Archive for the ‘From the Ether . . .’ Category

Sochi Geographically and the Circassian Genocide

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Sochi Train Station

Millions of people arrive in Sochi at this station. It is the primary place of arrival and departure for most travelers to and from Sochi. If you have never been to a Russian train station, this is a good example of the architecture and busy atmosphere. Trains come from all over Russia. Many travelers have journeyed from points in Siberia and northern Russia and have been on the train for days.  (Sochi Magazine, 2014)

“Perfectly Stalinist by design”

The Sochi Railway Station is a three story affair, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. An architectual masterpiece to some, the passenger station is maybe the best example of Stalinist design in the city. Dating from the 1950s, the station is hard to miss at the city center.

Sochi connects to Moscow and all points in between via this, and the new station near the airport. Not much of a touristic attraction, the station is worth visiting, if just to people watch.  (

Sochi Vokal – Sochi Central Railway Station  – Sochi’s beautiful Central Railway Station was built in 1916 and is the main railway hub for trains from all over Russia, including the cities of Moscow, St Petersburg, Chelnyabinsk, Krasnador and Novosibirsk. It is also the international train hub for services from Kiev in the Ukraine, Minsk in Belarus and Vilnius in Lithuania. The Railway Station is situated at 56, Gorkogo Street and also provides car hire kiosks, shops and restaurants.

In 2007 the Russian, Black Sea resort of Sochi was chosen as the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. The games will be held between the 7th of February and the 23rd of February 2014.

Sochi is situated in Krasnador Krai in Russia’s Southern Federal District.The town covers an area of around 3,505 square kilometers and nestles between the Black Sea Coast and the Caucusus Mountains. Greater Sochi is divided into the four regions of Adler, Khosta, Lazerevskoe and Central Sochi.

Sochi is Russia’s largest seaside, holiday resort located in one of only a handful of the country’s regions that have a sub tropical climate. These mountain peaks situated forty kilometers east of Sochi are home to the world renowned Rosa Khutor Ski Resort and Krasnaya Alpine Ski Village, and it is here where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and 2014 Winter Paralympic Games will take place. As Sochi lies to the west of this mountain range, the town is considered part of European Russia. (SOURCE)

I find it interesting that this is a “sub-tropical climate”.  Putin apparently went to Guatemala City and spoke French to the IOC members to persuade them of this location as opposed to South Korea.  The central location of the train station, history of the caucasus in general and specifically of this place being the site of the Circassian genocide (1864) where an entire ethnic group was either relocated or exterminated is extremely worrisome for an event during the Olympics (the timing is also right – 150 years post).

Here’s a brief synopsis (SOURCE):

1864- 2014 Circassian Genocide Olympics

In the end of one hundred years of war period, Circassia region of the Caucasus was invaded and colonized by Russian Empire in 1864.  During that period of time the inhabitants of the West Caucasus, more than one million five hundred thousand Circassians (Adige, Abkhaz and Wubikh people), were forced to leave their land in famine after all their villages and fields were burned and destroyed. They were exiled from their land to Ottoman Empire under inhumane conditions.

Sochi region, where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held, was the center that the parliament of independent and free Circassia was gathering until 1864. After the Russian invasion it was not only the Circassians removed from their land but also all their cultural heritage and even their graves were completely destroyed brutally. Today in the state museums of Sochi there is nothing displayed related to Circassians, the autochthonous people of that land for thousands of years. The real ancient history of Sochi extends to Anatolian Hattis, famous Troy, Meot and Sind Empires is almost forgotten. The Russian written history of Sochi begins in 1830 with the victories bombardment of Russian Tsar Navy landing soldiers to the Socha village which was destroyed and renamed by Russians as Navagiski fortified territory. In the museums of Sochi you can only see the pictures of poor Russian mujicks who were brought from inner Russia then forced to settle to Circassia after the Circassian Exile and also the Cossacks who even appropriating the national clothes of the exiled inhabitants shamelessly.

The grandchildren of the massacred and exiled native people of the 2014 winter Olympics city Sochi and the Krasnodar Kray still live in the countries they were exiled to but their faces turned towards to their homeland. There are millions of Circassians who live in the other side of Black Sea in Turkey, are longing and waiting to repatriate to their motherland.  Now in destroyed Circassian villages, on the lost graves of Circassians, in Circassia, there are true strangers living there. As a result of a hundred years of iron curtain they probably don’t even have any idea about the real owners of those lands. Today Circassia became Russian Riviera where the first and the foremost Mr. Putin having rest, swimming and skiing.

The Russian Federation governments are still completely blind and deaf to develop any empathy or to understand the feelings and the longings of the people of the Caucasus. Moreover the real history is distorted by the Russian state purposely. To conceal the massacre and the exile of the ninety percent of Circassians, the reality of the Circassian legendary resistance to colonial powers for more than one hundred years is obviously ignored. For that purpose producing the factitious history thesis of 450-th years voluntary joining together of Circassia’s to Marx’s so called prison of nations Tsarist Russia is very tragicomic and flippantly far away from the seriousness of a statehood. Today Russian Federation government appropriates funds of millions of rubles for spreading that propaganda to all over the Circassian federal republics (Adigeya, Karachai, Cherkes and Kabardino Balkaria) by official campaigns and imposing anniversary ceremonies instead of using that money to improve the conditions in those underdeveloped republics.

Even more, regardless of the fact that all the criticism and the protest of the Circassian intellectuals and organizations both in the Caucasus and in the Diaspora, hasty preparations for 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is still pursuing heartily. The geography and the ecological structure of that beautiful and sacred part of our land are destroyed by commands of the inconsiderate Russian politicians in Moscow atrociously.

After Circassian exile in 1864 Sochi was emptied from Circassians and the Kbaada Valley was renamed as Krasnaya Polyana where the heavy construction equipments are excavating the mountains for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics now.  On the contrary of Russian culture, Circassians are very respectful even to the death bodies of their enemies. Now the skulls and the bones of our honorable ancestors are thrown away all over the place by Russians barbarously. The planned grotesque destroying process of that one of the most beautiful parts’ of the Caucasus is very meaningful for Circassians.

By all means we, the people of Caucasus, we are not surprised from the Russian behaviour. All the process is running by the commands of the new tsar of Russia, Mr. Vladimir Putin who has the blood of the thousands of children of Caucasus on his hands, from Chechenya, Daghestan, Beslan… etc. May Mr. Putin as an inheritor of General Yermalov, General Vorontzov, General Baryatinski, is not able to understand how his smart decisions cause pain for Circassians and confronting them. But the time will manifest. After the glasnost the governors of the Circassian republics in Caucasus were forced by public to take action to built Circassian Exile monuments. Although it has been long years, there are still not any government funds received to finish that project. At that point the supreme government shows the highest effort indeed. Nobody but only them can build such an expensive and meaningful genocide monument to our land other than 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics which must have been the symbol of the friendship and the brotherhood of people. Despite Sochi is the place where the “Drujba Derevo” (the tree of friendship) belongs to, there is no any native people left in that land, there is no any native people is allowed to settle there.

As the Circassians both in Caucasus and the Diaspora announced before by sending lots of protesting letters to Olympics Committee, even the idea of holding Olympics in Sochi on the soil of genocide where the hundreds of thousands of Circassian tears, moans and curse are bleeding, can not be acceptable.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will always be remembered only as “2014 Circassian Genocide Olympics”.

Unfortunately 2014 Circassian Genocide Olympics is not only making the Olympics a tool of inane politics but it is also renewing the sorrow of Circassians in exile. Besides it also intensifies the deep and legitimate distrust on Russia for hundreds of years. It causes hate.

As the inheritor of one of the most humanist culture in the world, we, the people of the Caucasus, inspite of the past and the present, we don’t want to have any kind of abhorrence towards other people including the Russians.

Still, we can not be unresponsive to the provocative actions of declining and distorting the thousands of years old real history of our people and our land. As Circassians, as grandchildren of our ancestors we have enough pride and honor to not to bear this denial.

Again, we want to urge all the Russian Federation governments and rightminded intellectuals of Russia. Please stop those provocative actions.



SOCHI 2014: A Security Challenge

January 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Sochi 2014: A Security Challenge

December 9, 2013 | 0520 Print Text Size


The Russian city of Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23 and the Paralympics from March 7 to March 16. Russia is no stranger to hosting high-profile global events; it hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics and is preparing for the 2018 World Cup final.

Though the 2014 games seemingly offer Moscow a perfect platform for showcasing the strength of its security apparatus, Russia will have to work overtime to protect athletes and spectators. This in turn could leave surrounding regions such as the Northern Caucasus and major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg exposed to militancy, terrorism and organized crime. Militants from the Caucasus striking elsewhere in Russia during the games to avoid the intense security that will be present in Sochi and to capitalize on news coverage of the highly publicized event pose the greatest threat to the games.


Security Preparations

Russian security forces possess the experience and numbers necessary to provide for safe Olympic Games. They will have an intense multilayered system in place throughout Sochi. The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or the FSB, is the primary security agency in Russia — it is the successor to the Soviet KGB and the country’s chief counterterrorism agency — and has taken the lead in guaranteeing security for the Sochi Olympics since 2010.

The FSB will lead close to 100,000 security personnel in securing the games and Sochi overall. Other elements involved in Olympic security operations will be in place:

  • More than 40,000 police are expected to be on duty during the games and will be trained to converse with spectators in three languages other than Russian (English, French and German). They will also have a 24-hour hotline available for assistance.
  • Roughly 30,000 members of the armed forces will deploy to the Sochi area.
  • A Russian military group dubbed “Operations Group Sochi” is expected to supervise and secure the mountainous belt from Sochi to Mineralnye Vody near the Olympic Mountain Cluster using roughly 10,000 troops.
  • Russia’s 58th Army will be responsible for securing and supervising the southern border with Georgia.
  • Surveillance for the games will include drones, reconnaissance robots, sonar systems and high-speed patrol boats.
  • A computer system called Sorm will be upgraded and operational to monitor all Internet and communication traffic by Sochi residents, visiting competitors and spectators during the Olympics in the hopes of intercepting any sensitive information that could help to avoid any potential disruptions.

Moscow has implemented extensive security measures on land, on the Black Sea and in the air. In January 2014, there will be travel and transport restrictions implemented along with enhanced security zones, to include restricted and controlled zones that will be designated throughout the region using signs and authorities on post. Restricted security zones will cover a large territory outside the internal border of Karachay-Cherkessia (more than 322 kilometers, or 200 miles, east of Sochi) and the external border between Russia’s Krasnodar Krai region and the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia. Also included will be the Olympic Park and its Olympic venues, Olympic Villages in the Olympic Mountain Cluster and Olympic Coastal Cluster, as well as Sochi’s seaport, railroad terminal, airport and national park. To move through checkpoints in these zones, one will have to produce both a ticket and a spectator pass or fan passport (acquired by providing personal and biographical information to the Russian government through the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee) or Olympic accreditation.

Even so, areas remain vulnerable to potential disruption. Attempted attacks are likeliest at venues containing large, concentrated numbers of participants, such as the Olympic Park in the heart of the Olympic Coastal Cluster and perhaps the Adler/Sochi airport. Open venues at the games will also be attractive targets, including the venues that make up the Olympic Mountain Cluster, where snowboarding and skiing events will be held. They are located in Krasnaya Polyana and are accessible by bus, high-speed rail and helicopter. Other potential targets include the transportation hubs in Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana, as well as the high-speed rail link connecting the Olympic Coastal Cluster to the Olympic Mountain Cluster. 

Controlled zones where all visitors and vehicles will undergo police inspections include the areas surrounding Olympic Park and checkpoints along the Sochi and Adler coast, including Matsesta and Khosta. As in the restricted zones, those equipped with a spectator pass will be permitted to attend events during the Olympics, and all motor vehicles will need a permit provided by the Sochi Olympics Transport Administration to enter Sochi before and during the games.

Security in Sochi and at all Olympic venues clearly will be comprehensive. This means that the greatest threat in the run-up to and during the games will likely be an attack carried out by militants outside of Sochi in locations such as the North Caucasus or large metropolitan areas like Moscow.

Militant Threat

Russia’s struggle with volatile regions like the Caucasus dates back centuries. For years, Russia has dealt a heavy counterinsurgency blow to the Caucasus — particularly the Northern Caucasus, which is home to fundamentalist separatist insurgencies spawned during the first and second Chechen wars and to militant groups like the Caucasus Emirate. Militant groups in the region carry out regular attacks against security forces and government officials using a multitude of different tactics, including targeted assassinations and suicide bombings.

Caucasus militants remain a tactical threat to Russian security, having carried out effective attacks inside the Caucasus — particularly Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, as well as the Russian heartland — that mainly target Russian police and soft targets like mosques, shopping malls and transportation hubs throughout the region. In May 2012, Russian authorities foiled a plot orchestrated by the leader of the Caucasus Emirate militant group, Doku Umarov, to attack the Sochi Olympics. Officials discovered a weapons cache in Abkhazia that included portable surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers, flamethrowers, grenades, rifles and maps (the contents of which have not yet been reported). Three members of the Caucasus Emirate were detained. Authorities said the weapons were to be smuggled into Sochi for use before and during the games. 

In July 2013, Umarov made threats in a video posted on YouTube calling on people from the Caucasus (specifically Islamic insurgents in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and the Northern Caucasus) to stop Russia from holding the Sochi Olympics. The video suggests that the group may be low on manpower, as has been reported, and that the extensive security measures in place may prevent Umarov and the Caucasus Emirate from attacking the Sochi Olympics.

Umarov’s video could indeed inspire lone wolves in the region to carry out attacks in Sochi, but elsewhere in Russia as well. Attacks by lone wolves, or “grassroots” jihadists, are particularly difficult to intercept and prevent. The actors behind these attacks, however, usually lack the sophistication needed to carry out a large-scale operation, especially in a country with well-prepared security forces.

While Umarov did not indicate the types of attacks to attempt, bombings have been the most popular attack method in the Caucasus region, followed by armed assaults, according to the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups. More than 1,500 violent events have occurred in the Caucasus region since January 2010, with a majority of them targeting law enforcement and occurring within 500 miles of the Olympic Games in areas such as Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Chechnya.

On Oct. 21, a female suicide bomber attacked a bus in Volgograd, Russia, 600 miles north of Sochi, killing six and wounding more than a dozen. While this event was not directly related to the Olympics, it underscores the ability of lone wolves and militants to attack soft targets like busy city squares and airports using limited training and materials, whether in Sochi or elsewhere in Russia.

In recent months, Russia has implemented several preventive measures to counter such attacks. In May, according to the Interior Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin forbade the sale of weapons, ammunitions, explosives and poisonous substances inside the Olympic restricted zones. In August, he signed a decree banning demonstrations and rallies not part of the Olympics or the Paralympics in Sochi from Jan. 7 to March 21. In October, Russian authorities took saliva samples from Muslim women in Dagestan so authorities could better identify their body parts if any became suicide bombers during the games. And in November, Putin signed a new anti-terrorism law that requires relatives to pay for any damage caused by militants and imposes a prison term of up to 10 years for anyone undergoing terrorism training aimed at carrying out an attack in Russia.

It will be very difficult to conduct an attack at an Olympic venue or during any major event in Sochi, but even a small assault would have an outsized effect given the global spotlight on the games. Meanwhile, the Olympics are a prime opportunity for thieves and other criminals to prey upon unsuspecting tourists

Advisory to Olympic Visitors and Spectators

Although Russia will deploy more than 40,000 police at the Olympics (double the entire security deployment at the London 2012 Olympics) and will operate surveillance cameras, drones and reconnaissance robots, street crime will remain an issue. Athletes, spectators and sponsors at Olympic venues are all potential victims for local criminals. Precautions should be taken against pickpocketing, robbery or assault, both in Sochi and across Russia. Maintaining situational awareness at all times is key to minimizing risks of all kind. With the elevated police presence, crime at the Olympic venues will probably be relatively low. For the purposes of comparison, crime at the London Olympics and Paralympics dropped by 6 percent, according to estimates by the London Metropolitan Police. The Sochi Olympics could see a similar outcome.

Extreme delays at airports, buses and rail regarding transportation to the Olympic games, as well as shortages of hotel accommodations, are expected. Visitors are urged to book hotel rooms and travel reservations well in advance. An Olympic express train will transport passengers from the Olympic Costal Cluster located in Adler to the Olympic Mountain Cluster in Krasnaya Polyana with an expected travel time of just over 30 minutes; trains are scheduled to run every hour. Ski lifts and buses will be used to shuttle fans to individual Olympic venues in the Olympic Mountain Cluster. Once inside the Olympic Coastal Cluster, Olympic venues like the Olympic Medal Plaza and Fisht Olympic Stadium are within walking distance. Many Olympic-related events will take place in downtown Sochi, which is located roughly 24 miles from Adler and is accessible by bus and car.

Tickets must be purchased from an authorized seller, so buyers should be alert for ticket scammers, including websites posing as official ticket producers. Spectators must also obtain a spectator’s pass. The application process is part of the security regimen for the games and will subject the ticket holder to a background check administered by the FSB. All foreign visitors attending the Olympics will also need to apply for a tourist visa before entering Russia. In the past, Russia’s visa procedure and processing has been complicated and lengthy; therefore, foreign visitors with Olympic tickets will be able to use special “Olympic windows” at Russian embassies and consulates around the world that will potentially lessen the hassle visa seekers normally experience.

Sochi has a handful of medical facilities, such as the new hospital in Krasnaya Polyana and Hospital No. 4 in Sochi. Visitors seeking immediate medical care during the games should go to either hospital. Because of land barriers in Russia, Olympic visitors may be better off seeking medical care in neighboring Europe than in Moscow, and should therefore purchase medical evacuation coverage when acquiring traveler’s medical insurance before visiting Russia.

Hosting events like the Olympics and Paralympics is an extraordinary task for any country. The extreme security apparatus being put in place will go far in protecting the games against any attacks. However, a wide range of disruptions could happen not only in Sochi, but throughout Russia — including everything from travel delays, street crime and potential attacks.

Read more: Sochi 2014: A Security Challenge | Stratfor
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Obamacare Relationship to Gun Control

January 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Future Health Care In America: The Abyss Of Gun Rights
BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 11 hours ago
There is movement on the issue of mental health and gun ownership, but we’ll get to that in a moment. First in order to set the stage, Michael Hammond writing at The Washington Times has done a good job of explaining the stakes.

The 1968 Gun Control Act bans guns for anyone who is “adjudicated as a mental defective or … committed to a mental institution.” Unfortunately, under 2008 NICS Improvement Act, drafted by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and its regulations, that “adjudication” can be made by any “other lawful authority.” This means a diagnosis by a single psychiatrist in connection with a government program.

In the case of nearly 175,000 law-abiding veterans, the “lawful authority” has been a Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, who, generally, will take away a veteran’s guns by unilaterally declaring him incompetent and appointing a guardian over his financial affairs. Certainly, the findings can be appealed, but most veterans don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars to hire lawyers and psychiatrists to do so.

Although the problem hasn’t yet been as apparent in other areas, police and firemen on Social Security disability for post-traumatic stress disorder, Medicare seniors with Alzheimer’s, and people who as children were diagnosed under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act program with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder will ultimately face the same fate. Even a subsidized Obamacare policy might now make Americans participants in a federal program.

In fact, that process of expanding gun bans has now begun:

One gun owner in a virulently anti-gun state was placed on the gun-ban blacklist because many years ago, police, without the approval of any court, put him in a mental facility overnight. The facility found nothing wrong with him, but that didn’t stop his state from recently turning him in to the FBI for a lifetime gun ban.

In another case, a gun owner in an anti-gun state lost his guns because of a prescription for a psychiatric drug.

Bob Unruh explains how this happens with veterans.

The problem arises when the agency wants to appoint a fiduciary – someone to advise a disabled veteran or one receiving certain government benefits – to help with the management of the benefits.

The government then routinely notifies the FBI’s NICS system, a federally maintained list of those whose competency has been challenged. That means they no longer can purchase a gun or even keep the one they may have.

Michael Connelly, executive director of the USJF, told WND the initial lawsuit is to compel the VA to respond to two requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The information requested included Veterans Benefits Administration rules, regulations and criteria for making ‘determinations of incompetency due to a physical or mental condition of a benefit recipient,’” the legal team explained.

“The USJF has received numerous complaints from military veterans around the country who are being declared incompetent to handle their own financial affairs and then told that they can no longer purchase or own firearms or ammunition,” said Connelly. “This determination is being made without due process protections for the veterans and the basis for the incompetency ruling is often arbitrary and without a factual or legal basis.”
Just a month ago, WND columnist Jeff Knox warning about Obama’s newly announced strategy.

And just a few days ago Mike Vanderboegh provided strong evidence that this is happening on a wide scale. Returning to Bob’s article, he asks the important questions. “As with most things, the devil is in the details. What is mental illness? Who is mentally ill? How mentally ill must one be to warrant revocation of a fundamental human right? Who makes that determination? Who is ‘normal,’ and how ‘normal’ do they have to be to own guns?”

Now to what David Codrea reported just today about the movement afoot to make the problem even more sweeping in scope.

In a chat session this month with the liberal magazine Texas Monthly, Cornyn revealed he and Lindsay Graham will introduce a bill strengthening the NICS federal gun owner registration database and place more Americans on lifetime gun ban lists.

There are no doubt good people who believe that such a thing is good for public safety. Cornyn and Graham aren’t among that crowd. They know better and would sell the souls of their own mothers if it would be beneficial to their careers. It isn’t to them that I speak. Nothing can change them, and so the only remedy for us is to change their jobs.

We’ve dealt with this before, this notion that the mental health profession is like any other, that it can pull the right levers, punch the right buttons, and administer the right drugs to fix mankind. But listen to them in their own words.

Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, Mayo Clinic: “We physicians generally do not know enough about firearms to have an informed conversation with our patients, let alone counsel them about gun safety.” He continues by arguing:

•Even if every mentally ill person in the country were registered, the system isn’t prepared to handle them — and only about half of the states require registration.
•Only about 10 percent of mentally ill people are registered — and these are people who have been committed, they’ve come to attention in a way that requires court intervention.
•Literature says the vast majority of people who do these kinds of shootings are not mentally ill — or it is recognized after the fact.
•The majority of mentally ill people aren’t dangerous.
Dr. Richard Friedman: ” … there is overwhelming epidemiological evidence that the vast majority of people with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts. Only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illness.”

Dr. Barry Rosenfeld: “”We’re not likely to catch very many potentially violent people” with laws like the one in New York.”

Dr. Steven Hoge: “One reason even experienced psychiatrists are often wrong is that there are only a few clear signs that a person with a mental illness is likely to act violently.”

And National Journal notes the following.

Perhaps most important, although people with serious mental illness have committed a large percentage of high-profile crimes, the mentally ill represent a very small percentage of the perpetrators of violent crime overall. Researchers estimate that if mental illness could be eliminated as a factor in violent crime, the overall rate would be reduced by only 4 percent. That means 96 percent of violent crimes—defined by the FBI as murders, robberies, rapes, and aggravated assaults—are committed by people without any mental-health problems at all. Solutions that focus on reducing crimes by the mentally ill will make only a small dent in the nation’s rate of gun-related murders, ranging from mass killings to shootings that claim a single victim. It’s not just that the mentally ill represent a minority of the country’s population; it’s also that the overlap between mental illness and violent behavior is poor.

I won’t continue since we’ve covered this in detail before. To my readers who believe that this has anything to do with public safety, you need to be dissuaded from such foolishness. This has nothing to do with the decreased rate of forcible admissions to mental health facilities, and nothing to do with an increase in mental health problems, and nothing to do with the availability of guns. And it has nothing to do with turning out patients from the asylums, no matter what you’ve been told.

Crime is a moral choice. I know this is uncomfortable for some of my readers, because it forces you to think about things like value judgments and the roots of morality. It all has such a deontological ring to it, and it suggests that mankind may not just be the product of primordial slime – that there is someone to whom we must answer.

But I don’t care one iota about your discomfort. The mental health profession simply cannot sustain the weight of burden you wish to place on it. It cannot tell you who will do what, or give enough medications to fix what ails mankind. It cannot control individuals who are moral agents making their own choices.
And those who would rule us know this too. They know that the mental health profession cannot function in this role, and yet the sweep of the proposed rules keeps increasing, the dragnet keeps expanding, and the Senators keep going along to get along. So what does this tell you about why they want to expand the mental health dragnet? When will you be adjudicated mentally defective because you believe that being armed is the surest way to ameliorate tyranny in America?

Russia assumes G8 presidency, lays out key agenda – RT Jan 1, 2014

January 6, 2014 Leave a comment
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On January 1, Russia began its Group of Eight presidency for 2014 and will host the 40th G8 Summit in the Olympic city of Sochi in June. This year’s G8 agenda will focus on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, managing conflicts and disasters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has outlined the plan for the joint work of the group – which includes the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Britain, Japan, Canada, Russia and representatives of the European Union – in a statement published on a newly-launched website for Russia’s G8 presidency.

Russia’s motto for its 2014 G8 presidency is “Risk Management for Sustainable Growth in a Safe World,” the statement said.

Based on this motto, the priority issues advanced by Russia include “fighting the drug menace, combating terrorism and extremism, settling regional conflicts, safeguarding people’s health, and establishing a global management system to address risks associated with natural and manmade disasters,” Putin wrote.

He added that “numerous other issues that have previously been raised by the G8” have also been included, and some of them have already been discussed in St. Petersburg in 2006 during Russia’s first G8 presidency.

The Russian president said that “the world has not become safer in recent years, but it has undoubtedly become more complicated,” saying that while the violent conflicts are growing in numbers, the system of international law is “losing ground.”

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In 2013, the meetings of Russia and some of its G8 club partners have been crucial in avoiding the escalation of the Syrian crisis at a point when a foreign intervention into the war-torn country seemed unavoidable. Another international group that includes Russia, P5+1, worked out a landmark agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, raising hopes for international trade and investment opportunities in still heavily-sanctioned country.

G8 countries have also been playing a leading role in the global economy, producing 50 percent of the world’s GDP and making 38 percent of its exports and imports combined, according to figures given at the Also, according to Interfax, the G8 economies together produce 32 percent of the world’s energy.

According to Putin, Russia does not view the G8 as “an elite club of world leaders who discuss the destiny of humanity behind closed doors.” In line with this stance, non-governmental G8 groups – Youth 8, Civil 8, Business 8 and Parliamentary 8 – are going to provide “crucial support to Russia” during its G8 presidency.

The idea of transparency and those of “dynamism, innovation and progress” have been reflected in the constructivist logo for Russia’s presidency, inspired by the Russian Avant-Garde art movement of the early 20th century, the official webpage says. The circles-based logo is also meant to be an allusion to the fact that the June 4-5 G8 summit will take place in the southern Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, which is hosting the Winter Olympics in February.

The international forum started as a Group of Six in 1975, saw Canada and the EU representatives added in 1976 and 1977, and grew to G8 since Russia’s official joining the Group of Seven in 1997. Although the G7 meetings still take place, with the latest having been in the UK last May on the level of finance ministers of the countries, they have focused on pressing economic issues and are not summoned every year. The G8 meetings are annual and have included broader range of topics, such as global security, healthcare and education.

End of Year Volograd Train Station Bombing

December 30, 2013 1 comment


2014 Sochi Olympics: Russia in Terrorists’ Crosshairs

Dec. 30, 2013
By FRANK CILLUFFO, Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute
and MICHAEL DOWNING, Deputy Chief, LAPD Counter-Terrorism Bureau

PHOTO: In this photo made by a public camera and made available by the Associated Press Television News  smoke pours out  after an explosion at Volgograd railway station, in Volograd Russia on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.

The Olympic Games belong to the world. Hosting them is a point of genuine national pride. This February, everyone will be watching the Winter Games, which Russia is hosting — and that includes “the bad guys.”

The past two days saw the latest in a series of deadly terror attacks in Russia by suicide bombers — following an attack in the same city of Volgograd just two months ago — which have undoubtedly been intended to spark jitters of Olympic proportions, possibly by a deadly Islamist group promising to disrupt an event being watched by the eyes of the world, though no group has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks.

Major international sporting events have always served as lightning rods for terrorists, of course, with the Boston Marathon bombings being the most recent and tragic example. Just think back to the 1972 Munich Olympics and the impact of Palestinian extremist group Black September’s attack on Israel’s athletes — magnified because the kidnappings and murders took place with the whole world watching the gruesome spectacle unfold.

The 2014 Games in Sochi in southern Russia present a symbolic target in a region with a long history of bloody violence. Russian authorities have long battled violent forces in the nearby North Caucasus. The Russian government fought two wars against Chechen separatists in the mid-1990’s and early 2000’s, radicalizing a generation of Muslim youths in the process.

Mainly populated by Muslims but also by over 100 ethnic groups, the North Caucasus has been immersed in endless conflict in the form of an ongoing violent Islamist insurgency, making it one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Between July and October of last year, 133 people were reportedly killed, including 32 police officers, in the conflict between militants and government forces there, mostly in Dagestan.

On September 16, a suicide bomber killed three police officers and wounded four others in Chechnya and later that day, a suicide bomber killed another police officer and wounded another individual in Ingushetia. Also on that same day, police detained a man wearing a suicide bomb after he entered a police station. A week later, another suicide bomber exploded a car outside a Dagestan police station, killing two more police officers and injuring several more including civilians. And then there was the October suicide bombing of a bus in the Russian city of Volgograd.

Is this the beginning of a larger terrorist campaign leading up to Sochi? There should be little doubt it is.

With Sochi located so close to the Chechen capital of Grozny, a hotbed of extremism, there is little geographical insulation to bring us comfort. The leader of the so-called “Caucasus Emirate,” Chechen terrorist Doku Umarov — known as “the Russian Bin Laden” — made his intentions clear in a video statement in June in which he called on his followers to “use maximum force” to put a stop to the Games.

The situation is potentially toxic and explosive and the threat should be taken seriously, as it undoubtedly is, by Russian authorities.

In May of this year, Russian authorities claimed to have foiled a plot by Umarov to attack the Winter Games. Federal Security Service (FSB) agents declared that they had detained three suspected militants and seized a weapons cache in Abkhazia, the independent Georgian republic just across the border from Sochi. Investigators said the extremists had been planning to move the weapons, which included surface-to-air missiles and grenades, to Sochi to carry out attacks during the Olympics, according to local reports.

Russian security officials have boasted to U.S. delegations that they have rolled up terrorist cells and seized more pre-positioned terrorist weapons caches discovered even closer to the Olympic venue than nearby Georgia.


A Violent History … and Future?

In the 1990s, several top-level al Qaeda operatives entered the North Caucasus, including Saudi-born emissaries, and also longtime Osama Bin Laden deputy and current leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. (Zawahiri was arrested by the Russians in 1997 and released after six months in jail.) These jihadis viewed the lands as infidel-occupied and thus joined the struggle for independence, steering the conflict into radicalism. Under Umarov’s leadership, what was once a nationalist movement has morphed into a jihadi cause. Though he has managed to co-opt and incorporate a local movement into the service of broader jihadi objectives, local buy-in to the global jihad and its larger “brand” is incomplete. Nevertheless, the danger remains acute, as the group has already demonstrated its capability repeatedly.

Chechen rebels and separatists have been behind a series of gruesome incidents historically. Examples include multiple hostage-takings in hospitals in 1995 and 1996, multiple Moscow Metro and train bombings in 2003 and 2010, hostage-taking in a Moscow theater in 2002, hostage-taking at a school in Beslan in 2004 that resulted in the deaths of 380 people including 186 children, and bombing Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in 2011.

The October 2013 Volgograd bus bombing was reportedly perpetrated by a suicide bomber from Dagestan. The bomber was the wife of an ethnic Russian, Dmitri Sokolov, who joined jihadis in Dagestan and became an adept bomb-maker, according to a source in the Dagestani security services cited by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. He was killed by Russian authorities in mid-November.

Over the past 13 years, some 49 female suicide bombers — dubbed “black widows”– have carried out attacks in Russia, according to credible news reports. The October attack clearly showed that the militants who operate in Dagestan are capable of staging attacks far outside their home turf, which U.S. counter-terrorism officials say is a troubling signal of Umarov’s rising confidence.

Having recently “lifted” an 18-month ban on killing innocent civilians, Umarov has vowed via fiery speeches — broadcast via YouTube — to bring death and destruction to the Sochi Olympics. Umarov is using the Games to bring international attention to his separatist cause of an independent Islamic state, carved out within the borders of Russia.

In the case of the Boston Marathon bombers, brothers Dzhozkhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were natives of Dagestan and brought worldwide attention to the Chechen issue and violent extremism within Russia when authorities say they exploded two IEDs at the race last April. While Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing, Dzhokhar was apprehended and has pleaded not guilty. Umarov is attempting to gain more traction by building on renewed international interest in the conflict.


‘Iron Fist’ Security Could Protect Games, But What About Hotels and Restaurants?

Unsurprisingly, the Russian government has promised tight security for the Games, and with President Vladimir Putin touting the Olympics as “a personal project,” more than $50 billion is being invested to show the world what Russia can do as it hosts 2,500 athletes from dozens of countries.

Against this background and the expected deployment of ample military and quasi-military forces to secure the Games themselves, the greater vulnerability would seem to lie on the Olympic periphery, in the form of softer targets: the hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs where tourists will go — especially given the relatively isolated location of the Games. This is what happened in Uganda in 2010 when al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, al-Shabab, attacked two World Cup viewing parties in Kampala, killing 74 sports fans including one American.

Another way terrorists could duck the strong security presence is through acts of sabotage undertaken prior to the Games but timed to take effect when they are underway. For example, during construction of the various venues, it may be possible to implant an improvised explosive device with a timer attached. This possibility is not as far-fetched as it sounds. It has actually happened before: In 2004, a bomb implanted in the Dinamo football stadium within a concrete pillar, inserted by Chechen insurgents during prior repairs, killed the first President of the Chechen Republic, Akhmad Kadyrov, as well as more than a dozen others. Kadyrov’s son, Ramzan Kadyrov, is now President of the Chechen Republic, and is known to take a hard line against militants within his borders.

In our view, this type of insider threat is possible but not probable. However, many measures are being taken by Russian authorities in order to secure the Games, such as neighborhood sweeps and roundups. If executed in a too heavy-handed way, however, damage may be done to the battle for hearts and minds in the region.

Layered atop this bloody history and of even greater concern today is the foreign fighter phenomenon which could further bolster Umarov’s wherewithal to act. Foreign fighters have long been drawn to fight alongside Chechen “mujahideen brothers” in North Caucasus, and now Chechens motivated by a sense of religious duty have added Syria to their list of jihadi destinations beyond Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and the Sahel and Maghreb regions of Africa.

Russian officials believe there could be as many as 1,500 Russian Islamist militants — including 400 to 500 Chechens, 600 Dagestanis, and 200 Tatars and Bashkirs — fighting in Syria on the side of the opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. They join up to an estimated 11,000 foreign fighters from 74 nations around the world. These fighters have weapons, the latest training and a desire to use it, and are battle-hardened in urban warfare should they turn their attention to Russian pride over hosting the Winter Olympic Games.

Consider the foregoing against what the Russian State and President Putin himself have at stake with the Games: national and personal credibility and prestige, and the economic future of Southern Russia. The stage is further set if we keep in mind that Putin has stood shoulder to shoulder with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the conflict in Syria, thus aligning Russia against the rebel forces in Syria, which include jihadists (foreign fighters) from across the globe.


US Officials Want Better Russian Cooperation on Olympic Counter-Terror

Looking ahead, it would seem a win-win for Russia to work together with the international community to keep the Games and the periphery safe, both for Russians and for athletes and visitors the world over. We have been told by U.S. officials that cooperation could be better. Umarov has set down the gauntlet, and millions have been spent on counter-terrorism efforts in Russia and the United States alone. Following the Boston Marathon incident, both countries would do well to redouble their efforts on information sharing.

Will Russia overplay its hand? Or, will it bring partners into the fold?

Certainly the 2012 London Summer Games set a high standard, if not a gold standard, for protection and international security cooperation. The question is whether this is a model that the Russians will emulate in preparation for, and at, the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. The question is far from academic as it bears significant implications for public safety and security, not only for Russians, but for all international participants in and visitors to the Games. There is little cause for optimism however, as anti-Americanism is promoted from above in Russia; and as Russian counter-terrorism operations with the United States and its allies have fallen victim to the counterproductive climate that has prevailed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Accordingly, the United States should go into the Games with eyes wide open, in order to best protect American athletes, their families and American journalists and tourists. As yet, it is unclear how many international visitors there will be to Sochi. It is worth noting, though, that there are an estimated 5.5 million Russian-speaking people in the United States, with New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Detroit leading this demographic concentration. Should any decide to travel to the games, will they be at risk and are there any sympathetic Chechen Americans in the bunch?

Putin’s position is not to be envied. But he would be ill-advised to make a challenging situation even tougher, without cause.

Let’s make the 2014 Winter Games a safe event for all. Over to you, President Putin.

Frank Cilluffo is the Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. Michael Downing is the Deputy Chief and Commanding Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau. HSPI’s Sharon Cardash contributed to this article.

Eyeing 2014 Sochi Olympics . . .

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Posted on August 28, 2013 by Martin Armstrong  (

The decision to go into Syria has been in the works. Europe and the USA need a war to divert everyone from the economic crisis that is looming. According to the British newspaper the Telegraph, Saudi Arabia’s Bandar threatened Putin with Olympic terror if he backed Syria. These people are really messing with the wrong guy. Putin is not the coward and he has been building his troops and even has been doing joint exercises with China.

Bandar Prince

Prince Bandar has reportedly pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. Bandar allegedly said. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

A Few More Words About Gun Control

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” – Mao Tse Tung

Don’t think of it as `gun control’, think of it as `victim disarmament’. If we make enough laws, we can all be criminals. . .

Americans never give up your guns


By Stanislav Mishin 

Americans never give up your guns. 48982.jpeg

These days, there are few few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bare arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.

This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.

Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.

This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.

Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lieing guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.

Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.

To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere….but criminals are still armed and still murdering and to often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.

While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.

For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or “talking to them”, it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.

The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?

No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.

So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.

Stanislav Mishin