Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hybrid Warfare: NATO Investigates Putin's Troll War against the West 3/3

by Nomad

Part One
Part Two

In the third and final installment in this series, we finish up with a look at what NATO learned by studying Russian trolling activities in the Baltic nation of Latvia before 2015. How can we apply these findings to what went on in the US a year later?

So Why Latvia?

Back in 2015, NATO had several good reasons for choosing the tiny Baltic nation of Latvia to study how hybrid trolling operated.

When it comes to vulnerability, the nation has many unique characteristics. For one thing, Latvia and Russia share a 214 km border as well as a long and often contentious history. Even today, it is very much in the shadow of the Russian bear.
It is also a divided nation.
Demographically, ethnic Latvians form 61% of the population while a full 25.6% are ethnic Russians. There are other divisions as well. Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant Lutheran yet its ethnic Russians population is Eastern Orthodox Christians. Despite the fact that the sole official language of Latvia is Latvian, Russian, widely spoken during the Soviet occupation, is still the most widely used minority language.

It is also one of the limited club of NATO members that was once a member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 and a part of the Soviet Union. Latvia regained its independence in August 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.  For that reason, Latvia will probably always be a politically divided nation.
For these and other reasons, Latvia is in many ways a perfect target for outside tampering by Russians.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Music from Mongolia

by Nomad

This week's musical sanity break takes us far away from the dread-inspiring world of politics. And this is about as far away from that sordid mess as you can and remain on the planet. But, seriously, you all need a break. It's been a hellish and nerve-racking week (It did, however, have a happy ending for almost everybody.)

In any event, nomads deserve nomadic music so I present to you, the music from Mongolia.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Manafort and Deripaska: More Secret Russian Connections in the Trump Team

by Nomad

The tangled web woven by President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, just keeps getting more and more tangled.
And now there's this:

The Associated Press is now reporting that Manafort 
"secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics."
That's quite a bold claim. It's also one that would flatly contradict Trump administration assertions that Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.
Nope, never. Fake news, people!