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After Sanctions, Cisco Altered Sales Records in Russia

Great report on Cisco’s sanction-breaking & deals with the KGB in Russia. This is engagement in action.

via BuzzFeed

The intent was to dodge sanctions and provide equipment to Vladimir Putin’s military and security services, a source says. Cisco strongly denies it violated sanctions or attempted to do so. A BuzzFeed News investigation.

After Western sanctions began shutting down sales of high-tech internet equipment to Russia’s military and security forces, employees at technology giant Cisco Systems Inc. altered sales records and booked deals under a false customer name, according to internal company documents. The intent, according to a confidential source with deep knowledge of Cisco’s Moscow operations, was to dodge the sanctions by masking the true customers behind more innocuous-sounding straw buyers.

In at least one case, the source said, Cisco employees succeeded in actually providing equipment — including sophisticated internet switches — to the feared FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

Top officials at Cisco, one of America’s most prestigious and innovative companies, valued at more than $151 billion, vehemently denied the allegations. Cisco did not violate sanctions or attempt to do so, they said.

Cisco officials didn’t dispute the authenticity of the internal emails and spreadsheets obtained by BuzzFeed News. Instead, speaking on condition of anonymity in lengthy phone briefings, the Cisco officials acknowledged that the buyer name on some accounts was incorrect but said those were innocent and harmless errors. When records were changed, they said, the intent was only to be more accurate, not to conceal the real buyer.

In the case of the alleged FSB deal, officials said the equipment had not gone to the security service but to a civilian ministry. Cisco is “in complete compliance with the US and EU sanctions on Russia,” spokesperson Nigel Glennie said in a brief written statement.

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Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine

I was happy to endorse this incredibly detailed new report on Putin’s war in Ukraine. We have all known the truth for a long time and here is plenty of proof. There is no civil war in Ukraine. There is no separatist movement. Putin invaded Ukraine, Putin annexed Crimea by force, and Putin is using increasing numbers of Russian troops and Russian weapons to continue his attack on a sovereign European nation. Putin won’t stop until he is stopped and every day the price to stop him goes up.

Russia is at war with Ukraine. Russian citizens and soldiers are fighting and dying in a war of their government’s own making. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny Russian involvement in the fighting, but the evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. Drawing upon open source information, Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine provides irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine.

– Garry Kasparov


This report, the result of an Atlantic Council Working Group launched to examine direct Russian military involvement in Ukraine, has five key findings:

1. Satellite images confirm the movement of Russian troops and camp buildups along the Ukrainian border.

2. Russian training camps stationed along the Ukrainian border are the launching points of Russia’s war in Ukraine. These camps are the staging ground for Russian
military equipment transported into Ukraine, soon to join the separatist arsenal, and for Russian soldiers mobilized across Russia to cross into Ukraine.

3. Commanders order Russian soldiers to conceal the identifying features of military vehicles, remove insignia from uniforms, and travel across the border to join
separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.

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Declaring Energy Independence

My old homeland, the Soviet Union, is gone, tossed into the proverbial dustbin of history a quarter-century ago. By the end, its only significant export was the toxic ideology of communism, which left it both intellectually and financially bankrupt. Though few care to admit it today, the USSR and communism had their defenders in the free world, many of whom preferred to believe in the utopian fantasies of socialism instead of looking at its disastrous realities. Such is the dangerous power of a big idea.

As a believer in the importance of big ideas myself, I actually sympathize with those misguided dreamers more than I do with the current generation of western cynics and profiteers who defend doing business with the world’s most corrupt and brutal regimes. They are aiding and abetting human rights abuses on a monstrous scale with full knowledge of their actions and the damage they cause.

Despite Vladimir Putin’s best efforts to cobble together a Frankenstein’s monster “USSR Lite” by intimidation and economic extortion of Russia’s neighbors, the only unifying idea this time is money. Russia’s military and nuclear arsenal, while still formidable, are not the vanguard of this offensive. And where Soviet ideology once found its way into the cracks of the western world, Putin has found that cold, hard cash is far more effective in recruiting allies and deterring potential foes.

A western engagement policy of “all carrots, no stick” doesn’t work with dictators like Putin who take the carrots and use the profits to fund repression at home.
Russia’s massive energy reserves and its domination of the pipeline system to Europe—and the hundreds of billions of dollars these assets provide—are the Kremlin’s weapons in this fight for geopolitical influence. This is a relatively recent development because Putin has what his Soviet predecessors never dreamed of: Economic leverage handed to him on a platter by western corporations and leaders eager to make deals. When the Iron Curtain fell, Europe and America rushed to engage the newly free nations. This was the natural and humane thing to do and it worked very well in Eastern Europe, where the new governments and their people very much wanted to reform and to join the modern world.

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Garry’s Timeline

Follow Garry's extraordinary path through years of relentless activism.

View the full Biography