Thursday 27 March 2008

Chinese Submarine Launched ASAT Program

One year and one week following China's 2007 ASAT test, Bill Gertz has a story in his Inside the Ring column from yesterday regarding China's anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons program.
Pentagon officials are increasingly worried that China's military is advancing its clandestine anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons program by building a submarine-launched direct-ascent missile system.
New information indicates the secret ASAT program, which Chinese leaders refused to discuss in recent meetings with visiting U.S. military leaders, will involve a space-capable ASAT warhead for the new JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile. The new missile is being readied for China's new ballistic missile submarine, called the Jin-class, or Type 094. The ASAT submarine will provide the ultimate in stealth weapons and could cripple U.S. satellites.
Last week a three part series (part1) (part2) (part3) by MIT researcher Geoffrey Forde on the ASAT issue. What is interesting about the three part series, all ASAT launches described in the analysis are conducted from mainland China. In reading the excellent analysis and scenario presented by Forde, one conclusion that can be reached is that dispersal of ASAT launch sites is an emerging requirement for China to be competitive against the US, and nothing increases dispersal of the launch sites than using a submarine as a launch platform.
"An Assessment of China's Anti-Satellite and Space Warfare Programs," that China's sea-based and submarine-based ASAT were mentioned in 2004 by Liu Huanyu of the Dalian Naval Academy.
"An Assessment of China's Anti-Satellite and Space Warfare Programs" is an 80 page report that was put together following the Chinese January 11th ASAT test. It is a long read, but is the most up to date collection of research in the open source of the Chinese ASAT test, including hard to find materials on a Chinese ASAT strategy. Combined with the recent contribution by Noah over at Danger Room, the big picture in China's Space Power strategy becomes more clear.

If China is in fact building ASAT capabilities into its Type 94 SSBN fleet that would represent a major capability for their nuclear submarine forces. This kind of capability would require a great deal of testing, and a great deal of expertise and efficiency, all of which is something we have not observed from the Chinese strategic submarine force. As an emerging capability this could take several years to develop, although given China has already conducted one successful ASAT test some of those years may have already passed.
This report is an interesting combination of Sea Power and Space Power, but directly contributes to their Soft Power strategy particularly regarding Taiwan. ASAT, particularly submarine launched ASAT, contributes directly to the perception of an ever expanding anti-access / area denial strategy by China to push back the US Navy from freedom of operation in the Pacific Ocean in response to a Chinese military move on Taiwan. Space warfare, string of Pearls, and an expanding massive regional A2AD military network contributes to concerns of the expanding regional influence by China.

The challenge is to find balance between those who choose to ignore the potential of a confrontation between US and China, and those who want to create a cold war between the US and China. In the 21st century, we believe the emergence regional superpowers like India and China, and potentially Brazil a few decades, represents the prize to be won for successful US foreign policy in the 21st century. There are also many people, in all of the various nations mentioned, who see the relationships between the US and these nations as inevitable in eventual confrontation. The line that separates one from the other is very thin.

AMD building catamarans for China's navy

An Australian company is working directly with the Chinese navy to develop catamarans capable of firing missiles, an international policy institute says.

The company, AMD Marine Consulting, is a naval architectural and marine engineering consulting firm based in Sydney, which develops catamaran designs for ferries, utility vessels and patrol boats.
According to the Lowy Institute for International Policy, AMD has set up a joint venture called Sea Bus International with a Chinese company - GUMECO - working directly with the People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN).

PLAN has selected a military boat designed on the AMD 350 catamaran which is "markedly like" a new generation of missile-armed catamarans - Type 022 - being built for its navy, the institute's blog site The Interpreter said.

It says AMD is not breaking any laws and nor has it supplied actual weapons or designs for weapons through the joint venture company.

"But China's admirals, recognising that these hulls allow for speeds of up to 36 knots and a more stable platform for firing weapons, came calling," The Interpreter said.

"They were not turned away and Type 022s are now being turned out regularly, with possibly 30 of them built so far."

The Interpreter's editor Sam Roggeveen, a former senior strategic analyst in the Office of National Assessments - Australia's peak intelligence agency - says the Chinese vessels could pose a threat to the Australian navy in the event of a conflict, especially over Taiwan.

"Essentially these ships are designed to sink other ships," Mr Roggeveen told ABC Radio.

"If it ever came to a shooting war in Taiwan - and I am not saying this is likely but it is a possibility that a lot of strategic analysts point to - then there is a good chance if it came to that Australia would come in on the US side to defend Taiwan against Chinese military action.

"In that situation, it is quite plausible that Australia would send a naval contingent, and a naval contingent would be a direct threat from these catamarans which carry sea-skimming anti-ship missiles."

Mr Roggeveen said it was difficult to police companies who export products with the potential for military use.

"It is very difficult but just because it's blurry doesn't mean that there isn't a line."

Monday 3 March 2008

photos



Submarine fuel stations of China in an unknown place

Chinese military training was widely dismissed

Until recently, Chinese military training was widely dismissed as infrequent, unrealistic and overly scripted. In the 1980s and 1990s, outside observers and internal critics alike raised doubts about the utility of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) exercises, and it was clear that training deficiencies represented one of the most serious challenges. For example, Western analysts noted that PLA Air Force (PLAAF) pilots flew an insufficient number of hours on a yearly basis and that the limited training they received was unrealistic and heavily scripted. Pilots often relied on strict ground-control intercept (GCI) techniques that granted them little to no opportunity to act on their own initiative . In recent years, however, the PLA has implemented a series of training reforms, and many units have been engaging in considerably more frequent, realistic and challenging training. Moreover, as part of its reforms, the PLA has begun to employ more rigorous standards of evaluation to improve quality and effectiveness. Although this increased emphasis on establishing realistic exercises is sometimes overshadowed by the deployment of new military hardware, enhancing the quality of military training is an equally important aspect of the PLA's overall transformation. Indeed, recent PLA directives further highlight the need to increase the quality of military training as a critical element of the Chinese military's drive to strengthen its overall operational capabilities.

China's 2007 Military Training Guidelines

The PLA General Staff Department's (GSD) 2007 Training Guidelines, which were highlighted in the January 12 issue of Jiefangjun Bao, reflect the growing emphasis on enhancing training to better prepare the PLA for the challenges it would face in a high-intensity, information-centric conflict against a technologically advanced adversary like the United States. Most importantly, the 2007 GSD Training Guidelines designate promoting the transformation from military training under mechanized conditions to military training under informatized conditions as the main theme (zhuti) governing military training. Although many documents issued over the last few years mention the importance of training under "informatized conditions," they do not identify it as the main theme that should guide training. The GSD's 2006 training guidelines, for example, state that the main tasks were using more realistic combat scenarios, standardizing training across the PLA and improving integratedtraining. The stronger emphasis on implementing "informatized conditions" in the 2007 GSD training guidelines echoes the military training section in China's 2006 defense white paper, which states that the PLA is taking "vigorous steps to accelerate the transition from military training under conditions of mechanization to military training under conditions of informationization".

Beyond elevating "training under informatized conditions" to main theme status, the latest training guidelines underscore the PLA's determination to increase the realism of military training, incorporate opposing forces into exercises, conduct more sophisticated joint and integrated training and prepare to operate in a complex electromagnetic environment (fuza dianci huanjing). The guidelines also discuss improving the skills of commanders and their staffs through various types of exercises. In addition, the 2007 training guidelines underscore the importance of standardizing examination procedures and making them more stringent.

Increasing the Realism and Complexity of Training

In keeping with a theme that has been given a considerable amount of attention in recent years, the 2007 GSD guidelines indicate that training scenarios must approximate actual combat conditions as much as possible. The PRC's 2006 defense white paper also emphasizes the importance of training under realistic circumstances, which helps to temper troops in a near-real war environment. The Second Artillery reportedly has practiced a variety of techniques to counter enemy ISR, precision strikes and electronic warfare attacks. Since the late 1990s, the Second Artillery has also emphasized inter-theater deployments, which entail considerable operational and logistical challenges. According to one official PLA media report, Long-distance, inter-theater movement is a test of a unit's ability to maneuver, as well as a test of its combat capabilities. The PLAAF in recent years also has devoted a considerable amount of attention to conducting night training, alternate base training and more sophisticated exercises involving multiple types of aircraft.

One important way in which many PLA exercises now attempt to enhance the level of realism is by incorporating opposing forces. For instance, according to a January 2007 Jiefangjun Bao report, the PLAN recently conducted an opposing forces exercise involving some of China's most modern destroyers. The use of "blue forces" in exercises is a particularly noteworthy development, because it makes training more realistic and challenging, encourages officers to take the initiative in response to changing situations and gives troops exposure to possible adversary tactics. (In the U.S. military, the red force represents a potential adversary, whereas in China, the PLA is the red force and the opposing force is the blue force.) Other reports indicate that training is sometimes designed to force participating units to deviate from their plans. This is done to prepare officers and soldiers to cope with actual combat situations in which they may lose the ability to communicate with higher headquarters or find that the enemy has reacted to their actions in unexpected ways. According to a June 2007 Jiefangjun Bao article,"The objective of this type of training is to break free of the formulaic training exercise patterns of the past and temper the ability of the commander and his staff to assess the enemy situation, plan independently, and change their plans as needed".

Increasing the Sophistication of Joint and Integrated Training

The PLA is also conducting more joint service exercises as part of the training reforms. In the 1980s and 1990s, many observers assessed that the PLA's joint exercises lacked sophistication and had relatively low standards for declaring that an exercise was joint. In some cases, such exercises actually involved little more than forces from multiple services training at the same time and in the same general location, but conducting separate exercise scenarios. Similarly, a 1999 U.S. Department of Defense report found that disparate elements train simultaneously and in proximity, but do not appear to be controlled at the operational level by a joint commander and staff. According to more recent reports, however, the Chinese military has progressed in this area. Indeed, the PLA has conducted numerous multi-service exercises in recent years, providing considerable opportunities to improve its experience with the conduct of joint operations and joint command and control. For example, in summer 2006, the PLA conducted the North Sword-07 exercise, in which two ground force divisions operated alongside units from the PLAAF, Second Artillery and People's Armed Police . Although there is probably still room for improvement, the consistently heavy emphasis on joint and integrated training in recent documents, including the 2007 GSD Training Directive, clearly reflects the importance that the senior leadership attaches to enhancing the Chinese military's ability to conduct joint operations in an information and electronic warfare environment.

Training to Fight in a Complex Electromagnetic Environment

The emphasis on training in a complex electromagnetic environment contained in the most recent GSD training guidelines is intended to improve the PLA's ability to operate in an environment pervaded by surveillance, jamming and electronic attacks, and to allow military units to practice various types of counter-reconnaissance, electronic warfare (EW) and counter-EW techniques. Reports in PLA newspapers often mention that this feature is prevalent throughout the services. For instance, according to a May 2007 Jiefangjun Bao report, an artillery brigade in the Lanzhou Military Region (MR) conducted training that forced officers and troops to confront the challenges of operating in the type of complex electromagnetic environment that they would likely face in a real conflict. Similarly, an October 2007 report highlighted a PLAAF exercise in which pilots had to cope with electronic interference while conducting flight operations at an unidentified training base (Jiefangjun Bao, October 2, 2007). The Second Artillery has also conducted opposing force exercises that stressed electronic warfare training.

Simulations, War Games, and Command Post Exercises

The latest training guidelines likewise reflect the PLA's determination to continue making greater use of simulations, computer war games and command post exercises to improve the planning and decision-making skills of commanders and their staffs. These techniques are relatively low-cost and allow officers and soldiers to accumulate valuable experience at lower risk than live-fire exercises.

Implementing Standardizing Examination and Evaluation Procedures

Finally, an overlooked but nevertheless important element of the PLA's training reform program is that the GSD is emphasizing the development and application of more rigorous criteria for the examination and evaluation of military training. This marks a particularly important change, because a more rigorous evaluation of training allows for the military to identify problems and shortcomings and contribute to the development of an accurate appraisal of combat capabilities and readiness.

Conclusion and Implications

Although the PLA is making strides in its training reforms, it continues to face many problems and challenges. For example, the 2007 GSD training guidelines mention that training quality suffers from problems such as units “going through the motions (zou guochang) instead of engaging in rigorous training as well as commanders emphasizing form over substance . This implies that some officers are concerned primarily with the appearance of success, even if it means failing to conduct realistic and rigorous training. Similarly, a recent Jiefangjun Bao article lamented that some units did not place a priority on incorporating realistic electronic warfare and jamming conditions into training and exercises, despite its prominence in the most recent annual training directive .

Although the numerous articles that address these and other types of problems suggest that the process of transforming PLA training is far from complete, the Chinese military has undoubtedly made progress, and the implemented reforms are helping to prepare it for the challenges of future wars. The PLA's acquisition of advanced military hardware's and increasingly the domestic development of new types of military equipment's are frequently mentioned in media headlines, but improvements in training play an equally important role in increasing the PLA's proficiency in fighting wars under “informatized conditions. The PLA views the transformation of training as an indispensable part of its overall military modernization program. Chinese military officers recognize that more robust and rigorous training is essential to improving the PLA's operational capabilities. Although many problems remain to be addressed, this impressive transformation has already placed the PLA in a position that would allow it to pose serious tactical, operational and strategic challenges to Taiwan, the United States, Japan and other potential regional adversaries.

New submarine station to help forecast disasters???

An underwater observation station to help forecast natural disasters will be built in Hangzhou Bay near the estuary of the Yangtze River, officials said yesterday.Jointly set up by the Shanghai ocean bureau, Shanghai meteorological bureau and Shanghai seismological bureau, the station will be used mainly to observe crust movement and to study the ocean's physical, chemical, biological and geological processes to prevent earthquakes and other disasters, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Ocean Bureau, surnamed Yang, said.
Forecasts from the underwater station will help to augment an early warning system and allow authorities to make disaster preparation plans such as the evacuation of people, Weng Guangming, another official with the bureau, said.The station is expected to be the starting point for the establishment of a nationwide integrated ocean observation network, sources from the 2007 Shanghai Ocean Forum said over the weekend.
Wang Pinxian, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said an ocean observatory station is equivalent to an underwater weather station.Ocean currents will not affect the station's mechanisms as its devices are placed deep in the seabed.Researchers said the station will also help advance the study of ocean movements and their interaction with the earth's continents and the atmospheric layer for early detection of natural disasters.
Marine scientists said the submarine observatory will help to shed light on the earth's dynamic changes and track how these affect the surrounding environment.Experts have said that rising sea levels and marine degradation are seriously damaging water resources and ecologies.
More effort is needed to protect the ocean environment using relevant technologies, Chen Kehong, deputy director of the Shanghai Science & Technology Committee, said.

New submarine station to help forecast disasters???

An underwater observation station to help forecast natural disasters will be built in Hangzhou Bay near the estuary of the Yangtze River, officials said yesterday.Jointly set up by the Shanghai ocean bureau, Shanghai meteorological bureau and Shanghai seismological bureau, the station will be used mainly to observe crust movement and to study the ocean's physical, chemical, biological and geological processes to prevent earthquakes and other disasters, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Ocean Bureau, surnamed Yang, said.
Forecasts from the underwater station will help to augment an early warning system and allow authorities to make disaster preparation plans such as the evacuation of people, Weng Guangming, another official with the bureau, said.The station is expected to be the starting point for the establishment of a nationwide integrated ocean observation network, sources from the 2007 Shanghai Ocean Forum said over the weekend.
Wang Pinxian, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said an ocean observatory station is equivalent to an underwater weather station.Ocean currents will not affect the station's mechanisms as its devices are placed deep in the seabed.Researchers said the station will also help advance the study of ocean movements and their interaction with the earth's continents and the atmospheric layer for early detection of natural disasters.
Marine scientists said the submarine observatory will help to shed light on the earth's dynamic changes and track how these affect the surrounding environment.Experts have said that rising sea levels and marine degradation are seriously damaging water resources and ecologies.
More effort is needed to protect the ocean environment using relevant technologies, Chen Kehong, deputy director of the Shanghai Science & Technology Committee, said.

Saturday 1 March 2008

Why a spy was killed

Why a spy was killedWhen Alexander Litvinenko fled Moscow for Britain, he found it hard to find work; London was awash with former KGB agents. So he turned to Italy, where he found a ready market for intelligence, not all of it real. What happened next was to make him some dangerous enemies .Alexander Litvinenko began his patriotic career volunteering for the Red Army straight out of school in 1979. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the KGB had plucked him from the ranks and set him to work as an operative detective. He was 29. Litvinenko first served in counterterrorism in the mid-90s, then began infiltrating the criminal gangs that flourished in the chaos of the new Russia.
Litvinenko, according to former colleagues and commanders, was a workaday spy. His modus operandi was to stride into a scenario, bang heads together and wait for the fallout. He hoovered up everything that came his way, leaving analysts to sort the truth from the lies. He was, like many agents in Kontora - or "the company", as they called the KGB and its successor, the FSB - secretive, solitary and vain. Litvinenko was expected to be capable of violence in his job, but Marina, who had married him in 1994, despite her fears about the secret services, told us the Sasha she knew was gentle, straightforward and passionate.
Those who served with Colonel Litvinenko also recall that he was naive - a flaw in his line of work. For him, there was only right and wrong. "He was like a salmon swimming upstream," one former FSB general told us, citing how Litvinenko, against his advice, investigated links between crime clans and what Russians had come to know as the siloviki - a group of strongmen within the Kremlin whose core members came from St Petersburg with a background in the intelligence services. Their mentor was Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who became head of the FSB in 1998 and president the following year.
Litvinenko was quickly smacked down for his intrusion. He was transferred to a highly secretive FSB unit that carried out hits on criminals and terrorists. Litvinenko was incensed when he learned that his first target was to be Boris Berezovsky, one of the country's oligarchs who had taken an outspoken stand against the siloviki
In November 1998, Litvinenko staged a press conference in Moscow, in which he exposed the Berezovsky plot, fuelling a firestorm in the Russian parliament. Within days he was under investigation. Within weeks he found himself in prison. His allies contrived his release in December 1999, but by the summer of 2000 they were urging him to flee or face a lifetime in a political gulag.
Berezovsky had already installed himself in London and was busy sponsoring every enemy of Putin who crossed his path. He owed a debt of gratitude to Litvinenko and, in November 2000, he arranged for him, Marina and their son, Anatoly, to escape from Russia, sending Alex Goldfarb, a Russian émigré and pro-democracy campaigner, to escort the family to London.
Litvinenko assumed he would be feted in the west. He looked to the experiences of other leading exiles, including Oleg Gordievsky, the far more senior former KGB London station chief and an old friend, who had been embraced by the British authorities when he defected in 1985.
However, Litvinenko was no Gordievsky, and by the time he fled, America and Britain were awash with former KGB agents. He tried to punt his knowledge to private security companies - about crime bosses in Moscow, about who was bent in Russian politics. No one was interested. Instead, he was kept afloat by Berezovsky, who set him up in a house in the north London suburb of Muswell Hill, paid his son's school fees and gave Litvinenko a stipend of £4,000 a month.
In exile, Litvinenko carried on relentlessly truffling for dirt on Putin, but having to live on handouts from Berezovsky niggled at his pride. While his wife, Marina, embraced her new life in the UK, re-establishing a career as a dance teacher and learning English, Litvinenko, who spoke hardly any, hankered after independence. He needed other sources of income and new outlets for his investigative skills - he found them in Italy and they may have led to his murder.
When Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium, a rare and deadly nuclear isotope, as he sat sipping tea at a London hotel in November 2006, the finger of suspicion pointed to the Kremlin. In a deathbed statement, Litvinenko blamed Putin, and the trail of radiation from the polonium - leading across London and all the way to Russia - quickly convinced detectives from Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism squad that the culprit was a former FSB officer, Andrei Lugovoi.
The crime was fixed in the west's collective imagination as a Putin plot to snuff out a brave dissident, a whistleblower who had stood up to the dark forces emanating from the Kremlin. But this was a theory, implicating the highest levels of the Russian government, that the British government did not want to pursue. Simply seeking to extradite the prime suspect - Lugovoi - has thrown London into a furious row with Moscow, resulting in tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats, restrictions on visas for Russian officials and attempts by Russia to close down two British Council offices. Wary of Russia withdrawing its patronage from Britain altogether - a considerable blow to the City, where Russian deposits amount to £50bn - the British government has been reluctant to take anything other than the narrowest view of the case.
An inquest might delve deeper for evidence, but there seems little prospect of that at the moment. Although Scotland Yard says its investigation was completed last May, with the director of public prosecutions recommending that Lugovoi be extradited and charged, the St Pancras coroner's office, which covers University College Hospital where Litvinenko died, told us that no inquest could be held since - in their view - the police investigation remains open. So large chunks of evidence about Litvinenko's activities remain unexplored. Goldfarb told us: "It could hang like this for years. Marina is very frustrated."
If Scotland Yard have been restricted in their investigations, the Italian security services have no such inhibition - and felt able to show us the results of their inquiries. They were watching Litvinenko long before he came under scrutiny in London, and gathered a vast dossier of material on him, including phone tap transcripts, affidavits, photographs and emails, court depositions and police interrogations; it charts how, driven by money worries, Litvinenko had been secretly cultivating a new project in Italy.
It began in December 2003 when Litvinenko had a call from Mario Scaramella, 34, a silver-tongued opportunist from a wealthy Neapolitan family who was seeking his help. Scaramella was the last person to have a meal with Litvinenko, at the Itsu restaurant in Piccadilly on November 1 2006, a few hours before the former spy was poisoned.
In 2003, Scaramella was working for a government body, known as the Mitrokhin Commission, that had been formed two years earlier by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi ostensibly to discover if senior figures in the Italian establishment had been in the pay of the KGB - in reality a vehicle for smearing Berlusconi's socialist enemies.
Litvinenko knew this from the start but still jumped at the chance. The commission was a meal ticket and would enable him to see more of his brother, Maxim, who had fled Russia before him and was living in Senigallia, a small Italian port on the Adriatic coast. Litvinenko's only concern was about the value of the information he had to bring to the table. In the FSB, he'd had no connection with the foreign wing and no knowledge of its network of recruits in abroad, the people who were to be the focus of the commission.
To back him up, he took along a new contact he had made through the Berezovsky circle, Evgeni Limarev, also a Russian exile, who lived in France and was the son of a high-ranking KGB officer.
The Italian files reveal how Scaramella and Litvinenko worked hand-in-glove for three years as the prime movers in the commission that would publicly smear Italy's leftwing statesmen. Any evidence would do, both fact and fiction. When that failed to gain traction, Litvinenko began dredging Italy's underworld, which had links with the Russian and Ukrainian criminal clans, which in turn had powerful connections in the Kremlin. Through them, Litvinenko and Scaramella hoped to find new evidence of the links between the Italian left and the KGB. They were making dangerous enemies.
Litvinenko had no compunction in recalling a piece of gossip he had been told by a former KGB deputy director as he fled Russia. In 2000, General Anatoly Trofimov had warned Litvinenko not to go to Rome since "Prodi is our man in Italy". He was referring to Romano Prodi, the former Italian prime minister who went on to become president of the European Commission.
Now Litvinenko regurgitated the unfounded claim to Scaramella who persuaded him to write it down. It may have been no more than KGB tittle-tattle, but written in Russian by a former KGB colonel, it became evidence - exactly what Berlusconi needed at a time when Prodi was gearing up for a return to Italian politics.
By the summer of 2004, Limarev and Litvineko were flying to Naples or Rome on a monthly basis, touted around town by Scaramella as his "KGB colonels". Limarev, who today lives in the French Alps and continues to work as a security consultant, told us, "Each day Mario [Scaramella] would come to the hotel with a procession of SUVs. When he passed, everyone bowed to him. We would whirl around parties and official functions, shaking hands."
Besides Prodi, potential targets on their list included former communist prime minister Massimo D'Alema; Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Green party leader; the then head of intelligence; a couple of judges; two reporters from La Repubblica; a dozen politicians and officials connected to Italian military intelligence; and a clutch of former defence ministers.
Others outside Italy had become interested in their work, too. The Bush administration and the Berlusconi government were close allies over Iraq and the war on terror; the last thing Washington wanted was the left to regain power in Italy after the elections of 2006. Litvinenko, Limarev and Scaramella were introduced to Robert Seldon Lady, a political officer at the US consulate in Milan - an undercover CIA agent. When Lady got into trouble in Italy, it was Litvinenko and the Mitrokhin Commission who tried to dig him out.
In 2004, the Italian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Lady, accusing him of "rendering" an imam to Egypt, where he was tortured as a terror suspect. Lady went into hiding, and the Mitrokhin Commission began investigating allegations that the prosecutor in the Lady case, Armando Spataro, had secret links to the KGB. In a similar tactic, two Italian journalists who reported that the CIA's Rome station chief had been complicit in creating the story about Saddam Hussein buying uranium from Niger, were branded FSB dupes by the Mitrokhin Commission. A consultant on the commission, Gianni Paolo Pelizzaro, recalls: "Scaramella and his KGB colonels did a lot of things using the name of the commission they should not have."
Limarev says it was around then that he backed away from involvement with the other two. Meanwhile, Litvinenko's trips to Italy grew more frequent. "With his consent, Berezovsky had cut back his stipend and he was preparing to go it alone," Goldfarb says. "I asked him what he was up to and [Litvinenko] said, 'I am consulting. I have business projects.' We had no idea what he was doing in Italy." Marina, who had always stayed out of her husband's work, says she did not even ask him which country he was going to during his frequent trips abroad.
According to Pelizzaro, Litvinenko "was giving Scaramella lots of information about Russian and criminal infiltrations in Italy, but most of it was very difficult to verify and crosscheck. It was a little bit out on a limb." In the old days, Litvinenko had been familiar with criminal clans in Russsia, now he was making risky approaches to the Italian mafia. Scaramella believed if they could get inside this network, they would be able to leverage much more damaging intelligence about Italian politicians.
They spread their net wider. The Litvinenko dossier lists a dizzying roll call of names investigated by the pair, among them Semion Mogilevich, the darkest figure in Russian organised crime - a notorious Ukrainian whose network extended from Kiev to Naples. Mogilevich, a striking man at barely 5ft 6in and more than 20 stone, has a portfolio that includes private banks, financing the sale of enriched uranium and laundering his money through companies listed on the New York stock exchange. He was already on the FBI's wanted list but, according to Litvinenko's sources, had extensive links to Putin's government.
Taking on Mogilevich, who runs a private army of brutal killers, was a huge risk for a civilian outfit such as the Mitrokhin Commission, and Litvinenko soon picked up word that he was enraging the Ukrainian's siloviki friends in Moscow. In autumn 2005, he made a tape recording in London, expressing his concern: "I gave a lot of information about Mogilevich to Scaramella. Now I know Russian special services are very afraid that this commission will uncover information about its agents in Italy. The Russian embassy asked for my brother to be extradited so he could be prosecuted back in Russia. It is blackmail against me to stop me working with Scaramella."
But Litvinenko would not back off. In October 2005, he claimed to have uncovered an FSB agent hiding in Naples, a man he believed had been in deep cover since 1999. This FSB agent was Ukrainian by birth and, according to Litvinenko, he had strong links to Mogilevich's mob. His name was Alexander Talik, he was born in 1970 and, according to the Italian dossier and to depositions read out in a subsequent Italian court hearing, had served with the Red Army before being recruited by the FSB, where he rose to the rank of captain.
Talik, at the same hearing, would admit to having served in the FSB until 1977, but denied everything else. He said Scaramella had tried to strong-arm him into providing information to the commission on Mogilevich and Ukrainian criminals based in Italy. When he refused, the court heard, Litvinenko and Scaramella resorted to fabrication: they tried to frame Talik as part of a criminal conspiracy, hoping this would persuade him to cooperate.
In accordance with their alleged plan, Litvinenko sent Scaramella a fax in October 2005 warning him of a Russian security services operation to kill Litvinenko's brother, Maxim, Scaramella and a political associate of Berlusconi's. The detail of the plot was bizarre: a white transit van with Ukrainian numberplates, apparently en route from Kiev to Naples, was carrying a consignment of grenades, hidden inside hollowed-out bibles, to be used to mount attacks on the three men. The alleged recipient and hit man was Talik.
Litvinenko and his brother reported the threat to the local police in Senigallia. Scaramella reported the plot to the police in Rome. A police patrol in Abruzzo did indeed discover two white vans with Ukrainian numberplates and a concealed shipment of grenades. Six Ukrainians were arrested and charged with smuggling arms.
At Litvinenko's suggestion, Scaramella also gave police the name of the FSB officer in Moscow who they said was managing Talik. Still nothing happened. Police in fact had their doubts about Scaramella - the details he provided about the vans' progress seemed just too precise.
In November, Litvinenko took matters into his own hands and "revealed" the entire plot to the Ukrainian media, including Talik's name. The Italian authorities, by now suspicious of the Mitrokhin Commission, Scaramella and Litvinenko, had begun recording their phone calls. One tap caught Litvinenko crowing to Scaramella, "All the Ukrainian newspapers have published and all the Ukrainian citizens know about Talik and the plot. I also indicated that Talik has been arrested."
In fact, Talik had not been arrested, and evidence presented at a later court hearing suggested he was in a mood for revenge. A phone tap, played to Talik in court, captures his reaction. "Complete bullshit has been written about me," he complains. "Litvinenko has blamed me for organising arms shipments from the Ukraine." More chillingly, he continues, "I've asked for the address of this arsehole in London and I've given a dossier to Vitalich who will take everything to Moscow." Asked by the person on the line who Vitalich was, Talik refuses to explain, insisting only that Vitalich would pass on this contract on Litvinenko's life to three powerful sponsors, all siloviki
In court, Talik admitted making the call - but the reference to Litvinenko was merely an idle threat, he said. He denied accusations that he had high-ranking contacts both in the Ukrainian mafia and in the Kremlin and said he had been enraged by Litvinenko's outing of him as an FSB agent to the Ukrainian media.
The Italian police initially took seriously the threat caught on the phone tap; but, given that they now were also convinced Litvinenko and Scaramella had tried to frame Talik, they alerted no one. The police also began probing how Talik had stayed in Italy for six years with no visa. By February 2006, nine months before Litvinenko was poisoned, they had assembled a 73-page dossier on him.
Litvinenko and Scaramella continued to work together, repeating the Prodi allegations, this time on camera. The slur reached new ears. Gerald Batten, a British MEP from the UK Independence party, picked up on it and met Litvinenko on March 29 at Itsu, the Russian's regular haunt. Four days later Batten demanded an inquiry into Prodi at the European Parliament. The story caused uproar in Italy. The Italian general election was imminent - Prodi threatened to sue Litvinenko and Scaramella. Berlusconi, instead of achieving a strike against the left, was forced by parliament to wind up the Mitrokhin Commission. A few days later Prodi was returned to power.
Scaramella was out of a job. Litvinenko, too. Oblivious to the inquiries going on into the supposed contract on his life, he was busy looking elsewhere for a lucrative new collaboration.
In January 2006, Litvinenko had attended Boris Berezovsky's lavish 60th birthday party at Blenheim Palace, where he met a ghost from the past. He was seated on the same table as Andrei Lugovoi, a former FSB agent whom he had known in Moscow during the 90s. Lugovoi had gone on to serve 14 months in prison, for helping a Berezovsky business partner evade prosecution. He told Litvinenko that since getting out he had become a multimillionaire, running a private security agency that provided bodyguards to rich Muscovites.
Litvinenko should have been wary of Lugovoi from the start, but the lure of money was too strong. Otherwise he might have found out that Lugovoi was a close associate of Alexander Talik; the two men served together in the same KGB and FSB divisions. Instead, Litvinenko confided to his good friend Alex Goldfarb that he had agreed to become Lugovoi's "man in London".
Others warned him to be careful, including Evgeni Limarev. Limarev was to play one last significant role in the Litvinenko affair: he sent a series of alarmist emails to Scaramella in October 2006, claiming that a Russian plot was afoot to kill everyone connected to the Mitrokhin Commission. He was not referring to the alleged Talik hit, but to another that had no independent verification. The messages sent Scaramella running to Litvinenko in London, who reluctantly agreed to meet him on November 1 2006. A series of witness statements Scaramella would later make to anti-terrorism detectives at Scotland Yard, which we have seen, give an account of this last meeting.
Scaramella picked up a final email from Limarev at an internet cafe in Soho just minutes before he met Litvinenko, as usual in Itsu. But Litvinenko was dismissive of Limarev's warnings. Scaramella told British detectives: "Litvinenko was adamant, 'It's pure shit, Mario. Don't worry,' he told me. 'As soon as I get home, I'll make some verifications through my contacts in Moscow.' "
They arranged to speak again the next morning. But when Scaramella called, Marina answered the phone. "She said Alexander was very sick, puking," Scaramella told police. The following day he rang again, only to be told Litvinenko was on his way to hospital. Paranoid, Scaramella scribbled down a note and hid it in his wallet. "It contained details about my closest relatives and advice that if something happened to me, it was necessary to inform the police," he said. As Scaramella flew back to Naples, he sent Litvinenko an email. "I made comments about the timing of his sickness and reminded him about the names mentioned by Limarev." There was no reply. But after he read in the newspapers that Litvinenko was critically ill and had probably been poisoned, he tried calling one more time, on November 17. Litvinenko, who had just been transferred to University College Hospital under armed guard, answered his mobile phone. Scaramella told police: "I said: 'It's Mario, how are you?' He said, 'I'm sick, very sick. Sorry, I can't speak.' " Six days later, Litvinenko was dead.
Scaramella was a mess. As he tried to deal with a sickening fear that he was about to be killed, too, the Italian authorities moved on the grenades-in-bibles plot. Five days after Litvinenko's death, the Italian police's specialist operations division raided Talik's Naples apartment. He was driven to Rome and questioned. The transcript reveals that rather than explore the alleged threat, or Talik's connections with Lugovoi, the police had a new agenda - gathering evidence against Scaramella.
Scaramella was arrested on December 24 and charged with "calumny", or criminal lying, against Talik. A few months later he was also charged with weapons smuggling. The trial of the six Ukrainians who had been arrested with the grenades, and who had been in custody since October 2005, collapsed for lack of evidence.
In September 2007, after nine months in police custody, Scaramella was placed under house arrest at his family's villa near Gaeta, a seaside town north of Naples. He denies the charges. His only link with the outside world is his father, Amedeo, who agreed to meet us at his lawyer's office overlooking the Bay of Naples. "While my son and I were in London assisting your police in December 2006," Amedeo said, "the police here broke the doors of all of our houses. When we returned to Italy, Mario was locked in a solitary cell, two metres wide, for 45 days. We kept asking, 'Why are you arresting my son?' Why had they taken 13 months to arrest Talik, only to release him straight away? There has been a deeply political aspect to my son's case."
In Britain, Litvinenko would be portrayed as a freedom-loving, pro-western martyr, granted political asylum in 2001, but in Italy he had become foolishly wrapped up in a rightist plot and his death was quietly celebrated.
Maxim Litvinenko remains in Senigallia. Even though he accused Talik of plotting to kill him back in October 2005, he now claims never to have heard of the FSB agent. "I know nothing. Who is Talik? I don't know what you are talking about," he said.
Talik lives freely in a grimy Naples quarter, where our taxi driver does not want to go. "You walk," he says, speeding off.
Through narrow streets darkened by parachutes of laundry overhead, we press on to an apartment with no windows. We knock. Locks are drawn back and an ashen face peers out. It is Nataliya, Talik's wife, a child holding on to her leg. Can we speak to her husband, we ask.
She stares mutely. We need to talk to him about Litvinenko, we say. A look of incredulity spreads across her face. "Who told you how to find us?" she screams, slamming shut the huge iron door. We can hear her running upstairs, screaming for her husband. And we back out of the one-way street.

espionage at new heights usa &china

The mainstream American media hasn’t been deaf or blind to the case of four suspected Chinese spies being arrested across the nation last week, but the story hasn’t exactly caught fire either. A Google news search Monday listed only 105 stories on the case and most of those were on small or specialist web sites or in overseas publications. And what mainstream coverage there was tended to follow the old Joe Friday “Just the facts, ma’am” approach of the old Dragnet TV show.But those facts are just the top of an enormous iceberg looming ahead of the United States. They reveal the focused challenge to American national security by the harnessed enormous resources of the People’s Republic of China. And they also document the real concern of senior officials in the FBI and the U.S. national security establishment to awaken the American people to the scope and nature of the threat.On February 18 the FBI arrested four suspects, one of whom was an employee of the Department of Defense, Pentagon analyst Gregg Bergersen, 51 in Virginia. Across the country, Doongfan “Greg” Chung, 72, a veteran engineer for Boeing, was netted in California. Two immigrants from China, Tai Shen Kuo, 58, and Yu Xin Kang, rounded out the catch. They were captured down in New Orleans.Federal officials said the men had been involved in two separate and unrelated espionage operations. The Chinese were pumping Bergensen for know-how in the U.S. space shuttle program. There was no hint of ideological passion for China’s authoritarian government as a motive. The days of useful dupes for Lenin and Mao are long such past as such. The alleged motive was money -- lots of it.Other targets of the spy rings, the Feds said, were communications technology, which is simultaneously the jewel in the crown of America’s global military supremacy but also, if its secrets can be accessed and broken, the potential Achilles heel of U.S. power. Court documents on the case said the spy handlers also wanted details about U.S. weapon systems that had been sold to Taiwan. Chung was also quizzed about Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster, the giant air transport aircraft and the Delta IV missile.These subjects are highly revealing about China’s strategic intentions and they are consistent with what we know about the strengths and weaknesses of China's arms industry. The Chinese have concentrated on an enormous military build up on their southeast coast facing Taiwan over the past 12 years. Its primary aim is to prevent U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups from operating freely in the Taiwan Strait to protect Taiwan from missile bombardments or even amphibious landings from the Mainland. In 2005, the largest joint military exercises ever held to that point between China and Russia practiced the problems of a large scale amphibious landing against a hostile, defended shore. The Chinese wanted the war games held close to Taiwan but that was too much even for the Russians so they were held far to the north on the Shandung Peninsula.Targeting the space shuttle makes sense in terms of the Chinese drive to challenge U.S. preeminence in space. China in January 2007 startled the world by successfully destroying one of its satellites by exploding another one in an orbit close to it. Many other so-called Chinese weather satellites already have orbits remarkably close to important U.S. intelligence, reconnaissance or communications satellites which can be tracked and identified as such through their radio signal emissions. And China’s manned space program, while extremely slow by U.S. and Russian standards, has enormous resources and political determination behind it. Accessing U.S. space shuttle technology would therefore be an enormous boon to the Chinese in their attempts to become the leading manned exploration power in space.For all the enormous and still rapidly growing scale of the main Chinese industrial base around Guangdong -- what used to be known as Canton -- the Chinese have so far not been able to reverse engineer or home produce their own state-of-the-art heavy lift air transport. Yet at the same time they are already budgeting to produce a powerful rapid deployment military airlift capability second only to that of the United States. The attempt to get as much engineering detailed information on the C-17 has to be understood in that context.The U.S. mainstream media, with their usual attention span of a nervous tick, will do the odd major story when a sensational public development like last week’s FBI swoops is dropped into its lap. But then it will forget about the issue --and the dangers it raises -- for another four or five years. The plain-spoken warning of Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell that China's espionage operations in this country are now operating on a Cold War scale will be quickly forgotten, or shrugged off as some kind of cheap fear mongering.But McConnell knew what he was talking about. The threat is real -- and conservatives above all others ought to be awake to it.

nulcer race in rough sea of southasia

The warning from Pakistan's naval chief of a new nuclear arms race in the offing after India's recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile must raise anxieties for south Asian regional security.
The Indian test from a submarine essentially raises the security stakes in an already troubled region. A submarine-based capability of this kind allows India to develop a second strike capability which fundamentally means that in the event of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange, Delhi would still have the capability to strike back.
For Pakistan, there is now added pressure to acquire a similar capability which enables the country to also equip itself with a submarine-launched nuclear missile. Going by Pakistan's own history, there is every possibility that the country will eventually meet the Indian threat, as Pakistan has done at every stage of the way since India's maiden nuclear tests in 1974.
It is a colossal mistake by India to keep up its drive for building up nuclear weapons especially when its robustly growing economy still leaves behind the challenge of meeting the needs of its many poor. While India continues to shine in parts with lots of economic success stories, there are other parts where the poorest of poor Indian suffers abject poverty.
Pakistan's own track record is not unblemished. Revelations in 2004 that Abdul Qadeer Khan, founder of the nuclear bomb project traded knowhow and technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea, only brought disrepute for the country worldwide.
However, Pakistan has done much since then to clean up its act, installing new security arrangements against leakages, and introducing a personnel reliability programme which oversees the activities of up to 2,000 people working at the core of the programme.
Pakistan has consistently demonstrated in the past 30 years that it has eventually caught up with the threat from India, either in terms of lethal strategic weapons like nuclear bombs or delivery systems with different kinds of ranges.

Future tasks
Now to assume that Pakistan will not catch up with India is simply to defy the logic of Pakistan's own track record. Assuming that the acquisition of Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile(SLBM) technology will only remain in India's domain would therefore be naïve if not simplistic.
The way to the future clearly has to be built up on three equally relevant strategies. First, Pakistan has to be given a sense of international support which is demonstrated through a public and robust opposition by the world to India's development of an SLBM. Lukewarm opposition or no opposition at all will simply demonstrate to Pakistani policymakers that the global community accepts the arrival of SLBMs in Indian hands as almost a fait accompli.
Second, there has to be a clear-cut link between concessions of the kind the world has to offer on the nuclear front and development of new strategic weapons. India's deal with the US for a series of civil nuclear reactors could well be put on hold till such time that Delhi at least acknowledges the need for a compromise on nuclear weapons.
At the same time, the global community must open a dialogue with Pakistan, offering advice and support for safeguards as it seeks to tackle the newest nuclear development by India.
Finally, if all else fails and India continues with its SLBM project eventually followed by Pakistan, there has to be demonstration to both countries that their acquisition of conventional weapons could be in jeopardy. This is however much easier said than done. A strong international regime will have to be put together to deny modern weapon systems to both countries.
It is still likely that Russia which has close links with India and China with its own ties to Pakistan, may both opt to stay out of such a regime. But still, western industrialised countries including important weapons suppliers such as Britain and the US, must come together to give a big push to this important initiative.
The alternative of allowing an India-led and Pakistan-followed robust development of nuclear weapons in South Asia can just not be an acceptable choice in view of the global security environment and its related challenges.