Saturday, November 27, 2004

Poisoning of Ukrainian leader shows Russia's germ weapons at work

It's safe to say that the apparent winner of Ukraine's recent elections was poisoned, probably by the Russian security services, to keep Ukraine from drifting out of the neo-Soviet camp.

The fate of presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko should prompt the rest of the world to take another look at Russia's ongoing clandestine, illegal covert biological and chemical weapons program.

Despite revelations from high-level defectors, Russian scientists, Russian and American journalists and others, the United States has declined to make an issue of Moscow's continued germ warfare research and development.

The pro-Western Yushchenko defeated the Kremlin-backed candidate, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, in November 21 elections marred with a fraudulent result that made the pro-Russian prime minister look like the winner.

Yushchenko survived two assassination attempts during the campaign: once when someone "arranged" for him to be in an automobile accident, and a second time in September when he was poisoned.

Car accidents and poisoning are standard KGB assassination tradecraft, both inside the former Soviet Union and abroad.

The poisoning initially gave Yushchenko symptoms of a stroke and subsequently has caused his face to swell and deteriorate.

Following the contested vote, Russian Vityaz commandos, dressed in Ukrainian uniforms, reportedly arrived at Ukraine's largest commercial airport.

Did Putin send special ops forces into Ukraine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly has dispached elite commandos, wearing Ukrainian uniforms, into Ukraine to prop up the Kremlin-backed candidate who appears to have tried to steal the November 21 election.

First, a caveat: These are unconfirmed reports, there is presently no physical evidence, and the primary source of the reports is unknown. Additionally, false stories are a staple of Ukrainian politics. However, the commando story is plausible and bears full investigation.

Here's how it goes: The Yushchenko camp learned that on the eve of the election, two Russian aircraft landed at Ukraine's Boryspil airport with elite Vitnaz special operations troops. Some reports said that as many as 1,000 Vitnaz forces landed in Ukraine.

They reportedly wore Ukrainian uniforms. Russian officials deny the reports.

Vitnaz forces are attached to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). If the reports are true, the Kremlin's use of MVD troops - as opposed to military or foreign intelligence troops - is significant, showing that Moscow continues to consider Ukraine an "internal affair."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Memo to Pentagon: Fallujah imagery is a strategic weapon. Use it.

US troops on the ground in Fallujah are adroitly exposing the horrors of the Islamist forces who had occupied the city: atrocities against women who failed to wear the hijab, dismemberment and mutliation of western-looking people, and slaughterhouses where the terrorists beheaded their hostages.

It isn't enough simply to show the sites to embedded reporters and move on. American and free Iraqi forces must preserve that information and give it the widest possible distribution on a constant, ongoing basis, to make it clear to the world the evil that they are uprooting.

As these words are written, America's enemies are hyping an NBC video clip of a US Marine, who had just been shot in the face the day before, shooting to death a wounded terrorist who he feared was pretending to be dead and might have a weapon. The incident took place in a mosque. World reaction is predictable.

Back in Washington, the Pentagon and the administration overall have run their strategic information operations and public affairs activities in ways that can be described most charitably as amateurish and inept. Less charitably but perhaps more accurately, I would describe some of them as criminally negliglent if not outright acts of sabotage.

For the past year or more, the enemy has dominated the propaganda war in Iraq and elsewhere while political appointees in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon have obsessed over controlling the message instead of getting the message out.

This must stop. Information - facts, reports, graphics, still images, audio, video - is a strategic weapon. It's time the Bush administration got serious and used it as such.

Friday, November 12, 2004

No, I'm not a neoconservative

It's easy (and often important) to apply labels to things, and even to people, so that they may readily be understood.

But sometimes labels are incorrectly applied. That's what happened today in an otherwise fine article appearing in the New York Sun.

The article reported on some insider buzz that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice might be named to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Newsman Jamie Dettmer called to ask if I would be willing to go on the record about why Dr. Rice would not be the best person for the job.

Only one other person, my friend Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy, agreed to be named. The article is fine until the penultimate paragraph, in which an editing error mis-identified me as a "neoconservative."

While I have many neoconservative friends, have a high regard for their intellectual firepower, and have worked with them for years in areas where we agree, I've seldom been mistaken for one myself.

Neoconservatism's intellectual founder, Irving Kristol, once described neocons as liberals who have been "mugged by reality." A handy, recognizable, and unforgettable label.

But one that doesn't apply to me. I've never been liberal so I never needed the mugging.