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Intelligence Company Warned Feds of Jan 6 Violence 2 Weeks Prior


Michael_Novakhov
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A private intelligence company warned federal law enforcement agencies in a briefing that former President Donald Trump‘s supporters were planning a violent insurrection two weeks ahead of the events on January 6 in Washington, D.C.

The attack against the Capitol appeared to take federal law enforcement off guard, as a mob of pro-Trump rioters quickly overwhelmed officers protecting the legislative building. In the wake of the violence, law enforcement officials have suggested they were unaware of the seriousness of the threat. However, newly reported documents show the government received advanced warning.

“[A] supposedly violent insurrection by [Trump’s] supporters has ‘always been the plan,'” a December 24 briefing by SITE Intelligence Group warned its subscribers, which include federal law enforcement, Politico first reported Thursday.

Rita Katz, the founder and executive director of SITE, said that federal law enforcement’s response to the warnings demonstrated a “profound failure to act.”

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“A potpourri of communities overtly strategized to storm the Capitol building and arrestxe2x80x94if not outright killxe2x80x94public officials and carry out a coup,” Katz told Politico. She said that officials “were alerting their superiors and other agencies to the threats SITE had identifiedxe2x80x94many of which ended up manifesting that day, just as they were written.”

Katz explained that SITE’s briefing about specific threats were circulated by the “FBI and other agencies well before January 6.”

Capitol Police said in February that they had been aware of possible violence and had taken additional precautions, even arming officers with assault rifles to protect members of Congress. However, they said that the they had largely expected a more traditional protest and not the level of violence that eventually transpired.

“Although the Department’s January 3rd Special Assessment foretold of a significant likelihood for violence on Capitol grounds by extremists groups, it did not identify a specific credible threat indicating that thousands of American citizens would descend upon the U.S. Capitol attacking police officers with the goal of breaking into the U.S. Capitol Building to harm Members and prevent the certification of Electoral College votes,” Yogananda Pittman, assistant chief of Capitol Police, said during a House hearing in February.

Newsweek reached out to the Department of Justice and the FBI for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an apparent effort to prevent the formal certification of President Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory. Ahead of that attack, Trump urged his supporters during a rally at the Ellipse to march to the Capitol and to “fight like hell.” Many proceeded to follow that guidance.

The crowd was largely animated by Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” or “stolen” in favor of Biden. Despite dozens of failed election challenge lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies as well as multiple audits in key battleground states, no evidence has emerged substantiating the former president’s extraordinary allegation.

Many of the Trump supporters expressed a desire to kill top American lawmakers, such as then-Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Some rioters set up a large noose outside the Capitol, while some suggested they wanted to “hang” Pence for refusing to unconstitutionally overturn the election results.

More than 660 people have been charged in connection to the Capitol assault. It took about four hours for law enforcement to clear the legislative building of rioters and end the violence on January 6.

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Putin’s alleged mistress has $100M, ‘Pandora Papers’ reveal


Michael_Novakhov
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from Jorge Fitz-Gibbon | New York Post.

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His secret girlfriend has lots of secret wealth.

Russian President Vladimir Putinxe2x80x99s longtime mistress has an estimated net worth of $100 million in xe2x80x9cshadow wealth,xe2x80x9d including swanky apartments and a yacht, despite her modest background, a trove of newly leaked documents reveal.

Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, has been romantically linked with the Russian strongman since he was still deputy mayor of her hometown of St. Petersburg, and reportedly has a daughter with him.

But Krivonogikh xe2x80x94 who grew up in a communal apartment xe2x80x94 and other Putin cronies have been enriched through shell companies in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere, the Guardian reported.

In September 2003, an offshore company called Brockville Development Limited xe2x80x94 through two other Panamanian companies xe2x80x94 bought her a luxury fourth-floor apartment in Monte Carlo. Shexe2x80x99s also acquired a flat in St. Petersburg and other valuable assets, according to the reporting.

Krivonogikh is far from alone in benefiting from a long-standing relationship with Putin.
For years Russiaxe2x80x99s inner circle has gravitated to Monaco, where lax tax laws and policies have made the waterfront city a favorite for the wealthy.

xe2x80x9cIt has become Moscow-on-Sea. The mentality is to show off,xe2x80x9d local lawyer Dominique Anastasis told the Guardian. xe2x80x9cNobody asks where your money comes from. Therexe2x80x99s no culture of checking. You donxe2x80x99t make a tax declaration.xe2x80x9d

Among the wealthiest of the Russian-Monaco circle is Gennady Timchenko, a former Soviet bureaucrat who has been friends with Putin since the 1990s.

A former oil trader, Timchenko was given an oil export license by Putin in 1991, and later co-founded a Swiss-based oil export company named Gunvor xe2x80x94 with the Russian president long rumored to be a silent partner in the firm.

Forbes reported Timchenkoxe2x80x99s net worth at $22 billion, the outlet said.

Another member of Putinxe2x80x99s inner circle is Peter Kolbin, an old family friend, who took over as director of Leningrad-based International Petroleum Products in 2003 despite having few qualifications for the job.

Putin has denied ties to the lucrative companies detailed in the Pandora Papers.

But jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has referred to Putin as xe2x80x9cthe worldxe2x80x99s richest man,xe2x80x9d according to the Guardian.

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Eric Gomez

Arms Race,

Who will win? The North or the South?

Key point: This recent flurry of testing activity is the latest chapter in a missile arms race between North and South Korea that shows little sign of abating.

It has been a very busy week for missile tests on the Korean peninsula. North Korea tested a new type of ground‐​launched cruise missile to start the week and launched two short‐​range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) a couple days later. South Korea tested a new conventional submarine‐​launched ballistic missile only a few hours after North Korea’s SRBM test. South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense also released video footage of several new missile systems, including a supersonic anti‐​ship cruise missile, an air‐​launched land attack cruise missile, and a ballistic missile with a heavy warhead capable of destroying bunkers and other hardened targets.

This recent flurry of testing activity is the latest chapter in a missile arms race between North and South Korea that shows little sign of abating. The inter‐​Korean missile arms race could make any future inter‐​Korean crises more dangerous and prone to escalation.

In the summer and autumn of 2017, North Korea successfully tested intercontinental‐​range ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States. Pyongyang pulled back on missile testing in 2018 to give diplomacy a chance, but after the failure of the Hanoi summit in early 2019 it returned to missile testing.

With one notable exception, all the new North Korean missile systems tested since the Hanoi summit are shorter range and primarily threaten South Korea and Japan. An important technical characteristic of North Korea’s new missiles is their use of solid rocket fuel, which makes them easier to transport and allows for shorter preparation time before firing.

North Korea’s new missile capabilities are armed with conventional warheads for the time being, but this may not be the case for much longer. In January 2021, Kim Jong Un gave a report to the 8th Party Congress that called for developing smaller nuclear warheads that could be carried by shorter‐​range missiles.

North Korea has not yet demonstrated the ability to produce such warheads but given both the history of North Korea’s nuclear program and the high level of importance that Kim assigned to the effort it should not take long to develop new warhead designs. A recent report by the UN nuclear watchdog indicates that the plutonium producing reactor at the Yongbyon complex is running again after being dormant for a couple years. It will take some time for North Korea to process the plutonium, but more fissile material means more nuclear warheads.

South Korea’s missile forces emphasize the ability to conduct rapid, conventional attacks against North Korean leadership and command and control targets. The recent video footage of a ballistic missile punching a hole through the top of a bunker is a good illustration of South Korea’s intention to use these capabilities to go after the North’ leadership. Additionally, South Korea’s conventional missiles could also destroy North Korean nuclear weapons provided Seoul can locate the weapons after they leave their basing areas.

In other words, South Korea is developing a conventional counterforce capability that would allow it to degrade North Korea’s ability to use nuclear weapons without South Korea having nuclear weapons of its own. The ability to launch conventional ballistic missiles from a submarine provides South Korea with greater flexibility and surprise given North Korea’s weaknesses in anti‐​submarine warfare and air defense.

The inter‐​Korean missile arms race makes will make future crises more dangerous. During the 2017 crisis, North Korea indicated that its nuclear strategy relies on threats of intentional, rapid escalation to deter the United States and South Korea from conducting a first strike of their own. Adding solid‐​fuel, dual‐​capable regional missiles will make it much easier for North Korea to make good on this threat as the new capabilities are more survivable against both attack and interception by missile defense than their liquid‐​fuel predecessors.

For South Korea, its conventional missile forces offer a way to prevent a nuclear attack, but only if South Korea can get its shot off before North Korea can issue a launch order. Counterforce attacks work when there is still a force to counter. If Seoul waits too long to use its missiles to disrupt North Korea’s nuclear command and control, then it is more likely to suffer a nuclear attack. There is very low likelihood that North and South Korea decide to run these scenarios out of the blue. Instead, the danger of the missile arms race will be most acute if there is a repeat of the 2010 inter‐​Korean crises or the 2017 “fire and fury” period.

Focusing on nuclear diplomacy in the Korean peninsula is important given the consequences of failure, but it should not blind observers to the growing danger of the inter‐​Korean missile arms race. Diplomacy remains the best available path for reducing the danger of arms racing, but the Biden administration needs to come to terms with the fact that arms control is a more realistic goal than denuclearization of North Korea.

This article was first published by The Cato Institute.

Image: Reuters

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