Posts Tagged ‘Russia’
[Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Moscow on Dec. 13, 2011]
The political clan system that Russian leader Vladimir Putin spent a decade building has fallen apart. Amid the disarray, Chechnya has been left without a manager in the Kremlin. Vladislav Surkov — himself half-Chechen — had served as Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s handler, but Surkov has been demoted and Kadyrov has indicated that he could step down as president. This jeopardizes Chechnya’s stability at an inconvenient time for Putin, who will have to work with numerous political players to maintain calm in the historically restive region.
With the Kremlin’s internal political system in disarray, many important Russian projects are being reassessed. No strong Kremlin figure, however, has been placed in charge of handling the volatile region of Chechnya. This puts pressure on the political and social stability of a previously war-torn region — and places its security situation in doubt — at a time when the Kremlin has other problems to address.
February 22, 2012
China has denied details from a South Korean media report over development projects in North Korea’s Rajin-Sonbong Special Economic Zone, also known as the Rason Special Economic Zone. Beijing has long been involved in the region and has admitted that it is co-developing Rason with Pyongyang. While the details are unclear, China has reason to invest in Rason — the port could help alleviate some of China’s logistical problems. North Korea is eager to accept the investment because economic uncertainty during a time of transition could be catastrophic for the new regime.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied allegations made in a Feb. 16 South Korean media report regarding its agreement with North Korea to jointly develop the Rajin-Sonbong Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a port area in northeast North Korea commonly referred to as the Rason Special Economic Zone.
According to the Yonhap news agency, Beijing agreed in late 2011 to invest about 19 billion yuan ($3 billion) into Rason, for which it would receive the lease of three piers for 50 years. Under the agreement, Beijing would also build an airfield, a thermal power plant and a 55-kilometer (34-mile) railway track connecting Rason to Tumen, China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that the specific details of the report are untrue and that China and North Korea had agreed only in principle to develop the zone.
China has long exerted its economic influence in North Korea and has an interest in the strategically important Rason Special Economic Zone. Chinese involvement in Rason dates back to the 1990s, though Beijing increased its involvement considerably in 2005 when it secured the rights to one of the port’s piers. Beijing has been particularly involved over the past few years. While the details of the deal remain unknown, it is clear that Beijing has arranged to help Pyongyang develop Rason, possibly by connecting the remote port to northwest China. Such a development would revitalize the zone — to the benefit of both countries.
Importance of Rason
Rason’s importance to China cannot be understated. An ice-free port located 500 nautical miles (approximately 925 kilometers) from Japan’s Niigata port, Rason provides China’s northeastern provinces access to the Sea of Japan, from which goods can be moved more effectively into and out of northern China than from ports farther south on China’s east coast. In 2011, China moved 80,000 metric tons of coal through the facility in five shipments from January to September.
~the Russians are wise!!!…cars/trucks make for a better shield than human bodies loll~jude
MOSCOW | Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:32pm EST
(Reuters) – Critics of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin drove in their hundreds around central Moscow on Sunday in cars trailing white ribbons, a symbol of Russia’s protest movement, staging a mobile demonstration to demand fair elections.
Opposition leaders are trying to maintain momentum after tens of thousands of people angry over alleged election fraud and Putin’s plan to return to the Kremlin in a March vote turned out last month for the biggest protests of his 12-year rule.
“This has an important symbolic meaning. We have arrived at the stage when we don’t want to be vassals any more,” said opposition activist Ilya Ponomaryov, who picked up hitchhikers with white ribbons in his purple sedan.
Organizers said the demonstration also aimed to advertise protest marches planned for next Saturday, exactly one month before the March 4 presidential election.
“We want to show our unity. This is very visible. This is preparatory work for February 4, when there will be even more people than on Sakharov Avenue,” Ponomaryov said, referring to the site of a December 24 rally that drew tens of thousands.
Polls indicated Putin will regain the presidency, extending his rule for at least six more years. He was president from 2000-2008 and is widely believed to have been holding Russia’s reins for his protégé, President Dmitry Medvedev.
Some drivers resorted to white construction tape, printer paper, grocery bags and even white lace as they cruised around Moscow’s Garden Ring road. Organizers said more than 3,000 motorists took part, while police put the number at about 300.
In the minus 15 C (5 F) chill, many pedestrians applauded or waved white handkerchiefs from the sidewalks in solidarity. One vehicle had a life-sized straw figure with a picture of Putin’s face strapped to its hood.
Cars are a strong symbol not only of status but of personal freedom in Russia and the right to choice in a country where even ownership of a tiny Soviet-made Lada was a luxury in the communist era and foreign cars were virtually non-existent.
The protests, provoked by widespread suspicions of fraud favouring Putin’s ruling party in a December 4 parliamentary election, have revealed dismay among Russians.
Middle-class city dwellers in particular feel they have no say in politics and that Putin’s decision to return to the Kremlin was thrust upon them.
“We have to fight for our rights… We have to show our strength so that maybe people will see us and come to the February 4th protest,” said Nadezhda, 26, who works for a state TV station. Nadezhda, who declined to give her last name, said her station had told employees not to take part in Sunday’s protest.
“I feel cheated by the vote,” Yevgeny Starshov, 23, a student at a state school of public administration, said of the parliamentary election.
“We have to do something to change the country for the better, not through riots or some kind of revolution but through such peaceful demonstrations to fight for more fair elections.”
Thousands of Putin’s supporters rallied on Saturday in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, to back his election bid.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by David Stamp)
Vladivostok takes part in a rally Saturday to protest what demonstrators say are violations in the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections. [An opposition activist]
MOSCOW—Tens of thousands took to the streets in cities across Russia on Saturday to protest alleged vote-rigging in what observers said were the largest antigovernment demonstrations in at least a decade.
The huge display of popular anger raised the pressure on the Kremlin, which has so far dismissed the postelection discontent as instigated by the U.S. to undermine the Kremlin.?? But there was no sign that the authorities were willing to even consider opponents’ demands for new elections or a full recount of the disputed Dec. 4 parliamentary vote.
Opposition leaders vowed to keep up the pressure with more demonstrations in a bid to disrupt Mr. Putin’s chances in March presidential elections, when he was planning to secure a six-year term in office.
One opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov wrote in Twitter late Saturday that “We will gather millions” at demonstrations planned for Dec. 17, 18 and 24. “Putin has no choice—in March everyone will see that the king has no clothes.”
The authorities did soften their approach to the protesters somewhat Saturday by giving permits for many of the demonstrations. In Moscow, tens of thousands gathered on Bolotnaya Square across the river from the Kremlin. With 17,000 police standing guard, the three-hour event went off peacefully, in contrast to protests earlier in the week that had ended in hundreds of detentions by police.
“We are here today because we are sick of lies,” said Konstantin Pekhotin, a 20-year-old student. “Yes, consider us gathering here a signal to the authorities,” his friend Andrei Ryabtsev, studying to be a customs officer, chimed in.
~good job seeker401…they have already pulled the article!!!
A cyber strike launched from outside the United States hit a public water system in the Midwestern state of Illinois, an infrastructure control systems expert said on Friday.
“This is arguably the first case where we have had a hack of critical infrastructure from outside the United States that caused damage,” Applied Control Solutions managing partner Joseph Weiss told AFP.
“That is what is so big about this,” he continued. “They could have done anything because they had access to the master station.”
The Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center disclosed the cyber assault on a public water facility outside the city of Springfield last week but attackers gained access to the system months earlier, Weiss said.
The network breach was exposed after cyber intruders burned out a pump.
“No one realized the hackers were in there until they started turning on and off the pump,” according to Weiss.
The attack was reportedly traced to a computer in Russia and took advantage of account passwords stolen during a hack of a US company that makes Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software.
There are about a dozen or so firms that make SCADA software, which is used around the world to control machines in industrial facilities ranging from factories and oil rigs to nuclear power and sewage plants.
Stealing passwords and account names from a SCADA software company was, in essence, swiping keys to networks of facilities using the programs to control operations.
“We don’t know how many other SCADA systems have been compromised because they don’t really have cyber forensics,” said Weiss, who is based in California.
The US Department of Homeland Security has downplayed the Illinois cyber attack in public reports, stating that it had seen no evidence indicating a threat to public safety but was investigating the situation.
Word also circulated on Friday that a water supply network in Texas might have been breached in a cyber attack, according to McAfee Labs security research director David Marcus.
“My gut tells me that there is greater targeting and wider compromise than we know about,” Marcus said in a blog post.
“Does this mean that I think it is cyber-Armageddon time?” Marcus continued. “No, but it is certainly prudent to evaluate our systems and ask some questions.”
did this get much media time?
“”They could have done anything because they had access to the master station.”
and traced to russia..of course..wonder if they have heard of proxys..just becuase its traced to russia doesnt mean it came from there..
Federal investigators are looking into a report that hackers managed to remotely shut down a utility’s water pump in central Illinois last week, in what could be the first known foreign cyber attack on an industrial system on U.S. soil.
The Nov. 8 incident was described in a one-page report from the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, according to Joe Weiss, a prominent expert on protecting infrastructure from cyber attacks.
State police investigators believe the hackers broke into the water utility’s network by using credentials stolen from an undisclosed U.S. company that produces software to control industrial systems, said Weiss, who read excerpts from the report to Reuters over the phone.
“An information technology services and computer repair company checked the computer logs of the system and determined the computer had been hacked into from a computer located in Russia,” Weiss said, quoting the report.
Illinois State police spokeswoman Monique Bond declined to comment.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are examining the matter, said DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard.
“At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety,” he said, declining to elaborate further.
Several media reports identified the location of the attack as Springfield, the Illinois state capital. City officials said that was inaccurate but would not say where the water pump was located. The FBI spokesman handling the matter could not be reached.
Quoting from the one-page report, Weiss said it was not yet clear whether other networks had been hacked as a result of the breach at the U.S. software maker.
He said the manufacturer of that software keeps login credentials to the networks of its customers so that its staff can help them support those systems.
Workers at the targeted utility in central Illinois on Nov. 8 noticed problems with the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA), which manages the water supply system, and discovered that a water pump had been damaged, said Weiss, managing partner of Applied Control Solutions in Cupertino, California.
“It is unknown at this time the number of SCADA user names and passwords acquired from the software company’s database and if any other additional SCADA systems have been attacked as a result of this theft,” Weiss cited the report as saying.
Military action against Iran would be a “very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences”, Russia’s foreign minister has warned.
Sergei Lavrov said diplomacy, not missile strikes, was the only way to solve the Iranian nuclear problem.
His comments come after Israeli President Shimon Peres said an attack on Iran was becoming more likely.
The UN’s atomic watchdog is expected to say this week that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear arms capability.
Diplomats say the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, due for release on Tuesday or Wednesday, will produce compelling evidence that Iran will find hard to dispute.
Iran has always insisted that its nuclear programme is exclusively to generate power for civilian purposes.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said the alleged evidence is a fabrication and part of a multi-pronged US smear campaign against his country.
Time ‘running out’
Mr Lavrov said it was “far from the first time” Israel had threatened strikes against Iran, when asked for his view on Mr Peres’ recent comments.
“Our position on this issue is well-known: this would be a very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences,” he told reporters.
Continue reading the main story
I estimate that intelligence services of all these countries are looking at the ticking clock, warning leaders that there was not much time left”
Shimon PeresIsraeli President
Mr Lavrov said “the only path for removing concerns is to create every possible condition” to resume the talks between Iran and six world powers – including Russia – which broke down in December last year.
Shimon Peres said on Sunday: “The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option.”
“I don’t think that any decision has already been made, but there is an impression that Iran is getting closer to nuclear weapons,” he told the Israel Hayom daily.
He made similar comments to Israeli television on Saturday, saying: “I estimate that intelligence services of all these countries are looking at the ticking clock, warning leaders that there was not much time left.
Diplomats, speaking anonymously, have been briefing journalists on the IAEA’s next quarterly report on Iran.
The evidence is said to include intelligence that Iran made computer models of a nuclear warhead, as well as satellite images of what the IAEA believes is a large steel container used for high-explosives tests related to nuclear arms.
The IAEA has reported for some years that there are unresolved questions about its programme and has sought clarification of Iran’s secretive nuclear activities.
Of this week’s report, one Western diplomat told Reuters news agency: “There are bits of it which clearly can only be for clandestine nuclear purposes. It is a compelling case.”
Hardline Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned the IAEA on Monday not to become “an instrument without will in the hands of the United States”.
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President Obama may believe that America’s “reset” policy with Russia is the correct move to cover important foreign policy bases, but the policy is deeply flawed.
It puts the United States at a disadvantage we can’t afford and forces us to lay aside fundamental American principles of human liberty. The “reset” concessions are simply not worth the exchange of empty promises from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is merely a talking head for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
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By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, October 11, 2011
Throughout the post 9/11 era, Al Qaeda and the “threat of Islamic terrorism” have played a central role in defining Washington’s diplomatic agenda, shaping its rhetoric at World summits as well as establishing the contours of US military doctrine.
The pre-emptive “defensive war” doctrine against Al Qaeda and its alleged “State Sponsors” constitutes the foundation of America’s post 9/11 National Security Strategy (NSS), first formulated in early 2002.
In the wake of 9/11, the Al Qaeda Legend became part of the mainstay of US foreign policy. Contained in the 2002 NSS is the notion of a “global jihadist network of terrorists” and “state sponsors of terrorism”. The response of the US administration is to launch “a war of global reach”, a “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT):
“The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. …America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.
…Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction (…)
The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.
The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.” (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html
The underlying objective of the 2002 NSS was to present “pre-emptive military action” –meaning war as an act of “self-defense” against two categories of enemies, “Rogue States” and “Islamic terrorists”, both of which were said to possess “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The “Rogue States” are also defined as “State sponsors” of terrorism.
The 2002 NSS as well as subsequent National Security documents identified a list of “Axis of Evil” countries which had been singled out for preemptive military intervention under the “Global War on Terrorism”. These included Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, North Korea.
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Submitted by Phoenix Capital Research on 05/04/2011 13:33 -0400
The following quotes signal the beginning of the End Game for the US Dollar:
“We hope the U.S. government will take responsible policies and measures to safeguard investors’ interests,” [China’s ministry] said in a statement.
“Foreign-exchange reserves have exceeded the reasonable levels that we actually need,” [China’s central bank governor] said. “The rapid increase in reserves may have led to excessive liquidity and has exerted significant sterilization pressure. If the government doesn’t strike the right balance with its policies, the build-up could cause big risks,” he said, without elaborating.
These two statements, in plain terms, are China saying it’s sick of the US Dollar. Remember, the US Dollar and Dollar-denominated assets (Treasuries etc) are China’s single largest holding. So the reference to “foreign-exchange reserves,” is synonymous with “US Dollar denominated assets.”
On the surface, it will be easy to chalk all of this up to politician speak. After all, China has been issuing warnings to the US regarding the latter’s financial condition since 2009.
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By Chizu Nomiyama and Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) – Japan has asked nuclear superpower Russia to send a special radiation treatment ship used to decommission nuclear submarines as it fights to contain the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl, Japanese media said late on Monday.
Japanese engineers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been forced to release radioactive waste water into the sea. At the same time they are resorting to desperate measures to contain the damage, such as using bath salts to try to locate the source of leaks at the crippled complex 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
Three weeks after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami hit northeast Japan, sending some of Daiichi’s reactors into partial meltdown, engineers are no closer to regaining control of the power plant or stopping radioactive leaks.
The quake and tsunami left nearly 28,000 people dead or missing and Japan’s northeast coast a wreck.
The world’s costliest natural disaster has caused power blackouts and cuts to supply chains and business hours. It is threatening economic growth and the yen, while a recent opinion poll suggested voters want embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan to form a coalition in order to steer Japan through its worst crisis since World War Two.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) was forced on Monday to release low-level radioactive seawater that had been used to cool overheated fuel rods after it ran out of storage capacity for more highly contaminated water.
A TEPCO official was in tears as he told a news conference: “We are very sorry for this region and those involved.”
The water, which is being released to free storage capacity for more highly contaminated water, is about 100 times more radioactive than legal limits. Koichi Nakamura, a deputy director-general of Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), told a news conference in Vienna about 11,500 tonnes of water would have to be discharged.
He also said Japan had not ruled out expanding the 20-km evacuation zone around the site.
Engineers planned to build two giant “silt curtains” made of polyester fabric in the sea to hinder the spread of more contamination from the plant.
Japan has also asked Russia for the “Suzuran”, a ship which treats radioactive liquids, Kyodo and Jiji news agencies said.