The North Korean spies Ukraine caught stealing missile plans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The North Korean spies Ukraine caught stealing missile plans

Updated 4:50 PM ET, Thu August 24, 2017

Zhytomyr, Ukraine (CNN) The images are a little grainy, but in the half-light of a dusty Ukrainian garage, you can sense the unbridled enthusiasm of the two North Korean spies who are photographing what they think are top-secret missile designs.

In a rare window into the opaque, deadly and secretive world of missile technology espionage, Ukrainian security services have given CNN surveillance footage and details of an elaborate sting operation they carried out to snare two North Korean spies in 2011.
The revelations are aimed at dispelling claims that a recent leap forward in Pyongyang’s intercontinental missile technology may have been achieved by using designs stolen or originating from Ukraine.

Video from North Korean state media purports to show the launching of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The claims are made in a report released by analysts at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) on August 14 which says technology, possibly from Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye Design Office in Dnipro, was used in recent North Korean missile tests.
In July, North Korea successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs) — the KN-14 or Hwasong-14. At the time, Pyongyang claimed they were capable of carrying a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead” as far as the US mainland.
Ukraine has denied any link to North Korea’s long-range missiles, and said Russia may instead have provided Pyongyang with the improved missile designs. Russia has denied supporting North Korea’s arms program.
An officer with Ukraine’s security service, who worked on the 2011 case of the two North Koreans and who we granted anonymity because of his operational role, insisted it was “impossible” North Korea had obtained any missile technology, as he was sure their espionage attempts had all been intercepted.
He said that in 2011 two other North Koreans — who traveled to Ukraine from the country’s Moscow Embassy — were deported after they were caught trying to obtain “missile munitions, homing missile devices in particular for air-to-air class missiles.” A third North Korean, tasked with transporting the actual devices out of Ukraine, was also deported.
And as recently as 2015, five North Koreans were deported for “assisting North Korea’s intelligence work in Ukraine,” the officer said, without providing further details.
He said, apart from the two in jail, there were no North Koreans left in Ukraine, as those not deported by Ukraine had been voluntarily withdrawn — many working in alternative medicine centers.

The hallway to the cell where X5 is serving out his 8-year sentence in Ukraine.

North Koreans guilty of espionage

The two North Korean spies seen on the grainy surveillance footage are currently serving eight-year prison sentences for espionage in the Ukrainian town of Zhytomyr, 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of Kiev.
Ukrainian officials allowed CNN inside the prison facilities to see if they would grant interviews under guard supervision.
The elder inmate is a man in his fifties from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang who is known in court documents as X5. He is gaunt, compared to the fuller frame he had in the surveillance videos, and speaks lightly-accented Russian.
His younger accomplice is a technical expert known as X32.
They are the only such spies in Ukrainian custody, although officials say they have on several occasions intercepted North Korean attempts to access their missile secrets, and as a result in 2016 effectively barred all North Koreans from the country.

The door to a cell where X5 is serving his prison term.

The sting

The grainy surveillance video provided to CNN was filmed on July 27, 2011, on a hidden camera set up within a garage to capture the end of a sting operation that was months in the planning.
The two suspects can be seen moments before Ukrainian security service agents burst in and arrest them.

How 2 North Korean spies were caught

How 2 North Korean spies were caught 03:37
The Ukrainian missile experts they had been courting in the weeks before had informed on them to Ukrainian counter-intelligence agents.
As a result, authorities had detailed knowledge of the information they sought — “ballistic missiles, missile systems, missile construction, spacecraft engines, solar batteries, fast-emptying fuel tanks, mobile launch containers, powder accumulators and military government standards,” according to the court papers from their 2012 trial.
Some of the information related to the SS-24 Scalpel intercontinental ballistic missile, the court papers add. The SS-24 Scalpel, also known as the RT-23, is a solid-fueled missile capable of carrying up to 10 warheads that was launched via missile silos or railroad cars.
Why North Korea wants nukes and missiles

North Korea has long maintained it wants nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in order to deter the United States from attempting to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Pyongyang looks at states like Iraq — where former dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the United States, and Libya — the country’s late leader, Moammar Gaddafi, gave up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief and aid, only to be toppled and killed after the US intervened in the country’s civil unrest — and believes that only being able to threaten the US homeland with a retaliatory nuclear strike can stop American military intervention.

The mobile rail missile SS-24 system was banned in the late 1990s under the START-II treaty between the US and Russia, however the ban never came into effect. The design and production of the missile system was most recently held by Ukraine but, according to GlobalSecurity.org, the country ended production of the missile in 1995.
The Ukraine security footage gives a rare window into the elaborate and shadowy world of North Korea’s bid to improve its ability to hit the United States and other adversaries with long-range missiles.
The court documents also reveal startlingly human moments during the operation.
The two nervous men continually whisper to each other the material they seek is “secret,” and worry the flash batteries may run out on their PowerShot and Coolpix cameras as they photograph the dummy designs.
Speaking briefly to CNN in the jail where he now makes cement railings and iron rods to pass prison time, X5 confirmed he had “partially” admitted his guilt.

'X5' is seen working at a prison near Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

The court papers say he insisted his job, as a trade representative in the North Korean embassy in neighboring Belarus, was merely to arrange training in missile technology for North Korean experts — information he didn’t think was classified. He even tried to get one expert, the papers allege, to travel to North Korea and teach there.
Dressed in dark blue overalls and a cloth cap, mixing cement, X5 said he “of course” wanted to return to North Korea, and had not spoken to his family or anyone there since his arrest.
“I am serving my term of punishment. They feed us well here, we work… I don’t want to give an interview for the preservation of my safety and that of my family.”
He shares a well-lit cell with a TV with eight other convicts, and sleeps in a double bunk bed, with pots of vitamins and toiletries his only obvious possessions.

X5 shares a cell with 8 other convicts, and sleeps in a double bunk bed.

The second convict, X32, agreed to meet CNN, but immediately declined to be interviewed, covering the camera lens with his hand and walking away.
He has not admitted his guilt and is held in a more relaxed facility where he makes furniture to pass the time.
Denys Chernyshov, Ukraine’s deputy minister for justice, said the men had been met once by two officials from North Korea’s Moscow embassy, but otherwise had no contact at all with their relatives or North Korea.
“They have asked Ukrainian authorities to be extradited to North Korea to continue their sentence,” he said. “But because they are held for spying for North Korea, we obviously declined their request.”
Chernyshov added the pair were well-trained.
“To be isolated in another country and culture, with different food even, that brings about a particular stress,” he said. “So it is clear these are well prepared, strong people.”
However, he added North Korea may not turn out to be that welcoming when they likely travel home in September 2018, at the end of their sentences.
“That their task was unsuccessful, they cannot expect much of a hero’s welcome on their return.”

The Trump Family: Are They Guilty Of Treason And Tax Evasion/Fraud?

 

This question unfortunately could be directed at the Clinton family or even the Bush family but today I am asking this question about the President and his family. I am not a fan of any of these families as they have all proven to be power-hungry, money hungry habitual liars. I believe that most Americans knew that Hillary Clinton has had real trouble in her life with finding out a way to not lie when she opens her mouth and I believe that this is one of the many reasons that people like myself could not vote for her last November. By what I hear from other folks they said that they were willing to give Donald Trump a chance to see if he would tell the truth on domestic and foreign agendas. I know that a lot of us are now very unhappy with his ability to ever tell the truth. Part of the Presidents issues are his King Kong size ego, and his peanut size brain. During the campaign he often spoke of how intelligent he was, how he knew more that most everyone on every thing, like how he knew more than the Generals concerning the Middle-East. Now that he has been in Office for about six months he has proven to the whole world that he is pretty much nothing but an idiot, and an ass. The whole world has learned that there is no way they can trust anything that he says. Another issue with our President is his constant lying and the fact that he tells so many lies each day that he can’t remember one line of BS he has told from one morning till the afternoon. Yet this article today isn’t about his massive ignorance of almost every issue on the planet, it is about if he and his family have committed treason concerning Russia and if he is guilty of massive tax evasion and tax fraud.

 

 

These are not accusations, they are questions, very important questions that ‘We The People’ absolutely need to know the whole truth about very, very soon. To me it appears there is no doubt about President Trump and several in his inner circle have lied many times about their connections with the Russian government which in Russia means President Putin. They have tried to hide many meetings with Russian officials, lying to the Congress and the American people about those meeting and connections. There are reasons that these people have collective memory loss when it concerns Russia. Even our Attorney General who is supposed to be Americas top ‘law enforcement’ officer lied to Congress and the people more than once on this issue. Folks, do you really think that all of these folks have Dementia? I don’t, there are reasons that these people are lying to us. Just like Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is such a hardliner about putting as many poor people as possible in prisons for as long as possible, is there another reason he is like this? Turns out that Mr. Sessions has a lot of stock in the two largest ‘Prison for Profit” companies in the Country. When Mr. Sessions was confirmed to be the new AG his own personal fortune in these two stocks skyrocketed. And to think, he is the ‘top Cop’ in our Country. As you most likely noticed I said putting poor people in jail, if he was really doing his job he would have to arrest the President and several of his personal staff then resign at once and put himself in one of his own prisons. I know that I am like most folks in that I am sick and tired of these crooked habitual lying “Leaders.”

 

In the years before Mr. Trump officially announced that he was going to run for President again and even early in the campaign he used to openly brag about all of his investments in Russia and business deals he had with well-connected Russians here in the States. Remember, he used to even brag on national television how he had met President Putin before but once elected denied that he ever said that. Maybe if he could learn to be truthful all of the time then maybe his peanut brain could at least remember events correctly then, but I personally doubt it. During these past couple of days there is news coming out from the New York Times about a meeting last June at the New York Trump Tower where Donald Trump Jr., Son-in-law Jarred Kushner, and then Campaign Manager Paul Manafort had an arranged meeting with a Russian lawyer who is well-connected to the Russian government. This meeting seemed to be ‘forgotten’ by all of the Trump ‘team’ that attended, what a coincidence. Paul Manafort is extremely well-connected to the deposed President of UKraine whom was nothing but a Putin proxy who now lives in Moscow. Since Mr. Manafort was forced to step down from being Trumps Campaign Manager he has since registered as a ‘Foreign Agent going all the way back to 2012’ because of his Russian ties just like their former Nation Security Director Michael Flynn had to step down because of lies about his financial ties with the Russian government and with the Dictator Erdogan of Turkey, Flynn has also now registered as a foreign agent.

 

Last fall Jared Kushner met with the Chief Executive of the Russian State owned (VNB) in Moscow. This Bank has been sanctioned by the U.S. and NATO and once this is done we are not supposed to inner act with Officials of sanctioned banks. O, also, Mr. Kushner forgot to mention this meeting too. To me I have an issue concerning Donald Trumps tax returns. With all of these secret meetings with Russian Officials that all these folks lied about under oath it is getting more difficult to believe any thing except this President and his family are simply doing what they have always done they are putting “the Trump Bank Accounts first”, not the American people. Mr. Trump used to brag about his Florida Golf Club being worth one hundred million dollars to his guests yet on his taxes he valued it as being worth one million dollars. Just to be a member there the cost was one hundred thousand dollars per year, when he became President he upped the fee to two hundred thousand per year. If an average citizen of this Country pulled something like that on our taxes we would quickly be convicted of tax evasion and thrown into a Federal Prison for the rest of our lives. I do believe that the Congress and the Senate should do what ever they have to do to make all of the Trump advisers and the President himself required to immediately be forced to release their tax returns for the past ten years. ‘We The People’ have the absolute right to know who our Leaders serve and to know if they are the criminals they appear to be. It does appear that Mr. Trumps slogan should not have been “putting America first” as it should have been “putting the Trump family first, and only.”

 

 

Kiev Pledges Reform for NATO Road Map as US Urges Russia to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

World

Kiev Pledges Reform for NATO Road Map as US Urges Russia to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

NATO

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko vowed on Monday that his country will carry out reforms for it to meet the necessary standards to be able to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He added that Kiev and NATO will begin discussions on a roadmap to get Ukraine into the alliance by 2020.

His announcement came a day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged, during a visit to Kiev, Russia to take the “first steps” in easing the violence in eastern Ukraine.

At loggerheads with Russia and fighting a Kremlin-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine passed a law in June prioritizing NATO membership as a foreign policy goal.

Speaking alongside Poroshenko on a visit to the Ukrainian capital, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pledged the alliance’s support for Ukraine as it faces a bloody insurgency by pro-Russian separatists in the east.

“Russia has maintained its aggressive actions against Ukraine, but NATO and NATO allies stand by Ukraine and stand on your side,” Stoltenberg said in his opening remarks of the NATO-Ukraine Commission session in Kiev.

Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of smuggling weapons and troops across the porous border, a charge it denies. The US and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia, though Moscow has denied backing the rebels.

“Ukraine has clearly defined its political future and future in the sphere of security,” Poroshenko told reporters.

“Today we clearly stated that we would begin a discussion about a membership action plan and our proposals for such a discussion were accepted with pleasure.”

NATO leaders agreed at a summit in 2008 that Ukraine would one day become a member of the alliance and the country already contributes troops to NATO missions including in Afghanistan.

A formal NATO membership plan for Ukraine would mean meeting targets on political, economic and defense reforms, with national plans submitted annually to show progress.

But there are even larger barriers.

NATO rules state that aspiring members must “settle their international disputes by peaceful means”, meaning Ukraine would need to resolve the Donbass conflict — an insurgency by pro-Russian forces — that has so far killed more than 10,000 people.

Responding to Stoltenberg’s comments, the Kremlin said on Monday that Russia does not have troops in Ukraine.

It added: “Ukraine’s possible NATO membership will not boost stability and security in Europe.”

On Sunday, Tillerson visited Kiev and said Russia must make the first move in staunching the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence in eastern Ukraine, he said after meeting Poroshenko. He added that Washington’s primary goal is the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity.

Tillerson’s tough talk clearly pleased Poroshenko, who has long complained about Russian interference in his country’s east and has watched nervously as the Trump administration has sought to improve ties with Moscow.

He thanked Tillerson for the continued US commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and expressed deep appreciation for his “symbolic and timely visit immediately after the meetings at the G20 in Hamburg” where US President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 have driven ties between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

“We are also here to demonstrate NATO’s solidarity with Ukraine and our firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of your country,” Stoltenberg said.

“NATO allies do not and will not recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.”

Ukraine sees NATO accession as a way to bolster its defenses against former master Moscow.

However, Kiev has yet to officially apply to start the lengthy and politically challenging process of joining the alliance.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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