Article: SPRK to check if Augstsprieguma tīkls imports Belarusian electricity from Russia

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SPRK to check if Augstsprieguma tīkls imports Belarusian electricity from Russia

LETA, 19 June 2021

SPRK has received a request from Nord Pool. In it the exchange requests SPRK and Lithuanian National Energy Council to check if Latvian transmission system operator Augstsprieguma tīkls and Lithuanian transmissions system operator Litgrid AB haven’t breached Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT). Article 5 states that any involvement in market manipulation is strictly prohibited. Continue reading “Article: SPRK to check if Augstsprieguma tīkls imports Belarusian electricity from Russia”

Article: US Attorney General Warns Ransomware ‘Getting Worse and Worse’

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US Attorney General Warns Ransomware ‘Getting Worse and Worse’/strong>

Masood Farivar, 09 June 2021

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland warned Wednesday that ransom-motivated cyberattacks are “getting worse and worse,” echoing other top Biden administration officials who have sounded the alarm about the problem in recent weeks.

“We have to do everything we possibly can here,” Garland told lawmakers. “This is a very, very serious threat.” Continue reading “Article: US Attorney General Warns Ransomware ‘Getting Worse and Worse’”

Article: Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets

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Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets

TYLER DURDEN, 03 June 2021

Following a series of corporate cyberattacks that American intelligence agencies have blamed on Russian actors, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (officially the National Wellbeing Fund) has decided to dump all of its dollars and dollar-denominated assets in favor of those denominated in euros, yuan – or simply buying precious metals like gold, which Russia’s central bank has increasingly favored for its own reserves.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov made the announcement Thursday morning at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Continue reading “Article: Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets”

Article: Special Counsel Spends $1.5 Million in Probe of Russia Inquiry

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Special Counsel Spends $1.5 Million in Probe of Russia Inquiry

Chris Strohm, 28 May 2021

The U.S. Justice Department released the first official expenditure report for the special investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia inquiry — providing a rare bit of insight into the secretive review more than two years after it was begun in response to demands by then-President Donald Trump.

The inquiry being led by Special Counsel John Durham spent about $1.5 million from Oct. 19 to March 31, according to the report from the Justice Department released Thursday. Of that, Durham directly spent about $934,000, mostly on personnel, while Justice Department units spent about $520,000 to support the investigation, according to the five-page report. Continue reading “Article: Special Counsel Spends $1.5 Million in Probe of Russia Inquiry”

Article: The Bogus “Super Dollars” That Fooled the World for Two Decades

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The Bogus “Super Dollars” That Fooled the World for Two Decades

EXPLICA .CO, 25 May 2021

The forgery was so perfect that even US Secret Service experts could not initially determine whether it was real dollars or a copy before them.

Only after a sophisticated forensic analysis were they able to confirm that they were fakes. But those $ 100 bills were so millimeter perfect who nicknamed them “The false superdollars.” They had the same high-tech color change ink as real US dollars.

They were also printed on paper with exactly the same fiber composition as the originals: three-quarters of American cotton and one-quarter of linen. The recorded images were, if anything, finer than those produced by the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Kirill Kukhmar Even machines were hard to recognize counterfeit. A little variation, then reported the New York Times, which revealed that they were not original. The United States was very alarmed that counterfeits were passing through the banks undetectedas no one could tell the difference.

These “super dollars” circulated around the world in the 1990s and 2000s. During these years, the United States decided to change the design of the US $ 100 bills twice, but counterfeiters managed to adapt.

They appeared in Denmark, France, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Ireland. Also in Russia.

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Chris Hedges: Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden

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Chris Hedges: Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden

Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden. He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance at becoming law as the $15-dollar minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised us as a candidate. He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create “millions of good paying jobs – jobs Americans can raise their families on” any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good paying jobs. His mantra of “buy American” is worthless. He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who earn an average of one or two dollars an hour and lack unions and basic labor rights. He knows his call to lower deductibles and prescription drug costs in the Affordable Care Act will never be permitted by the corporations that profit from health care. He knows the corporate donors that fund the Democratic Party will ensure their lobbyists will continue to write Continue reading “Chris Hedges: Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden”

Article: The Fall Of Turkey, The Rise Of Bitcoin

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The Fall Of Turkey, The Rise Of Bitcoin

TYLER DURDEN, 26 April 2021

It never ceases to amaze me how tone deaf those with power are.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in serious trouble for the first time in his political career. He’s a man staring at a massive electoral problem coming this fall.

Erdogan is currently presiding over an economy in complete freefall. With recent reports of food riots over government handouts of potatoes and onions the news only seems to be getting worse there on the eve of national elections. Continue reading “Article: The Fall Of Turkey, The Rise Of Bitcoin”

Article: The Weird, Extremely German Origins of the Wirecard Scandal

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The Weird, Extremely German Origins of the Wirecard Scandal

Adrian Daub, 21 April 2021

German scandals are not like other scandals. The bouquet of a classic German scandal contains unmistakable notes: a rabbit-hole impenetrability, the implication of an entire guilt-ridden society, and, most importantly, a sense that the controversy says something essential about Germany as a whole. German scandals are collectivized. They are about a belief in German difference, for good or ill.

The rise and fall of the financial services giant Wirecard is such a scandal. Wirecard, whose products facilitated e-commerce payment transactions, was the rare German startup that seemed primed to become a “global player”—a phrase with special resonance in a country that, despite all evidence to the contrary, still perceives itself as being small-time. The company was founded in 1999, survived the dotcom-bubble, began a massive expansion into Asia in the middle of the financial crisis, and, later, began another expansion into the Middle East. Continue reading “Article: The Weird, Extremely German Origins of the Wirecard Scandal”

Article: Can the US compete?

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Can the US compete?

Rod Kapunan, 10 April 2021

Many are speculating whether the US has the budget to sustain the cost for the long-delayed rehabilitation of America’s infrastructure. It was announced it will cost the Biden administration a whopping $2 trillion to undertake the repairs of the country’s mostly aging infrastructure.

As observed, the US economy is saddled with great contradictions. It is deeply mired in debt that it cannot just do all things at the same time. Some say the problem is for the US economy to undergo some kind of economic metamorphoses, similar to what China did to overcome the obstacle inherent in the US system.

One must remember that the greatest enemy of the US is the contradiction from within its own system. The US is hampered in what Marx says “internal contradictions” – that the interest of the various pressure groups could stymie most of its objectives. Continue reading “Article: Can the US compete?”

Article: The Next ‘Gamestop’: How China or Russia Could Attack Our Financial System

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The Next ‘Gamestop’: How China or Russia Could Attack Our Financial System

Robert Carlson, Gray Gaertner, 16 March 2021

Last week, the dramatic rise and fall in the price of Gamestop demonstrated how vulnerable the stock market is to social media speculation. U.S. regulators should now turn their attention to a greater risk—that in the near future, China, Russia, or another adversary could coordinate an unwitting mob to harm the American financial system.

The potential for financial warfare follows from a playbook that China, and especially Russia, have drawn from repeatedly to meddle in U.S. domestic politics. First, foreign state agents have used social media to spread disinformation or stoke existing grievances. Second, they have counted on naive users to share the original posts, allowing the content to reach a larger audience. Finally, they fan the flames to provoke action.

In 2016 and 2020, Russian propaganda decreased U.S. voters’ trust in their candidates and the political system. During last year’s protests over race and policing, foreign bots amplified instances of both racial discrimination and violent protests, further polarizing American society. Following Joe Biden’s electoral victory in November, Russian agents embraced false allegations of fraud, providing the rationale for an armed mob to assault the Capitol Building. China spends at least $10 billion per year on its own influence operations through the United Front Work Department, which promotes pro-Beijing narratives overseas.

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Article: Why Mitt Romney’s call for economic boycott of China Olympics comes as no surprise

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Why Mitt Romney’s call for economic boycott of China Olympics comes as no surprise

Dennis Romboy, 15 March 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney’s call for an economic and diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing isn’t surprising given his political stances on China.

In his first speech on the Senate floor after taking office in 2019, the Utah Republican shifted his focus from Russia to China as America’s greatest geopolitical adversary. While running for president in 2012, he argued that Russia presented the biggest threat to the United States.

Romney said China’s economic strength and large population enable a military power that “could eclipse our own.”

“It is possible that freedom itself would be in jeopardy,” he warned. “If we fail to act now, that possibility may become reality.”

In his first two years in the Senate, Romney filed legislation to combat China’s economic aggression, condemned the Chinese Communist Party and sought sanctions over abuses of ethnic minorities. He pushed for a National Security Council task force to counter the Chinese government’s “sinister propaganda” about the origins of the coronavirus

Just last week, Romney and seven GOP colleagues reintroduced the Strengthening Trade, Regional Alliances, Technology and Economic and Geopolitical Initiatives Concerning China Act to advance a comprehensive strategy for U.S. competition with China.

“We must take decisive action now to confront China’s growing aggression, which includes linking arms with our friends and allies to dissuade the Chinese Communist Party from its predatory policies and demand that China abide by the norms and rules which the rest of us follow,” he said.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Romney is a member, will hold a hearing on the issue this week.

Romney has accused China of unfair trade practices, stealing American jobs, currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.

“I think we have to hold China’s feet to the fire,” he said in 2019.

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Article: Newly Obtained Audit Report Details How Shady Clients from Around the World Moved Billions Through Estonia

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Newly Obtained Audit Report Details How Shady Clients from Around the World Moved Billions Through Estonia

Holger Roonemaa and Oliver Kund, KYC360News, 12 March 2021

On a warm Monday morning in June 2014, two auditors from Estonia’s financial regulator stepped into the Tallinn office of Danske Bank, armed with a single piece of graph paper handwritten with the names of 18 of its clients, and demanded to see their records.

At first glance, the customers on the list sounded boring. They were mostly obscure trading companies with generic names like Hilux Services and Polux Management. But the auditors — who had been tipped off by a police unit that tracks financial crime — didn’t have to dig too deep before things got very strange.

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Article: What We Talk About When We Talk About the Russian Mob

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What We Talk About When We Talk About the Russian Mob

IN ROBERT MUELLER’S famed “Iron Triangles” speech, given to the Citizens Crime Commission of New York on 27 January 2011, the then-FBI Director explains how 21st century transnational organized crime works. (He also, improbably, cracks a joke about Justin Bieber’s haircut, the only sentence in the speech that feels dated).

The so-called “mob” is no longer run by a few families, Mueller says, but rather “flat, fluid networks with global reach,” comprised of groups in countries all around the world, which are “more anonymous and more sophisticated.”

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Article: Russian Nationals Charged With Series of Hacking and Bank Fraud Offenses

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Russian Nationals Charged With Series of Hacking and Bank Fraud Offenses

Security Magazine, 05 December 2019

The US, through its Departments of Justice and State, and the UK, through its National Crime Agency (NCA), announced the unsealing of criminal charges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Lincoln, Nebraska, against Maksim V. Yakubets, aka online moniker, “aqua,” 32, of Moscow, Russia, related to two separate international computer hacking and bank fraud schemes spanning from May 2009 to the present. A second individual, Igor Turashev, 38, from Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, was also indicted in Pittsburgh for his role related to the “Bugat” malware conspiracy. Continue reading “Article: Russian Nationals Charged With Series of Hacking and Bank Fraud Offenses”

Article: Russian Hacking Group Evil Corp. Charged By Federal Prosecutors In Alleged Bank Fraud

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Russian Hacking Group Evil Corp. Charged By Federal Prosecutors In Alleged Bank Fraud

BOBBY ALLYN, 05 December 2019

Federal law enforcement officials have announced criminal charges against two Russian nationals who operate a hacking organization known as Evil Corp., a group officials say is responsible for one of the most sweeping banking fraud schemes in the past decade.

The criminal indictments were unsealed in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Lincoln, Nebraska, against Maksim Yakubets, 32, and Igor Turashev, 38, both of whom live in Russia. The duo are accused of bank and wire fraud and computer hacking, among other counts. Continue reading “Article: Russian Hacking Group Evil Corp. Charged By Federal Prosecutors In Alleged Bank Fraud”