July 14, 2007

Reason behind operation at Lal Masjid

Reason behind operation at Lal Masjid is just to shut Ghazi for telling truth about Musharraf because he is playing double game an Reason behind operation at Lal Masjid is just to shut Ghazi for telling truth about Musharraf because he is playing double game and EX ISI member Ghazi knew everything

Lal Masjid, Abdul Rashid Ghazi Last messages to Media

Geo TV



India Russia Nuclear issue: Indian media is silent about it

By: Dr.Dipak Basu
July 04, 2007

Russia has proposed as an alternative to the Indo-US deal but the Indian news media is silent about it.

Indo-US nuclear deal will not supply India with the fuel cycle, enrichment plants for uranium and reprocessing plants of spent fuel, as the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 specifically forbids export of these technologies, as also heavy water production technology, to other countries. Section 103 of the Hyde Act suggests that the US would oppose development of a capability to produce nuclear weapons by any non-nuclear weapon state within or outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. Section 104(d) (2) stipulates that transfers to India cannot begin without suitable changes in NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) guidelines. About 90 percent of all nuclear facilities, including the Russian built Fast Breeder Reactors which can produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, will be included in the civilian sector according to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal and there will be regular inspection by the IAEA and the US authority to make sure that these facilities will not be used to produce nuclear weapons.

In the case of nuclear deal with the US, the result will make Pakistan much stronger than India in very near future. That serves the geo-political interest of the United States with Pakistan as the bridge to the Islamic world. China has already supplied Pakistan enrichment plants and heavy water plants, and nuclear weapons as well. Chinese nuclear plants offered to Pakistan will not be under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Thus, Pakistan can very well use these to produce nuclear weapons but India cannot.

In 1974, USA has imposed sanctions so that India cannot get any nuclear related materials or technology. After 1998 USA has imposed more sanctions on India so that it cannot get any defense related technology or materials at all. However, India since 1974 has received every nuclear technology, and materials including conventional nuclear power plants, Fast Breeder reactors, reprocessing and enrichment plants and heavy water plants from the Soviet Union and Russia without any restrictions attached to these. As a result, India is nearly self-sufficient regarding nuclear technology.

India decided on a three-stage nuclear program back in the 1950s, when India"s nuclear power generation program was set up. In the first stage, natural uranium (U-238) was used in pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). In the second stage, the plutonium extracted through reprocessing from the used fuel of the PHWRs was scheduled to be used to run fast-breeder reactors (FBRs) built by the Soviet Union and Russia in India.

In the final stage, the FBRs use thorium and produce uranium-233 for use in the third stage reactors. India began the construction of the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) in 2005 with the help from Russia. Russian built FBRs will be ready by 2009.

The reason for India"s commitment to switch over to thorium, is its large estimated thorium reserves of some 290,000 tons, it ranks second only to Australia. This would help India to bring independence from overseas uranium sources and India would be in liberty to produce as many nuclear weapons as India likes if India would accept the Russian proposal and reject the Indo-US nuclear deal immediately.

The real issue is whether India needs any US assistance at all regarding its nuclear energy sector. Only for the last two years, because of its membership of the NSG, Russia now wants to supply on-shore nuclear power plants with added safeguards that the plants cannot be used to produce any nuclear weapons. However, at the same time, it has offered offshore nuclear plants to India, which would be outside the jurisdiction of any restrictions of the NSG or IAEA. India can have both or either of the on-shore or offshore nuclear power plants from Russia. Even if India needs nuclear power plants to supplement it energy requirement in future, India does not need nuclear power plants from USA. Russia can still supply whatever India needs at a much lower price.

Without the nuclear deal India would be able to maintain its nuclear plants by using reprocessed plutonium as a fuel and using its own uranium in the conventional plants. It will continue to get offshore nuclear plants from Russia. In that case it will be at liberty to test further nuclear weapons in future. This is exactly what President Putin has suggested but India so far is not interested.

Dr.Dipak Basu


BALOCHISTAN : No go area, even for NGOs


July 14, 2007 Saturday Jamadi-us-Sani 28, 1428

NGOs forced to halt operations in flood-hit areas of Balochistan

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, July 13: Non-governmental organisations engaged in relief activity in the cyclone- and flood-affected areas of Balochistan are reported to have stopped their work after the provincial government imposed stringent restrictions on their operations, aid workers told Dawn.

The NGOs have been asked to get no-objection certificates from the Frontier Constabulary to operate and send their relief material through government agencies.

Balochistan Home Secretary Chaudhry Tariq Ayub confirmed the restrictions and said the move was prompted by “sensitivities of certain districts”. Besides, he said, the NGOs needed to be regulated because “everyone cannot be allowed to go everywhere”. He said that focal points had been set up and the NGOs would be required to deliver assistance through them.

Aid worker Malick Shahbaz, who is associated with the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), said: “The Frontier Constabulary communicated the message through District Police Officer Imran Mehmood to several NGO offices carrying out relief and rehabilitation work in Kech (Turbat).”

Other partner organisations of the SPO affected by the new order include national NGOs like the National Rural Support Programme, National Commission for Human Development and Trust for Voluntary Organisations.

The NGOs are engaged in relief and rehabilitation work in Kech (Turbat), Naseerabad, Khuzdar, Sibi, Jaffarbad, Noshki and Jhal Magsi districts, which were badly hit by the floods and cyclone, and are providing shelter, food and non-food assistance.

The government order warns the NGOs that in the event of non-compliance, police may take action against them and confiscate their supplies.

Tensions between NGOs and local authorities have been brewing up for a few days after some NGOs refused to accept government directives of routing their relief assistance through the National Disaster Management Authority.

An SPO official said: “We raised the issue with the National Disaster Management Authority in Islamabad a couple of days back but it seems that they are unable to address our concerns.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said: “In Balochistan, 2,000,000 people in 5,000 villages of 19 districts have been affected by flood and cyclone. About 100,000 people have been displaced.”

The UN agency believes that food and water would need to be required for two to three months, especially in Gwadar, Kech-Turbat and Kharan.

Privacy Policy
© DAWN Group of Newspapers, 2007

Lal Masjid: FAQs —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

Daily Times, Pakistan
Sunday, July 15, 2007

How could the Red Mosque militants amass so much weaponry? How could hardcore militants belonging mostly to banned organisations entrench themselves there? Why was the problem allowed to fester for six months?

The Red Mosque episode and floods in Balochistan may have helped the Musharraf government to win some sympathy and support internationally, but its domestic problems continue to worsen.

The federal government’s response to the floods in Balochistan shaped up rather slowly, losing important time in the initial stages. This was partly because the top-heavy centralised administrative structure took time to respond to a disaster in far-flung areas. If the government is serious about addressing natural and manmade calamities in the future, it must create a decentralised and more effective disaster management system. By now some areas of Sindh have also been flooded.

The government’s crisis-management abilities were even more severely taxed when the Islamic militants based in the Red Mosque took it on, ostensibly to implement their version of Islam.

The Red Mosque/Jamia Hafsa incident has raised a host of complex issues about the growing Islamic radicalism in Pakistan and the government’s capacity to deal with it. The government overwhelmed the Red Mosque militants after a fierce armed clash that lasted for over 24 hours. Should this be attributed to poor intelligence or a deficient counter-insurgency capacity?

It is expected that the government will claim the operation in the Red Mosque and Jamia Hafsa as a major success against militancy. Hopefully it will also pursue a tough line towards other militants that may challenge the state in the future. Some extremist groups, mainly in NWFP, may resort to suicide attacks or other violent actions as retaliation for Red Mosque and to deter the government from taking similar action against any other group.

To evolve durable solutions of the problem of Islamic extremism and militancy, the government will have to address a couple of questions in a forthright manner. How could the Red Mosque militants amass so much weaponry? How could hardcore militants belonging mostly to banned organisations entrench themselves there? Why was the problem allowed to fester for six months, especially when the Mosque’s activists started terrorising ordinary citizens in the name of Islam? Why did a good number of people in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and the government sympathise with the militants and the Red Mosque people? How long would the government continue to deny the link between religious extremism and madrassas?

The Red Mosque incident is symptomatic of an ambiguous government policy towards extremists and hard line Islamic groups, and a skilful use of Islamic militancy by Islamic groups and political parties like the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA). The disposition of the government and the MMA towards militant Islamic groups and madrassas is shaped by their partisan agendas rather than by long-term societal interests.

Since September 2001 the Pakistan government has come down hard on Al Qaeda and other foreign militants, but towards local militants (including Taliban) and madrassas it pursues a dual track policy. It adopts a tough policy towards them only when under pressure from the United States or when convinced that some of these groups have directly threatened the state or its functionaries or publicly embarrassed the government itself. In other situations, the government either ignores their activities or denies their negative role.

This enables the government to keep, after the withdrawal of the MMA’s support, some Islamic elements on its side. Further, militants and other Islamic groups serve the political agenda of the government by reinforcing an Islamic and conservative discourse, and undercutting support for moderate and liberal political groups that openly question the legitimacy of the Musharraf government.

The government should conduct a high-powered inquiry into the spread of extremism and militancy in Pakistan over the last couple of years and to suggest remedies. Currently the state machinery is capable of asserting its authority against Islamic militants, but if this trend continues for three or four years the state’s capacity to do this will be significantly impaired. Therefore, the sooner the government recognises the fast-growing threat of Islamic extremism to state and society, the better.

Another inquiry should examine the management of the security operation. Professionalism demands that such military operations be swift, with a minimum of death and injury, and it is important to examine the question of how to make them so. The final figures of the dead are not yet available but unconfirmed information suggests that over 100 people were killed on both sides. This is in addition to those who received serious injuries. The death toll and injuries were also high in the military operations in the tribal areas during 2003-2006. Further, there were media reports that the security forces used some kind of nerve gas against the militants. More information is needed to determine its justification.

The government should give more attention to pre-empting Red-Mosque-like incidents by examining two inter-related aspects of this problem. First, no madrassa can become an armed camp overnight. It takes several months, if not years, to do that. Their activities should now be monitored, especially the madrassas that have a reputation for extremism and links with militant/sectarian groups. However, intelligence gathering must be coupled with political measures to check these trends. The government should engage ulema and madrassa boards to pursue this agenda. Second, the government should look into the open or tacit links of Islamic militants with sections of officialdom. Such connections can weaken the government’s resolve to deal firmly with hard-line militants.

It is important to examine the disposition of Islamic groups and parties towards the rise of militancy and extremism, especially the Red Mosque incident. The MMA and other known Islamic groups maintain a discreet distance from extremists but support them quietly. As the MMA had influence with the Musharraf government until recently, it often neutralised government efforts to control militancy.

The Red Mosque issue was in the news for some time but the MMA and ulema groups did not do much to defuse it. However, when the government took action, they surfaced on the political scene to restrain it.

It is interesting to note that a delegation of ulema visited Washington, DC earlier this month along with the federal secretary for religious affairs. This delegation included two senior ulema belonging to the inter-madrassa board that serves as the oversight body for various madrassa boards. In response to the questions of the Congressional staffers at the Capitol Hill, they said that they had de-affiliated the Jamia Hafsa and did not support its strategies. They maintained that it was the responsibility of the government to deal with the situation. They also denied links between extremism, terrorism and madrassas.

But when the current siege of the Red Mosque began, the above mentioned ulema were active in stalling government action.

A long term strategy for controlling extremism and militancy would call for dealing with the sources of extremism and opening up the political system to make it more democratic. A failure to do so limits the capacity of the Pakistani state to cope with the ongoing surge of extremism and militancy.

Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi is a political and defence analyst

Venezuelan-Iranian Car Company Releases First Models

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2007

By: Chris Carlson - Venezuelanalysis.com

The Iranian 330 Samand

Mérida, July 10, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— As a product of economic agreements between Venezuela and Iran, the joint car company Venirauto released its first 300 units at an event in Caracas yesterday. The factory, located west of Caracas in Maracay, will produce some 25,000 cars per year using Iranian technology. The two countries are also making tractors and farm equipment for the Venezuelan market with the intention of eventually transferring 100 percent of the production to Venezuela.

Defense Minister Raul Isaias Baduel, together with Iranian Ambassador Abdolah Zifan, handed over the first 227 vehicles to recent graduates of the Military Academy in the Caracas military base Fuerte Tiuna. These vehicles were among the first to be assembled in the Venirauto factory that was inaugurated last November.

"This accomplishment is a tangible example of what cooperation between brother nations, like Venezuela and Iran, can achieve," said Minister Baduel at the event yesterday.

The company Venirauto, which is 51% Iranian and 49% Venezuelan, is producing two different models. The first model, the Turpial at a price of Bs. 17 million (US$7,906), is a 4-door sedan based on the old Kia Pride model. The second is the Centauro, at a price of Bs. 23 million (US$11,069), and is based on the Peugeot 405 given that the French firm is the main supplier of engines and technology to the Iranian company. Both models are exempt from Venezuela's sales tax IVA (Value-added tax), due to a government program to subsidize cars that include Venezuelan production.

The goal is to eventually produce 100% of the cars in Venezuela. According to the director of Venirauto, Abdollah Zoghi, the cars will be made of 35% Venezuelan production in the next 3 years and this will eventually get to 92% within the next five years. Also on the agenda is to design another model that will be 100 percent national production.

This year the company will produce 8,000 total units to be sold in the central region of the country and by 2010 there will be around 25,000 units produced annually. The cars are completely compatible with the lubricants and fuels used in Venezuela, but by 2008 the company also plans on building natural gas powered vehicles. Also, by the end of 2007 they have planned to produce a pick-up at lower prices than current market prices.

For the Iranian ambassador Abdolah Zifan, this all represents "an answer to the negative campaigns against us…We hope the production of this factory gets out to the whole nation and we hope to see the completion of other projects between the two countries."

In another joint project between Iran and Venezuela, the two countries are also producing about 20 tractors daily, according to the director of the joint company Veniran Tractor, Noel Zakur. The joint company Veniran opened just over 2 years ago and hopes to be producing tractors with 70% Venezuelan production in the next 3 years. Currently, Venezuelan production makes up only 18% of the Iranian tractors. By 2010 the goal is to produce 100% of the tractor inside Venezuela.

Zakur mentioned that the company is also producing farm implements and agricultural equipment such as plows and that the company is looking to export to other countries as well.

According to Zakur, the company recently exported 75 tractors to Bolivia, and will be sending to Nicaragua 150 more tractors, along with implements this month. Also being analyzed is the possibility to export to other countries in Latin America such as Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile.

The increased economic relations between Iran and Venezuela are producing a number of other joint ventures, including joint petrochemical plants and the production of construction materials and housing. The director of Venirauto stressed the success of these joint projects yesterday.
"We can say that we are winning because our trains are on the tracks, our tractors are in the countryside, and our cars are driving through the streets," he said.

Bank of the South: Not Everything is the Color of Roses

Thursday, Jul 12, 2007

By: Eduardo Dimas - Progreso Weekly

It is a truism that each country has its own interests, which vary according to the leading social class and the type of government in power. In Latin America, that is perfectly perceived in the different positions assumed by the states.

Some are signatories of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the United States, pacts that affect most of the population. Others seek social justice and want to improve the living conditions of the poor. Some do not accept the FTAs and maintain a somewhat nationalistic policy, although they do not abandon the neoliberal schemes.

In sum, disunity is on occasion easier than unity when it comes to facing the challenges that beset the region.

The Common Market of the South (Mercosur) might be the best example of what I say. The four countries that formed it at its inception (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) did not go beyond simple trade relations, from which Brazil, the world's 10th economic power, took the lion's share, followed by Argentina.

Venezuela's incorporation last year, Hugo Chávez's plans to guarantee energy to the whole region, the proposals for development and economic complementation, and the solution of the serious social problems that afflict most of the people in those five nations have permitted some positive change in the positions held by Mercosur, which the incorporation of Bolivia and maybe Ecuador could strengthen.

In other words, the conditions are being created for the economic and political integration of the region, particularly of those countries that do not have an FTA with the United States. Still to be seen is what path the Uruguayan government will take, Brazil's next steps, and the results of the elections in Paraguay, which might endanger the process of integration.

Part of that task of integration was the creation of the Community of South American Nations, which, despite problems and contradictions, is the principal step toward Latin American unity taken since the days of independence from Spain. Not even the main allies of the United States in the region -- such as Colombia, Peru and Chile -- have refused to join the Community.

The Bank of the South is part of that great project of economic and political integration. Its main objective is to help the member countries, from an economic standpoint, to deal with the problems that might lead to speculation in their currencies. To make low-interest loans for the construction of social works and infrastructure, either separately or together with other members.

In other words, to free Latin American nations from the loans and measures of international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which have caused so much harm to the region's economies with their readjustment and privatization programs.

The remarkable fact is that, so far, several countries have paid up their debts to the IMF and the WB. Others, like Venezuela, have withdrawn from such institutions or do not recognize their authority on their nations' economies.

I don't think it's a revolt against international financial institutions; rather, it's a logical reaction to the consequences of the meager results their impositions have created. Argentina is the best example, though not the only one.

The idea couldn't be better: to create a bank that makes its participants financially independent and eventually creates a common currency for commercial transactions, instead of the dangerous dollar. That currency could later become an international currency, which would give Latin American nations greater power on the international arena.

Not everyone agrees on the Bank of the South's role, much less on how it should operate or the rules it should follow. However, the claws of the neoliberal model have left their marks on some of the proposals, generating discord in an entity that should be built on mutual aid and complementation.

That may be because some of the people who draft the statutes of the Bank of the South are permeated by a neoliberal ideology to which not everyone is willing to renounce (or knows how to renounce) or just because neoliberalism suits their interests.

Observers have been struck by the fact that Argentina's and Venezuela's proposal, submitted on March 29, contains many neoliberal elements that have been rejected by the government of Ecuador, one of the main promoters of the Bank's creation.

The ideas of the government of Brazil, which officially joined on May 3, as to how the Bank should operate are still not exactly known.

Without going into economic aspects that would be too hard to explain, let us look at the two proposals for the statutes of the Bank of the South, to be analyzed at the summit of presidents of member countries, late in June.

Argentina and Venezuela, the first two countries to take up the idea, propose the creation of a Bank that would simultaneously function as a Development Bank and a Monetary Fund for Stabilization.

According to critics, the proposal stresses that the Bank's function should be the development of capital markets, industry, energy, trade and infrastructures (roads, railroads, etc.) and does not give the necessary priority to cultural and educational policies or to environmental protection.

Elsewhere, the Argentine-Venezuelan proposal posits that voting rights, whenever a decision must be made, should be proportional to each country's contribution. For example, if Brazil or Venezuela contributes twice or three times as much money as Paraguay or Ecuador, its vote should count for two or three.

That would mean applying the same decision criteria used by the IMF, the WB and the IDB, something that has often been criticized.

The Argentine-Venezuelan project also allows for the possibility that Asian or African countries participate as observers. That option, however, would alter the Bank's dimension as a South American institution.

What's worse, critics say, is that the proposal talks about "immunity, exemption and privilege" for the Bank's employees, as well as the "inviolability of the archives." That seems to have been copied from the statutes of the international financial institutions named above.

Belgian economist Eric Toussaint, president of the Third World Committee Against Foreign Debt, points out (with reason, in my opinion) that the text proposed by Argentina and Venezuela is totally consistent with the political orientation of the government of Néstor Kirchner and totally incompatible with the positions adopted by President Hugo Chávez. Toussaint assumes (and with reason, I believe) that the proposal was neither read nor approved by the Venezuelan president.

We shall find that out soon enough. But if we take into account that Venezuela will be one of the main contributors to the Bank, and that the policy of the Bolivarian Revolution is to stimulate development and find a solution to social problems, its right of veto should allow it to prevent that Bank loans end up in the hands of some oligarchs who need money for their businesses.

We should also bear in mind that not all the governments that will participate in the Bank have the same principles or objectives, and that some privilege the interests of the rich, to the detriment of the poor.

The project proposed by the government of Ecuador envisions the creation of three instruments: a Regional Monetary Fund, a Bank of the South, and a Southern unit of currency, that is, a single currency used for trade among the regional countries. According to the press, the single currency was accepted by Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The Ecuadorean project indicates that those institutions must guarantee "the effective exercise of human rights and allow the application of those international accords, criteria and treaties that deal with the economic, social and cultural rights of the peoples."

It also posits that the funds must come from capital contributions from the member countries, from loans made to the Bank by the member countries, and from common taxes, which would be transferred to the Bank. The report mentions the Tobin rates, taxes on the profits repatriated by transnational corporations, environmental protection, etc.

A substantial difference between the Argentine-Venezuelan and the Ecuadorean projects is that the latter stresses that each state must implement a mechanism that will provide an annual account of the Bank's and the Fund's operations and activities. The Bank's and the Fund's records must be in the public domain, Ecuador says, except in the case of information that might provoke speculation and in other instances.

These are the two proposals that will give birth to the Bank of the South and the Regional Monetary Fund, in case a decision is made. As you see, there are major differences between the two texts, even though the objective is the same. It will be up to the presidents, then, to decide which plan will be adopted or if a third plan, adopting the best elements of the first two, is created.

This couldn't come at a better time, because several of the future members of the Bank of the South have large monetary reserves, particularly Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

In most cases, as President Hugo Chávez pointed out, those reserves, deposited in the banks of capitalist countries, are being used to bankroll the expenses and waste of those nations, instead of promoting the development of national economies and regional integration, as well as solving the grave social problems that afflict the countries in the region.

If its members so wish, the Bank of the South could have enough funds to initiate a process that clearly goes beyond a simple solution of the historic problems of South America. It could become the foundation for economic independence and -- by extension -- for political independence.

It remains to be seen if the presidents have enough political will to deal with this measure, which (needless to say) will have many and powerful opponents. Let's wait. Time will tell.

Original source / relevant link:
Progreso Weekly

Kazakhstan, Russia: Moscow's Pipeline Attack

Source: Stratfor
July 13, 2007 22 02 GMT


Russia's Federal Tax Service has assessed $290 million in back taxes and fines against the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), Kommersant reported July 13. The move is part of a larger assault on the consortium whereby Russian state-owned oil transport company Transneft and the Russian government are challenging the last privately owned pipeline in Russia. Previous Russian attempts to stifle the CPC pipeline have prompted neighboring Kazakhstan to join alternate pipeline projects to export its oil, pushing the former Soviet state further from Russia's influence. This round will be no different.


Russian tax authorities have charged the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) $290 million in back taxes and fines for the 2004-2005 period, Russian business daily Kommersant reported July 13.

The move represents a blatant attack against the last privately owned Russian pipeline, something Moscow has sought control of for some time.

The CPC pipeline, built in 2001, ships about 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) from some of Kazakhstan's most productive oil fields near Tengiz to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The consortium is made up of seven partners, with Russian state-owned oil transport company Transneft, the government of Kazakhstan and U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. owning the largest stakes. Transneft's partners have long campaigned to increase the capacity of the pipeline to take advantage of Kazakhstan's rising oil production by increasing shipments through Russia.

Transneft, however, has long held up any expansion and currently is demanding that the transit fee through Russian territory be raised from $29 to $38 per ton of oil. Transneft also is trying to increase its power on the CPC board. The price hike would bankrupt the consortium, something that would allow Transneft and the Kremlin to gain complete control of the pipeline. The Kremlin hopes this will help Russia consolidate political control over its near abroad, while Transneft is looking to gain a valuable asset and stifle oil exports out of Central Asia that compete with Russian oil.

Quality controls on the CPC pipeline mean that the crude that comes out of the project -- 80 percent of which is not Russian -- is generally of higher, more reliable quality than crude shipped by Transneft. By contrast, Russian oil interests must pay more to have their heavier, sourer crude shipped through the same pipeline that carries the light, sweet crude coming out of Kazakhstan.

Overall, the CPC is fundamentally better run than Transneft's pipelines. Taking control of the CPC would guarantee that Transneft alone benefits from owning one of Russia's more profitable and reliable projects. It also would ensure a greater proportion of Russian oil exports could be funneled through the CPC pipeline.

Even if Transneft cannot gain complete control of the project, it probably will not let the CPC persist as a direct challenge to Transneft's control over the Russian energy industry. Russia has two options for gaining control of the consortium that involve bankrupting the project. First, Russia can bankrupt it via tax charges, as it did with (now entirely dismembered) Russian oil giant Yukos. Second, it can persuade the CPC board to accept the transit fees in exchange for the board's agreement to boost the pipeline's capacity. If bankruptcy is not achieved by these methods, the Russian government can simply reclassify the CPC pipeline as a natural monopoly. This would give Moscow sole authority to set transit fees.

If Russia wants to take down the CPC, it certainly can do so. But completely shutting it down will sever a major link to Kazakhstan. Beyond the financial loss to Russia and Kazakhstan in the short term, the move probably will push an increasingly independent Kazakhstan to seek closer ties with other regional powers. With its rapidly rising energy output, Kazakhstan is an attractive partner for any oil importing country. Thus, if Russia makes it difficult for Kazakhstan to ship oil northward, Kazakhstan simply will turn to other energy-hungry markets.

Kazakhstan has already begun to diversify its export markets, such as by shipping oil to Europe via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which bypasses Russia and was prompted by Transneft's lack of cooperation in the CPC expansion. Kazakhstan has also been increasing its energy links with China, with a 200,000 bpd oil pipeline running from Atasu in Kazakhstan to Alashankou, China. Kazakhtan and China also plan to build a natural gas pipeline in conjunction with Turkmenistan that would divert natural gas supplies from Russia.

Russia's concerns lie in maintaining a loyal, dependent periphery. Thus, if Russia takes over the CPC and pushes Kazakhstan further into the willing arms of its other neighbors, Russia will have succeeded in shooting itself in the foot

About Stratfor

Stratfor is the world’s leading private intelligence company delivering in-depth analysis, assessments and forecasts on global geopolitical, economic, security and public policy issues. A variety of subscription-based access, free intelligence reports and confidential consulting are available for individuals and corporations.

Estonia: Challenging the EU Carbon Cap

Source: Stratfor
July 13, 2007 16 16 GMT


The Estonian government announced July 12 it plans to challenge the European Commission over its carbon dioxide cap. The cut in carbon emissions is part of a larger EU initiative to move toward more environmentally friendly energy, though Estonia sees the cap as a factor keeping the small Baltic nation dependent on Russia as an energy source.


The Estonian government announced July 12 that it will challenge the European Commission over the 2008-2013 carbon dioxide quotas that the organization established for the Baltic states. The European Union's target is to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 across the union in conjunction with the international Kyoto agreement's target of decreasing emissions from 1990 levels by 8 percent by 2012. The carbon emissions cap is also meant to push the European Union toward more environmentally friendly energy sources and decrease its energy dependence on Russia. However, several European countries believe the carbon caps will increase their dependence on the increasingly aggressive Russia.

Approximately 60 percent of Estonia's energy is produced through combustible oil shale, which is widely available in Estonia, with the remaining 40 percent coming from Russian natural gas and oil. But burning oil shale has one major drawback: It puts out a lot of carbon emissions. According to the EU regulations, Estonia would be required to keep emissions under a cap of 12.7 million tons per year -- which is its current level.

Estonia has said the European Union's strict cap oversteps the union's authority and would force Estonia to remain reliant on Russia. The small Baltic nation has asked the European Union to increase its quotas to almost twice the current level, to 24 million tons. Such a large increase would allow Estonia to cut its dependence on Russian natural gas in favor of oil shale and remain largely self-sufficient.

Russia has a history of using its position as an energy supplier to pressure countries with which it is unhappy. For instance, Lithuania is currently in a dispute with Russia over Moscow's alleged repairs of an oil export line scheduled after a spat over rail connections to the Baltic Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. When tensions flared between Russia and Estonia after the removal of a Soviet-era statue in the center of Tallinn in April, Russia took the political conflict into the economic sphere by cutting off a hefty portion of fuel oil and gasoline exports to Estonia. Russia clearly has not been pleased with Estonia recently, and Tallinn knows Moscow will not hesitate to tighten the economic noose.

Estonia is not the only country concerned about carbon emission caps. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary also have filed complaints with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the past six months. These Central and Eastern European countries believe the caps are too low and will hurt their economies as they try to compete with their Western counterparts. Moreover, each country is growing increasingly nervous after watching a series of energy pinches from Russia.

The ECJ most likely will take years to come to a decision on the flurry of complaints, and -- in the meantime -- Estonia and others are not likely to stick to the carbon caps. Once a ruling is issued, fines against the Central and Eastern European states will commence.

One way around the oil shale and Russia issues is for Estonia to turn to nuclear power. The nuclear option is being considered throughout Europe as a way to square the circle.

Meanwhile, the European Union might miss its 2012 Kyoto carbon emissions deadline, though it still has until 2020 to reach its own targets. But as pressure from Russia continues to mount, each state is looking out for its own energy security, rather than for the European Union's environmentally friendly goals.

About Stratfor

Stratfor is the world’s leading private intelligence company delivering in-depth analysis, assessments and forecasts on global geopolitical, economic, security and public policy issues. A variety of subscription-based access, free intelligence reports and confidential consulting are available for individuals and corporations.

Brazil: Concerns during the Pan American Games

Source: Stratfor
July 13, 2007 17 12 GMT

Half a million visitors are expected in Brazil's second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro, for the Pan American Games beginning July 13. In the months before the games, there were serious concerns about criminals targeting tourists who are in town for the games -- and even concerns about dengue fever. The Rio state and city governments have used mobile sprayings and other tactics to lessen the threat of dengue fever -- though it is winter in Brazil now and mosquito activity is lower than in the summer months. Officials at all levels have taken steps to mitigate the crime threat, but even if Rio's notorious criminal gangs are kept under control during the games, other problems will emerge.

The criminal threat that has raised the most concern comes from Rio's numerous organized gangs, such as Comando Vermelho (CV), Portuguese for Red Command, and Amigos dos Amigos, Portuguese for Friends of Friends. These gangs operate out of favelas, or slums, and have on occasion run amok in Rio and in Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, attacking police, public transportation and banks. Because of the national importance of the Pan American Games, the Rio city and state governments are under pressure to ensure that the gangs do not act up. The gangs realize that if they do, the police and military response probably will be swift and severe.

The authorities have prepared for the games in Rio by setting up concentric rings of security designed to restrict the gangs' movements and income. The first ring is far outside Rio, along the weapons and drug smuggling routes from Paraguay and the tri-border region. This is to interdict supplies to Rio's criminal gangs. The second ring is closer to the city, along the main roads into Rio state. In Rio itself, the police and federal forces have been patrolling areas around game venues, tourist attractions and favelas where the gangs operate.

For now, there are no major police operations in the favelas. CV's main operating area, the Complexo do Alemao, a metropolis of a dozen shantytowns in northern Rio, remains relatively quiet after days of fighting between gangs and police in late June, during which 19 gang members were killed. Police are occupying the favela's entrances and lower portions, and the gangs are situated at the very top.

The United States has given Rio substantial and diverse security equipment, including toxic gas detectors and mobile command posts. The Rio authorities have opened a command and control center, which experts consider the most modern in Latin America, complete with remote cameras and communication devices that can even access pedestrians within range of the cameras. All the different police and law enforcement agencies have coordinated their efforts and communication equipment. In addition, the city has opened up 18 posts in hotels and strategic locations near the games to attend to tourists' day-to-day needs. The city also has opened 90 additional clinics to give residents and visitors routine medical care in order to take the strain off emergency facilities in the event of a disaster.

With so many security forces concentrating on arrangements for the games, crime has declined. The police will maintain a very heavy presence on the Copacabana beach walk -- where crime already has been drastically reduced -- during the games. However, the police cannot be everywhere, and visitors should still be vigilant to avoid pickpockets and even armed robberies at major venues, such as the Maracana stadium. During the games, visitors should avoid wandering off the beaten path, remain aware of their surroundings and exercise common sense.

Even if the Brazilians keep the gangs under control, other difficulties will arise. Traffic during the games will be a big problem. City officials have asked local residents to use mass transportation in an effort to reduce congestion. Tourists, however, should stick to reputable taxi services as Rio's buses are infested with pickpockets. The distribution of pre-ordered tickets by mail has been chaotic and could result in over-ticketing at the games. Tickets that were either not sent or lost in the mail could be in the hands of unscrupulous vendors who will attempt to scalp them. A tourist could purchase a ticket and find that the seat already has been taken by the original purchaser.

Another potential problem is the possible delay of airline flights in and out of Rio during the games. Since March, Brazil's air transportation system has been in crisis due to strikes and a work slowdown by air traffic controllers protesting working conditions and pay. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva recently declared air travel safe in Brazil after reaching an accommodation with the controllers. The situation was resolved through a combination of incentives, threats of disciplinary action and arrests of union leaders, but tensions remain. Other labor issues that emerged before the games, such as a potential strike by Rio's civil police, appear to have been similarly addressed, at least temporarily.

Brazilian military and security forces have been preparing and training for the games for a year and claim they are ready for any situation, from disarming a robber to handling a toxic gas attack. All in all, preparations are as complete as they can be. However, Rio is still Rio, and there will always be street robberies and probably a few homicides

About Stratfor

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BAE Scandal : John Bredenkamp Puts His Foot In It

John Bredenkamp Puts His Foot In It

by the Editors of EIR

We publish—and then comment on—the letter below, to Jeffrey Steinberg of EIR, by John Bredenkamp, a South Africa-born businessman who has been at the center of a large number of arms trafficking controversies over the past several decades.

Breco and Masters Group of Companies
From the Chairman's office—John A. Bredenkamp

28 June 2007

Dear Mr Steinberg,

In your article "Will BAE Scandal of Century Bring Down Dick Cheney?" (EIR Volume 34, Number 26, June 29, 2007), you make a number of untrue, incorrect and defamatory allegations about me, which are manifestly malicious.
You state that I am 'a major arms broker throughout Africa,' This is a wholly erroneous and extremely damaging allegation. I have repeatedly stated that my involvement in the defence sector is that of a passive investor in Aviation Consultancy Services, a company that represents a number of leading aircraft manufacturers, both civil and military. A simple Google search on the internet would have led you to my website where you would have found this information.

You say that 'U.S. intelligence sources have identified (me) as a conduit for Soviet arms to African insurgents,' This is an extremely serious allegation and utterly without foundation. I have never supplied arms to 'African insurgents'. I can only assume you have made this up to further your own sensationalist agenda.

You then go on to speculate that this identification raises "questions about his (my) earlier involvement with the Al-Yamamah project". This is totally without foundation. I have never had any involvement in the Al-Yamamah project. Such a fictitious reference must clearly be designed as a deliberate and malevolent slur.

I am indeed cooperating with the UK's Serious Fraud Office in their investigation re allegations about BAE sales to South Africa. As a non-UK resident, I voluntarily flew to the UK late last year to offer them my assistance.

If you had bothered to check my website—www.breco.info—you would have found the correct information and also would have had the opportunity to contact my Press Office by e-mail. Instead, you have misrepresented me in a highly damaging, irresponsible and offensive manner....


John Bredenkamp

PS—It could also [be] construed by anyone who reads your article that the source of your allegations about me could be Mr William Simpson. To that end, I am copying this letter to him and his publishers, Harper Collins.
The EIR Editors Reply:

In describing the "charmed life" of John Arnold Bredenkamp, consistently described as an "arms broker," "arms dealer," "arms merchant," "weapons dealer," "weapons broker," we must proceed from the reality of the circumstances under which Bredenkamp has operated since no later than the mid-1980s. He dwells in a no-man's land in which a man's hand pleads innocence of the actions conducted by his foot; a world in which the hand which loads the sniper's rifle denies any culpability for the eye which aims at the target, or the finger which pulls the trigger. In brief, he dwells in the same clockwork-orange world he shares with BAE.

Therefore, in describing the "charmed life" of John Arnold Bredenkamp, it is difficult to know where to start. In fact, it is difficult to find a media reference to him that does not mention his business in arms trafficking. From the notoriously unreliable, LaRouche-hating Wikipedia, to the London Observer, to the Washington Times, to the Guardian of the U.K., to WorldNet Daily, to the UN Association of the United Kingdom, to a broad swath of British-based organizations and NGOs that specialize in opposing arms proliferation, Bredenkamp is repeatedly mentioned in the context of arms trafficking—selling, brokering, and violating sanctions.

The first case always brought up is Rhodesia. When Zimbabwe was Britain's all-white-run racist colony known as Rhodesia, and Ian Smith declared its independence, as an all-white racist state, John Arnold Bredenkamp gained the reputation as a "sanctions buster" supporting the racist Smith regime. Many years later, in 2001, Bredenkamp was again charged with violating international sanctions—this time, the unjust, politically driven sanctions against Zimbabwe. Bredenkamp describes himself this way: "Like many of my contemporaries, I have adapted to change. I was Rhodesian; I am now a Zimbabwean. I was a tobacco merchant; I am now an investor in many different sectors." When the George W. Bush regime imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe and its President Robert Mugabe, Bredenkamp was reported to be among Zimbabwe businessmen put on the U.S. sanctions list. He denies violating the sanctions against Zimbabwe, and moaned that, "The U.S. State Department has tried me and judged me in a manner which affects my fundamental rights as an individual.... I have been given no opportunity to be heard in this matter."[1]

There have been detailed documentaries by European TV companies that provide colorful descriptions of Bredenkamp's arms trafficking. Sweden's Uppdrag Granskning TV show, which aired this year, suggested that Bredenkamp should be investigated in the BAE bribery scandal in South Africa. A British TV documentary, aired in 1994, called "The Casalee File," contains detailed allegations about Bredenkamp and the arms trade.

The website of the British Film Institute—created by Royal Charter in 1983—describes "The Casalee File" as follows: "Exposé of a major Berkshire based tobacco company, The Casalee Group, now called Defco, which has been secretly at the heart of the arms trade and breached international sanctions in many of the deals it has done. Mines sold to Iraq killed and maimed British soldiers in the Gulf war. Owner John Arnold Bredenkamp has supplied arms to Rhodesia, Iran and Iraq. Contributors include wounded soldiers; former Casalee manager Mike Pelham; former directors of arms manufacturers ASTRA; a defence analyst; Congressman Henry Gonzalez."

In the documentary, Mike Pelham, former financial officer of Casalee Zurich, which is one of the offices of Bredenkamp's Casalee Tobacco company, said: "The objective was to arrange an introduction between a supplier to a purchaser. Casalee would do that. The arms would then be transferred from the manufacturer directly to the purchaser and on the deal having been finalized then a commission would be paid from the manufacturer to the agent, in this case Casalee."

Pelham discusses Casalee's involvement in the sale of anti-aircraft guns to Iran by Oelikon Burhle, a Swiss arms manufacturer: "The amount sold into Iran would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The commission ... would be 5% on an excess of 100 to 200 millions.... Every deal that went through had to have a bribe of some sort attached to it. The money would be paid to Casalee, and then Casalee would make the necessary payments to those people of influence in the purchasing country. For the manufacturer to make those payments it would become a little dicey. For an intermediary like Casalee or other companies of that nature to make the payment is not at all difficult. On the manufacturer's books all you would get is that a commission would have been made to an agent, Casalee, and an investigation would not be made into Casalee's books after a disposal of the funds."

"Oelikon did not do the deal with Casalee," Pelham adds. "The deal was done with a company called Vivian Corporation.... It is preferable to, on deals like this, to take them away from the main company. A big deal like this involving many millions should be isolated. It becomes more difficult to trace, more difficult to connect to Casalee. The offices concerned would be a lawyer. To Casalee, any subsequent tracing of Vivan would not show Mr. Bredenkamp."

The payments, Pelham said, would be made "only in cash. There would have been no trace.... Corruption is the name of the game in the arms business. Yes in this particular scene it was a little worse then usual."

Pelham adds, "Mr. Bredenkamp stated he would not deal or would not allow dealings to take place with Libya. He also refused to become involved in transactions with irregular groups, the Irish Republican Army, the IRA, he would not supply arms to."

Any communications by Mr. Bredenkamp about Mike Pelham's statements could not be located.
Spooks Speak

In the murky world of intelligence agencies, Bredenkamp also has a record in the media. A former MI-6 intelligence agent, Tracey Kinchen, spoke to WorldNet Daily about arms trafficking and MI6. "In the past, we worked with some of Bredenkamp's satellite companies—like Casalee, Zimalzam, Breco Services, Masters International—in several of our former colonies. One minute, MI-6 ... was on the side of the anti-communists in places like Rhodesia, Hong Kong, Tibet, Nepal and Cambodia. Then, suddenly, we were told to change sides."[2]

On Feb. 18, 2000, Washington Times reporters Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough wrote that the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) wrote a classified report for Secretary of Defense William Cohen about secret arms shipments to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.). The reporters say that the D.R.C. and Zimbabwe were purchasing arms from Bredenkamp, whom they identify as an arms dealer based in Belgium.
A Leg To Stand On?

Mr. Bredenkamp's letter provides no substantial facts refuting the matters raised in the cited EIR article.

An Oct. 16, 2002 report to the United Nations Security Council by a panel of experts investigating the exploitation of raw materials in the D.R.C. cited Bredenkamp's role as an arms broker:

"John Bredenkamp, who has a history of clandestine military procurement, has an investment in Aviation Consultancy Services Company (ACS). The Panel has confirmed, independently of Mr. Bredenkamp, that this company represents British Aerospace, Dornier of France and Agusta of Italy in Africa. Far from being a passive investor in ACS as Tremalt representatives claimed, Mr. Bredenkamp actively seeks business using high-level political contacts. In discussions with senior officials he has offered to mediate sales of British Aerospace military equipment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr. Bredenkamp's representatives claimed that his companies observed European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe, but British Aerospace spare parts for ZDF Hawk jets were supplied early in 2002 in breach of those sanctions. Mr. Bredenkamp also controls Raceview Enterprises, which supplies logistics to ZDF. The Panel has obtained copies of Raceview invoices to ZDF dated 6 July 2001 for deliveries worth $3.5 million of camouflage cloth, batteries, fuels and lubricating oil, boots and rations. It also has copies of invoices for aircraft spares for the Air Force of Zimbabwe worth another $3 million."

Bredenkamp protested the findings of the UN panel and, along with others, brought pressure on the UN to change its findings. One year later, the same UN panel released a follow-up report which categorized the case of Bredenkamp as "resolved subject to NCP monitoring compliance." However, this second report was very general and contained no specific refutation of the same panel's earlier findings. Bredenkamp's Breco Company's press release praising the second UN report was equally vague, and also failed to specifically address the findings of the first UN panel with respect to the arms dealing activities of Bredenkamp's companies.

Bredenkamp has also been implicated in the BAE scandal. In October 2006, his home and office in England were raided by a joint force of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Ministry of Defence, which was reportedly looking into allegations of bribery in connection with BAE arms sales to South Africa. The SFO said the raids were "part of an ongoing investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and defence ministry police into suspected corruption relating to defence contracts where BAE Systems is the prime contractor," as reported by Business Day of Zimbabwe in November 2006.

[1] Statement to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, by Mungo Soggot and Phillip van Niekerk, Nov. 11, 2002.

[2] Anthony LoBaido, "Surviving Mugabe's communist reign," WorldNet Daily, Dec. 10, 2000.

Prince Bandar and 9/11

Executive Intelligence Review , June 29, 2007 issue

By Jeffrey Steinberg

Between April 1998 and May 2002, some $51-73,000 in checks and cashier's checks were provided by the Saudi Ambassador to the United States and his wife to two families in southern California, who in turn bankrolled at least two of the 9/11 hijackers. The story was investigated by the 9/11 Commission, but never fully resolved, and remains, to this day, one of the key unanswered questions concerning the backing for the worst terrorist attack ever to occur on U.S. soil.

According to numerous news accounts and the records of the 9/11 Commission, in April 1998, a Saudi national named Osama Basnan wrote to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., seeking help for his wife, Majeda Dweikat, who needed surgery for a thyroid condition. Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, the Saudi Ambassador, wrote a check for $15,000 to Basnan. Beginning in December 1999, Princess Haifa, the wife of Prince Bandar, began sending regular monthly cashier checks to Majeda Dweikat, in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $3,500. Many of these checks were signed over to Manal Bajadr, the wife of Omar al-Bayoumi, another Saudi living in the San Diego area.

Around New Year's Day 2000, two other Saudi nationals, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, where they were greeted by al-Bayoumi, provided with cash, and outfitted with an apartment, Social Security ID cards, and other financial assistance. Al-Bayoumi helped the two Saudi men to enrolled in flight schools in Florida. Two months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, al-Bayoumi moved to England, and shortly after that, he disappeared altogether. But before his disappearance, and within days of the 9/11 attacks, agents of New Scotland Yard, working in conjunction with the FBI, raided his apartment in England and found papers hidden beneath the floorboards, according to Newsweek magazine, that had the phone numbers of several officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Al-Bayoumi was suspected by the Arab community in the San Diego area of being an agent of Saudi intelligence, which kept tabs on Saudi residents in the area, particularly Saudi students attending college in southern California.

Sources have told EIR researchers that Basnan was also long suspected of being an agent for Saudi Arabia's foreign intelligence service. According to the sources, Basnan was arrested for drug possession in southern California and the Saudi government intervened to get the charges dropped; Basnan also befriended Alhazmi and Almihdhar prior to their deaths on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. At one point, the Basnans, the al-Bayoumis, and the two 9/11 hijackers all lived at the Parkwood Apartments in San Diego.

Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa denied they played any role in financing the 9/11 hijackers, and claimed that they were merely providing charitable assistance to the Saudi community in the United States. The two co-chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, Robert Graham (D-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), accused the FBI of failing to fully pursue this "9/11 money trail." Sources told EIR that the FBI refused to allow the committee to interview the FBI investigators who had probed the Basnan and al-Bayoumi links.

While Congressional and law enforcement sources insist to EIR investigators that all available leads were pursued and no compelling evidence of Saudi involvement in 9/11 was established, other U.S. intelligence sources maintain that many fruitful areas of investigation simply reached dead-ends before any final conclusions could be drawn. And these sources report that some of the Al-Yamamah funds, including some funds that passed through the Riggs Bank accounts in Washington, financed a migration of Muslim Brotherhood members to the United States, throughout the 1980s and 1990s. That hardly constitutes a smoking gun, these sources emphasize, but raises serious unanswered questions, particularly in light of the fact that the official staff reports of the 9/11 Commission featured a detailed debriefing of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the purported mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, who admitted that he had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood since he was 16 years old.

Litvinenko Affair: A Criminal-Diplomatic Affair


// UK Foreign Office Seeks to Punish Russia in Litvinenko Affair

The British authorities are treating Russia's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi as a provocation. Yesterday the British Embassy in Moscow told Kommersant that the matter of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, which until now has been considered a purely criminal case, is now on the level of relations between the two countries' foreign ministries. The British Foreign Office is already drafting a raft of retaliatory measures against Moscow that will soon be presented to the British Parliament for consideration.

A Political Matter Instead of a Criminal One

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow told Kommersant yesterday that "the Russian authorities' reply to the request to extradite Andrei Lugovoi was negative, and thus it is unacceptable." "Until now we have been saying that this is not political, not related to intelligence, but a purely criminal matter. However, since Russia has not fulfilled the request to extradite Mr. Lugovoi, now the issue will be taken up by the British Foreign Office," he said. This is the first acknowledgement from London that the months-long squabble between Russia and Britain over the matter of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko has turned into a full-scale diplomatic conflict.

The British Crown Prosecution Service received a formal reply on Tuesday from the Russian General Prosecutor's Office regarding the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi. That same day, Britain's top prosecutor, Sir Ken Macdonald, went on the record to insist that "the allegation against Mr. Lugovoi is that he murdered a British citizen by deliberate poisoning and that he committed this extraordinarily grave crime here in our capital city. The appropriate venue for his trial is therefore London."

Immediately after receiving Moscow's response, the British authorities decided to pull all available political levers to deal with Mr. Lugovoi. "Moscow's refusal to extradite Lugovoi was extremely disappointing, and we deeply regret that Russia has failed to show the necessary level of cooperation in this matter," said a spokesman for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "Russia is an important partner on many issues and we continue to seek a constructive relationship with them, but we need to carefully consider our range of cooperation," he said.

A spokesperson in the British Foreign Office told Kommersant that the office is already drafting possible responses to Russia's refusal. "From now on, this issue will be dealt with by the Foreign Office. [The Foreign Office] will take the next step in this matter," confirmed the British Embassy's press service in Moscow. A special report from the Foreign Office with proposals regarding the matter of reconsidering the "range of cooperation" between Britain and Russia is due to be presented to the British Parliament within the next few days. The embassy declined to comment on the content of the report: "We are not prepared to discuss the details of possible consequences and the report that the ministry is preparing. We are considering the answer and all subsequent actions carefully and with all due seriousness and attention," said an embassy spokesperson.

Moscow's Basmanny Court Instead of London's Old Bailey

"We are surprised by the reaction of the British side to the current situation, particularly given that our position accords completely with Russian law; specifically, it complies with Article 61 of the Russian Constitution," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin yesterday. The basic argument advanced by the Russian authorities regarding the matter of Andrei Lugovoi is that he is a Russian citizen, and, according to its constitution, Russia does not extradite its citizens. A month ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin even said that the request from British law enforcement authorities to hand over Andrei Lugovoi testifies to their foolishness.

Asked by Kommersant how Russia could extradite Mr. Lugovoi without violating its constitution, a spokeswoman at the British Foreign Office replied, "that is the Russian government's problem," noting that Mr. Lugovoi is suspected of committing "an extremely serious crime, as a result of which the lives of hundreds of people were put at risk. This crime cannot be allowed to go unpunished." She also pointed out that all of the evidence and all of the witnesses in the case are in London, and therefore the Foreign Office intends to insist that the trial take place in the British capital.

The press service at the Crown Prosecution Service told Kommersant that "the extradition request has not been rescinded, it is still in effect; the British government now has to give a political reply to the Russian prosecutor general's refusal." A spokesman for the service reminded Kommersant about the priority of international over national law and maintained that both Russia and Britain are signatories of the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, on which basis the extradition request was sent.

However, Aslan Abashidze, a specialist in international law and a professor at a Moscow university, told Kommersant that "the 1957 European Convention on Extradition says that a citizen of one country can be handed over to another if his guilt has been proven and if the crime that he committed is prosecutable in both countries." He maintained that "it is precisely on the basis of this convention that Russia has asked Britain to extradite Ahmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky. Britain has not done so, asserting that there is insufficient evidence of their guilt. Since the UK has not demonstrated goodwill by conscientiously adhering to the convention, on the basis of reciprocity Russia can do the same." According to Mr. Abashidze, Britain cited a London court decision in refusing Russia's request. In the current situation, Russia could declare that the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi is not a matter for the Russian Foreign Ministry or the president to decide and could rely instead, for example, on a decision by some Moscow court. "What's our best region? Basmanny? So, for example, on the basis of a decision by the Basmanny Court," concluded Mr. Abashidze.

Mikhail Margelov, the head of the International Affairs Committee in the Russian Federation Council, reminded Kommersant that several years ago, the European Court of Human Rights found Russia guilty of violating its own constitution by handing over one of its own citizens in response to a demand from a court in Turkmenistan. "After the incident with Turkmenistan, we learned a hard lesson and no longer hand over our citizens. That's what they wanted from us – that's exactly how we're behaving," said Mr. Margelov.

Observers in the UK believe that the decisive stance of the British government on the issue could be linked to the fact that the country's new prime minister, Gordon Brown, has been in office for all of two weeks and that he wants to demonstrate his effectiveness. "The new government needs to assert itself, to show that it is capable of pursuing its own strong foreign policy," said Lord Robert Skidelsky, an Independent member of the House of Lords who is of Russian descent, in a conversation with Kommersant. "The new minister of foreign affairs needs to affirm his own authority within the country. Such foreign policy statements are most often made for domestic purposes – to make an impression within the country, not outside of it." Britain's new foreign minister, who was appointed just two weeks ago, is David Miliband, a 41-year-old rising star of the Labour Party who is believed by many to be the most likely candidate for the party's next leader and a potential successor to the somewhat charmless Mr. Brown. Mr. Miliband's predecessor as the head of the Foreign Office, Margaret Beckett, is now a Labour member of Parliament. She declined to comment on the situation: a spokesperson in her office told Kommersant that the Foreign Office is expressing the general party line.

Over the last two weeks, the popularity of Gordon Brown's new cabinet has soared after its quick and decisive reaction to the terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow. Clearly, Mr. Brown's government is eager to keep up the pace by taking on the Andrei Lugovoi affair with equal vigor. One discussion happening lately in London is whether the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium should be considered an act of nuclear terrorism. The Crown Prosecution Service, however, told Kommersant that the case does not include any such charges and the Mr. Lugovoi is accused only of murder. However, even if he were facing other charges, the diplomatic stand-off with Moscow would be unaffected, as the UK has not yet ratified the UN convention on the struggle against nuclear terrorism. In any case, that convention came into force only on July 7 of this year, and it cannot be applied retroactively.

A War of Words Instead of Prosperity

The British newspaper The Times suggested yesterday that London's reaction might be excessively harsh, including as it does the possibility that relations with Moscow could be spoiled on numerous fronts. In Lord Skidelsky's opinion, "Britain never expected that Russia would extradite Lugovoi, just like Russia never seriously expected that Britain would extradite Berezovsky. So all this tumult is largely artificial. I think that all of this current rhetoric needs to be halved. These statements will lead to conversations about new threats, about the next Cold War, and to big headlines in the papers. But I don't think that the consequences will be palpable."

The possible hardening of London's stance on Moscow could come as a surprise for some British officials. For example, on Wednesday British Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton, in a speech in Moscow before Russian graduates of British universities, said that although the political relations between the two countries are difficult, the economic sphere is prospering and nothing is threatening the development of business ties.

"If this incident really impacts relations, it will be a catastrophe. Problems may arise with the movement of citizens and money, lines will grow at the consulates. But I hope that the reaction will be rational," said Lord Skidelsky. Nigel Evans, a British parliamentary deputy from the Conservative Party, told Kommersant that the exacerbation of the conflict "will most likely lead only to a war of words." In his opinion, the British authorities should take an interest in improving relations rather than putting them into a deep freeze, because the evolution of events will depend largely on Moscow's reaction. "The Russian authorities have demonstrated complete indifference to this problem. And their refusal is like a wall that cannot be overcome. If [they had] demonstrated readiness to cooperate, that would have diffused the situation," said Mr. Evans, noting that the evolution of events could lead to further deterioration of Russia's reputation in the West.

Unusually enough, the Russian Foreign Ministry was extremely cautious in its remarks. Mikhail Kamynin said only that "Russian-British relations are self-sufficient and cannot be turned into a hostage to this kind of problem."

The Wax and Wane of Russian-British Relations

A Timeline of Events

On November 21, 2000, at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to be a intermediary between Russia and the US regarding a missile defense system. In February 2001, London took the side of the US on the issue.

In August 2001, Rafael Bravo, an employee of the company BAE Systems Avionics, was arrested for spying for Russia.

In March 2002, another employee of BAE, Ian Parr, was caught attempting to pass information to Russia about a new missile.

On September 12, 2002, a London court denied a Russian request for the extradition of businessman Boris Berezovsky. Similar decisions were made regarding former LogoVAZ CEO Yulia Dubova and Chechen envoy Ahmed Zakayev.

On June 7, 2004, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the British Council was engaged in commercial activities in Russia and that it could face fines. After the issue was discussed by Mr. Putin and Mr. Blair at the G8 summit in the US on June 10, the complaints were dropped.

On March 18, 2005, a London court refused to extradite former Yukos employees Dmitry Maruyev and Natalia Chernysheva, and, on December 23, 2005, a similar request for the extradition of Yukos vice president and deputy managing chairman Alexander Temerko was denied.

In August 2005, British sailors participated in the rescue of an AS-28 submarine off the coast of Kamchatka and were rewarded by Vladimir Putin personally.

In January 2006, several British diplomats in Moscow were accused of espionage and the illegal financing of non-commercial organizations.

In July 2006, British Ambassador to Russia Anthony Brenton attended a forum organized by the opposition coalition The Other Russia, after which the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi carried out several protests demanding apologies for the "speech before the fascists."

On October 12, 2006, the British Foreign Office included Russia on its list of countries that are human rights violators.

On November 23, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, who had been granted political asylum in the UK, died in London after being poisoned with polonium-210.

On May 22, 2007, British prosecutors charged Russian former FSB officer Andrei Lugovoi with Mr. Litvinenko's murder.

On June 6, 2007, Tony Blair said that he would not recommend investment in Russia to British companies.

On June 16, the British government awarded official honors to a defector named Oleg Gordiyevsky and the judge Timothy Workman, who turned down Russia's extradition request for Boris Berezovsky and Ahmed Zakayev.

On June 25, the FSB announced that charges had been filed against the former head of the Russian tax police, Vyacheslav Zharko, who was recruited by British intelligence.

On July 5, the Russian General Prosecutor's Office announced (informally) that it would not hand over Mr. Lugovoi.

On July 10, the Russian General Prosecutor's Office formally announced its refusal of the British government's request to extradite Mr. Lugovoi.

Mikhail Zygar

Russophobia, Anglophobia and Lugovoi

The Moscow Times

Friday, July 13, 2007. Issue 3698. Page 8.

By Yevgeny Kiselyov

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There has been much talk in the past couple of days that Russian-British relations is undergoing an unprecedented crisis. According to The Times, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Moscow's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the leading suspect in the killing, "extremely disappointing." Next week, the British Foreign Office will present a report to the British parliament regarding the Alexander Litvinenko murder investigation. As a result, the Foreign Office is preparing a whole series of retaliatory measures against Moscow.

Not surprisingly, Russia has returned the favor. The Russian ambassador to London, Yury Fedotov, accused the British a couple of days ago of Russophobia, and he accused the British police of equating every Russian with the mafia. Fedotov said Britain's animosity toward Russians has become a serious problem. This hatred takes the form of discrimination and harassment against Russians in stores, hotels, restaurants and on the streets across Britain.

To be honest, I haven't heard such rubbish in a long time. I have been to London dozens of times and I haven't encountered any type of Russophobia. On the contrary, the British have always been the epitome of hospitality and courtesy. Maybe I have been lucky during my visits to Britain, but many of my friends, who have lived in London for many years, were surprised, to say the least, when they heard the Russian ambassador's statement.

To be absolutely fair, among our fellow countrymen who travel to London, you can find Russians who have long ago gone berserk after they amassed so much wealth. They squander their money, are openly rude and scandalous, and they make public scenes. And in light of this, Russians complain about how the British look upon them with contempt.

It is good that the British can put the Russian nouveau riche in their place. Their behavior has really gotten out of hand -- so much that it is a disgrace to our country.

But the largest disgrace is what is happening in Moscow. This is where the real Anglophobia gets blown out of proportion. It has reached the level of hysteria: the massive accusations of espionage; the pressure applied to nongovernmental organizations, which have received grants from Britain; the closing of excellent English-language courses sponsored by the British Council; our Nashi riffraff, who terrorized the British Ambassador Tony Brenton with the tacit consent of Russian authorities; and the various anti-British publications in the pro-Kremlin press.

As regards Russia's refusal to extradite Lugovoi, I can agree with this decision in principle because the law should be above everything. And the Constitution, which protects Russian citizens from extradition, should always be observed.

But it seems to me that if our government acted differently, Britain would not have taken the firm position that they have now. It is unfortunate that our so-called "elite" absolutely don't want to understand why the British reacted so sharply to the Litvinenko case. (In reality, the Russian "elite" is no elite at all, but, in most cases, complete rabble, who have no sense of responsibility for the fate of our country and who are concerned only about stuffing their pockets with loads of money and running away to London in time.)

Regardless of how you feel about Litvinenko, a crime has been committed and a person has been killed with a highly radioactive substance. Moreover, dozens of Londoners were subjected to the risk of deadly poisoning. Unlike Russia, British society is not accustomed to a situation where such serious crimes go unsolved (we have the exact opposite situation). In this crime, all of the evidence leads to Russia: The polonium that killed Litvinenko most likely originated from Russia and it is even more likely that Lugovoi executed this killing. Although Russian law prohibits Lugovoi's extradition, it by no means prohibits Russia from carrying out a thorough investigation of Lugovoi's alleged participation in the murder.

What is really going on in this case?

Eight months have passed since we found out that Litvinenko died from polonium-210 poisoning. During this time, the Russian authorities could have easily clarified whether the polonium used in the killing came from the few Russian enterprises that produce this rare substance. Russian law enforcement agencies could have also investigated the many facts quoted in the press that link Lugovoi to Litvinenko's murder.

A confession alone cannot be used as evidence to prove that the accused committed a crime. We learned this hard lesson from the Stalin-era prosecutor, Andrei Vyshinsky, who ordered the execution of thousands of people who confessed to crimes only after being tortured. This is also true for the opposite case: Denying a crime is not sufficient proof of innocence.

Lugovoi's actions remind me of the old Russian saying regarding absolute denial: "This doesn't concern me, I don't have the slightest idea of what you are talking about and I am completely innocent." Lugovoi claims that he has no idea whatsoever how the polonium landed on his body and why his footprints have been found in all the places where he was present -- in London, in Moscow, on board the British Airways flights that he took and even in the British embassy on Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya. Enemies probably planted the polonium.

It seems that all of Lugovoi's words are eagerly accepted as the truth. The Russian prosecutor initiated a criminal case in the Litvinenko murder, but it is impossible to determine his exact status in this case. Is he a witness? An accused? A representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "If we find concrete evidence of Lugovoi's guilt, perhaps we will consider taking legal action against him in Russia, but we haven't received such evidence."

If you read the official records of Berezovsky's and Zakayev's interrogation with Russian investigators in London, you can find out a lot about the way Russian prosecutors are treating this matter. Most of the questions have no relation to the murder investigation whatsoever; they were asked with the obvious intention of finding out more about Berezovsky's acquaintances and their whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Lugovoi held a press conference and claimed that Berezovsky and Litvinenko were recruited into the British intelligence service. It was clear that at this press conference, Lugovoi read a statement prepared for him by someone else, and his statement was broadcasted by major pro-government television stations -- as if it were the highest truth. Moreover, the FSB initiated a criminal case of espionage solely on the basis of Lugovoi's statements, although it failed to state who exactly is the target of the espionage case. The only concrete people that Lugovoi named were Berezovsky and Litvinenko.

I don't want to say that the British intelligence service does not operate in Moscow, for example, under diplomatic cover. They probably do. Just as the Foreign Intelligence Service probably works in London and dozens of other capitals under diplomatic cover. Moreover, I will tell you a startling fact: intelligence officers use people as important sources of information and try to recruit them as agents. We recruit the British. The British recruit Russians. This has always been the case and will be so for a long time. This is the way of the world.

You could fan the flame on these espionage cases, declare agents who are working in Russia legally as persona non grata and kick them out of the country. If we do, the British will answer in the same exact way and we will return to the level of Russian-British relations of the early 1970s, when there were massive reciprocal expulsions of British and Soviet agents working under diplomatic cover.

What is the point of all this? To punish the British for their unwillingness to strip Berezovsky of his status as a political refugee?

Will this obsession by the Russian authorities to nail Berezovsky at all costs turn into insanity?

Again, I am convinced that if the Russian justice had a sincere interest in working with British prosecutors and investigators in order to confirm or deny the accusations against Lugovoi, there would probably be a thaw in the Russian-British crisis. But the exact opposite is happening, and this only strengthens the suspicion that Lugovoi is deeply entangled in the Litvinenko murder and that the Russian authorities are covering up for him.

Yevgeny Kiselyov is a political analyst.

CIA: Legacy of Ashes

Opening Up the CIA
Espionage, covert action and the trouble with 'dangles'
July 14, 2007; Page P8


Legacy of Ashes
By Tim Weiner
Doubleday, 702 pages, $27.95

With great fanfare, the CIA recently released a set of internal reports describing such supposed skeletons in its closet as Castro assassination attempts, illegal break-ins and mind-altering drug experiments on unwitting subjects. As it happens, such "family jewels," as they are known, had been released (or leaked) in the mid-1970s: first to the Rockefeller Commission, then to the Senate's Church Committee (which issued some 14 reports based on them) and then to the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Despite three decades of familiarity, such unsecret secrets again made headlines around the world.

The unwarranted and hyperbolic response to the CIA's new "openness" only underscores how little the public and press really know about the CIA. Fortunately, Tim Weiner's prodigiously researched "Legacy of Ashes" fills in the gaps. Mr. Weiner, a Pulitzer Prize- winning reporter for the New York Times, lays out the agency's 60 years of operation, unearthing many newly declassified reports -- and he details exactly where he found them. He has written a powerful exposé of a secret arm of the American government without using anonymous sources, off-the-record interviews or blind quotes. "Legacy of Ashes" is the best book I've yet read on the CIA's covert actions.

When the Central Intelligence Agency was officially created after World War II, its supreme mission, Mr. Weiner notes, was "to steal Soviet secrets" -- that is, to practice espionage. Of course espionage is no minor matter. It requires building an organization that can approach foreign officials clandestinely and persuade them to betray their government's most prized secrets -- usually in document form. Espionage also means manipulating the careers of such officials so that they can gain access to the documents that are needed and pass them along undetected. The CIA itself thus required an environment of absolute secrecy. The National Security Act of 1947, authorizing the agency, created exactly such an environment.
William Casey, CIA director 1981-87, at a reunion of the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA's forerunner, below a portrait of OSS founder Gen. William Donovan

But once presidents had at their disposal an entity armored by secrecy, they began using it to hide covert actions, including paramilitary operations, that had nothing to do with espionage. Soon enough the CIA became the home for an assortment of executive actions, including coups d'état, attempted assassinations, election-fixing and sabotage. Hence those "family jewels," at one time zealously protected.

It is Mr. Weiner's thesis that housing two such different activities -- espionage and covert action -- under the same roof led to a confusion of the agency's purpose and a shifting of its attention: Over time, the CIA became obsessively concerned with covert action and neglected its (crucial) espionage mission. Mr. Weiner concludes that "the CIA never possessed a single [spy] who had deep insight into the workings of the Kremlin." In nearly a half-century of work, he says, the agency succeeded in recruiting only a handful of Soviet spies "with important information to reveal." Tens of thousands of "clandestine service officers" ended up gathering "the barest threads of truly important intelligence."

Such an assessment runs counter to a more conventional view that claims great success for the CIA in its penetration of the Soviet empire; e.g. its recruiting of Soviet officials such as Pyotr Popov, Oleg Penkovsky, Vitaly Yurchenko, Anatoly Filatov and Adolf Tolkachev. These figures, it is said, provided valuable facts, including revelations by Popov about Soviet enhanced military capabilities in Europe and by Penkovsy about Soviet missile accuracy.

The real issue is what constitutes success in the intelligence game. No doubt those "tens of thousands" of CIA officers worked at recruiting an equivalent number of Soviet-bloc diplomats, scientists and military officers posted at embassies and military missions and at the United Nations. But Soviet intelligence did not sit idly by. It countered U.S. recruitment attempts by dispatching "dangles" -- loyal officials who feigned disloyalty to the Soviet Union in order to sow disinformation and confuse the CIA. And the Soviets through their own recruiting embedded moles -- such as Aldrich Ames at the CIA and Robert Hanssen at the FBI -- within the U.S. intelligence establishment. These spies could identify, in turn, CIA moles among the Soviets.

Thus short-term "success" was often thwarted in the long-term. That was the view of James Jesus Angleton (1917-87), the legendary head of the CIA's counterintelligence staff from the mid-1950s until the mid-1970s. Angleton explained to me before he died that recruiting a Soviet-bloc official was the easy part. The difficult part was winnowing out the "dangles" and then invisibly managing the careers of genuine turncoats so that they could commit useful treason.

Angleton famously believed that many -- if not all -- the Soviets recruited by the CIA were either dangles or compromised agents who might mislead U.S. intelligence. So in the late 1960s Angleton effectively blocked the CIA's Soviet-bloc recruitment efforts by having his counterintelligence staff label supposedly recruited agents unreliable -- since their bona fides had not, in his view, been established. When Angleton was fired on Christmas Eve of 1974, the CIA's Soviet Bloc Division re-opened the recruitment floodgates and was back in the espionage business.

Was Angleton's obsession with moles and disinformation misguided? From the evidence in "Legacy of Ashes," probably not. After Angleton left, the CIA discovered that Aldrich Ames, the agency's own head of counterintelligence for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, had been a KGB mole. And it discovered that it had been receiving Soviet disinformation from myriad sources. One of Mr. Weiner's more stunning revelations is that for eight years (1986-94) a large number of the CIA's highly classified "blue border" reports contained information from CIA recruits who were "controlled by Russian intelligence."

The CIA director signed these blue-border reports -- so called because of their distinctive blue stripes -- and sent them directly to the president, the secretary of defense and the secretary of state. Thus Soviet disinformation from the KGB -- and Russian disinformation after the dissolution of empire -- had routinely made its way to President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton. Mr. Weiner says that, astonishingly, the CIA inspector general, upon looking into this scandal, found that the "senior CIA officers responsible for these reports had known that some of their sources were controlled by Russian intelligence." CIA officials continued to forward the Russian disinformation to the White House because it would be, as Mr. Weiner puts it, "too embarrassing" to admit that the CIA had been so badly deceived.

What distinguishes "Legacy of Ashes" from most other books about the CIA is that it places the agency's assassination attempts, coups d'état and other covert actions within a real political context. By tracing the relations between successive presidents and the CIA, Mr. Weiner refutes the paranoid myth that the agency was an out-of-control, rogue entity or, as some claim, a kind of shadow government. The CIA has always been a carefully honed instrument of executive power.

I do not agree with all of Mr. Weiner's characterizations of CIA officials. I find his portrayal of James Angleton as an incompetent and an alcoholic at odds with the trust that Angleton won over many years from six CIA directors -- including Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Allen W. Dulles, George H.W. Bush and Richard Helms. They kept Angleton in key positions and valued his work. Helms wrote in his autobiography: "In his day, Jim was recognized as the dominant counterintelligence figure in the non-communist world." Such esteem would explain Angleton's long tenure at the CIA.

But such differences of opinion in no way diminish my admiration for what Mr. Weiner has done. "Legacy of Ashes" is a fascinating and revealing history -- a jewel of a book, to borrow a term.

Mr. Epstein is the author of "Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB & the CIA" and, most recently, "The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood."

String of farewells lined up for Kalam

13 Jul, 2007, 1931 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: A string of farewell meetings have been lined up for President A P J Abdul Kalam, who will address the nation two days before he demits office on July 24.

In his farewell speech, the 75-year-old scientist is expected to ask the people to work hard to fulfil one of his cherished dreams -- making India a developed nation by 2020.

Kalam, who may get back to teaching after demitting office, is also likely to appeal to people to guide their children to ensure a better future for the nation.

On July 19, when the nation will closely watch the presidential poll contested by UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil and NDA-backed independent candidate Bharion Singh Shekhawat, the Kalam, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, will host a dinner for the three service chiefs. They in turn will host a dinner for him on July 21.

Kalam, who has several firsts to his credit, will host a tea party for the capital's large press corps on July 20.

A pro-active president, Kalam, during his five-year tenure, created history by becoming the first president to fly in a frontline Sukhoi combat jet, go underwater in a submarine and visit troops in Siachen, the world's highest battlefield.

Kalam, popularly known as a "people's president", will meet the families of all Rashtrapati Bhavan employees on July 21.

Ahead of his farewell address to the nation, Kalam will also host an "at home" to be attended by Vice President Bharion Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders.

The missile man, who made Rashtrapati Bhavan and its work force tech-savvy, transformed the presidential palace's Mughal Garden by introducing fragrant roses and set up a herbal garden.

He has been awarded the coveted Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna (1997).

Kalam - who authored "Wings of Fire", "India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium", "My Journey" and "Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India" - will be given a send off by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and MPs from both Houses on July 23. The Prime Minister will host a dinner in his honour on the same day at Hyderabad House.

Kalam's last official engagement in Rashtrapati Bhavan will be a dinner hosted for the president-elect on July 24, and this will end his stint in Raisina Hills that began on July 25, 2002.

It is not yet clear where Kalam, who has the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions, will stay after the end of his tenure.