Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Sexual entrapment a common tactic": Cuban intelligence services “have perfected the work of placing agents, that includes aggressively targeting U.S. universities..." - Washington Free Beacon

FBI: Cuban Intelligence Aggressively Recruiting Leftist American Academics as Spies, Influence Agents

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An automobile drives by the Capitol in Havana, Cuba
An automobile drives by the Capitol in Havana, Cuba / AP
BY: Bill Gertz 
Cuba’s communist-led intelligence services are aggressively recruiting leftist American academics and university professors as spies and influence agents, according to an internal FBI report published this week.
Cuban intelligence services “have perfected the work of placing agents, that includes aggressively targeting U.S. universities under the assumption that a percentage of students will eventually move on to positions within the U.S. government that can provide access to information of use to the [Cuban intelligence service],” 

the five-page unclassified FBI report says. 

It notes that the Cubans “devote a significant amount of resources to targeting and exploiting U.S. academia.”
“Academia has been and remains a key target of foreign intelligence services, including the [Cuban intelligence service],” the report concludes.
One recruitment method used by the Cubans is to appeal to American leftists’ ideology. “For instance, someone who is allied with communist or leftist ideology may assist the [Cuban intelligence service] because of his/her personal beliefs,” the FBI report, dated Sept. 2, said.
Others are offered lucrative business deals in Cuba in a future post-U.S. embargo environment, and are treated to extravagant, all-expense paid visits to the island.
Coercive tactics used by the Cubans include exploiting personal weaknesses and sexual entrapment, usually during visits to Cuba.
The Cubans “will actively exploit visitors to the island” and U.S. academics are targeted by a special department of the spy agency.
“This department is supported by all of the counterintelligence resources the government of Cuba can marshal on the island,” the report said. “Intelligence officers will come into contact with the academic travelers. They will stay in the same accommodations and participate in the activities arranged for the travelers. This clearly provides an opportunity to identify targets.”
In addition to collecting information and secrets, Cuban spies employ “influence operations,” the FBI said.
“The objective of these activities can range from portraying a specific image, usually positive, to attempting to sway policymakers into particular courses of action,” the report said.
Additionally, Cuban intelligence seeks to plant disinformation or propaganda through its influence agents, and can task recruits to actively disseminate the data. Once recruited, many of the agents are directed to entering fields that will provide greater information access in the future, mainly within the U.S. government and intelligence community.
The Cubans do not limit recruitments to “clandestine agents,” the report said. Other people who do not have access to secrets are co-opted as spies because of their political position or political views that can be exploited for supporting Cuban goals, either as open supporters or unwitting dupes.
“Some of these individuals may not be told openly that they are working for the [Cuban intelligence service], even though it may not be too hard for them to figure out,” the report said. “The relationship may openly appear to be a benign, mutually beneficial friendship.”
Chris Simmons, a retired spycatcher for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Cuban intelligence has long targeted U.S. academics. For example, Havana assigned six intelligence officers to assist Council on Foreign Relations Latin Affairs specialist Julia E. Sweig in writing a 2002 book on the Cuban revolution, he said.
“College campuses are seen as fertile grounds for the recruitment of the ‘next generation’ of spies,” Simmons said. “Cuba heavily targets the schools that train the best candidates for U.S. government jobs, like Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University.”
One goal of the Cubans is to recruit students prior to federal employment, a method that allows Havana to direct a recruited agent into targeted key spy targets, like Congress or the FBI, Simmons said.
“A preferred target are ‘study abroad’ programs in Cuba, as participating students are assessed as inherently sympathetic to the Cuban revolution,” Simmons said.
Cuban intelligence has recruited numerous spies in the past that became long-term penetration agents inside the U.S. government. According to the CI Centre, a think tank, there have been 25 Cuban spies uncovered in the United States since the 1960s, including former CIA officer Philip Agee to who defected and worked closely with both Cuban intelligence and the Soviet KGB starting in 1973.
One of the most notorious Cuban spy cases involved Ana Montes, a senior analyst who worked in the highest levels of the U.S. intelligence and policymaking communities.
Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, pleaded guilty in 2002 to spying for Cuba for 17 years. She is serving a 25-year prison term.
Montes was recruited by Cuban intelligence in 1984 while a student at the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she was a graduate student and had voiced her hatred of the then-Reagan administration policy of backing anti-communist rebels fighting the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
She was recruited at SAIS by another Cuban spy, Marta Rita Velazquez, who worked for U.S. Agency for International Development and fled the country after Montes was arrested in 2001.
Two other notable Cuban spies were Walter Kendall Myers, a State Department Foreign Service contractor who worked for Cuban intelligence from 1979 to 2007, and his wife Gwen Myers. They were recruited after visiting Cuba. Walter Myers was a leftist who criticized “American imperialism” in a diary entry after visiting Cuba. He held a top-secret security clearance and in 2010 was sentenced to life in prison after a conviction for spying.
Cuba’s spy agencies “actively target academia to recruit agents and to support Cuban influence operations.”
“Unfortunately, part of what makes academic environments ideal for enhancing and sharing knowledge also can assist the efforts of foreign intelligence services to accomplish their objectives,” the report concludes. “This situation is unlikely to change, but awareness of the methods used to target academia can greatly assist in neutralizing the efforts of these foreign intelligence services.”
The FBI report was based largely on testimony from José Cohen,

 a former officer of the Cuban Intelligence Directorate, known by its Spanish acronym as DGI, who defected in 1994.
The targeting of American spies takes place at schools, colleges, universities, and research institutes. “Cuban intelligence services are known to actively target the U.S. academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities,” the FBI said.
The academic world, because of its openness and need for networking, “offers a rich array of targets attractive to foreign intelligence services,” the report said, noting that U.S. government institutions draw on academia for personnel, both for entry level staffing and for consultation from established experts.
Cuban intelligence seeks leftists and others sympathetic to Cuba’s communist regime because it lacks funds needed to pay recruited agents, the report said.
The process includes targeting American and Cuban-American academics, recruiting them if possible and eventually converting them into Cuban intelligence agents.
Cuban front groups also are used to recruit spies in the United States, including a network of collaborators and agents in Cuba that make contact with counterparts in the United States.
Specific universities in Washington and New York that were not specified by the FBI are targets because they are close to Cuban intelligence posts in those cities.
An example of the recruitment effort was provided to the FBI by a “self-admitted Cuban intelligence” officer outlining how a spy is recruited at a U.S. university.
“The Cuban intelligence officers located at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York, New York, or the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., obtain a published work by a specific professor or student … from a university the [Cubans] are monitoring,” the report said.
A Cuban control agent in Havana studies the work and works together with a co-opted Cuban academic and together the pair analyzes published material and forms a plan of action that may include a personal letter to the targeted individual in the United States.
“The letter will suggest a ‘genuine’ interest in starting a friendship or contact regarding the topic of the article,” the report said. “The personal letter becomes a pretext for the Cuban intelligence officer stationed in the United States to use for initial contact with the targeted individual.”
A Cuba spy posing as a diplomat develops a relationship with the academic that can last months or years of assessing motivations, weaknesses, and current future and access to information.
In some cases, the Cubans use compromising video or audio and sexual entrapment to develop U.S. spies.
“Ultimately, when the time is right, the plan will be executed and the targeted individual will be approached and formally asked to help the government of Cuba,” the report said.
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Intelligence in World History, c. 1500-1918

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Veranstalter:Deutsches Historisches Institut London; International Programmes, Pembroke College, Cambridge
Datum, Ort:06.02.2014–08.02.2014, London
Bericht von:
Tobias Graf, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
E-Mail: <>
On 6–8 February 2014, the German Historical Institute London hosted the conference “Intelligence in World History, c. 1500-1918” in collaboration with the International Programmes at Pembroke College, Cambridge. For a long time, the history of intelligence has been a poor relation to the study of international relations. On the whole, historians have tended to pay relatively little attention to the kinds of information at the disposal of those who made decisions about war and peace and even less to the methods by which such decision makers acquired the information which underlay the decisions they took. Yet few would question that it did matter what decision makers knew about the world which they reacted to, shaped, and attempted to control. The meeting was organized by Christopher Andrew (Cambridge), Andreas Gestrich (GHIL), Tobias Graf (Heidelberg), Daniel Larsen (Cambridge), and Sönke Neitzel (London) in order to stimulate exchange between historians working on intelligence organizations and issues across traditional boundaries of periodical and regional specialization and thus gain a better understanding of what might provocatively be called the ‘long’ early modern period of intelligence services.
The event opened with a keynote lecture by CHRISTOPHER ANDREW (Cambridge), the official historian of the British Security Service (MI5), in which he provided a sweeping overview of the development of secret intelligence in Europe from the Renaissance to the end of the First World War. He highlighted the general lack of awareness of the history of intelligence across the ages. In particular, rapid advances in techniques and technologies since the early twentieth century obscure the fact that, for centuries, the West had been far behind its competitors in Asia and the Middle East, particularly in the field of cryptology. Here, European states began to take the lead only gradually from the sixteenth century onwards. These advances, however, remained geographically and chronologically uneven.
Sir RICHARD DEARLOVE (Cambridge), former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), complemented the historian’s overview with insights from his own experience as an intelligence professional. Crucially, the need of intelligence services for secrecy provides a major obstacle to developing a historical understanding of its activities and role, even for professionals themselves. The same need for secrecy also largely prevents writing the history of intelligence as a human history, even as, not least because of the continued importance of human intelligence, the human factor looms large in the activities and performance of intelligence services.
Sir CHRISTOPHER BAYLY (Cambridge) opened the first thematic session by placing intelligence in a wider framework. Focusing on British India, he highlighted the importance of knowledge management for both the colonial government and those who provided resistance to it. The colonial state could not function without tapping into pools of what Bayly calls ‘mundane knowledge’. This form of knowledge collection from local knowledge communities and – from the nineteenth century onwards – newspapers provided a central element of British colonial intelligence.
CENGIZ KIRLI (Istanbul) explained how the Ottoman state in the nineteenth century, particularly during the rule of Abdülhamid II (1876-1909), attempted to tap into precisely such knowledge communities by conducting systematic surveillance of the population in the capital. While such activities had been an integral part of Ottoman governance in previous centuries, they had remained sporadic. Under Abdülhamid, what had originally been a means for identifying and silencing dissent, now served the wider purpose of gathering information as well as monitoring public opinion, which, as Kırlı argued, ultimately opened policy-making to the influence of subjects’ political wishes.
Moving back in time to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, MIA RODRÍGUEZ-SALGADO (London), IOANNA IORDANOU (Warwick), and TOBIAS GRAF (Heidelberg) showed that well-organized and often bureaucratic intelligence services had come into being long before the emergence of the modern nation state. The comparison between the Venetian and Austrian-Habsburg intelligence organizations in the Ottoman Empire on the one hand and their Spanish-Habsburg counterpart are particularly instructive. While in the former resident ambassadors in Istanbul took the lead by virtue of their office, the Spanish Habsburgs, lacking formal diplomatic relations with the Sublime Porte, relied on networks of spies and informants run from the fringes of their empire. However, as Rodríguez-Salgado pointed out, such a degree of organizational sophistication was rarely permanent. Rather, agencies and networks developed in response to specific threats and fell into disuse once these threats had dissipated. Only Venice’s intelligence apparatus, which Iordanou showed to have been institutionalized in a single centralized office early on in the sixteenth century, presented an exception from this rule.
This is not to say that intelligence was deemed unimportant – on the contrary. Taking the eighteenth-century electors of Saxony August II and August III, who also were kings of Poland in personal unions, as a starting point, ANNE-SIMONE ROUS (Dresden) emphasized just how important intelligence was to early modern rulers as an element of secret diplomacy. Drawing on her case studies, she suggested a refined model of secret diplomacy which divides pertinent activities into three categories according to their aims and means: defensive, offensive, and aggressive.
The contributions by KARL DE LEEUW (Amsterdam) and NEIL KENT (Cambridge) presented historical precedents for the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US. Already during the Nine Years’ War (1688-97), William III of England (r. 1689-1702) and Stadtholder in the Dutch Republic (r. 1672-1702) relied heavily on postal interception and codebreaking in England, the Netherlands, and Hanover to thwart French military and diplomatic efforts. However, as de Leeuw showed, even as Great Britain and the Netherlands intensified their military cooperation over the course of the eighteenth century, their former intelligence alliance turned into rivalry out of fear that they were pursuing conflicting interests. Kent, in contrast, demonstrated that, as a direct result of the dynastic connection, Great Britain and Hanover maintained an intelligence alliance throughout the eighteenth century. In spite of intelligence being tainted by its reputation as ‘dirty work’ at the time, in his various government positions, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1693-1768), excelled in putting it to good use, especially to keep the so-called Jacobites, the supporters of the Stuart dynasty which had been deposed in 1688, and their French allies at bay.
Russia provided the geographical focus for the penultimate session which opened with SVETLANA LOKHOVA’s (Cambridge) presentation of rare and previously unused material from the archives of the Okhrana, the tsarist intelligence service. DOMINIC LIEVEN (Cambridge) undertook an instructive diachronic comparison of Russian intelligence during the Napoleonic Wars and on the eve of the First World War. Counterintuitively, as a result of the service’s professionalization by 1914, Russian intelligence had been more effective in the earlier period. While Russian ‘agents’ by virtue of their social status freely mingled with the French elite in the early nineteenth century, professional intelligence officers in the latter period had been deprived of this possibility by their specialization. This is reflective of a wider social reconfiguration which resulted in the separation of the largely overlapping premodern elites into more strongly separated segments of political, military, and social elites.
CALDER WALTON (London) highlighted the importance of the colonial experience for the development of intelligence services in Europe. This was especially, though not exclusively, true of the UK where the majority of the personnel in the domestic security and foreign intelligence services had a colonial background. These officers brought with them innovative ideas and practices such as fingerprinting which had been developed and successfully implemented in the colonies.
That the role of intelligence very much depends on a country’s political culture became clear from DANIEL LARSEN’s (Cambridge) presentation on the role of secrecy in the US before, during, and after the First World War. From publishing all official correspondence on foreign relations in the 1860s, the State Department gradually began to appreciate the importance of keeping information secure to the extent of developing an obsession with secrecy by the beginning of the Cold War. This development did not continue uninterruptedly, however. In the early 1930s laxity of security for diplomatic correspondence had almost reverted to its pre-First World War state.
All contributors highlighted the importance of intelligence for the study of political history while pointing out that this dimension has so far been understudied. The reason for this is perhaps not so much the dearth of source material, but most historians’ focus on the outcomes, rather than the mechanisms, of decision-making. Different historiographical traditions in the UK and Germany, as a member of the audience pointed out, explain why British historians seem relatively fascinated by the history of intelligence while the same field has thus far received little attention in Germany. In a context in which history is concerned less with the search for underlying grand narratives, but regarded first and foremost as a sequence of events, it may simply be more credible to believe that intelligence made a difference.
Taken together, the presentations seem to validate this point. Initially, the organizers had hoped that the conference would shed new light on currently ill-understood long-term processes such as the professionalization of intelligence services and their development into distinct bureaucratic agencies. If anything, the papers have shown that there is no clear underlying historical trajectory, but that intelligence services emerged, expanded, contracted, and disbanded according to the needs of the day. Perhaps, then, one important contribution which intelligence history can make to the discipline of history at large is to shed further doubt on the validity of modernization theory as a framework for the study of the past.
Conference Overview
Keynote lecture
Chair: Andreas Gestrich (London)
Christopher Andrew (Cambridge), Intelligence in World History from the Renaissance to the First World War
Sir Richard Dearlove (Cambridge), The Status of Intelligence History
Session 1
Chair: Christopher Andrew (Cambridge)
Sir Christopher Bayly (Cambridge), Knowledge, Information and Intelligence in Colonial India and beyond
Cengiz Kırlı (Istanbul), Intelligence in the Late Ottoman Empire
Session 2
Chair: Tobias Graf (Heidelberg)
Mia Rodríguez-Salgado (London), Intelligence in the Spanish Monarchy in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries
Ioanna Iordanou (Warwick), What News on the Rialto? Spies, Informants and the Myth of Venice in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Session 3
Chair: Peter Martland (Cambridge)
Tobias Graf (Heidelberg), Austrian-Habsburg Intelligence on the Ottomans in the Late Sixteenth Century
Anne-Simone Rous (Dresden), Saxon Intelligence in the Eighteenth Century
Session 4
Chair: Sönke Neitzel (London)
Karl De Leeuw (Amsterdam), Anglo-Dutch Intelligence Collaboration and Rivalry during the War of the Spanish Succession and Its Aftermath, 1704–1716
Neil Kent (Cambridge), Hanoverian Intelligence: Thwarting the Jacobites and France
Session 5
Chair: Neil Kent (Cambridge)
Svetlana Lokhova (Cambridge), From Okhrana to Cheka: Revelations from Russian Archives
Dominic Lieven (Cambridge), Russian Intelligence in the Napoleonic Era and on the Eve of World War I: A Comparison
Session 6
Chair: Sönke Neitzel (London)
Calder Walton (London), Victoria’s Secrets: Intelligence and the British Empire up to the First World War
Daniel Larsen (Cambridge), Intelligence and the United States in the Nineteenth Century to 1918
Concluding Discussion
Chair: Sönke Neitzel (London) 
Intelligence in World History, c. 1500-1918.
 06.02.2014–08.02.2014, London, in: H-Soz-u-Kult, 05.09.2014,
Copyright (c) 2014 by H-Net, Clio-online, and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact H-SOZ-U-KULT@H-NET.MSU.EDU.
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Federal investigation finds Alaska Guard 'not properly administering justice'; general resigns

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A federal investigation requested by Gov. Sean Parnell has found significant problems within the ranks of the Alaska National Guard, years after allegations of mishandling of rapes, sexual misconduct and other offenses had begun to surface.
The assessment, conducted by the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations and released Thursday by Parnell's office, found “several instances of fraud,” “actual and perceived favoritism, ethical misconduct …” and that the Alaska National Guard “is not properly administering justice.”
Also on Thursday, Parnell sought and received the resignation of Alaska National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Thomas Katkus, adjutant general and commissioner of Alaska’s Division of Military and Veteran Affairs.
“This culture of mistrust and failed leadership in the Guard ends now,” Parnell said.
Of particular concern leading up to the investigation was whether sexual assault cases were being properly handled. The OCI’s 229-page report stemming from its nearly six-month-long investigation found that while the Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program is “well organized,” “victims do not trust the system due to an overall lack of confidence in the command.”
“I am extremely frustrated and I am angry that it has taken this long to get to the bottom of these issues. In hindsight it clearly should not have taken this long and I offer my deepest apologies,” Parnell said during a late-afternoon press conference at his Anchorage office. “There are a whole range of people who have been hurt and who deserve this to be made right.”
Parnell declined to say whether he felt Katkus was personally involved in any of the enumerated misconduct and failings. People can draw their own conclusions from the report, he said, adding that as the Guard’s leader, Katkus had ultimate responsibility for what transpired under his watch.
However, the report notes Katkus’ unusual position relative to the Alaska National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention commander. OCI’s investigators found a high level of misconduct within that division, including “misuse of government vehicles, fraud, adultery, inappropriate relationships and sexual assault.”
Additionally, Recruiting and Retention had been previously investigated for weapons smuggling, rape and drug trafficking. Lack of evidence and lack of jurisdiction resulted in the cases going nowhere.
During those investigations, the Recruiting and Retention commander reported directly to Katkus, an arrangement described as “deviation from the normal reporting chain.”
This unique reporting structure, combined with reports that the Recruiting and Retention commander was Katkus’ friend and neighbor, created “a perception that this commander was invulnerable.”
Citing an Army regulation that requires senior officials to be investigated by the Army inspector general, the OCI stated it did not investigate the validity of the allegations concerning Katkus and the commander. But the report does state the OCI forwarded allegations of misconduct among senior leaders to the inspector general with oversight of those individuals.
In a separate line of inquiry, the report found that senior leaders were often aware of allegations about “inappropriate relationships and fraternizations,” but because the adjutant general -- Katkus -- believed that the Alaska National Guard was “not the morality police,” allegations were not addressed until the alleged conduct became more severe.
Katkus had led the Guard for five years, a post he assumed after serving in the Guard for more that 30 years and two decades as an Anchorage police officer.
Alaska Army Guard Brig. Gen. Mike Bridges will serve as acting commissioner until Katkus’ replacement is named. Additional staff changes are expected as Parnell further reviews the command structure.
Parnell called for a special investigation by OCI in February, saying he’d grown “deeply concerned” about reports of sexual assaults and other behavior within the Guard. He asked that investigators include fraud cases in their review and that the Guard’s command structure also undergo scrutiny.
Parnell said Thursday that while other investigations had been conducted over the years, including by the National Guard Bureau and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Defense, those reviews had failed to illustrate the depth and scope of the problem or establish the patterns of behavior found in this most recent investigation. Characterizing this newest investigation as “extensive,” Parnell said it included a review of both the Army and Air National Guards, thousands of records and more than 185 interviews.
Formed in 2012, the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations was created to handle complex administrative matters and sexual assaults, crimes that military criminal investigators and organizations had rarely looked into due to a lack of jurisdiction. Oversight of criminal matters involving Guard members falls to the state. The NGB assembled the OCI with specially trained, hand-picked sexual assault investigators to try to fill the gap.
In requesting the team of Outside investigators, Parnell noted that he was concerned about a “hostile environment and culture” within sections of the Guard, and of harm not only to the wellbeing of victims but also to the Guard as a whole, whose morale and mission were at stake.

Laundry list of findings

The final assessment from the Office of Complex Investigations focused on a range of topics: sexual assault, hostile work environment, fraud, coordination with law enforcement, misconduct and command climate.
Since 2006, the Alaska National Guard has received 37 reports of sexual assault, some of which were investigated by the Guard but most of which were referred to local law enforcement.
The report found that from 2007 to 2011, the Alaska National Guard did not manage sexual assault cases well. Records were not properly maintained or tracked, victims and leaders often were not given case updates, victims were not offered treatment services, and victim information was not kept as confidential as it should have been.
In 2011, a position was created for a trained and qualified sexual assault prevention and response coordinator. According to the OCI report, many of the deficiencies identified in the prior years have been corrected. The program is effective, the coordinator is organized, cases are tracked and victims seem generally satisfied with the support they have received.
Still, perceptions remain, according to the report, that victim information won’t remain confidential, that cases won’t be managed well and that victims may be perceived as weak if they come forward. Such perceptions, the report found, are ongoing barriers to sexual assault reporting.
Investigators also found instances of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual conduct, including drawings of male genitalia inside aircraft panels, flight instructors having sex with students, and senior leaders sending harassing and inappropriate text messages. Although witnesses reported the conduct, no action occurred as a result.
The OCI found that the Alaska Air National Guard was suffering from “hostile climate issues,” stemming from a “general pattern of inappropriate behavior that was not being addressed by the leadership.” Examples included the “public display of nude pictures, sexual innuendo and inappropriate touching” within the workplace.
Spanish-speaking Guard members, many from Puerto Rico and serving in Alaska at Fort Greely, told investigators they’d experienced other difficulties. Leaders had told them they weren’t allowed to speak Spanish in the “operational” area, a violation of Army policy if the communication is personal and unrelated to military functions.
Inappropriate use of government travel and purchase cards was uncovered, as was one incident of embezzlement and a separate incident involving the misuse of equipment, including a helicopter, and personnel for personal gain. More oversight is needed, investigators found, to detect and prevent fraud.
The investigative team also found that while there were many kinds of misconduct (failed urinalysis, alcohol violations, sexual assault, assault, fraud, etc.), there “was a lack of consistency in the tracking of various cases ...” and “a lack of consistent punishment for like offenses.”
Finally, recent surveys of the command climate indicated that Guard members think there continue to be barriers to reporting sexual assaults. These include concerns about social retaliation, lack of confidence in leadership and justice, lack of privacy and trust.
In the last 12 months alone, the surveys, conducted early this summer, uncovered 200 incidents of perceived discrimination or sexual harassment. Fear of retaliation prevented many respondents from filing complaints.
“Overall, the survey reveals a perception of lack of leadership integrity within all levels of command,” investigators wrote in their final report.
It also suggests a culture tolerant of ethical misconduct and a willingness to look the other way or measure out lighter punishment when the wrongdoers were commanders or senior enlisted members: for example, allowing reprimanded senior personnel to retire at their current grade or continue service and relocate to another division.

Cleaning up

Changing the culture within the Alaska National Guard, and creating systems that are responsive to complaints and protect witness privacy, will require ongoing work.
The Office of Complex Investigations made numerous suggestions. To implement the recommendations, Parnell said, he will create an independent “Special Project Team,” which he has asked the National Guard Bureau to help staff.
Suggested fixes include shifting the culture around sexual assault from one of acceptance to one of accountability; providing adequate resources and personnel to staff equal employment and judge advocate positions; improving training; tracking by the Guard of all police investigations concerning allegations of misconduct and taking appropriate administrative actions; reviewing how money is managed and ongoing anti-fraud reviews; addressing claims of ethical and moral misconduct; increasing transparency to reinforce that justice is being pursued; protecting victims of discrimination and sexual assault from being re-victimized.
“Between me and my office’s multiple follow-ups with Guard leadership on these matters between 2010 and 2014, and our congressional delegation’s independent reviews by different agencies, I am extremely frustrated that it took so long to get to the root of these issues. Our Alaska Guard members deserve better; and those who have brought complaints forward deserve better,” Parnell said Thursday.
“My goal now is to continue Alaska’s wholehearted support for our National Guard members in those things they do so well, and to transform it in areas identified by the Guard Bureau’s findings as needing change.”
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Ukraine War, and Putin’s Comments, Stir Worry in Kazakhstan

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At a summer camp north of Moscow attended by youth vetted and groomed by Kremlin-sponsored organizations, Russian President Vladimir Putin was warmly welcomed when he visited recently, taking questions from campers, including one about Kazakhstan. After complimenting longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, Putin then insulted him, dismissing the history of Central Asia’s largest country. “He created a state in a territory that had never had a state before,” Putin said during the Aug. 29 visit, according to a Kremlin transcript. "The Kazakhs never had any statehood. He created it.”  The comment touched a major nerve in Kazakhstan, where Russian actions in Ukraine are being watched with fear and where ethnic Russians make up nearly one-quarter of the population. It came also as Nazarbayev himself signaled doubts about a Kremlin-led project called the Eurasian Economic Union, a project whose rejection by Ukraine set in motion the events that have led to war. That all former Soviet republics have been spooked by Russia’s actions in Ukraine is without question. The bigger question is how much those actions have changed Moscow’s relationships with those countries, and whether the United States benefits from it, analysts said.  'Crimea Was Our 9/11' For elites in Central Asia—intellectuals, policy makers, business leaders, high-placed government officials—Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the military operations in eastern Ukraine were shocking,  according to Jeffrey Mankoff, a Russia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who traveled to the region in April “Crimea was our 9/11,” Mankoff said he was told during his trip. “It’s an event that causing a lot of rethinking around the region.” “If there’s one country that’s worried about redrawing borders, it’s Kazakhstan,” he said. In Kazakhstan, a sprawling nation that shares borders with China and Russia and is nearly twice the size of Alaska, Nazarbayev has reigned since before the Soviet collapse, and consistently walked a fine line with Moscow. He’s been involved in negotiations to end the fighting in Ukraine, traveling to the Belarusian capital Minsk on Aug. 26 to meet with Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko. On the eve of his trip, though, Nazarbayev told a Kazakh TV channel that Kazakhstan’s membership in the Economic Union was not set in stone. “If the rules spelled out in the agreement aren’t followed, Kazakhstan has the full right to refuse membership in the Eurasian union,” he said. Kazakhstan “will never be part of an organization that presents a threat to (our) independence. Our independence is the greatest treasure for which our forefathers fought. We will do everything possible to defend that.” Nazarbayev’s comments “were probably more of a reassurance to Kazakhs rather than a thumbing their nose at Putin,” said Martha Brill Olcott, a longtime Central Asia scholar with close ties to many elites in the region. Still, “this has to be annoying Putin.” At the youth camp near the town of Seliger, three days later, Putin gave what appeared to a retort that, to many Kazakhs and academics, trivialized and misconstrued Kazakh history. He also spoke of the “Eurasian idea” and insisted Kazakhs see the benefit to “remaining in the space of the larger Russian world.” Kazakh Umbrage In the days that followed, Kazakhs lit up Internet chat rooms, online media and Twitter feeds. Videos uploaded to YouTube showed Kazakhs abrading drivers in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty for having Russian flags on the cars’ dashboards. Nargis Kassenova, who heads the Central Asian Studies Center at KIMEP University in Almaty, said a number of Kazakh experts think Putin’s comments were a direct response to Nazarbayev’s interview. “The comments and especially the one on lack of statehood raised even more suspicions of Russian intentions since it was the discourse on lack of proper statehood in Ukraine that accompanied Russian actions there,” she said in an email interview. Calls and emails to the Kazakh Embassy in Washington seeking further comment were not immediately returned. Putin appeared to have two goals, Olcott said: “One, he’s trying to get Nazarbayev’s goat and two, any Russian living in Kazakhstan would agree with him. Kazakhstan has one of the largest populations of ethnic Russians living outside of Russia: just under 25 percent, according to the 2009 census.  In some northern regions bordering Russia, however, ethnic Russians make up close to half of residents, outnumbering even Kazakhs. Bilateral trade is among the largest for post-Soviet republics, and Kazakh oil and gas extraction is growing substantially, particularly in the multinational-run Caspian Sea fields where Chevron has major investments. Lacking access to international maritime routes, Kazakhstan is overwhelmingly dependent on Russia pipelines for export. And the Kremlin seems to be turning the union into a way to keep wayward republics from going the route of Ukraine, said Alexander Cooley, a Columbia University scholar and author of the 2012 book “Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia.” “Kazakhstan never wanted to be exclusively partnering with Russia. Now, they’re changing borders. Why can’t they change the rules of this organization,” Cooley said. “It’s credibility as a legal organization is in doubt. How could it not be, given what’s happening in Ukraine.” For the United States, Central Asia holds less importance than it did during the war in Afghanistan when U.S. military personnel and equipment transited the region. That’s changed with the wind-down in Afghanistan. Still, where Washington is concerned, keeping Kazakhstan from being stuck under Moscow’s thumb is beneficial. “Anything that projects Kazakhstan in the international arena, rather than strictly a post-Soviet space, would be useful to the US interests,” Cooley said.

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American murdered in burglary in Vieques

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By Miguel Rivera Puig, THE SPOKESMAN - 8:17 am
VIEQUES - A group of CIC officers and soldiers arrived in this island municipality by the Superintendent José Luis Caldero and Colonel Juan Caceres, area commander Detective Fajardo, to initiate the investigation of the last two murders yesterday and a series of thefts .
The last of the victims was the continental Gregory Ian Mackintosh, who became the fourth citizen killed in less than a week amid the unstoppable wave of home burglaries that extends across the country.
The officers had received several confidences and sought heels step on the suspects.
The police officers received a call at 9:31 last night, where it was reported a murder in the guesthouse Away Guest House in Captain Bravo end street neighborhood of Boston.
Mackintosh, who was 58 years old, a native of North Carolina was shot dead on the balcony of the second floor of each guest. Last week thieves raided a couple of tourists in one of the houses he owned for rent to tourists, which led them $ 500 in cash and other property.
The murder was the second to be recorded in this island municipality on Tuesday.
At 5:15 pm on Monday, two armed masked men assaulted Marinés Columbus on his home in the city destination in Vieques. The robbers ordered him to open the safe where two pistols and two revolvers were carried. The assailants took bullets, an "iPhone," an "iPad", a computer and a Jeep Wrangler.
Last Thursday the body was found bound and beaten Irish Gary Power Hatswell 65 years of age, at home on the road The Lugo, in the La Hague in Lajas. For this case a marriage and two men are in custody awaiting the filing of charges.
In the early hours of Sunday resort employees Tourist residential Villa Beach # 2, they found in his apartment the body of septuagenarian Julio Dávila Diaz. The victim was the lender.
In the La Barra in Caguas, was killed Sunday Andrés Díaz Robles, 56 years old, while resisting a robbery outside his home.
In other events last night, five armed individuals entered a residence on the street Yunque, in the Summit Hills Urbanization, in San Juan at 10:53 pm and robbed by threat of a computer and several cell to a family that He was terrified.
At 4:30 am today armed robbers entered a home in the fifth section of Levittown, Toa Baja forcing the back gate. Gagged and tied up the victim and seized cash was not specified.
By mid-afternoon yesterday and a residence in the neighborhood Algarrobo Vega Baja thieves appropriated a range hood, oven, nine windows, two freezer, refrigerator, electric cable, eight glasses, four glass doors two air conditioners, two machines pruning program two trimmer and machine washing.
The stolen property was valued at $ 18.399.
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Ceasefire? Shelling, gunfire in Ukraine

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Sporadic shelling and machine gunfire rang out early Sunday on the outskirts of a key Ukrainian city, straining a fragile ceasefire between the government and pro-Russian separatists.
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Who's breaking the ceasefire? 

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In Ukraine, both sides are accusing each other of breaking the fragile ceasefire.
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Ukraine crisis accelerates Russia-China energy cooperation - Zee News

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Ukraine crisis accelerates Russia-China energy cooperation
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