Sat March 17, 2018
(CNN)Statement by Andrew McCabe:
(CNN)Statement by Andrew McCabe:
Moscow is to expel 23 UK diplomats and shut down the British Council in Russiaamid increasing tensions over a nerve agent attack against a former double agent and his daughter on British soil.
The Russian foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador on Saturday to inform him of the retaliatory action taken after the UK’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.
But the Russian Federation has gone a step further and shut down all activities of the British Council, which promotes greater understanding of the UK and the English language. The foreign ministry said it would also close a consulate in St Petersburg.
Speaking at the Conservative party spring forum on Saturday, Theresa May said: “We anticipated a response of this kind and we will consider our next steps in the coming days alongside our allies and partners.”
She said the UK would “never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian government”.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the government had anticipated such a response and that the National Security Council would meet early next week to consider Britain’s next steps.
The UK has already said – perhaps as a deterrent to the Russians – that if Moscow escalated the row with its reprisals, the UK had ready a second phase of possible measures in place. No 10 will now have to decide whether to risk a spiral of further punishments.
The most obvious step is to expel the Russian ambassador to Britain who is probably coming to the end of his term, but any such expulsion could lead to Moscow proposing an alternative. Withdrawing the England football team from the World Cup remains off-limits.
A former national security adviser said the priority should be to gather international support for a new approach towards Russia, a process that starts on Monday at a long-scheduled meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
Lord Ricketts said: “The biggest losers from this closure of the excellent British Council programme are the Russian people. Britain’s most effective steps now are to go after the regime-linked hot money in London and to campaign for the Salisbury attack to be seen as a threat to the international community.”
The British Council said: “We are profoundly disappointed at this development. It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become difficult, cultural relations and educational opportunities are vital to maintain ongoing dialogue between people and institutions.
“We remain committed to the development of long-term people-to-people links with Russia as we do in over 100 other countries.”
The former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Roderic Lyne counselled against further tit-for-tat diplomatic measures, saying: “It is not sensible to mud-wrestle with a gorilla.”
Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the foreign affairs select committee, also cautioned against further pure diplomatic measures. He said Vladimir Putin’s greatest vulnerability lay in the exposure of his personal wealth, and suggested making life uncomfortable for the Russian president’s close allies with property in London.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Tugendhat said: “We should be absolutely clear – none of the 23 British diplomats being expelled have been involved in the attempted murder of people in Russia. None of them have attempted to use nerve agents in the Russian Federation. None of them have put at risk hundreds and hundreds of Russian citizens to the most horrific death imaginable.
“So this is really absolutely symbolic and typical of a Russian Federation that has used lying and propaganda as a means of warfare and is now repeating its style.”
His committee will have an opportunity to press the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, to explain what the government is doing to clamp down on the Russian oligarchs in London when Johnson gives evidence to the foreign affairs select committee on Wednesday. A group of Tory MPs, including Richard Benyon, are backing Labour’s calls for tougher legal measures.
British diplomats claim a panoply of measures are already in place, but the separation of powers in the UK means it is for the courts to deploy the law, not the government. But they also acknowledge that the scrupulous way the UK courts operate, and standards of evidence required, makes London a magnet for Russians to invest.
The Guardian understands that another measure under consideration is to persuade as many allies as possible not to congratulate Putin on his certain re-election victory on Sunday, as is customary. Officials understand that the measure is purely a token gesture, but will nonetheless send a message of collective disgust at the brazen use of a chemical weapon.
Officials are also believed to be sounding out European partners on whether they would be ready to expel Russian diplomatic staff from their territories too, though it is unclear how successful such overtures have been.
Speaking to reporters outside the Russian foreign ministry, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, Laurie Bristow, said: “We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort, which is an attack not only on the United Kingdom, but upon the international rules-based system on which all countries, including Russia, depend for their safety and security.”
Fresh concerns surfaced over the death this week of a London-based Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov. Scotland Yard said on Friday that he died from compression to the neck and opened a murder investigation.
Russia also suspects foul play in Glushkov’s death and opened its own inquiry on Friday.
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition is due to meet soon to choose its next leader. That person will automatically become the prime minister. They will be taking on the role at a time of bitter internal wrangles and violent protests.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced on 15 February that he would resign as both the chairperson of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition EPRDF and as prime minister – a position he had held since 2012.
So that leaves the 180-strong EPRDF council to choose the next prime minister.
The coalition is complex.
EPRDF is made up of four ethnically based political parties: the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM); the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO); the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
While the ANDM and OPDO have roots in Oromia and Amhara regions, which together account for more than half of Ethiopia’s population, it is the minority TPLF from Tigray region that controls the military and security apparatus and is seen as the dominant party in the coalition.
Bitter internal wrangles within the ruling coalition have however made it difficult to predict just who will become the next prime minister.
To make matters worse, the government failed to quell anger when it declared a state of emergency. Demonstrators in the west defied a ban on protests and marches became violent.
The coalition, which has been in power since 1991 after toppling the communist regime, is at a crossroads.
The bitter infighting is between reformists who feel the country is headed the wrong way and conservatives keen on maintaining the status quo and the grip on power.
Here’s a run down of the top seven contenders for prime minister.
He is the current President of the Oromia Regional State and deputy leader of the OPDO.
The charismatic Mr Lemma is seen as a fearless and eloquent reformer. He was once quoted as saying he was ready to go out and join demonstrators if the government did not heed the demands of protesters especially from his region.
The 47-year-old was born and raised in East Welega, Oromia.
Last December he condemned the killings of protesters and the federal security forces’ intervention in the Oromia region without his region’s consent. He has also offered to hold dialogue with opposition groups.
He is deemed as an acceptable candidate who can unify the country but his path to the top seat is complicated. He’s not a member of the federal parliament, the House of People’s Representatives, a requirement to become prime minister.
Last December, a cartoon depicting Mr Lemma as the biblical Moses parting the Red Sea was widely shared on social media, showing just how his popularity “as a man with answers to the country’s problems” had soared.
Despite his meteoric rise within the ruling party and Ethiopia’s complex politics, his critics believe he is too inexperienced to take on the intricacies of the EPRDF.
The current leader of the OPDO, Mr Abiy, is seen as the front-runner in the race to succeed the outgoing prime minister having just been elected to head the party.
He is an astute politician with impressive academic and military credentials.
He was born in the city of Agaro in Oromia and comes from a mixed Christian-Muslim family. The 42-year-old joined the OPDO in the late 1980s.
He has served in the military and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He also took part in the UN peacekeeping mission to Rwanda.
He was the founder and director of the country’s Internet Security Agency between 2009 and 2012 after which he became the minister for science and technology.
He is seen by many as outspoken and competent and a person who leans to a participatory leadership style.
Mr Abiy is younger than the other potential leaders and is believed to have huge support among the Oromo youth as well as other ethnic groups.
His critics however say that as an EPRDF insider, he won’t offer much of the change demanded by protesters.
Mr Debretsion was born in Shire, located in the northern Tigray region. He dropped out of his studies at the University of Addis Ababa to join the armed struggle.
During this time he travelled to Italy where he completed training in communications technology. After which he established the regional TPLF radio station known as “Dimtsi Weyane”.
Soon after the EPRDF came into power in 1991, Mr Debretsion served as the deputy to the head of the intelligence bureau.
He has been serving as the Director of the Information and Communication Development Agency since 2006 but also served as a deputy prime minister.
He is the chairperson of the TPLF party and the deputy head of state for the Tigray region as well as the minister for information and communications.
Activists and opposition political parties argue that the TPLF dominates the political power in the coalition, so his election as prime minster would be a controversial move that would be likely to deepen divisions within the coalition and further inflame feelings of exclusion among the Oromo and Amhara communities.
Mr Debretsion is a member of the House of People’s Representatives.
He is the current deputy prime minister.
He joined the EPRDF after university and a few years later became a member of the Amhara region council.
During the mid-2000s he became the deputy chief of the Amhara regional state and a year later became a member of the ANDM executive committee.
While on duty as chair of the ANDM, in 2013, he was appointed the deputy chair of the EPRDF.
Prior to coming to power, Mr Demeke was a teacher and served as the education minister.
Mr Demeke, who is a member of the House of People’s Representatives, is known to be a low-key player in the federal government.
It is unlikely the ANDM will take the prime minister’s position as the party has held the deputy prime minister position for so long.
Source: CIA World Factbook estimates from 2007
He is a member of OPDO and is the current foreign affairs minister.
Born in the late 1960s, Mr Workneh has served for many years as the commissioner for the federal police commission.
In the late 2000s he was appointed as transport minister, a position he held for four years.
A member of the OPDO since the late 1980s, Mr Workneh has since the late 2000s served as a member of the executive committee for both the OPDO and EPRDF.
He is a member of the Addis Ababa city administration council but not a member of the House of People’s Representatives.
Ethiopia’s current defence minister has been the face of the state of emergencies announced in October 2016 and again in February 2018.
He has constantly appeared on state media articulating the conditions imposed by the state of emergency.
The sharply dressed but straight-faced politician is seen as one of the least favourite to become the new prime minister.
He is a member of the SEPDM, the same party as the recently resigned prime minister and has just been announced as its deputy leader, further complicating his ascendancy to power.
Some analysts say his party might argue that Mr Hailemariam never finished his term and therefore might suggest that Mr Siraj or someone from within SEPDM for the premiership. This is however highly unlikely.
He is currently working with the secretariat of the EPRDF, previously he was the minister of education, and president of the southern Ethiopia regional state.
Mr Shiferaw is the newly elected chairman of the SEPDM replacing the recently resigned prime minister who was also the chairman of the party.
Born in Haroressa, in the southern Ethiopia region, Shiferaw was a teacher before joining politics.
When the outgoing prime minister was still the region’s president, Mr Shiferaw was deputy president of the southern Ethiopia regional state government.
When Mr Hailemariam became deputy prime minister and foreign minister under the late Meles Zenawi’s administration, Mr Shiferaw assumed the presidency of the region.
Some people say his election as the chairman of the SEPDM was intended to enhance his chances of becoming prime minister.
Mr Shiferaw is a member of the federal parliament from which the prime minister will be elected.
March 17, 2018, WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired the FBI’s former No.2 official Andrew McCabe Friday, prompting McCabe to say he is being targeted because he is a crucial witness into whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct the Russia investigation.
Sessions, in a statement on Friday, said he felt justified in firing McCabe after the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found he leaked information to reporters and misled investigators about his actions.
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and accountability,” Sessions said.
But McCabe, who played a crucial role in the bureau’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, denied those claims and said he is facing retaliation by the Trump administration.
In a lengthy statement, McCabe said he believes he is being politically targeted because he corroborated former FBI Director James Comey’s claims that Trump tried to pressure him into killing the Russia probe.
Trump ousted Comey last year and acknowledged in a televised interview that he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.”
McCabe’s dismissal came two days before his 50th birthday, when he would have been eligible to retire from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his full pension. The firing – which comes nine months after Trump fired Comey – puts McCabe’s pension in jeopardy.
It also is likely to raise questions about whether McCabe received an overly harsh punishment due to political pressure by the Republican president, who has blasted McCabe on Twitter and called for his ouster.
Comey’s firing paved the way for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to tap Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is now leading the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Trump has denied there was any collusion.
“I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey,” McCabe said in his statement.
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort … to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.”
Trump posted a message on his twitter account early Saturday, praising the action and blasting both McCabe and Comey.
Trump wrote, “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”
McCabe had stepped down from his position as FBI deputy director in January but remained on leave pending retirement.
His departure was triggered by a critical report from the Justice Department’s inspector general that eventually led the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to recommend he be fired.
The report, which has yet to be made public, says McCabe misled investigators about his communications with a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was writing about McCabe’s role in probes tied to Clinton, including an investigation of the Clinton family’s charitable foundation.
In his statement, McCabe denied ever misleading investigators.
He added that the release of the inspector general’s report was “accelerated” after he testified behind closed doors before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee where he revealed he could back up Comey’s claims.
Comey’s firing has become central to questions about whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.
McCabe could potentially be a crucial witness in Mueller’s investigation.
Trump and other Republicans have accused McCabe, a lifelong Republican who worked at the FBI for more than 20 years, of political bias and conflicts in connection with his oversight of investigations related to Clinton.
Some of that criticism stemmed from the fact that his wife, Jill McCabe, a Democrat, received donations for her unsuccessful 2015 Virginia state Senate campaign from Terry McAuliffe, who was then the state’s governor and an ally of the Clintons.
McCabe did not start overseeing the investigations until after his wife’s campaign ended, the FBI has said, and therefore did not have a conflict of interest.
On Twitter last year, Trump questioned why McCabe was allowed to oversee an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while his wife received donations from “Clinton puppets.” He said McCabe was “racing the clock to retire with full benefits.”
Behind closed doors, Trump also asked McCabe who he voted for in the presidential election and referred to his wife as a loser, according to a source familiar with the matter.
McCabe initially did not respond to Trump’s question but later told Trump he did not vote in 2016, the source said.
Asked about this in January, Trump said he did not recall asking McCabe whom he voted for.
The inspector general’s report is largely focused on how McCabe answered questions about whether he leaked to the press in advance of a story that was critical of his oversight into the Clinton foundation investigation.
McCabe contends he did not view this as a leak but as an authorized disclosure that is commonplace in Washington between reporters and government officials.
He said he answered questions truthfully, and later, when he felt investigators misunderstood his answers, he tried to clarify his responses with them.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Will Dunham; Additional reporting by Makini Brice and Rich McKay; Editing by Bill Trott, Nick Macfie and Joseph Radford
March 17, 2018, Africans Press has learn that Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Minister of Petroleum and Richard K. Mulla, Minister of Federal Affairs will be relieves. It is not clear what trggered the sudden argency. Stay tune
Australia considers plan to fast track visas for South African white farmers so they can flee ‘horrific circumstances’.
Australia‘s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who oversees immigration and has drawn international criticism for heading a tough crackdown on asylum-seekers from Asia and the Middle East, said the South Africans deserve “special attention” for acceptance on refugee or humanitarian grounds.
He cited reports of land seizures and violence targeting the minority white farmers, who control a disproportionate share of the country’s land.
“If you look at the footage, you hear the stories and you read the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance that they face,” Dutton told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph late Wednesday.
“I’ve asked my department to look at options and ways in which we can provide some assistance because I do think on the information I’ve seen people do need help, and they need help from a civilised country like ours.”
The offer was swiftly rebuffed by South Africa, with its foreign ministry saying that no section of the country’s population was in any danger.
In a statement on Wednesday, South Africa’s foreign ministry said: “There is no reason for any government anywhere in the world to suspect that any South African is in danger from their own democratically elected government.
“That threat simply does not exist.”
The statement added that South Africa regretted that the Australian government “chose not to use the available diplomatic channels to raise concerns or to seek clarifications on the land distribution process in South Africa”.
Dutton’s comments come just months after asylum-seekers and refugees held by Australia in a remote Pacific camp were awarded Aus$70 million ($56 million) for beingillegally detained and treated negligently in the country’s largest human rights class action settlement.
Canberra, which denied liability, sends asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat, rather than through official channels, to facilities on Nauru in the Pacific and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Ian Rintoul, a spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney, said Dutton’s comments were “clearly racist” and demonstrated the “astounding hypocrisy” of the Australian government.
“We’ve often joked that if it were White Zimbabwean farmers or White South African farmers arriving by boat in Australia, there wouldn’t be any mandatory detention,” he told Al Jazeera.
“When they are from Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan, the attitude is very different. Boats are turned around, they are expelled to Nauru and Manus Islands.”
He added: “It is a deliberate ploy to appeal to racist folk in the context of a government that is declining in the polls and is desperately appealing to those folk to maintain some popularity.”
Land ownership is a sensitive subject in South Africa, 24 years after the end of apartheid rule.
White people still own around 72 percent of individually-owned farms, with the black majority holding just four percent, according to a Land Audit Report published in November.
The country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has backed expropriation of land without compensation.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to escalate the pace of redistributing land from wealthy whites to poorer blacks.
But any transfer would be done legally, he told parliament.
“I can say now that we will not allow land grabs. We will not allow land invasions and those who are tempted to resort to such activities must be warned in advance that we will not allow it because it is illegal, but apart from being illegal, it begins to violate the rights of other South African citizens,” he said.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
March 16, 2018, Dear my brothers and sisters of South Sudan, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds” of blood, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done” by blood builders in darkness. Speak to yourself my brothers and sisters, South Sudan is born out of blood, and therefore, trying to build the same blood is what plunge us into this chaotic bloody war now in South Sudan. be your own adviser, don’t listen to them telling you they build this bloody country and therefore the blood must still bleed. This blood is your brother and sister’s blood not their blood. Speak for your dead not to the blood builder, be a champion for tomorrow my brothers and sisters. Stop this thick blood hanging over us, the South Sudan.
Let me take you back to our history my brothers. In 1950s Equatorians were fighting for South Sudan federation, but now Dinka are saying the history of South Sudan is born in 1983, then, In 1947, Both Diu who happen to be a Nuer famously said, “South Sudan shall governed itself”. Then, there is this 1972 Addis Ababa agreement which was signed in a hope that South Sudan will govern itself, Ok, just to mention a few. But now, the current regime in Juba want us to believe that South Sudan is born out of blue? Don’t you see this blood cloud hanging over us? don’t you see how thick the blood is, don’t you see how cold it is?
Speak truth my brothers and sisters. Don’t you see how cold it is?, in 2005, Shilluk lands was in the center of all these messes again, in 2008 in Juba, the same thing was happening to Equatoria, in Wau, and many areas across South Sudan, speak the truth, do not let your ego blind your soul. The only way for your children and my children to live in peace and harmony is to divided our region into ownership of its habitats such as great Bhar El Gazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria.
So, my brothers and sisters, don’t was more lives by thinking that you will change other, it did not work in Yugoslavia, it also did not work in Europe as whole and that is why you see British is breaking away from European Union and also that is why the United States of America elected Donald Trump for he want to kick out migrants. So, brothers and sisters, I discourage you to continue trying to build a thick blood hoping that it will stand still.
So, my brothers and sisters, we must divided South Sudan into three regions. Greater Bhar El Gazal, (Capital Wau) Greater Upper Nile (Capital Malakal) and Greater Equatoria (Capital Juba), once we done that, you will see how follows will grow up again, you will see our children dancing and have hope for their future and the future of their children.
All you needed to now, is to joins masses and mobilize the grass roots to stand up for their future.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of a concerted operation to hack the U.S. energy grid and other critical infrastructure including aviation, and separately imposed sanctions on a raft of Russian officials for alleged high-tech interference in the 2016 American presidential election.
The moves were the strongest to date against Russia by the administration, which critics have complained is being soft on Moscow.
U.S. national security officials said the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies had determined that Russian intelligence and others were behind a broad range of cyberattacks beginning a year ago that have infiltrated the energy, nuclear, commercial, water, aviation and manufacturing sectors.
The officials said the Russian hackers chose their targets, obtained access to computer systems, conducted “network reconnaissance” of systems that control key elements of the U.S. economy and then attempted to cover their tracks by deleting evidence of their infiltration.
The U.S. government has helped the industries kick out the Russians from all systems currently known to have been penetrated, according to the officials, but the efforts continue. The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security information, left open the possibility of discovering more breaches, and said the federal government was issuing an alert to the energy industry to raise awareness about the threat and improve preparation.
That alert, published online by Homeland Security, said the hacking effort was a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors who targeted small commercial facilities’ networks” to gain access and plant malware, which was then used to monitor activity as well as to move laterally into other, larger industrial control systems.
It also said the hackers exploited open-source material from companies’ public websites to mine seemingly innocuous information that was later used to infiltrate networks. In one case, the alert said, hackers downloaded a small image from a company’s human resources page that when blown up was actually “a high-resolution photo that displayed control systems equipment models and status information in the background.”
The accusations and accompanying Russian sanctions were the most severe yet by the Trump administration in connection with hacking and other efforts to sow discord in America’s democracy and compromise its infrastructure.
Also Thursday, President Donald Trump, who has been publicly skeptical of the election allegations, joined the leaders of Britain, France and Germany in a joint statement blaming Moscow for the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy who was living in England.
Reaction from Russia was swift.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was greeting the sanctions calmly, but he warned that Russia had already started “to prepare a response.” He suggested the Trump administration had timed the sanctions to come ahead of this weekend’s presidential election in Russia, in which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win an overwhelming victory.
“It is tied to U.S. internal disorder, tied of course to our electoral calendar,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agency Tass.
The list of Russians now under U.S. sanctions includes the 13 indicted last month by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russia-related investigation into alleged election interference. The sanctions are the first use of the new powers that Congress passed last year to punish Moscow for meddling in an election that Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. He said others would face punishment in the future under the new sanctions law “to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities.”
Altogether, 19 Russians were cited. Also sanctioned were five Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, which is accused of orchestrating a mass online disinformation campaign to affect the presidential election result.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced the sanctions amid withering criticism accusing Trump and his administration of failing to use its congressionally mandated authority to punish Russia. The sanction targets include officials working for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.
Thursday’s action freezes any assets the individuals and entities may have in the United States and bars Americans from doing business with them.
The Treasury Department said the GRU and Russia’s military both interfered in the 2016 election and were “directly responsible” for the NotPetya cyberattack that hit businesses across Europe in June 2017, causing billions of dollars in damage by disrupting global shipping, trade and medicine production. It noted that the attack caused several U.S. hospitals to be unable to create electronic medical records for more than a week.
Among those affected was Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” and who ran the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, and 12 of the agency’s employees. They were included in Mueller’s indictment last month.
The agency “tampered with, altered or caused a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes and institutions,” specifically the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
“The IRA created and managed a vast number of fake online personas that posed as legitimate U.S. persons to include grass-roots organizations, interest groups and a state political party on social media,” the Treasury Department statement said. “Through this activity, the IRA posted thousands of ads that reached millions of people online.”
The sanctions also affect the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, and six of its employees for cyberattacks more broadly, including those targeting Russian journalists, opposition figures, foreign politicians and U.S. officials. The Americans include members of the diplomatic corps, the military and White House staffers.