Monthly Archives: December 2007

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: International civilian pilots federation: Russian aviation exercises in North Atlantic threat to commercial flights

>Although we are currently on vacation we noted the following news item, related to Russia’s ongoing strategic aviation exercises, in The Daily News, the main newspaper of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Russian Air Exercises a Threat to Civilian Flights
December 22, 2007
The Daily News

Brussels, Belgium: An international pilots’ group is complaining about air operations by a Russian naval task force in the Atlantic. The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations says the Russian military maneuvers are a potential threat to civilian flights. A Russian squadron consisting of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and two Udaloy-class destroyers is heading from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The pilots say the Russians have warned that military operations below 3,000 metres could occur anywhere along the squadron’s route “without prior notification.”

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>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia to continue strategic patrols, Serbian nationalist calls for Russian bases, first-ever Sino-Indian war game

>At Once Upon a Time in the West we have been following Russia’s resumption of permanent strategic bomber patrols, formally initiated in August 2007 but unofficially last year. A list of specific flights and incidents appears in this blogsite’s right column. It’s hard work tracking the communists. Hence, we are on Christmas vacation as of tomorrow and this will be our last post until at least January 2, 2008.

Russian commander says strategic bomber patrols to continue
15:23 | 20/ 12/ 2007

MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) – There are no technical obstacles to the continuation of long-distance patrols by Russian strategic bombers, the commander of the Air Force’s strategic aviation said on Thursday.

Commenting on media claims that Russian bombers had severely worn-out engines, Major-General Pavel Androsov said: “The pilots and technicians’ training, as well as the condition of the aircraft, permit us to carry out our assigned tasks in full.”

Russia’s strategic bombers have carried out since August more than 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights on August 17, saying that although the country had halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992, other nations had continued the practice, and that this compromised Russian national security.

Androsov had earlier said that bomber crews had practiced early detection and identification of potential targets and counter-intercept measures.

“Every patrol flight included elements of a tactical aerial engagement,” he said.

He also said at least 120 NATO interceptor aircraft had escorted Russian bombers during almost all their patrols, which had a total duration of over 40 hours.

Although it was common practice during the Cold War for both the U.S. and the Soviet Union to keep nuclear strategic bombers permanently airborne, the Kremlin cut long-range patrols in 1992. The decision came as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the ensuing economic and political chaos.

However, the newly-resurgent Russia, awash with petrodollars, has invested heavily in military technology, and the resumption of long-range patrols is widely seen among political commentators as another sign of its drive to assert itself both militarily and politically.

According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers, 40 Tu-95MS Bear bombers, and 14 Tu-160 Blackjack planes.

Source: Novosti

One military theater where Russia might deploy her bombers in the near future is Kosovo, whose ethnically Albanian leaders are threatening to secede from Serbia. In response, Serbian Radical Party (SRS) deputy leader Tomislav Nikolic is calling for a total blockade of Serbia’s renegade province and the establishment of Russian bases in his country to counter any NATO offensive in Kosovo:

Serbia is not capable of fighting NATO. The way to establish military balance in the Balkans would be to establish a Russian military presence in Serbia. If we already have an American base [in Kosovo], why can’t we have a Russian base in Serbia? They would be watching each other and taking care of each other, and Serbia would be perfectly safe. Serbia must reduce its diplomatic ties to a protocol level with all states that recognize Kosovo’s statehood. It must enhance its ties with Russia, a traditional Serb ally, as well as with China and other countries that refuse recognition.Our road toward the European Union has to be careful, while our road toward Russia is open.

With this statement Nikolic is in effect acting as a spokesman for Soviet expansionism in the Balkans.

SRS founder Dr. Vojislav Šešelj is an “ex”-communist and close ally of potemkin Russian politician and alleged KGB agent Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Šešelj voluntarily turned himself over to United Nations authorities in February 2003. SRS deputy leader Nikolić has coordinated the day-to-day operations of the party while Šešelj awaits trial in The Hague. In both the 2003 and 2007 parliamentary elections the SRS obtained the largest number of votes, but was not invited to join the coalition government.

An important component in the Moscow-Beijing Axis’ plan for global domination is the absorption of India into the Communist Bloc by way of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which New Delhi holds observer status. Formerly enemies, the People’s Republic of China and India are currently holding their first-ever joint military exercise in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. BBC News reports that “China appears also no longer to be objecting to the India-US nuclear deal that had initially upset it.” Indeed. For this war game, India’s communist-supported government selected troops from forces suppressing insurgencies in both northeastern India and Indian-administered Kashmir. Maoist insurgents control large swathes of territory in northeastern India. Beijing denies any current connection with India’s Naxalite rebellion and, in another example of communist trickery, in 2005 pledged to help New Delhi crush the insurgents. Pictured above: Indian troops head for China.

India and China launch war games
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 07:17 GMT

India and China have begun a joint military exercise, the first of its kind between the two largest armies in the world.

The exercise is taking place between 20 and 28 December in China’s south-western province of Yunnan.

It will involve a company of troops from each nation – just over 100 officers and men.

India and China fought a brief but bloody border war in October 1962 over a disputed Himalayan frontier.

The situation eased after the two countries signed a treaty for peace and tranquillity in 1993, agreeing to reduce troop levels on the borders.

Nearly 100 Indian soldiers have arrived in China for the exercise codenamed Hand in Hand 2007, says the BBC’s Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta.

‘Three evil forces’

“The joint training is aimed at enhancing understanding and mutual trust between Chinese and Indian armies and strengthening their exchanges in the anti-terror areas,” a statement issued by the foreign office of the Chinese Ministry of National Defence said.

“It is also aimed at deterring the ‘three evil forces’ – separatists, extremists and terrorists – and promoting the strategic partnership for peace and prosperity between China and India.”

Indian troops taking part have been picked from forces fighting insurgencies in restive north-eastern India and Indian-administered Kashmir, reports said.

Indian forces are carrying their personal weapons, light machine guns and mortars. The armoury – tanks, helicopter gunships and unmanned aerial vehicles – are being provided by the Chinese army.

Analysts say the exercise will bolster ties between the two countries.

“It will definitely help strengthen the mutual trust between the two countries, and the militaries in particular, given that they have an episode of unpleasant history,” Sun Shihai, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told the BBC.

Swaran Singh, associate professor at the School of International Studies at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “This reflects the growing mutual trust and understanding between the two sides, including between their military establishments.”

Ties between the two countries remained tense after the brief war in 1962.

‘Intrusions’

During an Indian high altitude military exercise called Operation Chequerboard in 1987, the two armies nearly went to war again.

In between, both sides patrolled the desolate frontier aggressively and skirmishes were not infrequent.

India and China signed an agreement on defence cooperation in May 2006 during the visit of former Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee to China.

Since then the two countries have been sending officers to each other’s military institutions for training, and military delegations have been visiting each other on a regular basis.

Last year, China agreed to reopen the strategic Nathu La pass to border trade, thereby accepting Sikkim as a part of India.

But in the last year China appeared to be uncomfortable with India’s growing strategic ties with the US, cemented through a series of joint exercises, including the huge five-nation naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, this year.

In recent months, Indian forces reported more and more Chinese “intrusions” across the disputed border even as Beijing stepped up its rhetoric over the disputed frontier, reiterating its claims to the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Analysts say the visit of India’s governing Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi to China last month has helped put bilateral relations back on the right track.

China appears also no longer to be objecting to the India-US nuclear deal that had initially upset it.

Source: BBC News

Meanwhile, Russia’s internal repression apparatus, currently known as the Federal Security Service (FSB) but previously known as the State Security Committee (KGB), turned 90 years old today. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union–which still operates through the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, its allied republican parties in the Union of Communist Parties-CPSU, and potemkin parties like United Russia–tasked the FSB/KGB with executing Moscow’s brilliantly successful long-range strategic deception and far-reaching political restructuring scheme. “We consider ourselves heirs to the Cheka. The principles formulated by Felix Dzerzhinsky [pictured above] are still valid today. It is patriotism, dedication to your craft, and maximum effort,” gloats FSB officer Nikolay Ivanov, below. Ivanov’s superiors in the FSB, Vladimir Putin and Nikolai Patrushev, would no doubt concur. State-run Russia Today concludes below that as of the (fake) August 1991 coup “Russia’s security agents were no longer at the service of a totalitarian regime.” This is not true. The Soviet Union’s totalitarian regime simply morphed into its present “kinder, gentler” incarnation of neo-Stalinism.

Ssshhh! Guess who’s 90 today!
December 20, 2007, 10:51

KGB is the Russian abbreviation for Committee for State Security, the organisation serving as the Soviet Union’s premier security agency, secret police and intelligence agency. It is now known as the FSB (Federal Security Service) and is marking 90 years since its foundation.

The first incarnation of the KGB, the Cheka, was established on December 20, 1917. It was headed by Felix Dzerzhinsky. At first there were only 23 employees. Amongst its first objectives was to stop the looting of wine cellars and profiteering – but it did not stay that way.

“Secret services are necessary, but when they meddle with politics it leads not only to their moral degradation, but to tragic consequences for the country,” said Lyudmila Mikhailova, Director of the VCHK (Cheka) Museum.

In Autumn 1918, Vladimir Lenin instigated ‘the Red Terror’ to destroy all those who opposed the Bolsheviks. The Cheka had the power to arrest, try and execute thousands of political opponents and insurgents.

In 1921 it numbered over 30,000 officers, agents and even border guards. Despite the end of the Civil War, the terror continued to escalate in Stalin’s time.

Ranging from former top army and party leaders down to rich peasants, there were more than 4 million political prisoners across the Soviet Union.

In the Great Purge in 1937, 700,000 were executed in just one year. More than 20,000 were killed at one location, a firing range just outside Moscow.

“The Communists never felt secure in their power, because they won it illegitimately. To support their regime, they needed to manufacture an enemy and to have an obedient army of Chekists to deal with that enemy. Even the Party was scared of the KGB,” said writer Simeon Vilensky, a victim of repression.

The Soviet Security Services did not only fight internal enemies. While known at the time as the NKVD, they played an important part during WW2. Its agents were in charge of decoding enemy communications and spying behind enemy lines. By that time the Soviet Security Services had a well established intelligence network abroad.

“We consider ourselves heirs to the Cheka. The principles formulated by Felix Dzerzhinsky are still valid today. It is patriotism, dedication to your craft, and maximum effort,” said Nikolay Ivanov, an FSB Officer.

At the height of the Cold War, the organisation, which changed its name again to the KGB, maintained thousands of agents in foreign countries. At home its web of millions of informers permeated every sphere of public life.

But the secret services were unable to ensure ideological compliance.

When the failed coup of 1991 signalled the end of the Soviet Union, thousands of people gathered outside the KGB headquarters, and hauled down the statue of its founder, Felix Dzerzhinsky.

Russia’s security agents were no longer at the service of a totalitarian regime.

Source: Russia Today

>Useful Idiots Bin: A Tsar is Born: Time recognizes Putin as "Person of the Year"; managing editor Stengel belongs to Council on Foreign Relations

>Under the title “A Tsar Is Born” the influential Time magazine has crowned neo-Soviet Russian dictator Vladimir Putin “Person of the Year.” Time’s managing editor is Richard Stengel, who belongs to the pro-communist/world government Council on Foreign Relations. “He’s the new czar of Russia and he’s dangerous in the sense that he doesn’t care about civil liberties, he doesn’t care about free speech,” Stengel gushes. Time’s doxology for the KGB tyrant in Moscow can be read here. Journalist Adi Ignatius writes:

Putin grudgingly reveals a few personal details between intermittent bites of food: He relaxes, he says, by listening to classical composers like Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky. His favorite Beatles song is Yesterday. He has never sent an e-mail in his life. And while he grew up in an officially atheist country, he is a believer and often reads from a Bible that he keeps on his state plane.

That’s nice: The world’s number one terrorist reads his Bible. Now where did I put that sickness bag?

Russian President Vladimir Putin Named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

NEW YORK — Time magazine on Wednesday named Russian President Vladimir Putin its 2007 “Person of the Year.”

The nod went to the Russian leader because of Putin’s “extraordinary feat of leadership in taking a country that was in chaos and bringing it stability,” said Richard Stengel, Time’s managing editor.

Putin, 55, is enormously popular in Russia, presiding over a resurgent economy flush with revenue from oil and natural gas. But critics say he has moved the country away from Russia’s democratic reforms of the 1990s by tightening control of the media, courts and parliament.

“He’s the new czar of Russia and he’s dangerous in the sense that he doesn’t care about civil liberties, he doesn’t care about free speech,” Stengel said.

Putin recently endorsed protoge Dmitry Medvedev’s presidential bid, and later said he would accept Medvedev’s offer to serve as prime minister if Medvedev is elected in the March 2 election.

Many believe Putin would remain Russia’s real leader, regardless of his title, though Putin has said he would not undermine his successor. The Russian constitution limits presidents to two consecutive terms.

Others who were in the running for Person of the Year included Nobel Prize-winner Al Gore and author J.K. Rowling.

This year’s choice was a return to the magazine’s tradition of picking an individual rather than last year’s choice of anyone creating or using content on the World Wide Web.

Previous individual winners have included Bono, President George W. Bush and Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

Source: FoxNews.com

During the interview Putin lied through his teeth with respect to the Soviet strategists’ long-range objectives: “The Soviet Union wanted to be a leader in the global communist revolution. This was a big mistake. We would not like to repeat these mistakes in the future. We don’t want to command anyone, we don’t want to be a superpower that dominates and imposes solutions.” This, however, is not the stated intention of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, whose leader Pavel Borodin in 2006 candidly declared that “Europe will kneel at our feet.”

Dissident Garry Kasparov, who has been in and out of jail for anti-Kremlin agitation and has advocated working with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, was not impressed by Time’s profile of Putin: “The appraisal given by Time is almost in tune with the official Kremlin propaganda alleging that Russia has risen up from its knees coming a long way. There are certain problems with human rights, some drawbacks with freedom of speech, and the situation around corruption is poor, but the direction is correct, which is a major personal achievement for President Putin.”

Incidentally, CFR mouthpiece Time is infatuated with communist/fascist dictators including Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939), Nikita Krushchev (1957), Deng Xiaoping (1978, 1985), Yuri Andropov (1983), and Mikhail Gorbachev (1987, 1989). Millions of Americans will read this article and be brainwashed with pro-Kremlin propaganda. Runners up for Person of the Year included Nobel Prize-winner (?) Al Gore and “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling. Are these the only candidates Time could find?

Neo-Soviet Russia Woos Greece into the Communist Bloc

These days the Leninist masterminds in the Kremlin are playing “buddy buddy” with everyone. With a little help from paleo-communist Bulgaria, Russia is advancing its strategic partnership with the European Union in general and Greece in particular by way of the South Stream natural gas project. State-run Novosti relates the history of South Stream: “Russia, Bulgaria, and Greece signed a memorandum on the oil pipeline in April 2005. Once completed, the pipeline will pump 35 million metric tons of oil a year (257.25 million bbl), a volume that could eventually be increased to 50 million metric tons (367.5 million bbl). The South Stream natural gas pipeline is set to cover over 900 km (560 miles) under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and supply 30 billion cu m of gas annually to the European Union.” Greece’s putatively conservative Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis visited Moscow on December 17, at which time he stated: “Bilateral relations in all spheres are developing very dynamically and have transformed into strategic partnership based on common historical and cultural values.” Pictured above: Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, Karamanlis, and Putin in Athens, on March 14, 2007. Stanishev is a member of the ruling “ex”-communist Bulgarian Socialist Party.

>Middle East/Latin America Files: Iran, Venezuela team up to repair Nicaragua’s war-wracked infrastructure, build deep-water port on Caribbean

>Yesterday the San Antonio Express-News published an excellent expose of the Managua-Caracas-Tehran Axis, an important component of the international Islamo-Marxist alliance headquartered in Moscow. With financial and logistical assistance from Iran and Venezuela, the neo-Sandinista regime in Nicaragua plans to build a deep-water port at Monkey Point, on its sparsely populated Caribben coast, and then connect that port to the derelict town of Corinto on the Pacific coast with a “dry canal” corridor of pipelines, railways, and highways. In the process, Corinto will be restored too. Journalist Todd Bensman writes: “This comes as good news on the streets of Corinto’s many barrios and at City Hall, where Mayor Ernesto Mendez adorns his office walls with Chávez posters and Sandinista propaganda.” We have previously blogged about the role of the Venezuelan Army in building a coast-to-coast highway for Nicaragua beginning in 2008.

Alarmingly, the report below reveals that earlier this year Nicaragua’s immigration minister secretly admitted 21 Iranians, including Revolutionary Guard operatives, into the country without visas. Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists are already active in Latin America, especially the Tri-Border Region between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the Sandinista National Liberation Front is refusing to comment on its new alliance with the Islamo-Nazi regime in Tehran, which received its first shipment of enriched uranium from Moscow this week–with White House approval. “If the Russians are willing to do that, which I support, then the Iranians do not need to learn how to enrich,” US President George W. Bush commented.

Iran making push into Nicaragua
Web Posted: 12/17/2007 12:35 PM CST
Todd Bensman
Express-News

MONKEY POINT, Nicaragua — The second military helicopter in as many days hovered over the jungle and then landed to a most unwelcome reception from several dozen angry Rama Indian and Creole villagers.

Rupert Allen Clear Duncan, a leader of some 400 Creole who live along the shoreline, confronted the foreigners dressed in suits and military uniforms that day in March and demanded to know the purpose of their aerial trespasses.

“This is our land; we have always lived here, and you don’t have our permission to be here,” Duncan spat, when refused the courtesy of an explanation.

Not until Duncan threatened to have his machete-waving followers damage the aircraft did they learn that some of the men were from the Islamic Republic of Iran and had come promising to establish a Central American foothold in the middle of their territory.

As part of a new partnership with Nicaragua’s Sandinista President Daniel Ortega, Iran and its Venezuelan allies plan to help finance a $350 million deep-water port at Monkey Point on the wild Caribbean shore, and then plow a connecting “dry canal” corridor of pipelines, rails and highways across the country to the populous Pacific Ocean. Iran recently established an embassy in Nicaragua’s capital.

In feeling threatened by Iran’s ambitions, the people of Monkey Point have powerful company. The Iranians’ arrival in Nicaragua comes as the Bush administration and some European allies hold the threat of war over Iran to force an end to its uranium enrichment program and alleged help to anti-U.S. insurgents in Iraq.

What worries state department officials, former national security officials and counterterrorism researchers is that, if attacked, Iran could stage strikes on American or allied interests from Nicaragua, deploying the Iranian terrorist group Hezbollah and Revolutionary Guard operatives already in Latin America. Bellicose threats by Iran’s clerical leadership to hit American interests worldwide if attacked, by design or not, heighten the anxiety.

“The bottom line is if there is a confrontation with Iran, and Iran gets bombed, I have absolutely no doubt that Iran is going to lash out globally,” said John R. Schindler, a veteran former counterintelligence officer and analyst for the National Security Agency.

“The Iranians have that ability, particularly from South America. Hezbollah has fronts all over Latin America. That is not new. But it’s certainly something we’re starting to care about now.”

American policymakers already had been fretting in recent years over Tehran’s successful forging of diplomatic relations, direct air routes and embassy swaps with populist South American governments that abhor the U.S., such as President Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. But Iran’s latest move places it just a few porous borders from Texas, where illegal Nicaraguan laborers routinely travel.

The disquiet with this proximity is rooted in Iran’s track record and Bush administration saber rattling that has gone unabated despite a recent National Intelligence Estimate report that concluded Iran could build nuclear weapons if it wanted but had ended a clandestine weapons program.

Diplomats or terrorists

Four consecutive American administrations have designated the Islamic theocracy a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984 for ordering Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence operatives, sometimes posing as diplomats, to conduct bombings, assassinations and kidnappings worldwide.

Among the more indelible of these were the suicide bombings of Marines in Beirut, the 1996 Kobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia and assassinations from Beirut to Washington.

Few Nicaragua observers believe Iran seriously plans to follow through on any of its $500 million promises or has any obvious need for trade ties with one of Latin America’s poorest countries.

Opposition politicians say they understand why Iran might want relations with oil-rich Venezuela and Bolivia but wonder aloud if Iran really is so interested in Nicaraguan bananas as their return on investment.

Those who view Iranian intentions with suspicion point to the new Iranian diplomatic mission in Managua as one reason for all the promises.

“They use their embassies to smuggle in weapons. They used them to develop and execute plans,” said Oliver “Buck” Revell, who served as associate deputy director over FBI intelligence and international affairs. “Diplomats have immunity coming and going. It is a protected center for both espionage and, on occasion, for specific operations. So an embassy in Managua is definitely an area that will be of concern to our national security apparatus.”

Front and center on many minds is Argentina’s contention that Iran, using its embassy as cover, orchestrated two Hezbollah bombings of Israeli and Jewish community targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

This year, Argentina secured Interpol arrest warrants for five former Iranian officials, most of them who worked as diplomats in the Buenos Aires embassy. Iran denies Argentina’s charges.

Also in recent months, the U.S. military repeatedly has accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of using diplomatic cover in Iraq to help insurgents kill American soldiers. Iran denies that charge too. In October, the Bush administration and Congress designated the Revolutionary Guard and its elite arm, the Quds force, as global terror organizations.

Israel is worried about Nicaragua, too, noting the Israeli business community in next-door Costa Rica, Jewish populations throughout Latin America and Iran’s repeated vows to militarily destroy the Jewish state. Israel has promised to take action alone if diplomacy fails to halt Iran’s nuclear programs.

Said one Israeli envoy in the region who requested anonymity, “It’s just that they could use their diplomatic infrastructure to repeat Argentina. They’ll promise millions, they won’t send a penny. But they will send a delegation.”

Publicly so far, U.S. administration officials, who opposed Ortega’s bid for the presidency last year, aren’t saying much. But privately, State Department officials in Washington hint that Iran’s move to Nicaragua — and Ortega’s warm reception — isn’t being taken lightly.

Some intelligence experts presume the Iranian move to Nicaragua already has stepped up foreign espionage operations to an extent not seen since in that country since the Cold War.

To be sure, not everyone views the Iranian move to Managua as nefarious. Some foreign policy analysts depict Iran’s outreach to anyone offering a welcome mat as a logical response to defeat two rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions and gain voting U.N. friends as more rounds are contemplated.

“Iran has its own foreign policy. They’re just trying to extend their influence,” said Peter Rodman, a senior fellow in foreign policy for the Brookings Institute. “They’ll stick to economic activity.”

Other analysts see as entirely logical that Iran would project a deterrent in America’s backyard to make Washington think twice about military action.

“When you’ve got Washington calling you evil, and there’s a steady stream of reports from Washington about bombing campaigns, what would you do if you were an Iranian strategic planner?” said Dennis Jett, dean of the International Center at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “These guys have a track record of using diplomats and diplomatic missions as a mechanism for terrorism, so why wouldn’t they be making that calculation now?”

A mystery compound

Twelve-foot-high concrete walls topped by neat rolls of razor-sharp concertina wire protect the manicured grounds of a mansion inside. The compound is not unlike many others in the affluent Managua suburb of Las Colinas, except for a telltale identifier.

From the street outside, through the wire at just the right angle, can be seen the top half of the distinctive red, white and green flag of Iran. This is the temporary embassy of Iran’s new envoy to Nicaragua, Akbar Esmaeil-Pour.

The envoy, however, hasn’t been in a talking mood lately, since local media stirred just the sort of questions that fuel Yankee fears. Last month, the country’s largest-circulation newspaper, La Prensa, published leaked government documents that showed Nicaragua’s chief immigration minister personally authorized 21 Iranian men to enter the country, without visas that would have left a record.

Officials denied the report until confronted with the document but refused to explain why the men were let in that way or what became of them.

Another report named as Revolutionary Guard operatives several men who accompanied the Iranian envoy to his new digs. A Honduran newspaper in June reported that Iranians had entered that country without permission from Nicaragua.

Knocks on embassy gates over four days recently drew Nicaragua national police guards and two polite aides but no interview. A call to Esmaeil-Pour’s private cell phone showed how much curiosity his presence has stoked lately.

“I’ve had hundreds of requests for interviews, and yours is only one! I’m very busy,” the ambassador snapped before hanging up.

The Ortega government also wouldn’t talk as internal criticism mounts about the country’s new alliance. But politicians from his Sandinista Party were quick to defend the country’s right to relations with Iran or any other country willing to invest in Nicaragua. Several predicted Iran would follow through and said Nicaragua never would knowingly allow terrorist activity.

“Nicaragua’s agenda in its international relations does not depend on whether a third country has good or bad relations with x or y country,” said Walmaro Gutierrez, a Sandinista Party congressmen. “To identify a country as terrorist just because of nationality, race, ethnicity or religion is discriminatory. I want to make clear we have signed the (U.N.) international convention against terrorism. We are very responsible.”

Opening the door

No one disagrees that old grudges and American neglect helped open the door for Iran. From 1980 to 1988, the CIA clandestinely fielded the Contra rebels for a guerilla war on Ortega’s Soviet-backed regime, at one point funding them from secret arms sales to a Sandinista ally at the time, Iran.

Ortega boasts solid anti-American credentials, aligning in the old days with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, and more recently defending Iran’s right to develop nuclear bombs.

U.S. relations with Ortega’s successors improved during the 1990s, but did not entail much in the way of foreign aid that could be leveraged now.

Nicaragua remains neglected, with the western hemisphere’s third-lowest per-capita income, a vast foreign debt and energy shortages so profound that electricity must be rationed.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saw opportunity in Ortega’s election. He was in Managua talking about hydroelectric and oil projects the week of Ortega’s January inauguration. By August, Ahmadinejad had committed to fantastic promises that, along with Monkey Point, include fixing the Pacific port of Corinto and building 10,000 houses.

Ortega’s alignment with Iran and Venezuela is causing some political blowback that may erode his thin public support. Some opposition leaders and reform-minded Sandinistas don’t like that Nicaragua has taken sides in a fight that doesn’t involve it.

Recent presidential candidate Eduardo Montelegre, who finished as the runner-up to Ortega, said Ortega is “irresponsible” to risk Nicaragua’s rebounding trade and good standing with the West by providing Iran a possible staging ground — even unwittingly.

“This is very simple. You draw a line between democracy and terrorist countries, and we don’t want to be on the wrong side of the line,” Montelegre said. “If the U.S. goes to war on Iran, those who are on the wrong side are not going to fare well.”

But most Nicaraguans hardly can afford to consider such intrigue. They are living hand-to-mouth existences in slums or squatting on bits of land. Sufficient numbers of them voted to elect Ortega and don’t seem to particularly care who he brings to the dinner table.

Neglected port

A pile of scrap metal, rusted to a brownish orange, is all that remains of oil tanks that CIA-led Contras blew up in a 1983 speedboat raid on Nicaragua’s port town of Corinto. The shrapnel-riddled tanks stood until just four months ago, when new Sandinista port directors decided to tear them down.

The pile symbolizes a new dawn for Nicaragua, insisted Absalón Martínez Navas, the neglected port’s newly installed Sandinista vice manager.

“We have investors,” Navas announced. “It’s nothing concrete yet. But we’re making studies. We’re making plans, not only to develop the port but also the community.”

One of the biggest backers, he said, is going to be the Iranian government. Probably. Two months earlier, the Iranians signaled they were serious when they sent a top transportation official to tour the port’s crumbling surfaces, decommissioned warehouses and out-of-date machinery.

The Sandinista government’s hope for Corinto is a $100 million upgrade and two new wharfs, to then be connected by the dry canal to Monkey Point. This scheme, Navas explained, would enrich Nicaragua by drawing Venezuelan oil and shipping business from the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

The dry canal has been around on paper for nearly 100 years. But it found new life in a drive by Venezuela’s Chávez to wean his country’s huge oil industry from loathed dependence on U.S. refineries, transportation and markets.

This comes as good news on the streets of Corinto’s many barrios and at City Hall, where Mayor Ernesto Mendez adorns his office walls with Chávez posters and Sandinista propaganda.

Many of the town’s 18,000 people live with no electricity or plumbing, and depend on the port for meager sustenance. Alphonso Jose Estrada, who spent 30 years working at the port, wishes the Iranians the best of luck.

“Even the U.S. is accused sometimes of being terrorists,” he said. “Just because the Iranians are coming here doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to cause terrorism. We’ll see more ships. That’s going to mean more jobs.”

That’s a much-shared sentiment in a town where the port is so decrepit that only a ship or two a week docks.

One recent evening, word went out over an invisible grapevine that a ship was coming.

Hundreds of men wearing yellow hard hats converged in waves of bicycles to vie for shifts as stevedores or forklift operators. The pay: a precious $8 per 12-hour shift.

After an hour or two of anxious waiting, only a few dozen were picked, the rest consigned to pedaling home with bad news. Many who land one or two shifts a month welcome any plan — by anyone — to bring more.

Some of the bicyclists stopped long enough to talk about the Iranian proposal but wouldn’t give names, for fear of not getting selected to work.

“It’s a bad friend,” one young bicyclist said of the Iranians. “But if the bad friend builds the port, then they’re a good friend!”

SNIP

>USSR2 File: Ukrainian Rada nominates Tymoshenko as PM on third round, Kyrgyz President Bakiyev’s party sweeps parliament

>After resorting to interventionist tactics, the pro-Moscow Party of Regions, led by outgoing “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, has during a third round of voting permitted “ex”-Komsomol businesswoman Yulia Tymoshenko to become Ukraine’s next head of government. Tymoshenko previously held the post of PM in 2005. Although the Ukrainian oligarch and Orange revolutionary appears to be on a lower rung in the Soviet leadership, Tymoshenko is still beholden to Moscow, as we have documented before. On October 5 state-run Regnum News Agency reported that “A delegation of Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc [BYT] headed by tycoon Tariel Vasadze, who is one of Yulia Timoshenko’s allies and sponsors, visited Moscow on October 4, a REGNUM correspondent informs. Probably, BYT leader Yulia Timoshenko will try to obtain support of certain circles in the Russian capital on the threshold of the decisive stage of the coalition talks.”

Yanukovich conceded that his party, which actually won the most number of votes in the September election, will go into opposition. However, Moscow’s man in Kiev issued a gloomy prognosis for Ukraine: “Tymoshenko’s return as premier promises new political upheavals. The country is facing new ordeals.”

Ukrainian parliament elects Tymoshenko as prime minister
15:2518/ 12/ 2007

KIEV, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s parliament voted to approve pro-Western coalition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s return as prime minister on Tuesday.

Tymoshenko received the required minimum of 226 votes in support of her nomination from the coalition – all 156 members of her eponymous bloc and all but two of the 70 member pro-presidential Our Ukraine party.

Lawmakers voted by raising their hands after the flamboyant ‘orange revolution’ leader failed by a single vote to get backing for her appointment twice on December 11. The coalition blamed technical malfunctions.

Smiling Tymoshenko, wearing her traditional peasant plaits and a white suit, was presented with a bouquet of roses from her fellow coalition members.

President Viktor Yushchenko’s ally in the 2004 mass protests that brought him to power, Tymoshenko was sacked by the president after about eight months in the post in 2005 amid a series of scandals. The two reconciled their differences during coalition talks after early parliamentary elections in September.

The Party of Regions led by the president’s longtime rival, acting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, its allies Communists and ex-speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc did not take part in the vote.

Yanukovych, who was defeated by Yushchenko in the presidential race but returned as premier in 2006 after a resounding victory in parliamentary polls, announced from the parliamentary rostrum after Tuesday’s vote that his party would go into opposition.

He said Tymoshenko’s return as premier promised new political upheavals in the ex-Soviet country. “The country is facing new ordeals,” Yanukovych said.

The 450-seat Supreme Rada will now approve a new Cabinet and distribute parliamentary committee portfolios, but lawmakers said the issues could be postponed until Wednesday.

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, in the Not-So-Former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, which is part of the Moscow-controlled Commonwealth of Independent States, “ex”-CPSU President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s Ak Zhol (“Bright Path”) party has won every seat in the national legislature. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, fresh from its tussle with Russian election authorities, deployed more than 250 observers for the Kyrgyz elections. The OSCE released the following post-election statement: “The Dec. 16 parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan failed to meet a number of OSCE commitments, despite respect for some that underscore existing pluralism.” Pictured above: The “ex”-communist leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Kyrgyz Leader’s Party Wins All Seats
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. Issue 3809. Page 4.
By Olzhas Auyezov Reuters

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s party won every available seat in the next parliament, preliminary results showed Monday, after weekend elections sharply criticized by Western monitors and the opposition.

Kyrgyzstan, home to both U.S. and Russian military bases, has been volatile since Bakiyev came to power in 2005, when a string of violent protests triggered by a disputed election toppled his long-serving predecessor, Askar Akayev.

If confirmed by final results, Bakiyev’s Ak Zhol party will dominate the 90-seat parliament in effective one-party rule — a break from Kyrgyzstan’s past as the most liberal state among more authoritarian Central Asian countries.

The election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent more than 250 observers for the elections, said the vote represented a “missed opportunity” to show commitment to international standards.

“The Dec. 16 parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan failed to meet a number of OSCE commitments, despite respect for some that underscore existing pluralism,” it said in a statement.

“Overall, the election represented a missed opportunity and fell short of public expectations for further consolidation of the election process,” it said.

Bakiyev has been accused at home of backtracking on his pre-election promises to bring more democracy and stability. He says stronger rule will help rebuild the economy, still in tatters after the collapse of the Soviet Union and burdened by huge debt.

Ak Zhol won 48 percent of Sunday’s vote, the Central Election Commission said Monday, citing results after 80 percent had been counted. Final results are due later this week.

“It’ll most likely be a one-party system,” said Toktogul Kakchekeyev, an independent political analyst.

The opposition Ata Meken party was the only other party to pass the threshold of 5 percent, with 9.3 percent. But it failed to meet a separate requirement of collecting 0.5 percent of the vote in each of Kyrgyzstan’s seven regions and two main cities.

The opposition condemned the elections as flawed, saying it had registered cases of forced voting and ballot stuffing. “We don’t accept this election’s result,” said Kubatbek Baibolov, a member of the Ata Meken party. “The authorities … are just cynically appointing their own people into the parliament. It will lead to trouble. People feel deceived.”

The previous parliamentary elections in 2005, also disputed by the opposition, sparked violent protests that toppled Akayev and brought Bakiyev to power.

Ak Zhol says it sees Russia — where the United Russia party controls more than two-thirds of seats in the State Duma — as a guiding model. Neighboring Kazakhstan also has a one-party parliament.

“The desire to copy Russia and Kazakhstan is priority No. 1 for the authorities,” said Kakchekeyev, the analyst.

But despite accusations of irregularities, many people said they voted of Ak Zhol, seeing it as a guarantor for stability following years of political turbulence and street protests.

Source: The Moscow Times

In addition to Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan feature parliaments totally or nearly totally dominated by one party, usually staffed by personnel from the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union, its youth league, or the Soviet security and intelligence apparatus. “The desire to copy Russia and Kazakhstan is priority No. 1 for the authorities,” observes independent political analyst Toktogul Kakchekeyev, referring to United Russia and Nur-Otan (“Fatherland’s Ray of Light”). Interestingly, now that Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are again dominant-party states, the ruling parties have assumed names reminiscent of Peru’s murderous Maoist Shining Path. In Turkmenistan the Democratic Party, which is the only legal political organization there, is the renamed Turkmen branch of the CPSU.

>USSR2 File: Medvedev counter-anoints Putin as next prime minister; Zyuganov only serious rival for presidency, challenges Gazprom head to debate

>“Ex”-CPSU Russian President Vladimir Putin and the potemkin “party of power” United Russia (ER) have anointed “ex”-Komsomol Dmitry Medvedev as the next president of Russia. Neither man is a member of ER, but both are connected to the old Soviet regime. Yesterday, Medvedev turned around and anointed Putin as the next prime minister, a post that Putin held briefly between 1999 and 2000. “I express my readiness to contest the post of Russia’s president and I am asking him to agree in principle to lead the Cabinet after a new president has been elected,” Medvedev declared on December 17. “I am ready to head the government without changing the powers between the president and the government,” Putin responded, apparently ending several years of speculation regarding his political future.

The Medvedev succession is another surprising Putin appointment that has come out of “left field” (pun intended), much like Viktor Zubkov’s appointment as PM and former PM Mikhail Fradkov’s appointment as director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). “Dmitry Medvedev, who was ‘elected’ by President Vladimir Putin,” observes the independent Moscow Times, “is one of the few people in Putin’s close circle who does not have any connections, as far as we can tell, with the Federal Security Services.” This apparently presents a problem for Putin. Journalist Leonid Radzikhovsky asks the “million dollar question”: “If Putin understands that Medvedev is weak in this area, why did he choose him as a successor?” There, of course, could be several unpublicized reasons that Medvedev was anointed as the next president of Russia, but be assured that Moscow’s Leninist masterminds will use the Medvedev candidacy to advance the Soviet strategy vis-a-vis the West. Radzikhovsky concludes:

One can assume that Putin does not want the security services to gain any more power than it has already amassed and, thus, he may have looked to Medvedev as a sort of counterbalance to the siloviki. But Medvedev hardly serves as a counterbalance to the siloviki if he never worked there and doesn’t have his own people in place at the top. Medvedev has only one link to the security services — Putin himself. The challenge for Putin is to somehow subordinate the FSB to Medvedev. But in what capacity will Putin be able to do this? This is the big question facing the country.

Since Putin has finally disclosed his next career move, the Times Online reports today that “Registration of presidential candidates closes on Friday and Mr Medvedev has no serious challengers. His principal rival is the Communist Party leader, Gennadi Zyuganov, who has already lost twice.” As we have insisted before, Zyuganov will be the chief opponent for any United Russia-backed presidential candidate. Interviewed today by state-run Itar-Tass, Zyuganov predicted a two-round presidential election: “Two rounds will be inevitable. I have a team, a platform and a well-structured organization and coalition. I will be representing not only the Communist Party as such, but some three dozen various organizations. I am determined to do my best in the first round.” Zyuganov last contested the Russian presidency in 2000 and before that in 1996, when he came within several percentage points of unseating Yeltsin.

The independent St. Petersburg Times reports that Zyuganov–who is legally challenging the results of the December 2 State Duma election that handed two thirds of the seats to ER–has thrown down the gauntlet by challenging Medvedev to a public debate mano-a-mano:

I believe that the Communists enjoy the support of at least one-third of voters. This is very serious and solid support. The authorities are afraid of an open political rivalry. I officially invite United Russia’s new presidential candidate to such a dialogue. We admit some of the mistakes made in the past. But at the same time we want to remind you that it was in Soviet times when our nation became a real superpower and was the first to go into space. The Communist Party insists on nationalization of natural resources and strategic sectors of industry.

The latter proposition is somewhat deceptive since the Putinist regime has already heavily renationalized the Russian economy, albeit not in the name of “the people.”

Eurasianism: A Vehicle for Creating the World Communist Federation

Incidentally, prior to accepting the post of PM, the Russian president had been touted as the next leader of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, a post currently administered by Pavel Borodin with some assistance from Zubkov. Between 1993 and 2000, when he assumed the post of Union State State Secretary, Borodin, like Putin, was a lackey of President Boris Yeltsin, supervising the Kremlin’s property management office, which dispenses offices, apartments, country houses, and cars as part of a regular compensation packages for Kremlin and State Duma officials. In 1999 the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera asserted that Borodin funneled US$1 million in “pocket money” through a Swiss bank account held in his name to the Yeltsin entourage. In March 2001 BBC News reported that “Mr Borodin has been under investigation for having allegedly taken at least $25 million in kickbacks from construction companies that won contracts to work on Kremlin property.” BBC also revealed that “Borodin is facing extradition to Switzerland on charges of money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation.” At the time US authorities, acting on an international arrest warrant, temporarily detained Borodin in New York City. Upon returning to Russia, Putin sacked the scandal-plagued Borodin, but Yeltsin’s former croney was incongruously promoted to his current position.

Borodin heads the obscure Eurasian Party-Russia’s Patriots Union (EP-SPR), hence, his advocacy of the Moscow-Berlin-Paris Axis and recent statement promoting the merger of the Union State with the European Union. Borodin’s party should be distinguished from the other party of the same name that was founded by Alexander Dugin, who also drafted the program of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Baluyevsky: US NMD may provoke counterattack; 11 ICBM tests for 2008, Svalbard revitalized; Tusk cozies up to Moscow

>Fresh from his whirlwind tour of the USA–where he inked a secret protocol on defense cooperation with the Pentagon and inspected America’s nuclear subs at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay–Russia’s top general is again threatening his “strategic partners” in the White House. “The issue of, to put it mildly, a confrontation with Russia, including a direct confrontation, is unfortunately still regarded by my counterparts from the Pentagon as relevant,” General Yuri Baluyevsky complained two days ago in Moscow. In other words, the USA is a warmongering power and Russia must protect itself by whatever means necessary. The Kremlin’s Cold War-era, “anti-imperialist” rhetoric has not deviated one iota since the fake collapse of communism in 1991.

U.S. antimissile launch may provoke counterattack – army chief-2
18:3315/ 12/ 2007

MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti) – A possible U.S. launch of an interceptor missile from Central Europe may provoke a counterattack by intercontinental ballistic missiles, Russia’s top military commander said.

“If we suppose that Iran wants to strike the United States, than interceptor missiles, which would be launched from Poland, will fly towards Russia,” the Chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Yury Baluyevsky said, adding that the shape of interceptor missiles and their flight trajectory are very similar with IBMs.

Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other “rogue” states. Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia’s national interests.

The top Russian military official said Russia operates automated missile warning systems, which could respond automatically in case the U.S. fires an antimissile across Russia against a possible ballistic missile form Iran.

He added that the U.S. also still keeps high on the agenda an issue of a possible global confrontation with Russia.

“The issue of, to put it mildly, a confrontation with Russia, including a direct confrontation, is unfortunately still regarded by my counterparts from the Pentagon as relevant,” he said adding that the U.S. missile shield plans in Central Europe are aimed to change the current security system in Europe and not against possible strikes from “rogue states.”

He said the formation of the Third Site in Poland and the Czech Republic is a destabilizing factor in Europe and Russia will do everything possible to prevent a decrease in its national defense capability.

“Depending on the situation we [Russia] plan to take adequate and asymmetrical measures aimed to prevent a drop in national defense capabilities,” Baluyevsky said adding that the U.S. proposals on the missile shield are unacceptable for Russia.

“We believe that Russia’s opinion should be heard and taken into account concerning such important issue as the missile shield in Europe,” he said. “We speak for the dialogue, but under the condition that the problem will not be complicated by unilateral steps in this sphere.”

Russia has offered the U.S. use of radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives to missile shield deployment in Central Europe. Washington said, though, it could use these radars only as additional components of the European shield.

Speaking about the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, Baluyevsky said that European states have turned the treaty into a tool of political pressure.

“Western countries have deliberately turned a regime of arms control into a tool for achieving political aims,” he said.

The law to freeze Russia’s participation in the CFE treaty was unanimously approved by parliament and signed on November 30 by President Vladimir Putin. Russia’s unilateral moratorium came into force immediately after midnight on Wednesday.

Moscow considers the original CFE treaty, signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members, to be discriminatory and outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.

Baluyevsky said that after the moratorium came into force Russia has the full right to move its military units across the country the way it prefers, but the country does not plan to increase weapons stock.

NATO said in a statement Wednesday that it regretted Russia’s decision to impose a moratorium on the arms reductions treaty, which the West regards as a cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security, and urged Moscow to reverse its decision.

Russia has urged NATO countries to ratify the adapted version of the treaty, signed on November 19, 1999 and so far ratified only by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Source: Novosti

At least three factors are now attacking the total credibility of Washington’s proposed NMD deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic.

First of all, the Polish government’s position is ambivalent. On the one hand, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, responding to Baluyevsky’s rumblings, retorted: “When I hear the words of a Russian general about an automatic reaction, that recalled the worst of times to me. Remarks of that type are impermissible, because no Russian general is going to influence Polish-U.S. negotiations on the question.” On the other hand, Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has said: “We have not yet reached a conclusion as to whether the anti-missile shield is necessary.” Tusk, who plans to visit Moscow in the near future, coddled the Russian Bear in November:

You will be pleasantly surprised by how quickly Polish-Russian relations will improve. There are no doubts – and the first signals [from Moscow] indeed show that in the [past] 24 hours, these relations have been improved far more effectively than during the past two years. Absence of dialogue does not serve the interests of either Poland or Russia. It harms the reputations of both countries.” I am convinced that the time for positive changes on this issue is now… The signals from our eastern neighbor confirm that this point of view is developing over there as well.

Like many “rightist” politicians throughout “post”-communist Eastern Europe, Tusk began his career in communist-controlled democratic opposition organizations, in this case first the Liberal Democratic Congress, which had its origin in the potemkin Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity,” and then the Freedom Union (UW). In January 2001 some members of the UW’s “right wing” decided to join the new Civic Platform. At the same time, “ex”-communist Bronisław Geremek was a well-known member of the UW. Geremek and communist stooge Tadeusz Mazowiecki are now prominent members of the Democratic Party, which was organized in 2005 through a merger of the UW and some “ex”-communists from the Democratic Left Alliance. The Democratic Party, tellingly, has been critized for refusing to support the lustration of communists from the Polish bureaucracy.

With suspicious pro-Moscow sympathies such as this, the Tusk government might lose all interest in hosting US missile interceptors or, if the whole issue is a Kremlin-concocted provocation in concert with pro-communist allies in Central Europe and the USA’s political elite in the Council on Foreign Relations, it may be that Warsaw will offer its final approval to Washington and thereby provoke a “justifiable” military response from Russia.

Second, the Czech government’s position is also ambivalent. The Associated Press reported on December 6: “‘Czech newspapers are full of headlines saying there is no longer a need for missile defense,’ said Tomas Klvana, the Czech government’s coordinator for missile defense communication, who is in Washington for talks with administration officials and lawmakers. ‘It is hard for complex arguments to win against simple headlines.'”

Finally, US intelligence is now admitting that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program, which was the original stated reason for deploying US missile interceptors and radar facilities in Central Europe. The White House stridently denied that Russia was the country against which the USA was seeking to defend itself from missile attack. On December 4 the Los Angeles Times reported:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that international pressure has compelled the Islamic Republic to back away from its pursuit of the bomb.

The new findings represent a retreat from a fundamental U.S. assumption about one of its main adversaries, and an admission that a central component of previous intelligence estimates on Tehran’s nuclear program was wrong. But the report makes it clear that Iran could decide at any point to resume its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

The article rightly notes that the “new findings represent a retreat from a fundamental U.S. assumption about one of its main adversaries.” Indeed. “As recently as October,” journalist Greg Miller writes, “President Bush was warning that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III, and Vice President Dick Cheney threatened Tehran with ‘serious consequences’ if it did not abandon its nuclear program.” It appears that the Bush Admin was wrong, at least from the general public’s perception, about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions and is again wrong about Mahmoud Adhmadinejad’s. Notwithstanding these glaring difficulties in the Bush Admin’s NMD policy, the Pentagon is pressing ahead with this ill-conceived program, which does nothing to effectively deter a massive first strike by neo-Soviet Russia.

All of these bizarre twists and turns beg the question: Who is formulating the White House’s blunder-ahead-and-then-retreat-with-tail-between-legs strategy? Answer: Who benefits from Washington’s blunders? The pro-communists at the Council on Foreign Relations and Moscow’s Leninist masterminds.

Meanwhile, neo-Soviet Russia continues her rapid remilitarization by flexing some ICBM/SLBM muscle in the Barents Sea. State-run Itar-Tass reports:

The Tula nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine of Russia’s Northern Fleet on Monday carried out a combat training launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Chief of the information and public relations service of the Russian Navy Captain Igor Dygalo said, “The underwater launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile was carried out from the Barents Sea on a target at the Kura range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.” “The launch has been carried out under the combat training schedule for checking the combat readiness of the Naval Strategic Nuclear Forces,” Dygalo specified. “The missile’s warhead hit the target at the range at the designated time,” he said.

State-run Voice of Russia also reports that the Russian Strategic Missile Forces have deployed its second battalion in central Russia with the intent of becoming “an out-of-reach target for enemy interceptors”: “A second battalion, equipped with silo-based Topol-M mobile missile complex, is to be put on combat duty in central Russia on Sunday. With tremendous boosting speed and unpredictable flying trajectory, Topol-M missile is bound to become an out-of-reach target for enemy interceptors. The first Topol-M mobile missile battalion entered duty late last year.” After 2009, moreover, Russia will double its ICBM launches, reveals Strategic Missile Forces commander Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov. The purpose of this intensification of missile capacity is not hidden. Gen. Solovtsov has stated: “If US missile defense elements are deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces could aim long-range missiles at these sites.” Russia will test-launch 11 ICBMs in 2008.

Russia to double ICBM launches after 2009 – commander
18:2517/ 12/ 2007

VLASIKHA (Moscow Region), December 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will double its test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles after 2009, the Strategic Missiles Forces (SMF) commander said on Monday.

“The number of launches will almost double after 2009 or 2010,” Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov told a news conference.

He said Russia is putting an average of three mobile and three or four fixed-site missile launching systems into operation every year.

He said new missile systems to be adopted soon by the SMF would enable the force to infiltrate any defenses, even those that have not been established yet, but did not specify the systems.

The general said that if U.S. missile defense elements are deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces could aim long-range missiles at these sites.

“We have to take appropriate measures to prevent the weakening of Russia’s nuclear deterrence under any circumstances. And I do not rule out that… some intercontinental ballistic missiles could be aimed at these Polish and Czech facilities,” Gen. Solovtsov told journalists.

Russia will operate 48 fixed-site Topol-M (NATO reporting name SS-27) ballistic missiles by the start of 2008, an SMF spokesman said.

The SMF said previously that the system will be equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) in the next two or three years, adding the new system will help penetrate missile defenses more effectively.

As of December 2006, Russia’s SMF operated 44 silo-based and three mobile Topol-M missile systems.

Col. Alexander Vovk also said Russia will conduct 11 launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2008.

“A total of 11 combat training and test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles are planned to be conducted next year,” he said.

He said the adoption of a new ICBM, RS-24, would greatly strengthen the SMF’s strike capability and Russia’s nuclear deterrent, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century.

Source: Novosti

Finally, Russia is dusting off its old Soviet-era base in Svalbard which, according to Aftenposten, is “another sign that Moscow wants its presence felt in strategic Arctic areas.” The international Svalbard Treaty (1920) granted sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago to Norway, but also permitted the then-young Soviet Union to hold onto its mining settlement in Barentsburg, which currently boasts 600 Russian and Ukrainian residents. “The Russians want to make their presence known, and be seen as a major power,” observes Julie Wilhelmsen of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. “Their heightened interest in Svalbard is an extension of the stepped-up military activity in the Arctic and North Sea.” Indeed.

Russians renew their interest in Svalbard
First published: 17 Dec 2007, 14:44

Russia is beefing up its presence on Svalbard, another sign that Moscow wants its presence felt in strategic Arctic areas. Norway has internationally recognized authority over the Svalbard archipelago but Russia has long had a presence on the Svalbard island of Spitsbergen as well. Its communities at Barentsburg and Pyramiden, though, fell onto hard times in the 1990s.

Now, says the Norwegian governor of Svalbard Per Sefland, the settlements are getting lots of attention from Moscow, and investment as well.

“It’s clear that the Russians are in the process of strengthening their presence here,” Sefland told newspaper Aftenposten. “And it’s increasingly clear that it’s the official Russia that’s involved.”

The Russians, he said, have plans for business development and increased activity on Svalbard. They have presented him with plans for their own airport, a new coal mine and a fishing terminal. The Russian population at Barentsburg is expected to increase.After 10 years of inactivity and neglect, the settlement at Pyramiden is also springing back to life. Restoration work is already underway on the town’s infrastructure and hotel.

“We think they’re planning on tourism, and the hotel will be put into use,” Sefland said.

Top Russian officials have themselves said that Russia has “strategic interests on Svalbard that will be taken care of,” and political observers have no doubts they will.

“The Russians want to make their presence known, and be seen as a major power,” said Julie Wilhelmsen of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Norsk utenrikspolitisk institut, NUPI). She views their heightened interest in Svalbard as an extension of the stepped-up military activity in the Arctic and North Sea.

“Now the country has the capacity to carry out its plans,” Wilhelmsen said. “It’s crystal clear that they’re making their ‘outer districts’ a priority. It’s both symbolically and strategically important for them.”

>Latin America File: Argentina’s new president Cristina Kirchner denies illegal funding from Chavez regime, US authorities hold Venezuelans in Miami

>Argentina’s Peronist dynasty, currently embodied by President Cristina Kirchner, wife of the previous president Nestor, is an informal but important ally in Latin America’s Red Axis, led by the communist regimes in Havana and Caracas. Following the arrest of three Venezuelans and one Uruguayan in Miami and the seizure in August of a briefcase containing $800,000, BBC News reports below, “Assistant US Attorney Thomas Mulvihill said on Wednesday that an FBI recording showed that the money was destined for Ms Fernandez’s campaign.” The Kirchners and Venzuelan dictator Hugo Chavez can utter denials until they are blue in the face, but we have already documented the close ideological and personal affiliation between the Argentine and Venezuelan leaderships. We have also documented Havana’s financial support for Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Kirchner denies illegal funding
Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 17:36 GMT

Argentina’s new president has firmly denied allegations by US prosecutors that Venezuela tried to illegally influence her election campaign.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the charges were a “trashing operation” and she would let no-one pressure her.

Her comments came hours after four South Americans were charged in Miami with trying to cover up the scandal.

It began with the confiscation in Argentina in August of a briefcase containing $800,000 (£392,000).

The US authorities said their investigation demonstrated that the money was intended for Ms Fernandez’s presidential campaign.

Venezuela has also rejected the accusations as a “fabricated scandal”.

Correspondents say the affair is a political test for Ms Fernandez, who was sworn in as president on Monday.

‘Undeclared agents’

In a speech in the capital Buenos Aires, President Fernandez said she remained undeterred in her desire to deepen relations with other Latin American countries and Venezuela in particular.

“This way of trying to operate in regional politics will not be successful,” she said.

“They will not achieve results. This president may be a woman, but she will not allow anyone to pressure her.”

Though she did not mention the US by name, correspondents say she was clearly referring to Washington.

The criminal complaint against the four men – three Venezuelans and a Uruguayan – said that “neither the true source nor the intended recipient of those cash funds had been disclosed”.

But Assistant US Attorney Thomas Mulvihill said on Wednesday that an FBI recording showed that the money was destined for Ms Fernandez’s campaign.

She was elected in October to take over the presidency from her husband Nestor.

Prosecutors say the defendants were undeclared agents and held meetings in Florida with a Venezuelan-American businessman, Guido Antonini Wilson, in an attempt to pressure him to hide the source of the money and its destination.

Mr Antonini Wilson was part of a delegation flown in to Buenos Aires by the Argentine government on a private jet in August.

Customs officials discovered the cash in his suitcase, and issued an extradition warrant when he fled to the US.

The businessman is not accused of any crime by the American prosecutors.

Source: BBC News

>Latin America File: Bolivia nears civil war as 4 natural gas-rich states secede from Morales regime; Brazil, Venezuela consolidate strategic alliance

>On December 9 Bolivia’s Constituent Assembly approved President’s Evo Morales’ new national constitution that would expand his powers, including over natural resources, following his nationalization of Bolivia’s oil and natural gas industry in 2006. This past Saturday four states expressed their opposition to the communization of their country by seceding from Bolivia and effectively bringing the South American country to the brink of civil war. More than one third of Bolivia’s population lives in these four states alone. Pictured above: Governor Ruben Costas of the secessionist state of Santa Cruz addresses supporters after the approval of the declaration of autonomy from La Paz. Under this statute Santa Cruz will retain nearly two-thirds of the tax revenues it currently remits to central authorities, but a popular referendum is still required for legitimacy, at least in that state.

Four Bolivian regions declare autonomy from government
updated 10:54 p.m. EST, Sat December 15, 2007
From Helena DeMoura CNN

(CNN) — Tensions were rising in Bolivia on Saturday as members of the country’s four highest natural gas-producing regions declared autonomy from the central government.

Thousands waved the Santa Cruz region’s green-and-white flags in the streets as council members of the Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando districts made the public announcement.

The officials displayed a green-bound document containing a set of statutes paving the way to a permanent separation from the Bolivian government.

Council representatives vowed to legitimize the so-called autonomy statutes through a referendum that would legally separate the natural-gas rich districts from President Evo Morales’ government.

The move also aims to separate the states from Bolivia‘s new constitution, which calls for, among other things, a heavier taxation on the four regions to help finance more social programs.

“The statutes will be ratified,” said Oscar Ortiz, Santa Cruz senator. “With a public referendum, the people of our region will legitimize their will.”

About 35 percent of Bolivia’s 9.5 million people live in the four states, according to The Associated Press.

In the meantime, Bolivian network ATV showed what appeared to be armed, pro-government protesters creating blockades around the town of Yapacani, on the outskirts of Santa Cruz.

Some indigenous pro-Morales groups claim Bolivia’s richer, white-ruled Eastern regions want to control the country’s natural resources. Bolivia has South America’s second-largest natural gas reserves, behind Venezuela. Most of it is produced in the Eastern regions.

In the capital city La Paz on Saturday, Morales addressed thousands of flag-waving supporters in the Plaza Murillo, defending the new constitution and lashing out against what he called the racist policies of Bolivia’s elite.

“They must give back the money they took from us,” he told a cheering crowd, which included members of the Quechua and Aymara tribes. “We will retroactively investigate all the big fortunes, and the corrupt are now trembling with fear.”

Morales also cautioned those who he said want a “a division, a coup d’etat,” the AP reported.

“We won’t permit Bolivia to be divided,” he warned.

Morales — who belongs to the Aymara indigenous group — nationalized the country’s oil and natural gas reserves when he took power in 2006, creating what became known as the “gas wars.”

Running on a platform of redistribution of wealth among Bolivia’s poor, Morales has defied countries such as Brazil and the United States for the exploration of Bolivia’s natural reserves.

He has also protested the country’s racial divide.

“Bolivia is a nation among nations,” he said Saturday, referring to the diversity of Indian nations whose traditions date back centuries.

“We are not a country of blue-eyed, green-eyed folks only. It’s a plurinational country made of dark-skinned and white-skinned. This new constitution will unite us.”

Source: CNN.com

The Katanga Crisis of 1960-1961: A Case Study in Anti-Communist Secessionism

A brief survey of the long-forgotten Katanga crisis of 1960-1961 sheds light on the current crisis in Bolivia. On July 11, 1960 the anti-communist government of the state of Katanga seceded from the Republic of the Congo, the central government of which had been taken over by Soviet-backed communists under the incipient dictatorship of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. After Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in his first coup on September 14, Lumumba was deposed and transported to Katanga where he was allegedly executed by Katangan troops in the presence of Belgian officials on January 17, 1961. The following month the United Nations expressed its solidarity with the deceased Lumumba with the following resolution:

The Security Council . . . having learned with deep regret the announcement of the killing of the Congolese leader, Mr. Patrice Lumumba . . . urges that measures be taken for the immediate withdrawal and evacuation from the Congo of all Belgian and other foreign military and paramilitary personnel and political advisors not under United Nations command. . . .

At the same time Lumumba’s deputy prime minister Antoine Gizenga organized a secessionist regime in Stanleyville, where he ruled as “prime minister” from December 13, 1960 to August 5, 1961. Gizenga’s regime was recognized by 21 African, Asian, and Eastern European countries in February 1961. G. Edward Griffin, writing in his classic expose The Fearful Master: A Second Look at the United Nations (1964), provides an eye-opening outline of Gizenga’s resume:

There is no better illustration of this than the circumstances surrounding United Nations and Washington support of the so-called “moderate” central Government that emerged after Lumumba’s death. To tell that part of the story, however, it is necessary to take a closer look at Antoine Gizenga.

Gizenga was a minor personality in Congolese politics until he was invited to Prague, Czechoslovakia, for Communist cadre training. When he returned, he became one of Lumumba’s strongest supporters and worked closely with him to implement plans for the Communist take-over of the whole Congo. When Lumumba was arrested and then killed, Gizenga set himself up as Lumumba’s successor. He established a Communist regime in the neighboring province of Orientale and gathered all of Lumumba’s followers around him. The Soviet and Czechoslovakian diplomats and consular officials who were kicked out of Leopoldville by Colonel Mobutu popped up in the Gizenga stronghold of Stanleyville where they quickly received official accreditation. The Soviets lost no time in announcing to the world that they now recognized Gizenga’s regime as the “only legitimate Government of the Congo.”

In short, Gizenga was a communist and therefore his insurrectionist government was supported by the UN.

On August 2, 1961, the Congolese parliament approved Cyrille Adoula as the new premier. Adoula then “announced that Antoine Gizenga, leader of the Communist faction in Stanleyville, had been appointed to the number two spot of vice-premier.” The UN dispatched its troops to brutally bring Katanga under the re-formed communist regime in Leopoldville, later renamed as Kinshasa. Griffin’s book, linked above, chronicles in detail the merciless, face-saving UN military operation that denied freedom to Katanga.

More than three decades later, in May 1997, Marxist rebel Laurent-Désiré Kabila and his Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo ousted Mobutu. Kabila became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo until his assassination in January 2001, at which time he was replaced by his son Joseph. Gizenga survived imprisonment and exile to re-enter Congolese politics in the twenty-first century. President Joseph Kabila appointed the old African communist as prime minister on December 30, 2006. After patiently laboring for 32 years to oust the Mobutu military regime, which was formally installed during the colonel’s second coup in 1965, the communists, operating through Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy and Gizenga’s Unified Lumumbist Party, again control the Congo.

Fast forward to Bolivia 2007. Will the UN again dispatch its troops to suppress states seceding from a communist-controlled central government? Or will Trotskyist President Evo Morales request additional troops from Venezuela to supplement the ones currently in his country and assist the Bolivian army in suppressing the rebels?

Meanwhile, neo-communist Venezuela and Brazil are consolidating their strategic parternship in a move that should dispel any notions that Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who co-founded the narco-terrorist Sao Paulo Forum with Cuban Tyrant Fidel Castro, has somehow moderated his leftist ideology. Think again. Granma, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Cuba, reports that the state oil companies PDVSA (Venezuela) and PETROBRAS (Brazil) will form a joint enterprise for the construction and operation of a refinery in the Brazilian province of Pernambuco. Lula da Silva made a short trip to Caracas on December 14 wheer this agreement was inked.

Venezuela-Brazil strategic alliance
December 14, 2007

CARACAS (PL).— The strategic alliance between Venezuela and Brazil has emerged today as an important element in the development of two of South America’s main economies, supported by their respective strengths and the signing of new commercial agreements.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s short visit to Venezuela produced nine new agreements in the areas of health care, agriculture, food and the oil industry.

Once again the energy component took center stage with the decision by the state oil companies PDVSA (Venezuela) and PETROBRAS (Brazil) to create a joint enterprise for the construction and operation of a refinery in the Brazilian province of Pernambuco. Brazil will control 60% of the consortium.

The plant will have the capacity to process 200,000 barrels of oil daily and will be supplied by PDVSA with up to 100,000 tons a day from the Orinoco oil fields.

The Venezuelan company indicated that options remain open for further participation by PETROBRAS in crude oil processing projects.


Joint work in the Carabobo Block I project has facilitated the certification of 45.5 billion barrels of oil onsite.
Lula and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez discussed the possibility of establishing a binational investment fund, for supporting other joint ventures.

The new agreements, signed just days before the MERCOSUR Summit, constitute a positive development strengthening the Venezuelan position in support of regional integration.

In addition to cooperation between state enterprises, Latin Ameria’s Red Axis is also opting out of the United Nations’ financial institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which apparently are not communist enough in their orientation for ideologues like Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, by establishing the Bank of the South, or Banco del Sur. The documents that will organize the new regional bank were signed by seven national leaders at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires on December 10. Commenting on the new institution, President Lula da Silva said: “The bank’s formation is a decisive step towards the integration of South America, and we invite other countries in the region to join.”

>EU File: PM Brown signs away UK’s sovereignty to Gorbachev’s "New European Soviet," USA loses strongest Trans-Atlantic ally to Moscow-Brussels Axis

>With the United Kingdom’s inclusion yesterday into the European Union Reform Treaty, Eurosceptics are convinced that Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has finally handed the keys of 10 Downing Street to the soft totalitarians in Brussels. Among other changes, the Reform Treaty takes into account the inclusion of 12 new, predominately “ex”-Soviet Bloc states, since 2004. “From this old continent, a new Europe is born,” the European Commission’s “ex”-communist President Jose Manuel Barroso intoned during the signing ceremony. “Today Gordon Brown will betray every good thing he claimed to stand for when he became Prime Minister,” Conservative Party leader David Cameron admonished. “Referendum, we want a referendum. The people of Europe deserve to decide for themselves,” Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, shouted from the benches of the European Parliament.

In view of Moscow’s role in the creation of the EU and the support provided by Europe’s leftist parties, European nationalists, patriots, and conservatives are not far off the mark in their analysis. Yesterday the USA lost its strongest trans-Atlantic ally through this unholy merger and, furthermore, Britain is no longer a beacon of freedom.

Brown signs EU Treaty as experts warn UK will surrender control of immigration
Last updated at 17:36pm on 13th December 2007

Gordon Brown finally signed the Lisbon treaty this afternoon – nearly three hours after every other EU leader.

With charges of “gutlessness” ringing in his ears before he set off, the Prime Minister suffered more indignity when a TV link crashed just as he was about to put his name on the document.

In the end his signature had to be squeezed alongside that of David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who earlier acted as stand-in for the Premier for a glitzy signing ceremony, joined by leaders of the other 26 EU member states.

Wearing a dark suit and pale tie, Mr Brown signed up at around 3.15pm, watched by EC president Jose Manuel Barroso and the Portuguese premier Jose Socrates.

The Prime Minister signed despite new evidence which shows the controversial document will surrender almost all control of Britain’s immigration

Due to the delayed arrival of Mr Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband was the only foreign minister to attend the televised ceremony alone, amid a stream of prime ministers and presidents from the other 26 EU states.

Buried in the Treaty’s small print is a ruling that gives new rights to EU leaders to overturn decisions made by Britain’s Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. Thousands of failed asylum seekers will now be able to take their cases to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg where the final say will be handed to unselected bureaucrats in Brussels.

European Union leaders began signing the treaty at noon today in Lisbon – with Gordon Brown, who is flying in later today, expected to sign at about 3pm.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said the treaty would create a more modern, more efficient and more modern union.

“The world needs a stronger Europe,” he said.

In a speech before the signing, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on European leaders to use the treaty to make freedom, prosperity and solidarity an everyday reality for all European citizens.

“From this old continent, a new Europe is born,” he said.

Neil O’Brien, who heads the I Want A Referendum campaign, claimed last night: “By signing us up to the rejected Constitution, Gordon Brown is giving EU courts the right to hear asylum cases.

“This could mean that decisions made by UK courts to deport failed asylum seekers will be overturned by Brussels.”

Almost 170,000 deportation cases are already brought before the Immigration Tribunal every year, with each case usually lasting around two years.

Giving failed asylum seekers powers to take their cases to Europe will cost the taxpayer millions of extra pounds as each case now already costs an average of £18,000.

The move drew a furious reaction from Tory leader David Cameron who has accused the Prime Minister of “betraying” the British public after ditching plans to hold a referendum.

“Today Gordon Brown will betray every good thing he claimed to stand for when he became Prime Minister,” Cameron told the Sun.

“He said he would trust the British people and consult them more. He doesn’t even have the guts to put it to the British people.”

The news emerged after Brown was accused of political cowardice after it was confirmed that he will miss today’s lavish signing ceremony for the new European treaty.

He will arrive in Lisbon too late and will have to add his name some time after the other EU leaders.

Tories seized on the announcement as evidence that Mr Brown is trying to duck responsibility for a treaty that he personally supports.

He has repeatedly stated that the delay is due to a diary conflict – but as he appeared before a House parliamentary committee today he opened with a joking reference to his plan to miss the signing ceremony and the EU heads of state family photo, so that he could appear before the committee.

“I think you can see the priority I attach to attending this committee,” he said.

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “Some people say Gordon Brown’s problems are that he isn’t decisive and he lacks political courage.

“If he’s ashamed of signing this treaty then why doesn’t he honour his election promise and let the British people have their say?”

However, the Prime Minister dismissed the row over his decision not to attend the ceremony saying he had a prior engagement appearing before MPs at the Commons Liaison committee in Westminster.

Downing Street said that despite his late arrival in Lisbon, cameras will still be present when he finally adds his signature to the treaty more than an hour after EU leaders. He will then carry out talks with EU president Jose Socrates.

The Reform Treaty, negotiated earlier this year by Tony Blair and endorsed by Mr Brown, replaces the planned constitution that was rejected by voters in France and Holland in 2005.
Labour’s 2005 manifesto pledged to give British voters a referendum on the constitution, but Mr Brown insists the treaty is substantially different.

But a string of other EU leaders have admitted it is almost identical to the proposed 2005 constitution, on which Labour promised a referendum before it was rejected by voters in France and Holland.

Yesterday, furious British Euro MPs led a noisy protest at a signing ceremony for a new EU rights charter. Around 100 heckling Eurosceptics from Britain, France, Poland and Italy wrecked what was supposed to be a solemn event at the Strasbourg Parliament.

They waved placards and banners, stamped, booed and chanted “referendum”. Opponents called them “hooligans” who shamed Britain.

The ceremony at the parliament was held to mark the signing of the charter by the EU’s three institutions – the European Parliament, European Commission and the European Council, which represents the member states.

“Referendum, we want a referendum. The people of Europe deserve to decide for themselves,” Nigel Farage, leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party, shouted from his seat.

Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs in marginal seats face fierce attacks at the next election over their refusal to back a referendum on the revised EU constitution.

Millions of leaflets will be sent to voters in the constituencies of 101 Labour and 30 LibDem MPs with majorities under 5,000.

They will accuse the MPs of treating the public like “fools”.

Organisers of the ReferendumList.com campaign say even a small backlash could unseat many of the anti-referendum MPs.

Source: Daily Mail

>Feature: Scientists discover Biblical "fountains of the deep," massive subterranean ocean in earth’s mantle under east Asia

>To him [God] that stretched out the earth above the waters.
— Psalm 136:6

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. — Genesis 7:11 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. — Genesis 8:2

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his [Jesus’ second] coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation [uniformitarianism]. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. — 2 Peter 3:3-6

The evolutionary worldview provides a “scientific” basis for the international communist conspiracy and many other errors pervasive in our society today. Someone once said that an atheist is halfway to becoming a communist. God graciously delivered your resident blogger from the lie of atheism/New Age evolutionism 17 years ago. In the final analysis, I don’t believe it’s possible to truly understand the conflict between freedom and communism, or analyze scientific data, without holding to a Biblical worldview.

Many, as did I at one time, have dismissed the Holy Bible as a discredited ancient religious text but, ironically, never before in history has there been more scientific, archaeological, and other proof to demonstrate its historical accuracy and uniquely divine origin. I especially applaud the courageous research of creation scientists, many of whom are ex-evolutionists who have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as they consider the staggering complexity of life and the divinely ordered, fine tuning of the laws of nature. Ironically, in many instances, the findings of secular scientists actually demonstrate the validity of the Biblical worldview. In the case below, they support the reference in Genesis to the “fountains of the deep,” one of the two major sources of water that produced the Noahic Deluge and the fossil record about 4,500 years ago. The discoveries below are consistent with mechanical engineer Walt Brown’s hydroplate theory explanation of the Flood.

3-D seismic model of vast water reservoir revealed Earth mantle ‘ocean’
By Tony Fitzpatrick

Feb. 7, 2007 — A seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis has made the first 3-D model of seismic wave damping — diminishing — deep in the Earth’s mantle and has revealed the existence of an underground water reservoir at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.
It is the first evidence for water existing in the Earth’s deep mantle.

Michael E. Wysession, Ph.D., Washington University professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, working with former graduate student Jesse Lawrence (now at the University of California, San Diego), analyzed 80,000 shear waves from more than 600,000 seismograms and found a large area in Earth’s lower mantle beneath eastern Asia where water is damping out, or attenuating, seismic waves from earthquakes.

The traditional method seismologists use to image the Earth below us is to measure the speed of seismic waves. This will provide a sort of CAT scan of the Earth’s core and mantle. Using wave speeds alone is a problem, however, because they cannot distinguish between temperature and composition variations.

The research is described in a forthcoming monograph, Earth’s Deep Water Cycle, which is in press to be published by the American Geophysical Union.

Analyzing damped-out waves

An increasingly popular method, which Wysession used, is to analyze the way waves damp out from their source. If you take a hammer and pound it hard on a desk, waves will go from the source to the end of the table with the mass of the table lessening, or attenuating, the power of waves. A picture near the striking point might topple, but a stapler two feet away might not even budge. Attenuation data tell seismologists how stiff a region is, which is a function of how hot it is and how much water it contains. Looking at the seismic wave speeds and attenuation at the same time can tell whether an anomaly is due to temperature or water.

In analyzing the data, Wysession first saw large patterns associated with known areas where the ocean floor is sinking down into the earth. Beneath Asia, the fallen Pacific sea floor piles up at the base of the mantle. Right above that he observed an “incredibly highly attenuating region, that is both very damping and slightly slow,” he said. “Water slows the speed of waves a little. Lots of damping and a little slowing match the predictions for water very well.”

Previous predictions calculated that a cold ocean slab sinking into the earth at 1,200 to 1,4000 kilometers beneath the surface would release water in the rock that would escape the rock and rise up to a region above it, but this was never previously observed.

Beijing anomaly

“That is exactly what we show here, the exact depth and high attenuation amounts right above it,” Wysession said. “I call it the Beijing anomaly. Water inside the rock goes down with the sinking slab and it’s quite cold, but it heats up the deeper it goes, and the rock eventually becomes unstable and loses its water. The water then rises up into the overlying region, which becomes saturated with water.

“If you combine the volume of this anomaly with the fact that the rock can hold up to about 0.1 percent of water, that works out to be about an Arctic Ocean’s worth of water.”

In recent years, seismologists have become excited at the possibility of a feature like the Beijing anomaly. The availability of vast amounts of digital seismograms made possible the discovery by Wysession and Lawrence, who wrote many thousands of lines of computer codes to do the analyses.

Seventy percent of the earth is covered by water, which is very important for the earth’s geology, serving as a lubricant that allows efficient convection and plate tectonics and the continental collisions that form mountains.

“Water is like a lubricant, constantly oiling the machine of mantle convection which then drives plate tectonics and causes the continents to move about Earth’s surface,” Wysession said. “Look at our sister planet, Venus. It is very hot and dry inside Venus, and Venus has no plate tectonics. All the water probably boiled off, and without water, there are no plates. The system is locked up, like a rusty Tin Man with no oil.”

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Incidentally, nuclear physicist Robert Gentry’s pioneering research into polonium radiohalos is also consistent with the Biblical chronology of a youth earth featuring a crust instantly created in a cool condition. Gentry, like Brown above, began his career as an evolutionist but later embraced creationism. Related research conducted by the Institute for Creation Research/Creation Research Society found that accelerated radioactive decay occurred during a major heating event that coincided with the Flood. The RATE Group’s research casts serious doubts on the validity of radiometric dating, which was already fraught with built-in assumptions stemming from an arbitrary and unscientific selection of vast geochronological ages more than 100 years earlier. Until the early 1800s most scientists held to a young earth view. The Apostle Peter, above, prophesied that at the end of the present age there would be a widespread rejection of the Biblical worldview. He wasn’t wrong.

>USSR2 File: Pro-Moscow Party of Regions blocks nomination of Tymoshenko for PM, promotes communist for Rada deputy speaker

>Ukraine’s political crisis, in reality ongoing since the Orange Revolution in 2004, dropped into another pit: The pro-Moscow Party of Regions, under the leadership of “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, has been accused of repeatedly blocking the nomination of “ex”-Komsomol businesswoman Yulia Tymoshenko for the post of prime minister. The Party of Regions is also threatening to bring all parliamentary work to a standstill unless those accusations are dropped.

‘Gas princess’ strives to become Ukraine’s PM
December 14, 2007, 9:00

For the fourth day in a row, Ukraine’s Rada, or parliament, will try to appoint the leader of the parliamentary coalition, Yulia Timoshenko as prime minister. President Yushchenko has again put forward Timoshenko.

Timoshenko lacked just one vote in her favour. Twice in a row 225 deputies supported her instead of the required minimum of 226.

The leaders of Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc did not hesitate to accuse their rival Party of Regions of falsifying electronic voting results.

Timoshenko said the system tripped-out two votes of deputies who supported her. Meanwhile, the Party of Regions denied the accusations. Experts later confirmed there was no external interference in the voting system.

The Party of Regions demanded an apology saying it would block the work of parliament until it receives it.

Parliament will now decide on the voting method as deputies of Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc insist the voting system is unreliable.

“The Party of Regions is trying to slow down the whole process – of this voting and of Timoshenko’s appointment. And it is trying to put some other issues on the parliamentary agenda,” said Ivan Presnyakov, a political analyst, the International Centre for Politics studies.

Source: Russia Today

Yanukovich’s party is also insisting that the Rada once again recognize Communist Party of Ukraine member Adam Martyniuk as deputy speaker of the Rada, even though the CPU holds fewer seats than the Party of Regions and the two Orange parties, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc. The Party of Regions and the CPU are closely allied. The CPU, in turn, is linked to August 1991 coup mastermind Oleg Shenin’s Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Gennady Zyuganov’s Union of Communist Parties-CPSU.

Party Of Regions Insisting On Electing Martyniuk As First Vice Speaker
(11:35, Thursday, December 13, 2007)
Ukrainian News Agency

The Party of Regions is insisting on electing Adam Martyniuk (Communist Party) as first deputy chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

MP Nestor Shufrych (Party of Regions) told this to journalists.

“We are insisting on our candidature that has been preliminary agreed; it’s Adam Ivanovych Martyniuk,” Shufrych said.

The lawmaker believes that the position expressed by the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc’s faction regarding their refusal to vote for Martyniuk is not final.

“They tell one things and do some other things, let’s wait for actual steps,” he said.

Shufrych criticized the coalition for applying pressure on the minority by setting forward their own requirements to the candidature for the post of first vice speaker.

As Ukrainian News reported, parliamentary deputy Vasyl Kyseliov of the Party of Regions faction favors suspending Parliament Speaker Arsenii Yatseniuk from his duties due to violation of the regulations.

Kyseliov said that the parliamentary factions that do not belong to the parliamentary coalition may nominate a new candidate for the post of first deputy parliament speaker only if MP Adam Martyniuk of the Communist Party, who has already been nominated for the post, withdraws his candidacy.

Earlier the coalition said that it had no plans to support the candidature of Martyniuk to post of first vice speaker.

Source: Ukrainian News

>USSR2 File: Reputed foes Zyuganov and Putin meet prior to president’s departure with Zubkov and Gryzlov to Minsk for Union State summit

>The regular meetings at the Kremlin between “ex”-CPSU President Vladimir Putin, Communist Party of the Russian Federation Chairman Gennady Zyuganov, and the leaders of Russia’s potemkin parties are an important forum for networking within the Soviet leadership. These conferences maintain the line of control between Russia’s hidden communist masters and the “non”-communist government presented to the world. The last publicly announced meeting between Putin and Zyuganov occurred in September, at the beginning of the farcical State Duma election campaign.

Putin meet with Communists leader Gennady Zyuganov
13.12.2007, 20.43

MOSCOW, December 13 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation /CPRF/, Gennady Zyuganov Thursday night.

“I’d like to congratulate your party and you personally on the occasion of expanding your presence in the State Duma to 57 seats from the previous 47 seats,” Putin said at the beginning of the meeting. “The CPRF has increased its presence by ten seats and, consequently, its influence in parliament.”

Zyuganov said on his part that the Communists had aspired to a more impressive result in the December 2 election.

“We had a very sound and interesting program and a young crew,” he said adding that CPRF organizations from most regions of Russia will be represented in parliament this time.

CPRF’s faction in the Duma consists of people with much expertise, Zyuganov said. Two-thirds of the Communists who will have seats in the Duma this time worked in the previous convocation of the lower house and occupied various administrative posts in the past.

Putin said he had a meeting with the United Russia party leader Boris Gryzlov the other day and the latter man promised him his party, the biggest one in the lower house in the aftermath of December 2 voting, was willing to organize fruitful work in the Duma.

Source: Itar-Tass

Oddly, state-run Itar-Tass, above, reports that Putin and Zyuganov met last night in Moscow, although the Russian president supposedly travelled to Minsk yesterday for a two-day summit with “ex”-CPSU Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The primary purpose of the Putin-Lukashenko meeting is consolidating the Union State of Russia and Belarus, a building block of the soon-to-be-restored Soviet Union, which Zyuganov also supports. Belarusian state media clarifies the mystery, however, by reporting that Putin arrived in Minsk late at night. Thus, it is very possible that Zyuganov provided Putin with instructions relative to the advancement of the Union State early in the evening, before the Russian president’s departure. Today, Putin and Lukashenko held a four-hour one-to-one meeting preceding a session of the Union State Supreme State Council. In addition to Putin, the high-powered Russian delegation to Minsk includes “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and “ex”-Komsomol Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the Russian State Duma and chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russian-Belarusian Union State.

Zyuganov’s last known one-to-one meeting with Lukashenko occurred in Minsk in January 2007, although the Russian communist leader returned to the Belarusian capital in November to host the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, to which Lukashenko dispatched his comradely greetings.

>USSR2 File: Energy giants Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft to dump US dollar; Microsoft, Boeing, Airbus set up shop in Siberia; Moscow bans British Council

>Neo-Soviet Russia to West: “Da, We Are All Good Capitalists Now!”

The Communist Bloc and its Islamo-Marxist client states have declared war against the US economy by “nuking” or refusing to conduct commerce in dollars, arranging aggressive corporate mergers with and buyouts of Western companies, and extending economic concessions to treasonous Nepman companies from the West, only to seize the property later. Economic deception is an old Soviet strategy, initially employed during the New Economic Policy of the 1920s, but it has again totally fooled Western governments, businessmen, and most Kremlinologists.

Pictured above: “Cyber Lenin.”

Communist organ Pravda reveals that “Officials of Russia’s natural gas giant, Gazprom, voiced an idea to use rubles in gas trade. ‘We consider the idea of selling our resources for rubles to be quite possible,’ Gazprom’s Vice President Alexander Medvedev said at a recent conference in New York.” In a related story Pravda reveals that the Moscow-Tripoli Axis will expand its strategic partnership through Libya’s granting of petroleum exploration rights to Kremlin-run Gazprom: “Libya, the holder of Africa’s largest oil reserves, gave Russia’s Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell Plc permits to explore for natural gas, as the North African nation seeks to increase fuel exports to Europe to meet rising demand.”

State-run Russia Today, furthermore, reveals that “Lukoil and Rosneft say they’ll consider selling their oil and gas in roubles instead of dollars, if the U.S. currency continues to depreciate. According to executives at Russia two biggest oil companies, profits are at risk because revenues are priced in dollars and expenses are priced in roubles. The rouble gained almost 15% against the dollar in the first nine months of the year. Russia gas export monopoly Gazprom has already said its considering the a similar currency switch.”

In an attempt to shore up unstable financial markets troubled by the declining US dollar, the European Central Bank has taken out a US$20 billion loan from the US Federal Reserve System to secure short-term dollar loans. At the same time Evgeny Nadorshin, economist at Trust Bank in Moscow, insists that Russia’s banking system is secure: “The money market has been calming down for several weeks already in Russia and finally we have arrived to a very comfortable situation when local overnight rates are lower than even the lowest rates the [Russian] Central Bank is ready to provide for re-finance to market participants.” We have on several occasions reported on the Kremlin’s plans to carefully guard its state-dominated economy from global economic turmoil.

In like fashion the communist regime in Beijing is instructing 36 major cities to maintain a minimum 10-day food and cooking oil reserve as part of its measure to stabilize domestic consumer markets during the present global rise in food prices and, no doubt, to head off civil unrest. In March 2007 BBC News reported: “Rural regions of China have seen mounting unrest in recent years. Thousands of protests were held last year amid growing discontent over the widening gap between rich and poor and corruption among officials at local level and above.”

The Kremlin is also consolidating its hold on Russia’s civilian and military nuclear facilities through the formation of state-run Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), to be placed under the leadership of Atomenergoprom chief and former prime minister Sergei Kiriyenko. On the board of directors, reports the Moscow Times, are Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Andrei Belousov; chief military-industrial adviser Igor Borovkov; deputy head of the Federal Security Service’s Economic Security Department Alexander Bortnikov; and Defense Ministry official Vladimir Verkhovtsev. The Kremlin intends to increase its dependence on nuclear power to 25 percent of its total electricity needs by 2030.

Meanwhile, the West’s treasonous Nepman continue to do business with neo-Soviet Russia. Microsoft, which gave its secret Windows operating system source code to the Kremlin in 2003, is a major offender. State-owned Kommersant Daily reports that Microsoft intends to launch a production and service center in the Siberian city of Tomsk. In November Microsoft previously inked an agreement with Siberia’s Irkutsk region to establish a data-center for 100,000 servers.

The project budget is estimated at between $40 million and $50 million. The regional projects of this kind have formed a trend for IT companies already, as the costs for infrastructure and personnel in the regions are 50 percent below than in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

It was Vladimir Klyuev from administrative authorities of Tomsk that told reporters about the plans of Microsoft. According to Klyuev, Microsoft is studying the possibility of opening a data center, a call center and a research and development center in Tomsk. Tomsk authorities and Microsoft reached the respective agreement in late September, when Microsoft Rus CEO Birger Sten visited the region. The bureaucrat gave no details about the project dates or its budget. Microsoft Rus couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday. “We are really interested in Siberia.

In particular, an innovation center has been set up under the joint project with Tomsk Polytechnic University,” a top-ranked official of Microsoft said, specifying, however, that speaking about creation of a research center and production facilities would be premature.

The potential establishment of a service and production center in Tomsk is Microsoft’s second large-scale infrastructural project in Siberia that has been announced in the last three weeks. In late November, Microsoft and the Irkutsk region inked an agreement to set up a data-center for 100,000 servers. The market players estimated the budget of that project at $20 million.

But the Tomsk project would be more capital intensive for Microsoft, forecasted LETA President Alexander Chachava. “Creating a powerful data-center will cost $20 million to $30 million, while the whole infrastructure may cost $40 million to $50 million.” The investments are well-justified, Chachava said, explaining that Microsoft will pay 50 percent to 60 percent less for maintaining the infrastructure in Tomsk than in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Russia Today also reports that beginning in 2008 a new processing facility in Siberia’s Sverdlovsk Region will provide Boeing and Airbus with the thermo-mechanical treatment of aluminium sheets used in aircraft construction. “This is a long-term contract and supplies will answer the needs of Boeing in the coming years,” said Jeffrey Henley, Sales Director at Boeing. Although Henley naively characterizes the contract as “long term,” it will only be as long as is convenient for Moscow’s Leninist leaders.

Even as the Kremlin woos Western businesses with promises of economic concessions, the Putinist regimes continues its assault on foreign non-governmental organizations like the British Council, which promotes British culture abroad and enjoys the patronage of Queen Elizabeth II. Russia Today reports that the Kremlin has instructed the British Council to close all of its regional offices, except for its Moscow headquarters, citing the violation of financial and tax laws. In an interview with BBC, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted that the closure of the British Council regional offices is a retaliatory measure related to Britain’s expulsion of four Russian diplomats in July. “The British government undertook some actions which inflicted systemic damage to our relations, so we have to retaliate,” Lavrov explained. “This is nothing to do with anti-British sentiments. It’s the law of the genre if you wish.” Communications officer Natalya Minchenko insists, however, that the British Council will continue its operations in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, as well as Moscow: “The activity of the British Council becomes especially vital in the light of exacerbated relations between Russian and the UK. The activity of the British Council corresponds with all norms of the Russian law, so we do not see any obstacles to continue working in Russia.”

In a related story Pravda reports that BBC employees have been physically assaulted in Moscow on three different dates in three different locations since November 24. The chilly tensions between London and Moscow, the communist mouthpiece rightly observes, ultimately trace their origin to the murder of FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 and the attempt by Scotland Yard to extradite the chief suspect in the crime, Andrei Lugovoi, from Russia.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Pavel Borodin: European Union will join Union State of Russia and Belarus; Putin to visit Lukashenko tomorrow to discuss integration

>In his books New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998) former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn exposes the Soviet strategists’ designs for global domination, in which the old Soviet Union, its Eastern European satellites, China, and Western Europe would be restructured (perestroika) to form a world communist federation. In a 2006 interview with The Brussels Journal Soviet dissident and self-declared 2008 Russian presidential candidate Vladimir Bukovsky revealed Moscow’s hand in the formation of the European Union as a stepping stone to this dream: “In 1992 I had unprecedented access to Politburo and Central Committee secret documents which have been classified, and still are even now, for 30 years. These documents show very clearly that the whole idea of turning the European common market into a federal state was agreed between the left-wing parties of Europe and Moscow as a joint project which Gorbachev in 1988-89 called our ‘common European home.'”

Today Pavel Borodin, State Secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, boasted that between 2012 and 2014 the European Union will join the Union State, and not vice versa. The Kremlin’s bargaining chip, of course, is its vast natural resources. In short, Moscow is inviting Europe to enter the “Bear’s lair.”

EU to Strive for Union State Membership in 7 Years, Borodin Said
December 12, 2007

“We are striving for [joining] the European Union, but I tell you, the EU will be striving for joining the Union State of Russia and Belarus in five to seven years,” Pavel Borodin, the state secretary of the Union State, told reporters Wednesday.

“What do they have apart from beer and sausages?” the state secretary posed a rhetorical question. “Nothing. But we have everything: vast territory, national projects, working places and the demand.” Russia and Belarus united far back in 1997, Borodin said, specifying that the process doesn’t run smoothly. “Even the homeless understand why it goes on with such difficulty. You buy oil at $80 and sell it at $600,” the top-ranked bureaucrat explained.

According to Borodin, the swindlers, and there are big numbers of them both in Russia and Belarus, won’t be able to do anything once the countries have single customs, common economy and currency. In addition to making odious statements, Borodin gave details of forthcoming visit of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to Belarus slated for December 13 to 14. Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will mull over elaboration of Constitutional Act for Russia-Belarus Union State, the state secretary specified.

Source: Kommersant Daily

In 2006 Borodin, ironically referring to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which guides Russian politics to this day, outlined Moscow’s plan for the peaceful takeover of Europe:

There are three ways to build a state. The first one is to invade Iraq with your tanks, and here you are – you get a new state. Another is to hold a Politburo meeting of the CPSU Central Committee and adopt a resolution to build a state. The third way to create a state is to let economy rule. Since it is the economy that rules in the Union State of Russia and Belarus, we just have no other choice but introduce a common currency. We’ll have a common budget, too. Everything will be common, just as it is in Europe. But Europe won’t survive without us, anyway. Europe will kneel at our feet.

As we previously reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk, on December 13 and 14 to promote the political and economic integration of the two countries. This development is intriguing since the Putinist regime, in the West’s eyes, is putatively non-communist while Belarus still features a command economy. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Putin tries to speed up a union with Belarus … to become the president of the unified state,” observed Chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov, who ardently supports the merger as a precursor to the full restoration of the USSR. In October we blogged about the appointment of “ex”-CPSU Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to the post of head of the Union State Council of Ministers.

The restoration of the Soviet Union is high on the agenda for Moscow’s Leninist strategists, now that the latest State Duma election has served its purpose in perpetuating the ruse that communism is dead. The Soviet deception, however, is real and at Once Upon a Time in the West we have copiously documented this fact.

>EU File: Serbian president and defense minister attend meeting with military chiefs, Tadic denies army will exchange blows with KFOR

>Serbian media are reporting that President Boris Tadic and his Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac attended a meeting today at Army Headquarters with the military’s chiefs of staff and unit and brigade commanders. Following the session, Šutanovac refused to disclose details, insisting only that the Serbian armed forces would not enter Kosovo in order to confront the secessionist government in Pristina and NATO’S Kosovo Force, which consists of 16,000 multinational troops. The Serbian Army possess only twice that number.

However, Russia has apparently backed up its vocal support for Serbia with the current deployment of its Northern and Black Sea Fleets in the Mediterranean, as well as its moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, effective today, permitting the Kremlin to move its 22,800 (known) main battle tanks west of the Urals. In addition, Russia’s close relationship with the Igor Smirnov regime in the unrecognized republic of Transnistria, wedged between Moldova and Ukraine, offers Russia a stopover for its strategic bombers en route to the Balkans. In any event, the airspace over the Balkan Peninsula and the Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc is controlled by sympathetic paleo-/neo-/crypto-communist regimes like those in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary.

President Tadic was jailed several times for anti-communist activities in the 1980s and has no apparent connection to the old communist regime of Slobodan Milosevic. In 2001, however, Tadic congratulated Dobrica Cosic on the occasion of the communist-turned-dissident’s 80th birthday. In 1993 Cosic allegedly broke with Milosevic and in 2000 joined the opposition group Otpor, founded by students from the state-run University of Belgrade. Interestingly, Cosic is to this day a professor at the same university. Otpor was instrumental in agitating for the downfall of President Milosevic on October 5, 2000. In 2003 Otpor became a political party and was then absorbed by Tadic’s pre-Yugoslavia Democratic Party in 2004.

Tadić, Army discuss Kosovo
12 December 2007 09:12 Source: B92, Tanjug

BELGRADE — Boris Tadić and the chiefs of staff have been looking at ways to counter violence, and deemed the situation in the south as stable.

The president and Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac attended a meeting of Army Headquarters chiefs of staff and the commanders of units and brigades, where they discussed current measures for dealing with emergency situations.

However, Šutanovac did not divulge many of the details of the meeting, and in a concise statement, he said that he and the president had been informed of the Army’s recent activities and of the security situation in the country.

According to the statement, Lieutenant Zdravko Ponoš told Tadić and Šutanovac that the security situation in south Serbia in the Ground Safety Zone was stable, and stressed the significance of the hitherto good relations between the army and KFOR. Even though, as was stated, measures had been considered to avert emergency situations, the defense minister did not go into any further details.

“Apart from the fact that it was a detailed conversation, and that we discussed serious plans affecting not just the current situation, but also serious plans for the future development of Serbia’s and the Serbian Army’s defense system, I can tell you no more. The current situation is always a theme, but, there is nothing in particular to suggest any specific engagements in the next few days,” he maintained.

Also on Tuesday, after a meeting with the Romanian defense minister, Šutanovac said that he had received firm assurances from KFOR and NATO that international forces would prevent any outbreak of violence.

“There is a latent danger of violence and conflict in Kosovo, but all the relevant actors who have troops within the international contingent in Kosovo, from ministers to generals in charge of NATO and KFOR, have given me firm assurances that there won’t be any surprises, but that they will act and prevent any conflict,” the defense minister told daily Večernje Novosti.

Asked whether there was any possibility of the Serbian Army entering Kosovo and protecting the Serbs there in the event of the Albanians attacking northern Kosovska Mitrovica, he said that the army would never come to blows with KFOR.

“Among all these scenarios, the only illogical one is clashing with KFOR, that would involve once again clashing with the international community,” Šutanovac stated. The defense minister said that “16,500 highly-trained KFOR troops” were stationed in Kosovo, “who were there to create a buffer between the Serbs and Albanians.”

“If KFOR engages in a manner and degree that it can, there will be no need for others to react,” he assured.

Šutanovac concluded by saying that he did not expect a decision on Kosovo’s status to be taken until the spring, and reiterated that the Kosovo crisis could not be solved through war.

Source: B92.net

With a unilateral declaration of independence only weeks away, European Union leaders emerged from a summit in Brussels today to float a peace plan for Kosovo called “unity with flexibility.” In this scenario, which essentially preserves the status quo, Kosovo will remain an autonomous region within Serbia. Realistically, it will entail the continuous presence of international troops in Kosovo to ensure that Belgrade does not reassert centralized control over the breakaway province.

In a somewhat related story, the leaders of the Communist Bloc, much as KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn warned more than 20 years ago, continue to openly network with little concern on the part of the sleepwalking Western shopping mall regimes. “Ex”-CPSU Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov’s recent one-day working trip to Budapest is a perfect example. There Zubkov conferred with “ex”-communist PM Ferenc Gyurcsany (both pictured here) on economic and, probably, other matters of mutual concern to neo-Soviet Russia and its satellite Hungary. State-run Novosti reports that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich plays a key role in keeping the relationship between Moscow and Budapest “tight”:

Hungarian national air carrier Malev could sign a deal with Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, a subsidiary of Sukhoi aircraft manufacturing holding, to buy 15 Sukhoi SuperJet-100 medium-haul passenger aircraft on the sidelines of the inter-government talks. Malev, in which Russia’s richest man Roman Abramovich holds a large stake, announced plans to acquire Russian airliners in spring. The catalogue price of a 95-seat basic version of the Sukhoi SuperJet-100 is $28 million.

Last month former Soviet tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev visited Budapest to host his World Political Forum, a collection of leftist politicians and subversives from around the world, to lash out against US National Missile Defense. PM Gyurcsany attended the conference.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia positions navy in Mediterranean, NATO troops on "high alert," Kosovo moves toward independence

>The United Nations deadline for the formulation of an amicable agreement between Serbia and its secessionist province of Kosovo expired yesterday. The Kremlin has taken sides with Belgrade and will oppose any unilateral declaration of independence on the part of the ethnically Albanian region. Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was recently visiting neo-communist Cyprus, warns that Kosovar independence will set off a “chain reation” of events in the Balkans and other regions, alluding most likely to the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, currently occupied by Russian “peacekeeping” troops. Peeling back the “diplomatese,” Lavrov is threatening war against NATO and the USA, both of which support Kosovar secessionism. For that reason NATO troops in Kosovo are on “high alert” should Serbia forcibly block Pristina’s drive toward independence.

Kosovo independence to start chain reaction – Lavrov
Dec 10 2007 11:44AM

NICOSIA. Dec 10 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned Western partners against the unilateral recognition of independent Kosovo.

That would be a flagrant violation of international laws and cause a chain reaction in the Balkans, he said in Nicosia on Monday.

“If our partners unilaterally recognize independent Kosovo, they will fragrantly breach international laws. Russia will not breach international laws,” Lavrov said after a meeting with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

“The unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo and the illegal recognition of that independence will naturally have consequences,” he said.

“I am positive that such steps will trigger a chain reaction in the Balkans and other regions. Everyone who has such plans must be fully aware of their responsibility,” Lavrov said.

Source: Interfax

Not so coincidentally, the Russian Navy has deployed itself in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since 1999, when NATO forced Serbia to withdraw its troops from Kosovo. Between Kosovo and the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, which extend from the Mediterranean, lies paleo-communist Albania. The Russian Navy’s flagship and sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured above) is leading the exercises in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Russian naval ships complete exercise in Northern Atlantic
10.12.2007, 00.07

MOSCOW, December 10 (Itar-Tass) – Russian naval ships on Sunday held an exercise in Northern Atlantic, Captain 1st Rank Igor Dyglo, the chief press officer of the Navy told Itar-Tass.

The exercise involved a strike group consisting of the aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, the major antisubmarine ships Admiral Levchenko and Admiral Chabanenko and auxiliary ships Sergei Ossipov and Nikolai Chiker.

During the sea passage, the group “successfully accomplished the tactical tasks that presupposed coordination with missile-carrying jets of the North Fleet and strategic jets of the Russian Air Force.”

More than ten jets were engaged in the exercise. Antisubmarine helicopters Ka-27 made sorties from aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov cruiser.

This exercise was special for the fact that the group performed the tasks in complicated weather conditions with a rough sea surge and the wind blowing at 13 meters per second to 17 meters per second.

Following completion of the program in North Atlantic, the strike group is moving to the Mediterranean where it will join ships of the Black Sea Fleet.

The North Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet are two of the four major territorial divisions of the Russian Navy. The other two are the Baltic and Pacific Fleets.

Source: Itar-Tass

Notwithstanding the Kremlin’s saber rattling over Kosovo’s political status and the proposed deployment of Washington’s NMD assets in Poland and the Czech Republic, Moscow is assuring the West that there will be no “immediate” expansion of its forces near adjacent NATO states. However, as we have blogged before, a build-up of ground forces is not ruled out altogether. Russia’s moratorium on compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty expires tomorrow. Novosti, below, takes note of the new US-Soviet “memorandum on bilateral military cooperation and the interoperability of their respective Armed Forces for 2008.” Pravda characterized the defence cooperation protocol as “secret.”

Russia says no immediate military build up after CFE moratorium
21:55 06/ 12/ 2007

WASHINGTON, December 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will not immediately increase the strength of its Armed Forces after its unilateral moratorium on a key arms reductions treaty comes into effect on December 12, the chief of the General Staff said Thursday.

Russia’s law suspending its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty officially came into force on December 3. The moratorium itself will take effect on December 12.

“We are not going to increase the strength of our Armed Forces, let’s say, tomorrow,” Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, who is currently on a visit to the United States, told a news conference in Washington.

Moscow considers the original CFE treaty, signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members, to be discriminatory and outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.

Baluyevsky said the moratorium would “remove discriminatory flank limitations under the treaty,” and “untie Russia’s hands on its own territory,” as much as the CFE treaty allows NATO to freely re-deploy its forces anywhere in Europe.

Speaking about the U.S. missile shield in Europe, Baluyevsky reiterated that Russia and the United States had made no progress in talks on the subject since the October 12 meeting in a ‘2+2’ format in Moscow.

“As to missile defense, we have not moved a step out of the deadlock [in negotiations],” Baluyevsky said.

The U.S. plans to deploy a radar and a missile base in Central Europe purportedly to counter possible strikes from “rogue” states. Moscow opposes the plans saying they pose a threat to its security. Despite a series of talks on the issue, the countries have failed to reach a compromise.

“Our position is simple – let’s first make a joint assessment of potential threats before deploying a radar in the Czech Republic or missiles in Poland,” Baluyevsky said, adding that Russia could use all available expertise and capabilities to help make this assessment.

Russia has already offered the U.S. use of radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives to missile shield deployment in Central Europe.

Washington said, though, it could use these radars only as additional components of the European shield.

Despite the disagreements on key European security issues, during Baluyevsky’s current visit to the U.S., Moscow and Washington signed a memorandum on bilateral military cooperation and the interoperability of their respective Armed Forces for 2008.

Source: Novosti

Russia’s Remilitarization and the Indo-Soviet Strategic Partnership

Meanwhile, Russian remilitarization under the KGB dictatorship of Vladimir Putin continues apace. “Production of armaments and military equipment in Russia has grown almost 25% in 2007,” First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov informed Russia’s military-industrial commission, founded in the old Soviet era and never scrapped. State-run Interfax reports:

“This year, production of arms and military equipment grew 23.1% compared with last year, which is almost a quarter. We will continue to increase [military production], and we have the financial resources to do this,” Ivanov said at a meeting with members of the Soviet-era military-industrial commission on Friday. The military sector has increased production by 15.6% in 2007 in compared with 2006, he said. “This is larger than the economic growth rate,” Ivanov said. The military sector increased production of aircraft by 39% and of conventional arms by 73%, he said.

The upgrading of its Strategic Missile Forces is a key component in Russia’s remilitarization. State-run Novosti reports:

“The launch of the ICBM RS-12M Topol was successfully conducted at 5:43 p.m. Moscow time [2:43 p.m. GMT] on December 8 from the Kapustin Yar testing site in the Arkhangelsk Region,” Colonel Alexander Vovk said. Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces regularly launch missiles to test their performance characteristics and decide whether they can remain in service. The ICBM Topol was last tested on October 19. The missile’s service life has been extended to 21 years, much longer than the 10 years originally intended.

At the same meeting of the military-industrial commission mentioned above, Ivanov outlined Russia’s plan for missile production: “We count on the fact that we can afford six-seven [missiles, with complexes], if we speak about RVSN [the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces] and ground strategic nuclear forces. We count on the fact that this is acceptable given real possibilities.”

Another important component in Russia’s military muscle-flexing is the development of compliant strategic partners, like India. To that end, state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport is negotiating with New Delhi over delivery of Mi-17 multirole military helicopters to the “subcontinent.” The Kremlin also intends to sells its Mi-24 helicopter gunship, which is currently in service with the Indian military, to clients in the Middle East, Latin America, and North Africa. At the same time, the Indo-Soviet joint venture BrahMos will establish a manufacturing plant in southwestern India to produce supersonic cruise missiles for the Indian army and navy. An airborne version of the BrahMos cruise missile will be installed on the Russian-built Sukhoi-30MKI air superiority fighters operated by the Indian Air Force. Finally, Sukhoi disclosed last week, flight tests of a fifth-generation Indo-Soviet fighter will begin in 2009 and mass production of the aircraft could start by 2015. “India and Russia have a long history of military cooperation, going back almost half a century,” Novosti observes. This is a fact that does not bode well for any attempt by Washington to develop friendly relations with New Delhi, such as the USA’s commitment to support India’s nuclear energy program.

>Red Terror File: Freed ex-FSB agent Trepashkin investigated 1999 apartment bombings, tells Times: FSB tried to recruit me into Litvinenko death plot

>Everything Viktor said to me finally fell into place when I heard Litvinenko had been poisoned. From the first moment, I had no doubt the FSB was behind his killing and I realised that Viktor had not been bluffing. This could not have been carried out without the help of state structures. Litvinenko was killed out of revenge and to send the message that no one is safe, no matter where you flee, if you throw dirt at the FSB.
— Mikhail Trepashkin, former FSB officer, statement made in interview with The Times, December 9, 2007

Former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) officer Mikhail Trepashkin, who completed a four-year jail sentence two days before the December 2 State Duma election, contends that his former employer tried three times to recruit him into a plot involving the assassination of colleague Alexander Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky, a US-based Russian historian, who helped Litvinenko write his controversial book Blowing Up Russia.

Blowing Up Russia, originally published in 2002 and updated posthumously in 2007, reveals that the 1999 apartment bombings that catapaulted FSB director Vladimir Putin into the presidency were in fact orchestrated by the Lubyanka, the Moscow headquarters of the Russian security apparatus. Litvinenko was eventually assassinated by ingesting radioactive polonium-210, possibly at the hands of “ex”-FSB agent and businessman Andrei Lugovoi, who was recently elected to the Duma on the Liberal Democratic ticket and now enjoys immunity from prosecution. Scotland Yard views Lugovoi as the primary suspect in the murder of Litvinenko, who became a British subject just prior to his death. Trepashkin, as the interview below reveals however, believes that Lugovoi was an unwitting tool in the Litvinenko death plot. Ironically, Litvinenko’s body was laid to rest at Highgate Cemetery in London, where communism’s founder Karl Marx is buried.

Trepashkin served his sentence at the Nizhniy Tagil prison camp (gulag?) in the Urals, after a closed military court convicted him in 2003 of “disclosing state secrets.” The real reason that the Putinist regime threw the book at Trepashkin, however, was his courageous involvement in the Duma’s independent investigation into the 1999 apartment bombings and the 2002 Moscow theater hostage situation. Liberal Russia deputy Sergei Yushenkov oversaw the commission until his assassination in 2003. Yushenkov founded Liberal Russia with Vladimir Golovlev, Victor Pokhmelkin, and Boris Berezovsky. Golovlev was assassinated in 2002, while “ex”-Komsomol Berezovsky, whom we suspect is a Kremlin agent provocateur tasked with souring UK-Russian relations, fled to the United Kingdom in 2001. We believe that Litvinenko was also silenced to protect current Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, whom the murdered FSB officer revealed was a long-time asset of his former employer.

Trepashkin remains in Russia and apparently has no plans to defect to the West, in spite of his opposition to the Putinist regime. The Times interview below reveals that he “has agreed to make a formal statement detailing his allegations to the European Court of Human Rights in support of Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, who is seeking to force the Russian government to accept responsibility for her husband’s murder.” The Litvinenko saga, the political fallout from the 1999 KGB terror attacks, and the Kremlin body count are far from over.

Agents ‘asked me to betray Litvinenko’
From The Sunday Times
December 9, 2007
Mark Franchetti, Moscow

A RETIRED Russian intelligence officer has revealed that a former colleague tried three times to recruit him for a state-sponsored operation to “get rid of” Alexander Litvinenko, the agent killed in London last year with radioactive polonium-210.

Mikhail Trepashkin, a lieutenant colonel who fell out with the Federal Security Service (FSB), formerly the KGB, was released last week after serving four years in prison on charges he believes were politically motivated. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said he was first approached in early September 2002 by a former colleague of Litvinenko known as Viktor.

Viktor said he had been sacked by the FSB, then rehired to work with a counterintelligence unit. He knew that Trepashkin was in regular contact with Litvinenko, who had fled to London and was working for Boris Berezovsky, the exiled tycoon and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin.

“Viktor told me that a very serious group had been set up to sort out all matters linked to Litvinenko and Berezovsky once and for all,” said Trepashkin in his first comments to the western press since he was freed.

“He wanted me to help him track down a relative of Litvinenko who lived in Moscow. I suspected he was planning something nasty to put Litvinenko under pressure.

“‘Are you out of your mind?’ I said to him. ‘Are you trying to recruit me to help carry out an assassination? Forget it’.”

In a move that will infuriate the FSB and further strain relations between Russia and the West, Trepashkin, 50, has agreed to make a formal statement detailing his allegations to the European Court of Human Rights in support of Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, who is seeking to force the Russian government to accept responsibility for her husband’s murder.

Trepashkin alleges that Russia’s security services had been planning to kill Litvinenko for years. He said that about two months after the September meeting, Viktor approached him again.

This time, Viktor told him the FSB was determined to silence both Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky, a Russian historian based in America. Felshtinsky had helped Litvinenko write a controversial book in which they claimed the FSB was behind a wave of apartment block bombings in 1999 that claimed 300 lives and provided the trigger for an invasion of Chechnya.

“He told me that a special group had been dispatched to Boston, where Felshtinsky was based, to carry out surveillance,” Trepashkin recalled. “I was left with the clear impression that things were getting serious and that the FSB was preparing something against both men. I warned Litvinenko about it and he took it very seriously.”

Viktor asked to meet on a third occasion in early 2003, when Trepashkin was helping an independent commission investigating the allegations of an FSB role in the apartment block bombings.

This time Viktor said his contacts in the FSB wanted Trepashkin to travel to London to meet Litvinenko in a hotel. “He said that all I had to do was get together with him so that other agents could get him in their sights and start 24-hour surveillance.”

Trepashkin had received threats to end his investigation into the 1999 bombings and Viktor implied that he would be safe if he co-operated.

Trepashkin applied for a visa to visit Britain but said that, as a friend, he would again have warned Litvinenko of the danger. In the event, the visa application was turned down. Litvinenko died last year after apparently drinking tea laced with polonium at a London hotel where he had met Andrei Lugovoi, another former FSB officer.

“Everything Viktor said to me finally fell into place when I heard Litvinenko had been poisoned,” said Trepashkin. “From the first moment, I had no doubt the FSB was behind his killing and I realised that Viktor had not been bluffing.

“This could not have been carried out without the help of state structures. Litvinenko was killed out of revenge and to send the message that no one is safe, no matter where you flee, if you throw dirt at the FSB.”

The FSB has denied any involvement in Litvinenko’s death. It says he investigated organised crime, had no state secrets and was too small a fish to warrant any such operation. But while Trepashkin’s testimony is far from conclusive evidence of FSB involvement, it undermines claims that Litvinenko’s former colleagues had forgotten him.

According to Trepashkin, Viktor, in particular, despised Litvinenko. He blamed his former colleague for talking him into participating in a press conference in 1998 during which Litvinenko and several colleagues accused their FSB bosses of extortion and ordering contract killings.

Shortly afterwards Litvinenko was jailed and Viktor lost his job. According to Trepashkin, Viktor demanded £20,000 compensation from Litvinenko.

Trepashkin said Viktor and some serving FSB officers were also concerned about rumours that Litvinenko was going to write another book implicating them in several murders.

Trepashkin had resigned from the FSB after claiming he had been prevented from investigating alleged collusion between senior security services figures and Chechen rebels.

Litvinenko and other officers said they had been ordered to kill Trepashkin. Instead they tipped him off and invited him to take part in the press conference.

Two years later, when Litvinenko was in London, Trepashkin, who is a lawyer, agreed to represent the relatives of a woman killed in one of the apartment block bombings.

He started investigating the explosions, which the Kremlin blamed on Chechen terrorists but which some opposition figures suspected could have been state-sponsored. His work brought him back into contact with Litvinenko. The two often talked on the phone, exchanged information and became friends.

“It became apparent to me that there was something very murky about the bombings,” recalled Trepashkin. “I became convinced that the security services had a hand in them.”

When police released an artist’s impression of a man said to have rented a basement flat used in the bombings, Trepashkin claimed he recognised the suspect as Vladimir Romanovich, someone with close FSB links. Two other witnesses supported the claim.

Trepashkin said that after he made the allegation, a new sketch was released. Romanovich himself is believed to have been killed in a hit-and-run car accident in Cyprus a few months after the bombings.

Trepashkin had also spoken to the landlord who rented the basement of the building in Moscow where a bomb went off. He said the man had been pressured by the FSB to identify falsely a Chechen as the tenant.

Whether or not these allegations are true, there is little doubt that Trepashkin’s former bosses at the FSB took them as a sign that he should be silenced.

In October 2003, a week before he was to present some of his findings in court during the trial of a man accused of one of the bombings, Trepashkin was arrested on suspicion of illegal arms possession. He was sentenced to four years for divulging state secrets — making copies of FSB files.

Trepashkin, who was declared a political prisoner by Amnesty International, said the evidence against him was trumped up. “They arrested me because the FSB wanted to put an end to my investigation,” he said.

A father of five, Trepashkin spent seven months of his four-year sentence in solitary confinement. In breach of prison regulations, he was denied a TV, radio and newspapers throughout his term. For two years he was not allowed visits by his family and went on several hunger strikes.

He was held in a tiny, two-man cell and allowed out for only 30 minutes a day to pace a small courtyard, covered with nets and sheeting to block out natural light. His face was ashen and he wheezed as he spoke.

“Once, in the dead of winter, I was locked up for a couple of days in solitary as a punishment for writing a complaint,” Trepashkin recalled. “Outside, the temperature dropped to -35C. Inside, the walls of my cell were covered in ice.

“I was often threatened and there were times I thought I would not make it out alive, but they didn’t break me. Nor did they manage to silence me. I won’t flee abroad. I see it as my duty to continue speaking out, even if I don’t feel safe.”

Source: The Times Online

>USSR2 File: Putin anoints "ex"-Komsomol Medvedev as United Russia presidential candidate, Just Russia, Agrarian, Civic Force parties support decision

>Speculation surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor ended today. State-run Itar-Tass reports that Putin has anointed “First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as a presidential candidate. ‘This proposal has my wholesale support,’ Putin said at a meeting with the leaders of the United Russia, Just Russia, Agrarian Party and Civil Force party, who offered their common candidate on Monday. Leader of the United Russia party Boris Gryzlov hopes that consultations on the candidature for the post of the Russian president will be completed before December 17.” Be mindful, too, that Putin has former Soviet tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev’s “wholesale support,” demonstrating the continuity in the Soviet leadership and strategy.

That the pro-Kremlin pseudo-socialist Just Russia supports the Medvedev nomination is not surprising. As we have previously blogged, however, the Agrarian Party’s support for Medvedev is somewhat surprising in that that party has acted as the “rural branch” of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation since the contrived “collapse” of the Soviet Union. Civic Force is a Kremlin-backed ripoff of the Union of Right Forces, which failed to obtain any seats in the December 2 State Duma election.

State-run Regnum News Agency, citing a Moscow think tank, insists that “It is in no way appropriate to state now that Dmitry Medvedev would become new Russia’s president even taking into account the support voiced for his candidature by President Vladimir Putin, senior researcher of the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Prudnik told a Regnum correspondent.” Regnum continues by ironically alluding to the potemkin nature of the “post”-communist Russia’s political system: “At the same time, there will be an illusion of democracy in the eyes of Western powers and inside the country.” Indeed. Prudnik, moreover, “is sure that in the near future a new election strategy will be applied in Russia, when two or three candidates will be proposed, who are equally acceptable for both Putin and the Russian elite. All those contenders will be necessarily supported by Putin, who won’t back a single candidature to reserve to himself an opportunity for political maneuvering and remain acting president till the end instead of being a ‘lame duck.'” Prudnik concludes: “Pro-presidential parties snatched votes from the opposition and we see now what the Communists received. What would they have got, if there were no Just Russia?”

Thus, CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov (pictured here) will enjoy Putin’s backing, even if the open communist candidate fails to secure the presidency. The Soviet leadership might very well decide that a communist “loss” in March 2008 is necessary to extend the ruse that communism is dead while Moscow puts the finishing touches on its war preparations against the West. Compared to the 42-year-old Medvedev, who was only 25 years old when the Soviet elite dismantled their country, the 63-year-old Zyuganov is a seasoned communist, a hardline Stalinist, and a key player in the perestroika deception. Medvedev, by contrast, is only “ex”-Komsomol and, like Putin, served on the staff of deceased St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak in the early 1990s. Sobchak died under suspicious circumstances in 2000. (Incidentally, with no tongue in cheek, most politicians and secret police chiefs in Russia appear to die under suspicious circumstances.) Medvedev is currently chairman of state-run energy giant Gazprom. The independent Levada Center affirms that 40 percent of the Russian electorate is willing to vote for president any Putin nominee. Zyuganov will undoubtedly be the top contender for that position after Medvedev.

Commenting on the Medvedev nomination and the four parties supporting his nomination, Zyuganov said today in a press interview: “In my view, this is an absolutely predictable advancement. First, Medvedev was and remains the main successor of Putin, his personal friend, his right hand. For a period of many years, beginning from St. Petersburg and to the present day, he was always chief assistant, adviser and chief executor of all Putin’s commissions. . . . Medvedev is a supporter of the right-liberal course, which is a disastrous course for Russia, but that’s what they want.”

Comrade Gennady then commented on the upcoming presidential election and United Russia’s manipulation of the state organs to secure its deceptive dominance: “The party of authority will use at the presidential elections all its levers. It has the gigantic police and administrative levers, non-exhaustive information channels. The levers of intimidation, blackmail were revealed in the Duma elections. But the Duma and presidential elections differ. For many citizens of our country political consciousness is locked on the personality. Therefore, Medvedev’s candidacy will be complicated.”

On December 22 the CPRF will hold nationwide rallies and marches to protest the Duma election results. “We have noted that there was falsification all across the country in these elections,” CPRF Vice Chairman Ivan Melnikov said Friday at a news conference.

In any event, Russia’s stock market surged upon hearing the news of Medvedev’s nomination, reports state-ownded Kommersant Daily. That was probably the whole idea as Moscow’s Leninist strategists continue to bolster Russia’s pseudo-capitalist economy until Missile Day.

Blowing Up Russia and the Kremlin Body Count

Meanwhile, in its ongoing mid-election campaign of “blowing up Russia,” the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) has exploded another bus–this time yesterday in the city of Nevinnomysk, in the Stavropol region–killing two passengers. Although law enforcement is loathe to identify terrorism behind any suspicious post-911 activity on US soil, neo-Soviet officialdom prompty IDs the “Chechen” trace after every blast and shooting. State-run Russia Today reports:

Police blame terrorists for fatal bus blast
December 10, 2007, 20:13

The bodies of two young women killed in a bus explosion in Russia’s Stavropol region on Sunday have been identified. Others injured in the blast remain in hospital. Police say terrorists were behind the attack and are circulating a photofit of a possible suspect.

Most of the passengers had left the bus just before the blast. The two who remained on board were killed. They’ve been named as 17-year-old Elena Tarasova and 22-year-old Susanna Gazoryan. The coach was carrying about 36 passengers from Pyatigorsk to Stavropol before a blast ripped through it during a rest stop at a bus station in the town of Nevinnomyssk.

Meanwhile, security measures have been tightened. Investigators are still working at the scene to collect evidence. Deputy Head of Stavropol Police, Viktor Barnash, said the bomb was left in the back of the bus.”In fact, we believe it was placed on the last seat that drivers use for sleeping when off duty,” Barnash said.

Police say the attack was the work of terrorists. The explosive charge was equivalent to 150 grammes of TNT and was packed with shrapnel to cause maximum damage.

Local authorities say they plan to bring in new security and safety measures on passenger buses in and out of the region.

This is the third bus explosion in Russia in the last six weeks.

In November, a nail bomb on a coach killed five passengers and injured 13 more in the neighbouring republic of North Ossetia.

And in October a bomb exploded on a bus in the city of Togliatti in central Russia, killing eight people. Seventy others were injured. All the incidents are being treated as terrorist attacks.

Not content with blowing up Stavropol, the FSB is also blowing up the national capital. This morning a car bomb exploded next to a central Moscow apartment. “The shock wave,” Russia Today reports, “smashed windows from the first to the sixth floor of the eight-storey block.”

The Kremlin body count staggers on with the grisly death of Oleg Zhukovsky, a managing director at the state-run VTB bank, who handled accounts in the “notoriously murky timber industry.” Police found Zhukovsky in his dacha pool. His arms and legs were bound and a plastic bag tied around his head. “Citing an unidentified law enforcement source, Kommersant reported Friday that a suicide note was found near Zhukovsky’s body in what might have been a sloppy attempt at a cover-up.” Garden variety Red Mafiya hit? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps Russia’s Leninist leaders decided that Zhukovsky was guilty of economic crimes . . . like capitalism.

>Gray Terror File: Gunman shoots up New Life Church, YWAM in Colorado, five days after Westroads Mall massacre in Omaha; smoke devices, grenade found

>But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
— 2 Timothy 3:13

There is a small “gray terror” link to the Soviet-sponsored international terror network in the high-profile murder sprees that have shocked America over the last week. Fox News reports below that yesterday at New Life Church in Colorado Springs “Officers also found several smoke-generating devices on the church campus; their intended purpose was not clear.” While there is no apparent terrorism-related MO in last week’s mass murder at Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, a grenade was discovered on the mall property one week before the shooting there.

Tragically, incidents like this provide propaganda “ammunition” to the Left in its campaign to disarm law-abiding, patriotic citizens and pave the way for tyranny. There is very little fear of God in the West and, thus, our enemies advance.

Police Seach for Links Between Two Deadly Shootings at Colorado Christian Centers
Monday , December 10, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Authorities searched a home in the U.S. state of Colorado early Monday, seeking any link between two deadly shooting sprees at Christian religious centers that left both communities baffled and stunned.

Five people, including a gunman, died in the attacks Sunday at a megachurch in Colorado Springs and at the Youth With a Mission missionary center in the Denver suburb of Arvada. Five others were wounded.

“Violent crimes of any sort are tragic enough, but when innocent people are killed in a religious facility or a place of worship, we must voice a collective sense of outrage and demonstrate a renewed commitment to keeping our communities safe,” said Gov. Bill Ritter.

Police in Arvada said they believed the shootings — which occurred 12 hours and about 65 miles (105 kilometers) apart — were probably linked, though they had nothing conclusive to back up the theory.

“Given the circumstances, I think it is a good possibility that the two are linked,” Arvada Deputy Police Chief Gary Creagor told The Associated Press early Monday. “But we have to prove that they are.”

At a news conference Sunday, Police Chief Don Wick said that there was “reason to believe” the shootings were connected, though he declined to elaborate.

Early Monday, authorities were searching a home in suburban Englewood, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Denver, that they said could be related to the Colorado Springs shooting case. Authorities could be seen coming and going from the home, and at one point searching the bushes in front.

The violence began about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, when a man opened fire at the Youth With a Mission office after he had been denied a request to spend the night there. Witnesses told police that the gunman was a 20-year-old white male, wearing a dark jacket and skull cap, who had a handgun. The two dead victims at the missionary center were identified as Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Philip Crouse, 24.

More than 12 hours later, at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, a gunman with a high-powered rifle entered the church’s main foyer and opened fire, Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said.

One church member was killed, and another who was badly wounded died later Sunday at Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Sufak. Their identities were not released.

The gunman was killed by a member of the church’s armed security staff before police arrived, Myers said. Officers also found several smoke-generating devices on the church campus; their intended purpose was not clear.

About 7,000 people were on the church campus at the time of the shooting, said Senior Pastor Brady Boyd said. Security had been beefed up after the shootings hours earlier in Arvada, he said.

New Life, with about 10,000 members, was founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was dismissed last year after a former male prostitute alleged he had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with him. Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, admitted committing undisclosed “sexual immorality.”

Darv Smith, director of a Youth With a Mission center in Boulder, said people ranging from their late teens to their 70s undergo a 12-week course that prepares them to be missionaries. He said the center trains about 300 people a year.

Paul Filidis, a Colorado Springs-based spokesman with Youth With a Mission, said staffers are usually former missionaries themselves and that the “mercy ministries” performed by trainees include orphanage work.

Youth With a Mission was started in 1960 and now has 1,100 locations with 16,000 full-time staff, Smith said. The Arvada center was founded in 1984.

The Colorado shootings came only days after a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a popular mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing eight people and himself.

Source: FoxNews.com

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Cyberattack underway against US research labs, Kremlin-linked SUP buys California-based LiveJournal with 500,000 Russian users

>Mr. Rykov is pro-Kremlin. Mamut and Sup are pro-Kremlin. The social networks [on the Internet] are all being bought by pro-Kremlin people.
— Ruslan Paushu, popular blogger who works for pro-Putin businessman Konstantin Rykov

Last Thursday, Network World reported, “The U.S. science and technology lab Oak Ridge National Laboratory yesterday disclosed it has been compromised by what it described as a ‘sophisticated cyber attack that appears to be part of a coordinated attempt to gain access to computer networks at numerous laboratories and other institutions across the country.'” Most cyberwarfare against the West emanates from Russia and China, with the Czech Republic and North Korea providing support. Dot.gov admitted earlier this past June that computer hackers in the employ of the People’s Liberation Army have successfully breached security at the Pentagon. The White House should admit that cyberattacks are no less a form of warfare than military, economic, and psychological warfare, and specifically task the US Armed Forces’ new CyberCommand with vigorous counter-attacks against the Communist Bloc’s electronic infrastructure.

Sophisticated cyberattack on national labs under way, Oak Ridge says
Attack believed to be part of a coordinated effort to compromise U.S. labs
By
Ellen Messmer, Network World, 12/07/07

The U.S. science and technology lab Oak Ridge National Laboratory yesterday disclosed it has been compromised by what it described as a “sophisticated cyber attack that appears to be part of a coordinated attempt to gain access to computer networks at numerous laboratories and other institutions across the country.”

Other reports indicate ORNL’s sister institution at Los Alamos was also hit, though it has not been confirmed that Los Alamos was hit successfully.

In a public statement, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which has 3,800 staff and $1.06 billion budget under management by the U.S. Deptartment of Energy with UT-Battelle, said a hacker gained access to ORNL computers by sending staff e-mails that appeared to be official legitimate communications.

“When the employee opened the attachment or accessed an embedded link, the hacker planted a program on the employees’ computers that enabled the hacker to copy and retrieve information,” ORNL said.

ORNL said the compromise has been traced back to Oct. 29, 2007, and that the lab has “reason to believe that data was stolen from a database used for visitors to the Laboratory.”

ORNL, which conducts highly sensitive energy research in the neutron science and high-energy physics as well as biology research, does not believe that classified information was lost.

However, ORNL said anyone who visited the lab, which is based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., between the years 1990 and 2004 may have had their name and other personal information, such as Social Security numbers and birth date, stolen by the attackers.

Thom Mason, director of ORNL, on Monday sent an e-mail to staff employees that said, “Our cyber security staff has been working nights and weekends to understand the nature of this attack.”

“Our review to date has shown that while every security system at ORNL was in place and in compliance, the hackers potentially succeeded in gaining access to one of the laboratory’s non-classified databases that contained personal information of visitors to the laboratory between 1990 and 2004. At this point we have determined that the thieves made approximately 1,100 attempts to steal data with a very sophisticated strategy that involved sending staff a total of seven ‘phishing’ e-mails, all of which at first glance appeared legitimate. One of these fake e-mails notified employees of a scientific conference.

Another pretended to notify the employee of a complaint on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, ” Mason said.Mason said it looks as though 11 staff opened the attachments, which then “enabled the hackers to infiltrate the system and remove data.”

Mason said reconstructing the exact chain of events in their entirety “will likely take weeks, if not longer, to complete.”ORNL is making the effort to contact all the people whose personal information was compromised, but that a large number of out-of-date addresses is complicating this effort. He added there is no evidence to date that the stolen information has been used.

ORNL spokesman Ron Walli said the lab couldn’t comment further on the nature of the attack or its possible origination due to its extreme sensitivity. “It’s a serious matter and we’ve told not to discuss it,” he said.

Source: Networkworld.com

Meanwhile, the cybercommies in the Kremlin are clamping down on the last bastion of free expression in neo-Soviet Russia. The lengthy but informative article below reports that “Allies of the Kremlin have also begun buying some of the companies that have helped make the Internet a bastion of free expression in Russia.” Kremlin-linked oligarch Alexander Mamut (pictured here), for example, used his company SUP in October 2006 to first buy the rights to develop the Russian-language section of the California-based LiveJournal and then on December 2, 2007 to buy LiveJournal outright. LiveJournal attracts more than 500,000 Russian users and is thereby Russia’s most popular blog portal.

During his annual national address Comrade Czar Vladimir Putin assured the West with typical communist deceit: “In the Russian Federation, no control is being exercised over the World Wide Web, over the Russian segment of the Internet.” Ominously, however, “Prosecutors have begun to target postings on blogs or Internet chat sites, charging users with slander or extremism after they criticize Putin or other officials. Most such incidents have occurred outside Moscow, and federal officials deny that they signal any broader campaign to control the Internet.”

Kremlin Seeks To Extend Its Reach in Cyberspace
Pro-Government Sites Gain Influence

By Anton Troianovski and Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, October 28, 2007; A01

MOSCOW — After ignoring the Internet for years to focus on controlling traditional media such as television and newspapers, the Kremlin and its allies are turning their attention to cyberspace, which remains a haven for critical reporting and vibrant discussion in Russia’s dwindling public sphere.

Allies of President Vladimir Putin are creating pro-government news and pop culture Web sites while purchasing some established online outlets known for independent journalism. They are nurturing a network of friendly bloggers ready to disseminate propaganda on command. And there is talk of creating a new Russian computer network — one that would be separate from the Internet at large and, potentially, much easier for the authorities to control.

“The attractiveness of the Internet as a free platform for free people is already dimming,” said Iosif Dzyaloshinsky, a mass media expert at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

Putin addressed the question of Internet censorship during a national call-in show broadcast live on radio and television this month. “In the Russian Federation, no control is being exercised over the World Wide Web, over the Russian segment of the Internet,” Putin said. “I think that from the point of view of technological solutions, that would not make any sense.

“Naturally, in this sphere, as in other spheres, we should be thinking about adhering to Russian laws, about making sure that child pornography is not distributed, that financial crimes are not committed,” he continued. “But that is a task for the law enforcement agencies. Total control and the work of the law enforcement agencies are two different things.”

Many people here say they believe Putin didn’t mind a free Internet as long as it had weak penetration in Russia. But with 25 percent of Russian adults now online, up from 8 percent in 2002, cyberspace has become an issue of increasing concern for the government.

Some Russian Internet experts say a turning point came in 2004, when blogs and uncensored online publications helped drive a popular uprising in Ukraine after a pro-Moscow candidate was declared the winner of a presidential election. Days of street protests in the capital, Kiev, led to a new vote that brought a pro-Western politician into the presidency.

Today, the Kremlin is ready with online forces of its own when street action begins.

On April 14, an opposition movement held a march in central Moscow that drew hundreds of people; police detained at least 170, including the leader of the march, chess star Garry Kasparov.

Pavel Danilin, a 30-year-old Putin supporter and blogger whose online icon is the fearsome robot of the “Terminator” movie, works for a political consulting company loyal to the Kremlin. He said he and his team, which included people from a youth movement called the Young Guard, quickly started blogging that day about a smaller, pro-Kremlin march held at the same time.

They linked to one another repeatedly and soon, Danilin said, posts about the pro-Kremlin march had crowded out all the items about the opposition march on the Yandex Web portal’s coveted ranking of the top five Russian blog posts.

“We played it beautifully,” Danilin said.

In a lengthy article published online last fall, three Russian rights activists argued that a strident, vulgar and uniform pro-Kremlin ideology had so permeated blogs and chat rooms that it could only be the result of a coordinated campaign.

Putin’s allies in the online world acknowledge that the Internet represents a challenge to the status quo in Russia, which has, since Soviet times, relied on state-controlled television to influence public opinion across the country’s 11 time zones.

“You watch the first channel or the second channel and you can only see good things happening in Russia,” said Andrei Osipov, the 26-year-old editor of the Web site of Nashi, a pro-Kremlin youth group, referring to national stations that back the Kremlin. “The Internet is the freest mass media. . . . There is competition between state and opposition organizations.”

The Kremlin is also increasingly allying itself with privately run online outlets that foster a new ideal for life in today’s Russia, one that is consumerist and uncompromisingly pro-Putin.

The main champion of this ideal is 28-year-old businessman Konstantin Rykov. The pearl of Rykov’s media empire is the two-year-old Vzglyad (“View”) online newspaper, which features a serious-looking news section with stories toeing the Kremlin line and a lifestyle section that covers the latest in luxury cars and interior design. Surveys rank Vzglyad as one of Russia’s five most-visited news sites.

“Rykov is a man who created a good business on the government’s view that it has to invest in ideology,” said Anton Nossik, an Internet pioneer in Russia now in charge of blog development for Sup, an online media company. Nossik said that Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s domestic political adviser, organized private funding for Rykov’s projects.

Kremlin officials deny any involvement. “It is a general habit of everyone to connect every popular occurrence and success with the Kremlin,” deputy Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said when asked about Rykov. “In reality, it is not so.”

In an interview, Rykov would not comment on his investors. A framed portrait of Surkov hung above his desk; Rykov is running for parliament on the list of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party in elections slated for December.

“The Vzglyad newspaper has created this appearance of a state publication for itself since the very beginning,” Rykov said. “And from the perspective of business and selling ads, that’s very good.”

Allies of the Kremlin have also begun buying some of the companies that have helped make the Internet a bastion of free expression in Russia. Gazeta.ru, long the country’s most respected online newspaper, was sold in December to a metals magnate and Putin loyalist.

And last October, Sup, which is owned by Alexander Mamut, a tycoon with ties to the Kremlin, bought the rights to develop the Russian-language segment of U.S.-based LiveJournal. The segment, with half a million users, is Russia’s most popular blog portal.

“Mr. Rykov is pro-Kremlin. Mamut and Sup are pro-Kremlin. The social networks are all being bought by pro-Kremlin people,” Ruslan Paushu, 30, a popular blogger who works for Rykov, said in an interview. “Everything’s okay.”

So far, Gazeta.ru has continued to publish articles critical of the Kremlin, and no widespread censorship has been reported on blogs run by Sup. But as the government wakes up to the Internet’s potential, many of Putin’s critics are growing nervous.
Prosecutors have begun to target postings on blogs or Internet chat sites, charging users with slander or extremism after they criticize Putin or other officials. Most such incidents have occurred outside Moscow, and federal officials deny that they signal any broader campaign to control the Internet.

“Personally, I am against developing and adopting a special law that would regulate the Internet,” Leonid Reiman, minister of information technology and communications, said in a written response to questions. “The Internet has been always developing as a free medium, and it should remain as such.”

But in July, Putin briefed his Security Council on plans to make Russia a global information leader by 2015. Russian news media reported that those plans included a new network apart from the global Internet and open only to former Soviet republics.

“To put it bluntly, we need to fight for the water mains,” Gleb Pavlovsky, the Kremlin’s foremost political consultant, said in an interview. “We need to fight for the central networks and for the audience segments that they reach.”

Wolfgang Kleinwaechter, special adviser to the chairmen of the Internet Governance Forum, a group convened by the United Nations, said some Russian officials he has spoken to are considering a separate Internet, with Cyrillic domain names, and appear to be studying China’s Internet controls.

Peskov, the deputy presidential spokesman, said in an interview that a Russia-only Internet was still in the “investigative phase,” adding, “I don’t know if it’s more than thinking aloud.”
“It’s not meant to get rid of the global network,” he said. “It’s a discussion of creating an addition.”

For now, supporters as well as critics of Putin see the Kremlin doing something atypical: competing on more or less equal terms with its opponents.

“Certainly, there’s the dark segment that is still saying words like ‘prohibit’ and ‘limit,’ ” said Marat Guelman, who worked as a political consultant for the Kremlin until 2004, when he broke with the administration. But “what is happening on the Web vis-a-vis the authorities is very good,” he added. “That is, they’re trying to play the game.”

That strategy is in contrast to the way Putin brought the independent television network NTV to heel at the beginning of his term, using highly publicized court cases and raids by heavily armed security forces.

Marina Litvinovich, a blogger who used to work for Pavlovsky, the Kremlin consultant, and now works for Kasparov’s United Civil Front, said she is satisfied with the government’s approach to the Internet because it forces Putin’s allies to respond to criticism rather than simply ignore it.

She also argued that as the Kremlin consolidates political power, it has less incentive to come up with sophisticated online propaganda. “They’re not really in need of particular creativity right now,” she said.

Source: Washington Post

Prior to her state-sponsored hit in 2006 intrepid Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya warned: “We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it’s total servility to Putin. Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial – whatever our special services, Putin’s guard dogs, see fit.” La Russophobe has extensively chronicled the invasion of cyberspace by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB).

Along the same lines, the Kremlin has approved the use of multi-function Blackberry phones by Russians–as long as service operators provide the FSB/KGB with a list of subscribers. State-run Moscow News Weekly reports: “The Blackberry, produced by Canada-based company Research in Motion, can be used in Russia but the service has been restricted because the Federal Security Service (FSB) cannot gain access to the system.” Of course, what else would one expect? The control freaks at the FSB/KGB would not have it any other way.

Russia Okays Blackberry Use
29/11/2007 Moscow News № 47 2007

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia’s secret services have authorised the use of Blackberry phones on condition that they are informed by operators on who subscribes to the service, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday.

MTS and VimpelCom, which owns the operator Beeline, have been given a one-year licence and will start offering the service for their corporate customers, the report quoted executives from the two companies as saying.

The Blackberry, produced by Canada-based company Research in Motion, can be used in Russia but the service has been restricted because the Federal Security Service (FSB) cannot gain access to the system.

Yekaterina Osadchaya, a spokeswoman for VimpelCom, said that the company would have to inform the FSB on Blackberry users and that the service could not be used by any executives or officials with access to state secrets.

“Based on the experience of working with corporate clients, we will also think about the mass market,” Mikhail Shamolin, deputy chairman of MTS, was quoted as saying.

Under a decree from President Vladimir Putin, the FSB has wide powers to tap into telephone, mobile phone, fax and Internet communications in Russia without prior authorization from a judge.

>Middle East File: Iran makes good on earlier threat, terminates all oil sales in US dollars; Chavez in Riyadh: "Empire of dollar must end"

>In October we reported that the Islamo-Nazi regime in Tehran had “slashed the use of the US dollar in payment for its oil exports to 15 percent.” Now apparently all such transactions have been terminated. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has previously denounced the dollar as a “worthless piece of paper.” The Tyrant of Tehran is out to lunch on a lot of topics, but economic warfare and the depreciation of America’s fiat currency are two things he understands well. At the November 18 summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Riyadh, Venezuela’s Tyrant in Training Hugo Chavez was the only head of state to support “Iwannajihad’s” decision. “The empire of the dollar has to end,” he intoned.

Iran stops accepting U.S. dollars for oil

TEHRAN, December 8 (RIA Novosti) – Iran has stopped selling its oil for U.S. dollars, the Iranian ISNA news agency said on Saturday, citing the country’s oil minister.

“In line with a policy of selling crude oil in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, the sale of our country’s oil in U.S. dollars has been completely eliminated,” ISNA reported Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari as saying.

He also said “the dollar is no longer a reliable currency.”

Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer.

At a November summit of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries heads of state, Iran proposed that oil sales be carried for a variety of currencies, excluding dollars, but was not supported by any other members except Venezuela.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had previously called the U.S. currency a “worthless piece of paper.”

2007 has seen a significant fall in the value of the U.S dollar against other major world currencies.

Tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., which has accused the Islamic Republic of attempting to build a nuclear weapon, as well as providing insistence to insurgents in Iraq.

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), published on Monday, stated that Tehran had put a stop to weapons production in 2003, although it was continuing to enrich uranium.

The report contradicted a previous U.S. intelligence assessment in 2005 which said that Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear bomb.

U.S. President George W. Bush remained hawkish, despite the report, saying on Tuesday that, “Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know how to make a nuclear weapon.”

When asked if military action remained an option, the president answered, “The best diplomacy – effective diplomacy – is one in which all options are on the table.”

Source: Novosti

>USA/USSR2 Files: Existence of protocol for US-Soviet defense cooperation confirmed, "problems" in bilateral ties, Baluyevsky visits subs at Kings Bay

>Even as neo-Soviet Russia prepares for the Fourth World War, the Kremlin’s Leninist masterminds promote East-West convergence, under a near-total media blackout, with the newly inked protocol on defense cooperation between Moscow and Washington. State-run Voice of Russia confirms Pravda’s report on the “secret” agreement that will promote “the compatibility of the armed forces of the two countries.”

Russia plans to develop cooperation with the United States in the military field, despite the problems existing in bilateral relations. This is what the chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces General of the army Yuri Baluyevsky said, summing up the results of his working visit to the United States. Baluyevsky mentioned that as part of his visit to Washington he and his American counterpart – the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael G. Mullen approved the plan for bilateral military cooperation for next year.

State-run Itar-Tass reports: “Baluyevsky is expected to meet with James Jeffrey, deputy national security adviser for regional affairs, and John Rood, Assistant Secretary for Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.”

The Malaysian National News Agency quotes Gen. Baluyevsky as saying: “Russia will continue combat patrolling of the world ocean with its long-range strategic bombers and warships, which it resumed this year. Russia thus demonstrates not its military might, but the possibility of using it.” US-Soviet defense cooperation, building on Torgau 2007 currently underway in Germany, will begin next year and consist of a “series of joint exercises, including missile defense training, search and rescue at sea, and peacekeeping and anti-terrorist maneuvers.” The same source reports that “Baluyevsky also visited the Kings Bay naval base in Georgia where he acquainted himself with the submarines, on which the intercontinental ballistic Trident-2 nuclear missiles are replaced with cruise missiles.”

Russia To Continue Military Cooperation With US Despite Problems

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Bernama) — Russia will continue military cooperation with the United States despite a series of contradictions, specifically on US missile shield plans for Europe, and will hold a joint missile defense exercise next year, according to Chief-of-Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Army General Yuri Baluyevsky.

“Russia, first and foremost, the military Russia sees the necessity to cooperate despite certain problems in our relations,” Baluyevsky told Itar-Tass and reporters on Thursday summing up the results of his visit to the United States.

However, he stressed that Russia will continue combat patrolling of the world ocean with its long-range strategic bombers and warships, which it resumed this year.

“The flights and cruises will continue,” he said adding Russia thus demonstrates not its military might, but the possibility of using it.

Baluyevsky said combat planes of various western countries imitated 70 interceptor attacks against patrolling Russian strategic bombers. He said southern and Far Eastern states “react more calmly (to the patrols)” in contrast to the West.

Baluyevsky said he signed “an ambitious” military cooperation plan with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen. It envisages a series of joint exercises, including missile defense training, search and rescue at sea, and peacekeeping and anti-terrorist maneuvers. The latter envisage training to free a hijacked plane, he specified.

He stressed the Russian-US exercise similar to Torgau-2007 currently underway in Germany is planned to become an annual event. “The ideology of holding it is reflected in the agreed memorandum,” he said.

The 2007 military cooperation plan has been fulfilled by 80 percent. In general, bilateral military cooperation is expanding “even in quantity”, Baluyevsky said.

He described his US visit as “very busy” and said the talks “analyzed the situation in all the regions of the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.”

Baluyevsky also visited the Kings Bay naval base in Georgia where he acquainted himself with the submarines, on which the intercontinental ballistic Trident-2 nuclear missiles are replaced with cruise missiles. — BERNAMA

Decades of treason and espionage have run their course through the White House and the Pentagon, while Russia’s top general scopes out firsthand America’s nuclear arsenal, the warning cries of patriots are marginalized, and the MSM entertains the masses with useless fluff. None dare call it treason? We do.

>USSR2 File: Putin to visit Minsk, discuss Union State with Lukashenko; Putin’s next career move a mystery; CPRF, SPS, Yabloko unite in legal faceoff

>The Union (or United) State of Russia and Belarus is the keystone in the soon-to-be-restored Soviet Union, while the Commonwealth of Independent States serves as a pillar in the revitalized Soviet project. The “ex”-CPSU dictators of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko respectively, are scheduled to meet in Belarus’ capital Minsk on December 13 and 14 to accelerate the process of political and economic union. The AP story below notes that “post”-communist Belarus has a “Soviet-style economy” that is propped up by cheap Gazprom energy. “Creation of a Russia-Belarus union,” AP also observes, “would give Putin a chance to remain in charge for many years to come.” The pecking order in the neo-Soviet hierarchy is evident, moreover, in the following quote: “Many analysts, though, are skeptical that the Kremlin can persuade Lukashenko to accept any plan that would make him subordinate to Putin.”

For the reader’s information, the two Belarusian politicians quoted below are communists, although this is not stated by the journalist. Sergei Kostyan is deputy head of foreign affairs committee in the Belarusian parliament, a member of the pro-Lukashenko Communist Party of Belarus, and head of the new Slavic Parliamentary Union. “Ex”-CPSU Stanislav Shushkevich, along with Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk, presided over the dismantling of the Soviet Union on December 8, 1991. Until then Shushkevich had been chair of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorusian Soviet Socialist Republic and was subsequently chair of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet until 1994. Shushkyevich is on the Stalinists’ hit list of “counter-revolutionaries” at the Soviet Belarus Internet forum.

Putin to discuss union with Belarus
Posted on Thu, Dec. 06, 2007
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV – Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW –President Vladimir Putin and other top Russia and Belarus officials will consider next week a proposed framework for the long-debated merger of the two countries into a single state, officials said Thursday.

The unexpected move, coming at a time of uncertainty over Russia’s political future, raised speculation that Putin may seek to become leader of the new country created by the merger. That would permit him to step down as Russian president next May, as required by the constitution, but become chief of the enlarged state.

Belarus’ presidential office said Putin would attend a Dec. 13-14 meeting in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, that would focus on a draft constitution of a Russia-Belarus union. It gave no details, but any constitution would describe the union’s governmental structure.

Analysts and news organizations have speculated for years that Putin could become the president of a combined Russian-Belarusian state. But talks over the merger have been mired in disagreements, particularly over the status of Belarus in the new union.

Asked if the meeting would pave the way for Putin’s election as president of a Russia-Belarus union, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Associated Press: “I don’t know anything about such issue being on the agenda.”

Sergei Kostyan, a deputy head of foreign affairs committee in the Belarusian parliament, said he saw no movement toward a merger of the two countries.

“Putin’s visit will produce no sensations,” he told the AP. “Belarus has and will remain an independent country, and Minsk has very clearly said that to our Kremlin colleagues.”

But others said the Kremlin may have made Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko an offer he would find hard to resist – such as the vice presidency under Putin.

“Such a plan would be a lifesaver for Putin, allowing him to become the leader of a new geopolitical structure without changing Russia’s constitution,” Stanislav Shushkevich, who led Belarus in 1991-94, told the AP.

Putin, whose approval ratings in November were over 80 percent, said he wouldn’t run in the March 2 election because of the constitution’s two-term limit. But he has pledged to retain his enormous influence over Russian government and politics.

Putin’s party, United Russia, won a crushing victory in Sunday’s parliamentary vote, and his supporters called the election a vote of confidence that would allow Putin to remain a “national leader.”

The Russian president has left the door open to becoming prime minister, and others suggested he could retain power by leading the United Russia party. He is expected to name a preferred successor who would be all but guaranteed to win the presidency.

Creation of a Russia-Belarus union would give Putin a chance to remain in charge for many years to come.

Any proposed merger would be subject to approval in two national referendums, but the measure could win easy approval because both nations share strong cultural and historic ties.

Yevgeny Volk, head of the Heritage Foundation’s Moscow office, said the Kremlin has long toyed with the notion of Putin leading a combined Russia-Belarus union in the past.

“It’s not 100 percent probable, but it’s definitely a possibility,” he told the AP.

Russia and Belarus signed a union agreement in 1996 which envisaged close political, economic and military ties and eventual full merger.

During the 1990s, Lukashenko – who has been called “Europe’s last dictator” by Western critics – pushed for the creation of a single state, apparently hoping to lead it. At the time, the president of Russia was the ailing, politically compromised Boris Yeltsin.

Lukashenko’s ambitions were shattered by Putin’s election in 2000.

Two years later, Lukashenko angrily rejected a Kremlin proposal for incorporating Belarus into the Russian Federation – a plan that would have effectively left him without job.

“Lukashenko isn’t enthusiastic about this idea because he would lose power,” Shushkevich told the AP. “But a threat of another hike in oil and gas prices could force him to accept it.”

Earlier this year, Lukashenko denounced Russia as a “huge monster” when Russia more than doubled the price of natural gas and imposed a customs duty that made oil more expensive.

Belarus was forced to yield control of its national gas pipeline company to Russia – a move long sought by Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly.

Despite the acrimony, the two nations maintain close ties. Cheap Russian energy is critical to propping up Lukashenko’s Soviet-style economy.

Many analysts, though, are skeptical that the Kremlin can persuade Lukashenko to accept any plan that would make him subordinate to Putin.

“Lukashenko won’t allow Putin to turn the union state into a springboard for another term,” said Yaroslav Romanchuk, a Minsk-based independent political analyst.

Source: The State

The Union State already has a common budget and air defense system. In October, on the occasion of Belarusian Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev’s visit to Moscow, Russian DM Anatoly Serdyukov, son-in-law of “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, “said he was very satisfied with the work accomplished by the bilateral defense panel during his visit, and pledged to continue developing a legal base for a Union State military organization.”

The AP article above touches upon an important topic that has generated a lot of speculation in both the Russian and Western media: Putin’s post-presidential career. In September we reported that Sergei Baburin, the “ex”-CPSU deputy speaker of the State Duma, had asserted that Putin wants to become head of the Union State. The Belarusian website Naviny reported at the time: “Mr. Baburin went on to say that the Kremlin should cancel the coming parliamentary and presidential votes in Russia, hold a referendum on the Union State’s Constitutional Act and vest Mr. Putin with powers of governing the Union State.” Since then speculation also swirled around the possibilty of Putin becoming head of United Russia, prime minister, Duma speaker, or “national leader” in an as-yet constitutionally undefined role after he steps down from the presidency in May 2008.

Now that Putin, according to communist organ Pravda, has “washed his hands” of the Duma election and the potemkin “party of power” United Russia, rumors are once again circulating that the KGB dictator is angling for the post of Union State president. Both Minsk and Moscow, however, are denying the rumors. “This information remains on the conscience of its inventors,” Lukashenko spokesentity Pavel Lyogky told Interfax. Lyogky is accompanying the Belarusian dictator on his current visit to Venezuela, where Comrade Alex’s good buddy Hugo Chavez recently lost a referendum that would have expedited the communization of that benighted South American nation. “As for these media reports, they are rather speculative fantasies,” a source in the Kremlin informed Interfax.

The independent St. Petersburg Times relates that Putin will not take his Duma seat anytime in the near future and thus his name will probably be placed on a reserve list of candidates. The same source reports that “Demands to formalize Putin’s future role have topped the agenda of his United Russia party . . .”

Meanwhile, Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces, neither of which passed the seven percent threshold needed to secure seats in the Duma, are supporting the Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union’s legal challenge against the potemkin United Russia. Vice Chairman Ivan Melnikov contends that contrary to the Central Election Commission’s initial reports, the CPRF received 18 or 19 percent of the vote, rather than 11. Melnikov also contends that the pro-Kremlin Just Russia did not hurdle the threshold and thus, should receive no seats in the Duma. The official election results will be announced tomorrow. State-owned Kommersant Daily notes that the CPRF did not recognize the 2003 parliamentary election results either, but that its legal challenge at the time was “ineffectual.” Pictured above: Journalists watch the election results at the CPRF headquarters in Moscow, December 2, 2007.

Communists Won’t Recognize Election, Will Go to Duma
Dec. 07, 2007

The Communists are not recognizing the results of the State Duma elections in Russia, calling them unjust and falsified. The presidium of the Central Council of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has decided to hold protest actions December 20-22, including a march in Moscow, and to dispute the election results in the Supreme Court of Russia. The Union of Right Forces and Yabloko will support the Communists in court. The party lawyers also intend to appeal to the Prosecutor General.

Communist Party observers filed so many protocols from the elections that they have only been able to process 35 percent of them so far. First Deputy Chairman of the Central Committee of the Party Ivan Melnikov said that United Russia’s results were over overstated by about 5 percent and the Communist Party’s understated by about 2 percent. The Communist leader also expressed doubt that the Just Russia Party actually passed the seven-percent barrier for representation in the Duma.

In the meantime, the Communists are not turning down the five seats they are entitled to under the election results as they stand. Central Committee Secretary for Legal Issues Vadim Solovyev pointed out that the Central Election Commission cannot announce the official election results until all complaints have been heard, although an announcement is to be made on December 8. The Party’s appeal to the Supreme Court against the election results of 2003 was ineffectual. The European Court of Human Rights hears election cases for up to seven years after the fact, however.

Yabloko and SPS, like every other party in “post”-communist Russia is connected through their leadership to the old Soviet regime. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Yabloko plans to dump its long-time leader “ex”-Soviet apparatchik Grigory Yavlinsky in view of the party’s miserable performance in the latest Duma election. United Russia will formally nominate its presidential candidate on December 17, while the CPRF will do so on December 22, in conjunction with, as reported above, a protest march through Moscow. Tellingly but not surprisingly, Sergei Mironov, leader of the potemkin Just Russia, has announced that his party will not nominate its own candidate, but more than likely throw its support behind the United Russia nominee. Finally, contrary to earlier reports, former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov no longer appears to be supporting Zyuganov, but rather will advance his own candidacy for the People’s Democratic Union.

>USA File: White House to bail out subprime homeowners, head off recession; Democrats laud proposal, Euro Pacific Capital: "huge government giveaway"

>At Once Upon a Time in the West we believe that the Soviet-infiltrated, pro-communist Council on Foreign Relations, which is fielding presidential candidates through both of the major parties, intends to sink the Republican Party in order to install Comrade Hillary Clinton in the White House. In any case, the Bush Admin’s plan to save subprime mortgage homeowners from foreclosure simply pushes the Republicans further and further from the principles of a free market worldview, which the party’s leadership allegedly champions, toward communism’s debt-based, tax-shackled, inflationary economy. The communist-infiltrated Democratic Party, including Congressional Progressive Caucus member Barney Frank, praised President Bush’s proposal–which says it all.

Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital Inc., brands the proposed interest rate freeze as a “huge government giveaway” that would reward homeowners for unwise financial decisions. “They are basically saying we are going to help you if you can’t make the higher payments,” Schiff continues. “That means everybody who can make the higher payments is going to try to do what they can to demonstrate that they can’t make those payments.” Indeed.

Meanwhile, neo-Soviet Russia is protecting itself from global market turmoil by guaranteeing liquidity to its bank system. “I am sure there will be progress in this direction. The government and the Central Bank are prepared to support domestic banks,” President Vladimir Putin declared on December 4. “But this needs to be done carefully so as not to upset macroeconomic stability.”

Bush unveils plan to slow U.S. home foreclosures
Reuters
December 6, 2007 at 2:57 PM EST

WASHINGTON — U.S. President George W. Bush announced a plan on Thursday aimed at slowing a wave of home foreclosures that has threatened to knock the U.S. economy into recession and rattled investors worldwide.

Mr. Bush said the plan, hammered out by the U.S. Treasury Department in talks with mortgage industry leaders, was not intended to “bail out” lenders, speculators or those who knew they could not afford the homes they bought.

Instead, the Bush administration hopes that it can help many of the two million homeowners who took out adjustable-rate loans with payments due to move sharply higher soon by offering some of them a five-year mortgage-rate freeze.

Mr. Bush also urged Congress to pass legislation to reform the tax code to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.

Despite earlier reservations, Bush administration officials became convinced the tide of foreclosures threatened by the mortgage resets represented such a severe threat that a more sweeping approach was needed.

Officials fear 500,000 Americans are at risk of losing their homes as $367-billion (U.S.) worth of adjustable-rate subprime mortgages reset to higher interest rates in 2008 and 2009.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said foreclosures reached a record high in the third quarter, with 1.69 per cent of loans outstanding in the foreclosure process. Late payments on mortgages hit the highest level since 1986.

Mr. Bush said an estimated 1.2 million homeowners could be eligible for assistance to avoid foreclosure over the next couple of years. However, private-sector analysts said the numbers would likely be much lower.

“In theory, the plan could help as many as 750,000 subprime homeowners,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com. “In practice, my sense is that it will probably help at best about 250,000 homeowners.”

The rate freeze is aimed at owner-occupied homes, not those bought by speculators hoping to profit when the housing market was booming.

Under the plan, homeowners who have shown they are a reasonable credit risk, but who could not afford their homes with higher mortgage rates, would qualify for “fast-track” loan modification and the five-year interest rate freeze.

Borrowers who can afford the current loan terms would get help refinancing, but those who cannot and were poor credit risks would probably still lose their homes.

Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital Inc., called the deal a “huge government giveaway” that would in essence reward people for doing the wrong thing.

“They are basically saying we are going to help you if you can’t make the higher payments,” he said. “That means everybody who can make the higher payments is going to try to do what they can to demonstrate that they can’t make those payments.”

Rising foreclosures concentrated among subprime borrowers triggered financial market turmoil because the mortgages were packaged and resold to investors around the world.

Many investors did not fully understand what they were buying, and relied instead on credit ratings agencies that initially gave the securities high marks. When defaults rose, the market for those securities dried up, making it hard for holders to sell or value them.

Banks have since recorded tens of billions of dollars in losses tied to those securities.

While avoiding a wave of foreclosures would likely bolster an already wobbly U.S. economy, some on Wall Street worried that they would be forced to accept mortgages rewritten in the borrowers’ favour.

“To say to investors that the terms of the contract you signed are going to be overwritten is a clear disincentive to investors to provide capital going forward,” said Larry Smith, chief investment officer at Third Wave Global Investors in Greenwich, Conn. “That’s just not what government is supposed to do.”

Standard & Poor’s said freezing rates on subprime mortgages may lead to further deterioration in credit ratings on bonds backed by the loans.

Under the plan, some subprime borrowers who took out loans from Jan. 1, 2005, through the end of July, 2007, would be offered a five-year rate freeze if they are facing a reset over the coming 21/2 years.

Democrats welcomed the Bush administration’s effort, but said more needs to be done.

“We know the efforts are not one that will cover everything, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank applauded the effort, but criticized the plan for not doing enough to help borrowers whose credit scores have improved since taking out loans.

Source: ReportonBusiness.com

>USSR2 File: CPRF refuses to accept United Russia victory, Supreme Court must "punish" regional leaders; Putin disowns victors, lauds communist gains

>State-run media in neo-Soviet Russia is affording some coverage to the outraged leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union, which is in fact the secretly ruling cabal behind the Putinist regime. In more red-scripted drama Russia’s “last champion of democracy” CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov contends that United Russia is guilty of massive election fraud; refuses to recognize the election results, declaring them to be “unfree and unfair”; demands that the Russian Federation Supreme Court “punish” regional governors who used fraud and intimidation to support the “party of power”; and plans to convene a congress of the CPRF on December 22 to organize a national protest and nominate a candidate for the March 2 presidential election. Ivan Melnikov, CPRF Vice Chairman, confirms that Zyuganov will most likely be nominated as that candidate, a role he assumed in 1996 and 2000, but refused in 2004. In 1996 Zyuganov came close to taking the presidency, losing by only a small margin to “ex”-CPSU Boris Yeltsin.

At present, though, Zyuganov appears to be adopting the same role as his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, another failed leftist presidential candidate who is challenging the neo-liberal (capitalist) authorties in Mexico’s federal government. Zyuganov, according to the CPRF website, met Obrador in April of this year, during the Russian communist leader’s swing through Latin America.

Communists declare unfree, unfair State Duma elections – Zyuganov
Dec 6 2007 3:45PM

MOSCOW. Dec 6 (Interfax) – The Russian Communist Party will insist on punishing leaders of the regions, where the most flagrant violations occurred during the State Duma elections, party leader Gennady Zyuganov told Interfax.

“A long meeting of the Communist Party central Committee Presidium has just ended. We have proclaimed the elections unfree and unfair and decided to appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said.

“We will also send appeals to the national administration and the Russian Security Council so that they evaluate the conduct of leaders of the regions, where the most flagrant violations occurred, he said.

“We will demand to dismiss the chiefs of Mordovia, the Kemerovo region and some other territories that were turned into a source of false ballots,” Zyuganov said.

The party will have a congress on December 22. “The congress will make a decision about a possible national protest and define the position of the communists,” he said.

Source: Interfax

Is neo-Soviet Russia moving toward a repeat of the 1993 constitutional crisis between open communists and crypto-communists? Communist theater: always entertaining. Stay tuned.

United Russia: A Political Tool of the Kremlin’s Crypto-Communist Elite

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin has once again demonstrated that the antagonism between the CPRF and the Kremlin is disengenuous and that United Russia is simply a political shell. Following the December 2 election, Putin refused to attend the post-election victory celebration at the United Russia headquarters and, instead, congratulated the CPRF, KGB agent Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and Sergei Mironov’s Just/Fair Russia for acquiring more seats in the Duma. In other words, United Russia is not a real political party representing the “people,” it is rather a political tool of the Kremlin’s crypto-communist elite. CPRF organ Pravda writes: “To add more fuel to the fire, Putin congratulated United Russia’s election rivals too and pointed out their good results. ‘The Communist Party of Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party strengthened their positions in the Duma. Fair Russia was a great success at this election and entered the Duma at once,’ Putin said.” According to Pravda, Putin has “washed his hands of the parliamentary election” and United Russia in order to “recover” his role as “national leader.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: 4 Bear bombers cross Atlantic, Arctic Oceans today; Russia to exit CFE altogether, counter NATO expansion with force

>At Once Upon a Time in the West we closely follow neo-Soviet Russia’s new war footing, officially announced by President Vladimir Putin in August 2007. State-run Itar-Tass reports today that: “Four Russian strategic bombers Tu-95 [pictured here] flew patrol missions over the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans on Thursday, Air Force spokesman Col Alexander Drobyshevsky told Itar-Tass. ‘The bombers made 9- to 16-hour long flights in adverse weather conditions, with midair refueling,’ Drobyshevsky said.”

Moscow will implement its unilateral moratorium on complying with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty effective December 12. However, the Kremlin’s Leninist masterminds, speaking through a Moscow think tank, are also threatening to withdraw from the CFE altogether and build up its armed forces if NATO continues to expand in countries adjacent to Russia, particularly Georgia and Azerbaijan. Itar-Tass reports:

Russia will quit the basic and adapted Conventional Forces in Europe treaties if NATO builds up its presence in eastern Europe near Russian borders, head of the International Security Center under the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Arbatov told a news conference on Thursday. “If NATO expands its presence in the east, Russia will do everything to build up its armed forces,” Arbatov said. He underlined that “in that event, no limitations will help, and Russia will quit the basic and adapted CFE treaties.”

Concurrently, the Kremlin is insisting that NATO freeze its “permissible level of armaments.”

MOSCOW, December 6 (Itar-Tass) – Russian “insists that the permissible level of armaments in NATO countries be frozen,” director of the department for security and disarmament under the Russian Foreign Ministry Anatoly Antonov stated on Thursday.

“Today, NATO has 2300 tanks, and a question arises if such high figures are needed,” the diplomat said.

Commenting on Baltic states, he noted that “according to some reports, the level of armaments in these countries surpasses Azerbaijan’s and Armenia.”

“These are very serious parameters and it requires serious talks,” Antonov underlined.

“We wish that Baltic states to work out projects to coordinate them with the member-states of the adapted Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. At this moment, NATO is discussing the level of armaments in Baltic states, and then it will be declared as a stance, although it is time to talk about decreasing this level.”

We have elsewhere shown that Moscow’s “post”-communist military retrenchment was a strategic deception designed purposely to lure NATO to Russia’s borders and provoke a conflict. Neo-Soviet Russia is readying for war and, in essence, demanding that the Western Alliance roll over without a fight. As part of its war preparations against the USA and its few remaining allies, the Kremlin continues to amass gold and currency reserves, which today hit a record high of US$463.5 billion, and impose food price controls. Both measures will provide financial and political stability for Russia in the event that the global economy collapses in the pre-war period. The latter, in fact, is already occuring as a result of the subprime mortgage blowup. Ruining the US economy, especially, through calculated “dollar dumping” is a key element in the installation of a Moscow-controlled leftist government in Congress and the White House. Enter Hillary and communist-infiltrated Democratic Party . . .

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian Navy resumes constant presence in world’s oceans, NATO member Greece buys Russian BMP-3 fighting vehicles

>Neo-Soviet Russia’s remilitarization not only extends to the resumption of permament strategic bomber patrols, which we are covering on a continuous basis, but also the modernization and redeployment of the Russian Navy’s four fleets–Northern, Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific. Taking into account the reality of Kremlin propaganda in which weakness is feigned when strong, World Net Daily reported in 2001 on the allegedly sorry state of the aging Soviet Navy: “Only 40 percent to 60 percent of personnel are able to fulfill their assignments due to aging and to often inoperable ships and equipment. But the Putin government is gambling that with enough money and technology it can rebuild Russian sea power.” Four years later the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet participated in the Sino-Soviet Peace Mission 2005 war game. The same year the People’s Daily Online, which is the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China, described the Russian Navy as the world’s second-most powerful after that of the USA. A list of active ships can be found here. The Russian Navy plans three exercises in the Mediterranean Sea between now and February 2008.

Russian Navy resumes constant presence in world’s oceans
20:3805/ 12/ 2007

MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Navy has resumed its continual presence in different regions of the world’s oceans, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told the president at a meeting in the Kremlin on Wednesday.

“There are plans to dispatch ships to the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea from now to February 3, 2008. The expedition is aimed at ensuring a naval presence and establishing conditions for secure Russian navigation,” Serdyukov told Vladimir Putin.

The minister said an aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser, two anti-submarine ships and a tanker left for the Mediterranean on Wednesday, where they will be joined by a Black Sea Fleet missile cruiser and a tanker.

Serdyukov said a total of four warships and seven other vessels of Russia’s Northern, Black Sea and Baltic fleets, as well as 47 planes and 10 helicopters, have been dispatched for the mission. Three exercises, involving the vessels and aircraft, are being planned.

In mid-August, Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights, saying that although the country halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic and political chaos, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.

Russia’s strategic bombers have since carried out over 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea, a senior Air Force official said on Tuesday, adding that NATO interceptor aircraft had escorted Russian bombers during almost all their patrols.

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, NATO member Greece is purchasing Russian BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles for US$1.76 billion. State-run Novosti reports: “The purchase would be one of the largest arms deals between Russia and a NATO member state. In the 1990s, Greece acquired over $1 billion worth of Russian weapons. Russian Air Defense system TOR-M1, Kornet and Fagot antitank weapons are in service with the Greek Armed Forces.” Greece’s conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis plans to visit Russia between December 17 and 19.

PM Karamanlis blamed “extremists” for the massive wildfires that scorched Greece this past August, only weeks before the September 16 parliamentary election. Greek communists have waged a low-level insurgency against the government since that country’s civil war (1946-1949). Although the official communist party (KKE) fielded candidates in the recent election, doubling its representation, the clandestine Revolutionary Organization 17th November (N17) continued the red insurgency throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Since 2003, after the conviction of 15 N17 terrorists, the torch of Marxist revolution appears to have been passed to Revolutionary Struggle. According to analyst George Kassimeris, in a 1977 manifesto N17 critized both the KKE and KKE Interior parties for reconciling themselves to the “bourgoise” political structure:

17N attacked all mainstream political parties, especially the two Greek communist parties (KKE). The group charged that the KKE and the KKE interior had become fully reconciled to the political institutions and practices of the post-1974 regime and were continuing the work of the Karamanlis government by effectively sabotaging the dynamics of class struggle. Looking back on the seven years of the military junta, 17N also said that KKE resistance against the dictators was non-existent.

The division between the gun-wielding communists of N17/Revolutionary Struggle and the parliamentary wing of the Greek communist movement should be viewed sceptically. The division is more than likely tactical, not ideological.

Incidentally, the “Karamanlis government” mentioned above refers to PM Konstantinos Karamanlis, uncle of the current head of government.

>USA File: Kremlin’s top general, who labels Americans "evil," received with full military honors for unannounced talks in DC; secret memorandum signed

>Have America’s political and military leaders secretly hoisted the white flag of surrender to neo-Soviet Russia?

In a previous blog we referred to the clique of cabinet-level advisors from the Soviet-infiltrated Council on Foreign Relations, which has controlled the White House since at least FDR’s administration, grovelling before America’s enemies. We have also documented the formation of the highly secretive Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group, also known as the “strategic vision group,” on US-Russian bilateral relations. This cabal of Soviet Leninists and globalist diplomats, politicians, and businessmen from the USA is scheduled to meet again in January 2008.

Yesterday’s unannounced meeting in Washington DC between Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, who referred to Americans as “evil” last month, and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff since October, points strongly toward the incorporation of America into the Red World Order. Baluyevsky, whose finger is poised over Russia’s nuclear button, was received with full military honors. The DefenseTalk.com story below relates, unbelievably, that “Pentagon spokesmen said they had no information on the agenda for the sessions.” However, “US plans to install a radar and interceptor missiles in eastern Europe have been a growing source of contention between the two countries [USA and Russia].” No doubt the bellicose Gen. Baluyevsky intended to reiterate the Kremlin’s position on NMD with the utmost clarity.

At the same time communist mouthpiece Pravda reveals that Mullen and Baluyevsky signed a secret memorandum on defense cooperation. Following the meeting, US Navy Captain John Kirby, spokesman for Adm. Mullen, said: “The memorandum specifies the plan of defense cooperation and the compatibility of the armed forces of the two countries in 2008. It was a very fruitful, productive discussion that both parties benefited from, and the chairman desires to keep the content of those discussions between him and his counterpart.” Intriguingly, in quoting Kirby, the DefenseTalk.com story below deletes reference to the secret memorandum. Washington and Moscow are already engaged in defense cooperation activities, including the second stage of the Torgau 2007 joint military exercise, underway in Germany.

Pictured above: The Moscow-Beijing Axis personified: General Liang Guanglie (right), Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, and Gen. Baluyevsky shake hands in Vladivostok, Russia, August 18, 2005, on the occasion of the first-ever Sino-Soviet war game, Peace Mission 2005.

Russian military chief at Pentagon for talks
Agence France-Presse Dec 5, 2007

WASHINGTON: Russia’s armed forces chief met Tuesday at the Pentagon with his US counterpart for previously unannounced talks that come amid strains over US missile plans in eastern Europe. General Yury Baluyevsky was received with full military honors by Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the start of the talks.

Pentagon spokesmen said they had no information on the agenda for the sessions, but US plans to install a radar and interceptor missiles in eastern Europe have been a growing source of contention between the two countries.

“It was a very fruitful, productive discussion that both parties benefited from, and the chairman desires to keep the content of those discussions between him and his counterpart,” said Navy Captain John Kirby, a spokesman for Mullen.

Russia President Vladimir Putin last week signed a law suspending Russia’s participation in the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which limits the deployment of tanks and other military hardware in eastern Europe.

The suspension enters into force on December 12 but Russian military officials have said they have no immediate plans to move forces into Eastern Europe.

Nevertheless, a Russian general said last month that Moscow could counter US missile defense deployments in eastern Europe by stationing missiles in Belarus.

Russian officials also have responded dismissively to US proposals to cooperate on missile defense and to hold off on the activation of a European site until Iran flight tests a missile capable of reaching Europe.

Baluyevsky’s visit coincided with the release of a new US intelligence estimate that concludes that Iran halted a secret nuclear weapons program in 2003.

US intelligence officials say a uranium enrichment program that Iran says is for civilian purposes and its efforts to develop longer range missiles keeps Tehran’s nuclear options open.

Washington insists its plans for missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic are aimed at countering a looming Iranian ballistic missile threat, not Russia’s vast nuclear arsenal.

But the Russians have argued that the Iranian threat is not imminent, and that missile defense systems in eastern Europe could be turned against Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

Source: DefenseTalk.com

While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, among others, are CFR members, we could not confirm Admiral Mullen’s membership in that pro-communist/pro-world government body. However, the admiral’s foreign policy advisor during his stint as Chief of Naval Operations (2005-2007) was former US ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, who is CFR.

Cavanaugh’s Cold War-era career is instructive and reveals his associations with Communist Bloc officials: US Mission to Berlin (West), consular affairs; Office of Soviet Affairs in Washington, bilateral relations and arms control, including implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; and US embassy in Moscow, political officer, Soviet relations towards Europe and arms control issues. In the “post”-Cold War period Cavanaugh was posted as chargé d’affaires to Tblisi where Georgia’s Communist Party boss Eduard Shevardnadze had seized power from the democratically elected President Zviad Gamsakhurdia in January 1992.

Russian oligarch and Alfa Group founder Mikhail Fridman serves on the CFR’s International Advisory Board, as well as the state-run Public Chamber of Russia, proposed by President Vladimir Putin in 2004 to analyze draft legislation. Fridman is “ex”-Komsomol. Like Alger Hiss, who was an advisor to FDR and secretary general of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, he is an example of current Soviet infiltration of the august CFR.

Interestingly, US political economist Francis Fukuyama, whose 1991 book The End of History and the Last Man argued in favor of the post-Cold War demise of ideology–playing nicely into the hands of the Soviet strategists who asserted that communism was “dead”–belongs to the CFR too.

In summary, the CFR’s subversive influence extends into those corridors of power that formulate and execute the US government’s military policy.

Incidentally, Putin and his top general, citing “NATO aggression,” have already formally imposed a moratorium on Russian compliance to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, effective December 12, and have threatened to pull out of the INF Treaty as well. The Kremlin is currently building a legal case for withdrawing from the latter too. Today Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated at a Moscow news conference:

We regret that some of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s member-states, in particular, the United States, have declined to support at the OSCE’s meeting in Madrid, the Russian- American initiative to turn the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) into a universal accord. We urged our American partners to submit a draft resolution so it would be supported by the ministers all OSCE member-states. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to us, the American colleagues gave up this proposal. Given the partners’ position, the OSCE’s decisions in favor of this crucial initiative have not been made.

What Lavrov was implying: The Americans refuse to turn the INF into a universal accord so let’s scrap it altogether.

>USSR2 File: New Orange Coalition government shaping up in Ukraine, Tymoshenko nominated as prime minister–with communist help

>Although Ukrainians voted in a September 30 snap election, the country’s warring parties have delayed the formation of a new government for two months. “Ex”-CPSU Viktor Yanukovich and “ex”-Soviet apparatchik Viktor Yushchenko remain the acting prime minister and incumbent president, respectively. However, Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc haved organized a new Orange Coalition, itself often paralyzed by internal wrangling, and expect to advance Komsomol businesswoman Tymoshenko (pictured here with the dioxin-disfigured Yushchenko) as the new PM. State-run Russian media reports today that the Supreme Rada has indeed nominated the “gas princess” for that position.

“Gas princess” Timoshenko nominated for Ukrainian PM
December 4, 2007, 22:35

The Orange Coalition in Ukraine has nominated Yulia Timoshenko for the post of Prime Minister. If approved, she will replace her main rival Viktor Yanukovich as the head of government.

Members of the Ukrainian Parliament are planning to discuss the nomination on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Parliament – the Supreme Rada – has approved the country’s foreign minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, as the new Parliament Speaker. He was also nominated by the Orange Coalition, consisting of the Bloc of Yulia Timoshenko and the pro-presidential Our Ukraine Party.

Other parties failed to come up with candidates.

The Orange Coalition was formed after the early parliamentary election in the autumn, in which Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions was first past the post but failed to secure a majority. Between them the Orange Coalition parties have a majority.

Meanwhile, pro-Moscow Party of Regions leader Yanukovich looks set to lose his current post. However, the communist influence in “post”-Soviet Ukraine politics will not dwindle. The official Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) is openly supporting Tymoshenko’s candidacy. The CPU associates with the restored Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which operates under the leadership of August 1991 coup ringleader Oleg Shenin. As a rule, communists do not support politicians unless they are carrying out communist objectives. State-run Regnum News Agency reports that “The deal does not sound surprising if one remembers the October statement of CPU’s Pyotr Simonenko in his interview to the 5th Channel that CPU is ready to consider a possibility of work in Yulia Timoshenko’s government.” CPU chief Simonenko is pictured above.

Communist Party to ensure Timoshenko’s office
December 4, 2007

Communist Party of Ukraine will support candidacy of Yulia Timoshenko for the prime minister’s office, CPUnews Agency informs quoting a source close to the negotiation process.

According to the source, Timoshenko is thereby supposed to be insured against somebody’s in the “orange” coalition deciding not to vote for her candidacy during a secret ballot. The risk is based on the information that seven members of the pro-president bloc did not earlier want to sign a coalition agreement.

Taking this into account, Timoshenko is accounted to address the Communist Party and the bloc of Vladimir Litvin. While it is not guaranteed that Litvin’s bloc will support her, since part of the faction is controlled by an ex-BYT member and now member of the Party of Regions Vasily Khmelnitsky, Timoshenko has managed to find common language with Pyotr Simonenko and CPU sponsors.

Part of the deal, according to the source, is installing of CPU’s Adam Martyniuk as parliament deputy speaker. Supposedly, the BYT leader will insist on the package ballot for all the parliament leadership, which is to allow ensuring a majority of votes both for Arseny Yatseniuk and the communist party’s candidacy. The problem is that the option is not accepted by the pro-president bloc OU – PSD.

The deal does not sound surprising if one remembers the October statement of CPU’s Pyotr Simonenko in his interview to the 5th Channel that CPU is ready to consider a possibility of work in Yulia Timoshenko’s government. “Depending on what offices we are offered, what level of freedom we get for what we are going to propose, I will consider the possibility of the agreement,” Simonenko then remarked.

On Dec 4, the “Orange” coalition officially nominated Yulia Timoshenko’s candidacy for the post of prime minister of Ukraine.

Since Arseny Yatsenyuk, who belongs to President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc, has been nominated parliamentary speaker, do not be surprised if communist Adam Martyniuk is appointed deputy speaker–as predicted above–even though the CPU holds only 27 seats in the Supreme Rada. In such a case, one can safely conclude that Ukraine’s Orange revolutionaries are merely a shade of red.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia conducted 70 long-distance flights since August; Kremlin sells 300 T-90S tanks to India; Baluyevsky in DC

>At Once Upon a Time in the West we have been monitoring neo-Soviet Russia’s resumption of permanent strategic bomber patrols, unofficially started in 2006 but officially announced in August 2007 by President Vladimir Putin himself at the second Sino-Soviet war game Peace Mission 2007, in Chelyabinsk. Specific flights and related information are listed in this blogsite’s right column, under Russian Strategic Aviation Updates. Pictured above: Tu-160 “Blackjack” bomber sporting Bolshevism’s red star, revived under Putin. The Kremlin, as we blogged in October, has also revived production of this supersonic bomber.

Russian strategic bombers conducted over 70 patrols since August
16:05 04/12/2007

MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s strategic bombers have carried out since August over 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea, a senior Air Force official said on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights on August 17, saying that although the country had halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.

“Since August 17, Russian strategic bombers have conducted over 70 patrol flights and more than 217 practice launches of unarmed missiles,” Major-General Pavel Androsov, commander of the Russian Air Force’s strategic aviation, said at a Defense Ministry news conference.

The general said bomber crews had practiced early detection and identification of potential targets and counter-intercept measures.

“Every patrol flight included elements of a tactical aerial engagement,” Androsov said.

He also said at least 120 NATO interceptor aircraft had escorted Russian bombers during almost all their patrols, which had a total duration of over 40 hours.

“Military aircraft from the U.S., Canada, the U.K, Norway, and even France escorted us [Russia’s strategic bombers] in the air,” the general said, adding that NATO pilots had never shown hostility towards Russian planes.

Although it was common practice during the Cold War for both the U.S. and the Soviet Union to keep nuclear strategic bombers permanently airborne, the Kremlin cut long-range patrols in 1992. The decision came as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the ensuing economic and political chaos.

However, the newly-resurgent Russia, awash with oil dollars, has invested heavily in military technology, and the resumption of long-range patrols is widely seen among political commentators as another sign of its drive to assert itself both militarily and politically.

According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers, 40 Tu-95MS Bear bombers, and 14 Tu-160 Blackjack planes.

Source: Novosti

As part of the Kremlin’s ongoing military modernization, an air force regiment stationed at the Pereyaslavka airfield in the Khabarovsk Region, in Russia’s Far East, will also receive 20 upgraded Su-24M Fencer tactical bombers. The Su-24 was introduced into active service in 1974.

Russian Air Force to receive 20 modernized Su-24 bombers
15:58 03/ 12/ 2007

MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) – An Air Force regiment deployed in Russia’s Far East will be equipped with 20 upgraded Su-24M Fencer tactical bombers in the near future, a spokesman said Monday.

“An Air Force regiment based at the Pereyaslavka airfield in the Khabarovsk Region will receive 20 modernized Su-24 aircraft,” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

The first six Su-24M fighter-bombers have already been upgraded at the Novosibirsk aircraft manufacturing plant and could be deployed with the regiment by December 10.

Another six Su-24s are currently being modernized at the same plant, the spokesman said.

The Su-24 is a two-seat, twin-engine strike aircraft similar to NATO’s Tornado and Mirage 2000 planes.

The plane has been in service with the Russian Air Force since the mid-1970s, and in recent years Russia has gradually been phasing out the planes, which have a patchy safety record.

According to the Defense Ministry, the Su-24 will be gradually replaced with new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, which has the potential to become the top plane in its class for years to come.

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, Moscow is consolidating its strategic partnership with semi-communist India through an arms agreement in which state-run Rosoboronexport will deliver 300 T-90S tanks to New Delhi for the sum of US$1.24 billion. The T-90 is Russia’s most advanced main battle tank. India, which holds observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), will no doubt deploy these tanks against its historical adversary Pakistan, which also holds observer status in the SCO. Pictured above: The T-90 deployed under the color scheme of the Indian Army.

Russia’s Tanks Headed for India
December 4, 2007

Federal-run Rosoboronexport inked a contract with India for supplies of over 300 T-90S tanks for a total worth of $1.24 billion. Despite the problems incurred during implementation of all previous military contracts, Russia has remained the key supplier of military product to India mostly thanks to its readiness to export technology and good personal contacts of Rosoboronexport top management with the local authorities.

India signed past week a big contract for Russia’s tank supplies, said a source with one of federal departments on condition of anonymity. “The matter at stake is over 300 upgraded T-90S tanks. The first consignment consists of roughly 120 tanks,” specified another source familiar with the progress in negotiations. Rosoboronexport declined to comment.

The Times of India reported details yesterday. It emerged that the contract worth $1.237 billion set forth the supplies of 347 T-90S tanks. Once India pays the first tranche, Russia will ship 124 T-90S tanks during 29 months. The remainder will be delivered in 11 months, The Times of India said.

Russia and India had been negotiating the contract for a few years. Delhi eventually decided to clinch another deal with Russia the problems with all previous contracts notwithstanding. Russia is yet the key supplier of weapons and military machinery to India. “India is a very ambitious state. Compromising with the Western countries is difficult for it, so they aren’t particularly eager to transfer the military technology to it,” said Ruslan Pukhov from the RF Defense Ministry. “Apart from Russia, the only state that is ready to transfer technology is Israel, but it implements a number of projects with the United States. India failed to complete the project of creating its own tank, but the German and Britain’s tanks are much more expensive than the Russian ones.”

Source: Kommersant Daily

Lastly, but certainly not least, Russia’s Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Yuri Baluyevsky, who referred to Americans as “evil” in a November 15 interview, has arrived in Washington DC to hold talks with his US counterparts on the subject of National Missile Defense deployments in Central Europe. On the eve of the Kremlin’s moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, to take effect tommorow, state-run Voice of Russia reports:

The Chief of the Russian General Staff Yury Baluyevsky is arriving in Washington to discuss the ABM- and CFE Treaty-related issues. Moscow is opposed to the US unilateral plans to deploy ABM elements in Eastern Europe, which would threaten strategic stability in the region. Russia suggests that the US should jointly with this country use Russia’s radar base in Azerbaijan as an alternative. On the CFE Treaty Russia insists that the NATO countries should ratify it. Russia did that several years ago and has since strictly abided by the Treaty. But given the western partners’ reluctance to follow the example, Russia has imposed a moratorium on the CFE Treaty. The moratorium will take effect next Wednesday night.

In spite of the Kremlin’s top general’s belligerent rhetoric, be assured dot.gov, which is controlled by the pro-communist Council on Foreign Relations and globalist Yale University/Skull and Bones cabal, will grovel before America’s enemies.

>Latin America File: Chavez loses referendum on constitutional reform, threatens to cut oil sales to USA, army deployed to protect refineries

>The neo-communist dictator of Venezuela Hugo Chavez has suffered a temporary setback when on December 2 51% of that country’s voting electorate wisely rejected a referendum that would have ended presidential term limits, facilitated government censorship of the media, implemented direct presidential control over foreign currency reserves, reduced the workday to six hours and expanded social security benefits. Chavez’s interest in wresting control over his country’s foreign currency reserves away from the Central Bank of Venezuela is troubling in view of the Communist Bloc’s long-established intention in destroying the US dollar and economy. In September we blogged:

Clearly fearing the collapse of the US dollar, Bloomberg.com reports, Chavez has instructed state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA to reduce risk by converting its investment accounts from dollars to euros and Asian currencies. “The decision may help weaken the dollar as the Federal Reserve prepares to lower interest rates this week,” confirmed Philip Wee, an economist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore.

The first article below holds out the promise of future conflict between those who support and those who oppose the Bolivarian Revolution: “Despite the defeat, Chavez said the reform proposals remained ‘alive,’ suggesting he might try to push them through at a later stage.” Pictured above: Chavez gets out the “Si” (“Yes”) vote on November 30, 2007.

Chavez loses referendum on changing constitution
03/12 14:48 CET

Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez has suffered his first electoral defeat since coming to power nine years ago.

Voters rejected a referendum package which would have scrapped term limits and let the government censor media.

In a fiercely contested ballot, the “No” camp won with about 51 per cent of the vote.

Chavez conceded defeat, telling his rivals: “I didn’t give you this victory, but it is yours.” He added that it would not make any change to his socialist project.

“Now I’m going to sleep soundly for a few hours,” he said, adding a word of warning to those who would be celebrating to not let the result go to their heads.

Celebrations erupted throughout Caracas with opposition activists cheering, honking horns and waving flags. Many said Venezuela had narrowly escaped the imposition of authoritarian rule.

“We must admit that a part of the Venezuelan society has supported the president,” said opposition leader Raul Baduel, a former Chavez ally, “but today they have also made it clear that there’s place for disidence in unity.”

Despite the defeat, Chavez said the reform proposals remained “alive,” suggesting he might try to push them through at a later stage.

Source: EuroNews.com

Last week Chavez warned that Venezuela would halt oil sales to the USA if the Bush Admin interfered with the referendum. In all likelihood Comrade Hugo will not hesitate to use this “cudgel” against Washington again.

Venezuela threatens to cut oil exports to U.S
Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:30pm EST

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez said on Friday he will cut oil sales to the United States if the American government interferes in Sunday’s referendum aimed at allowing him to run for reelection indefinitely.

Chavez told supports at a rally that the state oil company will halt sales to the United States on Monday if Washington interferes with the vote on the proposed constitutional reform.

The Venezuelan leader and Cuba ally also said he had ordered the military to protect oil fields and refineries in case of political violence.

The reform would also give him direct control over foreign currency reserves while reducing the workday to six hours and expanding social security benefits for informal workers like street vendors.

Source: Reuters.com

>USSR2 File: CPRF, OSCE: Duma election neither free nor fair; Trepashkin released; state-run Russian Railways to buy Canadian aerospace giant’s cousin

>“Putinism,” an all-inclusive hybrid that embraces elements of Stalinism, communism, KGB-ism and market-ism, is our [Russia’s] new national ideology.
— Nina L. Khrushcheva, Professor of International Affairs, New School in New York; quote from “Why Russia Still Loves Stalin,” The Washington Post, February 12, 2006

The red-scripted drama in neo-Soviet Russia’s State Duma continues with the open communists hauling the crypto-communists onto the carpet for gross electoral violations. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union can now portray itself as the aggrieved victim and champion of Russia’s working class. “The Communist Party will alone be the mainstay of democracy in the next Duma. We are the last remaining guarantor of freedom of speech and democracy in the country,” declared CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov (pictured above), conveniently ignoring the party’s 90-year history of deception, repression, and bloodshed. The mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China commiserates with its Russian counterpart:

Russia’s Communist Party to protest election manipulations
09:07, December 03, 2007

Russia’s Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said that his party will carry out nationwide protests against the alleged manipulations in Sunday’s elections for State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

“I wish to appeal to the government — stop it, you are simply abusing the entire country,” Interfax news agency quoted Zyuganov as saying at the Communist Party headquarters.

He accused Russia’s government of manipulating the elections, in which his party has won some 11 percent of votes according to preliminary results, more than the seven percent threshold for entering the State Duma.

Opinion polls conducted by the Communist Party before the elections, however, indicated that the party will win at least 20 percent of votes, Zyuganov said.

“It’s clear already that the results for Siberia and other regions are being manipulated on the basis of schemes agreed in advance,” he said.

The Communist Party will take a week to process copies of voting reports and then appeal to the Central Election Commission (CEC) Court.

The CEC said that the United Russia had got 63.6 percent of votes, the Communist Party, 11.3 percent, the Liberal Democrats, 9.6 percent, and Fair Russia 7.2 percent, following processing 30.4 percent of all ballots till 11 p.m. (2000 GMT) Sunday.

“The Communist Party will alone be the mainstay of democracy in the next Duma. We are the last remaining guarantor of freedom of speech and democracy in the country,” Zyuganov was quoted as saying.

Source: People’s Daily Online

The US, British, French, and German governments, as well as the NATO leadership, are not buying the election results, insisting instead upon an investigation into alleged election violations by United Russia. The leader of the “party of power,” “ex”-Komsomol Boris Gryzlov admits that there were “some” violations, even though 99 percent of the inhabitants of war-torn Chechnya turned out to vote with one accord for the man whose troops occupy their country.

Not surprisingly, international monitors such as the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which dispatched only a token team to observe Russia’s 96,000 polling stations after a diplomatic scuffle with Russian officials, denounced the Duma election as “not free.” Addressing reporters in Moscow, observers from the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly insisted that “the election was not fair and failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections.”

While this analysis is no doubt correct, Kremlinologists who do not subscribe to the Golitsynian thesis, namely that the communists are Russia’s secret masters to this very day, will fail to catch the irony in the fraudulent re-election of the potemkin ruling party. With Putin’s lapdogs in Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, which also secured seats, the Kremlin will appear to control nearly 90 percent of the Duma deputies.

Monitors denounce Russia election
Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 17:32 GMT

Foreign observers have said that Russia’s parliamentary election, won by President Vladimir Putin’s party, was “not fair”.

The statement was made by a joint observer team of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe.

With nearly all ballots counted, Mr Putin’s United Russia had 64.1% of the vote, the electoral commission said.

Mr Putin said the poll was “legitimate” and a vote of public trust in him.

The election “was not fair and failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections,” the observers from the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly told a news conference in Moscow.

The statement criticised “abuse of administrative resources” and “media coverage strongly in favour of the ruling party”.

The polls “took place in an atmosphere which seriously limited political competition” and “there was not a level political playing field”, it said.

The OSCE had sent 330 foreign monitors to cover nearly 100,000 polling stations – far fewer than it had originally planned. It has accused Moscow of imposing curbs and delaying monitors’ visas. Russia has denied the claims.

‘No democracy’

Russia’s electoral commission has dismissed mounting criticism from opposition activists and international governments, saying there were no serious violations on election day.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the vote was “free and fair”.

The Communist Party, which with 11.6% of the vote was the only opposition party to gain seats in the State Duma, said it would mount a legal challenge to the result and would decide whether to boycott the new parliament.

The prominent opposition activist and former chess world champion Garry Kasparov described the election as “the most unfair and dirtiest in the whole history of modern Russia”.

Several Western governments also expressed concern over the reports of irregularities.

“Russia was no democracy and it is no democracy,” said German government spokesman Thomas Steg.

The US, Britain and France have called on Russia to investigate the alleged violations in the poll.

Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also expressed concern over the conduct of the elections.

‘Political stability’

With 98% of the vote counted, the country’s liberal opposition parties looked certain to fail to clear the 7% threshold needed to enter parliament.

In total, 11 parties were competing for places in the 450-member lower chamber of the State Duma.

Two parties allied to the Kremlin – A Fair Russia and the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party – were poised to win seats.

Mr Putin described the election as a “good example of domestic political stability” and thanked the voters for the turnout of 63%.

“This feeling of responsibility of our citizens is the most important indication that our country is strengthening, not only economically and socially but also politically,” Mr Putin said.

The independent Russian monitoring group, Golos, had earlier reported various violations during the voting, which it said amounted to “an organised campaign”.

It had claimed that in a number of cases state employees and students were pressured to vote, and those voting for United Russia were entered into a prize lottery in St Petersburg.

In Russia’s troubled region of Chechnya, run by pro-Kremlin President Ramzan Kadyrov, electoral officials have said a partial count showed United Russia won more than 99% of the votes on a 99% turnout.

United Russia’s leader Boris Gryzlov acknowledged there had been violations but dismissed them as insignificant.

Putin’s influence

On Monday, some 10,000 members of the pro-Putin Nashi (Ours) youth group held a rally in Moscow to celebrate United Russia’s victory.

Mr Putin is constitutionally obliged to stand down after his second term as president ends in March next year.

The BBC’s James Rodgers in Moscow says his party’s win will enable him to continue wielding great influence in politics – even if he is no longer in high office.

Mr Putin announced this year he may seek the office of prime minister after his presidential term ends.

If predictions are correct and the Liberal Democratic Party enters parliament, its candidate Andrei Lugovoi – who is wanted in the UK for the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko – will be guaranteed a seat.

A parliamentary seat would grant him immunity from prosecution and extradition.

Source: BBC News

While Western governments and NGOs denounce Russia’s obvious dictatorship, state-run Voice of Russia, citing monitors from the communist-controlled Shanghai Cooperation Organization, trumpeted the election as “democratic and open”:

International monitors speak positively of yesterday’s parliamentary election in Russia. The Central Electoral Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov has told reporters that the monitors feel voting was democratic and open. They had access to polling stations in Russia’s different regions, could attend vote-counting and meet political party officials and voters. The point was reiterated by the chief monitor of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization group Gao Yuyshang, who said his delegation failed to fetch out any vote rigging.

Comrade Czar Putin insists that the election results will bring “stability” to Russia. State-run Interfax reports: “It is of paramount importance that the elections prove the internal political stability. The people of Russia are the main guarantor of this stability.” Actually, Putin, the Party, and their “sword and shield,” the secret police apparatus, are the “main guarantors” of stability in Russia. Last year in The Washington Post Nina L. Khrushcheva, who teaches international affairs at the New School in New York, provided an excellent definition of Putinism, Russia’s new ideology:

“Putinism,” an all-inclusive hybrid that embraces elements of Stalinism, communism, KGB-ism and market-ism, is our new national ideology. A man for all seasons and all fears, Russia’s president pretends that by selectively adopting and adapting some elements from his predecessors’ rule — the Russian Orthodox Church of the czars, the KGB of the Soviets, the market economy of the Boris Yeltsin era — he is eliminating the extremes of the past, creating a viable system of power that will last. But his closed and secretive system of governing — the “vertical power” so familiar from the pre-secret speech era, with information once again manipulated by the authorities — suggests that his proposed “unity” is yet another effort to rewrite the past.

In other words, in neo-Soviet Russia the state ideology is indeed communism, but one in which the official Communist Party (at least visibly, which is part of the whole deception) is a miserable, whining little rump of its former incarnation. During the days of open communism, KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn reveals in his two books, published in 1984 and 1995, the CPSU tasked the KGB with executing the long-range strategy of perestroika and world revolution. Now, since Putin’s accession to power, Chekists openly control the levers of power throughout Russia, proving yet again the accuracy of Golitsyn’s predictions. “Over the two terms of Mr Putin’s presidency, that ‘group of FSB operatives’ has consolidated its political power and built a new sort of corporate state in the process,” wrote The Economist in August 2007. “Men from the FSB and its sister organisations control the Kremlin, the government, the media and large parts of the economy—as well as the military and security forces.”

Incidentally, the election of Andrei Lugovoi on the LDPR ticket is a slap in the face to the British government, which is seeking to extradite the former Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) agent on charges of murdering colleague Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006.

Meanwhile, another former FSB officer, Mikhail Trepashkin was freed from prison this past Friday after serving four years for “divulging state secrets.” Trepashkin maintains that his former employer set him up after he uncovered evidence of its involvement in the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings that propelled Putin into office. The complicity of the FSB in these outrages was also exposed by his friend and former colleague Litvinenko in Blowing Up Russia (2002, 2007). Trepashkin, the independent Moscow Times relates below, is a potential witness in the poisoning death of Litvinenko.

Trepashkin Freed After Serving 4-Year Sentence
By David Nowak Staff Writer
Monday, December 3, 2007. Page 5.
Bagila Bukharbayeva / AP

Mikhail Trepashkin, a former Federal Security Service agent, was freed from a Urals prison on Friday after serving four years for divulging state secrets.

Trepashkin, who maintains that the FSB set him up after he uncovered evidence of its involvement in the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings, expressed relief when speaking to reporters after his release.

“The worst is in the past. Before, I fought on my own, but now I have many more supporters,” Trepashkin said during an impromptu news conference in central Yekaterinburg on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

“I’ve served four years for things I haven’t done,” he added.

After resting at a friend’s house in Yekaterinburg, Trepashkin flew to Moscow to meet his wife, Tatyana, and three children.

Tatyana Trepashkina said in e-mailed comments Friday that she had “mixed feelings” about meeting her husband, a potential witness in the poisoning death of his former FSB colleague, Alexander Litvinenko.

“I myself don’t even know what to expect from Mikhail, though I am hoping for the best,” Trepashkina said, adding that she was currently looking for a clinic in Moscow to treat her husband’s asthma, which he developed in prison.

Before his arrest, Trepashkin turned down offers from London-based Kremlin foe Boris Berezovsky to move there, despite his wife’s pleas.

“Now he might agree to go to London,” she said. “Now he probably has no grounds to be so stubborn.”

But Gleb Edelev, head of the Yekaterinburg Movement Against Violence and Trepashkin’s friend, said he had no plans to leave the country.

“Mikhail has said he is going to sue the authorities for wrongful arrest and fight for the rights of other prisoners, so I would say there is little likelihood he is planning anything like that,” said Edelev, who was one of the first to meet Trepashkin on his release.

Although prison authorities had informed Edelev’s group that Trepashkin would be released around midday Friday, the former FSB agent was actually freed at 8 a.m., when it was still dark, Edelev said. Out of prison and on the street, he made a call from a pay phone to arrange a meeting with his supporters in central Yekaterinburg.

He flagged down a passing minibus and traveled alone along the 2 1/2-hour route from the Nizhny Tagil medium-security prison, Edelev said.

Last month, a court ordered Trepashkin to serve the last two weeks of his sentence in a higher security prison in Nizhny Tagil, leading friends and family to worry he might not survive.

“We couldn’t believe that decision, and we were very scared something would happen,” Edelev said.

Trepashkin was arrested on suspicion of illegal firearms possession in October 2003, weeks before he was to give evidence in a court hearing into the 1999 apartment bombings.

The following year, he was sentenced to a four-year term for divulging state secrets. The judge ruled that Trepashkin made copies of FSB files on certain criminal figures and stored them in his Moscow home. Trepashkin, then a lawyer by profession, said the charges had been fabricated.

Some believe the sentence to be FSB revenge for a news conference he held with Litvinenko, at which the two accused the FSB of corruption and operating a department that carries out extra-judicial killings.

Litvinenko died in a London hospital in November last year after ingesting a highly radioactive isotope that some said could only have been produced in Russia.

Britain charged a former Federal Guard Service officer, Andrei Lugovoi, with Litvinenko’s murder earlier this year. Lugovoi met with Litvinenko in a London bar three weeks before he died.

Citing a constitutional ban, Russia has refused to extradite Lugovoi, who was on the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party’s list for Sunday’s State Duma elections, despite Britain’s insistence that he be handed over to stand trial.

Trepashkin had an emotional telephone conversation with Litvinenko’s widow on Saturday, the AP reported. Marina Litvinenko, 44, broke down in tears as she spoke with Trepashkin by phone a day after the former agent was released from jail.

Trepashkin has said he was asked in 2002 to join a group of Russian intelligence agents targeting Berezovsky and Litvinenko. He said he warned Litvinenko about the alleged death squad.

After the phone call, Marina Litvinenko said Trepashkin had promised to provide a written deposition on his claims to lawyers who have opened a case against the Russian government in the European Court of Human Rights for complicity in her husband’s murder, the AP reported.

“He told me that it’s very important to show people that this operation was launched four years ago,” Marina Litvinenko said.

Source: The Moscow Times

Last week we reported in passing that “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov visited Russia’s strategic partner Canada, a troubling relationship that is probably little known to both Canadians and Americans. Pictured here: Zubkov visits Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa, November 30, 2007. Moscow, like its ally Beijing, is aggressively using both state-run and private companies to assume control over the strategic resources of other countries, while at the same time placing severe restrictions on the ability of foreign companies from buying up Russia’s natural resources.

On July 6, 2007, for example, the world’s leading nickel producer Norilsk Nickel, established in the old Soviet era, acquired a 90 percent stake in Canadian nickel and gold producer LionOre, the world’s tenth largest nickel producer. In 2003 the company assumed control of Stillwater Mining Company, the only US producer of palladium. Stillwater operates a platinum group metals facility in Stillwater, Montana. The Chairman of the Board of Directors at Noriksk Nickel is Mikhail Prokhorov who, while one of Russia’s notorious oligarchs against whom Putin recently lashed out at a political rally, enjoys a charmed life in an office only several hundred yards away from the Kremlin. Go figure.

Russian PM looks for more trade with Canada
November 30, 2007, 16:59

Russia’s Prime Minister is trying to drum up more commercial ties with Canada during a trip to the country this week.

“Canada is Russia’s strategic partner. Mutual co-operation is highly important for us,” insisted Viktor Zubkov, Russian Prime Minister.

The countries share a stable political relationship but that’s still not reflected in trade.

In the first half of 2007, bilateral trade totaled $US 1 billion – a drop in the ocean for economies as big as Russia and Canada.

Oil products dominate Russian exports to Canada. In return, Canada sells machines, engineering goods, vehicles and meat. But Russia’s adding some other items to its shopping list.

“We have signed agreements in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, nuclear power, trade financing as well as in the Arctic and northern regions,” said Zubkov.

Russia’s state Corporation Atomredmetzoloto, the leading producer of uranium in Russia, will set up joint ventures with Canada’s Cameco to mine and produce uranium in both countries.

“We have signed an agreement to establish two joint ventures. Diversification of uranium supplies is extremely important for Russia. We want not only to get uranium from Canada, but also we want to have an opportunity to invest in production of uranium in Canada,” outlined Sergey Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom Corporation.

Russia invests seven times as much money in Canada as flows the other way.

Norilsk Nickel recently acquired Canadian nickel and gold producer LionOre. But Canadian companies could play a greater role in Russia’s economy.

On the sidelines of Prime Minister Zubkov’s visit, Russia’s Development bank VEB agreed a trade insurance deal with Canada’s Export Development Corporation.

Source: Russia Today

In the wake of PM Zuvkov’s business trip to Ottawa, state-owned Russian Railways intends to buy out Canada’s Bombardier Transportation, which is manufacturing passenger cars for the Qinghai-Tibet railway in the People’s Republic of China. Bombardier Transporation is part of the Bombardier group of companies, which include Bombardier Aerospace, the world’s third largest aircraft company in terms of workforce, after Boeing and Airbus. Canadians have long complained about the foreign ownership of their economy. The putatively Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper–who also supports the Council on Foreign Relations’ pet project known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership/North American Union–should definitely block this attempt by the Kremlin to seize an important Canadian company.

Russian Railways Makes Deal in Canada
November 3, 2007

Russian Railways intends to exchange a blocking package in Transmashholding for a blocking package in Bombardier Transportation before next summer. Then, in the course of three years, its share in the Canadian company will grow to 50 percent, practically uniting the two heavy equipment makers into a single company with $9-10 billion in annual sales. Bombardier Transportation is a division of the Bombardier Inc., which is 80-percent owned by the Bombardier family.

Sources say that Russian Railways is now buying a blocking package in the Dutch company Breakers Investments, which owns Transmashholding, for $370 million. Analysts note that the two companies are not equal in value. A blocking package in Bombardier, which had receipts of $6.6 billion in 2006 and EBITDA of $364 million, should cost $1.4-1.8 million. Transmashholding has been estimated to be worth $2.38-2.9 billion, making a blocking package in it worth $596-725 million. Russian Railways received a 35-percent discount when it bought the Transmashholding stock. Russian Railways can thus expect to pay around $1.2 billion in the deal as well.

Russian Railways may receive a certain discount from the Canadian company in exchange for entry into the Russian market. That market is quite attractive, with $100-130 billion in planned spending on new rolling stock through 2030. The deal still needs the approval of the Ministry of Transportation, the head of which, Igor Levitin, sits on the Russian Railways board of directors.

Source: Kommersant Daily

>USSR2 File: Soviet strategy successful: 60% voter turnout, 30% ballots counted, United Russia with 63%, CPRF with 11% will mount legal challenge

>The Soviet strategy of once again bringing Russia’s citizen-slaves into one party fold, using “democracy,” and deceiving the West into believing that the official Communist Party is irrelevant has been a resounding success. State-run Novosti reports that the CPRF will contest the results of today’s State Duma election in court. “The barrage of violations exceeds all acceptable norms,” communist Vadim Solovyev declared. In response to United Russia’s apparent overwhelming victory, CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov threatened to instigate protests against the crypto-communist Putinist regime even before the vote count finishes: “I would like to say this to the authorities: stop, you are abusing the whole country.”

Partial vote count puts Putin’s United Russia at 63.6%
23:24 02/ 12/ 2007

MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) – With 30.2% of votes counted, President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party has garnered 63.6% in Sunday’s parliamentary election, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said.

CEC Chairman Vladimir Chursov said that according to the preliminary data, the Communist Party received 11.3%, the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party gained 9.6%, and A Just Russia, led by Kremlin loyalists, garnered 7.2%.

No other parties made it past the 7% threshold needed to enter parliament.

The CEC put voter turnout at around 60%, compared to 55.75% at the 2003 State Duma elections.

Speaking after the partial vote count was announced, the head of United Russia said the party would not use its overwhelming parliamentary majority to force changes to the Constitution.

Boris Gryzlov, who is also the Duma speaker, said that over the past four years the party has used its parliamentary majority to “protect the current Constitution.”

He called the result a victory for President Vladimir Putin, who topped the party list.

Gryzlov conceded that there were violations in the State Duma elections, but said that these did not affect the result.

Voting finished at 9:00 p.m. Moscow time (6:00 p.m. GMT), when the last polling stations closed in the westernmost part of Russia, the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

The parliamentary elections were the fifth in Russia’s post-Soviet history.The run-up to the Duma elections was marred by a dispute with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, after its main election monitoring arm refused to dispatch observers for the polls, citing restrictions and visa delays. Moscow in turn criticized “chaos” in the organization and reinvigorated calls for its reform.

Russia’s Communist Party said on Sunday it is preparing lawsuits to contest the results of the elections.

“A group of our lawyers have already begun preparing lawsuits for the Supreme Court to contest the results of voting, without waiting for the vote count,” said the head of the party’s legal service, Vadim Solovyev.

“The barrage of violations exceeds all acceptable norms,” he added.