Trump is not inclined to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Israeli media reports, despite making several assertions on the topic during his campaign.
According to various Israeli media citing Palestinian media, Palestinian Authority leaders have received a “reassuring” message from the Trump administration. The reports also say US security officials spoke directly to Palestinian intelligence head Majid Faraj.
While these reports are yet to be confirmed, Trump had already been presenting a more moderate position, notably during an interview for Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.
“I am thinking about the embassy, I am studying the embassy [issue], and we will see what happens,” Trump reportedly said earlier. “The embassy is not an easy decision. It has obviously been out there for many, many years, and nobody has wanted to make that decision. I’m thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens.”
The issue of relocating the US embassy was also raised during the visit of King Abdullah of Jordan, who said that preserving the multi-religious status of Jerusalem is very important.
“In our view, Jerusalem is extremely important. Our firm stance is that we reject any unilateral efforts that attempt to change the Arab, Muslim and Christian identity of the Holy City,” said Jordanian foreign minister Al Safadi.
Trump the president has been more critical of Israel’s policy towards Palestine than Trump the candidate. He recently criticized Israel’s policy of building settlements on Palestinian territory, saying this practice “doesn’t help the peace process.”
“We are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace,” he said in an interview with an Israeli journalist.
He was, however, extremely critical of the December resolution by the UN Security Council that expressed the same sentiment: calling for an end to settlement building as detrimental to the peace process and illegal under international law.
Amnesty International (AI) has done some good investigations and reports over the years, which has won the group widespread support. However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations with bloody and disastrous consequences.
One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington to influence the U.S. public and Congress.
A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and Muammar Gaddafi as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow his government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism of what became an invasion and “regime change.”
Going far beyond a United Nations Security Council resolution to “protect civilians,” NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.
Now, on Feb. 7, Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,” which accuses the Syrian government of executing thousands of political prisoners, a set of accusations that has received uncritical treatment in the mainstream news media.
Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan “mercenary” story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. It accuses and convicts the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians – and AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action.” But the AI report is deeply biased and amounts to a kangaroo-court conviction of the Syrian government.
AI’s Standards Ignored
The Amnesty International report violates the organization’s own research standards. As documented by Professor Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research “in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.”
But the Amnesty report fails on all counts: it relies on third parties, it did not gather its information from different points of view, and it did not cross-check with all parties. The report’s conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or AI’s own staff; the findings are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated.
Amnesty gathered witnesses and testimonies from only one side of the conflict: the Western- and Gulf-supported opposition. For example, AI consulted with the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is known to seek NATO intervention in Syria. AI “liased” with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an organization funded by the West to press criminal charges against the Syrian leadership. These are obviously not neutral, independent or nonpartisan organizations.
If AI were doing what its Secretary General claims the organization always does, AI would have consulted with organizations within or outside Syria to hear different accounts of life at Saydnaya Prison. Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report, the type of cross-checking that AI failed to do for this important study.
Amnesty’s accusation that executions were “extrajudicial” is exaggerated or false. By Amnesty’s own description, each prisoner appeared briefly before a judge and each execution was authorized by a high government leader. We do not know if the judge looked at documentation or other information regarding each prisoner. One could argue that the process as described was superficial, but it’s clear that even if AI’s allegations are true, there was some kind of judicial process.
Amnesty’s suggestion that all Saydnaya prisoners are convicted is false. Amnesty quotes one witness who says about the court: “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted.” But this assertion is contradicted by a former Saydnaya prisoner who is now a refugee in Sweden. In this news report, the former prisoner says the judge “asked him how many soldiers he had killed. When he said none, the judge spared him.” This is evidence that there is a judicial process of some sort and there are acquittals.
The Amnesty report includes satellite photographs with captions which are meaningless or erroneous. For example, as pointed out by Syrian dissident Nizar Nayyouf, the photo on page 30 showing a Martyrs Cemetery is “silly beyond silly.” The photo and caption show that the cemetery doubled in size. However, this does not prove hangings of prisoners who would never be buried in a “martyrs cemetery” reserved for Syrian army soldiers. On the contrary, it confirms the fact which Amnesty International otherwise ignores: Syrian soldiers have died in large numbers.
The Amnesty report falsely claims — based on data provided by one of the groups seeking NATO intervention — “The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.” While it’s surely true that innocent civilians are sometimes wrongly arrested, as happens in all countries, the suggestion that Saydnaya prison is filled with 95 percent “ordinary civilians” is preposterous. Amnesty International can only make this claim without facing ridicule because AI and other Western organizations have effectively “disappeared” the reality of Syria.
Other essential facts, which are completely missing from the Amnesty report, include:
–Western powers and Gulf monarchies have spent billions of dollars annually since 2011 to recruit, fund, train, arm and support with sophisticated propaganda a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian government;
–As part of this operation, tens of thousands of foreign fanatics have invaded Syria and tens of thousands of Syrians have been radicalized and paid by Wahhabi monarchies in the Gulf to overthrow the government;
–More than 100,000 Syrian Army and National Defense soldiers have been killed defending their country. Most of this is public information yet ignored by Amnesty International and other mainstream media in the West. This “regime change” operation has been accompanied by a massive distortion and cover-up of reality.
–Without providing evidence, Amnesty International accuses the highest Sunni religious leader in Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, of authorizing the execution of “ordinary civilians.” While the Grand Mufti is a personal victim of the war’s violence – his son was murdered by terrorists near Aleppo – he has consistently called for reconciliation. Following the assassination of his son, Grand Mufti Hassoun gave an eloquent speech expressing forgiveness for the murderers and calling for an end to the violence.
What does it say about Amnesty International that it makes specific personal accusations, against people who have personally suffered, yet provides no evidence of guilt?
In the report, Amnesty uses sensational and emotional accusations in place of factual evidence. The title of the report is “Human Slaughterhouse.” And what goes with a “slaughterhouse”? A “meat fridge.” So, the report uses the expression “meat fridge” seven separate times, presumably in an attempt to strengthen the central metaphor of a slaughterhouse.
Even the report’s opening quotation is hyperbolic: “Saydnaya is the end of life – the end of humanity.” The report is in sharp contrast with fact-based objective research and investigation; it appears designed to manipulate emotions and thus create new public support in the West for another escalation of the war.
Yet, Amnesty International’s accusations that the Syrian government is carrying out a policy of “extermination” are contradicted by the fact that the vast majority of Syrians prefer to live in government-controlled areas. When the “rebels” were finally driven out of East Aleppo in December 2016, 90 percent of civilians rushed into areas under government control.
In recent days, civilians from Latakia province who had been imprisoned by terrorists for the past three years have been liberated in a prisoner exchange. [This video shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife meeting with some of the civilians.]
The Amnesty report is accompanied by a three-minute propaganda cartoon that reinforces the narrative that Syrian civilians who protest peacefully are imprisoned and executed. Echoing the theme of the report, the animation is titled “Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse.” Amnesty International appears to be in denial that there are tens of thousands of violent extremists in Syria, setting off car bombs, launching mortars and otherwise attacking civilian areas every day.
Given the national crisis – with so many violent jihadists to confront – it makes little sense that Syrian security or prison authorities would waste resources on non-violent civilians although that does not mean that the Syrian government has clean hands either. Mistakes and abuses surely happen in this war like all wars.
But the AI report is more like the propaganda that has surrounded the Syrian conflict from the beginning, lacking in balance and reminiscent of the “perception management” used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the West’s assault on Libya in 2011. AI’s hyperbole is also contradicted by the fact that Syria has many opposition parties that compete for seats in the National Assembly and campaign openly for public support from both the right and left of the Baath Party.
AI’s claim that Syrian authorities brutally repress peaceful protests further ignores the Syrian reconciliation process. For the past several years, armed opposition militants have been encouraged to lay down their weapons and peacefully rejoin society, a program largely unreported in Western media because it contradicts the “black hat” narrative of the Syrian government. [A recent example is reported here.]
The Amnesty report cites the “Caesar” photographs as supporting evidence for its “slaughterhouse” accusations but ignores the fact that nearly half those photographs show the opposite of what was claimed. The widely publicized “Caesar photographs” was a Qatari-funded hoax designed to sabotage the 2014 Geneva negotiations as documented here.
While the Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government, AI ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by Western and Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of “human rights law” and “humanitarian law” but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace.
According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, aggression is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and former President of the U.N. General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, is someone who should know. He says, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” Amnesty International ignores this reality.
Background and Context
The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland), who was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow! on Feb. 9. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington “think tanks” and the billionaires’ foundations that fund “non-governmental organizations” – NGOs – that claim to be independent but are clearly not.
Waldman previously worked for the “Center for Civilians in Conflict,” which is directed by leaders from George Soros’s Open Society, the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was expected to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neoconservative and liberal-interventionist plans to escalate the war in Syria. While past work or associations do not always define new or future work, in this case the sensational and dubious accusations seem to align with those political goals. [Soros’s Open Society has also provided funds to Amnesty International.]
So what to make of Amnesty International’s new report? The once widely respected human rights organization has, in the recent past, let itself be used as a propaganda tool to justify Western aggression against Iraq and Libya, which seems to be the role that AI is playing now in Syria.
The Amnesty International report is a mix of hearsay accusations and sensationalism that tracks with the Western propaganda themes that have surrounded the Syrian war from the start. Because of Amnesty’s undeserved reputation for independence and accuracy, the report has been picked up and broadcast widely. Liberal and supposedly progressive media outlets have joined in dutifully echoing the questionable accusations.
Little or no skepticism is applied when the target is the Syrian government, which has faced years of foreign-sponsored aggression. If this report justifies another escalation of the conflict, as Amnesty International seems to want, the group will again be serving as a rationalizer for Western aggression against Syria, just like it did in Iraq and Libya.
Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the United Kingdom has described the British government’s invitation for Benjamin Netanyahu to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the notorious Balfour Declaration in London as a “new slap for the Palestinians,” it has been reported.
“Britain has to correct its mistake, apologise to the Palestinians and recognise the Palestinian state instead of inviting the Israeli prime minister to celebrate 100 years of granting Palestinian land for Jews to build their state,” insisted Professor Manuel Hassassian.
The PA response to the government invitation coincided with the British parliament discussing a motion to call on Israel to halt settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories immediately.
Last Monday, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, approved a law which legalises previously illegal — even under Israeli law — settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land in the occupied territories. All Israeli settlements are illegal according to international laws and conventions.
Hassassian said that he was commissioned to contact the British foreign office to get clarifications about Netanyahu’s invitation. The ambassador said that the Minister of State for Middle East Affairs, Tobias Ellwood MP, initially ignored his request for a meeting. When Ellwood did respond, said Hassassian, he agreed to a meeting but did not specify a date and time.
The euro currency is a major factor accelerating the process of economic and political disintegration within the European Union, according to Belgian left politician Peter Mertens.
The European Union is now “disintegrating,” Paul Magnette, Minister-President of the Belgian French-speaking region of Wallonia, said in a recent interview with L’Echo.
“We are nearing a process of political disintegration, with some countries becoming ungovernable,” the politician said.
Magnette also criticized the euro currency as poorly thought-out, which accelerated “social and financial deregulation.”
Magnette has been known as a vocal critic of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade deal between the EU and Canada. In the interview, he also spoke out for withdrawal from the bloc of such countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary, following the Brexit example.
Magnette’s remarks are especially surprising, taking into account the fact that such criticism came from a left-wing and pro-European politician.
Peter Mertens, the leader of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, underscored that in Belgium criticism of the current state of European integration comes from left-wing political forces, not from the right, like in France or in the Netherlands.
“From the very beginning, the euro has been a problem. The currency was designed to serve the interests of Germany, Europe’s strongest economy. It was clear that the European united market was not people’s will. It was a project for the business establishment,” Mertens said in an interview with Sputnik French.
The politician shared Magnette’s suggestion that the eastward expansion of the European Union was not conducted properly.
“In 2007-2008, several Eastern European countries joined the EU. The main reason was that German companies were looking for a cheap labor force. At the same time, it was clear that such countries as Bulgaria and Romania were not as economically developed as Central Europe. As a result, now there are two polarities in the EU, between the north and the south and between the west and the east,” Mertens pointed out.
He also agreed with Magnette that the introduction of the euro only deepened the social and economic divisions within the EU.
“In my opinion, the euro currency system was built under Germany’s surveillance. And I think that to a certain extent the current EU is autocratic and authoritarian,” he said.
Nevertheless, Mertens warned that a withdrawal of Eastern European countries from the EU would not resolve the crisis.
“We should not forget that we need to protect those countries. Now, some political forces call for cooperation only with economically developed countries. But we should continue our cooperation with Poland and other Eastern European countries,” he said.
Mertens also said that criticism of the European Union should not be monopolized by right-wing political movements.
“These concerns [about the crisis in the EU] can be expressed in many ways. For example, criticism can be expressed by the nationalists or the far-rights, like in France and the Netherlands. But it can also come from the left, like in Spain or Wallonia. The common idea is that the current political elites do not represent their people anymore,” Mertens concluded.
By Mark Hackard | 21st Century Wire | February 10, 2017
Did Russian intelligence sway the outcome of the 2016 United States presidential race? Ask the CIA and mainstream Western media organs, and they’ll have you believe that yes, it was none other than Moscow’s shadowy operatives who managed to infiltrate Donald Trump into the newly gold-bedecked Oval Office. Blame the Russians, our betters declare, rather than a year of skewed coverage and loaded polls. While the theory has become popular among opposition to the new administration, it is based on exactly zero evidence – which means we should designate it under the establishment’s own rubric as “fake news.”
To bolster the charge, the US Intelligence Community (of Iraq WMD fame) has released a public report intimating that Vladimir Putin “hacked the election.” Through cyberwarfare, agents of influence and information campaigns, we are told, the Kremlin pulled off the unthinkable and effectively ran a regime-change operation in America. Warmongering neoconservatives and virtue-signaling liberals alike commenced their reenactment of Red Dawn. Piling on, CNN and Buzzfeed unveiled a sloppy, error-ridden and highly dubious dossier detailing Trump’s alleged Russian ties and sexual blackmail material (kompromat). None of these claims have been backed by a shred of credible proof presented to the public, so why should they be taken as an article of faith?
The more historically literate among purveyors of the Trump-Russia fantasy will point to the Soviet KGB’s use of “active measures” and disinformation as instruments of influence. Indeed, Soviet intelligence could boast a distinguished record of such programs all the way back to 1923, when the Bolsheviks formed a joint committee, the Disinformation Bureau, that developed and executed deception campaigns to aid specific policy goals. Contrary to the wild stories of defectors like Anatoly Golitsyn, these operations did not comprise some grand strategy to trick the West into embracing the joys of Marxism-Leninism. Rather, they were focused on concrete objectives, such as inflating data on Soviet defense capabilities, concealing military advantages, or obtaining economic concessions in international trade deals. A declassified document from the Disinformation Bureau outlines its main tasks:
• “A record of intelligence, flowing both to the GPU [successor service to the Cheka] and the Intelligence Directorate [Red Army] and other institutions, on the degree to which foreign intelligence services are informed about Russia;
• An accounting and characterization of intelligence that interests the opponent;
• Detecting the degree to which the opponent is informed about us;
• Composition and technical production of an entire series of false intelligence and documents giving the opponent an incorrect conception about the internal situation in Russia, on the organization and state of the Red Army, on the political work of leading Party and Soviet organs, on the work of the NKID [People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs], etc.;
• Carry out supplying the opponent with the aforementioned materials and documents through corresponding organs of the GPU and Intelligence Directorate;
• Development of a series of articles and notes for the periodical press; prepare the ground for the release of various fictitious materials into circulation and present them in each individual case for review by one of the secretaries of the Central Committee.”[i]
During the Cold War, Service A within the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence) was dedicated to the arcane arts of deception, propaganda and influence campaigns[ii], all of which today would be classified under the term information warfare. Its wily progenitor, Major General Ivan Agayants, was a legend in the KGB for his erudition and sophisticated planning.[iii] Service A operated in five basic spheres: political; economic; scientific-technical; military; and counterintelligence. And in contrast to other units, its leadership had a comprehensive view of the secret war:
“Service A was the only element of the KGB (outside of the Information Analysis Directorate) to be routinely given copies of reports coming in from secret sources throughout the world. In fact, Agayants and Kondrashev – on a strictly personal basis – were given (by hand) information gleaned from the most sensitive of these sources: deciphered foreign communications, moles inside Western governments, and microphones in Western installations (although in a format concealing the identity and often even the general nature of the source).”[iv]
Disinformation programs in the political realm were directed at furthering Moscow’s foreign policy objectives – whether increasing friction amongst NATO allies, undermining the dominant US strategic role in Western Europe or discrediting anti-Soviet politicians. Documents and other evidence, real, altered or forged, could be fed to friendly journalists who would publish the damaging exposés. Agayants’ successor, Lieutenant General Sergei Kondrashev, knew well that the truth was often the KGB’s most potent weapon:
“An “active measure” – for example, the public release of documents of facts embarrassing a hostile Western government or statesman – may or may not involve “disinformation” – distortion, concealment, invention, or forgery. In practice, Kondrashev found that actions based on truth had greater impact. The distinction became clear when an officer would propose such a measure and Kondrashev would ask, “How much disinfo (deza) is in it?””[v]
Economic active measures were deployed to the benefit of the Soviet state – such as playing the gold markets through the officially sanctioned release of false data. Bogus scientific information on industrial and defense technologies, meanwhile, was fed through double agents to the CIA so that US defense concerns would waste vast sums on non-viable projects. Another cell coordinated with the USSR General Staff in strategic concealment – maskirovka. And in the arena of counterintelligence, KGB Service A was able to deceive its adversaries in order to protect high-priority assets and moles who had burrowed their way deep into Western spy services.[vi]
In one form or another, Service A is likely still a component of the KGB First Chief Directorate’s contemporary successor, the SVR. Yet the continuing presence of a deception capability, now augmented by cyberwarfare, simply does not translate to the claim that Russia “hacked the election.” The closest pundits and government officials have to come to any kind of logical scheme of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections has been the assertion that Wikileaks, activist Julian Assange’s one-stop shop for hard evidence of government malfeasance, is a Kremlin front. This charge, however, has been shown to have no origin in reality. Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, who has admitted to acting as a courier for Wikileaks, stated that the source for the explosive revelations from Democratic Party servers was an American whistleblower. Rather than functioning as the link in some Russian conspiracy, in all probability Wikileaks has been acting as a clearinghouse for compromising files supplied by dissident factions within the US Deep State.
Brace yourself for a shock: every great power spies. Russian intelligence remains unmatched in classical espionage (rivalled only by the Israelis and British) and fields an impressive cyberwarfare arm. Active intelligence collection in no way presupposes massive covert action, though, especially when not an iota of actual proof has been offered – spurious allegations by “unnamed sources” and the anti-Hillary editorial slant of Moscow outlets RT and Sputnik don’t qualify.
If anyone is known for hacking elections, it’s Lubyanka’s archenemy in Langley. Since its postwar inception in 1947, the CIA has covertly intervened in other nations’ elections and engineered coups with regularity in the service of multinational corporate interests. Rent-a-mobs and swarming technologies; bribery; assassinations; Color Revolutions; “freedom fighters;” financing wars and political campaigns through drug trafficking; and endless propaganda – all are sure favorites from the set list of the Company’s World Democracy Tour. From Iran, Guatemala, and Congo to Libya, Syria, and Ukraine, the CIA has blazed a path of subversion and destruction without parallel in the historical record. As the Congressional record made clear in 1975, the Agency admitted to running hundreds of well-paid assets occupying key editorial positions in American print, television and radio to shape public opinion under a program fittingly codenamed “Operation Mockingbird.” How’s that for fake news?
In attempting to undermine Trump, the CIA has now openly intervened in American politics, with none of the subtlety of Kennedy’s execution in Dealey Plaza. The nation is descending into McCarthyism 2.0. CIA auxiliaries in the media are denouncing those who question official wisdom – or dare advocate peaceful and productive relations between Russia and the United States – as ‘Putin’s agents,’ including even the US president.
While this contrived scandal will eventually flame out, the real-life Great Game continues unabated. In late January, Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service) arrested three cyber security experts, including two from their own ranks. FSB officers Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev, along with Kaspersky Labs employee Ruslan Stoyanov, are reportedly being held under suspicion of having worked for Washington. Might this be the conclusive smoking gun that proves Russia ‘hacked’ the US election? Considering historical context and the fact that nothing presented so far by the US Intelligence Community would corroborate its claims, the possibility is low. Rather, whatever sources and methods the CIA presented in whirlwind briefings to a slew of US policymakers – who are determined to advance the “Russian meddling” trope – were likely ferreted out by the SVR and promptly delivered to Lubyanka. The CIA’s globalist brass may have thus blown their agent network in Moscow – thanks to a deception campaign they themselves unleashed.
We can only wonder what scenario of carnavalesque intrigue our masters will concoct next as the establishment narrative kaleidoscopes into absurdity.
[i] Sluzhba vneshnei razvedki. Istoriia rossiiskoi vneshnei razvedki: Ocherki: Tom II: 1917-1933 gody. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnyie Otnosheniia, 2014.
[ii] Founded in 1959, the KGB First Chief Directorate’s disinformation unit was originally designated Department D (for disinformation). In 1966 it was upgraded to Service A. Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti. “Otdel D – Sluzhba A.” http://shieldandsword.mozohin.ru/kgb5491/structure/1GU/A.htm
[iii] Sluzhba vneshnei razvedki. Istoriia rossiiskoi vneshnei razvedki: Ocherki: Tom V: 1945-1965 gody. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnyie Otnosheniia, 2014.
[iv] Bagley, Tennent. Spymaster: Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chief. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013.
Author Mark Hackard is an independent foreign policy analyst, and founder and editor of Soul of the East. He earned a BA in Russian Language from Georgetown University and an MA in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University. He studies the intersection of political culture, religion and strategic issues, which he approaches from a traditionalist-conservative position. Some of his major influences are Joseph de Maistre, Juan Donoso Cortes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Rene Guenon and Fr. Seraphim Rose.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the owner and operator of the now-defunct Fukushima-1 nuclear plant in Japan, had to pull its toughest radiation-resistant robot out of its Unit 2 reactor prematurely. The robot, built to withstand up to 1000 Sv/hr, failed to last the projected two hours inside the reactor, before starting to glitch.
As Sputnik reported earlier, Fukushima-1 Unit 2 reactor radiation readings had been estimated at “unimaginable” levels of 530 Sv/hr. This level of radiation is beyond extreme, even in comparison to the inside of the Chernobyl reactor, where radiation levels are ‘only’ 34 Sv/hr. The Chernobyl radiation levels are high enough to cause death in humans in about 20 minutes, and Fukushima’s earlier estimation, of 530 Sv/hr, is likely to kill a man in moments. Alarmingly, it is also more than powerful enough to kill purpose-built radiation-protected robots.
Tepco has previously lost five, less-shielded robots inside the Fukushima reactor. While earlier estimations showed 74 Sv/hr readings, Tepco, charged with decommissioning the destroyed facility, has been unpleasantly surprised to find that radiation levels underneath the reactor have spiked, due, in part, to nuclear fuel believed to have melted out of the reactor core. As a result, the company ordered the toughest robot available to clear the way for cleanup machines. Intended to function for two hours, Tepco pulled the machine prematurely, as its cameras developed noise and the image became too dark to use.
Radiation levels inside the damaged reactor are much higher than previously estimated, according to reports. Judging by camera noise and overall operation time, the team has increased its estimation to 650 Sv/hr. The robot failed to complete its mission of removing debris, including, it is thought, the remains of previous robots, inside the reactor chamber, and now the next robot to be sent inside will have less time to perform its job. The process of decommissioning the nuclear plant is expected to take at least 40 years, and cannot begin before a full assessment of the damage.
Tepco has reported that they have only acquired images of the reactor chamber, showing damaged structures, coated with molten material, possibly mixed with molten nuclear fuel. The robot was able to acquire images of a part of a disc platform that was located below the reactor core that had been melted through. This discovery supported earlier speculation that nuclear fuel has found its way outside of the reactor. Tepco continues to assert that no radiation is leaking outside of the building.