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    For at least the third time in less than a year, Twitter has banned a network of accounts with links to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), the troll farm responsible for . Twitter it suspended 31 accounts across two networks with ties to the company. The accounts were part of a larger enforcement action Twitter took against 373 accounts it said had connections to Armenia, Iran and Russia. In all, 100 of those accounts were linked to Russia. According to the company, it caught the networks attempting to amplify talking points that cast a favorable light on the Russian government while targeting people in the US and EU. “The 373 associated accounts across the four networks were permanently suspended from Twitter for violations of our platform manipulation policies,” the company said. Before today, Twitter’s most action against IRA-linked accounts occurred in September when, alongside Facebook, it found that the...
    Reuters February 23, 2021 0 Comments Twitter said on Tuesday it had taken down 373 accounts which it said had ties to Russia, Armenia and Iran and had breached its platform manipulation policies. The company said it had taken down 238 accounts operating from Iran for various violations of its policies. Twitter said 100 accounts with Russian ties were removed for amplifying narratives that undermined faith in NATO and targeted the United States and the European Union. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow planned to look into the grounds for Twitter blocking the accounts, TASS news agency reported. Twitter also said 35 accounts with ties to Armenia were taken down, adding that they had been created to target Azerbaijan. “The 373 associated accounts across the four networks were permanently suspended from Twitter for violations of our platform manipulation policies,” the company said in a blog post....
    The Trump administration on Monday announced sanctions against seven Ukrainians, including several who have met with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, on allegations that they are part of “Russia-linked disinformation network” that tried to influence the 2020 election. The Treasury Department imposed the sanctions against seven individuals and four media outlets that are linked to Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker previously sanctioned over his ties to Russian intelligence. On the sanctions list are former Ukrainian government officials Andriy Telizhenko, Konstantin Kulyk, and Oleksandr Onyshchenko. Also included is Oleksandr Dubinsky, a current member of Ukraine’s parliament. According to the Treasury Department, beginning in 2019, Derkach and his associates “leveraged U.S. media, U.S.-based social media platforms, and influential U.S. persons to spread misleading and unsubstantiated allegations that current and former U.S. officials engaged in corruption, money laundering, and unlawful political influence in Ukraine.” “These efforts are consistent with and in support of Derkach’s...
    (CNN)The US announced sanctions Monday against a group of Russian-linked Ukrainians, including two people who worked closely with Trump allies to discredit President-elect Joe Biden during the 2020 election campaign.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against seven individuals and four entities "that are part of a Russia-linked foreign influence network associated with" accused Russian agent Andrii Derkach, designating them for their involvement in efforts to try to influence the election."Russian disinformation campaigns targeting American citizens are a threat to our democracy," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in his own statement. "The United States will continue to aggressively defend the integrity of our election systems and processes."The Trump administration sanctioned Derkach in September, accusing him of being an "active Russian agent" who was part of Moscow's efforts to interfere in the 2020 campaign. Derkach has close ties to President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and was singled out earlier...
    A Kremlin-connected multi-millionaire has denied anything 'criminal' when his student daughter died in a 'tragic accident' after falling from her bedroom window in a central Moscow high rise. The body of Valeria Shpilenko, 19, was found beneath her family's home in the tower block, leading to an investigation by law enforcement. Her father Andrey Shpilenko, 45, is seen as one of his country's most skilled and high profile top managers, who was formerly an MP and high-flying official in United Russia, the political party formed as Vladimir Putin's vehicle for power. Valeria Shpilenko, 19, the daughter of a Kremlin-connected former Russian MP fell to her death from a central Moscow high rise on Thursday, sparking a police investigation He is now boss of a network of 'techno parks' around Russia, seen by the Kremlin as vital to the economy. The father hit out at the Russian media for suggesting...
    The White House has convened urgent meetings of officials across multiple agencies to address a breach of U.S. government computer systems attributed to Russia, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Trump administration is holding daily discussions on the hack that include representatives of the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency, according to the person. U.S. government agencies were attacked as part of a global campaign orchestrated by hackers believed to be tied to the Russian government, according to U.S. officials. The hackers were reported to have installed a malicious vulnerability in software from Texas-based SolarWinds Corp., whose customers include top government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. It is unclear what information the hackers were after. No classified systems are believed to have been accessed, the person said. A White House National Security Council spokesman had no...
    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/Handout The longtime aide to “Putin’s Congressman” Dana Rohrabacher died suddenly from a head injury over the weekend. Paul Behrends was found by emergency responders close to his home on Friday night with severe head trauma. He was taken to a local hospital where surgeons fought to save him, but he passed away on Saturday, according to a spokesman for Rohrabacher. Behrends was a controversial figure on Capitol Hill who lost his job as staff director for the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee after The Daily Beast reported on his links to Trump Tower lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s operation in the U.S. GOP Lawmaker Got Direction From Moscow, Took It Back to D.C. Rohrabacher’s former congressional spokesman Ken Grubbs told The Daily Beast that Behrends died at the hospital. “I did actually call Dana and he confirmed it,” he said. “What I’ve heard is that he...
    The longtime aide to “Putin’s Congressman” Dana Rohrabacher died suddenly from a head injury over the weekend. Paul Behrends was found by emergency responders close to his home on Friday night with severe head trauma. He was taken to a local hospital where surgeons fought to save him, but he passed away on Saturday, according to a spokesman for Rohrabacher. Behrends was a controversial figure on Capitol Hill who lost his job as staff director for the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee after The Daily Beast reported on his links to Trump Tower lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s operation in the U.S. Rohrabacher’s former congressional spokesman Ken Grubbs told The Daily Beast that Behrends died at the hospital. “I did actually call Dana and he confirmed it,” he said. “What I’ve heard is that he slipped… hit his head, and died in surgery.” Grubbs said there was no reason to think anything...
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police arrested a man on Tuesday suspected of killing 26 elderly women, sometimes posing as a social worker to enter their homes before strangling them and stealing their valuables, law enforcement agencies said. Russia's RIA news agency and other state media said investigators believe him to be a serial killer known as the Volga Maniac who preyed on retired women living alone in twelve different regions in 2011-12, most of them near the Volga River. The Investigative Committee that handles probes into serious crimes identified the suspect as a metalworker named Radik Tagirov, 38, who was jailed for theft in 2009 and released in 2010. His lawyer could not be reached for comment. The agency said it had DNA samples linking the suspect to the killings. He was apprehended at an address in the city of Kazan, it added. The Vesti state television channel aired footage...
    REUTERS The world has learned a lot about Yevgeny Prigozhin since American authorities first filed criminal charges against him two years ago for alleged financial ties to the internet troll farm accused of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Known as “Putin’s Chef” due to his vast Kremlin catering contracts, Prigozhin has also been sanctioned by the U.S. for his alleged ties to Russian mercenaries affiliated with the Wagner Group. Now, leaked data from several sanctioned Russian firms linked to Prigozhin’s business networks reveals that key Prigozhin associates have helped one of his political consultants infiltrate a high-level UN panel. Prigozhin’s alleged mercenary army provides intelligence and paramilitary fighters all over the world. The U.S. Treasury links it directly into President Putin’s chain of command describing the shadow military as “a designated Russian Ministry of Defense proxy force.” Evidence of Russia’s apparent campaign to install a Prigozhin...
    The world has learned a lot about Yevgeny Prigozhin since American authorities first filed criminal charges against him two years ago for alleged financial ties to the internet troll farm accused of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Known as “Putin’s Chef” due to his vast Kremlin catering contracts, Prigozhin has also been sanctioned by the U.S. for his alleged ties to Russian mercenaries affiliated with the Wagner Group. Now, leaked data from several sanctioned Russian firms linked to Prigozhin’s business networks reveals that key Prigozhin associates have helped one of his political consultants infiltrate a high-level UN panel. Prigozhin’s alleged mercenary army provides intelligence and paramilitary fighters all over the world. The U.S. Treasury links it directly into President Putin’s chain of command describing the shadow military as “a designated Russian Ministry of Defense proxy force.” Evidence of Russia’s apparent campaign to install a Prigozhin connected operative...
    The leading international organization monitoring the use of banned chemical weapons confirmed Tuesday that Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was poisoned in August with a substance in the same family as a Russian military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok, backing prior assertions from doctors in Germany, where the opposition leader remains in recovery. [ READ: The Failure of Putin’s Grand Plan ]The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons issued the report after conducting an investigation at the behest of the German government, following similar conclusions from doctors in Sweden and France of the poison's use against Navalny. The substance the organization found in blood and urine samples from Navalny according to the report "have similar structural characteristics as the toxic chemicals" added to the list of internationally banned weapons last year, following the reported use of Novichok in the U.K. against other Russian dissidents. The organization's director-general, Fernando Arias, said according...
    Facebook has taken down a slew of suspicious accounts on Facebook and Instagram tied to Russian military or intelligence assets, according to a report the company released Thursday.  The FBI tipped Facebook off on some of the posts, which led to the removal of some of the accounts. They targeted several countries, including the U.S., U.K., China and Belarus, although Facebook said the activity primarily focused on Syria and Ukraine.  "We removed three separate networks for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) on behalf of a foreign or government entity. These networks originated in Russia," Facebook announced on its website. One network was tied to the Russian military, another was linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency and the third was associated with Russian intelligence services. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox On a call with reporters, Nathaniel Gleicher, head...
    “While we have not seen the networks we removed today engage in these efforts, or directly target the US 2020 election, they are linked to actors associated with election interference in the US in the past, including those involved in ‘DC leaks’ in 2016,” Gleicher wrote. “These fake personas posed as editors and researchers to solicit articles for these websites. This network posted primarily in Russian and English about news and current events, including protests and elections in Belarus, Russian and Ukrainian politics, geopolitical conspiracies, Russia-NATO relations, Russia’s relations with neighboring countries, and criticism of US foreign policy, socio-economic issues in the US, and US political candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.” This isn’t the first time Facebook says it found fake accounts linked to Russian state actors. Earlier this month the company took down a handful of accounts tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency that successfully tricked...
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany should not be linked to the case of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced calls to halt the nearly-complete pipeline bringing Russian gas to Germany in response to the poisoning of Navalny in Siberia last month. Moscow says it has yet to see proof he was poisoned with a nerve agent, as Berlin says. Peskov reiterated that Russia was hoping to cooperate with Germany on the case but that its efforts to do so had not met with understanding. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyov, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Anastasia Teterevleva; Editing by Mark Trevelyan) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
    The Senate Intelligence Committee released a new collection of documents on Tuesday, which is believed to be the final volume of their report on Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The 900 plus page report goes into great detail on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his entanglement with Russian figures. One portion of the report says that Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of Manafort, is a Russian intelligence officer who served as a conduit with Russian oligarchs, was privy to internal campaign information and might have been connected to the the GRU’s 2016 hack-and-leak operation. This was summarized as a “grave counterintelligence threat.” From the Manafort findings: Manafort hired and worked increasingly closely with a Russian national, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik is a Russian intelligence officer. Kilimnik became an integral part of Manafort’s operations in Ukraine and Russia, serving as Manafort’s primary liaison to Deripaska...
    THE NSA and FBI have warned a Russian military intelligence agency linked with hacking Hillary Clinton’s election campaign has unleashed malware to spy on US computers. The bug, called Drovorub, allows the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, known as GRU, to target Linux computers allowing Russian agents to spy on infected machines, according to the report. 4An insignia for the Russian military group GRU The GRU, which has a considerable special forces unit, are considered an elite group within the Russian military -- whose head reports directly to President Vladimir Putin. Linux, an operating system like Microsoft Windows or Apple’s MacOS, is a popular system for tech-savvy users and is often found on computers operated by The US Department of Defense, NASA and the European nuclear research lab CERN. 4Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with a gun at a shooting gallery of the new GRU military intelligence headquarters building...
    A new bipartisan Senate investigation concluded Russian oligarchs have been using the opaque nature of the art industry to dodge U.S. sanctions, purchasing millions of dollars in art in an apparent money laundering scheme. The 150-page report by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Chairman Rob Portman of Ohio and Vice Chairman Tom Carper of Delaware, detailed a two-year investigation providing a “case study” on how sanctions evasion can happen through the art industry — in this case by two wealthy Russians close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who were sanctioned by the Obama administration in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea. The Senate investigation scrutinized major auction houses, private New York art dealers, and seven banks. Their report showed “how a lack of regulation allows the art industry to avoid the same anti-money laundering requirements that apply to financial institutions” and...
    The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on companies connected to Russian businessman who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suspected of helping finance the covert social media campaign aimed at American voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.  The actions announced Wednesday take aim at front companies that officials say Yevgeny Prigozhin has relied on to process millions of dollars and to evade sanctions in Sudan, where the Trump administration says Russia has been involved in paramilitary operations and supporting authoritarian regimes.  “Today’s actions will further limit attempts by Prigozhin and his backers to foment disorder or undermine democratic reforms in Sudan,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement announcing the sanctions by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Prigozhin, whose close relationship to Putin has earned him the nickname of “Putin's Chef," attracted attention in 2018 after he and Russian companies he controlled were indicted in special...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on companies connected to a Russian businessman who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suspected of helping finance the covert social media campaign aimed at American voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The actions announced Wednesday take aim at front companies that officials say Yevgeny Prigozhin has relied on to process millions of dollars and to evade sanctions in Sudan, where the Trump administration says Russia has been involved in paramilitary operations and supporting authoritarian regimes. “Today’s actions will further limit attempts by Prigozhin and his backers to foment disorder or undermine democratic reforms in Sudan,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement announcing the sanctions by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Prigozhin, whose close relationship to Putin has earned him the nickname of “Putin’s Chef,” attracted attention in 2018 after he and...
    A top United States military official says that a plot by Moscow to pay Taliban insurgents to kill American soldiers and others has not resulted in any American deaths. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, who heads U.S. Central Command, confirmed the existence of intelligence that indicates Russia offered to pay the Taliban, a Middle East terror group, to kill U.S. military members. The U.S. officer said that the plot has not been connected with any U.S. casualties, however. “I found it very worrisome,” McKenzie said of the intelligence, according to the Associated Press. “I didn’t find that there was a causative link there.” “We should always remember, the Russians are not our friends,” McKenzie said while noting that Moscow has supplied the Taliban with money and weapons for years. “And they do not wish us well, and we just need to remember that at all times when we evaluate that intelligence.”...
    BERLIN (AP) — The U.N. nuclear agency said Friday that slightly elevated levels of radioactivity detected in northern Europe likely were related to a nuclear reactor that was either operating or undergoing maintenance, but it's still unclear where it is located. Estonia, Finland and Sweden last week measured higher-than-usual levels of ruthenium and caesium isotopes and detected some other artificial radionuclides. They said nothing on their territory had happened to explain their presence, as did more than 40 other countries that volunteered information to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA said the higher level of isotopes “is likely related to a nuclear reactor that is either operating or undergoing maintenance, when very low radioactive releases can occur.” It added in a statement that “the geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.” The Vienna-based U.N. agency said it “ruled out that the release was related to the...
    BERLIN (AP) — The U.N. nuclear agency said Friday that slightly elevated levels of radioactivity detected in northern Europe likely were related to a nuclear reactor that was either operating or undergoing maintenance, but it’s still unclear where it is located. Estonia, Finland and Sweden last week measured higher-than-usual levels of ruthenium and caesium isotopes and detected some other artificial radionuclides. They said nothing on their territory had happened to explain their presence, as did more than 40 other countries that volunteered information to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA said the higher level of isotopes “is likely related to a nuclear reactor that is either operating or undergoing maintenance, when very low radioactive releases can occur.” It added in a statement that “the geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.” The Vienna-based U.N. agency said it “ruled out that the release was related to the...
    BERLIN (AP) — The U.N. nuclear agency said Friday that slightly elevated levels of radioactivity detected in northern Europe likely were related to a nuclear reactor that was either operating or undergoing maintenance, but it’s still unclear where it is located. Estonia, Finland and Sweden last week measured higher-than-usual levels of ruthenium and caesium isotopes and detected some other artificial radionuclides. They said nothing on their territory had happened to explain their presence, as did more than 40 other countries that volunteered information to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA said the higher level of isotopes “is likely related to a nuclear reactor that is either operating or undergoing maintenance, when very low radioactive releases can occur.” It added in a statement that “the geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.” The Vienna-based U.N. agency said it “ruled out that the release was related to...
    The Taliban was paid bounties to kill British and American soldiers by the Russian intelligence unit that carried out the Salisbury poison attack, intelligence reports claim. US officials came to the conclusion several months ago that the unit offered payments to militants for killing soldiers in Afghanistan. Donald Trump has been accused of sitting on the knowledge and failing to take retaliatory action against Russia.  The unit identified by the officials has been linked to the 2018 poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain. The Taliban was paid bounties to kill British and American soldiers by the Russian intelligence unit that carried out the Salisbury poison attack, intelligence reports claim The UK is said to have received the intelligence last week. Downing Street said it could not comment on intelligence matters. President Trump has denied the claims that he ignored the briefings, tweeting: ‘Nobody briefed or told...
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