Category: News

Syria Updates On Airstrike Situation

WASHINGTON – President Trump unleashed airstrikes on Syria on Thursday to punish its strongman, Bashar Assad, after a chemical attack this week that killed dozens of civilians, including children. The barrage amounted to the most significant military operation ordered by Trump, a newcomer to governing who had warned, before taking office, against escalating America’s involvement in the Middle East.

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said in Palm Beach, Florida. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

The operation — the first known direct American strike on Syrian government assets since the start of the country’s civil war — rained at least 50 cruise missiles from U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean on a Syrian airfield thought to be the point of origin for the chemical attack, U.S. officials said. The attack took place at 8:40 p.m. Eastern time.

The decision risked confrontation with Russia, Syria’s patron, which reportedly had troops stationed at the air base, and could mean increased dangers for hundreds of U.S. troops now in Syria to prepare for the assault on Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State militant group. But it also sent a dramatically different message about Washington’s willingness to use force in Syria after Barack Obama shied away from enforcing his self-imposed “red line.”

 

President Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 6, 2017, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria.https://media.zenfs.com/en/homerun/feed_manager_auto_publish_494/165…”/>
President Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 6, 2017, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)

 

The decision to dramatically escalate America’s role in a conflict that has left some 500,000 dead, according to human rights groups, was arguably the new president’s biggest decision yet, with many unknown consequences. At home, the early response from Congress suggested strong bipartisan support for the strikes but deep concern about the way forward. Some in Congress, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, said Trump should have sought authorization from Congress for a military operation that was not in response to an attack on the U.S.

Trump explained his decision by describing the horrific images from Tuesday’s chemical weapons strike in a mostly rebel-controlled area near the Turkish border, saying “there can be no dispute” that Assad’s forces were responsible.

“Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians,” he said. “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.”

So “tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

The president also urged “all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.”

Congressional Democrats offered measured support for the onslaught but warned that lawmakers would need to weigh in on any sustained escalation of the conflict. Some of the lawmakers delivering that message stood idly by while Barack Obama escalated America’s role in Iraq and Syria.

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin of Maryland, said in a statement that “any longer-term or larger military operation in Syria by the Trump administration will need to be done in consultation with the Congress.”

Cardin also pressed Trump “to inform the legislative branch and the American people about his larger policy in Syria, as well as the legal basis for this action and any additional military activities in that country.”

Trump had huddled with top advisers, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in Palm Beach, Fla., where he was to hold meetings Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a sign of how quickly events were unfolding, White House officials had said just a day earlier that McMaster would not travel with Trump.

Tillerson told reporters that the president had begun a long, difficult and potentially fruitless effort to push Assad from power.

“The process by which Assad would leave is something that I think requires an international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country, to avoid further civil war, and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving,” he said. Pressed on whether he and Trump were working to assemble an international coalition to achieve that goal, Tillerson replied: “Those steps are underway.”

The secretary of state also had tough words for Moscow, Assad’s patron. “It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime,” he said.

And he reaffirmed what senior U.S. officials have said since the world first saw footage and photographs of gasping, dying or dead children in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province: Assad is to blame.

“There is no doubt in our minds and the information we have supports that Syria, the Syrian regime under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, are responsible for this attack,” Tillerson said.

From The Guardian:

The UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs says it has no sign that U.S. military strikes against a Syrian air base have had “any direct consequence” on overall aid operations in Syria, reports the Associated Press.

Jens Laerke of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said such violence “is not a new feature” of Syria’s war, and cited continued UN-led efforts to reach people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas of the country.

The United States launched cruise missile strikes against Shayart air base in Homs province following a chemical attack in a northern village that U.S. officials and others have blamed on President Bashar Assad’s forces.

UN human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said Friday at a UN briefing that use of chemical weapons, if confirmed, would amount to a war crime

11:28

Transhumanist Madness: Chinese Man Marries Self-Built Robot.

Zheng Jiajia carried his robot wife – with head covered in red cloth in accordance with local tradition

© Provided by Guardian News

Zheng Jiajia carried his robot wife – with head covered in red cloth in accordance with local tradition A Chinese artificial intelligence engineer has given up on the search for love and “married” a robot he built himself.

Zheng Jiajia, 31, decided to commit after failing to find a human spouse, his friend told Qianjiang Evening News.

Zheng had also become tired of the constant nagging from his family and pressure to get married, so he turned to a robot he built late last year, who he named Yingying.

After two months of “dating”, he donned a black suit to “marry” her at a ceremony attended by his mother and friends at the weekend in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

While not officially recognised by the authorities, the union had all the trappings of a typical Chinese wedding, with Yingying’s head covered with a red cloth in accordance with local tradition.

China has one of the worst gender gaps in the world, mainly due to sex selective abortions after the introduction of the country’s widely criticised one-child policy, which for decades controlled how many children each family could have.

There were 113.5 men for every 100 women in China, according to the latest figures published by the World Economic Forum. The gender imbalance, coupled with changing attitudes towards marriage among the country’s middle class, means many men will never find wives.

For now Yingying can only read some Chinese characters and images and speak a few simple words, but Zheng plans to upgrade his “bride” to be able to walk and do household chores. Until then he has to carry the 30kg robot to move her.

Reaction in China to the union has been mixed, with some social media users mocking Zheng and others wondering if it is all a publicity stunt.

“You won’t have her mother looking down on you, you don’t have the pressure to buy a home and you get to save money and energy,” one user wrote on WeChat, a popular social network.

“He’ll slowly get old, his face will become wrinkled and his hair will grow white – but will he upgrade her to grow old, or just to be prettier?” another user asked.

Stories of robots replacing humans is commonplace in China, most notably in a smattering of restaurants where the waiters are automated. However, the machines rarely live up to expectations.

Zheng previously worked at Huawei, the Chinese smartphone company, before quitting to focus on an artificial intelligence startup.

 

It was only a matter of time I guess. Sigh….!

Polish Plane Crash: Putin Rejects Polish Prosecutor’s Claims

Polish prosecutors alleged Monday that a new analysis of evidence from the 2010 plane crash in Russia that killed the Polish president shows that two Russian air traffic controllers and a third Russian official in the control tower deliberately contributed to the disaster.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman quickly rejected the Polish claims, which seemed likely to deepen already tense ties between Russia and NATO member Poland.

“The circumstances of this tragedy have been thoroughly studied, and we cannot agree with such conclusions,” Dmitry Peskov said.

Poland’s National Prosecutor Marek Kuczynski said there is “no doubt” that one of the causes of the crash was the behavior of those in the control tower. Deputy prosecutor Marek Pasionek said the two air traffic controllers were guilty of “deliberately causing an air traffic catastrophe,” and said the third Russian official present was guilty of “assisting in deliberately causing a catastrophe.”

Polish investigators said they want to question the men and cannot reveal details about the evidence until that happens.

The crash on April 10, 2010, killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, many of them top Polish state and military leaders. The disaster occurred when the Polish crew tried to land in heavy fog at a rarely used airport near Smolensk, Russia. The plane clipped a tree on approaching the runway and crashed.

It was the worst tragedy in modern Polish history and at first the nation united in grief.

But the Smolensk tragedy has since become a highly divisive political issue, pitting liberal Poles against conservative supporters of Kaczynski and his twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a former prime minister who now heads the populist ruling Law and Justice party.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski has suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Polish prime minister at the time, Donald Tusk, now a top European Union leader, bear guilt for the tragedy.

Kaczynski and his allies have made a range of allegations, at times suggesting that there was an explosive device on board that brought the plane down or that Putin ordered the assassination of the Polish leader, who was deeply critical of Russia. Other suggestions have included an unproven claim that the Russians produced fake fog to disorient the pilots.

They have also alleged that Tusk failed to provide adequate security for the presidential flight and that he failed to properly investigate the tragedy afterward or get back the wreckage or flight recorders, which remain in Russia almost seven years later.

Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz sent a note to military prosecutors last month accusing Tusk of committing the crime of diplomatic treason, alleging he worked with Putin to harm Poland’s interests after the crash.

Tusk strongly denies those claims and government critics believe Kaczynski and his nationalistic supporters have encouraged conspiracy theories to win political points with voters skeptical of Russia and pro-European liberals like Tusk.

Some critics said they consider allegations against the Russians as a sign that a commission headed by Macierewicz that is investigating the tragedy has not uncovered anything new.

There were two major investigations into the crash separately carried out by Poland and Russia.

The Polish investigation blamed the disaster on a combination of factors, including bad weather and errors made by a pilot who was not adequately trained on the plane he was flying, a Tupolev-154. That probe also said Russian air traffic controllers gave incorrect and confusing landing instructions to pilots — but it stopped short of alleging intentional wrongdoing.

A Russian investigation at the time put all blame on the Polish side, finding no fault with the Russian air traffic controllers.

https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/poland-accuses-russians-in-plane-crash-that-killed-president/ar-BBzhFIJ?li=BBqdk7Q
Archival material on this crash can be found at RT:
https://www.rt.com/tags/polish-presidents-plane-crash/

Bomb Blast St. Petersburg, “Probable” Terror Attack Coincides With Putin Visit: 10 Dead.

Breaking: See updates at Aljazeera, second device de activated.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/blast-hits-st-petersburg-metro-carriage-170403120753707.html

 

Ten people were killed and more than 20 were injured when an explosion tore through a train carriage in a St. Petersburg metro tunnel on Monday in what authorities called a probable terrorist attack

Russian news media reported that police were searching for a man recorded on surveillance cameras who was thought to have been involved in the attack, which coincided with a visit to the city by President Vladimir Putin.

A grainy photograph published by the Fontanka news outlet showed a middle aged man with beard and black hat.

An injured person stands outside Sennaya Ploshchad metro station, following explosions in two train carriages at metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia.© REUTERS/Anton Vaganov An injured person stands outside Sennaya Ploshchad metro station, following explosions in two train carriages at metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Interfax news agency cited unnamed sources as saying the bomb, packed with shrapnel, may have been hidden in a train carriage inside a briefcase.

Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee said an explosive device had been found at a different metro station, hidden under a fire extinguisher, but had been made safe.

The Investigative Committee, a state body which investigates major crimes, opened a criminal case on charges of terrorism.

Russia has been the target in the past of numerous bomb attacks, frequently targeting public transport. Most were blamed on Islamist rebels from Russia’s North Caucasus regio

The rebellion there has been largely crushed, but security experts say Russia’s military intervention in Syria has made Russia a potential target for Islamic State attacks.

Soon after the blast happened at 2:40 p.m., ambulances and fire engines descended on the concrete-and-glass Sennaya Ploshchad metro station as a helicopter hovered overhead.

“I appeal to you citizens of St. Petersburg and guests of our city to be alert, attentive and cautious and to behave in a responsible matter in light of events,” St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said in an address.

The blast raised security fears beyond Russian frontiers. France, which has itself suffered a series of attacks, announced additional security measures in Paris.

Video from the scene of Monday’s blast showed injured people lying bleeding on a platform, some being treated by emergency services and fellow passengers.

The entrance to Sennaya ploschad metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia.© Alexander Nikolayev/Interpress/via REUTERS The entrance to Sennaya ploschad metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Others ran away from the platform amid clouds of smoke, some screaming or holding their hands to their faces.

“I saw a lot of smoke, a crowd making its way to the escalators, people with blood and other people’s insides on their clothes, bloody faces,,” St Petersburg resident Leonid Chaika, who said he was at the station where the blast happened, told Reuters by phone. “Many were crying.”

A huge hole was blown open in the side of a carriage with metal wreckage strewn across the platform.

Passengers were seen hammering at the windows of one closed carriage. Russian TV said many had suffered lacerations from glass shards and metal, the force of the explosion maximized by the confines of the carriage and the tunnel.

Smoke fills a St Petersburg metro station after an explosion on a train.© Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock/Rex Images Smoke fills a St Petersburg metro station after an explosion on a train. ALL STATIONS CLOSED

Officials said earlier on Monday that the death toll from the explosion was 9, but the health minister later revised that upwards to 10 dead.

Authorities closed all St. Petersburg metro stations. The Moscow metro said it was taking unspecified additional security measures in case of an attack there.

Russia has been on particular alert against Chechen rebels returning from Syria, where they have fought alongside Islamic State, and wary of any attempts to resume attacks that dogged the country several years ago.

At least 38 people were killed in 2010 when two female suicide bombers detonated bombs on packed Moscow metro trains.

Over 330 people, half of them children, were killed in 2004 when police stormed a school in southern Russia after a hostage taking by Islamist militants.

In 2002, 120 hostages were killed when police stormed a Moscow theater to end another hostage-taking.

Putin, as prime minister, launched a 1999 campaign to crush a separatist government in the Muslim southern region of Chechnya, and as president continued a hard line in suppressing rebellion.

https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/blast-in-st-petersburg-metro-station-kills-10-authorities/ar-BBzi2oO?li=BBqdg4K&ocid=SK2MDHP

BOMBSHELL! Obama Defense Deputy Makes Huge Blunder – Admits On MSNBC How They Surveilled President Trump And LEAKED It To The “Hill.”

This is just too good to be true.  This poor woman,  Evelyn Farkas, “leaks” the whole story to MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.  Talk about putting your foot in your mouth…wow, did she ever do that!  Below is some of the very important transcript taken from the show in which Farkas speaks:

 

“The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would not longer have access to that intelligence.”

“I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew they were trying to also get information to the hill.”

“That’s why you have the leaking.”

 

What was the woman thinking?  We don’t care…we will happily take it!

 

These are the bullet points of the report:

  1. The White House surveilled the Trump campaign and then leaked information to anti-Trump allies in congress (on “The Hill”).
  2.  The Russian hacking claim hinges on a CrowdStrike Report from Dimitri Alperovitch.
  3.  Alperovitch was forced to retract statements in a report blaming Russia for hacking Ukrainian military equipment – a failed attempt to smear Putin.
  4.  Alperovitch, along with White House Leaker Evelyn Farkas and Ukrainian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk, are all senior fellows on the Atlantic Council – which is vehemently anti-Russia.

 

Foundations Of Truth, By G Squared.

Image result for pillars american dream

The Foundation of The American Republic confirmed the pillars of Education and Morality. The Democratic Party provided the alternative.

In a recent CNN interview, Pelosi was not able to name who was the present leader of The Democratic Party. Such was the extent of their self-immolation last November. The noise and wild flung irrational accusations confirming nothing of substance and a desperation at a relevance and existence.

Perez (DNC chairman) was mentioned. Clinton (the great and much respected leader) was mentioned. Obama (the former great president) was mentioned. But Pelosi; Minority Leader of The US House of Representatives (Democratic Supremo) had no idea who was the current leader of The Democratic Party.

They have none. As the loose aggregation of dysfunctional tribes they became. They are on life support, from theatrics and noise from MSM irrationals and colluded mouthpieces in desperation mode.

In four months; they have not been able to produce even one rational objection to the new administration. It started with The Recount Serenade; which only further confirmed already known massive vote frauds by both The Democrats and The Greens. They had to pull the plug on that one.

It then floated to Russian Collusions and The GOP hacking The DNC. All of which eventually found their correct paths back to the accusers.

The gradually unwinding gross economic mismanagement during the socio-economically devastating years of The Obama Era, will be the historically enduring legacy.

To aid The Immigration Affair as I previously wrote, Tillerson has instructed all American Embassies mentioned in Trump’s two Executive Orders, to block visa applications.

Image result for Tillerson Trump

The bench warmers at issue can continue to play with their gavels. Omphaloskepsis is such a rewarding art. It’s a great country when individuals can variously reach an alleged responsible high public service office, at great cost and protection from the economic realities of the nation, disengaged from the real world and pontificate Junk Law, to the detriment of the nation and the people they claim to serve.

Michael Moore should reinsert his head to where he has maintained it in recent years. Whenever he removes it, he becomes even more disoriented and confused. His current offerings concern ‘espionage’ by the current administration.

I am concerned about drug abuse by anything termed Democrat in America. Endemic, cultural substance abuse would certainly deliver the bipolarity, schizoid and other states of psychotic episodes, that have become identifiable with what used to be the second party, in the two party American system.

Currently America has The GOP and the rest. As I have written, expect The GOP to eventually factionalise and provide the basis for a new foundation in The American System.

The State Department under Clinton reached a stage of insanity to the point where courses were run on “Culinary Diplomacy” and “Condom Application”. All while Soros front armies were rampaging, looting and slaughtering in The Ukraine and attempting to engage Russia with America. Destruction was levied onto Libya and Syria with looting and slaughtering for dysfunctional commercial interests.

Hillary was dragged around in a standard alcoholic and drug induced haze, pretending to be Secretary of State and then the viable option as President of The United States.

The circumstances of the true history being so dramatic and destructive to the very fabric of America; that ‘in camera’ evidence only could be taken and then buried by Congressional Hearings, while a facade of public hearings were laid out for mass consumption.

The full tragedy of The Clinton and Obama White Houses and The Clinton State Department cannot be fully, ‘officially’, revealed.

Related image

Trump and Tillerson have now determined that The US Department of State must be completely gutted. It is not sufficient to remove sections of the bloating. The malignancy is culturally entrenched.

It was further confirmed that many of the current ‘problems’ in Europe  were caused by State and Treasury (which is also being addressed).

Le Pen as French President, will extricate France from The EU Bog.

Mattis is to receive a minimum direct appropriation of $639 billion for next fiscal; to maintain and repair The American Military after the tremendous damage caused by the insanity of The Obama Years.

Instead of responsibly running America; party time never ended. From great shots of him lounging out with his feet on The Oval Office Desk, to ducking downstairs to The White House Lunch Room for some really cool dancing. While cutting back legitimate expenditures, and flooding government departments with destructive robots and tokens.

The absurd funding of social engineering and arty insanities. Reaching a pinnacle of a deeply and terminally flawed healthcare system that needed the looting of the two major low cost housing funds in America, just to maintain it as his ‘legacy’. And of course the open border lunacy that flooded America and brought it to socio-economic devastation.

The absurdity of the created bailiwicks now being defended to the end.

The full truth about America under Obama and Clinton should be revealed, not hidden and disguised as is currently attempted.

Even in The Catholic Church Paedophile Affair; disguising the wrongs to protect the institution does not work.

How was it possible to attempt to hide the murders of 780 infants by drowning in a Catholic Convent Orphanage sewer pit in Ireland?  Attempting an initial justification by reference to ‘The Great” [sic] Insane St.Augustine, opened a cavern that needed to be immediately shut. There’s attempted denial on the net to this day. Remember, this was only a few years ago.

The Institution is only strengthened by honesty and full revelation. The Medicis and Borgias were disowned.  In the case of America, it would entrench in its history that nothing resembling Obama or The Clintons ever emerges again.

G Squared.

Image result for pillaRS HONESTY AND TRUTH

Syria Shoots Down Israeli Plane After Air OP. Launched To Support ISIS

Syria Shoots Down Israeli Plane After Israel Launches Air Operation In Support Of ISIS

By Brandon Turbeville

Only a week away from a number of Israeli officials making statements suggesting the buildup to a war with Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force once again launched airstrikes in Syria, alleging that the strikes were taken against a weapons convoy of the Lebanese militia coming through Syria. Four airplanes took place in the operation according to the Syrian military.

However, the Syrian military activated their anti-aircraft missile defense system against the Israeli jets, taking one down and hitting one more. The jet crashed in Israeli territory, however, as the planes were back over Israeli soil by the time the missile was able to connect.

The Israeli operation and the missile firing were both confirmed by the Syrian and Israeli governments. Israel would not confirm that a plane had actually been shot down, however. This is typical of Israel who tends not to acknowledge any military defeats or setbacks publicly.

Israel claimed that its air defense system, Arrow, was able to intercept one of the missiles but would not elaborate. It also refused to say whether or not the missiles caused any further damage to Israeli territory, saying that the missiles did not compromise the safety of civilians or compromise any aircraft.

The Syrian government responded to the Israeli operation by calling it “blatant aggression” designed to support “terrorist gangs” and “deflect from the victories” of the SAA. Of course, one could scarcely argue with the Syrian statement because Israel’s operation, as well as all of its past operations in Syria, is, indeed, blatant aggression. Not only that, but bombing a militia fighting terrorists is, undoubtedly, a bombing operation in support of terrorists.

Still, some are disputing the Israeli claims that Hezbollah was ever the target to begin with. These sources have argued that the Syrian military and its operations around Palmyra, particularly those centered around removing terrorists from the oil and gas fields which aid ISIS in terms of funding.

Interestingly enough, Arrow, one of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense systems, is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles that are located higher in the stratosphere, not mere anti-aircraft missiles. This fact has caused many to question the veracity of the Israeli claim regarding the interception of the Syrian missile.

Israel has launched a series of attacks against the Syrian military and Hezbollah inside Syria since the crisis began in 2011. Indeed, Israel has even been provided material and medical support to terrorists since the crisis began in earnest.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Neve…, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future …. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Department Of Justice Official Release On Yahoo Hack Charges

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-charges-russian-fsb-officers-and-their-criminal-conspirators-hacking-yahoo-and-millions

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

U.S. Charges Russian FSB Officers and Their Criminal Conspirators for Hacking Yahoo and Millions of Email Accounts

FSB Officers Protected, Directed, Facilitated and Paid Criminal Hackers

A grand jury in the Northern District of California has indicted four defendants, including two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), for computer hacking, economic espionage and other criminal offenses in connection with a conspiracy, beginning in January 2014, to access Yahoo’s network and the contents of webmail accounts. The defendants are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, a Russian national and resident; Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, a Russian national and resident; Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, aka “Magg,” 29, a Russian national and resident; and Karim Baratov, aka “Kay,” “Karim Taloverov” and “Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov,” 22, a Canadian and Kazakh national and a resident of Canada.

The defendants used unauthorized access to Yahoo’s systems to steal information from about at least 500 million Yahoo accounts and then used some of that stolen information to obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers, including accounts of Russian journalists, U.S. and Russian government officials and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies. One of the defendants also exploited his access to Yahoo’s network for his personal financial gain, by searching Yahoo user communications for credit card and gift card account numbers, redirecting a subset of Yahoo search engine web traffic so he could make commissions and enabling the theft of the contacts of at least 30 million Yahoo accounts to facilitate a spam campaign.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the U.S. Department of Justice, Director James Comey of the FBI, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord of the National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch for the Northern District of California and Executive Assistant Director Paul Abbate of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.

“Cyber crime poses a significant threat to our nation’s security and prosperity, and this is one of the largest data breaches in history,” said Attorney General Sessions. “But thanks to the tireless efforts of U.S. prosecutors and investigators, as well as our Canadian partners, today we have identified four individuals, including two Russian FSB officers, responsible for unauthorized access to millions of users’ accounts. The United States will vigorously investigate and prosecute the people behind such attacks to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Today we continue to pierce the veil of anonymity surrounding cyber crimes,” said Director Comey. “We are shrinking the world to ensure that cyber criminals think twice before targeting U.S. persons and interests.”

“ The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI’s point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters, is beyond the pale,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Once again, the Department and the FBI have demonstrated that hackers around the world can and will be exposed and held accountable. State actors may be using common criminals to access the data they want, but the indictment shows that our companies do not have to stand alone against this threat. We commend Yahoo and Google for their sustained and invaluable cooperation in the investigation aimed at obtaining justice for, and protecting the privacy of their users.”

“This is a highly complicated investigation of a very complex threat. It underscores the value of early, proactive engagement and cooperation between the private sector and the government,” said Executive Assistant Director Abbate. “The FBI will continue to work relentlessly with our private sector and international partners to identify those who conduct cyber-attacks against our citizens and our nation, expose them and hold them accountable under the law, no matter where they attempt to hide.”

“Silicon Valley’s computer infrastructure provides the means by which people around the world communicate with each other in their business and personal lives. The privacy and security of those communications must be governed by the rule of law, not by the whim of criminal hackers and those who employ them. People rightly expect that their communications through Silicon Valley internet providers will remain private, unless lawful authority provides otherwise. We will not tolerate unauthorized and illegal intrusions into the Silicon Valley computer infrastructure upon which both private citizens and the global economy rely,” said U.S. Attorney Stretch. “Working closely with Yahoo and Google, Department of Justice lawyers and the FBI were able to identify and expose the hackers responsible for the conduct described today, without unduly intruding into the privacy of the accounts that were stolen. We commend Yahoo and Google for providing exemplary cooperation while zealously protecting their users’ privacy.”

Summary of Allegations

According to the allegations of the Indictment:

The FSB officer defendants, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the U.S. and elsewhere. In the present case, they worked with co-defendants Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov to obtain access to the email accounts of thousands of individuals.

Belan had been publicly indicted in September 2012 and June 2013 and was named one of FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted criminals in November 2013. An Interpol Red Notice seeking his immediate detention has been lodged (including with Russia) since July 26, 2013. Belan was arrested in a European country on a request from the U.S. in June 2013, but he was able to escape to Russia before he could be extradited.

Instead of acting on the U.S. government’s Red Notice and detaining Belan after his return, Dokuchaev and Sushchin subsequently used him to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo’s network. In or around November and December 2014, Belan stole a copy of at least a portion of Yahoo’s User Database (UDB), a Yahoo trade secret that contained, among other data, subscriber information including users’ names, recovery email accounts, phone numbers and certain information required to manually create, or “mint,” account authentication web browser “cookies” for more than 500 million Yahoo accounts.

Belan also obtained unauthorized access on behalf of the FSB conspirators to Yahoo’s Account Management Tool (AMT), which was a proprietary means by which Yahoo made and logged changes to user accounts. Belan, Dokuchaev and Sushchin then used the stolen UDB copy and AMT access to locate Yahoo email accounts of interest and to mint cookies for those accounts, enabling the co-conspirators to access at least 6,500 such accounts without authorization.

Some victim accounts were of predictable interest to the FSB, a foreign intelligence and law enforcement service, such as personal accounts belonging to Russian journalists; Russian and U.S. government officials; employees of a prominent Russian cybersecurity company; and numerous employees of other providers whose networks the conspirators sought to exploit. However, other personal accounts belonged to employees of commercial entities, such as a Russian investment banking firm, a French transportation company, U.S. financial services and private equity firms, a Swiss bitcoin wallet and banking firm and a U.S. airline.

 

During the conspiracy, the FSB officers facilitated Belan’s other criminal activities, by providing him with sensitive FSB law enforcement and intelligence information that would have helped him avoid detection by U.S. and other law enforcement agencies outside Russia, including information regarding FSB investigations of computer hacking and FSB techniques for identifying criminal hackers. Additionally, while working with his FSB conspirators to compromise Yahoo’s network and its users, Belan used his access to steal financial information such as gift card and credit card numbers from webmail accounts; to gain access to more than 30 million accounts whose contacts were then stolen to facilitate a spam campaign; and to earn commissions from fraudulently redirecting a subset of Yahoo’s search engine traffic.

 

When Dokuchaev and Sushchin learned that a target of interest had accounts at webmail providers other than Yahoo, including through information obtained as part of the Yahoo intrusion, they tasked their co-conspirator, Baratov, a resident of Canada, with obtaining unauthorized access to more than 80 accounts in exchange for commissions. On March 7, the Department of Justice submitted a provisional arrest warrant to Canadian law enforcement authorities, requesting Baratov’s arrest. On March 14, Baratov was arrested in Canada and the matter is now pending with the Canadian authorities.

 

An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

 

The FBI, led by the San Francisco Field Office, conducted the investigation that resulted in the charges announced today. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, with support from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

Defendants: At all times relevant to the charges, the Indictment alleges as follows:

    • Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, was an officer in the FSB Center for Information Security, aka “Center 18.” Dokuchaev was a Russian national and resident.
    • Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, was an FSB officer, a superior to Dokuchaev within the FSB, and a Russian national and resident. Sushchin was embedded as a purported employee and Head of Information Security at a Russian investment bank.
    • Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, aka “Magg,” 29, was born in Latvia and is a Russian national and resident. U.S. Federal grand juries have indicted Belan twice before, in 2012 and 2013, for computer fraud and abuse, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft involving three U.S.-based e-commerce companies and the FBI placed Belan on its “Cyber Most Wanted” list.  Belan is currently the subject of a pending “Red Notice” requesting that Interpol member nations (including Russia) arrest him pending extradition. Belan was also one of two criminal hackers named by President Barack Obama on Dec. 29, 2016, pursuant to Executive Order 13694, as a Specially Designated National subject to sanctions.
    • Karim Baratov, aka “Kay,” “Karim Taloverov” and “Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov,” 22. He is a Canadian and Kazakh national and a resident of Canada.

Victims: Yahoo; more than 500 million Yahoo accounts for which account information about was stolen by the defendants; more than 30 million Yahoo accounts for which account contents were accessed without authorization to facilitate a spam campaign; and at least 18 additional users at other webmail providers whose accounts were accessed without authorization.

 

Time Period: As alleged in the Indictment, the conspiracy began at least as early as 2014 and, even though the conspirators lost their access to Yahoo’s networks in September 2016, they continued to utilize information stolen from the intrusion up to and including at least December 2016.

 

Crimes:

Count(s) Defendant(s) Charge Statute                 18 U.S.C. Conduct Maximum Penalty
1 All Conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse § 1030(b) Defendants conspired to hack into the computers of Yahoo and accounts maintained by Yahoo, Google and other providers to steal information from them.

 

First, Belan gained access to Yahoo’s servers and stole information that allowed him, Dokuchaev, and Sushchin to gain unauthorized access to individual Yahoo user accounts.

Then, Dokuchaev and Sushchin tasked Baratov with gaining access to individual user accounts at Google and other Providers (but not Yahoo) and paid Baratov for providing them with the account passwords. In some instances, Dokuchaev and Sushchin tasked Baratov with targeting accounts that they learned of through access to Yahoo’s UDB and AMT (e.g., Gmail accounts that served as a Yahoo user’s secondary account).

10 years
2 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Conspiring to engage in economic espionage § 1831(a)(5) Starting on Nov. 4, 2014, Belan stole, and the defendants thereafter transferred, received and possessed the following Yahoo trade secrets:

  • the Yahoo UDB, which was proprietary and confidential Yahoo technology and information, including subscriber names, secondary accounts, phone numbers, challenge questions and answers;
  • the AMT, Yahoo’s interface to the UDB; and
  • Yahoo’s cookie “minting” source code, which enabled the defendants to manufacture account cookies to then gain access to individual Yahoo user accounts.
15 years
3 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Conspiring to engage in theft of trade secrets § 1832(a)(5) See Count 2 10 years
4-6 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Economic espionage §§ 1831(a)(1), (a)(4), and 2 See Count 2 15 years (each count)
7-9 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Theft of trade secrets §§ 1832(a)(1), and 2 See Count 2 10 years (each count)
10 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Conspiring to commit wire fraud § 1349 The defendants fraudulently schemed to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo’s network through compromised Yahoo employee accounts and then used the Yahoo trade secrets to gain unauthorized access to valuable non-public information in individual Yahoo user accounts. 20 years
11-13 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Accessing (or attempting to access) a computer without authorization to obtain information for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. §§ 1030(a)(2)(C), 1030(c)(2)(B)(i)-(iii), and 2 The defendants gained unauthorized access to Yahoo’s corporate network and obtained information regarding Yahoo’s network architecture and the UDB. 5 years

(each count)

14-17 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Transmitting code with the intent to cause damage to computers. §§ 1030(a)(5)(A), 1030(c)(4)(B), and 2 During the course of their unauthorized access to Yahoo’s network, the defendants transmitted code on Yahoo’s network in order to maintain a persistent presence, to redirect Yahoo search engine users and to mint cookies for individual Yahoo accounts. 10 years (each count)
18-24 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Accessing (or attempting to access) a computer without authorization to obtain information for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. §§ 1030(a)(2)(C), 1030(c)(2)(B)(i)-(iii), and 2 Defendants obtained unauthorized access to individual Yahoo user accounts. 5 years

(each count)

25-36 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Counterfeit access device fraud §§ 1029(a)(1), 1029(b)(1), and 2 Defendants used minted cookies to gain unauthorized access to individual Yahoo user accounts. 10 years (each count)
37 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Belan

Counterfeit access device making equipment §§ 1029(a)(4) Defendants used software to mint cookies for unauthorized access to individual Yahoo user accounts. 15 years
38 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Baratov

Conspiring to commit access device fraud §§ 1029(b)(2) Defendants Dokuchaev and Sushchin tasked Baratov with gaining unauthorized access to individual user accounts at Google and other Providers and then paid Baratov for providing them with the account passwords. In some instances, Dokuchaev and Sushchin tasked Baratov with targeting accounts that they learned of through access to Yahoo’s UDB and AMT (e.g., Gmail accounts that served as a Yahoo user’s secondary account). 7 ½ years.
39 Dokuchaev

Sushchin

Baratov

Conspiring to commit wire fraud § 1349 See Count 38 20 years
40-47 Dokuchaev

Baratov

Aggravated identity theft § 1028A(a)(1) See Count 38 2 years

Dmitri Dokuchae et al Indictment Redacted

17-278

National Security Division (NSD)

USAO – California, Northern

Topic:

Counterintelligence and Export Control

Updated March 15,

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-charges-russian-fsb-officers-and-their-criminal-conspirators-hacking-yahoo-and-millions

 

 

SEE ALSO:

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/yahoo-hack-russia-indictment/