Defense Minister Han Min-koo: South Korea Has Plan to Assassinate Kim Jong Un

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A top South Korean defense official admitted this week that Seoul has a plan in place to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

The Asia Times reported that Defense Minister Han Min-koo made the remarks Wednesday during a parliamentary meeting in the country’s capital. He was asked about rumors circulating about such a plan.

“If it becomes clear the enemy is moving to attack the South with nuclear missiles, in order to suppress its aims, the concept is to destroy key figures and areas that include the North Korean leadership.”

— Defense Minister Han Min-koo

“If it becomes clear the enemy is moving to attack the South with nuclear missiles, in order to suppress its aims, the concept is to destroy key figures and areas that include the North Korean leadership,” Han said. He said Seoul is “considering launching a Special Forces unit to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.”

Meantime, North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho railed against the United States in his United Nations General Assembly address, warning the U.S. of “tremendous consequences” for its aggression and justifying Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and nuclear tests to defend North Korea from American hostility. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] North Korea TV Show Mocks Obama

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“Are you all right Mr. President?” the North Korean playing a White House aide said to the other actor whose head is wrapped with a bloody bandage, NK News reported.

“I smacked my head on the bathroom floor and broke four tiles on it,” the president answered, “as I was so shocked from the North’s hydrogen bomb detonation!”

“So Mr. President, you were testing the hardness of your skull while the North was testing its hydrogen bomb? ” the aide joked, according to NK News.

“I smacked my head on the bathroom floor and broke four tiles on it, as I was so shocked from the North’s hydrogen bomb detonation!”

The 80-minute comedy show’s title roughly translates as “The stage of optimism that Songun (military-first policy) presented — Volume 11.” The skit was televised Sept. 1, according to a South Korean government database. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] U.S. Flies Bombers Near North Korean Border

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The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday conducted a low-altitude flight over South Korea in a show of force against North Korea, which last week conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

 


[VIDEO] What does China want in the South China Sea? In 60 Seconds

DigitalGlobe overview imagery from June 3rd, 2016 of the Fiery Cross Reef located in the South China Sea. Fiery Cross is located in the western part of the Spratly Islands group.  Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images.

Unlike China’s neighbors, the South China Sea‘s islands are not within China’s exclusive economic zone. So what do they want there? AEI Research Fellow Michael Mazza describes China’s motivations for its claims in the waters near the Philippines and Vietnam.

 


North Korea Conducts Fifth Nuclear Test as Regime Celebrates National Holiday 

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The governments in both South Korea and Japan convened emergency meetings to discuss the test.

TOKYO — Anna Fifield reports: North Korea conducted its fifth atomic test Friday morning, South Korean officials said, as Kim Jong Un’s regime continues to defy international condemnation of its nuclear and missile programs and waves of sanctions.

The test, which analysts said appeared to be of a large nuclear device, came at exactly 9 a.m. local time on Friday, the 68th anniversary of the formation of the communist regime by Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather, and a national holiday.

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“We believe this is a nuclear test,” South Korea’s defense ministry said Friday morning after the United States Geological Survey reported a 5.3-magnitude earthquake near Punggye-ri. “Possible explosion, located near the location where North Korea has detonated nuclear explosions in the past,” the USGS said on its website.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

Analysts said that the earthquake was artificial. “USGS is calling it an explosion because it has all the hallmarks: The waveform is sudden, unlike an earthquake, the depth is shallow, the location is the North Korean test site, and it happened on the half-hour,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“This is clearly a nuclear test,” Lewis said, estimating the size at between 10 and 20 kilotons — a size that, if confirmed, would make this the biggest of North Korea’s five tests.

The governments in both South Korea and Japan convened emergency meetings to discuss the test. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: It’s Obvious Obama ‘Did Not Want Anybody to Know’ About Iran Ransom

Arguing that the Obama administration is affected by the Iran payment, Charles Krauthammer said that the information as well as how it came to light are humiliating.

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LOOK, UP IN THE SKY: U.S. Bombers to Buzz Europe in Show-of-Force Exercise

Two Air Force B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and a single B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, last week for the NATO exercise.

Three U.S. long-range bombers will be flying over the Czech Republic this week for Joint Terminal Attack Controller Exercise Ample Strike, U.S. European Command announced this weekend.

Two Air Force B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and a single B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, last week for the NATO exercise, which kicked off Aug. 30.

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The Czechs are hosting the exercise, aimed to train partners in air-land scenarios, for the third time, according to NATO. The bombers will conduct day and night operations Sept. 5-16, EUCOM said. Approximately 300 participants from 18 countries will attend.

[Read the full text here, at Defensetech]

The Air Force also is adding air-to-air refueling missions during tactical aircraft and bomber missions. “US Air Force KC-135R tankers will refuel not only the German Tornado jets, Czech and Hungarian Gripen aircraft, but also US Air Force strategic bombers,” Col. Zdenek Bauer of the Czech Air Force Command, the exercise director, said in a release. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Obama Administration Transferred $1.7 BILLION to Iran as Hostages Were Released, Four Times Original Amount 

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The Obama administration disclosed to Congress on Tuesday that it transferred a total of $1.7  billion in cash through Swiss banks to Iran around the time American hostages were released this year, about four times the amount originally disclosed to the public, sources told Circa.

iran-cash Read the rest of this entry »


Royal Navy Unveils Robot Spy Speedboat 

The 34ft boat can skim across the waves at more than 50kts to track high speed targets, while navigating and dodging other ships without the control of a human.

Naval commanders believe the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) could herald a robot fleet of high-speed craft packed with sensors to carry out spy and scouting missions.

The unarmed test craft is one of 40 prototypes to be tested by the Royal Navy in a major robot war game off the coast of northern Scotland in October.

The dawn of unmanned vehicles is likely to have the same revolutionary effect on naval warfare as the birth of flight and aircraft carriers, according to the navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer.

Cdr Peter Pipkin said: “This is a chance to take a great leap forward in maritime systems – not to take people out of the loop but to enhance everything they do, to extend our reach, our look, our timescales, our efficiency using intelligent and manageable robotics at sea.”

MAST has been built for the MoD’s defence laboratories and is based on an existing Bladerunner speedboat, but fitted with sensors and robotic technology that is still largely classified.

The boat has a sophisticated anti-collision system to avoid hazards and other craft, but current laws meant that when it was unveiled on the Thames, it had to have a human coxswain on board.

While the MAST is only a test platform for new technology and will not enter service as it stands, sources said it could it pave the way for future robots vessels that can track, shadow or spy on other craft as well as loitering off coastlines.

Elizabeth Quintana, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Navy was looking at unmanned vehicles to take on “dull, dirty, and dangerous” jobs.  Read the rest of this entry »


This Day in History: Soviet pilot lands Russian MIG fighter plane in Japan, Sep 06, 1976 

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A Soviet Air Force pilot lands his MIG fighter jet in Japan and asks for asylum in the United States. The incident was a serious embarrassment for the Soviets, and also provided a bit of a surprise for U.S. officials.

When the Soviets first put the MIG-25 (known as the Foxbat) into production in the 1960s, U.S. officials became nearly hysterical. The new plane, they claimed, was the fastest, most advanced, and most destructive interceptor jet ever built. Its debut, they argued, meant that the United States was falling dangerously behind in the race to control the skies. On September 6, 1976, those officials got a close-up look at the aircraft.

Soviet Air Force Lt. Viktor Belenko took his MIG-25 out of Soviet airspace and landed it at a Japanese airfield at Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. Japanese police took the pilot into custody, where he immediately asked for asylum in the United States. Experts from the U.S. quickly arrived on the scene to get a firsthand look at the aircraft. After being questioned extensively by both Japanese and U.S. officials, Belenko was flown to the United States and granted political asylum.

For the Soviets, the MIG-25 incident was a major diplomatic and military embarrassment. To have one of their most advanced planes delivered into the hands of their enemy was mortifying and was viewed as a serious setback to the Soviet weapons program. Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea Fires Three Ballistic Missiles as G20 Leaders Meet in China 

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The missile launches were the latest in a series by the isolated North this year in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, supported by China, that ban all ballistic missile-related activities by the North.

Ju-min Park reports: North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Monday, the South Korean and U.S. militaries said, as the leaders of the Group of 20 major economies held a summit in China, the North’s main diplomatic ally.

“We are still analyzing details but this is a grave threat to our nation’s security, and we express deep concern.”

— Japan Defence Ministry

The missiles were fired from a region south of the capital Pyongyang just after noon (10.00 p.m. ET) and flew about 1,000 km (600 miles), hitting Japan’s air defense identification zone, South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“We are still analyzing details but this is a grave threat to our nation’s security, and we express deep concern,” the Japan Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The launches drew immediate condemnation from the United States, which described them as “reckless,” and diplomats said the U.N. Security Council will discuss them behind closed doors on Tuesday at Washington’s and Tokyo’s requests.

The missile launches were the latest in a series by the isolated North this year in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, supported by China, that ban all ballistic missile-related activities by the North.

Pyongyang rejects the ban as infringing its sovereign right to pursue a space program and self defense.

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Shortly after the missile launches, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the G20 summit and agreed to cooperate on monitoring the situation, a Japanese statement said.

The South’s military said the missiles were medium-range Rodong-class, launched as a show of force timed to coincide with the G20 summit. The U.S. Strategic Command said in a statement that two of the three were presumed to be “intermediate range” ballistic missiles and that the third was still being assessed.

In 2014, the North fired two Rodong medium-range missiles just as Park and Abe were meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at the Hague to discuss responding to the North’s arms program. Read the rest of this entry »


This Day in History: Western Roman Empire falls, Sep 04, 476 

Rome, Vatican Museum, Octagonal Courtyard, Apollo sculpture (2)

attila1Odoacer was a mercenary leader in the Roman imperial army when he launched his mutiny against the young emperor. At Piacenza, he defeated Roman General Orestes, the emperor’s powerful father, and then took Ravenna, the capital of the Western empire since 402. Although Roman rule continued in the East, the crowning of Odoacer marked the end of the original Roman Empire, which centered in Italy.

Read the rest of this entry »


Secretary of State John Kerry Wants Media to Hide Terror Attacks From Public; Wishes Terrorism Would Just Go Away

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Terrorism doesn’t go away if you ignore it, it expands.

Katie Pavlich reports: Speaking from Bangladesh Tuesday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested members of the media stop covering (Islamic) terrorism so people won’t “know what’s going on.” Kerry attempted to preempt his statement by implying media coverage creates copy cats andkerry-phone-2 promotes more terrorism.

“If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise…perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

[Read the full story here, at TownHall.com]

While the copy cat, attention seeker argument may be true in a handful of cases, the media ignoring terrorism as the Obama administration has arguably chosen to do for nearly a decade, isn’t going to make terrorism go away.

For example, the administration downplayed the ISIS threat by claiming they were “jayvee” and demanded intelligence reports be altered to paint a better picture of the increasingly dangerous situation around the world and in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


The Weaponization of Information: Russia’s Successful Campaign to Spread False Stories 

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Using both conventional media and covert channels, the Kremlin relies on disinformation to create doubt, fear and discord in Europe and the United States.

STOCKHOLM —  With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an big-brother-halfunsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue.

“People were not used to it, and they got scared, asking what can be believed, what should be believed?”

— Marinette Nyh Radebo, Mr. Hultqvist’s spokeswoman

The claims were alarming: If Sweden, a non-NATO member, signed the deal, the alliance would stockpile secret nuclear weapons on Swedish soil; NATO could attack Russia from Sweden without government approval; NATO soldiers, immune from prosecution, could rape Swedish women without fear of criminal charges.

“Moscow views world affairs as a system of special operations, and very sincerely believes that it itself is an object of Western special operations. I am sure that there are a lot of centers, some linked to the state, that are involved in inventing these kinds of fake stories.”

— Gleb Pavlovsky, helped establish the Kremlin’s information machine before 2008.

They were all false, but the disinformation had begun spilling into the traditional news media, and as the defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, traveled the country to promote the pact in speeches and town hall meetings, he was repeatedly grilled about the bogus stories.

Sweden’s defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, last month at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He has tried to counteract disinformation that has threatened to sway public debate in Sweden about a proposed military partnership with NATO. Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Sweden’s defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, last month at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He has tried to counteract disinformation that has threatened to sway public debate in Sweden about a proposed military partnership with NATO. Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The planting of false stories is nothing new; the Soviet Union devoted considerable resources to that during the ideological battles of the Cold War. Now, though, disinformation is regarded as an important aspect of Russian military doctrine, and it is being directed at political debates in target countries with far greater sophistication and volume than in the past.”

“People were not used to it, and they got scared, asking what can be believed, what should be believed?” said Marinette Nyh Radebo, Mr. Hultqvist’s spokeswoman.

[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]

As often happens in such cases, Swedish officials were never able to pin down the source of the false reports. But they, numerous analysts and experts in American and European intelligence point to Russia as the prime suspect, noting that preventing NATO expansion is a centerpiece of the foreign policy of President Vladimir V. Putin, who invaded Georgia in 2008 largely to forestall that possibility.

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In Crimea, eastern Ukraine and now Syria, Mr. Putin has flaunted a modernized and more muscular military. But he lacks the economic strength and overall might to openly confront NATO, the European Union or the United States. Instead, he has invested heavily in a program of “weaponized” information, using a variety of means to sow doubt and division. The goal is to weaken cohesion among member states, stir discord in their domestic politics and blunt opposition to Russia. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] State Department: Iranian Harassment of U.S. Ships ‘Unacceptable,’ Escalates Tensions 

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China To Develop Next-Generation Modular Missiles with Artificial Intelligence 

Next-generation cruise missiles equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of being tailored for specific combat scenarios, are set to debut in China.

Ryan Pickerel reports: Future conflicts will demand cost-effective and versatile weaponry, such as modular cruise missiles outfitted with artificial intelligence, Wang Changqing told the China Daily, at the 2016 Hiwing Forum in Beijing.

“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements.”

Changqing is the director of the General Design Department of the Third Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.

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“Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation.”

— Wang Changqing

“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements,” explained Changqing. “Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation.”. Changqing indicated that China is already a global leader in artificial intelligence.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

The new cruise missiles will “allow commanders to control them in a real-time manner, or to use a fire-and-forget mode, or to add more tasks to in-flight missiles,” Changqing said.

U.S. Navy leadership and senior officers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) meet for lunch aboard the Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) marking the conclusion of a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise between Harbin and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released)

A modular missile is well-suited for future combat. The “destructive capacity, flight mode, and range” of the missiles can be easily adjusted to counter threats on the ground and at sea, Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, informed China Daily. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] State Department Blames Criticism of U.S. Ransom Payment to Iran on…the Media 

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The State Department admitted Thursday that the US would not hand over $400 million in cash to Iran until it released four American hostages — two weeks after President Obama insisted the payment was not a “ransom.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked at Thursday’s press briefing: “In basic English, you’re saying you wouldn’t give them $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”

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“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.

In an Aug. 4 press conference, President Obama said the opposite.

“We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future,” the president told reporters, speaking of the Jan. 17 payment and hostage release.

Families “know we have a policy that we don’t pay ransom. And the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high-profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we’re looking in the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage, and saying to them ‘We don’t pay ransom,’ defies logic,” Obama added at the time. Read the rest of this entry »


NSA ‘Shadow Brokers’ Hack Shows SpyWar with Kremlin Is Turning Hot 

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Western intelligence bosses recently have become open about stating what they’ve known for years, that Snowden is a Kremlin pawn designed to inflict pain on Russia’s adversaries in the SpyWar.

 writes: The National Security Agency can’t catch a break. Over three years ago, Edward Snowden, an IT contractor for the agency, defected to Moscow with more than a million classified documents. Since then, Snowden’s vast trove has been used to embarrass NSA about the extent of its global espionage reach.

“Significant questions loom over this new scandal.  In the first place, what really is The Shadow Brokers? They appear to be a transparent front for Russian intelligence. Indeed, they’re not really hiding that fact, given the broken English they used in their online auction notice asking for bitcoin in exchange for NSA information.” 

I’ve been warning from Day One that the Snowden Operation was a Russian propaganda ploy aimed at inflicting pain on NSA, America’s most important spy agency, and its global alliance of espionage partnerships that’s been the backbone of the powerful Western intelligence system since it helped defeat the Nazis and Japan in World War II.

“From his Russian exile, even Snowden admitted on Twitter that this was pretty obviously a Kremlin spy game.”

Western intelligence bosses recently have become open about stating what they’ve known for years, that Snowden is a Kremlin pawn designed to inflict pain on Russia’s adversaries in the SpyWar. There’s no doubt that’s the case, especially since the Kremlin now has admitted that Snowden is their agent.

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For more than three years NSA has been subjected to an unprecedented stream of leaks about myriad Top Secret intelligence programs. Although Snowden claimed his motivation was to protect the civil liberties of fellow Americans by exposing secrets, it’s impossible to miss that well over 95 percent of the programs he’s compromised are purely involved with foreign intelligence. The impact of all this on agency morale has been devastating and NSA is in a state of crisis thanks to Snowden.

[Read the full story here, at the Observer]

This week things took a marked turn for the worse, however, with the exposure of highly sensitive NSA hacking tools on the Internet by a murky group calling itself “The Shadow Brokers” which announced it planned to sell programs purloined from the agency. Like clockwork, NSA’s public website crashed and stayed down for almost a full day. Although there’s no indication this was linked to The Shadow Brokers, the optics for NSA were terrible.

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First, some explanation is needed of what’s been compromised. The crown jewel here is a 300-megabyte file containing “exploits”—that is, specialized sophisticated cyber tools designed to burrow through firewalls to steal data. What The Shadow Brokers has, which it claims it stole from an alleged NSA front organization termed the Equation Group, appears to be legitimate.

Here we are, three years after Snowden, dealing with the consequences of allowing Russian moles to run amok inside NSA.

These exploits—or at least some of them—appear to come from NSA’s elite office of Tailored Access Operations, which is the agency’s hacking group. Arguably the world’s most proficient cyber-warriors, the shadowy TAO excels at gaining access to the computer systems of foreign adversaries. TAO veterans have confirmed that, from what they’ve seen of what The Shadow Brokers has revealed, they’re bona fide NSA exploits.

This represents a security disaster for an agency that really didn’t need another one. How this happened, given the enormous security that’s placed on all NSA Top Secret computer systems, raises troubling questions about what’s going on, since the agency instituted much more strenuous online security after Snowden’s defection, which revealed how slipshod NSA counterintelligence really was.

However, significant questions loom over this new scandal.  In the first place, what really is The Shadow Brokers? They appear to be a transparent front for Russian intelligence. Indeed, they’re not really hiding that fact, given the broken English they used in their online auction notice asking for bitcoin in exchange for NSA information. From his Russian exile, even Snowden admitted on Twitter that this was pretty obviously a Kremlin spy game.

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Pro-Russian sources have pointed to the Equation Group as an NSA front for more than a year. In early 2015, Kaspersky Labs, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, announced the discovery of the Equation Group and fingers were quickly pointed at NSA as being the culprit behind those hackers. It should be noted that Kaspersky Labs has a very cozy relationship with the Kremlin and is viewed by most espionage experts in the West as an extended arm of Russian intelligence. The firm’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was trained in codes and ciphers by the KGB in the waning days of the Soviet Union, even meeting his first wife at a KGB resort. Read the rest of this entry »