Russian spies can read Madeleine Albright’s mind
AFP/Getty Images Last month, during Vladimir Putin’s yearly televised question-and-answer show, a mechanic from Novisibirsk called in to ask the Russian president to respond to a statement by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Siberia holds too many natural resources for just one country’s use, Albright apparently said. Putin dismissed the statement as “political ...
Last month, during Vladimir Putin’s yearly televised question-and-answer show, a mechanic from Novisibirsk called in to ask the Russian president to respond to a statement by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Siberia holds too many natural resources for just one country’s use, Albright apparently said. Putin dismissed the statement as “political erotica,” and pro-Putin nationalist groups have been using it in speeches and propaganda. The only problem is, Albright never said it. The original caller has himself admitted that he has no idea where he heard the quote.
Just the Kremlin propaganda machine at work, right? Not necessarily. Putin’s supporters may have had evidence of a different kind for Albright’s nefarious intentions, stated or not. The Moscow Times digs deeper down the rabbit hole:
Boris Ratnikov, a retired major general who worked for the Federal Guard Service, said in a December 2006 interview with government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta that his colleagues, who worked for the service’s secret mind-reading division, read Albright’s subconscious a few weeks before the beginning of the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999.
Albright, who as secretary of state played a major role in the lead up to the attacks, was one of the main targets of Russian criticism of the bombing campaign.
Apart from her “pathological hatred of Slavs,” Ratnikov said “she was indignant that Russia held the world’s largest reserves of natural resources.”
On Tuesday, Ratnikov, 62, said he hadn’t been part of the mind-reading experiment but had worked as an analyst on the data produced by his colleagues in the study. He said the mind-reading process involved using a picture or some other image of the person under study.
“By tuning in on her image, our specialists were able to glean these things,” he said.
George W. Bush once claimed that he had looked into Putin’s eyes and seen his soul, but if the Russians can look at a secretary of state’s photograph and see into her brain, we might really be in trouble. To learn about the U.S. military’s own forays into the exciting world of psychic spying, check out Jon Ronson’s hilarious and possibly terrifying book, The Men Who Stare at Goats.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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