A former double agent says Russia has changed the way it recruits spies — and the FBI is playing catch-up

the way the Russians now make initial contact with a potential asset is often perfectly legitimate, Jamali said. They start with “walking through the front door” and asking for access before assessing “whether you’re a viable candidate for recruitment.”

A Russian spy ring uncovered by the FBI in 2013 that involved three Russian citizens who posed as a banker, a Russian trade representative, and a UN attache is a good example of the way Russian espionage has evolved, Jamali said.

Carter Page, an early foreign-policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, met the spy posing as a UN attache, Victor Podobnyy, at an energy conference in 2013. He and Podobnyy stayed in touch for the next few months, according to court filings.

Page, who runs an energy firm called Global Energy Capital, provided Podobnyy with information about the oil and gas industry that he has said was not sensitive or classified.

Jamali said, however, that “once [the Russians] decide to recruit you, it’s a process of slow, careful relationship-building.”

“They work on moving that relationship from overt to covert, largely by pinpointing what their target’s motivation is,” Jamali said. “So I had to figure out what the Russian profile is for someone who would be motivated to spy for them and build a caricature around that profile so that I would seem legitimate. In my case, it was money and ego.”

Jamali said that he “negotiated with the Russians very hard about money to make them believe that was my biggest motivation” in working with them.

“That’s what they believe Americans are after, above all else,” Jamali said. “That and ego-stroking.”

Jamali said he thought former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s pattern of belatedly reporting his contact with foreign agents “raised a red flag” because it indicated that Flynn might be vulnerable to exploitation by foreign intelligence services.

http://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-agent-naveed-jamali-briefing-on-russian-spies-2017-4

Ukraine to launch big blockhain deal with tech firm Bitfury

kraine has partnered with global technology company the Bitfury Group to put a sweeping range of government data on a blockchain platform, the firm’s chief executive officer told Reuters, in a project he described as probably the largest of its kind anywhere.

Bitfury, a blockchain company with offices in the United States and overseas, will provide the services to Ukraine, CEO Valery Vavilov said in an interview on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s blockchain initiative underscores a growing trend among governments that have adopted the technology to increase efficiencies and improve transparency.

Blockchain is a ledger of transactions that first emerged as the software underpinning digital currency bitcoin. It has become a key global technology in both the public and private sector given its ability to permanently record and keep track of assets or transactions across all industries.

Ukraine and Bitfury are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, Vavilov said.

Though Vavilov said he was unable to estimate the cost of the project, he said it was the biggest government blockchain deal ever so far. It involves putting all of the Ukraine government’s electronic data onto the blockchain platform.

“A secure government system built on the blockchain can secure billions of dollars in assets and make a significant social and economic impact globally by addressing the need for transparency and accountability,” said Vavilov.

There are other countries that have started blockchain programs, but they are smaller in scope involving one or two sectors, such as land titles and real estate ownership. Countries that have launched blockchain programs include Sweden, Estonia, and Georgia.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/13/reuters-america-interview-ukraine-to-launch-big-blockhain-deal-with-tech-firm-bitfury.html

PornHub – loudly blocked in Russia, and then quietly unblocked

“PornHub had been unblocked in Russia” – quite a good example of window dressing by today’s Russia. First they pompously ban a popular porn site in the country and scream as loud as possible about moral values, and then – silently return everything as it was.

I make a similar point in my essay about Russian propaganda. They work like hell to achieve headlines, but seem indifferent to reality.

Crazy Security at a Building Near Me

Not unusual to see casual security. Tonight’s was on the severe side, though not the most I’ve seen. Four black SUVs with tinted windows. All had the same first six digits of the eight alphanumeric digits on Ukrainian plates. They slowed about a hundred meters from the entrace of the building. Ten or so guys jumped out while the vehicles were still moving. They ran ahead and formed a small perimeter into which the four vehicles then entered. Good disciplined security. No crowding. No confusion. All the guys were facing out except for the few that seemed to go to the main vehicle.

I didn’t linger or try to see who it was. I think there are some heads of state, or their direct representatives visiting Ukraine right now. Perhaps it was one of them.

Ukraine’s Garbage Wars

Foreigners trying to grok #Ukraine’s internal politics should pay attention to the garbage wars currently underway.

Apparently Poroshenko-Groysman attempting to weaken possible challenger Lviv mayor Sadovy, by blocking city’s garbage disposal needs.

Much higher approval-rated Sadovy not completely innocent. Over the years, rejected many Western sanitation companies b/c no bribes.

Syria’s Assad Expresses Support for Putin on Ukraine

In a message addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad expressed his solidarity, on behalf of the Syrian people, with Putin’s efforts to “restore security and stability in the friendly country of Ukraine”.

Assad stressed that Putin’s reaction to the crisis in Ukraine is legitimate and adheres to the UN’s objectives that aim “to create a balanced and transparent world based on respecting the sovereignty of countries and the right of peoples to decide their destiny,” reported SANA.

Assad described the Russian leadership’s stance as a “wise policy” in the face of “coup attempts against legitimacy and democracy in favor of the terrorist extremists”. He reiterated Syria’s commitment to Putin’s “rational approach” which he described as supporting “the right and truth” and applauded Russia for “saving the world from dangerous events”.

http://www.euronews.com/2014/03/06/bashar-al-assad-letter-of-support-to-putin

UKRAINIAN GUERRILLAS ATTACKED THE TERRORISTS’ ‘DEFENCE MINISTRY’ IN DONETSK

As the terrorists media sources report the unknown hit the office room, that is locked at the 4th floor of residential building, with a manual grenade launcher.

Ukrainian guerrillas have already taken responsibility for the attack. This was reported by the Donetsk group of Ukrainian resistance.

https://ukrainiancrusade.blogspot.com/2017/03/ukrainian-guerrillas-attacked.html