The unclubbable Mr. Trump: China, Ukraine, and a surprise banking oversight action

A world, disrupted.

On 20 March, we checked in with a story from the period 2014-2016, when the French bank BNP Paribas was, initially, greenlighted by the Obama administration to do business with Iran, as sanctions were relaxed, and then months later was hit by U.S. government authorities with the biggest settlement forfeiture in banking history for a prior record of sanctions violations (including sanctions on Iran).

In the interim between the first development (January 2014) and the second (June 2014), BNP Paribas flagged – to UK officials – a suspicious transaction by the owner of Burisma, Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.  The date of the notification, March 2014, fell in the period when Vice President Joe Biden was holding frequent phone conversations with top Ukrainian officials as the “Maidan Revolution” crisis expanded.  About a month after BNP Paribas alerted the UK to Zlochevsky – who had fled Ukraine in February 2014 – Hunter Biden and Devon Archer joined Burisma’s board, and payments from the company began flowing to them. Continue reading “The unclubbable Mr. Trump: China, Ukraine, and a surprise banking oversight action”

Big bank, big bust: Another dot-path connected with Ukraine and the suddenly legitimate laptop

Another timeline gets interesting.

The New York Times’s admission this past week that the Hunter Biden laptop was not Russian disinformation has come at an opportune time.  It’s an obscurely opportune time, to be sure.  But it’s opportune nonetheless.

What makes it so is a reminder that the seed money used to start a cybersecurity non-profit called Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), whose interests and personalities rather remarkably replicated those of Russiagate and Alfa-gate in 2015 and 2016, came from an asset forfeiture settlement with the French banking giant BNP Paribas.

Those dots connect.  Some readers already know how. For others, here’s the BNP angle. Continue reading “Big bank, big bust: Another dot-path connected with Ukraine and the suddenly legitimate laptop”

The IT role in Russiagate: Part I – Taking (brief) stock with graphics

The, er, graphic novel on the IT plot in Spygate/Russiagate.

[Links to Parts II and III at the bottom. – J.E.]

This article started out to be a somewhat different one, developing a couple of points about the monitoring of EOP (Executive Office of the President) communications referenced in the John Durham court filings.

But with a firehose of new information coming in, it seems necessary to take stock and put in perspective the things we know up to this point.  I don’t think most will find it a waste of time.  The stock-taking is relatively short, and the principal feature is something we haven’t had yet:  schematic diagrams of how the major IT pieces fit together to make the surveillance of “Trump” possible, and facilitate the concoction of an anti-Trump narrative about supposed links to Russia.

The graphics are very simplified, which I suspect many readers will consider a blessing.  My hope is to spare some unnecessary efforts to sort out confusion when it need not be at work. Continue reading “The IT role in Russiagate: Part I – Taking (brief) stock with graphics”

TOC Ready Room 17 Jan 2022: Rumors of war; Antisemitic attack in Texas

What’s wrong and right with the world.

This will be the roughest and readiest of Ready Rooms.  What I want to focus on is insights readers may not have gleaned from elsewhere on two important topics.

The first is Russia and Ukraine, and on that topic the initial observation must be that the subject is being comprehensively suppressed on Twitter, and may be on Google as well.  I can tell what’s being suppressed on Twitter, as I’m posting some of it and watching the reach of others’ tweets, as well as mine, be throttled.  Popular tweeps on the matter are posting updates and links, and the number of “likes” and retweets is abysmal, far below what you’d normally see.

If we were to read something into that, it would seem to be that someone expects something to happen soon. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 17 Jan 2022: Rumors of war; Antisemitic attack in Texas”

A curious development in 2015 related to Sussmann indictment and Alfa Bank saga

As so often: Interesting timing.

A story from September 2014 carried by ZDNet was recirculated on Twitter a few days ago.  The story, by Zack Whittaker for Zero Day, was about “Trusted Third Party” companies, which provide legal compliance services for Internet and communications service providers presented with surveillance subpoenas from law enforcement agencies.

The fundamental basis for this model of compliance operations goes back to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994.  CALEA was implemented before most instant communications over the Internet – things like text messaging and voice-over-IP – existed, and after 9/11 was updated (in 2004) to keep up with technology and the new imperative for security-focused surveillance.

There are a lot of details to master for a full understanding of what CALEA does, and I recommend starting with Whittaker’s article and perusing this summary and FAQ posted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

For our purposes, here’s a short summary of what matters. Continue reading “A curious development in 2015 related to Sussmann indictment and Alfa Bank saga”