“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Thursday, July 08, 2010
The Spy Fix is In
A few posts back, a comment came up that I was not interested enough in the big knock-down of the Russian spy ring. That was correct then. It did not make sense to me and I said as much. They were never really charged with anything. Now we learn they are being deported and have served enough time for their crimes.
Enough time? Lindsay Lohan is getting more time for her crimes. Can't we throw her into the deal and send her to Russia. She will find all the alcohol and drugs she needs to launch her into an early haghood fast enough.
Big spy scandal indeed.
Spy suspects could plead guilty, be deported soon
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 8, 2010 10:47 a.m. EDT
New York (CNN) -- Ten suspected Russian spies in the United States could enter guilty pleas Thursday and be swiftly deported, possibly as soon as Thursday night, a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
The source said the suspects are expected to plead guilty in federal court in New York to one of the current charges against them -- failing to register as a foreign agent -- and will likely be sentenced to time already served since they were arrested at the end of June.
The development comes amid reports of a possible exchange of the accused Russian spies in the United States for convicted Russian spies in Russia. One of those convicted spies possibly on a list for the swap left Russia earlier Thursday and arrived in Vienna, Austria, Russia's state-run news agency RIA-Novosti reported. The scientist's family told CNN he was part of the exchange.
A lawyer involved in the plea deal negotiations for the suspects in the United States said that the legal case involving the accused Russian spies is expected to be resolved by Thursday afternoon.
The hearing will combine the five suspects arrested in New York with five others picked up out of state.
Wednesday, a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, ordered that suspects Mikhail Semenko, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills be moved to New York "promptly," according to court documents.
Suspects Donald Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, who were being held in Boston, Massachusetts, also were to be moved to New York, a federal judge there ruled.
All five were being transferred to New York by the U.S. Marshals Service, a senior law enforcement official said.
Zottoli and Mills have admitted that they are Russian citizens and have been living as a couple under false identities in Virginia, investigators say. Prosecutors said that they made the admissions soon after being arrested and authorities have found evidence to support that information.
Semenko is accused of aiding the plot by allegedly conducting private wireless computer links to communicate with a Russian government official, court documents said.
In all, 10 suspects were arrested in the United States in connection with the alleged spy plot. An 11th suspect was detained in Cyprus and released on bail. His whereabouts are unknown.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for Igor Sutyagin, who was convicted in Russia in 2004 for spying for U.S. intelligence services, said Sutyagin arrived in Vienna Thursday, RIA-Novosti reported.
Attorney Anna Stavitskaya said her client could be part of a swap involving the suspected Russian spies detained in the United States in late June.
"Igor's father received a phone call at approximately 16:30 Moscow time (8:30 a.m. ET), and he was told that he [Sutyagin] was seen getting off a plane in Vienna," the news agency quoted her as saying.
Sutyagin's mother and brother also have raised the possibility that he could be exchanged for one of the spy suspects in the United States. They talked to him on Wednesday at a prison in Moscow.
Svetlana Sutyagina confirmed to CNN Wednesday that her son said he will be released from jail and sent to London, England, by way of Vienna on Thursday.
According to Sutyagina, her son was on a list of 11 names submitted by the United States for the exchange of the Russians detained in the United States the alleged spy ring. She said her son remembers just one other name on this list -- Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer sentenced for spying.
Igor Sutyagin was convicted in 2004 of passing secret data to members of U.S. intelligence services acting as employees of a British company called Alternative Futures, in exchange for monetary rewards in 1998-1999.