[FPSPACE] apology for US govt betrayal of independent Russian researchers

James Oberg jameseoberg at comcast.net
Thu Jul 8 20:56:42 EDT 2010

An apology for US govt betrayal of independent Russian researchers

from Jim Oberg (www.jamesoberg.com)

I'd like to offer my apology to my foreign colleagues on this group (especially in
Russia) for the horrifying damage my government has inflicted on all independent
scholars and researchers in Russia, by its explicitly recognition as "authentic"
the forced confession of Igor Sutyagin, that his research was really 'spying'.

This can only further embolden Russian organs of state security, chekists at 
heart, to initiate further trumped-up espionage charges against anyone whose
research reveals embarrassing or unpleasant realities about the regime and 
its allies, or even about 'Soviet reality' of the past.It may even encourage those
who wish to resort to the "Ivan Safronov solution" to the hazards of undesired
revelation of their accomplishments, activities, and plans.

My understanding of the "legal" process is that "competent elements" of the state
decree what is or is not 'secret' or 'harmful', and this stipulation must be accepted as
factual by the court. No intent to harm the state, or to betray designated secrets 
entrusted to the accused, is required. Nor is even knowledge of the nature of any
potential harm that may befall the state if an enemy obtains the information. 

If that really is the way it works, it has been -- and now even moreso has become -- an
existential threat to free historians and investigators of all potentially security-related
topics, such as the past, present, and future of cosmonautics. 

I'm sorry that for any reason my own government has seen fit to enhance, either
accidentally or with full disregard of the consequences, this danger.
US Attroney General Eric Holder has a different assessment: "The agreement we 
reached today provides a successful resolution for the United States and its interests," 
he said. Can we presume that those interests do NOT involve scrupulously avoiding harm to
independent voices in Russia? It seems we have to assume that.

I am sorry.

Here's another American scholar's similar assessment:

Background on Ivan Safronov, whose work on spaceflight news I knew and admired greatly.

Background on Sutyagin:
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