Monthly Archives: November 2007

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Bear bombers approach Alaska on Thanksgiving, F-22 Raptors conduct their 1st-ever intercept; 2nd US-Russian exercise

>This latest approach toward Alaskan airspace by Russian bombers does not appear to have been covered by the MSM, but was reported as an original story by the In From the Cold blog.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors reportedly conducted their first-ever intercept of Russian Bear H bombers on Thanksgiving Day [November 22].

Military sources tell In From the Cold that the intercept occurred as the Russian aircraft approached Alaskan airspace, near the Aleutian Islands. F-22s from Elmendorf AFB were scrambled to intercept the Russian bombers, which were detected at long range by radar and intelligence systems. The Raptors flew alongside the TU-95s for a few minutes before the bombers turned and headed back toward Russian airspace. One of the photographs taken during the intercept reportedly shows the F-22’s shadow falling across the fuselage of the Bear H.

The Thanksgiving mission was the latest by Moscow’s long-range bomber squadrons, which have become increasingly aggressive in recent months, after years of inactivity. Over the past year, Bear and TU-160 Blackjack have flown a series of high-profile sorties against Norway, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Alaska and Guam. Similar missions were flown during the Cold War, and analysts say the recent flights are symbolic of a resurgent Russian military, under President Vladimir Putin.

Last Thursday’s intercept came barely three months after the F-22s arrived in Alaska. Elmendorf’s 3rd Fighter Wing will eventually operate two squadrons of the fifth-generation fighters. The Air Force is pushing to buy more Raptors (beyond the current production run of 183 aircraft), but critics have complained about the cost of the program. At $130 million a copy, the F-22 is more far expensive than the F-15s and F-16s that form the backbone of the USAF fighter inventory, but the Raptor offers advanced capabilities (stealth, supercruise) that the older jets can’t match.

In that regard, the Thanksgiving intercept may have been an inadvertent gift from the Russians. The Air Force will use the mission as proof of an escalating threat, that must be met by state-of-the-art fighters like the F-22.

Meanwhile, even as Russia prepares to attack the USA, the Soviet strategists, per KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s warnings, and the globalist Council on Foreign Relations cabal in the White House–which includes Secretary of Defense Robert Gates–promote East-West convergence through joint US-Russian military exercises. In a 1986 memorandum to the US Central Intelligence Agency, of which Gates was chief between 1991 and 1993–immediately after the “demise” of the Soviet Union–Golitsyn wrote of the “final goal of Soviet strategy.” This consisted of “the convergence of the capitalist West with the Communist East on Soviet terms and the creation of a World Government as a solution to the arms race and nuclear confrontation” (The Perestroika Deception, 1995, 1998; page 10).

The first stage of the Torgau 2007 maneuvers,” China’s state-run media reports, “was held at a Russian training center in Mulino in the Nizhny Novgorod region in the second half of October.” The second stage of Torgau 2007 will take place in Germany during the first two weeks of December. With CFR cadre Gates at the helm, the US Armed Forces might as well run up the white flag.


Russian, U.S. troops to hold joint drill

2007-12-01 04:51:01

MOSCOW, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — Russian and U.S. troops will hold joint peacekeeping exercises at American ranges in Germany on Dec.1-15 for the second stage of the command and staff drill, Torgau 2007, Russian news agencies reported Friday.

“The Russian servicemen will arrive in Germany on De. 1 aboard a Russian Air Force Il-76 military plane without weapons and military equipment. The Russian soldiers will be provided with American arms for the exercises with live fire,” Colonel Igor Konashenkov, aide to the Russian ground troops commander, was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

The drill will take place in two American ranges: Grafenwehr and Gogenfelz. Two hundred people will be involved.

The Russian servicemen will be armed with M-16 and M-4 rifles and with M-249 and M-240 machine-guns. They will have several days of theoretical and practical lessons to handle the American small arms, Konashenkov said.

Russian servicemen were familiarized with Hummer, Bradley and Abrams tanks and fighting vehicles at the Grafenwehr Range in Germany during similar joint field exercises in Torgau in 2005.

“This practice will be continued at the upcoming exercise Torgau 2007, during which the experience of conducting joint peacekeeping operations in the Balkans will be used,” Konashenkov said.

He said the American army servicemen earlier practiced with Russian small arms, T-72 tanks and 100-millimeter antitank guns at the Solnechnogorsk Range in Russia in the first stage.

Commander of the Moscow Military District Lieutenant-General Vladimir Chirkin will supervise the exercises on the Russian side, while U.S. commander of the 5th Infantry Corps in Europe Lieutenant-General Kenneth Hunzeker will take care of the American side.

The first stage of the Torgau 2007 maneuvers was held at a Russian training center in Mulino in the Nizhny Novgorod region in the second half of October.

It involved around 100 Russian and U.S. ground troops and officers. The Russian-American exercises are named after the German town of Torgau on the Elba River, where Russian and American soldiers joined up in the last days of World War Two.

Source: Xinhua.net

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>USSR2 File: Gorbachev again endorses Putin but condemns United Russia for failing to be "people’s party," criticizes Kasparov arrest

>The continuity in the Soviet leadership and strategic deception since the “fall” of communism has once again been demonstrated by former Soviet Tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev’s endorsement for President Vladimir Putin. Although he is perceived as a moderate and social democrat, Gorbachev is in fact an unrepentant communist who has repeatedly praised his crypto-Stalinist successor. Disengenuously, Gorbachev condemns the State Duma’s largest party United Russia, on which list Putin is running, for not being a “people’s party.” To use communist phraseology, the historic mission of the “party of power” has perhaps run its course prior to a red coup in Moscow. The Duma election will take place on Sunday, December 2. We will endeavor to promptly cover and analyze the results from a Golitsynian perspective.

Gorbachev supports Putin, criticizes United Russia
14:0929/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Thursday he supported the incumbent Russian president but disliked the ruling party whose ballot Vladimir Putin is leading in parliamentary elections.

Russia has made significant progress toward prosperity and stability under Putin’s nearly eight-year presidency. However, human rights advocates in Russia and abroad have criticized the Kremlin for tightening its grip on democracy and human rights ever since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000.

“I am on Putin’s side. I do not hold high respect toward the State Duma [the lower house of parliament]. But I think Putin has rendered great service to Russia,” Gorbachev told a news conference in Moscow.

Gorbachev, 76, whose policies of glasnost and perestroika jump-started democratic reforms in Russia but led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, harshly criticized the ruling United Russia party for questionable practices in the ongoing parliamentary election campaign.

United Russia, which is the odds on favorite to win Russia’s upcoming elections to the lower house of parliament set for December 2, earlier refused to hold televised debates with its rivals, and chose to air its own commercials during the allotted time.

“I dislike this party, it is not a people’s party,” the ex-Soviet leader said.

Gorbachev also criticized Russian authorities’ decision to jail opposition leader Garry Kasparov for five days for taking part in a protest march.

“Locking Kasparov up for five days – to me this looks like disproportionate measures,” he said.

Gorbachev blamed Moscow police over the incident.

Chess grandmaster Kasparov was arrested in central Moscow on Saturday while leading a march of opposition group The Other Russia, which comprises the People’s Patriotic Union, led by former premier Mikhail Kasyanov, the banned National Bolshevik Party, headed by writer Eduard Limonov, as well as Kasparov’s United Civil Front.

Source: Novosti

>EU/USSR2 Files: Kosovo talks fail, Moscow, Belgrade oppose Pristina’s independence; UK Conservative leader: Russia threatens Balkan stability

>The peace of the Balkans is very much at stake. It is a volatile region. We’re going into a very difficult time. The status quo over Kosovo is not sustainable.

— Frank Wisner, US envoy to Kosovo, November 28, 2007

Several flashpoints that could provoke war between the (dwindling remnants of the) Free World and the Communist Bloc exist. Neo-Soviet Russia is using the US occupation of Iraq, US opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, and US NMD deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic as pretexts for portraying the USA as an aggressor nation and Russia as a victim nation that reserves the right to defend itself by any means necessary, up to and including its nuclear arsenal. One flashpoint that we have yet to cover at any length at Once Upon a Time in the West is Serbia’s breakaway province Kosovo. Washington and Brussels support Kosovar independence, while Moscow defends Belgrade’s trenchant opposition to a seprate state for the Kosovar Albanians. Both sides are intransigent and the rhetoric is heating up. The province has been a United Nations-administered entity since the Kosovo War (1996-1999).

Washington’s support for the separatist ambitions of the Kosovo government is ironic since the Transitional Prime Minister Agim Çeku was first an officer in the (communist) Yugoslav People’s Army and later a military commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The US State Department classified the KLA as a heroin-trafficking terrorist organization until February 1998, at which point the US Central Intelligence Agency took the KLA under its wings for operational training. In November 2006 Ceku visited Moscow, where he held talks with Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee. The Transitional President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu, moreover, belongs to the Democratic League of Kosovo, which was founded by the first president of the independent Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova. “Nationalist” Rugova previously belonged to the ruling League of Communists of Yugoslavia but founded the LDK in 1989 when Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević eliminated the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, imposing direct rule by Belgrade.

The BBC News article below notes that “All attempts to decide the final status of Kosovo through negotiations have so far failed,” while Kosovar Albanians warn that a unilateral declaration of independence is “imminent.” Serbian President Boris Tadic (pictured above with Russian President Vladimir Putin), however, warns that Belgrade would “annul” any such declaration. Tadic appears to have no connection to the old communist regime of Yugoslavia/Serbia, which was apparently overthrown in 2000. Similarly, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica (pictured below with Putin) does not appear to be connected to the deceased Milošević’s cabal. However, the “ex”-communist Socialist Party supported Koštunica during the prime minister’s 2003-2007 administration, which is telling in itself if one is searching for continuing communist influences in Belgrade.

Final Kosovo talks end in failure
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 11:49 GMT

Kosovo’s Albanian leaders want nothing less than independenceSerbs and ethnic Albanians have failed to resolve the future status of Kosovo at a final round of internationally-brokered talks.

The UN had set a 10 December deadline for a negotiated settlement on Kosovo.

The province’s ethnic Albanians demand independence from Serbia but Belgrade has consistently rejected this.

Although both sides say they will avoid a return to violence, the US envoy to Kosovo has warned the “peace of the Balkans is very much at stake”.

“It is a volatile region,” Frank Wisner said. “We’re going into a very difficult time.”

“The status quo over Kosovo is not sustainable,” he added.

Independence ‘imminent’

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders have said they would consider a unilateral declaration of independence if the 10 December deadline lapsed without a negotiated deal.

But the EU has cautioned against this, saying Kosovo must only achieve statehood in partnership with international bodies.

Speaking after the final round of talks in Vienna on Wednesday, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian President Fatmir Sejdiu said independence for Kosovo “will happen very quickly” but refused to give an exact date.

However, Serbian President Boris Tadic said Belgrade would “annul” any unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.

He said his country would use all legal and diplomatic means to resist such a declaration, stopping short of violence.

Russian opposition

Though technically part of Serbia, Kosovo has been administered by the UN for the last eight years.

Belgrade’s security forces were driven out of Kosovo by a Nato invasion in 1999, after being accused of the repression of the majority ethnic-Albanian population.

Thousands of international peacekeepers have been deployed in the province to prevent a return to violence.

Russia has supported Serbia’s stance at the UN Security Council, arguing that independence for Kosovo could provide dangerous inspiration for separatists elsewhere.

All attempts to decide the final status of Kosovo through negotiations have so far failed.

Source: BBC News

Meanwhile, British Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who is visiting the USA, is warning that “Russia’s increasingly assertive foreign policy is jeopardising Britain’s national security.” Cameron and various British diplomats are of the opinion that more British troops might be deployed under the auspices of NATO’s KFOR contingent to the Balkans by Christmas in order to prevent Russian military intervention.

David Cameron: Army must halt Russia threat
By James Kirkup and Alex Spillius in Washington
Last Updated: 2:29am GMT 30/11/2007

Western forces, which could include British troops, must be sent into the Balkans to prevent Russia sparking a new European war, according to David Cameron.

Speaking in Washington, the Conservative leader will issue a stark warning that Russia’s increasingly assertive foreign policy is jeopardising Britain’s national security.

Mr Cameron fears a diplomatic and military crisis could arise over Kosovo, the province of Serbia which has effectively been a United Nations protectorate since Nato invaded to stop ethnic cleansing by Serb forces in 1999. The ethnic Albanian government of Kosovo is threatening to declare independence from Serbia on Dec 10. Moscow is backing Serbian attempts to block the declaration, while the United States and the European Union are in favour.

“Let me make it clear: there could be a new crisis in the Balkans by Christmas,” Mr Cameron will say in a speech to the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank.

“That is a direct threat to our national security, and we must therefore take decisive action now to prevent it. We need to reinforce the military presence in the region now, by drawing on some of Nato’s dedicated operational reserve, to prevent trouble later.”

Nato members take it in turns to provide a reserve force to back up the alliance’s K-For peacekeeping force in Kosovo. The reserve is currently led by a battalion of Italian troops with a German battalion next in line to deploy.

But from Jan 1, Britain takes on responsibility for providing the “lead-ready” battalion for the reserve, putting British troops first in line to deploy.

Tory officials made clear last night that Mr Cameron was not calling for the deployment of extra British troops above and beyond those already committed to the Nato Reserve force. But they also said that the Tory leader had not made his call lightly, saying it was a measure of how seriously he takes the need to prevent more instability in the region.

British diplomats privately share Mr Cameron’s fears of a Balkan crisis, but ministers have stopped short of proposing a further military deployment, and the Tory leader’s call could dramatically increase the diplomatic stakes over Kosovo.

But he will insist that intervention is vital to British national interest because instability in the Balkans could bring a wave of immigrants to Bitain, and make the region a breeding ground for al-Qaeda.

He will say: “Instability in the Balkans, with all the dangers that would bring, would be a threat to us all.”

The last British troops in the Balkans, a 600-strong force of Welsh Guards, left Bosnia in March.

Since 2003, a handful of British military officers and police personnel have been in Kosovo training and advising local security forces.

Mr Cameron will make his speech as part of a visit to meet President George W Bush in an encounter designed to rehabilitate the Conservatives after years of isolation in Washington.

Mr Cameron’s 45-minute private meeting with Mr Bush at the White House will heap more misery on Gordon Brown as he faces the mounting scandal over party funding and increasingly poor opinion polls.

Source: The Telegraph

>USSR2 File: Vladislav Surkov: Secret line of control between Kremlin and CPRF; Kasparov freed, 300 foreign monitors to cover 96,000 polls

>You cannot trust the Kremlin. They cheat people.
— Anton Bakov, independent State Duma deputy, chief of Union of Right Forces’ election strategy; quoted in The Moscow Times, November 28, 2007

Neo-Soviet Russia’s State Duma election is slated for Sunday, December 2. While the body count has not been has high as we had feared, a few cadavers have materialized. Law enforcement has bashed some oppositionist heads, such as Garry Kasparov, who has been released early from jail. Today, however, Arctic/Antarctic explorer, Hero of the Soviet Union, Order of Lenin recipient, and United Russia Duma deputy Artur Chilingarov nearly died in a motor vehicle accident near Plesetsk, which is near the northern city of Arkhangelsk. Three members of Chilingarov’s convoy perished, but the politician apparently survived. State-run Interfax reports today:

ARKHANGELSK. Nov 29 (Interfax) – A convoy of cars carrying Russian State Duma deputies Artur Chilingarov and Valery Melchikhin, as well as heads of the Plesetsk district administration were involved in a road accident near Plesetsk in the Arkhangelsk region on Thursday. The deputies were heading for a meeting with voters in the township of Severoonezhsk, Yelizaveta Tsyvareva, a spokeswoman for the regional emergency situations department told Interfax. A UAZ-452 car coming from Severoonezhsk rammed into a UAZ-Patriot jeep on the Plesetsk-Kargopol road, she said. Both drivers and Speaker of the Plesetsk District Council Alexander Taskayev, a passenger in the Patriot jeep, were killed, Tsyvareva said.

Throughout the election campaign the Kremlin has presented itself as a champion of political transparency. However, state-run Voice of Russia reports that only 300 international election observers, representing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the communist-controlled Commonwealth of Independent States, are accredited to monitor Russia’s 96,000 polling booths. The Kremlin has not only placed restrictions upon external election monitors, but also domestic agencies. Golos, a Russian nongovernmental organization that is funded by the European Union and the USA, claims that it “has had to suspend its activities in the Samara region amid a criminal investigation that it says is politically motivated.” The organization’s alleged infraction? Installing unlicensed software on its computers. Golos head Lyudmila Kuzmina informed The Moscow Times that “The goal of the authorities is to conduct the elections so quietly that you can’t hear a mosquito. We remain the only troublesome mosquito buzzing in the silence.” Vladimir Churov, who was appointed head of the Central Elections Commission in late March, dismisses such allegations. “Don’t believe everything that you read,” he told the independent Moscow Times.

In the process of inviting and issuing visas to international monitors, the Kremlin offended the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which eventually spurned the invitation altogether, creating an international flap that prompted President Vladimir Putin to accuse the US State Department of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs. Now the Kremlin is playing nice by inviting the OSCE to monitor the March 2 presidential election.

Be assured that neo-Soviet officialdom intends to conduct both elections under a shroud of lies, fraud, and deceit. Consider yesterday’s comments from “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who is presently drumming up business in Canada: “[T]he situation in Russia is quiet and the elections will pass off quietly, so you can take it easy.” There you have it. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Meanwhile, Russia’s presidential campaign is officially underway several days before the Duma election farce. State-owned Kommersant Daily reports:

Presidential Campaign Set into Motion
November 28, 2007

The presidential election campaign has been launched in Russia. Rossiyskaya Gazeta edition promulgated today the Fed Council’s ruling of November 26, 2007 on holding presidential elections March 2, 2008.

Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, voted November 26, 2007 for setting March 2, 2008 as the date of presidential elections. The ruling that was inked by Fed Council Speaker Sergei Mironov takes effect on the date of official publication.

By promulgating this ruling, Rossiyskaya Gazeta has officially set into motion the campaign for presidential elections in the country.

Today’s intrigue is whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will run for presidency despite the third-term ban spelled out in the Constitution. Putin always claims he has no intention to do it, as it would require amending the Constitution. But when addressing supporters at All-Russia’s Forum in Luzhniki, the president declared that the outcome of presidential elections in March 2008 would be determined by parliamentary elections of December 2007.

A list of parties nominating presidential candidates has been published by Russian Federal Registration Service. State-run Itar-Tass reports:

The list that was made public on the FRS website and in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Thursday includes the Democratic Party of Russia, United Russia, Party of Peace and Unity, Communist Party (KPRF), Union of Right Forces, Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Yabloko, Patriots of Russia, Ecological Party “The Greens,” Agrarian Party of Russia, People’ s Union, Civil Force Party, Party of Social Justice, Party of Russia’s Revival and Just Russia- Motherland/Pensioners/Life Party.

All of these parties, it should be noted by the Kremlinologist who accepts the Golitsynian thesis regarding the false collapse of communism in 1991, were founded by “ex”-communists (like Putin) or alleged KGB agents (like Vladimir Zhirinovsky). United Russia plans to name its candidate in mid-December. The ideological similarity between ER and the CPRF is quite striking, but not surprising. The Putinist regime’s pursuit and prosecution of Russia’s Komsomol businessmen like Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky for economic crimes reveals United Russia’s red heart. Incidentally, the UK-based Berezovsky–whom we suspect is an agent provocateur tasked with souring London-Moscow relations–was found guilty today by a Moscow court of embezzling more than 214 million rubles from air carrier Aeroflot and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in absentia.

Even during the 2003 Duma election, when United Russia displaced the CPRF as the largest parliamentary party, Western analysts noted the convergence between the two parties:

United Russia’s tactic is to seduce the communists’ traditional constituency by appearing more like the old Soviet Communist Party than the KPRF does. The pro-Kremlin party has stolen the Communists’ anti-big business slogans, its posters feature Soviet-era icons like dictator Joseph Stalin and cosmonaut Yury Gagarin, and its attack ads slam the KPRF for including rich businessmen among its candidates.

“It may sound ironic, but in today’s life the KPRF (Communist Party) has become the main defender of all those ideals that were declared by the democrats in 1991, when the USSR collapsed,” declared CPRF deputy Viktor Peshkov at the time. “We stand for democracy, pluralism, freedom of the press, and private property while the state is moving to limit all of those social gains.” It may sound ironic, but it’s part of Moscow’s long-range plan to restructure Russian society and deceive the West. We have suggested before that these two wings of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union could merge next year as the Soviet strategists consolidate their “managed democracy.”

Intriguingly, Oleg Shenin, Chairman of the restored Communist Party of the Soviet Union, who declared his candidacy for president in August 2006, on the 15th anniversary of the anti-Gorbachevist coup that he masterminded, has not yet registered. In any event, Canadian Stalinist Michael Lucas, who heads the Toronto-based International Council of Friendship and Solidarity with Soviet People, has exhorted Shenin and CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov, another declared candidate, to combine forces in one presidential ticket.

“Ex”-GRU Vladislav Surkov: The Secret Line of Control Between the Kremlin and the Communist Party

According to the November 28 edition of the independent Moscow Times, the Kremlin election fixers have been promising Duma seats to opposition parties such as the CPRF, Yabloko, and the Union of Right Forces (SPS) that obediently submit to Putin’s authoritarian leadership.

The Union of Right Forces began directly criticizing President Vladimir Putin for the first time this fall after learning that the Kremlin would break a promise to deliver seats in the next State Duma, a senior party official said.

“At first, Kremlin spin doctors said the party would be allowed into the Duma if it refrained from criticism, but then they changed their minds and decided not to keep their promise,” said the official, who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal from both the party and the Kremlin.

“The party is angry, and now the only chance it has to get into the parliament is to gather the protest vote,” the official said. “This is why SPS’s stance has radically changed.”

Communist and Yabloko officials said their parties had also been promised Duma seats if they promised not to criticize Putin. All the officials would only speak on condition of anonymity.

A Kremlin spokesman said backroom deals had not taken place with any party.

The Moscow Times continues: “The first public indication of strained relations between SPS and the Kremlin surfaced shortly before the SPS convention, when Putin suggested during an annual meeting with foreign analysts and journalists that party co-founder Anatoly Chubais might use his position as the head of Unified Energy System to bankroll SPS. After the jab, Chubais was noticeably absent from the convention.” Billionaire Chubais is “ex”-CPSU, like many other Russian oligarchs who assumed control of the old Soviet Union’s state assets through a KGB-directed criminal operation sanctioned by former Soviet Tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev.

The secret lines of control between the open communists of the CPRF/SU and the crypto-communists of the Putinist administration are often hard to spot. However, Zyuganov and Putin conducted a private meeting at the latter’s Sochi residence at the beginning of the Duma campaign. The Moscow Times, moreover, reveals that United Russia/Nashi ideologist/inter-party liaison Vladislav Surkov, who previously worked for Russian military intelligence (GRU), has met “regularly” with opposition leaders, including presumably Zyuganov:

Communist, Yabloko and SPS officials said the Kremlin had played an active role in this fall’s campaign. Opposition leaders have been asked to meet regularly with Vladislav Surkov, the powerful deputy head of the presidential administration who coordinates the Kremlin’s relations with the parties, to review their strategies, the officials said.

“[Communist leader Gennady] Zyuganov is not interested in being in the opposition. He only wants a Duma seat with a faction of his own,” a senior Communist official said.

In return for this, he said, the Communists were asked not to criticize Putin during the campaign and, after Putin agreed to be a United Russia candidate, not to criticize United Russia.

Sergei Reshulsky, a Duma deputy and senior Communist member, denied that the Communists had an agreement with the Kremlin. “If we did, the Communists would have disappeared from the political scene by now,” he said.

Senior CPRF cadre Reshulsky’s last point is instructive and confirms KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s warnings to the West, first published in 1984 in New Lies for Old. If Leninism was not the secret guiding ideology of “post”-communist Russia’s elites, then “the Communists would have disappeared from the political scene by now.” Not surprisingly, Kremlin spokesentity Dmitry Peskov denies the allegations of backroom election fixing: “It is not up to the Kremlin to decide who gets into the Duma, but the results of the elections. Surkov is only engaged in matters of internal politics.” Indeed. Lenta.ru has a Russian-language biography of Putin’s 43-year-old deputy chief of staff here.

Although some mystery surrounded Putin’s pre-election message, which was recorded several days ago off-site from the Kremlin and televised today through a state broadcaster, no surprises materialized. The president’s speech simply urged Russians to vote and especially to support United Russia. Putin appears to take a swipe at the gangster oligarchy that supported his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, who promoted Putin to his current position in 1999: “But, if we really wish to live a decent life, those who once tried to run the country and who now want to re-carve or drown in rhetoric plans for Russia’s development, to change the course the people support, to restore the days of humiliation, dependence and decay – those people must not be allowed to rise to power again.” During a November 21 rally Putin likewise condemned the “Western-backed” Russian oligarchy, which includes Berezovsky, referring to “some political forces inside the country were seeking support from foreign governments and funds, rather than their own people.”

In his more recent speech Putin correctly observes: “The results of State Duma elections will undoubtedly set the tune for the elections of Russia’s new president.” In a final cryptic comment, for which Russian politicians seem to excel, Putin pleads: “Please, don’t think that everything is predetermined.” This is a lie, because in neo-Soviet Russia politics is predetermined.

The full text of President Putin’s message is as follows:

Very soon, on December 2, there will be elections to the State Duma. The election campaign is drawing to a close. Over this period of time there were many calls and business-like proposals, but, as it often happens in such cases, there were many demagogical statements and empty promises, too.

The methods of struggle for the electorate’s votes can be rated differently. I shall refrain from comments. Today I would like to say something different. We have done a good job. The economy is growing steadily. Poverty retreats, although it retreats slowly. We shall step up the struggle against crime and corruption, and we shall never forget the grave, in some cases, irreparable losses sustained in the struggle against terrorism. True, we have not done away with it yet. But we have dealt a crushing blow, we have reversed the trend.

Dear friends! The work was proceeding in a no easy way. Not without mistakes, and not without disruptions. The authorities are still greatly in debt to their people. Of course, we all wish life to improve faster. But let us recall what we began with eight years ago, the depth of depression the country had to be pulled out of. We are still to do a great deal to make Russia truly modern and prospering. But, if we really wish to live a decent life, those who once tried to run the country and who now want to re-carve or drown in rhetoric plans for Russia’s development, to change the course the people support, to restore the days of humiliation, dependence and decay – those people must not be allowed to rise to power again.

There is one more thing I would like to draw your attention to. The results of State Duma elections will undoubtedly set the tune for the elections of Russia’s new president. As a matter of fact, the country has already entered into a period of full renewal of the supreme bodies of legislative and executive power. In a situation like this it is very important for us to ensure the continuity of the policy, to honor all of the liabilities assumed to the people, in other words, to create conditions for implementing the outlined plans in all spheres that are crucial to the quality and level of life of each single individual. Also, we are to enhance the defense capabilities and security of Russia and to raise its authority in the world. For achieving these goals we have the willpower, we have the resources accumulated over the past years and, what is most important, we have the correctly chosen direction of development.

Now I shall say the main thing. Please, don’t think that everything is predetermined and the pace of development that has been picked up and the vector of development will be preserved automatically. This is a dangerous illusion. Everything that has been done was achieved in persistent struggle. And it can be preserved on the condition of our common active civic position. This is the reason why I made the decision to lead the United Russia ticket. And this is precisely the reason why I am asking you to go to the polls on December 2 and to vote for United Russia. I count on you, and I believe in your support.

Irony of Ironies: The Communist Party of the Russian Federation Champions the Underdog Against the Kremlin

Pictured here, left to right, at the 9th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Minsk, Belarus, November 3-4, 2007: Communist Party of Belarus chief and Lukashenko ally Tatiana Golubeva, Zyuganov, and CPRF Vice Chairman Ivan Melnikov.

Over the past week we have reported that Russia’s trade unions were preparing a series of strikes to both coincide with the Duma election, presumably influencing the vote toward the CPRF, which openly supports the strikers, and protest the global rise in the cost of food and fuel. The projected general strike has yet to materialize but the labor dispute at the Ford Motor Company’s St. Petersburg plant continues to slow production. “The Communist party strongly supports the fair demands of Ford plant’s workers,” the independent St. Petersburg Times quotes Zyuganov as saying: “The economic situation of the company allows it to completely fulfil the workers’ demands. The cheepness of the cars produced at the plant is conditioned by underpaying the workers who make them. This is the result of extra exploitation.” The same source relates the history of the Ford plant workers’ grievances: “The current strike is a continuation of a preventive strike held by the plant’s workers and the trade union on Nov. 7. The trade union said they decided to go on strike after negotiations they held from July 9 through Oct. 9 failed. Workers at the plant also staged a 24-hour strike on Feb.14-15 this year. At that time the strike resulted in the signing of a year-long collective agreement.”

Although a court declared their declared strike action illegal, the St. Petersburg Times reports today that Russia’s railway workers have organized a limited work-to-rule action in their otherwise strategic sector of the economy.

This year, Russian workers have staged about 25 strikes in various forms, said Carine Clement, a French sociologist who heads the Institute of Collective Action, a left-leaning nonprofit group. But on its web site, the State Statistics Service records only two strikes happening this year.

Recorded strike activity has been very low during President Vladimir Putin’s time in office, as the economy has rebounded from the nightmare of the 1990s, when millions of workers often went for months without being paid.

The latest wave of strikes has swept from eastern Siberia to the Caucasus, with strikes recorded in workplaces as diverse as a construction site in Chechnya, a timber factory in Novgorod, a hospital in the far eastern Chita region, a housing maintenance office in Saratov and at fast-food kiosks in Irkutsk, Clement’s institute said.

In the last month, dockers in St. Petersburg have gone on strike, demanding a salary increase of 30 percent, while Russian Post workers struck for their fourth time since 2001.

At Russian Railways, a state-owned monopoly run by Vladimir Yakunin, a close ally of Putin’s, Guzev’s independent union, which represents some 2,600 train drivers, is threatening the first strike on the railways since 1988.

Oleg Neterebsky, deputy head of the pro-Kremlin Federation of Independent Trade Unions, reveals that “There is a hidden pattern to all these strike actions. Organizers of strikes are hoping to capitalize on the tranquility before elections to turn the spotlight on themselves.” Clement, quoted above and speaking in support of Russia’s autonomous trade unions, states: “The pro-government unions present in every workplace prefer not go into conflict with the employer, while the independent unions are always ready to struggle for the rights of workers.” Anton Struchenevsky, senior economist at Troika Dialog, warns that the strikes, coupled with Russia’s shrinking population, could put a brake on the economy: “The rapid growth in militancy among trade unions is expected to increase in the future and may weaken the economic fabric by turning investors away. On the one hand, the population is decreasing and with it, the number of active workers. On the other, the economic boom is boosting the role of trade unions by creating higher demand for labor.”

Into the fray between labor and management in Russia expect the communists to blast capitalism and stoke the fires of conflict.

>Latin America File: Nicaragua’s top general, Sandinista Halleslevens: Military delegation accompanied Foreign Minister Lopez to Moscow

>In a recent media conference Nicaragua’s top general Omar Halleslevens (pictured here, left photo) admitted that a military delegation headed by General Ramon Calderón Vindell (pictured here, right photo) accompanied Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez during his November 20 trip to Moscow, where Lopez met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The purpose of the meeting was to the rebuild the Moscow-Managua Axis’ political, economic, and military linkages, severed during the “forfeited decade” of the 1990s, to quote former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, who attended Daniel Ortega’s inauguration in January 2007.

In 2005 commentator Robert D. Novak described General Halleslevens as a “hard-line Sandinista” and observes that “Nicaragua never really purged the Sandinista influence from its military”: “When Gen. Omar Halleslevens was installed Monday in Managua as chief of the Nicaraguan army, the U.S. government was represented by a mere major at the change-of-command ceremony. The slight was intentional. Halleslevens is regarded at the Pentagon as a hard-line Sandinista, whose rise to power represents profound problems in Latin America.” The Pentagon, Novak explains, views the Nicaraguan Armed Forces as an aider and abettor of terrorism, particularly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia:

Elevating Halleslevens to command of the army suggests how completely the Sandinistas are back controlling Nicaragua. Chavez has taken two years to radicalize the Venezuelan army. Nicaragua never really purged the Sandinista influence from its military. The CIA has reported that Col. Halleslevens was in the party’s inner circle 15 years ago as chief of the counter-intelligence directorate, funneling arms to foreign terrorists.

The state of the country’s military is reflected in the conclusion by U.S. officials that Nicaraguan officers supplied the SA-7 shoulder-fired missiles that were intended to be sold to Colombian narco-terrorists last month. The purchasers were actually undercover Nicaraguan police and U.S. drug agents. The sellers caught in the sting stayed behind bars only for a short time before Sandinista lawyers got them released.

Halleslevens’ statements, published in La Voz del Sandinismo, the mouthpiece of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, reveal that Marxist President Ortega can rely on the loyalty of the army and that, furthermore, Managua remains an outpost for Soviet communism in Central America:

Nicaragua hopes to reinforce military relations with Russia
By: Mariana Rock
27 of November of 2007 20:08:37

The head of the Army of Nicaragua, General Omar Halleslevens, affirmed that “new possibilities” are being opened to extend relations with Russia.

In a declaration to journalists, Halleslevens indicated that a high head of the Nicaraguan Army traveled recently to Moscow to broach the subject of cooperation with Russian military authorities.

“At the present time new possibilities are being opened. A commission from Nicaragua went to Moscow. There have been talks and I believe that it is going to extend this relation with the Russians in those areas where it can be extended,” he affirmed.

The military High Command talked about the recent visit to Russia of the Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Chancellor Samuel Santos Lopez, at the head of a delegation that included General Ramon Calderón Vindell, who represented the Army.

“We have handled the relations with the Russians all along and they have maintained a permanent military mission here,” recalled Halleslevens who was participating in a ceremony on the occasion of the “Day of the Soldier of the Mother Country.”

He referred to the “historical relations” with Moscow. In recent years too the Army bought motors and support systems for Russian helicopters acquired in the decade of the 1980s, during the first government of Comandante-President Daniel Ortega.

In addition, “the update and maintenance of the tanks and the BM-21 (rocket artillery) are also part of that cooperation that we have maintained with the Russians.”

In another statement, the head of the Army said that the second meeting with US representatives regarding the process of exchanging Nicaragua’s SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles for American medicine has been delayed.

>Feature: Red networks: Gorbachev: US NMD threatens Russia; Horn, Gyurcsany join former Soviet leader at Budapest’s subversive World Political Forum

>Former Soviet Tyrant Mikhail (“I’ll Always Be a Communist”) Gorbachev has wrapped up his latest propaganda foray at the World Political Forum in Budapest. On the first day of the conference, on Tuesday, Gorbachev promoted his Common European Home/New European Soviet concept, an economic and political alliance between Russia and the European Union: “Alienation between Russia and the EU is a very dangerous tendency and we must not allow it to happen. The EU remains Russia’s most important partner in economic issues, as well as in modernizing the country.” Yesterday, on the second day of the conference, Gorbachev lashed out against the USA and the Bush Admin’s proposed National Missile Defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic: “The missile shield system the US plans to site in Poland and Czech Republic is targeted at Russia despite assurances to the contrary. We see that the American rocket shield would not be directed against possible attacks from Iran, but against Russia.”

Gorbachev says US missile shield aimed at Russia
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 at 14:13

Budapest (dpa) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Wednesday said that a missile shield system the US plans to site in Poland and Czech Republic was targeted at Russia despite assurances to the contrary. Russia is angry about the plans and has rejected US claims that the shield was aimed at fending off potential rocket attacks from Iran.

“We see that the American rocket shield would not be directed against possible attacks from Iran, but against Russia,” MTI news agency quoted Gorbachev as saying at the closing of a two-day conference on the future of Europe in Budapest.

The previous day Gorbachev, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for overseeing the collapse of the Soviet Union, had called for closer links between the European Union and Russia to battle US influence.

He said that Europe had to develop a “clear and independent voice” to counteract the overarching influence of the US in defining global politics.

Europe had failed to live up to its potential in the lead up to the Iraq war and instead allowed the US to enjoy a “monopoly leadership,” he added.

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany also weighed in on the debate, saying that the EU should promote dialogue based on understanding with Russia.

Gyurcsany has received criticism in his own country, a former Soviet satellite, for becoming too friendly with Hungary’s former communist master.

Gorbachev was speaking at a meeting of the World Political Forum, an organization he started with Gyula Horn – a former Prime Minister of Hungary.

Source: EUX.TV

Since stepping down from the Soviet presidency on Christmas Day 1991, Gorbachev has played the role of roving statesman for the continuing Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In his new semi-freelance position, Gorbachev articulates Soviet policy through a network of propaganda fronts that court and then brainwash Western decision makers, such as The Earth Charter Initiative, Fondazione Gorbachev (Italy), The Gorbachev Foundation (Russia), The Gorbachev Foundation of North America (USA), Global Green USA, Green Cross International, State of the World Forum, University of Calgary-Gorbachev Foundation Joint Trust Fund and, of course, The World Political Forum.

Gorbachev’s opposition to the US ABM system echoes that of neo-Soviet officials such Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who stated following his trip to the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis:

We have top class experts, military planners, who can see how it will affect our security and who will have to take retaliatory measures. Washington continues to insist that its missile shield plans in Europe are linked to the threat coming from Iran. They still say that. But there must be some lack of coordination here because the Czech premier has repeatedly said that they need components of the U.S. missile defense on their territory to protect themselves from Russia. Polish leaders have made identical statements.

The fact that both Gorbachev and deceased KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, who allegedly attempt to oust Gorbachev in the potemkin August 1991 coup, have publicly articulated their support for neo-Soviet Tyrant Vladimir Putin proves that there is perfect continuity in the Soviet leadership and strategy since the bogus collapse of communism.

Red Networks in “Post”-Communist Hungary

The founders list of the World Political Forum (WPF) reads like a rogue’s gallery of communists (Li Peng), “ex”-communists (Yevgeny Primakov), socialists/social democrats (Benazir Bhutto), faux rightists (Helmut Kohl), United Nations bureaucrats (Boutros Boutros-Ghali), left-wing entertainers (Bono), and liberation theologians (Archbishop Desmond Tutu). This summary of personalities, incidentally, only scratches the surface of Gorbachev’s subversive network.

Another founder of the WPF is “ex”-communist Prime Minister of Hungary Gyula Horn, whose country hosted the current venue for this red-controlled organization. In 1954 Horn joined the ruling Hungarian Workers’ Party, which later became the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP), and in 1989 became foreign minister in the country’s last (open) communist government. In 1989 Horn also co-founded the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), the successor of the MSZMP, and became its chairman in 1990. Horn was elected prime minister between 1994 and 1998 and has retained a seat in parliament ever since.

The current Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, much to the disdain of his fellow citizens among whom memories of Soviet oppression are still strong, rubbed elbows with Gorbachev at the World Political Forum. There, as reported above, Gyurcsany insisted that “the EU should promote dialogue based on understanding with Russia.” Pictured above in Budapest, February 2006: The “ex”-communist rulers of Russia and Hungary, Putin and his minion Gyurcsany, who led the MSZMP youth section in the 1980s. Putin is popular in his homeland, while Gyurcsany is not.

In addition to the presently ruling Hungarian Socialist Party, another, “hardline” communist faction emerged from the old MSZMP, the Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party (MKM). On November 6, 2007, which coincided with the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, a Hungarian court slapped the entire leadership of the MKM, including party president Gyula Thurmer, with a two-year suspended sentence for libel.

To this day Budapest is the headquarters of the communist front known as the World Federation of Democratic Youth, founded in 1945.

>USSR2 File: Bush, West protest arrest of oppositionists; Zubkov, Lavrov support crackdown; Mironov: United Russia governors "to be replaced"

>What happened in St. Petersburg, I think our law enforcement agencies took appropriate action, and people who were supposed to provoke reaction by law enforcement officers, did not succeed. And they will not succeed, because the situation in Russia is quiet and the elections will pass off quietly, so you can take it easy.
— Russian Federation Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, “ex”-CPSU; statement made on November 27, 2007

On November 25, as we previously blogged, Russian police detained hundreds of participants in Other Russia’s March of Dissent, held in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Nazran. Chess champion-turned-opposition activist Garry Kasparov, who leads the Other Russia coalition, was jailed for five days in Moscow. The Other Russia website reports that more than 300 marchers were held in St. Petersburg:

Hundreds of demonstrators were detained by Russian special forces on Sunday in St. Petersburg. They were participating in an opposition protest dubbed the Dissenters’ March, which was organized by political organizations opposed to President Vladimir Putin.

Among those arrested were Nikita Belykh, the head of the Union of Right Forces (SPS) political party, and Boris Nemtsov, a presidential candidate and former deputy prime minister. Nemtsov was seized as he was giving an interview in Palace square, in front of the Hermitage museum, where the gathering was taking place.

“So many police proves they are afraid of us,” Nemtsov said as he was taken.

More than 2000 people came out for the protest, which was met by hundreds of police and special forces troops in full riot gear.

A group of people marching from the Yabloko party headquarters were beaten and arrested when a number of young men unfurled flags of the banned National Bolshevik Party. A Yabloko spokeswoman told reporters that the men were provocateurs working with the authorities, and that they were released immediately by police. 10 parliamentary candidates from the party were among those detained.

Most of the captured demonstrators were later released on the outskirts of town without charges, although several prominent figures continue to be held. Many were apparently detained to prevent the Dissenter’s March from meeting a nearby pro-Putin gathering.

Similar marches have taken place across Russia, including Moscow, where United Civil Front leader and presidential candidate Garry Kasparov was arrested and sentenced to 5 days in prison.

The primary slogans of the protest were “For Russia, against Putin!” “No to elections without choice!” and “This is our city!”

Kremlinologists who subscribe to the Golitsynian thesis, namely, that the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union represents a strategic deception, will take note of the fact that until recently Red Youth Vanguard, the youth section of the restored Communist Party of the Soviet Union, belonged to the Other Russia coalition. In addition, Kasparov actively sought to include the more well-known Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the alliance. The Christian Science Monitor reported in April 2007:

Kasparov has attracted controversy by welding together disparate – some say disreputable – forces from the left and right into The Other Russia, including the neo-communist Worker’s Russia, the leftist National Bolshevik Party, led by novelist Eduard Limonov, the liberal People’s Democratic Union of former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, as well as Kasparov’s own mostly youthful, prodemocracy followers. Kasparov says a key goal is to bring the still-powerful Communist Party – the last major opposition force still standing – into the coalition.

Notwithstanding his imprisonment, Kasparov’s conscious role as a potemkin opposition politician in the red-scripted drama unfolding in “post”-communist Russia is nearly confirmed.

Russia’s two main liberal parties, Yabloko and Union of Right Forces (SPS), have also been the targets of the Kremlin’s crackdown. The SPS, for example, asserts that “more than a million copies of its manifesto were confiscated by the police in Siberia.” Independent Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov told BBC News: “The upcoming election will be the first absolutely non-free election since the end of the Soviet Union. It’s becoming more and more like Soviet political system, with one centre of power: the Kremlin and Kremlin administration, which controls everything – parliament, courts, the party system, media, regional authorities and local authorities. It’s a pyramid of power headed by one man.” BBC News also observed, as we have noted in past blogs, that the Putinist regime is actually paving the road for the CPRF’s re-admission into the State Duma: “Liberal parties say they are being squeezed out by deliberate changes to electoral laws and that the country is on the way to becoming a one-party state. One of the last pre-election opinion polls to be published, from the independent Levada centre, suggests that only one party will get into parliament alongside United Russia – the Communist Party.”

Meanwhile, Western leaders have registered tepid protests against the crypto-communist Putinist regime for breaking up the pre-election rallies and hounding dissenters. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, an “ex”-communist from Portugal whose predecessor was current Italian Prime Minister and alleged KGB asset Romano Prodi, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, state-run Novosti reports, “expressed grave concerns over the detention of demonstration participants.” On November 26 US President George W. Bush, who belongs to the pro-communist globalist Council on Foreign Relations, issued a press release that stated:

I am deeply concerned about the detention of numerous human rights activists and political leaders who participated in peaceful rallies in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Nazran this weekend. I am particularly troubled by the use of force by law enforcement authorities to stop these peaceful activities and to prevent some journalists and human rights activists from covering them.

The freedoms of expression, assembly and press, as well as due process, are fundamental to any democratic society. I am hopeful that the government of Russia will honor its international obligations in these areas, investigate allegations of abuses and free those who remain in detention.

Mr. Bush may be “deeply concerned” about the persecution of dissidents in neo-Soviet Russia, but he will do nothing to seriously disturb his relationship with “soul mate” Putin. Moscow openly rejects Washington’s official line with respect to the proposed installation of US NMD assets in Poland and the Czech Republic, insisting that the ABM system is directed toward Russian, rather than Iranian, missiles. In any event, President Bush will probably have to first run all policy proposals past the CFR cabal that controls the White House and which appears to be purposely provoking the Soviets, as well as past the secretive Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group on US-Russian relations that has received virtually no MSM coverage.

Neo-Soviet officialdom is tendering no apologies for the crackdown on Russia’s ineffective opposition grouplets. “Ex”-communist Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov declared: “What happened in St. Petersburg, I think our law enforcement agencies took appropriate action, and people who were supposed to provoke reaction by law enforcement officers, did not succeed. And they will not succeed, because the situation in Russia is quiet and the elections will pass off quietly, so you can take it easy.” Russian Foreign Minister and former Soviet apparatchik Sergei Lavrov concurred: “Freedom of expression and convention is regulated by legislation, and above all the city authorities. When you explain to organizers that this can only be done in places where it would not interfere with the city life, it should be adhered to.” First Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin went further and insisted that the March of Dissent held in St. Petersburg was financed with foreign money: “It is obvious that it was all organized with foreign money. Even if the city authorities had allowed them to demonstrate where they wanted to, the organizers would have rejected the offer and held the meeting in an unsanctioned place. A spokesentity for “ex”-communist Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, moreover, called the actions of the police against marchers in that city “correct and effective.”

PM Zubkov is right: “the situation in Russia is quiet.” Russia’s citizen-slaves will obediently perform their task and vote for the crypto-communists of United Russia and the open communists of the CPRF/SU.

Just Russia Leader Mironov Promises “Surprises” in Russian Political Scene After Presidential Election

Over the last several months we have provided proof for our contention that the Putinist regime is facilitating the CPRF’s path to sole opposition party or possibly a full-blown red coup. During his October conference with (crypto-red?) German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Wiesbaden, Putin issued an ominous warning that suggests that, notwithstanding all of the president’s pro-United Russia posturing, the historic mission of the “party of power” might be coming to an end soon: “But quite other people will be in power after the elections. I’m certain the renewed leadership, and Russia will have another power configuration, other people will come to power, will maintain continuity in cooperation with Germany and Europe.” In confirmation of that prediction, Sergei Mironov, chief of the Just Russia party and Speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house in Russia’s rubberstamp parliament, issued another cryptic warning about Russia’s political configuration after the Duma and presidential elections, the latter to occur in March 2008:

Many regional governors from the United Russia party will be replaced after the March 2008 presidential elections, I expect. I think that governors, primarily members of the United Russia party, will be rotated after the Russian presidential elections. This will be a mass rotation, which will not have any correlation with the amount of votes cast for United Russia in a certain region. There will be surprises.

Mironov did not specify these “surprises.” However, his analysis is intriguing for two reasons. First, Mironov is not an official spokesman for United Russia but presumes to speak on behalf of the “party of power.” Second, if communism is truly “dead” in Russia, which is not true, and United Russia is a bonafide political party that has no attachment to the old Soviet regime, which is also not true, then why would the party leadership sack loyal regional governors who presumably will “get out the vote”? Indeed, the independent Moscow Times reports today: “Election officials have been ordered to make sure that United Russia collects double the number of votes it is expected to win in State Duma elections on Sunday — even if they have to falsify the results, a senior election official said. The Central Elections Commission strongly denied the allegation.” The Moscow Times’ anonymous source explained that the election “workers were being asked to follow a ‘1-for-10 formula.’ This means that each one of us has to get 10 people to vote for United Russia, and we have to provide our superiors with a list of the names of these people. Everyone in every region is involved in the process.” Viktor Ilyukhin, a senior CPRF official, revealed: “Governors had been ordered to help United Russia double its forecast vote.” Oleg Kovalyov, a senior United Russia official, retorted: “These are just rumors our political enemies love to spread.” Indeed.

As Russia enters the final hours before another farcical election, a constitutional ban on reporting pre-election polls has been imposed as of today. State-run Itar-Tass reports:

The ban also applies to publication of any election prognoses or studies. Under the law, the ban comes in force five days before the voting day. It will continue until 21:00 Moscow time December 2 when polling station will be closed. Polls and prognoses must not be published in this period in the press, electronic mass media and the Internet. This practice has been in place over the past five years. It is aimed at making the choice of voters maximally unbiased.

World Communist Government and Gorbachev’s “Common European Home”
In a not unrelated story Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president and roving statesman for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, continues to peddle the “new European Soviet,” first articulated in 1989 if not earlier. By merging neo-Soviet Russia with the European Union into a “Common European Home,” Gorby contends, global political stability will be assured. Similar rumblings about the necessity of EU-Russian friendship emerged from the “ex”-communist dictator- turned-wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing when he attended the Russian-German Forum with Putin and Merkel last month, mentioned above.

“Russia will continue to move along its democratic path, but we are at best only halfway in this process,” Gorbachev admits to Pravda, which still peddles the lie that Gorby facilitated the demise of communism. “We still have a long way to go.” That’s for sure, but no one in the West is paying attention, except for a few diligent bloggers. The building blocks for communist world government can only be maintained on the basis of “managed democracy,” as in Putin’s Russia.

Gorbachev: EU needs Russia
11/27/2007 06:57

The European Union will only achieve the global influence when it finds the way to improve relations with Russia, Soviet first President Mikhail Gorbachev said Tuesday.

Gorbachev said that while it was impossible for Russia to become an EU member in the foreseeable future, the two sides needed to draw up a document setting the rules for “advanced cooperation”

If the EU and Russia do not improve relations, “we will fail to make Europe a center of power in the world,” Gorbachev said at start of a session of the World Political Forum, which he founded in 2003.

“For Europe to become a power center … is important for the world balance and if this doesn’t happen, global processes will be even more unpredictable,” Gorbachev said.

“The EU needs to get a clear and independent voice in global affairs, which has not happened since the end of the Cold War,” said the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose policies of glasnost and perestroika – openness and restructuring – helped end communism in the Soviet Union and its satellites.

“This is one of the reasons why we have seen major problems and mistakes in international politics – the involvement of Europe should be clear and visible,” Gorbachev said, mentioning the wars in the Balkans and Iraq as scenarios where Europe “did not quite measure up to its potential” and allowed the United States to achieve a “monopoly leadership.”

He also expressed concern that more and more Russians wanted to “choose a non-European path,” desiring instead to redirect Russia’s economic and political links toward Asia, while Europe doubted Russia’s ability to build a true democracy.

“Alienation between Russia and the EU is a very dangerous tendency and we must not allow it to happen,” Gorbachev said, adding that the EU remained Russia’s most important partner in economic issues, as well as in modernizing the country.

“Russia will continue to move along its democratic path, but we are at best only halfway in this process. We still have a long way to go,” Gorbachev concluded.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Russian submarines lurk off Norwegian coast, Oslo’s leftist regime downplays Soviet threat, Kremlin continues Navy brass purge

>For months Russian bombers have skimmed along Norway’s coast, provoking NATO fighter jets to respond and escort the enemy aircraft away. (See our Russian Strategic Aviation Updates, right column.) Now the Norwegian military is tracking Russian submarines. According to Oslo’s leftist regime, however, there’s nothing to worry about. State Secretary Espen Barth Eide in the Defense Ministry downplayed the Soviet threat: “I don’t view the heightened Russian activity as alarming.”

Military tracks Russian subs off Norway’s coast

First published: 26 Nov 2007, 10:30

The Russians have been sending fighter jets near Norwegian air space for months. Now some of their submarines have been tracked near territorial waters.

Norwegian officials have attributed the flights to an apparent need by the Russians to show renewed strength. They’re not particularly alarmed over the emergence of the submarines as well.

“They showing off both a will and an ability to be a super power to be reckoned with,” State Secretary Espen Barth Eide in the Defense Ministry told newspaper Aftenposten. “The u-boats are a Russian comment to the day’s international themes.”

Among those “themes” are the US’ controversial plans to place a rocket shield system on the European continent. The Russians vigorously oppose the plans, and Barth Eide believes the dispatch of fighter jets and submarines is part of the official response.

The “comment,” Barth Eide said, “isn’t directed at any one country, and not at us (Norway).”

Norwegian Orion suveillance flights have determined that Russian subs are active just off Norwegian territory. The Orion aircraft can localize the subs, whose crews become aware that they’ve been spotted.

The dispatch of fighter jets and especially submarines was a common Soviet tactic during the Cold War, and awakens uncomfortable memories among many Norwegians. Barth Eide downplayed any threat.

“I don’t view the heightened Russian activity as alarming,” he said.

Source: Aftenposten

Meanwhile, Russia continues to reshuffle its navy brass, as state-run Novosti reports: “Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko will be appointed commander of the Pacific Fleet and Vice Admiral Viktor Mardusin will become commander of the Baltic Fleet.” In September Vladimir Vysotsky, formerly commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet, was promoted to chief of the Russian Navy. These appointments are no doubt designed to ensure that the military hierarchy remains loyal to the Soviet strategists.

>USSR2 File: Putin accuses USA of meddling in Russian election; Kasparov jailed, Nemtsov and Belykh detained, Yabloko regional leader dies of wounds

>Neo-Soviet Russia is less than one week away from its potemkin State Duma election. Both the Kremlin-controlled and independent media are predicting that crypto-Stalinist United Russia, on which party list President Vladimir Putin tops, will steal (probably literally) at least 55% of the vote, with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union being the only other party to obtain seats, if any. The CPRF is confidently projecting up to 35% of the vote for itself. The names of the parties in Russia’s rubberstamp parliament, however, are irrelevant. The Red Team rules in Moscow and will present itself to the world when the Soviet strategists have consoldiated all of their gains against the West. In his most recent provocation against the West, Putin has accused the USA of meddling with the election process in Russia:

The United States is trying to taint the legitimacy of upcoming Russian parliamentary elections by pressing a group of prominent independent election observers to abandon their attempts to monitor the campaign. According to information we have, it was again done at the recommendation of the U.S. State Department and we will take this into account in our inter-state relations with this country. Their goal is the delegitimization of the elections. But they will not achieve even this goal.

The New York Times, below, reports too that during the present Duma election campaign: “The Kremlin repeatedly delayed the issuing of visas to the group’s monitors, preventing them from observing the campaigning for Parliament around the country, as well as news coverage, as is customary.”

Putin Says U.S. Is Meddling in Russian Election
By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
MOSCOW, Nov. 26

President Vladimir V. Putin today accused the United States of trying to taint the legitimacy of upcoming Russian parliamentary elections by pressing a group of prominent independent election observers to abandon their attempts to monitor the campaign.

Mr. Putin contended that the election monitors, who are deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, had canceled their plans to monitor the parliamentary balloting because of pressure from the State Department in Washington.

Mr. Putin’s statements in recent weeks have taken on an increasingly nationalistic tone as he has sought to muster support for his party in the balloting on Sunday. Speaking to reporters today in St. Petersburg, he once again criticized what he suggested was foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs.

“According to information we have, it was again done at the recommendation of the U.S. State Department and we will take this into account in our inter-state relations with this country,” he said. “Their goal is the delegitimization of the elections. But they will not achieve even this goal.”

In focusing on the supposed role of the State Department in the decision, Mr. Putin was highlighting a charge first made on Nov. 19 by the chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Vladimir Y. Churov.

Mr. Churov noted at a news conference that the monitoring group had abandoned its mission soon after its director, Ambassador Christian Strohal of Austria, visited Washington. Mr. Strohal’s aides said subsequently that the timing of the visit and the decision had been coincidental.

A spokeswoman for the election observers today called Mr. Putin’s assertion “nonsense.” The United States Embassy in Moscow would not immediately comment.

The election-monitoring arm of the O.S.C.E., the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, or O.D.I.H.R., announced on Nov. 16 that it was canceling its mission to Russia, saying that restrictions imposed by the Russian government had made it impossible for it to carry out its work. The State Department and European diplomats supported the decision.

Urdur Gunnarsdottir, a spokeswoman for the monitoring arm, said Mr. Putin was misinformed about the reasons for the group’s withdrawal.

“This was a decision that was simply based on the fact that we were not receiving any visas and time had run out,” she said.

“The only consultation that took place was within our office with the people that plan these observation missions and carry them through. They have 150 observation missions under their belt. They know by now what needs to be in place to do this.”

Mr. Putin has turned the parliamentary elections into a referendum on his leadership, and in recent days he has stepped up his campaigning for his party, United Russia. At the same time the Kremlin has used its control over the election laws, government agencies and the news media to ensure that the opposition has little if any chance of gaining a foothold in the next Parliament.

Over the weekend, the opposition coalition, which is headed by Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion, held rallies and marches in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities. The rallies were broken up by riot police officers, with hundreds of people detained. Mr. Kasparov’s movement, Other Russia, contends that Mr. Putin is creating a Soviet-style dictatorship in Russia.

Mr. Kasparov himself was arrested in Moscow on Saturday when he tried to deliver a letter to the federal election authorities assailing the conduct of the election, and a judge sentenced him to five days in jail.

In St. Petersburg on Sunday, two well-known opposition politicians, Boris Y. Nemtsov and Nikita Y. Belykh, leaders of a mainstream liberal party, the Union of Right Forces, were briefly detained.

O.D.I.H.R. has monitored every election in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its presence was viewed as an effort by Moscow to ensure that elections complied with international standards.

But the Kremlin has in recent years chafed at the group’s reports, contending that they were biased against the government.

After the 2004 presidential elections, which Mr. Putin won in a landslide, the group stated flatly that the campaign had not been conducted fairly.

In recent months, Russian officials maintained that monitoring group needed to be reformed.

At the same time, the Kremlin repeatedly delayed the issuing of visas to the group’s monitors, preventing them from observing the campaigning for Parliament around the country, as well as news coverage, as is customary.

Russian officials then abruptly said they would sharply limit the size of O.D.I.H.R.’s mission to only 70 people, down from 400 in the parliamentary election in 2003.

Putin’s public but “non”-member association with United Russia, the founders of which, like Putin himself, are all “ex”-communists as we have elsewhere shown, has prompted intriguing comments from Russia’s hidden Leninist leaders. A televised speech that Putin recorded last Thursday at the Ostankino television studio will be broadcast this week. The independent Moscow Times reports:

Putin Taking to TV in Pre-Vote Address
Monday, November 26, 2007. Issue 3793. Page 3.
By Natalya Krainova Staff Writer

President Vladimir Putin will deliver a nationally televised address this week, ahead of the Dec. 2 State Duma elections in which he is heading the United Russia ticket, the Kremlin said Friday.

Putin recorded the speech Thursday morning at the Ostankino television complex, but the date and time — as well as the channels that will broadcast it — have yet to be determined, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov declined to discuss the issues Putin will address, but he confirmed that the speech was recorded at Ostankino — not at the Kremlin — because Putin would be speaking as head of the United Russia list, not as the president.

Opposition parties have accused Putin of violating election laws by using his office and unparalleled media access to campaign for United Russia.

Channel One television’s evening news Wednesday featured a 16-minute report on Putin’s aggressive speech to 5,000 supporters in which he described his political opponents as greedy “jackals” taking orders from foreign patrons.

Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov told a news conference last week that Wednesday’s speech did not violate election laws, which require equal media coverage for all parties.

Election laws bar parties from campaigning as of Saturday.

Citing “two sources close to the presidential administration,” Vedomosti reported Friday that the speech would last several minutes and echo much of Putin’s speech Wednesday.

Citing no one, Kommersant reported Friday that the speech would “contain some news about the relationship between Putin and United Russia,” an apparent reference to the possibility of Putin joining the party.

Putin is not a party member.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told Rossia television channel he will vote for United Russia in the Duma vote. Ivanov has been tipped as one candidate to succeed Putin.

Today’s edition of the communist organ Pravda admits that Putin’s identification with United Russia is in truth designed to push voters away from that party and toward others such as the CPRF itself. Pravda also suggests that Putin’s overbearing support for ER will polarize Russian society into two camps before he “decouples” from the party and resumes his “non-partisan” role as “national leader.”

Putin will appear on TV screens to appeal to Russia’s potential electors and citizens of the country. United Russia’s current campaign is peculiar for its artificial identification of state and civil interests with the interests of the nation’s political power. The president’s speech will be the embodiment of this fusion.

The address will also illustrate Putin’s closer ties with United Russia, which is a contradictory process for Putin. One the one hand, the image of a party leader does not bring the president any good because it automatically puts an end to his role as the national leader. On the other hand, it gives Putin a chance to win the voters who have not made their final political choice. However, this excessive psychological pressure may push many voters away from United Russia. This is exactly what the Communist Party hopes for.

Most likely, Putin will achieve his goal, and United Russia will win most seats at the elections. It is not ruled out that the Russian society will then split into two groups standing for and against the new incumbent powers. Afterwards, Vladimir Putin may decouple from the United Russia party and retrieve his role of the national leader.

Meanwhile, the crypto-communist Putinist regime continues its reign of red terror against the country’s dwindling liberal movement. In The New York Times article above the arrests of chess champion-turned-opposition activist Garry Kasparov and the temporary detention of Union of Right Forces leaders Boris Y. Nemtsov and Nikita Y. Belykh were reported. In Dagestan Yabloko’s regional leader Farid Babayev, who was the target of an assassination attempt on November 22, has died of his wounds. State-run Russia Today reports:

Politician dies after attack in Dagestan
November 24, 2007, 11:13

The leader of the Yabloko party in Dagestan has died in hospital following an assassination attempt on Wednesday. Farid Babayev fell into a coma after he was shot outside his house in the republic’s capital Makhachkala.

Yabloko’s party leader, Grigory Yavlinsky, claims the murder was politically motivated.

“Farid Babayev was a human rights activist, he had been looking into and fighting against kidnappings in Dagestan, corruption cases and the consequences of military operations that resulted in innocent peoples’ deaths. He sharply criticized Dagestani authorities.

We think it’s becoming more common that people who talk badly about the authorities find themselves under pressure… Now it’s the shooting of a party list leader ten days before the election.

We think it’s a vivid example of the atmosphere around the election in Dagestan in particular and in Russia in general,” he said.

Vladimir Kryuchkov, State Emergency Committee Putschist Dies, During Last Days Urges Russian Security Agencies to Rally Around Putin

In a related story, Vladimir Kryuchkov, former KGB director and State Emergency Committee putschist, died of an “unspecified illness” this past Friday. A colleague of coup mastermind and current Communist Party of the Soviet Union Chairman Oleg Shenin, Kryuchkov was invited to Putin’s 2000 presidential inauguration. In a 2005 interview with Kommersant Daily Valentin Falin, former head of the International Department of the old CPSU, admitted that the August 1991 coup, per KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s analysis in The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998), was a feint designed to deceive the West into believing that communism was in its death throes. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was apprised of the coup attempt beforehand.

Last month, The Moscow Times reports below, Kryuchkov and other KGB veterans, responding to “turf battles” between Russia’s security organs, “called on the feuding forces to unite behind President Vladimir Putin.”

Leader of KGB Coup Dead at 83
The Associated Press

Vladimir Kryuchkov, the former KGB chief who spearheaded a failed coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, has died, officials said Sunday. He was 83.

Kryuchkov died Friday in Moscow of an unspecified illness, a spokesman for the Federal Security Service said.

Kryuchkov worked with future Soviet leader Yury Andropov in the Hungarian Embassy in the 1950s. When Andropov became head of the KGB in 1967, he helped Kryuchkov rise through the ranks.

Kryuchkov in 1974 was appointed chief of the KGB’s First Main Directorate in charge of spying abroad. In 1988, Gorbachev appointed Kryuchkov as KGB chief.

In August 1991, Kryuchkov joined other hard-line Communists who ousted Gorbachev and declared a state of emergency. The coup collapsed after three days, and Kryuchkov and other coup plotters were jailed but freed on an amnesty in early 1994.

Last month, Kryuchkov warned of “big trouble” if a turf battle between security agencies continues to fester. He and other KGB veterans called on the feuding forces to unite behind President Vladimir Putin.

Kryuchkov’s funeral is planned for Tuesday.

Kryuchkov’s unwavering support for and endorsement of “ex”-communist Putin unquestionably proves the continuity of the Soviet leadership and strategy since the fake collapse of communism. In short, the CPSU continues to execute its long-range plan for world revolution.

>USSR2 File: Georgian President Saakashvili resigns in advance of January 5 vote, suspect in coup attempt to contest election

>“Pro”-Western Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, a protege of communist dictator Eduard Shevardnadze, has resigned in advance of the January 5 vote. Saakashvili won an unbelievable 96% of the popular vote in the January 4, 2004 presidential election following the (staged) ousting of Shevardnadze in the Rose Revolution. Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze is interim head of state, a post she also held following Shevardnadze’s departure from the political limelight in November 2003. Pictured here: Potemkin politician Saakashvili meets the communist-KGB dictator of neo-Soviet Russia, Moscow, June 2006.

Georgia’s Saakashvili resigns before president vote
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2007 0:27am AEDT
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili stepped down to be registered as a candidate in a January 5 presidential election, his chief spokesman said.

“I am informing you that the Georgian president stepped down on November 25, 2007,” the president’s chief spokesman, Vano Noniashvili, told a news briefing.

“I remind you that stepping down before the end of the term is a formality and a necessity because of early presidential elections in Georgia and Mikhail Saakashvili is due to run in the election as a candidate.”

Mr Saakashvili, 39, called the early election this month after crushing opposition protests with riot police and closing the country’s biggest opposition television station.

Under the constitution, his powers now pass to Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze, one of his allies. Reuters

Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation News

Incumbent Saakashvili will run against a number of candidates, including Komsomol businessman and Berezovsky bud Badri Patarkatsishvili, whom Georgia’s Prosecutor General identified as a suspect in an attempted coup against Saakashvili earlier this month. Itar-Tass states that “Patarkatsishvili’s five-member group comprises member of parliament Valery Gelbakhiani and the brother of late prime minister Zurab Zhvania, Georgy Zhvania.” Patarkatsishvili’s alliance with the brother of the deceased (and probably murdered) Zurab Zhvania is intriguing since Zurab, like Saakashvili, was a “former” protege of communist boss Schevardnadze.

Georgian businessman to run for president
26.11.2007, 14.48

TBILISI, November 26 (Itar-Tass) – Businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili has will to run for the post of Georgian president, members of his action group told Itar-Tass on Monday. They filed his application for his election campaign.

Under Georgian laws, a political party, organization or action group can nominate a presidential candidate.

Patarkatsishvili’s five-member group comprises member of parliament Valery Gelbakhiani and the brother of late prime minister Zurab Zhvania, Georgy Zhvania.

Zhvania, 39, told Itar-Tass that Patarkatsishvili had confirmed his decision to run for Georgian president.

Patarkatsishvili’s supporters are to receive at the Central Election Commission forms for collecting 50,000 signatures.

Nine presidential candidates have got such forms last week.

The Central Election commission is to check the signatures of support for every candidate.

Aspirants for presidential post include incumbent President Mikhail Saakashvili, who was nominated by the ruling party United National Movement; David Gamkrelidze of the moderate opposition party New Right; Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor Party; Giya Maisashvili, an economist with the action group; and others.

The National Opposition Council is to apply for the registration of Levan Gachechiladze.

Source: Itar-Tass

We have previously documented the continuation of communist control over Georgia following the self-destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991. In additional support of that contention, Georgian political analysts Zurab Chiaberashvili and Gigi Tevzadze record that in “the first half of 1990s, the former communist nomenklatura directly, or by means of relatives and clients, maintained a privileged economic position and economic influence by using material resources made available by the state. The economic elite represented a narrow circle of people. However, some groups in particular influencedthe economy and, accordingly, the policy of the country.” There is every reason to believe, therefore, that to this very day “politics” in the Not-So-Former Soviet republics, as in Russia itself, are a sham designed to reconsolidate communist power, flush out and neutralize opponents, and confuse Western analysts who rejected the warnings of KGB defectors like Major Anatoliy Golitsyn.

>Middle East File: Lebanon’s pro-Syrian President Lahoud imposes emergency, deploys army, declares Saniora government "unconstitutional"

>Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, a pro-Syrian/pro-Hezbollah Maronite Catholic who resigned on November 23, has handed control of the country over to the army, denouncing the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, a Sunni Muslim, as “unconstitutional.” Meanwhile, the ruling Future Movement coalition is unable to produce Lahoud’s successor. Last week the coalition’s leader Saad Hariri visited Moscow on a fool’s errand, naively believing that neo-Soviet Tyrant Vladimir Putin can resolve the issues dividing Lebanon’s quarreling factions. The Soviets would love nothing more than to “help” Lebanon to the benefit of its long-time client Syria. General Michel Sulaiman, commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, is the de facto republican president.

Lebanese president declares emergency
Nov 23, 2007 02:01 PM
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BEIRUT

President Emile Lahoud has ordered the army today to take over security powers in Lebanon, saying the country is in a state of emergency.

That came hours before Lahoud was stepping down without a successor and leaving the divided country in a political vacuum.

The announcement immediately raised further questions amid Lebanon’s political turmoil.

The president cannot declare a state of emergency without approval from the government, but Lahoud’s spokesman said the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora is considered unconstitutional.

Presidential spokesman Rafik Shalala says the army is instructed to preserve security all over the Lebanese territory and places all the armed forces at its disposal.

There was no immediate reaction from the Saniora government, which has been meeting at government house in Beirut as the announcement was made at the presidential palace in suburban Baabda.

Source: TheStar.com

The following article predicts that Lebanon will be under military control for “several months.” “We are going through a battle of the wills. But it is obvious there is an outside decision to sabotage the elections,” Lebanese political analyst George Nassif said in a telephone interview with Gulf News, referring to Syria.

Army put on alert in Lebanon
By Mohammed Almezel, Deputy Managing Editor
Published: November 21, 2007, 00:22

Dubai: While Lebanese leaders and foreign diplomats race against time to clinch a last-minute deal on a new president, Lebanon is likely to be put under a military rule for at least several months when the term of the current president ends at midnight Friday, Gulf News has learnt.

“We still hope for some sort of a miracle,” analyst George Nassif said.

“The people are scared and confused,” he told Gulf News, as army and security forces boosted their presence in Beirut and the mountainous areas, according to witnesses and journalists, in anticipation of potential conflict in case the rival factions fail to agree on a new president.

Random checkpoints were set up on Monday night, searching cars and inspecting travellers’ documents on major intersections, Associated Press reported.

“We are going through a battle of the wills. But it is obvious there is an outside decision to sabotage the elections,” Nassif said, referring to Syria. He spoke to Gulf News by telephone from Beirut.

President Emile Lahoud must leave the Presidential Palace by November 24, according to the constitution. But the ruling coalition and its opponents remained split yesterday over who will replace him despite frantic mediations.

The majority camp wants lawmaker Robert Ganem for the post while the opposition supports former minister Michel Edde. Another parliament session, scheduled for today, was postponed yesterday, underscoring the stalemate. It would be held on Friday, Lahoud’s last day in office.

“We are looking at three possibilities,” a former minister told Gulf News from Beirut.

“The one everyone hopes for is of course a last minute deal on a new president by the constitutional deadline [on Friday],” he said, requesting anonymity because of the delicate situation. This possibility, however, he stressed, was “unlikely.”

The second scenario is “a chaotic power vacuum,” which could lead to two rival governments and bloodshed, he said.

The third possibility according to him is “the most likely one” – a decree by Lahoud to set up a military council, led by army commander General Michel Suleiman, to administer the country, “prepare for new parliamentary and presidential elections possibly sometime next year”.

Source: GulfNews.com

>Latin America File: Uribe reverses policy, excludes Chavez from negotiations with FARC, Venezuela severs ties with Colombia; Ecuador expels US base

>Notwithstanding the chummy photo ops surrounding the Venezuelan-Colombia natural gas pipeline, currently under construction, Venezuela’s neo-communist dictator has severed relations with Bogota over President Alvaro Uribe’s decision to dump Hugo Chavez as mediator between Colombia’s beleaguered government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). FARC and the pro-Chavez Communist Party of Venezuela are both members of the narco-terrorist-communist Sao Paulo Forum. The FSP, which recently convened next to the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile, has targeted war-weary Colombia for red revolution. FARC has in the past pledged its support to Chavez should the USA ever threaten to overthrow his regime, a contstant topic in Comrade Hugo’s paranoid little red universe. Pictured above: Alvaro and Hugo, friends no more.

Chavez freezes ties with Colombia over mediation flap
Sun Nov 25, 4:45 PM ET

CARACAS (AFP) – President Hugo Chavez announced Sunday he was freezing bilateral relations with neighboring Colombia, after Bogota dropped him as a mediator during talks with Colombian leftist rebels on a hostage swap.

Chavez said he was putting bilateral ties in a “freezer,” after Colombian President Alvaro Uribe dropped him and a dialogue facilitator, Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba, in negotiations toward the swap of leftist rebels for high-profile hostages guerrillas hold.

“I declare to the world that I am putting relations with Colombia in the freezer. I do not believe in anyone in the Colombian government,” Chavez said in a speech.

“They have spat brutally in our face when we worked heart and soul to try to get them on the road to peace,” Chavez added.

In Bogota, Cordoba said Sunday she was being investigated by her country’s Supreme Court for treason.

“They notified me yesterday; I am being investigated for treason and collusion,” Cordoba told Radio Caracol from Caracas. She did not say if the charges against her were related to her work as mediator or to unrelated allegations.

Uribe had approved Chavez and Cordoba for their negotiator roles in August 31, following a phone call from Chavez to Colombian Army General Mario Montoya inquiring about the hostages.

Cordoba came under considerable fire in government circles for meeting secretly with rebel commanders Ivan Marquez and Rodrigo Granda, whom the FARC selected to negotiate the swap of 45 abductees for about 500 jailed guerrillas.

Uribe on Wednesday withdrew backing for Chavez and Cordoba to mediate FARC’s offer to release 45 high-profile hostages — including three Americans and French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt — in exchange for the jailed rebels.

The conservative Colombian president said that he considered Chavez’s role over because Chavez had ignored his demand not to speak directly with Colombian generals about the hostages.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked Uribe to “maintain a dialogue” with Chavez over the possible swap, his office said Thursday.

Sarkozy has taken a personal interest in the fate of Betancourt, a Colombian former presidential candidate who has a French passport by virtue of a marriage to a Frenchman. She has been held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) since 2002.

Source: Yahoo.News.com

FARC and the communist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela are the most important Latin American components in the Communist Bloc’s 45-year-old narco-subversion plan against the West. During last year’s presidential election, Fidel Castro’s “mini mini me” Rafael Correa articulated his opposition to the White House’s Plan Colombia. Now Ecuador’s budding communist dictator is putting feet to his opposition by evicting the US military from its base in Manta and thereby undermining the White House’s Endless War on Drugs, which in any event, has been surplanted by the trendier Endless War on Terror.

“When the base was first conceived and built-out, for SouthCom and the Pentagon in general, the drug war was a bigger deal than it is now,” John Walsh, Senior Associate for Andes and Drug Policy with the leftist Washington Office on Latin America, observes, adding: “It’s no longer the top war on anyone’s agenda.” Michael Shifter, Vice President of Policy with the Inter-American Dialogue, agrees: “The Manta base serves no larger strategic purpose for the US in Latin America, apart from some support in fighting the Drug War.” More than anything else, the fact that the closure of the Manta base may only be a slap in the face to the USA demonstrates the success of neo-Soviet Russia’s nacro-subversion plan and reveals the treasonous myopia of Washington’s overpaid careerists and policy wonks.

Pictured above: Latin America’s Red Axis: Chavez, Bolivian Tyrant in Training Evo Morales, Correa, and the ailing Fidel, who refuses to die.

US faces eviction from Ecuadorian base
By Sam Logan for ISN Security Watch (12/01/07)

Rafael Correa wants the US military to leave its base in Manta, Ecuador, and Washington is not overly concerned, though it would mean losing a strategic drug war position.

The Eloy Alfaro air base in Manta, Ecuador, is one of five primary air bases in the country. After Washington negotiated a ten-year lease agreement that would allow the US military to use a portion of the base, US operations there attracted little attention, at least until Ecuador’s 2006 presidential election campaign, when President-elect Rafael Correa pledged not to renew the lease in 2009. It was a popular move among many of his constituents.

US Southern Command (SouthCom), the branch of the US military that oversees operations in the Western Hemisphere, claims that installations at Manta play an important role in counter-drug operations. As a Forward Operation Location (FOL), Manta is one of a number of air bases that replaced US facilities closed in Panama in 1999.

Yet, as a beach head for US activities in South America and with 2009 drawing closer, the base will find itself at the center of a new focus. Some experts believe that Ecuador may test the waters to see just how important the base is to the US by using its impending existence as a leverage point to gain preferential trade access to US markets.

Forward operations

Once the US government signed the ten-year lease, it promptly spent over US$70 million to prepare the base for US aircraft and personnel. A new runway was installed and upgrades were made to base facilities. Today, the base can accommodate up to eight aircraft – four large, four medium – and is authorized to house a maximum of 475 military personnel, according to Jose Ruiz, spokesman for US SouthCom.

“On average, [the base] is supported by 250 personnel from the US Armed Forces and US Customs and Border Patrol,” Ruiz told ISN Security Watch. “An additional 65 US citizens and 180 Ecuadorian contractors support the FOL counter-drug operations,” he said

As the US FOL at Manta is a counter-drug operation, a number of AWACS surveillance planes stationed there make two flights daily, according to a 19 December article by the UK magazine The Economist. Ruiz suggested that missions over the Eastern Pacific and the Andean mountains have greatly aided the US’ overall counter-drug strategy for the region.

“Since 1999, the FOL has conducted more than 3,300 counter-drug missions, totaling over 18,000 flight hours and has contributed directly or indirectly to the seizure of more than 52,000 kg of illegal drugs with a street value exceeding US$2 billion,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz pointed out that it was in the best interests of the US and its regional partners to continue monitoring narco-trafficking activities. When asked about options the US government would have in the event the base was closed in 2009, Ruiz replied that the US government would “continue pursuing, considering and assessing effective options for counter-drug activities.”

SNIP

Negotiation and leverage

Since Correa’s election, Washington has been worried about losing Ecuador to the Venezuelan sphere of influence. Whether or not Correa falls in step with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, analysts believe he will be reminded of his campaign promise to close the Manta base, and has already publicly considered using the base as an international airport to link South America with Asia.

It is still too early to gauge how far the US will go to keep Manta. Nor is it clear if Washington will use economic incentive to pressure Correa into renewing the lease agreement, but many believe he will see how much leverage he has for negotiation with the US.

“Correa has a campaign pledge to honor,” John Walsh, Senior Associate for the Andes and Drug Policy with the Washington Office on Latin America, told ISN Security Watch.

Walsh argued that Correa had adopted a tough stance as the most logical negotiation position at this point. “If the US wants to prevent the base from being closed, then Correa should ask, ‘What are you going to give me?'” he said.

“It makes sense for Correa to start with a very hard line. And if he extracts from the US aid or other kinds of concessions, perhaps something related to trade, then it’s part of the bargaining,” Walsh pointed out. “He has a while yet where he can take a tough stance and see what he can get for it,” he said.

Little concern in Washington

Correa, however, may find that the US government holds low regard for the base. “When the base was first conceived and built-out, for SouthCom and the Pentagon in general, the drug war was a bigger deal than it is now,” Walsh said. “It’s no longer the top war on anyone’s agenda.”

Michael Shifter, Vice President of Policy with the Inter-American Dialogue, agrees.

“The Manta base serves no larger strategic purpose for the US in Latin America, apart from some support in fighting the Drug War,” Shifter told ISN Security Watch in a recent email interview.

Correa’s attempts to use the base as leverage to improve his negotiation position with the US, after all the campaign promises and shouting, may be met with ambivalence, according to Shifter. Correa’s closure of the base could very well come and go as little more than a minor blip on SouthCom’s radar.

According to Shifter, “It is easy to imagine possible options for Washington in the region, especially if [other countries] were prepared to offer highly favorable terms.”

“The concern about the Manta base is overdrawn and unnecessary.”

Source: International Relations and Security Network

>Asia File: British Commonwealth suspends Pakistan’s membership until Musharraf revokes emergency, Marxists see opportunity for revolution in Islamabad

>The Commonwealth of Nations has suspended Pakistan’s membership pending President Pervez Musharraf’s revocation of the state of emergency and resignation as army chief. General Musharraf, whose re-election was ratified by the Supreme Court on November 20, has promised to step down as Pakistan’s top military man by December 1, but the British Commonwealth insisted upon an earlier date, namely November 22. Meanwhile, the Marxist-controlled opposition in the Pakistan People’s Party, led by former leftist prime minister Benazir Bhutto, continues to agitate for Musharraf’s removal from Pakistani politics altogether.

“Comrade” Manzoor Ahmed (pictured above), PPP member of parliament and head of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign, is a principal organizer of red revolution against the military regime in Islamabad. This month “the police have arrested more than 300 PPP and PTUDC activists,” the In Defense of Marxism website reported on November 13. “At the Kasur rally comrade Manzoor said that this was a class war. Hence the PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto should immediately call for a 24-hour general strike. He said that only through such a strong proletarian action can the dictatorship be overthrown and the struggle for a genuine workers’ democracy be stepped up.” The same source reports that on November 19 authorities released Manzoor from jail, three days after organizing further anti-Musharraf rallies.

Commonwealth suspends Pakistan over emergency rule
November 22, 2007
By Barry Moody
Reuters

KAMPALA – The 53-nation Commonwealth suspended Pakistan’s membership on Thursday, after President Pervez Musharraf failed to meet a deadline to lift emergency rule and resign as army chief.

The Commonwealth had given Musharraf until Thursday to lift the state of emergency he imposed on November 3.

Musharraf has begun rolling back some elements of emergency rule and Pakistani officials say he will be sworn in as a civilian leader within days. This week he freed thousands of detainees held since November 3. He has also promised a parliamentary election on January 8.

But the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), charged with reviewing Pakistan’s membership, said: “The situation in Pakistan continues to represent a serious violation of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.”

CMAG had therefore “suspended Pakistan forthwith from the Commonwealth pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in that country,” the organization’s Secretary-General Don McKinnon, told a news conference, reading from a statement.

The statement expressed disappointment that while there had been some progress, many of the Commonwealth’s demands, laid down on at a meeting on November 12, had “remained substantially unfulfilled.”

While suspension has few immediate practical consequences, analysts say it could further isolate Pakistan and discourage foreign investment. The nine-member CMAG was established in 1995 to deal with violations of Commonwealth rules on democracy.

DIFFICULT DECISION

The meeting ran five hours over schedule, apparently indicating difficulty in reaching a decision.

Commonwealth sources said Asian CMAG members Sri Lanka and Malaysia were reluctant to act now against Pakistan while Tanzania and Canada had pushed hard for it to be suspended.

But British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: “Every country was fully in favor of the decision, but it was a decision taken in sorrow not in anger … the chance is for Pakistan now to make the changes that are in their interest.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who arrived in Kampala shortly before the CMAG decision, told reporters: “Commonwealth ministers have made a clear and necessary decision with the suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth.”

The other members of CMAG are Papua New Guinea, Malta, Lesotho, Malaysia and St Lucia but the latter was absent.

A British source held out the possibility that Pakistan could be readmitted to the Commonwealth if satisfactory elections were held in January.

It was the second time Pakistan had been suspended after being barred in 1999 when Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup. Islamabad was re-admitted in 2004 in recognition that democratic progress had been made.

The Commonwealth, grouping 1.8 billion people, or more than a quarter of the world’s population, will begin a three-day summit in Kampala on Friday.

While critical of Musharraf’s actions, the United States favors giving him some leeway, as an ally in the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban, to put things right before the poll. But the Pakistani opposition says it may boycott the election.

Reed Brody, spokesman for Human Rights Watch, applauded the Commonwealth decision, saying: “The ministers … have told General Musharraf that martial law and subversion of constitutional rule have no place in the Commonwealth.”

Source: MSNBC.com

>EU/USSR2 Files: 2nd October Revolution: Protests in Hungary, Slovenia; labor unrest threatens E. Europe following international red congress in Minsk

>According to the editors of the Communist Century website, “[T]he massive expansion of the productive forces worldwide associated with globalization is laying the material basis for communism. This is true even though this process is occurring largely under capitalist social relations.” It is for this very reason that “ex”-communist leaders in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are ensuring that the transition to free-market reforms is as painful as possible for their citizen-slaves. Neo-Soviet Tyrant Vladimir Putin’s role in promoting the development of the “state of the whole people” in Russia is acknowledged by the Communist Century editors who uncritically refer to Putin’s April 2007 annual address to the Federal Assembly as the “Russian Five-Year Plan.”

Pictured above: The website of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union depicts the Hammer and Sickle fluttering over the State Duma building.

At Once Upon a Time in the West we are not surprised by the fact that labor unrest is breaking out across Western and Eastern Europe on the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and midway between the ninth International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Minsk, Belarus and the State Duma election in Russia. The CPRF/SU, which is endeavoring to openly reassert itself on the Russian political scene and oust the potemkin United Russia “party of power,” has publicly endorsed, with Chairman Gennady Zyuganov’s imprimatur, the Ford workers’ strike in St. Petersburg:

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation decisively supports the valid demands of the workers at the Ford plant, and issues a call to all political and public forces in Russia to express their defense of the lawful acts of the auto manufacturer workers. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation intends to turn to the world community with the call to the international campaign of solidarity with the workers on strike at Ford.

Workers, as we have previously blogged, are also striking at the ports of St. Petersburg and Tuapse, on the Black Sea. The independent Moscow Times reported on November 12:

Russian Railways has suspended shipments to Tuapse Commercial Sea Port, where as much as 138,000 tons of coal and grain are stranded because of a dockworker strike.

More than 1,000 rail cars with coal and 800 cars with grain are waiting to be unloaded, Russian Railways said in a statement late Thursday. Another 500 cars have been unloaded and their goods taken to warehouses, the company said.

Tuapse, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin’s Novolipetsk Steel, ships more than 20 million tons of oil, coal, iron ore and metals per year. It is the country’s only Black Sea port for shipping coal.

Dockworkers are continuing the strike despite a court ruling that ordered them to return to work, Russian Railways said. Some 120 dockworkers walked off the job Nov. 4 demanding a 20 percent pay raise. They suspended the stoppage three days later, according to the port authorities.

In the old Soviet era Russian oligarch and Tuapse port owner Vladimir Lisin wrote for Pravda, when the organ’s editorial policy was openly communist.

According to new reports, however, a St. Petersburg court has suspended the strike at that port until December 14, nearly two weeks after the Duma election, we might add. Aleksandr Moiseyenko, chairman of the port committee of the Russian Federation dockworkers’ trade union, insists that workers might resume the strike at any moment and promises that “there will be such a situation before the 14th of December.”

Strike in the Port of St. Petersburg is Suspended till December 14
23.11.2007 (15:38)

Only 35 workers continue the strike in the port of St. Petersburg.

The strike has been suspended in view of legal proceedings, PRIME-TASS reports according to PortNews. The port’s Administration field a claim having accused the strikers of non-fulfillment of minimal obligatory works. According to the court’s ruling the work was to be resumed and the majority of the employees obeyed the ruling. However, the strike was only suspended. According to Aleksandr Moiseyenko, Chairman of the port committee of the RF dockworkers’ trade union, the strikes may be resumed by decisions of strike committees at any moment and there will be such a situation before the 14th of December.

The trade union of dockworkers is traditionally quite strong. The wages of the port workers is lower as compared with other market segments. Besides, there is a positive example of the strike at the Ford-Vsevolzhsk car manufacturer. However, Vladimir Kochetkov, analyst of Finam company, thinks the strike of the dock workers is not likely to last for a long period as Russian workers do not usually have any essential savings and may not strike for over 2 weeks without being paid. “The New Year holidays approach and the workers will stop the strike or agree with insignificant concessions proposed by the company’s management.”

The employees of the port of St. Petersburg started the strike on November 13. They announced it to be an unlimited and worked only for two hours a day (the first and the last hour of each shift) demanding a 30-percent increase of wages. According to a source in the trade union, the port’s Administration refused to discuss anything with the workers until they resumed the work. However, the negotiations did not start even after the strike was suspended. Estimated loss of the port of St. Petersburg are some $400,000.

Polit.ru summarizes the strikes of the last several weeks and others that are planned to coincide with the Duma elections. According to Russia’s labor law “strikes are prohibited in organizations providing public vital activity (energy supply, heating, natural gas industry, aircraft, railway and water transport, communication, hospitals) in cases when it can endanger the country defense, life and health of people.” For that reason, there is some uncertainty whether Russia’s 10,000 railway workers will proceed with their strike, planned for November 28. Officially, reporter Mikhail Zakharov observes, “there are no strikes in Russia.” Of course, what else would one expect the crypto-Stalinists in the Kremlin to say? There is no unrest! Everyone is well fed and happy! Papers, please! Vote United Russia and move along!

Meanwhile, on November 21 in Hungary the railway union carried out a six-hour work stoppage that halted trains and buses, while Fidesz, the main opposition party that was organized under the watchful eye of the old communist regime, organized rallies against the ruling “ex”-communist Hungarian Socialist Party and its despised leader, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Gyurcsany plays the part of economic reformer, but his reforms hurt Hungarians, provide political ammunition for rightists and open communists alike, and tarnish capitalism’s image, which is probably the whole idea.

Hungarians protest against economic reforms
Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:45pm GMT
By Sandor Peto and Andras Gergely

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Thousands of anti-government protesters rallied outside Hungary’s parliament on Wednesday after 10,000 workers staged strikes to try to halt Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany’s economic reforms.

Led by a six-hour stoppage from the powerful railway union, strikers blocked roads, halted trains and two bus lines, closed Budapest’s airport and shut some schools. But parallel protests were smaller than expected and the government did not budge.

The strikes and demonstrations were backed by the main opposition Fidesz party, whose leader Viktor Orban said earlier this week that the ruling coalition, led by Gyurcsany’s Socialists, could be forced out in six to nine months.

“I hate Gyurcsany. The more of us turn up, the stronger the hope is that there will be some change,” Andras Mezei, 65, told Reuters outside parliament.

Unlike in France and Germany where unions have real muscle, Hungarian workers are unlikely to seriously challenge economic reforms, although Socialist deputies who have seen their party’s poll ratings fall to as low as 15 percent have voiced worry.

The rail workers protested against rural line closures at state rail firm MAV, which loses hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and smaller unions aimed to halt health and pension reforms. But only two of the six main union groupings took part.

“The unions remain divided along political lines and their confidence rating within the society is relatively low,” said Attila Gyulai, an analyst at consultancy Political Capital.

News agency MTI estimated the Budapest protest drew 5,000 people, versus up to 50,000 projected earlier by media. The government said that showed the strikes lacked support.

PM TO PUSH AHEAD

Weeks of protests against Gyurcsany last year attracted backing from mainstream political parties although protests led by far-right groups in October this year fizzled out.

Gyurcsany, on a tour of the Baltics, told Estonian television he was not worried by his low poll ratings and pledged to push ahead with health and education reforms as well as changes to the state’s bureaucracy.

“Of course opinion polls are very important, but the fate of the state is much more important,” Gyurcsany said.

Gyurcsany has won plaudits from markets and the European Union for his measures to rein in the budget deficit, which hit 9.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2006, the highest in the EU, and will fall to just 3.2 percent in 2009.

But tax and price hikes made to consolidate the budget and Gyurcsany’s admission in a leaked tape that he lied in the 2006 election campaign about the poor state of public finances have alienated many in the country of 10 million people.

Political analysts said that Gyurcsany had little choice but the stay the course and hope the reforms bear fruit if he is to stand any chance of being re-elected in 2010.

“The government’s measures had very negative impacts but reversing its policy can be equally risky,” said Gyulai.

To the south of Hungary, in the Not-So-Former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia, 70,000 workers, students, and pensioners marched through the streets of Ljubljana on November 17. The leaders of the 300,000-member ZSSS union, according to the Marxist.com report below, used the march as a final warning to employers to increase wages prior to a general strike. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, like Gyurcsany, is an “ex”-communist who has “embrace” free-market reforms for the obvious purpose of discrediting capitalism. Comrade Phil, who pens the missive below, writes: “What failed in the past was not Socialism but Stalinism. What failed was the attempt to build so-called ‘socialism in one country.’ What is needed is a return to planned economy.” And so the communist self-delusion continues . . .

Massive workers’ rally in Slovenia – threat of a general strike to come
By Phil Sharpe
Thursday, 22 November 2007

The class struggle is back on the agenda in Slovenia, and with it the ideas and symbols of socialism. This was clear last Saturday, November 17, when 70,000 workers, students and pensioners marched, in the cold, through the streets of Ljubljana. They were joined by the President Elect, Danilo Tuerk, and the government’s Labour Minister, Marjeta Cotman, along with other members of the Government!

This was a massive turnout for such a small city. The population of the country as a whole is only two million! The atmosphere was incredible, especially from the workers during the speeches. The leaders of the big ZSSS Union (demonstrators in red; it has 300,000 members) were threatening a general strike and stated that this rally was the last warning for employers to meet the demand for a 3.6% pay increase that they are after.

Among the slogans chanted on the demonstration one could hear, “We have had enough of everything – except bread!” and “We want European wages not just EU prices.” A Croatian and Macedonian flag were present on the demonstration, a refreshing indication of the fact that workers had no interest in the reactionary break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Also, among the songs played were old Yugoslav and Partisans tunes, again a harking back to the joint struggle of the workers of all the former Yugoslav republics against Nazi occupation.

While the official reason for the demonstration was the low wages and the skyrocketing inflation, it was quite apparent that the general mood was that of being fed up with the constant privatisation and all the problems which capitalism has now brought them. There were many anti-EU banners, not to mention many red flags with hammer and sickles. Among the students especially there was radical mood. They showed no bias against the idea of socialism, and they received with applause the Italian trade unionist’s speech about needing to attack capitalism and the state etc.

Back in November 2005 a similar event took place against the government’s counter-reforms in education and the economy. That demonstration saw 40,000 people (the largest demonstration since independence in 1991), workers, students, and the Police of course, on the streets. This time the turnout was almost double, a clear indication that the anger of the workers is growing, both in intensity and in the numbers affected.

The government proposals include the end of subsidised student meals, the end of free education, payments to be made after graduation, and removal of state subsidies for student accommodation. At the same time proposals included a reduction in the amount of tax paid directly by the bosses, but an increase in the tax on goods and services (VAT).

In an article we published in 2005 we questioned whether the fine speeches of the leaders were only for letting off steam. It seems that whatever the reason, the delay in tackling the issues has led to an even bigger demonstration and an increase in militancy. The workers and students now need to carry through the demands and organise a successful general strike.

SNIP

The government, led by Janez Jansa, an ex-member of the Yugoslav League of Communists and its former youth wing leader, who has now whole heartedly embraced the “free market economy”, i.e. capitalism, refuses to even consider the demands made by the workers stating that the country cannot afford any increase in wages even though the economy is growing.

“Higher salaries should be demanded in companies that have good business results while radical wage demands could endanger companies that are not doing well,” Jansa said on Thursday. (New York Times, 17/11/2007)

The recent Presidential election saw the government-backed candidate defeated. Danilo Tuerk, who was supported by the left coalition led by the Social Democrats, gained over 68% of the vote in the second round of the elections. Interestingly, he was supported by one of the parties in the governing coalition, the DeSUS! The President has only influence on Defence and Foreign Affairs. The Social Democrats themselves state that they support the “Third way”. The workers, however, are seeing that these policies no longer meet their needs. The only logical conclusion they can reach is that they must campaign for policies to overthrow capitalism!

As a result of the poll the Prime Minister called for a vote of confidence in Parliament on Monday 20 November to decide whether he would resign. Whilst the coalition has 49 seats he easily won the vote 51 to 33 with 6 absentees.

The result of the election sends a warning to the political parties. Opinion polls suggest that the government will reap its rewards at the next election due in 2008.

The workers are beginning to move and welcome demands for socialist policies. There was repeated singing of the Internationale and Bandiera Rossa from many sections of the demonstration. When the speakers criticised capitalism, privatisation and called for solidarity there were cheers from the crowd.

A small country like Slovenia cannot escape from the pressures of world capitalism or for that matter the worldwide class struggle. What is happening in this small country is indicative of what we will see in all of the ex-Yugoslav Republics and also the former Soviet-dominated East European bloc. They fooled the people that capitalism was the answer to their problems. They can now see that it is not.

What failed in the past was not Socialism but Stalinism. What failed was the attempt to build so-called “socialism in one country.” What is needed is a return to planned economy. But not to the Stalinist version, which was a terribly deformed caricature of what socialism should be. Genuine socialism must be based on workers’ democracy, where the workers control the overall process. That is the lesson that we can draw from the events now developing in Slovenia.

>Feature: Ian Smith, Rhodesia’s first prime minister, valiant soldier against African communism, dead

>The Right Honourable Ian Smith, first Prime Minister of Rhodesia: April 8, 1919-November 20, 2007

A tribute to a fallen anti-communist politician:

Two years ago, old age got the better of Smith and he left Zimbabwe for the last time to enter an aged care facility in Cape Town. Many of his critics argue that had Smith accommodated black political aspirations himself rather than fight a losing guerilla war, Zimbabwe might have been spared Mugabe and all that has befallen the now blighted nation. But whatever his political failings, he grew to be respected personally by many of those who once hated him.

In essence, Smith was a member of the white tribe of Africa caught up in the end of empire, desperate to protect its position and ill-equipped to deal with the changing realities around him.

In the 2000 interview linked above Smith responds: “Well I know some communists who are better than a lot of so-called capitalists in this free world, so let’s treat people on merit.” While this comment reveals Smith’s chivalrous character, it also alludes to the fact that the Western capitalist elites, who were so allegedly concerned for the well-being of Rhodesia’s black population, handed that country to the communists, just as they did South Africa 15 years later. The communists, of course, loathe Smith.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Nord Stream, South Stream: The Moscow-Berlin-Rome-Oslo Axis; Italian PM and alleged KGB asset Prodi visits Moscow (again)

>The Kremlin’s Leninist masterminds are using Russia’s natural resources to establish a firm grip on the “new European Soviet,” otherwise known as the European Union. Neo-Soviet Russia has formed a strategic partnership with Germany, per KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s warnings in his second book, The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998). In a September-November 1990 memorandum to the US Central Intelligence Agency, Golitsyn writes:

What Kohl fails to realize is that the Soviet strategists aim to use Germany’s economic and technological might to convert the USSR into the dominant power in a united Europe. Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl [tenure 1982-1998] has his eyes on the next election. But Gorbachev and the strategists are thinking further ahead. It was no accident that Gorbachev referred to reunited Germany’s right not only to participate in NATO but to join whatever alliance Germany preferred. What he had in mind was the possibility that a future Germany under a Social Democratic Government would switch to political alliance with the USSR. Domination of a united Europe by a Soviet-German political and economic partnership would be a significant achievement for the second round of the October World Socialist Revolution (page 125).

According to Golitsyn, therefore, the Soviet Union’s last president Mikhail Gorbachev nursed “the possibility that a future Germany under a Social Democratic Government would switch to political alliance with the USSR.” Following the departure of the putatively conservative Kohl, who otherwise fell for the Soviet strategy–which entailed reuniting the two Germanies and transforming the European Common Market into a federal state–Schroder assumed the mantle of chancellor and faithfully carried out Gorbachev’s scheme.

Today the flagship project of the Moscow-Berlin Axis is the submarine Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, which will link the two countries under the Baltic Sea. Kremlin-run Gazprom owns a controlling interest in the Nord Stream AG consortium, which was the product in part of the personal friendship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany’s former Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (pictured above). In a widely critized move, Schroeder accepted the post of head of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG after he stepped down as chancellor in November 2005.

During Putin’s visit to Wiesbaden in October 2007 pseudo-conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated the German government’s support for Nord Stream:

Merkel also announced that the two countries hoped to build the Nord Stream trans-Baltic gas pipeline and were keen to allay the concerns of transit states over the project.

“Where there are problems implementing it economically, we can help — if political talks help,” The project is politically desired. “If investment conditions need clearing up, that must ensue at a company level.”

The pipeline — a project run by a consortium consisting of Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom and Germany’s BASF and E.on — will run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Some countries through which the pipeline will run have raised concerns about the environmental safety aspects.

“We see no need to act at the moment, so I can only say that in my view the project will go ahead,” Merkel said. “As far as Germany is concerned, we want to see this project completed and economically implemented,” she added.

Merkel, as we have blogged before, was raised in East Germany, belonged to the state-sponsored communist Free German Youth, and joined that country’s KGB-controlled “democratic renewal” in the late 1980s. Not so coincidentally, career KGB officer Putin was stationed in Dresden during this period until the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Pictured above: Putin wines and dines (crypto-red?) Merkel, both past residents of the defunct German Democratic Republic.

With the formation of a Moscow-Berlin Axis a done deal, the Kremlin’s Leninist masterminds are placing the final touches on another project to dominate Europe via the Moscow-Rome Axis and South Stream. Nord Stream’s sunnier counterpart will travel from Russia to Italy under the Black Sea and Bulgaria, which is still under communist control, as we have documented in our Red World series. Italy’s leftist Prime Minister, former European Commission President, and alleged KGB asset Romano Prodi travelled (again) to Moscow to confer with Russia’s KGB dictator on Italy’s role in the revitalized Communist Bloc.

U.S.$ 15-billion pipeline to pump Russian gas to Europe
November 22, 2007, 20:29

Gazprom and Italian gas giant Eni have recieved a political blessing for the South Stream pipeline. President Putin and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi have signed an agreement on the creation of a company to run the U.S.$ 15-billion project.

The supply of energy from Russia to Europe was the focus of Thursday’s talks between President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. The two leaders signed an agreement on the South Stream pipeline, which will link Russia to the EU, bypassing the usual transit countries, Ukraine and Belarus. It’s no longer just a project on paper. From Friday, South Stream becomes a company with a proper structure and the necessary governance.

It is a 50/50 joint venture between Gazprom and Eni. The cost of the first phase will be shared equally between them.The 900-kilometre-long South Stream will be capable of delivering 30 billion cubic metres of gas a year. It will go from Russia directly to the EU under the Black Sea and Bulgaria. From Bulgaria the pipeline will have two directions: one heading north to Hungary, Romania and Austria, and one south to Italy. The on-shore routes will have to be discussed further with transit countries.

Analysts say that South Stream might become a rival to Nabucco – a planned project that bypasses Russia. Nabucco would run from Azerbaijan to the EU, through Turkey. However, Paolo Scaroni, the head of Eni thinks both projects are possible.“Europe has room for Nabucco and South Stream,” Scaroni stated.

South Stream still has a lot of obstacles to overcome. Even after all the necessary documentation has been processed, and routes through transit countries are agreed, it will still take three years and cost more than U.S.$ 15 billion to complete the pipeline.

Source: Russia Today

The Kremlin’s baleful energy imperialism also extends to Norway, where the limp-wristed leftist government has turned a blind eye to the Russian Air Force’s provocations along its fjord-studded coast in order to sign an agreement that will permit Moscow to develop Norway’s Shtockmann gas field. State-run Voice of Russia reported on November 21:

Russia sees Norway as a strategic partner in energy and hopes agreements with that country’s STATOIL petroleum company can help it successfully develop the Shtockmann gas field in its sector of the Barents Sea. Foreign Minister Lavrov told this to the press after discussing a range of issues with his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gar Stere at a meeting with him in Moscow on Wednesday. He said they had also discussed other Arctic development problems, including fisheries.

When Russia launches its preemptive military strike against the USA in the not-too-distant future, the Soviets can ensure the submission of their week-kneed partners in Western Europe without firing a shot. All they have to do is threaten to turn off the gas taps.

>USSR2 File: CPRF uses labor unrest to seize power, endorses general strike; Yabloko regional leader gunned down, bus bombed; Yukos liquidated

>Soviet Strategists Implement Second October Revolution During Russia’s 2007-2008 Political Season

In the classic anti-communist treatise, You Can Trust the Communists (to Be Communists), Fred Schwarz relates how communists can and have used labor strikes to shove capitalist countries into a pre-revolutionary situation and, through additional means of subversion, infiltration, fraud, and violence, install proletarian dictatorship, or a “state of the whole people.” Writing in the early 1960s, Schwarz relates in Chapter Five, “Techniques for Seizing Power”:

This method, their traditional method for the seizure of power, has not yet brought them success in any country. But it has been a most important adjunct to their seizure of power and rehearsals of the process have taken place in many countries.

The last great strike wave organized by the Communists for this purpose was in the year 1949. During that year there were world-wide, co-ordinated, organized strikes. There was a dock workers’ strike in England when the British authorities expelled from Britain as an international Communist agent Louis Goldblatt, secretary-treasuser of the International Longshore Workers and Warehousemen’s Union. The islands of Hawaii approached economic strangulation during the dockworkers’ strike that year. In Australia there was a coal-miners’ strike. These strikes were co-ordinated on a world-wide scale.

For many months we have been predicting that Russia’s hidden communists masters will use a number of weapons, including terrorism, labor unrest, or another contrived “crisis,” to dethrone the potemkin “party of power” United Russia, which was founded by “ex”-CPSU members, and openly seize the reins of power in a “Second October Revolution.”

We are therefore not surprised that Farid Babayev, the leader of the Yabloko party’s regional section in Dagestan, was gunned down today in an apparent assassination attempt. Babayev, state-run Russia Today reports, was hospitalized with critical injuries. Yabloko represents the marginalized “liberal” segment of neo-Soviet Russia’s “political system.” In another region of the war-weary Caucasus, namely North Ossetia, scene of the 2004 Kremlin provocation known as the Beslan school massacre, a bus was bombed, killing four. Neo-Soviet officialdom is recognizing this incident as a terrorist act. Three weeks ago on October 31 another bus was bombed in the southern Russian city of Togliatti, killing at least eight.

We are not surprised, too, that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union is endorsing the dockworkers and Ford Motor Company employee strikes, both underway for an indefinite period in St. Petersburg. The dockworkers walked off the job on November 13, while Ford’s Russian workers were locked out of their plant on November 20. With respect to the former, Reuters reports:

On November 13 St. Petersburg dockworkers launched an indefinite strike: Steel, metals and coal shipments from St Petersburg will be disrupted from Tuesday after dock workers in Russia’s second-largest city launched an indefinite strike over a pay dispute. The strike will affect loading at the Sea Port of St Petersburg, owned by Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin. The port shipped 11.7 million tonnes in cargo last year, or about a fifth of the total loaded by the bigger Port of St Petersburg.

St. Petersburg is Russia’s historic “window to the West” and only large commercial port with access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Baltic Sea.

Ford’s St. Petersburg plant opened in 2002 and manufactures the Focus line of cars. This is the fourth strike to hit Ford’s Russian operations in two years. Another strike hit the state-managed AvtoVaz car manufacturer in Togliatti, in August: “The Yedinstvo union claimed that a strike Wednesday by several hundred workers had seriously disrupted production at AvtoVAZ’s giant Tolyatti plant.” The Soviet Union formed AvtoVaz in the 1960s in collaboration with Fiat. AvtoVaz currently maintains a partnership with General Motors.

The independent St. Petersburg Times reports that Russian trade unions–even as their comrades in France and Germany, in keeping with Schwarz’s analysis above, disrupt the European economy with transportation stoppages–are planning to “coordinate industrial action at a number of the region’s enterprises, including the railway, the mail, a brewery and a car manufacturer, ahead of elections to the State Duma on Dec. 2.”

Unions Prepare Wave of Strikes
By Ali Nassor and Yekaterina Dranitsyna, Staff Writers
November 13, 2007

A wave of strikes is threatening to hit St. Petersburg as trades unions coordinate industrial action at a number of the region’s enterprises, including the railway, the mail, a brewery and a car manufacturer, ahead of elections to the State Duma on Dec. 2.

In one of the most bitter of the disputes, drivers working trains between Moscow and St. Petersburg have threatened strike on Nov. 28 if Oktyabrsky Railways Company, which operates trains on the line, fails to meet their demands.

The trade union representing the drivers has been challenging the employer to improve working conditions, raise wages and institute a role in the company’s decision-making process since June without success, Vitaly Zheltyakov, chief of the Russian Railway Motorist Brigades’ Trade Union which represents train drivers, said.

Sergei Khramov, chairman of Sotsprof, a national association of trade unions, said: “The trade union at Russian Railways announced a strike on Nov. 2, but then the strike was postponed for Nov. 28. We are looking for a real social partnership and for real negotiations. We want to come to an agreement.”

Zheltyakov declined to elaborate on the duration and nature of the strike, citing fears of the employer’s harassment of potential participants.

“They are smart in looking for pretexts to fire anyone who threatens their interests,” said Zheltyakov, who endured two years of court battles for re-instatement after he was fired in 1998 for inciting a one-week strike.

The train drivers are not the only workers threatening to strike in and around St. Petersburg as a wave of industrial action hits the region.

About 50 mail van drivers staged an eight-hour strike, halting delivery services, blocking Pochtamtskaya and Yakuboskaya streets near the Central Post Offices in the center of St Petersburg on Oct. 26 and causing a loss of about 1 million rubles to Russia Post, according to Maxim Rochshim, president of Russia Post’s trade union.

“They were demanding wage raises and reliable security on their vehicles that carry valuable parcels and cash, but three of them got fired instead,” he said.

Though Rochshim fell short of giving the administration a specific deadline to re-instate the fired colleagues, he did not rule out a wider strike by the end of the month if negotiations with the Post failed by Nov. 26.

Meanwhile, workers at Ford Motor Company in Vsevolozhsk, a town in the Leningrad Oblast, have confirmed they will stage an indefinite strike Nov. 20, if the plant’s administration fails to meet their demands before then. The demands include wage boosts, security and the improvement of working conditions.

Alexei Etmatov, Ford’s chief union representative, said the union had informed the company of the strike on Thursday, in concurrence with the Russian Labor Code obliging strikers to inform their employers of their intention 10 days before putting the plan into action.
It will be the fourth strike at the plant in two years.

Next Tuesday’s will be called in defiance of the Leningrad Court’s order, which required the 1,500-strong workers to postpone last Wednesday’s partially-held strike for 20 days to allow time for negotiations.

The plant which produces 300 cars in 24 hours has reportedly incurred a loss of about $5million as a result of the strike, according to Etmatov.

Other companies set to be hit by strikes in coming days include the St. Petersburg Fuel and Energy Complex, Heineken and Nevskiye Porogi, trade unionists told journalists on Friday.

They met with their union counterparts from the railway, the mail, and Ford at the Center for Independent Social Research, in order to work out strategies for a common front, but ended up with vague future plans.

Khramov sees at least two reasons why the strikes and organized meetings of workers emerged at the same time at several enterprises.

“Trade union members have planned to strike out at several oligarchs … at companies that ignore demands of workers,” he said.

Another reason for the strikes is that trade unions wanted to take a stand against the monopoly of Federation of Independent Trade Union (FNP), which is imposed on workers by the authorities, Khramov said.

“We see increasing monopoly of this organization, which is a comfortable and familiar negotiator for the authorities. Several trade unions decided to strike and show that FNP does not really control the situation,” Khramov said.

“I think that the opposite side will realize that it’s better to negotiate. I hope that we will be able to come to an agreement and avoid mass strikes at the railways,” he said.

“But we are ready for them. And it’s untrue that such strikes are illegal. The railways are not a medical institution, for example. It’s not a vitally important industry,” Khramov said.

Workers are also united in bitter reaction to the recent wave of consumer price hikes, which state officials describe as market conspiracy.

“What do you expect from the people whose income is at a standstill, but who have to face ever rising prices?” said Zheltyakov, downplaying suggestions that the strikes were a part of the ongoing election campaign.

“We are not moved by any political party, although we have occasionally enjoyed moral backing from the communist and Just Russia parties,” he said.

In a campaign appearance in St. Petersburg last week, Sergei Mironov, head of the Just Russia party and speaker of the State Duma, said: “I personally support them, and I think employers should immediately demonstrate their commitment to meet the demands of desperate workers.”

Trade union lawyer Rima Sharifullina said: “It’s not about the elections, it’s about the general trend of the employers ignoring civil rights and labor code.”

“Afterall, the ongoing strikes and their symptoms started long before election fever,” Sharifulina said.

Source: The St. Petersburg Times

The story above quotes Vitaly Zheltyakov, chief of the Russian Railway Motorist Brigades’ Trade Union, which represents train drivers, as saying, very slyly we might add: “We are not moved by any political party, although we have occasionally enjoyed moral backing from the communist and Just Russia parties.” Indeed. The same story also quotes Russian trade union lawyer Rima Sharifullina as saying: “It’s not about the elections, it’s about the general trend of the employers ignoring civil rights and labor code. Afterall, the ongoing strikes and their symptoms started long before election fever.”

This explanation for the strikes is disengenuous because the Soviet strategists have expended much propaganda since the fraudulent demise of communism to portray to Russians and the citizens of the world that all capitalism is “gangster capitalism,” “oligarchism,” and “fascism”, to wit the Millionaires’ Fair, an exhibition of luxury goods underway in Moscow. The Kremlin’s Leninist masterminds have been enormously successful.

Even “ex”-CPSU President Vladimir Putin, who epitomizes the Russian business oligarchy in the communist press, lashed out at oligarchism in his rabble-rousing speech at a “fan club” convention yesterday. Russia Today reports: “President Putin has warned against attempts to restore the influence of the oligarchs in Russia. He told thousands of supporters in Moscow [on November 21] that the power-hungry tycoons had not gone away. He said they remained in the wings, waiting for an opportunity to regain their influence in Russia.” Putin’s disdain for capitalism is not only evident in his public speeches but in the final liquidation today of Yukos, Russia’s biggest oil company founded by Komsomol businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. BBC News reports: “The final move in the firm’s history, it comes four years after its founder and former owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested on tax evasion charges. It’s been one of the most controversial stories to have emerged from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and is seen by many as a key turning point in his rule.”

Meanwhile, the international election monitors from the Kremlin-controlled Commonwealth of Independent States arrived in Moscow where they reported for duty to Ivan Melnikov, CPRF Vice Chairman. The CIS monitors will know what to look for, and what NOT to look for.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Strikes threaten faux rightist regimes in France, Germany, Kremlin in advance of Duma elections; Sarkozy denounces railway saboteurs

>On the basis of current news reports, Once Upon a Time in the West believes that leftists in the European Union and neo-Soviet Russia appear to be staging coordinated strike actions against the pro-Soviet faux rightist regimes of French President Nicholas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as the crypto-communist/faux rightist Putinist regime in the Kremlin. The timing of the strikes, especially in Russia, is suspect in view of the State Duma elections less than two weeks away. Some Russian and foreign political analysts, as well as the Russian communists themselves, predict that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation will be the only opposition party to obtain seats and that President Vladimir Putin has actually facilitated this arrangement through his electoral reforms that otherwise benefit United Russia.

The independent Moscow Times reports that the Ford plant in St. Petersburg has locked out its employees to prevent an occupation: “Riot police prevented hundreds of workers from entering the plant early Tuesday morning, a source close to the union said.” This move will be a badge of shame for Putin in the eyes of Russian leftists who are blaming the Kremlin for Russia’s soaring food prices and galloping inflation.

Ford Shuts Strikers Out of Its Plant
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. Page 7.
By Anna Smolchenko Staff Writer

Workers protesting outside Ford’s plant on Tuesday. The top sign reads “Striking is not extremism, it’s our right.”

Workers at Ford’s plant near St. Petersburg began an indefinite strike Tuesday, as a dispute worsened between management and the plant’s union over pay and conditions.

In a tough response to the strike, the U.S. carmaker denied strikers access to the plant in a possible bid to prevent a workers’ occupation, as happened in a strike earlier this year, and insisted that no talks would be held with the union until the strike was over.

Riot police prevented hundreds of workers from entering the plant early Tuesday morning, a source close to the union said.

Tuesday’s stoppage came after workers downed tools in a one-day warning strike Nov. 7. The union is demanding a 30 percent increase in pay to 28,000 rubles ($1,100) per month and other conditions.

Ford general director Theo Streit rejected the union’s pay claim Tuesday and declined to say when the workers would be allowed back into the plant.

“They started the strike and it’s for them to call it off,” he said by telephone.

Union leader Alexei Etmanov said the union would stick to its plan and continue the strike.

“We’ve stopped the plant,” he said by telephone. “The management pushed people to strike.”

The industrial action at Ford comes as inflation looks likely to top 11 percent by year end, eating into salary raises.

Etmanov said Ford could afford to raise wages as its cars are selling well in the country and it is on track to use more locally produced, cheaper parts.

In the first ten months of this year, Ford sold more than 136,000 cars in the country, a 70 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the Association of European Businesses. The Ford Focus, produced at the Leningrad region plant, is the country’s best-selling foreign model, with more than 77,400 units sold from January through October.

“As of today, the economic situation at the plant demonstrates that it’s absolutely possible to fulfill the workers’ demands by way of constructive negotiations,” Etmanov said in a statement posted on the union’s web site Monday.

Ford spokeswoman Yekaterina Kulinenko said the 950 workers who had not taken part in the strike would receive two-thirds of their normal wages. She put the number of strikers at 700.

The strikers spent Tuesday picketing outside the plant and some of them played volleyball, Kulinenko said. Etmanov said the workers played football.

Kirill Chuiko, an automotive analyst with UralSib, said the company should negotiate, as the strike would cost it an estimated $4 million per day.

Streit said Ford had enough cars to supply its customers in Russia, but Kulinenko said some orders could possibly come late. She added that additional cars could come from Europe, if need be.

The management and workers were scheduled to hold talks on a new collective agreement next Monday, Kulinenko said, adding that management would not hold talks with the union during the strike.

Etmanov on Tuesday denied that the union and the management had agreed to hold talks.

In February, about 1,500 workers occupied the plant in a one-day strike, winning concessions.

Although joint strikes are apparently illegal in Russia, Communist.ru, citing Moscow Business News, reports that railway, post office, and port workers intend to lend support to their comrades at the Ford plant by striking at the end of November, only days before the State Duma election. Should these mass strikes proceed, Gennady Zyuganov and the CPRF leadership will definitely use the inevitable political and economic fallout to leverage their electoral prospects.

Trains Will Stop And Workers Will Fight Against Capitalists
11.11.2007

In St. Petersburg spokesman of Russian locomotive crews’ trade union promised to conduct an All-Russian strike of railway men. Post office, port and Ford’s plant promise to go on strike at the end of November.

Leaders of the independent trade unions of St. Petersburg gave a press conference, on which they had planned to announce some joint action. But this did not happen, as correspondent of “Delovoy Peterburg” reports. “Joint strikes are prohibited by law”,- Alexei Etmanow, leader of trade union of Ford’s plant in Vsevolozhsk, explained. Nevertheless, the end of November may become a hard period for many employers of St. Petersburg. “Pochta Rossii”, Ford and several other companies may go on strike.

All-Russian strike of railway men may become the biggest large-scale action. Vitaliy Zheltyakov, spokesman of Russian locomotive crews’ trade union announced that the strike is planned on November 28. He said that last large-scale strike of railway men was conducted in 1998. Also he did not reveal details of action, but noted that most likely goods traffic will stop, unlike passenger traffic.

“Passengers must not suffer”,- Zheltyakov thinks. He says that the task of the strike is to do maximal economic damage to the company. Source: Moscow buisness news.

Meanwhile, German railway workers are considering a government package that would resolve their grievances and prevent a repeat of that country’s “biggest rail strike” after train drivers staged a 62-hour walkout. The article below observes that “Europe’s economy faces growing headwinds from strikes in Germany and France just when it least needs an extra brake on activity.” Indeed, this is the long-time plan of the Left: advance socialism by purposely ruining capitalism. Reuters reports:

Stakes in Franco-German strikes run high
Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:47am EST
By Swaha Pattanaik – Analysis

PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s economy faces growing headwinds from strikes in Germany and France just when it least needs an extra brake on activity, but quick settlements on any terms may not be the answer given the long-term economic stakes.

Germany suffered the biggest rail strike in its history last week after drivers staged a 62-hour walkout over pay that snarled goods transport and gave Europe’s biggest economy a taste of what could follow if negotiations stall.

Meanwhile, a transport strike that is now in its eighth day in France over plans to do away with special pension privileges is costing the euro zone’s second biggest economy up to 400 million euros a day, according to Finance Ministry estimates.

Analysts say it is too early to say if strikes in countries that account for nearly half of the euro zone economy will shave tenths of percentage points off national and regional growth.

Still, they add that how the industrial disputes are resolved could be even more important than how soon they wind up since chunky German pay settlements risk a wage spiral and a French government climbdown over pensions would jeopardize other reforms that would have yielded productivity gains.

“The economy is already slowing down into the fourth quarter and strikes won’t help but there are also longer-term issues,” said Laurence Boone, economist at Barclays Capital in Paris.

“In Germany, the risk is that wage growth will get out of control. What’s also important is that France is the only big European economy where there is a huge reform agenda and it is really important that this pension reform goes through since any boost to European productivity can only come from France.

GERMAN BARGAINING MODEL IN BALANCE?

In Germany, the GDL train drivers’ union’s decision to push for a wage contract separate from other train workers could turn into a decisive moment for wage bargaining in the country.

“Some fear that if the GDL union is successful, it could be the end of the collective wage bargaining system we have known in Germany,” said Dirk Schumacher at Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt.

“The size of the wage agreement is less important than the question of whether management can rely on the fact that they have struck one wage accord and that all the unions will stick to it. Any competition between unions could lead to more extreme behavior and could mean more extreme wage demands.”

This is also the view of Claudia Kemfert, transport specialist at the DIW economic institute in Berlin, who estimates the strikes on freight routes cost 50 million euros a day and strikes on passenger routes cost 10 million euros a day.

“If they win now and they get a special wage increase, far above what has already had been agreed with other unions at Deutsche Bahn, then other unions will follow – this will be held as an example for other companies as well,” she said.

This would just compound the headache for the European Central Bank, which is responsible for keeping prices in check and has already sounded the alarm about inflation risks arising from record high oil prices and the soaring cost of food prices.

FRENCH REFORM CROSSROADS

In France, the stakes are different but just as crucial, say analysts.

The standoff between the government and transport workers’ unions over pension reform is the first big test of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ability to implement the sweeping reforms he promised before his May election.

The head of business lobby MEDEF said this week the strikes were inflicting “incalculable” damage, not just because of lost business and delays to freight but also because it dealt a blow to France’s image for potential foreign direct investors.

Still, Laurence Parisot equally emphasised the need for change: “We have for a long time had a masochistic taste for conflict. We must get out of this.”

Analysts agreed the economic reforms were at an important crossroads.

“The problem is that very often in the past the unions and the street have been able to maintain the status quo and the big question is whether we will see a shift to a different social equilibrium,” said Pierre Cailleteau, chief international economist at Moody’s in London.

“If this happens, you can argue that there will have been a short-term cost but the long-term benefits of having the balance of power (between unions and firms and the government) clarified compensates for that.”

In France tensions between the Sarkozy regime and the state rail operator SNCF and the Paris public transport operator RATP have been exacerbated by reports of sabotage along that country’s high-speed TGV rail network. President Sarkozy is demanding that saboteurs be punished with “extreme severity.” Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who is a member of Sarkozy’s center-right Union for a Popular Movement, specifically blamed militant unionists for the “criminal acts.” In response, Bernard Thibault, the communist chief of the powerful General Labor Confederation (CGT) railway union, insinuated that the sabotage was designed to discredit the strike movement. The CGT leadership is predicting protracted negotiations. Of course. That’s the whole idea. The BBC News story below reports: “The week of strikes has caused havoc for millions of commuters across France. Businesses have started complaining that the strikes are hurting their operations.” The French Left’s strategy is identical to that of the German Left’s: hurt business in order to advance socialist revolution.

Sarkozy vows to punish saboteurs
November 21, 2007

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has called for those who sabotaged his country’s high-speed TGV rail network to be punished with “extreme severity”.

Mr Sarkozy asked the justice minister to carry out all necessary inquiries into what the state rail operator, SNCF, called a “concerted campaign”.

Arsonists burnt tracks and signals, causing delays to services already hit by an eighth day of transport strikes.

Earlier, talks were held to try to end the dispute over economic reforms.

Managers from SNCF and the Paris public transport operator, RATP, held lengthy meetings with union and government representatives in the capital to try to reach a compromise.

There has been no word of a breakthrough, however, and workers are due to vote on Thursday on whether to continue a strike which the government says is costing France millions of euros a day.

The government has vowed not to back down on its core proposal to reform the “special” pension system.

‘Big mistake’

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, the SNCF said there had been “several acts” occurring “at the same time” overnight on lines running north, west, east and south-east out of Paris.

It said they included a “very large” fire on the TGV’s Atlantic branch that damaged signals affecting 30km (18 miles) of track.

At a cabinet meeting, President Sarkozy asked the police to “make sure the perpetrators were punished with the most extreme severity”, the secretary of state in charge of transport, Dominique Bussereau, told France 2 TV.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon later blamed militant unionists for the “criminal acts”.

“The matter has been referred to the judicial authorities. Inquiries are under way, and penalties will be very severe,” he told reporters.

Mr Fillon said the perpetrators of the sabotage had “no doubt” thought they could interrupt negotiations and the resumption of rail services by the SNCF, which he said was “under way”.

“Well, let me tell them that they have made a big mistake because, on the contrary, this irresponsible strategy makes negotiations and an end to the strike, which is under way, even more necessary,” he added.

The prime minister finished by saying it was “high time for these strikes to stop” and for transport networks to resume.

Union officials also deplored the attacks as acts of vandalism by “cowards”, warning that they put people’s safety at risk.

Bernard Thibault, chief of the powerful CGT railway union, suggested the acts could have been aimed to discredit the strike movement.

‘Pyromaniac government’

The unions later held three-way talks with the management of the SNCF and RATP and government representatives in Paris.

After the meeting, the head of the CGT’s branch at the RATP, Gerard Leboeuf, called on transport workers to “take account of public opinion and preserve their forces to have a bearing on the talks if necessary”.

Nevertheless, Mr Leboeuf said union leaders would not call for an end to the strike, saying workers would be allowed to vote on whether to continue on Thursday.

“We’re not going to play the role of fire fighters for this pyromaniac government and it’s the workers themselves who are going to decide the next step,” he added.

The next round of talks with the RATP is scheduled for Monday.

President Sarkozy has urged protesters to go back to work, saying the strike had “already cost users – and strikers – so dear”.

The government has said there could be incentives of salary rises and a top-up scheme for pensions.

But it has stressed that there will be no budging on the core issue of eliminating special pensions which allow 500,000 transport and utility workers to retire early.

Didier Le Rester of France’s General Labour Confederation has predicted that the negotiations could last up to a month.

Commuter havoc

Before the latest incidents, the SNCF had estimated there would be slightly improved rail services on Wednesday as the number of strikers steadily declined.

The SNCF claimed that only 22.8% of its staff remained on strike, while the RATP said 16.4% were still refusing to work.

The week of strikes has caused havoc for millions of commuters across France.

Businesses have started complaining that the strikes are hurting their operations.

The president of the Medef employers’ association has described the strike as a “catastrophe” of “probably gigantic” cost to the economy.

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has meanwhile said the dispute is costing France up to 400m euros (£290m) a day in lost business.

Source: BBC News

>EU File: Communist-led strikes paralyze France, civil servants target Sarkozy’s rightist regime as Russia’s "ex"-CPSU PM Zubkov wraps up Paris trip

>I will not back down. A minority of railway and Paris transport workers are taking France hostage.
— French President Nicholas Sarkozy, November 20, 2007

Since October 2007 the French Left, represented primarily by co-conspirators in the French Socialist Party, the French Communist Party, and their allies in the the Socialist-aligned French Democratic Federation of Labour (CFDT) and the communist-dominated General Confederation of Labour (CGT), has paralyzed the country with a series of massive, open-ended strikes. The target of their anger and revolutionary fervor is tough-talking, union-breaking President Nicholar Sarkozy, who was elected to that position in April 2007.

Sarkozy’s center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its allies in the Presidential Majority hold more than 46 percent of the seats in the National Assembly, while the United Left, consisting of the Socialists, Communists, and other subversives, hold 36 percent. Independent leftist, rightist, and centrist parties, such as the neo-fascist National Front, that are neither associated with the Presidential Majority nor the United Left comprise the remaining seats.

Writing on October 19, 2007 at the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), Antoine Lerougetel reports, as well as propagandizes:

Transport workers striking in defence of their pensions brought France’s rail, bus and urban transport system to a virtual standstill on Thursday. The Gaullist government headed by President Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing through a reform that would dismantle the rail workers’ retirement scheme—the regimes spéciaux.

The powerful strike is the first mass action in opposition to Sarkozy’s plans to destroy the French welfare state system of social benefits. The rail workers were joined by gas and electricity workers, as well as sections of teachers and private sector workers.

Lerougetel reveals that “CGT National Secretary Bernard Thibault and Didier Le Reste, leader of its railway section, both Communist Party members, called on workers to go back to work and await the results of discussions. On Thursday, Thibault’s second-in-command, Maryse Dumas, welcomed Minister of Labour Xavier Bertrand’s proposal to meet with the unions again to discuss the government’s proposals.” Thibault, the CGT’s communist leader, is pictured above. Lerougetel notes that “A Communist Party statement issued on October 17 gave nominal support for the strike, but the CP has made no call for its extension.”

In like fashion, the Socialist Party “has said nothing about a continuation of the strike, but indicated its desire for the workers’ militancy to be suppressed and channelled behind negotiations with the government, as well as its support for cuts in rail workers’ pensions, declaring that pension reform was necessary, but that Sarkozy was going about it in the wrong manner.” Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal was Sarkozy’s opponent in the presidential election.

Nearly, four weeks later, however, it appears that the French Left is determined to prosecute its series of open-ended strikes in order to topple the Sarkozy regime. On November 13 French National Railway Company (SNCF) workers and Paris Metro personnel became the first group of workers to commence a new round of strikes. Lerougetel, along with Peter Schwarz, reports that on November 20 1.5 million civil servants, out of a total of 5 million, marched in support of the SNCF strikers:

Some 1.5 million out of a total of 5 million public service workers participated in a one-day strike called by the French unions on Tuesday to oppose President Nicolas Sarkozy’s policies of job cuts and attacks on public services, and to demand higher wages to compensate for sharp rises in living costs.

Participation by teachers in the strike, over 60 percent, was especially high and reflected widespread anger at the government’s plans to axe 11,200 teaching jobs next year alone.

Some 700,000 public service workers participated in demonstrations all over the country. They were joined by large numbers of university and high school students who are opposing a regressive university law, and by rail and local transport workers, who have been on strike for seven days in defense of their pensions.

The biggest demonstration, involving some 70,000 marchers, took place in Paris. About 35,000 demonstrated in Marseilles and the same number in Toulouse, while 20,000 marched in Lille and 10,000 in Grenoble.

The WSWS reporters observe that neither Workers’ Struggle nor the Revolutionary Communist League put in an appearance at yesterday’s marches throughout France.

Meanwhile, in the midst of the red-led French strikes and in an effort to consolidate Russia’s strategic alliance with that country, “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, whom “ex”-CPSU President Vladimir Putin appointed in a surprise cabinet shuffle in September, arrived in Paris for talks with President Sarkozy. On Zubkov’s agenda were joint projects in energy, aircraft construction, and transportation, as well as a visa-free regime between Russia and the European Union that will readily faciliate the mass influx of Soviet operatives into Western Europe. State-owned Kommersant Daily reports:

Viktor Zubkov Completes Trip to France
November 19, 2007

Russian Prime Minster Viktor Zubkov completed his visit to France on Friday. After meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, he brought back two agreements with him to Moscow. One of those concerns a large credit for Vneshekonombank, and the other postal money transfers. The French prefer to wait until after the [Russian] elections to develop cooperation in energy, aircraft construction and transportation. The last large Russian-French energy project that was agreed on was French Total’s involvement at the Shtokman deposit, when Sarkozy visited Moscow.

Now the limit on postal money transfers to France has risen to $1500, and the delivery time is two days. The French bank BNP Paribas has extended a $300-million credit line to Vneshekonombank. No projects were specified for the use of that credit.

Zubkov emphasized in his meetings that “relations between France and Russia will receive an extra impulse in the second half of 2008, when France will chair the EU.” He suggested to Fillon that the establishment of visa-free travel between Russia and the European Union be discussed at that time. Fillon suggested that a contract on Russia involvement in the creation of the Airbus A-380 and A-350 cargo planes be prepared.

Just before Zubkov’s visit to Paris, Russian Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko held talks in Rome with French companies interested in acquiring energy assets in Russia. Gaz de France and Electricite de France both expressed interest in Russian assets and atomic generator AREVA and Total lay also throw their hats into the ring.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Putin orders Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal on "higher alert," praises Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s military potential

>Following yesterday’s denunciation of NATO, state-run Novosti quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying: “One of the most important tasks today is to enhance the combat readiness of the Strategic Nuclear Forces.” Referring to the same televised meeting with Russia’s generals, Times reporter Tony Halpin asserts in the story below that Putin “ordered the military to place the country’s strategic nuclear arsenal on a higher state of alert.” Putin, according to Halpin, also praised the “military potential” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, although neo-Soviet officialdom has previously denied that the SCO is a military alliance. Although Halpin’s description of the event is somewhat more dramatic than Novosti’s, it is very possibly accurate.

In a related story, two days ago NORAD-USNORTHCOM commander General Gene Renuart assured World Net Daily that the Cheyenne Mountain Directorate would not be closed, per previous reports. Rather, General Renuart insited that “Cheyenne Mountain is going to remain our primary command center for missile warning. But missile defense actually resides with NORTHCOM, because we have the response.”

Kremlin: Happy thanksgiving, America!

Pictured above: Commie Putin. Below: Putin visits Chief of the Russian General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky at the Defense Ministry building, on November 20, 2007.

President Putin rattles nuclear sabre at Nato
From The Times
November 21, 2007
Tony Halpin in Moscow

President Putin accused Nato yesterday of threatening Russia’s security and ordered the military to place the country’s strategic nuclear arsenal on a higher state of alert.

“In violation of previous agreements, certain member countries of the Nato alliance are increasing their resources next to our borders,” Mr Putin told generals in a meeting broadcast on state television. “Russia cannot remain indifferent to this obvious muscle-flexing.”

Mr Putin, whose rhetoric has become more strident as relations with the West have deteriorated, went on: “One of the most important tasks remains raising the combat readiness of the strategic nuclear forces. They should be ready to deliver a quick and adequate reply to any aggressor.”

He issued his stark message as Russia confirmed that it would pull out of a landmark arms limitation treaty on December 12. The Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was fundamental to ending the Cold War. Mr Putin hit out at Nato less than two weeks before Russians vote in parliamentary elections. While there is a clear element of sabre-rattling for domestic purposes, the Kremlin has also been alarmed by what it regards as a Nato plot to contain Russia.

Mr Putin is determined to increase pressure on Nato in an attempt to divide European members over a United States plan to place a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. He has already threatened to station nuclear missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which is surrounded by EU states, if Nato ignores Moscow’s objections.

Poland’s new Government has stated that it is willing to review the US proposal to place interceptor missiles on its territory. Washington says that the shield is aimed at rogue states such as Iran, but Russia is adamant that its own security is at risk.

The Kremlin is also angry at the prospect of Nato expanding to take in former Soviet satellites such as Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, bringing the military alliance along most of Russia’s western border.The 1990 CFE treaty imposed limits on the deployment of tanks and other forces in Europe. Nato refused to ratify an updated treaty in 1999 until Russia pulled troops out of the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.

Moscow has rejected any link between the two issues. Mr Putin said that Russia had honoured the CFE treaty while Nato members had continued to build up their military capabilities.Mr Putin said that Russia would return to the CFE treaty only after Nato countries had ratified it. He urged the generals to seek “new ways to mitigate threats in the early stages”.

Mr Putin also praised the military potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which links Russia, China and four former Soviet states in Central Asia. The group held its first joint military exercises in August at Chebarkul in the Urals.

Source: The Times

>USSR2 File: Kremlin manipulations ensure two authoritarian parties will dominate Duma, CPRF and United Russia; Bush supports OSCE’s election bow out

>Over the last few weeks we have taken stock of various political maneuvers and statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin that appear to be granting to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation a sporting chance in the upcoming State Duma election, now less than two weeks away. Most ominously, in October Putin hinted: “But quite other people will be in power after the elections. I’m certain the renewed leadership, and Russia will have another power configuration, other people will come [to power], will maintain continuity in cooperation with Germany and Europe.”

Even Britain’s leftist newspaper The Guardian has observed this phenomenon. In article reproduced at the CPRF website, Guardian journalist Luke Harding praises the communists. “With Russia’s liberal opposition in a state of disarray,” he claims, “the Communists are the last democratic force left.” CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov (pictured above) was quoted as saying: “We are the only party stopping Russia from descending into full-blown corruption.” Our profound commentary: Hah!

Harding also quotes Levada Center analyst Leonid Sedov, who remarks about Russia’s other anti-Putinist parties: “The others have been excluded from the parliamentary sphere. The Communists will be the only oppositional force. This means voters who want to retain opposition in any form have to vote for the Communists.” This, of course, is the whole idea. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is attempting to gently and openly reassert itself on the Russian political scence without alarming the West or resorting to bloodshed. Apparently missing the irony of “post”-Soviet Russia’s red-contrived potemkin political system, Grigory V. Golosov, professor of political sciences and sociology at St. Petersburg’s European University, stated: “There are no completely independent actors in Russian politics. But I would still say that the Communists are relatively autonomous among Russia’s not completely autonomous political parties.” Indeed.

Communists set to gain from Putin’s squeeze on democrats
Restrictive new electoral rules could mean only two parties in the new Duma
Luke Harding in Korolyov
Monday November 19, 2007
The Guardian

Gennady Zyuganov grinned at his wrinkled audience as a voice boomed out: “Comrades, let us salute the heroes of the revolution!” A procession of rather ancient men shuffled forward. Zyuganov gave them each a medal.

One 94-year-old hero – born under the tsar – had problems mounting the wooden stairs of the theatre where the election rally was being held. Zygunov bounded down from the stage. “Ninety-four,” he exclaimed, pinning on a medal for long service. “Amazing,” he said.

Ninety years after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, Russia’s Communist party is still alive and well, if rather long in the tooth.

Lenin may have been dead for 83 years, the Soviet Union may have disappeared, and the prospects for world revolution look dim. But as Russia prepares for a parliamentary election next month, the Communists are enjoying a revival.

Opinion polls suggest the party will finish second in the December 2 poll with 15% of the vote – behind President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. With Russia’s liberal opposition in a state of disarray, the Communists are the last democratic force left. Even Lenin might have appreciated the irony.

Zyuganov, the party’s long-standing leader, was campaigning in the grim concrete town of Korolyov, 15 miles outside Moscow. It was once famous for its cosmonauts. Now, though, its engineers and rocket designers are among capitalist Russia’s many losers.

Speaking beneath a faded Soviet era stucco ceiling, Zyuganov said that the Communists were the only party in Russia to care about social justice. “If all of Russia’s resources were divided fairly you’d have $160,000 [£80,000] each,” he told his supporters.

Instead pensioners survive on just barely 3,000 roubles (£60) a month. “When Putin came to power there were seven oligarchs. Now there are 61”, he said. It wasn’t Stalin’s fault that Hitler invaded Russia, he added, in response to a note passed from the floor.

Zyuganov told a Roman Abramovich joke. Roman arrives in heaven only to find his way blocked by St Paul. St Paul asks Abramovich: “Do you own Chelsea, five yachts, and a 5km stretch of beach in the south of France?” Abramovich replies: “Yes”. St Paul replies: “I’m not sure you’re going to like it in here.”

Zyuganov’s message is a seductive one for the vast majority of Russia’s 142 million inhabitants – and, in particular, its 38 million pensioners. They have failed to benefit from the country’s enormous oil wealth, he says, while a kleptocratic Kremlin clique has grown prodigiously rich.

“We are the only party stopping Russia from descending into full-blown corruption,” he told the Guardian. Is Russia a democracy? “Not really,” he admitted.

Russia’s Communists still enjoy widespread support despite serial attempts by Kremlin technologists to kill them off. The 90th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution this month drew some 20,000 on to the streets of Moscow. Steered away from Red Square they ended up outside Moscow’s new £500 a night Ritz-Carlton hotel, where young Communist pioneers danced and waved red pom-poms while men in cloth caps sang patriotic songs with the eyebrow-raising words: “For motherland and for Stalin.”

“Life was much better under communism,” Pavel Kotov, 16, said. How would he know? ‘”My parents are both Communists. I started to support them two years ago”.

Other protesters said they were fed up with bureaucratic corruption, which had grown rampant under Putin. “Some aspects of life are better. But in many ways we’re worse off. You can travel abroad now but only 10-15% of the population has enough money to do so,” said Oleg Nevsky a retired physicist.

Some were angry. “Putin is worse than Hitler,” one man said, waving a homemade banner showing Russia’s leader disappearing down a toilet. “Eight million men have died,” – a reference to Russia’s spectacular population decline under Putin, especially among Russian men, who on average are dead by 58. “Russia now has 9,000 villages where there are only old ladies.”

United Russia already dominates Russia’s sycophantic State Duma. But early last month Putin announced he was putting his name at the top of the United Russia party list, a move that boosted its poll ratings from 47% to 56%.

Under Russia’s constitution, Putin is obliged to step down as president next May. But most observers believe he will carry on in power, either as prime minister, president or in a new role.

New electoral rules raising the threshold for getting into parliament from 5% to 7% will make it hard for any opposition party to win seats.

This means that the party that once believed in proletarian dictatorship is now Russia’s last democratic option – and the only thing preventing the country from becoming a one-party state. The Communists and United Russia could well be the only two parties in the new Duma, analysts say.

“The others have been excluded from the parliamentary sphere. The Communists will be the only oppositional force. This means voters who want to retain opposition in any form have to vote for the Communists,” said Leonid Sedov, of the Levada Centre.

Sedov said that after seven years of Putin most Russians no longer believed their country was a democracy. They also felt the Kremlin would probably tweak the election result. “I think at the stage of counting the vote it will be done somehow by giving fake details of turnout,” he predicted.

He added: “I don’t think the Kremlin cares very much about its image in the west any more.”

Zyuganov, who nearly beat Boris Yeltsin in Russia’s 1996 presidential election, is accused by some of secretly conspiring with the Kremlin. In 2004 he mysteriously dropped plans to run against Putin. Zyuganov rejects such claims as smear stories.

“There are no completely independent actors in Russian politics,” said Grigorii V Golosov, a professor in the faculty of political sciences and sociology at St Petersburg’s European University. “But I would still say that the Communists are relatively autonomous among Russia’s not completely autonomous political parties.”

At the theatre Tatiana Viktorovana, an engineer, said she was impressed by Zyuganov. She thought he was a strong leader. “Putin doesn’t think about the needs of ordinary people. Zyuganov does”.

The same journalist notes the electoral manipulations utilized by the Kremlin to lock out all but United Russia and the CPRF from the Duma:

Russia’s December 2 elections may well return only two parties to parliament – Putin’s United Russia and Zyuganov’s Communist party – thanks to new electoral rules that penalise small blocs. The Kremlin raised the threshold for getting into the State Duma from 5% to 7%, meaning that western-orientated reform parties like Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces are unlikely to muster the necessary votes to get in. The Kremlin has also abolished first-past-the-post constituencies, meaning independents will lose their seats, and only 11 out of 85 parties have been allowed to register.

In another coup for the covert communists of United Russia and the open communists of the CPRF, Russia’s Central Election Commission, state-run Interfax reports, has decreed that only those “Political parties that gain seats in the 5th State Duma will have earned the right to nominate their candidate for president without collecting signatures.” The ER and CPRF candidates for the March 2008 presidential election, therefore, will be shoe-ins. In another coup for the current president himself, Russia’s “Supreme Court has declined to annul the registration of Vladimir Putin’s nomination as a parliamentary candidate made by the United Russia party.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a suit filed by the Union of Right Forces, requesting that Putin’s registration as a parliamentary candidate be annulled, an Interfax correspondent reported.” The Union of Right Forces is one of the “pro”-Western political parties that has been effectively “squeezed” out of the Duma in the upcoming election. However, two of the SPS founders, billionaire Anatoliy Chubais and economist Yegor Gaidar, are “ex”-members of the old CPSU.

An atmosphere of tension surrounds the parliamentary election and generally tends toward discrediting the Putinist regime and Russia’s faux capitalism. This tension has been generated by the Togliatti bus bombing, the arrest of Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, official accusations of foreign financing of terrorists from the Caucasus region, and a new strike of Ford Motor Company workers in St. Petersburg. State-run Russia Today reports of the last development:

Workers at the Ford Motor Company factory near St. Petersburg have gone on strike. They are demanding a payrise by March next year. However, Ford management says the demands are excessive and is refusing to negotiate. More than 150 workers are inside the factory. They remained where they were when their night shift finished. Two hundred other employees remain outside the plant. This is not the first strike at the plant this year. On 6 November there was a one-day warning strike, and there has been other industrial action in the last two years in support of pay claims.

Meanwhile, state-run Novosti reports that “the Bush administration has supported the decision by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to cancel plans to observe the December 2 parliamentary elections in Russia.” At the same time, the US Ambassador to Russia William Burns, speaking at the Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don, disclosed that there were no plans for the US and Russian presidents to meet again before the presidential election occurs in Russia. In any case, such high-profile, government-to-government meetings are probably irrelevant in view of the new but secretive Kissinger-Primakov “strategic vision group” that is now guiding US-Russian relations and East-West convergence (on communist terms).

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia to conduct strategic exercises in 2008, retain conscription, deliver military helicopters to E. Europe

>Neo-Soviet Russia continues to prepare for war against the West, but some military maneuvers, such as the scheduled Stability-2008 command-and-post exercises, are too comprehensive in scope to be disguised as “anti-terrorist drills.” State-run Novosti reports below that “The Stability-2008 exercises will be held for two months in various regions of Russia with the goal of practicing strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear ‘triad,’ to counter potential threats near the Russian borders.”

President Vladimir Putin and Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky have plainly and repeatedly identified the presense of NATO member-states and the USA’s proposed NMD assets adjacent to Russia, in Not-So-Former Soviet republics and Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc states, as a threat to national security. Novosti quotes Putin as saying: “One of the most important tasks today is to enhance the combat readiness of the Strategic Nuclear Forces. They should be in a position to deliver a prompt and effective strike against any aggressor.” Following the Golitsynian thesis–in which the collapse of the Soviet Union was contrived to deceive the West and reorganize and strengthen the Soviet Bloc’s political, economic, and military potential–this development was encouraged by the Soviet strategists themselves to portray Russia as victim and the USA as aggressor, and to justify a first-strike option against Washington.

Russia to conduct strategic military exercises in 2008
18:0720/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Armed Forces will hold a series of command-and-post exercises under a common strategic concept in 2008, the defense minister said Tuesday.

The Stability-2008 exercises will be held for two months in various regions of Russia with the goal of practicing strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear “triad,” to counter potential threats near the Russian borders.

“The maneuvers will include a number of theater-level, tactical and command-and-post exercises, under a common strategic concept,” Anatoly Serdyukov said at a Defense Ministry meeting, attended by President Vladimir Putin.

Addressing senior military staff at the meeting, Putin reiterated the need to continue the development of Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces and said they should be able to respond promptly and effectively to any aggression.

“One of the most important tasks today is to enhance the combat readiness of the Strategic Nuclear Forces. They should be in a position to deliver a prompt and effective strike against any aggressor,” Putin said.

Russia has recently resumed patrol flights of strategic bombers and continues building advanced nuclear submarines. It has also successfully tested a number of new and existing ballistic missiles.

In 2007, Russia conducted 28 division-level and 255 regiment-level tactical exercises.

Source: Novosti

The potential inclusion of the Caucasus states of Georgia and Azerbaijan in NATO has particularly incensed Russian leaders. General Baluyevsky has openly referred to Tblisi as a “US puppet state.” To aggravate tensions between Moscow and its “former” satellite, the potemkin regime of the “pro”-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili has even posted an article on its Ministry of Defense website in which Georgian membership in NATO is advocated:

The underlying lesson though is that Georgia should be in NATO sooner rather than later. Even the most paranoid Russian would presumably admit that once in the alliance, Georgia would have little need to bomb itself. NATO expansion calms things down: that is the lesson of the Baltic states, which joined-in the teeth of Russian objections-in 2004. None of Russia’s warnings about the effect of NATO expansion into the “former Soviet Union” have proved true. The Baltic region is more stable now, not less, as a result (and things would be still better if Finland and Sweden joined too).

Not to be outdone in the communist-scripted farce of flinging refuse in the face of the aggrieved Russians, the potemkin regime in Baku–which operates under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, son of long-time Azeri KGB chief Heydar, and “ex”-communist Prime Minister Artur Rasizada–is advocating the inclusion of Azerbaijan into NATO:

Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub Eyybov has said that Azerbaijan intends to join NATO. “We intend to integrate into NATO. We plan to join the alliance and we have an Individual Partnership Action Plan,” Eyybov who also chairs the commission for Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation told the press on Tuesday. He said it is premature to speak of when the country will be admitted to the alliance. “As for the cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO on energy security, I want to say that gas deliveries from Azerbaijan to Europe began a few days ago. Azerbaijan will be a most active party in regard to energy and security issues,” he said.

In support of Russia’s obvious plans for building a case for a preemptive strike against the USA and its few remaining allies, President Putin and his support group in the State Duma, the crypto-Stalinist United Russia party, have retained military conscription, albeit reducing its term to 12 months. Putin recently stated “that the law on reduction of the term of conscript service well-fitted the current trend on strengthening Russia’s defense capability, including the modernization of the Russian army and the preparation of professional cadre for the Armed Forces.” The report below notes that “Russia’s military spending has increased dramatically under President Putin. According to the budget, defense spending in 2008 will grow another 16.3% from 2007 to 956 billion rubles ($36.8 billion), and is set to total 1.184 trillion rubles ($45.5 billion) by 2010.” The Russian Armed Forces currently have 1 million active service personnel, while the US Armed Forces have 1.4 million. However, Russia has a reserve force of 2.4 million, while the USA has only 458,500 reservists.

Russian president supports military draft
14:3317/ 11/ 2007

ZAVIDOVO (Tver Region), November 17 (RIA Novosti) – President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he supported the parliament’s decision to maintain conscript service in the Russian Armed Forces, while reducing its term to one year.

“The State Duma has made a weighted and absolutely right decision to cut the service term to 12 months, while maintaining the military draft,” Putin said at a meeting with members of the United Russia faction at the lower house of the Russian parliament.

He said that the law on reduction of the term of conscript service well-fitted the current trend on strengthening Russia’s defense capability, including the modernization of the Russian army and the preparation of professional cadre for the Armed Forces.

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said at the meeting that Russia’s new three-year federal budget stipulated an equal distribution of expenditures between the maintenance of the army and its modernization.

Russia’s military spending has increased dramatically under President Putin. According to the budget, defense spending in 2008 will grow another 16.3% from 2007 to 956 billion rubles ($36.8 billion), and is set to total 1.184 trillion rubles ($45.5 billion) by 2010.

Russia has recently cut its Armed Forces to about 1.1 million personnel, but unveiled plans to make it a strong professional force, capable of ensuring national security and protecting the country’s interests anywhere in the world.

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, the Kremlin continues to supply military hardware to its “ex”-client states in Eastern Europe under the camouflage of settling Soviet-era debts. Croatian Air Force pilots, state-run Itar-Tass reports, will travel to Russia to train on the new Mi-171III military transport helicopters purchased by Zagreb. Neo-Soviet Russia has sold military hardware not only to the Not-So-Former Yugoslav republic of Croatia, but also to the “post”-communist Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Russia to supply military transport helicopters to Croatia
19.11.2007, 15.32

MOSCOW, November 19 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s Ulan-Ude aircraft factory will deliver to the Croatian Defence Ministry two military transport helicopters Mi-171III by the end of this year, the factory’s director-general Leonid Belykh told ARMS-TASS on Monday.

Croatia will get a total 14 helicopters in redemption of the former Soviet Union’s debt. The rest 12 helicopters will be shipped to Croatia in 2008.

The talks on deliveries of the helicopters began in the autumn of 2005 after the Croatian Defense Ministry’s application to the Russian company Rosoboronexport.

Talks on terms of the deliveries were held in Moscow in November 2005 and June 2006 and the contract was signed in Zagreb on July 4, 2006.

The helicopters will be supplied in repayment of the debt of Russia as a successor to the Soviet Union to the republics of the former Yugoslavia.

A contract has been signed on the training of the customer’s flight and technical personnel. First-stage training will be held at the Ulan-Ude aircraft factory.

The deal with Croatia has been the third case of deliveries on loans in the history of Ulan Ude’s helicopter-makers on the external market.

Such exports had been earlier made to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Source: Itar-Tass

Thinking strategically, Croatia and Slovenia, which border neo-communist Italy, could serve as an important staging ground for launching a Soviet invasion into southern Europe. Alleged KGB agent, former European Commission (EC) President, and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is scheduled to pay another visit to Moscow’s KGB dictator on November 22. As EC president and Italy’s head of government, leftist Prodi has made several trips to Moscow, while Putin visited Rome and Vatican City in March of this year.

Neo-Soviet Influence in the Eastern Mediterranean

In addition to beefing up the militaries of its Eastern European satellites, Moscow is supporting the neo-communist regime in Nicosia, on the politically divided island of Cyprus: “A Russian military delegation arrives in Cyprus on Monday for five days of talks on how best to bolster the island’s air defense capability. Russian air defense missiles like BUK and TOR which are currently used by the Cypriot military exceed many of their western analogues and were earlier supplied by Greece.” In the Republic of Cyprus the communist Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) holds the largest number of seats in the national parliament and, on that basis, AKEL General Secretary Dimitris Christofias holds the post of parliamentary president.

The Kremlin is also wooing war-torn Lebanon, to which a Russian engineering battalion was stationed in October and November 2006, to rebuild that portion of the country’s infrastructure that the Israeli Air Force bombed during Israel’s confrontation with Hezbollah. Anti-Syrian Lebanese politician and billionaire Saad Hariri, who leads Tayyar Al Mustaqbal (Future Movement), is visiting Moscow in order to secure the support of the Kremlin, which is a long-time benefactor of Damascus. Tayyar Al Mustaqbal’s support base extends to Sunni Muslims, the Druze-dominated Progressive Socialist Party, and Maronite Catholics who are associated with the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb Parties.

Lebanon is counting on Russia’s help in overcoming the crisis in the country, leader of the Al-Mustaqbal movement Saad Hariri said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. “I came to Moscow at the historic moment for Lebanon,” Hariri stated, “Russia has already been on Lebanon’s side in difficult times, and your personal efforts also contributed,” he said addressing Putin. “Today, we again need Russia’s assistance in overcoming the crisis which our country is experiencing today,” he added.

Saad is the son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik, who was assassinated by a bomb in 2005. There is abundant evidence to implicate the fascist-communist regime in Damascus behind Rafik’s murder, possibly through the neo-fascist Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which operates in both Lebanon and Syria, where it is part of the ruling coalition with the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. Saad’s intention of securing the support of Moscow in restoring peace to war-torn Lebanon is vain and misguided.

>USSR2/Latin America Files: Russia to expand cooperation with neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, FM Lopez visits counterpart Lavrov in Moscow

>During his inauguration in January 2007 Nicaragua’s past and current Marxist President Daniel Ortega entertained a number of foreign dignitaries including Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, Bolivian dictator Evo Morales, and Sergei Stepashin, former Russian prime minister and President Vladimir Putin’s personal envoy. At the time Comrade Stepashin declared: “The whole Nicaraguan Army and other power agencies use arms and vehicles mostly of the Soviet and Russian production. We do not return to a bare field in Nicaragua, but resume our relations on a very serious basis, both technological and human.” Neo-Sandinista Nicaragua is still a Soviet client state and a dangerous beachhead for communism in Central America.

The US-backed Contras did little to dislodge the Sandinista National Liberation Front during the civil war of the 1980s. Indeed, Ortega’s current vice president Jaime Morales Carazo is a past Contra. In 1991, the year after he was defeated at the ballot box, Time reported that “Ortega is still living in a house seized from Jaime Morales Carazo and valued at $950,000, including antiques and an art collection.” It would appear that Nicaragua’s VP is beholden to this country’s revitalized red dictator.

Earlier this year we reported too that Comandante Ortega planned to visit his old masters in Moscow. Apparently, though, this trip was scrubbed. Nevertheless, Nicaraguan dictator Ortega has dispatched his foreign minister Samuel Santos Lopez to consult with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. The two foreign ministers are pictured above, with Lopez facing the camera, which is behind Lavrov’s back. State-run Voice of Russia reports:

Russia would like to step up its cooperation with Nicaragua, as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the talks in Moscow with his Nicaraguan counterpart Samuel Santos Lopez. The two sides plan to develop cooperation in the human rights field, in the fight against poverty, in the protection of the environment, and in the scientific field. Russian companies are ready to offer Nicaragua help in the development of its energy sector and transport. And as regards international relations, Moscow and Managua defend the strengthening of the pivotal role of the United Nations in the settlement of conflicts and collective efforts in the fight against terrorism.

The regimes in Moscow and Managua, as this story reveals, expose their commitment to world communism by supporting the “strengthening of the pivotal role of the United Nations in the settlement of conflicts and collective efforts in the fight against terrorism.” Communist politicians in both Russia and Nicaragua, moreover, clearly identify the USA as a terrorist state generally and an accomplice in the alleged crimes of anti-Castro CIA asset Luis Posada Carilles specifically (see link to slanted Wikipedia entry) .

We Shall Overcome, a Russian organization that unites assorted leftist activists and trade unionists and which no doubt operates with the approval of the Kremlin and its secret Leninist leaders, issued the following demands in April 2007: “We demand Posada Carriles is sent back to prison, and he pays for the crimes committed. We join the international demand for many personalities for Posada to be judged, and we demand the US government to stop every kind of aggressions against Cuba.” We Shall Overcome also demands the release of the so-called Cuban Five, five Cuban agents who were convicted of espionage in the USA in 2001. In May 2007 the website of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (to be distinguished from the more well-known Communist Party of Canada) reported:

Russian cosmonauts Vitali Sevasrianov and Svetlana Savitskaia and a dozen members of that country’s Parliament have also demanded that Posada Carriles should be tried for his crimes or extradited to Venezuela. In Cuba, arriving for a visit to Havana, Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Executive Committee of Russia’s Communist Party, said the release of Posada Carriles exceeds the limits of cynicism and shame.

Communists worldwide operate branches of the front group Venceremos, which means “We shall overcome” or “We will win,” and was a popular slogan of the Cuban Revolution. In sympathy with his Russian comrades, in July Ortega hosted the narco-communist-terrorist Sao Paulo Forum in Managua at which time Latin America’s Leninist cabal demanded that the USA rejail or extradite Posada, release the Cuban Five, and terminate the embargo against communist Cuba.

>Final Phase Backgrounder: Eastern Europe’s "post"- and paleo-communist states form Slavic Parliamentary Union under leadership of Belarusian red

>In his two published works, New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998), former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn predicted that after the contrived collapse of communism, Eastern Europe’s red governments would “restructure” (perestroika) the alliances between their states in order to maintain a cohesive structure within the Communist Bloc that would go for the most part undetected by the West. The Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Union State of Russia and Belarus represent the multilateral alliances undergirding the reorganized Communist Bloc, while the Warsaw Pact and Comecon represent the old structure.

In his first book, Golitsyn says: “The disappearance of the Warsaw Pact would have little effect on the coordination of the communist bloc . . .” (page 341). In his second book, he says in a March 1990 memorandum to the US Central Intelligence Agency: “Despite the changes, Russian influence over the foreign policies of the East European states persists, though in a new, less conspicuous form” (page 102). Along those lines, Belarusian state media reports that the EurAsEC customs union is advancing with the support of three Not-So-Former Soviet republics:

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia plan to sign nine documents on forming the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Community /EurAsEC/ in Moscow on December 21 at a meeting of the EurAsEC Inter-State Council, Vice-Premier of Russia Sergei Naryshkin said on November 19 at a meeting between President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and members of the Russian Government.

The new Slavic Parliamentary Union (SPU) is yet another component in this network of unadvertised communist alliances. SPU Chairman Sergei Kostyan, it should be noted, is a member of the Communist Party of Belarus, which supports Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Kostyan is pictured above on the right. Behind the Belarusian red are portraits of Vladimir Lenin and Lukashenko. On April 23, 2005, at the International Forum of Left and Green Parties of Europe, convened in Prague, Kostyan declared: “The third world war has already started. The USA is opposing the whole civilized world, and the hawks of capitalism are set to unleash war in Belarus.” Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are full SPU members, while Slovenia and Macedonia hold observer status.

Slavic Parliamentary Union Headquarters opened in Minsk.
19.11.2007, 23.39

MINSK, November 19 (Itar-Tass) — The headquarters of the international non-governmental association Slavic Parliamentary Union (SPU) was opened in Minsk on Monday.

“The decision to have the headquarters in the Belarusian capital was adopted at the 9th World Slavic Congress in 2005 and reflects big trust in the country,” SPU Chairman and Belarusian MP Sergei Kostyan said.

In his words, the next session of the Slavic Parliamentary Union will be held in the Belarusian city of Mogilev in the middle of May 2008.

Apart from MPs from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are the Union members, representatives from Slovenia and Macedonia plan to take part in the forum.

The Slavic Parliamentary Union plans to “expand its activity to all the regions where Slavic peoples live, including the numerous Slavic communities across the world,” promote mutual understanding between the Slavic countries, and enhance economic, education and cultural contacts, Kostyan said.

Source: Itar-Tass

In 2006 Belarusian President Lukashenko commended the formation of the SPU: “The idea of Slavic unity based on long traditions of spiritual closeness is of high priority for all times. Even during the period of biggest geopolitical changes Slavic people have always strove for joining and saving own identity. Belarusians recognize their role in the matter of integration of Slavic people since friendship and cooperation prevails over transitory political interests.” The first congress of the SPU also met in Minsk in 2005. At the time Kostyan declared:

It is a historical event about which people will speak and write both today and in the future. We are going to develop cooperation through the parliaments of Slavic countries. First and foremost, it will be cooperation in legislative work and an exchange of draft bills on economic, cultural, scientific, and educational issues. . . The union created today will be doing everything possible to prevent Slavic states from confronting each other in the international arena.

>USA File: Communists form popular front with labor, antiwar and immigrant groups to oust Republicans, install progressive Democrats

>The communist infiltration of the US Democratic party should be evident from the following article published by the CPUSA’s organ People’s Weekly World. We have also previously stated that the reds will manipulate the subprime mortgage crisis to oust the Republican Party from Congress and the White House. On November 10 the CPUSA’s National Committee convened in New York, at which time party chairman Sam Webb (pictured above) demanded: “The jobs, mortgage and housing crises and the entire economic struggle of working people must be brought into the electoral arena.” The 2008 elections, according to Webb, represent “a squaring off between the growing movement of labor and other democratic forces and the far right. At stake is our country’s future. We need a decisive defeat of Republicans and increasing the Democratic majorities in Congress, especially the number of progressives.”

Communists call for ouster of far right
People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 11/15/07 12:00

NEW YORK — Members of the Communist Party USA national committee meeting here Nov. 10 heard Sam Webb, the party’s chairman, say that “in the struggle against the ultra-right we are at the cusp of a political conjuncture which could shift things in favor of the working class.” After “a quarter century of domination,” he said, the right is finally losing momentum.

In his report to the meeting, Webb noted the erosion of Bush administration control over Congress and of the administration’s ability to dominate politics at home and abroad. But, he warned, the right wing “is not a spent force. The threats against Iran and the continuing push for authoritarian rule here at home need to be taken seriously.”

The report described how “the broadly based labor-led movement has resisted Bush” from the beginning and how, as a result, “new forces came into play including antiwar and immigrant rights groups,” culminating, in 2006, “with an election victory that gave control of Congress to the Democratic Party.”

While that shift was not a “revolutionary change,” Webb noted, it helped propel critical debates along positive lines, adding impetus to the drive for diplomacy rather than military force and for government curbs on corporations that run wild, and to the drive for economic democracy and against racism.

Webb defined the 2008 elections as “a squaring off between the growing movement of labor and other democratic forces” and the far right. “At stake is our country’s future,” he said, calling for a “decisive defeat” of Republicans and increasing the Democratic majorities in Congress, especially the number of progressives.

Warning that it would be a mistake to equate the Democratic and Republican parties at this time, Webb said, “Defeating the far right is to the advantage of and critical to the survival and growth of the people’s movements.” Such an electoral sweep will “give people’s forces more leverage and independence,” he said.

He called for a strong emphasis on the fight to reverse the deteriorating economic conditions of working people.

The jobs, mortgage and housing crises and the entire economic struggle of working people must be brought into the electoral arena, Webb said. This includes the fight for manufacturing jobs, for union organizing rights and for universal health care, he said.

Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA’s political action commission, also addressed the national committee members with a PowerPoint presentation on the stakes in the 2008 elections, which is available for public forums.

She warned that the Republicans can be expected to use the immigration issue to try to keep the far right in power. “Republicans hope to weaken labor’s multiracial mobilization with scare tactics that immigrants take jobs from other low-wage workers,” she said. “The root cause of job loss is pro-corporate trade and foreign policy and tax policy. Blaming immigrants from Latin America and elsewhere stirs up racial profiling and makes it harder for workers to join together and demand union rights for everyone.”

Fishman said the defeat of the Republican Party “could change the political map in our country,” and urged an all-out grassroots mobilization to turn out the vote and protect it from GOP dirty tricks.

The extensive discussions on the reports expressed a consensus that while the reports amounted to a call for some shifts in thinking and activity on the part of party members, the aim of a decisive sweeping out of Republicans in 2008 is of critical importance. Participants said such an outcome would make whoever wins the presidency feel great pressure to move in a better direction on a host of issues facing the people.

In the discussion, most felt that an absence of labor and independent progressive movements from election efforts could result in a close outcome, making a Republican defeat less valuable to the movement.

>USSR2 File: Dep. Finance Minister arrested, Kudrin defends Storchak; Moscow refuses visas to OSCE monitors; CPRF: United Russia support dropping

>The USA and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are accusing the Kremlin of duplicity in first inviting OSCE monitors to scrutinize the December 2 State Duma election, but then placing unprecedented restrictions on the monitors’ mobility, and finally for refusing to expedite the issuance of visas to the monitors. The Kremlin, in return, is charging the OSCE with failing to act in good faith. The OSCE, of which Russia is a member, is now refusing to send its monitors altogether, claiming that the body is unable to “deliver its mandate” under Kremlin stipulations.

Britain’s leftist Guardian newspaper reports that the Kremlin’s final stance in this affair “raises doubts about the legitimacy of the vote.” Indeed. “The Kremlin is known to have been highly irritated by the OSCE’s last report,” the Guardian continues, “which described the 2003 poll as ‘free but not fair’ with a ‘clear bias’ in the media in favour of President Putin’s United Russia party, and ‘unequal campaign opportunities’ for everyone else.” The Guardian also notes that, according to current polls, the crypto-Stalinist United Russia (ER) and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) are the only parties expected to pass the 7% threshold needed to secure seats in the Duma.

Monitors to miss Russian poll after Moscow fails to give visas
· OCSE forced to pull out as papers go unprocessed
· Decision raises doubts about legitimacy of vote

Luke Harding in Moscow
Saturday November 17, 2007
Guardian

Russia was on a collision course with the European Union last night after the main international organisation responsible for monitoring elections said it would not send observers to next month’s parliamentary elections.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Moscow had refused to give visas to its 70 experts and observers. The OSCE said it had applied for visas as soon as it received an invitation from Russia on November 2. Although the paperwork had been done, it said officials had deliberately not processed the visas. This made its mission impossible, it said.

“If we had been able to observe the elections in good time we would have done so,” said Urdur Gunnarsdottir, for the OSCE’s office for democratic institutions and human rights . “But we didn’t feel we were able to make a proper observation … We have not received a single visa for the 70 observers. We have tried everything.”

In a letter to Russia’s election commission, the office’s director, Christian Strohal, said Russia appeared “unwilling” to receive international observers and to “fully cooperate” with them.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman denied Moscow had obstructed the monitors. “There were no restrictions introduced to the observation mission,” said Dmitry Peskov. “The Russian Federation is totally complying with its obligations, as part of the OSCE.” Last night the foreign ministry also reacted angrily. “The chaos at the OSCE and the condescending actions of its leadership generally overlooking accepted procedures prevented [its] observers from coming to Russia,” it said.

Last week, however, Luc Van der Brande, head of a delegation from the Council of Europe, said he was deeply unhappy at restrictions on observers. Russia had invited only 400, compared with the 1,163 who covered elections in 2003, he said. It also issued the invitations late.

The Kremlin is known to have been highly irritated by the OSCE’s last report, which described the 2003 poll as “free but not fair” with a “clear bias” in the media in favour of President Putin’s United Russia party, and “unequal campaign opportunities” for everyone else.

The Kremlin has changed the rules for the election on December 2, raising the threshold for parties to enter parliament from 5% to 7%. Only 11 out of 85 parties are allowed to take part. It has also abolished constituencies – in effect removing the tiny handful of critical MPs.

The liberal opposition is unlikely to muster sufficent votes to cross the threshold, while the Other Russia, the coalition led by the former chess champion Gary Kasparov, is not allowed to field candidates. Only United Russia and the Communists will win seats, polls suggest.

SNIP

Source: Guardian Unlimited

State-run media in Russia, by contrast, continue to portray the Kremlin as the aggrieved party and the European election monitors as intransigent troublemakers. Russia’s Central Election Commission head Vladimir Churov complained: “All the relevant documents, including visas, are with the Warsaw-based office ODIHR [Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights]. I do not see what could have prompted such a decision.”

Russia invites 75 more observers to parliamentary elections
14:16 19/ 11/ 2007

BERLIN, November 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has increased by 75 the number of international monitors invited to attend the December 2 parliamentary elections, a senior lawmaker said on Monday.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said that three more organizations had each received invitations to send an additional 25 monitors.

The groups are the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“We decided to raise the number of invited monitors to 55 from each organization” he said. Each group had previously received invitations to send 30 observers to the elections.

The decision to raise the number of monitors comes following comments by the OSCE’s election monitoring arm, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which said on November 16 that its monitors had been “continuously denied entry visas into Russia” and accused Moscow of being unwilling to cooperate with the organization.

A letter sent to the Russian election commission said that organization, whose presence at elections is seen as vital by most Western governments, “regretted” that it “would be unable to deliver its mandate.”

The Central Election Commission head, Vladimir Churov, retorted that accreditation documents had been sent to the OSCE on time, and its refusal to monitor the polls for the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, was surprising.

“All the relevant documents, including visas, are with the Warsaw-based office ODIHR. I do not see what could have prompted such a decision,” the election official said.

The State Duma is currently dominated by the pro-Kremlin United Russia. President Putin announced in October that he would head the party’s candidate list at the elections, a move which has all but guaranteed United Russia a resounding victory at December’s polls.

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, the Federal Security Service has arrested Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak (pictured at top of post), who heads Russia’s economic stabilization fund, on charges of embezzling US$ 43 million in state funds. The timing of this arrest of an important official in the Putinist regime is suspect since we have been blogging for some time about the possibility that the potemkin United Russia party will “commit suicide” in order for the open communists of the CPRF to surge ahead in popular support. Storchak’s immediate boss, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin (pictured immediately above), is defending Storchak against the corruption charges. Kudrin, a Putin lackey, began his career in 1990, in the fading days of the old Soviet Union, as Deputy Chairman of the Leningrad Committee for Economic Reform, itself part of the Executive Committee of the Leningrad Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. Following the dissolution of the committee, Kudrin transfered to the Committee for the Management of the Leningrad Free Enterprise Zone. Between 1991 and 1992 he served as Deputy Chairman on the Leningrad Committee for Economic Development.

Finance Minister defends deputy over corruption charges
November 19, 2007, 17:40

Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin has defended his arrested deputy Sergey Storchak and urged a fair investigation. Storchak is accused of embezzling millions of dollars state funds.

Kudrin said he will look into the arrest as soon as he returns from a business trip to South Africa. According to the Investigative Committee, Storchak was arrested on suspicion of belonging to a criminal group that tried to embezzle more than $US 43 million in state funds.

The investigators say the arrest occured to prevent Storchak from tampering with evidence.

A Finance Ministry source quoted by Reuters says the investigation is related to the Sodexim company’s Soviet era debts. Storchak is responsible for Russia’s debt policy and oversees the $US 148 billion stabilisation fund. Andrey Kostin, Chairman and CEO of VTB bank in an interview for Russia Today pointed out that he knows Stochak “quite well.”

“I know him as a very professional person and I very much hope it will be fair treatment. I still hope that there is some kind of probably misunderstanding. I mean his role in whatever crime that happened is probably not one that can be considered because he is one of the leading professionals in the field of external debt,” Kostin added.

Source: Russia Today

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, citing the independent Levada Center polling agency, United Russia enjoys the support of 66 percent of prospective voters, while the CPRF sports only 14 percent. “No other parties so far surmount the 7 percent barrier needed to earn mandates in the new lower chamber,” RFE/RL reports.

All other parties polled less than 3 percent of the vote. According to those results, Unified Russia would have 371 seats in the Duma, and the Communists would have the remaining 79. Three hundred seats are needed for a constitutional majority. The results of the November poll are virtually identical to those the Levada Center published in mid-October; that poll gave Unified Russia 68 percent (369 seats) and the Communist Party 15 percent (81 seats).

The CPRF website, citing journalist Alexander Ryklin, insists that the “party of power” is losing support dramatically. Writing on November 17, he reports that United Russia’s support has fallen from 56 (not 66 as noted by Levada above) to 49 percent. Ryklin, who characterizes the polling results of the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center as “lies,” predicts that United Russia could wind up with 30 percent support by election day, two weeks from now. CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuagnov is pictured above in the facilities of state-run media agency Novosti.

Finally, the Kremlin continues to bathe the election campaign in the tense atmosphere of potential terrorist attacks funded by “external” (meaning Western) governments. State-run Interfax reports:

Terrorists have been provided with more than $1.5 million to upset stability in the North Caucasus ahead of the elections, Deputy Prosecutor General for the Southern Federal District Ivan Sydoruk said.

“The terrorists who are active in this region have received over $1.5 million to destabilize the situating in the North Caucasus ahead of the parliamentary elections,” Sydoruk told the Federation Council’s Judiciary and Legal Committee on Monday citing information available to him.

>USA File: WND interviews Gen. Renuart: NORAD will not close Cheyenne Mountain, contrary to previous reports, meet threats posed by "nation-states"

>Heck, I reckon you wouldn’t even be human beings if ya didn’t have some pretty strong feelings about nuclear combat. But I want ya to remember one thing, tha folks back home is a countin’ on ya, and by golly, we ain’t about to let ‘em down.
— US Air Force Major T.J. “King” Kong (Slim Pickens); from movie Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Although US political and military leaders downplay the issue in public, it appears that an eyelid has cracked open in the face of the threat posed by a belligerent neo-Soviet Russia. The Kremlin’s official resumption of permanent strategic bomber patrols this past August and the sharp spike in probes by the Russian Air Force into Western European and North American airspace since then have probably served as a “kick in the pants.” World Net Daily presented NORAD-USNORTHCOM commander General Gene Renuart with the following question: “Will Cheyenne Mountain become obsolete in the future?” “No,” Renuart replied: “Cheyenne Mountain has a very important role for us because it also gives us the ability to have a hardened, protected operations center for those key instances where we may need that.”

Since 911 the US and Russian governments haved frequently trained their military forces under the rubric of anti-terrorist drills. However, Renuart candidly admitted in his WND interview that:

If a nation-state becomes a threat like we used to face, and we can’t rule that out right now, but if a nation-state does that, we do have an ability to maintain continuity of operation in a very high threat environment by continuing to modernize the mountain. We will continue to use the mountain to train our command post teams. We can do that in a wonderful facility there.

The general added: “Cheyenne Mountain is going to remain our primary command center for missile warning. But missile defense actually resides with NORTHCOM, because we have the response.” Neo-Soviet Russia, of course, falls into the category of nation-state. It should be noted that General Renuart, although he oversees the defense of the North American continent, has been involved in the “deep integration” process behind the pro-communist Council on Foreign Relations’ project known as the North American Union. The general attended the secretive North American Forum at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada, in September 2006. Nevertheless, good news is rare these days, but perhaps someone in dot.gov is paying attention to the cluster of “final phase” websites out there, after all.

Pictured above: “Major Kong” attempts to dislodge a stubborn nuclear warhead in a B-52 bomb bay.

U.S. won’t close Cheyenne Mountain defense center
Development of new command posts has sparked rumors of Cold War bunker’s demise
Posted: November 19, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The commander of NORAD-USNORTHCOM says the Department of Defense will not close its command centers in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.

Responding to a question from WND during an exercise simulating a terrorist attack, Gen. Gene Renuart answered without hesitation.”No,” he said. “There is no plan to close the command centers within Cheyenne Mountain.””Cheyenne Mountain has been here for many years, built for a very specific purpose, a wonderfully hardened facility,” Renuart added.

WND previously reported the development of command centers within the new headquarters building at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs has raised questions about the future of Cheyenne Mountain.

Since the height of the cold war, Americans have identified NORAD command facilities build deep within Cheyenne Mountain as the most secure military facilities in the U.S., built with the intention to survive even a nuclear attack, then envisioned from the Soviet Union. In June, WND published an exclusive two-part interview with Col. Tom Muir, U.S. Army deputy operations officer for command center operations for NORAD and USNORTHCOM, detailing the distinctions between the NORAD command facilities housed in Cheyenne Mountain and the new NORAD-USNORTHCOM headquarters facilities at Peterson Air Force Base.

Renuart explained to WND that even before USNORTHCOM was created, the mission of homeland defense was not focused on a single command but spread over services and other agencies. “As NORTHCOM stood up after 9/11, in October 2002 we became a coherent Department of Defense force for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities,” he said. “Clearly, this mission requires a command-and-control capability that is agile and up-to-date, built to handle the current threats and potential contingencies that we see.”

Renuart explained that the mission of NORAD is interdependent with homeland defense, “because once you’ve warned, for instance, of a missile or air threat to the United States, in other words, once you’ve identified a principal NORAD mission, then you have to be able to do something about it, which becomes the NORTHCOM mission.”

“Cheyenne Mountain is going to remain our primary command center for missile warning,” he said. “But missile defense actually resides with NORTHCOM, because we have the response.”

The plan then, is to bring NORAD and USNORTHCOM together “so that there is a seamless transparency between the warning, the air intercept that we do in our NORAD hat, and the response, all the way through consequence management.”

If the threat is able to conduct its operation, he said, then “we have to be able to deal with a national emergency and that, once again, becomes a USNORTHCOM mission.”

“So, the size of that entity combining NORAD and USNORTHCOM into a joint command facility and the ability to integrate it all is larger than the capacity that we have within Cheyenne Mountain,” he explained.

“It is partly a physical space constraint,” Renuart added. “Then we have here multiple agencies being wired together here in a modern Internet, telecommunications infrastructure that possibly may be better able to do from this new facility at the NORAD-USNORTHCOM building at Peterson Air Force Base.”

Will Cheyenne Mountain become obsolete in the future?

“No,” Renuart answered. “Cheyenne Mountain has a very important role for us because it also gives us the ability to have a hardened, protected operations center for those key instances where we may need that.

Cheyenne, he elaborated, doesn’t have the “same size and muscle that we will have in our combined center here at the NORAD-USNORTHCOM headquarters. But we are also integrating some of those most critical functions in the homeland defense world up into the mountain. If the threat requires a hardened facility, and we need to go to Cheyenne Mountain, we will do so.”

WND asked Renuart to address the security of the NORAD-USNORTHCOM headquarters building at Peterson Air Force Base.”First, we work very closely with Peterson Air Force Base to make sure the physical security of the base is robust,” he replied.”We are taking some additional action in addition to the design of our operations center,” he continued. “We are taking some additional actions to physically improve security to the key infrastructure on the base. The base has built new single-point entry inspection sites. We are becoming more robust in security patrols.”

He emphasized that officials have the ability to go to the mountain and continue operations quickly.“Or, if a nation-state becomes a threat like we used to face, and we can’t rule that out right now, but if a nation-state does that, we do have an ability to maintain continuity of operation in a very high threat environment by continuing to modernize the mountain,” he said. “We will continue to use the mountain to train our command post teams. We can do that in a wonderful facility there.”

The mountain infrastructure also will be used for training, he said, along with becoming a contingency location, if that is required.

Source: WorldNetDaily.com

>USSR2 File: UCP-CPSU plenum meets, supports CPRF election campaigns; Canadian Stalinist urges Zyuganov, Shenin to (openly) unite forces for election

>Today delegates of the Union of Communist Parties-Communist Party of the Soviet Union (UCP-CPSU), which unites the republican communist parties of the old Soviet Union and which reorganized the CPSU under the leadership of Oleg Shenin in 2004, convened in Moscow to discuss the electoral prospects of its largest constituent member, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Delegates included party leaders such as Tatiana Golubeva of the (pro-Lukashenko) Communist Party of Belarus, Serikbolsyn Abdildin of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, and General Panteleimon Giorgadze of the United Communist Party of Georgia. Golubeva, Abdildin, and Giorgadze pledged their support to Gennady Zyuganov’s party.

Golubeva intoned: “Belarusian Communists will make concrete measures to support the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the elections of the Russian Duma.”

Abdildin admonished: “The future political attitude in this country depends on the results of the RF Duma elections. Strengthening the positions of Communists in the Russian parliament will give hope to those who fight for truth in Kazakhstan. Therefore we support and will continue to support the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.”

Giorgadze, whose son was convicted for fomenting a coup against Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili last year, exhorted: “Do not believe in the so-called opposition of our country. These people will prove to be still worse than the anti-communist Russophobe ‘mad Saakashvili.’ Therefore Georgian Communists decisively support the unity of fraternal parties. They will do everything for the victory of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the Duma elections. The elections will have an enormous effect also on Georgia.”

The secretary of the council of the UCP-CPSU is veteran Soviet/Russian politician Yegor Ligachev (born 1920). When Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the old CPSU in 1985 he promoted Ligachev to the post of second in command in the party. However, then Gorbachev began to implement glasnost and perestroika, Ligachev aligned himself with the communist “hardliners.” After the “collapse” of the Soviet Union, Ligachev was elected three times to the State Duma as a deputy for the CPRF. During today’s plenum of the UCP-CPSU Ligachev stated: “The disintegration of the USSR delivered the heaviest impact on the national security of our country.”

Michael Lucas (pictured here), Canadian Stalinist and editor of the Northstar Compass (NSC), which advocates the restoration of the Soviet Union, is urging CPRF Chairman Zyuganov and CPSU Chairman (and August 1991 coup mastermind) Shenin to (openly) unite their forces and present one leftist candidate in order to win Russia’s presidential election in March 2008. In the editorial below Lucas plays up the supposed divisions between, in the one camp, Soviet communists like Zyuganov and Shenin and, in the other camp, the crypto-communist Yeltsinist/Putinist regime.

Russian Presidential Elections, March 2008
Michael Lucas, Editor

With President Putin hopping around the world to shore up his prestige and not to be outdone by President Bush in making so many promises, signing deals and trying to bolster up alliances – his statement in Australia, where a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders took place last month is very revealing: “We have come to the greatest dawn of Russian-Chinese relations.” Putin also told Chinese President Hu Jintao that: “Whoever takes the reins of power in Russia at the March presidential elections, this policy of cooperation will not change in the coming years.”

That is a very nice public relations statement from one President of Capitalist Russia to another President of Capitalist China – even though the Chinese President still considers himself and China as Communist.

As we mentioned in the previous issue of NSC, there is a movement in Russia now that is of course promoted and well-funded in order to change the laws and give the President a seven-year term. Did this movement spring up “just by chance” or is this a well-planned political move to keep Putin and his policies in power or to be given to his “chosen stooge” after the March 2008 elections?

With the upcoming Russian presidential elections in March of 2008 on the horizon, NSC has received a statement from Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation – that was an appeal sent to the Russian Communist and Workers’ Party. This statement informs everyone that the election of deputies to the Russian State Duma will take place on December 2, 2007. With the new law enacted by the present regime, only those parties that will win 7% or more of the votes cast will be in line for the distribution of seats to the Russian Duma. Election blocs are banned now, no “minimum turnout” is set, and the ballots will eliminate the option of voting “against all the candidates.”

The statement by the CPRF said that they are contesting all seats to the Russian Duma in this election. NSC readers know only too well that when Gennady Zyuganov of the CPRF ran for president the first time [in 1996], he actually won the vote – but, as documents now factually show, he abdicated his responsibility, and thus Yeltsin the Butcher came to power. Then as the Russian people soon realized what this drunkard was all about, Yeltsin then in reality put Putin into power.

As NSC readers read in the last issue of NSC, there is another candidate running for President of Russia, Oleg Shenin of the reconstituted Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and he is also appealing for unity.

Any thinking student of politics, government and the class struggle knows that in Unity there is Strength!

If the thinking of the CPRF and CPSU leaders agree with this absolute truth – then why on earth do they not unite their forces and efforts for one candidate, if their policy is (as wrong as it is) that in the present President Putin’s regime, the Communist candidate for President will win power?

Obviously there is opportunism and revisionism, which is the cancer eating away at the vital organs of the present Communist movement, much to the glee and also much support by reactionary forces that are headed by imperialism.

Kremlinologists who subscribe to the Golitsynian thesis that communism is not “dead” are in no way surprised by the fact that Zyuganov and Putin agree that United Russia is an empty political shell. In June 2007 Zyuganov issued one of his strongest “denunciations” of fellow communist Russian President Vladimir Putin and his support group United Russia: “There’s no ‘United Russia.’ My main rivals are thieves, fraudsters and anti-democratic media. United Russia is not a party, this is Putin’s devoted special force. If Putin quits, it’ll leave the scene very fast. In general, Russia is a leftist nation and whatever one might say, leftist ideas will only get stronger.”

>Latin America File: Chavez: Venezuela to become nuclear power, US lawmakers alarmed; Caracas forms visa-free regime with Minsk

>Venezuela’s red dictator Hugo Chavez, a strategic ally of Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Fidel Castro, has announced his intention to transform his country into a “peaceful” nuclear power. In referring to his proposed “peaceful nuclear program,” Comrade Hugo, of course, is taking his cues from the Islamo-Nazi Republic of Iran’s “peaceful nuclear program.” Not so coincidentally, the genocidal, neo-Hitlerian regime in Tehran has committed itself to the destruction of Israel. In 2006 President “Iwannajihad” declared: “Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented.” Notwithstanding the international outrage that such comments generated, Chavez has embrace the Don of the Iranian Mafia without reservation: “We support Iran, and I do not think that Iran is building a nuclear bomb.”

Venezuela set to launch peaceful nuclear program – Chavez
20:5815/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) – Venezuela will pursue a peaceful nuclear program, the country’s president said on Thursday.

“Venezuela will start developing a nuclear power sector for peaceful purposes,” Hugo Chavez said in an interview with the French TV channel France 24, citing Brazil and Argentina as examples.

He said many other states would be compelled to do the same, since it was crucial to avert an energy crisis which is threatening the world as energy resources decline and oil prices soar.

Chavez also said he backed Iran’s nuclear program.

“We support Iran, and I do not think that Iran is building a nuclear bomb,” he said.

Source: Novosti

US lawmakers on either side of the political divide are rightly alarmed by the prospect of an atomic Venezuela in alliance with an atomic Iran. Republican US Representative Connie Mack opined: “Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s have a dangerous alliance, and their desire to develop nuclear technology, should cause great alarm for the United States and its allies in the region. It’s imperative that our allies around the world unite to prevent Chavez from gaining access to new nuclear technology.” Democratic US Representative Ron Klein stated: “This new development of cooperation between Iran and Venezuela is too close to home.” Now, let’s see what the Bush Admin does, if anything.

The Moscow-Minsk-Caracas Axis

Meanwhile, will Russia’s nuclear technicians surreptitiously slip into Venezuela via Belarus’ new visa-free regime with the Socialist/Bolivarian Republic? On November 1, 2007 Belarusian state media reported: “Belarus and Venezuela intend to establish visa free regime for the holders of service and diplomatic passports and also for tourists of the two countries. According to Andrei Popov, the spokesman of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, this issue is being discussed at the Foreign Ministry, other governmental bodies. The visa free regime for these categories of citizens may be established approximately within 1-2 months.”

>USSR2 File: Yushchenko, Yanukovich negotiating coalition government; Tblisi lifts emergency; last Russian troops leave Georgia, arrive in Armenia

>That Orange Revolution hero, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, is negotiating the formation of a new coalition government with putative enemy Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, a “former” communist, proves that Yushchenko is a puppet in the hands of the Leninist masterminds in Moscow and Kiev. Pictured here: Friends or enemies? The Two Viktors. Yushchenko’s party is the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc (NU-NS), while Yanukovich’s party is the pro-Moscow Party of Regions (PRU). According to the leader of the Lytvyn Bloc, Yushchenko considers Yanukovich the lesser of two evils, the other being co-Orange Revolutionary and Komsomol businesswoman Yulia Tymoshenko.

Lytvyn Asserts That NU-NS and PRU Are Negotiating
14.11.2007
translated by Irena Yakovina

Lytvyn Bloc leader accuses the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc (NU-NS) and the Party of Regions (PRU) of conducting backroom negotiations on the coalition formation.

“I am certain that the NU-NS and PRU are conducting negotiations and they are rather backroom than official,” he said in an interview with Novyye Izvestiya newspaper.

“There is no room for our bloc in such a coalition. In addition, if such a coalition is formed, it will impose its ideology on others.”

In Mr. Lytvyn’s view, President Yushchenko is afraid of the coalition with both BYuT and PRU.

“Mr. Yushchenko will feel ill at ease both with Mr. Yanukovych and Mrs. Tymoshenko. However, he will choose the lesser of two evils.”

“It seems that the President has not made a final decision. That is why the coalition formation will be dragged out,” added Mr. Lytvyn.

In regards to his bloc, the leader sees no possibility of joining the democratic coalition because he does not agree with some provisions of the coalition agreement.

“The NU-NS and BYuT are ready to quarrel with neighbors and actually wage war against them. They will try to ‘present a bill’ to whatever they like which in my view is politically incorrect,” remarked Mr. Lytvyn.

“Listen to recent statements of the democratic leaders! They are full all ‘historical resentment’. With such way of thinking they will build nothing new for present and subsequent generations.”

Source: Ukrayinska Pravda

Meanwhile, “pro”-Western Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has lifted the state of emergency in that Not-So-Former Soviet republic. State-run Russia Today reports that “the news has largely been overshadowed by the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli and the entire Cabinet. Chairman of the Bank of Georgia, Lado Gurgenidze became Nogaideli’s successor.”

In a related story Georgia’s Prosecutor General contends that Komsomol businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili has been implicated in an attempted coup against the beleaguered Saakashvili. Undeterred by this stigma, Patarkatsishvili plans to cast his hat into the election race for president on January 5, 2008. “I have decided to participate in the presidential election,” Patarkatsishvili declared in an email statement. “Mr Saakashvili’s regime has completely discredited itself in the eyes of the Georgian people who will never again entrust it its destiny.”

In view of the Kremlin’s withdrawal of the last of its troops from its garrison in Batumi, Georgia, some misguided observers of the post-Soviet space might insist that Russia has entered a new and hopeful phase of its “post”-communist existence. However, these troops have merely been redeployed in another, neighboring Not-So-Former Soviet republic, Armenia. State-run Regnum News Agency reports:

Troops from the 12th Russian military base withdrawn from Batumi, Georgia, arrived to the 102nd military base in Gyumri, Armenia, at about 06:00 a.m. today. After a customs check by Armenian customs officers of the Russian troop train, passenger carriages with about 150 troops and their families were uncoupled from the train and sent to Gyumri.

The last Russian troop train left Batumi in the night of November 14. Withdrawal of the Russian troops form Georgia, which under the Russian-Georgian agreement was supposed to be completed within 2008, is finished ahead of the schedule.

Now, only peacekeepers in Abkhazia serving under the CIS mandate and in South Ossetia serving as part of the Collective [Security Treaty Organization] Peacekeeping Forces with Georgia’s participation are left in Georgia.

Should the Kremlin decide to reoccupy Georgia in the very near future, its military forces could easily be invited back in the wake of a successful presidential campaign by “ex”-Komsomol billionaire Patarkatsishvili.

>Red Terror File: Czech branch of revitalized Red Army Faction threatens to strike US radar facility; Russia to supply Belarus with tactical missiles

>Is it not intriguing that the Red Army Faction (RAF), originally founded in 1970, has a cell in the “post”-communist Czech Republic, where the USA intends to install elements of its National Missile Defense over the strident objections of “post”-communist Russia? Intriguing, but not entirely surprising to those Kremlinologists who subscribe to the Golitsynian thesis of the bogus demise of Soviet communism. Pictured here: Pavel J. Hejatko, alleged leader of the Czech cell of the RAF, proudly displaying his red sympathies.

Alleged Czech RAF branch threatens with terrorism over base-press
November 13, 2007

Prague- The alleged Czech branch of the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group has threatened with explosions, murders and violence if a U.S. radar installation were stationed in the Czech Republic, the daily Lidove noviny writes today.

“Please, take these words seriously, it is not a joke, it would probably be late after the first dead appeared,” the daily quotes the group as saying on the Internet.

The attacks are allegedly to come at the moment the first American soldier steps on Czech soil.

“[Our goal is] to ruthlessly eliminate everything American, especially what concerns our population and culture, all military means, and nationalise the entire capital gained through the blood spilt around the world, as well as to use all other methods to the benefit of the Slavonic nation,” the daily writes quoting the alleged group’s statutes signed by Pavel J. Hejatko.

Lidove noviny says Hejatko is known in the police circles as an anti-American activist who had sent letters to senators and deputies in the past.

“Then it was not a crime, according to experts,” a detective from the organised-crime squad who investigated Hejatko’s activities said.

Hejatko has declined to comment on the RAF activities, Lidove noviny says.

The paper writes that the Czech counter-intelligence service BIS is also dealing with the group activities.

“The service is aware of the RAF faction and it focuses on it,” BIS spokesman Jan Subert said without elaborating.

RAF was a German left-wing terrorist group that became notorious 30 years ago for its terrorist acts, assassinations and kidnapping in the former West Germany.

It selected victims mainly among influential persons in the political and economic spheres.

RAF had three “generations.” The first one around Adreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof targeted its attacks mainly against American installations in protest against the war in Vietnam.


The second generation led by Christian Klar and Brigitte Mohnhaupt continued the fight against the “imperialistic system.”

The third generation committed well-organised murders in the 1980s.

Source: CeskaNoviny.cz

Meanwhile, even as Russia’s Leninist leadership rants against US missile defense, the Federation Council, which is the upper house of the Russian parliament, has ratified President Vladimir Putin’s bill that will terminate Russia’s obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty on December 12, 2007. The State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, has already approved the bill. Central and Western Europe are now legally vulnerable to a Soviet re-invasion. In addition to the Russian Defense Ministry’s threat to reinforce troops along its western border with NATO, the Kremlin intends to deploy an Iskander tactical missile system in Belarus, with which Russia is united through the Union State. State-run Interfax reported on November 14:

“The supply of the Iskander tactical missile system to Belarus would be a asymmetrical response by Russia to the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in Europe, Commander of Russian Armed Forces Missile Troops and Artillery Col. Gen. Vladimir Zaritsky said on Wednesday.

“Why not? Given adequate conditions and an adequate Belarusian position,” Zaritsky said, commenting on the statement made by his Belarusian colleague Mikhail Puzikov on the Belarusian Army Missile Brigade’s plans to be armed with the Iskander-E missile system.

A little red terrorism courtesy Hejatko’s RAF cell will provide “post”-communist” Russia with the plausible deniability needed to cheaply and effectively dissuade Washington from going ahead with its plans for NMD in the Czech Republic.

>USSR2 File: Putin: United Russia has no ideology or principles; Levada Center: 1/3 of Russians view pro-Kremlin party as new version of CPSU

>That United Russia, on which party list President Vladimir Putin is running for the December 2 State Duma election, is merely a crypto-Stalinist potemkin placeholder for Moscow’s Leninist leadership is evident in the following articles. In the first story Putin admits that United Russia has no ideology or principles for which its leaders are willing to fight, while in the second poll results reveal that many Russians view the “party of power” as a new version of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Putin continues to insist that he will be involved in Russian politics after he is constitutionally obligated to step down from the presidency in March 2008.

Putin says Duma election ‘test’ for him
November 13, 2007, 20:20

Russian President Vladimir Putin says if his United Russia party wins December’s election, he will have a moral mandate to keep the country’s parliament and government accountable. The President also mentioned that the United Russia party is “the best we have anyway”.

Putin is fully aware that United Russia is not an ideal political structure. “The party has no stable ideology, or principles for which the majority party is ready to fight and stake their reputation. Impostors usually try to infiltrate in such structures, and they often succeed in this,” he explains. But according to him, there is nothing better in the country. “It’s important that some things have been done only thanks to the fact that I relied on United Russia in parliament. There was a consolidated force there that helped me not only to take decisions, but also put them into practice,” adds the President.

Putin sees the lack of trust as a big problem with the politicians in Russia.

“Remember the beginning of the 90s, they promised one thing – gave quite the opposite. Promised prosperity, gave poverty. Oligarchs made billions in profits at the expense of millions of people, we had civil war, and the country was on the verge of collapse,” he recalls.

People’s mandate

If people vote for United Russia, with me heading the list, this means the majority of citizens do trust me, which in turn means that I will have the moral right to demand the fulfilment of current decisions from all those working in the Duma and in the government. I won’t say how exactly I will do this, but there are various options.”

“If people vote for United Russia, with me heading the list, this means the majority of citizens do trust me, which in turn means that I will have the moral right to demand the fulfilment of current decisions from all those working in the Duma and in the government. I won’t say how exactly I will do this, but there are various options,” said Putin.

Putin says his decision to lead United Russia gives him the best opportunity to embark on a radical programme for Russia.

“I made the decision to head the United Russia party’s list in order to convince people to vote for this party and to help form a majority in the State Duma, which would be in agreement with the executive authorities, the government,” Russian President says.

President Putin says he’ll have a hand in Russia’s politics even after his presidential term expires in 2008.

“Concerning me personally, there is a saying that the winner is not the one with the power, but the one with the truth. This really has deep meaning,” he stresses. Analysts are busy fortune- telling – Prime Minister, Parliamentary majority leader or the Head of the Kremlin’s Security Council.President Putin is keeping everyone guessing over his political future, and although it’s still uncertain, one thing is clear – there certainly will be one.Best option

Political analyst Dmitry Babich from the `Russia Profile` magazine says running for parliament would be the best legal option for the President.

“If the President had gone to business or became a national leader whatever that means – all of this will not be quite legal. The best legal option for the President to continue his influence in politics is to run for the Parliament, win that election which gives him a moral right to demand something from the people and to require something from the members of the Duma,” Babich stresses.

“He is basically saying to the Russian people: if you want this to continue, like that of the last eight years: I’d like to invoke Ronald Reagan. He said once: are you better off now than you were four years ago. Putin is essentially saying the same thing: are you better off now than you were eight years ago. That’s a pretty strong statement. He wants to take his charisma and pass it on to a political party,” adds RT political commentator Peter Lavelle.

The President has given his remarks in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk to meet his advisory board – the State Council – to discuss Russia’s transportation problems.

Source: Russia Today

Meanwhile, the independent polling agency Levada Center conducted a poll in October that “showed that more than one-third of Russians see United Russia as the new Soviet Communist party, and half want it to control all branches of power.” United Russia is performing its job well of mobilizing the country’s citizen slaves and deceiving the West, although “OSCE observers described the 2003 election as a step backward for democracy, saying the state had used the media and other levers to favour United Russia.”

Many Russians liken pro-Putin party to Soviet-era Communist party
Oct 31, 2007

MOSCOW – Russia’s parliamentary election campaign officially starts Saturday with an opinion poll suggesting many voters see the main pro-Kremlin party as a new version of the Soviet Communist party and want to give it tight control over the country.

The United Russia party, which controls the current parliament, is expected to consolidate its position in the Dec. 2 election, especially after President Vladimir Putin announced a month ago he will lead the party ticket.

Putin’s decision to lead United Russia’s ticket was seen as an indication he is considering using the party as a springboard to maintain power after he steps down as president next year.

Putin said he would not join United Russia, and leading the party’s ticket does not oblige him to take a seat in parliament. He is barred by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term in March.

The campaign for the 450 seats in the parliament’s lower house officially begins Saturday.

A survey by independent pollsters Levada Centre last week showed that more than one-third of Russians see United Russia as the new Soviet Communist party, and half want it to control all branches of power.

Some 48 per cent of those polled said they did not see the party as a new Soviet Communist party and 18 per cent had no answer. The poll was of 1,600 people and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

United Russia said Tuesday that it will not take part in televised debates with the 10 other parties, saying it would be more effective to talk to voters directly and spend more airtime on election advertising.

“United Russia is a collection of bureaucrats and others who want to be close to the government. They don’t have political convictions, therefore they cannot engage in a political debate,” Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a Soviet-era dissident who heads Moscow Helsinki Group, a human rights body, said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

The seats in the lower house, the State Duma, will be distributed on a proportional basis among parties that receive at least seven per cent of the vote. Only a few parties are expected to clear the threshold.

A draw was held Wednesday at the Central Election Commission to determine parties’ places on the ballot. United Russia drew No. 10, just ahead of the only liberal opposition party, Yabloko, said commission spokesman Rustem Nigmatulin.

The commission said the number of international observers will be limited to 300 to 400, compared with 1,100 for the last parliamentary election in 2003. An invitation for international election monitors was sent this week to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Nigmatulin said.

The OSCE had expected the invitation to be issued weeks ago, sparking concerns about the fairness of the election.

OSCE observers described the 2003 election as a step backward for democracy, saying the state had used the media and other levers to favour United Russia.

Russian officials have accused OSCE election observers of being biased against Russia.

In September, Russia submitted proposals to the OSCE that would restrict the activity of international election monitors. The OSCE’s election monitoring body is expected to decide on the proposals in November.

Source: The Canadian Press

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia to build aircraft carrier fleet, Kremlin’s top general: USA "evil"; Russia Today: "insidious American plans"

>According to state-run Novosti, Russia plans to build six aircraft carrier strike groups over the next 20 years, expanding on its sole carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured here), which was launched in 1985:

Russia has planes that can be used on carriers. For example, the MiG, or rather the MiG-29 KUB (the acronym stands for aircraft carrier combat training). But they are exported to India under a contract to equip their future aircraft carriers.

Russia cannot be said to be blind to the role of aircraft carriers or the navy in modern warfare. In today’s unpredictable world, even the mere appearance of a formidable ship featuring three service components sailing off a trouble spot is capable of producing a sobering effect on a potential aggressor.
It was therefore not surprising that in the middle of the year Admiral Vladimir Masorin, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, announced plans to reform the country’s naval forces and build a blue-water navy with the world’s second largest fleet of aircraft carriers.

Or rather, in the next 20 years, Russia aims to create six aircraft carrier strike groups, giving it the world’s second largest surface navy after the United States.

Although the Kremlin is flush with revenue from gas, oil, and arms exports, US$4 billion is required to build one carrier. Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Kuroyedov is not deterred by the cost:

We are now abandoning the large-class ships we have or inherited from the Soviet era, and are moving to multi-purpose vessels,” said Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Kuroyedov, the then commander-in-chief of the Navy.

According to him, “Russia will have its own frigates and corvettes unmatched by anything else in the world.”

He said, “aircraft carriers belong to the next decade, and to speak of them now is a bit too soon.” But, he said, Russia’s only aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” would remain. No one, he said, was going to write it off or sell it. “We have not even given that any thought,” Kuroyedov said.

Meanwhile, Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the Russian General Staff, continues his tirades against “US hegemony.” In a November 13 interview with the Russia Today TV channel Baluyevsky stated: “Russia is under no obligation to protect the world from the US.” In response to a question whether or not the world can expect Russia to defend it from “insidious American plans,” Baluyevsky replied, “Today, there is no need to be afraid of the Russian Armed Forces. However, I do not believe that the Russian military is obliged to defend the world from the evil Americans.” How many Americans are cognizant of the fact that Russia’s top general considers them “evil”? Uh, Houston, I think we have a problem here.

>Red Terror File: Kremlin-linked "Russian Business Network" cybercrime gang relocates to China, launched May 2007 DOS attack against Estonia

>Cyberwarfare, as Estonia experienced in May of this year, is an important element in the Kremlin’s malicious designs against the West. The Fox News story below reveals: “A report from Symantec, the online security firm, alleges that the RBN [Russian Business Network] has links with the criminal underground and government in Russia.” The same story quotes Raimund Genes, chief technology officer of Trend Micro, as saying: “RBN is reorganizing.” Indeed, RBN is organizing for war. In passing, the same story concludes: “Cybercrime has been estimated by the U.S. Treasury to be more valuable than the illegal drug trade — worth more than $100 billion a year.”

Russian Cybercrime Organization Suddenly Vanishes From Web
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By Rhys Blakely, Jonathan Richards and Tony Halpin

The most notorious player in global cybercrime has suddenly vanished from the Internet, sparking fears that the Russian-based group is set to re-emerge as an even greater threat from a new base in China.

Security experts believe that the Russian Business Network (RBN), a shadowy Internet service provider based in St. Petersburg and run by a figure known only as “Flyman,” has played a role in most of the online crime committed in recent years.

Dubbed “the mother of cybercrime,” RBN has been linked by security firms to child pornography, corporate blackmail, spam attacks and online identity theft.

It is feared that the group is building a massive new online platform in China, allowing gangs to launch a fresh wave of online crime.

“The U.K. has been a focus for this group and its criminal clients, and things are set to get worse,” David Perry, an analyst for Trend Micro, the security group, said.

Any move to China would put the Chinese authorities under enormous pressure to take action against RBN.

Security experts say that RBN provides “bulletproof” Web sites to criminals. Often resembling legitimate Web sites, these can be used to plant malicious software in the computers of members of the public that visit them.

Infected computers can be used to steal their owners’ passwords, secretly send electronic junk mail or launch cyberattacks on government networks.

One alleged “phishing” gang, known as the Rock Group, which used the company’s hosting service, is estimated to have made $150 million last year by tricking people into providing bank account details.

The RBN is also said to have developed dozens of fake anti-spyware and anti-virus programs to dupe people into giving it access to their computers in the mistaken belief that they were protecting themselves from online threats.

The RBN’s activities are so notorious that VeriSign, one of the world’s biggest Internet security companies, has dubbed it “the baddest of the bad.”

Even the Bank of India was targeted in August when rogue software designed to steal passwords from customers’ computers was discovered. The bank’s Web site was shut down while experts debugged it.

Cybercrime has been estimated by the U.S. Treasury to be more valuable than the illegal drug trade — worth more than $100 billion a year.

The RBN has also been linked to the Russian authorities and is thought by some analysts to have played a role in the recent assault on Estonian cyberspace.

A report from Symantec, the online security firm, alleges that the RBN has links with the criminal underground and government in Russia.

However, in recent days huge numbers of RBN-hosted sites have disappeared from the Web, leading analysts to speculate that the group is revamping its business model.

“RBN is reorganizing,” said Raimund Genes, the chief technology officer of Trend Micro, a security group that has traced attacks by the RBN on corporate and government sites across Europe and US back to servers based in Panama.

One reason is thought to be the recent threats by Russian authorities to impose tougher penalties on Internet criminals.

Another was that large legitimate Internet service providers — which the RBN relies on to provide it with Internet access — have dropped it as a customer as its activities became more and more notorious.

Some analysts suggested that it is aiming to become a more disparate group, with servers in Panama, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, China, the U.S. and Canada.

Analysts have reported unusual bulk registries of thousands of Web addresses in China, which they say fit the past practices of the RBN. China would provide the RBN with an even broader base to support criminal activities.

Source: FoxNews.com

>Gray Terror File: Gunmen target South Africa’s Pelindaba nuclear facility in "coordinated, military-style" attacks, plant officer "seriously wounded"

>A family emergency prevented us from blogging earlier this week. However, a troubling story has emerged from communist-ruled South Africa this week: On November 8 at least four gunmen scaled a wall and stormed the emergency response control room of the nuclear power plant at Pelindaba, near Pretoria. One senior emergency officer was “seriously injured” per an earlier report, published by Pretoria News. Some outlets in the South African media are spinning the story as a case of “armed robbery.” While crime is rampant in post-apartheid South Africa, this is not a credible theory. One would think that common robbers would select an easier target.

In the article reproduced below, though, “The Times of South Africa calls the attacks ‘military-style’ — and says the aim was ‘seizing the institution’s computers.'” South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NESCA) chief executive Rob Adams is quoted as saying: “Modus operandi implied prior knowledge of electronic security systems. I’m not saying it is an inside job. I’m saying whoever did this, knows these systems very, very well.” World Net Daily reports that “The attack came a day after authorities arrested two men in connection with the murder of the general manager of NESCA during a carjacking earlier this year.”

Intruders are targeting secret facility
13 November 2007

On the same night last week that four robbers shot an emergency officer at Pelindaba, West of Pretoria, another attempt was made to bypass the nuclear site’s security.

The site’s outer security perimeter was breached in both incidents, SA Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) chief executive Rob Adams disclosed today.

An emergency services officer was shot and wounded by four armed robbers who slipped through the electric fence on Thursday night.

At more or less the same time, a patrolling security officer spotted intruders at the western section of the Necsa site. Shots were fired and the intruders fled.

Adams said that the two attempts appeared to have been “co-ordinated” but there was no evidence to verify this as yet.

It was not clear what the motive for the breaches was, and all possibilities were being investigated, he said.

Necsa has suspended the security management, including the general manager of security, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Adam described the four robbers who shot and wounded emergency station commander Anton Gerber as “technically sophisticated criminals”.

“Modus operandi implied prior knowledge of electronic security systems. I’m not saying it is an inside job. I’m saying whoever did this, knows these systems very, very well.”

The four robbers gained access to the site by cutting the outside fence and slipping through the electric fence.

“Several security layers on the electric fence were de-activated,” Adam said.

The robbers were caught on the security cameras but the guards on duty apparently did not spot them.

The gang gained access to the emergency control room, where they accosted and shot Gerber before fleeing.

Adam said the nuclear facilities, including a research nuclear reactor on the site, were not compromised.

“Each facility has its own additional security measures which are designed to provide yet another mechanism of defence in depth in the even of such a breach.”

Necsa has offered R25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the four attackers and R10,000 for positively identifying any person involved in the incident.

Source: Sowetan

>Blogger’s Note: Remembrance Day 2007

> In memory of those Canadian, US, and allied soldiers who have died for the cause of freedom . . .

>USA File: Stealthy PRC sub surfaces in midst of naval exercise, Pentagon "embarrassed," US Navy "consternated," Beijing dismisses incident

>In a recent US naval exercise a stealthy Chinese submarine surfaced for a visit, within torpodeo range of the USS Kitty Hawk. The article below reports that the Pentagon was “embarrassed” and the US Navy expressed “consternation” over the incident. That’s nice. However, what will dot.gov do about it? Problably nothing since the Council on Foreign Relations-dominated White House intends to hold high-level strategic nuclear talks with the Butchers of Beijing.

The Daily Mail continues: “Analysts believe Beijing was sending a message to America and the West demonstrating its rapidly-growing military capability to threaten foreign powers which try to interfere in its ‘backyard.'” That’s probably a decent analysis. Looks like the US Navy is ready to fight the next world war . . . Not.

Pictured above: Chinese Song class submarine.

09/11/07 – World news section
The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced
By MATTHEW HICKLEY

When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed.

At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world’s only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.

That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory.

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk – a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

The Americans had no idea China’s fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.

One Nato figure said the effect was “as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik” – a reference to the Soviet Union’s first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age.

The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.

The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines.

And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it.

According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.

It also led to tense diplomatic exchanges, with shaken American diplomats demanding to know why the submarine was “shadowing” the U.S. fleet while Beijing pleaded ignorance and dismissed the affair as coincidence.

Analysts believe Beijing was sending a message to America and the West demonstrating its rapidly-growing military capability to threaten foreign powers which try to interfere in its “backyard”.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s submarine fleet includes at least two nuclear-missile launching vessels.

Its 13 Song Class submarines are extremely quiet and difficult to detect when running on electric motors.

Commodore Stephen Saunders, editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships, and a former Royal Navy anti-submarine specialist, said the U.S. had paid relatively little attention to this form of warfare since the end of the Cold War.

He said: “It was certainly a wake-up call for the Americans.

“It would tie in with what we see the Chinese trying to do, which appears to be to deter the Americans from interfering or operating in their backyard, particularly in relation to Taiwan.”

In January China carried a successful missile test, shooting down a satellite in orbit for the first time.

Source: Daily Mail

>Asia File: Bhutto briefly under house arrest, Marxists control Benazir’s People’s Party; Pakistani reds condemn state of emergency

>Whoever is a friend of America, is a traitor.
— Pakistan People’s Party slogan, October 18, 2007

Pakistan is descending into chaos as Islamic militants based in the Taliban-infected North-West Frontier Province and anti-American Marxists in Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) attempt to oust the Musharraf military regime. PPP leader Bhutto (pictured here, center) was briefly under house arrest today.

Pakistan’s Bhutto Under House Arrest, 5,000 Supporters Rounded Up
Bhutto Under House Detention in Pakistan; 5,000 Supporters Arrested to Block Major Rally
Nov. 9, 2007 —

The Pakistani information minister Tariq Azeem Khan said the ‘restraining order’ on Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto had been lifted. He made the announcement during a an interview broadcast on Sky TV. He also said he hoped the state of emergency would be lifted ‘very soon’ and reiterated the fact that elections would take place by February 15th.

Bhutto was placed under house arrest earlier in the day, and police rounded up 5,000 of her supporters who were planning to hold a protest rally. Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan who just returned to the country from nearly a decade in exile, called for the rally to protest President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of emergency rule.

“The government has been paralyzed,” Bhutto shouted to supporters across a barbed-wire barricade erected by police, The Associated Press reported.

Earlier President Bush called for Bhutto and her supporters to be freed and again for the end of emergency rule.

It is “crucial for Pakistan’s future that moderate political forces work together to bring Pakistan back on the path to democracy,” the White House said in a statement.

Later after she was unable to leave her house, ABC News reached her by phone “We told the police they should either give us an arrest warrant or allow us to proceed.” Bhutto said on “Good Morning America.”

“How often can Gen. Musharraf bring the entire public [to a] standstill to stop a single public meeting? I plead with the international community not to be taken in, for him to retire as army chief, for him to hold elections and to restore the constitution.”

ABC’ Martha Raddatz was outside Bhutto’s house when supporters tried to drive Bhutto out of her compound, but said riot police quickly moved in.

Two buses blocked Bhutto’s car while she shouted over a megaphone to be released. Bhutto had hoped to go rally with her supporters.

“Do not raise hands on women. You are Muslims. This is un-Islamic,” she shouted.

In front of Bhutto’s compound throughout the day, supporters would come usually one by one. And one by one they were arrested, Raddatz reported.

The city of Rawalpindie, where the rally was to take place, was in lockdown and there were only sporadic clashes.

Also in Peshawar Friday a suicide bomber struck at the home of the Pakistani minister for political affairs, Amir Muqam. Four people were killed, but Muqam was not hurt, according to the AP.

There have been waves of bombings in recent months targeting Pakistani officials, which have been blamed on Islamic militants. It was for this reason Musharraf said he was declaring martial law earlier this week.

But while Musharraf is going after his opposition, ABC News visited an area just 150 miles from where the Taliban is taking over.

The Swat Valley, once a popular tourist site, now has Taliban fighters wielding weapons, closing schools and taking over police stations.

People have fled from here by the hundreds of thousands, fearing the entire valley will fall to the Taliban. Still many local citizens told ABC News that Musharraf seems more worried about Bhutto than the extremists.

Bhutto, for her part, said she is determined to get out of her compound before day’s end.

Source: ABC News

The communist-infiltrated Socialist International, of which the PPP is a member, has condemned President Pervez Musharraf’s perceived persecution of Bhutto:

The Socialist International condemns the suspension of the constitution and the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan, and calls for the immediate restoration of democratic governance and the full respect for fundamental political rights and civil liberties. . . .

We reaffirm our solidarity and support for the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, a member of the Socialist International, and its leader Benazir Bhutto as they strive to restore democratic rule and strengthen democratic institutions in their country.

Meanwhile, the open communists of the Pakistan Communist Mazdoor Kissan (Workers’ and Peasants’) Party are also condemning the imposition of a state of emergency. A November 3 press release declared:

Emergency Imposed Again!!!
Dated: November 3rd, 2007

In continuing tradition – The Pakistan Army has, once again, assumed totalitarian control over the State, Legislature, Executive and Judiciary of Pakistan. As we all know this is not the first time this has happened – the suspension of Human Rights, as ensured in the Pakistani Constitution as well as the United Nations Charter of Human Rights (applicable to citizens of all member countries) is a crime against the people of Pakistan. The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party recognizes that this emergency is the first step towards a totalitarian and dictatorial Martial Law setup.

The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party – strongly – opposes these dictatorial policies of the Pakistan Military and wishes to express it unflinching support to all anti-dictatorial forces in Pakistan. The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party will not cease its efforts to bring true democracy to the country.

Inqalaab Zindabaad!
Down with Military Dictatorship!!
Long live the People of Pakistan!!!
Long live Democracy!!!
Long Live Socialism!!!!

Issued by: The Press Secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party.

The PCMKP maintains an electoral alliance with a splinter group of the PPP called the Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB). In May 2007 Pakistan’s Daily Times reported:

The Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB) and the Pakistan Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (PCMKP) have entered into a political and electoral alliance at the provincial level for the upcoming general elections. PPP-SB NWFP President Advocate Muhammad Zahoor Qureshi, PCMKP Provincial President Anwar Shah and other office-bearers called a meeting on Wednesday at the Mian Kalay Hashtnagar to give the final approval for the political and electoral alliance.

As one might expect Pakistan’s hard-core red revolutionaries have lashed out at the Bhutto dynasty for being reformist and defected to organize new parties demanding a workers’ uprising. During the 1970s, for example, communists entered the government of PPP President/Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir’s father. The website of the Pakistan Labour Party relates: “When the PPP came to power in 1972, many communists joined the government. However, the PPP did not bring about any fundamental change, save some radical reforms. This disillusioned the working class. The proletariat took to the streets during the period of May-Sept 1972.” The elder Bhutto was overthrown in a coup by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who ruled as a military dictator between 1978 and 1988. The story above states: “Still many local citizens told ABC News that Musharraf seems more worried about Bhutto than the extremists.” And so he should in view of the PPP platform for socializing the country.

Communists surround the PPP leadership, including Benazir Bhutto, to this day. A red website reveals that “Marxists in the PPP” were instrumental in arranging the massive reception of three million Bhutto supporters when Benazir returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007. We quote the article at length:

The Marxists in Pakistan working in the PPP were present at this occasion in full capacity. Nearly 50,000 leaflets were distributed at the reception parade with socialist demands and a socialist programme.

Comrade Manzoor Ahmed, who is the PPP Member of Parliament from Kasur and Divisional Co-coordinator of the PPP for Lahore, took a caravan of thousands of people, which took more than 24 hours to reach Karachi from Lahore.

Comrade Ralf Lund from Jampur took several buses packed with workers and peasants to Karachi while comrades from Quetta, Kalat, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad, Multan, Jhang, Rawalpindi, Pakhtoonkhwa and Kashmir led huge numbers of PPP workers to Karachi.

Comrades from various districts of Sindh led thousands of workers from their respective areas of Hyderabad, Dadu, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Thattha, Ghotki, Sukkur and others towards Karachi. The largest of the caravans was from Mirpur Khas in Sindh, where comrades led a huge number of buses.

The comrades in Karachi not only hosted the thousands of PPP workers but also organized rallies, distributed leaflets and made various arrangements along with organizing various camps along the 40 km parade route.

Comrades from the People’s Labour Bureau Karachi (labour wing of PPP) arranged a camp in front of the airport which was decorated with banners with socialist slogans. Also, a camp of the People’s Labour Bureau Sindh was organized by comrades at the place where the parade was to finish and a huge mass meeting was to be held.

The whole route was packed with people where thousands had already arrived in front of the stage where Bhutto was expected to deliver her speech. On the stage banners were placed with bold letters saying, “Socialism or Death” and another banner “Bhuttoism Socialism”.

The Karachi airport lies in the District Malir, which is also the area where the Pakistan Steel Mills is, and where comrades led a historic struggle against privatization.

Comrade Riaz Lund is the District President of the People’s Labour Bureau, and was in charge of organizing the reception in his district. Huge rallies were organized for weeks prior to the reception with slogans against privatization and downsizing, while all the walls were painted red with socialist slogans. Also a camp was organized near the airport from the workers of Steel Mill.

Comrades from Layari, the stronghold of the PPP in Karachi and the poorest and most impoverished area of Karachi, also made big preparations for the day and led a rally of thousands of toiling and suffering people into the reception parade. The walls in Layari were also painted red with socialist slogans.

The Comrades not only distributed thousands of leaflets among the participants but also discussed the demands written on the leaflet with them.

The leaflet got a tremendous response with people demanding more copies so that they could distribute it in their regions when they go back.

Down with Imperialism!

The comrades had arranged a big number of US flags which were burnt in front of international and local media. PPP workers gave an overwhelming response to this gesture of denouncing imperialism and chanted slogans of “America ka jo yar hai! Ghaddar hai! Ghaddar hai!” (Whoever is a friend of America, is a traitor). Some flags were burnt near the airport in front of the truck carrying Bhutto and PPP leadership, while some were burnt by comrades near Mazar-e-Qaid, where the stage was set to hold a mass meeting.

The ABC News story above also reports: “Earlier President Bush called for Bhutto and her supporters to be freed and again for the end of emergency rule.” Once again, America’s globalist elite aid and abet totalitarianism, offering Pakistanis three grim options: military dictatorship, communist dictatorship, or Islamic dictatorship.

The political situation in Pakistan is similar to that in Myanmar, where the (socialist) military dictatorship has repeatedly placed another leftist female leader of the opposition, Suu Kyi, under house arrest. The daughter of the founder of the Communist Party of Burma met with an official of the ruling junta today and afterward issued a concilitatory statement: “In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the government in order to make this process of dialogue a success.”

>USSR2/China Files: Moscow-Beijing Axis consolidates alliance with $US 3 billion trade and investment pact; Kremlin’s gold, forex reserves record high

>The Moscow-Beijing Axis is pictured here, personified: The Chinese and Russian premiers Wen Jibao and Viktor Zubkov. The first head of government is a communist, while the second is an “ex”-communist. Prior to arriving in Moscow, Wen also visited the retro-Soviet republic of Belarus where he huddled with communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko. In his 1984 book New Lies for Old KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn exposed the Cold War-era “animosity” between Soviet Russia and Red China for the disinformation that it was and accurately predicted the rise of their “one clenched fist” after the “collapse” of communism in Eastern Europe:

Before long, the communist strategists might be persuaded that the balance had swung irreversibly in their favor. In that event they might well decide on a Sino-Soviet ‘reconciliation.’ The scissors strategy would give way to the strategy of ‘one clenched fist.’ At that point the shift in the political and military balance would be plain for all to see. Convergence [between East and West] would not be between two equal parties, but would be on terms dictated by the communist bloc (pages 345-346).

The geopolitical balance has indeed “swung irreversibly in their favor” as the USA, guided by a treasonous foreign policy set by the globalist gurus of the Council on Foreign Relations, cozies up to the neo-Soviet state and China in joint military exercises.

Russia-China Forum: $US 3 billion of deals

November 7, 2007, 15:03

The second Russia-China Economic Forum has drawn to a close in Moscow with both sides agreeing to build on and extend trade and investment relations. Deals worth $US 3 billion have been agreed.

A key theme of the forum has been the need for more Russian companies to move into the Chinese market with more downstream processing of raw materials, which dominate Russia’s exports to the booming Asian giant.

Currently, Russia and China are working on improving the structure of their trade relationship with almost three quarters of Russia’s exports being raw materials. The forum is a good opportunity for both countries to diversify into different sectors, including the manufacture of machinery and technical products.

“Bilateral co-operation in different sectors of trade has increased. The most important sectors for our trade are machinery, investment, industrial co-operation, timber and the development of small and medium size business. All that will be discussed at the forum,” stated Viktor Zubkov, the Russian Prime Minister.

The first day of the forum saw the signing of a range of agreements primarily in the nuclear power industry. The two sides have agreed to jointly build a gas centrifuge plant in China to enrich uranium, and also to construct the second phase of the Tianwan nuclear power plant.

Further processing of Russia’s timber exports in Russia is also on the agenda, with more than 70 joint-projects, and plans to expand further with another $US 700 million of investment.

“We need to build economic relations with China once again. There are different projects in place, but most of them are Chinese. I think there should be more mutual projects. I see the development of the timber industry between the two countries as very positive,” said Aleksandr Shokhin, President of the Russian Industrialists’ and Enterpreneurs’ Union.

With the volume of deals signed this week expected to hit almost $US 3 billion, investment ties between the nations is set to grow. Chinese construction companies have committed more than $US 5 billion to the Russian market this year and other Chinese manufacturers, including automanufacturers, also have projects in the pipeline.

The second Russia-China Economic Forum is the largest event that brings together trade representatives from both countries. It’s hoped that the outcome of this forum will be the further development of the Russian and Chinese economies.

Source: Russia Today

Meanwhile, the Kremlin continues to pad its gold and forex portfolios, evidently seeking a soft landing after the Communist Bloc pushes the USA into recession/depression and then launches its nuclear blitz against the West:

Russia’s Gold, Foreign Exchange Reserves Grew 5.4 Percent in 4 Wks
November 8, 2007

Russia’s gold, foreign exchange reserves reached $447.9 billion as of November 2, 2007, having widened by $6.6 billion, or 1.5 percent, vs. the previous indicator. The reserves stepped up by $16.5 billion from October 5 to 26, so the four-week gains amounted to $23.1 billion, or 5.4 percent.

The reason of this material growth is aggressive purchase of foreign currency by Central Bank of Russia (CBR) on domestic market. Today’s level of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves is the record high during all history of the Soviet Union and Russia and the country has neared the world leaders, China and Japan, in this indicator.

China’s gold, foreign exchange reserves exceed $1.434 trillion. The reserves grew by $101 billion in the third quarter, while the nine-month growth was above 45 percent vs. the respective period of the previous year.Japan has laid aside more than $945 billion.

According to the 2008 monetary and credit policy guidelines of the CBR, Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves will step up by $114.9 billion in 2007, while the 2008 growth is estimated at $37.9 billion to $68.4 billion and they are forecasted to widen $8.6 billion to 46.3 billion in 2009 depending on the scenario for macroeconomic policy development. In 2010, the reserves will probably go down by $4.5 billion or increase by $5.6 billion to $20.8 billion.

Source: Kommersant Daily

>Latin America File: Nicaragua’s "ex"-Marxist President Ortega reiterates solidarity with "revolutionary processes" in Cuba and Venezuela

>Daniel Ortega is another communist wolf in sheep’s clothing. Nicaragua’s “ex”-Marxist president continues to use communist terminology like “solidarity,” counterrevolution,” and “Yankee imperialism.” Neo-Sandinista Nicaragua is more dangerous than the old because now the West believes communism’s “dead” and the twentysomething crowd, which dominates the MSM infotainment complex, has no knowledge of the Cold War-era conflicts in Central America. Pictured above: Comandante Ortega and Cuban Tyrant Fidel Castro: then and now.

Ortega: Solidarity with Cuba, Venezuela

Managua, Nov 8 (Prensa Latina) Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega reiterated on Thursday the solidarity of the people and government of Nicaragua with revolutionary processes underway in Venezuela and Cuba against internal and external destabilizing efforts.

In Ortega’s opinion, the ongoing revolutionary process in Venezuela “is subject to an attack by the counterrevolution, fuelled by inside traitors and Yankee imperialism.”

“The least we can do today is express our solidarity with the people of Venezuela and comrade Hugo Chavez,” said Ortega.

The Nicaraguan president made his remarks today during a ceremony to pay tribute to founder of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), Carlos Fonseca, on the 31st anniversary of his assassination in Nicaraguan mountains.

Ortega also reiterated Nicaragua’s solidarity with Cuba after recalling the Island’s support of Fonseca and every FSLN fighter during their struggle against the Somoza dictatorship and after the triumph of the Revolution in 1979.

Source: Prensa Latina

>Red Terror File: Stalinist shoots up Finnish high school on Bolshevik Revolution’s 90th anniversary, kills 8, shouts "Revolution! Smash everything!"

> On November 7, 2007 18-year-old Finnish student Pekka-Eric Auvinen entered his high school in the village of Jokela and shot dead seven classmates and the principal with a SIG Mosquito .22 calibre pistol, before shooting himself in the head. Pekka-Eric died later that day in the Toolo Hospital of the Helsinki University Central Hospital.

Prior to the rampage Pekka-Eric posted videos of himself brandishing his pistol at his YouTube site. One video, posted within the last two weeks, was titled “Jokela High School Massacre – 11/7/2007,” clearly demonstrating that Pekka-Eric intended to carry out his nefarious scheme on the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, as communists from around the world converged on Moscow to celebrate proletarianism. Pekka-Eric also posted his autobiography. “I am a cynical existentialist, antihuman humanist, antisocial social darwinist, realistic idealist and godlike atheist,” he announced. Pekka-Eric was an admirer of atheist Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, atheist Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the atheistic Stalinist regime in North Korea, and young atheists Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who perpetrated the Columbine massacre in 1999. CNN reports: “Police said all of his victims had multiple gunshot wounds, most to the upper body and head. Police said they found 69 shells and more than 320 unused bullets at the scene.”

School massacre killer shouted ‘revolution!’
November 8, 2007 – 4:22PM

Students have told how an armed teenager rampaged through a Finnish school shouting: “Revolution! Smash everything” before killing seven pupils, the principal and then fatally shooting himself.

And an ex-girlfriend of Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, told local media she had been accused of causing the tragedy by dumping him.

She said: “I have got many many emails and phone calls saying I am a killer. But many people get dumped without going out and killing people.

“He did what he did because he was who he is.”

Auvinen shot himself in the head following the massacre, having first signalled his intentions in a video posted on YouTube.

Witnesses described chaos and panic as Auvinen killed his headmistress, five boys and two girls, and wounded a dozen others as they tried to flee the carnage.

A pupil, Terhi Vayrynen, 17, told the Associated Press that her brother Henri, 13, witnessed the killing of the headteacher through his classroom window.

The girl said the gunman came into Henri’s class shouting: “Revolution. Smash everything.”

He shot at a television and windows, but not at pupils, and ran off down the corridor.

Extremist movements

A teacher, Kim Kiuru, told a local radio station the gunman had been keenly interested in war history and extremist movements.

“He was moving systematically through the school hallways, knocking on the doors and shooting through the doors,” said Mr Kiuru, who was teaching an eighth-grade class when the gunfire started.

“It felt unreal,” he added. “A pupil I have taught myself was running toward me, screaming, a pistol in his hand.”

Local police said the gun used was legal and Auvinen had been issued a permit through a gun club three weeks ago.

Mr Kiuru said the headteacher announced the danger over the public address system just before midday and ordered all children to remain in their classrooms.

“After that I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small calibre handgun in his hand through the doors toward me, after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction.”

“Then my pupils shouted at me out of the windows to ask what they should do and I told them to jump out of the windows … and all my pupils were saved.”

“We heard the shots and then we broke the windows and jumped out,” said Franz Andersin, 14, who was in the school when the shooting spree started.

‘Always smiling’

“I knew the guy. He was always smiling. I wonder why he did it,” he said.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen described the shooting, the worst in the Nordic country’s history, as “a great tragedy”.

“This is an awful day … The shooting has deeply undermined the sense of security in society … Nobody had expected such things,” he said.

The rampage began at 11.43am on Wednesday (8.43pm AEDT) inside a classroom at Jokela High School in the small town of Tuusula. The secondary school has about 450 pupils.

Auvinen had posted a video, entitled Jokela High School Massacre – 11/7/2007, on YouTube in the past two weeks.

The video zooms in on the school with heavy metal music blaring in the background and shows a young man against a red background pointing a gun at the camera.

Within hours of the shooting, the video had been downloaded more than 200,000 times.

‘Prepared to fight’

In his profile on YouTube, Auvinen, calling himself Sturmgeist89, says: “I am prepared to fight and die for my cause.

“I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.

“You might ask yourselves, why did I do this and what do I want? Well, most of you are too arrogant and closed-minded to understand,” he added.

He was pronounced dead at 10.14pm (7.14am Thursday AEST) after being treated for a single gunshot wound to the head at Helsinki University Hospital.

“He died at 22.14 of a one-bullet injury in the head,” Eero Hirvensalochief, a traumatology physician at the hospital, said.

Police and school pupils alike were at a loss to explain why Auvinen had committed such a terrible act.

Normal family

“He comes from a very normal family of four people, he has one brother. He had no problems in school,” police officer Jan-Olav Nyholm said.

One of Auvinen’s classmates, told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that the gunman, who was a sports shooter, had recently been acting “strange” and had begun making drawings of gun massacres.

He had logged into his YouTube account on Wednesday morning.

Other videos posted under his name hail the perpetrators of school shootings in the US and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

According to media reports, he had repeatedly expressed admiration for Hitler and Stalin and he names Nietzsche as a favourite author on his YouTube account.

The US-style shooting sent shockwaves through Finland, where such violence is extremely rare.

While there have been several stabbings at Finnish schools in recent years, Wednesday’s was the first shooting since a 14-year-old shot dead two classmates in a school in the coastal city of Rauma in 1989.

“It’s incredible that something like this has happened in Finland,” said Jokela High School history and psychology professor Kim Kiuru.

Finland has one of the world’s highest gun ownership rates, ranking third behind the US and Yemen, according to a recent study by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.Most of the registered weapons in Finland are hunting rifles.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Pekka-Eric’s killing spree was unprecedented in Finnish history even though, as the story below reports, “Finland has one of the world’s highest gun ownership rates, ranking third behind the US and Yemen.” Not surprisingly, in the wake of the Jokela massacre, Finland’s gun control advocates are agitating for general civilian disarmament. “Definitely this will impact opinions about handguns,” Centre Party Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen told a news conference after the shooting.

Thinking strategically, the fact that 56 out of 100 Finns own a firearm poses something of an obstacle to a future Soviet occupation. The Russians last invaded Finland in 1939 during the Winter War, but were trounced by the Finns, who were outnumbered one to four in terms of manpower, one to 200 in terms of tanks, and one to 30 in terms of aircraft. A thorough investigation of Pekka-Eric’s associations should be conducted in order to find a possible Russian “agent of influence.”

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Russian Defense Ministry exposes real reason for suspension of CFE Treaty: Troops to be reinforced near western border with NATO

>Yesterday we reported that Russia’s non-compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty is official, now that the State Duma has ratified President Vladimir Putin’s proposed moratorium. We quoted Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, who assured the West that there is no possibility that Russia will ever re-invade and re-occupy its old satellites: “In military terms, Russia is not going to build up its conventional forces in Europe. The decision to suspend the treaty means stopping exchanges of information and inspections.”

Pictured above: Russia’s T-80 main battle tank has been in production since the late 1970’s. KBTM of Omsk manufactures the T-80U for general use in infantry and tank units and the T-80UK command tank.

We analyzed Kosachev’s remarks in the following way: “In view of Russia’s military adventurism in Eastern and Central Europe in the twentieth century, there is no reason to believe Kosachev’s first statement. With respect to his second statement, the elimination of ‘exchanges of information and inspections’ between Russia and NATO will provide the Kremlin with the cover needed to reposition its armed forces along the border between the Commonwealth of Independent States and the European Union.” Therefore, Kosachev is either a liar, which is likely, or out of the loop, which is not likely.

State-run Novosti is now inadvertantly exposing Kosachev’s comments for what they are: a bold lie. Russia has every intention of redeploying its ground forces along the border between the CIS and the EU. The Russian Defense Ministry is plainly threatening to “reinforce” its troops “near its western borders,” while Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, declares that “Russia is no longer bound by CFE limitations.”

Russia threatens to build up troops on western borders over CFE
11:30 07/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Defense Ministry said it might reinforce its troops near its western borders if parliament supports the president’s proposed moratorium on a key arms reduction treaty in Europe.

Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, is expected to pass a presidential bill on the country’s withdrawal from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) on Wednesday. The proposal has been widely seen as a Kremlin move to prevent the U.S. from deploying a missile shield in Central Europe.

“We are carrying out work as regards the issue,” said First Deputy Defense Minister, Gen. Alexander Kolmakov, but added that no final decision had been made so far.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to suspend the 1990 CFE Treaty in mid-July, citing security concerns. If adopted by parliament, the Russian moratorium is likely to come into force on December 12.

The amended version of the Soviet-era treaty was signed in 1999, and has not been ratified by any NATO countries.

Moscow considers the original CFE Treaty to be outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion. NATO countries have insisted on Russia’s withdrawal from Transdnestr and other breakaway post-Soviet regions as a condition for their ratification of the CFE Treaty.

Today General Baluyevsky responded to the formal suspension of the CFE by the Russian parliament on November 7:

Russia will no longer be bound by current weapons and equipment limitations after its moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty comes into force. We will not consider ourselves bound by quantitative limitations on conventional weapons. As to our future steps, starting from December 12, 2007 we will not provide any information, or accept or conduct any inspections stipulated by the [CFE] treaty.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it would withdraw the remaining military equipment and ammunition from its Soviet-era depots in Transnistria in six months if Moldova and its secessionst region establish an agreement on the political status of the Russian-speaking enclave. “Until Moldova and Transdnestr have reached an agreement on this issue, we cannot pull anything out,” warned General Vladimir Isakov, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister. About 500 Russian troops presently guard nearly 20,000 tons of ammunition that have been stored in Transnistria since Russia’s 14th Army withdrew in the late 1990s.

In a related story, Russia’s crypto-communist regime is not only “anxious” about the security of its western borders, but also its southern periphery. Even today as the last Russian troops leave Georgia, where they have been stationed since the old Soviet era, Moscow’s armed forces are conducting exercises in southern Russia, possibly with the intent of further influencing events in the Not-So-former Soviet republic. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has openly implicated the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service in fomenting oppositionist protests against his “pro”-Western regime. Three Russian diplomats were expelled from Tblisi yesterday. In response, Russia expelled three Georgian diplomats from Moscow today. Notwithstanding Georgia’s outrage, the Russian Foreign Ministry is also promising continued Russian “involvement” (meddling) in Georgia’s two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia: “An appropriate response will be made, and Russia will remain true to its commitments regarding assisting in the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts and the protection of Russian nationals living there.” Both Moscow and Tblisi are accusing the other of provocations.

Moscow sees instability on Russia-Georgia border – Kremlin source
22:2007/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is concerned over the emerging instability in Georgia, as protesters continue to demonstrate in the capital Tbilisi, and believes the Georgian people deserve better.

“We are really concerned by the emerging events and instability in the vicinity of our borders,” a Kremlin source said on Wednesday.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow would react appropriately to the expulsions of three Russian diplomats from Georgia. The Russian embassy officials were declared “personae non gratae,” by the Georgian Foreign Ministry Wednesday, a Georgian diplomatic source said.

“Moscow regards the latest idiocy by Georgian authorities as political irresponsible provocation. An appropriate response will be made, and Russia will remain true to its commitments regarding assisting in the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts and the protection of Russian nationals living there,” the Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.

The ministry said, “The most important thing is that assessments by certain public figures in Tbilisi for using force to settle conflicts do not materialize.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has urged all those who have any influence on Tbilisi to caution the Georgian leadership against taking “destructive steps.”

Referring to the Georgian president’s accusations that Russia’s special services were behind recent events in Tbilisi, the ministry said such steps were fraught with unpredictable consequences. Saakashvili’s comments were made earlier on Wednesday during an address to the nation on Georgian TV.

Opposition supporters have been demonstrating in Tbilisi for the past six days, demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation and early elections. Riot police used water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse protesters.

Source: Novosti

Like General Baluyevsky, Moscow’s “ex”-CPSU mayor Yuri Luzhkov has excoriated President Saakashvili as a “US puppet”: “Georgia’s problem is the bad luck with the president. Russia is witnessing the insane oppression of the nation by authorities that are paid from overseas. It is the question of policy of many standards. The United States supports Georgia, which Russia is allegedly offending.” In August 2004 Luzhkov made an informal visit to Abkhazia.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: State Duma suspends Russia’s obligations under CFE Treaty; USA, China to hold "high-level nuke strategy talks"

>Our partners are acting improperly. They are using the agreement to build up their system of military installation near our country. Near our borders. Moreover they are planning to set up elements of an anti-ballistic missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland. And this creates a real threat to our country. In connection with this I consider proclaiming a moratorium on Russia’s fulfilment of this treaty.
— Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, April 2007

Even as Moscow’s hidden Leninist cabal legally prepares the way for the reoccupation of Western Europe, neo-Soviet Tyrant Vladimir Putin continues to deceptively refer to the Bush White House as “our partners,” holding out the carrot of peaceful East-West convergence. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, assures the West: “In military terms, Russia is not going to build up its conventional forces in Europe. The decision to suspend the treaty means stopping exchanges of information and inspections.” In view of Russia’s military adventurism in Eastern and Central Europe in the twentieth century, there is no reason to believe Kosachev’s first statement. With respect to his second statement, the elimination of “exchanges of information and inspections” between Russia and NATO will provide the Kremlin with the cover needed to reposition its armed forces along the border between the Commonwealth of Independent States and the European Union.

Russia drops its arms obligations
November 7, 2007, 14:14

The Russian State Duma has voted to suspend Russia`s participation in the European arms control agreement. Earlier President Putin had said Russia should withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. The move comes as the U.S. and NATO say they’re ready to consider ratifying it.

The Head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, has said the reason for the moratorium is that only four states out of 30 participants have ratified the CFE treaty.

“It’s up to Europe to decide now. It’s enough to ratify the adapted treaty to rule out any negative scenarios. In military terms, Russia is not going to build up its conventional forces in Europe. The decision to suspend the treaty means stopping exchanges of information and inspections,” commented Mr Kosachev.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, says Russia has not abandoned the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. “We have not cancelled our ratification of the CFE Treaty. We are just suspending our participation in an agreement that has long been outdated. We are expecting that all parties to the treaty will ratify the adapted version. It can be fulfilled and updated with due account taken of today’s reality and in any case it needs to be updated after the ratification,” said Mr Lavrov.

The landmark arms control agreement, signed in 1990, limits the number of tanks, aircraft and other military hardware that can be deployed in Europe. It also establishes a military balance between NATO and the former Warsaw Pact countries.

Nine years later it was amended to adapt to post-cold war realities. The new version of the treaty, however, cannot come into legal force until all thirty countries ratify it. Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus have already done so but not all NATO members have. They say they will do so only after Russia fulfils its obligation, under the Istanbul treaty of 1999, to withdraw its forces from Georgia and Moldova.

Russia, for its part, says it has pulled out its troops from those territories and that the only Russian servicemen there now are invited peacekeepers.

In April, after a tense conference in Vienna, Vladimir Putin said Russia would consider a moratorium.

“Our partners are acting improperly. They are using the agreement to build up their system of military installation near our country. Near our borders. Moreover they are planning to set up elements of an anti-ballistic missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland. And this creates a real threat to our country. In connection with this I consider proclaiming a moratorium on Russia’s fulfilment of this treaty,” said Vladimir Putin back then.

In July, the Russian President proposed a moratorium on the CFE treaty by Russia. The last round of talks on the CFE took place a month ago but it produced no new compromise.

RT political commentator Peter Lavelle says Russia’s move is quite logical:

“The treaty was designed at the very end of the Cold War and everyone took advantage of it. NATO then said it wouldn’t expand – but it did expand. Also, all those new countries in Eastern Europe that joined NATO refused to sign the treaty. So they’ve got the purpose of an agreement without signing it. So Russia’s said, “If you want the purpose of the treaty, then sign it.”

Source: Russia Today

Meanwhile, on November 5 after meeting with his Chinese counterpart, General Cao Gangchuan, in Beijing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that the USA will set up a military hotline, hold high-level nuclear strategy talks, and increase joint exercises with the People’s Republic of China. Bloomberg.com reports:

The limits of this transparency were highlighted when Gates asked his hosts for an explanation of the shooting down in January of a low-earth-orbit weather satellite, which triggered worries that China could target U.S. military satellites. “With respect to the anti-satellite test, I raised our concerns about it — and there was no further discussion,” Gates said in response to a question about the issue during a joint news conference with Cao.

Clearly, the full import of the anti-American Sino-Soviet Peace Mission war games has not registered with Pentagon “strategists,” which is probably why the US Armed Forces have already conduced joint maneuvers with Russia and, moreover, why the Russian Air Force feels bold enough to once again probe NATO/NORAD airspace. Not so coincidentally, Gates is a member of the globalist, pro-communist Council on Foreign Relations. Got civil defense?

>Asia File: Bhutto issues ultimatum against Musharraf: Rescind state of emergency or face mass protests, regime destabilization

>In addition to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, another “pro”-Western leader is under attack on the Eurasian continent. On Sunday, November 4 President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, suspending Pakistan’s constitution and deploying troops in the capital of Islamabad. Meanwhile, former center-leftist prime minister Benazir Bhutto is accusing the general of staging a second coup, the first one being in 1999, when he initially seized power from PM Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Bhutto narrowely escaped an assassination attempt after her October 18 return to Pakistan following eight years of exile.

The story below quotes Najam Sethi, editor of the Daily Times newspaper, as saying: “She [Bhutto] has to pretend it is pressure that has forced Musharraf to back down and not that she has cut a deal with him.” It also reports that former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was sacked for refusing to ratify the emergency order and is now under house arrest, urged Pakistanis yesterday to “rise up” to end the emergency.

Pictured above: Joyful practitioners of the religion of pieces. Not. Pakistani Islamists protest against the Musharraf military regime.

Bhutto issues Musharraf ultimatum
November 07 2007 at 08:12 PM

Islamabad – Former premier Benazir Bhutto on Wednesday urged Pakistanis to join mass protests against a state of emergency, setting up a tense showdown with military ruler President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto said she would hold a rally in Rawalpindi on Friday despite police threats of a crackdown, and called for a “long march” on November 13 from Lahore to the capital if Musharraf does not repeal emergency rule.

Police tear-gassed and baton-charged hundreds of Bhutto’s supporters outside the parliament building in Islamabad shortly after she spoke, an AFP reporter witnessed. At least three were arrested.

“I appeal to the people of Pakistan to come forward. We are under attack,” Bhutto told a news conference after holding talks with other opposition leaders in Islamabad.

The two-time premier said that key US ally Musharraf must restore the constitution, announce the date of parliamentary elections due in January and quit his role as chief of the powerful army by November 15.

Bhutto had previously stopped short of throwing her support behind three days of protests led by lawyers, which have been crushed by security forces, amid speculation she was angling for a power-sharing deal.

“God willing, there will be a flood of people. If I am arrested, people should continue the struggle,” the 54-year-old added.Nearly 1 000 people rallied peacefully in the capital earlier and another 200 protested in Peshawar.

She rejected a warning by the police chief in Rawalpindi that her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would not be allowed to stage its rally there, due to a ban on such gatherings and because of a risk of suicide bombings.

“If they try to flout the ban, the law would take its course,” the garrison city’s police chief Saud Aziz said.

Bhutto has been guarded by tight security since twin suicide bombings hit a rally in October in Karachi to mark her homecoming from eight years in exile, killing 139 people.

Meanwhile, another former Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, wants to build a united platform with other opposition parties against Musharraf’s emergency rule, his brother said at a protest in London.

Shahbaz Sharif, the president of his exiled brother’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party, confirmed the party was working with Bhutto’s PPP.

International outrage against Pakistan has mounted, with the White House warning Pakistan its patience was not “never-ending” and that it expects him to return “soon” to the path of democracy.

Britain and France also urged Musharraf to hold polls on time.

But Pakistan rejected the “excessive” global criticism. It also brushed off a phone call from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Musharraf on Monday, with his spokesperson saying it involved “nothing of any consequence.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told MPs from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party at a meeting also attended by Musharraf that the date for the vote would be decided by November 14.

Musharraf told legislators he wanted the “deviation from the election schedule to be kept as little as possible.”

Pakistan’s parliament unanimously approved the state of emergency in its first sitting since the weekend, state media said.

Earlier, Muslim League chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain told a newspaper that the emergency imposed on Saturday would end in “two to three weeks.” There was no official confirmation.

Bhutto had been in talks with Musharraf about power-sharing, an alliance also being pushed by the United States as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, although she has said that she has no plans to meet him in Islamabad.

Analysts questioned whether she was playing a double game with her protest call. “She has to pretend it is pressure that has forced Musharraf to back down and not that she has cut a deal with him,” said Najam Sethi, editor of the respected Daily Times newspaper.

Ex-chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, fired for refusing to endorse the emergency order and now under effective house arrest, urged Pakistanis on Tuesday to “rise up” to end the emergency.

The sacked judge said Musharraf had declared an emergency because he was scared of losing a Supreme Court case on the legality of his October 6 re-election as president.

Musharraf cited “interference” by the judiciary as one of the main factors that led to his decision, along with a wave of Islamic militant attacks in the nuclear-armed nation.

Despite the emergency, hundreds of armed followers of a pro-Taliban cleric hoisted flags over government buildings early Wednesday after seizing most of the northwestern tourist district of Swat, witnesses and officials said.

Fresh defiance also came from cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who made a haggard-looking appearance from hiding on a video in which he urged Pakistanis to “resist” emergency rule.

Source: Int.Iol.co.za

>Breaking News: Saakashvili declares state of emergency, PM Nogaideli: "Coup thwarted"; Komsomol businessman Patarkatsishvili financing protests

>In our previous post on the Georgian-Russian crisis, we reported that the Saakashvili regime has shut down the Imedi television station, which means that Georgia no longer has an independent news agency. Rustavi 2 TV, which is technically independent, has followed the official line. Imedi was founded by Badri Patarkatsishvili, a prominent Georgian oligarch who is associated with Kremlin agent provocateur Boris Berezovsky. Georgian authorities claim that Patarkatsishvili is fomenting the protests against President Mikhail Saakashvili. Patarkatsishvili amassed his fortune in Russia during the economic “free for all” of the 1990s. In 1992 he became Deputy Director General of Berezovsky’s LogoVAZ. In January 1995 Patarkatsishvili was appointed First Deputy Director General of Russia’s ORT TV channel. Between March and May 2001 he was the Director General of TV6, after which he returned to his native Georgia. Like Berezovsky, Patarkatsishvili is a “Komsomol businessman.”

Georgia leader orders state of emergency
President blames Russia; TV station taken off air, police attack protesters

The Associated Pressupdated
12:57 p.m. CT, Wed., Nov. 7, 2007

TBILISI, Georgia – U.S.-allied President Mikhail Saakashvili declared a state of emergency Wednesday in the capital of Georgia, where six days of demonstrations have fueled a worsening crisis.Saakashvili has blamed Russia for fomenting the unrest in the former Soviet nation. His prime minister, Zurab Nogaideli, said in a televised statement that there had been an effort to overthrow the pro-Western government.

“An attempt to conduct a coup was made, and we had to react to that,” Nogaideli said.

He said that the presidential decree would be submitted to parliament for approval within the next two days as required by the constitution.Saakashvili said in a televised address earlier that Russian spy agencies were behind the protests and that several Russian diplomats had been asked to leave because of espionage activities.

There was no immediate response from Moscow, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed similar previous allegations by Saakashvili as “farce.”

Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to break up demonstrations Wednesday before bursting into the offices of a pro-opposition television station that went off the air moments later.

The Imedi television station describes itself as independent but is seen as a key opposition mouthpiece by authorities. It has carried statements by opposition leaders and broadcast footage of police breaking up protests.

“Riot police are here, something horrible is going on,” the Imedi announcer said before the station went off the air.

Rubber bullets used

More than 100 people were hospitalized after police drove opposition demonstrators from two protests in the capital, Tbilisi. Police used truncheons on some protesters and rubber bullets at one demonstration.The Interior Ministry said it would put out a statement on the situation at Imedi later in the day.

“Journalists aren’t in danger, they will be allowed to go home,” ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told The Associated Press.

Salome Zurabishvili, a former foreign minister who is now an opposition leader, said she was inside Imedi’s headquarters when more than 100 police broke into the building and took control.

Zurabishvili said that the shutdown of Imedi means that Georgia no longer has independent television because Rustavi 2 television, which is technically independent, has toed the official line.

Businessman turned activist

Imedi was founded by Badri Patarkatsishvili, a prominent businessman who authorities claim is behind the protests against President Mikhail Saakashvili. Patarkatsishvili earned his fortune in Russia during the turbulent 1990s, but he returned to his native Georgia in 2000.

Patarkatsishvili recently handed over his controlling stake in Imedi to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., saying he wants to focus on supporting opposition parties.

The main demonstration Wednesday was in a street outside Parliament, where Saakashvili opponents have gathered since Friday, first to demand changes in election schedules and legislation and then to demand his resignation.

As police advanced, protesters retreated down Tbilisi’s main avenue. Police fired tear gas from the beds of pickup trucks. Many wore gas masks, and live television broadcasts showed several people choking, including police. Scattered fist fights broke out between uniformed police and protesters.

Later, riot police again used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to break up another demonstration in downtown Tbilisi. Some police used truncheons to beat protesters who clambered over the city’s walls, threw stones and taunted police.

About 360 people sought medical assistance, and more than 100 of them have remained hospitalized, Health Ministry spokeswoman Nino Kochorashvili told The Associated Press.

Saakashvili said he regretted the use of force, but argued that it was necessary to prevent the country from sliding into chaos.

Source: MSNBC.com

In a related story, state-run Novosti reports that on November 4 three Sukhoi Su-24 “Fencer” attack aircraft violated Georgian airspace by three to four kilometres for one minute before retreating. The Russian military is currently holding exercises in its Caucasus region, which borders on Georgia.

>USSR2 File: Russian communists and foreign comrades observe 90th anniversary of Bolshevik Revolution in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok

>Although no longer officially observed since 2005, October Revolution Day is still sacred to communists worldwide. Today foreign communists who participated in this past weekend’s 9th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Minsk, Belarus traveled to Moscow to join the festivities and encourage their Russian comrades who are approaching the December 2 State Duma election with considerable optimism regarding their future success and the restoration of the Soviet Union.

According to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation website, 50,000 reds marched in Moscow . . .



More reds marched in St. Petersburg . . .

. . . and in Vladivostok.

Among the foreign communists attending the Bolshevik bash in Moscow was Fernando Remirez de Estenoz, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. According to Prensa Latina, “the Cuban party leader highlighted the validity of Bolsheviks in inspiring dreams from early in the 20th Century.” Remirez de Estenoz was quoted as saying: “We pay tribute to the heroic Russian people that along with the two other Soviet Union Republics have faced and defeated the huge machine of war of Nazism and its allies. We recall the Soviet Union’s contribution to the independence of many Asian and African nations and its generous help to Cuba and other peoples to face US aggression.”

>USSR2 File: Georgian police crack down on protesters, seize TV station; Saakashvili: Russian SVR behind unrest; Shevardnadze: President must resign

>The fact that Eduard Shevardnadze, the former communist dictator of “post”-communist Georgia and Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign minister in the old Soviet era, is now calling for the removal of President Mikhail Saakashvili, who ousted Shevardnadze in the 2003 “Rose Revolution,” suggests that the current unrest in the Not-So-Former Soviet republic is a red-scripted drama from overture to finale. Shevardnadze was interviewed today as saying: “If I were healthy, I would have been there with the people. I don’t blame the government. I left my office voluntarily, two years before my term was over, to avoid the spilling of blood. I can’t say if the president is good or bad, or if he has any whims, if we can call his desire to preserve his power by all means a whim. I would have resigned.”

State-run Interfax, moreover, reports that Georgian special services have proven a connection between opposition leaders and the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). The accused include Konstantin Gamsakhurdia, Freedom Party leader and son of President Zviad whom Shevardnadze deposed in 1992; Shalva Natelashvili, Labor Party leader; Levan Berdzenishvili, Republican Party parliamentarian; and Giorgi Khaindrava, former State Minister for Conflict Resolution.

Georgian crackdown: police close independent media channel
November 7, 2007, 20:37

Police in Georgia have shut down the independent television channel, Imedi. The station was broadcasting live pictures of protests in Tbilisi for most of the day on Wednesday. A radio station owned by Imedi has also been taken off air.

‘Imedi’ was was recently sold by influential Georgian businessman, Badri Patarkatsishvili to the Western holding News Corp. Mr Patarkatsishvili has strongly baked the opposition demonstrations.

The day’s violent events

After five days of demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili and calling for early elections, security forces were ordered to clear protesters outside the parliament building in the city centre.

One of the opposition leaders, Georgy Haindrava, was arrested and allegedly severely beaten up. Later he was released.

About 70,000 people are said to have taken part in the demonstrations, with many involved in clashes with the police. Hundreds are reported to have been injured, including journalists covering the event.

Russia Today’s own correspondent Ekaterina Azarova and cameraman Evgeny Litovko, were caught up in the police crackdown. They were conducting a live television broadcast when special forces began to spray tear gas, as a result of which our team suffered tear-gas poisoning.

Opposition supporters began to return to the Parliament building after the police initially broke up the rally early in the morning. The protesters planned to stage another rally but were again confronted by the riot police.

There are also reports that more troops are approaching Tbilisi.

The Speaker for the Georgian Parliament, Nino Burdhanadze, has called on the opposition to stop the protests and to resume talks. “I address every Georgian citizen and call for calm. It’s not the time for ultimatums. We must do everything in order not to damage our state. We will resume the dialogue with the opposition as soon as the police return to its barracks,” she said.

Georgia points finger

Meanwhile the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili The Georgian President has addressed the nation after a day of violence in Tbilisi.

He has blamed Russian secret agents for the unrest in the country. He says several spies working as diplomats in the Russian embassy will be expelled for destabilising the situation in Georgia.

The president said he has definite proof that Russian security services are acting to sabotage the political situation in Georgia. Mr Saakasvili promised that the proof will be made public soon.

He also said the authorities will do everything ‘to prevent destabilisation and chaos’ in Georgia. The use of force against the opposition rally was necessary to restore order, he believes, and was absolutely lawful.

“The mayor’s office decided to restore order when they saw the streets were empty in the morning, but people decided to continue the protests. They had the right to continue as in any democratic country, but they should do this in a limited area. They decided to start clashes with the police, who were keeping order on the streets. We gave people the right to protest but they used force against us. We have the right to use force against them as in any democratic country,” Mikhail Saakashvili said.

Georgian Ambassador to Russia, Irakly Chubinishvili, has reportedly been recalled to Tbilisi.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has also expelled three Russian diplomats.

Reaction

Georgian Ombudsman, Sozar Subari, has called the security crackdown on protesters unconstitutional. He also said that the country ‘is ruled not by laws, but according to the wishes of certain individuals.’

He also said that he witnessed people lying on the ground being beaten.

“I tried to stop them, but was severely beaten. What’s more they did it deliberately, since those who did it knew that I am Georgia’s Public Defender. But I have no regrets – some people have had worse,” Mr Subari said.

“This was the dispersal of a peaceful demonstration by the use of force. And the only ones responsible for all that’s happened – and still can happen – are, of course, those in the Georgian government. The united opposition is hesitating and I don’t see any clear way out for them, though I can clearly see what the Georgian government is going to do. It’s not going to compromise,” said Irina Sarishvili, one of the opposition leaders.

Konstantin Kosachev, the Head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, says the dispersal of the demo is characteristic of the kind of democracy Georgia has now.

“I’m shocked and I’m very surprised because the authorities of Georgia have always proclaimed themselves to be a democratic power. They have always proclaimed their convictions regarding human rights and their adherence to the rule of law. Now we may see how they interpret their internal and international commitments and obligations in this sense.”

Source: Russia Today

Meanwhile, Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, is accusing the USA of propping up the Saakashvili regime: “Events in Georgia are occurring with the interference of the United States. Who finances Georgia’s $820 million military budget? Who is creating this force, which tomorrow might be used against its own people? I am not ruling this out.” Notwithstanding Baluyevsky’s bluster, Russia is pulling out the last of its troops from its base in Batumi, Georgia ahead of schedule. The last train with military equipment will depart on November 8. However, if a red coup takes place in Moscow between December and March, the Russian army could be back.

>USA File: Robertson endorses Giuliani, hands Christian Right to globalist Republicans; Council on Foreign Relations stacks race with its candidates

>Pat (“God Spoke to Me”) Robertson–the Yale University graduate and founder of the Christian Coalition of America who supported the Marxist dictator of Liberia Charles Taylor in 2003 but advocated the assassination of the Marxist dictator of Venezuela Hugo Chavez in 2005–has handed the Christian Right over to the globalist-dominated Republican Party by endorsing the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani. The alliance is not surprising because the former mayor of New York City is a Catholic, while Robertson is a Southern Baptist, which has made peace with the Roman Catholic Church. Robertson, furthermore, who tacitly supports China’s one child policy and forced abortions, pretends to be a social conservative, while Giuliani, at least before he started to court the Christian Right, makes no such pretense. Giuliani is a member of the globalist, pro-communist Council on Foreign Relations, which has exercised a stranglehold over US foreign policy since the Second World War, while Robertson is a member of the Council for National Policy, which was allegedly established as a conservative counterweight to the CFR.

The editorial below observes: “The endorsement will definitely slow [Mormon Mitt] Romney’s momentum with social conservatives.” I’m sure that’s the idea. The subversive entity known as the CFR is herding the American electorate toward one of two pens that will submerge the USA into a Red World Order controlled by the Moscow-Beijing Axis: Rudy vs. Hillary. Incidentally, the main Republican and Democratic contenders are all CFR members. This includes Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama. All things considered, there is little difference between the presidential elections to be held next year in the USA and the Not-So-Former Soviet Union.

Pat Robertson Endorses Rudy: Deems Him ‘More Than Acceptable to People of Faith’
November 7, 2007

Pat Robertson, one of the most influential figures in the social conservative movement, announced his support for Rudy Giuliani‘s presidential bid this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Robertson’s endorsement of Giuliani is a significant blow to Mitt Romney, who has worked hard to court evangelical leaders.

Robertson’s support was coveted by several of the leading Republican candidates and provides Giuliani with a major boost as the former New York City mayor seeks to convince social conservatives that, despite his positions on abortion and gay rights, he is an acceptable choice as the GOP nominee.

Following Robertson’s formal announcement at the Press Club, the Fix had a chance to sit down with the reverend and the candidate to further explore their relationship.

Robertson and Giuliani have crossed paths several times during the course of their careers but they were able to get to know one another better on a flight home from Israel in 2003.

While Robertson has been heavily courted by a number of presidential candidates — most notably Mitt Romney — in recent months, he decided to cast his lot with Giuliani in order to counter a movement among some evangelicals to support a third party candidate if the former New York City Mayor becomes the Republican nominee.

“I thought it was important for me to make it clear that Rudy Giuliani is more than acceptable to people of faith,” said Robertson. “Given the fractured nature of the process, I thought it was time to solidify around one candidate.”

He insisted that while some on the “fringe” of the social conservative movement may see Giuliani as an unacceptable nominee, the “core know better.”

Robertson said although he and Giuliani disagree on social issues, those disagreements “pale into insignificance” when measured against the import of the fight against global terrorism and radical Islam. “We need a man who sees clearly how to deal with that issue,” said Robertson.

For his part, Giuliani cited Robertson as simply the latest and most high profile example that he shares large swaths of common ground with people of faith — emphasizing his work to rid Times Square of pornography and his promise to appoint strict constructionists to the federal bench if elected president.

“If they look at my record they are going to a lot more areas of agreement than disagreement,” asserted Giuliani, noting that some of his opponents — who he chose not to name — have their own weaknesses on issues important to social conservatives.

The endorsement will definitely slow Romney’s momentum with social conservatives. Romney had recently secured the backing of conservative stalwarts Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones III — endorsements that seemed to strengthen his bid to become the electable conservative alternative to Giuliani. Romney had made no secret of his desire for Robertson’s endorsement and has to be disappointed this morning.

Robertson is widely viewed as one of the pillars of the religious right. He founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, the Christian Coalition and Regent University in Virginia Beach.

Robertson ran for president in 1988, finishing a surprising second in the Iowa caucuses before losing steam in later states. In recent years, Robertson has drawn considerable controversy for comments made about homosexuality.

Source: WashingtonPost.com

>USA File: Communist Bloc moves in for the kill: People’s Bank of China to dump dollar, diversify currency holdings; gold soars, oil continues climb

> The dollar is losing its status as the world currency. The world’s currency structure has changed.
–Xu Jian, Vice Director, People’s Bank of China; statement made in Beijing, November 7, 2007

We will favor stronger currencies over weaker ones, and will readjust accordingly. China should shift more of its $1.43 trillion of currency reserves into stronger currencies, such as the euro, to offset weak currencies like the dollar.
— Cheng Siwei, Vice Chairman, National People’s Congress; statement made in Beijing, November 7, 2007

Per earlier warnings from August, floated through arms-length think tanks, Chinese officialdom is now exercising its nuclear option against the US dollar and economy, while Soviet officialdom gloats over its own golden parachute. As early as 2004 the Chinese media was predicting a dollar collapse. The state-endorsed China Daily reported at the time: “Since China holds huge amounts of US-dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserves, the authorities should consider taking prompt measures to ward off possible risks. It is still too early to conclude if the US dollar is heading towards a crisis. But it is an indisputable fact that it has gone down continually.”

Dollar stumbles to new lows on call for China sales
Gold futures climb to nearly $850 an ounce; crude oil vaults above $98 a barrel
By
Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
Last Update: 5:12 AM ET Nov 7, 2007

LONDON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. dollar stumbled to new lows on Wednesday after a top Chinese official called for the country to shift more of its huge foreign exchange stockpiles out of the beleaguered greenback.

Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, was quoted by wire services as saying China should shift more of its $1.43 trillion of currency reserves into “stronger currencies,” such as the euro, to offset “weak” currencies like the dollar.

He also said a rapid appreciation of the yuan is not necessarily the right move — as Washington and increasingly Europe are requesting — though Cheng insisted the country wasn’t actively seeking a major trade surplus.

The reports sent the beleaguered dollar to new lows against the euro, with the shared currency surging as high as $1.4703 from $1.4559 late Tuesday.

The Japanese yen also rallied, with the dollar falling to 113.52 yen from 114.71 yen. The British pound surged to $2.1025 — the first time sterling has broken $2.10 since May 1981 — from $2.0866.

Gold futures, which traditionally move in the opposite direction to the dollar because of their role as an inflation hedge, jumped $23.40 to $846.80 an ounce, and rose as high as $848 an ounce during the European morning. Oil futures rose above $98 a barrel in electronic trading.

“As if ballooning U.S. credit/ housing crunch data, back-to-back Fed cuts and soaring oil prices weren’t enough to stun the U.S. dollar, now we have the specter of central bank reserve asset diversification out of U.S. dollars to contend with,” said Vincent Chaigneau, the head of fixed income and foreign currency strategy at Societe Generale, in a note to clients.

The dollar has been weak over the last few months as the Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point due to the credit crunch. The euro during August traded as low as $1.3417.

The question in currency markets is now the degree to which Cheng was signaling an official policy change.

“He would most probably be familiar with, though not privy to, policy discussions on the exchange-rate mechanism, FX reserves and liquidity management,” Chaigneau said.

Source: Marketwatch.com

Dollar Slumps to Record on China’s Plans to Diversify Reserves
By Agnes Lovasz and Stanley White

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) — The dollar fell the most since September against the currencies of its six biggest trading partners after Chinese officials signaled plans to diversify the nation’s $1.43 trillion of foreign exchange reserves.

The dollar fell against all 16 of the most-active currencies, declining to the weakest versus the Canadian dollar since the end of a fixed exchange rate in 1950, a 26-year low against the pound and a 23-year low versus the Australian dollar. The New York Board of Trade’s dollar index dropped to 75.21 today, the lowest since the gauge started in March 1973.

“Further weakening of the dollar is very likely,” said Teis Knuthsen, the Copenhagen-based head of foreign-exchange, fixed-income and derivative research at Danske Bank A/S, the Nordic region’s second-biggest lender. China may “diversify out of dollar holdings.”

The U.S. currency slumped to $1.4704 per euro, the lowest since the 13-nation currency debuted in January 1999, before trading at $1.4671 as of 7:15 a.m. in New York, from $1.4557 late yesterday. The dollar dropped the most in two months against the yen, trading as low as 112.87 yen. The euro fell against the yen to 165.84, from 166.99 yesterday.

The U.S. dollar index may be due for a reversal, according to a technical indicator. Its 14-day relative-strength measure fell to 21.38 today, below the 30 mark, which may signal the currency’s decline has bottomed out.

In technical analysis, investors and analysts study charts of trading patterns and prices to forecast changes in a security, commodity, currency or index.

Chinese Comments

“We will favor stronger currencies over weaker ones, and will readjust accordingly,” Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of China’s National People’s Congress, told a conference in Beijing. The dollar is “losing its status as the world currency,” Xu Jian, a central bank vice director, said at the same meeting.

The dollar also fell to an all-time low against the synthetic euro, a theoretical value that estimates where the currency would have traded before its inception. The prior record was $1.4557 set in 1992.

The U.S. currency may weaken to between $1.48 and $1.50 against the euro by year-end, Knuthsen said.

Chinese investors have reduced their holdings of U.S. Treasuries by 5 percent to $400 billion in the five months prior to August. China Investment Corp., which manages the nation’s $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, said last month it may get more of the nation’s reserves to invest to improve returns.

Treasuries Rise

U.S. 10-year Treasury notes rose today as mounting credit-market losses and declines in stocks pushed investors to the safety of government debt.

“The world’s currency structure has changed,” Xu said at the conference in Beijing. Cheng, speaking to reporters after his speech, said his comments don’t mean China will buy more euros. The National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, isn’t involved in setting currency policy.

“Cheng has a history of speaking out on a range of financial market and economic developments, and his comments are not always accurate,” said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia economist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong.

Cheng’s remarks on Jan. 30 that China’s stock rally was a “bubble” caused the benchmark index to fall the most in almost two years the following day. The Shanghai and Shenzhen 300 Index, then over 2,500 points, has since climbed above 5,300.

The euro’s gains may be limited by speculation European economic growth may slow, reducing the need for higher interest rates.

ECB Rates

The European Central Bank will keep its key rate at 4 percent tomorrow, according to all 61 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Data yesterday showed manufacturing orders in Germany fell more than expected in September.

“The euro is clearly overvalued against the dollar,” Emanuele Ravano, co-head of European strategy for Pacific Investment Management Co., which manages the world’s biggest bond fund, said late yesterday in Brussels. The ECB “over the course of 2008 will totally change its tune” by cutting in the second half.

Europe’s single currency will trade at $1.43 versus the dollar by year-end, according to the median forecast of 42 analysts and brokerages surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The dollar’s decline helped drive the price of crude oil to a record $98 a barrel and gold to a 27-year high, encouraging investors to buy assets in commodity-producing nations.

Commodity Currencies

Commodity currencies led the gains today. The Canadian dollar advanced to $1.1040. The Australian dollar gained to 93.98 U.S. cents, the highest since April 1984, from 92.87 U.S. cents. The rand rose to as high as 6.4294 per dollar, the highest since May 2006. The pound rose to $2.1052, the highest since May 1981.
The dollar’s 9.8 percent drop against the euro this year boosted the competitiveness of U.S. exports, helping shrink the nation’s trade deficit to $57.6 billion in August, the smallest since January.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday raised concern about the euro’s strength during a visit to the U.S., saying “you don’t need too weak a dollar” to spur growth in the world’s largest economy.

“This is an asset story and shows sentiment for the dollar continues to be quite negative,” said David Forrester, currency economist at Barclays Capital in Singapore.

The Australian dollar gained after the country’s central bank raised its benchmark borrowing cost to 6.75 percent today. Governor Glenn Stevens, announcing the quarter-point rate increase, said inflation will exceed the bank’s target.

Pressure on Fed

The dollar fell against the Norwegian krone as traders added to bets Norway’s central bank will increase its 5 percent deposit rate. It declined to 5.2835 kroner, from 5.3474. The dollar also dropped as losses from subprime-mortgage defaults added to pressure on the Federal Reserve to lower its target for the overnight lending rate between banks to 4.25 percent next month.

“The interest-rate outlook is dragging down the dollar against major currencies such as the euro and the Australian dollar,” said Seiichiro Muta, director of foreign exchange in Tokyo at UBS AG, the world’s second-largest currency trader. “I cannot see the bottom of the dollar depreciation yet.”

Interest-rate futures traded on the Chicago Board of Trade show a 62 percent chance of a quarter-percentage point Fed rate cut on Dec. 11, compared with 6 percent a month ago. Citigroup Inc. may write down an additional $2.7 billion worth of subprime- related assets, CreditSights Inc. said yesterday.

New Zealand’s dollar rose to 78.35 U.S. cents from 78 U.S. cents on speculation a report tomorrow will show the unemployment rate remained at a record low, boosting the chance of another increase to the country’s record 8.25 percent benchmark interest rate.

Source: Bloomberg.com

The Communist Bloc will probably utilize a three-punch strategy to take out its archnemesis. The first punch entails manipulating the USA into a recession/depression. As we have previously blogged, the MSM is beginning to pay attention to those specific countries that are pulling the plug on the dollar. Writing for CurrencyTrading.net Jessica Hupp identifies seven countries, all but one of which comprise the Communist Bloc and its Islamic allies: Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China, Venezuela, Sudan, Iran, and Russia. Hupp concludes:

Obviously, an abandonment of the dollar is bad news for the currency. Simply put, as demand lessens, its value drops. Additionally, the revenue generated from the use of the dollar will be sorely missed if it’s lost. The dollar’s status as a cheaply-produced US export is a vital part of our economy. Losing this status could rock the financial lives of both Americans and the worldwide economy.

The second punch will no doubt involve a WMD attack on US soil, exacerbating the economic collapse. The third punch will include a strategic military strike against North America with a little help from the Russian Air Force, once again lurking over the North Pole and off the coast of Labrador.

>Latin America File: Mexican police seize record cocaine shipment worth $2.7 billion, denting Communist Bloc’s narco-subversion plan against the USA

>Today Mexican police made a small dent in the Communist Bloc’s narco-subversion plan against the USA by seizing 23.5 tons of Colombian cocaine. We have previously documented the alliance between the Mexican drug cartels, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB). This seizure is probably a drop in the bucket for drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, who runs the Sinaloa cartel.

Mexican Police Seize Record Cocaine Shipment Worth $2.7 Billion
Tuesday , November 06, 2007

MEXICO CITY — A cocaine shipment seized by Mexico last week could have been worth as much as $2.7 billion on U.S. streets and the Mexican government said on Monday it belonged to Mexico’s most wanted man, drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.

Police, navy and customs officers found the 23.5 tons of drugs hidden in a shipment of plastic floor-covering aboard a Hong Kong-flagged container ship at Mexico’s Manzanillo port on the Pacific. The vessel came from Colombia and the drugs haul was the biggest ever seized by authorities, Mexico said.

“This is the world’s biggest cocaine seizure … and we believe it belonged to the Pacific cartel,” Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora told reporters, referring to the drug gang that Guzman leads and that U.S. officials call the Sinaloa consortium.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza put the value of haul at $400 million. But the U.S. government said last month the average price of the drug on U.S. streets had risen to $118.70 per gram in the first six months of the year. That would give the Mexican haul an implied street value of some $2.7 billion.

The Sinaloa alliance of drug gangs on Mexico’s western coast is considered the country’s most powerful cartel. Guzman, who escaped from a maximum-security jail in a laundry van in 2001, has so far eluded massive army and police searches for him.

The 23.5-ton seizure doubles the Mexican record, set only last month when soldiers found more than 11 tons of cocaine at the port of Tampico on the Atlantic coast, home to Guzman’s main rival, the Gulf Cartel.

Some 4,500 people have been killed in Mexico in the last two years, mainly due to a turf war between the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels.

Mexico has seized a record 48.4 tons of cocaine so far this year, worth at least $1.5 billion, the government said.

Source: FoxNews.com