Russia Deploys Warship Off Syrian Coast To “Destroy Any Threats To Russian Planes”


Despite demands from France’s Hollande, America’s Obama, and NATO’s Stoltenberg that this situation not esclate, it appears Putin is not taking the shooting down of a fighter jet lying down. The seemingly cagey confirmation by NATO and Obama of Turkey’s claims that Russia invaded its airspace has been rebuked by Russia which claims the Hmeimim airbase radar shows the attacking Turkish plane violating Syrian airspace. In response, Russia is moving a Cruiser ‘Moskva’ off the coast to strengthen air-defenses – just as French and US carriers are on their way.

Here is The Turkish version mapping of the flight paths.


Russia claims otherwise:


And is escalating:


The Missile cruiser in question:

The reason for the deployment:


Specifically, as RT reports, the steps announced by Russian top brass as the following:Three steps as announced by top brass:

  1. Each and every strike groups’ operation is to be carried out under the guise of fighter jets
  2. Air defense to be boosted with the deployment of Moskva guided missile cruiser off Latakia coast with an aim to destroy any target that may pose danger
  3. Military contacts with Turkey to be suspended

Just like the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, it has quickly become a case of “he said, she said”:

Rudskoy said the Russian warplane did not violate Turkish airspace. Additionally, according to the Hmeymim airfield radar, it was the Turkish fighter jet that actually entered Syrian airspace as it attacked the Russian bomber. The Turkish fighter jet made no attempts to contact Russian pilots before attacking the bomber, Rudskoy added.

“We assume the strike was carried out with a close range missile with an infra-red seeker,” Rudskoy said. “The Turkish jet made no attempts to communicate or establish visual contact with our crew that our equipment would have registered. The Su-24 was hit by a missile over Syria’s territory.”

Sergey Rudskoy, a top official with the Russian General Staff, condemned the attack on the Russian bomber in Syrian airspace by a Turkish fighter jet as “a severe violation of international law”. He stressed that the Su-24 was downed over the Syrian territory. The crash site was four kilometers away from the Turkish border, he said.

As a result, Russia now plans to implement new measures aimed at strengthening the security of the country’s air base in Syria and in particular to bolster air defense.Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, equipped with the ‘Fort’ air defense system, similar to the S-300, will be deployed off Latakia province’s coast.

“We warn that every target posing a potential threat will be destroyed,”lieutenant general Sergey Rudskoy said during the briefing.

“All military contacts with Turkey will be suspended,” he added.

Furthermore, as the Russian Ministry of Defense explained, going forward, any Turkish plane that enters Syrian airspace will be fair game.

And again, all this is happening as both the French carrier de Gaulle and the US carrier CVN-75 USS Harry S. Truman are on their way to a very dangerous rendezvous off the Syrian coast.

So just as we warned in September, the situation has become a complete rerun of the 2013 Syria “Mediterranean” showdown, with full naval engagement by all parties, except this time the tensions are significantly escalated, a Russian fighter jet has just been taken down, US and French aircraft carriers are arriving in weeks, and Putin will not hestitate to go as far as he has to in order to save face.



NATO says geopolitical situation is unstable


TRAPANI, Sicily — NATO is launching its biggest military exercise in 13 years, mobilizing 36,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from more than 30 countries to test the alliance’s ability to respond to new security threats.

NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow told the opening ceremony Monday that the Trident Juncture exercise will demonstrate that NATO “can deal with everything from conventional military engagements to more subtle hybrid warfare techniques and propaganda.”

Vershbow said the geopolitical situation is considerably more unstable than the last time such large-scale exercises were held during the Cold War, citing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support of eastern Ukrainian separatists and attacks against moderate rebels in Syria, as well as the spread of terror groups into Libya and Syria.

“In this new world, NATO’s allies and partners must be able to move quickly and act decisively,” he said.


The Sicilian city Trapani will be the operational center for the exercise that begins Wednesday and runs through early November, extending into Spain, Portugal and adjacent waters.

The exercise envisions a fictitious invasion by a large country of a small alliance member, creating a crisis with religious and ethnic dimensions, threatening energy supplies and navigational freedom with risks of terrorism and cyberattacks.

At a news conference, Vershbow denied that the fictitious aggressor was Russia.


“That is not to say that some of the challenges we are addressing and testing our forces for are not analogous to the challenges we would face were we to have a conflict with Russia,” he said.

During the news conference, an activist with the “No War” pacifist movement unfurled a banner as she pressed for an explanation of the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. Pacifist groups have organized protests against the exercise, including one in Trapani on Saturday.


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Putin has demonstrated that Russia is the essential part of any peaceful resolution of the Syria war


Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. It is Washington that is on the defensive, exposed for the criminal actions it has been doing in Syria and across the Middle East, including creating the recent asylum crisis in Germany and large parts of the EU.

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As a student of international politics and economics for most of my adult life, I must say the emotional restraint that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have shown against tasteless ad hominem attacks, from people such as Hillary Clinton who likened Putin to Adolf Hitler, is remarkable. But more than restraint is required to bring our world from the brink or some might say, the onset of a World War III. Brilliant and directed action is essential. Here something extraordinary has taken place in the very few days since President Vladimir Putin’s September 28, UNGA speech in New York.What he said…What Putin said to the UN General Assembly must be noted to put what he and Russia did in the days immediately following into clear focus. First of all he made clear what the international law behind the UN Charter means and that Russia is scrupulously abiding by the Charter in actions in Syria. Russia, unlike the US, has been formally asked by the legitimate Syrian government to aid its war against terror.

To the UN delegates and heads of state Putin stated, “The decisions debated within the UN are either taken in the form of resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or they don’t. Any action taken by circumventing this procedure is illegitimate and constitutes a violation of the UN Charter and contemporary international law.”
He continued, “We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don’t need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way.”

Putin followed this with a clear message to Washington and NATO governments on the subject of national sovereignty, something anathema to many who embrace the Nirvana supposed to come from globalization, homogenization of all to one level: “What is the meaning of state sovereignty, the term which has been mentioned by our colleagues here?” Putin rhetorically asked. “It basically means freedom, every person and every state being free to choose their future. By the way, this brings us to the issue of the so-called legitimacy of state authorities. You shouldn’t play with words and manipulate them. In international law, international affairs, every term has to be clearly defined, transparent and interpreted the same way by one and all.”

Putin added, “We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn’t be forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has declared the only appropriate one. We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress. “

Those few words succinctly point to what is fundamentally wrong in the international order today. Nations, above all the one proclaiming herself Sole Superpower, Infallible Hegemon, the USA, have arrogantly moved after the collapse of the main adversary, the Soviet Union in 1990, to create what can only be called a global totalitarian empire, what G.H.W. Bush in his September 11, 1991 address to Congress called a New World Order. I believe with conviction that borders do matter, that respect for different cultures, different historical experiences is essential in a world of peace. That is as much true with nations as with individual human beings. We seem to have forgotten that simple notion amid all the wars of the past decades. Vladimir Putin reminds us.

Then the Russian president goes to the heart of the matter. He lays bare the true activities of the Obama Administration in Syria and the Middle East in arming and training “moderate” Islamist terrorists to attack Washington’s bête noire, Syria’s duly-elected and recently re-elected President, Bashar al Assad.

Putin states, “instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa…problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.”

Then in a remark addressed to Washington and their NGO Color Revolutions known as the Arab Spring, Putin pointedly asks,“I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?“

Putin, without naming it, addresses the US and NATO role in creating ISIS, noting with precision the curious anomaly that the sophisticated new US Treasury unit to conduct financial sanctions against terrorist organizations, has utterly ignored the funding sources of ISIS, their oil sales facilitated by the Turkish President’s own family to name just one. The Russian President stated, “…the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond…The situation is extremely dangerous. In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

And what Putin is doing…

Russia in the last weeks has completely out-maneuvered the diabolical, and they are diabolical, agenda of the Obama Administration not only in Syria but also in the entire Middle East and now in the EU with unleashing the flood of refugees. He openly reached out to invite Obama in their New York September 30 meeting to cooperate together in defeating ISIS. Obama stubbornly insisted that first Assad must go, despite the fact that Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon Undersecretary responsible for the Syrian war, confirmed Russian statements about Assad’s essential role today in any defeat of ISIS. She told the US Senate that Assad’s military “still has considerable strength,” adding, “it’s still the most powerful military force on the ground. The assessment right now is the regime is not in imminent danger of falling.”

Now come the howls of protest from neo-con warhawks, like the ever-ready-for-war Senator John McCain, chairman of the NGO International Republican Institute of the democratic revolution exporting US-backed NGO, National Endowment for Democracy. Or we hear flaccid protests from President Obama. This is because Washington finds itself deeply exposed to the light of world scrutiny for backing terrorists in Syria against a duly-elected state leader and government. The US warhawks accuse Russia of hitting “the moderate opposition” or civilians.

Emperor’s New Clothes

Russia’s Putin is playing the role ever so elegantly, even gracefully, of the small boy in the Hans Christian Anderson classic fairy tale from 1837, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The boy stands with his mother amid thousands of other villagers in the crowd outside the vain Emperor’s palace balcony, where the disassociated king struts around the balcony naked, thinking he is wearing a magnificent new suit of clothes. The boy shouts, to the embarrassment of all servile citizens who pretend his clothes are magnificent, “Mother, look the Emperor has no clothes!”

What do I mean? In the first four days of precision bombing of select sites in Syria Russian advanced fighter jets firing Kh-29L air-to-surface laser-guided missiles that strike targets with a precision less than two meters, managed to destroy key ISIS command centers, munitions depots and vital infrastructure. According to the Russian Defense Ministry official reports, with photos, Su-34 bombers attacked an ISIS special training camp and munition depot near Al-Tabqa, Ar-Raqqah province,” a critical ISIS outpost captured in August, 2014 after bitter battles. “As a result of explosion of the munition depot, the terrorist training camp was completely destroyed,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman stated. Russian Su-25 jets have also attacked training camp of the Islamic State in the Syrian Idlib, destroying a workshop for explosive belt production.

Moscow states its air force has “engaged 3 munition, fuel and armament depots of the illegal armed groups. KAB-500 aviation bombs detonated the munition and armament,” and they used BETAB-500 concrete-piercing bombs to destroy four command posts of the ISIS armed groups. The facilities with terrorists are completely destroyed,” the Moscow spokesman added. Russia’s aviation conducted 20 flights and carried out 10 airstrikes against facilities of the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group in the past 24 hours. Then Moscow announced they had also hit key outposts of other terror groups such as the Al Qaeda-franchise, Al Nusra Front.

These are the so-called “moderates” that McCain and the Washington warhawks are weeping over. Washington has been creating what it calls the “New” Syrian Forces (NSF), which they claim is composed of “moderate” terrorists, euphemistically referred to as “rebels.” Imagine how recruitment talks go: CIA recruiter, “Mohammed, are you a moderate Islamist? Why yes, my dear CIA trainer. Please take me, train me and arm me in the fight against the ruthless dictator Assad and against ISIS. I’m on your side. You can trust me…”

In late September it was reported that Major Anas Obaid a.k.a. Abu Zayd, on completing his CIA training in Turkey, defected from the train-and-equip program to join Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) immediately on entering Syria. Incredibly, US officials admit that Washington does not track or exercise command-and-control of its Jihadist proxies once they enter Syria. Abu Zayd’s defection after being trained in advanced warfare techniques by the US, is typical. Other elements of the New Syrian Forces directly handed all their weapons to Nusra upon entering Syrian territory at the town of Atareb at the end ofSeptember.

These latest “moderate” defections to join Al Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front affiliate in Syria come less than two weeks after Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of the US “war against ISIS,” during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Syria, admitted that the US military program that intended produce 5,400 trained fighters a year has so far only resulted in “four or five” who still remain on the ground and active in combat. The rest have all joined ISIS or Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda, the US-backed “moderate opposition” to ISIL.

What the successful Russian precision airstrikes have done is expose in all its ugly nakedness the Emperor’s New Clothes. For more than one year, the Obama Administration claims it has committed the most awesome airpower on the planet allegedly to destroy ISIS, which has been described as a “ragtag band of militants running around the desert in basketball shoes.”

Curiously, until last week, ISIS has only expanded its web of power in Syria and Iraq under US bombings. Now, within 72 hours, the Russian military, launching only 60 bombing runs in 72 hours, hitting more than 50 ISIS targets, has brought the ISIS combatants into what the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman described as a state of “panic” where more than 600 have deserted. And, according to Moscow, the fight is only beginning, expected, they say to last three to four months.

The Obama Administration has been training terrorists of Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, allegedly to fight ISIS, much like the disgraced General David Petraeus did in Iraq and Afghanistan along with Obama’s special ISIS coordinator, the just-resigned General John Allen. The US-trained “moderate” terrorists were being readied, it’s now clear to all the world, in reality, to battle Assad and open the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria and a real plunge into darkness for the world if that were to succeed.

Now, with the truth in the open, exposed by the remarkable successes of a handful of Russian fighter jets in four days against ISIS, accomplishing more than the US “anti-ISIS coalition” in more than one year, it is clear to the world Washington has been playing a dirty double game.

Now that hypocritical Obama Administration mask has been blown off with the precision hit of a Russian laser-guided Kh-29L missile. As German and other EU governments have admitted, much to the strong objection of Washington, Putin has demonstrated that Russia is the essential part of any peaceful resolution of the Syria war. That in turn has a huge bearing on the current asylum-seeker crisis in Germany and other parts of the EU. It also has a huge bearing on prospects for world peace. The Norwegian Parliament’s Nobel Peace Prize Committee, rather than consider John Kerry, might consider Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, for the prize.

Merkel’s stance on refugees ‘naive, irrational’ – former Czech president

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is acting naively and irrationally by inviting more refugees in the country, former Czech President Vaclav Klaus said in an interview with RT’s Worlds Apart program.

Social cohesion is essential for any country to “function normally” and “migration is killing the social cohesion” in Europe, Klaus told Worlds Apart host, Oksana Boyko.

“I disagree totally with madam Merkel; with welcoming gestures … more and more migrant can come. It is naive and absolutely irrational,” he stressed.

The former Czech president stated that the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan flocking to the EU in recent months was not a spontaneous crisis.

“Those massive movements of people are organized somehow, are motivated by something,” Klaus said.

The 74-year-old political veteran decried this type of “collective migration” as being “absolutely wrong.”

“I put the net benefits of collective migration – either at zero or minus in a very high level,” he said.

Vaclav Klaus ©

Klaus compared the refugees now arriving to the EU to “the first European migrants to the US 500 years ago when they totally liquidated all the native populations.”

However, he acknowledged that solo migration “has many positive aspects… in [the] history of mankind,” stressing that “no rational person would deny this possibility.”

The former Czech leader said that it’s not Europe, but the US, who should be held accountable for the refugee crisis.

“What created the current trouble was, in many respects, US policy in the last two decades, with their promoting the so-called color revolutions or making wars in countries like Afghanistan; and Iraq; and Syria,” he said.

Klaus again criticized the EU, by saying that it’s far away from becoming a viable geopolitical entity like the US.

“I don’t want to project, to forecast how many centuries it’ll take Europe to become an entity,” he said.

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According to the politician, Europe “made a tragic mistake some 25 years ago by transforming itself from [the] EC (European Community, a conglomerate of nations) to [the] EU (European Union) in an attempt to get rid of national states and countries.”

“So, we’re now living in more or less supranational atmosphere where decisions are made somewhere in Brussels and not in Prague or some other places in Europe,” he added.

Klaus believes that reforms won’t help solve the EU’s problems, and the block is in need of a “radical fundamental change.”

READ MORE: Migrants sue Berlin’s main refugee center for delays to welfare handouts

However, he stressed that such a transformation should resemble the Velvet Revolution, which saw Czechoslovakia parting with the Soviets in a peaceful and legal manner back in 1989.

The politician also touched upon the Ukrainian issue, saying that it’s only the Ukrainians who can find the solution to the crisis.

“There’s no way of imposing upon the country and the people a would-be perfect solution prepared in Washington, Beijing, Moscow or Brussels,” he said, urging the people in the western and eastern parts of Ukraine to “start to seriously negotiate.”
READ MORE: Germany fears up to 1.5mn refugees to arrive in 2015, calls for limits on influx to EU

Back in 1993, Klaus played a key role in parting of Czechoslovakia into two countries – the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

He stressed that he would never suggest the same for Ukraine, but added that a split of a country is not always a bad thing, as relations between the Czechs and the Slovaks are currently better than when they were living in the same state.

Pentagon funding bill on Obama’s desk: $600 mln to Syrian rebels, $300 mln to Kiev

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The defense funding bill for 2016 includes some lavish support to rebels in Syria and lethal aid to the current Ukrainian government. Although President Barack Obama is at loggerheads with lawmakers over some of the provisions, they are likely to remain.

Obama has threatened to veto the $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act – also known as House Resolution 1735, or the NDAA – because it contains provisions blocking the plans to shut down the detention camp at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, and because it avoids a cap on defense spending by padding a special account reserved for bankrolling wars. The Senate passed the NDAA on Wednesday with a veto-proof majority.

While the White House and the lawmakers are in dispute over the details, they appear to be in agreement on continuing to send military aid to the regime in Ukraine and the elusive “moderate rebels” in Syria.

Some $600 million has been earmarked for a program to support the “appropriately vetted” Syrian rebels, fighting against both the government in Damascus and Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL).

Section 1225 of the NDAA allocates $531.5 million directly to the Syria Train and Equip program, and directs an additional $25.8 million to the US Army and $42.8 million to the US Air Force, to cover the costs of their participation.

The 2015 version of the NDAA allocated $500 million for the training and equipping of “moderate rebels.” Though the Pentagon hoped to have a force of 5,000 fighters by the end of 2015, the program has produced only a handful – literally. Top US military officials admitted only “five or six” rebels remained in combat after the first group was scattered by Al-Nusra terrorists in July. The second batch of rebels surrendered to Al-Nusra last month, with all their US-provided gear.

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The text of the bill as reconciled between the House of Representatives and the Senate lays out the conditions for the aid, including the provision that the Pentagon must prevent the weapons, ammunition and supplies given to the rebels from falling into the hands of IS, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, the Khorasan Group, “any other violent extremist organization,” as well as“Syrian Arab Army or any group or organization supporting President Bashir [sic] Assad.”

Washington insists that the government of President Assad is the “root of all evil” in Syria and that regime change in Damascus should be pursued parallel to the struggle against Islamic State.

Another $715 million was allocated for the train-and-equip program in Iraq, aimed at the Iraqi military as well as the Kurdish and tribal militias fighting against IS.

Though the US-led coalition of 62 countries has been bombing IS in Syria and Iraq for over a year, at a total cost of $4 billion and counting, the group has grown in strength and expanded its reach. On September 30, Russia began its own air campaign against IS, in cooperation with the governments of Syria, Iraq and Iran.

READ MORE: Less talk, more action: Russian jets destroy ISIS HQs, tanks, munition depots – all in just 1 week

Another provision in the NDAA gives the Pentagon and the State Department a six-month deadline to report on the possibility of establishing and maintaining a no-fly zone “over a significant portion or all of Syria” and “one or more safe zones in Syria for internally displaced people or for the facilitation of humanitarian assistance.”

Plans to establish a no-fly zone and “safe areas” have been floated by former CIA director and retired US Army General David Petraeus and by contender for the Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton.

“Lethal assistance” to Ukraine

Section 1250 of the NDAA allocates $300 million to the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” aimed at propping up the government in Kiev. The bill instructs the Pentagon to coordinate with the State Department to “provide appropriate security assistance and intelligence support, including training, equipment, and logistics support, supplies and services, to military and other security forces of the Government of Ukraine.”

Lawmakers have allocated no less than $50 million for “Lethal assistance such as anti-armor weapon systems, mortars, crew-served weapons and ammunition, grenade launchers and ammunition, and small arms and ammunition.”

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US troops have been training Ukrainian government soldiers at Yavoriv, in western Ukraine, since this spring. However, this is the first time that Washington has authorized lethal aid for Kiev. The program also includes drones – described as“unmanned aerial tactical surveillance systems” – as well as electronic and cyber warfare capabilities and “actionable intelligence.”

The final version of the bill does not specify what it means by “other security forces.” In addition to the state military, the Kiev regime has used the newly formed National Guard and volunteer battalions such as ‘Azov,’ described by US lawmakers as “openly neo-Nazi” and “fascist.”

Nuclear smugglers seek jihadi buyers: ‘I really want an Islamic buyer because they will bomb the Americans’

In this May 28, 2015 photo, former Moldovan police investigator Constantin Malic holds an award received from the U.S. FBI in Chisinau, Moldova. By the time of the May 28 ceremony recognizing two recent investigations, the Moldovan police department had disbanded the Malic' investigative team amid political fallout and police infighting. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

In this May 28, 2015 photo, former Moldovan police investigator Constantin Malic holds an award received from the U.S. FBI in Chisinau, Moldova. By the time of the May 28 ceremony recognizing two recent investigations, the Moldovan police department had disbanded the Malic’ investigative team amid political fallout and police infighting. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 


This report is chilling. Clearly it is not a question of if, but of when.

“AP INVESTIGATION: Nuclear smugglers sought extremist buyers,” Desmond Butlervadim Ghirda, Associated Press, October 7, 2015

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Over the pulsating beat at an exclusive nightclub, the arms smuggler made his pitch to a client: 2.5 million euros for enough radioactive cesium to contaminate several city blocks.

It was earlier this year, and the two men were plotting their deal at an unlikely spot: the terrace of Cocos Prive, a dance club and sushi bar in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.

You can make a dirty bomb, which would be perfect for the Islamic State,” the smuggler said. “If you have a connection with them, the business will go smoothly.”

But the smuggler, Valentin Grossu, wasn’t sure the client was for real – and he was right to worry. The client was an informant, and it took some 20 meetings to persuade Grossu that he was an authentic Islamic State representative. Eventually, the two men exchanged cash for a sample in a sting operation that landed Grossu in jail.

The previously unpublicized case is one of at least four attempts in five years in which criminal networks with suspected Russian ties sought to sell radioactive material to extremists through Moldova, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. One investigation uncovered an attempt to sell bomb-grade uranium to a real buyer from the Middle East, the first known case of its kind.

In that operation, wiretaps and interviews with investigators show, a middleman for the gang repeatedly ranted with hatred for America as he focused on smuggling the essential material for an atomic bomb and blueprints for a dirty bomb to a Middle Eastern buyer.

In wiretaps, videotaped arrests, photographs of bomb-grade material, documents and interviews, AP found that smugglers are explicitly targeting buyers who are enemies of the West. The developments represent the fulfillment of a long-feared scenario in which organized crime gangs are trying to link up with groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida – both of which have made clear their ambition to use weapons of mass destruction.

The sting operations involved a partnership between the FBI and a small group of Moldovan investigators, who over five years went from near total ignorance of the black market to wrapping up four sting operations. Informants and police posing as connected gangsters penetrated the smuggling networks, using old-fashioned undercover tactics as well as high-tech gear from radiation detectors to clothing threaded with recording devices.

But their successes were undercut by striking shortcomings: Kingpins got away, and those arrested evaded long prison sentences, sometimes quickly returning to nuclear smuggling, AP found.

For strategic reasons, in most of the operations arrests were made after samples of nuclear material had been obtained rather than the larger quantities. That means that if smugglers did have access to the bulk of material they offered, it remains in criminal hands.

The repeated attempts to peddle radioactive materials signal that a thriving nuclear black market has emerged in an impoverished corner of Eastern Europe on the fringes of the former Soviet Union. Moldova, which borders Romania, is a former Soviet republic.

Moldovan police and judicial authorities shared investigative case files with the AP in an effort to spotlight how dangerous the black market has become. They say a breakdown in cooperation between Russia and the West means that it is much harder to know whether smugglers are finding ways to move parts of Russia’s vast store of radioactive materials.

“We can expect more of these cases,” said Constantin Malic, one of the Moldovan investigators. “As long as the smugglers think they can make big money without getting caught, they will keep doing it.”

Photo above: May 28, 2015 photo, former Moldovan police investigator Constantin Malic holds an award received from the U.S. FBI in Chisinau, Moldova. By the time of the May 28 ceremony recognizing two recent investigations, the Moldovan police department had disbanded Malic’s investigative team amid political fallout and police infighting. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The FBI and the White House declined to comment. The U.S. State Department would not comment on the specifics of the cases.

“Moldova has taken many important steps to strengthen its counter nuclear smuggling capabilities,” said Eric Lund, spokesman for the State Department’s bureau in charge of nonproliferation. “The arrests made by Moldovan authorities in 2011 for the attempted smuggling of nuclear materials is a good example of how Moldova is doing its part.”

Wiretapped conversations exposed plots that targeted the United States, the Moldovan officials said. In one case, a middleman said it was essential the smuggled bomb-grade uranium go to Arabs, said Malic, an investigator in all four sting operations.

“He said: I really want an Islamic buyer because they will bomb the Americans.’”


Malic was a 27-year-old police officer when he first stumbled upon the nuclear black market in 2009. He was working on a fraud unit in Chisinau, and had an informant helping police take down a euro counterfeiting ring stretching from the Black Sea to Naples, Italy.

The informant, an aging businessman, casually mentioned to Malic that over the years, contacts had periodically offered him radioactive material.

“Have you ever heard of uranium?” he asked Malic.

Malic was so new to the nuclear racket that he didn’t know what uranium was, and had to look it up on Google. He was horrified – “not just for one country,” he said, “but for humanity.”

“Soon after, the informant received an offer for uranium. At about that time, the U.S. government was starting a program to train Moldovan police in countering the nuclear black market, part of a global multi-million dollar effort.

In Malic’s first case, three people were arrested on Aug. 20, 2010, after a sample of the material, a sawed-off piece of a depleted uranium cylinder, was exchanged for cash. That kind of uranium would be difficult to turn into a bomb.

Authorities suspected, but couldn’t prove, that the uranium had come from the melted down Chernobyl reactor in Ukraine, Malic said.

Malic transported the seized radioactive material in a matchbox on the passenger seat of his car. It did not occur to him that the uranium should have been stored in a shielded container to protect him from possible radiation.

When FBI agents came to collect it, they were stunned when he simply proffered the matchbox in his uncovered hand: “Take it,” Malic said.

“Madman!” the American officers exclaimed.

The uranium, fortunately, turned out not to be highly toxic.


Several months later, a former KGB informant, Teodor Chetrus, called Malic’s source, the Moldovan businessman. Chetrus told him he had uranium to sell, but was looking for a Middle Eastern buyer.

Unlike Malic’s first case, this one involved highly enriched uranium, the type that can be used to make a nuclear bomb.

Smarter and more cautious than the members of the previous gang, Chetrus was a bit of a paradox to the investigators. He was educated and well dressed, yet still lived in his dilapidated childhood farmhouse in a tiny village on Moldova’s border with Ukraine.

In many of the smuggling cases, the ringleaders insulated themselves through a complex network of middlemen who negotiated with buyers in order to shield the bosses from arrest. In this case, Chetrus was the go-between.

But he had his own agenda. Chetrus clung to a Soviet-era hatred of the West, Malic said, repeatedly ranting about how the Americans should be annihilated because of problems he thought they created in the Middle East.

“He said multiple times that this substance must have a real buyer from the Islamic states to make a dirty bomb,” Malic said.

Chetrus and the informant hammered out a deal to sell bomb-grade uranium to a “buyer in the Middle East” over months of wiretapped phone calls and meetings at Chetrus’ house.

The informant would show up with a recording device hidden in a different piece of clothing each time. On the other side of the road would be Malic, disguised as a migrant selling fruit and grains from a van – watching the house for signs of trouble.

In one early phone call, the informant pressed Chetrus to find out whether he had access to plutonium as well as uranium, saying his buyer had expressed interest, according to wiretaps. But Chetrus was suspicious, and insisted that before big quantities of either substance could be discussed, the buyer had to prove that he was for real and not an undercover agent.

Chetrus’ boss decided to sell the uranium in installments, starting with a sample. If the buyers were plants, he reasoned, the police would strike before the bulk of the uranium changed hands – an acceptable risk.

“I have to tell you one thing,” Chetrus told the informant in a wiretapped phone call. “Intelligence services never let go of the money.”

Eventually they worked out the terms of a deal: Chetrus would sell a 10-gram sample of the uranium for 320,000 euros ($360,000). The buyer could test it and if he liked what he saw, they could do a kilogram a week at the same rate – an astonishing 32 million euros every time until the buyer had the quantity he wanted. Ten kilograms of uranium was discussed – about a fifth of what was used over Hiroshima.

The two later met in the dirt courtyard of Chetrus’s house to discuss plutonium. The informant had a video camera hidden in his baseball cap. Chetrus can be seen in an army-green V-neck, talking animatedly as a rooster squawks in the background.

“For the plutonium,” Chetrus said, “if they prove they are serious people, we will provide the sample for free. You can use a small amount to make a dirty bomb.”

He spread his hands wide. Then waved them around, as if all before him was laid to waste.

Malic found the video chilling. “I was afraid to imagine what would happen if one of these scenarios happened one day.”



The man behind the bomb-grade uranium deal was Alexandr Agheenco, known as “the colonel” to his cohorts. He had both Russian and Ukrainian citizenship, police said, but lived in Moldova’s breakaway republic of Trans-Dniester.

A separatist enclave that is a notorious haven for smuggling of all kinds, Trans-Dniester was beyond the reach of the Moldovan police.

In a selfie included in police files, the colonel is balding, mustachioed, and smiling at the camera.

In June 2011, he arranged the uranium swap. He dispatched a Trans-Dniester police officer to smuggle the uranium to Moldova, according to court documents. At the same time, he sent his wife, Galina, on a “shopping outing” across the border to the capital.

Her job was to arrange a handoff of the uranium to Chetrus.

Galina Agheenco arrived in downtown Chisinau in a Lexus GS-330, parking near a circus. She met the police officer, who handed her a green sack with the uranium inside.

Meanwhile, the informant and Chetrus, sporting a dark suit and striped tie, pulled up at the Victoriabank on the city’s main drag in a chauffeur-driven gray BMW X5. Inside the bank, Chetrus inspected a safe deposit box with 320,000 euros, court documents show. He counted the bills and used a special light to check whether they were marked.

Satisfied, Chetrus went to collect the uranium package from the Lexus, where the colonel’s wife had left it. When he turned it over to the informant, the police pounced.

The bust, captured on video, shows officers in balaclavas forcing Chetrus to his knees and handcuffing him. Galina was arrested, too.

But the police officer-turned-smuggler managed to escape back to Trans-Dniester, where he and the colonel could not be touched by Moldovan police.

The arrests took Malic by surprise. He and the informant had been told that police would allow the sample exchange to go forward, so they could later seize the motherlode of uranium and arrest the ringleaders.

Malic was furious. Instead of capturing the gang leaders intent on selling nuclear bomb-grade material to extremists, his Moldovan bosses had jumped the gun.

“What they did was simply create a scene for the news media,” Malic said. “We lost a huge opportunity to make the world safer.”

Tests of the uranium seized confirmed that it was high-grade material that could be used in a nuclear bomb. The tests also linked it to two earlier seizures of highly enriched uranium that investigators believed the colonel was also behind.

A search of Chetrus’ house showed just how dangerous the smugglers were. After police made their arrests in Chisinau, Malic combed through documents in the farmhouse.

He found the plans for the dirty bomb. Worse, there was evidence that Chetrus was making a separate deal to sell nuclear material to a real buyer.

Investigators found contracts made out to a Sudanese doctor named Yosif Faisal Ibrahim for attack helicopters and armored personnel carriers, government documents show. Chetrus had a copy of Ibrahim’s passport, and there was evidence that Chetrus was trying to help him obtain a Moldovan visa. Skype messages suggested that he was interested in uranium and the dirty bomb plans.

The deal was interrupted by the sting, but it looked like it had progressed pretty far. A lawyer working with the criminal ring had traveled to Sudan, officials said. But authorities say they could not determine who was behind Ibrahim or why he was seeking material for a nuclear bomb. AP efforts to reach Ibrahim were unsuccessful.

Consequences for the smugglers were minimal. Galina Agheenco got a light 3-year sentence because she had an infant son; and Chetrus was sentenced to a 5-year prison term. Interpol notices were issued for the colonel and the Trans-Dniester policeman who got away.

Moldovan officials say there were indications from a foreign intelligence agency that the colonel fled with his infant son through Ukraine to Russia shortly after the bust.

The authorities don’t know if the colonel also took a cache of uranium with him.

Until the head of the criminal group is sentenced and jailed, until we know for sure where those substances seized in Europe came from and where they were going to, only then will we be able to say a danger is no longer present,” says Gheorghe Cavcaliuc, the senior police officer who oversaw the investigation.


In mid-2014, an informant told Malic he had been contacted by two separate groups, one offering uranium, the other cesium. The Moldovan police went directly to the FBI, who backed up their operations.

Read the whole thing.

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Bird’s-eye view of ‘Russian cluster bomb strikes ISIL in Syria’

Published on Oct 6, 2015

The Russian Defense Ministry published footage on October 5 which allegedly shows strikes on a “militant” site in Idlib, claimed to hold “30 units of automobile and armored vehicles, including tanks.”

The initial images, shot from the underside of an aircraft, show takeoff, before the plane drops its payload. A birdseye shot of a wooded area shows the bombs exploding.

The bombs used bear resemblance to cluster munitions, widely banned and condemned by human rights groups, though the use of these weapons remains unconfirmed. In March, Human Rights Watch accused both government and pro-Russian separatists of “repeatedly” using cluster munitions in eastern Ukraine.

This world would not mind even if they use nukes.

whats up euronews, why I don’t hear any kids dying, or some other cheaply fabricated story ? Are you feeling ok ? You have to do what America told you… be nice puppy!