Man Arrested While Picking Up His Kids: 'The Problem Is I'm Black'. A controversial video documents the St. Paul resident being harassed and tased. "If you've never experienced arbitrary harassment or brutality at the hands of a police officer, or seen law enforcement act in a way that defies credulity and common sense, it can be hard to believe people who tell stories of inexplicable persecution. As I noted in "Video Killed Trust in Police Officers," the dawn of cheap recording technology has exposed an ugly side of U.S. law enforcement that a majority of people in middle-class neighborhoods never would've seen otherwise..."Topic(s):
The recently declassified FBI and Air Force documents show that in the early stage of the Cold War the US government feared that the Soviet Union was planning an intervention and occupation of Alaska. The US military believed that the Soviet invasion would be airborne, with bombing preceding dropping of paratroopers to Alaska’s major inhabited localities, namely Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome and Seward.
To cope with the eventuality that there was no way to rebuff the invasion, in 1951 FBI director J. Edgar Hoover initiated a highly classified project, code-named "Washtub," organizing a human intelligence network, recruiting and training citizens across Alaska to provide the American military with intelligence in case of war with Moscow.
Under the plan, "stay-behind agents" would hide in so-called survival caches – bunkers loaded with food, warm clothes, message-coding material and radios – and report on enemy movements.
The covert network consisted of fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and people of other professions. But there were restrictions – no one from the indigenous population was included.
“Eskimo, Indian and Aleut groups in the Territory should be avoided in view of their propensities to drink to excess and their fundamental indifference to constituted governments and political philosophies. It is pointed out that their prime concern is with survival and their allegiance would easily shift to any power in control,” insisted the founders of the program.
After being secretly screened by the FBI for disloyalty – at least some recruits were fingerprinted – the recruited citizens were offered up to $3,000 a year fees (equivalent to $30,000 in today’s money) which was supposed to double “after an invasion has commenced.” However, it is not said in the records how much was actually paid to the recruits.
All participants underwent a range of specialized training such as the parachutes, “guerilla techniques and close fighting,” scouting, patrolling, methods of interview and interrogation, “Arctic survival,” and, also coding and decoding messages. The latter did not always go well, as learning these techniques was “an almost impossible task for backwoodsmen to master in 15 hours of training,” one document said.
“Agents should be trained singly and their identities withheld from each other,” the declassified document reads.
The plan suggested organizing “cells” comprised of a principal, a group of agents the principal recruited, and sub-agents recruited by agents “who are not aware of the identity of the principal.”
A typical candidate to become a principal, OSI suggested, would be “a professional photographer in Anchorage” having only one arm and “it if felt that he would not benefit the enemy in any labor battalion.”“Reasonably intelligent, and particularly crafty,” he would also have amateur radio operator skills and be “licensed as a hunting or fishing guide, and [be] well versed in the art of survival.”
“Women will not be used in any operation contemplated by the proposed plan,” the document reads, giving no further explanations.
Being a recruit for the program was acknowledged as a potentially dangerous mission, since the Soviet military doctrine called for the destruction of local resistance in occupied lands. To make up for the possible casualties, a reserve pool of agents was to be kept outside Alaska and brought in to the region by air.
The program was active from 1951 till 1959 and within that time the OSI trained 89 stay-behind agents, Deborah Kidwell, official historian of the body, wrote in the group’s magazine last year, AP reported. The survival caches served peacetime purposes for many years after the program was shut down.
Initiated by the FBI, the program was later led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), becoming OSI's “most extensive and long-running Cold War projects.” The FBI dubbed the project “STAGE”.
The reason why the FBI opted not to lead the project was that agency’s director, Hoover, worried that in case of an invasion of Alaska the FBI would be “left holding the bag.”
"If a crisis arose we would be in the midst of another 'Pearl Harbor' and get part of the blame," Hoover wrote in the margin of a memo from his aide in September 1951, finally ordering: “Get out at once.”
Parallel to the agent program, the US also worked on training a group of civilian operatives in Alaska whose task would be to organize the evacuation of downed military air crews.
“Geletey’s calls to get ready for ‘tens of thousands’ of new victims in what he called ‘Great Patriotic War’ and what in fact is a new punitive operation in his own country are appalling. He only drags the Ukrainian people into a new round of the bloody civil stand-off,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.
Earlier Geletey wrote in his Facebook that the operation “to cleanse Ukraine’s east from terrorists” was over. He, however, proceeded to accuse Russia of direct military involvement in the east that followed the rebels’ “defeat.”
“A big war has come to our home, a war Europe has not seen since WWII,” Geletey wrote alleging that Russia not only attempted to secure its position on the rebel-held territories, but also advance onto other regions.
He said that Moscow - through "unofficial channels" - has “repeatedly threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons” on Ukraine if Kiev continues to resist.
“It is hard to believe that such statements can come from a defense minister of a civilized state. Otherwise, it’s just not clear how tens of thousands of Ukrainian families could entrust this official with lives of their children, brothers and husbands, mobilized into the Ukrainian army to wage a fratricidal war in their own country,” Moscow said, adding that this was a “blatant” attempt on Geletey’s behalf to secure his own post.
Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed there would be "no military intervention by Russia into the conflict in Ukraine".
Lavrov said he hopes that the Monday peace talks held in Minsk will pave the way to agreeing on “an immediate unconditional ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine.
The minister called the peace plan offered by the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko “unrealistic” and called of the US and the EU to persuade Kiev to stop using heavy artillery and airstrikes against the civilian population in the country’s east.
“We assume that the most important thing is for Washington and Brussels to demand Kiev do the same thing they demand in any other conflict: stop using heavy artillery, aviation against the cities, against civilians; not to destroy schools, hospitals,” Lavrov said.
"Greetings on your last September 1, seniors," little Vera Guriyeva wrote on a chalkboard when helping her mom, a history teacher in Beslan school #1, to prepare for the September 1 ceremony.
Her mom got confused: "It sounds creepy." "Yes, but it is their last September 1." So they kept it.
That September 1 became the last one not only for the seniors, but for the entire school and the city.
Beslan is now the only city in Russia where the school year starts on September 5. September 1 is a day of mourning here.
"When I enter this gym, I feel like I’m walking on them. You know, literally on them," Vera Guriyeva’s mom, Nadezhda, whispers.
It’s been 10 years but the wounds are still bleeding.
“Vera died here. Over there, where there is a plinth now, I left my son Boris. My daughter Ira survived. After the tragedy she was berating me because she had had a bad dream the night before but I didn’t have time to listen to her in the morning – I was so busy. In her dream we were visiting our grandfather. We entered the house and there was a coffin there, grandfather died on September 1. So we were there and he was calling Vera and Boris, saying he was cold and asking us to warm him up. Ira was very frightened and I was too preoccupied sorting out questions with my students. Many seniors were late including those involved in the ceremony, there were no presents. And, when finally we were about to start, there they came."
Most people couldn’t believe there were terrorists. It seemed to be a joke, a staged performance. Zarina Tsikhirova recalls she was not in the mood for the ceremony that day.
"My mom talked me into going. My sister was a secondary-school freshman, so I had to show her the new building. We were worried she might get lost. When we were leaving, I stopped and waved at mom. She then said it looked as if I were waving farewell and her heart sank. She even said: ‘There, everything’s OK.’ And when she heard shooting she realized we were in trouble. She told me about it later, but when it happened, I was sitting on the gym floor thinking what I would tell her and how I would explain our being absent for so long. What should I say? Should I say we have been taken hostages? Nobody is going to believe it. How can it be possible? There can’t be any terrorists in Beslan – we have such a peaceful city."
It took a while for Nadezhda Guriyeva to remember her own children were there, too.
"My niece started tugging me by my hand and calling me – that’s when I realized my kids were inside this hell too. I took the girls and we sat under a shield. Boris was at a distance and wanted to join us under the shield but I was begging him to stay put. I saw there were two bombs – one above my head and one near me, but we couldn’t move. Finally, we got together with Boris, and he tried to be very supportive, soothing our little Vera. She didn’t realize what was going on. She even said it was great, they would be dismissed now and no classes would be held. She suggested that we go hang out for a while. She was just a little kid."
They spent three days there – 1,200 people in the school gym. It’s hard to imagine how so many people can fit in a gym.
"The men and seniors were the first ones to be shot. They threw their bodies out of the windows on the second floor. On the second day, they stopped giving water to the hostages. The kids were crying, and the terrorists were threatening to kill those who wouldn’t calm down. By day three we no longer cared," the witnesses recall. They just wanted it to be over.
"On the third day we were absolutely sure we would never come out of that place and would be blown up there. When you see a terrorist holding his foot on a dead man's switch, you know that once he sways or falls asleep we will be blown up. We were so sick of this tension, we just wanted it to end. That’s it. So we were kind of anticipating something to happen. But the expression on the terrorists’ faces seemed relaxed. And then there was an explosion," Zarina remembers.
Nadezhda Guriyeva’s story:
We were down on the ground after the very first shock wave.That’s where I found the pieces of Vera’s dress. She was on fire. My daughter was on fire. When I came round, Ira told me: ‘Mom, everybody’s running.’ I told her to run too if she had any energy for it. It’s so good she stayed. Many started to jump out of the windows but terrorists were shooting them in their backs.
We stayed put. I saw Vera was dead. Boris was all covered in blood but was moving his hands. It took me a while to realize the blood was mine. He was injured heavily but was not bleeding a lot. I tried to pull Boris out – there were other people on top of him. But then they started to move the hostages to another place. Those who couldn’t move would be killed. There was no chance I could lift Boris wrapping my arms around him – he was heavy, I couldn’t drag him all the way through the dead bodies. Moreover, I had two girls with me who were still alive, my daughter and niece, so I had to rescue them. How would they have done it all by themselves without my help? So we left. Boris was later found in a morgue.
It’s hard to believe it, but a lot of people had a premonition before that day. Many people were late for the school ceremony – more than ever before, and it saved these latecomers’ lives. One of the students wrote a poem shortly before that day:
I will go to a place
That has it all, where all is possible,
I’m sick of waiting,
It has become impossible.
Now it has happened
And it’s not too late or too early.
When we were taken hostages, my brother thought the gym had broken into flames, but then the girls and I were out and he felt relieved. 'At least you are alive.' At least we have survived. The hell was over.
But another hell was yet to come. Many started to accuse the teachers of the tragedy. There were all sorts of accusations, including us not showing up for the funeral and being indifferent. 'How can we explain that we were present there too, we had our own children to bury and we were injured as well? But they kept sending us letters with threats.
Still, I understand them. You always want to find fault with somebody – it’s easier this way. Some people blame themselves, others blame everybody around. The survivors also felt guilty – because they had stayed alive. The parents, the fathers blamed themselves for not having saved their kids. I was pointing fingers too, but the thing is there are too many contributors, starting with those who destroyed the Soviet Union.
Some left, some stayed back then. I was saved by the kids – by their love and belief. I find it very hard to talk about it, but it’s very important. I’m convinced that as soon as we forget the lessons of the past, there will be recurrences. We might rarely learn lessons from history but it punishes us hard when we don’t know what it has taught us.
We finished our conversation. Nadezhda Guriyeva gave me a hug and said: "There, there, don’t cry!" She, who had gone through this, was soothing me. The chalkboard on which her daughter 10 years ago wrote "Greetings on your last September 1" is now in a memorial museum.
Lidia Vasilevskaya, RT
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.