28 September 2007

Receding permafrost is a bone-hunters' bounty

Regardless of your point of view on who is right or wrong with regard to climate change/global warming I don't think that there can be any doubt THAT SOMETHING IS HAPPENING. It's seems that whatever is going on capitolism is thriving...

and if you would prefer not to read the article the video is here:

Receding permafrost is a bone-hunters' bounty
By Dmitry Solovyov

CHERSKY, Russia (Reuters) - One day, climate change could cost the earth. For now, it is a nice little earner for Russian hunter Alexander Vatagin
In Siberia's northernmost reaches, high up in the Arctic Circle, the changing temperature is thawing out the permafrost to reveal the bones of prehistoric animals like mammoths, woolly rhinos and lions that have been buried for thousands of years.

Private collectors and scientific institutes will pay huge sums for the right specimen, and bone-prospectors like Vatagin have turned this region, eight time zones from Moscow, into a paleontological Klondyke.

"Last year someone was paid 800,000 roubles (15,500 pounds) for a mammoth head with two tusks in great condition," said Vatagin.

A brawny 45-year-old, he has a network of helpers: the fishermen and reindeer-herders of the tiny Yukagir ethnic group, whose numbers have dwindled to about 800 people.

"I must have earned the respect of the Yukagir," he said. "Their shamans convened a council and decided to name me a Yukagir," he added. He is now Yukagir No. 456.

These tribesmen are his 'finders', fanning out across the vast emptiness of the tundra seeking valuable artifacts.

At regular intervals, Vatagin flies by helicopter to the main Yukagir settlement, Andryushkino, some 200 km (125 miles) west of the local centre of Chersky, to view the merchandise.

Prehistoric bones are not very hard to find. The permafrost is thawing and breaking up so rapidly that in certain places in the tundra, every few meters (yards) bones poke out through the soil. Some just lie on the surface.

Vatagin pays between 200 and 4,000 roubles per kg of mammoth bones. But it takes a keen eye and local knowledge to find the really valuable stuff.

Tusks, sometimes curled round almost into a circle and reaching up to 5 meters in length, are the most prized finds. A pair of good tusks is a rarity; two tusks and a well-preserved skull can be worth a fortune.

"If he is lucky, a local can earn 200,000 roubles in just one day," said Vatagin, who wears a massive silver ring with a mammoth's head engraved into it. "To earn this money, he would have otherwise have to toil for a year."

But for Vatagin it is not just about money. He himself dives into the ice-cold local rivers to look for relics. The cash he pays the Yukagir tribesmen gives them a living.


Many of the bones retrieved by Vatagin and his adopted tribe end up at the Ice Age Museum in Moscow. The museum makes no secret that scientific discovery goes hand-in-glove with business interests.

Museum official Alexander Svalov has on one of his fingers a ring identical to the one won worn by Vatagin in distant Chersky.

The ring is the symbol of the National Alliance, a close-knit business run by entrepreneur Fyodor Shidlovsky. The company runs the museum, and holds government licenses allowing it to excavate and export prehistoric relics.

Svalov, who is the chief executive of National Alliance, says a well-preserved tusk can sell to private collectors for up to $20,000, while a reconstructed mammoth skeleton can fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.

The bones make their way into museums in places like the United States and South Korea. Now promising new markets are opening up in emerging economies like China too.

"Developing nations are now displaying huge interest in mammoths," says Svalov. "Their economies are growing, they have cash and are starting to develop their museums."


Back in Chersky, Sergei Davydov, a 52-year-old scientist, does not sell the bones he collects. He keeps them to study the effects of climate change, but also because they fascinate him.

"This tooth has an unusual bump here. The mammoth suffered from a terrible toothache. We can only imagine how he must have roared," said Davydov, tenderly rubbing a black tooth the size of a large shoe.

He displays his other finds: a mammoth's giant thigh bones, the horns of a woolly rhino, the jaws of an ancient horse and a cave lion's skull. Bison skulls crowned with sharp horns decorate the interior of his cozy wooden house.

Davydov acknowledges that rising temperatures in Siberia have been a boon for bone collectors. "As the permafrost thaws, we obtain yet more objects for study," he said.

But then he reflects: "From the point of view of humanity, it would have been better if this had never happened," he said.

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Supreme Court To Determine If Patent Holders Can Shake Down Entire Supply Chain

Supreme Court To Determine If Patent Holders Can Shake Down Entire Supply Chain
from the more-judicial-patent-reform dept
While Congress continues to fight over patent reform (often missing the bigger issues for those that the lobbyists are most interested in), it's been the Supreme Court that's been doing its best to bring some sanity back to the patent system. After ignoring patent law as being a boring "commercial" dispute for years, the Supreme Court finally realized a few years ago that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (that handles patent cases) had basically redefined patent law over the last few years, creating much of the mess we're in today. Suddenly, the Court started taking a bunch of patent cases -- and almost every time it slapped down CAFC and brought some common sense back to the patent system. Of course, there's still a lot more to do on that front, and apparently the Supreme Court agrees. It's now taken yet another patent case that could have major ramifications.

This case, officially between LG and Quanta, really concerns the question of how many times patent holders can get a cut of any component found violating a patent. Currently, patent holders will often sue up and down the food chain. So, if you happen to have a patent on a component within a motor that is used in automobile wipers, you could sue the motor maker, the wiper maker and the auto manufacturer -- and get all three to pay, even though the same product is used throughout the supply chain. This case will look at whether or not it makes sense to allow for that type of double, triple or quadruple dipping. Patently O has a good summary of the case, pointing out that it's effectively asking if the concept of the "first sale doctrine," which applies to copyrights, also applies to patents. If the Supreme Court follows its recent trend in overturning CAFC, this could have a big impact on a lot of patent cases. For example, it would entirely derail NTP's latest patent suits. In that case, NTP forced RIM into licensing its (questionable and likely to be invalidated) patents, and is now suing all the service providers who offer RIM's Blackberry -- effectively double dipping. Once again, it's nice to see both the sudden interest in patent law -- and what often appears to be very clear thinking on the part of the Supreme Court on the issue.

Soldier of the Future Gets His Gear On

Soldier of the Future Gets His Gear On
By Noah Shachtman
September 26, 2007 | 2:01:00 AM

TARMIYAH, Iraq -- They were supposed to be wearing the high-tech soldier suits of the future. But when the grunts of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment first started running around with a pile of gadgets on their backs and their helmets, they absolutely hated the gear.
Oh, maybe the Land Warrior gizmo suite -- complete with digital maps, wearable computers and new radios -- might do the bosses some good, the troops told me. And yeah, the equipment was about as close as troops today were going to get to the kind of tricked-out, sci-fi ensemble you might see worn by Halo's Master Chief. But at 16 pounds, on top of an already crushing 60-plus-pound load for grunts, the gear just wasn't worth the weight. The Army brass wasn't exactly thrilled with Land Warrior, either -- it yanked every last dime to fund the get-ups. The half-billion-dollar, 15-year project looked dead.
Cash was on hand to send the 4/9 into battle with Land Warrior, though. And their commanding officer, Lt. Col. Bill Prior, was a big fan. So, this spring, Land Warrior went off to Iraq.
I've just spent a week with Prior and the 4/9 (known as the "Manchus" since their assaults on China in 1901). And much to my surprise, a bunch of the soldiers in the unit are warming up to Land Warrior, especially now that the gizmo ensemble has been pared down and made more tactically relevant. So now the question is: can this once-doomed soldier-of-the-future ensemble spring back to life?
Over the last decade, the military has connected nearly all its command posts and all its vehicles into a kind of internet for battle. That allowed them to, at the very least, see each other's locations and better coordinate attacks.
Individual soldiers, however, still remain largely off the grid -- only now, more than four years into the Iraq war, are many troop teams getting radios of their own. That's a problem because counterinsurgency fights, like the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, are almost wholly dependent on small groups of soldiers like these. Land Warrior was supposed to be the way to plug them in.
Captain Jack Moore, the commander of the 4/9's "Blowtorch" company, peers into his Land Warrior monocle. Inside is a digital map of Tarmiyah, a filthy little town about 25 kilometers north of Baghdad that's become a haven for Islamists. Blue icons show two of his platoons sweeping through the western half of the town. Two other icons represent Blowtorch soldiers who have teamed up with special forces and Iraqi Army units to raid local mosques with insurgent ties.
A red dot suddenly pops up on Moore's monocle screen: 3rd platoon has found a pair of improvised bombs -- black boxes, filled with homemade explosives. Other troops will circumvent the scene.
As the other platoons move south to north, green lights blink on Moore's map. Each of these "digital chem lights" represents a house checked and cleared. It keeps different groups of soldiers from kicking down the same set of doors twice.
A year ago, these chem lights weren't even part of the Land Warrior code. But after a suggestion from a Manchu soldier, the digital markers were added -- and quickly became the system's most popular feature. During air assaults on Baquba, to the northeast, troops were regularly dropped a quarter or half-kilometer from their original objective; the chem lights allowed them to converge on the spot where they were supposed to go. In the middle of one mission, a trail of green lights was used to mark a new objective -- and show the easiest way to get to the place.
Later, a five-man "small kill team" or SKT, was set up about 10 kilometers north of Tarmiyah to ambush an insurgent crew. But that crew turned out to be larger than expected, and the SKT was suddenly being attacked by 10 Iraqis. Almost instantly, Captain Aaron Miller, stationed two kilometers to the south, was able to respond.
"They didn't have to tell us their location -- we knew it right away. So they could focus on the fight," Miller says.
Miller is still not happy with how much the system weighs. "Look, I need this like I need a 10th arm," he sighs. And all this stuff (Land Warrior does), my cell phone basically does the same at home." But Miller is committed to soldiers being networked. So he's willing to be the digital guinea pig. "It's got to start with someone."
The system has become more palatable to the Manchus because it's been pared down, in all sorts of ways. By consolidating parts, a 16-pound ensemble is now down to a little more than 10. A new, digital gun scope has been largely abandoned by the troops -- the system was too cumbersome and too slow to be effective. And now, not every soldier in the 4/9 has to lug around Land Warrior. Only team leaders and above are so equipped.
"It helped morale a lot," says Lt. Col. Prior. "Leaders need it to track where you're going next, and when to use the right route. But for Joe (average soldier) -- pulling security, climbing through a window -- it was too much."
It still is, for some members of the Manchus.
"If it were five pounds, it'd be money," says Sergeant First Class Benjamin Mulkey. "But right now, it's not worth the weight."
Sam Lee, another sergeant stationed in Tarmiyah, drives back and forth over a stretch of unpaved road. His Land Warrior system has frozen up, and tells him he's a few hundred meters away from his actual location. When he gets out, his fellow soldiers can talk fine over their radios. His Land Warrior model is dead.
And of course, everybody has to be plugged into the system in order for it to be worth a damn. At the end of an exhausting night's worth of house-to-house searches, Lieutenant Michael Bennett loses track of half of his platoon. They aren't very far away -- just a few blocks. But because no one is up on Land Warrior, it takes an hour of bleary-eyed scrambling for the platoon to be reunited.
But while some troops struggle with Land Warrior's basics, new features are being added to the system. Video feeds from small ground robots, pictures from flying drones and data from sniper-detecting sensors should all be available in the Manchus' monocles before their tour is over next fall.
The question is whether the 4/9 will be the last unit to wear the Land Warrior gear. Right now, there is no money in the Defense Department budget to similarly equip another set of soldiers. But the 2nd Infantry Division's 5th Brigade Combat Team is in the process of officially asking for the gear. And Land Warrior allies are also pushing Congress to include $60 to $80 million to give more troops the get-ups.
Neither effort has been successful, so far. So the future of the soldier-of-the-future still remains very much in doubt.

09 September 2007

Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review
Russian espionage in UK at Cold War level, Moscow does not comment
Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Director speaks out to Moscow newspaper
Lawyers of FSB Lieutenant-Colonel complained about groundlessness of his criminal case
High-ranking replacements to take place in security forces of Russia’s Dagestan
Extremist grouping’s female wing leader was second militant killed by FSB in Karachayevo-Cherkessia
Ukraine’s SBU reveals lack of information concerning acts of terrorism in Ministry of Transport
Yushchenko congratulated employees of military intelligence of Ukraine
Ukrainian military intelligence celebrates its 15 year anniversary
Amount of damage to security of Kyrgyzstan being established in current espionage case
Opening of the files ruined Bulgarian secret intelligence: candidate for mayor

Russian espionage in UK at Cold War level, Moscow does not comment
Unnamed British government sources say Russian espionage in Britain has reached Cold War levels.
The Daily Telegraph writes that about half the 62 diplomatic staff members at the Russian embassy in London are actually involved in spying, including military and commercial intelligence and monitoring dissidents.
According to the paper, their tasks range from seeking military and commercial secrets to monitoring Russian dissidents based in London, most notably Boris Berezovsky, the billionaire and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin. Overseas spying by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has probably been accorded a higher priority in recent months, The Daily Telegraph marks. It adds that after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, overseas espionage was reduced temporarily simply because Russia, then in the grips of an economic crisis, could not afford the cost. But sources said they soon returned to their previous levels; the Russian espionage operation in Britain probably returned to Cold War levels a decade or more ago, the paper notes. The British newspaper quoted Mark Pritchard, the Conservative Member of Parliament, who chairs the cross-party parliamentary group on Russia, as saying that the high number of spies as diplomats “beggs the question of whether the Russians are more interested in diplomacy or in spying on Britain for political and military secrets”.
Russian Foreign Intelligence Service does not comment articles of the British press, head of the agency’s Press bureau, Sergei Ivanov, told the Moscow-based news agency RIA Novosti.

Sergei Lebedev

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Director speaks out to Moscow newspaper
Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) General Sergei Lebedev said in his interview to the weekly Moskovskiye novosti that elements of the "Cold War " had began to revive in activity of some foreign secret services which organized "coloured" revolutions. He marked that „today Russia became an object of steadfast interest of experts of the certain profile”.
At the same time Lebedev acknowledges that there is a system of interaction between the Russian intelligence and intelligence services of the NATO countries and other western countries. Already for a long time there is an understanding in the international community, including the secret services, of necessity of association of efforts for counteraction to terrorism, the SVR Director marks.
By virtue of the specificics – the SVR has been conducting counteraction to distribution of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, drug trafficking and to other transnational threats to security and stability in the world on bilateral basis, Lebedev underlines. However in some cases, especially when it is a question of international terrorist groupings, the circle of the partners uniting efforts in struggle against the general harm, can be also wider, the SVR chief notes. „Principles of cooperation have universal character and have been exercised in practice. We have been applying them in interaction with special services of the NATO countries and with partners from the Asian, African and Latin American states”.
Lebedev says relations between the SVR of Russia and their colleagues from the CIS countries have closer character and are under construction on the basis of multilateral and bilateral agreements. „They provide versatile cooperation of security services and intelligence agencies, information exchange on a wide range of issues representing mutual interest. Specific tasks of mutual cooperation have been solved on evereyday basis.” Lebedev names regular meetings of heads of intelligence services of the CIS countries a good tradition.
According to Lebedev, the statements which have appeared recently in the West about radical activity of the Russian intelligence are mismatching the reality. He claims that in comparison with the times of the two main world block opposition, the Russian intelligence has reduced its presence abroad, has essentially reconstructed the activity, reconsidered and narrowed its priorities and refused from globalism.
„The western intelligence agencies have been operating not less, and sometimes even more vigorously (I even would tell, more aggressive), than the SVR.” Lebedev says „Frequent statements about activization of the SVR operations is consequence of political conjuncture, dictated by aspiration of counterintelligence to justify necessity of their existence, expansion of personnel to achieve increase in financing, etc.”
Moskovskiye novosti also writes about Lebedev’s biography. Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service has passed all steps of career in the intelligence, from an operative up to the head of Service. He was born on April 9, 1948 in the city of Dzhizak (Uzbek SSR), the same place where in 1965 he graduated from the school with a gold medal. His father, Nikolai Ivanovich, comes from Siberia, has served in Soviet troops in the WWII participting in fighting from Volga up to Austria, then worked as a driver and died in 1994. His mother, Nina Yakovlevna, a graduate of the Leningrad military-mechanical institute, has survived the Leningrad blockade. After the WWII she obtained higher financial education, worked as a bookkeeper, died in 2007. After graduation in 1970 from the Chernigov branch of Kiev Polytechnical Institute, Lebedev has been left to work in the institute, and later he was elected the secretary of the Chernigov city town committee of Komsomol. In 1971-1972 served in the army in the Kiev military district, then worked in Chernigov oblast Komsomol committee. Since 1973 he served in the state security system, since 1975 - in the foreign intelligence (the First Central administrative directorate of KGB of the USSR). Has obtained counterspy preparation at the Kiev school of KGB and intelligence education at the Red Banner Institute of KGB. In 1978 graduated from the Diplomatic Academy the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. Speaks German also English languages. Repeatedly has worked abroad: GDR, FRG, West Berlin, Germany. In 1998-2000 - official representative of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service in the USA. On May 20, 2000, appointed the SVR Director by the decree of the Russian President. Married for more than 30 years, his spouse Vera Mikhailovna is an engineer-chemist. They have two adult sons, two grandsons. Hobbies - work, family, summer dacha.

Lawyers of FSB Lieutenant-Colonel complained about groundlessness of his criminal case
Lawyers of Pavel Ryaguzov, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Pavel Rjaguzov have forwarded a complaint on illegality and groundlessness of excitation of criminal case against their client to the Moscow military garrison court, daily Kommersant writes, referring to a report by the Interfax news agency.
Ryaguzov’s detention was mentioned in connection with investigation of the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Ryaguzov’s defence underlines in their statement that Pavel Ryaguzov "is, indeed, accused of fulfilment of illegal, in opinion of invstigation, actions which have taken place in 2002, however he does not plead guilty, as he says he has acted within the framework of the legal field".
At the same time, the lawyers acknowedge that actions of Pavel Ryjaguzov and other employees of law enforcement bodies were already repeatedly checked and "recognized lawful by two independent officials representing various offices of Public Prosecutor".
"Checks in the directorate of internal security of the Ministry of Interior, directorate of injternal security of the FSB and in the State Office of Public Prosecutor have also been carried out and they came to the same conclusions", the lawyers mark in their application. In this connection the defence points out that initiation of a criminal case five years later on the facts which have been repeatedly checked up, is illegal.
Ryaguzov’s lawyer, Andrei Trepykhalin, told news agency Interfax that the charge was produced according to the articles on kidnapping and beating a resident of Ponikarov in 2002, extortion, illegal penetration into the dwelling and misuse of authority. Trepykhalin said his client had never been officially tied to the Politkovskaya case, though another security service officer had announced as much previously. The lawyer also said Ryagyuzov was not charged within the framework of the Politkovskaya murder case.

High-ranking replacements to take place in security forces of Russia’s Dagestan
Loud rearrangements have been taking place in security forces of Dagestan, radio Ekho Moskvy reports, referring to online site Kavkaz Times. Probably, the chief of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) republic directorate, Nikolai Gryaznov, has left his post, radio

Dagestan on map
At the moment Gryaznov is on holidays, however, according to unofficial sources, right after that he either would leave for service for Moscow, or he would head the Russian Academy of FSB in the Russian capital. According to the source of the online site, Gryaznov’s departure is connected with the dissatisfaction with his work in the leadership of Dagestan. Besides cases of abduction of local residents by people in camouflage have become frequent recently in the republic.

Extremist grouping’s female wing leader was second militant killed by FSB in Karachayevo-Cherkessia
AIA already reported, referring to the Public relations centre of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), that two militants have been killed in the Russian-Georgian frontier zone, controlled by the Karachayevo-Cherkess border guard unit on September 5. One of them has been identified as Rustan Ionov, born in 1977, a resident of Psyzh, Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic, Moslem name Abu-Bakar. The FSB believes he was the leader of the religious and extremist community in the Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic and involved in the organisation of terrorist acts in the republic. There was no particular infromation on the second militant killed during the exchange of fire.
Daily Komsomolskaya pravda expands on the incident that Ionov was an „emir” of Karachayevo-Cherkessia and he reportedly found refuge in Georgia all the last year. He recruited and trained mercenaries with the support of the international terrorist community, daily alleges. The mercenaries themselves were making explosives and electronic mechanisms to fit them. Ionov was trying to transport 50 of such "homemade products" into Karachayevo-Cherkessia on September 5.
The press-service of Karachayevo-Cherkessia FSB directorate believes 15 kg of explosives would suffice for 50 large acts of terrorism. They say that most likely Ionov had planned to carry out the acts of terror in the North Caucasus, and first of all, in the territory of Karachayevo-Cherkessia.
The person accompanying Ionov was, in fact, Elvira Kytova, known among terrorists under a name of Amina, heading a female wing in his grouping. She recruited and trained suicide bombers and made explosives on pair with Ionov.
According to the FSB directorate press-service, in July and August the FSB operatives together with other law enforcement agencies have detained Ionov’s twenty accomplices.

Yushchenko congratulated employees of military intelligence of Ukraine
Supreme Commander in chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko has congratulated employees of military intelligence of Ukraine on professional holiday, news agency RBC-Ukraine reports, referring to the press-service of the President.
The President has thanked the leadership of the agency and employees of the service for their work. " You adequately carry out complex mission which has been entrusted you by the state. Our country cannot effectively exist without your work. Without exaggeration, you do maintain safety and protection of the state, of all our citizens", news agency cites Yushchenko salutatory word.
Yushchenko has assured that as the Head of the state and Supreme Commander in chief of the Armed Forces together with the leadership of Ministry of Defence he holds the solution of the complex of problems of the Service in the centre of his attention. " I insist on essential strengthening of the state support that is given to intelligence agencies in modern conditions. It is not a simply wish and promise. My words do have and will have particular results", Yushchenko emphasized in his message.
According to the President, nowadays Ukraine requires "modern analytical, properly equipped, high quality intelligence which will be reliably protecting interests of the state in rigid competitive external conditions"."It is necessary to very carefully consider new tendencies, including present progress of world negotiating process in the collective security area", he added.
Celebrations on the occasion of the 15-th anniversary of the military intelligence om the basis of Central administrative directorate of intelligence of the Defence Ministry of Ukraine took place in the House of Officers in Kiev, according to the press-service of the President.

Ukrainian military intelligence celebrates its 15 year anniversary
Kiev-based daily Segodnya writes that one year after declaration of Ukraine’s independence, on September 7, 1992, a decree on creation of Central administrative directorate of intelligence of the Defence Ministry of Ukraine was signed.
Contrary to ordinary opinion that the nearest neighbours-Russians have been actively interfering in the process of becoming and development of the service, even much more serious resistance had proceeded, so to say, from within, from the local military leaders, the paper marks. – Those were own politicians, officials, militaries, who were putting up different barriers, — Alexander Skipalsky, the first head of the GUR (Main Inteligence Directorate), now Security Service of Ukraine Vice-Chairman, recollects.
He mentions an example when in 1993, a delegation of the Intelligence Department of the US Ministry of Defence paid visit to Ukraine — Skipalsky accompanied the guests. Americans were shown object of radio engineering intelligence Zvezda near Odessa, the Kharkov higher school preparing experts on antiaircraft rocket complexes -300, military airfield at Priluki, where strategic bombers u-160 and u-95, capable to bear nuclear weapons were stationed. The schedule of visit of the US delegation was coordinated on the top-level, the President, Prime-Minister, Minister of Defence knew about it. After Americans have left, in 3-4 days Skipalsky got to know that the SBU agents, his former subordinates from military counterspionage, had been investigating the schedule, people and sites the US delegation visited. They had received the order to prove that as a result of the visit significant damage was ostensibly caused to national interests of Ukraine, and state and military secrets were divulged. — Someone in Ukraine was very much desirable to inflate a big scandal, — Skipalsky recollects those days not without sarcasm.
Little is known about overseas activity of the GUR. However, this closed structure not once appeared in an epicentre of dramatic events at home, Segodnya underlines.
In November 2004, at the height of "the Orange revolution", rebellious "Orange" leaders who had prevented, as they said "a bloody Sunday”, secretly gathered at „the Island”, as the directorate’s basis is called in abbreviated form, at Podole in Kiev. According to the version of the "Orange", divisions of Interior troops were ready to be put forward against the people rallying on the Kiev’s main square.
Then a little time passed and one of potential heroes, the GUR chief Alexander Galaka became temporarily jobless. He was removed from his post, without explanation of reasons. Galaka proved the incompetence of the decision and was restored in his position by the court. Last spring, members of parliament Lev Gnatenko, Oleg Kalashnikov, and others accused GUR of preparation for coup d’etat: three special-task forces groups were allegedly preparing to carry out power capture of the Council of Ministers, the Supreme Rada, to arrest members of the government and parliament members from the national unity coalition. However, according to conclusions of Military Prosecutor’s Office those accusations have not proved to be true, the paper marks.

Ukraine’s SBU reveals lack of information concerning acts of terrorism in Ministry of Transport

Valentin Nalyvaychenko
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced it had no information from the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine concerning possible preparation of acts of terrorism on the railway, online paper proUA reports, referring to acting head of the SBU, Valentin Nalyvaychenko, who spoke to journalists after session of staff of the interdepartmental commission of the SBU Antiterrorist centre.
«We precisely ascertain absence of information submitted by the Ministry of Transport somehow testifying or specifying possibility of preparation or carrying out of acts of terrorism or other socially dangerous actions», emphasized the acting SBU head. Nalyvaychenko also informed that the session of the commission had been called in connection with the statement of Minister of Transport and Communication, Nikolai Rudkovsky, on September 4, about alleged presence of information concerning preparation of acts of terrorism on the railway. Nalyvaychenko noted that Rudkovsky was invited to session of the Antiterrorist centre, though he had not arrived there. Instead of the minister one of his assistants was present there, the acting SBU head said.

Opening of the files ruined Bulgarian secret intelligence: candidate for mayor
Candidate for mayor of coastal Varna city in Bulgaria, Veselin Danov, said in an interview to Radio Focus Varna that the Bulgarian secret intelligence have been ruined with the opening of the communist secret service files. Danov added that the files of I and II Chief Police Department’s employees shouldn’t have been opened. According to him that act of the state has condemned people to destruction who are working abroad, Focus News Agency reports.
Meanwhile The Sofia Echo expands that some of the sections of the communist-era secret services have been among the best represented by parliament members.
“Breza, Kolos (…) Karamfil-4, Panorama, Electronica, Express, Propaganda, as well as Petyo and Zravkov are the kind of pseudonyms used for agents and collaborators of the secret services who have been elected as parliament members after 1990,” it cites daily Dnevnik. Most of the ex-agents in the parliament, 43, were collaborators to the secret services in the regional departments of the Interior Ministry. Another 10 members of the parliament have been recruited by the Sofia city section of the former secret services.
The duties of agents included collecting information, recruitment, and to exert influence, reported the daily. The next largest group among the parliament members with 21 have been agents for the central management bureau of the secret services, involved in counter-intelligence. The third largest group of agents, 19, were part of the external intelligence. In some cases parliament members were consecutively involved in reporting, intelligence gathering and contra-intelligence, The Sofia Echo adds.

Amount of damage to security of Kyrgyzstan being established in current espionage case
Security services of Kyrgyzstan have indicted the group of persons suspected of gathering and transfer abroad of classified information, news agency Kazahstan segodnya reports. News agency RIA Novosti reported earlier that the persons charged are Defence Ministry pensioner Valery Patsula, Vladimir Berezhnoy, ksat myrkanov and staff officer of Kyrgyz State National Security Committee Alexander Gryb.
"Criminal case has been initiated according to paragraph 302/1 of Kyrgyz Republic Criminal code (transfer or gathering of information making service secret with the purpose of transfer to foreign organizations),” news agency cites a representative of the press centre of the State National Security Committee of Kyrgyzstan(KGNB).
Four persons who earlier served in security forces of Kyrgyzstan have been charged within the framework of this criminal case and are in the investigatory insulator of the KGNB now.
"It is too early to make conclusions and hasty political statements about the high treason case involving employees of the Ministry of Defence and secret services of Kyrgyzstan," press-centre of the State National Security Committee of Kyrgyzstan says in its announcement.
In this connection, the KGNB press- centre has called representatives of mass-media to be more correct in their remarks on the case as "not confirmed facts can provide negative background to the friendship of Kyrgyzstan with the countries, taking a priority place in the foreign policy of the republic". At present investigators have been establishing in what amount the classified information was transferred by the accused, Kazahstan segodnya adds.

08 September 2007

Unrestricted Warfare

Unrestricted Warfare

Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui
(Beijing: PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House, February 1999)
Unrestricted Warfare, by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui (Beijing: PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House, February 1999)

[FBIS Editor's Note: The following selections are taken from "Unrestricted Warfare," a book published in China in February 1999 which proposes tactics for developing countries, in particular China, to compensate for their military inferiority vis-à-vis the United States during a high-tech war. The selections include the table of contents, preface, afterword, and biographical information about the authors printed on the cover. The book was written by two PLA senior colonels from the younger generation of Chinese military officers and was published by the PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House in Beijing, suggesting that its release was endorsed by at least some elements of the PLA leadership. This impression was reinforced by an interview with Qiao and laudatory review of the book carried by the party youth league's official daily Zhongguo Qingnian Bao on 28 June.

Published prior to the bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade, the book has recently drawn the attention of both the Chinese and Western press for its advocacy of a multitude of means, both military and particularly non-military, to strike at the United States during times of conflict. Hacking into websites, targeting financial institutions, terrorism, using the media, and conducting urban warfare are among the methods proposed. In the Zhongguo Qingnian Bao interview, Qiao was quoted as stating that "the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden." Elaborating on this idea, he asserted that strong countries would not use the same approach against weak countries because "strong countries make the rules while rising ones break them and exploit loopholes . . .The United States breaks [UN rules] and makes new ones when these rules don't suit [its purposes], but it has to observe its own rules or the whole world will not trust it." (see FBIS translation of the interview, OW2807114599).

[End FBIS Editor's Note]

06 September 2007

Newest Spy Gadget: Social Networking

Newest Spy Gadget: Social Networking
By ASHLEY M. HEHER – 14 hours ago

CHICAGO (AP) — As spy gear goes, a social-networking Web site doesn't quite have the same cachet as some of James Bond's high-tech gadgets.

But the U.S. intelligence community is taking a page from popular online hangouts like Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace to help encourage operatives to share information. In December, agency leaders are launching a social-networking site just for spooks.

The classified "A-Space" ultimately will grow to include blogs, searchable databases, libraries of reports, collaborative word processing and other tools to help analysts quickly trade, update and edit information.

It comes on the heels of the year-old Intellipedia, a Web site modeled after the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Intellipedia has been gaining traction among the intelligence agencies and already has nearly 30,000 posted articles and 4,800 edits added every workday.

Although A-Space will be built with commercially available software, organizers are quick to dismiss any criticism about security, saying all sensitive data will be stored behind a thicket of classified safeguards that they are developing themselves.

The social-networking efforts, led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, are emerging as the nation's intelligence community comes under renewed criticism for a lack of cooperation and communication — something a new internal CIA report said contributed to the information breakdown before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Aside from simply being able to share documents back and forth, experts who are in the same field but work for different agencies could meet each other virtually and swap ideas and information directly. Experts say the current procedures for sharing information is so cumbersome that such communication is now impossible.

"It's just a better way to build and grow that network so that improved analysis can come out the other end," said Robert Cardillo, deputy director of analysis for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Organizers acknowledge it may be difficult to erase generations of territorial tendencies and prevent spats among the country's 16 intelligence agencies, which often want credit for their own discoveries.

But they hope the influx of younger operatives — half the intelligence analysts employed by the U.S. government have been on the job for no more than five years — will help shelve old feuds and embrace Web tools already in widespread use.

"It's a way to build the social network for all analysts," said Mike Wertheimer, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analytic transformation and technology, who is leading the initiative. "We put more eyes on more problems."

Development of the $5 million project began in June, and a pilot version will be available in December, with features to be added over the next year. Ultimately, the system may grow to include an unclassified network for use by state and local law enforcement and even some foreign agencies.

Classified information will only be available to individuals with the right security clearance and site minders will work to sniff out inappropriate use, much the way credit card companies look for fraudulent charges.

For example, A-Space will be designed to detect if an expert in Southeast Asian militaries is running inappropriate queries on Latin American drug cartels.

"We're hoping that people will give us the benefit of the doubt," Wertheimer said.

But three months before A-Space is to go live, there's ample skepticism.

Richard L. Russell, a former CIA analyst who teaches at the National Defense University, says the government needs to focus on building better analysis and human intelligence, not fancy tools.

"You may have a great technological infrastructure for managing information, but if you put garbage into it, the output will be garbage," he said.

Others said the initiative is a giant leap for the three-letter agencies that find themselves stumbling to share information through bureaucratic channels and cumbersome firewalls.

"A site that's open to all 16 intelligence agencies, that allows them to chat more freely, I think is a darn good idea and may help them get around some of these issues," said Donald C. Daniel, a security studies professor at Georgetown University. "But it may be hit or miss."

Experts say the service will only be as effective as those who use it. And with many older workers puzzled by their younger colleagues' obsessive use of Facebook and its ilk, full-blown use could take time.

Mark Lowenthal, president of The Intelligence & Security Academy and the government's former assistant director of central intelligence for analysis and production, admits he's baffled by social-networking sites and isn't sure if A-Space is the ultimate solution to fixing problems in the agencies.

But he believes the proposal has merit, especially as baby boomers retire and are replaced by younger analysts.

"Clearly, we don't always behave like a community so anything you can do to help foster that to a degree is a good thing," he said. "We want to do better. Anybody who's dealt with adapting technology to the intelligence community will tell you that the intelligence community has not been brilliant in catching up."

On the Net:

04 September 2007

Ice-free Arctic could be here in 23 years

Ice-free Arctic could be here in 23 years
David Adam, environment correspondent
The Guardian
Wednesday September 5 2007
The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer an levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists sai last night. Experts said they were "stunned" by the loss of ice, with an are almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ic has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada i fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia's Arcti coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, th summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030

Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver which released the figures, said: "It's amazing. It's simply fallen off a cliff and we're still losing ice." The Arctic has now lost about a third of its ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago, and the rate of loss has accelerated sharply since 2002.

Dr Serreze said: "If you asked me a couple of years ago when the Arctic could lose all of its ice, then I would have said 2100, or 2070 maybe. But now I think that 2030 is a reasonable estimate. It seems that the Arctic is going to be a very different place within our lifetimes, and certainly within our children's lifetimes."

The new figures show that sea ice extent is currently down to 4.4m square kilometres (1.7m square miles) and still falling. The previous record low was 5.3m square kilometres in September 2005. From 1979 to 2000 the average sea ice extent was 7.7m square kilometres. The minimum extent of sea ice usually occurs late in September each year, as the freezing Arctic winter begins to bite.

The sea ice usually then begins to freeze again over the winter. But Dr Serreze said that would be difficult this year. "This summer we've got all this open water and added heat going into the ocean. That is going to make it much harder for the ice to grow back. What we've seen this year sets us up for an even worse year next year." The winter ice has already failed to make up for increased losses in the summer in each of the last two years.

Changes in wind and ocean circulation patterns can help reduce sea ice extent, but Dr Serreze said the main culprit was man-made global warming. "The rules are starting to change and what's changing the rules is the input of greenhouse gases. This year puts the exclamation mark on a series of record lows that tell us something is happening."

The dramatic loss is further bad news for the region's wildlife which relies on the sea ice, such as polar bears. The animals use its coastal fringes to find food, and as the summer ice retreats to the north, they must swim further to hunt for seals. Some colonies of bears have already showed signs of malnutrition and biologists say there could be a severe drop in their population within a few decades, though they may not go extinct.

Yesterday's announcement will also increase political interest in the Arctic, with a number of countries currently jostling to exploit the oil and gas reserves believed to lie under the ocean, which could become more accessible as the icy cover retreats. Last month Russia claimed a huge area around the north pole, and Denmark and Canada are preparing similar claims, which rely on showing that a chain of underwater mountains that runs across the region are connected to their respective continental shelves.

The Spy who billed ME.

Forbes Book Review
A Private War
Michael Maiello, 09.01.07, 6:00 AM ET

Outsourced by R.J. Hillhouse ($26, Forge, 2007).

The 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, spend 70% of their budgets on private contractors. The contracts are classified so there's almost no civilian oversight. At a recent marketing presentation, an intelligence-procurement official used a PowerPoint presentation about intelligence contractors that featured the pithy slide, "We can't spy if we can't buy!"

The military has contractors as well. Private companies, mostly made up of ex- or retired military types, perform security functions in Iraq. That's what we're told, anyway. Again, the contracts are classified and the oversight isn't perfect or even possible, Iraq being a war zone and all.

Enter author R.J. Hillhouse with a fictional account of military and intelligence mercenaries in Iraq called Outsourced. This debut novel introduces Hillhouse as the Tom Clancy of the corporate military and intelligence age. In Outsourced, Hillhouse presents the contractors mostly as well-meaning patriots, though they are corruptible. Most of the companies she names are fictional, but on her blog, www.thespywhobilledme.com, Hillhouse points to some of her inspirations: SAIC, Lockheed Martin and of course, Halliburton.

Like Clancy did with the military, Hillhouse has researched her subject well. Anonymous sources within the intelligence field have helped her along the way. Her nonfiction work about the CIA and the Pentagon has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times. There's some implication that what Hillhouse has revealed in Outsourced are truths that she couldn't talk about in plain nonfiction.

The story is key here, though. Any lover of thrillers and suspense novels will enjoy Outsourced. Camille Black is a former CIA counterterrorism officer who has gone into private practice as the CEO of Black Management. She's in Iraq, taking covert assignments for the U.S. government. Hillhouse finds plenty of comic moments as Black flexes her (ample) muscles in the man's world of covert operations and mercenaries. With a sharp tongue, a sharper knife and some obvious martial talents, Black is like a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Jack Ryan.

Black finds herself with a CIA contract to eliminate her ex-fiancé, Hunter Stone. Stone is working undercover for the Pentagon, and it's unclear at the beginning of the book if he betrayed Black because of his job or to protect his own nefarious, potentially anti-American activities, including selling captured weapons to Iraqi insurgents and Al-Qaeda terrorists. Another military contractor, called Rubicon, is Black's competition. What follows is a romp through the Iraq war along with several turns and revelations that shouldn't be detailed in a review.

Hillhouse finds her subjects in the headlines out of Iraq. She imagines insurgents building car bombs and kidnapped Americans who nobody seems to be looking for. Hillhouse's prose is unadorned to say the least, but anything more fanciful would detract from the action. The book moves quickly from point to point and there's an action-film sensibility throughout. It's also fun, and perhaps illustrative, to wonder how much of this is from Hillhouse's imagination and how much is the result of stories that we haven't been told yet.

Outsourced is the first novel of its kind, because the military and intelligence agencies of the United States have, for the first time in history, given in entirely to the corporate-outsourcing trend. Hillhouse has given us the first word in a conversation that will surely outlast both the Iraq war and the War on Terror.

Defectors reveal hard road to Korea reunification

Defectors reveal hard road to Korea reunification
By Sunny Lee

BEIJING - For more than a decade, Jeon Woo-taek has been a "sought-after" figure by the media, including CNN, to comment on North Korean issues related to unification and refugees. He was also invited as a speaker to numerous international forums, including one in which German and South Korean scholars brainstormed their ideas for unification. Jeon is not a political strategist. Nor is he a researcher with a think-tank. He is a shrink.

The psychiatrist at Yonsei University Medical School in Seoul has pioneered the study of North Korean defectors' mental health for 15 years. He has studied as many as 600 North Koreans now living in South Korea, and has become a strong advocate for the "unification of hearts" as the prerequisite for political and geographical unification of the two Koreas.

North and South Koreans "think that they know each other very well. It's their mistake," Jeon said in a telephone interview with Asia Times Online.

Even though the Korean people had lived as a single nation state for more than 1,300 years before they were divided into two countries at the end of World War II, Jeon believes the difference created during the ensuing 60 years is significant and damaging enough to require serious attention and concern.

To get to the bottom of the North Korean psyche, Jeon had to ask them questions. But how? North Korean settlers in the South were usually reluctant to talk about their stories to others - much less to a psychiatrist - as they feared that they were under suspicion and surveillance by the South Korean government. It is a mentality and old habits they transferred from North Korea. Some defectors frequently change their phone numbers to avoid contacts with other people.

"This is one reason why questionnaires and superficial interviews had little success," Jeon said, implicitly panning some of the approaches by non-governmental organizations.

In fact, one of the most striking characteristics of the defectors, Jeon said, is their suspicious attitude toward people. And that caused a particular problem for him. Understandably, all defectors interviewed by him were reluctant to sign the consent paper and equally reluctant to be recorded or filmed. So Jeon and his team had to make an extra effort to build rapport and earn their trust first. The researchers also assured them they were not government agents.

Only then was Jeon's team able to proceed with the interviews. But the results were striking. For example, in one study, Jeon found close to half (48%) of the North Korean settlers in South Korea responded "no" to the question: Do you think North and South Koreans will easily understand each other and get along well after unification?

That's a very important result, and something that Jeon said the South Korean government should heed, because the North Korean defectors are regarded as a "litmus test" for a unified Korea. Defectors are also seen as a window to the North. The ways they behave and think are seen as general examples of how South Koreans believe all of their Northern counterparts act.

For their part, the North Koreans cited such significant problems for unification as the South Koreans' "different way of thinking" and "individualistic behavior" (65.6%) and the economic disparity between the North and South (25%), while 13% mentioned the lack of mutual understanding and prejudice as barriers.

Interestingly, however, they pointed out that cultural differences (42%) were a bigger problem than political differences (11%).

During the interviews, Jeon's team also found that some well-meaning South Korean sponsors only make the situation worse by taking well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed approaches toward integrating North Koreans into Southern society. For example, most sponsors for the North Korean refugees in South Korea come from religious organizations, but because they don't understand the official atheistic policy of Pyongyang, they encourage the defectors to begin attending church regularly.

"Taught in the North that religion is evil and exploitative, the North Koreans felt that they were being forced to attend church and were reminded of the ideological indoctrination sessions in the North. This put considerable strain on the relationship between the North Koreans and their Southern sponsors," Jeon said in a report.

In the report, North Korean settlers also displayed an ambivalent attitude toward capitalism's ultimate symbol - money. Taught that money is the instrument of slavery in a capitalist society and a symbol of selfishness and evil, as many as 78% of Jeon's interviewees revealed an ambivalent attitude toward wealth.

As one defector put it: "I do not want to be a slave to money. But at the same time, I desperately need money to live in this society. At first, when I received money after my first anti-communism lecture in South Korea, I felt insulted, because in North Korea a lecture is not regarded as labor, and I did that from my heart. But if I take money, it looks like I am only speaking for financial gain."

Jeon's research also revealed the serious depth of post-traumatic experiences the North Korean refugees had endured. As many as 87% of defectors had personally seen public executions in North Korea; 81% saw their family members or relatives starving to death; 83% said they felt their own life was in danger because of their fear of being caught by Chinese authorities as they fled.

Jeon's team also discovered that 69% of the North Korean settlers in the South suffer from persistent anxiety, 47% experience clinical depression, 34% insomnia, 28% excessive drinking and 22% recurrent nightmares.

The most pervasive issue for North Korean defectors across the board, however, was loneliness (65%). This is understandable, because 69% of Jeon's study subjects defected without their families; 44% of them could not even inform their families of their intention to defect. Once in the South, it was difficult for them to get close to South Korean people because of their low economic status, cultural differences, and a lack of assurance whether they would be accepted.

Surprisingly, 34% of them also said it was difficult for them to make friends with other defectors. Because of mistrust and suspicion, some said they believed that fellow defectors might actually be North Korean agents.

All these figures illustrate how far people of the same ethnicity have drifted away from each other during the past 60 years, and as such, Jeon said he believes it is important that both North and South Koreans to increase their mutual "cultural literacy".

"We need to learn more about each other. South Koreans need to know more about how North Koreans think and why they behave the way they do and vice versa. Only then, our understanding will get deeper and we will be able to embrace each other," Jeon said. Seoul is extremely self-conscious of how North Koreans fare in the South. It's not only because of international attention, but also because North Koreans who are thinking about defecting to the South are very sensitive to rumors about how defectors are treated by the South Korean government and how they adjust to their new lives. The lives and adaptation of the defectors may influence the attitude of North Korean people toward South Korea and, ultimately, also affect their desire for unification.

Since Jeon is publicly known as the "psychiatrist who deals with North Korean mental problems", he has become increasingly cautious about the media, as well. He fears that his publicity might have negative repercussions on people's perception of defectors.

For example, although he deals with the mental-health issues of North Koreans, he said it doesn't mean that all defectors suffer from mental illness. Although his research includes defectors' accounts of traumatic experiences, such as rape or human trafficking, he said it doesn't mean every defector suffered such horrors.

"Mental illness is a very subjective matter until it develops to show objective symptoms. We should be careful not to give the impression that all [North Koreans] have some sort of mental problems," Jeon said.

The total number of North Korean refugees in the South passed the 10,000 mark in April 2006, according to data from South Korea's Ministry of Unification. Most of these defectors literally risked their lives to go there. For them, South Korea meant a land of hope and economic prosperity. But once in the South, things were not always hopeful, as Jeon's research has revealed.

Jeon said it would take two or three generations for the two Koreans to achieve the "unification of hearts".

"We should be ready for a long stretch. Eventually, we need a new generation who grow up in a unified Korea. We shouldn't be too anxious about the slow progress. Look at Germany. It's been 20 years since unification, but they still have some problems. Likewise, we should take a 'long-breath' approach," he said.

Sunny Lee is a journalist based in Beijing, where he has lived for five years. A native of South Korea, Lee is a graduate of Harvard University and Beijing Foreign Studies University.

(Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

I think that you will also find the links below interesting:

The YouTUBE video is interesting but the comments exchange below that is also enlightening.

And finally, the link immediately below contains elements similar to the story above but with some mroe detail:

....and one last thing: Jeon Woo-taek's similar report from 2000: