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CYBER WARFARE: Russia’s FSB warns of massive cyber-attack on Russian banks

Russia’s FSB warns of a massive cyber-attack aimed at destabilising the Russian banking system coming on Monday. Russia’s Central Bank and the Russian banks issue statements that they are ready to counter the attack.

Alexander Mercouris

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Russia’s counter-intelligence service – the FSB – has issued a warning that “foreign intelligence services” are preparing a massive cyber-attack on the Russian financial system on 5th December 2016.

The FSB is describing the form of the anticipated attack as follows:

“The cyber attacks are expected to be accompanied by mass SMS and provocative publications in social networks or blogs about “a crisis in the Russian credit and financial system, bankruptcy and withdrawal of licenses of leading federal and regional banks.  The campaign is directed against several dozen Russian cities.””

According to the FSB the servers and command centres for carrying out this cyber-attack are located in the Netherlands and are owned by Ukraine’s hosting company BlazingFast.

The FSB has not identified the “foreign intelligence agencies” that are supposedly preparing this attack.  However the fact that a Ukrainian company is involved and that the servers and command centres are located in the Netherlands – a NATO state – obviously points in the direction of Ukraine and NATO.

This FSB warning of course comes after US threats to launch cyber-warfare against Russia in connection with the DNC and Podesta leaks.

Though this is the sum total of the information the FSB has publicly provided, it is possible to say more.

Firstly, this would not be the first large scale attempt to destabilise the Russian banking system. 

German Gref, the CEO of Sberbank – Russia’s largest bank – has previously said that Sberbank was the target of a what looks like a very similar attack at the height of the rouble crisis in December 2014.  According to an interview Gref gave to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti on 27th May 2015, on 18th December 2014 Sberbank suffered a massive information attack, with people receiving text messages saying it was facing problems paying out deposits:

“Unfortunately, we could not avoid the panic. You saw what happened. But I can only say this: first, the attack was coordinated, thousands of sms-messages were sent in each region, including a large number of mailings done from foreign websites.  The target was to destabilise the country’s largest bank and financial situation in the country.”

The total amount withdrawn from Sberbank on 18th December 2014 apparently came to some 300 billion rubles (about $6 billion), making it the biggest bank run in Russian history.

According to Gref, Sberbank knows who was behind the attack, though he has never said who.

“I would not like to disclose the results. But we do have specific sites and IP-addresses these mailings were sent from, we even know who these addresses belong to. Not all of them are within our reach. But there is no doubt it was a well-planned provocation.”

This attack ultimately failed despite coming at a time when the Russian financial system was under extreme stress.  Today Russia’s banks are stable and well-capitalised, the rouble is stable, the economy is also stable and coming out of recession, and the Central Bank has ample reserves to plug any gaps. 

It is very difficult to believe that what failed in the seemingly ideal conditions of the December 2014 crisis can succeed now.

Besides the fact that the FSB claims to have detected this plot so far in advance means that the Russians have ample time to prepare for the attack if and when it comes. 

In cyber and financial time a weekend is an age.  Already the Central Bank and Russia’s two biggest banks Sberbank and VTB have issued statements saying they are fully prepared and able to deal with any threats.

The last point to make about this affair is that it is very interesting that the FSB has apparently been able to detect the preparations for this attack so far in advance.  On the face of it this is a notable counter-espionage success.  One wonders how it was done.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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