotry, and in December, the Women’s March of Washington State disassociated itself from the national movement because of anti-Semitism.

  • Russia undermines trust in science by spreading lies about genetic editing

    Genetic editing has been a hot topic of conversation lately. There are arguments on ll sides of the issue, but Jesse Kirkpatrick and Michael Flynn – in an important article in Slate, titled “Don’t Let Russia Undermine Trust in Science” — are drawing attention to a growing threat in the debate: Russian disinformation.

  • Colombia: Venezuelans behind plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque

    The Colombian government said that the country’s security services had foiled a plot to kill President Ivan Duque. The security services said that the plot involved three Venezuelans who were recently arrested with assault weapons. The conservative Ivan Duque has been a vocal critic of his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro.

  • Guyana at risk: Ethnic politics, oil, Venezuelan opportunism and why it should matter to Washington

    On Friday, 21 December, the government of Guyana, a strategically important but often overlooked country, imploded. A member of parliament from a small centrist partner in the governing coalition, supported an opposition no-confidence motion against his own party’s leadership. His move ended the government’s fragile 33-32 majority in the 65 seat National Assembly, setting the stage for new national elections within 90 days. The collapse of the government is the first shot in a destabilizing fight between Guyana’s ethnically Indian and African communities to control the spoils from a tidal wave of oil money as production from the offshore Liza field begins in 2020. To exacerbate the situation, the collapsing socialist regime of neighboring Venezuela continues to assert claims on part of that oil and a third of Guyana’s national territory.

  • European far-right groups eschew violence to broaden appeal

    More than seventy years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, ethno-nationalist and white supremacist movements in Europe continue to thrive. They include far-right political parties, neo-Nazi movements, and apolitical protest groups. These groups’ outward rejection of violence expands the reach of their message, and  can increase the potential for radicalization.