Kind nuclear neighbor: What is known about the new project of Putin and Xi Jinping

Об этом сообщает “Рамблер”

By Elena Proshina

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will open a new joint nuclear project between Russia and China on May 19, TASS reports with reference to the Chinese Foreign Ministry . Details of the project are classified. The Chinese Foreign Ministry only announced that the leaders will participate in the presentation via video link. They did not specify what kind of object they were talking about.

Previously, Russia and China collaborated on the construction of four power units at the Tianwan NPP and the CEFR Demonstration Fast Nuclear Reactor. What do they say about the project in Beijing? Konstantin Shchepin, a Russian journalist in China:

“Judging by the open information, we already have a lot of projects in the nuclear power industry. This is the famous Tianwan NPP, which is being built in the Jiangsu province and where more and more power units are being built based on our VVER-1200 reactors. These are uranium enrichment plants in Gansu province. It is said that Beijing and Moscow have long been carrying out a project of a new generation of fast breeder reactors somewhere near Beijing. But there is very little information about this in the official media.

Perhaps this experimental reactor will be officially put into operation. These are my guesses. In Beijing, nothing has been written about this yet, it was the message that went through, everyone was surprised, everyone was inspired, everyone froze in anticipation and opened their eyes – what would it be. But so far the people are perplexed. Maybe this will also start a new project: China and Russia have already quite a long time ago, in my opinion, even last year or the year before, agreed on the construction of nuclear power plants in the northeast of China. It is not clear yet.”

In June 2018, after a visit to China, Vladimir Putin said that the countries had agreed on the construction of two power units of the Tianwan NPP by Rosatom , and also agreed on the construction of another Russian-designed nuclear power plant in China. Construction was scheduled to begin in December 2020.
Representatives of Rosatom and the Chinese National Atomic Corporation have already signed a general contract for the construction of the seventh and eighth units of the Tianwan NPP. According to the head of Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, in May it is planned to “build the first concrete at the seventh power unit.”

Power unit of the Tianwan NPP launched with the assistance of Russian specialists


The work on the physical start-up of the Tianwan NPP in China was completed on September 30 with the participation of the state corporation Rosatom, the press service of the company reports.
The last stage of work on the launch of the Tianwan NPP was the bringing of power unit 4 to maximum capacity, which was carried out on September 30 with the technical assistance of specialists from the Engineering Division of Rosatom.
Rosatom noted that the physical start-up of the reactor was completed ahead of schedule


Russia and China will build a station on the moon


The Russian and Chinese sides signed a memorandum on the creation of a lunar station. This is stated on the website of “Roscosmos” .

Representatives of the governments of Russia and China – the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin and the head of the Chinese National Space Administration (KNKA) Zhang Kejian – signed a cooperation agreement in the format of a video conference. The parties agreed to be guided by “the principles of parity distribution of rights and obligations” and to use “outer space for peaceful purposes in the interests of all mankind.”

The memorandum specifies that the planned lunar station is intended “for multidisciplinary and multipurpose research work,” and considers the further prospect of the presence of a person directly on the moon. The agreement implies both joint planning, development and implementation of the project, as well as its presentation to the world community.


“Russia and China traditionally strive to develop cooperation in the field of space technologies”, – is specified in the conclusion of the agreement.


The document also implies the cooperation of the Russian mission with the orbital spacecraft Luna-Resurs-1 (OA) and the Chinese mission to explore the polar region of the Moon, Chang’e-7.
At the end of 2020, China, which had previously sent a mission to the moon, planted a national flag on the surface of a natural satellite of the Earth. Thus, the country became the third – after the USA and the USSR – power to plant its flag on the moon.

Russia and China agreed to extend the Neighborliness Treaty


The treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, which Russia and China have agreed to automatically extend for another five-year period, will be filled taking into account new realities and will give impetus to the development of bilateral relations, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which is very important. Over the past 20 years, this agreement has laid a solid legal foundation for the healthy, sustainable development of Russian-Chinese relations and contributed to the optimization and modernization of bilateral relations.

We have agreed on the automatic extension of this agreement, and we must constantly give this agreement a new content, taking into account the realities of the era, so that it adapts to the new conditions of Russian-Chinese relations. I think that this agreement will certainly help us to reach new agreements and give a new impetus to the development of relations, ”TASS quotes a statement by the head of the PRC Foreign Ministry, made before the talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

As Wang Yi noted, in recent days, “a handful of European powers have been on the international stage with accusations against China and Russia, but they know that [this is] a lie under a far-fetched pretext, and [once successful] attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of China and Russia have gone far into the past. ” Wang Yi stressed that despite the changing international environment, “our determination to uphold international justice remains unchanged.” “These attempts cannot prevent China from moving forward and cannot change the historical trend,” concluded Wang Yi.


The day before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in China on a visit. Earlier, Lavrov, in an interview with Chinese media, said that the Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation with China “has successfully passed the test of time and the obligations recorded in it are being sacredly fulfilled,” thanks to the document, relations between the countries reached an “unprecedented level.”


Recall that on March 1, the Ministry of Defense of the PRC characterized the Russian-Chinese relations in the military sphere as a partnership in comprehensive strategic interaction. In early January, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that strategic cooperation between Russia and China has no end, no upper limit, and no exclusion zones.

Then in November 2020, Beijing announced China’s readiness “side by side with Russia to jointly oppose one-sided policies, protectionism and hegemony” of states that “strike a blow at international relations and international order.” In October, Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club admitted the possibility of concluding a military alliance between Moscow and Beijing.


September 2020, the Chinese Foreign Minister stressed the special importance of relations with Russia, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a congratulatory telegram to President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in World War II, announced China’s readiness to join forces with Russia for the sake of global peace, security and prosperity for future generations.

Food has become one of the main points of growth in trade between the PRC and the Russian Federation

Trade in food products in recent years has become one of the key points in the growth of economic cooperation between China and Russia, said Russian Trade Representative to China Alexei Dakhnovsky on Tuesday, speaking at the opening ceremony of the Russian pavilion at the SIAL food exhibition.
On Tuesday, within the framework of the SIAL international food exhibition in Shanghai, a joint stand of the Russian Federation was opened; 18 Russian companies are represented on an area of ​​400 square meters.


“Trade in agricultural products and food products in recent years has been one of the key points of growth of bilateral economic cooperation between our countries. China is the largest importer of these products, Russia has something to offer from this range, the high quality of which is in high demand among the Chinese consumer,” Dakhnovsky said, follows from the widespread video recording of the opening ceremony.


He stressed that the pandemic and quarantine measures that exist in China today have certainly had a negative impact on trade in this area. However, according to the trade representative, with the exception of seafood, in the first quarter of this year, the volume of Russian food products exports to China increased by 17.6%.

“Therefore, companies from Russia pay serious attention to their work in the Chinese market and work at the Chinese international food exhibition. We are confident that the products of Russian companies presented here will find their customers. I wish all the participants of the Russian exposition successful work at the exhibition.” added Dakhnovsky.


According to the General Administration of Customs of the PRC, the trade turnover between Russia and China in the first four months of 2021 increased by 19.8% compared to the same period last year and amounted to $ 40.2 billion.


The official representative of the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, Gao Feng, said that China expects that trade with Russia will reach a new maximum by the end of this year.


At the end of 2020, trade between the two countries fell by 2.9% and amounted to $ 107.76 billion.

China bought helicopters from Russia for $ 2 billion


In 2019, China bought 121 helicopters from Russia for $ 2 billion, the state corporation Rostec reported.


We are talking about 68 Mi-171 helicopters, 18 Mi-171Sh helicopters, 14 Mi-171 helicopters with a VK-2500 engine and 21 Ansat helicopters. All versions of the Mi-171 are produced at an aircraft plant in Buryatia. China plans to supply 86 helicopters with Ukrainian engines.


The cost of only 100 Mi-171 helicopters can exceed $ 2 billion, expert Konstantin Makienko estimated . One “Ansat” can cost China at least $ 3.3 million.


The contracts for helicopters are the largest known with China after Russia supplied China with Su-35 fighters and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, said Vasily Kashin , a spokesman for the Higher School of Economics . There are about 500 Mi-8 or Mi-17 helicopters in operation in China. China also produces its own Z-20 and Z-18 helicopters, but, apparently, their characteristics do not satisfy the army, Kashin suggested.

Chinese Foreign Minister calls relations with Russia “unlimited”


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi commented on the strategic relationship between Beijing and Moscow. They have no “no-go zone” or “upper limit”, RIA Novosti quoted a diplomat who was interviewed by Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television.


The PRC Foreign Minister admitted that last year the Chinese-Russian relations withstood the test of the pandemic and reached a qualitatively new level. At the same time, the countries continue to cooperate on the containment of coronavirus infection and research on the development of vaccines.


“Collaboration in new formats such as digital economy and e-commerce is expanding rapidly,” concluded Wang Yi.

Computer Security Breaches and Trojan Horse Backdoors

Who is at fault for the succession of major hacking events in the United States? – “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves”

Wayne Madsen

The U.S. Congress wants answers on what has been apparent foot-dragging by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in answering congressional questions about NSA forcing the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) into incorporating a NSA-engineered back door into the Dual_EC_DRBG encryption algorithm standard developed for use in federal government computer systems and networks. On January 28, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Cory Booker of New Jersey, along with eight of their Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives – Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, Ted Lieu of California, Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, Bill Foster of Illinois, Suzan DelBene of Washington, Yvette Clarke of New York, and Anna Eshoo of California – sent a letter to NSA director General Paul Nakasone requesting information on the forced introduction by NSA of the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm into the products of Juniper Networks that permitted a massive breach of its customers’ systems in 2015, five years before a similar breach occurred with the products of SolarWinds, another vendor reliant on the same NSA-manipulated encryption algorithm.

The gist of the Congressional inquiry into the role NSA may have played in manipulating the U.S. civilian government technical standards development and approval process is not the first time the legislative branch of government has smelled a rat when it comes to NSA inserting “Trojan horses” into standards developed for civilian government and commercial use. In the case of Dual_EC_DRBG, NSA’s zeal in providing itself with a hidden back door to spy on targeted computers and networks relying on the NIST standard may have boomeranged. Back doors of any nature in information technology products is a hack waiting to happen. There is also a suggestion that the U.S. Intelligence Community’s haste in blaming “Russian,” “Chinese,” “North Korean,” “Iranian,” and other hackers for the SolarWinds breach was to cover its own tracks in pushing for widespread use of an encryption standard for which it had implanted a serious security design flaw.

In their letter to Nakasone, the Senators and Representatives wrote, “The American people have a right to know why NSA did not act after the Juniper hack to protect the government from the serious threat posed by supply chain hacks. A similar supply chain hack was used in the recent SolarWinds breach, in which several government agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury, were infected with malware contained in the updates to SolarWinds software that permitted access by hackers.

A problem in the U.S. government’s supply chain suggests that traditional configuration management controls were abandoned by NIST and NSA, as well as federal agency end-users when it came to approving the contracts with Juniper and SolarWinds for their services.

The history of NSA and civilian and commercial encryption standards is replete with examples of what is the subject of the current congressional probe into the Juniper Networks and SolarWinds events. In the 1990s, the NSA, with the backing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), pushed for a backdoor in an encryption micro-circuit developed by NSA engineers. Marketed as the “Clipper Chip,” the backdoor technology that foresaw law enforcement holding, in escrow, the decryption mechanism immediately came under attack by privacy and civil liberties advocates, as well as major high-tech computer and telecommunications companies, including AT&T, Microsoft, and Apple. The Clipper Chip backdoor technology was developed in concert with a military contractor, Mykotronx.

Civilian government and commercial users of the 56-bit Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithm, developed by IBM and issued as a federal standard in 1977 by the National Bureau of Standards, the forerunner of NIST, were content with its security and performance. It would later be discovered that an original 128-bit DES algorithm developed by IBM was scaled back to 56-bits under pressure from NSA. At the time, the code-breaking ability of NSA to crack a 128-bit DES would have taxed other code-breaking priorities, for example those employed against Soviet, Chinese, Israeli, and French diplomatic and military encryption codes. NSA believed it had mastered breaking international diplomatic, military, banking, and industrial encryption ever since it was able to install backdoor decryption capabilities in many Western commercial encryption products, including the Hagelin cipher machines that were produced by Crypto AG of Switzerland. Advances in encryption technology forced NSA to become more aggressive in its demand for a backdoor advantage in cracking encryption products, including the 250-bit RSA algorithm for commercial end-users and the freeware encryption product “Pretty Good Privacy” (PGP).

The Senate-House letter to NSA contains a paragraph that provides some insight into the NSA Dual_EC_DRBG Trojan horse algorithm that was implanted in Juniper Network’s products. That paragraph states, “Sometime between 2008 and 2009, Juniper added the algorithm to several of its products. Juniper made this change secretly, which it kept from the public until 2013. In response to a recent congressional investigation, the company confirmed that it added support for the algorithm ‘at the request of a customer,’ but refused to identify that customer or even confirm whether that customer was a U.S. government agency. According to Juniper, no one involved in the decision to use this algorithm still works for the company.” Based on NSA’s similar efforts in the past, two facts can be ascertained. The “customer” that made the request was, in fact, NSA, and the company employees involved in the decision to use the algorithm were temporary employees provided by NSA.

The FBI also saw sophisticated encryption systems in the hands of the public to be an impediment to its longstanding access to communications systems, with or without a court order. For many years, the FBI enjoyed unhindered access to Washington, DC’s analog phone system from its own remote access wiretapping room located in the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, now the Trump International Hotel.

With the current congressional inquiry into NSA blaming various state actors for the Juniper/Solar Winds hacking, it appears that we have come full circle. Some thirty years ago, the NSA back door in question was the Clipper Chip. Today, it is Dual_EC_DRBG. In the early 1990s, the chief critic of NSA’S actions was Democratic Representative Jack Brooks of Texas, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and a cigar-chomping protégé of House Speaker Sam Rayburn and President Lyndon Johnson. NSA was able to withstand the heat placed on it by the likes of Brooks. They obviously believe they will be able to obfuscate on the encryption backdoor issue with Wyden, Booker, and the Democratic House members.

There is every likelihood that the “damaging” hacks from unnamed actors abroad into U.S. federal, state, and local government networks and computer systems, as well as those in the private sector, have been carried out by U.S. Cyber Command personnel testing their backdoor Trojan horse capabilities. For every well-publicized hacker attack blamed on foreign players, the NSA and Cyber Command enjoy huge boosts in their operating budgets. Victims of hacking attacks also bear responsibility for their dilemmas. The rush to outsource computing capabilities and data storage to “cloud” operations brings about inherent security vulnerabilities. Those who began worrying about computer security risks in the late 1960s, including those working for the Central Intelligence Agency, would have gone ballistic if they lived long enough to see the CIA outsource its cloud computing requirements to Amazon.

So, who is ultimately at fault for the succession of major hacking events in the United States? The quote from Cassius in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” is germane, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”



Wayne MADSEN Investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Clu

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation

Is Soros trying to stir problems in Thailand?

 

There is more to Thai activist Jatupat’s infamous Facebook post than meets the eye, geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci told Sputnik, adding that Jatupat belongs to a Western-backed group of “student activists” engaged in undermining the Thai government. Cartalucci noted that the group’s activities can be traced back to Soros’s Open Society
Jatupat Boonpattararaksa’s arrest in north-eastern Thailand has caused quite a stir in the Western media with headlines reading “Thai activist arrested for sharing king’s profile on Facebook” or “Student arrested in Thailand for Facebook post about new king.”

The post in question was shared by Jatupat following Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn taking the throne on December, 1. The link led to a BBC Thai story claiming to be the new monarch’s biography. The story was found insulting and the student was charged with lèse-majesté under Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code. The Article 112 makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent, or regent. Those who violate the law face a sentence of three to fifteen years of imprisonment. Still, on Monday The Bangkok Post reported that Jatupat was temporarily released on bail to pass his final exam in the Khaon Kaen University. “Mr. Jatupat’s legal team submitted a petition seeking his temporary release on the grounds that Mr. Jatupat was a suspect in four political cases and never posed a flight risk,” the media outlet said.

Sputnik shed light on the controversial episode on December 3, citing statements issued by the Dao Din youth activist group and a Thailand-based human rights NGO, iLawFX.

However, it appears that the problem requires a more scrupulous analysis. In his interview with Sputnik Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci revealed that there is more to the situation than meets the eye. “Jatupat Boonpattararaksa belongs to a group of ‘student activists’ supported by the US-EU governments and engaged in undermining both the current government of Thailand and the nation’s monarchy. There are literally photos on this group’s Facebook page of them attending events at the US Embassy and posing with European envoys,” Cartalucci told Sputnik. “This follows a 2014 coup which saw a US-backed client regime headed by Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra ousted from power,” the geopolitical analyst underscored. “The US has invested years and billions of dollars building up the Shinawatra government and a myriad of NGOs to support them and their political networks. This is not unlike what was done in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and even in Russia itself ahead of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and other bouts of ‘color revolution.’ The coup narrowly averted Thailand becoming the next Ukraine,” he stressed.

The geopolitical analyst called attention to the fact that among those who raised the alarm following Jatupat’s arrest was iLaw “which is funded by not only the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), but also George Soros’ Open Society — again — the very same organizations underwriting political instability and even violence across the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and even within Russia itself.”

Indeed, the iLaw official website says that “between 2015 to present” the organization receives funding from: the Open Society Foundation, Heinrich Boll Stiftung, National Endowment for Democracy, Fund for Global Human Rights, American Jewish World Service and “one-time support donation from Google and other independent donors.” “A good question to ask ‘activists’ like Jatupat who predicate their activities upon human rights advocacy is, where were they in 2013-2014 when protesters called for Shinawatra’s government to step down, and violence was used against them almost daily in an attempt to disperse them? Over 20 people died, hundreds were wounded. Where were Jatupat and his ‘New Democracy Movement’ condemning the violence?” Cartalucci asked.

“They were silent because they are politically motivated agitators simply hiding behind human rights and democracy advocacy to advance their and their sponsors’ agenda, not actually standing up for rights or democracy,” the geopolitical analyst told Sputnik.
Andrew Korybko, a political analyst, journalist and a regular contributor to several online journals, highlighted Thailand’s geopolitical significance in his analytical report for OrientalReview.org.

The political analyst shed light on Thailand’s history as well as a string of Western-backed “color revolutions” which he characterized as part of the West’s “hybrid war” in the Asia Pacific region. Korybko emphasized that Washington is deeply dissatisfied with the new Thai ruling clan and not because it “violates” human rights: the Thai elite which took power back in 2014 has enacted “a geopolitical reorientation towards China precisely at the time when the US is throwing much of its resources behind the ‘Pivot to Asia’ and building the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC).” “Thailand is the most crucial country in mainland ASEAN’s current geopolitical framework, bringing together the infrastructural interests of China, India, and Japan, and also being a sizzling political battleground between the US and China,” Korybko stressed.

Originally published by SPUTNIK: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201612071048287853-thailand-facebook-jatupat/


Leaked Memo: Is Soros Planning ‘Series of Color Revolutions’ in Southeast Asia?

Wikileaks’ Podesta Files shed light on US billionaire George Soros’ deep concerns about the lack of “freedom” and “constitutional democracy” in Malaysia under Najib Razak. Soros’ concerns may serve as a prelude for a series of “color revolutions” in Southeast Asia, Mathew Maavak of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia assumed in an interview with Sputnik.

The latest set of documents released by Wikileaks indicates that George Soros and his Open Society Foundation are very concerned about the situation in Malaysia, one of the US’ longstanding allies in Southeast Asia. A memo, sent by Michael Vachon, US billionaire George Soros’ “right hand,” on March 6, 2016, to Chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign John Podesta shed light on the Malaysian “corruption crisis” and blamed the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak for “damaging the US’ credibility in the region.” “Malaysia could one day be a good ally of the United States in countering Islamic State [Daesh in Arabic] extremism, but not before it has achieved the freedom and constitutional democracy that its people have been denied,” the memo read. However, it seems that the US financial and political elite have yet another reason to be dissatisfied with the Malaysian prime minister, besides his alleged involvement in corruption scandal. “Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak heads to China next week to build closer ties and seek investment, which may further dent US aims in Southeast Asia after a push by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to bolster China ties,” Reuters reported Thursday.

Both Malaysia and the Philippines have long been in dispute with China over the South China Sea. However, Kuala Lumpur may follow in the footsteps of Manila, seeking to ease tensions with Beijing in exchange for economic benefits, the media outlet assumed.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201610281046843489-soros-wikileaks-malaysia-leak/

 

Shadow Government: WikiLeaks Exposes George Soros Controlling Clinton

The extraordianary discovery brings to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s quote regarding the shadow government:

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”— Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.

Soros has long been accused of being a puppet master manipulating world affairs and markets for his own benefit, however this is the first time forensic evidence of him issuing orders to a senior government figure to meddle in the affairs of a sovereign state has been exposed.

Considering Soros has also been exposed giving tens of millions of dollars to Clinton, and has now been caught issuing orders to her, the question of whether a vote for Clinton is a vote for Soros and his agenda is a legitimate one.

The email can be viewed in full here.

Seth Rich murder: The facts so far

I’m not going to take a position on the motive for Mr Rich’s killing, or possible suspects. But I do want to point out the general level of media silence. Take these facts and change the names – imagine Trump’s email had been hacked, and then a staffer with possible ties to wikileaks was inexplicably shot dead. Imagine this poor young man had been a Kremlin whistleblower, or a Chinese hacker, or an Iranian blogger.

If this, as yet unsolved, murder had ties to anyone other than Hillary Clinton, would it be being so ritually and rigourously ignored by the MSM?

The BND, CIA and Kosovo’s Deep State

 

It is all part of Anglo-American tradition through centuries – drugs, lies and genocides and all of that for a “good cause”. 

The only question is: When will the rest of the world unite and pluck the “Five Eyes”? 


By Tom Burghardt (Antifascist Calling)
When three officers of Germany’s foreign intelligence service the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), were arrested in Pristina November 19, it exposed that country’s extensive covert operations in the heart of the Balkans.

On November 14, a bomb planted at the office of the European Union Special Representative was detonated in downtown Pristina. While damage was light and there were no injuries, U.N. “peacekeepers” detained one of the BND officers hours after the blast when he was observed taking photos of the damaged building. Two of his colleagues waited in a car and acted as lookouts. The officer named these two colleagues as witnesses that he was in his office at the time of the attack.

That office, identified by the press as the “private security firm” Logistics-Coordination & Assessment Service or LCAS, in reality was a front company for BND operations. Its premises were searched three days later and the trio were subsequently arrested and accused by Kosovan authorities of responsibility for bombing the EU building. As a result of the arrests, the BND was forced to admit the real identities of their agents and the true nature of LCAS.

A scandal erupted leading to a diplomatic row between Berlin and Pristina. The German government labeled the accusations “absurd” and threatened a cut-off of funds to the Kosovo government. A circus atmosphere prevailed as photos of the trio were shown on Kosovan TV and splashed across the front pages of the press. Rumors and dark tales abounded, based on leaks believed by observers to have emanated from the office of Kosovo’s Prime Minister, the “former” warlord Hashim Thaci, nominal leader of the statelet’s organized crime-tainted government.

When seized by authorities one of the BND officers, Andreas J., demonstrated very poor tradecraft indeed. Among the items recovered by police, the operative’s passport along with a notebook containing confidential and highly incriminating information on the situation in Kosovo were examined. According to media reports, the notebook contained the names of well-placed BND informants in the Prime Minister’s entourage. According to this reading, the arrests were an act of revenge by Thaci meant to embarrass the German government.

But things aren’t always as they seem.

On November 29, the trio–Robert Z., Andreas J. and Andreas D.–departed Kosovo on a special flight bound for Berlin where they “will face a committee of German parliamentarians who have taken an interest in their case,” according to an account in Spiegel Online.

More curious than a violent attack on the streets of Pristina, a city wracked by gangland killings, car hijackings, kidnappings and assaults is the provenance of the bomb itself. In other words, why would German intelligence agents attack their own? But before attempting to answer this question, a grim backstory to the affair rears its ugly head.
An Agency Mired in Scandal

This latest scandal comes as yet another blow to the BND considering August’s revelations by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks that Germany’s external intelligence agency had extensively spied on journalists. Like their counterparts at the CIA, the BND is forbidden by law from carrying out domestic operations.

According to Wikileaks documents, journalists working for Focus Magazine and Der Spiegel were collaborators in a scheme by the agency to learn their sources as well as obtaining information on left-wing politicians, including Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) leaders Gregor Gysi and Andreas Lederer.

Indeed Focus Magazine journalist Josef Hufelschulte, code name ‘Jerez, wrote articles based on reports provided by the BND “intended to produce favorable coverage.” Wikileaks correspondent Daniel Schmitt and investigations editor Julian Assange comment that, “The document in general shows the extent to which the collaboration of journalists with intelligence agencies has become common and to what dimensions consent is manufactured in the interests of those involved.”

In November, Wikileaks published a subsequent document obtained from the telecommunications giant T-Systems. In addition to revealing two dozen secret IP addresses used by the BND for surveillance operations, the document provides “Evidence of a secret out of control BND robot scanning selected web-sites. In 2006 system administrators had to ban the “BVOE” IP addresses to prevent servers from being destroyed.” Additionally, Wikileaks revealed the “activity on a Berlin prostitution service website–evidence that intelligence seductions, the famed cold-war ‘honeytrap’, is alive and well?”

While the document does not spell out who was running the sex-for-hire website, one can’t help but wonder whether Balkan-linked organized crime syndicates, including Kosovan and Albanian sex traffickers are working in tandem with the BND in return for that agency turning a blind eye to the sordid trade in kidnapped women.

Kosovo: A European Narco State

When Kosovo proclaimed its “independence” in February, the Western media hailed the provocative dismemberment of Serbia, a move that completed the destruction of Yugoslavia by the United States, the European Union and NATO, as an exemplary means to bring “peace and stability” to the region.

If by “peace” one means impunity for rampaging crime syndicates or by “stability,” the freedom of action with no questions asked by U.S. and NATO military and intelligence agencies, not to mention economic looting on a grand scale by freewheeling multinational corporations, then Kosovo has it all!

From its inception, the breakaway Serb province has served as a militarized outpost for Western capitalist powers intent on spreading their tentacles East, encircling Russia and penetrating the former spheres of influence of the ex-Soviet Union. As a template for contemporary CIA destabilization operations in Georgia and Ukraine, prospective EU members and NATO “partners,” Kosovo should serve as a warning for those foolish enough to believe American clichs about “freedom” or the dubious benefits of “globalization.”

Camp Bondsteel, located on rolling hills and farmland near the city of Ferizaj/Urosevac,is the largest U.S. military installation on the European continent. Visible from space, in addition to serving as an NSA listening post pointed at Russia and as the CIA’s operational hub in the Balkans and beyond, some observers believe that Andreas J.’s notebook may have contained information that Camp Bondsteel continues to serve as a CIA “black site.” One motive for rolling up the BND intelligence operation may have been U.S. fears that this toxic information would become public, putting paid U.S. claims that it no longer kidnaps and tortures suspected “terrorists.”

When NATO partners Germany and the U.S. decided to drive a stake through Yugoslavia’s heart in the early 1990s during the heady days of post-Cold War triumphalism, their geopolitical strategy could not have achieved “success” without the connivance, indeed active partnership amongst Yugoslavia’s nationalist rivals. As investigative journalist Misha Glenny documented,

Most shocking of all, however, is how the gangsters and politicians fueling war between their peoples were in private cooperating as friends and close business partners. The Croat, Bosnian, Albanian, Macedonian, and Serb moneymen and mobsters were truly thick as thieves. They bought, sold, and exchanged all manner of commodities, knowing that the high levels of personal trust between them were much stronger than the transitory bonds of hysterical nationalism. They fomented this ideology among ordinary folk in essence to mask their own venality. As one commentator described it, the new republics were ruled by “a parastate Cartel which had emerged from political institutions, the ruling Communist Party and its satellites, the military, a variety of police forces, the Mafia, court intellectuals and with the president of the Republic at the center of the spider web…Tribal nationalism was indispensable for the cartel as a means to pacify its subordinates and as a cover for the uninterrupted privatization of the state apparatus. (McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p. 27)

Glenny’s description of the 1990s convergence of political, economic and security elites with organized crime syndicates in Western intelligence operations is the quintessential definition of the capitalist deep state.

In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott describes how the deep state can be characterized by “the symbiosis between governments (and in particular their intelligence agencies) and criminal associations, particularly drug traffickers, in the stabilization of right-wing terror in Vietnam, Italy, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and other parts of the world.” Indeed, “revelations in the 1970s and 1980s about the ‘strategy of tension,’ whereby government intelligence agencies, working in international conjunction, strengthened the case for their survival by actually fomenting violence, recurringly in alliance with drug-trafficking elements.”

Scott’s analysis is perhaps even more relevant today as “failed states” such as Kosovo, characterized by economic looting on an industrial scale, the absence of the rule of law, reliance on far-right terrorists (of both the “religious” and “secular” varieties) to achieve policy goals, organized crime syndicates, as both assets and executors of Western policy, and comprador elites are Washington’s preferred international partners.

For the ruling elites of the former Yugoslavia and their Western allies, Kosovo is a veritable goldmine. Situated in the heart of the Balkans, Kosovo’s government is deeply tied to organized crime structures: narcotrafficking, arms smuggling, car theft rings and human trafficking that feeds the sex slave “industry.” These operations are intimately linked to American destabilization campaigns and their cosy ties to on-again, off-again intelligence assets that include al-Qaeda and other far-right terror gangs. As investigative journalist Peter Klebnikov documented in 2000,

The Kosovar traffickers ship heroin exclusively from Asia’s Golden Crescent. It’s an apparently inexhaustible source. At one end of the crescent lies Afghanistan, which in 1999 surpassed Burma as the world’s largest producer of opium poppies. From there, the heroin base passes through Iran to Turkey, where it is refined, and then into the hands of the 15 Families, which operate out of the lawless border towns linking Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia. Not surprisingly, the KLA has also flourished there. According to the State Department, four to six tons of heroin move through Turkey every month. “Not very much is stopped,” says one official. “We get just a fraction of the total.” (“Heroin Heroes,” Mother Jones, January-February 2000)

Not much has changed since then. Indeed, the CIA’s intelligence model for covert destabilization operations is a continuing formula for “success.” Beginning in the 1940s, when the Corsican Mafia was pegged by the Agency to smash the French Communist Party, down to today’s bloody headlines coming out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, global drug lords and intelligence operators go hand in hand. It is hardly surprising then, that according to a report by the Berlin Institute for European Policy, organized crime is the only profitable sector of the Kosovan economy. Nearly a quarter of the country’s economic output, some <82>550 million, is derived from criminal activities.

Though the role of the United States and their NATO partners are central to the drama unfolding today, the BND affair also reveals that beneath the carefully-constructed faade of Western “unity” in “Freedom Land,” deep inter-imperialist rivalries simmer. As the socialist journalist Peter Schwarz reports,

Speculation has since been rife about the background to the case, but it is doubtful whether it will ever be clarified. Kosovo is a jungle of rival secret services. In this regard, it resembles Berlin before the fall of the Wall. The US, Germany, Britain, Italy and France all have considerable intelligence operations in the country, which work both with and against one another. Moreover, in this country of just 2.1 million inhabitants, some 15,000 NATO soldiers and 1,500 UN police officers are stationed, as well as 400 judges, police officers and security officers belonging to the UN’s EULEX mission. (Peter Schwarz, “Kosovo’s Dirty Secret: The Background to Germany’s Secret Service Affair,” World Socialist Web Site, December 1, 2008)

Into this jungle of conflicting loyalties and interests, international crime syndicates in close proximity–and fleeting alliance–with this or that security service rule the roost. It is all the more ironic that the Thaci government has targeted the BND considering, as Balkan analyst Christopher Deliso revealed:

In 1996, Germany’s BND established a major station in Tirana…and another in Rome to select and train future KLA fighters. According to Le Monde Diplomatique, “special forces in Berlin provided the operational training and supplied arms and transmission equipment from ex-East German Stasi stocks as well as Black uniforms.” The Italian headquarters recruited Albanian immigrants passing through ports such as Brindisi and Trieste, while German military intelligence, the Militaramschirmdienst, and the Kommando Spezialkrfte Special Forces (KSK), offered military training and provisions to the KLA in the remote Mirdita Mountains of northern Albania controlled by the deposed president, Sali Berisha. (The Coming Balkan Caliphate, Westport: Praeger Security International, 2007, p. 37)

But as Schwarz observed, why would the Thaci government risk alienating the German state, given the fact that after the U.S., Germany “is the second largest financial backer of Kosovo and ranks among the most important advocates of its independence.” Why indeed?

According to Balkan Analysis, the International Crisis Group (ICG) funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) and closely aligned with “liberal interventionists” in the United States, were instrumental in arguing that the United States and Germany, should guarantee “future stability,” by building up the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK), the KLA’s successor organization, into a well-equipped army. Towards this end, the U.S. and Germany, in addition to arming the organized crime-linked statelet, have provided funds and equipment for a sophisticated military communications center in the capital.

Speculation is rife and conflicting accounts proliferate like mushrooms after a warm rain. One theory has it that senior Kosovan politicians were angered by BND criticisms linking KLA functionaries, including personal associates of Thaci and the Prime Minister himself, with organized crime. Tellingly, Schwarz reports, this “is contrary to the position taken by the CIA.”

Is the affair then, merely a falling-out among thieves on how the spoils will be divided?

The CIA: Drugs & Thugs International

As noted above, U.S. destabilization programs and covert operations rely on far-flung networks of far-right provocateurs and drug lords (often interchangeable players) to facilitate the dirty work for U.S. policy elites and American multinational corporations. Throughout its Balkan adventure the CIA made liberal use of these preexisting narcotics networks to arm the KLA and provide them with targets. In their public pronouncements and analyses however, nary a harsh word is spoken.

According to the CIA, by any standard Kosovo’s economy is a disaster, but that doesn’t prevent the Agency from seeing “significant progress”!

Over the past few years Kosovo’s economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora–located mainly in Germany and Switzerland–account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo’s citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1800–about one-third the level of neighboring Albania. Unemployment–at more than 40% of the population–is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. (Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, November 20, 2008)

Needless to say, one unmentionable “fact” disappeared from the CIA’s country profile is the statelet’s overwhelming dependence on the black economy. I suppose this is what the Agency means when it lauds Kosovo’s transition to a “market-based system”!But as former DEA investigator and whistleblower Michael Levine, author of The Big White Lie, told B92, one of the wings of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was “linked with every known narco-cartel in the Middle East and the Far East”, and that almost every European intelligence service and police has files on “connections between ethnic Albanian rebels and drug trafficking”. And dare I say by extension, the CIA itself.

One bone of contention which could have led Thaci and his henchmen to seek revenge against his erstwhile German allies was a 67-page BND analysis about organized crime in Kosovo. As Schwarz noted the dossier, produced in February 2005 and subsequently leaked to the press, “accuses Ramush Haradinaj (head of government from December 2004 to March 2005), Hashim Thaci (prime minister since January 2008) and Xhavit Haliti, who sits in the parliament presidium, of being deeply implicated in the drugs trade.”

According to the BND report, “Regarding the key players (e.g., Haliti, Thaci, Haradinaj), there exists the closest ties between politics, business and internationally operating OC [organized crime] structures in Kosovo. The criminal networks behind this are encouraging political instability. They have no interest in building a functioning state, which could impair their flourishing trade.” (WSWS, op. cit.)

Haradinaj, an American protegee, became Prime Minister in 2004. However, he was forced to resign his post in March 2005 when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted him for crimes against humanity. Among other things, Haradinaj was accused of abducting civilians, unlawful detention, torture, murder and rape. Schwarz notes he was acquitted in April 2008 “for lack of evidence, after nine out of ten prosecution witnesses died violently and the tenth withdrew his statement after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt.” Talk about friends in high places!

Mirroring evidence uncovered by journalists and investigators regarding the control of the drugs trade by 15 Albanian crime families, the Berlin Institute for European Policy laid similar charges against Thaci, stating that real power in Kosovo is wielded by 15 to 20 family clans who control “almost all substantial key social positions” and are “closely linked to prominent political decision makers.”

According to Spiegel, when the BND operation was run to ground with the possible connivance of the CIA, its secret network of informants, instrumental to gaining insight into the interconnections amongst state actors and organized crime were compromised. The BND’s Department Five, responsible for organized crime wrote a confidential report linking Thaci as “a key figure in a Kosovar-Albanian mafia network.”

Department Two, according to Spiegel, was responsible for telecommunications surveillance. In 1999, the BND launched operation “Mofa99,” a wiretap intercept program that targeted high-ranking members of the KLA–and exposed their links to dodgy criminal syndicates and Islamist allies, al-Qaeda. The program was so successful according to Spiegel that since then, “the BND has maintained an extensive network of informants among high-ranking functionaries of the KLA and the Kosovar administration.”

Functionaries in possession of many dangerous secrets and inconvenient truths!

As researcher and analyst Michel Chossudovsky wrote back in 2001, among the “inconvenient truths” unexplored by Western media is the close proximity of far-right Islamist terror gangs and planetary U.S. destabilization operations.

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest has become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress has revealed how the US administration–under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake–had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment through the so-called “Militant Islamic Network,” of thousands of Mujahedin from the Muslim world.

The “Bosnian pattern” has since been replicated in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia. Among the foreign mercenaries now fighting with the KLA-NLA are Mujahedin from the Middle East and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union as well as “soldiers of fortune” from several NATO countries including Britain, Holland and Germany. Some of these Western mercenaries had previously fought with the KLA and the Bosnian Muslim Army. (Michel Chossudovsky, “Washington Behind Terrorist Assaults in Macedonia,” Global Research, September 10, 2001)

ast forward seven years and one can hypothesize that the BND, stepping on the CIA’s toes and that agency’s cosy intelligence “understanding” with Mafia-linked KLA fighters and al-Qaeda assets, would have every reason to sabotage the BND’s organized crime operations–not that the German military intelligence service’s hands are any cleaner!

While we may never know all the facts surrounding this curious affair, one thing is certain: the role played by powerful Mafia gangs as a source for black funds, intelligence assets and CIA “agents of influence” will continue. Administrations come and go, but like motherhood and apple pie the shadowy workings of America’s deep state is an eternal verity you can count on!
First appeared in Antifascist Calling. Thanks to Tom Burghardt and Antifascist Calling for covering this document. Copyright remains with the aforementioned. Contact antifascist-calling.blogspot.com for reprint rights.