Streetwise Professor

January 25, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 5:21 pm

To the utter jubilation of one long time commenter, Wikileaks’s Julian Assange has been hired to host an interview program on The Propaganda Network Formerly Known as Russia Today.  Said commenter and I have polar opposite views on this, but this announcement validates my response to one of his comments last night:

And many authoritarians support Wikileaks, precisely for the reason that Wikileaks exists: it is at root a fundamentally anti-American project, and that’s quite attractive to many authoritarians.

And, as I have noted repeatedly in the past, thereby inciting paroxysms of rage by another frequent commenter, RT is first and foremost an anti-US project.  That is its primary purpose.  It is an important piece of Putin’s information operations directed at the west generally, and the US in particular.

Assange is also virulently anti-American.  Among the most virulent, in fact.

So this pairing is perfectly understandable, and I came quite close to predicting it.  I certainly pointed out the logic of the marriage in that comment.

This whole relationship gives the lie to Assange’s pious claims that he is about openness and transparency and freedom everywhere.  If he were, he would not be pimping (or is it whoring?) for an authoritarian government that is notoriously secretive, and which routinely engages in widespread surveillance of anybody and everybody.

Assange might have a little more credibility if he were an equal opportunity leaker.  But no chance of that.  Especially now.  Now that he is a kept man.

Yup.  Just another anti-American poser wrapping himself in pieties.

And Assange cares too much about his health to do to the Russian Foreign Ministry what he did to the State Department. This brings to mind what Orwell wrote about Gandhi:

It is difficult to see how Gandhi’s methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the régime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again. Without a free press and the right of assembly, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intentions known to your adversary. Is there a Gandhi in Russia at this moment? And if there is, what is he accomplishing? The Russian masses could only practise civil disobedience if the same idea happened to occur to all of them simultaneously, and even then, to judge by the history of the Ukraine famine, it would make no difference.

Now Putin’s Russia is far softer than Stalin’s USSR of which Orwell wrote. But to say that Assange would be in far greater peril were he to do against Russia than what he did against the US goes without saying.

But that’s really rather idle conjecture, because the basic fact is that Assange has no interest in doing so. The enemy of his enemy is his friend. And now his employer.

And for more on RT, check out this report from Al Jazeera(!):

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  1. “Re Al Jazeera–Not a fan, but if they can look down on you, you must be really, really low. They look down on RT, with justification. Case closed.” Which is why so many people who used to work at Al-Jazeera now work for Rusiya Al Yaum, if you believe Facebook and VKontakte.

    And yes, I get that the CME is not Corzine, but they ought to be joining the lawsuits against the bastard. And they’re not. He came, he took a dump in their office chair, and they’re a bunch of p$$$$$ to use Robert Kiyosaki language cuz they just sat on their asses and took it. After all, it was only their customers money, not their money, right?

    I suppose we’ll have indictments on MF Global when OJ finds the real killers.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  2. X. CME could not be a party. They were not damaged directly. There are, you know, like actual rules that determine who can be a party to a lawsuit. So yes, since it was their fucking (KABOOM) customers’ money, not theirs, it is their customers that have standing to sue. Not the CME. And the CME is not the USDOJ, or the States Attorney in IL, so it cannot indict even if it wanted to.

    Direct your vitriol at the correct target, please. Don’t just regurgitate what Celente says. Or maybe you are Celente in which case you don’t have a choice.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 26, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  3. “71.“Take a fancy to”? Really? The guy works for his Campaign for Freedom.” Yeah, and being Campaign for Freedom they’re obligated to read every single stinkin’ post some dude may have left at their forum, like EVER, and probably his emails too. Cuz they have so much money and time for that. This is transparent bullshit designed to scare the hell out of aging Jewish voters in Miami, the same ones that voted for Pat Buchanan in 2000 (and yes, I have talked to people who’ve met Jews who like Pat personally, at least).

    And is he a paid employee or just a volunteer? Hmmm…Simon doesn’t say. Where’s your link? Your evidence?

    ‘Man crush’ is not the same thing as recognizing that every pro-Federal Reserve bankster, pro-Establishment whore gangs up on the guy, usually with bull$#% made up stuff like this volunteer’s conviently hidden post

    the CNN reporter who asked Paul how he felt about the little old lady who said she wouldn’t vote for him in New Hampshire because she couldn’t shake his hand in a room crowded with 300 mostly reporters

    or the fake ‘pro-Paul’ video that was actually made by Huntsman supporters now getting sued for it

    or the rednecks paid to wear pro-Rand t-shirts in Klan regalia by Rand’s opponent back in 2008, or that Rand worships aqua Buddha, or that Rand was ‘irate’ at the airport when he got detained (go look at the Tennesseean video).

    or giving the guy 89 seconds in a CBS debate or barely over a minute in a four-man debate more recently

    So yeah, defend any of that SWP, you fake libertarian poser.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  4. “CME could not be a party. They were not damaged directly.”

    Damage to their reputation?

    “Direct your vitriol at the correct target, please. Don’t just regurgitate what Celente says. Or maybe you are Celente in which case you don’t have a choice.” Ha ha ha, if I were Celente I’d have had a six figure amount of gold in the bank but for the MFers, but I’d also be a hell of a lot older and wrinklier.

    Yes there are rules about standing to sue. But you can’t tell me not a single person who works for the CME had money invested at MF Global? That’s interesting.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  5. And the same applies to you. Put out the house fire in your back yard or at least start fighting it before worrying about the rest of the world.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  6. And S/O is right, you also have weird, foreign-server hosted and seedy looking Viagra ad links popping up at the bottom of your blog. Better get on it before you get hit with the SOPA or whatever international treaty Obama signed hammer if the One gets a second term and his minions get tired of your disses. But wait, you could always appeal to those saintly federal courts you say are so busy protecting our rights, you know the same ones that locked up Bernard VonNotHaus as a domestic terrorist for selling gold and silver coinage with Ron Paul’s face on them.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  7. X. The reputational effect does not give CME as a corporation standing. Nor does the fact that individual CME employees, even if officers, give *the corporation* standing.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 26, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  8. tldr;

    * I was recently flabbergasted to learn that VOA is PROHIBITED from broadcasting to its own citizens.

    * Many of those who fled to the West in 1945:
    a) Had no choice in the matter (Germans)
    b) Were collaborators and expected worse than what actually eventuated. When the SU drove the Nazis out of the Baltics and West Ukraine, the level of collaboration was found to be so high, that a decision was made to prosecute only the most odious cases. After all, why are there still any Baltic and Ukrainian SS veterans left? By the logic of the Robert Conquests of this world, they should have all been personally shot by Stalin and Beria. Yet here they are.
    c) Were outright war criminals (Ukrainians, Latvians, Russians, you name it). It boggles the mind how many managed to start businesses, raise families and die of old age in the West, having butchered so many in their youth.

    Comment by So? — January 26, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  9. Anders,

    Yeah,yeah. Norwegian penis BIG, Russian penis small. What are you bitching about? The boundary dispute has been settled in your favour. Russia is not your problem. Take care of you multi-culti disease first.

    Comment by So? — January 26, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  10. If rytb thinks Ron Paul is a ‘Nazi’, the man whose idol Ludwig von Mises had to flee Austria due to Nazi persecution based on Mises’ Jewish ethnicity, and that he’s a ‘Nazi’ for opposing unlimited aggressive warfare, and unlimited fiat printing that led to Nazism in Germany…that leaves even me speechless.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 10:13 pm


    the real story about Rand Paul’s detainment. Gawker is full of crap, not unlike their buddies at TMZ who got caught lying about Jesse Ventura’s ‘road rage’ incident in California while ‘The Body’ was actually in Minnesota at the time.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  12. Speechless, X? Promise? Promise?!?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 26, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  13. Every know and then I appear to kick some ass and point out how rabidly authoritarian your fans are SWP, but then I ride off into the sunset like Shane.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

  14. now [sic] typing too fast.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

  15. The M-346 is the favorite in the Israeli trainer jet competition. It’s basically a westernized Yak-130.

    Comment by So? — January 26, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  16. Snuffy Smith Mr. X – The Putin mafias useful idiot .

    whatabout watching the bird ?

    You might want to try using Google — how to sabotage a relationship

    And Simonyan said protesters should burn in hell? Really? Why didn’t anyone else including the Moscow Times report that before Al-Jazeera discovered those magic tweets? It reminds me of Pajamas Media today claiming that a Campaign for Liberty website associated with Ron Paul is selling the Procols of the Elders of Zion. Sure, Paul himself would just tolerate selling a book totally imimical to his stated philosophy, especially after giving interviews to Haaretz. Give me a freakin’ break, this is all planted pro-Establishment fakery.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

    but the editor-in- chief Margarita Simonyan set the tone for the channel’s coverage when she wrote on her Twitter feed that the protest leaders should “burn in hell”.

    Comment by Anders — January 27, 2012 @ 2:41 am

  17. X: Shane? Kicking ass? Your gradiosity is showing.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 27, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  18. SWP, Birds of a Feather is an apt title for Assange, but why associate Assange’s political/nationalistic views with the value of Wikileaks? I value CNN, BBC, FOX as valuable contributors to transparency without subscribing at all to their political viewpoints. In fact CNN et al pontificate endlessly about fair and ubiased reporting. Rubbish. The competition of ideas and mud-slinging in the open is what keeps me free from political detention or worse an FSB cocktail. Celebrate Wikileaks for its novel method of setting information free, and dis-associate it from Assange’s narrative.

    Comment by scott — January 27, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  19. The Irony of Wikileaks
    By threatening U.S. diplomacy, the hard left is undercutting its own worldview.

    By and large, the hard left and the Alex Jones morons in America and around the world would prefer to see the peaceful resolution of disputes rather than the use of military force. World peace, however, is a lot harder to achieve if the U.S. State Department is cut off at the knees. And that is exactly what this mass revelation of documents is going to do. The essential tool of State Department diplomacy is trust between American officials and their foreign counterparts. Unlike the Pentagon, which has military forces, or the Treasury Department, which has financial tools, the State Department functions mainly by winning the trust of foreign officials, sharing information, and persuading. Those discussions have to be confidential to be successful. Destroying confidentiality means destroying diplomacy

    Comment by Anders — January 27, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  20. According to KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn, the post-Soviet regime of pretended democracy was not supposed to last twenty years. It was designed to overpower the West in ten years. So the plan didn’t work. So Russia’s hidden totalitarian structures have begun to decay. They have remained under fake bourgeois auspices too long; and besides, there is no Stalin to lead them. In this matter we should remember what Stalin said to his henchmen during his last days: “You are like blind kittens; what will happen without me? The country will perish because you do not know how to recognize enemies.”

    What Bukovsky goes on to describe is the fate of these blind kittens, caught up in the crisis of Russia’s false democracy. One might say it is the crisis of a deception gone too long, carried too far by structures that can no longer bear the load. A world war might have once saved the current Russian regime, granting it renewed legitimacy in the midst of crisis. But now it is too late. According to Bukovsky, the incompetence of the regime is such that if Stalin were alive today he would have them all shot. “They cannot even blow up the buildings in their capital city without exposing themselves and leaving traces,” Bukovsky added, referring to the 1999 apartment bombings that were used to justify the KGB’s return to power. “Nothing [in the KGB/FSB] works as it should,” says Bukovsky.

    So how will this Kremlin, with its third generation blind kittens, survive the growing groundswell of popular opposition? Bukovsky says that the KGB understands how to manipulate mass movements with its network of double agents. But in the end, this method will not work. “The social atmosphere in due course becomes ever more politicized, radicalized,” Bukovsky explained. In the end, the KGB cannot join the protests against itself without damaging its own position. And so, Russia faces a serious political crisis in March or April. This crisis will likely grow, and spiral out of control.

    Such is the hopeful, optimistic language of Putin’s opposition – represented by Vladimir Bukovsky. It does not entail fear-mongering or anti-Western propaganda. It simply describes a regime that has lost touch with its people. Such a regime may accuse the United States of fostering a revolution in Russia, or threatening the whole world with nuclear destruction; but the game of deflecting criticism in the wake of fraudulent elections does not appear to be working.

    The year 2012 should prove decisive for Russia. Will the anti-Americanism take Russia by the throat? Or will the KGB regime lose its grip? One year from today we should know the answer. –

    Comment by Anders — January 27, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  21. Goebbels X, could you be any more queer in your adoration of Putin and Ron Paul?

    Comment by Andrew — January 28, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  22. andrew Dzhugashvili, aka junior Stalinist,

    1. Let’s make something very clear. I am an American. And very proud of it. But you are too dumb to understand.
    1a. Ahhhh… calling me “racist.” You sound like a typical liberal. You, andy Dzhugashvili, must be a racist, sexist, homophobe, anti-immigrant, anti-union, bla-bla-bla bigot.
    2. I remember the little yellow bus taking you to school. Therefore, I will repeat and do it slowly so you can (hopefully) understand. The question was about the language (Mingrelian), i.e. the spoken word, i.e. how people communicate not about the ethnic group (the Mingrelians). Mingrelian language is different from georgian language. the moronic georgians don’t even allow the Bible to be published in Mingrelian! At least 600,000 people speak Mingrelian. They are entitled to have the Bible in Mingrelian. The Bible has been translated to languages where there are 2,000 speakers, but your favorite anti-Christian georgians are acting in ungodly and chauvinistic manner.

    3. You write “No need to spread the gospel.” Now we know you are against the Great Commission of Jesus Christ! I feel sorry for you and hope you change.

    4. Abhkazia is the homeland of Abhkazians; it was occupied by chauvinist, racist georgians. Ossetia or Alania is the homeland of Alans, aka Ossetians; it was occupied by chauvinist, racist georgians. Javahkh is the homeland of Armenians; it was occupied by chauvinist, racist georgians. It is not “Javakheti,” it is Javahkh, you illiterate cretin. But you can repeat the georgian propaganda ad nauseum.
    4a. You are a good example of the failure of the government schools in America. Your hero, human monster and cruel, bloody dictator Joseph Dzhugashvili, aka Joseph Stalin(ethnically georgian), artificially drew the borders of the “little empire” (as correctly described by late Andrei Sakharov).
    4b. Here is a multiple choice question for a moron like you. Are you for preserving the borders drawn by your hero Joseph Stalin?
    a. Yes,
    b. No,
    c. Errr… I dunno its beyond my pay grade,
    e. I’ll get back to you after I get the answer from my lying paymasters in Tbilisi and my necktie chewing, loser, clown uncle mishiko.

    5. georgians are pathetic, lazy people. They used to sell oranges. Plus, they made good petite thieves. They erase the Armenian and Abkhaz letters from the churches and claim them as georgians. Have you now shame, junior Stalinist Andy?
    6. Here is another multiple choice question. Who invented the Georgian first alphabet? But since you are intellectually dishonest, you won’t admit, will you.
    7. Aren’t you ashamed of being a racist georgian?
    P.S. I watched you on PMSNBC running away in the dress from the battlefield in georgia in August 2008.

    Comment by John — January 28, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  23. Moron X is John ?

    5. georgians are pathetic, lazy people. They used to sell oranges. Plus, they made good petite thieves. They erase the Armenian and Abkhaz letters from the churches and claim them as georgians.

    pathetic racist moron –

    Comment by Anders — January 28, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  24. @SWP, he might have gotten smart enough to use his boyfriends PC.

    But anyway, whoever “John” is, he shows a poor grasp of history, and the usual racism that goes with Putin supporters.

    BTW John, South Ossetia is not “ancestral Ossetian land” their “ancestral land” is in the Don and Volga basin, from which they were driven in the 15th century by the Mongols.

    Medieval and early modern period
    The Ossetians are believed to originate from the Alans, a Sarmatian tribe. They became Christian during the early Middle Ages, under the Byzantine and Georgian influences. Under Mongol rule, they were pushed out of their medieval homeland south of the Don River in present-day Russia and part migrated towards and over the Caucasus mountains (into the kingdom of Georgia and into the lands of present-day North Ossetia-Alania),[13] where they formed three distinct territorial entities. Digor in the west came under the influence of the neighboring Kabardins, who introduced Islam. Kudar in the south became what is now South Ossetia, part of the historical Georgian principality of Samachablo[14] where Ossetians found refuge from Mongol invaders. Irón in the north became what is now North Ossetia, under Russian rule from 1767. The vast majority of the Ossetians are Orthodox Christians; there is also a significant Muslim minority.

    The Ossetians are immigrants to what is now known as “South Ossetia”, while the Georgians are native.

    BTW John, the UN has expressed concern about the Armenian and Abkhazian destruction of Georgian inscriptions in Churches in Abkhazia, and the Russian/Ossetian destruction of Georgian historical monuments in Samachablo.

    As for “Georgian propaganda” about the Russians settling Armenians in Javakheti in the early 19th century, you are uneducated and listening to far too much Armenian propaganda.

    Here is the truth:

    Armenians have compactly resided in Southern Georgia for almost 170 years. When after the war with Turkey (1828-1829) Russia obtained the Black Sea coast from the Kuban to Poti and the largest portion of the Georgian provinces of Meskheti and Javakheti, the Armenians living on the Turkish territory began to massively resettle to the territories of the Russian empire. It was during this process that Armenians settled in the Akhalkalaki district (Javakheti), where they soon outnumbered indigenous Georgians; in 1903, the majority of 54,816 people living in 150 villages of the district were Armenian). After 1829, 2,536 Armenian families resettled to the neighbouring Meskheti (centre-the city of Akhaltsikhe) from Erzerum, while smaller groups of their compatriots had lived there earlier as well; in 1913, 41,873 Armenians lived in the Akhaltsikhe district (16,499 in the city, the rest in 16 Armenian villages).On the eve of the Bolshevik coup, Armenians amounted to as much as 82% of the entire population of the Akhaltsikhe district.

    Comment by Andrew — January 29, 2012 @ 2:14 am

  25. “I would actually prefer if X=John. That would mean that there’s only one.” Only one who bothers to point out the rampant hypocrisies and ludicrousness of this blog and its amen corner of weird Russophobes?

    But no, I don’t put Georgians down with racist rants. Pointing out that Georgian soldiers refused to die for Misha the Tie Eater’s mistake is not putting Georgians as a people down, it actually plays up their Caucasian shrewdness. Ditto for their successes in Moscow, all jokes about flower salesmen aside. It’s like saying all Indians in America are represented by that Quik E Mart guy on the Simpsons.

    They did stand, fight and die by the hundreds of thousands in WWII.

    And unlike John I’m aware that Andy so he claims is a Kiwi, which makes his fixation on insisting that Americans must continue to subsidize Misha the Tie Eater’s government all the more bizarre. Kiwis after all being the folks who didn’t want U.S. Navy nuclear powered vessels in their waters, and the country where Russophile Russian bond jockey par excellence Eric Kraus recommends buying agricultural land.

    “They cannot even blow up the buildings in their capital city without exposing themselves and leaving traces,” Bukovsky added, referring to the 1999 apartment bombings that were used to justify the KGB’s return to power. “Nothing [in the KGB/FSB] works as it should,” says Bukovsky.” Why is 1999 trutherism a-ok but 9/11 trutherism anathema, to the point that Ron Paul gets denounced for not denouncing a girl who asked him about it? He certainly didn’t agree with her.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 2:20 am

  26. SWP, don’t you think there’s something vaguely La Raza-ish about a Kiwi’s Georgian fixation and Georgians as perpetual victims of the dastardly Russians? It would be like some Danish kid coming to UTEP, getting a tan, smoking some grass and joining MeCha. Except there’s probably not that many Mechistas at UTEP.

    And are you aware that one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisors if not mentors since his Columbia days was Z. Brzezinski? That’s according to University of Illinois law professor Francis A. Boyle.

    That’s the same Brzezinski that bragged about how he started arming Islamists in Afghanistan before the Russians invaded in 1979. So Andy Dzughashvili and the Jamestown Foundation’s odd fixation on Caucasian separatism and jihad fits with the Bzrezinski m.o.

    But once again, j-had is a-ok at this blog so long as its against Russia.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  27. And while I’m at it, maybe I’ll dig into my heritage and try to get appointed as Ambassador of the Lakota Nation to Moscow.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 2:27 am

  28. I thought you claimed to be of Norwegian descent X?

    As for the nuclear ships rant, not everyone in NZ supports it X, which you would know if you did some research.
    I certainly do not support it, but even most of those who do are happy with non-nuclear ships.

    And X, an FSB team got caught planting explosives in another apartment building, that is the difference.

    Look up Ryazan incident, if you are capable.

    And the Russians do it fairly often.

    Comment by Andrew — January 29, 2012 @ 9:11 am

  29. And in the Caucasus they do it all the time.

    Comment by Andrew — January 29, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  30. To do what they were accused of having done without expert assistance, however,
    Chechen terrorists would have needed to be able to organize nine explosions (the four that took
    place and the five that the Russian authorities claimed to have prevented) in widely separated
    cities in the space of two weeks. They also would have needed the ability to penetrate top secret
    Russian military factories or military units to obtain the hexogen.
    Finally, Chechen terrorists would have needed technical virtuosity. In the case of the
    Moscow apartment buildings, the bombs were placed to destroy the weakest critical structural
    elements so each of the buildings would collapse “like a house of cards.” Such careful
    calculations are the mark of skilled specialists, and the only places in Russia where such
    specialists were trained were the spetsnaz forces, military intelligence (GRU), and the FSB.
    Another troubling aspect of the apartment bombings was the timing. The bombings were
    explained as a response to the Russian bombing of Wahhabi villages in Dagestan in August
    1999. A careful study of the apartment bombings, however, showed that it would have taken 9
    from four to four and half months to organize them. In constructing a model of the events, all
    stages of the conspiracy were considered: developing a plan for the targets, visiting the targets,
    making corrections, determining the optimum mix of explosives, ordering their preparation,
    making final calculations, renting space in the targeted buildings, and transporting the explosives
    to the targets.
    Assuming that these calculations were even approximately correct, planning for the
    apartment bombings had to begin in the spring. They therefore could not have been retaliation by
    Chechen terrorists for the Russian attack in Dagestan, which occurred only days before the
    bombings took place. They might, however, have been part of a plan that included the Chechen
    invasion of Dagestan, the Russian bombing of the Wahhabi villages, and the apartment
    bombings. But such a plan could only have been implemented by elements of the regime in
    cooperation with the FSB.
    The strongest indication that elements of the Russian government were responsible for
    the bombings, however, was the history of the supposed training exercise in Ryazan. In that
    incident, the FSB was forced to admit that they had put a bomb in the basement of a civilian
    apartment building because they were caught in the act.
    The incident began on the night of September 22, six days after the bombing of
    Volgodonsk, when police answering a call reporting suspicious activity discovered a bomb in the
    basement of the building at 14/16 Novosyelov Street. Experts arriving at the scene found that the
    bomb tested positive for hexogen. Within minutes, not only the building but also the surrounding
    neighborhood was evacuated. In all, nearly 30,000 persons spent the night on the street. Police
    surrounded the airport and railroad stations, and roadblocks were set up on all of the roads
    leading out of the city.
    The origin of the bomb was determined, however, in a totally unexpected way. On the
    evening of September 23, a call to Moscow was made from a public telephone bureau for
    intercity calls. The operator who connected the call caught a fragment of conversation in which a
    caller said there was no way to get out of town undetected. The voice at the other end of the line
    said, “Split up and each of you make your own way out.” The operator reported the call to the
    police and they traced the number. To their astonishment, it belonged to the FSB.
    A short time 11
    later, with the help of tips from the population, the police arrested two terrorists. They
    produced identification from the FSB and were released on orders from Moscow.
    On September 24, Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the FSB, announced that the bomb in
    the basement at 14/16 Novosyelov had been a dummy and that the incident had been a “test.” He
    congratulated the residents of Ryazan on their vigilance. This explanation stupefied the residents
    who had assumed that the bomb was real. The FSB said that the bomb was a dummy and that the
    explosive material in the sacks attached to the detonator was sugar. It said the gas analyzer that
    detected hexogen had malfunctioned.
    Several months after the incident, however, Pavel Voloshin, a reporter for Novaya
    Gazeta, interviewed Yuri Tkachenko, the sapper who defused the “dummy” bomb. He insisted
    that it was real. Tkachenko said that the detonator, including a timer, power source, and shotgun
    shell, was a genuine military detonator and obviously prepared by a professional. At the same
    time, the gas analyzer that tested the vapors coming from the sacks unmistakably indicated the
    presence of hexogen.
    Voloshin asked Tkachenko if the gas analyzer could have given a false result. Tkachenko
    said that this was out of the question. The gas analyzers were of world class quality. Each cost
    $20,000 and was maintained by a specialist who worked according to a strict schedule, checking
    the analyzer after each use and making frequent prophylactic checks. These were necessary
    because the device contains a source of constant radiation. In the end, Tkachenko pointed out, 12
    meticulous care in the handling of the gas analyzer was a necessity because the lives of the
    bomb squad’s experts depended on the reliability of their equipment.
    Voloshin also interviewed the police officers who answered the original call and
    discovered the bomb. They also insisted that the incident was not an exercise and that it was
    obvious from its appearance that the substance in the bags was not sugar.
    Voloshin’s articles in Novaya Gazeta had a major impact. Doubt became so widespread
    that the FSB agreed to participate in a televised meeting between its top officials and residents of
    the building at 14/16 Novosyelov. The purpose of the program was to demonstrate the FSB’s
    openness, but the strategy backfired. During the program, which was aired on NTV, on March
    23, FSB spokesmen could not explain why the “exercise” was carried out without measures to
    protect the health of the residents, why the gas analyzer detected hexogen, or why bomb squad
    experts mistook a dummy bomb for a real one. When the program ended, the residents were
    more convinced than ever that they had been unwitting pawns in a FSB plot and only through a
    miracle escaped with their lives.

    In fact, the building at 14/16 Novosyelov Street was an odd choice for a test of vigilance
    because there was an all-night grocery store in the building, and residents could easily have
    assumed that someone unloading sacks of sugar was doing so for the store. As the target of a
    terrorist attack, however, the building was very well suited, especially if the goal was to claim
    the maximum number of lives. Like the building on Kashirskoye Highway in Moscow, 14/16
    Novosyelov Street was a brick building of standard construction. In the event of an explosion, it 13
    would have offered little resistance, and there would have been little chance for anyone to
    survive. At the same time, since the building was on an elevation, in the event of an explosion it
    would have hit the adjacent building with the force of an avalanche and, because the weak, sandy
    soil in the area offered little support to either building, probably would have toppled it. In this
    way, the tragedy in Ryazan would have eclipsed all the others.
    In the face of evidence of FSB involvement in the bombing of the Russian apartment
    buildings, the government has refused to respond. It reacted to Berezovsky’s allegations by
    accusing him of funding the terrorist activities of Chechen rebels.
    The most serious evidence that the leaders of the government bombed their own citizens,
    however, is presented by the Ryazan incident and, in that case at least, the Russian authorities are
    perfectly equipped to refute the allegations that have been made against them. They need only to
    produce the persons who carried out the Ryazan training exercise, the records of the exercise,
    and the dummy bomb itself. The FSB, however, has refused to do this on grounds of secrecy and
    evidence relating to the Ryazan incident has been sealed for seventy-five years.
    The government has also prevented any inquiry by the parliament. In March 2000, a
    group of deputies proposed to send to the general prosecutor a request for answers to questions
    regarding the incident in Ryazan. The Duma voted 197 in favor and 137 against. However, 226
    votes, an absolute majority, were needed for passage, and this was not achieved because the proKremlin Unity party voted unanimously against. In February, another attempt was made to open
    a parliamentary inquiry into the Ryazan incident. In this case, 161 deputies voted in favor and 14
    only seven against, but the remainder of the 464 members of the Duma abstained. As a result,
    the attempt failed.
    In fact, the greatest support for the government’s denial of any involvement in the
    bombings is fear of the implications if it turns out that the regime was behind them. Even the
    residents of the building at 14/16 Novsyelov were reluctant to draw conclusions about possible
    government involvement, although they unanimously rejected the notion that the incident had
    been a test. The most they would say was that someone tried to blow them up without offering an
    opinion as to who.

    Comment by Andrew — January 29, 2012 @ 10:06 am

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