Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Stepping Stones from "Куркиёки" (Курки - ёки") : Артур Парфенчиков: "Арт-ур Пар-фен-чиков": "Artful URKA, po fene botayesh? What is mine is mine, and what is not mine will be mine too. Stay away from it." - С Артуром Парфенчиковым, назначенным Указом Президента временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия

Andre Rieu - Strangers in Paradise 2006

Uploaded on Feb 4, 2008
Andre Rieu - Strangers in Paradise 2006

Stranger In Paradise - Kismet 

Published on May 25, 2012
"Stranger in Paradise" by Vic Damone & Ann Blyth, my favorite song of the Hollywood classic "Kismet" (Destiny) 1955 -
Disclamer : This movie clip/music belong to MGM, i do not own it and i won"t earn any money with this clip. 

С Артуром Парфенчиковым, назначенным Указом Президента временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия. 

Interpretation (bidirectional): 

The Stepping Stones from "Куркиёки" (Курки - ёки"

Артур Парфенчиков: "Арт-ур Пар-фен-чиков": 

"Artful URKA, po fene botayesh? What is mine is mine, and what is not mine will be mine too. Stay away from it."

С Артуром Парфенчиковым, назначенным Указом Президента временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия.

В.Путин: Артур Олегович, Вы родом из Карелии?
А.Парфенчиков: Из глубокой.
В.Путин: Что значит – из глубокой?
А.Парфенчиков: Из глубинки, с хутора.
В.Путин: С хутора? Как он называется?
А.Парфенчиков: Куркиёки.

Артур Парфенчиков назначен временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия • Президент России

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Полный текст Указа:
В связи с заявлением Главы Республики Карелия Худилайнена А.П. о досрочном прекращении полномочий и в соответствии с подпунктом «в» пункта 1 и подпунктом «а» пункта 9 статьи 19 Федерального закона от 6 октября 1999 г. № 184-ФЗ «Об общих принципах организации законодательных (представительных) и исполнительных органов государственной власти субъектов Российской Федерации» постановляю:
1. Принять отставку Главы Республики Карелия Худилайнена А.П. по собственному желанию.
2. Назначить Парфенчикова Артура Олеговича временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия до вступления в должность лица, избранного Главой Республики Карелия, освободив его от занимаемой должности.
3. Настоящий Указ вступает в силу со дня его подписания.

FOX News: Relax, Trump is stone cold sane 

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Let me issue the standard disclaimer of psychiatrists who discuss the mental health of public figures: I have not personally examined President Trump.

 FOX News

Civil.Ge Daily News: United States Condemns S. Ossetia Referendum

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The U.S. will not recognize the results of 'an illegitimate referendum,' the Embassy says.

 Civil.Ge Daily News

Russia Won't Discuss Crimea, Dismisses Report Of Contacts With Trump Team

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Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says Moscow will not discuss the return of Crimea to Ukraine with the United States or any other country.
Dmitry Peskov spoke on February 15, a day after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that U.S. President Donald Trump has "made it very clear" that he expects Russia to "return Crimea" and reduce violence in eastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin spokesman referred to Crimea as Russian territory, saying that "Russia never discusses issues related to its territories with foreign partners, including the United States."
Russia seized control of Crimea in March 2014 after sending in troops and staging a referendum denounced as illegal by the United States and a total of 100 countries in the UN General Assembly.
Peskov said that Trump did not raise the issue of Crimea in his January 28 telephone conversation with Putin.
He also dismissed a February 14 report in the New York Times that cited current and former U.S. officials as saying members of Trump's campaign and other associates had contacts with Russian intelligence officials in the months before the November 2016 presidential election, claiming it was "not based on any facts."
"Let's not believe anonymous information," Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
The Kremlin spokesman also responded to U.S. media reports that cited U.S. officials as saying that Russia has deployed cruise missiles in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a 1987 pact between Moscow and Washington.
"Russia has been and remains committed to its international commitments, including to the treaty in question," Peskov said.
"Nobody has formally accused Russia of violating the treaty," he said.
More broadly, Peskov said that it is too early to talk about the "normalization" of ties between Russia and the United States as Trump's administration is still being built.
Trump has repeatedly said he hopes relations between the United States and Russia will improve during his administration.
Ties have been badly strained by rancor over issues including Russia's interference in Ukraine, its role in the war in Syria, and what U.S. intelligence agencies say was a hacking and propaganda campaign to meddle in the U.S. presidential election with the aim of undermining the United States, discrediting Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, and helping Trump.
With reporting by Interfax, TASS, and Reuters
Read the whole story

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Karelia Governor Is Fifth To Resign In Russia In Recent Days

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The governor of Russia's northwestern region of Karelia, Aleksandr Khudilainen, has become the fifth regional leader to step down in recent days.
Khudilainen told journalists on February 15 that he had submitted his resignation in order to give a candidate to be proposed by President Vladimir Putin time "to show himself in Karelia" before an election in September.
The Kremlin said hours later that Putin accepted Khudilainen's resignation and appointed the director of the federal bailiffs service, Artur Parfyonchikov, as acting governor of the region bordering Finland.
Khudilainen's resignation comes a day after the governor of the Ryazan region, Oleg Kovalyov, announced about his resignation. On February 13, the Novgorod region's governor, Sergei Mitin, resigned. Last week, the governors of Buryatia and the Perm Krai, Vyacheslav Nagovitsyn and Viktor Basargin, stepped down.
The five governors' resignations are widely believed to have been submitted at the request of the Kremlin, which oversees political processes nationwide.
Regional elections in September will be the last before a presidential election due to be held in March 2018.
Analysts say the Kremlin is seeking to bolster support and increase control ahead of the presidential vote, in which Putin is widely expected to seek a fourth term.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on February 14 that the resignations were part of "a routine rotation process" and called on journalists not to seek hidden motives.
With on reporting by RIA, Interfax, and TASS

karelia - Google Search

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Story image for karelia from The Independent Barents Observer

Karelia Governor Is Fifth To Resign In Russia In Recent Days

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty-46 minutes ago
Aleksandr Khudilainen said he had submitted his resignation as Karelia governor in order to give a candidate to be proposed by Russian ...
Story image for karelia from The Independent Barents Observer

A visit to Sandarmokh

The Independent Barents Observer-Feb 14, 2017
The visit by Council member Sergey Krivenko and Leonid Nikitinsky, both involved in the Human Rights Council's mission to Karelia, took place ...
Story image for karelia from Sputnik International

Sacred Heritage: Orthodox Shrines in Russia's Karelia

Sputnik International-Jan 26, 2017
The Republic of Karelia is a popular destination not only for traditional tourism and recreation, but also for pilgrimages, too. One can find many ...
Story image for karelia from RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Russian Activists Discover High Radioactivity In World War II-Era ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty-Feb 11, 2017
PETERSBURG, Russia -- The forested landscape of Russia's Karelia is dotted with a necklace of decaying concrete bunkers stretching from the ...

Rostelecom expands network in Karelia, Archangel

Telecompaper (subscription)-Jan 19, 2017
Russian national operator Rostelecom has started connecting customers to its PON network in the town of Pryazha in the Republic of Karelia.
Read the whole story

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Finnish areas ceded in 1944 - Karelian question

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Areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union. 
 was returned to Finland in 1956.
The Karelian question or Karelian issue (FinnishKarjala-kysymys) is a dispute in Finnish politics over whether or not to try to regain sovereignty over Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War. Despite the name "Karelian question", the term may refer also to the return of Petsamo, ceded parts of Salla and Kuusamo, and four islands in the Gulf of Finland. Sometimes the phrase "debate on the return of the ceded territories" is used. The Karelian question remains a matter of public debate rather than a political issue.


The Karelian question arose when Finland was forced to cede territories to the Soviet Union after the Winter War in the Moscow peace treaty in 1940. Most Finnish citizens were evacuated from the ceded areas. Most of them returned during the Continuation War and eventually were evacuated again in 1944. The Soviet Union insisted the ceded areas be completely evacuated in 10 days. The evacuees were partly compensated for their losses; farmers, for example, received land in proportion to their earlier holdings. Usually, the compensation was about one third of the original farm. Compensation for movable property was much less. However, all evacuee families had a right to receive a small farm, and/or a plot for a detached house or a flat. The land used for these grants was confiscated by the state from municipalities and private owners. Financial compensation was funded by a general property tax of 10 to 30%, levied over a period of several years.[1][2] Because the vast majority of the evacuees who had to settle in the rest of Finland were from ceded Karelia, the question was labeled The Karelian Question. After the Winter War, Karelian municipalities and parishes established Karjalan Liitto (the Karelian Association) to defend the rights of Karelians in Finland.

 moving towards Western Finland during winter 1940.
During the Cold War, the Karelian-born Finnish politician Johannes Virolainen lobbied for the return of Karelia. President Urho Kekkonen also tried to reacquire the territory, especially when the Soviet Union returned the peninsula of Porkkala to Finland in 1956.[3] There was, however, no significant public controversy about the case, because Kekkonen wanted to keep it quiet.[4] The last time Kekkonen tried to raise it was in 1972, but he had no success, and public discussion died out in the 1970s.[5]
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Karelian question re-surfaced. According to an article by the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in August 2007, the Russian president Boris Yeltsin unofficially offered to sell ceded Karelia to Finland in 1991 but was declined.[6] However, according to many Finnish political leaders and the Russian vice Prime Minister of the time, there were no such offers, only unofficial probing of the idea.[7][8][9][10] Andrei Fyodorov, an advisor of Boris Yeltsin, told the Helsingin Sanomat that he was part of a group that was tasked by the government of Russia in 1991–1992 with calculating the price of returning Karelia to Finland. This price was set at 15 billion US dollars. According to Fyodorov, Finnish president Mauno Koivisto and Finnish foreign minister Paavo Väyrynen were aware of these unofficial discussions.[11]

Many Finnish era buildings remain in 
Karjalan Liitto is an interest group of Karelian evacuees which hopes that Karelia will once again become part of Finland at some point, but does not openly demand it. Some smaller groups, such as ProKarelia, continue to campaign for the peaceful return of Karelia. However, no serious political party has openly supported this goal, and Finnish politicians generally say there is no need for it, citing Finland's peace treaty with Russia. There are some individual politicians who support the return of Karelia, such as MEP Ari Vatanen, and two candidates in the presidential election of 2006Timo Soini and Arto Lahti. Other candidates have stated that Finland has signed a peace treaty and should not campaign for the return of what are now Russian-developed territories.[12] During a debate prior to the 2012 presidential election Timo Soini reiterated his view that, if elected, he would advance the issue.[13]

Official opinions[edit]

Both Russia and Finland have repeatedly stated that no open territorial dispute exists between the two countries. Finland's official stance is that the borders may be changed through peaceful negotiations, although there is currently no need to hold open talks, as Russia has shown no intention of returning the ceded areas, or discussing the question. In 1994 Boris Yeltsin commented that "seizure of Finnish Karelia" was an example of Stalin's totalitarian and aggressive politics.[14] Later in 1997 he stated that the matter was closed. In 2000 President Putin stated that such discussions may endanger Finnish–Russian relations, and in 2001 he said that "changing borders is not the best way to resolve problems", but that possible solutions would be "integration and cooperation".[15]
In 1998 Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari said that "Finland's official position is that it does not have territorial demands on Russia. However, if Russia wants to discuss returning the ceded areas, Finland is ready for that."[16] Several other politicians holding government office, such as the former foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja and prime minister Matti Vanhanen, have made statements along the same lines.[17][18]

Polls and popular opinion[edit]

The latest polls show that approximately 26% to 38% of Finns would like to see Karelia return to Finnish control and some 51% to 62% would oppose such a move. In Russia, people associate the word "Karelia" with the Republic of Karelia instead of Finnish Karelia, which makes conducting polls more difficult. In a 1999 poll by MTV3, 34% of the people of Vyborg supported returning Karelia to Finland and 57% were opposed. Vyborg and the rest of the ceded Karelia outside the Republic of Karelia nowadays contain very few ethnic Finns, and is almost exclusively inhabited by people who moved there during the Soviet era and their descendants.
In the latest poll in Finland about the question, 36 percent of Finns supported the return of ceded territories, compared to 51% who are opposed. The poll was conducted by the newspaper Karjala and the research institute MC-Info Oy on 13 October 2005. In August 2005, a poll by Helsingin Sanomat and Suomen Gallup, determined that 30% of Finns supported and 62% opposed the return.[19] In a poll by Taloustutkimus and Karjalan Liitto conducted in May 2005, support was 26% while 58% were opposed.[20] A year earlier, a poll by STT showed 38% supporting and 57% opposing. A poll by Taloustutkimus was criticized by ProKarelia for asking leading questions, such as, "Do you support the return of Karelia, even if it would mean more tense relations or even war with Russia?"[21] 5% of supporters and of those who declined to respond supported the return even under these circumstances (2.1% of all replies).[22]
Many of the people who were born in Karelia and were evacuated want Karelia to become part of Finland. According to polls, older people (ages 65 and up) and young people (15-25) support the idea more strongly than the generation of their parents (25–65) who grew up during the Cold War.[19] Former President Mauno Koivisto has been against a discussion about the question.[23] Support for regaining the ceded areas is also strong among minor nationalist right-wing groups.

Problems and arguments[edit]


Blocks of flats built in the Soviet era in 
One of the main reasons for opposing the return is the fear of the costs it would bring. According to another poll conducted by Helsingin Sanomat, 42% of Finns opposing the return list that as the most important single reason. The standard of living on the Russian side of the border is much lower than on the Finnish side. The GDP (PPP) per capita in Finland is about double that of Russia.
The costs of bringing Karelia to the same level with the rest of Finland have been researched only by supporters of the idea. According to a survey conducted by ProKarelia, the area has natural advantages that, under Finnish rule, would make it a centre of trade with Russia and industry and thus bring economic growth fast enough to solve the entire problem. According to both ProKarelian research and Arto Lahti's estimate, the price of return would be about 30 billion euro.[24][25][26]


Some people still live in houses that were built before 1939. A picture from 
The area is inhabited mostly by people who moved there from UkraineBelarus and Russia, and their descendants. The fate of these people is a major issue in discussions of the return of Karelia to Finland. According to the poll by Helsingin Sanomat, 14% of people opposing return consider its greatest flaw the tensions that would be caused by a Russian-speaking minority being formed in Finland. In 2004, there were about 370,000 Russians living in the region.[27]
If the inhabitants were allowed to stay in their homes, Finland would receive a few hundred thousand new Russian-speaking people with no experience of living in Finnish society. If services for them in their own language were to be provided, Finland would need many more officials capable of speaking Russian. In ProKarelia's vision, nearly half of the Russian population in Karelia would expel to Russia, and even more would leave if Finland paid their expenses for doing so.[24] However most of the Russian speaking population of Karelia were born there, have spent all their life in the region and consider it as their legal land.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Supporting organizations[edit]

Information also available in English:
Finnish only:
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Karelian question - Wikipedia

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The Karelian question or Karelian issue (FinnishKarjala-kysymys) is a dispute in Finnish politics over whether or not to try to regain sovereignty over Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War. Despite the name "Karelian question", the term may refer also to the return of Petsamo, ceded parts of Salla and Kuusamo, and four islands in the Gulf of Finland. Sometimes the phrase "debate on the return of the ceded territories" is used. The Karelian question remains a matter of public debate rather than a political issue.

Karelia (historical province of Finland) - Wikipedia

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Karelia (FinnishKarjala) is a historical province of Finland which Finland partly ceded to Russia after the Winter War of 1939–40. The Finnish Karelians include the present-day inhabitants of North and South Karelia and the still-surviving evacuees from the ceded territories. Present Finnish Karelia has 315,000 inhabitants. The more than 400,000 evacuees from the ceded territories were re-settled in various parts of Finland.
Finnish Karelia was historically under western dominance, religiously and politically and was separate from East Karelia, which was dominated by Novgorod and its successor states from the middle ages onwards.

Встреча с Артуром Парфенчиковым • Президент России

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Указом Президента Артур Парфенчиков назначен временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия.
Москва, Кремль
С Артуром Парфенчиковым, назначенным Указом Президента временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия.
1 из 2
С Артуром Парфенчиковым, назначенным Указом Президента временно исполняющим обязанности Главы Республики Карелия.
В.Путин: Артур Олегович, Вы родом из Карелии?
А.Парфенчиков: Из глубокой.
В.Путин: Что значит – из глубокой?
А.Парфенчиков: Из глубинки, с хутора.
В.Путин: С хутора? Как он называется?
А.Парфенчиков: Куркиёки.
Read the whole story

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Commentary: Trump has broken his oath to God – and America

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Signed in as mikenova
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Russia tells White House it will not return Crimea to Ukraine

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Signed in as mikenova
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AP News in Brief at 6:04 am EST

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AP News in Brief at 6:04 am EST

Washington Post - ‎22 minutes ago‎
Investigations into Russia to continue after Flynn's exit. WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies and Congress will continue to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election, even after President Donald Trump fired his national ...

Flynn Is Exactly What Trump Deserves

New York Times - ‎2 hours ago‎
Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, at the White House on Monday before he resigned. Credit Carlos Barria/Reuters. Donald Trump's zeal for extreme vetting has one glaring exception, one gaping blind spot: his own administration. If you're ...

Russia: 'We're not returning our territory' Crimea to Ukraine

CNN - ‎13 minutes ago‎
(CNN) Russia's Foreign Ministry has indicated that it intends to keep Crimea and not return it to Ukraine because it considers it to be part of Russia. Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Wednesday during a weekly news ...

Media helped force out Flynn, but leakers' real target is Donald Trump

Fox News - ‎1 hour ago‎
It was close to midnight when I had to kill a column I'd already filed for Fox News and write about the Michael Flynn resignation. The inescapable irony: The spiked column said that some positive stories for President Trump, such as his meetings with ...
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Hiring freeze could harm US military operations in S. Korea, commander says

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The Trump administration’s hiring freeze has left key military support positions vacant and could eventually harm U.S. readiness in South Korea, a commander said Wednesday.

Why US Embassy Move to Jerusalem Is So Fraught: QuickTake Q&A - Bloomberg

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Why US Embassy Move to Jerusalem Is So Fraught: QuickTake Q&A
What's the capital of Israel? Israelis say it's Jerusalem, and indeed the prime minister's office is there, as well as the parliament, the highest court and most government ministries. No other country, however, recognizes Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Can This 'Special Relationship' Be Saved?New York Times
Will Trump Backtrack On A Jerusalem Embassy And Illegal Settlements When Meeting Netanyahu Tomorrow?ChristianToday
Germany cancels annual meeting with Israeli governmentYnetnews
Anadolu Agency -TODAYonline -Free Malaysia Today -Jerusalem Post Israel News
all 88 news articles »

Russia sends spy ship near US, deploys banned missiles at home -

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Russia sends spy ship near US, deploys banned missiles at home
The Soviet Meridian-class intelligence collection ship Kareliya (SSV-535) steams alongside the U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Texas (CGN-39). The ship is similar to the intelligence gathering ship the Viktor Leonov that was spotted 70 miles off ...
Russian Spy Ship Spotted off East Coast of US, Officials SayFox News
Russia sends spy ship near US coast, deploys banned missiles at home, officials sayFox News

all 21 news articles »

Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign - CNN

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Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign
(CNN) High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials ...
Trump Administration Caught In Lie About Campaign Contacts With RussiansHuffington Post
Clinton Officials Denounce Alleged Trump Campaign Officials' Contacts With
'NYT': Intercepted communications show Trump associates, Russians in contactUSA TODAY
Daily Beast -Business Insider -Daily Caller -Yahoo News
all 106 news articles »

trump and russia - Google News: Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump - New York Times

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New York Times

Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump
New York Times
The new Russian missile deployment also comes as the Trump administration is struggling to fill key policy positions at the State Department and the Pentagon — and to settle on a permanent replacement for Michael T. Flynn, the national security ...
The other half of Trump's Russia problem—emboldened Putin rolls out missiles that violate treatyDaily Kos
Russia deploys cruise missile in violation of arms treaty: reportThe Hill

all 36 news articles »

 trump and russia - Google News
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After Flynn resigns, Dems ask what did Trump know and when

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn elicited a simple but persistent question Tuesday from congressional Democrats: What did President Donald Trump know and when did he know it?...

Trump was told in January that Flynn misled Pence, WH says

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump was told in late January that his top national security aide had misled his vice president, three weeks before Trump ousted adviser Michael Flynn amid a swirling public controversy over Flynn's contacts with a Russian official, a White House spokesman said Tuesday....

Top Dems want wider Flynn-Russia probe

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Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn may have stepped down as national security adviser, but the scrutiny over his communications with Russia is just beginning.

Eurasia Review: Worst Joke Ever? US Spy Chief Gives Saudi Prince Highest Award For ‘Fighting Terrorism’ – OpEd

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On Friday, the Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, used his first trip abroad to present Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with the CIA’s highest award for fighting terrorism, the George Tenet Medal.  Although the ceremony wasn’t covered by any of the major media, it was picked up on various blogsites where the news was greeted with predictable howls of outrage.  Not surprisingly, most American’s still see Saudi Arabia as the epicenter of global terrorism, a point which was underlined in a recent article at The Atlantic titled “Where America’s Terrorists Actually Come From”.  Here’s an excerpt:
“…after sifting through databases, media reports, court documents, and other sources, Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, has arrived at a striking finding: Nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.
Nowrasteh has listed foreign-born individuals who committed or were convicted of attempting to commit a terrorist attack on U.S. soil by their country of origin and the number of people they killed. … the countries at the top of the list, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are not included in Trump’s ban…
The 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 men—from Saudi Arabia (15), the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt (1), and Lebanon (1). The incident remains influential in how Americans think about the nature of terrorism.” (“Where America’s Terrorists Actually Come From“, The Atlantic)
While it’s true that 9-11 has shaped the way that Americans think about terrorism, it’s also true that most people are unaware of the deeper operational relationship between the CIA and the Saudis that dates back to the funding of the Mujahidin in Afghanistan in the 1970’s. This is where bin Laden and al Qaida first burst onto the scene, which is to say, that the sketchy CIA-Saudi connection created the seedbed for the War on Terror. Unfortunately,  even now– 16 years after the attacks of 9-11–  the relationship between the notorious intel agency and its Middle East allies remains as foggy as ever.  As a result, the Saudis are typically fingered as the main source of the problem while the CIA’s role is conveniently swept under the rug. For example, take a look at this clip from an article in the Independent:
“Saudi Arabia is the single biggest contributor to the funding of Islamic extremism and is unwilling to cut off the money supply, according to a leaked note from Hillary Clinton.
The US Secretary of State says in a secret memorandum that donors in the kingdom still “constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide” and that “it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority”…
Saudi Arabia is accused, along with Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, of failing to prevent some of its richest citizens financing the insurgency against Nato troops in Afghanistan. Fund-raisers from the Taliban regularly travel to UAE to take advantage of its weak borders and financial regulation to launder money.
However, it is Saudi Arabia that receives the harshest assessment. The country from which Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 terrorists originated, according to Mrs Clinton, “a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during the Haj and Ramadan”.
Then there’s this gem from ex-Vice President Joe Biden:
“Biden said that “our biggest problem is our allies” who are engaged in a proxy Sunni-Shiite war against Syrian President Bashar Assad. He specifically named Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were (Jabhat) Al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” Mr Biden said.” (“Joe Biden forced to apologize to UAE and Turkey over Syria remarks“, Telegraph)
The evidence against Saudi Arabia is overwhelming and damning, and that’s what makes Pompeo’s performance in Riyadh so confusing. Why is the head of the CIA bestowing an award on a man who could undoubtedly identify some of the world’s biggest terrorist donors, unless, of course, the CIA derives some benefit from the arrangement?
Is that it? Is there is a quid pro quo between Washington and the Saudis that no one knows about but from which Washington reaps tangible geopolitical benefits?
It’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
Is it too far-fetched to think that the Saudis are actually a franchise that acts as Langley’s primary subcontractor carrying out operations deemed too sensitive for its own agents while obscuring the Company’s role behind a cloak of plausible deniability? Isn’t that what Friday’s freakishly Orwellian awards ceremony really suggests, that the skullduggery is much darker, deeper and more complicated than anyone would care to imagine?
Washington’s support for the Mujahidin helped to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan which is why the Brzezinski crowd thought it was a success story.  If that’s the case, then isn’t it logical to assume that subsequent administrations might have used the same model elsewhere,   like Kosovo, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan?
Isn’t it at least worth investigating?
And, another thing:  Is it possible to uncover the root of terror by capturing and interrogating individual terrorists to find out what they know?
No, it’s not possible, because the individual cogs have never revealed the source of the funding-streams which originate from within the deep state. Every effort has been made to distance the authors from their illicit handiwork, to remove the tracks and erase the fingerprints. Once again, it’s all about plausible deniability and preventing the public from identifying the real perpetrators. Which means the only way to end this madness is by shedding light on the shadowy goings on between the Intel agencies and their Middle East proxies. There’s no other way.
One thing is certain, you’re not going to win the war on terror by handing out medals to the prime suspects.

 Eurasia Review
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· · · · ·

U.S. lawmakers seek deeper probe into Russia ties after Trump aide quits

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, called on Tuesday for a deeper inquiry into White House ties to Russia, after national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned in President Donald Trump's biggest staff upheaval so far.

Thomas L. Friedman: What Trump Is Doing Is Not O.K.

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I am not arguing that he isn’t the legitimate president, but I am arguing that he is not behaving like one.

 Thomas L. Friedman
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Page 5

FBI Interviewed Flynn in Trump's First Days in Office, Officials Say - New York Times

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New York Times

FBI Interviewed Flynn in Trump's First Days in Office, Officials Say
New York Times
WASHINGTON — F.B.I. agents interviewed Michael T. Flynn when he was national security adviser in the first days of the Trump administration about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, current and former officials said on Tuesday. The ...
FBI needs to explain why Flynn was recorded, Intelligence Committee chairman saysWashington Post
Pelosi calls on FBI to accelerate probe of Trump ties to RussiaThe Hill
Top House Republican wants FBI 'assessment' on Trump-related leaksFox News
TPM -Breitbart News -The Week Magazine -CBS News
all 2,441 news articles »

Trump knew for weeks that aide was misleading over Russia: White House

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump knew for weeks that national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled the White House about his contacts with Russia but did not immediately force him out, an administration spokesman said on Tuesday.

Michael T. Flynn: A Timeline of His Tenure

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The events that led to Michael T. Flynn’s abrupt resignation as national security adviser stretch back to before President Trump’s inauguration.

Key Words: One of Michael Phelps’s secrets to success is much different than Donald Trump’s

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Michael Phelps and Donald Trump have a few things in common. Like, they’re both really tall, they have a thing for beauty queens, they make funny faces and, of course, the two men have worked hard to rise to the top of their respective fields. But there’s a big difference in how they go about that last one.

Theresa May tells Donald Trump she is looking forward to his state visit as she rejects petition to revoke the invitation

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Chaffetz to investigate Mar-a-Lago but not Flynn's ties with Russia yet - ABC News

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Chaffetz to investigate Mar-a-Lago but not Flynn's ties with Russia yet
ABC News
“No senators, no members of Congress, but a group of distinguished citizens, well-informed, who have the best interests of the country in mind, to look at this whole episode with Russia and come up with recommendations. But first of all, come up with ...

and more »
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Page 6

Trump knew for weeks that aide was misleading over Russia: White House

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump knew for weeks that national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled the White House about his contacts with Russia but did not immediately force him out, an administration spokesman said on Tuesday.

Pedro Hernandez Found Guilty of Kidnapping and Killing Etan Patz in 1979 - New York Times

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New York Times

Pedro Hernandez Found Guilty of Kidnapping and Killing Etan Patz in 1979
New York Times
Pedro Hernandez, a clerk in a Manhattan bodega, had confessed to luring the 6-year-old Etan Patz into the store's basement and attacking him in 1979. Credit Pool photo by Louis Lanzano. Pedro Hernandez, a former stock clerk in a Manhattan bodega who ...
Etan Patz murder suspect Pedro Hernandez found guilty of killing 6-year-old in 1979New York Daily News
Maple Shade Man Convicted Of Killing Etan Patz, Boy Missing Since 1979CBS Local
Suspect guilty in Etan Patz murder caseUSA TODAY -New York Post -Washington Post -NBC 10 Philadelphia
all 41 news articles »

Aoun, Hariri's Hezbollah comments lay bare Lebanon's political divide

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Prime Minister called Hezbollah's arms illegitimate on Tuesday after its President said the group's military wing was vital to its security, spelling out the country's political divisions more clearly than at any time since they took office.

Admiral in line to replace Flynn as U.S. national security adviser

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior naval officer who served under President Donald Trump's Defense Secretary James Mattis is the leading candidate to replace Michael Flynn after the national security adviser resigned under pressure over his conversations with a Russian diplomat, two U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices: Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser last night after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. The New York Times reports that Flynn had previously denied that he’d had any substantive conversations with Kislyak, and Pence had repeated the claim on national television. Flynn later walked back his denial, telling the Washington Post through a spokesman that he “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
The Post informs us that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed White House counsel Donald McGahn last month that Flynn had not been entirely forthcoming about content of his conversations and was a security risk because he was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Then-Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr. and then-CIA Director John Brennan agreed with Yates’s assessment and concurred with her recommendation to inform the White House. It is unclear what McGahn did with the information.
The AP tells us that while the Kremlin has downplayed Flynn’s resignation, Russian lawmakers have expressed their disappointment over Flynn’s exit. Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign relations committee of the Federation Council, said that firing a national security advisor for his contacts with Russia is “not just paranoia but something even worse.” And Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the information committee at the Federation Council, said that “it was not Flynn who was targeted but relations with Russia.” It is not clear whether Flynn’s resignation will influence bilateral ties.
CNN reports that a number of GOP senators are calling for an investigation into connections between President Donald Trump and Russia, and want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to testify. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence should look into this carefully, and Senator Roy Blunt, who is a member of the SSCI said that wants to speak to Flynn, and that “we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonder whether there was a stone left unturned.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also joined the calls. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the SSCI, told reporters he hasn’t made a decision about whether Flynn should testify, while Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the committee, has said that he should.
The Guardian writes that retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, who until yesterday was the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, has now been appointed acting national security adviser by the Trump administration. Kellogg has been promoted over Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, who is likely to resign her position as well, according to the Times. The Los Angeles Times examines Kellogg’s time in Iraq in 2003 under L. Paul Bremer, where he was “the guy who’s supposed to make the trains run on time.”   
The Post notes that the front-runner to replace Flynn as national security advisor is Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Vice President Mike Pence is reportedly leading the discussions and working closely with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Buzzfeed adds that former CIA Director David Petraeus is also in the running, as is Kellogg.
The New York Times informs us that Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints from American officials that this violates a 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles based on land. The missile has been an issue since 2014, when the Obama administration attempted to persuade the Russians to correct the violation of the treaty while the missile was still in its test phase. But the Russians have moved ahead with the system, deploying a fully operational unit of two battalions. The move presents a crucial test of Trump’s vow to improve relations with Russia, at a time when key policy positions in the State Department and Defense Department have yet to be filled, and the National Security Council is in disarray.
Politico informs us that the White House has been under fire in a string of high-profile controversies over its handling of sensitive information, most recently regarding President Trump’s taking a phone call about the North Korean missile test and poring over government documents using flashlights from cell phones vulnerable to hacking, all while sitting in full view of guests at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. On that note, Senators Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Tom Carper (Del.) released a letter on Monday to Defense Secretary James Mattis asking for details on the phone and raising the issue of the proper archiving of Trump’s tweets. The two senators are specifically asking the Defense Information Security Agency (DISA) to give a written response as to whether Trump has received and is using a secured smartphone.
The Times reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was assassinated in a Kuala Lumpur airport yesterday. A South Korean government official reportedly believes the two spies who carried out the assassination were dispatched by North Korea. Nam, who was once considered to be the heir apparent to Kim Jong Il, Nam had been openly critical of his half-brother’s rule. Reuters reports that the United States strongly believes that the killing was ordered by Kim Jong Un. Nam’s death comes just one day after a ballistic missile test by North Korea led to condemnation by the United States and Japan.
CNN notes that Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy has announced his retirement, effective in early March. In recent weeks, Clancy denied reports of tension between the Secret Service and President Trump’s private security contractors.
BBC reports that Queen Elizabeth II opened the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre as part of the GCHQ, Britain’s communications intelligence agency, this morning. The Centre, part of a £1.9bn five-strategy, is designed to better protect Britain from cyberattacks, particularly in light of recent efforts by Russia.
Reuters notes that Germany is moving forward with plans to strengthen military ties with other European nations in the face of increasing pressure from the United States to raise military spending, setting up a joint fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes with France and joining a Netherlands-led fleet of Airbus A330 tanker planes. The agreements are part of a broader effort to expand European defense cooperation, which will be announced at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has called the U.S. demands for greater burden-sharing “fair,” will sign the expanded declaration of intent for the joint fleet with France.
The Times writes that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck a cordial tone yesterday during his meeting with Trump, alternating between trying to bridge gaps on issues such as immigration, refugees, trade, and climate change, and avoiding them altogether. Trump skirted a question about whether he sees the northern border with Canada as secure, and Trudeau avoided answering questions about Trump’s refugee executive order, saying “the last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves.” Maintaining Canada’s close political and economic ties with the United States were at the top of Trudeau’s agenda, especially given Trump’s recent calls to renegotiate NAFTA.       
The AP informs us that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit tomorrow with Trump that is clouded in uncertainty, given that Trump appears to have softened his tone on some of the key issues in the U.S.-Israel relationship, most notably including settlement construction, since taking office. Netanyahu faces pitfalls from many American Jews who oppose Trump’s policies and pressure from back home to push for policies Trump may not accept.   
The Wall Street Journal tells us that Judge Leonie Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted a statewide preliminary injunction blocking a key section of the executive order restricting entry into the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. Brinkema cited the president’s campaign-trail comments endorsing a “Muslim ban” to argue that the order was likely unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause.
Human Rights Watch has released a study saying that chlorine gas attacks paved the way for Syrian forces as they advanced into rebel-held portions of eastern Aleppo during the final battle for the cityaccording to the Post. “The pattern of the chlorine attacks shows that they were coordinated with the overall military strategy for retaking Aleppo, not the work of a few rogue elements,” according to Ole Solvang of Human Rights Watch. Eight separate attacks resulted in the death of nine civilians, including four children, and wounded roughly 200 people.
The Times writes that the Trump administration is considering whether it should transfer an al Qaeda operative being held in Yemen who is wanted on terrorism charges in New York to Guantanamo Bay prison. Abu Khaybar, who was captured in Yemen last fall, presents an important legal and policy test for Trump, who promised to fill the prison with “bad dudes.” The decision to transfer Khaybar to Guantanamo would put the administration at odds with career Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents who say criminal courts at handling terrorism cases than military tribunals, which have been troubled by setbacks and delays.
NPR informs us that Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl appeared at a hearing before a military judge yesterday, during which his lawyers argued that President Trump’s comments on the case will prevent their client from receiving a fair trial. Trump personally commented on Bergdahl at length during the campaign, repeatedly referring to Bergdahl as a traitor. Bergdahl’s lawyers submitted a motion to dismiss the charges of desertion and misbehavior he faces. Army prosecutors have alleged that Bergdahl put the lives of other soldiers at risk by disappearing and then having to be exchanged after more than five years in captivity for five Taliban detainees who were held at Guantanamo.

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Paul Gewirtz explained how the lack of impulsiveness by the courts in dealing with President Trump’s refugee executive order should guide the Supreme Court going forward.
Josh Blackman studied the reasoning of the Ninth Circuit’s panel opinion in Washington v. Trump in Part I of a two-part essay.
Tim Maurer and Hannes Ebert flagged their curated list of publications covering cybersecurity in international relations and distinguished it from similar cybersecurity compendiums.
Benjamin Wittes posted about the upcoming Hoover Institution event Cybersecurity in the Trump Administration: What Should We Expect?
Jack Goldsmith argued that in the wake of the Flynn imbroglio, the spotlight will fall to Donald McGahn as White House counsel.
Samuel Moyn asked where we are now in the post 9/11 struggles over America’s national security and surveillance state.
Shane Reeves examined what happens in international law when states no longer govern and non-state actors take over.
Quinta Jurecic called for students to intern at Lawfare this summer.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

 Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices
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· · · · · · · ·

ANALYSIS: Flynn resignation raises dark new questions surrounding Trump and Russia

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His abrupt departure reveals a national security team in disarray.
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Page 7

Report: US Believes Russia Deployed New Missile in Treaty Violation 

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Russia has deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints by U.S. officials that it violates an arms control treaty banning ground-based U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified officials. The newspaper said Russia had secretly deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile that Moscow has been developing and testing for several years, despite U.S. complaints that it violated sections of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty. The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the New York Times story. The U.S. State Department concluded in a July 2014 arms control report that "the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km (310 miles to 3,420 miles), or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles." Russia accused Washington of conducting "megaphone diplomacy" after the accusation was repeated by the State Department in 2015. Moscow also denied it had violated the INF treaty, which helped end the Cold War between the two countries. The New York Times said the previous U.S. administration of President Barack Obama had attempted to persuade Moscow to correct the violation while the missile was still in the testing phase. Instead, Russia has moved ahead with the SSC-8 missile, deploying it as an operational system, the report said. Russia now has two battalions of the cruise missile, the newspaper quoted administration officials as saying. One is located at Russia's missile test site at Kapustin Yar in the country's southeast. The other cruise missile battalion has been located at an operational base elsewhere in Russia, the Times quoted one unidentified official as saying.

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· ·

Top Dems want wider Flynn-Russia probe

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Gen. Michael Flynn may have stepped down as National Security Adviser, but the scrutiny over his communications with Russia is just beginning.

Etan Patz's killer convicted after 38 years

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Etan Patz's killer convicted after 38 years. (AP)The jury deliberates for nine days before finding Pedro Hernandez guilty of murder in one of the nation's most haunting missing-child cases.

Former clerk convicted of killing Etan Patz 38 years ago

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A former store clerk was convicted Tuesday of murder in one of the nation's most haunting missing-child cases, the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz on the way to the school bus stop 38 years ago....

Man convicted of killing Etan Patz, boy missing since 1979

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A man has been convicted in one of the most haunting missing-child cases.

WATCH: McCain sees NSC in 'disarray' after Michael Flynn's resignation

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"Obviously, there's an administration that is in significant disarray, as far as national security is concerned, and they need to fix that," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Next Page of Stories
Page 8

Today's Headlines and Commentary - Lawfare (blog)

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Today's Headlines and Commentary
Lawfare (blog)
Then-Director of National Intelligence James RClapperJr. and then-CIA Director John Brennan agreed with Yates's assessment and concurred with her recommendation to inform the White House. It is unclear what McGahn did with the information. The AP ...

and more »

The US and Iran Are Not Yet on a Course to War

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a press conference at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. I

Spicer says 'eroding' trust between Flynn and Trump caused resignation

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Comes the day after Michael Flynn's resignation as NSA.

Pressure builds for probe into Trump-Russia ties

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Senators call for investigations after Flynn resigns as national security adviser

NSC in 'disarray' after Flynn's resignation: Lawmakers

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Democratic and Republican lawmakers are questioning White House ties to Russia.

Trump Told Weeks Ago That Michael Flynn Withheld Truth on Russia 

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Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said in a briefing Tuesday that President Trump has been reviewing the situation daily and asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser.
Next Page of Stories
Page 9

Russia 'deploys cruise missile in violation of landmark arms control treaty with US' 

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U.S. lawmakers seek deeper probe into Russia ties after Flynn quits

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, called on Tuesday for a deeper inquiry into White House ties to Russia, after national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced out in President Donald Trump's biggest staff upheaval so far.

The Struggle Inside The Wall Street Journal

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The most successful modern publisher of ideological journalism is Rupert Murdoch. He buys media properties, or starts new ones, and turns them into conservative megaphones.
In England, he carefully nudged the venerable Times to the right, while his tabloids mocked Labour Party politicians as weaklings or Stalinists. In the United States, he transformed the once-liberal New York Post into a peppery conservative tabloid and then built Fox News from scratch.
Clearly, he enjoys both populist and elite media. And in 2007, he bought a journalistic jewel, The Wall Street Journal.
Now The Journal’s newsroom is embroiled in a fight over the paper’s direction.
Many staff members believe that the paper’s top editor, Gerard Baker, previously a feisty conservative commentator, is trying to Murdoch-ize the paper. “There is a systemic issue,” one reporter told me. The dissatisfaction went public last week, with stories in Politico and the Huffington Post. At a staff meeting on Monday, Baker dismissed the criticism as “fake news,” Joe Pompeo and Hadas Gold of Politico reported.
As a longtime reader, admirer and competitor of The Journal, I think the internal critics are right. You can see the news pages becoming more politicized. You can also see The Journal’s staff pushing back, through both great journalism (including exposes on the Trump administration) and quiet insubordination.
Consider The Journal’s coverage of Trump’s false voter-fraud allegations. The stories are mostly solid, noting Trump has no evidence. The headlines often tend toward stenography:
Trump Seeks Election Fraud Probe
Trump Takes Aim at ‘Millions’ of Votes
Top Adviser Repeats Vote-Fraud Claims
Reporters and editors have become accustomed to the “shaving off the edges” of Trump-related stories, one said, especially in headlines and initial paragraphs. The insubordination shows up in later paragraphs, where reporters include harder-hitting information.
There is no shortage of troubling anecdotes: A revealing story about Trump’s white-supremacist support that never ran in print. A dearth of stories about climate change and frightened immigrants. An email from Baker encouraging the staff not to mention the Muslim makeup of the countries when describing Trump’s immigration ban (partly rescinded after BuzzFeed disclosed the email). Glowing stories about Trump — “astonishing,” one longtime editor said — by a reporter who once tweeted a photo of herself smiling with Trump on his jet.
More generally, staffers are worried about Trump-Journal chumminess. Ivanka Trump was until recently a trustee of the Murdoch estate. In The Journal’s Washington bureau, eyebrows rose when Baker’s assistant called to ask how to send Trump a memento: a printing-press plate from an edition reporting his ascendance. (A spokeswoman said no plate was sent.)
The Journal’s opinion pages, of course, have long been conservative. And they have their own tensions: An editor critical of Trump was recently fired, The Atlantic reported. But The Journal’s news pages, like those of The New York Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere, have aspired to objectivity.
One way to understand the fight is through the lens of Fox News. Its former leader, Roger Ailes, knew that the country had become more polarized and that many viewers didn’t want sober objectivity. He also knew that most reporters leaned left, and their beliefs sometimes seeped into coverage.
So Ailes came up with a brilliantly cynical strategy. He created a conservative news channel that dispensed with objectivity, and sometimes with facts, while claiming it was more objective — “Fair and Balanced” — than the competition.
The Wall Street Journal is no Fox News, and Baker, who’s publicly acknowledged Trump’s untruths and celebrated some hard-hitting stories, is no Ailes. Yet it’s easy to see how The Journal could continue down the Murdoch path.
Baker believes that most media is hopelessly biased, Journal staffers say. He views his critics as liberal whiners, and his approach as the fair and balanced one.
I happen to agree that liberal bias can be a media problem. On important issues — abortion, education, parenting and religion, to name a few — left-leaning beliefs too often distort coverage. The Journal, and every newspaper, should indeed fight that problem.
But that’s very different from saying reporters protect any political party. They don’t. Journalists’ incentives and instincts all point the other way. Which is why the media reported so aggressively on Hillary Clinton’s emails, damaging her badly.
Observers of Murdoch’s company believe that his sons, rising in power, don’t care as much about conservative causes as their father. If that’s right, it’s possible to imagine many more years of The Wall Street Journal as one of the world’s best newspapers, enlightening readers and, yes, making life difficult for competitors.
After all, has there ever been a more important time for sophisticated and fearless financial journalism?
Continue reading the main story
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· · · ·

Why Trump Is Right on Russia

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Repairing relations with Russia can begin in Ukraine. The parameters for such a compromise were laid out in the Minsk agreement of 2015, which committed Russia to disarm separatists in eastern Ukraine and Ukraine to draw up a new federal constitution granting enhanced autonomy to the Donbas, the eastern Ukrainian region that has declared independence. The United States should work with Russia on a compromise for the Donbas, which should be demilitarized and secured by a United Nations peacekeeping force. Meanwhile, the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula should be accepted (since short of a world war there is no way Russia will give it up). Though the annexation shouldn’t be recognized legally, American sanctions on Russia should be lifted.
American and NATO officials like to claim that such a compromise would encourage Russian aggression elsewhere. This view is based on self-deception on the part of Western elites who are interested in maintaining confrontation with Russia as a distraction from more important, painful problems at home, like migration, industrial decline and anger over globalization.
A child with a map can look at where the strategic frontier between the West and Russia was in 1988 and where it is today, and work out which side has advanced in which direction. So it is necessary to recognize that over the past generation, Russia’s actions — though sometimes wrong and even criminal — have been overwhelmingly reactive to what the West has done. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is about Ukraine, a country of supreme historical, ethnic, cultural, strategic and economic importance to Russia. It implies nothing for the rest of Eastern Europe.
If, as many of the hawks in Brussels and Washington claim, Russia wanted to undermine and then invade Latvia, it would have done so after 2008, when the Latvian economy was in collapse and it would have been easy to create a crisis there. Instead, Moscow did nothing — the Russian government is well aware that any such move would bring Western Europe and the United States back together in hostility toward Russia.
If Russia does invade Latvia or one of the other Baltic States, of course, the United States and its allies would have to fight — and fight hard — to defend them. These countries are members of NATO and the European Union. To surrender them to Russian aggression would make the West look both morally bankrupt and geopolitical impotent. But it is hard to imagine any realistic situation in which this need will arise.
Eastern Europe is not the only arena where the American agenda has proved inept. In Syria, the United States and Western Europe have bungled the war. Here, too, Mr. Trump’s plans to cooperate with Russia would be a welcome change. Because of Russian, Iranian and now Turkish support, Mr. Assad’s Syrian state is not going to fall. If it is to be transformed in the future, negotiation with Russia and Iran will be necessary.
Iran is an essential ally against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria. And that means that the White House will soon discover the dangerous inconsistencies in its policies. Both Mr. Trump and his recently resigned national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, have spoken of prioritizing the fight against the Islamic State. But by simultaneously expressing desire for a new confrontation with Iran, they have demonstrated that they do not actually understand the word “priority.”
Furthermore, barring an open Iranian violation of the nuclear agreement, no imaginable American concession to Russia would persuade Moscow to agree to new international sanctions against Iran. One reason is that Russia sees good relations with Iran as permanently in its interest, whereas the policy makers in Moscow know that American concessions may be withdrawn by the next administration.
China may be the other major sticking point. While he has moderated his stand somewhat in recent weeks, Mr. Trump has suggested he is prepared for a confrontation with China. But Russia will not play along. With a 2,600-mile-long border with China and a hopelessly outnumbered army, there is no way that Russia can be persuaded to adopt an outright hostile stance toward its neighbor. The furthest that Russia might go as a result of a better relationship with the United States would be to limit sales of its most sophisticated weapons to China, and perhaps to help seek a United Nations-brokered international compromise over the islands disputed by China and its neighbors.
Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has not opposed the United States out of blind anti-Americanism. In the former Soviet countries, Russia has defended what the Russian establishment sees — rightly or wrongly — as vital Russian national interests.
Elsewhere in the world, Russia has clashed with the United States for reasons that have often been shared by many Americans, and have often later been proved correct: opposition to the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s regime in Libya being the most notable examples. While Russia wants good relations with the United States, it will not lend blanket support to American global primacy. If that is what the Trump administration is hoping for, it will be sorely disappointed, and the latest attempt at reconciliation with Russia will fail.
Continue reading the main story
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· · ·

NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributor: Why Trump Is Right on Russia 

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Better relations between the United States and Moscow are necessary but not inevitable.

 NYT > Opinion

In Homeland Security: White House names possible shortlist for Flynn replacement 

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President Trump must now fill a vital national security post after the resignation of embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn.

 In Homeland Security
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