Putin’s Shiner

Putin ‘Tired, Not Bruised’

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sporting heavy makeup on Wednesday.

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Strategy 31 demonstrators are assaulted by Moscow police–31/05/2010

OMON thugs clamp down on democratic protesters in Moscow

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Cold War International History Project–Virtual Archive 2.0

Cold War International History Project


Virtual Archive 2.0

[The Mitrokhin Archive is a collection of notes made secretly by KGB Major Vasili Mitrokhin during his thirty years as a KGB archivist in the foreign intelligence service and the First Chief Directorate. When he defected to the United Kingdom he brought the Archive with him. Two books, Sword and the Shield and The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, based on the Archive and hundreds other sources were published in 1992 and 2005, which gives details about much of the Soviet Union’s clandestine intelligence operations around the world. The books were written by British intelligence historian Christopher Andrew. Their publication provoked parliamentary inquiries in the U.K., India, and Italy.]

The Mitrokhin Archive

The Mitrokin Archive — A Note on Sources
January 01 1990 – A note on sources contextualizing the Mitrokhin Archive. Please read this first in order to understand the nature of the material.

Letter to the [CWIHP] Editor — A Note on Sources
June 01 2000 – Letter to CWIHP from Vasiliy Mitrokhin on the submission of the KGB in Afghanistan Manuscript. This letter places the KGB in Afghanistan entry into further context. Please read this before using the materials.

CWIHP Note on the Mitrokhin Archive — A Note On Sources
June 01 2000 – CWIHP note on the Mitrokhin sources, first published in the introduction of the KGB in Afghanistan Volume.

Biography of Vasiliy Mitrokhin
December 22 2000 – Short biography of Vasiliy Mitrokhin, which provides context for the materials in the Mitrokhin Archive collection.

The KGB in Afghanistan – Geographical Volume 1
February 01 2002 – This text is an edited version of a manuscript outlining the KGB’s operational activities in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1983, authored by Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to Britain in 1992. Mitrokhin tells us that the KGB was deeply involved with Soviet Afghan policies from the very beginning. The piece deals with events in and around Afghanistan and the activities of the Bolshevik nomenklatura in the region between 1962 and 1983. It is based exclusively on information from the KGB archives to which Vasily Mitrokhin had access to. Please read the note on sources under the collection listing to understand the limitations of this material.

Please click here for a response to this document.

KGB Active Measures in Southwest Asia in 1980-82
April 01 2004 – Materials provided by former KGB archivist Vasiliy Mitrokhin to the CWIHP, following the publication of the Mitrokhin WP40 “The KGB in Afghanistan.” As with all Mitrokhin’s notes, his compilation on Soviet “active measures” in South and Southwest Asia is based on other smuggled-out notes and was prepared especially for CWIHP. Please read the Notes on Sources for information on the nature and limitations of these documents.

(read HERE)

Chinese Getting Irked Over US Meddling In China Sea

US, Russia join Asian summit as regional spats simmer

By Sarah Stewart (AFP) – 11 hours ago

HANOI — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday join 16 Asia-Pacific leaders at a summit in Vietnam dominated by China’s territorial disputes.

The United States and Russia will be formally invited as members of the East Asia Summit at the group’s annual gathering, in what analysts say is a blow to Chinese attempts to diminish US influence in the region.

Their entry into the EAS, which elevates its diplomatic heft, comes despite Chinese attempts to promote another grouping — which does not include the US — as the region’s premier forum for regional cooperation.

US membership is seen as part of its strategic return to Southeast Asia to balance China’s growing influence in the region, where Beijing’s more aggressive stance on territorial disputes has unnerved its smaller neighbours.

Clinton, in a speech on Asia-Pacific relations made in Honolulu earlier this week, downplayed suggestions the US is duelling with China for influence.

“There are some in both countries who believe that China?s interests and ours are fundamentally at odds. They apply a zero-sum calculation to our relationship. So whenever one of us succeeds, the other must fail,” she said.

“But that is not our view.”

Nevertheless, China has been irritated by Washington wading into the issue of its claim over the resource-rich South China Sea, where several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries are also claimants.

Clinton said in July that resolving disputes over the strategic area is “pivotal” to regional stability and offered to negotiate a settlement.

On the eve of the Hanoi summit, China hit out at Clinton’s remarks that other disputed islands in the East China Sea, the flashpoint for a serious feud with Japan, fall within the scope of the US-Japan security alliance.

“The Chinese government and people will never accept any word or deed that includes the Diaoyu islands within the scope of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

The disputed islands — called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan — have been at the centre of a deepening row between Beijing and Tokyo which erupted again in Hanoi, evaporating hopes for talks between their leaders.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara met his Chinese counterpart Friday and said they had agreed to improve ties. Japan’s delegation announced direct talks between the leaders, but then retracted the statement.

China’s assistant foreign affairs minister, Hu Zhengyue, then issued a statement using extremely strong terms to condemn Japan.

“Japanese diplomatic authorities have partnered with other nations and stepped up the heat on the Diaoyu island issue,” he said.

He said Japanese comments had “violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The Japanese moves, which is clear for everyone to see, have ruined the needed atmosphere for a meeting between the two leaders. Japan should take full responsibility for the result.”

Japanese Premier Naoto Kan’s spokesman, Noriyuki Shikata, said there was no reason for “heightened tensions… between the two countries” and that Japan stood ready to “engage in dialogue.”

The neighbours have been feuding since the September 8 arrest of a Chinese trawler captain after a collision with Japanese coastguard vessels near the disputed East China Sea island chain.

The United States called on China and ally Japan to ease tensions.

“We want China and Japan to sit down, to have dialogue and work through the issues,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington.

“We would hope that both countries will take affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions around this issue and that will create the conditions for a meaningful dialogue.”

The East Asia Summit is a forum for dialogue on strategic, political and economic issues involving the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Mocking the French for getting it right

Mocking the French for getting it right

James Clay Fuller

Everything the American public has been told by the corporate news media about the anti-austerity uprisings in France, England and other European countries is a lie. 

The picture we’ve been given by our big newspapers, magazines and television – as always, especially television – is as phony as a photograph showing Sarah Palin sitting on Barack Obama’s lap and nibbling his ear. It’s a picture so false as to make Fox News domestic political coverage look fair and objective by comparison.

This is important. The real story hidden by the fakery is enormously important to the people of the United States.

If Americans knew what the protests really are about, and what actually is being done by the governments of France and England, and Greece and Spain and other countries, some, at least, would have a different understanding of what is being done here to place total economic power into the hands of the very rich. The protests would take on an aspect 180 degrees from what most Americans now believe of them.

The focus has been on France, because that presents the easiest target in this country for false coverage.

We’ve been told over and over by everybody from Fox to the New York Times that the blockades and shouting and marches in France are all about the “fact” that President Nicolas Sarkozy and his gang want to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

Snotty coverage implies, or flatly states, that the lazy, sex-loving, low-producing French people simply are not willing to work to age 62, that they want to have their six-week summer vacations and long weekends and retire with full, abundant pensions at 60. Virtually all of our corporate media states, or strongly implies, that those silly French people just can’t or won’t grasp economic realities which require “belt tightening” and major reductions in spending for social programs in order to save their national economy from collapse.

The picture is akin to the stereotype of listless, music-lovin’ “darkies” once common to the American press, and it is no more accurate.

Descriptions of the French economic problems are equally fictional, as false as the stories Americans have been told for the past year and a half or so about our own economic situation.

First: The French are rightfully angry about a hell of a lot more than “raising the retirement age from 60 to 62.” But even just on the retirement question, what we’ve been told is false. Most of the French don’t, as implied, now get to retire with “full benefits” at age 60.

French law allows retirement at that age with some pension benefits, but the actual amount of pension one receives depends on how many payments one has made into the retirement system, which means, in effect, how long one has worked. Sarkozy and crew are raising the number of years one must work to retire with full pension from 40 to 43, and they obviously intend to go on increasing that number.

Most French people already must work to 62 or even 65 or older to get full government retirement benefits. The new level will be higher, with more raises in retirement age to come.

Remember, most people don’t start working full time at 16 or 18 or even 22 any more. To be fully and well employed in France, as here, one has to get an education or some sort of advanced training, and then wiggle into a career or long-time job path, which takes time.

“Full” retirement benefits, not incidentally, amount to about 40 percent of one’s pay at the time of retirement. On its own, that does not provide a life of ease for people in France any more than it does here.

A more complete explanation of the retirement situation, and what the French are really angry about, is in a very good piece on http://www.counterpunch.org by Diana Johnstone. She is the author of many articles and books on European politics and a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Minnesota. She has lived and worked in Europe much of her life.

Very briefly — in my view, not Johnstone’s — Sarkozy is France’s Ronald Reagan, with strong overtones of George W. Bush. He is taking his country down the road to a new Gilded Age. He campaigned on a theme of improving the economy for all the French but, like Reagan and Bush, what he’s really about is giving as much power and as much of the country’s wealth as possible to the already super-rich at the expense of the average French citizen.

Like Bush, especially, his inner circle is full of self-enriching egoists who seem to devote themselves mainly to finding extremely high-paying “positions” for their wives, offspring and cronies. Some of them are known for personal tax dodging on a jaw-dropping scale.

As here, the French people have had their pockets picked in order to replenish and expand the purses of the very wealthy people who contributed most powerfully to that country’s and the world’s economic distress. There, as here, there has been no real attempt to hold any of the financial finaglers and outright frauds responsible for their actions.

The major difference between France and the United States in these circumstances is that many of the French, better educated than average Americans and with a far greater understanding of basic economics, know that they’re getting screwed and, even more importantly, they know who’s doing the screwing.

In America we get Tea Parties and such -– gangs of the terminally ignorant howling after “liberals” and working mightily on behalf of rich right wingers such as the Koch brothers to bring about their own economic and political ruin.

In France, a substantial number of the people know they are the targets in a class war designed to put the wealth and the political power of the nation entirely into the hands of a tiny minority who already have most of the wealth and a great deal of the political power.

That demonstrates, I think, that the dumbing down of the public education system, long a major part of the right wing crusade in this country, is farther along here than in Europe. European oligarchs also are behind in pricing the poor and middle class out of higher education.

(An oligarchy, and corporate moguls, most emphatically do not want an educated public; they want a public trained for jobs, but with little capacity for critical thought beyond solving small on-the-job problems.)

What’s going on in Britain and, to varying degrees, elsewhere in Europe is part of the same movement under way here and in France. The British far right, often less willing to hide itself behind populist fiction than American and continental right wing extremists, is more openly stomping on the general public and grabbing its worldly goods for the very rich. If the British oligarchs were less obvious, they may not have triggered the degree of anger they now face from some of the British public, which seems to be little, if any, brighter than our own.

That’s just a guess on my part, based on what I see in reading the news coverage we don’t get from our own “media.” I’ve spent some time in England, but not for quite awhile, and I make no claim to really knowing the British.

You’ll note that American news and commentary about the situation in Britain is greatly different from news and commentary on France’s upheavals. For reasons I have never fully understood, Americans love to take a superior attitude to the French, to belittle them and to pretend they are considerably less than they are. For example, the fact that French workers are more productive than American workers on an hour by hour, week by week basis, as shown by various productivity studies, would horrify most Americans — if they could bring themselves to accept the demonstrable truth.

Anyway, that attitude makes it easy for our media, politicians and corporate leaders to sell this country on the idea that the French are just being their usual silly selves in protesting government moves designed to weaken their economic standing and shift more power to the money elite.

My local birdcage liner, the Minneapolis Star Tribune (known in recent years to many of my news-savvy friends and older journalists as the Star Trivia) has carried not only the inaccurate “news” coverage but a couple of commentaries specifically created to trivialize the fight of French against big buck elitists.

One was an editorial from the Wall Street Journal, which always can be counted on to scorn the interests of the general public anywhere. That piece of trash took the standard corporate line that the French economy –- and, indeed, all economies -– soon will crash if working people don’t give up their “entitlements” (such as pensions, health care and other trivial luxuries) and allow the rich to determine what they can “afford.” It’s attitude was belittling in the extreme.

The other was a piece by one of the paper’s fluff columnists, a sort of surrogate shopping wife who specializes in stroking the egos of those whose lives are devoted to trivial pursuits. She said she lived in France for a while when she was in her 20s. Demonstrating a complete absence of knowledge of what the fight really is about, her take was that the French are quaint in their insistence on fighting pension cuts because “a way of life is at stake here, including long vacations and even longer lives of retirement freed from having to work at all.”

This popsy also declared her love of “scrumptious” France and went on for some time describing fictional French attitudes that essentially created a picture of a country populated by good natured, charming but self-centered children. Just like those darkies.

(To be fair, her male counterpart is equally trivial.)

She may have lived in France, but she was a suburban American tourist the whole time, apparently. Her fictional, cute France is nothing like the reality as I’ve seen it.

But her take is common in this country. Millions of Americans seem unaware of the fact the French people are normal human beings who study, work, love, live, sometimes fight and die just like real human beings. As I said, the fiction helps the economic elite trivialize the very real struggle of at least some of the French people to save their economic and political system.

This is not just a French fight, of course. Nor an English fight. Nor a problem faced just by the people of Greece and/or Spain.

The corporate elite is international to a degree it has never been before. The banks, other financial institutions and most major industries are fully international. A board chairman of one company may be French, another Italian and another American by birth. Those national designations mean nothing any more, other than a current place of principal residence. The CEOs anchor their $30 million yachts in the same harbors at the same seasons, and they sleep in each other’s beds.

Sadly, we won’t see Americans taking to the streets to protect their way of life. Those we do see in the street are marching on behalf of the very people who are pushing us back to a life of economic servitude.

Russia’s Message to Turkmenistan: Export Your Gas Anywhere Except Europe

Russia’s Message to Turkmenistan: Export Your Gas Anywhere Except Europe

OCTOBER 29, 2010
Vladimir Socor

On October 28, Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement strongly contradicting the Russian government’s views on the bilateral gas trade and on Turkmen gas export policy in general. The statement follows six days after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a governmental delegation held talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov in Ashgabat.

The Turkmen MFA’s statement rejects the “unsubstantiated,” “completely groundless,” and “counterproductive” assertions by unnamed “Russian officials” in connection with Medvedev’s October 22 visit. Those assertions are being “assessed in Turkmenistan [i.e., by the President] as an attempt to hinder our country’s normal course of international cooperation in the sphere of energy” (Turkmenistan.ru, October 28).

This tenor is reminiscent of the April 2009 polemics triggered by Moscow’s sudden halt in gas imports from Turkmenistan, without advanced notification, and the resultant blowup of the transmission pipeline in Turkmen territory. For Turkmenistan, it was the ultimate proof that it could not rely on Russia for security of demand, spurring Turkmen efforts to diversify gas export routes away from Russia.

The October 28 statement takes issue with Russian assertions that Turkmen gas is not in demand in Europe; that Moscow is holding talks with Ashgabat about Gazprom’s participation in the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline; and that Turkmenistan has abandoned the Caspian Littoral Pipeline project, designed to run from Turkmenistan via Kazakhstan to Russia.

In what reads like a stinging rebuke to Gazprom, the document says that Turkmenistan values European companies for “proving themselves to be reliable, predictable, acting in good faith and on economic-commercial logic. Accordingly, Turkmenistan will continue to develop the European direction for its gas exports.” The MFA statement dismisses the possibility of an agreement with Gazprom on the proposed TAPI pipeline. And it says almost explicitly that Moscow criticizes Ashgabat over the Caspian Littoral Pipeline project only as a pretext for Moscow’s own decision to drastically reduce gas imports from Turkmenistan since 2009.

Most of the incriminating assertions in Russian media can be traced to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin (Interfax, RIA Novosti, October 22; Kommersant, Vedomosti, October 25). Sechin was extraordinarily loquacious with the media during Medvedev’s visit to Ashgabat. The Russian president, by contrast, sounded serenely disengaged, worked his I-pod, and extolled the virtues of energy conservation; as if dress-rehearsing in Ashgabat for the benign post-modern reformer’s role, imminently due for an on-stage performance in Brussels.

Sechin, however, went out of his way to discourage Turkmen gas exports to Europe. He insisted that European gas markets could hardly absorb Turkmen gas in the years ahead, due to depressed demand and diversification of supply from sources other than Turkmenistan. He stated, repetitively, that the EU-backed Nabucco project had “no future” due to insufficient gas supplies (an outcome that he promoted by trying to discourage Ashgabat from participating). Moreover, Sechin claimed, Russia’s South Stream project will advance faster than Nabucco, preempting gas resources and making Nabucco redundant. He implied that Ashgabat shared his views; an insinuation rebuked six days afterward in Ashgabat’s statement.

Conversely, Sechin encouraged Turkmenistan to increase gas exports to China, an “almost infinite market” that could absorb both Turkmen and Russian gas. He also offered every possible assistance in directing Turkmen gas exports, via Afghanistan, to Pakistan and India through the proposed TAPI pipeline. Apparently on Gazprom’s behalf, Sechin proposed four possible versions of the Russian state monopoly’s participation in TAPI, listing them in crescendo order. First, Gazprom would design the pipeline; second, Gazprom would be the designer of the project and subcontractor of the construction work; third, Gazprom would be an investor and stakeholder in the project consortium; and fourth, Gazprom would participate in gas extraction onshore in Turkmenistan, as well as in the marketing of gas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Three days later, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister, Anatoly Yanovsky, announced that the Russian government had forwarded this set of proposals officially to the Turkmen government (Interfax, October 25).

Turkmenistan is rapidly increasing its export pipeline capacities to the east (China), south (Iran), and west (toward the Caspian shore, awaiting a transportation solution to Europe). However, the new pipeline capacities can not yet accommodate Turkmenistan’s current export potential for gas. The old pipelines northward to Russia (via Kazakhstan and via Uzbekistan-Kazakhastan, respectively) are being utilized far below capacity since the spring of 2009, due to depressed demand in Russia and Europe, and pending a post-crisis recovery. Russia has contracted to buy only 10.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas for 2010, down from the pre-crisis level of 40 to 45 bcm per year (which almost fully occupied the existing pipeline capacities running toward Russia). The Caspian Littoral Pipeline project was designed in 2007 for a substantial increase in Turkmen gas exports to Russia, probably intended to supply the South Stream project, which Moscow launched that same year. Construction work seems never to have started on the littoral pipeline, however.

Meanwhile, Turkmenistan has been compelled to reduce its gas production at the fields dedicated for export to Russia, and is losing export revenue as a result. President Berdimuhammedov had hoped to reach at least a preliminary agreement with Medvedev and his delegation for an increase of export volumes to Russia in 2011. Such an agreement did not materialize on this occasion, but may yet be reached by December. Meanwhile, Russia’s message to Ashgabat gas can not be made more explicit: Export your gas anywhere except Europe, and Gazprom will help you in this regard.

URL: http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/

New Poland-Russia gas deal suits long-term EU plan to leave Russia out in the cold

(Source: Datamonitor)trackingIn 2009, a deal was negotiated to bring more of Russia’s gas to Poland and give Gazprom and PGNiG exclusive control over the Polish section of the Yamal pipeline. However, the EU raised concerns that the agreement contravened laws over pipeline ownership. The deal has now been renegotiated to bring it in line with EU legislation, weakening Moscow’s long-term prospects in the European gas market.

The EU recently stole a march on Russia in the race for supremacy in the continent’s naturalgas market. Last year, Russia was able to negotiate a deal that would have extended Poland’s gas delivery deal with Moscow through to 2045. Under the agreement, Poland would have increased its gas imports from Russia by over two billion cubic meters (bcm) a year until 2037, and extended its current gas transit agreement until 2045. In addition, Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom and Polish state-owned utility Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) demanded that they be given exclusive rights to the section of the Yamal pipeline that runs through Poland on its way to Germany. However, under the new deal supplies will only increase until 2022, and the gas transit agreement will be valid until 2019, not until 2045.

The Polish part of the Yamal pipeline is owned and operated by the Gazprom/PGNiG-run Europol Gaz. The original deal allowed for Europol Gaz to preserve the ownership, commercial and operating rights of the Yamal pipeline in Poland. Under EU legislation, oil and gas pipelines must not be monopolized, which would have been the case here, with Gazprom and PGNiG taking exclusive control.

It is in the EU’s interests to prevent Poland from being locked into long-term gas contracts with Russia, as this undermines the union’s plans to diversify its energy sources and to develop a liberalized, universal EU energy market. The proposed Nabucco gas pipeline project was devised as a response to Russia’s growing authority in the region’s gas market and the political instability that is a symptom of this dominance. This latest move by the EU – stepping in and forcing renegotiations between Moscow and Warsaw – comes as further evidence of its political objective of trying to circumvent Russia in the gas supply chain.

Poland imports about 65-70% of the 14bcm of gas it consumes each year from Russia, a situation that has worried politicians and citizens alike for some time. Russia has a history of using its authority in the gas market to flex its political muscles; for example, it cut off supplies to Ukraine in 2007 and again in 2009. This did a great deal of damage to Gazprom’s already ailing reputation as a reliable energy partner, so the thought of the state-owned Russian company tightening its energy grip on an important new EU member country carried with it too much risk.

With gas demand in Europe rising more slowly than anticipated, the price of liquefied natural gas from Asia falling sharply thanks to America’s booming shale gas industry, and the increasing excitement over shale deposits in Eastern and Northern Europe, including Poland, fears over energy security no longer carry the weight they once did in the continent. However, with the future of the Nabucco project still uncertain (as is the outlook of its Russian rival pipeline, South Stream) it is vital for the EU not to relinquish control of large chunks of its members’ gas markets to Russia if it is serious about developing a common EU energy policy and reducing its dependence on Russian gas supplies.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.