The World Anti-doping Agency(WADA) has been investigating allegations that the Russian sportsworld has entrenched and widespread cheating. The investigation began December 2014 and has prompted the organization to recommend that the International Association of Athletics Foundation impose sanctions on the Russian athletes as well as remove the accreditation of the Moscow based testing facility.
In a media event, the chair of the independent commission to investigate persistent rumours of institutionalized doping, Dick Pound was quoted:
It's pretty disturbing," Pound said. "It's worse than we thought." CBC Sports
The commission has recommended that Russia be declared “non-compliant” with the current anti-doping rules. They particularly focussed on the track and field athletes and stated that they hoped that the doping could be cleaned up before the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The comprehensive report touched on many aspects of sport in Russia. The following are a few of the pertinent points.
Many of us have witnessed the long standing investigation into doping allegations that swirled around cycling great Lance Armstrong. His performances in the Tour de France were truly amazing, but it turns out years later that he admitted to cheating. Other cycling stars have stated that during those ‘doping days’ that you couldn’t touch the podium without doping. Armstrong had his TDF wins expunged from the record books.
It is shameful that those in charge of young athletes would expose them to life altering chemicals in the quest for a dubious national glory. The cheaters in turn rob the ‘clean’ athletes of their rightful recognition and while they are classed as amateurs, rob them of the lucrative contracts offered to gold medal winners.
Wada Independent Commission Report
For those of us who operate computers but don’t program or code, the cyber world can be very confusing. Kaspersky Lab has found the weakness to be in Windows called “zero day exploits”. Microsoft has since patched the weakness.
Suspicions currently point to the state of Israel for these intrusions. While they deny the allegations, there were several small clues that pointed to Israel’s involvement.
The Stuxnet virus that badly damaged the Iranian nuclear programme has generally been accepted as an Israeli/USA effort.
The past few decades have seen the world turn more and more into a connected grid of information sharing. Much of our infrastructure is now controlled by computers connected to the Internet. The system originally developed by the military to facilitate communications has morphed into another creature altogether. The very convenience of the Net is also its weakness.
Intrusions in the early days of the net were often laughed off as the over enthusiastic work of amateur hackers. Criminals quickly learned to exploit the system to skim off money and redirect electronic deposits. Those individuals working on home computers now need sophisticated security programs to ensure that worms, viruses and other unwelcome iterations are repelled.
Nations are now sponsors of cybercrime. Some use the electronic highway to spy on their citizens, others use it to spy on other countries’ citizens.
Cyber attacks have been made against economic targets. The well-publicized Sony hack and the Target credit card hack were given lots of press. The electrical grid is largely controlled by computers. Cities’ water and sewage treatment plants are under electronic directions for the most part.
Thirty years ago cyberwarfare was a thing predicted in science fiction novels. Today it is a reality. Some countries are taking the threats seriously. To this end, RAND Corp., has testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace which is available to read online.
Spiegel Online International
Red Square in Moscow will see the biggest military parade yet. It is expected that 15 000 soldiers will march, 200 tanks will roll and 150 fighter jets will fly overhead. New military hardware will be revealed to the spectators.
While the military show will be spectacular, the VIP viewing stands will have some empty seats. President Putin sent out invitations to 68 political leaders. Only 25 have accepted.
None of the political maneuvering should take away from the terrible price that Russians paid for a final victory against the Nazi war machine. It is estimated that 27 million Russians were killed during the four years of fighting. The siege of Leningrad is an epic story of heroism and fortitude.
The Moscow Times
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