Semion Mogilevich

A 5’6″ and a portly chain smoker, Mogilevich is known as “boss of bosses” in one of the biggest mafia states in the world. Born in June 30 1946 in Kiev, Ukraine, Mogilevich once acted as the key money laundering contact for the Solntsevskaya Bratva, a super-gang based in Moscow. He has since held over 100 front companies and bank accounts in 27 different countries, all to keep the cash flowing. Authorities say Mogilevich, who has an economics degree from Ukraine, is known for his ruthless nature but also for his business acumen, which led to his nickname “the Brainy Don.”

1973 convicted for violation of currency regulations

1975 convicted for buying up gold from the emigrants

1977 convicted for fraud

Mid 1980s founder of Arbat-International firm which operated sea shipping vessels leased from state-run Black sea steams line, founder of Vnukovo co-operative society which run a chain of paid public toilets at Moscow’s railway terminals.

Mogilevich earned his first million as a jewellery agent who was buying up works of art and jewellery from Jews, emigrating from Kiev in the 80s. He promised to pay money for the objects in Israel, but in most cases money went into his pockets.

1990 He emigrated to Israel, then to Hungary

In 1991, Mogilevich started meddling in the energy sector with Arbat International. For the next five years, the company served as his primary import-export petroleum company

According to the CIA, at the beginning of the 90s he sold several surface-to-air missiles and 12 armoured personnel carrier to Iran for $20m.

Between 1993 and 1998, however, Mogilevich caught the FBI’s attention when he allegedly participated in a $150 million scheme to defraud thousands of investors in a Canadian company, YBM Magnex, based just outside Philadelphia, which supposedly made magnets. With his economics degree and clever lies, Mogilevich forged documents for the Securities and Exchange Commission that raised the company’s stock price nearly 2,000%. Though shares in the company sold for up to $20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, an investigation revealed that YBM did not actually make magnets, and that the company “was created for the sole purpose of committing securities fraud.

1994 He represented Russia and former USSR republics at the meeting of world’s criminal dons in Italy.

In 1994–96, under the infamous “loans-for-shares” program, Russia privatized 150 state-owned companies for just $12 billion, most of which was loaned to a handful of well-connected buyers by the state … initially just 25 or so budding oligarchs with the insider connections to buy these properties and the muscle to hold them.

A 1996 classified FBI report (since made public) noted that the Mogilevich organization was involved in everything from major league market manipulation to prostitution, Afghan heroin, and trafficking in nuclear weapons materials. This is why Semion Mogilevich sits high on the FBI’s list of “Ten Most Wanted” criminals. But, of course, Mogilevich has a good lobbyist (i.e. a former director of the FBI, the outfit that publishes that “Most Wanted” list), and few, if any, members of the Mogilevich organization are presently in jail. Many of them are residents of the United States, and we will see that many of them, including Sater, remain active in the U.S. markets.

In 1998, the FBI released a report naming Mogilevich as the leader of an organization with about 250 members. Only in operation only four years, the group’s main activities included arms dealing, trading nuclear material, prostitution, drug trafficking, oil deals, and money laundering.

In August 1999 the FBR gave details of $10b Russian mafia money laundering scheme, led by Mogilevich. The money were funneled through the Bank of New York, through the company called Benex Worldwide Ltd, founded by Mogilevich. According to Russian Customs, the Bank of New York was involved in the laundering of the proceeds from the imported goods. The Federal Customs Service (FCS) filed an appeal against the bank. The trial began on January 14, 2008 at a Moscow’s Arbitration Court. The Bank of New York officials demanded the trial, iniciated by the FCS, to be stopped, because they claimed American lawyers of the Russian Customs had no right to appeal in a Russian Court.  In the late 1990s, Mogilevich’s bank, the well-named Inkombank, pulled off a $10 billion money-laundering plot via the Bank of New York, according to the Moscow Telegraph, something he led up to with one of his more audacious grabs a few years earlier. The scam involved the selling of untaxed heating oil in place of the much more highly taxed auto fuel. Before it was uncovered, it ended up costing the Czech Republic, just one of the Central European countries conned, 100 billion Czech korunas, about $5 billion. Not only that, but on its way to being shut down there was mayhem galore, including the near hit of the reporter following the story.

In autumn 2001 it emerged that Mogilevich had met Bin Laden’s representatives in a view of selling terrorists enriched uranium stolen somewhere in the former USSR.

Then, in 2002, an Israeli lawyer named Zeev Gordon, who represented Mogilevich for more than 20 years, created Eural Trans Gas (ETG), the main intermediary between Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Some reports show that Gordon registered the company in Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash’s name. After that, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine’s Centragas Holding AG teamed up to establish Swiss-registered RosUkrEnergo (RUE) to replace ETG. Firtash and Gazprom reportedly roughly split the ownership of RUE. According to Russian customs documents detailing the trades, Gazprom sold more than 20 billion cubic meters of gas well below market prices to Firtash over the past four years — about four times more than the Russian government has publicly acknowledged. The price Firtash paid was so low, Reuters calculates, that companies he controlled made more than $3 billion on the arrangement.

In Ukraine 2006,  Poroshenko was suspected of participating in a plot to arrest Ukrainian former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s associate Aleksandr Turchynov, who preceded Poroshenko as acting president. According to documents posted online by Wikileaks, Tymoshenko, former head of the natural gas trading company Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine, may have cooperated with organized crime boss Semion Mogilevich, believed. Mogilevich was a participant of the agreements signed between National Joint-Stock Company Naftogaz of Ukraine, Gazprom and RUE in January 2006.

In 2007, Mogelivich told BBC that his business was selling wheat and grain.to be a primary Russian Mafia figure.

In autumn 2007- winter 2008 Mogilevich used to hold private talks with Vladimir Nekrasov, owner of Arbat-Prestige perfume and cosmetics distribution chain. The chain was set up in 1989 as a result of restructuring Mogilevich’s cooperative enterprise called Arbat. At the beginning Arbat-Prestige distributed perfume, smuggled by Mogilevich and Miroshnik from the warehouses of the Western Group of Forces. In fact Arbat-Prestige was part of major perfume and cosmetics smuggling scheme. Arbat-Prestige, nominally, was owned by Nekrasov, but in fact Seva Kievsky and his people run it. 40% stake in Arbat-Prestige was owned by Rinvei firm, established by Olga Zhunzhurova (Fisherman’s wife) and Galina Telesh (former wife of Mogilevich).

Manafort was working on the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in late 2008. He was also on the payroll of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Manafort is widely credited with rehabilitating Yanukovych’s image in Ukraine and helping to engineer his victory in the country’s 2010 presidential election. At the same time, Manafort was arranging financial ventures with Firtash’s backing, emails show. Manafort met with Firtash in Kiev in December 2008 to discuss the arrangement. One of his partners reported his success: Firtash’s holding company, Group DF, would invest $100 million in a global real estate fund, pay an initial fee of $1.5 million to CMZ to manage the fund, and set up offices for the firm in Kiev. On August 25, 2008, he emailed two other individuals who would be involved in some of these ventures. One of them, Brad Zackson, was a former manager of the Trump Organization under Fred Trump, Donald’s father. However, documents revealed during court proceedings offer a glimpse of Manafort’s financial ties to Firtash, who is currently wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over bribery allegations. The documents show how Manafort set up investment vehicles at Firtash’s behest in order to funnel his considerable fortune into real estate ventures in the United States and elsewhere.That same year, Firtash acknowledged to the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine that he got his start in business with the permission of a notorious Russian crime lord, according to a classified State Department cable. Other cables say Firtash made part of his fortune through sweetheart natural gas deals between Russia and the Ukraine. Around the same time, companies controlled by another Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, paid $7.35 million toward management fees for Manafort and his partners in connection with an investment fund, according to a court filing in the Cayman Islands. Deripaska once was denied entry to the United States because of alleged mafia ties, current and former officials told NBC News. Deripaska is considered by U.S. officials to be among Putin’s inner circle. According to the cable, Firtash told the U.S. ambassador at a meeting in 2008 that he had been forced to deal with suspected criminals because at that time it was impossible to do business in Ukraine cleanly. He said he had needed and received permission from a man named Semion Mogilevich to establish various businesses.

In 2008, however, Russian police arrested Mogelivich, using one of his many pseudonyms, Sergei Schneider, in connection with tax evasion for a cosmetics company, Arbat Prestige. Mogilevich ran that company with his partner, Vladimir Nekrosov. Three years later, the charges were dropped

In 2010, however, then prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, said she had “documented proof that some powerful criminal structures are behind the RosUkrEnergo (RUE) company,” according to WikiLeaks. Even before, the press had widely speculated about Mogilevich’s ties to RUE.

In the 2014 tape, made exactly one year before the former KGB officer, Alexander Litvinenko, was allegedly poisoned in 2014 with a radioactive isotope, the dissident apparently claims the Russian president had links with a mobster who was most wanted by the FBI. Mr Litvinenko says Putin had a “good relationship” with Ukrainian crime boss Semion Mogilevich, whom he accused of selling weapons to al-Qaeda. Separately, documents seen by the Telegraph reveal the transcript of an apparent conversation between two high-ranking Ukrainian officials in which they discuss the fact that Mogilevich had bought a house in Moscow and had received a passport “under another name”.Mogilevich may even have a working relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a published conversation between Leonid Derkach, the former chief of the Ukrainian security service, and former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. “He’s [Mogilevich] on good terms with Putin,” Derkach reportedly said. “He and Putin have been in contact since Putin was still in Leningrad.”

The 2016 lawsuit, brought by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, accused U.S. political consultant Paul Manafort of complicity in a complex scheme of retaliation against Tymoshenko and her political allies for impeding the business interests of Ukrainian gas tycoon Dmitry Firtash. Manafort, a veteran GOP consultant and former adviser to recently-ousted Ukrainian president and Firtash ally Viktor Yanukovych, is now leading the Trump presidential campaign’s efforts to secure delegates at the Republican National Convention in July.

 

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David Bogatin, considered a key figure in Semion Mogilevich’s Russian organized crime family, has “a long string of convictions for big-ticket Mogilevich-type offenses like financial fraud and tax dodging,” Henry explains. Allegedly, Bogatin once owned five separate condos in Trump Tower — that Donald Trump had personally sold to him.

Much has been written about Bayrock, the property development firm that was building Trump SoHo, his towering building in New York and other projects.A key principal in Bayrock was Felix Sater, a Russian convicted of helping to lead a massive mafia-linked Wall Street stock fraud scheme. (Mr Sater also attacked a man at a New York bar by stabbing him in the face with the broken stem of a Martini glass). Two lawyers, Frederic Oberlander and Richard Lerner, who have spent much of their careers tracking Bayrock’s dealings, allege in court documents that Bayrock “for most of its existence was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated”. In a petition to the US Supreme Court, they write that Mr Sater’s father, Michael Sheferofsky, worked for Semion Mogilevich,

 

Sergey Mikhailov was directly involved in the establishment of following companies set up by Semen Mogilevich:

•        Mixim,

•        SV Holding,

•        Arbat International, joint venture,

•        Emire Bond in Israel,

•        Arigon,

•        Magnex in Hungary,

•        MAB International in Belgium,

•        YBM Magnex,

•        Benex

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Adam Khan on Putin Trump Assange

These are cut and pastes from his twitter accounts. Much thought went into this.

1. Some more color, background to my theory that blackmail is how Assange went from “darling of the left” to Putin apologist

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2. Putin routinely uses blackmail to get his way-that’s how he rose to power-that’s how he got Assange

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3. Just like they rescued Trump and Manafort at low points in their careers, Russians aided Assange when his finances dried up

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4. Another motivator for Assange-aside from evidence Putin blackmailed him with? Like Putin, he isn’t a fan of America or Hillary Clinton.

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5.So to people like claiming Assange is a “man of the left” Nope He switched sides in 2010 and is firmly in Putin’s pocket

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6. 6. Not a coincidence that Wikleaks dumps–TPP, Saudi, Turkey, DNC, Podesta-are timed to perfection to aid Putin’s geopolitical objectives

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7. When Panama Papers leak revealed how billions wound up in shell companies controlled a Putin crony, Assange blamed…a Soros conspiracy!

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8. Two Assange comments (left from 2006, right from 2016) best trace his arc from an idealistic whistleblower to a Putin puppet/apologist

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more call this 9

In 2010, Putin used damaging info about Assange’s sexual assault case to blackmail him, turn him into a Kremlin asset

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10. Wikileaks Sarah Harrison (Assange lieutenant) who escorted Snowden into Russia–”US is greatest unaccountable power”

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11.. Assange received documents to leak from Russian Military Intelligence (GRU).

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12. Flynn himself was fired by Obama after repeatedly leaking classified intelligence

 

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13. Flynn, who now freely peddles conspiracy theories, was so prone to dubious pronouncements that senior aides coined a term: “Flynn facts”

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14. And while he criticized Clinton for her private email, Mike Flynn himself used a forbidden private internet connection at the Pentagon!

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15. After he was fired, Flynn was found swooning about Putin, criticizing Obama openly as having lost Putin’s respect

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16. Did the Russians woo/groom Flynn, a disgruntled senior US intelligence official, as their direct conduit to manipulate US National Security?

 

 

 

 

 

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Price of exported Russia natural gas is now at 30% of 2011 level

The Russian economy has been crippled by the falling price of natural gas.

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The global gas glut and low prices themselves are expanding the natural gas market by making use more attractive vs oil.

Gazprom has long been the dominant supplier of natural gas to Europe. Last year, it supplied 31% of the Continent’s gas needs.

But that could be disrupted later this year when the United States begins shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe from its abundant shale gas fields.

That has put a frown on the face of Vladimir Putin and Gazprom executives. Russia is already getting squeezed by the fall in oil prices. Now, the U.S. is threatening to take its lucrative European gas revenues away – and Europe accounts for the vast bulk of Gazprom’s profits.

Gazprom might consider a strategy to flood Europe with cheap gas in 2016 to kill off U.S. LNG.

Such a scenario would be possible because Gazprom has 100 billion cubic meters of annual gas production capacity sitting on the sidelines in West Siberia, which can effectively be used as spare capacity, not unlike the way Saudi Arabia can ramp up and down oil production to affect prices. Gazprom’s latent capacity is equivalent to 3 percent of global production. This large volume of capacity is the result of investments that were made in a major project on the Yamal Peninsula back when gas markets looked much more bullish.

The approach would mirror Saudi Arabia’s strategy of keeping oil production elevated in order to protect market share, forcing the painful supply-side adjustment onto higher-cost producers. Crucially, Gazprom can produce and export gas to Europe at a much lower cost than LNG from across the Atlantic.

Gazprom will report negative free cash flow this year as its operating profit will not be enough to cover spending.

The company’s market capitalisation has fallen 86 per cent in dollar terms since a peak in 2008.

Gazprom’s own budget, drawn up at the start of the year, envisages that its export prices will fall this year to the lowest level in a decade, and this is forcing the company to pay more attention to its spending.

The company may be forced to delay or cancel some of its projects. The largest of them is the $55bn proposal to develop two new fields in eastern Siberia and build a new pipeline to ship gas to China.

People close to Gazprom say that due to a clause in the contract, first deliveries of gas, which were originally anticipated in 2019, could be as late as 2021.

The company has halved its plans for construction of the pipeline this year, from 800km to 400km.

Russian government has Gazprom as its largest taxpayers. These issues are a further drain on its resources. The government had hoped to force Gazprom to pay 50 per cent of its profit in dividends this year, but last week the company announced a much lower payout.

In America, five new LNG export terminals are under construction. When finished, they will be capable of exporting roughly 10 billion cubic feet per day, according to Perry, making America one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas.

China has upped its LNG imports by 20 percent during the first three-quarters of 2016, compared to the same period last year. The jump has been caused by low gas prices, which has led the government to seek out new contracts for the procurement of the carbon emission-conservative fossil fuel.

During the United Nations-led Climate Change talks in Marrakesh earlier this month, China confirmed its commitment to abandoning coal – a potent polluter – and increasing its utilization of natural gas to power its developing economy.

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The net result is Russia GDP is zero with prospects low for 2017. In 2015, tax from oil and gas amounted to 52% of Russian receipts – a stabilisation of the oil price will be a significant fiscal boost next year. Russia has been far from profligate since 2008, it runs a trade and current account surplus and, although the government is in deficit to the tune of 2.6% of GDP this year, the government debt to GDP ratio is a very manageable 17.17%.

With a growing federal fiscal deficit (3.7% of GDP by end 2016), one proactive step the government has taken is to reintroduce a three-year, medium-term fiscal framework, which proposes to cut the deficit by about 1% each year, ultimately leading to a balanced budget by 2020. The budget is conservatively based on a $40 per barrel oil price, and cuts are driven mostly by a reduction in expenditures in mostly defence/military and social policy.

They need the sanctions lifted and expect political movements toward that end.

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The world and debt

The International monetary Fund said the world debt is $152 trillion.

It said that new research in its half-yearly fiscal monitor covering 113 countries had shown that debt was currently 225% of global GDP, with the private sector responsible for two-thirds of the total.

IMF said in its semi-annual Fiscal Monitor, noting that about two-thirds of the liabilities reside in the private sector. The rest of it is public debt, which has increased to 85 percent of GDP last year from below 70 percent.

Vitor Gaspar, the director of the IMF’s fiscal affairs department said: “$152tn is a record high. In places around the world we have excessive debt. In some places we have debt, in particular non-financial corporations’ debt, growing very fast.

“Excessive private debt is a major headwind against the global recovery and a risk to financial stability,” said Mr Gaspar. “The Fiscal Monitor shows that rapid increases in private debt often end up in financial crises. Financial recessions are longer and deeper than normal recessions.”

Countries where people owe the most
Japan: $85,694.87 per person

Ireland: $67,147.59 per person

Singapore: $56,112.75 per person

Belgium: $44,202.75 per person

United States: $42,503.98 per person

Canada: $42,142.61 per person

Italy: $40,461.11 per person

Iceland: $39,731.65 per person

Australia: $23,356.08 per person

United Kingdom: $36,206.11 per person

 

 

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Ukraine Russism Soros

May 2014 – Soros on CNN “they are supported by Russia and pro-Russian.  So Russia has emerged as an alternative to the European Union.  Putin has sort of come out of the closet in – in Ukraine with an ideology that is Nationalist based on ethnic nationalism.  You could call it Russism..”

he hacking group CyberBerkut claims it has penetrated Ukraine’s presidential administration website and obtained correspondence between Soros and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.

The hacktivists have published three files online, which include a draft of “A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine” by Soros (dated March 12, 2015); an undated paper on military assistance to Kiev; and the billionaire’s letter to Poroshenko and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, dated December 23, 2014.

According to the leaked documents, Soros supports Barack Obama’s stance on Ukraine, but believes that the US should do even more.

He is confident that the US should provide Ukraine with lethal military assistance, “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.”

“In poker terms, the US will ‘meet, but not raise,” the 84-year-old businessman explained, supposedly signing one of the letters as “a self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine.”

The Western backers want Kiev to “restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement,” Soros wrote.

Retired US general Wesley Clark, who commanded the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and Polish ex-general, Waldemar Skrzypczak, will be among those advising Poroshenko on how to fulfil this task, he added.

In mid-February, after a year of fighting, Kiev and rebels from the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk signed a peace deal calling for a ceasefire, heavy weapons withdrawal, and prisoner exchanges between the sides.

Among other things, the leaked documents claim that the Ukrainian authorities were also asked to “restore some semblance of currency stability and functioning banking system” and “maintain unity among the various branches of government” in order to receive assistance from foreign allies.

Soros believes that it’s up to the EU to support Kiev with financial aid, stressing that “Europe must reach a new framework agreement that will allow the European Commission to allocate up to $1 billion annually to Ukraine.”

As for the current state of economy, the billionaire wrote that former Chilean finance minister, Andres Velasco, after visiting Ukraine on his request, returned with “a dire view of financial situation.”

“The new Ukraine is literally on the verge of collapse” due to the national bank’s lack of hard currency reserves, Soros warned Poroshenko.

George Soros published an article in the New York Review of Books on January 7, 2015, calling on Europe and the West to put together a $50 billion rescue package for the “new” Ukraine, upping his October suggestion of $20 billion.

The $50 billion package, dubbed the Ukraine ‘Marshall Plan’, suggests taking money from unused rescue funds for other EU countries and from the IMF, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as other sources. The US helped financially to rebuild Europe after World War II with the original Marshall Plan.

The new so-called ‘Marshall Plan’ focuses on supporting Ukraine, and not weakening Russia as the two economies are closely tied.

In Februsry 2015 he wrote “Ukraine needs international assistance because it has experienced shocks that have produced a financial crisis. The shocks are transitory; once Ukraine recovers from the shocks it should be able to repay its creditors. This explains why the IMF was put in charge of providing financial assistance to Ukraine.

Since Ukraine is not yet a member of the EU, European institutions (like the European Commission and the European Central Bank) played only a secondary part in providing assistance to it. The IMF welcomed the opportunity to avoid the complications associated with the supervision by a troika consisting of the EU, the European Central Bank, and the IMF that was used to deal with Greece and others. This new arrangement also explains why the IMF-led package was based on overly optimistic forecasts and why the IMF’s contribution of approximately $17 billion in cash to Ukraine is so much larger than the approximately $10 billion of various commitments associated with the EU, and even smaller amounts from the US.

Since Ukraine has had a poor track record with previous IMF programs, the official lenders insisted that Ukraine should receive assistance only as a reward for clear evidence of deep structural reform, not as an inducement to undertake these reforms.

From this conventional perspective, the successful resistance to the previous Yanokovych government on the Maidan and, later, the Russian annexation of Crimea and the establishment of separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine are incidental. These events are seen as simply temporary external shocks.

This perspective needs to be altered. The birth of a new Ukraine and the Russian aggression are not merely temporary shocks but historic events. Instead of facing the remnants of a moribund Soviet Union, the European Union is confronted by a resurgent Russia that has turned from strategic partner into strategic rival. To replace communism, President Putin has developed a nationalist ideology based on ethnic grounds, social conservatism, and religious faith—the brotherhood of the Slavic race, homophobia, and holy Russia. He has cast what he calls Anglo-Saxon world domination as the enemy of Russia—and of the rest of the world. Putin has learned a lot from his war with President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Georgia in 2008. Russia won that war militarily but was less successful in its propaganda efforts. Putin has developed an entirely new strategy that relies heavily on using both special forces and propaganda.

Putin’s ambition to recreate a Russian empire has unintentionally helped bring into being a new Ukraine that is opposed to Russia and seeks to become the opposite of the old Ukraine with its endemic corruption and ineffective government. The new Ukraine is led by the cream of civil society: young people, many of whom studied abroad and refused to join either government or business on their return because they found both of them repugnant. Many of them found their place in academic institutions, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations. A widespread volunteer movement, of unprecedented scope and power unseen in other countries, has helped Ukraine to stand strong against Russian aggression. Its members were willing to risk their lives on the Maidan for the sake of a better future and they are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, including the political infighting that undermined the Orange Revolution. A politically engaged civil society is the best assurance against a return of the old Ukraine: activists would return to the Maidan if the politicians engaged in the kind of petty squabbling and corruption that ruined the old Ukraine.

The reformists in the new Ukrainian government are advocating a radical “big bang” reform program that is intended to have a dramatic impact. This program aims to break the stranglehold of corruption by shrinking the bureaucracy while paying the remaining civil servants better and by breaking up Naftogaz, the gas monopoly that is the main source of corruption and budget deficits in Ukraine.

But the old Ukraine is far from dead. It dominates the civil service and the judiciary, and remains very present in the private (oligarchic and kleptocratic) sectors of the economy. Why should state employees work for practically no salary unless they can use their position as a license to extort bribes? And how can a business sector that was nurtured on corruption and kickbacks function without its sweeteners? These retrograde elements are locked in battle with the reformists.

The new government faces the difficult task of radically reducing the number of civil servants and increasing their pay. Advocates of radical reform claim that it would be both possible and desirable to shrink the ministries to a fraction of their current size, provided that the general population would not be subjected to severe cuts to their living standards. That would allow the discharged civil servants to find jobs in the private sector and the employees retained on the payroll to be paid higher salaries. Many obstacles to doing business would be removed, but that would require substantial financial and technical support from the EU. Without it, the “big bang” kind of radical reforms that Ukraine needs cannot succeed. Indeed, the prospect of failure may even prevent the government from proposing them.”

 

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Philby and Albania 1947

The Albanian Subversion is one of the earliest and most notable failures of the Western covert paramilitary operations in the Eastern Bloc. The British SIS and the American CIA launched a joint subversive operation, using as agents Albanian expatriates. Other anti-communist Albanians and many nationalists worked as agents for Greek, Italian and Yugoslav intelligence services, some supported by the UK and U.S. secret services. A Soviet mole, and, later, other spies tipped off the missions to Moscow, which in turn relayed the information to Albania. Consequently, many of the agents were caught, put on trial, and either shot or condemned to long prison terms at hard labor

 

Albania’s relations with the West soured after the communist regime’s refusal to allow free elections in December 1945. Albania restricted the movements of United States and British personnel in the country, charging that they had instigated anticommunist uprisings in the northern mountains. Britain announced in April that it would not send a diplomatic mission to Tiranë; the United States withdrew its mission in November; and both the United States and Britain opposed admitting Albania to the United Nations (UN). The Albanian regime feared that the United States and Britain, which were supporting anticommunist forces in the civil war in Greece, would back Greek demands for territory in southern Albania; and anxieties grew in July when a United States Senate resolution backed the Greek demands.

A major incident between Albania and Britain erupted in 1946 after Tiranë claimed jurisdiction over the channel between the Albanian mainland and the Greek island of Corfu. Britain challenged Albania by sailing four destroyers into the channel. Two of the ships struck mines on October 22, 1946, and forty-four crew members died. Britain complained to the UN and the International Court of Justice which, in its first case ever, ruled against Tiranë.

After 1946 the United States and Britain began implementing an elaborate covert plan to overthrow Albania’s communist regime by backing anticommunist and royalist forces within the country. By 1949 the United States and British intelligence organizations were working with King Zog and the fanatic mountainmen of his personal guard. They recruited Albanian refugees and émigrés from Egypt, Italy, and Greece; trained them in Cyprus, Malta, and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany); and infiltrated them into Albania. Guerrilla units entered Albania in 1950 and 1952, but Albanian security forces killed or captured all of them. Kim Philby, a Soviet double agent working as a liaison officer between the British intelligence service and the United States Central Intelligence Agency, had leaked details of the infiltration plan to Moscow, and the security breach claimed the lives of about 300 infiltrators.

Operation Valuable, or as BG/FIEND by the CIA was conceived by British intelligence to depose the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha. It was one of the first attempts at “regime change” during the Cold War in the “denied areas” or “captive nations”.

There were several reasons why the UK sought to achieve a regime change in Tirana. It was meant as a “rollback” action, to deprive the Soviet Union of a client state. Strategically, Britain sought to deny the USSR naval bases on the Adriatic coast, which threatened British and US control of the Mediterranean. Britain was a naval power and securing sea lanes was of paramount concern. The operation was to consist of inserting UK and US trained commandos into Albania to organize guerrilla groups who would mount a coup that would overthrow Enver Hoxha. For the CIA, it would be “a clinical experiment to see whether large roll-back operations would be feasible elsewhere.”

In February 1947, Philby was appointed head of British intelligence for Turkey, and posted to Istanbul with his second wife, Aileen, and their family. His public position was that of First Secretary at the British Consulate; in reality, his intelligence work required overseeing British agents and working with the Turkish security services.

Philby planned to infiltrate five or six groups of émigrés into Soviet Armenia or Soviet Georgia. But efforts among the expatriate community in Paris produced just two recruits. Turkish intelligence took them to a border crossing into Georgia but soon afterwards shots were heard. Another effort was made using a Turkish gulet for a seaborne landing, but it never left port. He was implicated in a similar campaign in Albania. Colonel David Smiley, an aristocratic Guards officer who had helped Enver Hoxha and his Communist guerillas to liberate Albania, now prepared to liberate it from Hoxha. He trained Albanian commandos – some of whom were former Nazi collaborators – in Libya or Malta. From 1947, they infiltrated the southern mountains to build support for former King Zog.

A wave of subversive activity, including the failed infiltration and the March 1951 bombing of the Soviet embassy in Tiranë, encouraged the Albanian regime to implement harsh internal security measures. In September 1952, the assembly enacted a penal code that required the death penalty for anyone over eleven years old found guilty of conspiring against the state, damaging state property, or committing economic sabotage

The first three missions, overland from Greece, were trouble-free. Larger numbers were landed by sea and air under Operation Valuable, which continued until 1951, increasingly under the influence of the newly formed CIA. Stewart Menzies, head of SIS, disliked the idea, which was promoted by former SOE men now in SIS. Most infiltrators were caught by the Sigurimi, the Albanian Security Service. Clearly there had been leaks and Philby was later suspected as one of the leakers. His own comment was “I do not say that people were happy under the regime but the CIA underestimated the degree of control that the Authorities had over the country.” Macintyre (2014) includes this typically cold-blooded quote from Philby:

“The agents we sent into Albania were armed men intent on murder, sabotage and assassination … They knew the risks they were running. I was serving the interests of the Soviet Union and those interests required that these men were defeated. To the extent that I helped defeat them, even if it caused their deaths, I have no regrets.”

In a 1981 lecture to the East German security service, Stasi, Philby attributed the failure of the British Secret Service to unmask him as due in great part to the British class system—it was inconceivable that one “born into the ruling class of the British Empire” would be a traitor—to the amateurish and incompetent nature of the organisation, and to so many in MI6 having so much to lose if he was proven to be a spy. He had the policy of never confessing—a document in his own handwriting was dismissed as a forgery. He said that at the time of his recruitment as a spy there were no prospects of his being useful; he was instructed to make his way into the Secret Service, which took years, starting with journalism and building up contacts in the establishment. He said that there was no discipline there; he made friends with the archivist, which enabled him for years to take secret documents home, many unrelated to his own work, and bring them back the next day; his handler took and photographed them overnight. When he was instructed to remove and replace his boss, Felix Cowgill, he asked if it was proposed “to shoot him or something”, but was told to use bureaucratic intrigue. He said “It was a very dirty story—but after all our work does imply getting dirty hands from time to time but we do it for a cause that is not dirty in any way”. Commenting on his betrayal of the operation to secretly send thousands of Albanians back into their country to overthrow the communist regime, which led to many being killed, Philby tries to turn it to his credit, even saying that he helped prevent another World War

 

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Looking back at the Wang Lijun incident

 

 

 

The Wang Lijun incident is a major Chinese political scandal which began in February 2012 when Wang Lijun, vice-mayor of Chongqing, was abruptly demoted, after revealing to the United States consulate details of British businessman Neil Heywood’s murder and subsequent cover-up.

Wang is the former vice-mayor and chief of police of the southwestern China megapolis of Chongqing City, and was the right-hand man of Bo Xilai, the city’s Communist Party chief who is known as an ultra-leftist hardliner, and who has been wrangling to win a position on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the group of nine men who stand at the top of the Party’s hierarchy.

Wang was unexpectedly demoted on Feb. 2 from his posts and reassigned to handle “culture, education, and environmental protection.” On Feb. 5 he talked about the importance of his new job responsibilities at Chongqing Normal University and elsewhere. No one suspected that he would flee to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu the next day.

The following account of what happened when Wang tried to defect was first published on Weibo, the Chinese microblog service, by a user named Sun Dapao in ten separate posts. Sun’s account has since been blocked, but Sun’s account has been widely circulated on China’s Internet. Its authenticity is yet to be validated.

After Wang came home at 5:00 pm on Feb. 6, the surveillance officer [in charge of monitoring Wang’s residence] reported, “Everything is normal,” and three groups were withdrawn from a surveillance team of six groups. The remaining three groups were arranged at the front and the rear of the building, and as backup. Each group consisted of three officers.

Wang carefully observed the outside situation from his windows. Half an hour later, with surveillance relaxed, he left the building disguised as an old woman, in a car previously arranged with an ordinary license plate, and calmly drove away. He then replaced the license plate with a Chongqing police plate and sped off.

When he was close to Chengdu, Wang called the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu from a temporary cell phone: “This is the Deputy Mayor of Chongqing City, Wang Lijun. I want to ask for political asylum. I will arrive in Chengdu City soon,” he said.

Thirty minutes later, around 9:00 pm on Feb. 6, Wang Lijun, Deputy Mayor of Chongqing City of the People’s Republic of China, drove into the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.

U.S. Consul-General Peter Haymond (aka Cao Cao) and several vice consuls were waiting and received Wang in a conference room. Upon his arrival, Wang immediately asked for political asylum. As evidence [of his life being endangered] Wang submitted photos of his subordinate(s) who had been secretly arrested and tortured to death, and a video about a plot by Bo Xilai to have Wang killed, making it appear like either a suicide, a car accident, a disappearance, or a shooting death during an escape related to counterfeit crimes.

After a long talk, the United States officials told Wang: “We have received your application for political asylum, but we need to report to Gary Locke, the U.S. Ambassador in Beijing, who will determine your approval. We hope you understand.”

Gary Locke, upon receiving the telephone report from the Consul-General in Chengdu at 11:00 pm, immediately made a detailed report to the White House.

Meanwhile, using arrangements made by the U.S. [Consulate] and using code words, Wang contacted his family to let them know that he was safe.

At 5:00 am on Feb. 7, U.S. Ambassador Locke formally notified the Consul-General in Chengdu, saying the White House had rejected Wang’s application for political asylum.

But the U.S. government also authorized Locke to possibly give Wang humanitarian assistance. At 6:00 am, U.S. officials accompanied Wang to breakfast and to discuss how to help him. Wang’s own proposal was to surrender himself to the central [leadership] of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but not to Bo Xilai.

Wang told the U.S. Consul, “I am just escaping from Bo Xilai’s political assassination, that’s why I’m hiding inside the American Consulate.”

The U.S. Consul agreed that this was the only explanation that the Communist Party would accept.

At 8:00 am (Beijing time) on Feb. 7, Gary Locke notified the CCP. The CCP immediately [sent someone from] the Ministry of State Security to fly to Chengdu, to safely take Wang to Beijing. [Information supplied by] Wang would serve to investigate Bo Xilai, Huang Qifan [the mayor of Chongqing] and their men.

At 7:00 am the surveillance team [outside Wang’s residence] realized that Wang had slipped away. Through a Beijing informer, Bo had already learned that Wang had escaped to the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.

Bo immediately told Huang Qifan to lead 70 police cars into Chengdu. Seeing the Consulate surrounded by police, the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu immediately contacted Ambassador Locke in Beijing again, who notified the CCP that police was surrounding the American Consulate in Chengdu.

A furious CCP immediately ordered the [Communist Party] secretary of Sichuan Province to be in charge of Wang’s safety as well as the safety of the American Consulate staff. They dispatched both Sichuan Provincial National Security and police to expel Chongqing police from Chengdu while waiting for the arrival of the official from the central [Ministry of State Security in Beijing].

At 12:00 pm Chongqing police, led by Huang Qifan, were expelled from Chengdu.

At 2:00 pm Qiu Jin, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Security arrived with ministry staff in Chengdu and took over the command.

At 3:00 pm Qiu arranged for a meeting with Bo Xilai, and asked for an explanation.

An hour later, Qiu informed Wang Lijun on the telephone of a message from Hu Jintao: “Your problem will be dealt with fairly by the CCP, we will not accuse a good person nor will we forgive a bad person.”

Wang replied that he was willing to be investigated by the CCP. “I will not deny my crimes, but those that aren’t mine, I will never admit to. I am filing a charge against Bo and his family for corruption,” he said.

From 4:30 to 5:30 pm, Wang met with the American Consulate General, and provided the United States a pile of documents.

Wang revealed that Bo and his wife, like most senior Party leaders, had amassed illicit fortunes through corruption. However, most details involved the murder of the British businessman, expatriate Neil Haywood, who was involved in financial activities related to Bo and his family and ran afoul of Bo’s wife. Mr. Wang told American officials that Ms. Gu Kailai had plotted to poison Mr. Heywood, and turned over a police file containing highly technical documents, according to people knowledgeable about the case,

Mr. Wang also apparently revealed far more. Beyond evidence relating to Mr. Heywood, diplomats acquired a unprecedented trove of knowledge from Mr. Wang on the contest for power among the Chinese leadership, said another person with knowledge of the affair who refused to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. It was unclear whether those details were in documents that Mr. Wang brought with him, or emerged in discussions with the diplomats.

Instead of sheltering Wang and granting him asylum, the US turned him over to Chinese authorities, saying he was not qualified for sanctuary because of his past role as a police chief accused of corruption.

Critics say the case demonstrates U.S. desire to preserve ties with China’s communist leadership instead of possibly obtaining crucial intelligence on a potentially growing threat to the U.S., according to the Free Beacon.

 Clinton herself said the U.S. agreed to keep secret all details of Wang’s defection attempt in order to help Beijing’s Communist rulers avoid public embarrassment in an apparent belief that the leaders were on a path to political reform that the West desired.

 

Sources told Bill Gertz, a national security reporter, that Wang handed U.S. officials key information about Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang’s planned coup against Xi Jinping, the heir apparent of the Chinese Communist Party.

A well-placed source has now told The Epoch Times that Wang gave U.S. officials confidential documents containing critical information about top communist officials’ involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong. The source said Wang provided details about organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China’s network of military hospitals, prisons, mental hospitals, and labor camps.

At 6:00 pm, Wang left the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu by himself.

At 8:00 am on Feb. 8, Wang was escorted to Beijing by the Vice Minister from the Ministry of Public Security.

China has spared the high-flying police chief whose flight to a US consulate led to the toppling of leader Bo Xilai, with a court in Chengdu handing him a relatively lenient 15 year jail sentence on Monday.

Wang Lijun, 52, had previously been Bo’s right hand man in Chongqing, winning plaudits for the pair’s populist anti-gang crackdown and earning a promotion to vice mayor.

State news agency Xinhua said the Chengdu intermediate people’s court found him guilty of defection, accepting bribes of at least 3 million yuan, abuse of power and bending the law to selfish ends by covering up the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by Bo’s wife Gu Kailai.

Gu was last month handed a suspended death sentence for the crime, while an aide who helped her was jailed for nine years.

“[Fifteen years] was in the realm of expectations but I would say on the low end of what most people were expecting,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, an expert on the Chinese criminal justice system.

The crimes for which Wang was convicted carry penalties ranging from several years in prison to the death sentence.

The court sentenced Wang to two years imprisonment for abuse of power, two years for defection, nine years for bribe-taking and seven for bending the law for selfish ends. But in total, his sentence is 15 years and he may serve far less if given parole.

Wang’s lawyers have said he will not appeal. Analysts say there would be little point since his sentence will have been decided at a high level due to the sensitivity of the case.

The indictment against Wang said he knew that Gu Kailai – Mr Bo’s wife – was a murder suspect.

Wang, however, ”bent the law” by appointing Guo Weiguo – the deputy chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau and ”a close friend” of both Wang and Gu – to oversee the case

Wang hid a recording of Gu’s account of the killing from the police, the report added.

However, before the November 2012 Congress, officials charged Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, and a family aide with “intentional homicide.” After a two-day trial in August of the same year, she was found guilty of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, once a friend of the Bo family. Gu was given a suspended death sentence, the aide was sentenced to nine years in jail.
The following month Bo was expelled from the Communist Party and relieved of his duty. In July 2013, state media said he had been indicted for bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

BACKGROUND

Wang was born in a remote corner of Inner Mongolia and spent two years as a “rusticated youth” during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s.
He first crossed paths with Bo in the northeastern province of Liaoning where he had worked his way up the region’s public security bureau and Bo was governor.
After Bo was promoted to the top job in Chongqing in 2007, Wang followed him and was assigned to lead his crime-fighting program.
Under Wang, the “da hei” (literally translated as “smash black”) campaign reportedly caught nearly 3,000 criminal groups and detained thousands of suspects. It also led to the execution of notorious figures in the city’s underworld.
The crackdown, along with economic reforms in the city of more than 30 million, helped burnish the political credentials of Bo, who aspired for a spot in the Party’s Standing Committee of the Politburo, a nine-member body that effectively rules China.
Allegations of torture
Wang’s heavy-handed, crime-busting methods were decried as brutal by critics.
At the height of the campaign, Beijing-based lawyer Li Zhuang defended an alleged gang member and discovered police torture during interrogation.
“For eight days and eight nights, my client was repeatedly hung from the ceiling,” Li recalled in an interview with CNN.
“He eventually soiled himself. His interrogators ordered him to remove the feces on the floor with his bare hands and use his shorts to wipe it clean. Then they hung him up naked.”
As he tried to expose the interrogators’ crimes, Li said, he was detained, tortured and promptly sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison under the direct order of Wang for “fabricating evidence and inciting witnesses.”
Wang was also known for his unconventional working style and according to the Chongqing Commercial News, once worked as a taxi driver to gauge public opinion on local security and police issues.

 

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