Espionage isn’t treason. But it’s a very big deal

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Photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

Denial is not only a river in Egypt as yesterday’s revelations on the coordinated lies of Manafort and Trump hinge in part on events related to the use of hacked material and its transfer to those favoring the Trump campaign. This seems to have been normal operating procedure as various Russian involvements became interwoven into the 2016 Trump campaign.

It’s a feature that fits into the conventional practices of those in the Trumpian orbit. One person’s “business intelligence” is another’s espionage, especially when the GRU is involved.

Twitter is but a Trumpian “radio game”, complete with daily disinformation. But with the 1980s kompromat, and the money laundering, Stone and Corsi are simply clerks in the Trumpian counting house. And now there is the possibility that after election day, Trump knew of Papadopoulos coordinating with Russians…

If corroborated, the claims in the letter would add to an emerging portrait of Trump and his associates’ eagerness to strike backdoor deals with Russia even after the intelligence community concluded that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election. (Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, tried to set up a “backchannel” to Russia in the weeks after the election and met with the CEO of a sanctioned Russian bank during the transition period. Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, meanwhile, negotiated with the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions before Trump was inaugurated.)

[…]

Papadopoulos remains one of the most important figures in the Russia investigation. He was ostensibly the first member of the Trump campaign to learn that the Russians had stolen emails that they planned to use against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Rather than tell the FBI about the Russian “dirt” on Clinton, Papadopoulos continued trying to facilitate a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as the campaign wore on. His disclosure to an Australian diplomat in May 2016 that Russia had dirt on Clinton is purportedly what triggered the FBI’s Russia investigation—Australian officials reported the comment to American law enforcement authorities in July 2016, after WikiLeaks released the stolen DNC emails.

www.theatlantic.com/…

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It was always much more than a drunk brag to an Australian diplomat

Cyber-terror and post-industrial espionage share a family resemblance.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.

In a statement, Manafort denied meeting Assange. He said: “I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or WikiLeaks on any matter.”

Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House.

[…]

A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.

[…]

One key question is when the Trump campaign was aware of the Kremlin’s hacking operation – and what, if anything, it did to encourage it. Trump has repeatedly denied collusion.

Earlier this year Mueller indicted 12 GRU intelligence officers for carrying out the hack, which began in March 2016.

In June of that year WikiLeaks emailed the GRU via an intermediary seeking the DNC material. After failed attempts, Vladimir Putin’s spies sent the documents in mid-July to WikiLeaks as an encrypted attachment.

Смерть шпионам ‘Why only American spies?’

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“SMERSH was not controlled effectively by anyone, and they could do whatever they wanted,” said Vadim Telitsyn, a scholar at the Institute of Russian History, who wrote a book about the agency. “They could arrest anybody of their own free will, from a simple peasant to an authority figure. The word ‘SMERSH’ terrified even Soviet officers who had fought the war.”

The name Death to Spies was personally chosen by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Telitsyn said. “One of the leaders suggested it should be called Death to German Spies,” he said. “But Stalin logically replied, ‘Why only German spies?’ “

….SMERSH’s “radio games” against the Nazis’ Abwehr military intelligence service,

“The captured German agents were forced to take part in these radio games,” Kozhin said. “It was a game because these agents or double agents would be sending messages to their headquarters as if they were at large, like they’re expecting new paratroopers to land, money and weapons. It was really a game for SMERSH because the Germans usually fell for these tricks and would send all that was requested — but SMERSH would be the final destination.”

Captured agents also sent false reports back to their headquarters, claiming, for example, that the Russians were preparing an offensive in one sector while the attack was really to come elsewhere.

www.sfgate.com/…

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To confuse German intelligence with disinformation, SMERSH utilized radio playbacks and played over 183 radio games over the course of the war. Operation “Opyt'” serves as a good example of the effectiveness of these radio games. Between May and June 1943, SMERSH used three German agents to spread disinformation about the Kursk counteroffensive by suggesting the Red Army had begun to dig in rather than prepare for an attack, thus contributing to the success of the Red Army’s surprise attack. Before Operation Bagration, the largest Allied operation of the Second World War, SMERSH caught and “doubled” a number of German agents who tricked the German military into underestimating the number of Soviet troops by 1.2 million men.[24]

en.wikipedia.org/…

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