Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween! Fritz Lang's 1931 Film "M"

Picture credit and discussion by Eric B. Olsen of Fritz Lang's 1930 or 1931 film M. Here is a resource about the director.

Here is a site called Crowe Movies with pictures and a discussion of M. Part 1 and Part 2. The little girl in the picture is named Elsie Beckmann.

Lenin Imports also discusses M. Here is a video review of M by Gary Morris who notes that "M is based on the real-life case of a [1920s] child-killer named Peter Kurten, the "Monster of Dusseldorf."

The entire movie is on Google Video, probably because it is in the public domain.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gary Kasparov Takes on President Putin

Kasparov seemed to thrive on the claustrophobic intensity of kitchen politics. “The intellectual brainstorming always takes place here,” he said. “We did it like this when I was playing chess and when I was beginning in politics, in the nineties. The kitchen tradition is part of our culture.”

Gary Kasparov: picture credit The New Yorker

Veteran Kremlin watcher David Remnick has a 12-page article in The New Yorker about Russia's chess champion Gary Kasparov, who will probably run for President in Russia's March 2008 elections. Kasparov is a leader of a politically diverse anti-Putin coalition called Drugaya Rossiya--the Other Russia. On FOX News Kasparov noted that President Putin favors instability in the Middle East because that ensures Russia of having high oil prices.

Remnick observes:

Kasparov is forty-four. He was the world chess champion for fifteen years. Until his retirement, two years ago, his dominance was unprecedented. Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Fischer—none came close. Chess has outsized meaning in Russia, and Kasparov at home was a cross between the greatest of athletes and a revered intellectual; with his status came celebrity, foreign investment accounts, summers on the Adriatic, an apartment along the Hudson River, friendships among Western politicians and businessmen, and the attentions of beautiful women. Now he has volunteered for grim and, very likely, futile duty. As the most conspicuous leader of Drugaya Rossiya (the Other Russia), an umbrella group of liberals, neo-Bolsheviks, and just about anyone else wishing to speak ill of Vladimir Putin, he is in nominal charge of opposition politics in a country that, in actuality, has no real politics except for that which takes place in the narrow and inscrutable space between the ears of its President.

...Kasparov is well aware of the perils of brazen independence. Since Putin took office, in 2000, more than a dozen Russian journalists have been murdered, as have several opposition politicians. The cases remain “unresolved.” When Kasparov is in Russia, he retains a security contingent that costs him tens of thousands of dollars a month. His wife, Daria Tarasova, and their baby often stay in an apartment in New Jersey. Oleg Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who was Putin’s superior in St. Petersburg twenty years ago and now lives in Maryland, told me, “You can expect anything with this regime, and Kasparov has been very vocal and very personal in his criticism of Putin. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about something terrible happening to him. And where will the evidence be? Remember that Trotsky’s assassin, Señor Ramon Mercader, was sent to get him in Mexico by the K.G.B. and was secretly made a Hero of the Soviet Union. No one knew the truth for decades.”

When I asked Kasparov if he feared for his life, he nodded gravely and said, “I do. The only thing I can try to do is reduce my risk. I can’t avoid the risk altogether. They watch everything I do in Moscow, or when I travel to places like Murmansk or Voronezh or Vladimir. I don’t eat or drink at places I’m not familiar with. I avoid flying with Aeroflot”—the Russian national airline. “It doesn’t help in the end if they really decide to go after you. But, if they did, it would be really messy. And not just because of the bodyguards. There would be a huge risk for the Kremlin if anything happens to me, God forbid, because the blood would be on Putin’s hands. It’s not that they have an allergy to blood, but it creates a bad image, or makes it worse than it already is.”

...Putin has been lucky. Russia is second only to Saudi Arabia in petroleum production and leads the world in the production of natural gas. Without Russian gas, much of Europe freezes in its bed. Oil prices have nearly tripled since 2000. Real incomes and G.D.P. continue to grow. Unlike during the Yeltsin years, pensions and state salaries have, in general, been paid and have increased. A crushing multibillion-dollar foreign debt has been paid off. As recently as five years ago, knowing analysts would dismiss the shimmering signs of wealth in Moscow—the wildfire construction projects; the new hotels, luxury stores, and restaurants; the streets clogged with Mercedes-Benzes and Bentleys—and describe them as phenomena limited solely to a tiny, criminalized upper crust. Now nearly every big urban center, from Kaliningrad, in the west, to Vladivostok, in the far east, has seen considerable growth and the first signs of a middle class. Kasparov, though, points to the widening gap between rich and poor, persistent poverty in the provinces, and the absence of human rights as “the key reasons this regime will inevitably collapse.”

...Putin sees himself as the new tsar, who, after suffering the humiliation of a lost empire, has restored strength and confidence to Russia. With the price of oil at eighty-two dollars a barrel, there is a sense of global reordering. “People feel that Putin can speak up to the United States,” Tanya Lokshina, a human-rights expert, said. “He can give us an independent politics and we can even blackmail a lot of countries with our oil and gas.”

...Kasparov and many other figures in the opposition believe that Putin might become the head of the International Olympic Committee—and thus occupy himself for four years before regaining the Presidency in 2012. “The I.O.C. is not the most transparent organization in the world,” he said. “He can definitely buy his way on.” Kasparov, like many others in the opposition, is convinced that Putin became a billionaire in office, perhaps the richest man in the country, and has entrusted Russian confederates to shelter his money in foreign banks. There is no proof of Putin’s staggering wealth, but, in Kasparov’s eyes, to question the proposition is to be hopelessly naïve.

...In today’s Russia, demokratia as it emerged in the nineties has been derisively called dermokratia: “shit-ocracy.” The notion of liberalism, too—a belief in the necessity of civil society, civil liberties, an open economy—has been degraded. Of all the pro-democracy activists and politicians of the late eighties and the nineties, the only one remembered fondly—if not very often—is the physicist and human-rights activist Andrei Sakharov. And that may be because he died in December, 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet empire. The liberal parties that began in the nineties, such as Yabloko (Apple) and the Union of Right Forces, remain tainted by their connections to the Yeltsin era and no longer have seats in the Duma. “The state lets the opposition exist so long as there is no coalition,” Mikhail Kasyanov, the former Prime Minister, told me.

“You can scarcely find anyone in opposition, except for the Communists, just like in Yeltsin’s times,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn recently told Der Spiegel. “If you take an unbiased look at the situation, there was a rapid decline of living standards in the nineteen-nineties, which affected three-quarters of Russian families, and all under the ‘democratic banner.’ Small wonder, then, that the population does not rally to this banner anymore.” Solzhenitsyn, who lives just outside Moscow, is eighty-eight, and in failing health. Although much of his work as a novelist and historian comprises a prolonged critique of Soviet power and the secret police, he speaks approvingly of Putin, who was a lieutenant colonel in the K.G.B. “Putin inherited a ransacked and bewildered country, with a poor and demoralized people,” he said. “And he started to do what was possible—a slow and gradual restoration.”

Kasparov argues that Putin’s popularity is the phony popularity of dictators. “The support for Putin is a kind of passive resistance to change,” he said. “You cannot talk about polls and popularity when all of the media are under state control. I don’t want to give anyone any bad ideas, but with such a propaganda apparatus, backed up by an all-powerful security force, seventy-per-cent approval should be a minimum!”

Two great traditions have survived in Russia: the power of the secret police and the use of allegory as a means of truthtelling. In Putin’s Russia, the latter is one of the few effective means of describing the former.

Recently, Vladimir Sorokin, a writer in his fifties with a flair for surreal brutality, published a dystopian novel called “Day of the Oprichnik.” The oprichniki were the secret police of the sixteenth century, Ivan the Terrible’s K.G.B. In Sorokin’s depiction of an authoritarian Russia set in the year 2028, the ruler controls all destinies and information. The state’s well-being depends on oil and gas and the individual’s survival on unquestioning fealty to a bloody-minded despot and his circle of oprichniki. The state itself is profoundly conservative, traditional.

The allegory is easy to follow. Putin and many of his top officials in the Kremlin, ministers and advisers, come from the ranks of the K.G.B., many from his home city of St. Petersburg. Yeltsin made tentative attempts to reform the security services, but they failed. “The system of political police has been preserved,” Yeltsin admitted, “and it could be resurrected.” During the nineties, the oligarchs staffed their organizations with well-trained, well-informed ex-K.G.B. advisers, but Putin has reversed the hierarchy. The siloviki—the security men—are now more prevalent in the Kremlin than Harvard men were in the Kennedy White House. Olga Kryshtanovskaya, an expert on political élites, estimates that siloviki occupy more than sixty per cent of “high” and “upper middle” positions in the state. They run numerous Kremlin departments, bureaucracies, banking operations, and state corporations.

...“There is no such thing as a former Chekist,” he says, referring to the original name of the Soviet secret police.

Under Putin’s K.G.B. old-boy network, one of his colleagues in East Germany, Sergei Chemezov, has been installed as the head of Rosoboronexport, a state arms corporation. The two deputy heads of the Presidential Administration, Igor Sechin and Viktor Ivanov, are ex-spies from St. Petersburg, and they have placed former colleagues in leadership positions everywhere from the Ministry of Justice to the largest industries. Sechin himself is the chairman of the biggest state-operated oil company, Rosneft, and Ivanov chairs the board of directors for Aeroflot and Almaz-Antei, a producer of air-defense systems.

Some of the gaudiest events in recent Russian history—the murders, the arrests of disobedient business executives, the muscling of uncoöperative foreign companies—are thought by many to be tied to the K.G.B.’s successor agency, the F.S.B. (Federal Security Service), although the over-all structure of the regime, its mode of corruption, its strategic way of controlling society and the economy and dealing with the outside world, is many times more sophisticated than the bumbling of the late Soviet era. Putin is not a dictator—not in the Stalinist sense. He knows that to play in the global economy he must bring his resources to the marketplace and behave with a modicum of decorum. When anyone gets in his way, he can employ the F.S.B., but in a highly selective manner. In the modern world, the political use of the tax police or a single, well-publicized incident of mysterious brutality is far more effective than mass repression and the Gulag.

...Under Yeltsin, a small group of businessmen used their connections to the Kremlin to buy up state enterprises—oil companies, aluminum plants, transport systems—and made their fortunes. Putin instituted new rules: these oligarchs could keep their properties so long as they did not create political power bases outside the Kremlin. The Kremlin would not hesitate to nationalize the enterprise or put its ministers on the board of directors. “Gazprom is not a company,” Milov said. “It has a new wrapping, people in good suits and ties, but it is a classic Soviet enterprise. All you have now is an upper echelon that takes all the money.” Putin’s former chief of staff, Dmitri Medvedev, is, simultaneously, the first Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government and the chairman of the board of Gazprom.

The March Presidential elections will be notable for which corporate groups have patrons at the top. “In the past seven years, Putin has skillfully balanced these clans, not allowing any single one of them to take too powerful a lead,” Yuri Dzhibladze, a human-rights activist, said. “He is the supreme arbiter. When he destroyed and split up Yukos”—Khodorkovsky’s oil company—“he distributed it all around. He is the check and he is the balance. When he leaves the Presidency, the problem will be that these groups do not get along.”

Putin has promised to propose one or more successors, but, rather than make himself an instant lame duck, he has avoided direct endorsements, using mystery as a political tool. On September 12th, Putin dissolved the government and appointed a relatively obscure bureaucrat, Viktor Zubkov, as Prime Minister. Zubkov promptly declared that if he succeeded “in doing something in the post of premier” he might run for President. Putin called Zubkov, who is sixty-six, a “brilliant administrator and true professional” but made no endorsement.

In the meantime, every political expert in Moscow, real and self-proclaimed, has a theory. Another strong candidate, some speculate, is the other first Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Ivanov, a former defense minister. Ivanov spent two decades in the secret services, first alongside Putin in the Leningrad K.G.B.’s foreign-intelligence division, then in posts in Africa and Europe, and, finally, as a general at Moscow headquarters. He speaks English and Swedish, but he is not considered to be particularly enamored of the West. Medvedev, the other Deputy Prime Minister, is also a possible contender. And then comes a litany of potential candidates, including the railway minister, Vladimir Yakunin, who is thought to have worked for the K.G.B. when he was a diplomat at the United Nations, and various parliamentary loyalists, ministers, and regional governors. The essence of the election, however, is not the individual but the means. The winner will be a man of the inner circle—a Presidential, not a popular, choice.

“Here is how it will go: Putin will decide the successor and he will be elected without much struggle,” Vladimir Ryzhkov, a young (and very lonely) liberal in the Duma, said. “All the opposition will be put on as a show for stupid foreigners like you to demonstrate what a great democracy we are. And all the resources of the media will be employed to put on this show.”

...Not long ago, Kasparov gave a speech at the Four Seasons restaurant to members and guests of the Hudson Institute, a neoconservative think tank. Among the guests were the broadcaster and former Nixon aide Monica Crowley and the ur-neocon Norman Podhoretz, the former editor of Commentary, who had just signed on as a foreign-policy adviser to Rudolph Giuliani.

Kasparov gave a version of the same speech that he had lately given in Washington and Toronto. There were a few notes of reassurance—“Putin’s regime is not a geopolitical monster”—but there was no shortage of stark warning. “The Cold War was based on ideas, like them or not,” Kasparov said. “Putin’s only idea can be concentrated into the motto ‘Let’s steal together.’ ”

When one of the guests asked what could be done to help the Russian opposition, Kasparov was careful not to inspire any old Cold War fantasies, saying, “We are not looking for support from the outside. What we want from the leaders of the free world is for them to say to Mr. Putin, ‘You cannot act like Lukashenko’ ”—the erratic President of Belarus—“ ‘or Mugabe or Hugo Chávez and still be treated as a democratic leader.’ ”

...Putin’s strategist, a smooth former business executive in his early forties named Vladislav Surkov, is interested solely in the power and independence of the Russian state, and relies on Russian nationalist philosophers like Yevgeny Trubetskoy and Ivan Ilyin. In 2005, Surkov gave a secret speech to a business group called “How Russia Should Fight International Conspiracies,” in which he proposed an ideology of “sovereign democracy.” The term was meant to insist that democracy comes in many forms, and that “Russian democracy” will develop in its own way and at its own pace. Russia, Surkov says in his speeches, must see through Western hypocrisy: “They tell us about democracy while all the time they are thinking about our hydrocarbons.”

Each morning at the Other Russia’s July conference at the Holiday Inn, the delegates were greeted by one of Surkov’s creations. Members of a pro-Putin youth group, Molodaya Gvardia—the Young Guard, a name reminiscent of Soviet times—staged demonstrations mocking Kasparov and his comrades. The Young Guard is the youth branch of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

After the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, two years ago, Putin’s Kremlin, led by Surkov, orchestrated the creation of a series of youth organizations modelled on the Soviet-era Komsomol. The largest of them, with ten thousand active members and capable of delivering a hundred thousand to its events, is called Nashi, or Ours. Nashi, like the Komsomol, organizes volunteer work and urges young people to quit smoking and drinking. But it also has a core of activists whose specialty is to harass the opposition. One of the questions on Nashi’s entrance exam for its summer camp was to describe Garry Kasparov. The “correct” answer was that he is an American citizen who has taken an oath of loyalty to undermine Russia in the name of the State Department. “Nashi was created, first and foremost, for disturbing our activities,” Kasparov said.

The demonstration in front of the Holiday Inn was made up of no more than fifty people, who wore red T-shirts and baseball caps and chanted, “Kasparov, Iyuda!” (“Kasparov is Judas!”). They threw fake American currency—thirty-dollar bills—and shouted slogans about “political prostitutes.” A small brass band played ironical funeral tunes.

At the Other Russia’s major rallies earlier this year, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the kids from Nashi and the Young Guard were joined by thousands of anti-terrorism and anti-riot troops. Hours after the rally in Moscow, television news covered the event only as a way to imply that it had been bankrolled by the U.S. State Department.

...The first session of the Other Russia conference was a routine recitation of reports about the state of Russia and the state of the Other Russia. The second day’s gathering was held in a much larger hall and, along with delegates from many provincial cities, there also seemed to be several young men brazenly filming the audience, as if to accumulate a dossier. Alexei Kondaurov, a former general in the F.S.B. and now a member of the Duma, said, “I look around at this audience and I think there are people, um, observing us. Unofficially. After all, it’s my job to know this.”

It was a diverse conference, with environmentalists, liberals, human-rights activists, and, most of all, neo-Bolsheviks. In the parlance of today’s Russia, a liberal (like Kasparov) tends to emphasize legal rights, democratic procedure, a transparent market economy, and civil society. The neo-Bolsheviks, whose principal leader is the novelist and opposition figure Eduard Limonov, emphasize social rights and guarantees: pensions, salaries, eliminating the gap between the wealthy and the poor. The leftists outnumbered the liberal democrats, who were discredited by the failures of the nineties. “If there were free and fair elections, we would have our own version of Hamas being elected in Palestine,” Ilya Ponomaryov, a left-wing economist and a member of the opposition, said. “I think that what we would get in really open elections is either left-wing forces or nationalists.”

Kasparov has chosen to join forces with the leftists—even leftists like Limonov, who, in the past, has made common cause with neo-Fascists and anti-Semites—in the name of creating genuine elections and democratic procedures. “It was Garry Kasparov who introduced the notion of a consensus and a united front, even though our ideological differences are very serious,” Andrei Dmitriyev, a National Bolshevik Party leader from St. Petersburg, said.

Limonov is, at best, a problematic partner for Kasparov. In the seventies, he immigrated to the United States and modelled himself on Charles Bukowski—as dissolute in his prose as in his daily life. In his autobiographical novel, “It’s Me, Eddie,” contempt and self-pity are the prevailing emotions. He describes himself bumming off the American welfare system, taking women up to his residential hotel, disdaining his new countrymen (“because you lead dull lives, sell yourselves into the slavery of work, because of your vulgar plaid pants”), and drinking. Solzhenitsyn called him “a little insect who writes pornography.” In middle age, Limonov refashioned himself as a man of action and went to Bosnia, where he befriended the accused war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Returning to Russia in 1994, he founded the National Bolshevik Party. It was hard to know how seriously to take him. He recommended the Gulag for Russian liberals. He bought guns. He started an N.B.P. newspaper called Limonka, a pun on his name and the slang for “hand grenade.” Finally, in 2001, he was arrested for buying arms illegally and was imprisoned for more than two years. Limonov has softened his rhetoric since his release and, in Kasparov’s presence, he presents himself as a benign social democrat.

...Kasparov thinks that the liberals who keep their distance from Limonov are repeating a mistake of the early nineties. “You have to work with the people who live here,” he said. “We’re not trying to win elections yet. It’s all about having elections, real elections.”[full text]

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Human Race Will "Split into Two Different Species"!

"The other aspect of population I want to take up is that there is another way of counting. One way, the way I just did it, and the one that is conventionally done, is to simply point to the number of bodies or 'people units.' That is valid enough as far as it goes, but it does not really go far enough. This brings up the second method, which is to count by relative rate of resource consumption per body—the relative degree of environmental impact per individual—and to extrapolate this into people units.

Using this method, which is actually more accurate in ecological terms, we arrive at conclusions that are a little different than the usual notion that the most overpopulated regions on earth are in the Third World. The average resident of the United States, for example, consumes about thirty times the resources of the average Ugandan or Laotian. Since a lot of poor folk reside in the United States, this translates into the average yuppie consuming about seventy times the resources of an average Third Worlder. Every yuppie born counts as much as another seventy Chinese.

Lay that one on the next soccer mom who approaches you with a baby stroller and an outraged look, demanding that you to put your cigarette out, eh? It is plainly absurd for any American to complain about smoking when you consider the context of the damage done by overall U.S. consumption patterns. Tell ’em you’ll put the butt out when they snuff the kid and not a moment before. Better yet, tell ’em they should snuff themselves, as well as the kid, and do the planet a real favor. Just 'kidding' (heh-heh)."---Ward Churchill (pictured above)

Young people may not realize it, but the ignorant and dishonest Ward Churchill talks about Americans the same way that Hitler and the NAZIS talked about the Jews. Jews were said to be rich, greedy vermin bent on world domination who were infecting and destroying Germany. Instead, Hitler was the sick person who was bent on world domination and who destroyed Germany and other countries.

From our Better Late Than Never department:

The Daily Mail (10-26-07) reports:

"The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist...

The alarming prediction comes from evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics..." [full text]

KGB Spymaster Alexander Feklisov Dies

KGB officer Alexander Feklisov has died at 93. Feklisov worked in the Soviet Consulate in New York City from 1941-1946 and was the KGB Station Chief or Rezident at the Soviet Embassy in Washington from 1960-1964. His cover name during his assignment in Washington was Alexander Fomin.

Feklisov helped the Soviet Union get the atomic bomb and was involved in negotiations with the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missle Crisis. Feklisov published an autobiography of his espionage on behalf of the Soviet regime called The Man Behind the Rosenbergs.

The Venona Project, "a long-running and highly secret collaboration between intelligence agencies of the United States and United Kingdom that involved the cryptanalysis of messages sent by several intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union" provided the US government with information about the Rosenbergs.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has posted documentation from the Venona Project here, and Congressional intelligence experts Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel have also posted the preface to their 2000 book The Venona Secrets.

Feklisov said that "he was denied the Order of the Hero of the Soviet Union because his work helping steal atomic secrets from the United States would reflect badly on the achievement of Soviet scientists."

Reuters 910-26-07) reports:

"A KGB master agent who ran some of Moscow's most damaging Cold War spies in the West -- Klaus Fuchs and the Rosenbergs -- died on Friday after a lifetime of espionage that helped the Soviet Union acquire the nuclear bomb...."

"[Alexander Feklisov] arrived in New York in 1941 and began running Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a married couple who supplied the Soviet Union with top secret information on the U.S. Manhattan project to develop the atomic bomb..."

"In his autobiography, The Man Behind the Rosenbergs, Feklisov recounted how he had played Le Carre-style espionage games to throw off U.S. minders in New York. He said he ran a total of 17 foreign agents in his lifetime.

After working the Rosenbergs, Feklisov returned as a silent hero to Moscow. But he was quickly dispatched to London in 1947 as deputy chief of intelligence operations for science and technology..."

"He soon made contact -- in a London pub -- with Fuchs, a German-born scientist who worked at the U.S. atom bomb project in Los Alamos and at Britain's Harwell nuclear research laboratory.

Fuchs passed on secrets that helped speed Moscow's race for the nuclear bomb by at least 18 months, intelligence officials said later when the extent of Fuchs' treachery was examined..."

"Feklisov returned to the United States to head Soviet intelligence operations in Washington from 1960 to 1964.

As the KGB resident, Feklisov played a key role as a behind-the-scenes intermediary between the Kremlin and Washington in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, widely seen as the closest the world ever came to nuclear war." [full text See also Washington Post obituary]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

C.U. Instructor Ben Whitmer Denigrates the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Picture credit for Washington D.C. National Museum of the American Indian

"The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and Hawai‘i to protect and foster indigenous cultures, reaffirm traditions and beliefs, encourage contemporary artistic expression, and provide a forum for Native voices."---NMAI’s Community and Constituent Services department

Ben Whitmer, an instructor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, recently criticized Washington's National Museum of the American Indian on his blog.

Whitmer writes:

"One of my favorite examples of Holocaust denial is The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. It’s sort of an anti-museum, with no correlation whatsoever to the historical realities one might expect to be at issue."

This museum, which is actually three museums, owes its existence to a collector named George Gustav Heye.

Linda Poolaw (Delaware/Kiowa), Deleware Grand Chief, says:

“If Gustav Heye hadn’t collected those things back then, we would not have them today to look at. Now, over 100 years later, my people can see what we had, and it is not lost.”

Whitmer is a supporter of the discredited ex-professor and plagiarist Ward Churchill, who is a propagandist for the Colorado American Indian Movement (CO-AIM). Churchill also admits that he abused his young Indian wife, the late Leah Kelly, a student at the University of Colorado
in Boulder. He denigrated her as a drunk and blamed white opression for her alcoholism, although her family says she didn't have an alcohol problem until she married Ward, a white man. [Search Leah on this blog.]

Ward Churchill admits:

"I broke and slammed [my wife] back against our bedroom wall, telling her that if she kept it up, she’d be apt to land in a hospital."

AIM pretends to advocate for Indians, but really they reportedly have a criminal history of vandalizing, stealing, and selling stolen Indian art. Ward Churchill even plagiarizes other people's art and then sells it for money. He plagiarized a painting by the artist Thomas Mails called "Winter Attack." When reporters found out, Wardo attacked the reporters.

In February 1973, AIM vandals attacked the Indian town of Wounded Knee. This is what John Burrows reports that AIM did to people's homes and to their small museum in the name of "liberation":

"[O]ne hundred to two hundred Indians led by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), swarmed into Wounded Knee and wrecked Clive Gildersleeve's museum. They knocked the old man down and spat on him. They smashed and overturned glass display cases and slashed hide paintings and pictures. Then they left, these self-proclaimed AIM "warriors," taking with them whatever artifacts they had not destroyed. Altogether they stole, destroyed or damaged $50,000 worth of irreplaceable Sioux treasures. Many of these items were later sold to white collectors. "The reason for that destruction," AIM "leader" Clyde Bellecourt said, "was that the owner, even though he was married to an Oglala Sioux, was white.....The AIM people destroyed the homes of Indian residents. They stole valuables and burnt furniture. They shot pets, dogs and cats, and smashed children's tricycles. They defecated and urinated on floors—after having "purified" themselves in "sweat" rituals. Sanitation does not obtain in the Indian movement." [Full story]

I wrote about how AIM attacked Wounded Knee in an earlier post. That post shows how the criminals who attacked Wounded Knee camoflaged their violence, vandalism, and theft with hypocritical accounts of their "bravery."

Really, Ben Whitmer and Colorado AIM don't want American Indians to have success. They want Indians to be oppressed because that is the only way that Indians are useful to anti-American radicals.

Any day now a book will be published by a retired FBI official named Joe Trimbach. His soon-to-be-published book, American Indian Mafia, "exposes myths and falsehoods, as well as never-before-published secrets of AIM."

While we wait for the skeletons in AIM's closet to be revealed in Mr. Trimbach's book, we can read some books based on the Mitrokhin Archive, a collection of notes transcribed from the secret archives of the KGB's foreign intelligence and smuggled to the West:

"According to the FBI, Mitrokhin’s documents are 'the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source.' Perhaps the most significant prize for the Western intelligence community are the documents that contain the real names and identities of thousands of foreign agents the KGB recruited and kept under deep cover abroad—a rosetta stone for the spy world...Many of the documents remain classified.” [Stromberg, Stephen W. "Documenting the KGB". Oxonian Review of Books. Winter 2005]

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Josh Dillabaugh: Free Speech Poster Baby

Boulder Colorado police have issued a warrant for Josh Dillabaugh, a CU Boulder Sophomore and Colorado American Indian Movement activist.

The Commander of the University of Colorado Police Department Brad Wiesley confirms that Heath Urie, a reporter for The Daily Camera, pressed charges against Dillabaugh after an altercation during a talk by the recently fired Plagiarist of Ethnic Studies Ward Churchill.

CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard told Westword Magazine:

"As long as [Churchill] respects the law while he's on campus, he's welcome as a private citizen."

Joshua Lawton, a cameraman for the Daily Camera, told Westword that Urie stepped into the classroom to ask why the student reporters from the Campus Press were permitted to cover Churchill's talk while the Daily Camera was excluded:

"That's when they corralled him," Lawton maintains. "They started grabbing Heath's notes, and then [Dillabaugh] grabbed Heath's arm and tried to drag him out of there. Heath said, 'Don't touch me!,' and then we walked out." He insists that there was no barging, no yelling, nothing out of bounds. "We weren't overly aggressive," he says. "If we'd been overly aggressive, we would have gone in the classroom from the get-go, not waited in the hallway."

Westword Magazine reports:

"A CU detective arranged to meet Dillabaugh at his Boulder residence to deliver a summons...but the suspect wasn't there at the appointed time and later told the officer he'd "have to come find him." As a result, a warrant has been issued in Dillabaugh's name for misdemeanor harassment, an offense that carries a sentence ranging from a $50 fine to six months in jail."

Ward Churchill, young Dillabaugh's mentor, used to use physical intimidation against questioning reporters himself, but now he has the Sophomore Josh Dillabaugh to protect him from public scrutiny.

The zany misadventures of Ward Churchill's Sophomore cheerleader are chronicled on a series of posts over at theDrunkablog.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where is the Outrage Over AIM Violence?

"In my soon-to-be-released book, American Indian Mafia, I expose, once and for all, the true legacy of the American Indian Movement..."---J. Trimbach

The Rapid City Journal carries an October 16, 2007 story about the death of AIM activist Vernon Bellecourt on October 13.

One of the commenters appears to be the former head of the Minneapolis FBI, Joseph Trimbach. I have written about Joseph Trimbach a number of times on my blog.

It is difficult to be positive that this commenter is Mr. Trimbach, of course. Perhaps Mr. Trimbach will give an interview to a newspaper about Vernon Bellecourt's legacy. Mr. Trimbach promises that his book American Indian Mafia is going to be released soon. I certainly hope so!

Here is what the commenter identified as J. Trimbach says:

J. Trimbach wrote on Oct 16, 2007 12:01 PM:
"In the mostly postive eulogies, I have not read one mention of Vernon's role in the planned torture and murder of AIM member Anna Mae Aquash, falsely accused of being an FBI informant. Vernon Bellecourt, as AIM security chief, allegedly made the final call to have Ann Mae executed (shot in the head at point-blank range). She left two young daughters. I understand the controversy over team names, but where is the outrage over AIM violence? In my soon-to-be-released book, American Indian Mafia, I expose, once and for all, the true legacy of the American Indian Movement, the real story of Wounded Knee (completely missed by the media), the secrets of convicted killer Leonard Peltier, and the current horrific living conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The truth will hurt, but it is necessary before a true and meaningful healing process can begin. America (that's all of us) has done very little to bring the blessings of our country to our Indian brethren. It's time to change that. "

Saturday, October 13, 2007

C.U. Instructor Ben Whitmer Mischaracterizes Charles C. Mann's Research

“No consensus has emerged, but a growing number of researchers believe that the New World was occupied by a single small group that crossed the Bering Strait, got stuck on the Alaska side, and straggled to the rest of the Americas in two or three separate groups, with the ancestors of most modern Indians making up the second group”---Charles C. Man in 1491 (p. 16-17).

Ben Whitmer, an instructor at the University of Colorado, is mischaracterizing the research of Charles C. Mann, the Author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. I have written previously about this book here.

Mr. Whitmer writes:

"I finished 1491 not too long ago. Not a great book, but what it does well is to lay out, in a broad and very shallow fashion, the many arguments that’ve been punching massive holes in most everything those in the scientific and historical communities have thought they’ve known about Indians for the last several centuries.

The idea of an unpopulated, or underpopulated continent, gone. Hunter/gatherers barely eking out a living, gone. Primitive peoples with no concept of agriculture, gone. The entire concept of “virgin” forest, or an unmodified continent containing naught by vast wilderness, gone. The Bering Strait land bridge theory, way, way, fucking gone.

Not that all of this hasn’t been covered at great length for the last thirty years, of course.

You can find it all in the works of, say, Vine Deloria and Ward Churchill."

Mr. Whitmer is attempting to "piggyback" on Charles C. Mann's excellent book. He is attempting to coopt 1491 for the Churchill cause: One notes that this is exactly what Churchill did when he "cited" the Stearns to support his claim that the American Army deliberately infected the Mandan with smallpox.

Mr. Whitmer incorrectly states that the book contends that the Bering Strait land bridge theory is “way, way, fucking gone.” Mann doesn’t say that at all! Mann actually says:

“No consensus has emerged, but a growing number of researchers believe that the New World was occupied by a single small group that crossed the Bering Strait, got stuck on the Alaska side, and straggled to the rest of the Americas in two or three separate groups, with the ancestors of most modern Indians making up the second group. Researchers differ on the details; some scientists have theorized that the Americas may have been hit with as many as five waves of settlement before Columbus, with the earliest occurring as much as fifty thousand years ago. In most versions, though, today's Indians are seen as relative latecomers.”

Indian activists dislike this line of reasoning. "I can't tell you how many white people have told me that 'science' shows that Indians were just a bunch of interlopers," Vine Deloria Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said to me. DeLoria is the author of many books, including Red Earth White Lies, a critique of mainstream of archaeology. The book's general tenor is signaled by its index; under "science," the entries include "corruption and fraud and," "Indian explanations ignored by," and "lack of proof for theories of," "myth of objectivity of," and "racism of." In Deloria's opinion, archaeology is mainly about easing white guilt. Determining that Indians superseded other people fits neatly into this plan. "If we're only thieves who stole our land from someone else," Deloria said, "then they can say, 'Well, we're just the same. We're all immigrants here, aren't we?"

The moral logic of the we're-all-immigrants argument that Deloria cites is difficult to parse; it seems to be claiming that two wrongs make a right. Moreover, there's no evidence that the first "wrong" was a wrong---nothing is known about the contacts among the various waves of paleo-Indian migration. But in any case whether most of today's Native Americans actually arrived first or second is irrelevant to an assessment of their cultural achievements. In every imaginable scenario, they left Eurasia before the first whisper of the Neolithic Revolution.

The Neolithic Revolution is the invention of farming...Native Americans, who left Asia long before agriculture, missed out on the bounty, "They had to do everything on their own," [A.W.] Crosby said to me. Remarkably, they succeeded (16-17).

There are just a number of different theories joining this old theory about the Indians arriving by crossing the Bering strait, which is being refined by new evidence. Some information is on pages 16-17, including the mildly dismissive comments about Vine DeLoria's perspective (above). Ward Churchill is dismissed on page 131, and two specimens of Churchill's mocking style can be found on pages 131 and 362.

There is a map on page 159 that shows that paleo-Indians may have arrived through an ice-free corridor route as well as along a costal route. On page 17 Mann writes that Indians may have arrived earlier, that they may have travelled by boat, or that they may have arrived via Australia. These are presented as scientific theories, not established facts.

Mann says that “Indians’ closest genetic relatives are indigenous Siberians” (105). Mann says the ancestors of the Indians “left Eurasia” (17) and that “at the time of Columbus’ arrival the great majority of Indians were South of the Rio Grande” (15).

I think 1491 is a very interesting book that presents the evolving scientific theories about how the ancestors of the Indians arrived in the Americas and the cultures they developed, but the author doesn't feature Ward Churchill an expert on pre-Columbian America.

My first post on this subject has two links to an interesting article by Mann that originally appeared in the March 2002 issue of the Atlantic.

Mann quotes Ward Churchill twice:

"Did they [Europeans] recoil in horror and say, "Wait a minute, we've got to halt the process, or at least slow it down until we get a handle on how to prevent these effects" [the spread of European diseases]? Nope. Their response pretty much across-the-board was to accelerate their rate of arrival, and to spread out as much as was humanly possible" (131).

Mann comments about Churchill's remarks:

"[T]his...overstates the case. Neither European nor Indian had a secular understanding of disease. "Sickness was the physical manifestation of the will of God," Robert Crease, a philosopher of science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, told me. "You could pass it on to someone, but doing that was like passing on evil, or bad luck, or a bad spirit---the transmission also reflected God's will..." (131)

"The Mexica agreed. In all the indigenous accounts of the conquest and its aftermath, the anthropologist J.
Jorge Klor de Alva observed, the Mexica lament their losses, but, 'the Spaniards are rarely judged in moral terms, and Cortez is only sporadically considered a villain. It seems to be commonly understood...that the Spaniards did what any other group would have done or would have been expected to do if the opportunity had existed'" (131-2).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ward Churchill in the Film THE CANARY EFFECT

Ward Churchill is appearing in another film! As previously noted here, Churchill once appeared in a film called All Power to the People. Philip Agee, who was fired from the CIA and went over to the KGB, was an advisor on that film.

Ward Churchill was supposed to speak at the Vinegar Hill Theatre in Charlottesville, Virginia on October 5, 2007, following the screening of a documentary about Christopher Columbus called The Canary Effect. [The video is also here.]

The Google cache about the Vinegar Hill film screening says Churchill will be a speaker, but this is not mentioned on the main site anymore. I think they just updated their page.

Churchill claims in the video that Columbus "was never near the continental mass of America."

Churchill sarcastically ridicules Columbus as the "great navigator" who "washed up on a beach in the Caribbean half a world away from where he thought he was." Churchill says "the navigator could never find his way from the island to the mainland. He couldn't discover the continent."

Churchill's statements are incorrect. According to the Indian author William Least Heat-Moon, the author of Columbus in the Americas, Columbus reached what is now Venezuela on August 1, 1498 (page 141). Columbus' landfall on October 12, 1492, is celebrated in a number of countries in Central and South America. I think Hugo Chavez has changed the holiday, however. Spain also celebrates a national holiday on October 12.

The video clip of The Canary Effect shows selective snips from old children's cartoons to make it appear that Americans are ignorant about Columbus.

How can people take Churchill seriously as an expert on Columbus when he doesn't even know that Christopher Columbus reached the mainland of the Americas?

Ward Churchill compares the Columbus celebration to celebrating Himmler.

Christopher Columbus was no saint, but I think Churchill is denigrating Columbus because he wants to demean Americans like Hitler demeaned the Jews. Churchill wants to make us feel guilty about our country and our history so that we won't defend our civilization. The Indians were not saints, either, according to Heat-Moon's Columbus in the Americas.

Ward Churchill gets a lot of support from Muslim organizations. I read an article by Reuven Koret that makes the case that Osama Bin Laden hates the symbol of Columbus because the year 1492 was the year European civilization began to expand into the Americas and the year that Ferdinand and Isabella captured the Alhambra and defeated the Moors in Spain.

Ward Churchill used to write propaganda for a KGB-sponsored propaganda mouthpiece called The Covert Action Information Bulletin (C.A.I.B), and he made a film with the CIA turncoat Philip Agee; but now it looks like Churchill is becoming a propagandist for Middle Eastern radicals.

Here is what the Vinegar Theatre Google cache says about
The Canary Effect and their guest speaker author, activist and [fired and discredited former] Professor of Indian Studies at Colorado University, Ward Churchill:

We will participate in COLUMBUS: MYTH AND THEAMERICAN DREAM REVISITED (Oct. 5-8) by presenting THE CANARY EFFECT on Friday, October 5 at 9:00 only, followed by Q & A with author, activist and Professor of Indian Studies at Colorado University, Ward Churchill...

On Friday, October 5 we will present the East Coast Premiere of THE CANARY EFFECT at 9:00 only, followed by Q & A with author, activist and Professor of Indian Studies at Colorado University, Ward Churchill. THE CANARY EFFECT takes an in depth look at the devastating effect that US policies have had on the indigenous people of America. This award-winning documentary offers a fresh and horrifying perspective on the abuses enacted against Native Americans, both historically and in contemporary society. The film includes a re-examination of the Columbus legacy, its continued role in popular culture and influence upon our historical narrative. Tickets are available at the Live Arts box office, in advance and at our box office, the day of the show only. This special event is in conjunction with COLUMBUS: MYTH AND THE AMERICAN DREAM REVISITED, taking place over Columbus Day Weekend and brought to you by The Living Education Center for Ecology and The Arts & The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative.

thecanaryeffect.com

columbusdaycville.com

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Mitrokhin Archive

"According to the FBI, Mitrokhin’s documents are 'the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source.' Perhaps the most significant prize for the Western intelligence community are the documents that contain the real names and identities of thousands of foreign agents the KGB recruited and kept under deep cover abroad—a rosetta stone for the spy world...Many of the documents remain classified.”
[Stromberg, Stephen W. "Documenting the KGB". Oxonian Review of Books. Winter 2005]

The Mitrokhin Archive became public on 9-11-99 when serialization of the Mitrokhin Archive by Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew and the late KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin [London Telegraph obituary, 2-25-04] began in the The Times.

"Mitrokhin's archive consisted of material culled from tens of thousands of top-secret KGB files, which he had laboriously copied down over 12 years and hidden in tins and milk crates underneath his dacha. It contained detailed records of every operation the KGB had mounted from its inception in 1917 to Mitrokhin's retirement in 1984, demonstrating the extent to which the KGB had successfully infiltrated the West and the way in which it had oppressed the Russian people....The Mitrokhin archive led to resignations, arrests and a few prosecutions around the world, though there are believed to be about 300 Soviet sources still living in Britain and America who have not yet been publicly identified." [See full text: London Telegraph Obituary, 2-25-04]

The former head of the History department at Cambridge University, Christopher Andrew, and the former KGB archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin, wrote six books based on archival materials that the disaffected KGB employee noted or transcribed from the KGB archives.

"The Mitrokhin Archive" refers to the handwritten notes that Mitrokhin made over the course of 30 years about the contents of secret documents in the archives of the KGB's First Chief Directorate, foreign intelligence. Some of the "Miktrokhin Archive" is on-line at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Mitrokhin and Andrew's book The Sword and Shield states on the first page:

This book is based on unprecedented and unrestricted access to one of the world's most secret and closely guarded archives--that of the foreign intelligence arm of the KGB, the First Chief Directorate (FCD). Hitherto the present Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR (Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedhi), has been supremely confident that a book such as this could not be written. When the German magazine Focus reported in December 1996 that a former KGB officer had defected to Britain with "the names of hundreds of Russian spies," Tatyana Samolis, spokeswoman for the SVR, instantly ridiculed the whole story as "absolute nonsense." "Hundreds of people! That just doesn't happen!" she declared. "Any defector could get the name of one, two, perhaps three agents--but not hundreds!"

The facts, however, are far more sensational even than the story dismissed as impossible by the SVR. The KGB defector had brought with him to Britain details not of a few hundred but of thousands of Soviet agents and intelligence officers in all parts of the globe, some of them "illegals" living under deep cover abroad, disguised as foreign citizens. No one who spied for the Soviet Union at any period between the October Revolution and the eve of the Gorbachev era can now be confident that his or her secrets are still secure. When the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) exfiltrated the defector and his family from Russia in 1992, it also brought out six cases containing the copious notes he had taken almost daily for twelve years, before his retirement in 1984, on top secret KGB files going as far back as 1918. The contents of the cases have since been described by the American FBI as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." (Sword and Shield, p. 1)

...Because material from the archive was passed to so many other intelligence and security services, however, there were, unsurprisingly, some partial leaks abroad. The first, slightly garbled reference to Mitrokhin's archive occurred in the United States nine months after his defection. In August 1993 the well-known Washington investigative journalist Ronald Kessler published a bestselling book on the FBI based in part on sources inside the Bureau. Among his revelations was a brief reference to a sensational "probe by the FBI into information from a former KGB employee who had had access to KGB files":

"According to his account, the KGB had had many hundreds of Americans and possibly more than a thousand spying for them in recent years. So specific was the information that the FBI was quickly able to establish the source's credibility . . . By the summer of 1993, the FBI had mobilized agents in most major cities to pursue the cases. A top secret meeting was called at Quantico [the FBI National Academy] to plot strategy." [Kessler, The FBI, p. 433]

Kessler did not name any of the "many hundreds of Americans" identified by the defector. An unnamed "US intelligence official" interviewed by the Washington Post "confirmed that the FBI had received specific information that has led to a 'significant' ongoing investigation into past KGB activities in the United States," but declined to be drawn in on "how many people are implicated." Time reported that "sources familiar with the case" of the KGB defector had identified him as a former employee of the First Chief Directorate, but had described Kessler's figures for the number of "recent" Soviet spies in the United States as "highly exaggerated."

Mitrokhin's notes do indeed contain the names of "many hundreds" of KGB officers, agents and contacts in the United States active at various periods since the 1920s. Kessler, however, wrongly suggested that this number applied to "recent years" rather than to the whole history of Soviet espionage in the United States. Though his figures were publicly disputed, the suggestion that the KGB defector had gone to the United States rather than to Britain went unchallenged. (Sword and Shield, p. 15)

The Wikipedia entry on the Mitrokhin Archive has a very good write-up and external links and lists the books Professor Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin worked on together:

Andrew, Christopher; Vasili Mitrokhin (1999). The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00310-9.

Andrew, Christopher, Vasili Mitrokhin (1999) The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Allen Lane. ISBN 0-713-99358-8.

Andrew, Christopher; Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.

Andrew, Christopher, Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. Basic Books. ISBN 0-4650-0312-5.

Andrew, Christopher; Vasili Mitrokhin (2005). The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00311-7.

Andrew, Christopher, Vasili Mitrokhin (2005). The Mitrokin Archive II: The KGB and the World. Allen Lane. ISBN 0-713-99359-6.

Wikipedia helpfully notes:

The Questia Online Library hosts The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. (Login required) The entire work is complete with linked footnotes and references.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

President Putin Celebrates His Birthday


"In death, she confirmed that what she wrote is real and true...Violence and lies rule in our country and it's a disgrace."---Lyudmila Alexeyeva head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a human rights group

On October 7, 2007, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty remembers the courageous Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the first anniversary of her murder. She was murdered on President Vladimir Putin's birthday exactly one year ago.

Readers can use the search feature on the top left to read other articles I have posted about this Russian journalist.

After Politkovskaya was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building, a former Russian officer of the state security (FSB), the late Alexander Litvinenko, publically accused President Putin of involvement in her murder. Litvinenko was soon poisoned with a fatal dose of radioactive polonium.

Litvinenko may have been murdered because he accused President Putin and the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service) of complicity in the murder Anna Politkovskaya and of the bombing of several apartment buildings in Russia. Politkovskaya had been researching these bombings.

Litvinenko contended that the bombings were blamed on the Chechens, used to justify the second Chechen war and to launch and Putin's Presidency. A lot of people who have tried to get to the bottom of these mass murders of innocent Russians in their homes have also been murdered.

Before he was murdered, Litvinenko reportedly even claimed that the FSB trained Osama Bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in Dagestan in the years before the 9/11 attacks. In 2005, Litvinenko reportedly told a Polish paper called Rzeczpospolita that Zawahiri was trained in Dagestan.

Moscow News carries this story about Zawahiri being trained in Dagestan by the FSB but does not mention Litvinenko as the source of the story.

Here is a passage from an AP article about Politkovskaya's murder and about Putin's supporters:

Politkovskaya remembered by Russia's rights groups as Putin celebrates his 55th birthday

VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press Writer
Released : Sunday, October 07, 2007 8:55 AM


Several hundred opposition activists held a solemn commemoration Sunday for journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the anniversary of her killing, while 10,000 members of a pro-Kremlin youth group rallied in Moscow to celebrate President Vladimir Putin's 55th birthday.

Activists from liberal parties and rights groups gathered on the cold, rainy day in Moscow to pay tribute to Politkovskaya, whose reporting on atrocities against civilians in Chechnya earned her international claim but angered the Kremlin.

The activists, surrounded by tight police cordons, laid flowers and placed a memorial plaque at the Moscow apartment building where Politkovskaya lived and was gunned down in a contract-style killing on Oct. 7, 2006.

The Kremlin issued no statement related to Politkovskaya's case. A few days after her killing, Putin shocked many by saying she had little influence, and that her killing hurt the government much more than her writing.

In August, Russia's chief prosecutor announced 10 suspects had been arrested in connection with the killing, which he said had been ordered by someone outside the country to discredit Putin and destabilize Russia, allegations that echoed officials' earlier claims.

Kremlin critics and former colleagues of Politkovskaya were skeptical of the claims, and said her reporting on the government and war abuses in Chechnya had earned her many enemies at home.

Police on Saturday detained several foreign activists trying to attend a conference commemorating Politkovskaya in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod, activists said. They were released after being fined for allegedly violating registration rules.

Meanwhile, about 10,000 members of the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi, which translates as Ours, marched along the Moscow River embankment to congratulate Putin and shout "Happy Birthday!"

Wearing T-shirts with Putin's portrait, the youths held placards with slogans reading "Putin is our everything!" "Putin means democracy!" and "Putin is our future!" [See full text]

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Goose Creek Two: Mohamed and Megahed

Picture credit and articles: "Say Cheese!"---Michelle Malkin

Two Egyptian University of South Florida students, Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, were arrested Aug. 4, 2007, in the Charleston, South Carolina area after explosives were found in their trunk when they were stopped by a sheriff's deputy for speeding. The boys said the pipebombs were just "fireworks." They have been indicted by a Tampa Florida federal grand jury for transporting explosives materials without permits.

Goose Creek is the home of the US Naval Weapons Station. The base also houses the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig, a military prison where enemy combatants have been held. The traffic stop took place about 7 miles from the Naval facility.

Michelle Malkin has a series of funny posts about this.

Now Yahia Megahed, the brother of Youssef, has been filmed making secret hand signals during a visit to his brother in jail.

Here is the FBI press release:

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
August 31, 2007
Orlando, Florida


TWO MEN INDICTED IN FLORIDA ON EXPLOSIVES CHARGES

WASHINGTON - Two University of South Florida (USF) students have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Tampa, Florida, for transporting explosives materials without permits, the Department of Justice announced today.

The two-count indictment unsealed today charges Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed, both Egyptian nationals, with transporting explosives in interstate commerce without permits. The indictment alleges that the two men, "not being licensees" under federal law, "did knowingly transport and cause to be transported in interstate commerce explosive materials" on or about Aug. 4, 2007 in the Middle District of Florida and elsewhere. Mohamed was also charged with distributing information about building and using an explosive device. The indictment alleges that Mohamed taught and demonstrated the making and use of an explosive and destructive device, with the intent that such information be used for, and in the furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence.

Mohamed, a civil engineering graduate student and teaching assistant at USF, and Megahed, an engineering student, were stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested on Aug. 4, 2007 in Goose Creek, S.C. by a South Carolina Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy. Both Mohamed and Megahed were charged with possession of an explosive device, in violation of South Carolina law. Bond was set for Mohamed in the amount of $500,000 and for Megahead in the amount of $300,000. Both men are currently being held in Berkeley County jail.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The charge of distributing information about explosive devices carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the charge of transporting explosive materials carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Reginald I. Lloyd, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department and the Ninth Circuit Solicitor's Office in South Carolina. "I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism of our local law enforcement partners in this important investigation. The arresting deputy's vigilance and the immediate response of our local investigators and prosecutors are highly commendable."This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, with the assistance of the National Security Division at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in both Tampa and South Carolina, with the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina.

From THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl

"There was a family called Christiansen. They lived up on Holmenkollen, and they had an old oil-painting in the living room which they were very proud of. The painting showed some ducks in the yard outside a farmhouse. There were no people in the painting, just a flock of ducks on a grassy farmyard and the farmhouse in the background. It was a large painting and rather pretty.

Well, one day their daughter Solveg came home from school eating an apple. She said a nice lady had given it to her on the street. The next morning little Solveg was not in her bed. The parents searched everywhere, but they couldn't find her. Then all of a sudden her father shouted, 'There she is! That's Solveg feeding the ducks!' He was pointing at the oil-painting, and sure enough Solveg was in it. She was standing in the farmyard in the act of throwing bread to the ducks out of a basket. The father rushed up to the painting and touched her. But that didn't help. She was simply a part of the painting, just a picture painted on the canvas....And the peculiar thing was that little Solveg kept changing her position in the picture. One day she would actually be inside the farmhouse and you could see her face looking out of the window. Another day she would be far over to the left with a duck in her arms...she was always motionless, just a figure painted in oils. It was all very odd...Very odd indeed. And what was most odd of all was as the years went by, she kept growing older in the picture. In ten years, the small girl had become a young woman. In thirty years, she was middle-aged. Then all at once, fifty-four years after it all happened, she disappeared from the picture altogether." [Video]