Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Something to Know - 16 August

HCR keeps us up to date with the latest developments in Biden's world, as well as information regarding what is going on with Trump and his legal problems, which are getting worse for him:

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Today, President Joe Biden congratulated the people of India on their 75th anniversary of independence, calling out the relationship between "our great democracies" and "our shared commitment to the rule of law and the promotion of human freedom and dignity." 

Yesterday, he lamented the recent knife attack on writer Salman Rushdie, calling out Rushdie's "insight into humanity,…his unmatched sense for story,…his refusal to be intimidated or silenced," and his support "for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society. And today, we reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression."   

But the news today is full not of the defense of democracy, but of those trying to overthrow it. 

Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Aaron C. Davis, and Amy Gardner of the Washington Post broke the story that after the 2020 election, as part of the effort to overturn the results, Trump's lawyers paid computer experts to copy data from election systems in Georgia. The breach was successful and significant, although authorities maintain the machines can be secured before the next election. Led by Trump ally Sidney Powell, the group also sought security data from Michigan and Nevada, although the extent of the breaches there is unclear. They also appear to have worked on getting information from Arizona.

Georgia prosecutors have told Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that he is a target in the criminal investigation of the attempt to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, letting him know it is possible he will be indicted.  

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has tried to quash a subpoena requiring his testimony before a Fulton County grand jury investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, but today a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May, said he must testify. She said that "the District Attorney's office has shown 'extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham's testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia's 2020 elections.'"

And yet, the Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election is still spreading. Amy Gardner in the Washington Post reports that 54 out of 87 Republican nominees in the states that were battlegrounds in 2020 are election deniers. Had they held power in 2020, they could have overturned the votes for Biden and given the election to Trump. In the 41 states that have already winnowed their candidates, more than half the Republicans—250 candidates in 469 contests—claim to believe the lie that Trump won in 2020.

In the issue of Trump's theft of classified documents from the National Archives and Records Administration when he left office, over the weekend, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush reported in the New York Times that last June, one of Trump's lawyers signed a statement saying that all classified documents that had made it to Mar-a-Lago had been given back to the National Archives and Records Administration. But, of course, the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last Monday revealed that assertion to be incorrect. 

The statement was made after Jay I. Bratt, the Justice Department's top counterintelligence officer, visited Mar-a-Lago on June 3. The House and Senate intelligence committees have asked Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines to provide the committees with a damage assessment of how badly Trump's retention of top secret classified documents in an insecure location has damaged national security.

Today, the Department of Justice has asked a judge not to unseal the affidavit behind the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, saying that it "implicates highly classified materials," and that disclosing the affidavit right now would "cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation." CNN, the Washington Post, NBC News, and Scripps all asked the judge to unseal all documents related to the Mar-a-Lago search. But, "[i]f disclosed," the Justice Department wrote, "the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government's ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps." 

Legal analyst and Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe commented: "This suggests [the Department of Justice] wasn't just repatriating top secret doc[ument]s to get them out of Trump's unsafe clutches but is pursuing a path looking toward criminal indictment."










 Also, it is time for the latest SITREP to remind us of the Ukrainian battle with Russia:

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πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ A Russian military base housing the notorious Wagner Group has been destroyed in Ukraine, after a Kremlin propagandist accidentally doxxed his comrades by sharing pictures of their location online.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Pictured: Russian war correspondent Sergei Srada visited the above secret location in the occupied city of Popasna to report on the group. After posting to Russian Telegram channels, the location was destroyed by a HIMARS strike 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukraine's General Staff reports hat Russia has lost 43,550 troops as well as 1,864 tanks, 4,126 armored fighting vehicles, 3,039 vehicles and fuel tanks, 980 artillery systems, 261 multiple launch rocket systems, 136 air defense systems, 194 helicopters, 233 airplanes, 784 drones, and 15 boats.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ According to the Interior Ministry, Since Feb 24, Russia has struck 22,000 civilian targets and 300 military targets

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian forces are increasing ground attacks near Siversk, Donetsk Oblast, in order to limit Ukrainian counterattacks in the south.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian forces undertook limited ground assaults north of Kharkiv, northewest of Sloviansk, east of Siversk, and south of Bakhmut.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦  Macron signed a NATO membership protocol for Sweden and Finland to join. "This sovereign choice of Finland and Sweden, two European partners, will reinforce their security in the face of a real menace in their immediate neighborhood and bring a significant contribution, with respect to the capacities of these two partners, to the collective posture and our European security."

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ The fate of many Azovstal defenders is unclear. Azov Regiment Commander Denys Prokopenko seems to have been taken back to Russia, but his fate remains unknown.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian forces continue shelling Kharkiv.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian forces denied Red Cross full access to Ukrainian POWs in Olenivka.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ The embattled town of Pisky in Donetsk Oblast still under Ukrainian control. Sorry, I'm not following this thread very closely 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Over 100,000 Mariupol residents trapped in dire conditions under Russian occupation. More than 20,000 people are believed to have been killed in Russia's siege of the city (Kyiv Independent)

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Calls are growing for Russian visa bans in Europe. This comes after a video came out with Russian elite's children partying in Europe and the US, saying things like "we brought the west"

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Update: Poland is developing a solution  to deny visas to Russians.

β„Ή️ Igor "Strelkov" Girkin subplot:

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Igor "Strelkov" Girkin shaved his signature moustache and was detained in Crimea trying to reach the front.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Igor "Strelkov" Girkin is wanted by the Dutch authorities for his alleged role in the 2014 downing of a Malaysian passenger airliner over eastern Ukraine

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦  Igor "Strelkov" Girkin was instrumental in starting the Crimea conflict in 2014. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦  Igor "Strelkov" Girkin was travelling with his "Sergey Runov" passport he used before on FBS business, and someone recognized him even with his state-of-the-art disguise, and detained him for a suspected forgery at a checkpoint between Crimea and Kherson oblast.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦  He was traveling to the front to try to enlist as a grunt, just to take part. Speculation is it was part fueled by ego/conviction and part by the fact that he might need to 'put up or shut up' to retain his audience, after criticizing the government's conduct of the war for months. 

β„Ή️ Kherson subplot:

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦  I'm piecing this narrative together from several different sources: Russian command is fleeing (has fled?) Kherson, and left their troops. Without command, the troops are confused and don't really know what to do. I'll report more as info becomes more solid.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Update: Russian military command in Kherson has left Kherson and relocated to the left bank of the Dnipro River. I don't know the exact location on the map

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukraine is urging Ukrainians remaining in occupied territories of Kherson Oblast to flee their homes, emphasizing that "a difficult winter is coming." 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukrainian troops hit major bridge near Kherson again. The Antonivsky Bridge has been hit repeatedly by the Ukrainian army, making it difficult for Russian troops to cross the river. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukrainian forces also attacked a railway bridge in Kherson and a bridge near the town of Nova Kakhovka in Kherson Oblast, Humeniuk said. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Medical workers in occupied Kherson forced to receive salaries in rubles.

πŸ“’ Countries apply to be in NATO. NATO is a defense alliance that has never, and does not, consider offensive operations. Saying NATO is encroaching on Russia is Kremlin messaging. Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that's the first. 

πŸ“’ Yes, Ukraine has a nazi problem, but it's a very small percentage of the country, and not representative of the whole. Using a small group to smear the entire group is called "guilt by association." Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that's the second.

πŸ“’ If you ever hear anyone say "What about this thing America did…"  in an effort to redirect attention away from Ukraine and onto the west, that is called "Competitive victimhood" and the associated meme is *always* created by Russian-backed media. Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that's the third.

⚠️ Sorry about the typos or awkward sentences!!!! This is the inevitable result of putting out a finalized research product once every 24 hours, with no staff. If anyone feels like giving me staff, we can polish this b right up!

⚠️ I got lazy with my citations and I apologize. My top sources are: Current and former military planners, singularly-focused pundits, and all manner of vetted open-source intelligence. Top cited open source pundits and sources include: CP Scott, Institute for the Study of War, Kyiv Independent, and mainstream news with high levels of journalistic integrity and track records. Sadly I can't source private individuals, of course. 

⚠️ Speaking of sources, thanks to all of you who have forwarded me tips or given me data from the front line. You're the private individuals I wish I could source publicly 

⚠️ Though my awesome employer taught me everything I know about OSINT, these posts are not affiliated with my employer, nor done during my employer's time. Every item I report is from my own research, my own opinion, and written during my own time. 

⚠️ Note: War happens fast and even high fidelity news needs a ton of corrections after the dust settles. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Sorry to my Substack readers who get this weird "ua" symbol instead of a flag emoji!


"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."

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