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Set aside Anna and her ring.

Last week’s short wee-hour’s shutdown of a portion of Charleston’s port set off by a potentially disinformed conspiracy blogger and webcaster signaled popular American concern and sensitivity to the defense of the homeland, never mind the capabilities and sensitivities of the nation’s capacious national defense and security industry.

Made curious by the homegrown event, BackChannels recalled an incident in which a young Russian national living in the south had been arrested for shipping rifle scopes to Russian, but memory being what it is — some fluid-inscribed organization of thought suspended in brain chemistry and structure — I thought to briefly explore a more subtle aspect of assault on the homeland.  Two themes emerged: 1) the role of innocents either duped into the smuggling process or possibly ignorant of the law and the import of their actions (perhaps Fermenova’s “delivery” had been intended solely for hunting boar); 2) we might want the struggling democracy to get the shipment 🙂 — but, really, the action must be propelled by our own collective politics and government authorized.

Or else!

Here listed in chronological order are the morning’s result —

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wisconsin-woman-unwittingly-ships-military-hardware-russia/story?id=11290519 – 8/2/2010 – Conspiracy exploited an innocent to work an at-home job fiddling with packaging (“Don’t do it.  Go for a regular job in a regular business”).  🙂 -> Russia.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/latvian-beauty-anna-fermanova-months-prison-smuggling-sniper-scopes-russia-article-1.967810 – 10/25/2011 – Night vision goggles and sniper scope -> Russian ex-husband, “target master” at a hunting lodge.

 https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/houston/press-releases/2012/russian-agent-and-10-other-members-of-procurement-network-for-russian-military-and-intelligence-operating-in-the-u.s.-and-russia-indicted-in-new-york – 10/3/2012 – 11-member “procurement network” – micro-electronics -> Russia.

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2014/10/08/officials-russian-man-attempted-to-smuggle-military-night-vision-technology/ – 10/8/2014 – Dmitry Ustinov – arms components – night scopes – thermal imaging technology -> Russia.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdga/pr/russian-citizen-sentenced-federal-prison-illegally-exporting-firearm-parts-russia – 12/11/2014 – Viacheslav Zhukov – firearm magnifier scopes -> Russia.

http://nypost.com/2015/09/09/spy-pleads-guilty-to-smuggling-military-technology-to-russia/ – 9/9/2015 – Alexander Fishenko – $50 million – sensitive electronics -> Russia.

https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/smuggle-military-technology-russia-brooklyn-doj/ – 10/6/2016 – Alexey Barysheff (naturalized), Aleksandrovish Karpenko, Alexey Krutilin – sensitive electronics -> Russia

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/27/bay-area-couple-charged-with-illegally-exporting-night-vision-scope-parts/ – 4/27/2017 – Naum and Irina Morgovsky – Night vision rifle scope parts -> Russia.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/23/la-woman-arrested-on-charges-of-smuggling-us-space-technology-to-china.html – 5/23/2017 – Cathy Chen – $100,000 worth of space communications technology -> China.

Also in this morning’s look-see, an attempt to distribute rifle scopes and thermal imaging technology to the westbound state of Ukraine:

http://www.uapost.us/en/news/u-ssha-zaareshtuvaly-ukrayincya-za-kontrabandu-teplovizoriv/ – 3/7/2017 – Volodymer Nedoviz -> Ukraine.  While BackChannels is with reason more concerned with the smuggling of “game-changing” restricted technologies to Russia, which may be reverse-engineered as well as distributed, it understands U.S. State’s interests and others in maintaining oversight of the same in a troubled world.

While the “live fire demonstration” that some consider the atrocious military behavior by Russian forces in Syria has boosted Russian defense sales, it would appear evident that Putin’s Federation has yet to figure out, much less build and distribute (much less commercialize) state-of-the-art night vision and thermal imaging technology.  Caution: don’t take the observation as authoritative, but rather a sensible conclusion drawn from the efforts of so many over time to attempt to ship the same toward Moscow.  If we need to be fanciful, and since the innocent’s packages (first URL cited in the above list) included military or police uniforms, that content suggests some interest in infiltrating American units (same uniform, same arms — slip a person into costume and plant).

Additional Reference

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article156277354.html – 6/15/2017. “No problem on ship at after threat claim at Charleston port” (AP).

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