Month: June 2010

Albats: US case “very plausible”

Via Washington Post:

Yevgenia Albats, editor of the independent New Times magazine, said talk of a conspiracy to poison bilateral relations was Russia’s version of an official denial. “What else are they going to say? They caught these guys red-handed,” she said. “You never acknowledge your own spies, because you don’t want to support the foreign justice system in bringing charges.”

Calling the case “very plausible,” she asked why the authorities would organize such an elaborate operation to collect what seems to have been basic information. For example, she noted that two of the suspects appeared to have been targeting university professors who easily could have been invited to conferences in Russia.

“It’s very strange. You pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to put these people through college, give them identities, to do what?” she said. “Why do governments spend this money on intelligence when journalists can do it better?”

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Russian spy arrests in USA

The BBC reports that

Ten people have been arrested in the United States for allegedly spying for the Russian government, the US Department of Justice has said.

The IHT has more.

The Washington Post‘s coverage of the story is here.

The UK’s Times newspaper notes that a fake British passport was used by one of the people arrested to help her to travel to and from Russia.

An eleventh suspected spy has been arrested in Cyprus.

4th anniversary of Schalit capture

Jerusalem Post:

From Jerusalem, to Rome, to New York, supporters of captive soldier Gilad Schalit on Thursday cried out for his release as they marked the eve of the fourth anniversary of his kidnapping.

In Rome, the lights of the Colosseum were turned off. So too, the lights around the Old City walls in Jerusalem.

Lighting up the darkness at the walls was a sign showing the number of days, 1,460, that Schalit had been held by Hamas in Gaza, along with the line, “This is the time I have spent in captivity.”

In New York, a flotilla of ships, called “The True Freedom Flotilla,” sailed from Pier 40 around the Statue of Liberty and past the buildings of the United Nations.

Addressing a crowd in Rome, Gilad’s father, Noam, asked the international community not to forget his son.

“As I stand here tonight, in the capital of Italy, Rome, which is one of the central, ancient and important cities in Europe and the civilized world, I call on the international community and the European one in particular not to forget Gilad,” said Noam.

Prague Watchdog closing

Prague Watchdog, the Prague-based North Caucasus human rights NGO and monitoring service, is closing down after 10 years of operation. In May this year, for reasons that are unknown to the site’s co-ordinator, the delivery of new Russian-language material stopped and has not been resumed. Andrei Babitsky, who was fulfilling the role of chief commissioning editor, appears no longer to be in charge of PW’s publishing, though he continues to be active as an editor and commentator at other Russian-language media outlets, including Radio Liberty’s Russian service.  

According to PW’s present coordinating editor, the site will continue to be accessible even though it is not updated, and its considerable volume of North-Caucasus-related information and resources will continue to be available to the general public.

British blinkers

Julie Burchill, on the curious but predictable attitude of British media to the flotilla crisis:

Not once did I hear a British interviewer ask any of the so-called secular radicals participating in the flotilla why they are allied with Islamic supremacists who subjugate women, persecute gays, oppress non-Islamic minorities and seek to impose Islam globally.

Shalev: Lebanese ships will be stopped

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev has said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council that the attempt by flotilla organizers to sail from Lebanon to Gaza could escalate tensions and affect peace and security in the region, the Lebanese portal Naharnet reports. The ambassador also said that Israel would exercise its right under international law to “use all necessary means” to prevent the ships from breaking the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Defending the defender

In the Times, José María Aznar writes that Israel is the West’s best ally in the fight against those who seek to destroy the West’s values and security:

Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.