Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Red Stix: GRU and International Organised Crime: "Russian organised crime operations at home and abroad are not independent at all: they are controlled and run by the intelligence services..."



Quiet Flows Chthonic Stix, 
Sewer Stench Above It Stinks!


The Dark Flows Of The Red Stix



We hear a lot about the Russian Mafia and its links with the Russian State. Remember how the US State Department’s Wikileaks transcript described Russia as a Mafia State? What we don’t hear so much about is how it operates and what is being done about tackling it. Is enough being done, and if not, why not? - Tackling Russian Trans National Organised Crime




    The New Underworld Order: Triumph of Criminalism the ...












  1. https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1899798056
    Christopher Story - 2003 - ‎Corruption
    Russian organised criminal operations at home and abroad are not ... elaborating on earlier leaks from US authorities to the effect that Russian [GRU-linked] 'organised crime figures' had been contributing to the campaign funds of prominent  ... 

PDF]THE NEW UNDERWORLD ORDER by Christopher Story

exopolitics.blogs.com/.../the-new-underworld-order-christopher-story.pd...

THE NEW UNDERWORLD ORDER is a world in which official criminality, driven by bribery and .... Since The Order of the Illuminati is Luciferian and is engaged in criminaloperations worldwide ...... Mysteries' prescriptions would triumph.

M.N.: I think that the author is "crazy" in his attempt at "exposing the Luciferian conspiracy" but he reveals some interesting facts in his rare moments of lucidity. 
See pages: 
88: 

89: 


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Red Mafiya: Robert I. Friedman: 9780425186879: Amazon.com: Books 


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See pages: 90, 91, 92: 



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93: Nota Bene: 


See pages: 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101. 

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Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West: Christopher Story, Joseph D. Douglass, Ray S. Cline: 9781899798049: Amazon.com: Books 


"'Two trillion+ dollars a year (a conservative figure, as noted) over the past two decades, excluding interest, would imply that more than $40 trillion will have been added to the wealth of the global criminal classes, including the managers and representatives of Lenin's continuing world socialist revolution. Most of this money has been invested in property, bonds and stocks, and each year a further trillion or more dollars is added to the pool. Given that these data are believed by some experts to understate the position, the probable value of accrued drug money lodged in the international financial system now exceeds this $40 trillion estimate by a considerable margin. The associated corruption among financial institutions, investment advisory services (including stock brokerage houses and mutual funds), prestigious law firms, and among the political classes, has by now long since reached epidemic proportions. And this transformation has been accompanied by minimal publicity, with the exception of extensively publicised, but intermittent, 'drug busts'...'.

'It is critical for the survival of Western civilisation, and in order to slow down its rapid descent into pervasive, corrosive globalised criminality and corruption, which is the grim outlook for the 21st century, that Western countries begin, even at this late hour, to understand the true nature of the illegal drug crisis - which means correctly analysing its sources, especially its political origins, its enabling mechanisms, and its related criminal dimensions. Unless the nature and provenance of the challenge is finally understood, the appropriate strategy and tactics to address it will never be formulated. The drugs scourge continues to escalate because the measures so far developed to counter it do not take account of the geopolitical dimension - that is to say, of the malevolent, revolutionary intent which drives it'.

'As a consequence, the measures taken, in the United States, Britain and elsewhere, to address the scourge, have remained essentially irrelevant and ineffective.... The plague continues to spread because the West is the victim of a deliberate, sustained and relentless offensive planned and directed by enemy intelligence which Western policymakers appear not to begin, or care, to understand. Some Western leaders even share the ideological objectives of the perpetrators of the drugs offensive. To make matters much worse, the values of many policymakers have been fatally eroded; and if one has no real values, one is not emboldened to defend anything at all, let alone with conviction and vigour. Policymakers too often stand for nothing and fall for everything - for every false assessment, for every piece of fashionable disinformation and for every diversionary tactic which is intended to add to the confusion and which clouds the truth: namely, that the West has been targeted as an act of war, and is the victim of a sustained offensive'.
'Obviously, the longer this perversity and blindness continue, the more powerful and insuperable will the forces which help to perpetuate this blanket offensive, become. Soon, they will wield almost total power in some Western countries."

drug submarines found colombia - Google Search


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"As early as the mid-1980s, the K.G.B., with help from the Russian mafia, had started hiding Communist Party assets abroad, as the journalist Robert I. Friedman has documented. Perhaps $600 billion had left Russia by the mid-1990s, contributing to the country’s impoverishment. Russian mafia leaders also took advantage of post-Soviet privatization to buy up state property. Then, in 1998, the ruble sharply depreciated, prompting a default on Russia’s public debt." - Where the Mob Keeps Its Money - NYT

Where the Mob Keeps Its Money

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THE global financial crisis has been a blessing for organized crime. A series of recent scandals have exposed the connection between some of the biggest global banks and the seamy underworld of mobsters, smugglers, drug traffickers and arms dealers. American banks have profited from money laundering by Latin American drug cartels, while the European debt crisis has strengthened the grip of the loan sharks and speculators who control the vast underground economies in countries like Spain and Greece.
Mutually beneficial relationships between bankers and gangsters aren’t new, but what’s remarkable is their reach at the highest levels of global finance. In 2010, Wachovia admitted that it had essentially helped finance the murderous drug war in Mexico by failing to identify and stop illicit transactions. The bank, which was acquired by Wells Fargo during the financial crisis, agreed to pay $160 million in fines and penalties for tolerating the laundering, which occurred between 2004 and 2007.
Last month, Senate investigators found that HSBC had for a decade improperly facilitated transactions by Mexican drug traffickers, Saudi financiers with ties to Al Qaeda and Iranian bankers trying to circumvent United States sanctions. The bank set aside $700 million to cover fines, settlements and other expenses related to the inquiry, and its chief of compliance resigned.
ABN Amro, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Lloyds and ING have reached expensive settlements with regulators after admitting to executing the transactions of clients in disreputable countries like Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan.
Many of the illicit transactions preceded the 2008 crisis, but continuing turmoil in the banking industry created an opening for organized crime groups, enabling them to enrich themselves and grow in strength. In 2009, Antonio Maria Costa, an Italian economist who then led the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, told the British newspaper The Observer that “in many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks at the height of the crisis. “Interbank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.” The United Nations estimated that $1.6 trillion was laundered globally in 2009, of which about $580 billion was related to drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime.
A study last year by the Colombian economists Alejandro Gaviria and Daniel Mejía concluded that the vast majority of profits from drug trafficking in Colombia were reaped by criminal syndicates in rich countries and laundered by banks in global financial centers like New York and London. They found that bank secrecy and privacy laws in Western countries often impeded transparency and made it easier for criminals to launder their money.
At a Congressional hearing in February, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, a Justice Department official in charge of monitoring money laundering, said that “banks in the U.S. are used to funnel massive amounts of illicit funds.” The laundering, she explained, typically occurs in three stages. First, illicit funds are directly deposited in banks or deposited after being smuggled out of the United States and then back in. Then comes “layering,” the process of separating criminal profits from their origin. Finally comes “integration,” the use of seemingly legitimate transactions to hide ill-gotten gains. Unfortunately, investigators too often focus on the cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics while missing the bigger, more sophisticated financial activities of crime rings.
Mob financing via banks has ebbed and flowed over the years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s organized crime, which had previously dealt mainly in cash, started working its way into the banking system. This led authorities in Europe and America to take measures to slow international money laundering, prompting a temporary return to cash.
Then the flow reversed again, partly because of the fall of the Soviet Union and the ensuing Russian financial crisis. As early as the mid-1980s, the K.G.B., with help from the Russian mafia, had started hiding Communist Party assets abroad, as the journalist Robert I. Friedman has documented. Perhaps $600 billion had left Russia by the mid-1990s, contributing to the country’s impoverishment. Russian mafia leaders also took advantage of post-Soviet privatization to buy up state property. Then, in 1998, the ruble sharply depreciated, prompting a default on Russia’s public debt.
Although the United States cracked down on terrorist financing after the 9/11 attacks, instability in the financial system, like the Argentine debt default in 2001, continued to give banks an incentive to look the other way. My reporting on the ’Ndrangheta, the powerful criminal syndicate based in Southern Italy, found that much of the money laundering over the last decade simply shifted from America to Europe. The European debt crisis, now three years old, has further emboldened the mob.
IN Greece, as conventional bank lending has gotten tighter, more and more Greeks are relying on usurers. A variety of sources told Reuters last year that the illegal lending business in Greece involved between 5 billion and 10 billion euros each year. The loan-shark business has perhaps quadrupled since 2009 — some of the extortionists charge annualized interest rates starting at 60 percent. In Thessaloniki, the second largest city, the police broke up a criminal ring that was lending money at a weekly interest rate of 5 percent to 15 percent, with punishments for whoever didn’t pay up. According to the Greek Ministry of Finance, much of the illegal loan activity in Greece is connected to gangs from the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Organized crime also dominates the black market for oil in Greece; perhaps three billion euros (about $3.8 billion) a year of contraband fuel courses through the country. Shipping is Greece’s premier industry, and the price of shipping fuel is set by law at one-third the price of fuel for cars and homes. So traffickers turn shipping fuel into more expensive home and automobile fuel. It is estimated that 20 percent of the gasoline sold in Greece is from the black market. The trafficking not only results in higher prices but also deprives the government of desperately needed revenue.
Greece’s political system is a “parliamentary mafiocracy,” the political expert Panos Kostakos told the energy news agency Oilprice.com earlier this year. “Greece has one of the largest black markets in Europe and the highest corruption levels in Europe,” he said. “There is a sovereign debt that does not mirror the real wealth of the average Greek family. What more evidence do we need to conclude that this is Greek mafia?”
Spain’s crisis, like Greece’s, was prefaced by years of mafia power and money and a lack of effectively enforced rules and regulations. At the moment, Spain is colonized by local criminal groups as well as by Italian, Russian, Colombian and Mexican organizations. Historically, Spain has been a shelter for Italian fugitives, although the situation changed with the enforcement of pan-European arrest warrants. Spanish anti-mafia laws have also improved, but the country continues to offer laundering opportunities, which only increased with the current economic crisis in Europe.
The Spanish real estate boom, which lasted from 1997 to 2007, was a godsend for criminal organizations, which invested dirty money in Iberian construction. Then, when home sales slowed and the building bubble burst, the mafia profited again — by buying up at bargain prices houses that people put on the market or that otherwise would have gone unsold.
In 2006, Spain’s central bank investigated the vast number of 500-euro bills in circulation. Criminal organizations favor these notes because they don’t take up much room; a 45-centimeter safe deposit box can fit up to 10 million euros. In 2010, British currency exchange offices stopped accepting 500-euro bills after discovering that 90 percent of transactions involving them were connected to criminal activities. Yet 500-euro bills still account for 70 percent of the value of all bank notes in Spain.
And in Italy, the mafia can still count on 65 billion euros (about $82 billion) in liquid capital every year. Criminal organizations siphon 100 billion euros from the legal economy, a sum equivalent to 7 percent of G.D.P. — money that ends up in the hands of Mafiosi instead of sustaining the government or law-abiding Italians. “We will defeat the mafia by 2013,” Silvio Berlusconi, then the prime minister, declared in 2009. It was one of many unfulfilled promises. Mario Monti, the current prime minister, has stated that Italy’s dire financial situation is above all a consequence of tax evasion. He has said that even more drastic measures are needed to combat the underground economy generated by the mafia, which is destroying the legal economy. 
Today’s mafias are global organizations. They operate everywhere, speak multiple languages, form overseas alliances and joint ventures, and make investments just like any other multinational company. You can’t take on multinational giants locally. Every country needs to do its part, for no country is immune. Organized crime must be hit in its economic engine, which all too often remains untouched because liquid capital is harder to trace and because in times of crisis, many, including the world’s major banks, find it too tempting to resist.
Roberto Saviano is a journalist and the author of the book “Gomorrah.” He has lived under police protection since 2006, when he received death threats from organized crime figures in Italy. This essay was translated by Virginia Jewiss from the Italian.



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WikiLeaks cables: Russian government 'using mafia for its dirty work' - by Luke Harding - The Guardian

Spanish prosecutor alleges links between Kremlin and organised crime gangs have created a 'virtual mafia state'
WikiLeaks cables: Gennady Petrov is escorted by police after his arrest in Calvia, Spain, in 2008
 WikiLeaks cables: Gennady Petrov is escorted by police after his arrest in Calvia on Mallorca, Spain, during a police swoop on the Russian mafia in June 2008. Photograph: Montserrat T Diez/EPA
Luke Harding
Wednesday 1 December 2010 16.30 EST
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The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Friday 3 December 2010

A telltale sign of our occasional uncertainty over Spanish surnames appeared when we referred to a prosecutor investigating Russian organised crime in Spain as José González. He should have been named as either José Grinda González or José Grinda. In this double-barrelled system Grinda is the surname taken from the prosecutor's father, and González the surname taken from his mother.

Russia and its intelligence agencies are using mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations such as arms trafficking, according to allegations contained in the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.
The Kremlin's spy agencies have such a close relationship with top organised criminals that Russia has become a "virtual 'mafia state'," the cables say. The gangsters enjoy secret support and protection and in effect work "as a complement to state structures".

A senior Spanish investigator alleged to the US that Moscow's strategy was to use "organised crime groups to do whatever the government of Russia cannot acceptably do as a government". Recent operations included gun-running to the Kurds "in an attempt to destabilise Turkey" and "arms trafficking" in the mysterious Arctic Sea cargo ship hijacking in 2009.

The allegations are made by José "Pepe" Grinda Gonzalez, Spain's national court prosecutor. Gonzalez has spent 10 years battling the Russian mafia and was responsible for the investigation of Zakhar Kalashov, reportedly the most senior mafia figure to be jailed outside Russia.

Spain conducted two major operations – codenamed Avispa (2005-07) and Troika (2008-09) – against mafia networks on its territory, resulting in the arrest of more than 60 suspects. They include four of the alleged leaders outside Russia: Gennady Petrov, Alexander Malyshev (Petrov's deputy), Vitaly Izguilov (a key lieutenant) and Kalashov. Despite this, the networks are said to have swiftly reconstituted.

On 13 January 2010 Gonzalez, a special prosecutor for corruption and organised crime, gave a "detailed, frank" briefing to US officials in Madrid. In a classified presentation to a new US-Spain counter-terrorism and organised crime experts' working group he said the mafia now exercised tremendous control over sectors of the global economy.

He said Russia, Belarus and Chechnya – the Muslim republic of Russia run by a pro-Moscow president, Ramzan Kadyrov – were "virtual 'mafia states' ". Ukraine was "going to be one", he predicted. He spoke shortly before presidential elections in Ukraine won by the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. The country is now back under Moscow's sway.

"For each of these countries … one cannot differentiate between the activities of the government and OC (organised crime) groups," Gonzalez told the US delegation.

His observations are likely to provoke a hostile reaction from Russia's political leadership and could lead to a serious diplomatic falling out between Russia and Spain.

Gonzalez said it was an "unanswered question" to what extent Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, was personally "implicated in the Russian mafia and controls the mafia's actions".

But Gonzalez – referred to in the cables as Grinda – said he agreed with claims made by Alexander Litvinenko, the whistleblowing Russian spy who was fatally poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in 2006.

Litvinenko secretly met Spanish security officers in May 2006, six months before his death, the cable reported. Another cable, quoting an investigation by Spain's flagship centre-left daily newspaper El País, said Litvinenko tipped off Spanish security officials on the "locations, roles, and activities of several 'Russian' mafia figures with ties to Spain".

According to Litvinenko, Russia's intelligence and security services control the country's organised crime network – with Gonzalez citing the federal security service (FSB), foreign intelligence service (SVR) and military intelligence (GRU). "Grinda stated he believes this thesis [by Litvinenko] to be accurate," the cable said.

The Spanish prosecutor said he had evidence that certain political parties in Russia worked hand in hand with mafia groups. Citing information gathered from "intelligence services, witnesses and phone taps" he named the Liberal Democratic party of Russia (LDPR), an ultra-nationalist party in Russia's Duma. One of its deputies is Andrei Lugovoi, the ex-KGB agent accused by Scotland Yard of Litvinenko's murder.

Gonzalez claimed the KGB and its SVR successor had deliberately created the LDPR. Some of its ranks were now home to serious criminals who owned large mansions in Spain, he said. He further alleged there were proven ties between the Russian political parties – all of which support the Kremlin – and "organised crime and arms trafficking".

In the cable's most revealing section Gonzalez referred to the case of the Arctic Sea ship as an example of arms trafficking. Russia maintains pirates seized the vessel in July 2009 off the coast of Sweden, diverting it to Africa and the Cape Verde islands. It has consistently denied there were any weapons on board.

Although Gonzalez does not elaborate, his remarks suggest he believes the ship was used by organised criminals to smuggle arms under secret orders from Russia's intelligence agencies. There has been speculation the ship was carrying S-300 missiles destined for Iran. Others have suggested rockets, smart bombs or even nuclear missiles.

Gonzalez said Kalashov, the arrested mafia suspect, was used by Russian military intelligence to sell weapons to the Kurds in an attempt to destabilise Turkey, a key US ally. The allegation is likely to infuriate Ankara.

The cables unambiguously state that "those recently arrested in Spain were involved in a complex web of shady business dealings and enjoyed a murky relationship with senior Russian government officials".

At least four ministers had connections with another alleged mafia leader, Gennady Petrov's network, the cable says, adding that Spanish investigators have compiled a secret list of Russian prosecutors, senior military officers and politicians – including current ones – linked to organised crime: 230 wire taps, from among thousands obtained during the two-year Troika investigation, were so sensitive they "will make your hair stand on end", the cable says, quoting Spanish media reports.

The intercepts described Petrov's "immense power and political connections" and said he frequently "invokes the names of senior Russian government officials to assure partners that their illicit deals would proceed as planned".

This evidence is so sensitive that Madrid has restricted it to just 10 top officials, fearful of its impact on bilateral relations.

The cables allege that an intercepted phone conversation suggested a Russian diplomat had been sailing on Petrov's yacht.

The cables also state that in October 2008 Spanish police publicly raided the Mallorca holiday mansion of Vladislav Reznik, chair of the Russian Duma's financial markets committee and a deputy in Putin's United Russia party, on suspicion of links with organised crime. Reznik, who has immunity within Russia, has not subsequently been charged.

Gonzalez added that the FSB had two ways to eliminate "OC leaders who do not do what the security services want them to do". The first was to kill them. The second was to put them in jail to "eliminate them as a competitor for influence". Sometimes the FSB put crime lords in prison for their own protection, he noted.

The Grinda cable alleges Russian mafia activities inside Spain included laundering money from a range of "illicit activities conducted elsewhere, including contract killings, arms and drugs trafficking, extortion, coercion, threats and kidnappings". Other cables claimed Russian criminal networks were active in Thailand – especially in the resorts of Pattaya and Phuket – and Bulgaria.

But hopes that investigators had dealt a blow to the Russian mafia in Spain by "decapitating" its leaders had disappeared, Barcelona's chief prosecutor, Gerardo Cavero, said in 2009. He admitted that large-scale money laundering continued in Catalonia, with many mafia members still active. Additionally, Kalashov and other Avispa defendants had sought to manipulate the Spanish judicial system in a "systematic campaign".

Gonzalez acknowledged that the term "Russian mafia" was something of a misnomer since the criminal groups sometimes involved Ukrainians, Georgians, Belarussians and Chechens. Their influence was such that they dealt directly with government ministers, he said, and steered clear of low-level criminal activities such as racketeering. "Cabinet-level officials do not spend time with unimportant people and cannot be tempted by those who do not have something important to offer," the cable quotes him as saying.

Unsurprisingly Gonzalez was damning about his attempts to negotiate with the Russian government. He said one mafia suspect, Georgian-born Tariel Oniani, fled to Russia in 2005, hours before Spanish police were about to arrest him. Russia gave him citizenship less than a year later and has since jailed him but refused to extradite him. Oniani now enjoyed the protection of both the FSB and Russia's interior ministry "even in prison", Gonzalez told US experts.

The ambassador made clear he regarded Gonzalez's allegations as credible. "Grinda's comments are insightful and valuable, given his in-depth knowledge of the Eurasian mafia and his key role in Spain's pioneering efforts to bring Eurasian mafia leaders to justice."

__________________________________

"Russia has an impressive and feared cyber army. The GRU, the Main Intelligence Directorate, is the largest supplier of cybersoldiers. Highly trained, they develop new protection systems and manage Russia's listening stations across the globe. At the government level are the Russian Federation Federal Security Service (FSB) and its 76,000 contributors. The organization, the main successor of the KGB, has an entire center devoted to fighting cyber crimes. There is also a special unit in charge of protecting the government's Internet."

Where The Web Thugs Are: Inside Russia's Cyber Underworld


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Putin’s Secret Weapon | Foreign Policy



Russia's swashbuckling military intelligence unit is full of assassins, arms dealers, and bandits. And what they pulled off in Ukraine was just the beginning.

Since the Ukraine crisis began, the Kremlin has few doubts about the importance of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence apparatus. The agency has not only demonstrated how the Kremlin can employ it as an important foreign-policy tool, by ripping a country apart with just a handful of agents and a lot of guns. The GRU has also shown the rest of the world how Russia expects to fight its future wars: with a mix of stealth, deniability, subversion, and surgical violence. Even as GRU-backed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine lose ground in the face of Kiev’s advancing forces, the geopolitical landscape has changed. The GRU is back in the global spook game and with a new playbook that will be a challenge for the West for years to come.
...
The near-bloodless seizure of Crimea in March was based on plans drawn up by the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate that relied heavily on GRU intelligence. The GRU had comprehensively surveyed the region, was watching Ukrainian forces based there, and was listening to their communications. The GRU didn’t only provide cover for the "little green men" who moved so quickly to seize strategic points on the peninsula before revealing themselves to be Russian troops. Many of those operatives were current or former GRU Spetsnaz.
...

Although the bulk of the insurgents in eastern Ukraine appear to be Ukrainians or Russian "war tourists" — encouraged, armed, and facilitated by Moscow — there also appear to be GRU operators on the groundhelping to bring guns and people across the border.
It was only when the Vostok Battalion appeared in eastern Ukraine at the end of May that the GRU’s full re-emergence became clear. This separatist group bears the same name as a GRU-sponsored Chechen unit that was disbanded in 2008. This new brigade — composed largely of the same fighters from Chechnya — seemed to spring from nowhere, uniformly armed and mounted in armored personnel carriers. Its first act was to seize the administration building in Donetsk, turfing out the motley insurgents who had made it their headquarters. Having established its credentials as the biggest dog in the pack, Vostok began recruiting Ukrainian volunteers to make up for Chechens who quietly drifted home.
...
Vostok appears intended not so much to fight the regular Ukrainian forces — though it has — but rather to serve as a skilled and disciplined enforcer of Moscow’s authority over the militias if need be.
...
The GRU’s revival also demonstrates that the doctrine of "non-linear war" is not just an ad hoc response to the particularities of Ukraine. This is how Moscow plans to drive forward its interests in today’s world. The rest of the world has not realized this now, even though Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov spelled it out in an obscure Russian military journal last year. He wrote that the new way of war involves "the broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian, and other nonmilitary measures … supplemented by military means of a covert nature character," not least with the use of special forces.
This kind of conflict will be fought by spies, commandos, hackers, dupes, and mercenaries — exactly the kind of operatives at the GRU’s disposal. Even after the transfer of most Spetsnaz out of the GRU’s direct chain of command, the agency still commands elite special forces trained for assassination, sabotage, and misdirection, as Ukraine shows.
The convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout is generally accepted to have been a part-time GRU asset too. The GRU is less picky than most intelligence agencies about who it cooperates with, which also means that it is harder to be sure who is working for them.
...
The revival of the GRU’s fortunes promises a future in which the Cold War threat of tanks spilling across the border is replaced by a new kind of war, combining subterfuge, careful cultivation of local allies, and covert Spetsnaz strikes to achieve the Kremlin’s political aims. NATO may be stronger in strictly military terms, but if Russia can open political divisions in the West, carry out deniable operations using third-party combatants, and target strategic individuals and facilities, it doesn’t really matter who has more tanks and better fighter jets. This is exactly what the GRU is tooling up to do.
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The People Even James Bond Avoids

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GRU officers are considered more patriotic (and old school) than those of the KGB/SVR. During the Cold War, there were fewer GRU defectors, still a point of pride in the GRU.  GRU prefers to stay in the shadows. Western writers have not written many books about GRU, compared to the KGB. This is largely because GRU keeps its secrets better, and, in the West, is considered an obscure part of Russian intelligence.
...
The head of GRU does not even report directly to the Russian President. GRU reports have to go through the Head of the General Staff and the Defense Minister before reaching the top man. 

Thus GRU is very much number two in the Russian foreign intelligence business. As Number 2, they tend to try harder, and consider themselves more elite than those wimps over at SVR.
...
GRU methods are considered more aggressive and crude than those of the SVR. GRU operatives tend to think they are at war even at the peacetime.   Thus the SVR assigns  its officers to do some job in the form of tasks, not orders. The task is not supposed to be necessarily accomplished, while the order is to be carried out by all means. The GRU prefers ordering, and expects results no matter what.
In the GRU nobody cares how their officers obtain secret information (like parts of missiles and other weapons). They may even buy it legally or semi-legally or even steal. The SVR officers are not allowed to do so. They are supposed to use foreign collaborators for it. In the GRU, you just go get it.

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Crime And Crimea: Criminals As Allies And Agents

Embezzlement, corruption, and smuggling in and through Crimea will be a big business. Already, preliminary Interior Ministry figures for the first three months of Russian control show that smuggling, economic crime, and violent offenses rose by between 5 and 9 percent.
However, when it comes to Russia, the biggest illegal business tends to be government, and this is no exception. After all, what the Crimean annexation has demonstrated in especially stark form is the connection between crime and the Russian state that is not essentially parasitic and competitive (as it is when criminals embezzle the federal budget) but instead complementary and symbiotic. Indeed, Crimea is a case study both of the way that the Kremlin uses criminals as instruments of state policy and also how the underworld and upperworld have become inextricably entwined as a consequence.
...
When Moscow moved to seize Crimea, three different kinds of forces were used. There were the "little green men," Russian "Spetsnaz" commandoes and naval infantry marines, stripped of their insignia, but retaining their discipline and professionalism. There were local police, especially the Berkut riot police, who solidly supported the local coup, not least knowing that the protesters in Kyiv wanted their whole force dissolved or purged. And then there were unidentified thugs in mismatched fatigues and red armbands, but nonetheless often clutching assault rifles. These "self-defense forces" spent as much time occupying businesses -- including a car dealership owned by Ukraine's next president, Petro Poroshenko -- and throwing their weight around on the streets as they did actually securing strategic locations.
According to an official of the local prosecutor -- who again asked not to be named -- while some were veterans and volunteers, many were the foot soldiers of the peninsula's crime gangs, including Bashmaki and the descendants of Salem, who had temporarily put their rivalries aside to pull Crimea out of Ukraine. "They knew it would be good for them both," she adds, "and there were powerful people in Moscow who asked them to do it."
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Local sources claim that it was the FSB that brokered conversations between the Crimean political elite and many of the Slavic criminal gangs in the immediate run-up to the annexation crisis and at the time. They also liaised between them and the GRU (Russian military intelligence), which controlled the "little green men." Part of the deal appears to have been a promise for not only continued opportunities for enrichment but also support against the non-Slavic gangs who had begun to encroach onto their turfs, especially Tatars and North Caucasians.
...

Thus, while the Crimean experience -- and that of eastern Ukraine, too -- suggests that Moscow regards criminals as acceptable local representatives and useful agents of control and integration, there are also potential dangers for the center, too.

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How the Invasion of Ukraine Is Shaking Up the Global Crime Scene

November 6, 2014
by Mark Galeotti

Crime, especially organized crime, has been at the heart of the events in Ukraine from the start. Many of the burly and well-armed "self-defense volunteers" who came out on the streets alongside the not-officially-Russian troops turned out to be local gangsters, and the governing elite there have close, long-term relations with organized crime. Likewise, in eastern Ukraine, criminals have been sworn in as members of local militias and even risen to senior ranks, while the police, long known for their corruption, are fighting alongside them.
...
Just as the Kremlin was setting up its new administration in newly annexed Crimea, so, too, were the big Moscow-based crime networks sending their  smotryashchye—the term means a local overseer, but now also means, in effect, an ambassador—there to connect with local gangs. In part, they're interested in the opportunities for fraud and embezzlement of the massive inflow​ of federal development funds perhaps $4.5 billion thi​s year alone—and the newly-announced casino complexes to be built near the resort city of Yalta. They're also looking to the Black Sea smuggling routes and the opportunity to make the Crimean port of Sevastopol the next big smuggling hub.
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These days, the Ukrainian port of Odessa is the  ​smugglers' haven of choice on the Black Sea. There's Afghan heroin coming through Russia and heading into Western Europe through Romania and Bulgaria, stolen cars coming north from Turkey, unlicensed Kalashnikovs heading into the Mediterranean, Moldovan women being trafficked into the Middle East, and a whole range of criminal commodities head out of Odessa Maritime Trade Port, along with its satellite facilities of Illichivsk and southern ports. Routes head both ways, though, and increasingly there is an inward flow of global illicit goods: Latin American cocaine (either for retransfer by sea or else to be trucked into Russia or Central Europe), women trafficked from Africa, even guns heading to the war zone.
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The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol, and military supply convoys—which are exempt from regular police and customs checks—are a cheap and secure way to transport illicit goods. Finally, the links between the gangsters and local political leaders are at least as close in Crimea as in Odessa. So, if the criminals of Sevastopol can establish reliable shipping routes and are willing to match or undercut Odessa's rates, we could see a major realignment of regional smuggling.
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Europe in particular might find itself hard-pressed to respond. The Ukrainian authorities may well be willing to help, but they probably lack the ability to provide much usable intelligence. Meanwhile, the Russians, who probably have the best sense of who the fighters actually are, seem increasingly unlikely to provide any assistance.
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One of the most effective responses to Western sanctions at the Kremlin's disposal may be to encourage the criminalization of Ukraine, and do nothing to help Europe and North America cope with the fallout. 
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Tackling Russian Trans National Crime



We hear a lot about the Russian Mafia and its links with the Russian State. Remember how the US State Department’s Wikileaks transcript described Russia as a Mafia State? What we don’t hear so much about is how it operates and what is being done about tackling it. Is enough being done, and if not, why not?

Academia has a key role to play, alongside journalism, in stressing the complex nature of nationalities in the former Soviet Union, and political links with business operations. Military think tanks and independent retired military personnel would also have a role to play in adding early value to understandings of Russian TNOC activities given their knowledge of the way of thinking of such military influenced groups, and particularly of groups with service in the former KGB ( now FSB domestically and SVR outside Russia) and its military counterpart, the GRU, particularly in relation to the setting up of complex financial chains (FSB / SVR) and logistical structures in relation to drugs trafficking and other smuggling (GRU).


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See also: 

The Red Stix: Links and Articles - Appendix 1: GRU and Crimea - Eastern Ukraine Criminal Underworlds


The Red Stix: Links and Articles - Appendix 2: GRU Operations


The Red Stix: Links and Articles - Appendix 3: Where The Web Thugs Are: Inside Russia's Cyber Underworld


A letter to my little friend (copy to V.V. Bonaparte)