The Gripping Story Behind the Case for Trump-Putin Collusion

The most important witness so far in the investigation of President Trump’s ties to Russia didn’t even qualify for CNN.

While the Washington press corps and the rest of the world was distracted last week by the antics of the Mooch, Spicey, and the Donald, Bill Browder, an American-born British banker, was relegated to the side stage of C-SPAN3. For the Senate Judiciary Committee and the hard-core cable audience, Browder laid out what NPR called “a terrifying and complex picture of Putin’s Russia.”

A week later, Browder’s testimony remains the #1 article on website, and for good reason. It is a gripping story that makes sense of the motive forces behind the collaboration of Trump and Putin in the 2016 election.

While Browder was only summoned to Capitol Hill to talk about the Foreign Agent Registration Act, his testimony about Putin’s government provided something that Washington and the public at large sorely need. Amid a welter of revelations and allegations, Browder provided a coherent narrative of how and why Putin sought Trump’s help.

Red Capitalist

Browder is well qualified to tell the tale. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, the leader of the American communist party who had lived in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. In the ultimate act of familial rebellion, Bill Browder emigrated to Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“My grandfather had been the biggest communist in America,” he wrote in a memoir, “and as I watched these events unfold, I decided that I wanted to become the biggest capitalist in Eastern Europe.”

Browder founded and ran one of the largest investment firms in Russia, Hermitage Capital Management, from 1996 to 2005. He made a fortune but learned the hard way about the price of crossing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Browder claimed Putin demands a 50 percent cut of all major business ventures in Russia, making him the world’s richest man with a fortune of more than $200 billion stashed in Western banks. The figure is impossible to confirm, but Browder’s personal story of life among the oligarchs makes it sound plausible.

When a group of Russians muscled Browder and a partner out of $230 million via extortion and forgery, he and his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky went to the authorities with a fraud claim.

“And we waited for the good guys to get the bad guys,” Browder said. “It turned out that in Putin’s Russia, there are no good guys.”

Browder’s account would make for an gripping Hollywood screenplay. Magnitsky was arrested and when he refused to withdraw Browder’s case was mistreated and eventually died in Siberian prison, Browder dedicated his life to exposing Putin. In return, he got a reign of terror. One of the lawyers on his team was poisoned; another was thrown out of a fourth-floor window (and survived).

Seeking justice for his dead friend, Browder came to the United State to press U.S. senators for passage of a law to sanction the Russian officials involved in the Magnitsky affair by prohibiting them from entering the United States or using the American banking system. Putin retaliated by prohibiting adoption of Russian children by American citizens.

“The Magnitsky Act created real consequences outside of Russia and this created a real problem for Putin and his system of kleptocracy,” Browder testified.

Enter Donald Trump

In the spring of 2016, Putin was probing for ways to get the Magnitsky Act repealed. A Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya become “the point person” for Putin’s campaign against the law and Browder.

When she offered incriminating information to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son replied “I love it,” and arranged a meeting with his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort.

The result was the famous June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that when the New York Times first reported on the meeting in early July  2017, President Trump personally dictated the false statement that the “unimportant” meeting only concerned Russian adoptions.

(A trivial conclave about “adoption” is Jared Kushner’s story too, and he’s sticking to it, albeit not under oath.)

In fact, the meeting concerned the repeal of the Magnitsky Act and what it would take to get it repealed.

Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya have both said no incriminating information about Clinton ended up changing hands in the meeting, a rather narrow defense that seems designed to evade the possibility that the incriminating information changed hands soon after.

Quid Pro Quo

The highlight of Browder’s testimony came when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Browder if the meeting could have been the Russian government’s way of offering a “quid pro quo” in exchange for repealing the law that Putin loathed.

“This was a big ask,” Browder replied. The Russians were seeking to roll back sanctions that crimped the travel and finances of Putin and his circle of oligarchs. “They wouldn’t have gone in and said ‘please can you repeal this for us,’ without having something to offer in return.”

That was the art and the essence of Trump Tower deal: DNC dirt in exchange for Magnitsky Act repeal.

To be sure, Browder has not proven a violation of the law beyond a reasonable doubt, as Glenn Greenwald and others have demanded. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will have to decide what, if any, laws were broken there.

But Browder strengthened the case for collusion by clarifying in vivid language the reasons for the June 9, 2016, meeting. He has identified the essentials of the corrupt bargain that drove Trump’s assault on Hillary Clinton and his embrace of Vladimir Putin during the 2016 election.

Jefferson Morley is AlterNet’s Washington correspondent. He is the author of the forthcoming biography The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin’s Press, October 2017) and the 2016 Kindle ebook CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files.


UAE said to be behind hacking of Qatari media, sparking regional upheaval

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of a Qatari government news site in May, planting a false story that was used as a pretext for the current crisis between Qatar and several Arab countries, according to a Sunday report by The Washington Post.

The Emirati Embassy in Washington released a statement in response calling the Post report “false” and insisting that the UAE “had no role whatsoever” in the alleged hacking.

The report quotes unnamed US intelligence officials as saying that senior members of the Emirati government discussed the plan on May 23. On the following day, a story appeared on the Qatari News Agency’s website quoting a speech by Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in which he allegedly praised Iran and said Qatar has a good relationship with Israel. Similarly incendiary statements appeared on the news agency’s Twitter feed.

The agency quickly claimed it was hacked and removed the article. But Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all blocked Qatari media and later severed diplomatic ties.

The ongoing crisis has threatened to complicate the US-led coalition’s fight against the Islamic State group as all participants are US allies and members of the anti-IS coalition. Qatar is home to more than 10,000 US troops and the regional headquarters of the US Central Command while Bahrain is the home of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

President Donald Trump has sided strongly with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the dispute, publicly backing their contention that Doha is a supporter of Islamic militant groups and a destabilizing force in the Middle East. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently concluded several days of shuttle diplomacy in the Gulf, but he departed the region without any public signs of a resolution.

Trump ‘Rages’ Behind Closed Doors as He Considers Dumping Priebus

While the news was breaking of the Donald Trump Jr. revelation that the campaign was so desperate for “dirt” on Hillary Clinton they were willing to collude with Russia, President Donald Trump was “raging” behind closed doors.

According to an Associated Press report, the president is furious at the media for what he tweeted was “the greatest political witch hunt in history.” However, even CNN’s Chris Cuomo noted that unless Trump Jr. made up the email, it isn’t a witch hunt.

At the same time, Trump has railed about Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to confidants and the former RNC chair has been a target of criticism for months with constant speculation that a shakeup could happen.

During a Tuesday panel discussion, MSNBC’s Kristen Welker revealed a grim outlook of a White House desperately scrambling to come up with ways to spin the email from Trump Jr.’s email that proves he was willing to collude with the Russian government.

“This is now a White House that is in full damage control,” she explained. “This complicates the narrative even further that we have heard consistently — from the president, from the vice president, from his top officials on down — saying that no one from his campaign met with or knew about Russia’s efforts to try to intervene with Russia’s efforts to intervene in the 2016 race, or to try to collude with them.”

At the same time, White House staffers are terrified of having anything to do with Russian policies because they might end up as part of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“The White House has been thrust into chaos after days of ever-worsening revelations about a meeting between Donald Trump Jr,” The Washington Postreported. “One White House official went so far as to stop communicating with the president’s embattled son.”

At the same time, the legal teams seem to be confused with how to advocate for their individual clients without throwing another staffer or family member under the bus.

Legal team spokesman Mark Corallo spent Saturday night trying to claim that Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort had no idea what they were getting into and were somehow duped into meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Just days later, Trump Jr. revealed the spin was a lie and he was eager to meet.

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” he wrote to publicist Rob Goldstone.

Meanwhile, the president has seemingly been in hiding. After an intense trip at the G-20 in which Trump was forced to let his daughter serve as a stand-in for him, Trump hasn’t surfaced to do anything other than Tweet. The White House has also refused to do any on-camera briefings.

According to TIME, Trump Jr, spent the day with friends and close business associates once the stories began to respond to his emails. His mood shifted from worry to defiance over the hours, confidants say. He has told friends that he understands the optics are bad but that the media has overblown the meeting and has vowed to fight back, which some allies are cautioning against.

The president leaves Wednesday evening for another international trip and won’t be seen publicly before the departure.

Sarah K. Burris writes about politics and technology for Raw Story. 

Reddit user behind Trump’s CNN wrestling video apologizes


(JTA) — The Reddit user who claimed responsibility for the altered video depicting President Donald Trump body slamming someone with CNN superimposed over his head has apologized for the video.

The Reddit user who goes by the handle “HanAssholeSolo” also apologized for other offensive content he posted, which included anti-Semitic and racist imagery, CNN reported Tuesday evening.  He also has removed that content from his Reddit account, according to CNN.

CNN’s KFIle reported that it discovered the identity of the man, a private citizen, by using identifying information in his Reddit account and investigating the biographical data garnered from it.  Shortly after CNN first attempted to contact him by phone and email, the man posted his apology on Reddit and then called CNN, which said Tuesday evening that it decided not to reveal his name because he said he feared for his personal safety and the damage it would do to his reputation and that of his family.

CNN noted that it “reserves the right to publish his identity” should he again post offensive material.

“First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened. I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did,” he wrote in his apology on Reddit, according to CNN. The apology has since been removed by the moderators of /The_Donald subreddit

“The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation. I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more,” he also wrote.

Trump tweeted the gif, or graphics interchange format — a short video that is friendly to multiple platforms — on Sunday. It was drawn from a staged encounter years ago between wrestling impresario Vince McMahon and Trump, who are friends.

The president has feuded with the media generally and CNN specifically in recent days. He has seized on CNN’s retracting of a report linking a Trump ally to a Senate investigation, calling the news network a purveyor of “garbage journalism.” He tagged the gif #FraudNewsCNN, and the official White House account, @POTUS, retweeted it.

Putin: ‘No proof’ Assad behind chemical weapons assault

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that there was “no proof” that the regime of Syria’s President Bashar Assad was responsible for the recent deadly chemical weapons attack in the war-torn country, which Western nations have pinned on the Syrian army.

“According to our information, there is no proof that chemical weapons were used by Assad. We are convinced that he didn’t do it,” Reuters quoted Putin as telling the French daily Le Figaro.

Russia’s president also said that countries such as the US and France have sought to blame Assad for the April attack in order to justify “to the international community why it was necessary to continue to impose measures to pressure Assad, including militarily.”

Putin said that he proposed leading an investigation into the chemical weapons attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, in which over 80 people were killed, but was rebuffed by Western nations, according to Reuters.

In this June 7, 2016 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad addresses the newly-elected parliament in Damascus, Syria. (SANA via AP)

The Russian’s president’s comments came after the issue of last month’s gas attack was raised by his French counterpart during a meeting at Versailles on Monday, with Emmanuel Macron saying France would respond immediately to any future use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“A very clear red line exists on our side, the use of chemical weapons by whomever,” Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) following their meeting at the Versailles Palace, near Paris, on May 29, 2017. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

Despite the denials of Syria and its backers Russia and Iran, the US, France and others have said that evidence indicates the Syrian regime was behind the deadly April 4 chemical weapons assault.

In April, France’s then foreign minister said that the chemical analysis of samples taken from the sarin gas attack in Syria “bears the signature” of Assad’s government and shows it was responsible for the deadly assault.

According to Jean-Marc Ayrault, France came to this conclusion after comparing samples from a sarin attack in Syria from 2013 that matched.

France knows “from sure sources” that “the manufacturing process of the sarin that was sampled is typical of the method developed in Syrian laboratories,” Ayrault added. “This method bears the signature of the regime and that is what allows us to establish its responsibility in this attack.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said that blood samples were taken from a victim in Syria on the day of the attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

A Syrian man collects samples from the site of a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on April 5, 2017. (AFP/Omar Haj Kadour)

Environmental samples, the French ministry said, show the weapons were made “according to the same production process of the one used in the sarin attack perpetrated by the Syrian regime in Sarabeq.”

France’s presidency said the country’s intelligence services presented evidence which “demonstrate that the (Syrian) regime still holds chemical warfare agents, in violation of the commitments to eliminate them that it took in 2013.” It said the information will be made public.

The United States has also blamed Assad’s government for the attack. The Trump administration fired cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the attack and issued sanctions on 271 people linked to the Syrian agency said to be responsible for producing non-conventional weapons. Syria has strongly denied the accusations.

It’s thought that Assad’s government still has a stockpile hundreds of tons of chemical weapons despite saying it had handed over all of them as part of a 2013 agreement brokered by Russia. That deal came after the US threatened military action after hundreds were killed in a deadly chemical attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus.

Donald Trump (White Freemason, White Idiot, Zionist) Said Saudi Arabia Was Behind 9/11, Now He’s Bowing Down To Them


Renegade Editor’s Note: We all know Israel quarterbacked 9/11 and that the Saudis are their crypto cousins.  

We, Saudi Family, are cousins of the Jews: we entirely disagree with any Arab or Muslim Authority which shows any antagonism to the Jews; but we must live together with them in peace. Our country (Arabia) is the Fountain head from where the first Jew sprang, and his descendants spread out all over the world.” King Faisal Al-Saud, Washington Post, Sept. 17, 1969

By Matt Agorist

While speaking with supporters at a campaign event in Bluffton, South Carolina in 2016, then-Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said if he is elected “you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.”

“It wasn’t the Iraqis,” Trump said.

“You may find it’s the Saudis.”

Trump was referencing the fact 15 out of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. He also, somehow, had knowledge of what was in the 28 pages that would be declassified a few months later in July.

Trump went on to say the government has “papers” “that are very secret” which may implicate the Saudis, perhaps referencing the report discussed above.

“You will find out,” Trump said.

Before he was elected, Americans did find out that the 28-pages proved the United States government knew the Saudi Arabian government had a hand in and supported the terrorists who carried out the attacks on 9/11 — and covered it up.


Before the campaign event in South Carolina, Trump accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the 9/11 attacks. “Who blew up the World Trade Center?” Trump asked his pals at Fox and Friends on the morning of February 17, 2016. “It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents.”

Speaking to the New York Times last year, as the Intercept notes, Trump claimed that, without U.S. support and protection, “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist for very long.” The real problem, he continued, was that the Saudis are “a money machine … and yet they don’t reimburse us the way we should be reimbursed.” Asked if he would be willing to “stop buying oil from the Saudis” if they refused to pull their weight, Trump responded: “Oh yeah, sure. I would do that.”

Last year, it seems, Trump was a staunch adversary to the terrorist Saudi regime. But, like any politician worth their hypocritical salt, Trump was — predictably — lying.

Fast forward to post-election win Trump and his view on Saudi Arabia has changed — drastically.

After going from implicating them in the worst terror attack ever to take place on US soil, Donald Trump is now best buds with the terrorist regime in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is responsible for the death of 2,369 Americans — yet Trump is dining with them this very weekend.

Trump’s arrival in Saudi Arabia on Saturday was quite the spectacle, with the Saudi king throwing the president’s family arrival at the Royal Diwan a “welcome fit for a king.”

WATCH: President Trump, the First Lady and Ivanka arrive at Royal Diwan alongside prancing horses and flag-bearers

During his treasonous visit with the terrorist regime, Trump also secured a massive arms deal.

According to a statement just issued by the White House, Trump “has just completed largest single arms deal in US history, negotiating a package totaling more than $109.7 billion” which will boost Saudi Arabia’s defense capabilities, bolstering equipment and services in the face of extreme terrorist groups and Iran. The White House added that the deal will create defense jobs while also reaffirming America’s commitment to Saudi Arabia. 

In Saudi Arabia @POTUS has just completed largest single arms deal in US history, negotiating a package totaling more than $109.7 billion

“This package of defense equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats, while also bolstering the Kingdom’s ability to contribute to counter terrorism operations across the region,” the White House said in a statement on Saturday, as quoted by CNBC News.

This package demonstrates, in the clearest terms possible, the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia and our Gulf partners, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region,” the statement reads, according to Reuters.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead.

‘Tis quite amazing what being president of the United States can do to a person’s integrity. But those of us who’ve been paying attention saw this coming a mile away.

His loyalty to the Saudi regime first became evident during his travel ban earlier this year.

Out of the 43 people who carried out terrorist attacks on US soil, only three of them came from the seven countries on Trump’s list — the other 40 terrorists came from countries who were not banned.

This handful of attacks on American soil hardly justifies restricting the travel from these countries once we look at the countries Trump did not ban — who are responsible for 93% of all terrorism in the United States causing death on a massive scale — including Saudi Arabia.

The majority of the 40 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, while the others were from Pakistan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Guinea.

As the Free Thought Project previously reported, during his campaign, Trump registered eight companies tied to hotel interests in Saudi Arabia alone. And, in 2001, the alleged Saudi-hating Trump sold an entire floor of Trump Tower to the Saudis for $4.5 million.

When taking a closer look at Trump’s ties to Saudi Arabia, the rhetoric he used during the campaign, decrying the Saudis for their terrorist ways, was little more than lip service.

Indeed, according to Mehdi Hasan, writing for the Intercept, it was a load of bull.

On Sunday, the fawning Saudis will offer a platform to the world’s most famous Islamophobe, to give a speech on Islam in “the birthplace” of Islam. And Trump will likely take the opportunity to decry “radical Islamic terrorism” while visiting a country that has perhaps done more than any other to incite, fund, and fuel it.

Hypocrisy unites them both. So too does their fear and loathing of the Iranians — the Saudis are busying dropping bombs and backing militants to push back Iranian influence in Yemen and Syria. The Trump administration, filled with Iran hawks, is on the verge of inking a series of arms deals with Riyadh worth more than $100 billion.

To be clear: Trump’s U-turn on Saudi Arabia has little to do with being moderated by the realities of high office or swayed by the Beltway’s foreign policy elites. Despite his bombastic campaign rhetoric, he never planned to go after the Saudis in office — even after publicly accusing them of murdering 3,000 Americans. Early on in the campaign, in 2015, a senior Arab diplomat told me, on condition of anonymity, that Trump had informed most of the Gulf governments, in private, that his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric was “all for the campaign” and that it would be business as usual once he was elected (or, for that matter, defeated).

Just like Obama, Trump is curtseying to the terrorist Saudi Arabian regime and selling them weapons which are in turn used to kill innocent women and children. Just like Obama, Trump is continuing war, and in fact, doubling down. In march, Trump dropped more bombs in Yemen than Obama did in all of 2016. 

And here it is: the long-awaited GIF of Trump voluntarily curtseying to King Salman in .

This month, he again attacked the sovereign nation of Syria with a massive airstrike against the Syrian Army — who happen to be fighting ISIS. Put two and two together and we see who wins when the US bombs the Syrian government — and it’s most assuredly not ‘democracy and freedom.’

Trump is on track to become far more deadly than Obama and he’s less than half a year into his presidency.

While the media uses fairy tales of Russian election hacking to distract, Trump is proving to be just like all of his predecessors — fooling people into thinking he’s ‘MAGA’ — while bowing down to the military industrial complex.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook. This article first appeared here at The Free Thought Project.

Image Credit: YourNewsWire




An 18-year-old dual American Israeli living in Ashkelon has been arrested, suspected of being behind most of a series of bomb and other threats to Jewish communities in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand that date back around six months, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

As of Thursday, with a gag order on the probe being lifted by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court at the same time it extended his detention, sources indicate that most of the threats against the Diaspora communities and organizations led investigators back to Israel.


The first threat that stood out and was picked up on by Israeli investigators occurred in New Zealand around six month ago and led to the opening of the investigation.

Israel has been the lead coordinator with a number of other involved countries over the course of the probe.

The suspect used very complex methods to shield himself from identification and being caught, and law enforcement had to use a variety of their own complex methods to find him.

Law enforcement finally searched the suspect’s house on Thursday. They are only now able to piece together the breadth and methodology of his operations.

There are still few details available about the suspect’s profile, but he is not in the IDF, not ultra-Orthodox, at some point made aliya and possibly has psychological problems and few friends, with reports saying his lawyer said he has a nonmalignant brain tumor.

The suspect’s father has also been arrested and the court extended his detention until March 30, saying he appeared to be involved in most of the same crimes and many of the threatening telephone calls. The suspect’s allegedly suspicious activities were also noted, including the suspect’s use of an unusually large antenna and other unusual hardware that could have drawn suspicion.

The suspect’s mother was questioned, but is not currently a suspect.

It is unknown how many others might have worked with the suspect, but it is believed that he was the main operator of the scare-spree and might have even acted completely on his own.

As of Thursday, it was still unclear what the suspect’s motivations were for the many threats, which made international headlines and got US President Donald Trump caught up in accusations that he was light on antisemitism when he did not initially harshly condemn the scares as well as desecrations of Jewish graves, which presumably were not connected to the suspect.

Israel intends to indict the suspect in its own courts, but it is unknown as of Thursday whether other countries such as the US might also seek to extradite and try him.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told the Post, “This is one of the numerous ongoing police operations that take place with other international security and intelligence organizations in order to try to find suspects.

“This specific investigation was complex in terms of the suspect and its nature, and there was a significant breakthrough in the investigation which led us to make the arrest of the suspect, who lives in southern Israel,” he said.

“He was the main suspect behind the numerous threats that were made to different Jewish communities and organizations around the world,” Rosenfeld continued.

Further, Rosenfeld said, “As part of the ongoing investigation, we are trying to see if and how he was connected to the different Jewish communities in the US. That directs the investigation as to the American connection. We are looking to see if there was an incident which triggered him to carry out threatening those communities.”

US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday that the arrest in Israel of a suspect in bomb threats made to American-Jewish centers reflects the government’s policy of zero tolerance for hate crimes.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Sessions said in a statement. “I commend the FBI and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case.”

Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, also released a statement praising law enforcement and expressing relief that an arrest has been made.

“Ten days ago, and again this morning, Jewish leaders were briefed by top officials from the FBI. From those briefings we learned about the unprecedented level of time and resources that were committed to this investigation along with high levels of cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and a long list of partners, including Israeli law enforcement. It was heartbreaking to learn that a Jewish man is a prime suspect,” he said.

“Our ability to adapt quickly and liaise with law enforcement officials was in large part due to the work of the Secure Community Network. As a community and a society we must remain vigilant in our effort to counter antisemitism and other hate crimes as they appear. We are fortunate to know we have partners in law enforcement who will do whatever it takes to bring these perpetrators to justice,” he continued.

“On behalf of the JCC Association of North America and JCCs across the continent, we are gratified by the progress in this investigation, and applaud the commitment and leadership of the FBI and other federal agencies, Israeli law enforcement and local law enforcement across the United States and Canada.

“We are troubled to learn that the individual suspected of making these threats against Jewish community centers, which play a central role in the Jewish community, as well as serve as inclusive and welcoming places for all – is reportedly Jewish,” Silverman said.

“Emblematic of the strength of JCCs and the important model they represent for acceptance, inclusion and appreciation for diversity is the remarkable support we have received from communities and community leaders across North America, including civic, political and faith community leaders. Throughout this long-running period of concern and disruption that we are hopeful has come to an end, JCCs have had the opportunity to review and assess our security protocols and procedures, and we are confident that JCCs are safer today than ever before.

“As we celebrate JCC Association of North America’s centennial this year, millions of members and participants across the United States and Canada will continue to pass through our doors, taking part in the extraordinary programs and initiatives that have defined the town square of North American Jewish life. And they will continue to do so with total confidence that JCCs remain a vital and exciting engine for building inspired and ever-stronger communities,” Silverman said. •

Russian Agents Were Behind Yahoo Hack, U.S. Says

SAN FRANCISCO — The Justice Department charged two Russian intelligence officers on Wednesday with directing a sweeping criminal conspiracy that stole data on 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014, deepening the rift between American and Russian authorities on cybersecurity.

The Russian government used the information obtained by the intelligence officers and two other men to spy on a range of targets, from White House and military officials to executives at banks, two American cloud computing companies, an airline and even a gambling regulator in Nevada, according to an indictment. The stolen data was also used to spy on Russian government officials and business executives, federal prosecutors said.

Russians have been accused of other cyberattacks on the United States — most notably the theft of emails last year from the Democratic National Committee. But the Yahoo case is the first time that federal prosecutors have brought cybercrime charges against Russian intelligence officials, according to the Justice Department.

Particularly galling to American investigators was that the two Russian intelligence agents they say directed the scheme, Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, worked for an arm of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., that is supposed to help foreign intelligence agencies catch cybercriminals. Instead, the officials helped the hackers avoid detection.

“The involvement and direction of F.S.B. officers with law enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more egregious,” said Mary B. McCord, the acting assistant attorney general, at a news conference in Washington to announce the charges.

The two other men named in the indictment include a Russian hacker already indicted in connection with three other computer network intrusions and a Kazakh national living in Canada. One of the hackers also conducted an extensive spamming operation, stole credit and gift card information, and diverted Yahoo users looking for erectile dysfunction drugs to a particular pharmacy.

Yahoo Says It Was Hacked. Here’s How to Protect Yourself.

Simple tips to follow if you think your personal information online has been exposed to hackers.

Nikolay Lakhonin, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington, said that Moscow had no “official reaction” to the indictments. But Mr. Lakhonin did point a reporter to two articles posted Wednesday in the Russian-sponsored Sputnik News that were openly skeptical of the charges. One was headlined “Yahoo Hack: What US Mainstream Media Don’t Tell You About Russian ‘Spy.’”

Indeed, one of the two Russian intelligence agents indicted in the Yahoo case, Mr. Dokuchaev, was arrested in early December in what amounted to a purge of the Center for Information Security, the cyberwing of the F.S.B. Mr. Dokuchaev, who was reportedly a former hacker recruited to work in the F.S.B. at least seven years ago, and a fellow officer were accused of treason for passing secret information to the United States.

United States officials said Wednesday that they were not certain if the Dmitry Dokuchaev arrested in December was the same man as the one named in the indictment.

The Justice Department’s 47-count indictment, which was filed under seal in Federal District Court in San Francisco on Feb. 28, immediately threatened to escalate diplomatic tensions over Russia’s meddling in the November election.

“The indictments are intended to be a clear, public signal of what we will not accept,” said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic Studies, a research organization in Washington. “If you’re one of these people, you can’t leave Russia. You know you’ve been caught. There is an Interpol warrant out for your arrest.”

Karim Baratov is the only one of the accused hackers who has been arrested in connection with the case. He was captured by the authorities in Canada on Tuesday. The chances of the United States taking the other three into custody any time soon appear slim, especially because the United States has no extradition treaty with Russia.

The fourth person involved in the scheme, a Russian named Alexsey Belan, had been indicted twice before for three intrusions into American e-commerce companies. At one point, he was arrested in Europe, but he escaped to Russia before he could be extradited. Prosecutors said they had repeatedly asked the Russian government to hand over Mr. Belan but had gotten no response.

Nonetheless, officials said that they believe criminal charges serve as a powerful tool to deter cyberattacks. For example, they said, China’s hacking against United States targets decreased after charges were brought against five military officials there in 2014 over damaging attacks against government and private-sector systems.

The action on Wednesday was the latest in a series of criminal prosecutions that American officials have brought since 2014 against cyberattackers who they charge were acting on behalf of foreign governments, including China, North Korea, and Iran.

Yahoo disclosed the theft of its data in September and said it was working with the law enforcement authorities to trace the perpetrators. The hackers were able to use the stolen information, which included personal data as well as encrypted passwords, to create a tool that gave them access to 32 million accounts over a period of two years.

In a statement on Wednesday, Yahoo thanked the F.B.I. and the Justice Department for their work.

Jack Bennett, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s San Francisco office, said that his investigators had worked on the case for two years, although the inquiry intensified last year.

It remains unclear why Yahoo users were not informed about the hack during that time. An internal investigation by the company’s board found that some senior executives and information security personnel were aware of the breach shortly after it occurred but “failed to properly comprehend or investigate” the situation. Two weeks ago, the company’s top lawyer, Ronald S. Bell, resigned over the episode, and its chief executive, Marissa Mayer, lost her 2016 bonus and 2017 stock compensation.

Mr. Bennett said the F.B.I. was still investigating a separate, larger breach of one billion Yahoo accounts that occurred in 2013 but was disclosed by the company only three months ago. Yahoo has said it has not been able to glean much information about that attack, which was uncovered by InfoArmor, an Arizona security firm.

The two thefts, the largest known breaches of a private company’s computer systems, had threatened to scuttle a deal that Yahoo struck last summer to sell its internet businesses to Verizon Communications. Verizon sought to shave $925 million from the original $4.8 billion deal following news of the attacks, but last month, the two companies finally agreed to a $350 million price reduction.

Ms. McCord and other officials would not discuss any connection between the charges in the Yahoo case and an ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in the November election and a large-scale hack at the Democratic National Committee. Some investigators believe that the F.S.B. orchestrated the D.N.C. hack to help President Trump win the election.

Democrats were quick to link the attacks. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said that with Russia blamed in the cyberattacks involving both Yahoo and the presidential election, “the United States must take steps not only to bring those responsible to justice but also ensure future attacks are not allowed to occur in the first place.”

The main purpose of the Yahoo hack was to gather political and economic intelligence, officials said. The hackers stole a database of 500 million Yahoo users and other Yahoo software code which they used to falsify cookies, a technique that gave them full access to millions of Yahoo accounts without needing the passwords.

They found accounts of interest by searching non-Yahoo, recovery email addresses that users provided, allowing them to target employees of specific companies or organizations for other attacks. At least 50 Gmail accounts were targeted, as were accounts at financial firms and other technology providers.

Mr. Belan, one of the F.B.I.’s most-wanted cybercriminals, was also making money on the side as part of the scheme, officials said. He used information from the Yahoo accounts to steal credit and gift card numbers, send spam and redirect searches for erectile dysfunction treatments to an online pharmacy that paid for the traffic, according to the indictment.

Iran UN envoy says Israel behind assassinations of nuclear scientists

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nation’s atomic agency claimed that “Israel-hired terrorists” were behind the assassinations of several nuclear scientists in recent years.

Speaking with the IAEA Board of Governors, Reza Najafi on Thursday also criticized Israel for not adhering to international nuclear treaties, and the international community for ignoring it.

“While nuclear scientists across the entire Middle East have been assassinated by Israeli-hired terrorists, the regime’s nuclear experts are allowed access to some countries’ nuclear facilities,” he said, according to reports in Iranian media.

“Unfortunately, the Zionist Regime has ignored the rightful requests of the international community in the last years, and having the blind support of some western countries and with infringing all international laws and regulations, has pushed its dangerous military nuclear program forward.”

At least 4 Iranian scientists were assassinated between 2010-2012, and Iran has long claimed Israel’s spy agency was behind the killings as part of a campaign to sabotage its rogue nuclear program.

Israel has remained silent on the allegations, though various political leaders and security chiefs have hinted at acts of sabotage against Iran.

Israel maintains a policy of so-called nuclear ambiguity, neither publicly confirming nor denying the existence of an atomic arsenal.

Previous UN resolutions proposed by Arab states seeking to pressure Israel into nuclear transparency have been unsuccessful.

Reports in September said Arab members of the IAEA will refrain from introducing resolutions urging Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight.

Theo Epstein vs. Mike Chernoff (Zionist Jews, Kikes): The Jewish brains behind the Cubs and the Indians

The World Series this year is being fought between two franchises with long and painful histories: The Cleveland Indians have not won a championship since 1948, and the Chicago Cubs go all the way back to 1908 for their last crown.

The latter hasn’t even been in the Fall Classic since 1945.

Young sluggers Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant powered the Cubs to the National League title, while pitchers Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller have been among the stalwarts for the American League champs, aka the Tribe.

And in the front office, Jews helped assemble both teams: Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president, and Mike Chernoff, the Indians’ general manager.

With the Series underway — the Indians prevailed easily behind Kluber in Game 1 on Tuesday night, but the Cubs went on to tie the series 1-1 on Wednesday with a sloppy but effective six innings by pitcher Jake Arrieta — we take a closer look at how these two esteemed baseball architects stack up against each other on and off the diamond.

Theo Epstein (JTA)

Theo Epstein, 42
Cubs’ president

As president of baseball operations for the Cubs, Epstein is second in command in the team’s front office behind only the team’s owners. He oversees the team’s general manager, Jed Hoyer, also Jewish, and manager, Joe Maddon. Along with Hoyer, he makes the baseball-themed decisions for the organization, from procuring players via trade or free agency to hiring coaches to doling out hefty contracts.

Education: Attended Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts; B.A. from Yale University (American studies); law degree from the University of San Diego.

Family: Grew up in Brookline. His grandfather Philip Epstein, along with his brother, the screenwriter Julius Epstein, wrote the script for the Oscar-winning classic “Casablanca.” Epstein’s father, Leslie, is a novelist who has been the director of Boston University’s creative writing program for over 20 years. Among his several novels is “King of the Jews,” focused on a Jewish character who is made the head of a Judenrat council during World War II.

Addison Russell, left, with Cubs teammate Kris Bryant during the fifth inning of a game against the Padres at Petco Park in San Diego, Aug. 23, 2016. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images via JTA)

Mike Chernoff (JTA)

Mike Chernoff, 35
Indians’ general manager

As general manager, Chernoff is in charge of the Indians’ baseball decisions, albeit in a less senior role than Epstein. (Some have argued that the term “president of baseball operations” is now not much different that general manager.)

Education: Attended the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey; B.A. from Princeton University (economics).

Family: Grew up in Livingston, New Jersey. His father, Mark, 64, is the vice president of programming for WFAN, a leading sports radio station in New York.

Cleveland Indians' Jason Kipnis scores past Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta on a wild pitch during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the Major League Baseball World Series Wednesday, October 26, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Professional track records

Epstein: Even at his young age, Epstein already owns a historic resume. In 2002, he was hired by the Boston Red Sox as general manager, at 28 the youngest to hold the post in baseball history. He helped Boston overcome the Curse of the Bambino to win its first World Series in 86 years in 2004; in the A.L. Championship Series, the Sox became the first team in baseball history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to advance. (Boston won again during his tenure, in 2007). The Cubs hired Epstein as president in 2011.

Chernoff: A promotion to GM after last season was the natural next step in his rise through the Indians’ executive offices. Chernoff has worked for the Tribe since college, when he took an internship during his senior year. He was named assistant general manager in 2010 and had a close relationship with the former club president, Mark Shapiro (also Jewish), who has since left to helm baseball operations for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Signature moves

Epstein: Epstein brought in former Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester as a free agent last year, and the reunion has paid big dividends: The southpaw went 19-5 with a 2.44 earned run average in 2016. This year, Epstein traded for Aroldis Chapman, a closer with a fastball clocked at over 100 miles an hour, to shore up the bullpen. The Cubs also drafted Bryant, last season’s Rookie of the Year and a leading Most Valuable Player candidate in ’16 — during Epstein’s tenure. Bryant has 65 home runs and 201 runs batted in his first two major league seasons.

Chernoff: Perhaps the best decision made by any team this season was Cleveland trading for Miller, a hard-throwing reliever from the New York Yankees. As of Wednesday, the 6-foot-7 lefty has pitched 13 2/3 innings in the playoffs without allowing a run (including in the 6-0 shutout in the Series opener). Chernoff also helped sign free agent first baseman Mike Napoli to a one-year deal before this season, during which he erupted for 34 home runs and 101 RBIs.

Relationship to Judaism

Epstein: Raised in a secular Jewish family in Brookline. He and his wife, Marie Whitney, who is Roman Catholic, are not raising their two sons with any religion.

Chernoff: Had his bar mitzvah at the Reform Temple Emanu-El in Livingston, New Jersey. (The bar mitzvah theme? You guessed it: sports.) Since moving to Cleveland, Chernoff and his family have attended services at the Reform Temple Tifereth-Israel congregation in Beachwood, a Cleveland suburb.