>USA File: Intel officials, cybersecurity experts: Russian, Chinese hackers mapping electrical grid, deploying “attack software” for future disruptions

>A number of nations, including Russia and China, can disrupt elements of the US information infrastructure.
– Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, recent statement to US lawmakers

If we go to war with them [Russia or China], they will try to turn them [malware] on.
– Senior US intelligence official

At Once Upon a Time in the West we regularly monitor attempts by the Communist Bloc to disrupt or bring down the Internet, as well as penetrate and interfere with civilian and military computer systems in NATO countries. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal, citing various US intelligence officials and cybersecurity experts, reported that hackers from Russia and China have been caught red-handed (pun intended) mapping the US electrical grid and deploying malware to activate at a later date.

“Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials,” begins the WSJ, continuing: “The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven’t sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.”

“The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid. So have the Russians,” a senior US intelligence official is quoted as saying, adding: “If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on.”

“The espionage appears pervasive across the U.S. and doesn’t target a particular company or region,” observes a former Department of Homeland Security official. “There are intrusions [in electrical systems], and they are growing. There were a lot last year.” The US electrical grid consists of five separate networks covering the eastern states, the western states, Texas, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Experts at the US Cyber Consequences Unit think tank explained that “attack programs” search for openings in a computer network through which the software and its human controllers overseas can acquire the same access and powers as a systems administrator.

Intelligence officials admit that many of the intrusions were not detected by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but, rather, by US government agencies. The WSJ relates that the newspaper’s sources in the intelligence community “worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.”

“Over the past several years, we have seen cyberattacks against critical infrastructures abroad, and many of our own infrastructures are as vulnerable as their foreign counterparts,” Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, recently told lawmakers. “A number of nations, including Russia and China, can disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure.”

Last year, a senior Central Intelligence Agency official, Tom Donahue, informed a meeting of utility company representatives in New Orleans that a cyberattack brought down power equipment in multiple regions around the world. The outage was followed by extortion demands.

Intelligence officials, the WSJ concludes, “cautioned that the motivation of the cyberspies wasn’t well understood, and they don’t see an immediate danger.” It is not known whether these breaches in cybersecurity are government sponsored, but Russian and Chinese officialdom is quick to deny culpability. “These are pure speculations,” spluttered Yevgeniy Khorishko, a spokesentity at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, adding: “Russia has nothing to do with the cyberattacks on the U.S. infrastructure, or on any infrastructure in any other country in the world.”

Wang Baodong, Khorishko’s counterpart at the Chinese Embassy, piously intoned: “The Chinese government resolutely oppose[s] any crime, including hacking, that destroys the Internet or computer network. We have laws barring the practice. China is ready to cooperate with other countries to counter such attacks. Some people overseas with Cold War mentality are indulged in fabricating the sheer lies of the so-called cyberspies in China.” Sure, Comrade Khorishko, Comrade Wang, we believe you.

For anyone who holds to the Golitsynian thesis, though, the motivation of Russian and Chinese cyberspies should be evident. The Communist Bloc is preparing to cripple civilian and military computer systems in the West immediately prior to a hot war.

In January 2008 the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved new industry protection measures that will improve computer server security and counter cyberattacks. Last week, Senate Democrats introduced a proposal that will require all private companies managing critical infrastructure to comply with new cybersecurity standards. More ominously, the Senate bill will grant President Barack Hussein Obama emergency powers to control the electrical grid and other critical infrastructure, which could be good or bad, depending on whether Obama is a Soviet mole, as we suspect. Under the Bush administration, Congress approved US$17 billion in secret funds to protect government networks. The Obama administration is considering the possibility of expanding the program. A senior Pentagon official stated on Tuesday that the Department of Defense has over the last six months allocated US$100 million to repair cyber damage.

>USSR2/EU Files: Moldova’s communist president severs relations with Bucharest following pro-Romanian riots, Moscow backs Voronin

>Is another manufactured crisis brewing in the “post”-Soviet space, this time in Moldova? Last year the Soviet strategists goaded Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, an alleged KGB agent, into attacking South Ossetia’s separatist regime, where most residents hold Russian passports. Clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian forces resulted in Russia’s re-invasion of Georgia over a five-day period, the establishment of Soviet military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and a new state of chilly relations between Russia and NATO. Previously, Russian forces withdrew from their Soviet-era garrison in Georgia in November 2006.

Pictured above: On April 8 anti-government activists gathered for a second day of protests near Moldova’s parliament building in Chisinau. Riot police regained control of the president’s office and parliament early Wednesday after they were ransacked by the protesters.

Now, in the wake of Moldova’s disputed Sunday parliamentary election–in which the ruling communist party won a third consecutive victory, sparking violent protests by anti-communists and Romanian irredentists–President Vladimir Voronin has accused Bucharest of destabilizing Moldova, expelled Romania’s ambassador, and announced visa restrictions on Romanian citizens.

“We made the decision to impose visa restrictions with Romania,” Voronin blustered, adding: “Moreover, the Romanian ambassador to Moldova has been declared persona non grata. Romania’s influence in the riots is very serious and that the government knew who was behind the events, though some of them had escaped. Romania is involved in everything that has happened. Patience also has its limits.”

Turning on Moldova’s liberal opposition, Voronin rumbled: “They should concede defeat with decency.” Alluding to his role as Soviet Interior Ministry general in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Voronin added that authorities will use force if “mass disorder” resumes: “I tried to prevent bloodshed in 1989 and 1991, when I was interior minister. Yesterday I was almost ready to take such a decision. Corresponding measures could be taken in the future if this happens again. The authorities have the grounds to take such steps, in line with the law.” As a result of his faithful activities in the old Soviet regime, Voronin reportedly draws a pension (compliance money?) from the Kremlin to this day. He has served two presidential terms since 2001 and must cede the office to another member of the communist party.

On Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rushed to the defense of Voronin by dismissing the Moldovan opposition’s demand for a second election, noting that international monitors determined that the original poll was free and fair. “We are deeply concerned by what happened in Moldova yesterday, I hope the situation will be taken under control,” Lavrov intoned in Moscow, “Demands for fresh elections and the revision of the vote results are absolutely groundless, as all international monitors agreed that the election complied with democratic and legal norms.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also took a dim view of Romania’s alleged involvement behind the Tuesday riots: “Judging by the slogans shouted in the squares, plenty of Romanian flags in the hands of organizers of these outrages, their aim is to discredit the achievements in strengthening the sovereignty of Moldova. The Russian foreign ministry hopes that common sense will prevail, public and constitutional order will be restored in the next few days and the choice of the Moldovan citizens will be confirmed by all politically responsible forces.”

Representatives of Moldova’s two main opposition parties, Our Moldova and the Liberal Democratic Party, denied responsibility for the riots. “What happened yesterday had nothing to do with the Liberal Democratic Party. We are not planning to call for anyone to hit the streets today,” Alexander Tenase complained. This was not the stance of Liberal Democratic leader Vladimir Filat yesterday, who reportedly threatened to use force to instigate a vote recount.

Ironically, or perhaps not, Romania’s government is stacked with “ex”-communists, like the rest of Eastern Europe. This fact suggests that the nationalist saber rattling between Chisinau and Bucharest is part of the Soviet deception strategy and, thus, designed to confuse Western analysts and flush out domestic anti-communists. Formerly part of the Warsaw Pact, Romania is now a NATO member state. However, the two major political parties in Bucharest trace their origin to the communist-controlled National Salvation Front that replaced dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989. The KGB–using their agent Ion Iliescu, Romania’s first “post”-communist president–scripted the execution of Ceausescu when it became apparent that the latter was unwilling to comply with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s disingenuous plan for “democratizing” Moscow’s Eastern European satellites.

Meanwhile, during Tuesday’s riots in Chisinau Ukraine placed its border control police units along the 1,222-kilometer border with Moldova on alert. Itar-Tass quoted Kiev’s border service chief, Sergei Astakhov, as saying: “Border protection was strengthened over aggravation of the situation in the neighbouring country.”

Additional provocations can be expected in Moldova and Transnistria, Moldova’s ethnically Russian breakaway region, in which the Kremlin portrays NATO member state Romania as an aggressor and creates a pretext to establish a military presence in Moldova, thereby also outflanking “pro”-NATO Ukraine.

>USSR2/EU Files: Kremlin accuses USA of militarizing space, using Kyrgyzstan base to spy on Russia, China; Medvedev lauds Obama as “My new comrade"

>- Poking the Soviet Bear in His Den: NATO Countries Carry Out Baltic Air Sovereignty Training Event II over Estonia and Lithuania

- “Ex”-Communist (Surprise!) Chosen as Czech Republic’s Caretaker Prime Minister; Social Democratic-Communist Coalition Promises to Scrap US Radar Base Deal after October Election (Surprise!)

- US President/“Comrade” Obama Regales Adoring Audience in Prague with Vision of “Peace in Our Time,” Urges America to Enter Total Disarmament Regime with the Soviet Strategists

- Moldovan Reds Win Election (Surprise!), Form Third Government; Anti-communists, Romanian Irredentists Riot, Threaten to Force Vote Recount

This past Friday, in an interview with Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, deputy head of the department for international military cooperation, accused Washington of militarizing outer space. Buzhinsky pointed to the US National Space Policy, signed by former President George W. Bush on August 31, 2008, as proof:

The new doctrine adds a tougher and more unilateral nature to these actions. Russian military experts see in this doctrine a disguised bid of the USA to weaponization of outer space.

As you know, space is already used for military purposes. Many countries have deployed and continue deploying in it satellites of reconnaissance, communications, navigation and other systems designed to perform tasks for ensuring their defence potential and security.

Anti-satellite weapons make an integral part of the U.S. missile defence system. The efficiency of the anti-satellite weapons was shown graphically in 2008, when the U.S. antimissile Standard-3M downed the U.S. spy satellite US-193.

Despite the statements of some U.S. officials that the satellite destruction had to be performed just once only to minimize risks for life and health of people, many analysts are of another opinion. They believe that the U.S. tested a new type of weapons capable of destroying spacecraft.

By accusing Washington of militarizing space, of course, Moscow thereby creates a pretext to do the same. This was the entire thrust behind the Kremlin-directed propaganda that followed the apparently accidental collision of a US comsat and Russian milsat in February.

Along the same theme, on Sunday Rossiya TV accused Washington of using its air base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, slated to be closed in August, to spy on Russia and China. The “documentary” on Rossiya TV asserted:

In one of the buildings … there is a multi-channel, multi-functional system of radio-electronic surveillance.

This station can eavesdrop the whole world — every fax, every e-mailed letter. Every call from a mobile or landline phone is being recorded and processed. Billions of messages are being intercepted.

At Manas, the U.S. built a station which controls entire Central Asia, parts of China and Siberia. For Americans, the existence of the intelligence complex at the base is more important than the runway. It was done in a treacherous way, without being endorsed by the Kyrgyz authorities.

Rossiya TV is widely perceived as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin, while the US$2 billion loan that Moscow extended to Bishkek earlier this year is viewed at this blog as a thinly disguised attempt to oust the Americans from their last Central Asian base.

Russia does not hesitate to denounce NATO “expansionism” in the old Soviet Bloc, even though we believe that this is part of the long-range Soviet strategy to provide a pretext for preemptive military strikes against the West. NATO’s BAST-E II drill provides such a pretext.

Today, according to the Estonian Defense Ministry, NATO fighter jets will carry out air defense exercises over the capitals of Estonia and Lithuania, Tallinn and Riga. During the Baltic Air Sovereignty Training Event II, the same source stated, “The populations of the Estonian and Lithuanian Capitals may well see NATO fighter aircraft overfly their cities. Onlookers in the vicinity of Riga International Airport will also see NATO fighter aircraft enacting a practice Air Policing exercise.” The one-day drill will focus on improving interoperability among NATO air forces.

BAST-E II is a continuation of drills held in October 2008. NATO’s commitment to protect the airspace over Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia expires in 2011. Since all three countries are wary of neo-Soviet aggression, most recently displayed last August in Georgia, they are urging an extension of the agreement until 2018.

Even as Moscow beats the war drum against Washington, the neo-Soviet leadership feigns friendship with the USA by granting permission to NATO to transit non-military cargoes over Russian territory to Afghanistan. “I do not believe that the transit of toilet rolls via rail through Russia for NATO’s use in Afghanistan constitutes a betrayal of the motherland,” Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s fiery envoy to NATO, joked on Monday. Rogozin also hinted that military cooperation between Russia and NATO, which was severed after the invasion of Georgia, could be re-established after ministerial meetings of the NATO-Russia Council, to be held between May 18 and June 6.

The USA’s planned National Missile Defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as Russia’s refusal to comply with the Cold War-era Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty are two more sources of tension between Russia and NATO. The only reason that Moscow is “playing nice” with Brussels at this time is to be in the best possible position to plunge the dagger into the North Atlantic Alliance at a later date.

Yesterday the UPI news agency reported that the Czech Republic’s outgoing government and opposition leaders have agreed that 58-year-old economist Jan Fischer will organize a caretaker cabinet by May 9 and lead the country until the October 9-10 general election. Fischer will replace outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government resigned in mid-March. Topolanek belongs to the center-right Civic Democratic Party, although he began his career in the youth section of the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. For his part, Fischer is not currently affiliated with any party, but between 1980 and 1990 was also a cadre of the ruling communist party. Fischer has directed the republic’s statistical office since 2003. In another article, the same source confidently predicts the outcome of the next Czech poll: “The Social Democrats and Communists, two parties that strongly oppose letting the United States build the radar base, will form the next government.”

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) is the Czech Republic’s main communist party and chief successor to the old Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. In the 2006 Chamber of Deputies election the KSCM picked up 26 seats, thereby also making the party the country’s third largest.

This past Sunday US President Barack Hussein Obama addressed adoring crowds in Prague and urged a “nuclear-free world” (pictured above in Hradcany Square). Translated from commiespeak, this means that America must scrap its nuclear deterrent while the Kremlin gangsters secretly modernize and expand their own battery of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. First, notwithstanding North Korea’s in-your-face provocations, “Obamessiah” offered Czechs a history lesson in the Cold War and then painted a grim picture of nuclear war:

The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. Cities like Prague that had existed for centuries would have ceased to exist.

Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black markets trade in nuclear secrets and materials. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered in a global nonproliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point when the center cannot hold.

Obama then proposed the negotiation of new treaties with Russia, implementing strategic arms reduction and a comprehensive test ban, as well as ending the production of fissile materials. Obama then mentioned that he and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev instigated this process during the Group of 20 summit in London last week.

First, the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.

To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: as long as these weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies — including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.

To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia this year. President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding, and sufficiently bold. This will set the stage for further cuts, and we will seek to include all nuclear weapons states in this endeavor.

To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.

And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons. If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons grade materials that create them.

Second, together, we will strengthen the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation.

The basic bargain is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy. To strengthen the treaty, we should embrace several principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the treaty without cause.

Although Obama was directly addressing the Czechs, he was no doubt also appealing to a global audience that includes patriotic US citizens who did not vote for him and who reject his policy of disarming America, as well as sending reassuring signals to the Soviet strategists and their friends in the Council on Foreign Relations.

Obama’s peace rhetoric sounds nice to the ideologically challenged sound bite generation, but we strongly suspect that America’s new president is a smooth-talking Soviet mole who is more committed to submerging the USA into Moscow’s Red World Order than even former president Bill Clinton, another suspected KGB asset. Last November, after Obama’s election, former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev enjoined Obama to implement “perestroika” (socialist restructuring) in the USA. Later, on March 20, Obama, along with US Vice President Joe Biden, secretly met with Gorbachev at the White House. Spokesmen in Washington and Moscow refused to divulge details of this under-reported meeting, but it appears that America’s days as a free nation are numbered.

Following Obama’s first encounter with Medvedev at the G20 summit, the Russian head of state tellingly referred to the US president as “comrade.” In connection with NATO’s expansion into the old Soviet Bloc, Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate, told reporters: “Yesterday I spoke about this with my new comrade, President Barack Obama.” He then added: “I believe that we managed to establish contact. . . . I cannot say that we made much progress on the most serious issues. Let’s wait and see. I liked the talks. It is easy to talk to him. He can listen. The start of this relationship is good. Today it’s a totally different situation [compared to former President George W. Bush]. This suits me quite well.” Incidentally, when Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega made his first “post”-Cold War trek to Moscow last December, Medvedev also referred to El Comandante as “comrade.”

The shopping mall regime long since swallowed communist deception–hook, line, and sinker–but Eastern Europe’s citizen-slaves have learned some hard lessons. This past Sunday the ruling Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova, formerly the Moldavian section of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, won its third consecutive parliamentary election. The results afford the communists at least 62 seats in the new legislative session, with 61 votes in the 101-member chamber required to elect a new president. Since President Vladimir Voronin, a former Soviet Interior Ministry general and thus Moscow’s man in Chisinau, has already served two terms, the Moldovan parliament must elect another communist for the chief executive office. The Central Election Commission stated that 59.49% of the more than 2.6 million eligible voters cast ballots under the watchful presence of some 5,500 local and international observers.

Anti-communists and Romanian irredentists were not pleased by Sunday’s red victory. On Tuesday 5,000 protestors stormed the presidential palace in Chisinau, only to be dispersed by police with water cannon. Some protesters demanded reunification with Romania, waved Romanian flags, and chanted “We are Romanians!” Rioters then broke into the parliament building, scribbled anti-communist slogans on walls, threw a smoke-bomb from an upper storey, and burned furniture in the streets. “The situation is under police control, and will remain under their control,” insisted Interior Ministry spokesentity Alla Meleka in an interview with Novosti. The protests, which began peacefully, were initially led by Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Filat, who warned that the opposition would go as far as using force to implement a vote recount.

Since 1992 Moscow has used the threat of Russian military intervention in Moldova’s ethnically Russian breakaway region of Transnistria to keep Chisinau under its thumb. Moldova and Cyprus are the only two European countries with democratically elected communist governments although, of course, “ex”-communists still dominate the leadership of most Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc states.

>Latin America File: Ortega heads for Havana, Salvadoran President-Elect Funes meets Lula in Brazil; South American, Arab leaders converge in Qatar

>- Panama’s Drug Czar: Colombian and Mexican Cartels Have Transformed Country into Relay Station for Northbound Drug Shipments

- Chavez Denounces Capitalism, G20 Summit, Ex-President George W. Bush; Huddles with Qadaffi, Assad in Doha, Invites Sudan’s Genocidal Dictator to Visit Venezuela; Rubs Elbows with Ahmadinejad in Tehran

- Ecuador’s Socialist President Correa Anticipates Uneventful April 26 Re-Election, Defense Minister Leads Military Delegation to Moscow in March

- Soviet Communist Leader Zyuganov Urges President Obama to Release “Cuban Five” Espionage Agents, Terminate Economic Blockade against Havana

Pictured above: Seems like old times: Dan and Raul chillin’ in Havana.

No doubt laughing at reports of communism’s exaggerated demise, Communist Bloc leaders are busy power networking around the world in 2009. On Thursday Nicaragua’s past/present dictator Daniel Ortega travelled to Cuba where he has cultivated a long and ideologically fruitful relationship with the Castro Bros. Like Fidel, now in self-contemplative retirement, and Raul, who guides the ship of state in his brother’s stead, Daniel is a decades-old KGB asset. The Cuban state media reports that Ortega travelled to Havana upon the communist leadership’s invitation:

According to Granma news daily, the meeting reaffirmed the excellent state of relations between the Caribbean archipelago and the Central American nation while both leaders expressed their intention to continue strengthening the bilateral ties. Raul and Ortega exchanged opinions on different topics such as the challenges that Cuba and Nicaragua face amidst the complex international situation and discussed other topics of regional and multilateral interest. Also present at the meeting were Cuban First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla and Rosario Murillo, President of the Council of the Citizen’s Power of Nicaragua.

Accompanying Ortega was his wife Rosario, who presides over the Councils of Citizen’s Power, the Sandinista counterpart to Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. On April 1 Nicaragua broke off trade talks with the European Union. “We cannot negotiate with a gun to the head,” Ortega complained in a speech posted on El Comandante’s website. “They want to put us in a free trade agreement where the shark swallows the sardine,” he pouted. What’s wrong with free trade, Dan? Karl Marx bestowed his imprimatur on free trade back in the 1840s. Real capitalists, as far as we’re concerned, are not opposed to some protectionism to safeguard national interests.

In another example of Nicaragua’s reintegration into the Communist Bloc, on March 24 Managua inked an accord with state-owned firm PetroVietnam for the exploration of offshore oil and natural gas reserves. The signing ceremony was attended by Petroleos de Nicaragua CEO Francisco López and PetroVietnam President Dinh La Thang, with Ortega participating as witness of honor (loosely defined). López explained that the accords with PetroVietnam cover viability studies on both coasts. PetroVietnam also pledged to provide technical assistance with the construction of the El Supremo Sueño de Bolivar refinery, to be located in Nagarote, 90 kilometers west of Managua. El Supremo will cost US$3.9 billion to build and will refine 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day, transforming energy-starved Nicaragua into an exporter of petroleum derivatives. The project is being constructed with financial assistance from close ally Venezuela. López announced that: “A PetroVietnam executive mission will be arriving in Nicaragua within four weeks to explore the distinct possibility that there are large reserves of petroleum and natural gas in our country.”

In addition to Vietnam, Venezuela, and Iran, Russia, as we have previously documented, has also promised to beef up Nicaragua’s energy infrastructure. In the 1980s El Comandante revealed a penchant for designer sunglasses now, like Mikhail (“I’ll Always Be a Communist”) Gorbachev, he’s an aging communist windbag. As long as Ortega enjoys Moscow’s backing, though, the neo-Sandinista regime in Managua is potentially dangerous.

Since his election two weeks ago, Salvadoran President-Elect Mauricio Funes, the moderate-left figurehead for the soon-to-be-ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), has responded to accusations that he is Hugo Chavez’s man in San Salvador by retorting: “Chavez will not meddle in El Salvador.” The formerly ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) has played up alleged relations between the FMLN and Venezuela’s red dictator. However, Funes also pledged that El Salvador will have “superb” relations with the USA, on the one hand, and Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, on the other hand. Since US President Barack Hussein Obama is a socialist, while the other three countries sport communist dictatorships, warming relations between the USA and Latin America’s Red Axis are possible as long as Chavez stops beating the anti-Washington war drum. Tellingly, Chavez was the first Latin American Red Axis leader to congratulate Funes and expressed his desire to “deepen the links of brotherhood between our people and governments.”

President-Elect Funes has also pledged to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, severed nearly 50 years ago, after the Castro Bros. seized power. On March 19 Funes told a news conference: “We would be, at present, the only country in Latin America that doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Cuba. The date on which relations with Cuba will be re-established remains up to my discretion.” During the civil war that wracked the country between 1980 and early 1992 the Soviet Union and Cuba funneled arms to the FMLN guerrillas. Vice President-Elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren was the FMLN’s battlefield commander between 1984 and 1992, which means he’s a hard-core revolutionary which, in turn, proves that Funes is little more than a façade for the party’s unreconstructed Marxist leadership.

The AFP news agency reported, at the link above, that on March 19 President-Elect Funes made a private trip to Brazil, where he met fellow moderate leftist head of state, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Funes’ wife, Dr. Vanda Pignato, is a Brazilian national who was involved in the formation of Lula’s ruling Workers’ Party in 1980. Lula, along with retired red thug Fidel Castro, founded the narco-communist-terrorist Sao Paul Forum ten years later. Thus, we see that El Salvador’s new president is also well plugged into the Western Hemisphere’s Communist Bloc leadership network.

One of outgoing President Tony Saca’s last official functions was to represent El Salvador at the Central American Integration System (SICA) meeting in Managua on March 25. He excused Funes’ absence, noting that his successor was visiting Brazil. Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos welcomed the delegations at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport. Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom did not attend due to the worsening situation created by organized crime in his country, a situation not unrelated to the narco-anarchy in neighboring Mexico. Instead Colom was represented by his foreign minister. Saca was the only rightist present at the SICA meeting, which is now a tool for Latin America’s ascendant Red Axis.

Summit host Ortega persuaded participants to hold a regional “summit in defense of employment” in Managua on May 19-20. The summit will invite government and business leaders from throughout Central America and the Caribbean Basin to develop a common strategy, the outcome to be determined in advance, of course, by the region’s political left.

Elsewhere in Central America, the Latin American Herald Tribune, citing Panama’s drug czar Rafael Guerrero, has revealed that the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels are increasingly using Panama as a staging area for northbound shipments of cocaine. This recreational drug is produced in large part under the auspices of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, hence terrorism expert Joseph Douglass’ 20-year-old term “red cocaine.” “Panama has become the main logistical point for meetings between those who commit this crime, mainly members of [Mexico’s] Sinaloa, Gulf and Tijuana cartels,” explained Guerrero.

On March 16 the Naval Aviation Service of Panama acknowledged the arrest the previous week of 17 people, including both Colombian and Panamanian citizens, from whom about 1.2 tons of cocaine and three speedboats were confiscated along the country’s Pacific coast, near the Colombian border. Panamanian authorities do not rule out the possibility that Colombian narcos have infiltrated the country’s southern province Darien in order to set up a cocaine processing laboratory in the area.

The totalitarian nature of Venezuela’s red dictatorship is evident in the fugitive career of opposition leader Manuel Rosales, who is evading arrest by Chavez’s cronies. Last year Chavez vowed to jail Rosales on corruption charges. Omar Barboza, an official spokesman for Rosales’ party, revealed that the opposition leader had moved to a “safe place” to avoid capture. “It is not possible for Manuel Rosales to exercise his right to defend himself in Venezuela,” Barboza explained. “I don’t think it does any favors to the country when people don’t face justice,” Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jesse Chacon retorted. Rosales unsuccessfully ran for president in 2006. The Chavezista regime, like the neo-Sandinista regime in Managua, has utilized the legal system to neutralize opposition leaders. Last year Venezuelan officials blocked the candidacy of Leopoldo Lopez, who was favored to win election in Caracas and seen as a possible future presidential candidate.

Speaking from Tehran, where he materialized after attending the Second Summit of Heads of State of South America and Arab Countries (ASPA) in Doha, Qatar, Chavez denounced the Group of 20 meeting in London and demanded the end of capitalism. Rant on: “It’s impossible that capitalism can regulate the monster that is the world financial system, it’s impossible. Capitalism needs to go down. It has to end. And we must take a transitional road to a new model that we call socialism.” Rant off. On Friday Chavez and his buddy President Mahmoud (“Iwannajihad”) Ahmadinejad launched a joint commercial bank designed to expedite trade and industrial projects between Venezuela and Iran, two OPEC states facing declining crude prices.

At his previous engagement in Qatar, Chavez informed journalists that he considered the ASPA meeting “a good opportunity to give shape to the idea of the pluripolar world, what he called the new architecture of the post-US imperial world.” In an interview with Prensa Latina, Chavez described the “ASPA integration goal” in glowing, revolutionary terms: “Those are our inspiring roots and, more than inspiring, they are like the energy that drives us. [Jose] Marti, [Simon] Bolivar, [Francisco de] Miranda, Fidel [Castro], they are all with us and their flag of struggle. Now is the time, as Karl Marx proposed, for all that theory to come true. Our challenge is to turn it into something practical and able to work as a machine.” For their part, statesmen from the 22-member Arab League expressed appreciation for South America’s solid support for the Palestinian Arabs. Veteran anti-Semite Chavez, conveniently forgetting the fact that in 1947 the United Nations offered both Jews and Arabs separate states, used the occasion to blast Israel’s policy in West Bank and Gaza Strip. Incidentally, the Palestinian Arabs responded to the first offer of statehood by saying: “No thanks, we’ll kill all of the Jews instead.” Six decades later the world is still seeking to impose a two-state solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While in Doha, Chavez opened his big month one more time to reveal his support for Islamic terrorism by opposing the international arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against genocidal Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was also in attendance. “I spoke with al-Bashir and asked him about the risks he is facing when he visits a foreign country. I invited him to visit Caracas, and I told him, ‘I hope you do not have any problem there.’” During his opening address at the ASPA summit, Chavez asked the applauding audience: “Why do they not order the arrest of [former US president George W.] Bush, who is a genocidal murderer, who ruled the United States for eight years, and ordered bombing Iraq?” Venezuela endorsed the ICC in 1998, shortly before Chavez assumed the presidency of that country. On the summit sidelines, Chavez huddled with veteran Libyan strongman and African Union chairman Muammar al-Qaddafi (“Duck”), Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah president Michel Suleiman.

In a related story, on March 23 Caracas hosted seven South American finance ministers at a meeting of the new Bank of the South, which will provide member states with an alternative source of financing apart from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The act creating Banco del Sur was signed in late 2007 by Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. “We are committed to creating the Bank of the South. There is a great force against it, but we keep moving on,” commented Chavez.

In tiny Ecuador Chavez’s “mini me,” President Rafael Correa, an economist who trained at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, looks forward to an uneventful re-election on April 26. According to Santiago Perez pollster Correa is currently supported by 52 percent of voters. The Institutional Renewal Party of National Action candidate, multimillionaire and banana magnate Alvaro Noboa, can count on receiving 11 percent of the votes, while former President Lucio Gutierrez, another leftist, can count on 12 percent. The constituent assembly that governs Ecuador is dominated by Correa’s socialist Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance and other socialist and communist groupings.

In spite of his youthful good looks, Correa is a dangerous socialist who has not only snuggled up to Caracas and Havana, but also Moscow. In March Ecuadorean Defense Minister Javier Ponce traveled to Russia to continue negotiations on a bilateral technical-military cooperation pact. Ponce, who was slated to meet with representatives of the Russian Defense and Development and Trade Ministries, was accompanied by brass from the Ecuadorean air force and navy. Ponce’s Moscow trip is a follow-up to the cooperation accords that the two countries signed in Quito last November, when Nikolai Patrushev, current secretary of the Russian Security Council and former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), touched down in the South American country. The neo-Soviet leadership, as we have copiously documented at this blog, is anxious to re-project its Cold War-era power throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Last but not least, the Soviet strategists continue to closely monitor the “Red Spread” in Latin America as well as encourage their client state in Havana. On March 23 the Cuban media reported that Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, urged the US Supreme Court to overturn the convictions of the notorious Cuban Five. In 1998 Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, and Fernando Gonzalez, three of whom are known agents of Cuba’s Intelligence Directorate, were jailed for infiltrating Miami-based anti-Castro groups. Chairman Zyuganov threw his weight behind an international amicus curiae signed by former presidents, legislators, and 10 Nobel Prize winners, stating that the document is an effective legal tool that could be used to launch an appeal. He also urged US President Barack Hussein Obama, whom we suspect maybe a Soviet mole, to lift the 50-year-old economic blockade against Cuba.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: 3rd Sino- Soviet war game slated for April 17-19 in Tajikistan; DPRK to launch Rodong, deploys nukes to missile sites

>The Soviets and the Communist Chinese will hold their third joint war game in Tajikistan between April 17 and 19. This is not the “Peace Mission 2009″ drill slated for northeast China in the summer. Both war games, however, will occur under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This month’s exercise will not only include military personnel from Russia and China, but also Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the host country. “Military planes and helicopters, heavy armor and soldiers will be used in the exercises,” the Tajik Defense Ministry explained in a statement, adding: “The war games are aimed at improving cooperation in counter-terrorist operations as well as readiness in opposing international terrorism, political extremism and separatism.”

Pictured above: Chinese paratroopers jump from their transport during the final stage of Peace Mission 2007 in Chelyabinsk, in Russia’s Ural Mountains region, on August 17, 2007.

The AFP news agency observes that the SCO is a “regional group dominated by Moscow and Beijing that has raised concern in the West about becoming a possible counterweight to NATO.” The MSM finally gets it: The SCO and the related Collective Security Treaty Organization, also controlled by Moscow, are most definitely counterweights to NATO. It is worth noting that Tajikistan borders Afghanistan, where NATO forces are struggling to crush a lingering Taliban insurgency and eliminate Al Qaeda hideouts. By flexing its military muscle in Central Asia, the Communist Bloc is clearly sending a message to the North Atlantic Alliance that Western influence is not appreciated in the Soviet Empire’s old vassal state in Kabul. In short, the Moscow-Beijing Axis is preparing for war against the West under the guise of “counter-terrorist operations.”

Meanwhile, the Stalinist hellhole known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, reported the British media on March 31, has deployed nuclear warheads to at least two underground missile-launching facilities. “I received the information from the national intelligence agency of a certain country that they believe North Korea has deployed nuclear warheads at two underground facilities for Rodong missiles,” Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, told The Telegraph from Seoul. “We estimate that North Korea has as many as 320 Rodong missiles, which can be launched from mobile transporters anywhere in the country, and we are assessing the threat these pose,” Pinkston added. Rodong missiles have an estimated range of 1,300 kilometers, placing Japan within range of the two missile bases that have been identified in North Korea.

North Korea’s reported deployment of nuclear weapons will exacerbate tensions in the region, already strained due to Pyongyang’s determination to launch an experimental satellite. Lift off is scheduled to take place between April 4 and 8. Satellite surveillance images reveal a three-stage Rodong rocket at the Musudan-ri launch pad, near the east coast of North Korea. Experts estimate that technicians could attach a nuclear warhead to the missile with 48 hours. The Japanese government has threatened to shoot down the rocket, provoking a stream of “anti-imperialist” invective from Crazy Kim’s communist nuthouse. The intelligence reports suggest that the warheads are made from plutonium extracted at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which North Korea sporadically promises to dismantle in return for fuel assistance, but never does.

>Red Terror File: Former Chechen chief of Russia’s Vostok Battalion gunned down in Dubai on Saturday, or maybe not; suspects with Slavic names arrested

>Personal sickness prevented your resident blogger from posting this past week. With our health restored we continue our information war against the Communist Bloc . . .

This past Saturday in Dubai unknown gunmen killed Sulim Yamadayev, former commander of the Vostok Battalion, a Russian Ground Forces’ group comprised mainly of pro-Moscow Chechens. Organized in 2003, the Vostok (East) and related Zapad (West) Battalions are affiliated with the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, which is permanently stationed in Chechnya. These two battalions were also directly subordinate to Russian military intelligence (GRU).

“Unfortunately, he is dead and has been buried in Dubai,” mourned Ziad Spassibi, who represents Chechnya in Russia’s Federation Council, the rubberstamp parliament’s upper house. Spassibi then provided some details about Sulim’s burial: “He was buried on Monday in the al-Kuz cemetery in Dubai at 3:00 pm local time (1100 GMT) on Monday.”

This is just another open-and-shut case of Moscow-orchestrated red terror in which an untrustworthy Chechen asset is eliminated, right? Nyet. It turns out that “Hero of Russia” Sulim may not be dead after all. Sulim is pictured above at Hankala airport, a military base outside Grozny, on September 16, 2007.

Contrary to official reports from United Arab Emirates police, where Spassibi probably derived his information, Sulim’s younger brother insists that the former Chechen separatist is not dead. Instead, Sulim was seriously wounded in a brief gun battle that took place outside Jumeirah Beach Residence luxury hotel. “He feels fine,” Isa revealed in a telephone interview from Dubai, adding: “The doctors do not let us talk with him for a long time. They also said nothing threatens his life. Everything will be fine.”

Meanwhile UAE police chief Major General Dahi Khalfan Tamim contends that “The murder was organized by a criminal group that has foreign links. Four or five people have been detained on suspicion of the murder. One of them is a Russian national.” On April 1 Russia’s consulate general told Novosti that “At least seven people have been detained in connection with the murder, all of whom had Slavic surnames.”

Yamadayev was discharged from his post as battalion commander last August over an alleged involvement in the abduction and murder of a Chechen businessman 10 years before. In the early part of August 2008 Sulim reportedly fought alongside Russian forces during the invasion of Georgia. Yamadayev’s brother Ruslan, a former member of the Russian State Duma, was gunned down in Moscow last September. Ruslan was a prominent rival of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow President Ramzan Kadyrov who, naturally, denied any involvement in the killing.

Pictured here: Don’t worry, everything is under control in Russia. Neo-Soviet dictator Vladimir Putin surfs the web and visits his official site.

In a story that may cast some light on the present case, in 2004, in the nearby Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a court convicted two GRU agents of using a car bomb to murder Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, the former president in exile of Chechnya. Qatari authorities asserted that Russia’s agents received their orders directly from then Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

So, we must ask the inevitable questions. First, are reports of Sulim’s death greatly exaggerated? Second, did someone in the Kadyrov puppet regime, Russian Defense Ministry or GRU order the assassination (or attempted assassination)? Finally, is it possible that someone wants Sulim to appear dead? Answer those questions as you please, but one thing is sure: the Kremlin is too busy monitoring Internet usage among Russia’s citizen-slaves to tell the truth about anything.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Smirnov offers to host Russian military base in Transnistria; Kremlin to organize “Arctic Group of Forces"

>On March 24 Igor Smirnov, the “ex”-communist president of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic, or simply Transnistria, invited Russia to establish a full-blown military base in the diminutive country wedged between Moldova and Ukraine. “If Russia needs military bases here, we have legislation on Russian troops,” Smirnov informed journalists. Possibly in response to Smirnov’s saber rattling, Novosti reports, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin pulled out of a meeting with Smirnov, scheduled to take place the next day.

One week prior to Voronin’s snub, the leaders of Russia, Moldova, and Transnistria agreed to continue talks on the issue of Transnistria’s status at a meeting in Moscow. They reiterated their commitment to the “five-plus-two formula,” which includes Russia, Ukraine, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the European Union, and the USA, as well as the two “disputing” parties, Moldova and Transnistria. Smirnov has also expressed interest in either joining Russia outright or possibly the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

Pictured above: Voronin and Smirnov attend “kiss and make up” meeting at Tiraspol, on December 24, 2008.

Relations between Moldova and its ethnically Russian separatist region have been tense since March 1992, when Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union, and Transnistria in turn proclaimed itself an independent republic. Russia has maintained a small garrison of peacekeepers in Transnistria since July 1992, but the negotiation process for troop withdrawal was suspended in February 2006. Under the Joint Control Commission, Russia is permitted to field a maximum of 385 peacekeepers on Transnistrian (Moldovan) soil.

In view of the fact that the governments in Moscow and Tiraspol are both connected to the old Soviet regime, while the government in Chisinau is openly communist, one should be forgiven for concluding that the whole dispute between Moldova and Transnistria is part of the long-range Soviet deception. The primary purpose of the dispute would probably consist of confusing Western analysts into believing that the former communist regimes of Eastern Europe are disunited.

A military base, per Smirnov’s invitation, would institutionalize and no doubt enhance the Russian presence in the unrecognized state. A fully equipped air base in Transnistria, moreover, could conceivably serve as a stopover for the Kremlin’s strategic bombers en route to Southern Europe, the Balkan Peninsula, or the Middle East. Russia is illegally building military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia’s separatist regions that are recognized only by Russia and neo-Sandinista Nicaragua. Moscow has also threatened to construct a naval base on Abkhazia’s Black Sea coast and is presently building a naval base in the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.

The Russian Navy views Novorossiisk as an alternative to the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol should the Ukrainian government, which is also deceptively connected to the old Soviet regime, finalize plans to evict the Russians in 2017. “The infrastructure is being built under the federal program for the construction of a naval base in Novorossiisk until 2020,” Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the navy’s general staff, told Novosti. The Black Sea Fleet, Burtsev continued, must deploy eight to 10 submarines as soon as possible to bolster the overall strength of the armed forces in southern European Russia. The fleet currently deploys one Project 877 Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine, while an outdated Project 641 Foxtrot-class sub is being overhauled. Almost two weeks ago we blogged that at least 10 Russian nuclear-armed attack submarines, commissioned with the Northern and Pacific Fleets, are presently patrolling the world’s oceans.

On March 27 the Russian Security Council, which is chaired by former chief of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Patrushev, announced that the FSB will organize an Arctic Group of Forces to protect Kremlin interests in the polar region. “However, it does not mean that we are planning to militarize the Arctic. We are focusing on the creation of an effective system of coastal security, the development of arctic border infrastructure, and the presence of military units of an adequate strength,” a Kremlin spokesentity soothed. The Arctic Group of Forces will utilize assets of the navy’s Northern and Pacific Fleets and military districts that border the Arctic Ocean.

The security council published its designs for the North Pole at its website under the document “The Fundamentals of Russian State Policy in the Arctic Up to 2020 and Beyond.” In the last four years Russia has carried out two Arctic expeditions, the first to the Mendeleyev underwater island chain in 2005 and the second to the Lomonosov Ridge in 2007, to lend credence to its territorial claims in the region. Moscow intends to submit documentary support to the United Nations on the external boundaries of Russia’s territorial shelf by 2010.

Canada, the USA’s closest ally and the other half of NORAD, has not taken kindly to neo-Soviet expansionism in the polar region. Even as Moscow broadcast its plan to form an Arctic military force, a spokesperson for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon huffed: “Canada is an Arctic power. The government is engaged in protecting the security of Canada and in exercising its sovereignty in the North, including Canadian waters.” Catherine Loubier explained: “Canada plans to have more Arctic patrol vessels, construct a deep water port and eavesdropping network in the region, hold annual military exercises, and boost the number of Inuit Arctic rangers keeping an eye on goings-on along our northern frontier.”

While Canada has every right to exercise sovereignty in its Arctic region, it is unlikely that the Kremlin gangsters will be frightened by these trivial assertions of power. Ultimately, Canadians depend on Washington’s goodwill and nuclear arsenal to keep the Soviets out of North America.

Pictured here: A previous summit of the SCO in Astana, Kazakhstan, held on October 30, 2008.

Moscow Moves in the Middle East and Southwest Asia

Elsewhere, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which embodies the Moscow-Beijing Axis, continues to extend its influence throughout Asia by wooing observer states like Iran and Pakistan into full membership with an organization that has become unashamedly militaristic in its objectives, to wit a third Sino-Soviet war game to take place this year. Novosti reports that declared nuclear power Pakistan, like incipient nuclear power Iran, is also seeking complete absorption into this new Eurasian Communist Bloc.

“I hope that one day we will be invited to join this organization,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced last Friday, as he attended the SCO shindig in Moscow. “We are currently reviewing the situation in Afghanistan and its influence on neighboring states” Qureshi explained, ominously adding, “Russia and China could play a key role in improving the situation in the impoverished state.”

Like the CSTO, with which it shares a memorandum of understanding, the SCO serves as the Moscow-Beijing Axis’ counterweight to NATO. The organization embraces Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status. Russia assumed the SCO presidency last August.

The present SCO get-together in Moscow is a veritable super-summit of communist, “post”-communist, semi-communist, and pro-communist states, with predictable endorsements from the United Nations and the Obama Administration. Foreign ministers from SCO member and observer states are not the only delegates in attendance. Afghanistan, Turkey, and the USA also sent representatives. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of CSTO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, of which is Russia is an observer state, are also taking part in the event.

Russia, not surprisingly, is not content to meddle in its old stomping grounds in Afghanistan, but has decided to extend its influence into post-Baathist Iraq, by supplying military equipment to the US-backed government there. On March 31 Novosti reported that Moscow will ship 22 Mi-171 Hip transport helicopters to Baghdad. According to a spokesman for Helicopters of Russia, Iraq’s Airfreight Aviation Ltd. signed a contract at an unstated time with the Ulan Ude helicopter plant for an undisclosed sum. The Ulan Ude factory, which is based in East Siberia, manufactures Mi-171 transport and Mi-171Sh combat/transport helicopters. Russia’s chummy, new-found relationship with Iraq, former US President George W. Bush’s showcase for “Middle East democracy,” represents the tip of the iceberg with respect to the Kremlin’s geopolitical designs in the region.

Putatively committed to settling regional conflict through its membership in the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet, Russia does not hesitate to arm Israel’s most embittered enemies, the Palestinian Arabs. Novosti reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow will soon ship 50 armored personnel vehicles (APCs) to the Palestinian Authority. “All of these 50 armored vehicles will be taken from the Defense Ministry’s available resources–that is to say, from depots where mothballed vehicles are stored,” a source in the Russian Defense Ministry revealed. The same source explained that on-board weapons would be removed from the APCs prior to delivery. The Soviets first offered armored vehicles to the Palestinian Authority in 2005 to help the Fatah terrorist regime in Ramallah “maintain order” (meaning, suppress the populace and attack Jewish settlers). Fearing the vehicles could fall into the hands of Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, Israel first opposed the idea but the spineless government of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon subsequently agreed to the shipment of “weapon-less” military vehicles.

Pictured here: G20 summiteers at the ExCel Centre, in east London, on April 2, 2009. The US and Russian presidents are standing in the middle row, left and center, respectively.

Financial Crisis Forces Resignation of Hungarian and Czech Prime Ministers, United Nations Joins Russia and China in Urging Global Currency

The global financial crisis has brought down two more Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc governments, those of Hungary and the Czech Republic, in addition to Latvia’s in February.

On March 21 Hungary’s unpopular prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany resigned, effectively acknowledging the inability of the minority ruling Hungarian Socialist Party to counter the regional effects of the world recession. In the 1980s, when Hungary was an open communist dictatorship, Gyurcsany led the youth section of the party’s previous incarnation, the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. Not so coincidentally, outgoing PM Gyurcsany visited Russia barely two weeks ago before his resignation. At the time he conferred with both “President” Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator. Was Gyurcsany’s departure from Hungarian politics the subject of discussion with his Moscow masters? We can only speculate, but it seems likely.

György Surányi, economist and former “dissident,” is being touted as the next head of government. In 1986 Surányi, then a technocrat in the Finance Ministry’s Financial Research Institute, co-authored a study on political and economic reform that prompted Hungary’s communist rulers to dissolve the institute. In other words, Surányi bears all the hallmarks of a communist-controlled dissident. The former president of the “post”-communist Hungarian National Bank and current chairman of CIB Bank presently enjoys the backing of both the Hungarian Socialist Party and the small Free Democratic Party. This means, of course, that Surányi has Moscow’s imprimatur.

Last week the Czech Republic’s prime minister Mirek Topolanek also resigned, citing the country’s economic woes as pretext. The collapse of Topolanek’s center-right government, reports The Telegraph, threatens to destabilize Prague’s six-month presidency of the European Union, leaving the federation “rudderless” ahead of a crucial Group of 20 summit in London underway today. Topolanek offered the following explanation for his resignation and refusal to institute a caretaker government until his country’s EU presidency expires on June 30: “I believe it can complicate our negotiating power. Partners in Europe have grown used to us negotiating hard. In this sense it can happen that our position will be weakened. Political instability will only deepen uncertainty and concerns, and will hurt the chances of successfully overcoming the consequences of the economic crisis.”

Like Gyurcsany, in the early part of his political career Topolanek belonged to the youth section of Czechoslovakia’s ruling communist party. The no-confidence vote that brought down Topolanek’s cabinet will most likely delay Czech ratification of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty until the autumn, after elections that the communist-infiltrated Social Democratic Party hopes to win.

Last, but definitely not least, the United Nations, an embryonic world government jointly founded by the Soviets and Council on Foreign Relations in 1945, joined Russia and China in blessing the concept of a global currency reserve system to replace the dollar-based system. The UN panel pontificated on the importance of “reforming” (socializing) the world’s financial system:

A new Global Reserve System — what may be viewed as a greatly expanded SDR (Special Drawing Rights), with regular or cyclically adjusted emissions calibrated to the size of reserve accumulations, could contribute to global stability, economic strength and global equity.

Recovery would require all developed countries, in the short term, to take strong, coordinated and effective actions [meaning socialism] to stimulate their economies.

This would lay the basis for the long-run [socialist] reforms that will be necessary if we are to have a more stable and more prosperous global economy and avoid future global crises.

The panel is chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, the US economist who has lauded the nationalization (communization) programs of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Taking up the slogan “Cough up some more dough, Mack,” the Stiglitz panel proposed that developed countries bail out developing ones with anti-crisis packages (which would thrill Nicaragua’s panhandling Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega), impose more market regulation everywhere, and create yet another UN agency, to be called the Economic Council. Last Wednesday International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn conceded that discussions on a new global reserve currency to replace the US dollar were “legitimate” and will take place “in the coming months.” That’s nice. Where would you like that mark, sir? On your forehead or right hand?

USA/USSR2 Files: Obama, Biden secretly met Gorbachev at White House on March 20, last Nov. ex-Soviet leader urged US president to initiate perestroika

- Russian Diplomat in Ottawa Calls Canada’s Testy Response to Bomber Intrusion “Cold War Mentality,” Washington Silent on Incident

- Obama as Soviet Mole: Tom Fife’s Controversial 1992 Conversation with Anonymous Russian Scientist’s Wife Revisited

- Council on Foreign Relations Website Quotes US National Security Adviser James L. Jones: “I Take My Daily Orders from Dr. Kissinger”

- Male Secondary Students in Russia to Receive “Voluntary” Pre-Military Training under Interior Ministry Directive, Assigned to Regular Troop Units

- People’s Bank of China Governor Joins Neo-Soviet Leadership in Urging Establishment of Global Currency to Replace US Dollar, Praises Economist John Maynard Keynes

The tiff between Russia and Canada over the former’s revived Arctic military activities continues. As previously blogged, Dmitry Trofimov, head of the political section of Russia’s embassy in Ottawa, has been summoned to appear before the Canadian parliament’s defense committee to explain the presence of two strategic bombers near the Yukon coast several hours before the arrival of US President Barack Hussein Obama in the Canadian capital last month.

“It was nothing but a coincidence,” Trofimov protested, “From the point of international law, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. Military training flights will continue so long as other countries conduct them on the boundaries of Russia’s airspace.” Canada’s conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, and his defense minister, Peter MacKay, “raised a stink” about the bomber intrusion. Trofimov, in turn, responded to the Canadian government’s testy reaction by saying: “The Cold War mentality is still there, which is deplorable.”

By contrast, the US government, which is determined to “press the reset button” on bilateral relations with Moscow, has been silent about the February 18 bomber incident near Canadian airspace. It is evident from the statements of the neo-Soviet leadership that the Kremlin views Obama as a pliable friend, if not an outright covert asset, as discussed below. It is expected that Obama will meet his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev for the first time at next month’s London Group of 20 summit.

The US government has also been silent with respect to two important, apparently related incidents that took place on March 20. The MSM revealed yesterday that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met former Soviet tyrant Mikhail (“I’ll Always Be a Communist”) Gorbachev at the White House last Friday, in what can only be described as a “secret meeting” since the encounter was not previously published on the US president’s official daily schedule. Reuters news agency acquired the revelation via Gorby’s spokesman Konstantin Petrenko, who refused to divulge details of the discussion.

When White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was grilled at a news conference about why the meeting between Obama, Biden, and Gorbachev was not previously disclosed, Gibbs offered an incredible explanation: “The president tends to roam around the larger (White) House and sometimes walks into meetings that weren’t previously on his schedule.” We can only speculate about the subject matter that President Obama discussed with the Soviet strategists’ top PR man. However, a clue may be afforded from Gorbachev’s praise for Obama last November.

Following the president’s election Gorbachev, in an interview with Italy’s La Stampa, urged Obama to implement “perestroika” (restructuring) in the USA to “overcome the financial crisis and restore balance in the world.” He complained that “The Republicans have failed to realize that the Soviet Union no longer exists, that Europe has changed, and that new powers like China, Brazil and Mexico have emerged as important players on the world stage. The world is waiting for Obama to act. The White House needs to restore trust in cooperation with the United States among the Russians.” Gorbachev then referred to Obama as a “man of our times”:

This is a man of our times, he is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation. Barack Obama has not had a very long career, but it is hard to find faults, and he has led an election campaign winning over the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. We can judge from this that this person is capable of engaging in dialogue and understanding current realities.

Novosti picked up Gorbachev’s La Stampa interview, as well as Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s opinion of the US president, expressed in the Russian business daily Vedomosti. Khodorkovsky founded the now defunct Yukos oil giant but is presently serving a prison term on fraud and tax evasion charges. Like Gorbachev, he used the word perestroika in describing the future direction of the Obama administration. “Being a liberal myself,” Khodorkovsky pontificated, “I think that the world will take a left turn and that a global perestroika would be a logical response to the global crisis.” Sounding like a communist rather than a capitalist, he added: “The paradigm of global development is about to change. The era inaugurated by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher 30 years ago is over. Decisions in neoliberal economies have been made mainly by supranational institutions and transnational corporations.” Khodorkovsky predicted:

Globalization will slow to a crawl, but will not stop. The ‘golden billion’ of the world’s richest people will have to abandon hopes of increasing their wealth, but high consumer standards which developed at the end of the 20th century will be unaffected by the change. The striving for political freedom and open competition of personalities and ideas will not disappear.

To what sort of “restructuring” is master communist deceiver Gorbachev and Komsomol capitalist Khodorkovsky alluding? Why, socialism, of course. In the 1980s Gorbachev outlined his vision of a “mature socialist society” in Russia and a world conquered for communism. In Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (Harper & Row, 1987), the not-so-retired Soviet dictator writes:

Perestroika is closely connected with socialism as a system. That side of the matter is being widely discussed, especially abroad, and our talk about perestroika won’t be entirely clear if we don’t touch upon that aspect.

Does perestroika mean that we are giving up socialism or at least some of its foundations? Some ask this question with hope, others with misgiving.

. . .To put an end to all the rumors and speculations that abound in the West about this, I would like to point out once again that we are conducting our reforms in accordance with the socialist choice. We are looking within socialism, rather than outside it, for the answers to all the questions that arise. We assess our successes and errors alike by socialist standards. Those who hope that we shall move away from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed. Every part of our program of perestroika–and the program as a whole, for that matter–is fully based on the principle of more socialism and more democracy.

More socialism means a more dynamic pace and creative endeavor, more organization, law and order, more scientific methods and initiative in economic management, efficiency in administration, and a better and materially richer life for the people.

More socialism means more democracy, openness and collectivism in everyday life, more culture and humanism in production, social and personal relations among people, more dignity and self-respect for the individual.

More socialism means more patriotism and aspiration to noble ideals, more active civic concern about the country’s internal affairs and about their positive influence on international affairs.

In other words, more of all those things which are inherent in socialism and in the theoretical precepts which characterize it as a distinct socio-economic formation.

We will proceed toward better socialism rather than away from it.

. . .We want more socialism and, therefore, more democracy.[pages 36-37]

If the socialist nature of perestroika is still unclear, in spite of the above quote, then consider the following excerpt from a report that Gorbachev delivered to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on November 2, 1987:

The idea of perestroika rests upon our seventy-year history, on the sound foundation of the basically new social edifice erected in the Soviet Union; it combines continuity and innovation, the historical experience of Bolshevism and what socialism is today. It is up to us to continue and carry forward the cause of the pioneers of the Revolution and of socialism. And we are certain to achieve this by our work, by making creative use of the experience of the generations that blazed the October trail before us [October and Perestroika: The Revolution Continues. Ottawa: Soviet Embassy, 1987].

Last Friday, at the secret White House meeting, did Gorbachev personally urge President Obama to implement socialist restructuring in the USA? Since Obama is in fact an under-the-radar socialist this scenario is very possible, which means America has most certainly entered its last days as a free country. A startling essay by Tom Fife, “The First Time I Heard of Barack,” exposes the US president as a veritable “Manchurian Candidate.” Fife is a software developer who visited Russia between 1992 and 1994 in order to launch a business in collaboration with “some people from the Russian scientific community.” We cannot vouch for the authenticity of Fife’s sources, but simply reproduce below, for the reader’s consideration, the statements of “T.M.,” a Russian woman devoted to the “communist cause,” uttered in 1992.

Well, I think you are going to be surprised when you get a black president very soon. What if I told you that you will have a black president very soon and he will be a Communist?

Well, you will; and he will be a Communist. Yes, it is true. This is not some idle talk. He is already born and he is educated and being groomed to be president right now. You will be impressed to know that he has gone to the best schools of Presidents. He is what you call “Ivy League”. You don’t believe me, but he is real and I even know his name. His name is Barack. His mother is white and American and his father is black from Africa. That’s right, a chocolate baby! And he’s going to be your President.

It’s all been thought out. His father is not an American black so he won’t have that social slave stigma. He is intelligent and he is half white and has been raised from the cradle to be an atheist and a Communist. He’s gone to the finest schools. He is being guided every step of the way and he will be irresistible to America.

“She was full of little details about him,” Fife continues, “that she was eager to relate. I thought that maybe she was trying to show off that this truly was a real person and not just hot air. She rattled off a complete litany. He was from Hawaii. He went to school in California. He lived in Chicago. He was soon to be elected to the legislature.”

“Have no doubt,” T.M. gushed, “he is one of us, a Soviet. . . . he will be a blessing for world Communism. We will regain our strength and become the number one power in the world.”

“So, what does this conversation from 1992 prove? Well, it’s definitely anecdotal,” Fife admits, adding:

It doesn’t prove that Obama has had Soviet Communist training nor that he was groomed to be the first black American president, but it does show one thing that I think is very important. It shows that Soviet Russian Communists knew of Barack from a very early date. It also shows that they truly believed among themselves that he was raised and groomed Communist to pave the way for their future. This report on Barack came personally to me from one of them long before America knew he existed. Although I had never before heard of him, at the time of this conversation Obama was 30+ years old and was obviously tested enough that he was their anticipated rising star.

Secretive, high-level discussions between Moscow and Washington have in fact taken place since former US secretary of state and alleged Soviet agent “Bor” Henry Kissinger established a “strategic working group” with former KGB chief Yevgeny Primakov at then Russian President Vladimir Putin’s private residence in 2007. On the very same day that Obama and Biden accidentally “bumped” into Gorby at the White House, “Dr. K” was leading a delegation of retired US statesmen, including former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker, to Moscow where they conferred with Soviet Komsomol graduate Medvedev.

The US contingent on this committee, it should be pointed out, is stacked with Council on Foreign Relations alumni, which should come as no surprise to astute observers of elite politics. The CFR, like the Soviet strategists, is committed in its own fashion to the demise of US sovereignty, East-West convergence, and the establishment of world government. The current global financial crisis provides these elite manipulators with an ideal crisis to advance the much-touted “New (Red) World Order,” articulated last November by Britain’s Labour prime minister Gordon Brown.

How much behind-the-scenes authority does Dr. K, the subject of numerous conspiracy theories, wield today? The comments of National Security Adviser James L. Jones at the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy, held at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof on February 8, 2009, are instructive:

Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday. Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.

If these remarks were not posted at the CFR website, we would consider them apocryphal, like Fife’s otherwise dramatic, Hollywoodesque assertions above. Incidentally, Scowcroft was National Security Adviser to President Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, while Berger held the same capacity in the administration of President (and alleged KGB asset) Bill Clinton.

Bilateral ties between Moscow and Washington nose-dived last year, with Russia complaining about NATO “expansionism” and US plans for a missile shield in Central Europe, and the USA chastising Russia for re-invading and re-occupying Georgia. In light of President Obama’s determination to reduce the US military stockpile of nuclear weapons and achieve a new détente with the Russians, as well as the furtive manipulations of the Kissinger-Primakov cabal, Fife’s supposed revelations assume new significance.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin continues to prepare Russia’s citizen-slaves for war with the West by activating air raid sirens, silent since the old Soviet era, and brainwashing male students with military discipline and patriotism lessons under the auspices of Interior Ministry police troops. Not content to harness the street-fighting muscle of United Russia’s Young Guard, Nashi, Young Russia, and other Putinist youth groups, earlier this month Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev signed an order to create educational squadrons. These will be attached to 85 Interior Ministry units and comprised of 14- to 16-year-old students, called “sons of regiments.” The latter term hearkens back to the Second World War when Soviet troops took (kidnapped?) orphan boys to the front lines, fed and dressed them, and taught them how to play martial music. A famous Russian children’s book by Valentin Kataev, published in 1944 and titled Son of the Regiment, narrates the story of such a boy.

Modern “sons of regiments” will follow the same tradition. The educational squadrons will form the regular field bands of Interior Ministry units, be supplied with food and uniforms, attend compulsory secondary school classes, and receive a salary equivalent to that of involuntary service soldiers. All “volunteers” will require parental consent to enlist in the Kremlin’s new educational squadrons. Like Prime Minister Putin, his boss, Interior Minister Nurgaliev is a career Chekist.

Finally, the ruling Communist Party of China has joined the neo-Soviet leadership of Russia and Kazakhstan in demanding the institution of a global currency to replace the dying US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, stated: “The goal is to create a reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.” Remarked Qu Hongbin, chief China economist for HSBC, in response to the proposal: “This is a clear sign that China, as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets, is concerned about the potential inflationary risk of the US Federal Reserve printing money.”

Although Zhou did not mention the US dollar, his essay expressly rejected the current dollar-dominated (capitalist) monetary system: “The outbreak of the crisis and its spillover to the entire world reflected the inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system.” Instead, Zhou proposed expanding the role of special drawing rights (SDRs), a function of the International Monetary Fund founded in 1969 to support the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate regime. The value of SDRs is currently based on a basket of four currencies, the US dollar, Japanese yen, European Union euro, and British pound sterling. The IMF primarily uses SDRs as a unit of account.

Under the Chinese proposal, the valuation of SDRs would be based on all major economies. Zhou’s “economic prescription” would also organize a settlement system between SDRs and other currencies for the purpose of international trade and financial transactions. Comrade Zhou acknowledged the role of socialist economist John Maynard Keynes in making a similar suggestion in the 1940s. ‘Nuff said.

>Communism with Canadian Characteristics: Ottawa summons Russian embassy official before defense committee, grilled over Arctic bomber, sub intrusions

>Pictured here: A helicopter takes off with the bodies of four Canadian soldiers killed after an IED exploded yesterday, during a mission in the Taliban stronghold of Zhari in Kandahar, a province in southern Afghanistan.

As a rule, regardless of the party in power, Canadians are sensitive about issues of national sovereignty, especially with their closest ally, the USA. In recent weeks, Canada’s Conservative government has reacted testily to the presence of Russian strategic bombers near the country’s airspace. A senior Russian embassy official in Ottawa has been summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee to explain Russia’s military presence in Canada’s Far North. The Globe and Mail reports today:

The scheduled appearance by Dmitry Trofimov, the embassy’s head of political section, before the House of Commons defence committee comes just one month after a diplomatic dustup between the two countries. After Canada revealed it sent fighter jets to intercept two Russian bombers near Canadian airspace on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Canada, politicians here unleashed a flurry of strong words for their Arctic neighbour.

Following Obama’s visit to Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke of “increasingly aggressive Russian actions around the globe and Russian intrusions into our airspace.” Offended Russian officials retorted that their aircraft, which materialized near the Northwest Territories on February 18, were conducting regular military training, that Canada was given advance notice of the flight, and that there was no violation of Canadian airspace.

Trofimov is scheduled to discuss the bomber incident, but opposition MPs have vowed to interrogate Moscow’s representative about Russia’s submarine policies in the Arctic Ocean. In light of the government’s feisty response to airspace violations, the opposition has expressed puzzlement over its unwillingness to discuss the presence of a foreign submarine in Canada’s Eastern Arctic last summer.

The Globe and Mail reports “federal officials attempted to play down the sighting, which was made by hunters and was deemed ‘reliable,’ according to internal documents. The Canadian Forces said they could not comment on the subsequent investigation.” An official in the Foreign Affairs Ministry was quoted as saying: “All information regarding submarine movements is classified, but that Canada does share information with allied nations operating submarines to avoid underwater collisions.”

Government party MP Laurie Hawn, a defence committee member and former fighter pilot, rejects Russia’s contention that Moscow informs other countries about flight plans. He’s also dubious about gathering reliable information regarding submarine traffic in Canada’s Arctic region. “People who operate submarines don’t generally talk about where they go,” observed Hawn.

About this incident, which occured on August 9, 2008, at the northern end of Baffin Island near a hunting camp, another Globe and Mail article relates: “The sub sighting occurred kilometres away from the location of a mysterious explosion that had been reported to authorities 10 days earlier and made news across Canada.”

Last Friday the Russian Navy admitted that at least 10 of its nuclear-armed attack submarines are presently patrolling the world’s oceans. It is possible, of course, that the submarine under investigation in Canada’s Eastern Arctic belonged to the US Navy. For decades Ottawa has insisted that the Americans first request permission to use the Northwest Passage. “Experts,” reports state-run CBC, “say that for decades, U.S. submarines have been sneaking around Arctic waters inside what Canada considers its territory. Russian, French and British submarines are believed to have gone in the waters as well.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: 3rd Sino-Soviet war game dubbed "Peace Mission 2009"; Russian Navy: 10 nuke-armed subs on patrol in world’s oceans

>- Six Strategic Bombers Launch Cruise Missiles and Drop Precision-Guided Bombs at Pemboi Test Range in Arctic Russia

- Two Russian Maritime Patrol Aircraft Fly Within 500 Feet of Aircraft Carrier USS Stennis in Sea of Japan this Past Monday (source)

The Moscow-Beijing Axis will hold its third joint war game, dubbed Peace Mission 2009, this summer in northeast China, the Russian Defense Ministry disclosed on Wednesday. The two previous Sino-Soviet drills were also called “Peace Mission” and took place in 2005 and 2007 in both countries. “The final decision on the date, venue, name and forces involved will be made at bilateral consultations to be held in the last 10 days of March,” a ministry source explained. For its part, the Chinese Defense Ministry stated this past Tuesday that “the joint maneuvers were aimed at developing a strategic partnership between Russia and China.”

The agreement to hold Peace Mission 2009 was reached at last year’s meeting between Russia and China’s defense ministers. The two communist allies established their first military hotline in December.

The progress of military coordination by the Moscow-Beijing Axis was predicted as far back as 1984 when KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn exposed the so-called Sino-Soviet split as a strategic deception designed to promote the idea among Western analysts that there were ideological and practical divisions within the Communist Bloc. After predicting the fake demise of communism in Eastern Europe under the guidance of a “reformist” Soviet leader (realized under Mikhail Gorbachev, 1985-1991), Golitsyn then warned that “post”-communist Russia would ally itself with Communist China as “one clenched fist” (realized in 2001). The “reconstructed” Soviet Union would then neutralize both NATO and the United States of America, the first through the admission of “ex”-Soviet Bloc states into the North Atlantic Alliance (realized in 1999), the second through the promotion of socialist governments (realized under Presidents Bill Clinton, 1993-2001; and Barack Obama, 2009-present).

At this point, it would become obvious to the whole world that the balance of power had shifted away from the “bourgeois states” and toward the socialist states. Such a ruse was necessary, Golitsyn argued, since during the Cold War NATO would have been greatly alarmed by open military cooperation between the two communist superpowers. In validation of his accurate method of analysis, Golitsyn’s two books–New Lies for Old (especially Chapter 25, “The Final Phase”) and The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998)–read like a script of the last 25 years of world history.

With refreshing candor the Russian Navy admitted this week that 10 attack submarines armed with nuclear weapons are presently patrolling the world’s oceans. “Up to 10 submarines are conducting various missions around the globe, including training and combat patrol missions with nuclear weapons on board,” a source in the naval general staff told Novosti today. Most of these submarines belong to the Northern and Pacific Fleets. The Kremlin maintains a fleet of 60 nuclear-powered and diesel-electric submarines in active service, including 10 nuclear-powered strategic submarines and more than 30 nuclear-powered attack submarines.

“The Navy General Staff believe that strategic submarines will continue playing an important role in safeguarding Russia’s national security because they remain one of the key components of Russia’s military might and serve as a reliable deterrent to potential threats and aggression against the country,” the same source explained.

Russia, continues Novosti, plans to completely modernize the naval component of its nuclear triad by 2016. Its navy recently began mooring trials of the first Borey-class nuclear-powered strategic submarine, which will be equipped with Bulava SLBMs. The Yury Dolgoruky, built at the Sevmash plant in northern Russia, left its dry dock in April 2007. The vessel is 170 meters (580 feet) long, carries a crew of 107, can dive to a maximum depth of 450 meters (1,500 feet), sustain a submerged speed of 29 knots, and launch 16 ballistic missiles and torpedoes. Two other Borey-class submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, will be completed in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Russia plans to build a total of eight Borey-class submarines by 2015.

A fourth-generation Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarine will be delivered to the Russian Navy in 2010 or 2011. The Severodvinsk submarine will be able to launch long-range cruise missiles with nuclear warheads, as well as engage “hostile” (meaning US Navy) submarines and surface warships. The second vessel of the Graney class is expected to enter service by 2015.

In a related story, the Russian Air Force, Novosti reports, has launched a four-day exercise near the city of Vorkuta, north of the Arctic Circle. Six Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers will test-launch cruise missiles and drop precision-guided bombs at the Pemboi test range. The exercise is part of a command-and-staff drill supervised by Major General Pavel Androsov, commander of Russia’s strategic aviation, and will last until March 20.

Concurrently, in southwest Siberia 5,000 troops and 400 armored vehicles are carrying out a large land-and-air war game (pictured at top), as 7,000 NATO troops begin their third Cold Response drill in Norway. The latter entails countering a simulated invasion of Western Europe’s offshore oil fields.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: 7,000 NATO troops hold “Cold Response” war game in Norway as Russian armed forces carry out Siberian drill

>- President Dmitry Medvedev: Armed Forces Will Begin Large-Scale Modernization Program in 2011, Finish by 2020

- Russian Military Deploys Second S-400 Triumf Air Defense Regiment, First Regiment Deployed near Moscow in 2007

- Alleged Soviet Agent Henry Kissinger Leads Team of Former Statesmen to Moscow to Negotiate America’s Surrender

- Russia and Kazakhstan’s “Ex”-Communist Leaders to Pitch Idea of Global Currency at April’s Group of 20 Summit in London

Pictured above: Norwegian Air Force F-16 fighter jet participates in NATO’s last Cold Response exercise in 2007.

On Monday the US Defense Department, foolishly in our opinion, made light of Russia’s proposed use of air bases in Cuba and Venezuela for its strategic bombers, a prospect that was first broached in the Kremlin media last July and then again last week. “That would be quite a long way for those old planes to fly,” Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary, scoffed to the AFP news agency. “Admiral Mike Mullen is not overly concerned about other nations [like Cuba and Venezuela] trying to forge bilateral relations with other partners and friends,” huffed an anonymous defense official, referring to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

We are also concerned that Moscow may try to station its bombers in neo-Sandinista Nicaragua. Although Managua is still participating in joint military drills, like Tradewinds 2009, with the USA, this could change in the near future since Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega is also closely allied with Havana and Caracas and insists, against Washington’s wishes, upon retaining at least 400 Soviet-built SA-7 SAMs.

The US Air Force certainly possesses more modern technology than its Russian counterpart, such as the 1990s-era B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. However, the US military’s fleet of 1950s-era B-52 Stratofortress bombers is roughly comparable with the Tu-95 Bear, the fastest propeller-driven plane in the world, while the 1970s-era B-1 Lancer is comparable to the 1980s-era Tu-160 Blackjack, the largest combat aircraft in the world. The latter, in fact, is once again rolling off the assembly line, one every year or so. Some estimates place the number of operational Blackjacks at 19 or 20, not the commonly touted 14 or 16.

In April 2006 the Kremlin boasted that at least two Blackjacks reached the coast of Alaska without tripping NORAD’s alert system. The next year a Tu-160 flew within 20 miles of the British city Kingston upon Hull before Royal Air Force planes intercepted the bomber. Russia’s most advanced strategic bomber, as far as we are aware, is not equipped with stealth technology, although these incidents suggest otherwise. The Sukhoi PAK-FA multi-role fighter under development will probably possess this capability. Both the US and Russian air forces, in fact, are in a race to develop the 21st century’s first generation of strategic bombers.

On Tuesday Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s compliant lackey, announced that beginning in 2011 the Russian military will begin a large-scale modernization program. One result will be to boost the share of modern weaponry in the Kremlin arsenal to 30% by 2015 and 70% by 2020. Speaking to Defense Ministry apparatchiks, Medvedev said:

Last year we equipped a number of military units with new weaponry, and we will start large-scale rearmament of the Armed Forces in 2011. They must be able to accomplish all tasks aimed at ensuring Russia’s military security. This process would involve the enhancement of combat readiness of all military units.

Despite the current financial difficulties, Russia has never had better favorable conditions to create modern and highly efficient armed forces. Long-term plans in the defense sphere should be based on a Russian national security strategy for the period up to 2020, which the [Russian] Security Council should endorse in the near future.

The drum of NATO “expansionism” is the pretext that the neo-Soviet leadership is beating to justify its own militaristic adventurism. “There are attempts to continue broadening the military infrastructure of the North Atlantic Alliance near our borders,” Medvedev rumbled at the same meeting, intimating future warfare with the West: “An analysis of the military and political situation in the world shows that in a number of regions serious potential for conflict remains.”

The modernization of the Russian Armed Forces includes the deployment of the country’s most advanced air defense missile system, the S-400 Triumf, which was first tested in 2007. According to Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, the second S-400 regiment was this week placed on combat duty. The first operational S-400 regiment was deployed in 2007 and tasked with protecting the airspace around Moscow and industrial centers in the heart of European Russia. The S-400 (NATO designation SA-21 Growler) is expected to form the core of Russia’s new theater air and missile defenses until 2020 or 2025.

The S-400 can intercept and destroy airborne targets at a maximum distance of 400 kilometers (250 miles), twice the range of the US military’s MIM-104 Patriot, and two and a half times that of Russia’s “late-model” S-300 system. Military analysts believe that the S-400 can also destroy stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. A typical S-400 regiment consists of eight launchers with four missiles each, and a mobile command post. The new state arms procurement program will arm 18 S-400 battalions as of 2015.

Meanwhile, Russia and NATO are carrying out concurrent war games that belie diplomatic gestures for restored relations severed after Russia’s five-day war with Georgia. For its part, the Kremlin, as we previously blogged, is deploying more than 5,000 troops in land-and-air exercises in Siberia. Russian Defense Ministry publication Krasnaya Zvezda (“Red Star”) reports that General Vladimir Boldyrev, chief of the Russian Ground Forces, is overseeing the seven-day drill, which includes fighter planes, helicopters, and 400 armored vehicles.

Four thousand miles to the west, NATO member Norway is hosting 7,000 soldiers from 12 countries in the “Cold Response” exercise, which simulates an invasion to control Arctic oil fields. This threat is implied by Moscow’s assertion of sovereignty over a large chunk of the resource-rich polar region in 2007. Participating countries include France, Germany, and Spain, as well as neutral neighbors Sweden and Finland, the latter bravely fending off a Soviet invasion in 1939. The Cold Response war game scenario involves a hostile power called “Northland” (Russia?) attacking fictional “Midland” (a hapless Baltic state?), which is home to minority “Northlanders” (ethnic Russians?) and offshore oil fields. Cold Response exercises previously took place in 2006 and 2007.

In a related story, the Russian Navy is rotating the single warship that it has contributed to the United Nations-sanctioned anti-piracy mission near the coast of Somalia. The Admiral Vinogradov will be replaced by the Admiral Panteleyev. Both ships are Udaloy-class destroyers from the Pacific Fleet and each is armed with anti-ship missiles, 30-mm and 100-mm guns, and Ka-27 Helix anti-submarine helicopters. Although its “post”-Soviet presence is slight in the Indian Ocean, the Russian Navy has over the last year trumpeted its intention to expand and project its power throughout the world’s oceans. This endeavor will include the addition of three yet-to-be-built aircraft carriers to its current complement of one, the Northern Fleet’s carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

Modernizing Russia’s nuclear deterrent, according to Medvedev, will be another top priority, notwithstanding US President Barack Hussein Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and roving statesman Henry Kissinger’s treasonous peace overtures to Moscow.

Since the early 1970s Kissinger has been accused of being a KGB asset, specifically Agent “Bor.” In any case, President Richard Nixon’s former secretary of state co-chairs, along with former KGB chief Yevgeny Primakov, a “strategic working group” on US-Russian relations that was founded in 2007 at Putin’s private residence. This cabal has furtively met on several occasions since then, including at the White House in January 2008 with then President George W. Bush in attendance. One of the main purposes of the Kissinger-Primakov group is to provide continuity between Bush and Obama’s policies toward Russia. In reality, there is little substantive difference between both administrations with respect to acknowledging and countering the 50-year-old Soviet deception strategy.

According to the US embassy in Moscow, Kissinger, who last met with Medvedev in December, will fly to Moscow for talks with the neo-Soviet leadership on March 20. He will be accompanied by James Baker and George Shultz, two other former secretaries of state, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and ex-US Senator Sam Nunn. Obama, who may encounter Medvedev for the first time at the Group of 20 meeting in London next month, will probably visit Russia in July, Moscow-based Kommersant Daily reports. It is well known that the Obama Administration is seeking to “reset” relations with Russia and secure Kremlin support for US policies on Afghanistan, Iran, and mutual nuclear arms reduction. The G20 industrialized and developing nations include Russia, although not without some objections by members who rightly deny that Russia is a true democracy.

On Monday the Soviet communists published their agenda for the upcoming G20 meeting, in which they called for the formation of a supranational reserve currency as part of a reform of the global capitalist system. “The International Monetary Fund should investigate the possible creation of a new reserve currency, widening the list of reserve currencies or using its already existing Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, as a superreserve currency accepted by the whole of the international community,” the Kremlin urged in a statement issued on its website. Both Medvedev and Putin have repeatedly called for the ruble to be used as a regional reserve currency, although the idea has received little support outside Russia.

Moscow’s plea for a global currency is not the first to emerge from the Not-So-Former Soviet Union in recent days. Speaking at a G20 forum in Astana earlier last week, Kazakhstan’s “ex”-communist president Nursultan Nazarbayev defended his proposal for the oddly named “acmetal.” The proposal was seconded by Canadian economist Robert Mundell, who helped to design the euro. “I must say that I agree with President Nazarbayev on his statement and many of the things he said in his plan, the project he made for the world currency, and I believe I’m right on track with what he’s saying,” Mundell gushed, adding: “The idea has great promise.” Nazarbayev and Mundell urged the G20 states to form a working group on the proposal at the next month’s summit, which will focus on the world economic crisis. “We should deliver our thoughts and the thoughts of this conference to the leaders of those countries,” Nazarbayev intoned.

The establishment of a global government and currency is not only an objective of the Soviet communists and their Western globalist bagmen and mouthpieces, but is viewed by Bible prophecy scholars as a forerunner of the mark of the beast, in which the world’s inhabitants will during the tribulation period receive an imprint on the forehead or right hand that permits them to buy and sell.

>Africa File: Madagascar’s Ravalomanana cedes power to mutinous military, army transfers presidency to Rajoelina, highest court approves coup

>- Madagascar’s De Facto President Andry Rajoelina Constitutionally Too Young to Hold Office

- United Nations Protected Rajoelina from Arrest under Ravalomanana Government

- Family of Deposed Communist Dictator Didier Ratsiraka Backing Rajoelina

- Ex-President Marc Ravalomanana Haunted by Shady Privatization Deal with Last Ratsiraka Regime, Former State Company Formed Nucleus of Tiko Group Business Empire

A pro-opposition military coup took place in Madagascar beginning on Monday, reports Bloomberg, ending seven weeks of conflict between President Marc Ravalomanana and young political upstart Andry Rajoelina. A mutinous faction of Madagascar’s armed forces surrounded the presidential palace in Antananarivo, the country’s capital, and demanded that Ravalomanana resign, a course that the former businessman has for weeks insisted that he will not follow. On Tuesday, at least 2,000 oppositionists gathered at Place du 13 Mai, the main city square in Antananarivo, ahead of an appearance by usurper Rajoelina. Most of Ravalomanana’s family fled the country last week, while Ravalomanana himself has vowed to die with loyal elements of the presidential guard holed up in Iavoloha Palace, rather than surrender. As many as 500 pro-government supporters formed a human shield around the compound.

BBC journalist Jonah Fisher asserts that it may be only a matter of time until pro-opposition troops march on Ravalomanana’s personal residence, 15 kilometers (nine miles) from downtown Antananarivo. Fisher confirms that any attempt by the military to seize the president’s official residence could result in bloodshed if they meet resistance from the presidential guard and Ravalomanana loyalists. The head of the pro-opposition army faction, however, has confided that he does not seek “bloodletting” and intends to avoid confrontation.

“Many ministers have handed in their resignation to me,” Rajoelina confidently bragged to Reuters news agency on Tuesday. The 34-year-old Rajoelina insists that the democratically elected Ravalomanana has “no right to stay in power.” A spokesman for Rajoelina’s Determined Malagasy Youth party insists that the former disk jockey plans to move into the presidential office immediately. Watching his popular support ebb away, President Ravalomanana ceded power to the military, rather than directly to Rajoelina, yesterday afternoon. Madagascar’s highest court approved Rajoelina accession to the presidency, even though he is six years too young to hold the office, according to the constitution. Gloating over his triumph, Rajoelina then paraded about the streets of Antananarivo, accompanied by armed soldiers and followed by adoring supporters (pictured above).

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council, reports Bloomberg above, citing an email press release, will hold a second meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to “consider the situation in Madagascar.” The AU condemned the power transfer as a “coup d’etat.” In view of the fact that Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi, the AU’s new chairman, attained power in 1969 through a anti-monarchist coup, the organization’s stance is ironic. The United Nations dispatched Tiebile Drame, Mali’s former foreign minister, to mediate on its behalf.

The large island state of Madagascar is situated in the Indian Ocean, near the southeast coast of Africa. Geographically, therefore, Madagascar is considered part of Africa, but the island’s 20 million inhabitants are ethnically related to the people groups of East Africa, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific islands. The Malagasy language is of Malayo-Polynesian origin. Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries, with a per capita income of US$290 in 2005, according to the World Bank. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, reports that its US$1 billion ilmenite mining operation in Madagascar has been undisturbed by the unrest.

A least 135 people have died since January 26 amid clashes between government security forces and opposition supporters in Madagascar. On February 19 police regained control of four government ministries seized by pro-Rajoelina activists and arrested 50 of the same. On Friday, in the last rally prior to Tuesday’s, 2,000 protesters gathered in Place du 13 Mai, which has become the makeshift headquarters for Determined Malagasy Youth, to support Rajoelina’s illegal bid for the presidency. Rajoelina, who apparently enjoys UN protection since evading arrest last week, once again demanded Ravalomanana’s resignation, calling the president a “dictator,” and the installation of his “transitional government.” “The army is with us now. Ravalomanana is now packing his bags, and his ministers as well,” gloated Augustin Andriamananoro, another opposition official, at the time.

President Ravalomanana was legitimately elected to a second term in 2006 and recently endorsed the idea of holding a referendum to reconfirm popular support for his government. Presidential pretender Rajoelina was mayor of the country’s capital from December 2007 until February 3 of this year, when he was dismissed. On January 31 Rajoelina first proclaimed himself president of the country and organized a counter-government.

On December 13, 2008 the government shut down Rajoelina’s Viva TV, following the broadcast of an interview with Madagascar’s exiled communist dictator Didier Ratsiraka, known as the “Red Admiral.” Ratsiraka presided over a socialist dictatorship between 1975 and 1993, when he was forced out of office by widespread dissent, and attempted to reconsolidate his dictatorship after 1997, when he was surprisingly re-elected to his old post. A dispute between Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka after the 2001 election left the country divided with two governments, two capitals, and two presidents. By the end of February 2002, Ravalomanana assumed control over Antananarivo, where he enjoys considerable support, but Ratsiraka maintained control over the provinces and established his capital at Toamasina. In June 2002 Ratsiraka fled to France where, as far as we know, he still resides.

For their part, Ravalomanana loyalists claim that Rajoelina is supported in some capacity by Ratsiraka’s family. This is very possible. Ratsiraka’s nephew Roland is mayor of Toamasina and achieved third place in the 2001 presidential election. He is viewed as a senior opposition leader in Madagascar. “It has been poverty for seven years,” complained Roland Ratsiraka of the Ravalomanana regime, adding: “The transitional government is going to change all that.” If Rajoelina is merely a front for the Ratsiraka dynasty, then the coup in progress against Ravalomanana represents an attempt by Madagascar’s old red regime to reassert itself in the executive office. The UN’s reported aegis over Rajoelina is also suspect, indicating that that the world body is clearly aligned with Madagascar’s opposition communist forces.

In an article published last month, however, Madagascarian writer Jean-Luc Raharimanana contends that the political struggle that took place between Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka in 2002 is deceptive. Since Ravalomanana personally benefited from the privatization of a state company that eventually formed the nucleus of his Tiko Group agribusiness, some sort of collusion between the two erstwhile rivals is apparent:

. . . Ravalomanana had already enriched himself under the dictatorship of Ratsiraka. He was jailed for corruption in 1988. He was released by Ratsiraka and somehow managed to win the tender for privatisation of the same company for which he had been convicted; this is the cornerstone of the Tiko business empire. Tiko was funded by the World Bank and went on to benefit from all manner of favours, never paying taxes. The government only realised all of this too late.

Ratsiraka had hoped that Ravalomanana would serve as his front man, while Ravalomanana himself was after power. He [Ravalomanana] benefited his company through tax exemption, massive duty rebates on raw materials (with maximum duties for his competitors), absolute control over tender calls, delayed payments to peasant producers, ridiculously low purchase prices for public land, annexation of land, monopolistic control of all sectors of the economy, control of the media and the imprisonment of intellectuals and opponents.

If Rajoelina’s military-backed coup is successful, then it should soon become apparent that the Ravalomanana regime is a “placeholder” for Madagascar’s old communist regime.

>Latin America File: El Salvador falls to communism as FMLN candidate wins presidency, Obama mulls National Guard deployments to US-Mexican border

>My victory is your dream come true.
– Salvadoran President-Elect Mauricio Funes, victory speech addressed to former FMLN guerrillas, March 15, 2009

El Salvador has become the latest casualty in Latin America’s capitulation to the regional Red Axis. Yesterday, in harmony with recent public opinion polls, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front’s (FMLN) candidate for president, dapper ex-journalist Mauricio Funes, won the election. Although Funes is professedly moderate, Vice President-Elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren is a hard-core leftist and veteran of the Salvadoran Civil War, which raged between 1980 and 1992. Both men are pictured above in San Salvador on Sunday.

During this conflict the Soviet Union and Cuba funneled weapons to the guerrillas who were seeking to overthrow a series of US-backed, right-wing governments. “The nearest the rebels came to taking power,” relates Reuters, “was in late 1989 when they poured into the capital in an offensive that was only halted when the military bombed and shelled guerrilla positions in residential areas.” Funes won a slim victory over Rodrigo Avila, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) candidate, who conceded defeat. Funes did not fight in the civil war but, rather, pursued a career in television journalism. Between 2001 and 2007 he served as correspondent for CNN’s Spanish service, billionaire leftist Ted Turner’s propaganda arm.

Not surprisingly, during Funes’ victory speech, “a sea of red filled the streets Sunday night as FMLN supporters raised their fists and sang their old anthem.” The CBC notes that “Funes paid homage to the tens of thousands of rebels who died in the war, saying his victory is their dream come true.” He gushed: “This is the happiest night of my life, and I want it to be the night of El Salvador’s greatest hope. I want to thank all the people who voted for me and chose that path of hope and change.” Funes declared that his first priority would be to ameliorate the impact of the global financial crisis on his homeland. The global recession has diminished US demand for El Salvador’s textiles and manufactured goods despite a regional free trade deal with Washington.

During his victory speech, Funes also dedicated his presidency to Archbishop Oscar Romero, the Catholic cleric who embraced leftist causes shortly before he was assassinated by a right-wing death squad in 1980. “My only weapon is the constitution,” he pledged, “and I will use it to build a social democratic state based on human rights.” For the unreconstructed Marxists who direct the FMLN and issue marching orders to Funes, “building a social democratic state” in El Salvador simply means building communism under a different name. Observers from the Organization of American States, according to Xinhua, placed their stamp of approval on Sunday’s ballot, calling the election “orderly.”

That may be so, but it can be expected that El Salvador’s new FMLN regime will shortly join the Havana/Caracas-led socialist bloc of nations known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). Even neo-Soviet Russia has expressed an interest in joining ALBA, which Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega would like to transform into an anti-USA military coalition.

Incidentally, the Mara Salvatrucha narco-terrorist gang, which operates throughout Central America, the USA, and Canada, is a spinoff from the FMLN. During the 1990s demobilized, jobless guerrilla fighters emerged from the jungles to run drugs for the Latin American cartels, forming the core of the vicious MS-13, which is also known for periodically staging riots in Central American jails.

Meanwhile, leaders from established member states of the Latin American Red Axis continue to make pilgrimages to Havana, there to consult with Cuba’s venerable communist dictatorship. Earlier this month, on March 4, a delegation from Haiti arrived in Cuba to discuss the subjects of bilateral cooperation in the fields of medical care and education. The Haitian delegation was headed by Paul Antoine Bien-Aime, Interior and Territorial Communities Minister; Evans Lescouflair, Health, Youth and Civic Action Minister; and Jean Victor Geneus, Haiti’s ambassador to Cuba. The Cuban delegation was headed by Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment Minister.

On March 3, Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice President of the Cuban Council of Ministers, welcomed Jose Manuel Zelaya to Havana, where the Honduran president participated in the 11th International Meeting of Economists on Globalization and Development Problems. Honduras is the most recent country to be absorbed by ALBA. Zelaya, according to the Cuban News Agency, expressed solidarity with Cuba against the “hostile and aggressive policy of the US Government over the last 50 years.” Both Cabrisas and Zelaya spoke in favour of regional unity and integration, highlighting the importance of the First Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development that took place in Brazil in December

The next day Zelaya met with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, a known KGB asset whose communist dictatorship is currently holding at least 19 independent journalists in prison. “To the 19 journalists imprisoned in March 2003,” states Reporters without Borders, “four more have been added since 2005, three of them after Raúl Castro succeeded his brother, temporarily at first, on 31 July 2006.” A bilateral trade accord was signed by Honduran Trade Minister Freddy Cerrato and Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca. The Honduran Council for Private Enterprise favored this commercial agreement before the arrival of Zelaya, believing that it will open new market opportunities.

Finally, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, peacefully ousted from Nicaragua’s executive office between 1990 and 2006, is once again building political, economic, and cultural bridges to Cuba’s communist regime. On March 4 Cuba’s National Association of Economists and Accountants (ANEC) and the Central University of Nicaragua (UCN) established an agreement for cooperation in economic sciences. Signing the agreement at Havana’s Convention Palace was ANEC president Roberto Verrier and UCN vice-rector Francisco Lopez. Now academics from the two institutions will be able to lead exchanges in the area of economic sciences, “focused on achieving a socially responsible economic development.” This is a round-about way of saying that Cuban and Nicaraguan economists will agitate for the application of Marxism to the economies of the Caribbean Basin and Central America.

Moscow’s Red Cocaine Plot, the Mexican Narco-State, and US National Security

Pictured here: Five thousand Mexican soldiers arrive at the border city of Ciudad Juarez on March 13, relieving some soldiers of their tours of duty and bringing the total number of military personnel to 7,500 in Mexico’s most violent city. There are also 2,500 federal police in Ciudad Juarez.

Over the last decade Mexico, with the able assistance of the KGB-controlled Russian Mafiya, has joined Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru in the ranks of Latin America’s narco-states. Internecine rivalries among competing drug cartels left 5,800 people dead in 2008 and 1,000 dead in January 2009 alone. Last year Ciudad Juarez, a large city across the border from El Paso, Texas, sustained 1,800 of Mexico’s nearly 6,000 drug-related homicides. “The cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Reynosa and Monterrey,” writes Tom Dolz in a sobering article about the implications of Mexico’s drug wars on US national security, “are virtually under drug cartel control and many other cities are tottering.” Dolz continues: “President Calderon has deployed 45,000 Mexican army troops to the border to take back control of key cities but the loyalty of those troops is compromised by bribes from the cartels which do $140 billion in trade along the border.”

On March 2, reports the Washington Post, Texas Governor Rick Perry requested the deployment of 1,000 US troops along the international border. Governor Perry briefly placed the Texas National Guard on a state of alert during the recent blockade of the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez bridges instigated by cartel operatives. Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona and now head of the US Department of Homeland Security, agrees that the risk of cartel violence spilling into the USA is “a serious and growing threat.” Texas Homeland Security director Steve McCraw told legislative committees in recent days that state officials are closely monitoring the increasing violence in Mexican border areas, and have drafted contingency plans to address any northward “spillover.”

Last Wednesday, US President Barack Hussein Obama acknowledged to reporters that the White House is considering the possible deployment of National Guard troops to the porous US-Mexican border:

We’re going to examine whether and if National Guard deployments would make sense and under what circumstances they would make sense. I don’t have a particular tipping point in mind. I think it’s unacceptable if you’ve got drug gangs crossing our borders and killing U.S. citizens.

While Obama’s comments were somewhat assuring, he offered the usual politically correct caveat: “We’ve got a very big border with Mexico. I’m not interested in militarizing the border.” Former president, George W. Bush, who hails from Texas and counts Mexican President Felipe Calderon as a bud, was not enthusiastic about sending troops to the border either. “We expect to have a comprehensive approach to dealing with these issues of border security that will involve supporting Calderon and his efforts in a partnership, also making sure we are dealing with the flow of drug money and guns south, because it’s really a two-way situation there,” related Obama, adding: “As a consequence, these cartels have gained extraordinary power.”

National Guard troops previously patrolled the US-Mexican border during Operation Jump Start, which began in June 2006 and terminated in July 2008. President Bush refused to extend their mission, despite pleas from border state governors.

The Pentagon, according to an exclusive March 3 Washington Times article, believes that Mexico’s two most deadly drug cartels, the Juarez Cartel based in Ciudad Juarez and the Gulf Cartel, also known as the Los Zetas, which is active across the border from Laredo, Texas, can together field 100,000 foot soldiers. By comparison, the Mexican government commands 130,000 troops.

“It’s moving to crisis proportions,” an anonymous senior US defense official told the newspaper. The Juarez and Gulf Cartels appear to be negotiating a truce or merger to wipe out rivals, like the Sinaloa Cartel on the Pacific coast, and respond with still greater firepower against Mexico’s federal government. “I think if they merge or decide to cooperate in a greater way, Mexico could potentially have a national security crisis,” the US defense official fretted, adding: “The two have amassed so many people and weapons that Mexican President Felipe Calderon is fighting for his life and for the life of Mexico right now.” Obama may not be interested in “militarizing” the northern side of the US-Mexican border, but that in fact may be the long-needed solution for breaking the backs of the drug cartels in both countries.

In light of these developments, it would appear that the Soviet strategists have little need for Mexico’s miniscule Marxist guerrilla groups, like the People’s Revolutionary Army and the Zapatista National Army of Liberation, to transform Mexico into a proletarian dictatorship. In fact the Epristas and Zapatistas can probably hang up their weapons and go home. Mexico’s drug lords are not only doing a fine and dandy job of transforming Mexico into a failed state but also, potentially, the USA, where millions of Mexican refugees could potentially rush the border and push the US economy into oblivion, where radical Mexican irredentist agitators could foment revolution in the streets, and where millions of patriotic US citizens could find themselves blocked by a politically correct Obama Presidency from defending their country against an illegal alien invasion that is already out of control.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Soviets’ Red Dawn coalition emerges as Chavez re-offers bases for bombers, Moscow waits for Havana’s go-ahead

>- Kremlin Delighted Faux Rightist President Sarkozy Preparing to Reintegrate French Military into NATO Command Structure

- Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers Promote the Moscow-Beijing Axis’ “One Clenched Fist”

Last July the Kremlin media cautiously broached the subject of basing strategic bombers in Cuba and Venezuela. The Russian Defense Ministry promptly distanced itself from the “revelation,” while General Norton Schwartz, then nominee for the post of US Air Force chief, warned the Russians against contemplating such a move. “If they did I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America,” Schwartz rumbled. This trial balloon released by the Soviets took place during the Bush Administration, which was already guilty of coddling Russia’s KGB-communist dictator since 2001, when then President George W. Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and “saw his soul.”

Now (Kenyan-born?) President Barack Hussein Obama is in office. America’s first hard-core socialist president is not only determined to ruin the US economy with his ill-conceived, astronomically expensive stimulus plan, but also slash the US military’s nuclear arsenal by 80 percent and restore ties with Communist Cuba, albeit incrementally, a move that will no doubt facilitate an influx of personnel from Cuba’s Intelligence Directorate, three agents of which are currently imprisoned on US soil.

The Russian media is once again publishing reports, picked up by the Western MSM, that the Kremlin is still considering its options with respect to parking a few ALCM-equipped bombers in Cuba, which reportedly boasts four or five suitable runways, or the military air field on Venezuela’s La Orchila Island. Major General Anatoly Zhikharev, chief of staff of Russia’s long-range aviation was quoted by Interfax today as saying:

Russian strategic bombers may be based in Cuba in the future. Cuba could be used to base Russian bombers if the two countries display a political will. We are ready to fly there. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for Russian planes. Chavez has offered a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers. If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island by the Russian Air Force is possible.

The waters around La Orchila Island were the site of a June 2008 naval drill designed to showcase Chavez’s Russian-built military hardware, including Sukhoi fighter jets. Defense Minister Gustavo Rangel Briceno commanded the troops, ordering them to fire at “mock enemy units” (meaning invading US forces) with French/Italian-made Otomat MK2 missiles, the Venezuelan military’s first live missile launches in 13 years. In September two supersonic Tu-160 Blackjack bombers landed at El Libertador air base in Venezuela (pictured above), in what was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the Cold War.

For its part, Cuba, reports Reuters, never permanently hosted Soviet strategic aircraft, but Tu-95 Bear bombers cruising up and down the US East Coast often made stopovers at Fidel Castro’s gulag paradise during the Cold War. Russia officially resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007, after a 15-year hiatus.

So, it’s official. The Soviets are seriously considering the deployment of bombers in Cuba, Venezuela, and possibly in Nicaragua, where the Russians intend to renovate their 22-year-old, never-used military runway at Punta Huete, north of Lake Managua. Russia and the USA–whose foreign policy formation is now guided by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a left-wing Democrat whose husband Bill, the former president, is a suspected KGB asset–have vowed to use the change of power in Washington to “press the reset button” on their relationship. However, Russia remains opposed to US plans for an anti-missile system in Central Europe and the reception of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.

If Moscow actually parks its bombers in Cuba, Venezuela or, for that matter, Nicaragua, would President Obama reprise John F. Kennedy’s role and stare down the Soviet Bear until the Russians blink? Or would he hold out the olive branch of East-West convergence under the political and economic pressure created by millions of Mexican refugees storming the border to escape that country’s internecine, KGB-directed drug war? Stay tuned for the Fourth World War and the demise of America.

As usual, Americans should expect no help from the white flag-wavers in the French Ministry of Surrender. The Kremlin is delighted that France’s faux rightist President Nicolas Sarkozy intends to reintegrate that country’s military into the NATO command structure after a four-decade rift. Such a prospect in no way disturbs the Soviets because, according to Russian political analysts, Sarkozy’s benign view of Moscow “will strengthen the position of those countries within the alliance who don’t seek conflict with Russia.” Sergei Markov, director of the Centre of Political Studies, opines: “France is increasing its influence and as a consequence limits the influence of Washington and minimizes anti-Russian attitudes in the alliance fuelled by Eastern European countries, in particular, the Baltic states.”

Aleksey Makarkin, deputy head of the Center of Political Technologies, agrees: “The withdrawal of France from NATO’s military command in the 1960s indicated [President Charles] de Gaulle’s intention to build Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals and be a middleman between the West and Moscow.” Makarkin added that “The French return is a positive move for Russia, because it will hamper such initiatives as the integration of Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance.” Indeed, just what the Soviet strategists ordered. A “common European home,” of course, was and is former Soviet tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision for a communist Europe, a vision shared by his devoted admirer, Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev. Komsomol graduate Medvedev’s praise for Gorbachev exposes the continuity in the Soviet leadership from the “collapse” of the Soviet Union to the present.

“French policy towards Russia is quite predictable. I believe Paris will now be able to promote normalization of NATO’s relations with Russia more efficiently,” concludes Russian military expert Aleksandr Sharavin. Sarkozy expects to fix the old rift within NATO during the military coalition’s April summit. Polls indicate that slightly more than half of the French population support the idea of fully joining the North Atlantic alliance. In short, NATO is dead and the Soviet communists know this, but is anyone in the shopping mall regimes paying attention?

Last but not least, Moscow’s strategic partnership with the Communist Party of China received another boost this past week when Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed by telephone their countries’ bilateral relationship. “During the conversation initiated by Lavrov,” relates Xinhua, “both sides agreed to take the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic ties to further move their strategic cooperative partnership forward by making joint efforts and enhancing exchanges and cooperation in various fields.” Among other “joint efforts,” Russia and China are scheduled to carry out their third joint war game this year.

Yang and Lavrov also reviewed the “situation on the Korean Peninsula” and agreed that
“peace and stability” are desirable which, translated out of commiespeak, means that the communization of South Korea via reunification with North Korea should be pursued under the guise of friendly inter-Korean dialogue. Yang is currently on a five-day visit to the USA to woo the new Obama White House.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Hungary’s ex"-red PM flies to Moscow for energy talks, Russian troops to rehearse transfer from peace to war footing

>Hungary: Compliant Soviet Bloc Satellite in 2009

Neo-Soviet Russia, as predicted by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in the 1980s and confirmed in the 1990s, continues to exert covert lines of influence throughout its “former” satellites in the East Bloc. Personal networking among “ex”-communist leaders is certainly one such venue for maintaining solidarity among “post”-communist regimes. Yesterday Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who has never been popular in his homeland, flew to Moscow to meet with Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for bilateral talks focusing on trade and energy issues (pictured above).

Medvedev and Putin, of course, are both connected to the old Soviet regime. Russia’s president is a Soviet Komsomol graduate, while Russia’s prime minister and former president is an “ex”-cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its “sword and shield,” the Committee for State Security (KGB), now known by the Westernized title, Federal Security Service. For his part, Gyurcsany was an important leader of the youth section of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, which ruled Communist Hungary until 1989, before morphing into the presently ruling Hungarian Socialist Party. The “hardliners” in the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party reorganized themselves into the Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party, which networks with communist and socialist parties worldwide. Hence, Putin, Medvedev, and Gyurcsany are all cut out of the same bolt of red cloth.

In 2007 Gyurcsany pushed through the appointment of Sandor Laborc as director of the country’s counterintelligence National Security Office. Laborc trained for six years at the KGB Dzerzhinzky Academy in Moscow during the 1980s, and became chairman of NATO’s intelligence committee in January 2008. The position is rotated among NATO members, but even still the placement of a KGB asset on an important NATO committee is indefensible.

In 2008 Soviet-Hungarian trade attained a record high of US$13 billion, making Russia Hungary’s second most important trade partner after Germany. Hungary exports machinery, equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemical products, and food to Russia.

Petroleum and its derivatives dominate Russia’s exports to Hungary. Privately owned crude producer Lukoil supplies about 5 million metric tons of crude oil annually to Hungary and operates over 70 filling stations in the country. In 2008 Moscow and Budapest inked an agreement on the construction of the Hungarian section of the South Stream natural gas pipeline. South Stream is expected to come “online” in 2013 and will annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and other European countries. South Stream also involves Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy, and Greece.

Reds can be found in leadership positions in the governments of the first three South Stream countries: Bulgaria’s president is an “ex”-communist, Serbia’s Interior Minister heads up the deceased Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist Party, and Italy’s largely ceremonial president is also an “ex”-communist. For its part, the faux rightist regime in Athens has not hesitated to snuggle up to Moscow by purchasing Russian military equipment, as well as opening its airspace for Russian naval aviation drills, even though Greece is a NATO member.

Russia’s Visa-Free Regimes with South American States Will Expand Soviet Subversion across Continent

In addition to re-forging links with old Eastern European allies, the neo-Soviet leadership is also expanding ties with new allies in the Western Hemisphere, including and especially Venezuela, which conducted its first joint naval exercise with Russia last fall. In a policy move that will permit the unhindered entrance of Russian citizens to South America, Moscow and Caracas have established a visa-free regime that came into effect last Friday. “This greatly eases interaction between the countries and mutual travel of citizens, including businessmen… It simplifies the establishment of contacts as well as humanitarian, student and tourist exchanges,” commented Sergei Akopov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin American department.

This is intriguing because, as Akopov admitted, “tourist turnover” between Russia and Venezuela is “not strong,” suggesting that in addition to businessmen, Russian military and intelligence personnel could also freely enter Venezuela. The visa deal was signed on November 26, 2008 in Caracas during “President” Medvedev’s first official visit to the South American country.

Venezuela is in fact the fifth Latin America state to dump visa requirements for Russian citizens, following Communist Cuba, Socialist Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. Russia expects to sign similar agreements with Brazil and Argentina. Last Wednesday, the Colombian Foreign Ministry announced that it too was planning to unilaterally introduce a visa-free agreement for Russia, which would enter into force within 30 days. In view of the fact that Russia is ideologically allied with Chavez–who has adopted a hostile stance against the Colombian government–openly arming the Venezuelan military, and covertly supplying weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, this is a remarkably stupid decision on Bogota’s part.

Belarus–whose communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko is a close buddy of both Putin and Hugo Chavez–already enjoys a visa-free regime with Venezuela.

Third Mobile Topol-M ICBM Battalion Activated for Combat Duty, Russian Navy to Monitor US Attack Submarine Drill near Alaska

Meanwhile, Novosti quotes General Vladimir Popovkin as saying that the Russian military intends to “enhance” the defense capabilities of troops deployed in the southern part of European Russia, including the Black Sea Fleet. After thoroughly analyzing “the outcome of the South Ossetian conflict,”—meaning Russia’s re-invasion and re-occupation of Georgia last summer—the Defense Ministry will equip the Ground Forces with new multiple-rocket launching systems and reconnaissance assets, while supplies of general arms and military equipment will be increased. The Air Force will received modernized MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack planes, and Mi-28H Night Hunter helicopter gunships, as well as new warplanes such as the Su-27SM Flanker and Su-30MK-2 Flanker-C, and combat helicopters such as the Ka-52 Alligator, Mi-28N Havoc, Mi-24M Hind, and Mi-8MTB5 Hip. Air defense units will receive new Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile systems.

Finally, Popovkin revealed that naval units will be supplied with new Lada Project 677 diesel-electric submarines, modernized versions of the Varshavyanka-class submarine, and Bal-U mobile coastal missile systems. Last month the Russian Navy dismissed media reports claiming that its Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, Ukraine, had been placed on emergency alert and was preparing to urgently set sail. In 2008 Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko, whose “pro”-Western stance is suspect in the context of the Soviet deception strategy, announced that Kiev will not extend the lease of the base beyond 2017 and urged Moscow to begin preparations for a withdrawal. Russian media previously reported that the Kremlin is considering naval facilities in Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Abkhazia, one of Georgia’s breakaway regions, as a possible future home base for its Black Sea Fleet.

In addition to increasing the strength of its units in southern European Russia, the Kremlin military will be rehearsing for war in southwest Siberia later this month. Between March 16 and 23, 5,000 soldiers and 400 armored vehicles will carry out war games in Siberia’s Kemerovo region. Under the watchful eye of commanding officer General Vladimir Boldyrev, chief of Russia’s Ground Forces, the exercise will involve ground attack, fighter, and reconnaissance aircraft, and combat and transport helicopters. Among other exercises, Russian troops will practice “interoperability and transfer from a peacetime to wartime footing.”

With typical communist paranoia, Russia’s Pacific Fleet will “closely monitor” the US Navy’s Ice Exercise 2009 near the Alaska coast, to begin later this month and span two weeks. ICEX 2009 will involve two nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class attack submarines, which will test submarine tactics under Arctic conditions. “Any action by foreign submarines in the vicinity of Russia’s maritime borders naturally demand heightened scrutiny on our part, especially in the light of an accident involving a British submarine during a previous exercise,” a Russian military official grumbled. The last ICEX exercise was held in 2007, when the British attack submarine HMS Tireless joined its American counterparts. Two Royal Navy submariners died and one was injured aboard Tireless, when an onboard blast caused a fire. The same Russian official continued: “The Pacific Fleet will use all of its reconnaissance capability deployed on the Kamchatka Peninsula to track the activities of the U.S. exercise. Our primary goal is to monitor our territorial waters to prevent the violation of Russia’s maritime border.”

As a result of the Soviets’ imperialistic designs in the polar region, other countries with Arctic shores have re-asserted their sovereignty in this area that could contain many natural resources like petroleum. In 2007 a Russian submarine crew dramatically planted their country’s flag on the Arctic seabed.

The Kremlin continues to modernize its Strategic Missile Forces with the activation of its third mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) ICBM battalion in central Russia. “The first two Topol-M mobile missile battalions, equipped with six road-mobile systems,” reported Novosti on March 10, “had already been put on combat duty with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow.”

>Latin America File: Chavez ready for war if Bogota attacks FARC, Ecuador fortifies border with Colombia; Mexican drug cartels infiltrate 230 US cities

>- KGB Asset Daniel Ortega Emboldened by Hugo Chavez’s “President for Life” Referendum Victory, Advocates Abolition of Term Limits for Nicaraguan Presidency

- US Justice Department: Mexican Drug Cartels Have Infiltrated Operatives into as Many as 230 US Cities, Utilizing Houston and Atlanta as Primary Distribution Centers

Pictured above: In this photograph of a Salvadoran election billboard taken today, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez embraces Mauricio Funes, presidential candidate of the opposition Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. The banner, paid for by the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance, reads in Spanish “Who will decide your destiny?” Salvadorans head for the polls on March 15, at which time Funes will probably become El Salvador’s first leftist president. The dapper Funes’ vice presidential running mate Salvador Sanchez Ceren is a hard-core Marxist and former guerrilla commander.

In March 2008 South America came perilously close to war when the communist regimes in Venezuela and Ecuador rushed tanks and troops to their border with Colombia, one of the USA’s few allies in Latin America. Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega joined his allies Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa in condemning the assassination by Colombian security forces of Raul Reyes, a commander in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, then hiding out at a FARC base on Ecuadorean soil. After a few weeks of simmering tensions and overheated rhetoric the region’s Red Axis leaders abruptly backed off and “made peace” with Colombia’s “fascist criminal” president, Alvaro Uribe. However, although Venezuela and Nicaragua patched up relations with Colombia, Ecuador has yet to restore ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations with Colombia.

One year later Chavez is once again accusing Bogota of provoking war. “In case of a provocation on the part of Colombia’s armed forces or infringements on Venezuela’s sovereignty, I will give an order to strike with [Soviet-built Sukhoi] Su aircraft and tanks. I will not let anyone disrespect Venezuela and its sovereignty,” growled Chavez this past Sunday on his weekly televised rant, “Hello, President.” Chavez’s threat was uttered in response to Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who recently stated that his country’s military “will keep killing rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on the territory of other states.”

Numerous MSM reports confirm that Colombia’s Moscow-backed Marxist guerrillas operate bases in neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador. This week, reports Novosti, Colombia’s National Radio, citing a high-ranking intelligence source in that country, broadcast that nine officers from the FARC General Staff are hiding in Venezuela, while another two are skulking about in Ecuador.

Venezuela and Ecuador, like FARC, are closely aligned with the neo-Soviet leadership, the first since 2001, when Russia and Venezuela founded an anti-USA strategic partnership, the second since December 2008, when former Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) chief Nikolai Patrushev arrived in Quito to discuss joint intelligence gathering ventures with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa. In addition to evicting 300 US counter-narcotics troops from the Manta Air Base later this year, a move that can only please Correa’s Soviet masters, Ecuador, reports Prensa Latina, has deployed an “additional” 3,000 troops to the border with Colombia, putatively to “stop illegal groups, drug traffickers and fuel smugglers.” According to Ecuador’s Security Minister Miguel Carvajal 7,000 soldiers and 3,541 police are already stationed alongside the 720-kilometer (450-mile) border. In total Ecuador will shortly maintain nearly 14,000 troops and police along its border with Colombia. Carvajal disclosed that five new military bases and 10 police stations will be built in the northern part of the country. Air patrols along the Ecuadorean-Colombian border will increase.

Ecuador’s red regime asserts that Colombian right-wing paramilitaries, primarily the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and Black Eagles, are violating Ecuadorean territory and that President Uribe’s government is doing nothing to secure the border. On Sunday President Correa, who like Chavez hosts a weekly nationally televised rant, declared: “We are taking very drastic measures now, because the situation also is tremendously drastic.”

Thus, we see that under the pretense of combating terrorism and countering the Colombian government’s aggressive crackdown on the FARC narco-terrorists, Venezuela and Ecuador are threatening war and positioning military assets hard against the borders of their ideological foe. Time will tell if Latin America’s Red Axis intends to forcibly remove the US-backed regime in Bogota, however, Venezuela’s frequent military drills simulating a US invasion suggest that Colombia could be the intended target.

In Central America the Red Axis continues to consolidate its power. The Costa Rican media reports that Nicaraguan President Ortega, no doubt emboldened by the recent Venezuelan referendum that effectively made his comrade Chavez “President for Life,” is vocalizing his preference to end a ban on consecutive presidential terms and implement a parliamentary system. In an interview with British journalist David Frost for Al-Jazeera, the former guerrilla commander explained that the term limit ban was “introduced to the Nicaraguan Constitution in 1995 by a right-wing government.” Ortega asserted that the constitutional amendment was designed “partially to prevent the people from being able to exercise their right to elect authorities as they felt was fit.” He continued:

Since 1996 . . . we [the Sandinista National Liberation Front] have felt strongly that we need to change our presidential system to a parliamentary system that would then not have these constraints for successive terms.

I support the idea that the people have the right to elect the candidate, or not in a direct democracy. Now that our party is back in government, if those conditions permit, yes, I would run again for president. And if those conditions were not present, then yes, I would be fine serving as prime minister, and then running again for president in another five years.

When Frost asked Ortega about reports that the Nicaraguan president is suffering from leukemia, KGB asset Ortega retorted: “My mother lived to be 97 years old. And I just hope that I will be able to live long enough to contribute to this new stage of development of the revolution . . . These are very exciting times.” Ortega’s stated intention of assuming an as-yet-uncreated post of prime minister is similar to the political maneuver that some analysts have attributed to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is believed to be fishing for his old job as Russian president, a post currently occupied by compliant lackey Dmitry Medvedev.

Amendments to the Nicaraguan Constitution must be ratified by two separate National Assemblies and by at least two-thirds of the body’s 92 deputies. Liberal lawmakers currently hold a supermajority and although they opened negotiations to reform the constitution, including the presidential office, in October 2007, the contested municipal elections of November 2008 have stalled constitutional reform.

Finally, although big-mouth commie thug Chavez has publicly floated the idea of transforming the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas into an anti-USA military alliance, progress has yet to be seen in this direction. In a troubling development, though, Russia has expressed interest in joining this Latin American political-economic-cultural bloc of socialist nations. For the present, cocaine haven Nicaragua, latest ALBA member Honduras, and other Caribbean nations will join US Southern Command’s Tradewinds 2009 counter-narcotics maritime interdiction operations between March 4 and 18. When the Latin American Red Axis determines that the time is ripe to begin joint military drills under the auspices of ALBA or the new South American Defense Council, led by Caracas and Brasilia, we would expect Nicaragua and possibly Honduras to withdraw from their commitment to combined exercises with the US military.

Closer to home, USA Today reports that Mexican drug cartels have established trafficking operations in 195 US cities, including Houston and Atlanta, which have become primary regional distribution centers for narcotics. A March 7, 2009 article by the Houston Chronicle estimates the number of population centers infiltrated by the Mexican mafia at 230. Both sources cite the US Justice Department for these statistics. In either case, according to the first source, in 2008 federal drug authorities seized US$70 million in drug-related cash in Atlanta. Since January 2009 more than US$30 million has been intercepted in the Atlanta area, far more than the US$19 million in Los Angeles and US$18 million in Chicago.

The Mexican drug cartels, explain Atlanta US Attorney David Nahmias and Rodney Benson, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta chief, are subverting America’s Hispanic communities, a fact that must no doubt disturb patriotic citizens in that group. Nahmias identifies suburban Gwinnett County, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, as the “epicenter” of the region’s drug activity. Gwinnett’s Hispanic population surged from 8,470 in 1990 to 64,137 in 2000 so that 17 percent of the county’s 776,000 people are now Hispanic. Benson describes the situation:

You see Mexican drug-trafficking operations deploying representatives to hide within these communities in plain sight. They were attempting to blend into the same communities as those who were hard-working, law-abiding people. We’ve got direct linkages between cartel representatives who take their orders from cartel leadership in Mexico.

From the US-Mexican border, Benson relates, shipments of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin are routed over land to Atlanta for storage in a network of “stash houses.” The drugs are then moved to other distribution operations in the Carolinas, Tennessee, the Mid-Atlantic States, New York, and New England. Cash is channeled through the same routes back to Atlanta, where distributors take their “cut,” and then bundles of money are turned over to “transportation units for bulk shipments back to Mexico.”

The extreme violence that engulfs northern Mexico has not yet reached Houston or Atlanta, but US law enforcement is worried that this scenario could change for the worse. “The same folks who are rolling heads in the streets of Ciudad Juárez are operating in Atlanta. Here, they are just better behaved,” comments Jack Killorin, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s federal task force in Atlanta. “International drug trafficking organizations pose a sustained, serious threat to the safety and security of our communities,” US Attorney General Eric Holder warns, adding: “We can provide our communities the safety and the security that they deserve only by confronting these dangerous cartels head-on without reservation.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian Defense Ministry announces development of anti-satellite weapons following freak orbital collision

>- Kremlin’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, Russian Naval Brass Eye French Design for New- Generation Aircraft Carrier, 5th-Generation PAK FA Fighter for Strike/Air Defense Roles

- Severodvinsk-Based Sevmash Shipyard Building Dry Dock for Vessels with Displacement of 100,000 Metric Tons, Supercarriers Typically 75,000 Tons or Greater

- Kremlin Admits Refueling Operation near Ireland Produced Oil Spill, Claims First Such Incident for Russian Navy in International Waters

- Russia Begins Delivery of S-300 Air Defense Missile Systems to Kazakhstan under Terms of Collective Security Treaty Organization

Earlier this week the retired chief of Russian space intelligence accused the USA of purposely using the privately owned Iridium 33 comsat to destroy the apparently defunct Kosmos 2251 milsat last month. Major General Leonid Shershnev insisted that a covert continuation of a project officially completed in 2007 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was reponsible for the alleged attack on the Russian satellite.

On Thursday, Deputy Defense Minister General Valentin Popovkin announced that Russia, in response to US experiments in the field of anti-satellite technology, is “working to develop anti-satellite weapons to match efforts by other nations.” At the same time Popovkin was quick to add that Moscow opposes the militarization of outer space. “We can’t sit back and quietly watch others doing that, such work is being conducted in Russia,” Popovkin was quoted as saying. Russia, he admitted, “already has some basic, key elements of such weapons,” but he refused to provide details.

Popovkin is former chief of the Russian Space Forces, which is responsible for military space operations. He made the statement at a news conference in response to a question about US and Chinese anti-satellite weapon tests. In February 2008 a US Navy ship launched a missile that hit a dying spy satellite. In 2007 the People’s Republic of China destroyed a defunct satellite with a ballistic missile. In light of Shershnev’s accusation against the USA and Popovkin’s annoucement about Russia’s intent to create space-based weapon platforms, the MSM’s depiction of the Kosmos 2251-Iridium 33 collision as a “freak accident” is becoming less and less credible.

Pictured above: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva today. Russia is calling on the USA to ink a “successor deal” to the two countries’ Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I). Since 1945, when the UN was established, the Soviets have used the organization’s main headquarters in New York City as a base to subvert America from within.

The flagship of the Russian Navy and of its Northern Fleet, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, and the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko have returned to their home base Severomorsk, on the Arctic Ocean, after months of sailing the world’s oceans. The Admiral Kuznetsov has been on a tour of duty since December 5, 2008, holding exercises with its deck-based aircraft in both the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Some of these drills took place in Greek airspace, even though Greece is a NATO member, while others took place with the Turkish Navy, even though Turkey is also a NATO member. Russia’s sole carrier also made a port of call at Moscow’s naval maintenance facility in Syria, a terrorist-sponsoring country with which socialist US President Barack Hussein Obama would like to defrost relations.

For its part, the Admiral Chabanenko participated in the first Soviet-Venezuelan drill Venrus-2008, transited the Panama Canal–the first Soviet/Russian naval vessel to do so since the Second World War–and made ports of call in neo-Sandinista Nicaragua and Communist Cuba. The Admiral Chabanenko left Severomorsk on September 22.

In line with earlier posts here, reports Novosti, the Kremlin-controlled United Shipbuilding Corporation is moving ahead with plans to build a new generation of aircraft carriers for Russia’s navy. There are plans to commission between three to six carriers. Russian military analysts speculate that the new warship will resemble advanced NATO carriers that displace 60,000 metric tons, but will not carry cruise missiles. They also speculate that the new carrier will be based on one of several designs, including possibly that of the operational Admiral Kuznetsov; the Ulyanovsk, the last Soviet-era carrier; the new 40,000-ton carrier ordered by the Indian Navy and co-designed by Russian maritime engineers; or the French Navy’s Carrier Vessel Future (CVF), which is under development and scheduled for commissioning in 2017.

The possibility that the Kremlin is eyeing a French design was confirmed by media reports revealing the interest of Russia’s top naval brass in Thales Naval France, the electronics company that is building the CVF. The new Russian carrier will reportedly match the CVF with a standard displacement of 59,000 metric tons, while her full displacement will total 75,000 metric tons. Unlike the French carrier, which will have a gas-turbine propulsion unit, the Russian ship will be powered by a nuclear reactor.

At the same time, Russian naval aviation is attempting to meet the challenge of matching a new generation of carriers with appropriate combat aircraft. At present Russia operates two types of carrier-borne fighter jets, namely, the Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker-D and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K Fulcrum-D. The Su-33 planes based on the Admiral Kuznetsov are becoming obsolete. Furthermore, although batch production of MiG-29K fighters can begin within the next 12 to 24 months, this aircraft, to quote Novosti, is not suitable for “full-fledged” strike missions.

Consequently, a carrier-borne version of Russia’s fifth-generation fighter, namely, the Prospective Aircraft System of the Frontline Aviation (PAK FA), now in development by the Kremlin-controlled Sukhoi Design Bureau, is under consideration. The heavy-duty PAK FA will boast a standard take-off weight of 30 metric tons and will be equipped with 117-S power plants that produce a thrust of 14.5 metric tons. The PAK FA can be used as a multi-role fighter and will be able to fly strike and air defense missions. The new-generation carrier will be able to accommodate an air wing consisting of 30 to 36 PAK FA fighters, as well as aircraft of other types.

A third issue is whether the new carrier will feature catapults or a ramp, like the one decorating the bow of the Admiral Kuznetsov. Russian military analysts, states Novosti, are “hotly debating” the advantages and disadvantages of each take-off method.

Lastly, although a construction site has yet to be selected, the Russian Navy is currently restricted to St. Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard and the Severodvinsk-based Sevmash Shipyard in Arctic Russia. The Baltic Shipyard has already built large-tonnage civil vessels and the Project 1144 Orlan nuclear-powered cruisers of the Kirov class. The Sevmash Shipyard is presently upgrading the air-capable cruiser Admiral Gorshkov for strategic partner India and building a dry dock for ships with a displacement of up to 100,000 metric tons.

Incidentally, the Russian aerospace industry, which is almost totally dominated by the Kremlin via the United Aircraft Corporation, has begun manufacturing MiG-29K fighters for the Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy’s name for the Admiral Gorshkov. Last year, a report by Kommersant suggested that the Russians were renovating the Admiral Gorshkov under the pretense of fulfilling a contract to India, but with the intent of re-commissioning the ship for the Russian Navy.

In the midst of the Kremlin’s drive to modernize its military kit, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov’s reform of the command and control structure extends to the navy. On March 4 Novosti, citing a naval source, reported that the Pacific Fleet, which is headquartered in Vladivostok, will chop its numbers by 5,000 personnel and eliminate more than 100 units in the next three to four years. The Russian Navy also maintains a Baltic Fleet, Black Sea Fleet, and Caspian Sea Flotilla. In February the Russian General Staff asserted that the military will become “more compact, more mobile and better equipped.” “The focus of the reform,” the Kremlin media explains, “is the reorganization of the military command and control system from a four-tier (military district – army – division – regiment) to a three-tier structure (military district – operational command – brigade).”

Across all branches the Russian military will shed 150,000 officers, a move that has predictably generated political dissent and anti-Putinism in the officer corps, especially among those who remember the “good ol’ days of Soviet glory.” In response to Serdyukov’s army reforms, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is championing Russia’s soldiers and military traditions. As we have previously blogged, this is probably the whole point of the “reforms”: make the crypto-Stalinist United Russia regime look bad and the open communists look good.

In a related story, the Russian Navy has admitted responsibility for a 500-ton oil spill off the south coast of Ireland last month. The accident happened when the Admiral Kuznetsov was bunkering, or refueling, from a tanker about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Fastnet Rock on February 14. A high-level Russian military delegation subsequently visited Dublin to placate officials of the Irish Defense Ministry and coast guard. “The Russians carried out an internal investigation. They confirmed that a fuel spill had occurred during the bunkering operation and they expressed their regret. They were very co-operative and said it was the first time in their naval history that a spill of this size had happened in international waters,” an Irish government official related. A laboratory in Scotland confirmed that the spilled oil was of Russian origin. “We continue to monitor the slick. It has broken up very significantly but the incident is not closed. No oil has made landfall yet. Coast guard officials will be briefed on Friday on how to deal with it if it does come ashore,” the same Irish source explained.

By way of conclusion we can only comment that if the spill was deliberate, then the Russians are not only “out” 500 tons of fuel, but also the incident’s strategic value is hard to discern, except possibly to somehow promote Soviet-Irish political-military contacts and thus “encircle” the United Kingdom. Soviet-British relations, by contrast, have been tense ever since self-exiled Russian oligarchs and FSB/KGB defectors began taking up residence in London in the early 2000s.

Meanwhile, under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which unites Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in an anti-NATO military alliance, Kazakhstan has signed a contract with Russia on the purchase of S-300 air defense missile systems. “We have recently signed a contract with Russia and are buying S-300 systems,” Kazakh Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov revealed on Wednesday. Last month, Kazakhstan announced plans to equip 10 battalions with Russian-made S-300 air defense missile systems, with deliveries to begin in 2009. At the time Akhmetov boasted that “The S-300 system will help the republic’s integration into the CSTO and significantly enhance the protection of the country’s airspace.”

The S-300, which Iran has also purchased according to conflicting reports, is considered one of the world’s most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the US-made Patriot system, to be deployed in “post”-communist Poland by 2012.

>Latin America File: Mexican government faces collapse before Soviet-backed drug cartels as US Joint Chiefs of Staff head offers military assistance

>I think the Colombian example is a great example of a very broad program that wasn’t just military to support a friend at a time when, effectively, they were very close to a failed state. Similar support could help Mexico.
– Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, statement made at Princeton University, February 5, 2009

The cartels are retaliating. It clearly is a serious problem.
– US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, statement made to NBC News, March 1, 2009

A long-time Soviet tactic for the destruction of the USA is perilously close to realization but few in the shopping mall regime are paying attention: Mexico is about to become a failed state, possessing no legitimacy, ripe for the plucking by the country’s pro-Moscow Left. The arrival in Mexico City this week of Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a major heads up that not only is Mexico’s government caving in to pressure from the country’s heavily armed, Soviet-backed drug cartels, but also Washington DC is finally taking stock of this very significant threat to America’s national security.

Pictured above: On March 5 soldiers patrol a main avenue in Ciudad Juarez. By week’s end the Mexican army intends to deploy 7,500 soldiers and federal police in the border city, which witnessed the murder of 250 people in February at the hands of the country’s drug cartels. Note the masks. Even Mexico’s military fears reprisals.

In 2008 Mexico’s vicious drug cartels, some staffed by ex-special forces soldiers from Mexico and Guatemala, killed 5,300 civilians, government officials, police officers, and regular troops, many in the most vicious ways possible, including decapitation. Most of the violence is occurring in Mexico’s northern states. In Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, the cartels have threatened to decapitate the mayor of this large city and his family. The Aztecas drug gang is known to operate in Ciudad Juarez and believed to be allied with the Juarez cartel, which is fighting Mexico’s most-wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, for control of smuggling routes into the USA.

Mexican and US authorities have traced over 90 percent of the guns used by the cartels to American gun shops and shows, even though US laws forbid foreign nationals from acquiring fire arms. Each year an estimated US$15 to 20 billion heads south across the poorly-unsecured, post-September 11 US-Mexican border into the coffers of Latin America’s drug lords.

“The cartels are retaliating,” US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told NBC News last Sunday. “It clearly is a serious problem. I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past. Some of the old biases against cooperation between our militaries and so on, I think, are being satisfied.” Pentagon spokesman Commander Jeffrey Gordon revealed that Washington started sharing narcotics intelligence with Mexico City in November 2008 and under a new program plans to provide the Mexican military with helicopters, maritime surveillance aircraft, and other equipment.

Mullen, who visited Brazil on Monday as part of a week-long Latin American tour that includes pitstops in Chile, Peru, and Colombia, admitted last week that “The USA is looking for ways to assist the Mexican government.” On February 5, while speaking at Princeton University, Mullen confided: “I think the Colombian example is a great example of a very broad program that wasn’t just military to support a friend at a time when, effectively, they were very close to a failed state. Similar support could help Mexico.” Captain John Kirby, spokesman for Mullen, told the AFP news agency: “Clearly one of the things he expects to talk to his counterparts in Mexico and other officials about is the growing violence and growing threat with regard to narco-trafficking and the drug cartels. We would welcome the opportunity to increase and enhance our military-to-military cooperation,” Kirby stated by telephone after Mullen’s visit to Brazil. “There’s clearly room to do more.”

The two countries have been cooperating in anti-cartel operations for some time, but last year the effort advanced with the US-sponsored Merida Initiative that awards Mexico US$1.4 billion over three years and US$200 million to Central America and Caribbean countries. The initiative nabbed some top drug lords and their shipments, but the cartels remain defiant.

Writing for American Chronicle in 2008, Michael Webster outlines the working relationship between the Russian Mafiya, which is staffed with “ex”-KGB agents, and Mexico’s drug lords:

Reforma a leading Mexican newspaper reported that U.S. intelligence agencies had detected a partnership between the Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) and Russian mafia groups based in southern California.

In a separate story, Reforma reported that members of the former KGB-affiliated Kurganskaya group in San Diego had met with AFO operative Humberto Rodríguez Banuelos.

Reforma reported that for at least the last ten years the Russian mafia was supplying Mexican drug traffickers with radars, automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and small submersibles in exchange for cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin. It cited a 1996 sting operation in which undercover DEA agents posing as Russian mafia members sold Carillo Fuentes operatives 300 AK-47s and ammunition in Costa Rica.

In 2006 then Russian President Vladimir Putin, a career Chekist, declared: “There is no such thing as a former KGB man.” The Mexican drug cartels are only component in the Soviet Bloc’s narco-subversion plot against the USA, which extends from Colombia’s communist guerrillas to Soviet agents operating on US soil.

The US-led war against the Latin American drug cartels received another setback following the expulsion of Washington’s ambassador to the narco-communist state of Bolivia in 2008. The US military has received an eviction notice from Ecuador’s socialist government to vacate the Manta military base later this year. US ambassador to Ecuador Heather M. Hodges reaffirmed Washington’s promise to withdraw 300 troops and Airborne Warning and Control System planes, involved for the last decade in counter-narcotics operations in South America. “We are thankful for being able to use the air base at Manta so our planes could land. The government of President Rafael Correa has requested that we leave the place and we will leave,” Hodges explained. Correa is a close ally of Cuba and Venezuela’s communist dictators Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez, both of whom are up to their armpits in red cocaine, as well as other regional leftist leaders like Bolivian President Evo Morales. In 2007 Correa pledged that he would not renew the lease, which was signed in 1999, and notified the USA of the decision last year.

The eviction of US counter-narcotics troops from Ecuador lately follows “post”-communist Kyrgyzstan’s closure of the US air base at Manas, which supported NATO’s counter-insurgency program against Afghanistan’s formerly ruling Taliban.

>Africa File: Guinea-Bissau’s long-time communist dictator, top general killed in tit-for-tat assassinations; W. African nation narco-state

>This past Monday, President Joao Bernardo Vieira, the long-time communist dictator of Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, was assassinated by renegade soldiers loyal to General Batista Tagme Na Wai, who himself was killed in a bomb attack the previous day. Representing the Marxist African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, Vieira was prime minister between 1978 and 1980 and president between 1980 and 1999 (with the exception of two days in 1984), and again between 2005 and his death on March 2.

Pictured above: A soldier stands outside a collapsed section of Guinea-Bissau’s military headquarters, in the country’s capital Bissau. On March 1 a bomb killed armed forces chief of staff General Wai.

The African Union, the European Union, Portugal, and the USA roundly condemned the tit-for-tat assassinations and urged Guinea-Bissau’s leaders to respect the constitutional order. Portugal’s Foreign Affairs Secretary of State Joao Gomes Cravinho, who was interviewed by the Portuguese news agency Lusa in Cape Verde after visiting Guinea-Bissau, disavowed any intention on Lisbon’s part to militarily intervene in its former colony. In an editorial representing the stance of the US government, the Voice of America stated: “Thus it was encouraging to hear a senior military leader, Naval Commander Jose Zamora Induta, say the attack on the president was an isolated incident, it did not represent a coup d’etat, and the armed forces will respect democratic principles as the nation’s leaders work through the crisis.” It is not clear whether the assassins were motivated by ideology or possibly corrupted by red cocaine, which has flooded West Africa of late.

As it turns out, last Friday the US State Department, in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, exposed Guinea-Bissau as a strategic transshipment point for Latin American narco-operatives en route to Europe. The report asserts: “Drug traffickers transiting between Latin America and Europe have increased their use of the country. Guinea-Bissau is often the placement point for proceeds from drug payoffs, theft of foreign aid, and corrupt diversion of oil and other state resources headed for investment abroad.” Most of Latin America’s cocaine originates from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, implicating beyond question the international communist conspiracy’s role in the 50-year-old, Moscow-orchestrated narco-subversion of the West.

Douglas Farah, a Washington, DC-based consultant on international drug trafficking issues, observes that Guinea-Bissau and other West African countries “have fallen prey to hostile Latin American drug lords, who are using Africa’s Atlantic coast airstrips as transit points for smuggling cocaine to Europe.” VOA quotes Farah at length below:

Guinea-Bissau is not an isolated case any longer, unfortunately in West Africa. You have Guinea-Conakry [or, simply, Guinea]. You have Sierra Leone. You have Liberia. You certainly have Nigeria, all major transit points for drugs moving into Europe and into other markets in Africa itself.

This should be a lesson or a warning to other African states, where the drug trafficking trade has penetrated so deeply that if you don’t eradicate this type of corruption, this inflow of illicit funds that completely undermines already weak states, you can end up very easily down the road to widespread assassinations, to unredeemable corruption. I think if you see competent states like Mexico and Colombia almost caving when the drug traffickers move in there in a serious way and concentrate on them, those tiny countries with no functioning institutions are far more challenged. And if they don’t unite to take this on, I think Guinea-Bissau will be the first of many.

It’s essentially a European problem now because those drugs are not going to the United States. They’re going to Europe. And Europe has to step up and take a much more active and aggressive role if they want to control that avenue of entrance into their continent.

It’s a testament to how lucrative the traffic is. If you still make an enormous profit going from Latin America to West Africa and then north to Europe, I think it’s a whole new route that the law enforcement community in the European countries were not thinking about and were not dealing with, and as water runs downhill to the easiest possible terrain, that’s how drug trafficking will move into Europe, in the US markets, or wherever the new market exists. And so they will find the seams in the global structure and move there.

Of the contest between, on the one hand, Western governments, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement bodies and, on the other hand, global organized crime, Farah comments: “And we’re always playing catch-up with them.” The massive wealth of the Latin American drug cartels and criminal syndicates worldwide, along with skilful manipulation by the Soviet strategists via the Russian Mafiya, have ensured the permanence of this scenario . . . until such time as the capitalist countries finally collapse under the deadweight of drugged populations, brainwashed voters, pro-communist businessmen, and hopelessly corrupt politicians.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Former head of Kremlin space intelligence accuses DARPA, NASA of purposely destroying Russian milsat

>Medvedev in Madrid: Russia Did not Influence Kyrgyzstan’s Decision to Evict US Military from Manas Air Base (Moscow’s US$2 Billion Loan to Bishkek Was Merely a Coincidence)

The Cold War has once again moved into outer space. In an interview published by the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on Tuesday, retired Major General Leonid Shershnev, former head of Russia’s military space intelligence, accused the USA of using new technology to destroy Kosmos 2251, in what most published reports state was simply a rare orbital collision between the Russian military satellite (milsat), launched in 1993, and the US telecommunications satellite Iridium 33. The collision occurred on February 10 about 800 kilometers (500 miles) above Siberia.

Shershnev asserted that the privately owned Iridium 33 was used by the US military as part of the dual-purpose Orbital Express research project, which began and supposedly ended in 2007. Orbital Express was a space mission managed by the US Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a team of NASA engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center. According to Shershnev, the DARPA-NASA program was tasked with validating “the technical feasibility of robotic, autonomous on-orbit refueling and reconfiguration of satellites to support a broad range of future U.S. national security and commercial space programs.”

Under the Orbital Express program the US Air Force Space Test Program launched the STP-1 mission in March 2007, testing a prototype servicing satellite (ASTRO) and a “surrogate next-generation” serviceable satellite (NextSat). The pilot program, reports Novosti at the link above, was officially and successfully completed in July 2007. Shershnev, however, claims that the US military decided to covertly continue with the project to “develop technology that would allow monitoring and inspections of orbital spacecraft by fully-automated satellites equipped with robotic devices.”

The Kosmos 2251-Iridium 33 collision, Shershnev concludes, “could be an indication that the U.S. has successfully developed such technology and is capable of manipulating ‘hostile satellites,’ including their destruction, with a single command from a ground control center . . .” It is very possible that the US military possesses this technology, but it is also possible that Russia possesses this technology too. Following Red China’s first killer satellite test in 2007, Novosti admitted the Soviet Union’s involvement in such experiments: “The killer satellite system was adopted in 1972, and several silo-based missiles were deployed at the Baikonur space center. The U.S.S.R. continued to test this system until the early 1980s. The last launch took place on June 18, 1982 when a Kosmos-1379 satellite intercepted a simulated U.S. TRANSIT satellite.”

When we initially reported on this incident, we speculated that the Russian military used Kosmos 2251 to destroy Iridium 33, in a scenario opposite to that articulated by Shershnev. One thing is clear, though. Whether the US comsat purposely destroyed the Russian milsat, or vice versa, the Kremlin will use this incident as yet another pretext to portray Washington DC as the aggressor and carry out its war preparations against the Western Alliance.

Meanwhile, Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, who is visiting Socialist Spain, denied that his country was responsible for the closure of the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, the only US facility in Central Asia and the primary logistics center for US-led NATO operations in Afghanistan. “The Kyrgyzstan leadership’s decision to close the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan was a sovereign one. They gave their reasons for this decision, as far as I understand,” huffed Medvedev, adding: “Ultimately…they have made the decision. It should be respected as any decision made by a sovereign state.” “Post”-communist Kyrgyzstan’s decision to close Manas, however, followed a seductive US$2 billion loan from Moscow, but that’s just a coincidence. Medvedev continued, ignoring the decades-old Soviet role in the creation of international terrorism:

As to our cooperation on Afghanistan, I would like to say that we are interested in stepping it up rather than in stopping it. We can see what threats radical groups operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some other countries pose. Those groups are threatening all of humanity and largely, or primarily, their own peoples. That is why we are ready to step up this cooperation in all areas and also with the Unites States.

The Russian president would like to transfer NATO’s leading role in overthrowing Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency to the Moscow/ Beijing-led Shanghai Cooperation Orgazation: “We agreed to hold a conference to deal with this issue, during the SCO Summit not long ago. I believe that a conference on Afghanistan can take place soon this year under the auspices of the SCO. In any case, Russia and other SCO members are interested in seeing Afghanistan develop into a civilized and democratic state.” In reality, Russia and other SCO members are interested in re-absorbing Afghanistan into the Communist Bloc.

>Latin America File: ALBA absorbs Nicaragua: Ortega welcomes new oil refinery; Russia, ALBA to build "Hugo Chavez," "Che Guevara" geothermal stations

>- ALBA Agency Buys up Luxury Hotel in Managua, Ranches; Sandinistas Counter Demonstrations to Thwart Opposition

- Chavez in Collaboration with OPEC Once Again Threatens to Inflate Oil Prices to Export and Sustain Red Revolution

- Narco-Communist Bolivia to Take Delivery of First Shipment of Russian Mi-17 Multi-Purpose Helicopters in Early April

- Greek Communist Party Expresses Solidarity with Cuba and Palestinian Arabs

- 25 Years after Operation Urgent Fury Deposes Soviet-Backed Regime, Grenada’s “Non”-Communist Government Cozies Up to Cuba

The revitalized Moscow-Managua-Axis is one that all students of the twenty-first-century communist conspiracy need to watch carefully. In the 1980s the first Sandinista regime maintained the largest army in Central America, but after three consecutive non-communist governments, that strength declined although cadres of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) remained in control over the armed forces, police, and judiciary. Today, Nicaragua’s top general, Omar Halleslevens, is a Sandinista and thus subservient to the country’s past and present Marxist dictator, Daniel Ortega. Since Ortega reassumed the presidency slightly more than two years ago numerous high-level diplomatic and military exchanges have occurred between Managua and Moscow. Last December Ortega travelled to Russia for the first time since the Cold War.

Pictured above: A police officer stops an opponent of President Ortega during clashes between FSLN and opposition supporters in Managua, on February 28.

In a troubling development that has for the most part been ignored by the MSM, Ortega invited the Russians to renovate the never-used military runway that the Soviet Union built 22 years ago at Punta Huete, north of Lake Managua. This landing strip can accommodate Russia’s Blackjack, and possibly Bear, strategic bombers. In cooperation with Soviet allies Venezuela and Iran, Moscow has also pledged to build a deep-water port at Monkey Point, on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, a facility that could conceivably host warships and freighters offloading military hardware. Punta Huete and Monkey Point were reportedly on Ortega’s agenda in Moscow, but nothing substantive appears to have taken place yet in terms of bringing the projects to fruition. However, if Russian “experts” and engineers arrive at these sites to commence work in the near future we will post and analyze such news here.

Would the neo-Soviet leadership be bold (or stupid?) enough to station their nuclear-capable bombers in Nicaragua, from which attacks could be launched against the US West and Gulf coasts within 90 minutes? Yes, possibly under the new socialist, globalist, capitulationist administration in the White House. President Barack Hussein Obama has already indicated that he wishes to slash the country’s nuclear arsenal by 80 percent, a prospect that the Soviets would no doubt readily endorse while pretending to comply with the terms of such a treaty. In spite of the global recession, which has adversely impacted Russia’s state-dominated economy, President Dmitry Medvedev has clearly indicated that bolstering and modernizing his country’s nuclear strike capability is top priority.

Among the raft of agreements signed by Ortega and Medvedev in Moscow was the Kremlin’s pledge to develop Nicaragua’s meager energy sector. “Russian companies will assist Nicaragua in building hydroelectric and geothermal plants,” Ernesto Tiffer, president of the Nicaraguan Electricity Company, stated at the time. Tiffer, who accompanied Ortega to Moscow, added: “At least two power generating plants, with capacities of 150 MW and 100 MW, are under consideration in Nicaragua’s volcanically active parts.” During the first four months of 2009, he explained, Nicaraguan and Russian “experts” will assess potential construction sites.

Soviet ally Iran also plans to invest US$202 million in Nicaragua’s under-developed energy sector under projects that include a dam and a hydroelectric plant. In return Iran’s fanatical mullahs would like to buy Nicaragua’s beef, coffee, rice, and beans. The world headquarters for Islamic revolution also plans to build five milk plants and 10 collection centers at a cost of US$10 million to boost milk production in Nicaragua. These bilateral ventures sound harmless enough, but one should bear in mind that Iran has the most imposing embassy in Managua while Iranian military personnel were spotted at Monkey Point in early 2007, shortly after Ortega’s re-inauguration.

Not content to panhandle in Moscow and Tehran, Ortega has also gone cap in hand to the Inter-American Development Bank, requesting a US$300 million loan to “weather” the global economic crisis. With typical communist hypocrisy, the former guerrilla leader blames “developed countries” like the USA, which buys 30 percent of Nicaragua’s exports, for the hardships experienced in his red banana republic. “We are facing the gravest economic crisis that humanity has ever faced,” Ortega sobbed, “Developed countries, which are injecting financing into their economies, have an obligation to inject financing into the economies of those countries that have no responsibility for causing this crisis.”

On the domestic front, more street violence shook Nicaragua on Saturday as the neo-Sandinista regime countered opposition protest marches in nine cities across Nicaragua. The country’s rightist opposition (rightly) contends that President Ortega is re-installing himself as dictator. The FSLN and its youth section summoned party cadres to instigate a “nationwide mobilization on the same day.” The Sandinista Youth subsequently took to the streets in a “massive mobilization to celebrate the revolution throughout the country.” The cities targeted for both marches and counter-marches included the national capital Managua, as well as León, Chinandega, Chontales, Jinotega, Boaco, Puerto Cabezas, and Ometepe Island.

The Sandinistas, however, believe that controlling the streets is part of their revolutionary struggle. “Last month,” reports the Christian Science Monitor today, “Sandinista union leader and lawmaker Gustavo Porras called on all Sandinistas to assume permanent control of the streets, ‘because it is our natural form of struggle.’ ‘With this struggle we have gotten where we are today, and we have to continue forward,’ Mr. Porras said.”

This past week, First Lady (and former guerrilla girl) Rosario Murillo, who also coordinates the local Citizens’ Power Councils throughout the country, rallied FSLN cadres to start a permanent campaign aimed at retaining the presidency in 2011. No doubt, Comandante Ortega is jealous of Comrade Hugo Chavez’s new Venezuelan role as “President for Life.” “The call by President Daniel Ortega to mobilize his people the same day as the opposition march is a way of trying to provoke and intimidate people,” Marcos Carmona, executive secretary of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights, told the Costa Rica-based Nica Times. Since November, Carmona continued, Sandinista mobs have attacked protest marches with machetes, mortars, knives, sticks, and stones. Carmona mentioned that his group dispatched a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ascribing responsibility to the Ortega administration for any political violence during Saturday’s marches.

Meanwhile, President Ortega is not only re-building his communist dictatorship, but also extending the Sandinistas’ subversive influence into various international and regional forums. Nicaragua, for example, holds the rotating presidencies of the United Nations General Assembly, via stridently anti-USA Catholic priest Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, the Central American Integration System (SICA) and, most recently, the Central American Court of Justice (CACJ). The history of the CACJ dates back to a 1907 peace conference between Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The regional court was resuscitated through SICA in 1991. Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama, however, have not ratified the Tegucigalpa Protocol in order to gain membership in the regional court.

Nicaragua has also become an important testing ground for state enterprises sponsored by Latin America’s Red Axis, including the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas socialist bloc of nations, to which Russia is an aspiring member. An ALBA agency called Alba Alimentos de Nicaragua (Albalinisa), reported El Universal on February 24, has purchased the Nicaraguan assets of the US-based firm Seminole S.A. These include the five-star Seminole Hotel, located in downtown Managua, and two ranches with 3,000 head of cattle. Calixto García, who is both president of Seminole S.A. and manager of the Seminole Hotel, confirmed the transaction to the Nicaraguan opposition newspaper La Prensa. The amount of the deal was not disclosed but according to estimates it would total about US$10 million. “We have reached an agreement with a Venezuelan-Nicaraguan company, which is a subsidiary of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) group, called Alba Alimentos de Nicaragua (Albalinisa). The transaction was completed a few days ago,” revealed García. Thus, we see the communist regimes in Managua and Caracas using an ALBA entity as a front to expropriate private property in Nicaragua.

On February 26, according to Prensa Latina, operations commenced at ALBA’s El Supremo Sueno de Bolivar oil refinery in Nicaragua. Multinoticias Canal 4 TV station aired statements by Francisco Lopez, the director of Petroleum of Nicaragua (Petronic), who unveiled the conclusion of the first phase of the oil refining complex, which consists of three storage tanks built with the help of Venezuela. “The project was the target of criticism by local right-wing media for months,” the Cuban media complained. This phase of the project cost more than US$25 million, out of a total investment of US$2.5 billion, and will store 602,000 barrels of oil. The current arrangement between Managua and Caracas will facilitate the importing and storage of nine million barrels of crude oil and derivatives from Venezuela. Until now only the US oil giant Esso boasted such storage capacity in Nicaragua, monopolizing 70 percent of the national oil and oil derivative markets.

ALBA’s El Supremo Sueno de Bolivar oil refinery will also supply fuel to the two geothermal electricity generating stations that Managua plans to build with Russia’s assistance, mentioned above. Prensa Latina notes that the two stations will be called “Hugo Chavez” and “Che Guevara.” The ideological significance of the names of these new energy-generating facilities provides some insight into the orientation and objectives of the neo-Sandinista regime. Under ALBA’s auspices and with Cuban and Venezuelan technical assistance, Nicaragua has already brought a 40-megawatt electricity-generating plant called “Che Guevara 4″ online (pictured above, note FSLN party flags).

Although Brazil is not part of ALBA, the Brazilian company Andrade Gutierrez is prepared to invest some US$600 million into the construction of two dams near the border with Costa Rica, which will use the waters of Lake Nicaragua to regulate the reservoirs. The Nicaraguan government will have a 10 percent stake in the venture.

Hugo Chavez’s ability to export communist revolution throughout Latin America on behalf of Havana and Moscow depends in large part on the price of crude oil. Since an historic high of US$147 per barrel last summer, the price of crude futures has bottomed out by nearly US$100, hurting oil revenues in OPEC states like Venezuela. In reaction, OPEC is once again tossing about the idea of restricting output to bolster low prices. “In the next meeting in March, Venezuela — jointly with other countries in accordance with information from the (OPEC) committee monitoring (supply) — will propose new cuts as needed,” Venezuelan Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez told a local television station. Rodriguez further explained: “The reason is that even though OPEC has achieved its basic goal of putting the brake on the drastic oil price fall, there are still roller-coaster, up-and-down price movements. And just as the speculation in the market has fallen off, the oil price has fallen to an artificially low level so that there are still oscillations in the market, which has not yet stabilized completely.”

Elsewhere in Latin America, Bolivia’s neo-communist regime will receive two Russian Mi-17 multi-purpose helicopters in the first weeks of April. This arrangement follows Bolivian President Evo Morales’ visit to Moscow in February. Morales was the third regional leftist leader, after Ortega and Raul Castro, to visit Moscow in as many months. “As far as I know, two Russian helicopters will be shipped to Bolivia in the first weeks of April. They will be used to destroy cocaine plantations in the country,” explained Felipe Caceres, Bolivia’s deputy minister for social defense, last Thursday. Caceres’ comments are little more than disinformation since Bolivia’s coca plantations have become an integral part in the Soviet Bloc’s 50-year-old narco-subversion plot against the West.

Prior to becoming president in 2006 Morales organized Bolivia’s coca growers into a union that eventually threw its support behind the ruling Movement towards Socialism party. In 2008 La Paz expelled the US ambassador and suspended US Drug Enforcement Administration operations in Bolivia after Washington criticized Morales’ ineffective anti-narcotics campaign. Rushing in to fill the political void created by the departure of US influence in Bolivia, the Kremlin has announced plans to supply a large number of helicopters to the South American country as part of an expansion of Russia’s economic and military-technical ties with Latin American countries.

Elsewhere in the world, the 18th Congress of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which lately organized numerous riots to oust the faux rightist, pro-Moscow government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, has expressed solidarity with Cuba and the Palestinian terrorist regime. Granma reports that the KKE “approved main working guidelines for their new period, which included the setting up a people’s anti-imperialist front and a program of actions in solidarity with Cuba and Palestine.” The Greek communists also unanimously re-elected Aleka Papariga as general secretary of the 77-member central committee. The session welcomed 435 delegates and 400 guests from around the country, in addition to representatives from communist parties in 72 countries worldwide, including Cuba. The Red International, as can be seen, is alive and well.

Finally, more than 25 years after a US-led Caribbean invasion force ousted the Soviet/Cuban-backed Marxist regime in Grenada, the ostensibly “non”-communist government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas is cozying up to Cuba. Two days ago Cuban Vice-President Esteban Lazo and Grenadian Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Peter Charles David, who was then visiting Havana, declared their countries’ commitment to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation. For his part, David reiterated Grenada’s opposition to the US economic, financial, and commercial blockade of Cuba. Accompanying David was Grenada’s Labor, Physical Planning, Public Utilities and Environment Minister Joseph Gilbert, as well as Grenada’s ambassador to Cuba Raphael Joseph. The Cuban delegation also consisted of Deputy Foreign Minister Yiliam Jimnez Expsito and Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee official Otto Marrero Nuez. So much for Operation Urgent Fury.

>USSR2 File: Revolt brews within Russian military against Medvedev’s reforms, senior officers defect to anti-Putin opposition, CPRF champions soldiers

>Since we rely heavily on Kremlin media sources at Once Upon a Time in the West, we must acknowledge the possibility that some news is actually disinformation published in conformity with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s long-range deception strategy. This is no doubt true with respect to assessing “post”-Soviet Russian military strength. Sometimes the Kremlin media plays up logistical problems in the Russian Armed Forces, as in the invasion of Georgia in August 2008, while at other times highlighting the latest successful ICBM or SLBM launch or equivocating on the reported departure of 900 tanks from Kaliningrad Oblast, an ideal spot from which to launch a ground invasion of Poland and the Baltic republics.

Pictured above: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev toasts with army officers after presenting state awards at the headquarters of the Siberian Military District in Chita, on February 19. Medvedev reassured Russia’s brass that the country’s military readiness would not be compromised by budget cuts. This encounter occurred one day after two Russian bombers probed Canadian airspace ahead of US President Barack Hussein Obama’s visit to Ottawa.

This is also true with respect to the presence in Russia of potemkin parties (like the “ruling” United Russia party), “oppositionists” (like former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov), and “dissidents” (like Garry Kasparov). In such cases, the potemkin party, oppositionist, or dissident may exercise a certain degree of independence from the CPSU apparatus, but when the “independent actor” steps over the line, secret lines of party control are swiftly applied. The offending individual is either demoted, disappears from the political limelight, or becomes a chalk outline on the streets of Moscow. In similar fashion, the straying group is reorganized (as in the case of Other Russia, which gave birth last year to “Solidarity”), absorbed (as in the merger of United Russia with the Agrarian Party in 2008), or shut down (as in the National Bolshevik Party).

This is the essence of Soviet “democratization,” as predicted by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in his two books, New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998).

The revolt spreading within the Russian military against the Putinist regime could very well be a case of Soviet disinformation designed to portray the Kremlin administration as weak. Conversely, the Soviet strategists could also be encouraging dissident military officers to swing their support from the potemkin United Russia regime to the “opposition,” which is spearheaded by the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). This past Monday, a communist-sponsored protest in Moscow denounced President Dmitry Medvedev’s military reforms, which will eliminate 200,000 Soviet-era officer posts, and portrayed the CPRF as the champion of Russia’s soldiers and military traditions. Not only Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, but also Putin himself are becoming objects of personal scorn by Russia’s military men.

In its report on the simmering mutiny in the Russian Armed Forces, Britain’s Telegraph profiles 19-year-old sailor “Vladislav,” who serves on a submarine in Russia’s Pacific Fleet. “We were brought up to revere Putin, but not any more,” related Vladislav, adding: “He doesn’t care about the fate of ordinary sailors, which makes him a criminal in my opinion.” Journalist Adrian Blomfield explains that “Vladislav” has secretly joined a new opposition group in Russia’s Far East called Tiger (possibly named after the Siberian tiger that inhabits that part of the country). “Tiger” is calling for Putin’s resignation and the “restoration of democracy.” If discovered, Blomfield reports, “Vladislav” faces court martial, probably followed by death by neo-gulag or firing squad.

The Telegraph also reports that a “growing number of disgruntled servicemen, including senior officers, are making contact with Russian opposition groups for the first time since he came to power in 2000.” In spite of the billions of rubles that the Putinist regime has poured into the military over the last eight years, “Opposition parties say that a number of senior military figures have approached them with tacit messages of support. The feeling of discontent is even deeper in the non-commissioned ranks, who complain of appalling conditions in their barracks.” Military analyst Alexander Golts admits: “Morale in the navy is very low, particularly in the Pacific fleet. The hazing and acts of cruelty are so unbelievable that a year as a conscript is effectively a year in Hell.”

In light of the probably very real revolt within the officer and non-commissioned ranks of the Russian armed forces, the CPRF leadership under Gennady Zyuganov could easily stage a military-backed coup d’etat against the crypto-Stalinist United Russia regime, thereby once again placing Russia on the “path toward socialist development.” Of all the possible scenarios that we have considered over the last two years for a potential red coup in Moscow, this one is most credible.

On occasion the Soviet media is refreshingly candid as in today’s article in Itar-Tass, in which Russia’s KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin admits that Moscow is closely watching the responses of the “developed countries” (meaning capitalist nations) to the global economic recession. At a Friday meeting of the leadership of United Russia, of which Putin is the “non-member” head, Russia’s prime minister stated:

We’re closely watching the processes running in the world economy – whether good or bad – we depend on it, and have to state that the crisis is far from being over, and has not even reached its peak yet. The measures taken by developed countries are not bringing visible results yet. It means that such a situation may remain for a rather long time.

The scale of disproportions that accumulated in the world economy is too large, and in order to clear the path to a new upturn, much has to be accomplished together with our partners in international community, and on our own.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin body count continues its seemingly unstoppable course with the murder of an unnamed St. Petersburg businessman yesterday, and the assassination of a former Chechen militant in Istanbul, also apparently on Thursday. Ali Osayev, who fled to Turkey six years ago after the Second Chechen War, was shot three times in the head near his home in Istanbul. In both cases, the perps are at large.

In 2004 a Qatari court convicted two Russian military intelligence (GRU) agents of assassinating former Chechen president in exile Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in the tiny Middle Eastern country. A car bomb was the preferred mode of murder in that case. Qatari prosecutors concluded that the suspects had received the order to eliminate Yandarbiyev directly from then Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov. Since February 2007 Ivanov has been Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Canadian, Russian officials trade accusations over Feb. 18 Bear bomber intercept, one day before Obama’s Ottawa visit

>On February 19 US President Barack Hussein Obama made his first foreign visit as head of state to Ottawa. Canada is the USA’s largest trading partner and most reliable ally, comprising one half of the 50-year-old binational military command known as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD was originally designed to detect and counter Soviet bomber and missile attacks. Canada is located directly between Russia and the USA and, thus, would probably witness the transit of polar-routed ICBMs over its territory should the world’s two nuclear superpowers come to blows.

One day before Obama arrived in Canada’s capital, reports the Toronto Star, two Russian Bear bombers lurking near the Northwest Territories were intercepted by Canadian CF-18 fighter jets. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not hesitate to characterize the presence of the Russian bombers as a “provocation.” “This government,” he insisted, “has responded every time the Russians have done that. We will continue to respond. We will defend our airspace.”

Pictured above: A Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet from 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta flies next to a Tu-95 strategic bomber on September 5, 2007 in an intercept similar to the one that took place again on February 18, 2009. Eighty CF-18s are operational out of a total fleet of 98. The Canadian Forces Air Command intends to replace the CF-18 with a more advanced fighter jet by 2020.

Canada’s Defense Minister Peter MacKay was not shaken by Moscow’s message and, instead, responded with his own warning to Russia: “I’m not going to stand here and accuse the Russians of deliberately doing this during the presidential visit, but it was a strong coincidence which we met with the presence . . . of F-18 fighter planes and world-class pilots that know their business and send a strong signal that they should back off and stay out of our airspace.” MacKay has requested his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov and Russia’s ambassador to Canada to give Ottawa a “head’s up” when such flights are planned. “To date, we have not received this type of notice,” MacKay remarked.

In Moscow, Novosti reported, an unnamed Kremlin official called MacKay’s statement a “farce” and “astonishing.” The state-run news agency also quoted Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, a Russian Defence Ministry spokesentity, who protested that neighboring states were previously notified of the bombers’ flight. “They would say that,” countered Rob Huebert, associate director of the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.

NORAD commander US General Victor Renuart, according to organization spokesman Michael Kucharek, has requested that the Russian Air Force file formal international notice of bomber flights but, as noted above, this has yet to happen. Kucharek related that Canadian and US fighter jets have been scrambled more than 20 times since early 2007 to carry out visual identification of Russian bombers and to direct them away from North American airspace. Moscow began flying its old Cold War routes in late 2006, although then President Vladimir Putin made no formal announcement to that effect until August 2007.

>USSR2 File: Coordinated communist protests in Russia and Ukraine slam Medvedev’s army reforms, Yushchenko’s strategic alliance with USA

>- Red Terror File: Retired FSB Major General Gunned Down in Moscow, Formerly Worked for Russian Prosecutor’s Office

- Ukraine’s First “Post”-Communist President Leonid Kravchuk Urges Yushchenko to Resign, Call Snap Elections

- Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma Interrogated Again on Possible Links to 2000 Journalist Murder

In the light of current events in Eastern Europe and the accurate predictions of Soviet Bloc defectors from decades past, like Anatoliy Golitsyn, we continue to anticipate coups in Moscow and Kiev that will restore overtly red regimes and prosecute the long-range Soviet deception strategy to its culmination. The openly communist forces in Russia have once again taken to the streets to protest against the policies of potemkin President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, both of whom are connected to the old Soviet regime. In the Not-So-Former Soviet republic of Ukraine, the reds and former president Leonid Kravchuk, who is also connected to the old Soviet regime, are demanding the resignation of “pro”-NATO President Viktor Yushchenko.

On Monday, which is Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia, Soviet war veterans, cadres of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), and leftist youth groups gathered in Triumfalnaya Square in downtown Moscow to denounce President Medvedev’s military reforms. The protesters wielded banners that shouted: “Military reform is high treason!” “The people and the army are one!” and “We will save the army, we will save Russia!” “What is being done today under the guise of reform is the liquidation of the army, without which Russia has no future,” CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov rumbled to the crowd (pictured above).

Last year Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced that by 2012 the Russian Armed Forces will be downsized to one million servicemen, including a streamlining of the officer corp down to 150,000 personnel. The Soviet Union, by contrast, maintained 4.5 million men under uniform. In addition to overhauling the Russian military’s command and control structure, each of Russia’s six military districts will boast an airborne brigade as a rapid reaction unit. From a purely military viewpoint, these modernization reforms are probably wise. We suspect Zyuganov knows this and is simply perpetuating the ruse that a multitude of political opinions flourish in Russia. In late 2008 the openly revolutionary forces of Russia united under the banner of the Left Front and the leadership of the CPRF, Russia’s largest (and secretly ruling) communist party.

This past Saturday, Russia’s other opposition group, Solidarity, which was co-founded by former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and ex-chess champion Garry Kasparov, held its first rally in central Moscow. Several hundred people joined the rally, which was sanctioned by the mayor’s office. The long-time mayor of Moscow, of course, is Yuri Luzhkov, another former CPSU cadre. The protestors blamed Prime Minister Putin for failing to rectify the negative effects of the global financial crisis in Russia. Founded in 2008, Solidarity appears to be a spin-off from the Other Russia movement, while its name, which is lifted from communist terminology, is obviously (and probably purposely) reminiscent of Poland’s defunct communist-controlled opposition group.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin body count continued yesterday with the murder of a retired Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) major general, formerly in the employ of the Investigations Committee of Russia’s Prosecutor General (SKP). The regional SKP director in Moscow, Anatoly Bagmet, described the case to Itar-Tass:

The body of Alexander P. Rogachyov, 46, was found in a Toyota Land Cruiser on the premises of the Yunykh Pionerov stadium in Leningradsky Prospect Street at approximately 18:00, Moscow time, on February 22. He had a pension certificate of FSB agent on him. The victim was in the rank of Major-General.

An examination of the body found a gunshot wound to the head; a 9-mm bullet was extracted. Forensic experts said the gunshot wound to the head had been fatal, and that the former FSB officer was killed 14 hours before his body was found, around 01:00, Moscow time, on February 22.

The SKP department opened a criminal case under Article 105, Part 1 [for murder].

The investigation is at the initial stage yet.

“A team of detectives has been formed; all possible versions are under consideration,” Bagmet concluded. Little intelligence, however, is required to conclude that a high-ranking official like Rogachyov probably knew too much about things that the neo-Soviet leadership would prefer to keep hidden, hence, the major general’s untimely demise. A long row of dead nosey journalists, dead renegade KGB agents, dead affluent bankers, and dead talkative Chechen officials proves that in Putinist Russia it does not pay to know anything at all.

To the south, in Ukraine, the pro-Moscow Party of Regions of former prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), the Socialist Party of Ukraine, and the Progressive Socialist Party are demanding that President Yushchenko either call snap elections, resign, or submit to impeachment. Yanukovich is an “ex”-CPSU cadre and one of Moscow’s main pointmen in Kiev. On Monday 200 communist demonstrators rallied in Kiev and under the din of revolutionary music urged Yushchenko to pack his bags and head for the USA. Angered by Yushchenko’s new strategic partnership with America, sarcastic CPU cadres passed around a box to collect enough money to buy a plane ticket for the Ukrainian president. In December last year, Kiev and Washington inked a charter on strategic relations that promotes cooperation in the defense, security, economic, and energy spheres, as well as establishing a US diplomatic mission in Simferopol on the Crimean Peninsula.

This past Saturday Ukrainian leftists also rallied in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Navy parks its Black Sea Fleet and where numerous ethnic Russians reside. “We have gathered here to express our indignation at the authorities who have led our country to poverty and extinction,” ranted Igor Shamaiko, head of a Crimean community organization. A resolution adopted by the rally participants read: “President Yushchenko, the government of [Prime Minister Yulia] Tymoshenko and the parliamentary majority consisting of oligarchs and NATO henchmen have shown that they are unable to get the country out of the crisis. Ukraine needs a total change of power, otherwise it will face famine, ruin and death.”

Both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, it should be noted, are connected to the old regime in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Making a plea for the restoration of the Soviet Union, rally organizer Yevgeny Dubovik declared: “We see our future only in a union with Russia and Belarus.” The Crimea became an autonomous republic in Ukraine after the self-dismantling of the Soviet Union. In 1994 Ukraine’s parliament abolished the post of Crimean president and the regional constitution.

Street-level protests among Ukrainian reds were tacitly endorsed yesterday by Ukraine’s first “post”-communist president, Leonid Kravchuk who, like just about any other major political player in the “post”-Soviet space, is an “ex”-CPSU cadre. In a live address to Yushchenko on the Ukraina TV channel on Tuesday, Kravchuk urged the president to hold snap elections:

The true patriotism of a president also means understanding the situation from within and making a responsible decision to step down. Such a step could stop the avalanche of problems, calm society and give hope for a real way out of the crisis. Until recently I thought the presidential elections should be held according to law. But today I have a different opinion. I have seen clearly that you are not giving most of your attention to Ukraine’s problems, instead you are thinking of how to stay in power.

The power has been almost destroyed. And it is impossible to overcome the crisis without the government’s effective participation.

Ukraine, like Russia, is struggling amid the global economic recession. Although Kiev and Moscow ratified a 10-year natural gas supply agreement less than a month ago, Ukraine’s Naftogaz has already notified Kremlin-run Gazprom that there may be disruptions in payment for deliveries due to non-payment by local utility companies. “Ex”-CPSU cadre Viktor Zubkov, father in law of Russia’s defense minister, sits at the helm of insatiable energy monster Gazprom.

Finally, Ukraine, like Russia, boasts its share of dead independent journalists who have unwisely intruded into the inner workings of the Red Mafiya that runs the “post”-Soviet space. Today Nikolai Golomsha, Deputy Prosecutor-General of Ukraine, confirmed that the Prosecutor General’s Office once again interrogated Leonid Kuchma on the grisly murder case of Georgy Gongadze, an intrepid journalist who was killed and beheaded in September 2000. “It is true that ex-President Kuchma was interrogated on the case last Monday,” Golomsha told reporters. “Ex”-CPSU cadre Kuchma, then president of Ukraine, and some of his associates were accused of complicity in the murder. Not surprisingly, Kuchma has stridently rejected all accusations.

>USSR2/USA Files: Medvedev pretends to oppose Putin’s anti-crisis economic policy, billionaire socialist Soros predicts collapse of capitalism

>- Russian Fleet Movement Update: Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier and Admiral Chabanenko Destroyer to Return to Northern Fleet’s Home Port in Severomorsk

- New Russian Stealth Frigate Begins Trials in Baltic Sea

On Tuesday the Russian Navy announced that a new frigate will begin sea trials this week before entering service with the Baltic Fleet in April. Under construction since 1990 at the Yantar shipyard in the Kaliningrad exclave, the Yaroslav Mudry is the second vessel in the 11540 Yastreb project. The first vessel built in this series is the Neustrashimy, which recently completed an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden. According to the Russian Navy’s official website, the Yaroslav Mudry features a water displacement of 4,500 tons, can sail at a maximum speed of 30 knots, employs some stealth technology, and is armed with missiles, bombs, anti-aircraft systems, and a Ka-27 helicopter. State media in Russia have also described the Neustrashimy-class vessels as destroyers.

In a related story, the Russian Navy reaffirmed today that its fleets will continue to fulfill “important duties in the seas and oceans of the world,” to quote state-run Novosti. Yesterday, we reported that the Admiral Kuznetsov is now lurking in the North Atlantic Ocean after carrying out several missions in the Mediterranean Sea, visiting the Russian naval maintenance facility at Tartus, Syria, and, in an unfriendly gesture, dumping 1,000 tons of fuel near the Irish coast. Russia’s sole aircraft carrier has been joined by the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which last fall made first-ever visits to Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, and Cuba, four Latin American states with pro-Moscow leftist regimes of various hues.

Replacing the Admiral Kuznetsov in the Mediterranean Basin is the formidable Peter the Great missile cruiser and the Northern Fleet’s Admiral Levchenko destroyer. “The Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser, after having completed joint naval exercises with India, has passed through the Suez Canal and is now in the Mediterranean Sea,” explained Captain First Rank Igor Dygalo. The Russian Navy spokesentity mentioned that the Admiral Levchenko destroyer moored at Tartus on February 23, while the Admiral Vinogradov destroyer continues to patrol the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia. On January 29 two Russian landing ships capable of together transporting 450 marines arrived at Tartus, but their current whereabouts is not known, at least in open-source media.

Meanwhile, Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev appears to be playing the role of Devil’s advocate by criticizing the anti-crisis policies of his mentor, KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, in countering the effects of the global financial crisis in Russia. On February 20, while addressing apparatchiks in Siberian city of Irkutsk, Medvedev complained: “This is nothing but the sheer inability to work quickly and efficiently. The global financial turmoil has yet to hit its worst point. Bad news is coming from all the regions. If the economy drops below the floor-lining, a certain critical level, Russia may face a repeat of the collapse it faced in the 1990s.”

No doubt, Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which we believe is the secretly ruling body in Russia, would agree with Soviet Komsomol graduate Medvedev’s assessment. Playing up ideological differences among “comrades” is a standard communist tactic. Any dispute or debate among Russia’s open and “ex”-communists should be taken with a hefty grain of salt.

Medvedev and Zyuganov are not the only communists articulating a gloomy prognosis for the capitalist countries. Bush-bashing billionaire George Soros, whose leftist opinions defy the very economic system that produced his personal prosperity, is also predicting the imminent collapse of capitalism. Through his Open Society and other “pro-democracy” foundations Soros aided and abetted the Soviet strategists by funding “democratization” in Eastern Europe. On February 20 Soros addressed a private dinner party of economists and bankers at Columbia University, excoriated Reaganomics, “market fundamentalism,” and the monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve System as the sources of the present economic convulsions:

The current economic upheaval has its roots in the financial deregulation of the 1980s and signals the end of a free-market model that has since dominated capitalist countries.

Liberalization of the financial industry begun by the Reagan administration has led to a series of crises forcing government intervention. The global recession, triggered by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, has damaged the financial system itself.

Regulators are in part to blame because they abrogated their responsibilities. The philosophy of “market fundamentalism” is now under question as financial markets have proved to be inefficient and affected by biases rather than driven by all the available information.

We’re in a crisis, I think, that’s really the most serious since the 1930s and is different from all the other crises we have experienced in our lifetime. The Federal Reserve has created several [crises] by lowering interest rates.

The economy went into freefall and is still falling and we don’t know where the bottom will be until we get there and there’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.

The scale of the problem is more than in the Great Depression because of the leverage involved. The ratio of debt to gross domestic product has increased from 160 percent in the 1920s to 350 percent last year, and is set to rise to 500 percent.

The real estate bubble was created as much by “relaxed” lending standards and the valuation of collateral as the availability of credit. The bubble began in the early 1980s, and the subprime-mortgage debacle acted as the “detonator.” The crisis was made possible by the globalization of financial markets and securitization of debt.

Risk management has become so refined and sophisticated regulators can no longer follow what is happening.

In view of the US$200,000 that Soros contributed to the committee that organized (Kenyan-born?) President Barack Hussein Obama’s inauguration in January, it is clear that the Hungarian-born investor joyfully anticipates the looming socialization of the US economic and political system.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Medvedev announces CSTO war game; Russian warship sinks Chinese freighter; Iran fires up Soviet-built Bushehr n-plant

>On February 19, while meeting with the commanders of the Siberian Military District, Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev announced that the states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization will shortly hold joint exercises within the broader framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which embodies the Moscow-Beijing Axis. A large quote from Medvedev’s address follows:

It will be necessary to develop such cooperation. I mean, first of all, our contacts with the traditional allies–the member-states of the CSTO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The current task is to optimize the field strength of troops and to project a new image of the RF Armed Forces. The troop control system must be up-to-date and mobile–this also applies to control agencies and facilities of command.

Things are not easy now either, particularly in the light of the current economic crisis. The army now has somewhat different starting resources due to achievements in recent years. The task is not to lose anything. The main thing now is to keep those basic achievements.

It is essential to maintain the possibility of financing new armaments programs and new technology purchases. On the other hand, it is also essential to keep and develop all kinds of social guarantees existing in the army and accomplish the task of moving on to service within the scope of permanent readiness units, respectively financed.

It is obvious how difficult and complex military duty is, particularly in Siberia and the Far East, at remote border pickets, and in far-off garrisons. The Russian people must both know the traditions and deeply respect its army. The main thing is for the prestige of the army to be maintained in society at the highest level.

One reason that Russia is modernizing its armed forces it to assert control over the resources of the Arctic seabed, which Moscow unilaterally claimed in 2007, much to the displeasure of other polar states like the USA, Canada, and the countries of Scandinavia. “Russia will respond to any attempts to militarize the Arctic,” the Kremlin’s top general, Nikolai Makarov, was quoted as saying on Monday during a visit to Abu Dhabi. “Overall, we are looking at how far the region will be militarized. Depending on that, we’ll then decide what to do.” Makarov is attending an international arms fair in the United Arab Emirates.

The chief of the Russian General Staff indicated that Moscow has not yet received any official proposals from Washington, DC on significant cuts to the two countries’ strategic nuclear forces. Earlier this month, The Times reported that US President Barack Hussein Obama intended to hold “ambitious” arms reduction talks with Moscow, aiming to slash the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles on both sides by 80 percent. “When there is a proposal, there will be a discussion,” Interfax quoted Makarov as saying, “It is much too early to speak about that now.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, which earlier this year completed exercises with the Turkish Navy and weighed anchor at the Russian naval maintenance facility in Tartus, Syria, and whose deck-based fighter jets carried out missions in Greek airspace, has moved into the North Atlantic Ocean. The Admiral Kuznetsov’s current whereabouts is known due to the controversial oil slick that a week-old refueling operation left near Ireland. Surveillance flights by the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency, reports The Times, estimated that nearly 1,000 tons of oil were dumped near the southern coast of the Emerald Isle. A satellite detected the aircraft carrier, the refueling ship, and a Russian tug amid the oil slick on February 14. Four other Russian naval vessels were observed in the vicinity. The satellite that spotted and reported the spill was operated by an agency of the European Union, the European Maritime Safety Agency in Lisbon.

In a related story we have been unable to update our report about the current whereabouts of two Russian landing ships, the Azov and the Yamal, which made a port of call in Tartus three weeks ago, apparently en route to a much scaled-down Indo-Soviet naval drill in the Indian Ocean. Together the two amphibious craft can transport 450 Russian marines.

On the other side of the Eurasian landmass, allies Russia and China are squabbling over who is responsible for the demise of a Chinese cargo ship on February 15, after a Russian warship fired on and sank The New Star near the Far East Russian port of Nakhodka. China’s foreign ministry issued a strongly worded protest to Moscow, demanding a full investigation, but Russia asserts that The New Star’s Indonesian captain illegally crossed its border. Eight crew members–seven Chinese nationals and one Indonesian–died after taking to stormy waters in an open raft. The freighter’s owner, Hong Kong-based J-Rui Lucky Shipping, has denounced Russia for sinking its ship and called for a joint investigation panel. Will The New Star sinking adversely affect the strategic partnership between the Soviets and the Chinese Communists? Not likely. The two communist giants intend to hold their third joint war game later this year.

In addition to the Soviet leadership’s primary alliance with the Communist Party of China, the Moscow Leninists are also revitalizing Cold War-era strategic partnerships elsewhere in the world, especially among the Arab League states and in Africa and Latin America. Egypt is an important target for Soviet control. On February 17 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov travelled to Cairo where, after meeting Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit and President Hosni Mubarak, he declared that “his country is seeking to setup a strategic partnership with Egypt at all fronts.” Lavrov delivered this message directly from President Medvedev to long-time dictator Mubarak.

Russia–which along with the USA, the United Nations, and the European Union–belongs to the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet, supports Egypt’s efforts to alleviate the “humanitarian” crisis in the Gaza Strip, eliminate the rivalries among Palestinian groups, and “close Arab ranks.” Lavrov stated that Moscow will host an international conference on the Middle East peace process before July. Medvedev plans to visit Egypt in June at the invitation of Mubarak to boost bilateral cooperation. Russia’s foreign minister arrived in Egypt on Monday after stopping over in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Lavrov will also visit Oman and Bahrain.

Between February 24 and 26, Yemen’s long-time dictator President Ali Abdullah Saleh will pay an official visit to Russia, at which time he will discuss bilateral trade and military cooperation with President Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. This will be Saleh’s fifth official visit to Russia and the first since 2004. Although not a communist, Saleh is a long-time Soviet ally who ruled the Yemen Arab Republic between 1978 and 1990 and became president of the Republic of Yemen after non-communist North Yemen united with communist South Yemen.

In an interview with Novosti, Yemeni ambassador to Russia Mohammed al-Hilali stated: “Yemen’s position on the Middle East fully coincides with the position of our Russian friends.” He added that investment opportunities in Yemen would be discussed with Russian oil and gas companies. This past week Yemeni Finance Minister Numan al-Suhaibi met his Russian counterpart, Alexei Kudrin, in Moscow to discuss the possibility of writing off Yemen’s debt to Russia. The Kremlin media has since last summer published reports that the Russian Navy may reestablish its Soviet-era presence in Yemen, possibly on Socotra Island.

As blogged above, the Kremlin’s top general is currently attending the Idex-2009 international defense exhibition and conference in Abu Dhabi, which is slated to run from February 22 through 26. Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, reveals that Moscow is also “stepping up” military sales to the socialist dictatorships in Syria, Libya, and Algeria. “Russia is beginning to enter new armaments markets where our presence was previously considered as hardly probable. In particular, some Persian Gulf countries, including Qatar and Kuwait, are displaying certain interest in the development of military and technical cooperation,” explained Dmitriyev. In addition to the Arab states, China, India, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia, and Serbia are also important recipients of Russian armament. Russia exports weapons to a total of 80 countries.

Finally, this week Iran will “pre-commission” its first nuclear power plant, which is being built by Russia in the southern city of Bushehr. “In the presence of the heads of the atomic energy organizations of Iran and Russia, the pre-commissioning of Bushehr power plant will be carried out on Wednesday,” the ISNA news agency trumpeted, quoting Iran Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Mohsen Delaviz. The exact nature of the “pre-commissioning” was not detailed. Russia assumed construction of the plant in 1994, but completion has been delayed due to the international controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, which includes staunch opposition from the USA, Israel, and some EU countries.

Earlier this month, the chief of Russia’s nuclear agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, stated that his visit to Iran was designed “to get acquainted with the works at the plant” and that a “technical launch” of the plant was possible before the end of this year. Iran has informed the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency that the loading of nuclear fuel in the plant will take place in the second quarter of 2009 and will be supplied by Russia. The primary equipment at Bushehr was installed by Russian contractor Atomstroiexport.

>Latin America File: President for Life Chavez scurries to Havana, consults with Castro; Mexican, Honduran presidents join parade of regional leaders

>Following the February 15 referendum that effectively installed Hugo Chavez as Venezuela’s “President for Life,” faux rightist French President Nicolas Sarkozy has congratulated the communist dictator for preserving the “vitality of democracy in Venezuela.” Sarkozy, whose totalitarian bent is evident in last September’s failed power grab for a permanent spot at the top of the European Union, also welcomed “progress made to reduce inequalities” in the South American country. In many previous posts we have provided documentation for our belief that Sarkozy, whose surname means “Prince of Darkness,” may play a Biblically prophetic role in the very near future. For his part, Chavez has indicated that he intends to run for a third presidential term in 2012.

Barely one week after consolidating his Cuban-style dictatorship in Caracas, Chavez made an unannounced “working visit” to the all-inclusive island gulag paradise 90 miles south of the Florida Keys. Havana’s communist-controlled media refused to disclose any details regarding the agenda that Chavez and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, a known KGB asset, will consider. The Cuban media only admitted that the Chavez-Castro conclave “takes place a few days after the popular victory of the [Venezuelan] referendum approving the constitutional reform for the unlimited reelection of public officials.”

“General” Castro welcomed his Venezuelan guests at Jose Marti International Airport (pictured above). Chavez was accompanied by his Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro; Energy and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramirez, who is also president of the state-run oil company PDVSA; Planning Minister Haiman El Troudi; Agriculture Minister Elias Jaua; and head of the presidential administration Luis Reyes. Upon the arrival of the Venezuelan visitors, the two communist dictators, both wearing military uniforms, embraced. Chavez cried “Viva Cuba! Viva Fidel! Viva Raul!” In his February 12 column “Reflections,” former Cuban president Fidel praised his protégé Hugo by saying that “Simon Bolivar lives again in the revolutionary actions of Chavez.”

The Venezuelan dictator’s current trip to Havana is only the latest in a series of high-level state visits among the world’s Communist Bloc leaders. In 2008 Chavez travelled to Cuba in March, once again in June, and two more times in September, at the beginning and end of an international tour that took him to neo-Soviet Russia, Red China, Faux Rightist France, and Socialist Portugal. Chavez is the sixth Latin American president to visit Havana in less than two months, after Panama’s Martin Torrijos, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, and Guatemala’s Alvaro Colom. Without exception, all of these national leaders are leftists. In view of his implementation of socialist constitutional reforms in his homeland, Correa is probably the most left wing of the lot. Only the two female heads of state, Kirchner and Bachelet, enjoyed a photo op with the grandfatherly revolutionary Fidel. “The women were given preference because Fidel can’t see everyone who comes to Havana,” Raul explained, as he was seeing off his Guatemalan colleague last week. Wow, some “honor.” We rather suspect that old Fidel appreciates the adoration of his female followers.

In the next few months Honduras’ center-left President Manuel Zelaya and Mexico’s faux rightist President Felipe Calderon are scheduled to visit Cuba. Honduras was absorbed into the Havana-Caracas Axis last year when Zelaya capitulated to pressure from Chavez and Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega to join Honduras to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. For his part, Raul Castro showed up in Caracas last December en route to a Latin American integration mega-summit organized by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who co-founded with Fidel the narco-communist-terrorist Sao Paulo Forum in 1990.

In a related story, last week the Mexican Senate, which is dominated by the center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party and somewhat-more-leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, unanimously supported a resolution calling upon socialist US President Barack Hussein Obama to lift the nearly 50-year-old economic, financial, and commercial blockade of Cuba. The senators complained that “the blockade is an essential part of a policy marked by hostility and aggression that have failed to fulfill its goal of destroying the Revolution.” Oh, dear. How awful, the communist hellhole in Cuba, which systematically persecutes independent journalists and illegal house churches, will be destroyed by the heartless policies of the “Evil Empire” in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, last week in Moscow Vadim Sayuchev, president of the Russia-Cuba Friendship Association, called for the release of the Cuban Five, the General Intelligence Directorate agents convicted and imprisoned by US court on charges of espionage in 1998. Cuba’s ambassador to Russia Juan Valdes thanked Sayuchev for Russia’s “permanent solidarity” with Cuba. While leftists worldwide like to portray the Cuban Five as “political prisoners,” the US government presents a different story:

The open, public seven-month-long trial of the five conclusively established that three of them (Gerardo Hernandez and two men who now claim their true identities are Ramon Labaniño and Fernando Gonzalez) were “illegal officers” of Cuba’s Directorate of Intelligence. The three were career intelligence officers who came to the United States under false identities, using fraudulent documentation and “legends” – elaborate, false life stories ascribed to those identities. They lived in the United States, secretly implementing Directorate of Intelligence operations while pretending to be ordinary U.S. citizens. The three “illegal officers” supervised the covert work of other U.S.-based agents of the Directorate of Intelligence – including the other two members of the “Cuban Five,” Antonio Guerrero and René Gonzalez, who are U.S. citizens.

>End Times File: W. Europe faces bankruptcy, international investors flee E. Europe, Japan plows into recession, Kremlin leverages capitalist crisis

>- Soviets Extend Control over Portland-Based Oregon Steel through Proposed Merger of Major Russian Corporations

The economies of the capitalist countries are unquestionably in the midst of convulsions. No government, even those of the communist and “post”-communist states, is immune from the ripple effects surrounding this crisis of faith in money. World financial and commodity markets continue to tumble. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has long since fallen below the psychologically important benchmark of 8,000 points. In spite of threats last year from Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to artificially jack up the price of oil, crude futures are sagging precipitously below US$40 per barrel. Two major OPEC players, Iran and Venezuela, are close allies of Moscow.

Pictured above: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during a visit to an oil refinery in the town of Kirishi, near St. Petersburg on February 12.

Ireland has joined a growing list of Western European states, like the United Kingdom, Greece, and Iceland, which are confronting the specter of defaulting on debt. In Asia, Japan, according to that country’s economic minister Kaoru Yosano, faces “the worst economic crisis in the postwar era.” Martin Schulz, an economist at the Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo, explains that Japan’s economic recovery after the “lost decade” of the 1990s has stumbled to a halt. “The recovery was unsustainable,” Schulz laments, “It was built on a major global bubble, and now basically the economy is paying the price.”

Most ominously, for those observers of world politics who fear an open resurgence of communism in Eastern Europe, international lenders are fleeing the old Soviet Bloc. British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who exposed corruption in the Clinton Administration during the 1990s, describes the panic in Central Europe and the Balkans. Citing Erik Berglof, chief economist for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Evans-Pritchard states that Eastern European banks may need 400 billion euros to cover loans and sustain the credit system there. Under the title “Failure to Save East Europe Will Lead to Worldwide Meltdown,” he writes:

Europe’s governments are making matters worse. Some are pressuring their banks to pull back, undercutting subsidiaries in East Europe. Athens has ordered Greek banks to pull out of the Balkans.

The sums needed are beyond the limits of the IMF, which has already bailed out Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Iceland, and Pakistan – and Turkey next – and is fast exhausting its own $200bn (€155bn) reserve. We are nearing the point where the IMF may have to print money for the world, using arcane powers to issue Special Drawing Rights.

Its $16bn rescue of Ukraine has unravelled. The country – facing a 12pc contraction in GDP after the collapse of steel prices – is hurtling towards default, leaving Unicredit, Raffeisen and ING in the lurch. Pakistan wants another $7.6bn. Latvia’s central bank governor has declared his economy “clinically dead” after it shrank 10.5pc in the fourth quarter. Protesters have smashed the treasury and stormed parliament.

“This is much worse than the East Asia crisis in the 1990s,” said Lars Christensen, at Danske Bank.

“There are accidents waiting to happen across the region, but the EU institutions don’t have any framework for dealing with this. The day they decide not to save one of these one countries will be the trigger for a massive crisis with contagion spreading into the EU.”

Thus we see that the governments in Eastern Europe, most of which are staffed by apparatchiks from the old communist regimes who failed to affect a successful transition from socialism to capitalism, will in the end be responsible for bringing down the whole system. “We are nearing the point where the IMF may have to print money for the world, using arcane powers to issue Special Drawing Rights,” Evans-Pritchard writes above. Intriguingly, for students of Bible prophecy, such comments foreshadow the rise of Revelation’s mark of the Beast, where commerce is prohibited apart from absolute submission to a world dictator.

In Russia itself, reports the Financial Times, industrial production plunged a whopping 20 per cent in January, the largest month-on-month drop in seven years. “The horrendous industrial production data in January have left no doubt that the economy has come to a screeching halt,” opined Ivan Tchakarov, chief Russia economist for the investment bank Nomura. “This indicates,” he explains, “that the combined effect of the credit squeeze in the banking sector and falling global and domestic demand has filtered through to the real economy.” In December Russia’s economy dumped 500,000 jobs, bringing the total unemployment level to 7.7 per cent. Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has emerged as Russia’s wealthiest oligarch after the economic turmoil vaporized two-thirds of the fortunes of Russia’s top 10 tycoons. Bleak statistics like this will provide the Communist Party of the Russian Federation with ample ammunition to agitate for the reconstruction of a full-blown command economy and the placement of open communists in the Kremlin.

In an attempt to consolidate power at the center, this past Monday Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees to replace four regional governors. Medvedev removed the governors of Pskov, Oryol, and Voronezh, as well as the administrative head of the Nenets Autonomous Area. In his televised interview the day before, Medvedev complained that these regional governors were ‘inept and inefficient,” and not “responsible enough in dealing with unemployment” amid Russia’s financial crisis, the reality of which the Putinist regime has finally acknowledged. In light of the Kremlin’s sagging oil revenues and stubborn refusal to cut defense spending, more hardship for Russia’s citizen-slaves can be expected.

Notwithstanding problems at home, the Kremlin is using the global financial crisis and the personal misfortunes of Russia’s oligarchs, many of whom are graduates of the Soviet Komsomol, to re-nationalize (re-communize) Russian industries and leverage control over overseas enterprises like Oregon Steel. Roman Abramovich, the owner of Britain’s Chelsea soccer team, is one of two controlling shareholders in Evraz Group, which bought Portland-based Oregon Steel Mills for US$2.35 billion in 2007. However, Evraz Group, Russia’s largest steelmaker, is struggling with depressed world steel prices and a cumbersome foreign debt resulting from almost US$8 billion in foreign acquisitions. Russia’s state bailout agency, which is chaired by KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, has loaned Evraz US$1.8 billion to refinance its foreign debts. Prime Minister Putin, according to The Oregonian, is now backing a proposed merger of Abramovich’s Evraz Group; Norilsk Nickel, which is owned by two Putin lackeys, Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska; mining-and-metals firm Metalloinvest; steel-and-coal producer Mechel; potash producer Uralkali; and titanium producer VSMPO-Avisma, one of whose customers is Boeing’s Gresham plant. The Kremlin–through its arms agency, Russian Technologies–would receive a 25 percent stake and one share of stock in the new monopoly in exchange for liquidating debts.

To make a long story short, the Kremlin-backed merger would indirectly prop up Oregon Steel. The resulting corporate “behemoth,” reports Oregonian journalist Richard Read, “would be large enough to compete with Australian-British giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, a long-held dream of Russian tycoons.” Putin’s recent stern warning at the World Economic Forum about the uncompetitive nature of Soviet-style socialism apparently has limits.

On February 12 Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jibao conversed by telephone on “issues of common concern.” According to Xinhua, Wen told Putin that both countries should “enhance coordination and cooperation for the sake of the entire world” and to reverse the effects of the global economic recession. In December Chinese President Hu Jintao called for stronger military cooperation with Russia in talks with visiting Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, son in law of Gazprom Chairman Viktor Zubkov. “As the strategic partnership between China and Russia develops, the relationship between the two militaries has also continued to become more consolidated and stronger,” Xinhua quoted Hu as saying at the time. Hu added: “I hope… to advance the China-Russian strategic partnership and the relationship between the two militaries from a new historical starting point to better and faster development toward the future.” The two communist superpowers plan to hold their third combined war game some time this year. The first two Sino-Soviet military exercises took place in 2005 and 2007, under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

False rivals during the Cold War, Moscow and Beijing inked a friendship treaty in 1999, 15 years after KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn predicted the rise of a body like the SCO in order to advance the communist strategy for world domination. Golitsyn referred to the Moscow-Beijing Axis as “one clenched fist,” a formidable alliance that would challenge the West after the bogus demise of Soviet communism eliminated all need for NATO.

Energy cooperation is another important element in the Trans-Asian Axis. Yesterday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who is presently visiting Beijing, signed a raft of fuel and energy cooperation documents with Chinese Premier Wen. One document establishes an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of a branch of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline that will link the two countries. According to Sechin, under the agreement, Russia will supply 15 million metric tons (110 million barrels) of crude annually for 20 years to China “on credit terms that suit both parties.” ESPO is currently under construction and expected to pump its first oil in December 2009.

>EU File: Iranian arms ship allegedly bound for Hamas manned by Russians, Cyprus’ communist regime unloads 90 containers of "military material"

> - Shanghai Cooperation Organization to Probably Admit Iran as Full Member in June, Placing Tehran under Moscow’s Nuclear Umbrella

- Russia Signs Strategic Partnership with Errant NATO Member Turkey as Ankara’s Islamist President Wraps up Historic Trip to Moscow

At Once Upon a Time in the West we have been tracking conflicting news reports pertaining to the Cypriot-flagged, Russian-built freighter Monchegorsk, first intercepted by the US Navy in the Red Sea, later impounded by the Egyptians at Port Said, currently docked at the Cypriot port of Limassol since January 29, and, according to the Israelis, containing arms bound for Hamas from the Islamic regime in Tehran. Some news outlets have described the freighter as Iranian-owned or Russian-owned. The type of arms in shipment was also unclear. Some reports mentioned artillery. Still other new sources have suggested that the arms were bound for Syria, not the Gaza Strip. As we dig deeper into published reports, it appears that the MSM may be spinning the story in ways far removed from the reality of the situation.

According to the Chinese state media, citing Nicosia’s communist government, “Cyprus’ Defense Minister Costas Papacostas later told local media there were no weapons on the ship of Monchegorsk, but raw materials which can be made into ammunition were found in over 90 containers.” The Cypriot defense minister is a cadre of the Marxist-Leninist Progressive Party of Working People, the only openly ruling communist party in the European Union. Xinhua explains that a number of the ship’s 90 cargo containers, escorted by Cypriot police, were transported last Friday to warehouses of the Cyprus National Guard, the Republic of Cyprus’ armed forces. The AFP news agency cited official Cypriot sources to the effect that the Monchegorsk’s cargo is not nuclear, a possibility that greatly worried the Israelis: “According to public radio, the arms were being ferried by 15 trucks under tight police escort to be stored at an army base further along the southern coast of Cyprus. The military-style operation was decided upon after the government was a satisfied that the ship was only carrying ‘conventional material.’”

For many weeks now, the nationality of the freighter’s crew was a mystery. However, in what amounts to a bona fide “Spew Alert,” Xinhua in the story above described the crew as Russian: “The suspect ship has a Russian crew and was first believed to be owned by Russia. However, Russian government has denied any involvement.” On February 13 the Kremlin-linked mining and metals giant Norilsk Nickel also denied that the mystery ship with the Russian crew docked in Cyprus is related to the company’s freighter that regularly plies the waters of the Arctic Ocean:

According to the information published recently by a number of Russian and foreign mass media, the “Monchegorsk” container ship with the Russian crew was detained off the Cyprus coast. This Cyprus flag ship allegedly cruised between Iran and Syria with a doubtful cargo. Without due verification of facts, some mass media boldly asserted that it was an Arctic-type diesel-electric vessel of the same name belonging to MMC Norilsk Nickel (“Norilsk Nickel” or “the Company”).

In view of the above, MMC Norilsk Nickel hereby announces that the container ship mentioned by mass media was built in 1983 and bears no relation to the Company.

Our Monchegorsk diesel-electric ship, number two in the Company’s own Arctic fleet, was commissioned on July 31, 2008 and never left the Northern Sea Route since then, running between Dudinka and Murmansk/Arkhangelsk ports with Norilsk Nickel’s cargoes.
Our diesel-electric Monchegorsk flies the flag of the Russian Federation.

By way of conclusion, observers of international events who prefer to think strategically may wish to consider the possibility that the 90 containers of “military material” transported by the Russian-manned mystery ship Monchegorsk from Iran to Cyprus via the Suez Canal was never destined for Gaza or Syria after all. Possibly in support of that theory, according to AFP Iran denied on February 11 that the ship was carrying weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as reported by the Israeli media. “The ship was not taking arms and weapons to Gaza,” foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghasghavi told a news conference. The president of Cyprus, Dmitrios Christofias, it should be noted, is a slavishly pro-Moscow communist who has since his electoral victory one year ago made a pilgrimage to Russia with purchase orders for Kremlin armament. There Christofias not only met with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, but also Communist Party of the Russian Federation Chairman Gennady Zyuganov. Shortly after assuming the presidency, Christofias also received Zyuganov in Nicosia as Medvedev’s personal envoy.

In view of Russia’s resurgent naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea, one might consider the possibility that the 90 containers of “military material” now parked in Cypriot army warehouses were destined for use by Cyprus itself or maybe for regional use by the Russian Navy.

Meanwhile, Russia, Moscow’s principle Middle East allies Iran and Syria, Moscow’s main Africa partner Libya, and Moscow’s new-found strategic partner and errant NATO member Turkey, are closing ranks against Israel in a military alliance that bespeaks of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the early-tribulation Magog invasion of the Holy Land. In spite of the worsening global financial crisis, which prompted Russia’s industrial output to plummet 20 percent in January 2009 alone, the Kremlin has no intention of allocating fewer rubles toward defense spending. Novosti relates that the Kremlin will disburse a total of 1.3 trillion rubles (US$37 billion) to Russian defense contractors in 2009, while the state arms production budget for 2009-11 has been approved at four trillion rubles (US$115 billion). Moreover, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, declared last week that Moscow intends to prop up strategic sectors of the economy. Among other recipients of government largesse:

Russia’s major aircraft maker, MiG Corp., would receive 11 billion rubles ($308 million) in the first quarter of the year as part of a 17.3 billion-ruble ($485 million) state defense contract. He also said the company had losses of some 11 billion rubles in 2008, and announced that he had signed a resolution allocating a further 15 billion rubles ($417 million) in federal budget funds to the corporation. Last year, MiG, along with other “strategic” companies, was promised funding through the government’s anti-crisis package, specifically firm production orders from the Russian Air Force.

With respect to Russia’s growing alliance with Iran, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will announce this June its intention to formally admit the Islamo-Nazi regime in Tehran into Moscow-Beijing Axis. “Consideration of Tehran’s bid is moving ahead in accordance with standard procedures. I think that a decision on the issue could be announced at a SCO summit in Yekaterinburg [Russia] in June,” Novosti today quoted a source in the SCO. The SCO recently lifted a moratorium on its membership, according to a Russian diplomatic source, but has not yet established any stipulations for accepting new members. Yesterday Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that his government “expected to receive the backing of Russia in its drive to become a SCO member.”

In a related story, Kommersant, citing an unidentified Russian defense official, contends that during his upcoming trip to Moscow Iran’s Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar will discuss with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov the transfer of S-300 air defense systems to Iran, a prospect that troubles both Israel and the USA. In an official statement, the Islamic Republic’s Defense Ministry declared: “During his trip to Russia, the Iranian defense minister will hold talks with Russian officials and visit a number of defense industry companies. The main purpose of the visit is the expansion of bilateral [military-technical] ties and the implementation of existing agreements in the military-technical sector.” Kommersant states that Moscow had already signed an S-300 contract with Tehran, but is not in a hurry to implement the agreement due to a “seeming thaw” in Russia’s relationship with the new Obama Administration.

The burgeoning relationship between Russia and Turkey is particularly intriguing in light of the role these two countries will play in Ezekiel’s end-times invasion of Israel. Enemies during the Cold War, this past Friday the presidents of the two countries announced the formation of a strategic partnership. “This is a strategic document laying out the achievements of bilateral cooperation and setting tasks for enhancing it further,” a Kremlin source revealed to Novosti. In the declaration, Medvedev and Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul urged the international community to settle “frozen conflicts” that could destabilize the situation in the South Caucasus and vowed defense cooperation, even though Turkey is a long-time NATO member.

“Reaching agreements on burning issues in defense cooperation between the two countries will open up more opportunities for broader cooperation in the sphere,” the two presidents said in the declaration. Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko informed reporters, too, that Russia will sign an energy contract worth more than US$60 billion with Turkey on the construction of a nuclear power plant and power supplies to the country for the next 15 years. At the conclusion of the talks, President Gul invited Medvedev to visit Turkey. “I believe my current visit will open up a new page in the history of Russian-Turkish ties,” Gul gushed.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have become frigid since Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan condemned the Jewish state’s December-January military offensive in the Gaza Strip. On February 6, reported the Jerusalem Post, Turkish prosecutors announced that they were investigating whether Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. The chief prosecutor’s office in Ankara admitted the probe was opened after Mazlum-Der, an Islamist “human rights” organization in Turkey, filed a formal complaint against Israeli leaders. Mazlum-Der alleges that genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity were committed by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Israeli army and military intelligence chiefs. From the distorted perspective of Islam, whether held by the Turkish government or NGOs, the fact that Israel’s government was simply protecting its citizens from Hamas’ incessant rocket attacks has no bearing on the situation. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Erdogan scolded Peres over the Gaza war during a panel discussion and stormed off the stage. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party is under scrutiny by Turkey’s top court for violating the country’s constitutional separation of mosque and state.

The sparring continues between Ankara and Jerusalem. On February 14 Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador Gabby Levy to complain about comments that Israeli Major General Avi Mizrahi made in response to Erdogan’s undiplomatic behavior at Davos. According to Turkish media Mizrahi berated Turkey’s history by accusing the Turks of massacring the Armenians in 1915, oppressing the Kurds, and occupying Cyprus. Even though these statements are totally true, the Turks evidently got their noses out of joint. Turkey’s Radikal newspaper reported on Saturday that Mizrahi also responded to Erdogan’s demand that Israel should be barred from the United Nations by insisting that Turkey should be barred as well. In an effort to defuse the tensions between Turkey and Israel, which until recently were relatively amicable, IDF spokesman Brigadier General Avi Benayahu soothed: “While referring to the criticism of Israel by Turkey, Gen. Mizrahi made statements that could be interpreted as criticism of Turkey’s past. The IDF spokesperson wishes to clarify that this is not the official position of the IDF.”

This may be so, but the stage is now set for Israel’s enemies to move as a political-military grouping against the “troublesome Zionist entity.” The “hook in Gog’s jaws,” which pulls the Russian-Arab army to its supernatural destruction on the mountains of Israel, could very well be Israel’s support for the “pro”-Western regime in Tbilisi. Another “hook” that may provoke the Jewish state’s enemies is the prospect of an energy-sufficient Israel. On February 10 US-based Noble Energy stated that the estimated gross mean resource potential of the newly discovered Tamar-1 drilling site, 90 kilometres west of the port of Haifa, is five trillion cubic feet. Noble owns 36 percent of the site while Israel’s Isramco Negev owns 28.75 percent. According to Noble, performance modelling indicates the Tamar well can achieve a production rate of over 150 million cubic feet per day, effectively ending Israel’s dependence for gas on Egypt and Azerbaijan, via the Turkey-routed South Caucasus (Tbilisi-Baku-Erzurum) Pipeline.

>Latin America File: Venezuelans hand Chavez unlimited presidential term; Chile’s Socialist president visits Cuba, attends Allende memorial

>- Chilean President’s Official Trip to Havana Marred by Past Romantic Relationship with Spokesman for Cuban-Backed Guerrilla Army

- Bolivian President Evo Morales Wraps Up Moscow Meetings with Medvedev, Russia to Sell Mi-17 Multi-Role Helicopters to South American Country

- Alvaro Colom, Guatemala’s First Center-Left President in 50 Years, Makes First State Visit to Cuba

- Afro-Communists Maintain Links with Cuba: Namibian President, Mozambican Legislators Arrive in Havana, Express Solidarity with Caribbean Cold War Ally

Freedom was dealt another blow in Venezuela this past Sunday when 54 percent of Venezuelan voters endorsed unlimited presidential terms in a referendum that will permit communist dictator Hugo Chavez to further consolidate his hold on the nation and export red revolution throughout the region. While pontificating to thousands of brainwashed supporters from a balcony at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Chavez declared that the Venezuelans who supported the constitutional reform also voted in favor of socialism:

Those who voted ‘yes’ today voted for socialism, for revolution. In 2012 there will be presidential elections, and unless God decides otherwise, unless the people decide otherwise, this soldier is already a candidate. Today, we opened wide the gates of the future. Venezuela will not return to its past of indignity.

The reform will allow Chavez (pictured above), who has held the presidency since 1999, to seek re-election for a third term in a scheduled 2012 vote. This past weekend’s vote is somewhat of a vindication of Chavez’s plans to communize Venezuela. In December 2007 voters rejected a similar referendum proposal on term limits, which was included in a broad package of constitutional reforms. “Effectively this will become a dictatorship,” opposition leader Omar Barboza lamented to the Associated Press, adding: “It’s control of all the powers, lack of separation of powers, unscrupulous use of state resources, persecution of adversaries.”

Political developments in Venezuela are part of a wider revitalization of the Communist Bloc in the Western Hemisphere. At Once Upon a Time in the West we are closely monitoring the intense power networking among Latin America’s Red Axis leaders, as well as between those regimes and the neo-Soviet leadership in Moscow. Since December three important leftist leaders from Latin America have dutifully presented themselves to their masters in Moscow, namely, Nicaraguan’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega, Cuban tyrant Raul Castro, and Bolivian tyrant-in-training Evo Morales.

Bolivia’s Trotskyist president is currently in the Russian capital securing promises of economic and military cooperation from the Soviets. Today Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate, gushed: “Our talks with Morales will turn over a new leaf in the two countries’ cooperation.” Russia and Bolivia plan to expand cooperation in the fields of energy, metal mining industry, agriculture, and military technologies. For his part, the Bolivian president, who is closely allied with Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez, thanked the Russian leader for a “warm welcome” and emphasized that Bolivia supported Rusisa’s twenty-first-century “comeback” to Latin America. Earlier this month Kremlin-run Gazprom and Bolivia’s state oil and gas monopoly drafted a master plan for exploiting the South American natural gas reserves until the year 2030.

On the subject of military-technical cooperation, Medvedev revealed that Russia intends to sell a large number of Mi-17 multi-role helicopters to Bolivia in the near term: “We are hoping to start the implementation of a first large contract on the delivery of helicopters to Bolivia in the near future. We are ready to continue talks in the future.” The purpose of the military transfers from Moscow to La Paz is reportedly to combat terrorism and drug trafficking in the region. However, this assertion is disingenuous since most terrorism and drug trafficking in Latin America is directed by Moscow, Havana, and Caracas, with some support from La Paz and Managua.“We are working on this issue, and if the deal is approved it will cover not only helicopters, but all military equipment supplied to Bolivia in the future,” explained Mikhail Dmitriyev, chief of the Russian Federation Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

Latin America’s socialist and social democratic leaders are also faithfully trooping to the region’s most important headquarters for communist subversion, Havana, to confer with President Castro. Last week Chile’s East German-educated Socialist president Michelle Bachelet, the president pro tempore of the new Union of South American Nations, held meetings with both Raul and his ailing elder brother Fidel (pictured above). On February 14, shortly before leaving Cuba, she praised bilateral relations between her country and the Castro Bros.’ island gulag paradise. “The visit has been a success,” Bachelet sang, “We have signed a large number of important agreements and established a very high-level of political dialogue; now we have to work towards implementation…so that they translate into concrete benefits for the Cuban and Chilean people.” For his part, Raul spoke about the importance of the recent incorporation of Cuba to the Group of Rio, and eulogized the significance of the first Latin American and Caribbean Summit held in Brazil at the end of 2008.

On February 12 Bachelet paid tribute to Salvador Allende at a Havana monument dedicated to Chile’s first Soviet/Cuban-backed Marxist president. The Chilean president was accompanied by Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Felipe Perez Roque and the Chilean ambassador in Cuba Gabriel Gaspar, along with other ministers, senators, deputies, and artists. Allende founded the Socialist Party of Chile in 1933, was elected president in 1970 and then deposed in a military coup d’etat on September 11, 1973. During Bachelet’s visits to Cuba, the Chile president denounced the USA’s nearly five-decade economic embargo against the island state: “I’m talking about a very concrete issue, the United State’s blockade against Cuba, which seriously affects the living conditions of the Cuban people, even more so given the current crisis.”

Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice President of Cuba’s Council of Ministers admitted that trade between Cuba and Chile has increased in recent years, and that Chile is now Cuba’s seventh largest regional trade partner, with trade reaching US$84 million in 2007. However, Cabrisas commented that Cuban exports to Chile are still low and that there is room to expand trade, especially in the biotechnological sector.

Yesterday Chile’s Santiago Times editorialized about Bachelet’s controversial trip to Havana, noting Cuba’s alleged involvement in the 1991 assassination of rightist Chilean politician Jaime Guzman:

The most publicized new event this past week has been President Michelle Bachelet’s state visit to Cuba – the first by a Chilean head of state since 1972 when Salvador Allende visited the island nation. The visit necessarily created political problems in Chile, where rightist politicians allege Cuban involvement in the 1991 assassination of UDI founder Jaime Guzman and Christian Democratic Party members of Bachelet’s own Concertacion coalition voiced concern about human rights problems in Fidel Castro’s “revolutionary” oligarchy.”

The communist insurgents of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR) carried out the Guzman assassination. Between 1985 and 1987 President Bachelet had a romantic relationship with Alex Vojkovic Trier, spokesman for the FPMR. The Federation of American Scientists’ Intelligence Resource Program describes Cuba’s covert support for Chile’s communist guerrillas: “In the second half of the 1980s, the FPMR became the dominant terrorist group, emerging as a sophisticated, well-trained, and well-supported terrorist organization. Just how strong it was became evident in August 1986 when the security forces captured a huge FPMR arms cache that was traced to Cuba.”

In addition to Chilean President Bachelet, Guatemala’s first center-left head of state since the 1950s, Alvaro Colom, made his pilgrimage to Havana yesterday at the invitation of President Castro (pictured here at the Palace of the Revolution on February 16). “President Colom´s visit to Cuba will contribute to strengthen bilateral historic, friendly and cooperation relations between both countries . . .” the Cuban News Agency relates, adding: “The distinguished visitor will hold official talks with President Raul Castro and will tour sites of economic, social and historic interest.” During the multi-decade civil war that wracked Guatemala, the Central American country’s communist guerrillas received ideological and weapons support from the revolutionary regime in Cuba. Although the insurgents failed to take over Guatemala, their be-suited successors have succeeded admirably in aligning the country with the Western Hemisphere’s Communist Bloc.

Meanwhile, communist regimes in Africa continue to maintain close relations with their counterpart in Cuba. On February 15 Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba wrapped up a three-day visit with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro by describing the encounter between the Namibian and Cuba delegations as “successful.” Pohamba gushed: “Relations between our countries are excellent and this was shown once again in the meeting with the president of the Cuban Council of State and Ministers.” He added that the agreements signed in the presence of the Cuban president will promote cooperation in the sectors of education and public health. The African and Caribbean states established diplomatic relations on March 21, 1990. Currently, 154 Cuban “experts” offer services in Namibia, while 1,281 Namibian students have graduated from Cuban educational institutions. The Namibian president Pohamba is also head of the ruling South West African People’s Organization, a former guerrilla army that sought to end South Africa’s de facto control over South-West Africa during the Cold War.

In a related story published by Prensa Latina, Cuban parliamentary leader Ricardo Alarcon received a delegation of counterparts from the “People’s Republic of Mozambique” this past Sunday. Intriguingly, the Cuban-run media outlet refers to Mozambique as a “People’s Republic,” although the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique supposedly dropped this title for the country in 1990. The Mozambican delegation was led by National Assembly chairman Eduardo Mulebwe. “Their visit highlights traditional relations of friendship and cooperation among the peoples of Cuba and Mozambique,” Prensa Latina quoted Juventud Rebelde newspaper as saying. For observers of international events who rightly subscribe to the Golitsynian thesis that communism never died 20 years ago, the Cuban media’s candor is not too surprising.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Air raid sirens, emergency broadcasts of “imminent airstrike” awaken residents of Russian city Borovichi

>Over 6,000 servicemen are on 24/7 combat duty, and at least 96% of all missile systems are ready for deployment within several dozen seconds. It is the highest readiness level among the components of the Russian nuclear triad.
– Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, quoted by Novosti, February 11, 2009

- Armenia Follows Belarus in Integrating Air Defense Network with Russia


- Crew of Ukrainian Freighter Faina Arrives in Kiev from Somalia, Ordered to not Discuss Hijacking and Hostage Taking

- Turkey’s Islamist President Arrives in Moscow to Cement Links with Russia in Vindication of Bible Prophecy

- Russian Space Agency Official: Debris from Collision of US Comsat and Russian Military Satellite Endangers Other Spacecraft

On several occasions we have at Once Upon a Time in the West focused on Russia’s civil defense activities as one element in the Kremlin’s stealthy and incremental plans for a preemptive military strike against the West. As in the days of the Cold War, a full civilian mobilization could be indicative of an imminent strategic nuclear attack against NATO countries and North America. The USA closed its bomb shelters after the “demise” of the Soviet Union and since 911, when Islamic terrorism killed thousands on US soil, only one municipality—Huntsville, Alabama—wisely moved to reactivate its fallout shelters in 2007.

Under the pretext of preparing its population to cope with a “Western military invasion,” this past September St. Petersburg’s Committee on Law, Order and Security activated 300 air raid sirens, silent since the Cold War, and interrupted radio and television broadcasts to announce that an emergency drill was under way. “Instructions on how to behave in the event of a military attack or emergency were then broadcast for 14 minutes,” reported Britain’s Telegraph, adding: “Critics of the Kremlin dismissed the exercise as a stunt, saying it was intended to give the impression that a Western invasion could easily happen and that it was therefore necessary to rally around the government at a time of national crisis.” This was no stunt but, rather, part of the Kremlin’s massive, multi-theater, multi-branch Stability-2008 war game, held in conjunction with Belarus’ armed forces and emergency officials.

Under the pretense of a “false alarm,” Russian authorities, this time in Borovichi, a city of 70,000 people between Moscow and St. Petersburg, awakened residents last night at 11:30 with air raid sirens and emergency announcements of an imminent airstike. “The long signal of the siren and the subsequent announcements not only alerted residents in the center of the city, but in the outskirts as well,” a regional police spokesman informed state-run Novosti today. “Many residents took the signal seriously and police received a large number of calls,” Novosti stated, quoting the same source, “asking how serious the threat was and what people should do in the event of an air raid.” Russia’s air raid sirens are operated by the Emergency Situations Ministry, the head of which is “ex”-communist Sergei Shoigu, son-in-law of Oleg Shenin, the hard-core Stalinist who masterminded the potemkin August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. Borovichi police are considering the possibility that a “prankster” activated one emergency signal located on a dormitory roof or that a “malfunction” caused the signal to self-activate. Yeah, right.

On February 3 the “ex”-communist leaders of Russia and Belarus formally created a unified air defense network under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Today Novosti announced that Russia and Armenia will also establish an integrated air defense system. “The so-called Russian-Belarusian integrated air defense network is just a part of the cooperation within the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” explained CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha, a “former” Chekist, at a Moscow news conference, adding: “We are expecting Russia and Armenia to set up a similar joint network.” According to Bordyuzha, the CSTO–which consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan–will set up three regional air defense networks, one between Russia and Belarus, a second between Russia and Armenia, and a third between Russia and the Central Asian republics.

“After that we will advance to a higher level of cooperation, coordinating the activity of all regional networks and introducing common rules of engagement and information exchange,” Bordyuzha predicted. The combined air defense network for the Union State of Russia and Belarus, as previously reported, will include five air force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units, and one electronic warfare unit. The Union State air defenses will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian air force or air defense senior commander. This past Wednesday Kazakhstan announced that Russia will deliver the latest version of the S-300 air defense missile system to the Central Asian state in the near future.

In another story related to Russia’s remilitarization under KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, the Russian Navy has joined a United Nations-backed international armada off the coast of Somalia. The Peter the Great nuclear-powered missile cruiser, which lately conducted joint drills with India and Venezuela, detained three pirate vessels on Friday.

The incident began yesterday near Yemen’s Sokotra Island, where Russia reportedly plans to revitalized a Soviet-era naval base. A helicopter based on the missile cruiser spotted two speedboats moving toward a fishing boat under the Iranian flag. Upon spotting the Russian helicopter, the speedboat crews began hurling arms overboard. The helicopter crew continued surveillance until the Peter the Great arrived at the scene. Assault rifles, grenade launchers, drugs, and cash were discovered on board the speedboats and the Iranian fishing boat. “The detainees were in a state of narcotic intoxication,” explained Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo, a Russian naval spokesman.

At the same time, the crew of the Faina, a Ukrainian cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates on September 25 and released on February 5, arrived today in Kiev. The crew of 17 Ukrainians, two Russians, and one Latvian were met at the airport by family members and Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. The Russian sailors will leave for St. Petersburg later in the day. The pirates received a US $3.2 million ransom, a figure somewhat less than the US$35 million originally demanded. The Faina was carrying 33 Soviet-made T-72 tanks and other heavy weaponry, to be delivered to Kenya or possibly the regional government of South Sudan, depending on which news source is consulted. The body of the Faina’s Russian captain, Vladimir Kolobov, who died of a heart attack soon after the hijackers seized the ship, is still in Nairobi. The body will be shipped to St. Petersburg after an autopsy is performed.

Significantly, reports Novosti, upon their arrival all of the sailors were given “strict orders not to say anything to anyone.” One crewmember dismissed reporters’ questions about how the pirates treated him by saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.” From the vantage of the long-range Soviet deception, it may be that the Faina hijacking was manufactured in or provoked by Moscow to provide a rationale for re-projecting Russia’s otherwise waning sea power into the strategically vital Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, Russian space experts are changing their tune with respect to the danger posed or not posed by Tuesday’s unprecedented orbital collision of two US and Russian satellites. According to Vladimir Solovyov, who directs Russia’s involvement in the International Space Station, the debris produced by the Iridium-33 telecommunications satellite and the supposedly defunct Cosmos-2251 military satellite is a real threat to other satellites in a 500-mile-high orbit. “Eight hundred kilometers is a very popular orbit for remote Earth sensing and telecommunications satellites,” Solovyov opined, adding: “There are a lot of communications satellites there, many of them still in operation. There are 66 Iridium series satellites alone on that orbit. The cloud from the collision is a serious threat to them.”

Notwithstanding the scenario of space junk disabling or destroying operational satellites and launch vehicles, the Progress M-66 cargo spacecraft, carrying 2.4 tons of oxygen, food, clothes, and medical equipment, docked with the ISS today. The Progress M-66 blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Tuesday aboard a Soyuz-U carrier rocket. The current ISS crew consists of two US astronauts, commander Michael Fincke and engineer Sandra Magnus, and one Russian cosmonaut, engineer Yury Lonchakov. For the first time in many years, the launch of an ISS support rocket was moved to Pad No. 31. The refit of the alternate facility was necessary due to Russia’s record number of launches planned for this year from Baikonur’s main pad.

Modernizing military equipment, reforming the armed forces command structure, and resuming overseas aviation and naval missions, are only three components in the Kremlin’s plot to displace the USA as global “hegemon.” Building alliances with countries that were not previously part of the Soviet Bloc, such as Turkey, which is still a NATO member, is another core element in the Soviet strategy. The new Soviet-Turkish alliance, as we have previously blogged, is also significant from the vantage of Bible prophecy since Magog (Russia) and Togarmah (Turkey) are two countries that invade Israel during the seven-year tribulation at the end of this age. As it stands, the Moscow Leninists and Ankara’s Justice and Development regime are anti-Jewish/Zionist and pro-Arab/Muslim.

Today, reports state-run Russia Today, Turkey’s Islamist president Abdullah Gul arrived in the Russian capital, where he met counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. Energy cooperation and bilateral trade, which has tripled between Russia and Turkey in four years, is high on the two leaders’ agenda. Russia is in fact Turkey’s largest trading partner, while Turkish developers have played a major role in the recent real estate boom in Russia. Siberian natural gas delivered across the floor of the Black Sea accounts for two thirds of Turkey’s consumption. “There is a major cooperation potential in electric power generation, including the participation of Russian companies in the construction of nuclear power facilities in Turkey,” a Kremlin source was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying. “In August of 2008,” Russia Today continues, “Turkey was one of the few NATO countries that didn’t chastise Russia’s involvement in South Ossetia. This did not go unnoticed by the Kremlin.”

Twenty-five years ago KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn warned the West that the Soviet Union would attempt to undermine NATO solidarity by feigning its own demise, thereby removing NATO’s raison d’etre. The plan has been resoundingly successful. Putin’s disingenuous speech at the recent World Economic Forum provides some insight into the Soviets’ view of US military might maintained in the face of a global economic recession. Pleading for capitalism with a touch of social democracy, warning Americans against the evils of Soviet socialism, which he lauded only four years ago, and completely ignoring his own country’s remilitarization, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator piously enjoined:

The US should not exercise excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence. In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated. In the longer run, militarization won’t solve the problem but will rather quell it temporarily. What it will do is squeeze huge financial and other resources from the economy instead of finding better and wiser uses for them.

In other words, it’s OK for Russia, but not America, to build up its military. Be assured, the empty-headed “intellectuals” and ideologically challenged “experts” of the West will believe every word that emerges from the neo-Soviet leadership, including Putin’s latest poppy-cock.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Bear bombers approach Aleutians again; US, Russian satellites destroyed in unprecedented orbital collision

>Moscow Approves Transit of Non-Military NATO Cargoes over Russian Territory to Afghanistan

Two Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers carried out another routine patrol over the Arctic Ocean yesterday. The 12-hour mission included in-flight refueling and was accompanied by US Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter jets as the bombers approached the Aleutian Islands. A Kremlin spokesentity was quick to reiterate that “all Russian strategic patrols are performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states.” This assertion, though, is not true, as we have documented on countless occasions. The Kremlin’s strategic bombers regularly probe NATO-NORAD airspace. Indeed, on one occasion in August 2007 a Russian military aircraft reportedly flew more than 200 kilometres over Labrador before being repelled by Canadian warplanes.

In a story related to Kremlin military activities, on Tuesday an operational satellite owned by Iridium, a US telecommunications company, collided in orbit with an allegedly defunct Russian military satellite launched in 1993. Each satellite weighed more than 1,000 pounds. This unprecedented event in the history of space flight occurred 500 miles over Siberia and probably produced a flash that was more than likely visible from the ground. Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, insisted that the debris from the collision posed no threat to the International Space Station and its crew of three. “A collision occurred between an Iridium 33 satellite and a Russian Kosmos 2251 military satellite,” Major General Alexander Yakushin intoned on behalf of the Russian Space Forces. Iridium, however, described the collision as “extremely unusual” and a “low-probability event.” “This was the worst such incident that has ever occurred,” commented Nicholas Johnson at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Even though more than 6,000 satellites have been launched into orbit since 1957, orbital collisions are, dare we say, “once in a blue moon” events. Analysts expect the wreckage from the Iridium 33-Kosmos 2251 collision to burn up in the atmosphere. In this era of missile- and energy beam-equipped “killer” satellites, regular visitors to this blog are probably thinking the same thing yours truly is thinking: “Is it possible that the reportedly non-operational Russian military satellite not so accidentally bumped into or disabled in some way the US satellite?” Inquiring minds want to know.

Meanwhile, back on the Earth, Moscow has agreed to allow the transit of non-military NATO cargoes over Russian territory to Afghanistan, where Western Alliance forces have since 2001 been engaged in counter-insurgency operations against the Al Qaeda-linked Taliban. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force will first transport goods via Russia and then transit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Afghanistan. “The question has been settled, it only remains to agree on some technical issues,” a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry informed Interfax. The agreement was discussed during US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Moon’s visit to Moscow on February 10 and 11. “We are waiting for our American partners to provide us with details about the amount and character of the goods. When it happens we’ll give our approval,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov enthused.

Since US-led forces ousted the Taliban regime, Russia has cooperated with NATO by providing air corridors for planes carrying servicemen and military cargos. The Kremlin’s chummy support for NATO’s Afghan operation, it should be noted, is suspicious in light of the large financial incentives that Russia has awarded to Kyrgyzstan in return for terminating the US military’s lease on the Manas air base. It may be that the Moscow Leninists are buttering up the Obama White House in advance of possible talks to renegotiate the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December.

>Red Terror File: Azerbaijan’s air force commander gunned down, Rzayev Baku’s pointman for negotiating US access to Russia’s Gabala radar base

>In what is possibly another brazen act of red terror in a Not-So-Former Soviet republic where Moscow and Washington DC are vying for control, Lieutenant- General Rail Rzayev, Azerbaijan’s air force commander since 1992, was gunned down outside his home in Baku this morning. This high-profile assassination, speculates the AFP news agency below, may have been a contract hit linked with Rzayev’s role in “large-scale” military acquisitions. Rzayev was also Baku’s pointman in negotiations between Russia and the USA over the latter’s proposed use of the Gabala radar station in the northern part of the country.

Azerbaijan air force chief shot dead
February 11, 2009

BAKU (AFP) — The powerful chief of Azerbaijan’s air force was shot dead outside his home Wednesday, the highest ranking military official to be killed in the oil-rich republic wedged between Russia and Iran.

Lieutenant-General Rail Rzayev, 64, was gunned down outside his home in the capital Baku as he left for work in the early morning, interior ministry spokesman Sadiq Gozalov told AFP.

“The general was shot and received a heavy wound to the head. He was sent to the military hospital in Baku, where he died,” Gozalov said.

Gozalov said police were on the scene investigating and that military prosecutors would be handling the case. He said he had no information regarding a possible motive for the shooting.

Experts said the killing may have been a contract hit linked with Rzayev’s role in large-scale military acquisitions Azerbaijan has made in recent years as government coffers surged from oil revenues.

“This is the most serious murder in the history of Azerbaijan’s defence ministry,” Baku-based military analyst Uzeir Jafarov said.

“Rzayev was the focal point for air force and air defence military acquisitions and the largest part of (Azerbaijan’s) military budget is being alocated for acquisitions in these spheres.”

He said he was unaware of any personal problems that may have been behind the killing.

Jafarov also said that Rzayev had no ambitions outside his role as air force chief and he doubted the killing may have been linked to an internal struggle within Azerbaijan’s military.

Azerbaijan’s ANS television reported that Rzayev had been the head of Azerbaijan’s air force and air defence forces since 1992.

Azerbaijan is in the strategic Caucasus region, where Russia and the US are vying for influence. The energy-rich mainly Muslim republic is also a major energy exporter and transit hub for oil and gas from the Caspian Sea.

The country has more than quadrupled its military budget in the last five years thanks to soaring oil revenues.

Azerbaijan remains technically at war with neighbouring Armenia over the separatist region of Nagorny Karabakh, which ethnic Armenian separatists wrested from Baku’s control during a war in the early 1990s.

Rzayev was also Azerbaijan’s point man in negotiations between Russia and the United States over the use of the Gabala radar station in northern Azerbaijan.

Russia in 2007 offered to share the Gabala station, which it leases from Azerbaijan, in exchange for the US dropping plans to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland as part of its missile defence systems.

It is possible that through the Rzayev hit the Moscow Leninists are sending a message to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, whose father Heydar was the Caspian republic’s long-time KGB-Communist Party boss. The message is simple: Azerbaijan will not be permitted to leave Russia’s orbit to join NATO.

Ilham is surrounded by “ex”-communists. Prime Minister Artur Rasizada is an “ex”-CPSU cadre, while Ramiz Mehtiev, head of Ilham’s presidential administration, was the Communist Party of Azerbaijan’s chief ideologist during the 1980s. “During his last three years [2000-2003],” reported the International Crisis Group in 2004, “the elder [Heydar] Aliyev appointed younger ministers, many of them associates of his son. . . . Many of these younger figures, who were formerly active in the Communist youth organisation (Komsomol), helped pave the way for Ilham’s ascent to power.” ‘Nuff said.

>Middle East File: Kadima grabs one-mandate lead over Likud as rightist parties obtain overall majority; IDF votes to clinch victory for Netanyahu

>Israel’s Right Wing Committed to Destroying Hamas (Before Islamic Terrorism Destroys Israel)

Today, in the Middle East’s only properly functioning democracy, Israelis marched to the polls to grant an overall victory to the country’s rightist parties, in particular Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, although Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima party gained one Knesset mandate over former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. Granted, multiple parties compete in Lebanese and post-Saddam Iraqi elections, but Beirut politics are heavily twisted by Syrian machinations, while Iraq remains under US military occupation.

Both Livni and Netanyahu are claiming victory and the constitutional right to form the next government in Jerusalem. However, Israel’s diplomatic corp and the Israeli Defense Forces have yet to submit their ballots, which equal five mandates. As Arutz Sheva notes below, the IDF generally supports Israel’s nationalist and religious parties, thereby affording Likud a small edge over Kadima. In spite of Kadima’s unexpected electoral surge, tough-talking Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the next government’s kingmaker.

Pictured above: Netanyahu greets Likud supporters at the party’s election headquarters in Tel Aviv, where it is already February 11.

Soldiers’ Vote May Swing the Elections to a Tie
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
February 10, 2009

(IsraelNN.com) Voters gave Kadima 28 mandates in the next Knesset, one more than Likud, with almost all of Tuesday’s ballots counted but not including votes of diplomats and soldiers, whose votes will be counted on Wednesday and Thursday. Their ballots are equal to five mandates.

Following is the current number of estimated MKs for each party following the counting of 99% of the available votes: Kadima 28, Likud 27, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) 14, Labor 13, Shas 11, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) 5, Ichud Leumi (National Union) 4, Jewish Home 3, Meretz 3, and Arab parties 12.

The votes of the armed forces usually tilt to the nationalist and religious parties, and are likely to create at least a tie and may even put Likud in the lead. The votes of diplomats overseas and soldiers changed the results in the last election by taking one Knesset seat away from Kadima. The number of Arab MKs also will likely be reduced after the soldiers’ ballots are counted.

Kadima, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, pulled ahead of the Likud by one MK, in a surprise finish. The biggest losers are the Meretz and Labor parties, while Arab parties are currently projected to place three more legislators in the Knesset than they currently have.

The Likud has the potential backing of 64 MKs, and the chances of Livni’s forming a national unity government appeared nil after Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman spelled out his conditions that it would not join a government that does not want to bring down the Hamas government in Gaza. The party also strongly favors pledging Israeli citizens to a loyalty oath, a move that Kadima rejects.

Livni has declared victory by virtue of apparently winning the most mandates, but Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman each said that the votes for the nationalist and religious parties clearly give them the right to control the next government.

Both Netanyahu and Lieberman have vowed to destroy Iran’s terrorist proxy regime in the Gaza Strip, a prospect that cannot in turn please Iran’s puppetmasters in Moscow. “At the end of the day there will be no alternative but to bring down the regime of Hamas, a terrorist organization pledged to our destruction,” Netanyahu told foreign reporters in Jerusalem last month. For his part, this evening, after the election results rolled in, Lieberman promised: “Our first goal is clear, to destroy Hamas, to take it down. Seven years in a row we wake up every morning, go to sleep every evening, with the news of a new Kassam attack. That must end.”

As the political horse trading commenced on February 11, Livni and Lieberman met to discuss the formation of a coalition government, while Netanyahu met with Eli Yishai, whose ultra-Orthodox Shas party received 11 seats. Lieberman, however, has also expressed his preference to join a right-wing government that includes Shas.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Obama hires Kissinger to wave white flag in Moscow, gut US nukes; CIS states plan Combat Commonwealth 2009 war game

>Since 2007 alleged Soviet agent Henry (“Bor”) Kissinger and ex-KGB chief Yevgeny Primakov have co-chaired a secretive committee that is committed to promoting US-Russian relations in an amicable atmosphere, but in reality is designed to bring about the disarmament of the USA in the face of Soviet aggression, nuclear blackmail, and plans for East-West convergence. Both Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush have hosted the Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Vision Group, at Putin’s private residence near Moscow and at the White House, respectively. The group attracts upper-echelon Council on Foreign Relations cadres and appears to meet once or twice each year.

Pictured above: Kissinger, left, talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov at the 45th annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, at the hotel “Bayerischer Hof” in Munich, on February 6.

When the committee was established two years ago, one of its functions was to grease the foreign policy transition between presidential administrations in Washington, DC. The plot worked admirably. Both presidential teams are devoted to submerging the USA into the Red World Order, Obama faster than Bush. “One of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally. I think that it’s important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on this,” Obama explained during a White House news conference yesterday.

We previously reported that shortly after his inauguration President Obama extended an olive branch to the Soviets by offering to slash the US nuclear arsenal by 80 percent, provided the Russians do the same. Each country would thereby be left with 1,000 warheads. “Frequent visits by Mr. Kissinger to Russia since 2000,” reveals Adrian Blomfield, “have largely gone unreported in the Western press. But in 2007, the Russian news agency Novosti reported that Mr Kissinger and Yevgeny Primakov, a former KGB master, were appointed by Mr. Putin to co-chair a bilateral ‘working group’ of Russian and American political insiders to tackle issues such as global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear threats.”

The Telegraph journalist reports that in December, with then President-Elect Obama’s prompting, “Dr. K” again met with Putin at the KGB-communist dictator’s country residence, as well as with President Dmitry Medvedev for two days of secret negotiations. During that occasion President Richard Nixon’s former state secretary apparently enticed the Soviets with visions of America’s capitulation to world communism. A longer excerpt on Dr. K’s most recent international machinations follows:

The decision to send Mr Kissinger to Moscow, taken by Mr Obama when he was still president-elect, is part of a plan to overcome probable Republican objections in Congress.

Mr Kissinger is believed to have won a verbal rather than written undertaking for the deal. Tom Graham, a senior associate at Kissinger Associates and a former member of the national security council in the White House, on Thursday confirmed that Mr Kissinger had met Mr Medvedev but denied that any negotiations had taken place and said he had not met with Mr Putin.

However, a diplomatic source said that Mr Kissinger held two days of talks with Mr Putin at his country house near Moscow.

While the details of the ambitious initiative are yet to be revealed, the proposal to return to the negotiating table after eight years of reluctance in Washington has been welcomed in Britain and elsewhere.

Mr Obama apparently chose Mr Kissinger for his consummate diplomatic skills and his popularity in Moscow, an affection earned by his open acknowledgment of Russia’s international resurgence.

Despite his pariah status with many Left-wingers in Mr Obama’s Democratic Party, the president forged relations with Mr Kissinger during his campaign.

The compliment was returned when the 85-year-old veteran of the Nixon and Ford administrations said last month that the young president was in a position to create a “new world order” by shifting US foreign policy away from the hostile stance of the Bush administration.

He publicly supported Mr Obama’s notion of unconditional talks with Iran, though not at the presidential level.

Dr. K, the same source reveals, is not the only global political fixer in Obama’s employ. Two Republicans—US Senator Richard Lugar and George Schultz, formerly President Ronald Reagan’s state secretary—are sold out to Obamessiah’s deluded vision of a nuke-free world:

Further demonstrating his willingness to work with his opponents on foreign policy issues, Mr Obama turned to two veteran Republicans steeped in Cold War experience to press home his plans.

Shortly after Mr Kissinger’s trip, Richard Lugar, a Republican senator from Indiana who has worked on nuclear disarmament issues for 30 years, also visited Moscow. George Schultz, another former secretary of state, has also played a vital role.

Observers say signs of progress towards a new treaty could come as early as this weekend, when senior government officials meet at a security conference in Munich.

The Soviets, reports Blomfield, are desperate to retool the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires on December 5 of this year, because most of their nuclear arsenal has passed the “sell by” date, requiring decommissioning even as Moscow phases in a new generation of ICBMs. Under START, the USA and the Soviet Union agreed to halve their stockpiles to 5,000 warheads apiece. An addendum drafted in 2002 under the START framework required both Moscow and Washington to further reduce the number of warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 each.

In terms of nuclear disarmament, the neo-Soviet leadership is eager to push America’s back against the wall. Today, in an interview with Russia’s Vesti-24 TV news channel, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated:

We are ready for talks, which will allow us to preserve the mechanism of limitations and reductions of strategic offensive weapons and we are glad that the new U.S. administration is paying priority attention to this subject. We have noticed that the Obama team is ready to discuss the whole range of issues, including the mechanisms of verification and control, mutual inspections. We shall hope that when the disarmament team is formed in the State Department, which has not happened as yet, we will be able to start the talks immediately.

Meanwhile, the neo-Soviet leadership is proceeding with military reforms that will modernize the Russian Armed Forces by eliminating 30 percent of officers and reducing the total number of servicemen to one million by 2012. “In line with the current organizational changes we will have to reform 84% of all Air Force units. Of these, 10% will be disbanded, 22% reformed and 68% staffed according to new structural parameters,” Russia’s air force commander Colonel General Alexander Zelin stated at a news conference in Moscow on Monday. Zelin added: “The structural reform will ensure that the Russian Air Force receives advanced air and ground weapons systems, including modernized strategic bombers and tactical aircraft to neutralize potential military threats on the global and regional scale.” As we have blogged before, the Kremlin views the USA as the world’s primary “potential military threat.”

Modernizing Russia’s armed forces—which are not insignificant in firepower but plagued by aging equipment, underfunded maintenance regimes, and flagging troop morale—entails integrating the air defense networks of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The new treaty that will integrate Russia and Belarus’ regional air defense network will in turn be incorporated into the wider CIS air defense system, Zelin explained today. “The CIS integrated air defense network is intended to accomplish a variety of tasks, including missile early warning and countering attacks of a potential enemy. We [Russia] will certainly participate in the defense of any of the member-states, if their airspace is violated,” Zelin warned.

This summer CIS members plan to conduct “large-scale” air defense exercises at the Ashuluk training ground, in Russia’s Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea. Russia’s air force commander outlined the forthcoming war game: “During the Combat Commonwealth 2009 exercise, which involves live-firing drills, we are planning to practice joint deployment of CIS integrated air defense network’s units on a theater-operational scale in simulated conditions of a military-political crisis in one of the regions included in the collective security zone.” In view of the last sentence quoted here, one can only speculate that Combat Commonwealth 2009 represents preparations for dislodging the “pro”-Western governments in Kiev and Tbilisi.

Over the next three years the Kremlin will allocate four trillion rubles (US$111 billion) on defense spending. “The Russian Defense Ministry’s budget for 2009 and for the planned period of 2010-2011 is primarily aimed at creating a fundamentally new army for the 21st century,” Deputy Defense Minister for Financial and Economic Work Lyubov Kudelina stated.

Military reform and weapon modernization accord with the long-range Soviet strategy for international supremacy, which Medvedev articulated today at a meeting of the Commission on Russian Federation Military Cooperation with Foreign States, which includes Russia’s Communist Bloc allies. “In terms of military-technical cooperation with foreign states we ended last year rather well,” the Soviet Komsomol graduate enthused. “The total volumes of supplies exceeded US$8.350 billion, a 800-million dollar increase against the previous year. It is obvious that this year will be not easy due to the fact that the world is going through a financial crisis. This affects the armaments purchase volume, but this notwithstanding we should try to preserve our achievements and maybe expand cooperation volumes in certain spheres.” Even though the ruble is tanking and Russian banks are on the verge of collapse, the Kremlin is evidently undaunted in its drive for regional and global mastery.

The Kremlin commission mentioned above consists of Foreign Minister Lavrov, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko, Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR/KGB) Director Mikhail Fradkov, Head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Mikhail Dmitriyev, Director General of the Rostekhnologii State Corporation Sergei Chemezov, Director General of the Rosoboronexport arms exporting company Anatoly Isaikin, presidential administration head Sergei Naryshkin, and presidential aides Sergei Prikhodko and Larisa Brycheva. Incidentally, Patrushev was FSB chief before fellow Chekist Bortnikov took over the Lubyanka last year.

Finally, the Moscow Leninists, following the old “divide and conquer” tactic, are enthusiastically endorsing a new Scandinavian Defense Union that will unite Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland in a military alliance separate from the US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Kremlin-run Russia Today exposes the Soviets’ decades-old frustration and annoyance with NATO: “For Russia formation of the Nordic Alliance could possibly mean that it will be able to speak directly to the Arctic countries, thus by-passing NATO, for 60 years now wholly controlled by the US, which in turn could mean that purely economic interests would prevail. However, this is only if the US does not enter the new organization, because, strangely enough, it has Arctic territories too.”

>Latin America File: Cuban president, KGB asset Castro visits Cold War allies Angola and Algeria, Cuban military delegation heads for Moscow in summer

>Intense power networking continues this week among Communist Bloc leaders. No doubt personally bolstered by his week-long state visit to Russia, his first since 1984 or 1985, Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro popped in for tea with Cold War allies Algeria and Angola.

Yesterday in Algiers Castro conferred with Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika (pictured above), who represents the long-ruling National Liberation Front that forced France to pull out of its former colony in 1962. “The two leaders were aiming to reinforce bilateral ties and also planned to discuss regional and international questions of common interest,” the AFP news agency quoted the Algerian presidential office as saying. “Algerian-Cuban relations have always been clear and honest,” Castro intoned, “They have not just been maintained, but have been strengthened over time.” Algeria and Cuba established diplomatic relations shortly after Algerian independence. In 2005 the two countries inked cooperation agreements in the areas of health, sports, fisheries and culture. Fidel Castro visited Algiers seven times as Cuban president, while Bouteflika visited Havana in 2006, after the younger Castro brother took over the presidency. Cuban “health volunteers” serve in Algeria and Cuba manages several eye clinics in the north African country.

Last Wednesday, immediately after his pilgrimage to Moscow, Castro flew to southern Africa where he met Angolan counterpart Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda. In tow was a large Cuban delegation to “reinforce relations” established between the Caribbean and African states in 1976, shortly after Angola’s independence from Portugal. Over the last 30 years, more than 10,000 Cuban doctors and health workers, as well as 16,500 teachers have been dispatched to Angola. In return more than 18,000 Angolans have studied in Cuba. Angola’s Marxist dictator dos Santos previously visited Cuba in September 2007 (pictured above).

The Cuban and Angolan leaders also discussed bilateral military linkages. “The visit officially is going to focus on the social and economic sectors, but I know from sources it’s also in terms of defence and military forces,” revealed Paula Roque, who works for the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. Cuban officers have trained their Angolan counterparts for years at a military institute in Luanda, Roque added. “No official information was released on defence issues,” the AFP news agency explains, “but military ties have long been a key component in Cuba’s relations with Angola.”

Upon Angola’s independence, Cuban forces were deployed to Africa to aid the Soviet-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which was backed by the USA and apartheid South Africa. The number of Cuban troops in Angola reached 30,000 in the 1980s, until Havana finally withdrew its forces at the “end” of the Cold War as part of a regional peace plan that required South Africa to grant independence to Namibia. Angola’s civil war, however, raged on until UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi died in 2002.

In a related story that reveals Russia’s attempt to establish a Red Dawn-style military coalition with Latin America’s predominantly leftist regimes, Cuban President Castro’s trip to Moscow last week will be followed up this summer by a military delegation from Havana. General Arnaldo Tamayo, who heads the foreign affairs section of Cuba’s Ministry of Revolutionary Armed Forces and chairs the Russia-Cuba Friendship Parliamentary Group, praised the results of a Russian parliamentary delegation’s visit to Havana in January. The visitors from Moscow were led by Viktor Ozerov, who chairs Russia’s Federation Council defense and security committee. “We had a fruitful exchange of views, and we told our Russian colleagues about our defensive doctrine and discussed various aspects of our military cooperation,” Tamayo gushed to Novosti, adding: “We have agreed that there is a need to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the military sector.”

In November Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Havana to re-invigorate Soviet-Cuban relations and the following month, in a “post”-Cold War “first,” a Russian anti-submarine destroyer with a military delegation aboard docked in Havana harbor.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Russian Navy denies Black Sea Fleet preparing for "emergency action"; Turkish, Bulgarian presidents head for Moscow

>- Red Terror Whack’em and Stack’em File:

1) Kremlin Body Count Mounts with Assassination of Third Chechen Official in Moscow since September 2008

2) Human Rights Lawyer and Journalist Gunned Down in January, Killer Also Used Silencer-Equipped Pistol as in Today’s Incident

Pictured above: On January 28 Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, moored at Italy’s Messina harbor in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1908 Messina earthquake and Russia’s participation in the international relief effort.

In what might be a heads up for those waiting for Missile Day, that is, the expected surprise attack against the Western Alliance by the Soviet Bloc, the Russian Navy is today dismissing media reports claiming that the Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, Ukraine, had been placed on alert and preparing for “emergency action” at sea. “I’ve been authorized to categorically deny this information as being inconsistent with reality and providing fertile soil for rumors and speculation. It’s business as usual, and the Black Sea Fleet is performing its routine duties,” naval spokesentity Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo. He intimated that such reports could have been distributed to “deliberately fan tensions in the region.”

In the event that the Kremlin decides to launch a preemptive missile strike against targets in Western Europe and North America, sending its navy out to sea would be a militarily prudent move. As it turns out, much of Russia’s navy is presently conducting tours of duty in international waters, the largest such surge since the Cold War. The Kremlin’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is presently holding maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea, while two landing ships from the Black Sea Fleet weighed anchor at Russia’s naval maintenance facility in Tartus, Syria, less than a week ago.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities in Ukraine’s Crimea as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who like most leaders in “post”-communist Eastern Europe started his career in the old Soviet regime, announced last summer that Ukraine would not extend the lease of the base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol beyond 2017, and urged Russia to start preparations for a withdrawal. Russia has already reactivated its Soviet-era naval maintenance facility at Tartus, Syria, and is constructing another facility at Latakia, while Russian media previously reported that Moscow was also considering resuscitating Soviet-era naval facilities in Yemen and Libya, among other countries. Russian military officials are also on record as saying Moscow could build up its presence in the Mediterranean to make up for the loss of Sevastopol.

Meanwhile, in a development that evokes the Bible’s prophecies concerning the early-tribulation invasion of Israel by Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and various Arab states, the first two countries continue to consolidate their alliance. This is a troubling situation from the Western perspective since Turkey is a NATO member. From February 12 to 15 President Abdullah Gul will become the first Turkish head of state to pay an official visit to Russia. Gul, who along with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, represents Turkey’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party, is expected to hold a series of meetings with high-ranking Russian government officials and to visit Kazan, capital of Russia’s internal Republic of Tatarstan. On several occasions during Israel’s December-January military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Erdogan strongly condemned the Jewish state for punishing the Hamas terrorist regime.

Between 2001 and 2006 Russian-Turkish trade increased 250% and continues to expand. Russia pumps natural gas to Turkey through the Blue Stream pipeline under the Black Sea. Turkey is also one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists.

Moscow is also shoring up its alliances with the “post”-communist regimes in the Balkan Pensinula, which is adjacent to Turkey. Today Bulgaria’s “ex”-communist President Georgi Parvanov began a two-day trip to Moscow, where he intends to raise the issue of compensation after the Balkan country was deprived of Russian natural gas for almost two weeks during last month’s pricing spat between Moscow and Kiev. Speaking to reporters before Parvanov’s arrival, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s assistant Sergei Prikhodko revealed that the two heads of state would discuss “practical steps to carry out strategic projects in the energy sphere.” These joint Soviet-Bulgarian projects include the Belene nuclear power plant that Russia is building in northern Bulgaria; the South Stream pipeline that will pump Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and other European countries; and a second pipeline that will pump Russian and Caspian oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis.

Prikhodko also mentioned that Medvedev and Parvanov would discuss the Kremlin’s new proposed security arrangements for Europe and the ongoing global credit crunch. In harmony with the long-range Soviet objective of ejecting the USA from NATO, Medvedev last June proposed a new security structure that instead embraces Russia and Europe.

Finally, the Kremlin body count increased by one more cadaver today with the assassination of Gilani Shepiyev, a former deputy mayor of Grozny. Shepiyev was shot dead near his Moscow home last night. The killer’s gun was equipped with a silencer. Between 2004 and 2006 Shepiyev supervised law enforcement agencies in the North Caucasus republic. In 2006 he moved to Moscow after being seriously injured in an assassination attempt in the Chechen capital. This is the third high-profile murder of a Chechen in the Russian capital since September 2008. Ruslan Yamadayev, a former member of the Russian State Duma, was gunned down in central Moscow in late September. Yamadayev’s family opposes the Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who denied complicity in that murder. Next, Movladi Baisarov, who formerly commanded a special police force unit in Chechnya, was murdered in Moscow in November.

More recently, on January 19 a masked man, armed with a silencer-equipped pistol as in the Shepiyev case above, gunned down human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in Moscow in broad daylight. And so the Red Terror in “post”-communist Russia continues unabated . .

>Latin America File: Cuban president, KGB asset Raul Castro wraps up week-long Moscow visit with raft of aggrements in hand, Morales heads for Kremlin

>Today Cuban President/Tyrant and known KGB asset Raul Castro completed his official week-long trip to Russia, the first such trip since 1985. Castro left Moscow with a raft of bilateral agreements in hand. Among other developments, Castro and Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, a frontman for the neo-Soviet leadership, signed a memorandum on strategic cooperation. Russia also granted the Caribbean state a US$20 million loan to buy Russian-made construction, electricity-generating, and agricultural equipment to rebuild the island’s economy, which was adversely impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in September 2008. Russia’s foreign trade bank Vnesheconombank also stated that it has opened credit lines totaling US$44.5 million to fund Cuba’s purchases of Tu-204CE civilian cargo aircraft and equipment.

“Castro’s visit will open up a new page in the history of Russian-Cuban relations,” Medvedev gushed and called the Cuban dictator’s presence in Moscow “historic” and a “milestone event.” On February 2 Castro also conferred with Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (pictured above). Putin visited Havana in 2000, while Medvedev showed up at the Cuban capital in late November of last year.

Other Soviet-Cuban projects include a joint scientific research center for information technologies and a yet-to-be-announced joint enterprise between state-run Aeroflot and Cubana de Aviacion. Although its in-flight service has improved since the Cold War, Aeroflot has yet to ditch its Soviet-era hammer and sickle logo. More than 40,000 Russian tourists dug their heels in Cuba’s sandy beaches in 2008. We have already documented the growing military alliance between Moscow and Havana, revitalized after nearly 20 years.

Incidentally, Kremlin-run Vnesheconombank is preparing to assume control of a 49 percent stake in AirBridge Zrt., the company that owns Malév Hungarian Airlines. In order to ensure that Malév retains its status as Hungary’s national airline and, thus, does not forfeit its European Union operating license, two Hungarians–Magdolna Költő and Kálmán Kis–will together control 51 percent of the company’s shares. “Despite the assurances, there is no doubt that Russian state interests will now dominate Malév,” reports one blog that monitors Hungarian politics, adding: “According to the terms of the new deal, the Hungarian flag carrier will strike a partnership with Aeroflot, Russia’s state-owned national airline.”

Not to be outdone by Cuba’s veteran communist dictatorship, new communist on the bloc Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, will also pay a visit to Moscow on February 16 to formalize a number of agreements with the Kremlin. Russian energy giant Gazprom and Bolivia’s state hydrocarbons company YPFB are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding during the visit. Last September Gazprom and France’s Total finalized an agreement with Bolivia on the joint exploration and production of natural gas in the South American country. The total trilateral investment is expected to reach US$4.5 billion. Bolivia has more gas reserves than any other Latin American country except Venezuela. In May 2006 Morales nationalized Bolivia’s gas industry.

Morales will be the third Latin American leftist leader to make a pilgrimage to Moscow since December. Nicaragua’s Sandinista president Daniel Ortega made his first “post”-Cold War junket to Russia just under two months ago.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Tu-95 bombers probe Danish airspace; Moscow, Minsk form joint air defense; Kyrgyzstan boots US base for Kremlin cash

>- Flashback: US Soldier at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan Shot Dead “Ethnic Russian” Trying to Enter Compound in Fuel Truck

Two Russian Bear bombers carried out a “routine” 12-hour patrol over the Norwegian Sea last night, Novosti reports, practicing in-flight refueling. “En route, the Russian long-range aircraft were accompanied by a pair of F-16s from Norway and Denmark as well as a Eurofighter Typhoon of the British Royal Air Force,” Russian Air Force spokesentity Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Drik explained. The Copenhagen Post states that the Tu-95s were “repelled” by the Danish Air Force as they “probed” Danish, Norwegian, and British airspace.

Novosti reports in another article that the Obama White House would like to slash the number of nuclear warheads on both sides to 1,000, or an 80% reduction. The Strategic Arms Reduction (START-1) Treaty signed between the “defunct” Soviet Union and the USA in 1991 expires on December 5, 2009. Expect increased Russian military activity, such as bomber flights, as that date approaches and the Kremlin looks for any means to gut the US nuclear arsenal while secretly bolstering its own capacity to launch a preemptive strike.

Pictured above, left to right: Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev, and Belarusian President Lukashenko at the Kremlin on February 3. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov lurk in the background.

In a story related to Russia’s two-year-old resumption of long-range aviation missions, Russia and Belarus, which are politically and economically united in the Union State of Russia and Belarus, yesterday inked an agreement on the joint protection of the Union State’s airspace and the formation of an integrated regional air defense network. The document was signed at a meeting of the Union State Supreme Council, co-chaired in Moscow by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko. The Kremlin boasted that: “The document is a serious step in the development of military and military-technical ties between Russia and Belarus and it will significantly boost the defense capabilities of both countries.”

Colonel General Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian Air Force, previously explained that the integrated air defense system would embrace five air force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units, and one electronic warfare unit. At the discretion of the two national presidents, the system will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian Air Force or Air Defense Force senior commander. Belarus operates Russian-made S-300 air defense battalions and is negotiating the purchase of S-400 systems from Russia, which will be delivered by 2010.

Meanwhile, the Not-So-Former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan has announced the closure of a US military base on its territory. NATO uses the Manas base to support anti-terrorism operations in neighboring Afghanistan. While on a two-day visit to Moscow, “ex”-communist Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev secured deals to write off his country’s US$180 million debt to Russia and to receive a US$2 billion discounted loan and $150 million in financial aid from Russia in exchange for terminating the lease with NATO. Bakiyev cited Washington’s refusal to consider a higher rent and reluctance to address the December 2006 killing by a US soldier of Kyrgyz civilian Alexander Ivanov as reasons for booting out the US military. Regarding the latter incident RFE/RL reported at the time: “Kyrgyz media say the man was an ethnic Russian who was requesting permission to enter the base with his fuel truck.”

The base closure comes about as new US President Barack Hussein Obama promises a troop surge in Afghanistan. Manas currently houses more than 1,000 NATO military personnel. Although the Kremlin initially backed the US-led campaign to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001, its relations with NATO have deteriorated over the alliance’s expansion into the “old” Soviet Bloc, and most recently Russia’s re-invasion of Georgia. Russia also maintains an air base in Kyrgyzstan under the provisions of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The CSTO is a military alliance comprising the Not-So-Former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Armenia’s “ex”-communist president Serzh Sargsyan announced today that CSTO approved the formation of a collective rapid reaction force that will repel military aggression, conduct anti-terrorist operations, fight transnational crime and drug trafficking, and neutralize the effects of natural disasters. The force will be permanently based in Russia and placed under a single command with CSTO member countries contributing special military units. Uzbekistan will not participate in the collective force on a permanent basis but will delegate subunits to take part in operations on an ad hoc basis. Sargsyan stated that the CSTO Security Council would next meet in Moscow in June.

Pictured here, left to right: Lukashenko, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Bakiyev, Medvedev, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon, and Sargsyan at today’s EurAsEc summit at the Kremlin. Every leader here is connected to the old Soviet regime.

Beginning today, however, the Russian capital will host a combined two-day summit of CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc), which embraces Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan as full members. High on the agenda for summit participants will be addressing the impact of the global financial crisis and, in particular, organizing a joint assistance fund. Established in 2000, EurAsEC also involves Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine as observers. The creation of a common economic space for Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus may be launched on January 1, 2010, Medvedev predicted in December.

Last November Russia signed friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance treaties with Georgia’s separatist regimes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Under the pacts, Russia has pledged to provide security for the two regions, while the signatories have granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories. The treaties gant dual citizenship since the majority of South Ossetians and Abkhazians are Russian passport holders. Russia has also agreed to extends its transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure into the republics.

In South Ossetia the Russian Defense Ministry has finished constructing key infrastructure for the new Russian military base in the regional capital Tskhinvali, including four residential buildings for commissioned officers and their families. In Abkhazia, another separatist regime that is claimed by Tbilisi, Russia has promised to build a naval base. Last week, the US State Department expressed its displeasure with Kremlin plans to essentially annex Abkhazia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza warned: “The possible deployment of a naval base in Abkhazia, an airbase in Abkhazia and a military base in South Ossetia seems to be moving in the wrong direction Russia pledged to reduce its troops to the levels and locations of before the Russia-Georgia war. Russia is already in violation of those commitments . . . Deploying a naval base would be another violation.”

>End Times File: Russian carrier-based warplanes finish 18 missions over C. Mediterranean, landing ships arrive in Syria; Qaddafi elected AU president

>And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. — Ezekiel 38:3-6

- 200 African Traditional Leaders Hail Libyan Strongman Qaddafi “King of Kings” in 2008; Soviet Ally Promotes “Isratine,” Binational One-State “Solution” for Jews and Arabs

- Union for the Mediterranean Architect Sarkozy Wants Obama to Help Him “Change the World”

- Communist Cyprus Detains “Russian-Owned” Mystery Arms Ship Allegedly Bound for Hamas

Biblically significant developments are taking place in the Mediterranean Basin that relate to the seven-year tribulation period described in Daniel’s prophecy, John’s prophecies in Revelation, Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Damascus, Zephaniah’s prophecy of the demise of Gaza and Philistia, and Ezekiel’s vision of the Magog invasion of Israel. In the 38th and 39th chapters of the book of Ezekiel, the Hebrew prophet describes an end-times military coalition, consisting of Magog (Russia), Persia (Iran), Togarmah (Turkey), Libya (by name), and Ethiopia (by name), that attacks Israel at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th prophetic week (D70W). These very countries, along with Syria and the Palestinians, are presently dominated by communist or Islamic regimes and aligned against the Jewish state.

Russia’s revived military presence in Syria is particularly worth watching. Following naval aviation exercises in Greek airspace, a joint drill with the Turkish Navy, and a visit to the Soviet-built naval maintenance base in Tartus, aircraft based on the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov completed another exercise over the central Mediterranean Sea last week. On January 30 state-run Itar-Tass reported: “Carrier-based aircraft of the Russian Northern Fleet carried out 18 missions from the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov over the past 24 hours–14 flights by Su-33 planes and four by deck landing helicopters. The pilots and sailors carried out the set tasks successfully, the fleet headquarters told Itar-Tass. The Admiral Kuznetsov continues its trip. The aircraft carrier is in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea this Friday.” The Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D) multirole combat aircraft is one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets and represents the carrier-based version of the Su-27 (Flanker).

Shortly after the Admiral Kuznetsov departed from Tartus, two Russian landing ships, the Azov and Yamal, docked at the Syrian port last Thursday, en route from the Black Sea to the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. There a Russian naval task force was slated to carry out a joint maneuver with the Indian Navy called Indra-2009, the fourth in a series of biennial exercises since 2003. Together the Ropucha II class Tank Landing Ship RFS Yamal (BDK 156) and Ropucha III class Tank Landing Ship RFS Azov (BDK 151, pictured above) can carry about 450 troops, or essentially one “reinforced company” of marines.

The purpose of the Azov and Yamal’s visit to Tartus was reportedly to replenish supplies but, as it turns out, these ships did not join Indra-2009. Last August, after Russia re-invaded Georgia, the anti-Zionist communist cabal that still runs the Kremlin indirectly denounced Israel’s role in training and equipping Tbilisi’s armed forces. Now up to 450 Russian marines are apparently visiting Syria, with which Israel is still technically at war 36 years after the Yom Kippur War.

The Russian and Indian navies actually wrapped up their drill this past Saturday with a reduced complement of ships that included only the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great and the Indian destroyer INS Delhi. Citing “technical reasons,” the Russian Navy withdrew the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Vinogradov from the scheduled war game. For its part, the Indian Navy withdrew a frontline frigate imported from Russia, a submarine, and helicopters that New Delhi had planned to use for Indra-2009. Following a “basic” exercise that lasted only a “few hours,” Peter the Great made a port of call at the Indian city of Goa. Incidentally, Goa is a favorite destination for Russian tourists and was probably a welcome pitstop for the sailors aboard the Russian missile cruiser. In November Peter the Great carried out a joint exercise with Venezuela’s navy in the southern Caribbean Sea.

Meanwhile, long-time Soviet ally, socialist revolutionary, champion of African integration, and erratic Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi has been elected chairman of the African Union, vowing to implement a vision of a United States of Africa. On Monday Colonel Qaddafi (“Duck”) was elected by the heads of state of the 53-member union behind closed doors at a summit in Ethiopia, replacing the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete. Qaddafi will hold the rotating post for one year. Wearing a golden brocade robe and cap, Qaddafi sat with traditional African leaders, rather than in the seat for the Libyan delegate. “I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa,” he announced in his inaugural speech. “In principle, we said the ultimate is the United States of Africa. How we proceed to that ultimate–there are building blocks,” outgoing AU president Kikwete explained.

Last July Qaddafi spurned membership in Nicolas Sarkozy and Hosni Mubarak’s new Union for the Mediterranean, which we hold to be the revived Roman Empire of Bible prophecy. In many previous posts we have also presented our case for Sarkozy, a Gentilized Jew, possibly being Israel’s coming false messiah-king, the Antichrist. Last month Sarkozy declared that he intends along with new US President Barack Hussein Obama to “change the world.” “We are eager to see him go to work so that we can change the world with him,” Sarkozy boasted.

The following month, 200 African kings, princes, sultans, sheikhs, and traditional leaders hailed Qaddafi as “king of kings.” Last month Uganda’s communist regime prohibited Qaddafi’s forum of African traditional rulers from meeting in that country, insisting that the meeting would be “too political.” The Libyan strongman’s “support group” had planned to discuss Qaddafi’s plans for African unity, such as a single currency and army.

In December Libya attempted to penetrate Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza Strip by sending a “supply ship” from Port Said in Egypt to deliver humanitarian aid to the Hamas terrorist state. The Israeli navy, however, intercepted the Al Marwa, which was forced to return to Libya. “The Israeli warships are making it difficult for the ship to reach the Gaza coast, in spite of the fact that this is a civilian ship sent to help Palestinians during the siege,” a spokesentity of the Libyan regime complained. In response, Tripoli referred to the Israeli Defense Forces as a “terrorist, Zionist army.” The decision to prevent the Al Marwa’s entry into Gaza was made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, reports the Jerusalem Post. Since September, Israel has allowed into the Gaza Strip three boats chartered by the US-based Free Gaza movement, which set embarked from Cyprus.

In January Qaddafi reiterated his 2003 plan for a binational one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to be called “Isratine.” This formula, relates the Iranian media, quoting Qaddafi, “would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.” Press-TV reports: “The Libyan official was among a handful of world leaders who strongly opposed Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. . . . Earlier in the month, Qaddafi urged the Arab world to volunteer and fight alongside Palestinians against Israel.”

In view of Libya’s role in the Magog invasion of Israel, the blasphemous assumption by Qaddafi of the role of “king of kings”–a title that rightly belongs only to the Son of God (Revelation 19:16)–and Qaddafi’s anti-Zionist sentiments, the student of Bible prophecy should give serious consideration to the possibility that the rapture of the church and D70W are just around the corner, so to speak.

Finally, in a related story Cypriot authorities are holding the “Russian-owned,” Cypriot-flagged freighter Nochegorsk at the port of Limassol on suspicion that its cargo of rockets and artillery is destined for Syria or the Hamas regime in Gaza. The US Navy intercepted the vessel in the Red Sea last week, before Egyptian authorities briefly detained the Monchegorsk, which began its journey in Iran. Cyprus’ communist president Dimitris Christofias, a close ally of Moscow, reassured reporters last Friday that his government was “handling things very seriously and without too much noise in the media.” We previously reported that the mystery arms ship allegedly bound for Gaza, at least according to the Israelis, was “Iranian-owned.”

>Asia File: DPRK unilaterally scraps peace accords with South, threatens nuclear war; Communist Party of China demands "absolute obedience" from PLA

>- South Korea, Japanese Media: Pyongyang Preparing to Test-Launch Long-Range Taepodong-2 Missile (source)

Today the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) reiterated its refusal to forsake its small nuclear arsenal until the Republic of Korea and the USA, Seoul’s main ally, demonstrate peaceful intentions. The Stalinist regime in Pyongyang also warned that continued tensions could lead to nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. The latest hostile missive from the North was communicated by state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Relations between North and South Korea have deteriorated since conservative President Lee Myung-bak, whom North Korea labels a “disgusting stooge” of Washington, terminated a decade of unconditional aid to the North and implemented a rigorous policy linking aid to disarmament. “No one knows when the hostile policy desperately pursued toward [North Korea] . . . will lead to a nuclear war,” the KCNA rumbled.

Pictured above: DPRK leader Kim Jong-il visits the 131rd military unit at an undisclosed site, in this undated picture released by KCNA on February 1, 2009. KCNA did not indicate when the photograph was taken. In recent months Western media outlets have been unable to positively ascertain Kim’s health and whereabouts.

This past Friday, on January 30, the DPRK announced that it was unilaterally scrapping all peace accords with the Republic of Korea and declared a “state of heightened confrontation” along the border, especially at the western end, which terminates in the Yellow Sea, the scene of bloody naval clashes in 1999 and 2002. “But South Korean officials,” media in the Republic of Korea, reports, “said there have not been any special movements of troops or weapons on the northern side of the border.” The South has deployed a destroyer near the disputed border and stepped up surveillance by radar, drones and other reconnaissance planes, the South Korean government’s Yonhap news agency revealed.

“The North is apparently paving the way for military provocations,” Yoo Ho-Yeol, a professor at Korea University, rightly informed the AFP news agency, adding: “It is also seeking to shift responsibility for a possible military clash to the South.” Political analyst Paik Hak-Soon warns that “armed clashes may break out soon,” but Baek Seung-Joo counters by saying that the North Korean statements are likely designed to apply pressure on South Korean President Lee. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff declined to comment on North Korea’s latest saber rattling. “We are preparing for every contingency,” a Seoul military spokesman told AFP.

Pictured here: South Korean special forces soldiers ford a river during a winter military exercise in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, on January 19.

This past weekend’s provocations from Pyongyang represent the latest in several weeks of escalating belligerent rhetoric. On January 26 the North accused South Korea of holding military exercises to prepare for a war against the communist regime and threatened to “wipe out” the invaders. A commentary published in Minju Joson, the newspaper of the North’s cabinet, contended that Seoul’s “severe winter training” was “aimed to deliberately get on the nerves of the army and people of the DPRK in a bid to invent a pretext for provoking a war of aggression against it.” Seoul officials responded by telling Yonhap that the winter training exercises are part of a regular training scheduled throughout the year.

According to a report released by the Council on Foreign Relations last Wednesday, South Korea and the United States should maintain about 460,000 troops to deal with any “unusual situation” on the Korean Peninsula that results from internal instability in North Korea. In 1999 the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command drew up an action plan to respond to “sudden changes” in North Korea, codenamed CONPLAN 5029. Contingencies include a mass influx of North Korean refugees, a civil war sparked by a revolt or coup, South Koreans being held hostage in the North, and natural disasters. The plan also contains measures to prevent Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction from being smuggled out of the country, if the regime experiences a “domestic crisis” or suddenly collapses.

Prior to US President Barack Hussein Obama’s inauguration on January 20, South Korean troops were already intensely monitoring North Korean military activity, in case the Stalinist regime decided to carry out its “all-out confrontational posture” against South Korea or enforce its claim over the disputed Yellow Sea border. “If we analyze the background, it is reasonable to understand [North Korea’s moves] in connection to the U.S. presidential inauguration,” explained Won Tae-jae, spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, adding: “We’re monitoring their moves by raising maximum watch.” Another South Korean defense official told Yonhap that the air force has lengthened its reconnaissance missions to observe North Korean troop movements and that, moreover, communications between US and South Korean intelligence officials has increased.

In a related story, China’s Central Military Commission, which can refer to one of two inter-related organs representing the Chinese state and the ruling Communist Party of China, called for the absolute obedience of the People’s Liberation Army to the party. This injunction was released in in the wake of growing unrest sparked by secessionist movements in Tibet and Islamist-infested Xinjiang and the global credit crunch, which has provoked an economic recession in China. “All military forces should ensure that they uncompromisingly obey the Party and Central Military Commission’s command at any time and under any circumstances,” warned the commission in a statement reported by Xinhua news agency. China’s military budget in 2008 was 417.77 billion yuan ($61.09 billion), up 17.6 percent from 2007, but Sinologists estimate that real defence spending could be triple the published figure. Another scenario that might require the PLA’s “uncompromising obedience” to the CPC leadership is the eruption of war between North and South Korea, where Beijing would more than likely ally itself with Pyongyang.

>USSR2 File: Communist Party of the Russian Federation, other reds, Islamists unite under banner of Left Front to oust potemkin Putinist regime

>This past October an important political development occurred in Russia in which the openly communist forces of that country, with Gennady Zyuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation at the helm, organized under the banner of the Left Front. The main objective of the Left Front is to oust the potemkin Putinist regime, which in any case is staffed by individuals who began their careers in the old Soviet regime, and openly re-implement Marxism in Russia and the Not-So-Former Soviet republics. The current global financial crisis, which has also adversely affected the Russian economy, will provide overt communists like Zyuganov and August 1991 coup mastermind Oleg Shenin with considerable ammunition to leverage some sort of coup in Moscow, whether by bullets or ballots.

The Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), which is affiliated with Shenin’s faction of the continuing Communist Party of the Soviet Union, occupies the Left Front’s leadership. According to AKM leader Sergey Udaltsov: “The Left Front will unite the majority of healthy, progressive, energetic, and, for the most part, young, left-wing forces of Russia. We finally agreed on combined actions, and agreed to reject ambitions, and ignore offences and ideological differences and act together.” Last month Udaltsov and other AKM thugs were arrested outside the Greek embassy in Moscow, where they were expressing solidarity with the communist-inspired riots that rocked Greece following the shooting death by police of an Athens teenager. AKM was formerly part of the Other Russia coalition, of which chess champion Garry Kasparov was the most internationally recognizable leader. Pictured above: Udaltsov in past confrontation with Russian police.

According to State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomarev, an “ex”-communist who represents the supposedly pro-Putin Just Russia party, “In the current situation of crisis, the purpose of the Left Front is the creation of a new society. We must interrupt the capitalist set-up.”

In a not-very-surprising development Russia’s Islamist groups are also involved in the Left Front. The banned National Bolsheviks also joined the new umbrella organization for Russia’s leftists. The article below was published at the English site of Prima News, the publication of the Moscow Human Rights News Agency, but is no longer accessible. A copy can be found here.

Pictured below, from left to right: The leaders of the constituent congress of the All-Russian Movement Left Front, including Islamic Committee of Russia leader Heidar Jemal, Udaltsov, Russian Communist Party-Communist Party of the Soviet Union leader Alexei Prigarin, Krasnodar journalist and Russian Communist Party activist Olga Ivanova, and Ponomarev.

Left Front of Russia founded
21.10.2008 19:55 MSK

RUSSIA, Moscow. A new oppositional movement has been founded in Russia – The Left Front. On October 18, in Moscow at the Izmailov Hotel Complex, a Constitutive Congress was held, where 143 delegates from 32 regions of the Federation were gathered, reported the Organizing Committee of the Left Front (LF) on October 19.

The following organizations participated in the work of the congress: the Advance Guard of Red Youth (AKM), the Russian Communist Party-CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) (RKP-CPSU), the Union of Communist Youth (SKM), the Russian Young Communist League (RKSM), Russian Communist Working Party-Revolutionary Party of Communists (RKRP-RPK), Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (VKPB), the movement “Working Russia”, the Associations of Marxist Organizations, the Islamic Committee [of Russia], the National Bolsheviks, and anarchists and activists of other social movements.

At the congress, members of the Organizing Committee of the Left Front spoke, including Aleksey Prigarin, Ilya Ponomarev, Sergey Udaltsov, Aleksey Sakhnin, Gemal Dzhemalya, Constantine Bakulev, Dmitriy Galkin, and Karin Kleman, and then the session took place.

According to AKM leader Sergey Udaltsov, the Left Front will unite “the majority of healthy, progressive, energetic, and, for the most part, young, left-wing forces of Russia. We finally agreed on combined actions, and agreed to reject ambitions, and ignore offences and ideological differences and act together”.

According to Gosduma Deputy Ilya Ponomarev, in the current situation of crisis, the purpose of the Left Front is the creation of a new society. “We must interrupt the capitalist set-up”, added Ponomarev. He also stated that all left-wing organizations are regarded as allies of the newly created movement.

RKP-CPSU leader Aleksey Prigarin stated that a new type of party can be created on the basis of the Left Front: a party that is “flexible and capable of both decisive action and of propagandistic work”.

In the opinion of the Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia, and member of the Organizing Committee, Gemal Dzhemalya, in modern Russia “…there is a vacuum of political space; authority has been usurped by the bureaucracy”. Left-wing organizations are attempting to fill this vacuum and expect to overcome the bureaucratic heritage. National minorities, says Gemal, are forced to resist political persecution, and this is possible only through the left platform.

Director of the “Collective Action” Institute and member of the Organizing Committee of the Left Front, Karin Kleman, spoke about the role of social movements. She focused attention on the current politicization of these movements and named values general to all social activists: self-organizing, self-guidance, social justice, and public control over authority.

The following documents were accepted at the congress: a political platform and the Organizational Principles, Strategy, and the Tactics of the Left Front, which will be published after modification by the editorial commission. The congress also affirmed symbols of the movement – the flag and emblem. Leadership of the Left Front will be governed by a council which consists of more than 50 people, and an executive committee will guide coordination of activities. LF members are leaders of organizations which joined the Left Front, and representatives of regional departments of the LF. The Congress of the Left Front passed without the incident, in spite of strict control by the police, noted the LF communication.

Translated by OM Kenney PRIMA-News Agency [2008-10-20-Rus-19]

>USSR2 File: Global recession hits Russia hard, communists call for national protests, Putin’s resignation; regional officials side with demonstrators

>Soviet Strategists Manipulate Global Recession to Oust Potemkin Putinist Regime, Reassert Open Communist Control in Moscow

Pictured here: Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev meets with representatives of Russia’s parliamentary parties at Barvikha, outside Moscow, on January 28, 2009. In attendance are Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (right), Sergei Mironov of Just Russia (second from right), Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party (third from right), and Boris Gryzlov of United Russia (second from left). Every politician seated at this table, per KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s 25-year-old warnings, is connected to the old Soviet regime.

According to the British media, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is defying a Kremlin ban on marches by calling for country-wide protests this Saturday that will demand improved living conditions and the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his cabinet. Even though Putin enjoys a public approval rating of 83 percent, Russian officials expect at least 600,000 people to take part in demonstrations held across dozens of cities. “Government figures show the Russian economy shrank 0.7 per cent in December, the first year-on-year decline since the 1990s,” The Telegraph reports, “One million people lost their jobs in the same month as falling oil prices undermined Russia’s energy driven economy.” In Kazan, for example, KamAz, Russia’s largest truck manufacturer, is suspending operations until February 12. In a similar development, Ford’s St. Petersburg plant shut down its assembly lines on December 24, only to reopen on January 21.

Attempting to divine the inner workings of the neo-Soviet leadership, The Telegraph states: “The Kremlin’s unease has been deepened by the spectacle of mass protests on Russia’s periphery and beyond. Police have broken up violent anti-government protests in Latvia and Lithuania, whilst smaller demonstrations have erupted in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, all of which are struggling to deal with the financial crisis. Protests in Iceland forced the government to call early elections last week.” “The number of unhappy people is still manageable but is on the rise,” The Telegraph quotes Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Centre, as saying, “There is especial danger in cities and towns where local industry has collapsed.”

In a noteworthy development, regional and local officials in Russia are starting to side with anti-Putin demonstrators. For example, last month in Vladivostok police defied orders to quell demonstrations against a car import tariff. United Russia officials in the country’s Far East publicly articulated their support for the protests. Unimpressed by this breakdown in the command structure, the Kremlin flew in special troops from Moscow to break up the Vladivostok protests. As a result, dozens of demonstrators were injured and 200 others arrested. “The rebellion by state officials,” opines The Telegraph, “is unprecedented in the Putin era and raises doubts over how strong loyalty to the prime minister really is in Russia’s far slung regions.”

Yesterday, while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Putin revealed his true color (red) by blaming the global credit collapse on the practice of using the US dollar as a reserve currency:

The one reserve currency has become a danger to the world economy: that is now obvious to everybody. The pride of Wall Street investment banks don’t exist any more. We are witnessing a truly global crisis. The speed of developments beats every record, and the strategic difference from the Great Depression is that under globalisation this touches everyone. This has multiplied the destructive force. It looks exactly like the perfect storm.

Although we expected that they might do so during the 2007-2008 election season in Russia, the Soviet strategists may once again attempt to manipulate the global recession to oust the potemkin Putinist regime and reassert open communist control in Moscow. This may now be feasible in view of the fact that Latin America has all but succumbed to the region’s Red Axis, while the US and European economies have ground to a halt, undermining the long-term financial sustainability of NATO’s armed forces.

In addition to Iceland, the banking systems and governments of the United Kingdom and Greece, two important European Union countries; Latvia and Ukraine, two “former” Soviet republics; and Nicaragua, once again under open Sandinista control; face ruin as a result of the global recession. A Canadian columnist, citing Foreign Policy, a journal founded by US political scientist Samuel P. Huntington (died 2008), writes:

In its latest edition, Foreign Policy magazine includes an alarming look at five countries that could follow Iceland down the path to “to economic ruin and political meltdown.” As previously detailed, Iceland is a mess: its banks have collapsed, the government has been ousted and normally stoic Icelanders have taken to pelting political leaders with eggs and toilet paper. Foreign Policy suggests the same could happen in Britain, Ukraine, Greece, Latvia and Nicaragua.

Other signals that the global economy has lurched to a halt are the collapse of international shipping rates, the multitudes of shipping containers piling up in ports worldwide, and idle longshoremen. “They have already hit zero,” said Charles de Trenck, a broker at Transport Trackers in Hong Kong, referring to freight rates. “We have seen trade activity fall off a cliff. Asia-Europe is an unmit­igated disaster.” The Telegraph describes the importance of the Baltic Dry Index as an indicator of the health, or lack thereof, of global commerce:

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) which measures freight rates for bulk commodities such as iron ore and grains crashed several months ago, falling 96pc. The BDI – though a useful early-warning index – is highly volatile and exaggerates apparent ups and downs in trade. However, the latest phase of the shipping crisis is different. It has spread to core trade of finished industrial goods, the lifeblood of the world economy.

A report by ING earlier this month revealed that shipping activity at US ports has crashed. Outbound traffic from Long Beach and Los Angeles, the country’s two busiest ports, has fallen by 18pc year-on-year. “This is no regular cycle slowdown, but a complete collapse in foreign demand,” remarked Lindsay Coburn, ING’s trade consultant. The World Bank, the article concludes, provoked “shockwaves” last month when it issued a warning to the effect that global trade may decline in 2009 for the first time since the Second World War.

Economic crisis. Political crisis. War. Hunger. These are the revolutionary situations that communists and their fellow travellers will grasp to revitalize the war against property, nation, family, and God.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Bear bombers fly near Alaska; 4th Indo-Soviet naval maneuver begins; Russia accuses Georgia of capturing soldier

>I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.
– US President Barack Hussein Obama, on campaign trail, quoted by NewsMax.com, June 10, 2008

- Cuban President/Tyrant Castro Arrives in Moscow on First State Visit since 1984, Promotes “Defense-Related” Cooperation between Moscow and Havana

- American Enterprise Institute Analyst: Russia Playing Double Game with North Korea by Offering Stalinist Regime Nuclear Technology, Brokering Six-Party Disarmament Talks

The Russian Air Force’s weekly long-range missions, which officially resumed in August 2007, continued yesterday with the flight of two Tu-95 bombers over the Arctic Ocean, near Alaska. “Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers took off from an airbase in eastern Russia on Tuesday and successfully carried out a patrol mission over the neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean and near Alaska,” Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Drik, who regularly comments on this subject, informed state-run Novosti. Drik elaborated: “During the 10-hour mission, the crews practiced instrumental flight maneuvers in Arctic climate conditions. En route, the bombers were accompanied for 10 minutes by four USAF F-15 Eagle fighters.” The Bear bomber’s powerplant technology may be 50 years old, but the Tu-95s are robust air-launched cruise missile platforms and should not be mocked.

Meanwhile, power networking among Communist Bloc leaders continues apace with Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro beginning an historic one-week visit to Moscow today (pictured above, arriving in Moscow). “Raul Castro’s visit will give a serious impetus to the development of bilateral relations,” Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate, was quoted by state-run Itar-Tass as saying. “The friendship between Russia and Cuba haspassed the test of time,” gushed Medvedev. Castro, a known KGB asset like his older brother Fidel, last visited Moscow in 1984, while Medevedev made an official visit to Havana last November. “After the pause in 1990s relations began restoring when the then president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, visited our country in 2000,” Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, informed Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview. “We consider this visit very important. This was the visit of the Russian leader that we name the second stage of our relations. We restored certain agreements, which were now being implemented.” Castro continued:

This is the base of relations between Russia and Cuba. I can justly say – today our countries maintain excellent relations. My upcoming visit to Moscow will continue strengthening and developing today’ s relations between Russia and Cuba. What do we hope for this visit? We hope to strengthen and consolidate what we achieved earlier and take one more step towards this direction. Both sides accumulated big experience. Our people know each other very well that is the solid base of our relations. We hope that these relations will be developed and strengthened in the future.

Last Friday, the Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation, meeting in Moscow, drafted a memorandum of understanding that will facilitate Russian-led oil exploration in Cuban waters. The consortium of companies includes the Cuba Petroleum Corporation and the Russian National Oil Consortium, itself consisting of Gazprom-neft, TNK-BP, Zarubezhneft, Rosneft, and Surgutneftegaz. In a related story, earlier this month former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a shameless Kremlin stooge, was appointed to TNK-BP’s board of directors. On January 15 Bloomberg reported: “Schroeder has close personal ties with Putin and chairs OAO Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline venture, which plans to build a link under the Baltic Sea to supply Russian natural gas directly to Germany. President Dmitry Medvedev was Gazprom’s chairman before being elected to the presidency last year.” In the face of Moscow’s annual pricing spats with Kiev, which (not so) coincidentally occur in winter when Europe is most dependent on Russian natural gas shipments pumped via Ukraine, the Germans may wish to reconsider the wisdom of Nord Stream.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who was the Soviet Union’s pointman for weapons smuggling to Latin American insurgents during the 1980s, indicated that Moscow and Havana also plan to further cooperation in “defence-related technologies.” “Defense-related cooperation is part and parcel of our cooperation in general and we conduct it in full conformity with international agreements,” Sechin explained, defending the Moscow-Havana defense pact, “Everyone understands the importance of continued work in this sphere perfectly well, as our relations there aim to guarantee common security of our countries. Both Russia and Cuba have a sovereign right to cooperate with each other in this sphere.” We have previously documented Russia’s incremental assembling of a Red Dawn-style military coalition in Latin America.

Last month Castro’s Nicaraguan comrade President Daniel Ortega also made his first “post”-Cold War trek to Moscow, cap in hand. In our assessment Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela constitute Latin America’s communist troika, the pro-Soviet core of the region’s Red Axis. Hugo Chavez, for example, has visited Moscow no less than eight times since becoming Venezuela’s president in 1999, hosted Russian strategic bombers on his soil, and conducted a joint naval drill with the Russian Navy in the USA’s “backyard pool,” the Caribbean Sea.

Admittedly, Russia’s military is a shadow of its former strength in the “old” Soviet era. However, in spite of the global economic recession and the embarrassing poverty of Russia’s well-educated populace, the Putinist-Medvedevist regime is throwing a mass of rubles at the country’s military to modernize the Strategic Missile Forces and other branches of the armed forces, reform command structures, and improve troop morale. Deficiencies in all three areas were duly noted by Kremlin military planners during Russia’s re-invasion and occupation of Georgia last August.

In East Asia Moscow is cementing its relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin began his visit to Pyongyang yesterday. There the Russian diplomat met with North Korean counterpart Kang Sok-un. Borodavkin’s consultations with Kim Kye-gwan, the DPRK’s chief negotiator at the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, are scheduled for Thursday. “Our agenda is rather extensive,” Borodavkin told Itar-Tass, “We’ll discuss the development of bilateral ties, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and, naturally, we’ll speak about our interaction within the framework of the six-party talks on nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula. I hope that the consultations will be held in the spirit of our traditional friendly relations with the DPRK and give an additional impetus to the development of ties.”

From the vantage of the long-range Soviet strategy in East Asia, which is to subvert non-communist states like the Republic of Korea, the Republic of China, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines into the Communist Bloc, the Kremlin has every good tactical reason to covertly support North Korea’s nuclear energy program. The last resulted in the underground test-detonation of the Stalinist regime’s first atomic bomb in October 2006. Nicholas Eberstadt, a North Korea expert at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, commented several months before that event: “Russia often seems more ambitious to restore that influence than to play a positive role in international affairs. We’ve got no reason to doubt that Moscow is playing a double game with North Korea. It’s not entirely surprising considering Vladimir Putin himself came up with the harebrained suggestion some years ago that Moscow, as a protector and provider for the North Korean regime, launch a North Korean satellite.”

In South Asia Moscow is consolidating its strategic partnership with India via the latter’s observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, military hardware sales, joint military research and development projects, and regular combined military exercises. Yesterday, the Russian and Indian navies commenced the fourth biennial Indra drill, the first having taken place in 2003, ostensibly designed to counter high seas piracy, terrorism, and drug smuggling. “The first stage of a PASSEX type exercise involves practicing combat interoperability and communications drills,” Novosti quoted one source as saying. The Northern Fleet’s Peter the Great missile cruiser and the Indian guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi are participating in the first stage of the drill, which will last until January 29. Afterward, the Russian cruiser will visit the Indian port of Marmugao until January 31, before making waves for the Somali coast. There Peter the Great will carry out the second stage of the drills in cooperation with a task force from Russia’s Pacific Fleet, comprising the Admiral Vinogradov, a tugboat and two fuel tankers, which are carrying out anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.

In a related story, the Indian Navy announced last Friday that there is “no delay” in its acquisition of a Russian nuclear-powered Akula-class submarine following a lethal technical glitch during last November’s sea trials. At the same time India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation admitted today that a supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by Moscow and New Delhi failed to hit its target in a test previously reported as successful. “The missile performance was absolutely normal till the last phase, but it missed the target, though it maintained the direction,” BrahMos project chief Sivathanu Pillai told the Press Trust of India. The missile was fired from the Pokhran range in the western desert state of Rajasthan, bordering Pakistan, that was also the site of India’s nuclear tests in 1998. The missile is named after India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.

In the Caucasus region Russia, in what appears to be a Kremlin-inspired provocation to justify expanding its occupation of Georgia, is accusing the “pro”-Western regime in Tbilisi of kidnapping one of its soldiers in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russian military spokesentity Alexander Drobyshevsky responded angrily to a video of Russian army deserter Alexander Glukhov tucking into a fast-food meal at McDonald’s in downtown Tbilisi: “This was a media provocation obtained under physical and moral pressure under which anything possible can be obtained.” The Georgian interior ministry, however, countered the Russian assertion by insisting that the soldier had surrendered to Georgian police and requested Georgian citizenship because of “unbearable conditions” in the Russian Ground Forces. “The soldier said he was serving in unbearable conditions in Akhalgori, with poor food supply and not even minimal sanitary conditions. The soldier wants to stay in Georgia and to ask the president to grant him Georgian citizenship,” Interior Ministry spokesman Zurab Gvenetadze told the AFP news agency. Soviet forces have illegally occupied Georgia’s two separatist regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia since last August’s brief Caucasian War.

Finally, the Kremlin continues to test the resolve of newly installed US President Barack Hussein Obama by officially denying Russian media reports that Moscow has decided to suspend plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. Russian Defense Ministry officials called the reports “premature” and added: “Russia has not taken any practical steps to deploy the short-range Iskander missiles and therefore one can not speak of a suspension.” Within hours of Obama’s electoral victory in November, President Medvedev threaten to counter US plans to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic by deploying tactical missiles in the Baltic Sea exclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania. Russia considers the US National Missile Defense program a threat to its security. On the campaign trail last year Obama’s pledge to essentially scrap implementation of the treaties signed with Warsaw and Prague must have been music to the ears of the Soviet strategists:

I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.

Got bunker?

>Breaking News: Middle East truce shattered as Israeli tanks roll back into Gaza, avenge RPG attack on soldier; US, Egypt intercept Iranian arms ship

>The Israeli-Hamas cease-fire, barely 10 days old, is effectively over. According to Arutz Sheva, the Israeli Defense Forces sent their tanks and infantry back into the Gaza Strip this afternoon to avenge the death of a soldier killed by Hamas in a rocket-propelled grenade attack. Three other Israeli soldiers were wounded in the incident. Within hours IDF troops reached Khan Yunis in central Gaza. “This is a serious attack,” rumbled Defense Minister Ehud Barak (pictured above), who was present near the Tzeelim army base where and when the attack occurred. “We cannot accept it and we will retaliate. I do not think there is any point in saying how.”

Ground Troops, Tanks Return to Gaza; Hamas Attacks Negev
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

January 27, 2009

(IsraelNN.com) IDF tanks rolled back into Gaza along with foot soldiers Tuesday afternoon following an early morning roadside bomb explosion and a rocket-propelled grenade attack that killed one soldier and wounded three others, one seriously.

Hamas warned that it has not agreed to a “calm” and that its previous ceasefire announcement is dependent on Israel’s re-opening Gaza crossings to all commercial traffic.

“This is a serious attack,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told soldiers during a visit near a base close to the scene of the attack and at the same time it occurred. “We cannot accept it and we will retaliate. I do not think there is any point in saying how.”

He carried out his threat within hours as troops reached Khan Yunis in central Gaza. Local residents reported tank fire and Israel Air Force jets over the area. Arab sources also reported that the Air Force struck a terrorist target on a motorcycle, killing or wounding two people. The IDF say the cyclist was responsible for the morning attack.

Hamas responded with mortar fire on the Eshkol region, causing no damages or injuries but returned the area to the status quo of the days before the Cast Lead operation against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

The attack on the IDF patrol occurred around 8 a.m., after two or three terrorists were seen by local Arabs to be planting the roadside explosive that was detonated as an army vehicle passed.

Troops opened fire immediately, and one Arab was killed. His identity was not confirmed, and Gaza sources claimed he was a farmer. The attack came at the same time United States Middle East envoy Sen. George C. Mitchell was scheduled to confer with Egyptian officials prior to his arrival in Israel later this week.

In related story, reported by the Jerusalem Post below, the US and Egyptian navies have intercepted the Iranian-owned Cypriot-flagged Nochegorsk in the Red Sea. The former Russian freighter is laden with arms apparently destined for Gaza’s terrorist regime. Troops from the USS San Antonio, namely, Combined Task Force 151, first boarded the ship on January 19 and 20. The international naval task force discovered artillery shells but amazingly, according to Fox News, was legally unable to confiscate the arms–despite the violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution that prohibits Iran from selling arms–because there is no enforcement mechanism in place. Now the Egyptian Navy is holding the vessel at a Red Sea port just to the south of the Suez Canal. The article below reports that “. . . since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, large quantities of explosives, machine guns and other weaponry had arrived in the Sinai peninsula, but the Egyptians were taking measures to prevent them from being smuggled into Gaza, including erecting road blocks near Rafah and increasing patrols in the area.”

Cairo intercepts Iranian arms ship
Jan 26, 2009 23:43 Updated Jan 27, 2009 16:11

Israel is closely tracking an Iranian freighter believed to be carrying weaponry for Hamas that is currently docked in the Red Sea outside the Suez Canal, after Egypt refused to permit it to cross the waterway to the Mediterranean.

According to a report received at the Defense Ministry from the Pentagon, the US Navy recently boarded an Iranian vessel that was carrying artillery shells and other weaponry.


“This is a big test for the Egyptians,” a senior defense official said. “So far the Egyptians have prevented the ship from crossing the Suez and we hope it will stay that way.”

Defense officials said that Iran is trying to supply Hamas with new Grad-model Katyusha rockets and to replace high-grade explosives that were exhausted or destroyed by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead.

“There are two main smuggling routes,” one official explained. “Some of the weaponry comes by ground from Somalia, Sudan and then into Egypt and through a tunnel into Gaza, while some comes by boat.”

The boats sometimes unload the shipments in the Sinai’s Port Said, where it is smuggled into Gaza by land. Other times, the shipments are dropped overboard in waterproof containers and are picked up by Palestinian fishermen or divers.

As reported in The Jerusalem Post last week, the IDF is concerned that Iran will supply Hamas with long-range Fajr missiles that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

According to the London Times, Combined Task Force 151 of the US Navy, which is fighting pirates in the Gulf of Aden, has been instructed to track Iranian arms shipments to Gaza.

Last week, the report claimed, troops from the USS San Antonio boarded a former Russian cargo vessel that was flying a Cypriot flag and was reportedly carrying weaponry destined for Hamas.

In addition to the US, the French have also dispatched a frigate to the Mediterranean to participate in the clampdown on the Gaza Strip and to prevent weapons shipments from reaching Hamas.

The frigate is carrying a helicopter that can support reconnaissance missions off the Gaza coast.

Israeli officials said they are impressed with the international community’s efforts to curb the flow of weapons to Gaza, but also expect Egypt to take practical steps along the border with Gaza to uncover and destroy the smuggling tunnels.

Head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad will head to Egypt in the coming week to continue discussions on the new mechanism established to counter the smuggling.

The new mechanism Israel has set up with the Egyptians consists of three layers – intelligence cooperation, obstacles in Sinai and the deployment of new tunnel-detection technology along the Egypt-Gaza border.

Defense officials said that, since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, large quantities of explosives, machine guns and other weaponry had arrived in the Sinai peninsula, but the Egyptians were taking measures to prevent them from being smuggled into Gaza, including erecting road blocks near Rafah and increasing patrols in the area.

>Latin America File: Cuban leader, KGB asset Raul Castro heads for Moscow; FMLN wins legislative election, eyes presidency; FARC operating in Venezuela

>

- Romanian Securitate Defector Ion Pacepa: Cuban President Raul Castro “Brutal,” “Cruel,” and “Ruthless”

- Beginning in 1950s Raul’s KGB Handler Was Nikolai Leonov, Later Vladimir Putin’s Mentor

- From Russia with Shove: Communist Cuba Welcomes Strategic Bomber Crews and at Least Two High-Level Military Delegations from Moscow in 2008

- Argentina’s Leftist President Kirchner Travels to Cuba and Venezuela, Signs Raft of Agreements in Both Countries, Discusses Ramifications of New Obama Presidency with Fidel

- FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes’ Vice Presidential Running Mate Salvador Sanchez Ceren “Orthodox Hard Leftist,” Ordered Assassinations during Civil War in 1980s

- Miskito Indian Leaders, Opposition Candidates Charge Sandinistas with Fraud in Elections Held in Nicaragua’s Caribbean Region

- Chavez Political Advisor Admits Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Operating on Venezuelan Soil, Recruiting Indian Youths

This week Latin America’s Red Axis leaders continued to intensely network as they consolidate their grip on the Western Hemisphere and revitalize Cold War-era links with Moscow. On January 30, reports state-run Novosti, Raul Castro is slated to make his first state visit as Cuban president to Russia, thereby reciprocating Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev’s stopover in Havana last November. Raul is known to have last travelled to Moscow in 1984, when he was First Vice President of Cuba. However, the Western Hemisphere’s top communist leader first materialized in Moscow in the mid-1950s, when General Alexander Sakharovsky, boss of the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (PGU), or foreign intelligence service, invited the revolutionary to meet Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev. Therein lies the tale of the Communist Bloc’s establishment of a beachhead only 90 miles from the Florida Keys.

In 1953 Raul and elder brother Fidel, then members of the Marxist 26th of July Movement, participated in an attack against the Cuban army’s Moncada Barracks. Following a 22-month prison stint, the Castro Bros. fled to Mexico where they plotted to overthrow the US-backed regime of General Fulgencio Batista. In Mexico City Raul reportedly befriended Argentine-born terrorist Ernesto “Che” Guevara and established contact with a 25-year-old KGB agent named Nikolai Leonov, who eventually became Vladimir Putin’s mentor. In 2006 Ion Mihai Pacepa, former two-star general in Communist Romania’s Securitate, wrote of his meetings with the young Raul on “many occasions” and the clandestine linkages between the Castro Bros. and their KGB handler that persisted until the revolutionaries took over Cuba in January 1959:

At Khrushchev’s order, Sakharovsky had given Raúl an intelligence adviser: Nikolay Leonov, the PGU’s best expert on Latin America. Leonov (today a retired KGB lieutenant general and member of the Duma) provided Raúl with intelligence on the military forces of the then Cuban dictator, Batista, and helped Raúl plan his guerrilla war. In June 1957, Leonov gave him documents and photographs showing that Washington was providing weapons and logistical support to Batista, and he suggested that Raúl take a few dozen Americans hostage to force Eisenhower to withdraw from the conflict. Raúl did so. On June 26, 1958, his guerrilleros kidnapped fifty American and Canadian military and civilian personnel working in Cuba. Fearing for the lives of the hostages, Batista declared a cease-fire. That enabled the Soviets to bring new weapons into Cuba.

Pacepa paints a less-than-flattering portrait of the Cuban president, referring to him as the “brutal,” “cruel,” and “ruthless” murderer of thousands of Cuban dissidents:

Raúl is generally perceived as a colorless minister of defense, but he has also been the brutal head of one of Communism’s most criminal institutions: the Cuban political police. I met him in that capacity. He was cruel and ruthless. Fidel may have conceived the terror that has kept Cuba in the Communist fold, but Raúl has been the butcher. He has been instrumental in the killing and terrorizing of thousands of Cubans, and there is no question in my mind but that he would fight tooth and nail to preserve his powers. Otherwise, sooner or later Raúl would have to account for his crimes, and I do not know him to be suicidal.

Pictured here: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner visits Cuba’s grandfatherly revolutionary in Havana this past week.

The Moscow-Havana Axis was first revitalized in 2000, when then President Vladimir Putin showed up in the Cuban capital to rub elbows with the Castro Bros. In 2006 Russia’s rubber-stamp parliament passed a resolution condemning the US trade embargo against Cuba. In July 2008 the Kremlin media leaked reports from sources in the Russian Defense Ministry to the effect that Moscow’s strategic bombers could be deployed to Cuba in a repeat of the 1962 missile crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The reason for Russia’s aggressive posture was to counter the USA’s burgeoning strategic parternship with Georgia, an alliance formalized earlier in January. At the same time, Novosti reported that last year Russian bomber crews staked out potential sites on the island for refueling their aircraft. During the Cold War Tu-95 Bear bombers regularly flew along the US East Coast, making pitstops in Cuba.

Then, between October 27 and November 3, a high-ranking military delegation from Russia arrived on the island to assess the state of Cuba’s air defenses, the main purpose of which is to detect and repel a hypothetical US sneak attack. General-Lieutenant Alexander Maslov, Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ air defense units, met with Army General Alvaro López Miera, deputy minister and chief of the Cuban General Staff, and General Pedro Mendiondo Gómez, chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Air Force.

Most recently, in late December 2008 a second Russian military delegation arrived in Havana. Although the Soviets and Venezuela carried out a high-profile naval drill in late November, below-the-radar snippets from various news sources indicated that Russia’s naval task force in the Caribbean Basin also intended to hold combined drills with Nicaragua and Cuba’s navies. Two days ago the Dutch media once again made reference to a Soviet-Cuban military exercise: “Cuba and Russia recently held a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean.”

These maneuvers did not appear to come to pass, but President Castro did hold talks with the crew of the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which weighed anchor in Havana harbor in an historic “post”-Cold War visit several days before Christmas. Present at the meeting (pictured above), which took place on December 22, were Army General Julio Casas Regueiro, minister of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces; Army General Alvaro López Miera, mentioned above; Vice Admiral Pedro M. Pérez Betancourt, chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Navy; and Brigade General Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez. The Russian delegation consisted of Mijail L. Kaminin, Moscow’s ambassador in Cuba; Vice Admiral Vladimir I. Koraliov, acting chief of Russia’s Northern Fleet; Colonel Vladimir A. Androsov, Moscow’s military, naval and air force attaché in Cuba; Lieutenant General Alexander M. Kasheiev; and Ship Captain Anatoli P. Dolgo, commander of the Admiral Chabanenko.

We have documented in previous posts our belief that Russia is incrementally assembling a Red Dawn-style military coalition in Latin America, principally with Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, with the intent of either attacking the USA or at least countering US influence around the Caribbean Sea.

In order to further cement Soviet-Cuban relations, the ninth Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is underway this week in Moscow. On Friday participants will apply the final touches on more than 20 agreements. The new accords address bilateral cooperation in areas such as tourism, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, information technologies, communications, agriculture, culture, and education. The commission’s Cuban co-chairman is Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice President of Cuba’s Council of Ministers. Cabrisas stated that “Cuba and Russia should take advantage of every opportunity to take economic and trade relations up to the same level the two countries used to have in the past.” Along the same theme, Igor Sechin, the commission’s Russian co-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, stated that “Russia and Cuba have intensified economic collaboration actions and the expectations are to strengthen such bonds through new joint projects.”

In addition to cementing ties with the neo-Soviet leadership, Communist Cuba is also consolidating its relationship with Peronist Argentina, neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, and Guatemala.

On January 19 Argentine President Cristina Kirchner arrived in Havana to formalize 11 bilateral agreements with the Castro regime. An official meeting was scheduled with Raul (pictured above), while a private meeting was slated with Fidel, the godfather of Latin American revolutionaries (also pictured above). Cristina, incidentally, succeeds her husband Nestor as Argentina’s head of state. The Cuban and Argentine presidents signed memorandums of understanding in the areas of nuclear energy production, agriculture, fishing, forestry, food production, biotechnology, and rural development. Argentina, it should be pointed out, boasts a civilian nuclear energy program, while Cuba does not. President Kirchner summarized her impressions of Fidel’s health and the elder Castro brother’s reflections on current events, especially the inauguration of US President Barack Hussein Obama:

He [Fidel] looked very good. We were talking with Comandante Fidel Castro about my visit to Cuba and sharing things on the international situation. Obviously, the first issue we dealt with was the coming to power of President Obama. Obama sincerely believes in what he’s saying and doing. I hope he can do it or that they let him do it, said Castro. I said yesterday that Obama’s speech seemed to me to confirm our expectations and it seemed to me a reaffirmation of my perception, the perception that he [Fidel] also had had about the remarks of President Obama, of the sincerity of his ideas.

Along with embracing the communist regime in Havana, Kirchner then flew to Caracas, where she huddled with the region’s No. 2 Communist Thug Hugo Chavez, signing another raft of agreements with the Venezuelan president that will firmly entrap Argentina in the region’s Red Axis. During their meeting (pictured here), Hugo referred to Cristina as “sister” (presumably in an ideological sense) and declared that Venezuela was prepared to supply Argentina with oil and liquefied natural gas for the “next 100 years.” Kirchner and Chavez then agreed to meet at least every three months. The Argentine president, it should be noted, already made her pilgrimage to Moscow last month, at which time the two countries confirmed a strategic partnership and security and defense pact that Russia has also established with Venezuela and Ecuador.

Yesterday Cuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque arrived in Managua, where he was welcomed by Nicaraguan counterpart Samuel Santos, Cuban ambassador Luis Hernandez, and Rafael Ortega, representing President Daniel Ortega. In a brief statement to the media, Perez Roque revealed that he intended to meet President Ortega for the purpose of discussing the “current world crisis” as it affects Central American countries, the political integration processes in Latin America, and specific “integration mechanisms” like the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). Pictured below: Perez Roque and Ortega.

After touching down in the Nicaraguan capital, Perez Roque flew to Guatemala today to participate, on behalf of the Cuban presidency of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), in the opening ceremony of NAM’s Second Ministerial Conference on the Advancement of Women. In addition, Perez Roque’s was slated to meet with President Alvaro Colom and Cuban personnel working in the Central American country. Colom’s social democratic government is Guatemala’s first since President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán was ousted in a CIA-orchestrated coup in 1954. Although his demise is portrayed sympathetically by leftist historians, Arbenz himself joined a group of army officers in overthrowing the dictator Jorge Ubico in 1944. Upon Fidel Castro’s invitation, Arbenz sought exile in Cuba in 1960. When Arbenz’s widow Maria Cristina Villanova de Arbenz, then living in Costa Rica, died on January 5, 2009, Colom was quick to send his condolences to surviving family members.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is poised to join the Communist Bloc as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which was a Soviet/Cuban-backed guerrilla army until 1992, secured a slim majority in last Sunday’s Legislative Assembly election, with the promise of obtaining the presidency in March. Although the incumbent FMLN mayor of the capital San Salvador conceded defeat to the long-ruling ARENA party candidate on Monday, El Salvador’s main leftist party was projected to win a majority of the country’s 262 municipal posts. “They now have a real shot at the presidency,” opined Bernard Aronson, referring to Mauricio Funes, the FMLN’s “moderate” presidential candidate who never fought in the Salvadoran Civil War. Aronson was US President George H.W. Bush’s assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs from 1989 to 1993.

Recent public opinion polls indicate that Funes, a former CNN en Español journalist, led ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila by up to 14 percent among likely voters. Funes’ vice-presidential running mate is Salvador Sanchez Ceren, an “ex”-guerrilla who represents the FMLN’s Marxist heart and soul. Journalist John R. Thomson, writing for the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research, describes Sanchez’s career in the Salvadoran Civil War:

The commanding general who approved every assassination, with the alias “Leonel Gonzalez,” was none other than Salvador Sanchez Ceren, vice presidential candidate of the FMLN in the country’s March presidential elections. Sanchez Ceren has long been a top FMLN leader and is considered one of the most orthodox hard leftists in the organization, together with party secretary-general Melando Gonzalez, whose terrorist moniker was “Milton.”

With a presidential FMLN victory, El Salvador will join other Latin American countries that have elected leftist leaders in recent years, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Brazil.

The FMLN’s ideological brethren in Nicaragua can be found in the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), which allegedly enjoyed on-the-ground support from FMLNistas during Nicaragua’s post-election violence. Nicaragua’s controversial November municipal elections provoked numerous street battles between cadres of the ruling FSLN and the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), as well as political gridlock in the National Assembly, where opposition deputies refused to approve the 2009 budget. President Ortega, citing damaged created by Hurricane Felix in September 2007, postponed mayoral elections in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) until January 2009, banning several parties in the process.

Pictured here: Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Ortega (looking at camera) hosted the Central American Integration System (SICA) summit in Managua on January 15. He is president pro tempore of this mechanism for uniting Central America under one political and economic roof. SICA, in fact, is one of several such regional integrative mechanisms in the Western Hemisphere. Others include ALBA, mentioned above, the Caribbean Community, and the Union of South American Nations.

Following the January 18 elections in RAAN, leaders of the Miskitos, Nicaragua’s indigenous community on the Caribbean coast, accused the ruling Sandinistas of stealing the mayoral elections in several key municipalities. The Costa Rican media received unconfirmed reports of “strong bouts” of post-election violence in the jungles around Waspam, near the Honduran border. On Monday afternoon the country’s Supreme Electoral Council announced that the FSLN was positioned to win four of seven municipalities in the RAAN, including the regional capital Puerto Cabezas. Osorno “Comandante Blas” Coleman, the PLC’s candidate for mayor of Puerto Cabezas, informed The Nica Times that he refused to accept defeat in an election he insists was “marred by fraud.” Coleman claims that the Sandinistas bused in some 700 cadres from different municipalities to vote in Puerto Cabezas, and that some 1,500 soldiers, who do not live in the area, also voted in the elections.

Although the post-election conflict between rank-and-file supporters of the FSLN and PLC appears genuine, any animosity between the leadership of Nicaragua’s two major parties is supect in view of El Pacto, the agreement that former President Arnoldo (“Fatso”) Aleman inked with Ortega 10 years ago and which gave the two politicians lifetime parliamentary seats and immunity from prosecution. This week Aleman reaped the benefits of El Pacto when Nicaragua’s Supreme Court overturned the 2003 decision that convicted him of looting tens of millions of dollars during his 1997-2002 presidential administration. The Latin American Herald Tribune describes the unholy union between the Sandinistas and the PLCistas: “Nicaraguan media outlets speculated a year ago that the court ruling converting Aleman’s jail term to probation was the fruit of a deal between the right-leaning Liberals and President Daniel Ortega’s left-wing Sandinistas. Those press accounts linked the favorable ruling for Aleman to the pact the then-president sealed in 1999 with Ortega, under which the Liberals and Sandinistas agreed to share the spoils of power in the form of government posts and judgeships.”

Elsewhere among the benighted nations of Latin America, the Chavezista regime’s logistical and financial support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has become blatant in recent months. “Members of Colombia’s largest rebel group,” reported the Los Angeles Times on January 21, “live openly on or near several Indian reservations in western Venezuela with at least the tacit approval of President Hugo Chavez, indigenous leaders here charge.” Venezuelan Congressman Arcadio Montiel, a Wayuu Indian, is quoted as saying: “Chavez sees the rebels as a line of defense in the event of U.S. interference or a civil war.” Montiel asserts that the FARC operates camps in the Perija Mountains, where the Colombian rebels recruit and train Venezuelan Indian youths. In an interview last year, Chavez’s political advisor Alberto Muller Rojas acknowledged the presence of FARC insurgents on Venezuelan soil, but insisted that the rebels are Colombia’s responsibility, not Venezuela’s. However, Indian leaders warn that FARC is corrupting their culture with arms, drugs, and Marxism. No, really?

>Useful Idiots Bin: Conspiracymonger Alex Jones interviewed by Russia Today, articulates Kremlin line, denounces Obama, bankers, globalists

>“We Love Obama! We Hate Obama!”: The Soviet Strategists Conquer America Via Dialectical Materialism

On Inauguration Day, Russia Today, the Kremlin’s slick, English-language propaganda platform, interviewed faux rightist “investigative journalist” Alex Jones, host of Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com. There Jones shamelessly parroted the Leninist lies of communist organ Pravda by insisting that “international bankers” and the “US military-industrial complex” own the Democratic and Republican parties, orchestrated the global financial crisis to centralize economic power and install Barack Hussein Obama as president, and are provoking a new cold war with Russia.

Pictured above: Russia Today takes over New York City.

This is not the first time that Jones has shilled for the Kremlin. In a past interview with Russia Today, Jones, referring to Georgia’s so-called provocation against Abkhazia and South Ossetia last August, stated: “I’m ashamed as an American. My country has been taken over by a private international military industrial complex, and they launched a sneaky attack on the Russian enclaves.”

Jones and countless other peddlers of “new world order” conspiracy theories are serving the Soviet cause well by pitting the political left against the right and providing ammunition for militias, racists, left-wing anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis. On the one hand, we have documented how the USA’s new socialist president was Moscow’s preferred candidate. On the other hand, the Soviet strategists, following the ideological zig-zags of dialectical materialism, do not hesitate to denounce Obama through shills like Jones. In the process, they have successfully organized an army of disloyal citizens who are ready to overthrow the current form of government in favor of a type they never expected to embrace–communism.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: NATO/NORAD jets shadow Russian bombers over Arctic, near Aleutians; Russian hackers cripple British defense computers

>- Internet Virus Disables British Ministry of Defense Computers on January 6:

1) Diverts Royal Air Force Emails to Russian Server

2) Affects 24 RAF Bases, Including Those Tasked with Countering Russia’s Strategic Bombers

3) Penetrates Computer Systems Aboard 75% of Royal Navy Warships, Including Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal

4) British Defense Officials Cover Up Russian Involvement in Cyberattack

- Two Russian Landing Ships from Black Sea Fleet to Participate in Joint Indo-Soviet Drill Indra-2009

Pictured above: Royal Air Force pilot and Tornado interceptor aircraft at Leuchars base in Scotland.

Since we posted last Thursday, Israel and Hamas implemented a conditional cease-fire that will certainly allow the Gaza Strip’s terrorist government to rearm with Iran’s covert assistance, while the USA entered a new era of “mature socialism,” which we may for now call the Obama Presidency. The neo-Soviet leadership is no doubt keenly observing developments in both the Middle East and North America and will employ their agents, assets, and dupes to advance communism’s long-range strategy in these regions.

On January 16, while speaking at a Moscow news conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov articulated the party line by commenting that he “looks forward to working with the new US administration on a wide range of issues,” since the policies of the Bush White House were, to the Kremlin’s way of thinking, “unsatisfactory.” “Instead,” reports Voice of America, “he would like to see a continuity of principles that Moscow and Washington agreed upon at a high level.”

No doubt the removal of the USA’s four-decade trade embargo against Russia’s primary ally in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba, will be the chief topic of discussion when Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro visits Moscow later this month. In November 2006 Russia’s rubber-stamp State Duma unanimously passed a resolution condemning Washington for politically and economically isolating the communist regime in Havana. “I am particularly grateful for this resolution that condemns the unacceptable and illegal trade embargo on Cuba by the United States,” Ricardo Alarcon, chairman of the Cuban National Assembly, told Russia’s potemkin legislators at the time.

Preparing for the next stage in the military conflict known as the Fourth World is another important component in the Kremlin’s drive for global domination.

In the first such flights reported since early December, the Kremlin-run media relates that today two Tu-160 bombers carried out a “routine” 12-hour mission over the Norwegian Sea and Arctic Ocean, while two Tu-95 bombers simultaneously carried out a 10-hour patrol over the Arctic and near the Aleutian Islands. In the first case, the supersonic Blackjack bombers, the largest operational combat aircraft in the world, were periodically accompanied by NATO F-16 Falcon and Tornado fighter jets, while the hardy Bears, the fastest propeller-driven bomber in military history, were shadowed by US F-15 Eagle aircraft. “The shadowing of Russian warplanes by NATO fighters,” remarks Novosti, “has been common practice since Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans in August 2007.” Indeed, the Cold War, if it ever really went away, has resumed, but few denizens of the shopping mall regimes are paying attention.

In a related story, several weeks ago Russian hackers, presumably under the direction of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), breached the security of Britain’s Ministry of Defense computers, diverting email traffic among Royal Air Force bases to a Russian internet server. The Times quoted an RAF source as admitting that the Russian computer virus originated from the “former eastern bloc” and demonstrated a high degree of technical “sophistication.” The virus affected at least 24 RAF bases and damaged the computer systems of 75% of Royal Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Not so coincidentally, the RAF bases affected included those from which Tornado interceptor aircraft are scrambled to counter Russian bombers testing British air defences. One such RAF group is the quick response squadron stationed at Leuchars in Scotland.

Pictured here: Kremlin energy imperialism: In Moscow this past Monday Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, follows Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko, a Komsomol graduate, as they prepare to sign a 10-year natural gas supply deal that will clear the way for the resumption of supplies to Europe. For nearly three weeks Europeans have been rubbing their hands to stay warm while the two “ex”-Soviet states wrangled over the price of gas.

Russia’s Strategic Moves in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, and Southwest Asia

Meanwhile, the Russian Navy is beefing up its presence in the pirate-infested waters near Somalia, a country that has lacked an effective central government since communist dictator Said Barre was overthrown in 1991. Over 130 pirate attacks took place near the east African nation in 2008, the vast majority on commercial shipping. Elements of the Soviet-era regime in Mogadishu remain in power in several provincial capitals. Earlier this month the missile destroyer Admiral Vinogradov from Russia’s Pacific Fleet replaced the missile frigate Neustrashimy as part of Russia’s contribution to the international armada off the Horn of Africa.

Today, according to the Yemeni media, the Admiral Vinogradov made a scheduled visit to Yemen’s largest port, Aden, to replenish supplies. Aden was the site of a Soviet naval base during the Cold War. Since Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh has enjoyed a long, chummy relationship with Moscow, Aden, along with Tartus and Latakia in Syria and Benghazi in Libya, have been selected for reactivation by the Russian Navy. The resuscitation of Russia’s Yemeni naval base may not sit well with locals, who this week accused the crew of the Admiral Vinogradov of accidentally ramming a fishing boat and killing one of its crew members.

Three more vessels from the Russian Navy are en route to the Indian Ocean, including the missile destroyer Admiral Chabanenko from the Northern Fleet, which underwent repairs at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad following a multi-nation tour of the Caribbean Sea; Yamal and Azov, two large landing ships from the Black Sea Fleet that will join other Russian and Indian warships in upcoming joint drills known as Indra-2009; and Peter the Great, an imposing, nuclear-powered missile cruiser, also from the Northern Fleet, that completed a joint drill with Venezuela’s navy in November before making an historic port of call in Cape Town en route to Indra-2009.

“The ships will shortly start passing through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits. Later the two large landing ships will cross the Suez Canal and set off for the coast of Somalia to fight the local pirates,” Novosti, at the link above, quoted a source in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. “Admiral Chabanenko urgently left the Baltiisk naval base on January 20 after receiving orders for a mission of state importance,” explained Sergei Mikhailov, a spokesentity at the Yantar shipyard. The Admiral Chabanenko will presumably also transit the Suez Canal en route to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Incidentally, in a “first ever” for the history books, two destroyers from the People’s Liberation Army Navy, reports state-run Xinhua, joined the United Nations-sanctioned anti-piracy mission in Somalia earlier this month.

Elsewhere in southern Asia, Russia has jumped at the opportunity to rearm the Afghan military, even though 70,000 NATO troops, including US forces, have propped up the government in Kabul since 2001, whent the Al Qaeda-linked Taliban regime was ousted. In November Afghan President Hamid Karzai dispatched a letter to Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, requesting modern weapons and aircraft to replace the country’s Soviet-era hardware. “The equipment of our national army, our helicopters and tanks are Russian-made so this (request) has a technical aspect. We have strategic commitment to NATO and the United States,” Chief presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada informed Reuters. “Medvedev, in a letter addressed to Karzai, has said that Russia is ready to help Afghanistan in the defensive sectors,” an official statement from Kabul disclosed.

Indeed, the Kremlin is not only eager to re-equip the “pro”-Western regime in Afghanistan, but also Iraq’s “pro”-Western government, where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reviewing the possibility of purchasing 2,000 T-72 main battle tanks. The latter may be a militarily unwise purchase since US and allied forces destroyed 400 of these MBTs during the 2003 invasion that removed Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime.

In a related story, US officials announced today that General David Petraeus, commander of US Central Command, secured a deal with the government of Tajikistan to permit the transit of US troops through Central Asia en route to Afghanistan. US military planners, who expect to implement a troop surge of 30,000 personnel this summer, sought this alternative route in the wake of heightened political and military tensions between neighboring Pakistan and India. This, however, is probably only one reason. Barely one week ago The Telegraph reported that, in exchange for billions of dollars of Russian investments, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is considering the closure of the US air base in Manas, which has supported the US-NATO operation in Afghanistan since 2001. Kyrgyzstan also hosts a Russian air base at Kant. The Kant air base is a strategic component of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Collective Rapid Reaction Forces, as well as the Russian Ground Forces’ 201st Motor Rifle Division.

>Latin America File: US Joint Forces Command report: Mexican state ripe for collapse as drug war rages; FMLN poised to win Salvadoran elections

>In a new troubling report published by the US Joint Forces Command, it is apparent that the US Department of Defense views both Mexico and Pakistan as failed states featuring weak, ineffective governments that are unable to maintain internal security in the face of, in the first case, out-of-control drug cartels and, in the second case, the Taliban/Al Qaeda/Islamist insurgency. The prospect of Mexico’s federal government losing control over the military and police forces and the loyalty of the populace, however, poses greater immediate risks for the USA. The Mexican security apparatus is corrupted by drug money at the highest levels, as evidenced by the arrest of the last “drug czar” Noe Ramirez Mandujano, on suspicion of accepting a US$450,000 bribe from the cartels. An excerpt from the US military report follows:

In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.

An overwhelming, northward flood of refugees–interspersed with criminal-terrorist elements, such as the Gulf Cartel’s heavily armed Los Zetas, recruited from both Mexican and Guatemalan special forces units–across the US-Mexican border is only one likely scenario that would follow the collapse of the Mexican government. The current illegal alien invasion of America would be dwarfed by comparison. In 2007 Mexican scholar Raul Benitez was quoted as saying “Los Zetas have clearly become the biggest, most serious threat to the nation’s [Mexico’s] security.”

Pictured above: US President George W. Bush meets with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the White House on January 13. Calderon’s visit was Bush’s last meeting in the Oval Office with a foreign head of state before the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama on January 20.

There is no question that Latin America’s Red Axis, with Moscow’s quiet approval, would definitely seize the opportunity presented by a power vacuum in Mexico City to install a radical left administration, possibly headed by failed presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. After all, communist regimes throughout the hemisphere–primarily Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia–and leftist insurgents–like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–are along with Russia the prime movers behind the narco-subversion of the USA. El Paso Times reporter Diana Washington Valdez concludes: “Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who ‘are in denial about what is happening in Mexico.'”

Meanwhile, writing today for the Miami Herald, Marifeli Perez-Stable summarizes the various elections that will be taking place this year in Latin America, including this Sunday’s legislative poll in El Salvador. There the rightist Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) has held the presidency since that country’s civil war ended in 1992. At the same time, neither ARENA nor guerrilla army-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has an outright majority in the Legislative Assembly.

In 2009, Latin America’s electoral calendar speeds up. Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Uruguay hold presidential elections. In Argentina, Mexico and El Salvador, citizens cast ballots in legislative contests. Referendums are set to take place in Bolivia and Venezuela. I’ll highlight a first set here, a second in the Jan. 29 column.

On March 15, Salvadorans elect their next president. In mid-December, Mauricio Funes — the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate — held a 10-to-15 point advantage over Rodrigo Avila from the ruling Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA). Funes, a 50-year-old civilian and social democrat, couldn’t be more different from Schafik Handal (1930-2006), the FMLN’s 2004 candidate, once guerrilla leader and mostly unreconstructed communist.

Should Funes win, there would be no downplaying his victory. ARENA would end two decades in power. The FMLN would have to prove its mettle governing. El Salvador would inaugurate an opposition president, the ultimate test in young democracies. If the FMLN bests ARENA in Sunday’s legislative elections as polls indicate, it would be a good omen for Funes.

Several weeks ago, Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega indicated that should the FMLN win both the legislative and executive office ballots, El Salvador will more than likely become the next member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. In November, while he visited Hugo Chavez, Ortega, and Evo Morales in Caracas, President Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia was also interested in joining Latin America’s socialist bloc.

>WW4 File: Still more rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon on Thursday; Iranian media: IDF massing army on northern border, Hezbollah on "red alert"

>- Israel’s Channel 10 TV News: Russian Aircraft Carrier at Syrian Port to Monitor Regional Air Traffic

- Western Intelligence Sources: Hezbollah Relocates Command and Control and Logistics Centers from Beirut to Bekaa Valley

For the second time in as many days and for the third time overall, unknown militants in southern Lebanon have fired rockets into northern Israel. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) also fired two rounds of artillery in return. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) announced that there were no reports of damage or injuries from the cross-border firing, but the UN is investigating whether Hezbollah, the de facto rulers of Lebanon, are trying to open a new front in the Israel-Hamas conflict. “UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano once again yesterday urged maximum restraint and is working with both parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities . . . ,” one source reported. A joint UNIFIL-Lebanese patrol, while scouring the area of El Hebbariye after Thursday’s rocket fire, found three live rockets prepared for launch and deactivated them on site.

According to the Thursday edition of Middle East Newsline, Hezbollah is in fact preparing for another war with Israel by relocating its command and control and logistics centers from Beirut to the Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border:

The Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah has relocated its commandand control centers in what could signal preparations for another war with Israel. Western intelligence sources said Hizbullah has intensified military preparations over the last few weeks amid the Hamas war with Israel. The sources said Hizbullah was transferring command and control and logistics centers from Beirut to southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border. “Hizbullah is reorganizing its military assets in a way that suggests preparations for an escalation along the Israeli border,” an intelligence source said.

Meanwhile, even as an Egypt-brokered cease-fire initiative was under consideration in Cairo, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired at least 25 rockets at southern Israel today. Two Soviet/Russian-built Grad rockets injured six people, including two seriously, in Beersheba. Pictured above: An Israeli mobile artillery unit shells Gaza City from its position outside the northern Gaza Strip on January 15. The IDF began its heaviest shelling on Thursday in what might be a “final push” against Hamas before the cease-fire, already accepted in principle by the terrorist group, is implemented.

In a related development, Iran’s state-controlled Press TV, citing the Lebanese daily Al Safir, reported yesterday that the IDF was building up its forces along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, including tanks, armored vehicles, and Apache helicopters. “The Israeli army has mobilized its troops along the border from the western Lebanese village of Naqurah to the southern border village of Al Wazzani,” Al Safir related, adding that Israeli forces had also fired flares over Lebanese territory. The Lebanese army is on “high alert,” while Hezbollah militiamen were on “red alert,” “informed sources” explained to Press TV’s correspondent in Beirut.

Last fall Syria, in an effort to combat “smuggling,” has deployed troops adjacent to the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981, and the northern and eastern borders of Lebanon. Presumably, those forces are still there. In the previous links we posted information revealing that Syrian and Iranian operatives and special forces have already taken up positions in northern and southern Lebanon.

Considering Tehran’s antipathy for Israel, this report could be disinformation, designed to portray the beleaguered “Zionist regime” as warmonger. On the other hand, Israel is surrounded by enemies. If the country’s political and military leadership has any strategic sense, then the Israelis will guard their back while engaged in the Gaza offensive.

Incidentally, Syria, like Iran, is little more than a client state for Soviet weaponry, while the ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party (BASP) enjoys a cozy relationship with the secretly ruling Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2008 BASP leaders Mohammad Said Bkheitan and Abdullah al-Ahmar signed an inter-party cooperation agreement with CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov. Following the self-congratulatory back-patting typical of dictatorships, the BASP website reported: “Mr. Zyuganov praised Syria’s national stances and its vital role in establishing the just and comprehensive peace and commitment to the international legitimacy resolutions.”

On Monday Russia’s sole aircraft carrier arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Soviets have maintained a supply base for their navy since the Cold War. According to Israel’s Channel 10 television news, reports the Jerusalem Post, the Admiral Kuznetsov will be monitoring air traffic in the region. Although the military situation in the Gaza Strip is not apparently under discussion, a Russian business delegation is currently visiting Damascus. Today, reports the Syrian Arab News Agency, Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari received Yuri Chavranic, Chairman of the Federation of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia, to “develop bilateral cooperation in the fields of oil and gas exploration and power generation.”

In previous posts, we have considered the renewed Russian military presence in the Middle East from the vantage of Bible prophecy.