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Ukraine changes its mind (again) on culprit behind cyberattack

cellphone ukraine cyberattack russia blamed
© Global Look Press / Pavlo Gonchar
One day after blaming Belarus, Kiev has now labeled Russia the perpetrator of a huge cyberattack

A Ukrainian ministry now says "evidence" indicates Moscow was behind Friday's attack on Kiev's governmental websites. The move comes after another official earlier pointed the finger at hackers backed by Belarusian intelligence.

The statement arrived less than a day after the deputy secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Sergey Demedyuk, blamed the incident on Belarus. The large-scale hack is said to have rendered the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies temporarily inaccessible.

Comment: Ukraine was blaming Moscow first, then Belarus, and now back to Moscow. Is the State Department not communicating clearly with Ukraine?


Star of David

Still squirming: Former Israeli PM Netanyahu 'negotiating plea deal in corruption case'

netanyahu corruption plea deal
© Maya Alleruzzo/AP
Benjamin Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases.
Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, a person involved in the talks said.

The deal, which could be signed as early as this week, could usher Netanyahu off the Israeli political stage for years, paving the way for a leadership race in his Likud party and shaking up Israel's political map.

Any deal would also absolve Netanyahu of an embarrassing and protracted trial that has gripped the nation and risks tarnishing his legacy. Reports of a deal angered critics, who said it would undermine the rule of law.

Comment: Imagine the ego required to brazen through the mountain of evidence against Bibi. That he is even talking plea deal must be a huge climbdown for that psycho. Perhaps he dreams of ruling from the shadows a la Obama?


Cowboy Hat

Debrief: Head of Russia-led bloc reveals details of Kazakhstan mission

CSTO russia peacekeepers  kazakhstan
© AP / Vladimir Tretyakov
Russian peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are pictured in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on January 13, 2022.
The arrival of the allied peacekeeping force had a "sobering effect" in Kazakhstan, the official believes

As the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) wraps up its peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan, the top official of the Russia-led military bloc talked about the course of the deployment and its results with RT.

Kazakhstan faced a rocky start to the new year, as a wave of violent unrest broke out on the back of protests triggered by a sharp hike in fuel prices. As the initially peaceful protest devolved into violence and rioting in a matter of days, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reached out for help from the six-member military bloc, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. He did so in accordance with Articles 2 and 4 of the Collective Security Treaty.

Comment: RT reports on the aftermath of the attempted coup:
At least 225 people, including 19 police officers and military servicemen, died in the recent violent unrest in Kazakhstan, the country's prosecutors have said. More than 4,500 others were reportedly injured.

The updated statistics relating to the wave of protest that gripped the country in early January were revealed by the Kazakh authorities on Saturday. A spokesman for the Prosecutor General's office stated during a press conference that at least 225 people had been killed. That figure includes police and military personnel, as well as civilians and those whom the government has described as "bandits."

During several days of violence, 4,578 people were injured, the official said, adding that among that number were nearly 3,400 law enforcement officers and soldiers.

The vast majority of those who perished during the unrest - 175 in total - died in the country's hospitals, a spokeswoman for the Health Ministry revealed at the press conference.

More than 20,000 people took part in the violent unrest, according to prosecutors, with some 546 criminal cases having been opened in the aftermath. Of those, 44 are said to be related to terrorism and 19 to murder. So far, law enforcement agents have detained nearly 700 suspects, with 446 of them having already appeared in court and been detained pending trial.

[...]

There have been claims from Kazakh officials that up to 20,000 "terrorists" took park in the violence. However, no evidence has been offered to support this figure, and claims that the assailants could have broken into morgues to steal the bodies of their comrades and "cover their tracks" were met with derision by analysts.



Radar

Russia's FSB shuts down notorious REvil ransomware gang following request by US authorities

Revil ransomware hacker
© FSB / public
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Friday that it has raided and shut down the operations of the notorious REvil ransomware gang.

The unprecedented move — which will undoubtedly send a message to other ransomware groups operating out of the country — saw the Russian authorities conduct raids at 25 addresses across the Moscow, St. Petersburg and Lipetsk regions that belonged to 14 suspected members of REvil.

The gang, which shut down its operations in July before a failed comeback in September, is believed to have orchestrated some of the most damaging attacks of the past 12 months, including those targeting Colonial Pipeline, JBS Foods and U.S. technology firm Kaseya.


Comment: Actually, there's good reason to believe that at least some of the above hacks were actually the work of the CIA: Toshiba hacked by DarkSide, Kaspersky founder suggests CIA may be behind group's Colonial Pipeline attack


Comment: It has been since reported that Ukraine has refuted allegations that Russia was the source of the attack on its government websites on Friday; Ukraine does however blame Belarus, and it remains to be seen whether there's any truth to that allegation:


RFE/RL reports on some additional arrests as ordered by a Moscow court of people linked to REvil:
The news, announced by the Tverskoi District Court on January 15, brings the number of those arrested in the operation to five.

Russia's Federal Security Service said the January 14 raids were done at the request of U.S. authorities -- something that U.S. officials confirmed later.

It appeared to be a rare demonstration of U.S.-Russian collaboration at a time of soaring tensions between Washington and Moscow.

The Moscow court identified the three new men ordered into custody as Mikhail Golovachuk, Ruslan Khansvyarov, and Dmitry Korotayev.

It wasn't immediately clear when and if the other unnamed individuals detained would be formally arrested.

In November, the United States said it was offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of anyone holding a key position in the REvil group.

The two men ordered arrested on January 14 were identified as Andrei Bessonov and Roman Muromsky.
Notably the shutdown of Russian hacker group REvil comes just ahead of the EU's ominous cyberattack exercise that will simulate an attack on teh supply chain. At the very least these arrests mean there's one less Russian group that can be blamed if, as has happened many times before, some aspect of the exercise just so happens to flip from simulation to live: EU to stage large-scale cyberattack exercise on supply chains

See also:


Dollars

Senator publishes Fauci's unredacted financial disclosures, accuses him of being misleading

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall
© Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg
U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall publicly clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci at a recent Senate hearing.
U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., published White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci's unredacted financial records and accused him of being misleading when he told the Senate his financial disclosure forms were publicly available.

While Fauci's financial disclosure documents can be requested from the National Institute of Health, they aren't listed in the same searchable database as many other federal officials.

Fauci is "more concerned with being a media star and posing for the cover of magazines than he is being honest with the American people and holding China accountable for the COVID pandemic that has taken the lives of almost 850 thousand Americans," Marshall told Fox News Digital in a statement.

Comment: See also:


Russian Flag

Russia is in the right: The West promised not to enlarge NATO & these promises were broken

Clinton and Yeltsin

Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin
With Russia challenging Western unilateralism in a way not seen since the end of the Soviet Union, two major issues keep coming to the fore. Both, it seems, are centered on America's flagship military bloc, NATO.

First, there is Moscow's claim that there was a Western promise not to expand NATO beyond its Cold War area. Second, there is a Western claim that NATO cannot, let alone will not, put an end to admitting new member states.

This is no mere rhetoric; these are crucial points. Russia's insistence on a thorough review and comprehensive, bindingly codified reset of post-Cold War security relations with the West hinges on its claim that prior Western assurances were broken. Talk and informal promises, the Kremlin says, are not enough anymore because they have turned out to be unreliable. On the other side of the quarrel, the West is rejecting a Russian key demand — to stop NATO expansion — by entrenching itself behind its claim that NATO simply must keep the door open to new members.

Both claims can be verified. Let's take a look at the facts. Moscow is right in its assertion that the West has broken its promises.

Comment: Russia suffered for more than a decade due to its naivety about the true nature of the West's political goals. It's a mistake they will not repeat.


TV

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview on Channel One's "The Great Game" political talk show, Moscow, January 13, 2022

Lavrov
© С.В.Лавров (Большая игра)/unsplash.com
Russian FM Sergey Lavrov
Vyacheslav Nikonov: We are not in the usual studio in Ostankino but in the Foreign Ministry's historic mansion on Spiridonovka Street. This is where the Limited Test Ban Treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water was signed and the first G8 summit took place in 1996.

We are discussing the problems of 2022, which had a most unusual beginning. Everyone expected the year to get off to a rapid start, but not quite in the way it happened. Sergey Lavrov, one of the most influential politicians and diplomats in our country and the world, is at the centre of these events. Dimitri Simes joins us live from Washington.

Now all attention is focused on the European security talks that your deputies conducted in Geneva and Brussels and today in Vienna. Judging by everything, our Western partners have not grasped the imperative character of the Russian proposals expressed in a draft treaty on security with the United States and an agreement with the NATO countries. They are used to talking on their own terms, not as equals. What could you say about these talks? Are they a success or a failure? Are they going better or worse, or about as you expected? What will come next?

Red Flag

US accuses Russia of preparing 'false flag' operation to attack Ukraine

PUtin
© Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin
The U.S. claims to have information indicating that Russia has "already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine," laying the groundwork for a potential pretext to invade, according to a U.S. official.

Why it matters: Diplomatic talks between the U.S., its European allies and Russia failed to produce a breakthrough this week, raising fears that Moscow will invade Ukraine and unleash a devastating new war.

What they're saying:
- "The United States is concerned that the Russian Government is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives."

- "As part of its plans, Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine."

- "The Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea."

Comment: US foreign policy can be summed up in two words: Accusations and Demands.


Bullseye

Tulsi Gabbard blasts Joe Biden: 'He has betrayed us all'

Gabbard
© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard
President Joe Biden has "betrayed us all," Tulsi Gabbard said on Friday, accusing the president of going back on his promise to unite the country. Gabbard, who ran against Biden in the 2020 Democrat presidential primary, admitted that she supported him after dropping out of the race. She said in a statement at the time in March 2020:
"I know Vice President Biden and his wife and am grateful to have called his son Beau, who also served in the National Guard, a friend. Although I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people."
On Friday, she said in the video:

Light Saber

Defying US Caesar Act, China admits Syria into BRI

BRI china syria
© The Cradle
Syria is now the eighteenth Arab state to join the ambitious Chinese Belt and Road Initiative
Marking a major boost to Sino-Syrian relations, on 12 January, Syria joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China's ambitious infrastructure development strategy stretching from East Asia to Europe.

For analysts with an eye on Syria, the development was expected. In November 2021, President Bashar discussed his country gaining membership in the BRI with his counterpart in Beijing, Xi Jinping, following high-level meetings between officials of both states in previous months.

The move will likely help Syria deepen its cooperative and economic ties to other countries in the BRI, and enable it to circumvent the effects of harsh US sanctions on the country.

Comment: It seems that both China and Russia see that the West is becoming increasingly desperate, and dangerous, and that the time to make serious moves to neutralise them as best they can has arrived: And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Why You Should Question Media Reports About China 'Causing Covid' And 'Invading Taiwan'