Gotcha! Actually, there is still nothing new concerning the shooting of Paul Joyal, though it appears that DC police are pretty much convinced it was an ordinary crime. According to the Washington Post, “sources with knowledge of the investigation said this week they are increasingly convinced that the incident is the work of ordinary criminals rather than part of a wider conspiracy.”
Joyal has yet to make a statement to the public. I find this a bit strange considering the media attention and allegations that the incident was another Kremlin conspiracy and just one more example of Russia’s “dying democracy.” He has apparently given his account of the incident to the cops.
[Oleg] Kalugin [former KGB General, longtime friend, and former business partner] said this week that Joyal is in stable condition and has given a partial account of what happened to family members.
“He said he was attacked by two guys. They jumped at him from the bushes around the house, and he resisted. They shot him. In a panic, they ran away,” Kalugin said. “It appears to be an ordinary criminal act.”
A source with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is ongoing confirmed that a witness heard two men accosting Joyal before he was shot. That account has investigators looking into the possibility that the incident was an attempted carjacking, the source said.
Given Kalugin’s credentials, I’m sure he would know a Kremlin plot if he smelled one.
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By Sean — 12 years ago
As Shamil Basayev’s death moves off the news radar, Kommersant continues to give updates to the story. According to ? correspondent Nikolai Sergeev,
The process of identifying the remains of Basaev has come to a standstill. Visual identification is impossible. Pathologists were able to take the fingerprints of the five fingers that survived the blast and to take biological samples. But they have nothing to compare them with. Basaev’s fingerprints are not on file anywhere and no usable prints were found at the site of the blast. Investigators are looking for a parent, sibling or child of the terrorist, but they have been unsuccessful in their search so far.
The reigning theory now is that the FSB has taken Basayev’s 24 year old brother-in-law, Ibragim Tsakaev, into custody as a way to pressure the remaining members of the slain terrorist’s family to help identify his remains. There is no other reason, argues Sergeev, because Tsakaev is no longer in active combat and his activities consist of difficult to prove allegations of raising money for the movement. “Representatives of the Ichkerian regime living abroad say that Tsakaev is practically a hostage and only Basaev’s close relatives can free him only by meeting their demands. They want biomaterial: blood samples, hair samples or nail clippings,” explains Sergeev.
Nothing could be more downright embarrassing for the FSB and Putin. Not only does their difficulties in identifying the body further prove that they did not have a hand in his demise, it shows their utter desperation. Putin’s prize is quickly revealing the FSB’s incompetence. What is more disturbing is that the arrest of relatives is a standard FSB strategy.
A similar strategy was used last year when the relatives of former Ichkerian president Aslan Maskhadov. Several of his relatives were rounded up in an effort to discover his location. Authorities did not succeed in that goal, but held them until close relatives agreed to give biological samples. The genetic material received from them was used in the eventual identification of Maskhadov’s body.Post Views: 120
By Sean — 12 years ago
Note: In an effort to concentrate on other work, posts over the next two weeks will be short and sparse. I hope to merely point out and excerpt news and commentary instead of giving my own comment on it.
Commentary and analysis of the Belarusian elections and their aftermath continues. Aleh Novikau’s opinion, “Contract of the Third Term” on Eurasian Home caught my attention. A columnist for the Minsk paper Nasha Niva, Novikau argues that Lukashenko’s use of repression against protesters might do more to spread the opposition than the Opposition itself. Novikau writes:
By conducting mass police arrests under farfetched pretexts, refusing to give the prisoners’ relatives any information and forbidding them to bring packages, backing up special squad soldiers who beat people up in front of the cameras, the authorities involuntarily aroused the people’s sense of civil dignity. The relatives and friends of victims of the political repressions as well as those just sympathetic began display some initiative, for example to escort all of the patrol wagons coming out of prisons, in order to know where the prisoners are transported.
Gradually, the one-time actions acquired organizational format. Even a local analogue of the Argentine “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo” – association of mothers whose children “disappeared” under the military dictatorship of the 1970s – has been created. Practically every day in Minsk the flashmober actions take place, such as flower-laying to the Polish embassy to spite the picket of the young adherents of Lukashenka. The next phase of the movement is quick politicization of the masses, which questioned the “efficiency factor” of radical leaders’ preventive arrests. Despite the fact that all of the active opposition leaders are put into prisons, thanks to neophytes, the brands of their organizations are widely represented in the opposition’s actions.
Further he writes,
Now many security officials and judges involved in the repressions clearly see: “They, their families and people close to them have nowhere to retreat”. But the opposition is in the same situation. A student, who has been expelled from a university for his political views, increases the number of oppositionists in Belarus by, at least, five people: his family, relatives and friends. An anonymous author of the leaflet “Resist!” (a new initiative of the grass-roots organizations) believes that speaking to the representatives of the state bureaucracy should be as follows: “Boycott and condemn them! Do not greet them and minimize the contacts with them!”
It is worth noting that even if those regime’s adversaries will have a change of heart towards Lukashenka’s adherents, they will do it not due to Milinkevich’s directions. As the number of civil initiatives is growing, it becomes evident that the “single” opposition and social democrats do not control the new generation of the resistance participants, and in the event of consultations between the opposition and the authorities the problem of powers will be inevitable. For the time being, a new pole of the Belarusian opposition is anonymous, but in the near future we expect declaration of a brotherhood of the camp participants. Because of a good hype in the mass media the camp “fighters” became popular and now they are able to bring into existence a semblance of the Ukrainian party “Pora”.
Repression moves from general to specific, that is, it moves from the ideological to the material when it begins to touch people’s personal lives. The crackdown on the protests to squash the “Denim Revolution” in the short term might produce a dialectic that will reproduce opposition in the long term. As Novikau’s astutely states, the repression of one has the potential to increase the opposition to Lukashenko by five. The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci noted in his Prison Notebooks that a balance of force and consent is the most effective way to maintain hegemony. When force trumps consent hegemony begins to slip. Could Lukashenko’s repression against the protesters be a sign of a further imbalance occurring?Post Views: 111
By Sean — 11 years ago
Sometimes I come across articles that are so compelling, I have to mention them whether they are about
or not. Patrick Cockburn’s article “ Russia : The Reality” published in the Independent UK on October 12 is one of them. The article is an edited extract from his book The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq published by Verso. Iraq
Here is a passage:
High rank was no defence against violence. The Iraqi police general in charge of the serious crimes squad was shot through the head by an American soldier who mistook him for a suicide bomber. President Jalal Talabani’s head of protocol was not with him when he visited
to see President Bush. Instead he was in a Washington hospital with a broken arm and leg after a US Humvee rammed his vehicle. Baghdad
So many people were being killed in
every day for so many reasons that the outside world had come to ignore the slaughter and Iraqis themselves were almost used to it. The death of a thousand people in a stampede during a Shia religious festival in September 2005 was only a one-day wonder abroad. It is worth looking at just three acts of violence in a small part of Iraq to show how casual killings and kidnappings impacted on the people of the city. They took place within a few days of each other in September 2005 in or close to al-Kudat, a previously prosperous district in the south-west of the city where many doctors and lawyers once lived. It was by no means the most dangerous part of Baghdad , and the days when the following events occurred were quieter than those that followed. Baghdad
The first killing was at the hands of the Americans. Early one morning a surgeon called Basil Abbas Hassan decided to leave his house in al-Kudat for his hospital in the centre of
at 7.15am in order to beat the morning rush hour. Dr Hassan, a specialist in head surgery, was the kind of man who should have been one of the building blocks of the new Baghdad . He drove his car out of a side street on to the airport road without noticing that an American convoy was approaching from behind him. A Iraq soldier thought the car might be driven by a suicide bomber and shot Dr Hassan dead. Not many of his friends attended his funeral because so many had already left US . Iraq
Mobile phone theft is common all over the world, but in
people will kill for a handset. This is not because they are more expensive than elsewhere in the world – in fact they are cheaper because nobody pays any tariffs on them – but because murder is so easy. No criminal expects to be caught. A few days after Dr Hassan was killed by the Americans, a 16-year-old, Muhammad Ahmed, was making a call on his mobile as he walked down the street. A car drew up beside him and a man pointed a pistol. He said: “Give me your phone.” Muhammad refused or hesitated to hand it over for a few seconds too long and the gunman killed him with a bullet in the neck. Baghdad
The third story has a happier ending, though at one moment it seemed likely to end in tragedy. It happened in another street in al-Kudat. The mother of a friend called Ismail told him that there was a strange car parked outside the house. She wanted him to find out to whom it belonged. It did not seem likely that anybody would leave a car bomb in a residential street because US or Iraqi patrols never used it. But anything out of the ordinary in
may be dangerous and is routinely checked out. Baghdad
I think Cockburn’s reporting gives us some good food for thought as we examine the violence in places like
Iraq, Chechnya, Sudan, , etc. Somalia
Post Views: 203