Ukraine Updates 2 (DIY NSA FTW!)

(look, I don’t have time to write up both my thoughts on some security link AND the events in Ukraine, so we will return to our regularly scheduled programming once I’m no longer glued to the live-feeds.)

A protest movement breaking their country’s president’s encryption codes? And tapping his secure line?

The Maidan movement has officially been upgraded from ‘badass’ to ‘ninja’ status.

Minus points for, well, bragging about it to the world, but I get the feeling getting the message about the impending attack was more important than operational security here. As broadcasting news of the attack would compromise the source anyway, so why not brag?

#euromaidan force have codes for the link between Yanukovych and the #Berkut commanders, so they can hear if attack ordered. PR Stage Report

According to information from secure line between Pres. and #berkut state of emergency will be called at 14:30 (13:30 CET) PR Stage
Report

On to the more mundane things…

To understand the current geopolitical situation with Ukraine, it’s interesting to paraphrase former Russian Prime Ministor Yegor Gaidar.

Speaking “on background” to Der Spiegel before his death, he noted that if Ukraine joined NATO, Russia would no longer be able to defend itself in the event of war. [1]

Thus the Russians’ active covert interest in the country.

On the other hand, US geopolitics player Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his book “The Grand Chessboard,” noted that splitting Ukraine (he called it ‘the Ukraine’) from Russia would render Russia mostly an Asian imperial power, a highly desirable state of affairs for the US.

The only risk to this plan, in his eyes? A German-Russian alliance, and and agreement between Europe and Russia with the goal of pushing America off the Continent. Thus the dual strategy of mixing Europe into Ukraine, to simultaneously pry Ukraine away from Russia and worsen European-Russian relations.

Hence Victoria Nuland’s famous “Fuck the EU.”

Of course no battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy, and the rule seems to be holding here. In my eyes the logical conclusion of the current protests — decentralized as they are, largely dependent on individual initiative — is a sort of ‘Switzerland minus the xenophobia.’

There’s simply no other way to fight off BOTH the Russians and the Americans, AND get the economy rolling again but to adopt a structure oriented towards more direct democracy, efficient business (quoth the Swiss, “money doesn’t smell” — Russia will always be a major Ukrainian trading partner) and, most importantly, distributed and individual responsibility for security.

This latter element the demonstraters appear to have figured out already… as the signals intelligence example above shows nicely! But that’s not the end of it.

Despite the Kiev special police forces opening fire with sniper rifles and killing — so far — at least 42 protesters today alone, demonstrators have taken at least 67 police officers prisoner:

(Media sources close to the Maidan movement claim the number of protesters killed today is 60 or more. Add to this at least 10 police officers since the beginning of the demonstrations.)

Other things appear to be going the protesters’ way too. In the wake of bloodshed last night, the US followed Canada’s lead and banned Ukrainian officials from entering the US. This didn’t impress the demonstrators much. (hint, everyone expects Canada to be inoffensive and mild, not so much with ‘Team America: World Police.’)

The EU on the other hand is taking a little more time but is also bringing bigger guns… EU ministers are currently meeting in Brussels to agree on sanctions that would target the assets of the Ukrainian officials responsible for the bloodshed.

This is probably a long time coming as the cops are not going to stop shooting without official orders. For those with a strong stomach and a willingness to sign up for YouTube with a disposable email to get past the ‘age verification’ — the following video shows the tactics the police are using to keep protesters from reaching the federal government buildings.

On the upside the mere threat of freezing the Ukrainian oligarchs’ European bank accounts may have had the desired effect, as some observers are predicting Yanukovych will resign during today’s meeting of the Ukrainian Parliament (in a few hours). (Yanukovych, the guy the protesters want to unseat as they view him as the cause of all the corruption that has made Ukraine unlivable, is largely beholden to extremely rich oligarch power-brokers. Without their support, he’s toast.)

In fact the European ministers meeting with Yanukovych have cancelled their trip to Brussels, suggesting they’re making major progress in their talks.

It probably doesn’t hurt that political defections from Yanukovych’s ranks have begun, most importantly the city governor of Kiev. The Kiev subway system has been shut down since yesterday to keep people from reaching Maidan square. Disgusted with the violence, the city administrator quit Yanukovych’s party and has given the order to re-open the metro in the next two hours.

This is one of at least 13 such defections, plus plenty more around the country.

[1] http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/kampf-um-die-ukraine-schachspiel-im-minenfeld-a-954527.html

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