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Zuckerberg Might Just Make Russia’s 25-Year-Old Spy Dreams a Reality

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday during an annual conference his tech company is developing a futuristic new technology, a concept the Russians may have tried to bring to fruition decades ago.

“Some of the work that we’re doing in Building 8, even further out beyond augmented reality, … includes work around direct brain interfaces that are going to eventually, one day, let you communicate using only your mind,” Zuckerberg said, admitting, though, that such “stuff is really far out.” Building 8 is Facebook’s innovation research department.

Zuckerberg’s presentation primarily focused on a preliminary augmented reality platform, showing the audience that users of its technology may soon be able to overlay a virtual world on top of the physical one. He used Pokémon Go as an example, a mobile game that places digital fictional creatures on top of the real scenery around a player.

Eventually, the “direct brain interface” (or DBI) will be embedded on their augmented reality platform, meaning communicating will potentially only require the brain . . .

Dr. Igor Smirnov, a Russian scientist at the Moscow Medical Academy, conducted substantial amounts of research on a field of human behavior he called “psychoecology.” He eventually developed an acoustic mind control device, which was claimed to be most effective for treating drug and alcohol addiction. (Read more from “Zuckerberg Might Just Make Russia’s 25-Year-Old Spy Dreams a Reality” HERE)

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Russian Bombers Spotted off Alaskan Coast Twice in 24 Hours

Two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers were spotted flying about 41 miles off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday, just hours after two US F-22 fighter jets intercepted the same type of Russian aircraft in the area.

An E-3 surveillance aircraft was scrambled in response to the second sighting of Russian bombers off the Alaskan coast in 24 hours, a US defense official told CNN.

It is unclear if these were the same planes that were intercepted by the F-22s on Monday, but defense officials told CNN that it was a separate violation.

On Tuesday, the two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers once again flew into the Alaskan Air Defense and Identification Zone, according to two US defense officials. The closest the bombers came was 36 nautical miles off the mainland Alaskan coast, and they flew 745 nautical miles southwest of Anchorage. (Read more from “Russian Bombers Spotted off Alaskan Coast Twice in 24 Hours” HERE)

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Media Silent as Clinton/Obama-Connected Lobbying Group Registers as Foreign Agent for Pro-Russia Org

The Podesta Group — which was co-founded by John Podesta, the former Hillary Clinton campaign chair, Obama White House senior adviser, and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton — has filed as a foreign agent for a pro-Russian think tank.

The D.C. lobbying shop’s retroactive paperwork appeared Wednesday on the website of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) office. From 2012-2014, the Podesta Group lobbied for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which was created to support former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. He has since fled to Russia after the Ukrainian people rose up against his autocratic rule. Yanukovych was essentially Putin’s puppet, pushing for policies that would alienate Ukraine from Europe and bring it under the umbrella of Russian influence.

The U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, passed in 1938, requires individuals and organizations hired by non-U.S. organizations and foreign nations for the purpose of disseminating propaganda to publicly disclose their activities.

The Podesta Group is run by John Podesta’s brother, Anthony Podesta, who was a major Clinton campaign bundler. Because of his prominent political connections, Anthony Podesta is considered one of the most influential lobbyists in the world. The Podesta Group is consistently ranked as one of the top five most influential lobbying organizations. The firm reportedly earns close to $30 million a year for its efforts.

Disclosures in the foreign agent document reports reveal that the pro-Russia lobbying endeavor involved dozens of meetings with prominent reporters, congressional leaders, and government officials.

Over a three year time period, the Podesta Group was paid over $1 million dollars to lobby for the pro-Russian outfit, according to an accounting of the disclosures from 2012-2014.

The news comes as former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort also reportedly intends on retroactively registering as a foreign agent for work he did for Yanuokovych-tied entities. Manafort also worked as a lobbyist for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, according to reports.

The mainstream media has largely ignored the lobbying efforts of the Podesta Group, even though its co-founder is intimately tied to the past two Democratic presidents as well as the most recent Democratic nominee for president. In its story on the disclosures, the Associated Press did not highlight the Podesta Group’s ties to top Democrats, instead focusing on allegations against Manafort. (For more from the author of “Media Silent as Clinton/Obama-Connected Lobbying Group Registers as Foreign Agent for Pro-Russia Org” please click HERE)

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Saber-Rattling: Russia and Iran Express Rage at US Strikes in Syria

The Russian and Iranian regimes are furious with America’s retaliatory strike against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad following his use of weapons of mass destruction.

Last week, President Trump ordered a missile strike on the Syrian base that was reportedly used to launch a chemical weapons attack against an opposition stronghold in the city of Idlib. On Thursday, Trump launched 60 Tomahawk missiles at the base to retaliate against Assad killing of dozen of innocents men, women, and children earlier that week.

Russia and Iran, which are allied with Assad, condemned the military action, and threatened to retaliate if the U.S. “crosses the red lines” again.

Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei slammed the strikes, pushing the conspiracy that the U.S. apparently created the Islamic State terror group.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who presides over the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism, condemned what he called “flagrant U.S. aggression,” and said the strike on the airbase in Syria “benefitted terrorism.” Rouhani also alleged that the Syrian opposition was behind the chemical attacks, not the Assad dictatorship.

“Previous US officials created ISIS, and the current ones are strengthening ISIS or groups like them; however, the danger these terrorist groups present will backfire on Americans,” he said.

Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin teamed up with Rouhani for an additional memo that claimed the strike was “a violation of international law.”

Another statement sent by the “joint command” of Russia and Iran threatened military action against the United States.

“The United States crossed red lines by attacking Syria, from now on we will respond to anyone, including America if it attacks Syria and crosses the red lines,” the statement said. “America knows very well our ability and capabilities to respond well to them … we will respond without taking into consideration any reaction and consequences.”

Russia and Iran have long sided with the Assad regime over opposition forces. Both countries have ground troops in the country fending off threats to Assad. Iran’s Hezbollah proxy is also heavily militarily engaged in the country on the side of the Syrian dictatorship.

Russia and Iran are largely responsible for escalating the complete devastation and chaos in Syria. The two nations have propped up a man who has been responsible for the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of deaths during the Syrian civil war. Without their help, there’s likely no possibility that Assad would have been able to stay in power.

Russia and Iran’s tough talk should be taken with a grain of salt. The two countries combined have a military that is vastly inferior to that of the United States. It is certainly not in their interests to use kinetic action against America. To attack the United States military, even if framed as a “retaliatory” strike, would draw the two U.S. adversaries into a conflict that would undoubtedly threaten the stability of both authoritarian regimes. (For more from the author of “Saber-Rattling: Russia and Iran Express Rage at US Strikes in Syria” please click HERE)

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Anonymous US Official: Russia Knew Syrian Chemical Attack Was Coming

The United States has concluded that Russia knew ahead of time that Syria would launch a chemical weapons attack last week, a senior U.S. official says.

The official offered circumstantial elements to back up his claim, but no concrete proof. And others in the Trump administration cautioned that final American determination had been made that Russia had advance knowledge of the attack, which killed more than 80 people and prompted retaliatory U.S. cruise missile strikes.

The senior official said Monday that a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons. (Read more from “Anonymous US Official: Russia Knew Syrian Chemical Attack Was Coming” HERE)

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Russian Naval Activity in Europe Exceeds Cold War Levels

Recent Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds levels seen during the Cold War, a top U.S. and NATO military officer said, voicing concern that the distributed nature of the deployments could end up “splitting and distracting” the transatlantic alliance.

Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commands U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, said Russia had clearly stepped up its naval actions in recent years although the size of its navy was smaller now than during the Cold War era.

“We’re seeing activity that we didn’t even see when it was the Soviet Union. It’s precedential activity,” Howard told Reuters in an interview late on Saturday during a missile defense conference.

Howard cited a wide range of activities, including Russia’s deployment of its Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean, increased patrols in the north Atlantic and Arctic region, significant out-of-area submarine deployments, and submarine movement in the Black Sea.

“They’re a global navy, I understand that. But the activity in this theater has substantially moved up in the last couple of years,” Howard said. (Read more from “Russian Naval Activity in Europe Exceeds Cold War Levels” HERE)

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Russia Warns of War; Assad Still Using Airstrip Supposedly Destroyed by US Missiles

By George Sandeman. Russia and Iran have said they will respond to further American military actions following the air strike in Syria last week.

In a joint statement, the command center for the two countries and allied groups said “we will respond to any aggression”.

The statement read: “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”

The warning comes on the same day that:

*A Russian politician warned the North Koreans could strike at any time
*A seven-year-old Syrian girl tweeted her support for Trump’s missile strike
*The President blasted claims his 59-missile strike on Syrian airfield missed targets

(Read more from “Russia Warns of War; Assad Still Using Airstrip Supposedly Destroyed by US Missiles” HERE)

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Russia, Allies Promise to Respond With Force to Future US Attacks

By Steve Hawkes. Russia, Iran and other allies of the Assad regime accused the US of “crossing red lines” over airstrikes in response to a chemical attack on a rebel-held village.

In a joint statement they said: “We will respond with force to any aggressor.”

And the Russian Embassy in London raised the prospect of war in a series of provocative tweets that described [Great Britain’s] Johnson as Trump’s “lieutenant”.

In one it suggested “conventional war” could be an outcome if G7 delivers an ultimatum this week. . .

[O]ne senator said Assad was saying ‘F*** y**’ to the US by continuing to fly jets from the airfield bombed by the US on Friday morning. (Read more from “Russia, Allies Promise to Respond With Force to Future US Attacks” HERE)

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Is the Trump-Putin Bromance Over for Good?

President Trump appears to be following the lead of his predecessors in eventually recognizing that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is no friend to America.

Throughout his campaign for president, Trump entertained the idea that America could partner with Moscow’s leadership to work on mutual goals such as targeting the Islamic State terror group.

On the campaign trail, Trump praised Putin as a strong leader and someone he could possibly “get along” with. “You know that, if Putin wants to knock the hell out of ISIS, I’m all for it 100 percent and I can’t understand how anybody would be against that,” Trump opined.

Upon becoming president, Trump still held Putin as a man who he could partner with, holding off on harsh labels and denouncing the Russian dictator. Moreover, choosing Rex Tillerson — who had very close business ties to Russia as CEO of ExxonMobil — as secretary of state seemed to amplify his commitment to making things work with Moscow.

But now, it appears as if Trump’s attempt for détente with Russia has run into inevitable geopolitical realities. Putin refuses to back away from his support of the Assad regime in Syria and the nuclear weapon-seeking mullahs who rule Iran. On the domestic front, the Russian president’s behavior hasn’t changed, either. (And Putin’s critics continue to end up dead under unusual circumstances.)

This week, Bashar Assad reportedly committed a massive chemical weapons attack against his own people, killing dozens of civilians with weapons of mass destruction. Images and videos emerged showing the horrific aftermath, with bodies of tortured innocents lining the streets. Without Putin’s backing of Assad, such a crime against humanity probably would not have happened. Assad’s staying power in Damascus is largely thanks to boots-on-the-ground military support from Russia and Iran.

Now, it appears as if President Trump has come to the realization that he can no longer bear to entertain an alliance with a man who could support the genocidal campaign against an entire citizenry. Regime forces are responsible for the vast majority of the Syrian civil war body count, which has already killed hundreds of thousands. The chemical weapons attack may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

President Trump described the attack as an “affront to humanity,” noting that it had a “big impact” on him personally.

“My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,” the president added.

Trump has unleashed U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who on Wednesday tore into the Russian regime for their silence on the Syria massacre. Russia “cannot escape responsibility,” Haley said, adding that Russia has “no interest in peace.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson followed suit, claiming Russia and Iran “bear moral responsibility” for the WMD attack.

President Trump follows his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama in their initial outreach to Putin, only to renege on the idea in the end.

Bush infamously once said of Putin: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Bush would later completely change course due to Putin’s domestic power grab, his reaffirming of alliances with enemies of America, and his military aggression against our allies.

President Obama utilized the services of his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to offer the Russians an actual “reset” in an attempt to set aside differences. Obama personally pledged “more flexibility” to work with the Russians on various issues. This did not change Putin’s behavior. Russia invaded Ukraine (an American ally), continued committing domestic atrocities, and united his country by spewing rally-around-the-flag, anti-American propaganda.

Donald Trump, too, has come to understand that Vladimir Putin is a tyrant. Any illusions Trump had that Putin would possibly come to see the United States as anything other than an enemy nation appear to be over for good. (For more from the author of “Is the Trump-Putin Bromance Over for Good?” please click HERE)

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Russia Warns of ‘Negative Consequences’ If U.S. Targets Syria

Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, warned on Thursday of “negative consequences” if the United States carries out military strikes on Syria over a deadly toxic gas attack.

“We have to think about negative consequences, negative consequences, and all the responsibility if military action occurred will be on shoulders of those who initiated such doubtful and tragic enterprise,” Safronkov told reporters when asked about possible U.S. strikes.

When asked what those negative consequences could be, he said: “Look at Iraq, look at Libya.” (Read more from “Russia Warns of ‘Negative Consequences’ If U.S. Targets Syria” HERE)

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US, Other Nations Challenge Russia’s Claim That Toxic Gas Came From Rebel Weapons Facility

Amid a barrage of international criticism directed at its Syrian ally, Russia argued Wednesday that those killed by a toxic agent in Syria’s Idlib province were the victims not of chemical-laced bombs dropped by the regime’s planes, but of chemicals released when the air force bombed a rebel storage facility.

The suggestion was challenged during an “emergency meeting” of the U.N. Security Council, where Western nations laid the responsibility for the attack at the door of the Assad regime.

The U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, Kim Won-Soo, told the council that the attack in Khan Sheikhun on Tuesday had reportedly taken the form of an airstrike on a residential area, although he said the means of delivery could not be confirmed, and noted that the Syrian government has denied responsibility.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says at least 70 people were killed and hundreds more were affected.

“Doctors in Idlib are reporting that dozens of patients suffering from breathing difficulties and suffocation have been admitted to hospitals in the governorate for urgent medical attention, many of them women and children,” it said in a statement that reiterated that “the use of chemical weapons is a war crime.” (Read more from “US, Other Nations Challenge Russia’s Claim That Toxic Gas Came From Rebel Weapons Facility” HERE)

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