Wednesday, January 6, 2016

No reason for Russia to view US as threat, says Pentagon - Washington - Muscat Daily | NATO, U.S. Deny Posing Any Security Threat To Russia | First Ever Cyber-Attack on a Power Grid Investigated | Investigators Trying to Piece Together 18-Minute Gap in Movements of San Bernardino Shooters - ABC News | A Mysterious Death Raises Questions in Russia | Germany: New Year's Eve Sex Assaults Were Likely Coordinated | German Police: New Year Assaults May Be Linked to Crime Ring - ABC News | The Iran Deal: A Diminished Legacy | Ruble Slides 1.7 Percent, Oil Price Drops To 11-Year Low | A riddle:"Soft but firm and plays O.K." | Map: The countries believed to have tested hydrogen bombs - The Washington Post


Reviews


News Roundup and Notes: January 6, 2016 | Just Security

Security


No reason for Russia to view US as threat, says Pentagon - Washington - Muscat Daily
NATO, U.S. Deny Posing Any Security Threat To Russia
The Empty Threat of ‘Boots on the Ground’ - The New York Times
Defining ‘Special Forces’ - The New York Times
A Bold New Baltic Strategy for NATO | The National Interest
Amid Russian Tensions, NATO Scrambled Jets 160 Times In 2015, Lithuania Says
NATO's Nuclear Dilemma And The Turkey - Russia Crisis
Intelligence: How Russia Put The XX To The U.S.
Pentagon: Firefight continues at site of Afghan attack - Middle East - Stripes
New FBI, ATF hires at the center of Obama's gun reform
CIA Eyes Russian Hackers in ‘Blackout’ Attack - The Daily Beast
First Ever Cyber-Attack on a Power Grid Investigated
The First Cyber Battle Of The Internet Of Things Era May Have Just Happened - In Homeland Security
Did Russia Kill Ukraine's Electricity? Cyberattack Linked To Power Outage Has Global Implications
Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter: DEA and U.S. share information with dictatorship linked to drug trafficking

U.S.


Investigators Trying to Piece Together 18-Minute Gap in Movements of San Bernardino Shooters - ABC News
Benghazi committee to grill Petraeus for the first time | Fox News Video
Benghazi Panel to Interview Former CIA Director Petraeus - ABC News
A Mafia Captain Turned Informer Gets a Reduced Prison Term - The New York Times
Chipotle Subpoenaed as Part of Investigation; Sales Plunge - ABC News

Accidents


9-year-old boy mauled to death by three pitbulls - CNN Video
Jet Forced to Land After Crew Discovers Improperly Sealed Door - ABC News
Salt Lake City Police Find Sleeping Boy in Stolen SUV - ABC News
Caught on video: Marlin nearly impales fisherman - TODAY.com

Igor Sergun


A Mysterious Death Raises Questions in Russia
general Ivanov GRU death in Syria - Google Search

Cologne attack


Germany: New Year's Eve Sex Assaults Were Likely Coordinated
German Police: New Year Assaults May Be Linked to Crime Ring - ABC News
Germany police say Cologne sexual assaults could be linked to criminal network amid debate over migrants, refugees - CBS News
Cologne sex attacks: What went wrong? - BBC News
Cologne sex attacks: Germany's De Maiziere criticises police - BBC News
Cologne New Year sex attacks: Germany's women are angry, scared - and getting tired of excuses
Cologne mayor can′t keep criticism ′at arm′s length′ | NRS-Import | DW.COM | 06.01.2016
Cologne attacks: Mayor's 'arm's length' advice slammed - CNN.com
TheUnion local.com | TheUnion.com

Middle East, Asia and ISIS


The Iran Deal: A Diminished Legacy
The Mystery Behind The Saudi Embassy Attack In Iran
Terror Expert Charles Lister: 'Islamic State Is a Convenient Obsession' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Foe of President Erdogan Charged in Turkey | Al Jazeera America
Journalist Ruqia Hassan murdered by Isis after writing on life in Raqqa | World news | The Guardian
IS Executes Journalist Who Wrote About Life in Syrian City
Anger grows in Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite areas after executions | Reuters
Saudi-Iran Feud Poses Threat to Iraq’s Effort to Combat ISIS - The New York Times
U.S. Soldier Killed While Fighting Taliban in Afghanistan - The New York Times
Terror cell run by Hizballah, Iran apprehended in Bahrain
Bahrain Says Dismantled 'Terror Cell Linked' To Iran
russians use rats in syria to sniff out mines - Google Search
russians use rats in syria to sniff out mines RT - Google Search

Russia and Eurasia


Ruble Slides 1.7 Percent, Oil Price Drops To 11-Year Low
Despite tensions, Russia's 'Syria Express' sails by Istanbul - Yahoo News
Kadyrov's Collective Punishment, Public Shamings Anger Chechens
Window on Eurasia -- New Series: Moscow Must Learn From Five Greatest Historical Mistakes of Russian Leaders, Yevdokimov Says
У Немцова был шанс избежать гибели — СМИ - ИА REGNUM
Вести.Ru: Обвиняемые в убийстве Бориса Немцова еще дважды пытались совершить на него покушение

Putin


Putin’s Year in Scandals - The New York Times
Leaders Number One gives Russians the opportunity to smell like President Putin - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Fragrance latest Putin novelty item | The Columbus Dispatch
Bathe Yourself In Putin’s Scent: Cologne Inspired By Leader Is ‘Natural,’ Not Aggressive
Putin Cologne Launches in Russia With Soft but Firm Scent
Владимир Путин провёл тренировку по хоккею • Президент России
Путин в Сочи в праздники провел хоккейную тренировку | РИА Новости
Ъ-Новости - Владимир Путин в Сочи сыграл в хоккей
Путин на новогодних праздниках сыграл в хоккей в Сочи // НТВ.Ru
Путин поиграл в хоккей: Общество: Россия: Lenta.ru

World


Map: The countries believed to have tested hydrogen bombs - The Washington Post
India Says All 6 Gunmen Have Been Killed in Pathankot Air Base Attack - The New York Times
Epiphany celebrated in Orthodox Christian, Catholic nations - The Washington Post
After North Korea nuke test, missile test could follow - Stripes
A year after 'Je suis Charlie', a divided France struggles | Reuters
Venezuela President Maduro to Reshuffle Cabinet - The New York Times

Igor Sergun: "Stratfor source heard a report that he died on New Year's Day in Lebanon... there is the question of whether the GRU can remain unified under a new leader..." | The official version of cause of Sergun's sudden death, based on autopsy, is the acute and extensive myocardial infarction, the contributing factors were described as "general exhaustion, overwork and lack of sleep"...

M.N.: It would be logical to assume that the GRU's main competitor is the SVR, not the FSB, and in the absence of the strong and skillful leader of the GRU, who Sergun undoubtedly was (he practically revived the organisation and made it as powerful as in "good old days", if not visibly more powerful), it is M. Fradkov's and SVR's positions that did get relatively strengthened. The possible implications of this hypothetical power and influence shifts is an important but separate question. I do not think that much is known about the details of the competition between these two organisations and their respective leaders. 
As to the circumstances of Sergun's death, the version of "Stratfor's source which heard a report" is possible but probably should be treated as putative (these circumstances are really still unknown, at least publicly), until some firmer evidence surfaces and is established. 
Curiously enough, general Ivanov, who (as far as I remember and understood from readings), was in a position or slated for GRU leadership prior to Sergun's appointment, died in mysterious circumstances while on a visit to Syria in 2010.
The official version of cause of Sergun's sudden death, based on autopsy, is the acute and extensive myocardial infarction, the contributing factors were described as "general exhaustion, overwork and lack of sleep", the place of death was mentioned as "one of the sanatoriums (the "rest house") near Moscow, which is somewhat unusual for the New Year holidays time, which traditionally is a family affair. 

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"...the unexpected death of the head of one of the FSB's biggest rivals raises a number of questions. First is the circumstance of Sergun's death. The Russian government said he had a heart attack in Moscow on Jan. 4, but a Stratfor source heard a report that he died on New Year's Day in Lebanon. If the report that he died in Lebanon is true, it raises questions about what Sergun was doing in a country that is a hotbed for the world's intelligence services and why the Kremlin would cover up his death abroad... 
Moreover, there is the question of whether the GRU can remain unified under a new leader, particularly with other intelligence services vying for influence. Russian media have already started floating rumors of who will replace Sergun — a curious development, since he allegedly died just a day ago — and various Kremlin watchers have even suggested non-military candidates who have personal ties to Putin. If Putin promotes an ultra-loyalist over a military replacement, it could indicate that he is attempting to bring another security group more firmly under his control, adding another layer of protection for the president should the FSB or any other group grow more disgruntled.


Courtesy of Stratfor
Intrigues within the Kremlin reignited Monday after the chief of Russia's military intelligence service, Igor Sergun, died unexpectedly. Sergun was a relatively unknown figure who kept a very low profile over his 30-year career, despite the fact that his position at the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Armed Forces made him one of the most powerful figures in Russian security.
Sergun came to power in 2011, at a time when the GRU's position was under attack by the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Foreign Intelligence Service — both of which were attempting to gain control of, or at least influence in, intelligence operations in Russia's borderlands. Sergun was able to consolidate the GRU, fortifying the military intelligence service's position among the security groups.
Russia's various security services have long vied with one another for power. Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin served in the FSB (known at the time as the KGB), he has not always let the agency have its way. Putin has tried to keep a balance among the various services — a difficult feat in a world of intrigue and espionage. That balance has been off for the past two years, mainly because of events in Ukraine. Moscow's failure to anticipate the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the installation of a pro-West government in Kiev in early 2014 largely fell on the FSB. The servicereportedly was restructured by mid-2014, and the GRU gained more responsibility for intelligence inside Ukraine — a humiliation for the FSB. The GRU and FSB wrestled with each other during the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015 over control of ground intelligence in Ukraine. Evidence of the behind-the-scenes struggles could be seen in the turnover of pro-Russian separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine and in sporadic reports from Ukrainian intelligence.
However, the FSB's recent problems go beyond Ukraine. The security service has fought to maintain its position within Russia, particularly Chechnya, and to keep one of its most lucrative assets, Rosneft, afloat financially. The FSB's problems could be connected to Putin's mysterious disappearance in March 2015 and to the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Recent developments provide few details about the current state of the power struggle. Four months ago, rumors circulated in Russian media that one of the GRU's biggest backers, Vladislav Surkov, lost the Ukraine portfolio once again. Surkov, alongside Sergun, had been instrumental in implementing Russia's so-called hybrid warfare strategy in eastern Ukraine and in coordinating the separatist leaders throughout the year. Over the weekend, a Ukrainian intelligence source claimed that the FSB was back in eastern Ukraine working with the separatist leaders. This would indicate a strengthening of the FSB's position.
Against this backdrop, the unexpected death of the head of one of the FSB's biggest rivals raises a number of questions. First is the circumstance of Sergun's death. The Russian government said he had a heart attack in Moscow on Jan. 4, but a Stratfor source heard a report that he died on New Year's Day in Lebanon. If the report that he died in Lebanon is true, it raises questions about what Sergun was doing in a country that is a hotbed for the world's intelligence services and why the Kremlin would cover up his death abroad.
A second question is whether Russian operations in Ukraine will change. Sergun was allegedly one of the designers of Russia's hybrid warfare strategy there, but the FSB could continue with the same strategy. It is also not clear whether the FSB and the Russian military would be able to continue coordinating in eastern Ukraine if the Russian military's intelligence unit weakens or splinters.
Moreover, there is the question of whether the GRU can remain unified under a new leader, particularly with other intelligence services vying for influence. Russian media have already started floating rumors of who will replace Sergun — a curious development, since he allegedly died just a day ago — and various Kremlin watchers have even suggested non-military candidates who have personal ties to Putin. If Putin promotes an ultra-loyalist over a military replacement, it could indicate that he is attempting to bring another security group more firmly under his control, adding another layer of protection for the president should the FSB or any other group grow more disgruntled.
In the months ahead, it will be important to see if or how the FSB takes advantage of the shake-up in the GRU brought about by Sergun's death. The state of the struggle among Russia's security services is of great concern to the Kremlin, which is nervous about the potential for growing unrest in the country ahead of parliamentary elections. It is one of the FSB's primary tasks to monitor and defuse such tensions, but the FSB has taken on many other roles as it has attempted to gain more power. Putin is likely also concerned about the power struggle in the lead-up to the next presidential election in 2018, particularly if he is seen as taking sides in the dispute. This fight for power within the Kremlin has the potential to be one of Russia's — and Putin's — more dangerous challenges in the years ahead.

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See also: 

Судебно-медицинская экспертиза показала, что 58-летний генерал-майор Игорь Сергун скончался от острой сердечной недостаточности. 
Врачи, проводившие вскрытие тела генерала Сергуна, скончавшегося 3 января в Московской области, сделали предварительные выводы о причинах его смерти. По словам источников, знакомых с ситуацией, медики заключили, что организм 58-летнего мужчины был переутомлён. 
— Одной из причин его смерти стала усталость: переработки, недосыпы и все сопутствующие его должности «симптомы», — прокомментировал источник в медицинских кругах.
При этом, как стало известно LifeNews, официально причиной смерти названа острая сердечная недостаточность.
Начальник Главного разведывательного управления Генерального штаба Вооружённых сил Российской Федерации Игорь Дмитриевич Сергун скончался третьего января в доме отдыха в Подольском районе Московской области.
Игорь Дмитриевич Сергун скоропостижно скончался 3 января 2016 года на 59-м году жизни после обширного инфаркта. 


"The Rape of Europe, that's how it smells like..." or the last whiff of success and warning from beyond the grave, "sweetly"... - Cologne sex attacks

"The Rape of Europe, that's how it smells like..." or the last whiff of success and warning from beyond the grave, "sweetly"... 

Embedded image permalink



See also (old discussion in my blogs): Rape of Germany | Rape of Poland, etc. 

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Other pre-January 4, messages, apparently from the same source: 

Unfortunately, when Hollande unveiled the plaque, it could be seen that the name of the slain cartoonist had been misspelled, according to BFMTV, a CNN affiliate in France.
The name was spelled with a "y" at the end instead of an "i."

Interpretation: 
Wolinsky (in Slavic languages: "volya" - will): Wolinsky - "why?" 
Wolinski - "I!": "Because of me, because I did it, because it is my will!" 

M.N.: Somewhat peculiar sense of humor. 

The most interesting of the last messages is this one: 

Pathankot: "Pat(stalemate). Path on. "Pathan" (Pahan, "godfather") - kot (male cat, Tom-cat, shrewd) or Pahan caught (captured). Or: "Pat. Han (khan, Asian chief, as in Genghis khan) caught.

These interpretations are hypothetical, of course, and might be more complex and include other meanings. 

The new messages (if they are messages, and it is also very early to form the impression) appear to be of a different style, they lack the "oomph" (the strength), the subtle humor and have little or no verbal semantic loading, relying instead on symbolism of action itself. 
E.g.: 

It is hard to say, of course and again, if these associations and interpretations are "sick fantasies" or have some true informational value. 

My main thought: The underground GRU networks in the U.S. and Europe have to be disrupted and neutralized. And the time to do this is now. Easy to say, hard to do, but must be done.
What was going on, was a not-so-small-scale "hybrid war" or preparation for the full swing one. Hopefully, it will be different.