Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

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lennygoran
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Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Post by lennygoran » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:18 pm

Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Maybe Trump will finally admit it! Regards, Len

https://www.cnn.com/

jserraglio
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Re: Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Post by jserraglio » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:23 pm

Full text of the 37-page speaking indictment reads like a spy novel, with Americans cast as the "useful idiots".

https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-relea ... 2/download

The indictment is unimpeachable. What about Donald's impeachability, incapable as he is of responding to Putin's and the Russians's attack on American democracy, maybe b/c Donald too has become their useful fool?

______________________________________________________________________

DOJ Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 16, 2018
Grand Jury Indicts Thirteen Russian Individuals and Three Russian Companies for Scheme to Interfere in the United States Political System

The Department of Justice announced that a grand jury in the District of Columbia today returned an indictment presented by the Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment charges thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system, including the 2016 Presidential election. The defendants allegedly conducted what they called “information warfare against the United States,” with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

“This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the Internet,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy. We must not allow them to succeed. The Department of Justice will continue to work cooperatively with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and with the Congress, to defend our nation against similar current and future schemes. I want to thank the federal agents and prosecutors working on this case for their exceptional service.”

According to the allegations in the indictment, twelve of the individual defendants worked at various times for Internet Research Agency LLC, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The other individual defendant, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, funded the conspiracy through companies known as Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering, and many subsidiaries and affiliates. The conspiracy was part of a larger operation called “Project Lakhta.” Project Lakhta included multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in multiple countries.

Internet Research Agency allegedly operated through Russian shell companies. It employed hundreds of persons for its online operations, ranging from creators of fictitious personas to technical and administrative support, with an annual budget of millions of dollars. Internet Research Agency was a structured organization headed by a management group and arranged in departments, including graphics, search-engine optimization, information technology, and finance departments. In 2014, the agency established a “translator project” to focus on the U.S. population. In July 2016, more than 80 employees were assigned to the translator project.

Two of the defendants allegedly traveled to the United States in 2014 to collect intelligence for their American political influence operations.

To hide the Russian origin of their activities, the defendants allegedly purchased space on computer servers located within the United States in order to set up a virtual private network. The defendants allegedly used that infrastructure to establish hundreds of accounts on social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, making it appear that the accounts were controlled by persons within the United States. They used stolen or fictitious American identities, fraudulent bank accounts, and false identification documents. The defendants posed as politically and socially active Americans, advocating for and against particular political candidates. They established social media pages and groups to communicate with unwitting Americans. They also purchased political advertisements on social media.

The Russians also recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activities, promote political campaigns, and stage political rallies. The defendants and their co-conspirators pretended to be grassroots activists. According to the indictment, the Americans did not know that they were communicating with Russians.

After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the President-elect while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election. For example, the defendants organized one rally to support the President-elect and another rally to oppose him—both in New York, on the same day.

On September 13, 2017, soon after the news media reported that the Special Counsel’s Office was investigating evidence that Russian operatives had used social media to interfere in the 2016 election, one defendant allegedly wrote, “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity.... So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with my colleagues.”

The indictment includes eight criminal counts. Count One alleges a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States, by all of the defendants. The defendants allegedly conspired to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of State in administering federal requirements for disclosure of foreign involvement in certain domestic activities.

Count Two charges conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud by Internet Research Agency and two individual defendants.

Counts Three through Eight charge aggravated identity theft by Internet Research Agency and four individuals.

There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.

Everyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court. At trial, prosecutors must introduce credible evidence that is sufficient to prove each defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, to the unanimous satisfaction of a jury of twelve citizens.

The Special Counsel's investigation is ongoing. There will be no comments from the Special Counsel at this time.

lennygoran
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Re: Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Post by lennygoran » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:00 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:23 pm
Full text of the 37-page speaking indictment reads like a spy novel, with Americans cast as the "useful idiots".
Thanks for the link-about Trump-impose the sanctions! What a laugh-he thinks this gets him off the hook on collusion! Regards, Len :x

jserraglio
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Re: Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Post by jserraglio » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:34 pm

Instead of letting these rapscallions off the hook, by establishing actual crimes this indictment is a shot across the bow of Donald's de facto Cosa Nostra:

1. We might get you for abetting the crimes of the Russian baker's dozen, even if what you did to help them was perfectly legal.

2. Failing that, we might be able to get you for obstructing our investigation of what those 13 Russians were up to.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:56 am

Special Counsel........hmmm

The current head of the US OSC is:

Henry Kerner(TBD) Confirmed by the 115th United States Senate (voice vote) on October 16, 2017. He graduated from Harvard Law School and spent 18 years working as a career prosecutor in California. In 2011, he joined the staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the chief investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. Under Chairman Darrell Issa, and later, Chairman Jason Chaffetz, he led investigations of the federal bureaucracy and fought on behalf of whistleblowers to protect American taxpayers. Mr. Kerner was also the staff director under Ranking Member Sen. John McCain of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the lead investigative committee of the Senate. He left the Hill in early 2016 and joined Cause of Action Institute as vice president for investigations. Cause of Action is a nonpartisan oversight group committed to exposing waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. It has worked with whistleblower and good government groups throughout the country.[40]

Please note that, as usual for this office, he is a political appointee.

While all the hullaballo is going on over the Trump administration, what's happening in the background? The word smokescreen comes to mind.

jserraglio
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Re: Special counsel issues indictment against 13 Russians

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:46 am

The 'Baker's Dozen' operated their scam out of a St. Pete troll farm. Their chief is called 'Putin's Cook'. What is known about these rascals?

Image

NYT 2/17 — ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Operating from St. Petersburg, they churned out falsehoods on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They promoted Donald J. Trump and denigrated Hillary Clinton. They stole the identities of American citizens. They organized political rallies in several states, and hired a Clinton impersonator for one event, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
On Friday, 13 Russians were indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on fraud and other charges. Details of their roles in a three-year campaign to disrupt American democracy have begun to emerge from the indictment, other records, interviews and press accounts.
The Oligarch: Yevgeny V. Prigozhin
A former teenage champion cross-country skier who was later imprisoned for robbery, Mr. Prigozhin started a hot-dog business as the Soviet Union collapsed and eventually branched into convenience stores and restaurants. He received catering contracts and threw lavish state banquets. He has played host to world leaders like George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac. He developed a close relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin, and has been derogatively called “Putin’s cook.”
According to the indictment, he controlled two companies that financed the operations of the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy troll farm. Created in 2013, it began a so-called translator project in 2014 that targeted Americans and pursued “information warfare against the United States.” It employed hundreds of people and, by the summer of 2016, was spending $1.2 million a month.
In the past five years, Mr. Prigozhin has received government contracts worth $3.1 billion. Lately, he has branched out into areas like recruiting contract soldiers to fight overseas and establishing a popular online news service that pushes a nationalist viewpoint, making him even more indispensable to Mr. Putin. Mr. Prigozhin, 56, declined several interview requests from The New York Times in recent months.
One sign of his connection to the trolls, according to the indictment: In what appeared to be something of an inside joke, people working for the Internet Research Agency paid an American to hold a sign outside the White House — “Happy 55th Birthday, Dear Boss” — to celebrate Mr. Prigozhin’s birthday (June 1) in 2016.
The C.E.O.: Mikhail I. Bystrov
Mr. Bystrov is a retired St. Petersburg police colonel who, according to the indictment, joined the company in February 2014 and became its highest-ranking official. He also led shell entities that were used to conceal its activities, including one called Glavset, a so-called database and information company. It shared an address — 55 Savushkina Street — with the Internet Research Agency.
The troll farm soon drew notice in Russia: news outlets reported that it employed 250 people in 12-hour shifts to provide a round-the-clock flow of pro-Kremlin posts and comments, praising Mr. Putin and excoriating President Barack Obama and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine. Monthly salaries ranged from $1,100 for a junior analyst to $1,400 for a blogger to $4,200 a month for senior management.
Mr. Bystrov, who is believed to be 59, has avoided reporters and declined interview requests.
The Executive Director: Mikhail L. Burchik
A young tech entrepreneur, Mr. Burchik, 31, joined the company in October 2013 and became its executive director, the No. 2 official, by March 2014, according to the indictment. According to online records, he registered a company in 2009 called Add1.ru that was behind a 2014 hoax. In that hoax, a young woman in aviator sunglasses calling herself Zoe Foreman spent hours spamming politicians and journalists about a horrific — and fictitious — chemical plant explosion in Louisiana.
“I have heard of it, but I don’t work in this organization,” he told the journalist Adrian Chen, who wrote about the troll farm in 2015 for The New York Times Magazine. He said he had bought and sold many internet domains and didn’t remember them all.
Throughout the troll farm’s operations to interfere in American politics, including the election, “Burchik was a manager involved in operational planning, infrastructure and personnel,” according to the indictment.
The business news website RBC reported on Friday that Mr. Burchik claimed not to know English well enough to understand what he had been accused of. “If a few hundred million Americans are so worried about the activities of a regular Russian small-business man from the IT-sphere doing website development, then it seems the situation in the country is completely grave,” he said.
Mr. Burchik told Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian tabloid, that he was not concerned about being detained while traveling abroad. “I love my country. In Russia there are many beautiful places where you can go,” he said.
Thirteen Russian nationals have been charged with illegally trying to disrupt the American political process through inflammatory social media posts and organized political rallies.
The Travelers: Anna V. Bogacheva and Aleksandra Y. Krylova
Ms. Bogacheva and Ms. Krylova obtained visas to visit the United States in 2014 “under false pretenses for the purposes of collecting intelligence to inform the organization’s operatives,” according to the indictment. They are said to have embarked on what amounted to a three-week reconnaissance tour, visiting California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas. Along the way, they bought SIM cards, cameras and drop phones and discussed “evacuation scenarios” and other security measures.
According to the indictment, Ms. Bogacheva oversaw the data analysis group for the “translator project.” A woman with the same name was listed in 2013 on the website of ITMO, a prestigious science university in St. Petersburg, as a doctoral candidate. Many of its graduates have gone on to work for the Russian government or for large tech companies.
Ms. Krylova became the No. 3 person at the troll farm, according to the indictment. According to what appears to be her LinkedIn profile, she is a graduate of the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, where she studied with the faculty of advertising and public relations.
The I.T. Expert: Sergey P. Polozov
Mr. Polozov ran the troll farm’s I.T. department and oversaw the purchase of space on computer servers inside the United States to set up virtual private networks that masked the agency’s Russian location, according to the indictment. After a co-conspirator traveled to Atlanta in November 2014, he gave Mr. Polozov a summary of his trip and expenses.
According to business records and Mr. Polozov’s page on the Russian social network Vkontakte, Mr. Polozov runs a software company called Morkov, which was registered in 2013, and began to recruit web developers and programmers in early 2014.
“In need of people with knowledge of website promotion for full-time work,” he wrote in a Vkontakte post on May 28, 2014. “If interested, send me a personal message. You can send your résumé immediately.”
On Vkontakte, he shared political jokes at the expense of Russia’s rivals and neighbors. One post he shared in June 2015 quoted the Chechen writer German Sadulaev:
The greatest possible mistake is to neglect the Russians. Consider them weak. Offend them. Never offend the Russians. The Russians are never as weak as you think they are. God forbid you expel the Russians or take something from them. The Russians always come back. The Russians will come back and take back what is theirs. But when the Russians return, they do not apply force proportionally. They destroy everything in their path.
The ‘Translators’: Maria A. Bovda and Robert S. Bovda
Not much is known about the Bovdas, including their relationship. According to the indictment, she was the head, and he the deputy head, of the “translator project,” the troll farm’s campaign to target Americans with messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, starting in April 2014. The project employed hundreds of people and, by the summer of 2016, was spending $1.2 million a month. It hid activities through a web of shell companies. According to the indictment, Ms. Bovda and Mr. Bovda both worked for the troll farm for about a year, from November 2013 to October 2014.
The America Specialist: Dzheykhun N. O. Aslanov
According to the indictment, Mr. Aslanov oversaw many of the operations targeting the United States election. An investigation by RBC, a newsmagazine, found that Mr. Aslanov was in charge of the “American department” of the troll farm. It reported that Mr. Aslanov arrived in St. Petersburg in 2000 from his hometown Ust-Kut, in the Irkutsk region. His Vkontakte profile says he graduated from the Russian State Hydrometeorological University in St. Petersburg in 2012, and a university page indicates that he studied economics and wildlife management.
The RBC report says that he spent several months in the United States in 2009, visiting New York and Boston. His work at the troll farm included registering legal entities in the names of his employees.
His name appears in public records as general director of Azimut — which, according to the indictment, was used to funnel money to the troll farm — and of the Reputation Management Center. According to its website, the Reputation Management Center first determines what kind of reputation a client has online through media monitoring, and then creates bots that improve its image through positive posts, “drowns negative reviews in a sea of favorable information about the company” and “creates hype” around it.
The Others: Irina V. Kaverzina, Vadim V. Podkopaev, Gleb I. Vasilchenko, Vladimir Venkov
Ms. Kaverzina grew worried after Facebook revealed last September that it was cooperating with the authorities to look into Russian advertising on the platform. “We had a slight crisis here at work: the F.B.I. busted our activity (not a joke),” she wrote to a relative, according to the indictment. “So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues,” she added. “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”
Mr. Podkopaev was an analyst for the “translator project.” He conducted research on the United States and drafted social media messages for the organization, according to the indictment.
Mr. Vasilchenko posted to, monitored and updated social media accounts while posing as Americans or as American grass-roots organizations. He led two subgroups focused on political interference in the United States, including the election. On Vkontakte, he shared a meme in October 2016 that imagined a drinking game in which players took a shot every time Mr. Trump talked about building a wall along the Mexican-United States border or making America great again, told voters to believe him, or complained about being treated unfairly; and every time Mrs. Clinton coughed, sipped water, laughed awkwardly, or mentioned her daughter or President Barack Obama.
Mr. Venkov inhabited multiple social media personas, according to the indictment. Someone with that name belongs to a Facebook group of social media marketing professionals and posted a photo last May of himself wearing a Republican elephant pin.

Ivan Nechepurenko reported from St. Petersburg, Russia, and Michael Schwirtz from New York. Reporting was contributed by Oleg Matsnev, Neil MacFarquhar and Sophia Kishkovsky from Moscow; Lincoln Pigman from London; and Jack Begg and Sewell Chan from New York.

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