News Summary EUCOM: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

News Summary EUCOM: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Must Reads:

1.       Russia used hundreds of fake accounts to tweet about Brexit, data shows

-The Guardian – Robert Booth, Matthew Weaver, Alex Hern, and Shaun Walker – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Concern about Russian influence in British politics has intensified as it emerged that more than 400 fake Twitter accounts believed to be run from St Petersburg published posts about Brexit. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh identified 419 accounts operating from the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) attempting to influence UK politics out of 2,752 accounts suspended by Twitter in the US.

  • One of the accounts run from the Kremlin-linked operation attempted to stir anti-Islamic sentiment during the Westminster Bridge terror attack in March in a bogus post claiming a Muslim woman ignored victims – a claim that was highlighted by mainstream media outlets including Mail Online and the Sun.

2.       Russia posts video game screenshot as ‘proof’ of US helping IS

-BBC News – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia’s work with Turkey and Iran was producing concrete results in Syria and creating conditions for a dialogue there.

  • Speaking alongside Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Putin said Russia would continue to work with Turkey to help resolve the Syria crisis.

 

3.       Turkey appalled’ by U.S. stance on IS withdrawal from Raqqa: ministry

-Reuters – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Turkey on Tuesday said it was appalled by the approach of the U.S. Department of Defense towards an agreement between the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and Islamic State to withdraw Islamic State militants from the Syrian city of Raqqa.

  • Last month, a YPG militia spokesman said that Syrian Islamic State fighters were set to abandon Raqqa in a withdrawal agreed with U.S.-backed Syrian militias.

4.       Gulf minister warns Germany to keep better control over its mosques

-The Local Germany – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Sheikh Nahjan Mubarak al Nahjan, the minister for tolerance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has said that inadequate surveillance of mosques has led to Islamist terrorism in Germany. He added that the problem existed in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, arguing that Muslims were becoming radicalized in mosques where the authorities were not exerting strong enough control.

  • In the authoritarian UAE, mosques are comprehensively controlled by the authorities. The tiny oil-rich Gulf state claims that the extensive powers it has given to its secret services have allowed it to prevent terror attacks by radical organizations such as Isis.
  • In Germany the state does not interfere in the selection of preachers at mosques, nor do mosques need a licence in order to open.

 

France

5.       France now keeping tabs on 18,000 radicalized individuals

-The Local France – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: French intelligence chiefs have revealed that a list of individuals considered radicalized and potentially violent now numbers 18,000. Some 4,000 of the most dangerous are under close surveillance.

  • The head of France’s internal intelligence services the DGSI released the figures to highlight that despite terror group Isis facing defeat in the Middle East the danger of homegrown terrorism in France remains high.

 

Germany

6.       German parties want lobbyist registry, may mandate hack reports

-Reuters – Thorsten Severin and Andreas Rinke – 11/14/2017

BLUF: German parties exploring a coalition government agreed on Tuesday to set up a mandatory registry of lobbyists and may require private firms to disclose breaches of cyber defences, according to a draft paper on security seen by Reuters. The 3-page document, a blueprint for a new German government’s stance on security, showed growing consensus on some issues among Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the environmental Greens. But several issues remained unresolved, including the number of police jobs to be added, rules on storage of private data, and the future of a controversial hate speech law.

  • Merkel is pressing party leaders to resolve their differences by Thursday, with an eye to completing a detailed coalition agreement by Christmas.

 

7.       Germany quintuples arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt

-Deutsche Well – Ben Knight – 11/14/2017

BLUF: The German government approved nearly €450 million ($526 million) worth of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the third quarter of 2017, more than five times the €86 million it sold in the same quarter of last year. Egypt alone bought nearly €300 million worth of weapons, making it the number one export destination for German arms, while Saudi Arabia handed over nearly €150 million. By comparison, the two countries imported €45 million and €41 million respectively in the third quarter of 2016.

  • The ministry’s disclosure did not give details on the types of weapons exported, but a large proportion of the sales to Saudi Arabia likely consists of four patrol boats and 110 military trucks.

 

Israel

8.       France calls for access after pro-BDS lawmakers barred from Israel

-The Times of Israel – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: France on Tuesday called for its lawmakers to be given full access to “all of the interlocutors they wish to meet” after Israel said it would not allow a group of European officials, including French parliamentarians, to visit Israel due to their efforts to promote boycotts of the Jewish state. The group was scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on November 19-23 and had announced that its primary purpose was to visit Marwan Barghouti and other Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails and offer them support.

  • Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced on Monday that he would adopt the recommendation of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to deny entry to the group’s 20 participants, among whom are French parliamentarians and mayors, and members of the European Parliament.

 

9.       Police launch probe of Israeli drone manufacturer

-The Jerusalem Post – Daniel K. Eisenbud – 11/15/2017

BLUF: Police on Tuesday said they were investigating alleged corruption by the Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics Ltd. in connection with an unnamed “significant client.” Details of the investigation remain unclear due to a gag order.

  • The company issued a brief statement after the investigation was announced, saying it “will cooperate fully with any examination of any matter, and will do its best to ensure that the investigation will be as quick as possible.”

 

Russia

10.   Russia attacked energy, telecom and media in Britain, official says

-CNBC – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Russia’s Ministry of Defence has posted what it called “irrefutable proof” of the US aiding so-called Islamic State – but one of the images was actually taken from a video game. The ministry claimed the image showed an IS convoy leaving a Syrian town last week aided by US forces.

  • The ministry said an employee had mistakenly attached the photo.

 

Spain

11.   Spain’s prime minister rules out negotiations with ousted Catalan leaders

-The Telegraph – James Badcock – 11/14/2017

BLUF: The Spanish prime minister has ruled out negotiating the future status of Catalonia with ousted leaders who unlawfully declared independence.

  • Mariano Rajoy described former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his colleagues as “politically off limits”.

 

 

Turkey

12.   Turkey summit to gather business leaders, politicians

-Al Jazeera – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Prominent business people, pundits and politicians from across the world are to meet in Istanbul to attend the 8th Bosphorus Summit, a gathering of workshops and panels on global issues. Participants from Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia and China, among other countries, will travel to the Turkish metropolis for the three-day event between November 28-30.

  • Almost 2,000 participants are expected to be present at the summit which will be addressed by 176 speakers from 71 countries.

 

13.   Turkey, Russia agree to deepen relations

-Hurriyet Daily News – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Ankara and Moscow have agreed to deepen bilateral ties, Turkey’s president said on Nov. 13. “We have agreed to deepen our relations,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a news conference with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin at the presidential residence in the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi, following a meeting between the two leaders.

  • “Of course, we do not find this level satisfactory. Both sides agree that our countries and people should be closer and have stronger cooperation in every area,” he added.
  • He said he had visited Russia three times this year and met Putin for the sixth time, adding that “intense” diplomacy continues.

 

Ukraine

14.   Ukraine prosecutor says puzzled by lack of U.S. help on Manafort case

-Reuters – Matthias Williams and Pavel Polityuk – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Ukraine is puzzled by the lack of a U.S. response to requests it has made to question former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort as a witness over two cases involving misuse of Ukrainian state funds, the chief investigator said.

  • Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutor’s office, told Reuters Ukraine had sent requests in 2014 and 2015 to question representatives of a law firm and Manafort.
  • He said Ukraine had received reassurances from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the requests would be met, but without result.

 

 

15.   Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau launches case against sister agency

-Reuters – Pavel Polityuk – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Ukrainian investigators on Tuesday said they had opened a criminal case into suspected extortion by officials at a sister anti-corruption agency, based partly on information from a whistleblower who also implicated the president’s office.

  • NABU – a sister agency investigating high-profile corruption cases – said it opened the case against NAZK officials on suspicion they received “undue benefits in especially large amounts, combined with the extortion of such benefits.”

 

16.   European Commissioner Hahn to visit Ukraine on Nov 15 – EU mission

-Interfax-Ukraine – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will pay a visit to Ukraine on Wednesday, November 15, within the framework of which he intends to discuss the implementation of the Agreement on the Ukraine-EU Association and the Free Trade Area, the European Union Mission in Kyiv has reported.

  • “The purpose of the visit is to discuss the implementation of the Association Agreement and an in-depth and comprehensive free trade zone, progress in fighting corruption and supporting independent media and public service broadcasting,” the EU Delegation said on Tuesday morning.

 

 

United Kingdom

17.   EU citizens keep immigration rights in UK, court rules

-BBC News – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: EU nationals who become British citizens do not lose the right to bring a foreign-born spouse to the UK, the European Court of Justice has ruled. London’s High Court referred the case of an Algerian man, who lived in the UK with his wife, but who British authorities were trying to deport.

  • BBC Europe correspondent Damian Grammaticas says the ruling only applies to European citizens who have exercised their right to move within the EU and have family rights linked to that move.

 

18.   Russian politicians dismiss PM’s ‘election meddling’ claims

-BBC News – Unknown – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Senior Russian politicians have dismissed accusations by Theresa May that Moscow has meddled in elections and carried out cyber-espionage. Russian senators accused the UK PM of “making a fool of herself” with a “counterproductive” speech.

  • President Donald Trump’s newly appointed ambassador to the UK told BBC News that Mrs May “probably has evidence” of Russian meddling and she had “every right” to draw attention to it.

 

19.   Brexit threatens UK’s reputation for scientific research, watchdog says

-The Guardian – Rajeev Syal – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Britain risks losing its reputation as a scientific research powerhouse as a result of Brexit, the head of parliament’s spending watchdog has warned. It [the report] warned that Brexit could affect how UK research was funded in future, as Britain was a net recipient of EU funding for research, taking in €8.8bn (£7.9bn) between 2007 and 2013, compared with contributions of €5.4bn.

  • Meg Hillier, the chair of the public accounts select committee, said the government was “sorely lacking” in the leadership needed to maintain Britain’s position in areas such as robotics and climate change after withdrawal from the EU.

 

20.   UK parties must disclose identity of digital ad funders, watchdog rules

-The Guardian – Rajeev Syal – 11/14/2017

BLUF: Political parties will be told to disclose to the public who is paying for digital adverts, the elections watchdog has announced, following the concerns raised by Theresa May that Russia has influenced UK elections. The Electoral Commission will also ask political parties to provide a detailed breakdown of how much money is spent on digital advertising, following concerns that the public needs more information about who is behind adverts pushed on social media.

  • It comes as MPs on the House of Commons media committee prepare to begin an inquiry into whether Moscow has tried to interfere in British politics, which is due to hear from representatives of Twitter and Facebook.

 

By |2018-01-12T16:48:41-06:00January 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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