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Cosmonaut insists Soyuz module hole was drilled from inside

This situation is serious as it stands, as Russian cosmonaut is convinced that the hole in the Soyuz craft was drilled from the inside.

Seraphim Hanisch




On August 30, 2018, there was a widely reported incident on board the International Space Station (the ISS). A slight loss of cabin pressure on board the station was found to be caused by a 2mm wide hole that was in the hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft which was docked with the ISS at the time. After a failed launch attempt later in the fall, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev finally succeeded in reaching the ISS to conduct an intensive inspection of the hole. His conclusion is that it was not the result of a micrometeoroid impact, but that it was drilled from inside the crew module.

This statement was woefully misrepresented by several news media outlets, which adjusted their headlines and ledes to suggest that someone on board the ISS drilled the hole while the station was in flight. The sensationalist cries of “sabotage!!” can be laid aside, however, as there is no conclusive evidence that anything like this happened. The British tabloids like The Daily Mail and The Sun mishandled the article with headlines like The Sun’s “Was it sabotage? Russian Cosmonaut insists mysterious hole in the ISS WAS drilled from inside the space station.”

Surprisingly even the reputable magazine Popular Mechanics initially got aspects of the report wrong, saying that they had incorrectly stated that the Soyuz module had been landed on Earth for examination.

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Kononenko, who investigated the hole in the Soyuz MS-09 docking module.

So what is the true story?

The true story is this:

Cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev was one of two members of the ISS crew who went on a spacewalk a few weeks ago to investigate the hole from the outside. Over the course of several hours, Prokopyev and his colleague Oleg Kononenko cut into the outer shell of the Soyuz spacecraft where the hole was found, collected samples, and took photos of the entry—or exit—hole on the outside of the craft.

According to Prokopyev, whatever made the hole started on the inside of the spacecraft. Because there’s only the one hole, that rules out a micrometeorite or some natural cause. Instead, the only possible explanation seems to be that someone drilled the hole, either accidentally or on purpose.

This is a particular concern for Roscosmos because the hole was found on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station. If this whole thing is the result of deliberate sabotage, it could damage the international image of Roscosmos and the Russian space program.

The hole was apparently drilled from inside the module. But where the module was when this happened is not known, and of course, when it happened is also not known.

The rate of leakage of air was slow – it would have taken 18 days for all the air to have been evacuated from the station, which is quite large.

However, the crux of the story is that there should not be any holes in spacefaring equipment, and so both the origin and reason for its existence are under scrutiny.

Due to the difficult political relationship between the US and Russia, a speculative suggestion offered early on by Roscosmos’ head Dmitry Rogozin that someone created the hole deliberately, perhaps even a crew member on board the space station, caused a furor that was absent of logic, like most American “Russia did it!” allegations have been over the last two years.

The hole that was found in the Soyuz MS-09 module while docked to the International Space Station (ISS)

First, as a way to kill astronauts, an 18-day long leak takes at least six or seven days before the crew would be physically even affected by atmosphere loss, let alone impaired, but this is a virtually impossible situation to sneak on a crew when all life support systems on a spacefaring craft are meticulously monitored. So, such an act of sabotage is just stupid.

Secondly, according to Popular Science’s report on this incident, it is extremely hard to drill holes in microgravity, as the torque of the drill and the absence of weight would require an astronaut to be in some sort of restraints or for the drill to have a mechanism to absorb the torque without spinning the astronaut. This claim may be debatable as to how easy it really is to do this, but it is not like drilling a hole on Earth, and further, the astronauts on the ISS run a pretty tight work schedule, and an astronaut sneaking a drill around is likely to be noticed.

The most likely answer is that someone on the ground inadvertently or maybe deliberately, drilled the hole – though the way the hole actually appears suggests that although it is man-made, it does not appear to be intentionally made. That means that someone made a mistake, but then the question becomes: how did this pass inspection prior to launch? A hole in the ascent phase of a spaceflight probably would not cause a problem, as the spacecraft moves at its highest speeds well out of the atmosphere.

But re-entry is another matter, and Russia has already borne the loss of astronauts in this way. tells the story:

The Soviet space program also suffered the first, and so-far only, deaths in space in 1971, when cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev, Vladislav Volkov died while returning to Earth from the Salyut 1 space station. Their Soyuz 11 craft performed a textbook-perfect landing in 1971. So recovery teams were appalled to find the three-man crew sitting dead in their couches, with dark-blue splotches on their faces and blood dripping from their ears and noses.

An investigation showed that a breathing ventilation valve had ruptured, asphyxiating the cosmonauts. The resulting drop in pressure also exposed the crew to the vacuum of space — the only human beings to ever experience such a fate. They died within seconds of the rupture, which occurred at 168 kilometers (104 miles), making them the only human beings to die in space. Since the capsule ran an automatic re-entry program, the craft could land without living pilots.

This memory doubtless lives with the Russian program and indeed, all spacefarers are beyond politics, so this is important to everyone.

The Russian government is very concerned about getting this problem resolved, and as the Russian spacecraft are the only game in town for anyone who wants to go to the ISS, it is a serious international concern.

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I would be more concerned with the massive holes above the small hole. Don’t know why they are there.


The edges of the large hole above the small hole are a bit rough so I’m thinking that it could have been drilled as part of investigating the small hole. The edges of the white section next to the yellowish material on the left side of the image are also rough so it looks as though the section has been cut out for closer inspection.


As I recall, NASA and its astronauts have also experienced trouble, big trouble, Shuttle trouble (Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003 killed a total of 14 astronauts as a consequence). I doubt very much that they were caused by a saboteur, and the same doubt might very well appliy to the Soyuz crafts and other Russian crafts and rockets. As for drilling a hole in a spacecraft and for the Popular Science’s affirmation about the near impossibility of doing it out of gravity, I could add that a good grip to some solid part of the said craft could… Read more »


Having followed the Soviet and later Russian space program since Sputnik I seem to recall reading, probably in Science in the USSR magazine, that the cause of the depressurization of the three cosmonauts in 1971 was determined to be that the pressure equalization valve between the Soyuz and the Salute 1 had not closed or been closed completely, allowing a small air leak which gradually depressurized the Soyuz after it undocked. The cosmonauts likely didn’t notice the very slow drop in pressure and passed out from anoxia long before actually dying. The early Soyuz model equalization valve was changed to… Read more »


Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge

Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)



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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch



After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch



While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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