Monthly Archives: February 2008

>Asia File: Thailand’s Thaksin ends exile; "ex"-communist leads deposed billionaire PM’s original and successor parties, appointed finance minister

>Is Thailand Under Covert Communist Control? Red Cadres Infiltrate Banned Thai Rak Thai and Ruling People’s Power Parties

The return from exile of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Thailand after 17 months of exile is creating turmoil in the country’s ruling People’s Power Party, founded last year. Thaksin faces corruption charges and has promised to stay out of politics. A military junta called the Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy removed Thaksin, who was then in New York City to address the United Nations, from power on September 16, 2006. Although the Thai king supported the coup, the junta attempted to hide this fact by later renaming itself as the Council for National Security.

Free elections were held in December 2007 and a new prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, took office last month. Widely perceived as a new incarnation of leftist billionaire Thaksin’s banned Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT, “Thais Love Thais”), the PPP’s loyalties are divided between Thailand’s current Prime Minister Samak, a staunch anti-communist, and the party founder. Last July The Nation, a Bangkok-based newspaper, revealed that: “All 300 former members of Parliament and MP candidates of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai yesterday agreed to join the little-known People Power Party to ensure they would be eligible to stand for the next polls if the 1997 charter is restored.” In view of the defection of many TRT members to the PPP, Thailand’s judicial system is investigating the possibility of banning the latter party too.

On January 28 the International Business Times reported: “Thailand’s parliament on Monday chose [Samak Sundaravej] a combative, right-wing politician and close ally of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra as the country’s new prime minister, a key step to restoring democracy following the 2006 coup. . . . [B]ut experts fear the election of a Thaksin supporter may further divide a country that has struggled to regain its footing since his ouster.” At the same time, Sombat Thamrongtranyawong, a professor at Thailand’s graduate National Institute of Development Administration, explains: “From now on the ministers will consult Thaksin, their real leader, instead of Samak Sundaravej. Surely Samak is not happy and uneasy with Thaksin’s return because he is well aware that the real leader has come back.” As a result, it would appear that Samak and Thaksin have a love-hate relationship.

In the 1970s Samak, who was already involved in politics and campaigning against Thai leftists, looked darkly at Southeast Asia’s capitulation to communism at the time, declaring, “It’s no sin to kill communists.” More recently, Samak was mayor of Bangkok and hosted a cooking program on Thai television, in which the opinionated politician freely expressed himself on various issues. In the aftermath of the October 6, 1976 massacre of leftist students at Thammasat University, Samak was appointed Interior Minister and rounded up numerous activists suspected of communist activities.

Concurrently, the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) was able to expand its membership base, recruiting students, workers, intellectuals, farmers, and former cadres of the Socialist Party of Thailand. The military government employed counter-terrorist measures to crush the CPT and its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Thailand (PLAT), but later amnestied the rebels in 1982, prompting mass defections from the party. Like termites, however, Thai communists later burrowed into the “bourgeois” TRT/PPP. Indeed, “former” communist Prommin Lertsuridej was Thaksin’s Minister of Energy. The Secretary General of both the TRT and PPP, moreover, is Surapong Suebwonglee, a former communist rebel. Thus, an ardent anti-communist and a stealth communist jointly control the PPP, while Surapong has also been appointed as Samak’s finance minister, even though he has no related experience.

In January 2008 Thai academic Giles Ji Ungpakorn, writing in the Asia Sentinel, commented on the unholy alliance between Thai’s capitalists and communists: “[T]he Maoist (and Stalinist) analysis of under-developed countries characterised them as being ‘semi-feudal,’ since the ‘National Democratic Revolution’ or bourgeois revolution had yet to be achieved. Unlike the analysis of Marx or Trotsky’s theory of Combined and Uneven Development, capitalism still needed to be established by a grand patriotic coalition of leftists and capitalists in order to fight the feudalists. This explains why many ex-communists in Thailand support Thaksin.” In the same article, Ungpakorn explains: “Thaksin’s Populism was about buying social peace in response to possible struggle and of course the mass protests of the Peoples’ Alliance for Democracy opened the door to the [2006] coup by calling on the King to solve the crisis.”

Thaksin Back at Center of Thai Politics
February 28, 2008
By DENIS D. GRAY

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s homecoming Thursday was a triumphant return to the center of Thai politics despite the military’s efforts to eradicate his legacy and keep him at bay.

Thaksin, who was ousted in a September 2006 coup, received a hero’s welcome from thousands of supporters when he landed Bangkok’s international airport to end 17 months of exile.

Although he faces corruption charges and has promised to stay away from politics, critics fear his return is a calculated step toward regaining power. His path back started with the victory of the pro-Thaskin People’s Power Party in December elections — the first since the coup.

“He’s in the back seat but he is still driving the car,” said Jon Ungpakorn, former senator and social and political activist.

Cabinet members from the People’s Power Party are expected to defer to the former leader, undermining the authority of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Hours after Thaksin arrived from Hong Kong, the finance minister announced that the government would consult him for economic advice.

Opponents warn a new political role for Thaksin could renew the deep tensions that provoked mass demonstrations before his ouster.

“Nobody believes that Thaksin is pulling out of politics because what he is doing is a political game he has been playing all along from behind the scenes,” said Chamlong Srimuang, a former Bangkok governor and one-time Thaksin mentor who helped lead 2006 protests against him. “Thaksin will plunge the country into a greater crisis that people will not be able to tolerate any longer.”

Thaksin, a 58-year-old billionaire, is popular among rural people and the urban poor, who appreciated his financial and social welfare policies.

But his autocratic leanings and alleged corruption drew resentment from the Bangkok elite, the military and people associated with the monarchy. Those forces tried to erase Thaksin’s political legacy, changing the constitution and opening criminal investigations against him.

After arriving, Thaksin was escorted by police to the Supreme Court. He and his wife Pojaman face charges of corruption and conflict of interest in connection with her purchase of a prime piece of Bangkok real estate in 2003, while he was prime minister.

About $2.1 billion in assets belonging to him and his family have been frozen until his name is cleared.

He was swiftly released on bail and told a news conference that he had “come back to restore my reputation and fight for justice in court.”

A trial was set for March 12 and Thaksin was barred him from leaving the country without the court’s permission, said court secretary Rakkiat Pattanapong.

Thaksin then proceeded to the attorney general’s office where he was also freed on bail in a second case in which he and his wife are accused of concealing ownership of shares in SC Asset, the family’s real estate holding company. A hearing on whether Thaksin would be indicted was set for April 3, said the office’s spokesman, Thanatip Moonpruk.

Thaksin faces up to 15 years in jail, but some believe he will be acquitted.

“The pressure he will put on the judiciary will be unbearable,” said Kraisak Choonhavan, a member of Parliament with the opposition Democrat party. He noted that in 2001, Thaksin was cleared of charges that he failed to declare all his wealth as required of Thai politicians.

Thaksin, who is legally barred from politics for the next four years, insisted he would devote his time to charity and sports development.

“I don’t want to be involved in politics any longer. I want to live peacefully with my family and die in this motherland,” Thaksin said.

But the People’s Power Party is regarded as a proxy for Thaksin, whose former Thai Rak Thai party was disbanded by court order.

“From now on the ministers will consult Thaksin, their real leader, instead of Samak Sundaravej,” said Sombat Thamrongtranyawong, a professor at the National Institute of Development Administration. “Surely Samak is not happy and uneasy with Thaksin’s return because he is well aware that the real leader has come back.”

Source: Associated Press

Intriguingly, the father of retired General Surayud Chulanont, who in collaboration with the military-backed Council for National Security led the post-coup interim government between 2006 and 2008, was a communist. General Chulanont previously conducted operations against the PLAT. His father Lt. Colonel Phayom Chulanont, however, defected from Royal Thai Army to join the CPT, evenutally becoming a member of the party’s Central Committee and Chief of Staff of the PLAT.

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>Middle East File: Rockets hit Ashkelon, Abbas considers return to armed struggle, rabbis urge Shas to bolt Olmert regime over division of Jerusalem

>Today the Islamic Resistance Movement, or “Hamas,” launched more than 30 Kassam and Grad rockets from its base in the Gaza Strip, where it seized power from Fatah last June, against the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. As a result, 24 people were hospitalized and the Israeli Air Force pounded a number of terrorist hideouts in Gaza, including the office of the Strip’s de facto prime minister, archterrorist Ismail Haniyeh. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, moreover, warned that “A solution to the Kassams is closer than thought. A large ground offensive in Gaza is concrete and actual.” At least 20 more rockets hit Sderot, also in Israel’s South District. Pictured above: A Palestinian rocket explodes 50 meters away from Israelis hiding in a concrete shelter, in central Sderot, February 28.

Ashkelon Under Rocket Attack
22 Adar 5768, 28 February 08 10:25
by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) A total of 24 people are hospitalized, mostly for shock, following the firing of more than 30 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza on Israel on Thursday. Among them are two with shrapnel injuries.

Among the rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza on Israel on Thursday, eight long-range Grad rockets hit the coastal city of Ashkelon. The city’s 100,000-plus rocket-besieged residents were told just last night (Wednesday) by Defense Minister Ehud Barak that there was no need to change the city’s deployment plans.

The Katyusha-like were fired in several waves in the mid-afternoon hours. Two rockets slammed directly into residential homes, and shock victims were treated at the sites. One rocket landed at the northern entrance to town, and marks the longest-range hit to date.

At the same time, five Kassam rockets were being fired at Sderot and the western Negev. A 70-year-old woman in Sderot suffered shrapnel wounds; she is listed in light condition in Barzilai Hospital. Two rockets scored a direct hit on a hothouse, and the Thai workers inside were just barely able to escape unharmed. Later in the day, eight more Kassam rockets were fired into Israel; four of them landed north and east of Gaza, and four landed in Ashkelon.

Escalation in Barak’s Statements and Threats

Defense Minister Ehud Barak warns of an impending escalation. Following his recent comments that a “solution to the Kassams is closer than thought,” Barak said on Wednesday afternoon, “A large ground offensive in Gaza is concrete and actual.”

Speaking after a high-level security consultation in the shadow of the rocket attacks on Israel, Barak said, “The responsibility for the escalation lies with Hamas, and he will bear the consequences. We will reach those who are responsible and we will hit those who carry out the attacks.”

IAF Attacks

Palestinian Authority sources report that a Hamas terrorist was killed around 2:30 PM, and others were hurt, in an Israel Air Force attack. A total of 13 Gaza Arabs – among them several terrorists – were killed in various IAF counter-terrorism attacks today, including a particularly significant attack on a Hamas position adjacent to the home of Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, who is currently in hiding from Israel.

Thursday Morning Rockets

Prior to the latest waves of Kassam and Grad rocket attacks, 16 Kassams and 8 mortar shells had been fired at the western Negev. One of the former caused injuries to a bodyguard of Public Security Minister Avi Dichter in Sapir College; the guard was checking the area prior to a visit by Dichter in Sderot.

Fire-fighting teams in Sderot were dealing early this afternoon with two fires caused by rocket hits – one in a factory in the industrial zone, and one that set several cars ablaze when a rocket slammed down alongside them.

National Fire Department Commissioner Shimon Romach instructed fire-fighting teams in central Israel to shore up the ranks of their counterparts in Ashkelon and Sderot.

Ashkelon’s Mayor: We’re Willing to Pay the Price

Last night, following the landing of three powerful Grad rockets in Ashkelon, Mayor Roni Mahatzri talked with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The two told Mahatzri that their position was that there was still no need to activate a “Color Red” early warning system in Ashkelon. “No change need be made in the city’s deployment,” Barak said.

Mahatzri held an emergency meeting last night with representatives of the army, police, fire fighters, and emergency services. “Until now,” he said, “the firing on Ashkelon was sporadic, but now, for the first time, the rockets were fired in a purposeful manner. This was what was predicted for Ashkelon back in 2005, but we never actually experienced it until now.”

Mayor Mahatzri said his city would be willing to pay a price in exchange for increased military pressure on the terrorists: “It is clear to us that the price for intensifying the Israeli pressure on the rocket launching cells is liable to bring Ashkelon into a state of alert and one in which we may have to absorb rocket fire. We are willing to pay this price for a limited time. We are aware of the fact that such a situation will require activating an early-warning system, and that the people of Ashkelon will have to pay the price for a military offensive in Gaza. Ashkelon is ready for this, and is able to deal with it.”

Source: IsraelNationalNews.com

Pictured here: Neo-Soviet Russia’s KGB dictator Vladimir Putin arrives in Ramallah, in the West Bank, where he is greeted by his minion Palestinian National Authority President Mahmound Abbas, April 29, 2005. Abbas earned a PhD from the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow in 1982, before the “collapse” of communism. He endeavors to portray himself as a moderate Palestinian, as opposed to Haniyeh whom he dismissed from the post of PNA prime minister last June.

In an interview with the Jordanian media yesterday Abbas revealed that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has not ruled out a return to the armed struggle against Israel. “At present,” Abbas admitted to the A-Doustour, “I am against an armed struggle against Israel because we can’t do it, but in the coming stages, things may change. I do not rule out a return to the way of armed struggle against Israel.” Of course, any impartial observer of Middle Eastern affairs should have realized that the 1993 Oslo Accords were simply a method for the PLO, then under the leadership of the KGB-trained communist thug Yasser Arafat (1929-2004), to buy time, regroup, rearm, and then lunge for Israel’s jugular vein. What else would you expect from Islamo-Marxist radicals in alliance with Moscow?

Abbas Says Terrorist Path is Impractical – “Now”
by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) Mahmoud Abbas – Israel’s partner in peace talks and the head of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority – enjoys a reputation as a “moderate,” largely in light of his juxtaposition with the arch-terrorists of his rivals/allies in Hamas. However, he now says that terrorism and violence against Israel are actually the preferred approach, and certainly need not be ruled out in the future.

“At present,” Abbas told the Jordanian newspaper A-Doustour, “I am against an armed struggle against Israel because we can’t do it, but in the coming stages, things may change.”

“I am against an armed struggle against Israel because we can’t do it,” Abbas said.

“I do not rule out a return to the way of armed struggle against Israel,” he said in the Wednesday night interview.

Seventeen Arabs, mostly terrorists, have been killed in six Israel Air Force counter-terrorism actions in Gaza since Wednesday morning. One of the dead was the son of a top Hamas official.

Shot the First Bullet

Abbas took pride in the fact that he was the first terrorist in the struggle against Israel. “I had the honor of firing, in 1965, the first bullet of the ‘resistance’, he boasted. He added that it was his Fatah organization that taught Hizbullah and other terrorist organizations in the world how to run terrorist campaigns.

Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen, said that he does not demand that Hamas – the terrorist movement that violently wrested control of Gaza from Fatah last year – recognize Israel at present.

“I wanted to establish a unity government with Hamas that would negotiate with Israel,” he said. “Syria’s Bashar Assad supported me… I am not the only one who wants recognition of Israel; the Arab initiative, which is a matter of consensus in the Arab and Islamic worlds, also says this.”

Abbas was happy about rejecting the notion of Israel as a “Jewish state.” He said that in the Annapolis Summit of last November, “they wanted us to agree to a summation saying that Israel is a Jewish state, and we objected strongly. The summit almost blew up because of this.”

Source: IsraelNationalNews.com

Pictured here: The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. According to the Acts of the Apostles it was from this location that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven 1,975 years ago and, according to Zechariah, the same spot to which He will return in the not-too-distant future, save Israel from her enemies, and establish his Millennial Kingdom. The prophet states that the mount will cleave into two sections the moment Messiah’s feet touch the ground.

In an exclusive to World Net Daily, Aaron Klein reveals that hundreds of Israeli rabbis associated with the Rabbinical Congress for Peace are exhorting the religious Shas party to bolt Prime Minister Olmert’s coalition government, amid media reports that the Israeli government is secretly negotiating the re-division of Jerusalem with the PNA. “We are seriously considering issuing a statement signed by the hundreds of rabbis of the organization declaring it is absolutely forbidden for any observant Jew to vote for a party that lent its support to a government that negotiated the division of Jerusalem, a move that will place the entire population in Israel in mortal danger,” Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, RCP director general, informed WND. Referring to Shas, the RCP has declared, moreover, that: “They are lying to themselves and deceiving their electorate. The Shas ministers know that Olmert and Abbas have agreed not to make public any agreement on Jerusalem until after the final signature in order to keep Shas in the government.”

Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. At the time he publicly and repeatedly stressed that Jerusalem is the “eternal and undivided capital” of Israel, even though he allegedly ordered senior municipal workers not to enforce a ban on illegal Arab buildings in the city.

Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization are only two of Israel’s implacable enemies. Syria and Iran pose a much greater threat. Yesterday, state-run Novosti revealed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready to meet Prime Minister Olmert in Moscow to establish a peace agreement with Israel. Be assured that any Israeli-Syrian accord brokered by Soviet strategists, who are already committed to arming Israel’s enemies, will end in disaster for the Jewish state.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Putin to deploy nukes in Serbia; Kosovar Serbs demand return of Russian peacekeepers, ethnic Serb police carry out mutiny

>G2 Bulletin: MI6 Monitors Meetings Between Putin’s Anointed Successor Dmitry Medvedev and Serbian Leadership in Belgrade

The Western theft of Kosovo may provoke WWIII . . . It’s time for Russia to draw a line in the sand.
— Pravda, February 19, 2008

Yesterday World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah dropped the following bombshell in his G2 Bulletin. Apparently Gazprom CEO Dmitry Medvedev’s trip to Belgrade this week entailed not only signing Serbia onto the South Stream natural gas pipeline as well as demonstrating verbal solidarity with the Serbian leadership over its opposition to Kosovar secession, but also offering to deploy Russian missiles on Serbian soil. Serbian nationalist and failed presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolic has already campaigned in favor of such a scenario.

Putin offers nukes to Serbia
Missile threat escalates as Russia goes to polls

Posted: February 26, 200810:24 pm Eastern

LONDON – MI6 agents have monitored secret meetings between top Serbian officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anointed successor, Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss the installation of Russian nuclear missiles to contribute to what he told a Moscow election rally this weekend would “help to ensure Serbian security.”

The president-in-waiting – no one seriously believes any other candidate will win this coming Sunday’s election – also will ensure that President Vladimir Putin will become the nation’s prime minister, effectively remaining the real power behind Medvedev after stepping down from the presidency.

“In fact Putin’s descent into the prime minister’s chair is the most interesting facet of the current situation. Putin has not revealed the motivation behind the decision to exchange his role as ‘popularity god’ for one of a simple bureaucrat,” reveals an MI6 report.

The author, a senior analyst, concludes: “The acceptance of the prime minister’s job is no more than a front – ensuring he remains the powerful puppeteer behind the puppet.”

Certainly Putin’s hand can be deduced in the threat to plant nuclear missiles in the region – so as to provide Russia with its own version of America’s Star Wars.

In the past week, Medvedev’s offer to provide missiles has escalated an already tense situation in the region.

If Russian missiles are installed in Serbia, it could spread. Kosovo could become the first testing ground for Russia’s new president as he continues to support the ever-deepening confrontation between Moscow and the West.

If Farah’s reporting is accurate, then this is not a particularly surprising development since neo-Soviet Russia’s dictator has already threatened to train his nuclear arsenal on Europe, including Ukraine. In a related story, Reuters reports today that Kosovar Serbs are demanding the return of Russian peacekeepers to the secessionist region. Russian troops contributed to NATO’s Kosovo Force mission between 1999 and 2003. The same source reports, too, that per earlier threats, ethnic Serbs in the Kosovo Police Service have mutineed by failing to report for duty: “In a new sign of the deepening ethnic divide, dozens of Serb officers in the Kosovo police service failed to report for duty on Wednesday in the eastern Gnjilane region.”

Incidentally, the MI6 report notes above: “In fact Putin’s descent into the prime minister’s chair is the most interesting facet of the current situation. Putin has not revealed the motivation behind the decision to exchange his role as ‘popularity god’ for one of a simple bureaucrat.” Putin’s stated willingness to re-assume the role of prime minister, however, is easily grasped in the light of the long-range Soviet strategy for deceiving and conquering the West and secretly consolidating the power of the Communist Party, using potemkin entities like United Russia, throughout the Not-So-Former Soviet Union.

Neo-Soviet Russia Builds Case for Nuking America

Pravda opens a window into the collective mind of the Soviet elites and their next moves for implementing the Communist Party’s “general line” for global Leninist revolution. On February 19 Pravda contended that the “Islamic Republic of Kosovo” fails to meet the test of statehood in the eyes of Russia and the United Nations and, furthermore, that the USA has forfeited the right to be the “world’s policeman.” Indeed, the communist mouthpiece opines that “the primary reason to steal Kosovo from Serbia pertain to maintaining an indefinite NATO military presence in the Serbian province (Camp Bondsteel) to act against a resurgent Russia.”

[T]he UN will never recognize Kosovo as Russia realizes that the primary reasons to steal Kosovo from Serbia pertain to maintaining an indefinite NATO military presence in the Serbian province (Camp Bondsteel) to act against a resurgent Russia. A popular saying among many Eastern Europeans is: “Today Serbia, tomorrow Russia.” Given the shameful and dishonorable way that the West has behaved since it illegally destroyed the former Yugoslavia, Russians should be very concerned. You can’t appease evil.

The US and the EU are creating a very dangerous precedent by illegally creating a “Greater Albania” that will irreversibly damage relations with Russia and encourage some 200 separatist movements the worldover. The US has lost the “moral” authority to act as self-appointed “policeman” of the world. Just as the Nazi occupation of the Sudentenland from Czechoslovakia was the precursor to WWII, the Western theft of Kosovo may provoke WWIII.

Pravda concludes: “It’s time for Russia to draw a line in the sand.”

In another article that the Soviet organ picks up from Beiruit-based Dar Al-Hayat, Michel Morkos complains that inflation linked to the weak US dollar is holding the global economy hostage, particularly “emerging economies” in “post”-communist nations like Russia and “pseudo”-communist nations like China:

However, the weakening dollar has caught both developed and emerging nations off guard, especially those whose currencies are tied or pegged to the US dollar with respect to transactions and upward or downward variations, or even with respect to modifications of US base interest rates. As far as these countries are concerned, the weakened dollar leads to rising inflation which expands at the expense of growth rates because every percentage point of inflation cancels one percentage point of nominal growth. Hence, as inflation increases, these nations are forced to double their economic activity to maintain high growth rates. The list of emerging economies facing this difficulty includes China, Russia, and India. Arab countries, especially the Gulf states, also face a similar situation, as their currencies are pegged to the dollar and their economies rely on exports. In these countries, inflation rapidly eats into the public budgets heavily dependent oil revenues.

Day by day it becomes more apparent that the Kremlin is developing a number of rationales for war against the West.

>Middle East File: Turkish Army expands operation in north Iraq, 170 Kurdish guerrillas, 17 soldiers killed; Baghdad regime disintegrating

>Turkish Envoy in Baghdad Disavows Any Intention of Army Withdrawing from Iraq Until PKK Eliminated

Turkey, which invaded northern Iraq with US consent on the evening of February 21, is expanding its military operation against the Soviet-backed Marxist guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK seeks to establish an independent Kurdish state in adjacent parts of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. In October 2007 Axis Information and Analysis, citing Romanian news agency Mediafax, revealed that the PKK in fact maintains a vast international network to finance its activities: “Turkish services warned in several reports presented to authorities that the PKK was getting money for its activities through associations based in Romania, Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, UK and USA.”

Pictured above: Abdullah Ocalan, founder of the PKK. In 1998 Ocalan spent some time in Russia, where the State Duma, then dominated by open communists, urged President Boris Yeltsin to grant Ocalan asylum. The following year Ocalan was captured by Turkish authorities in Kenya and since then has been held under solitary confinement as the only prisoner on Imrali Island in the Sea of Marmara.

Turkish troops target main Kurd rebel camp in Iraq
February 26, 2008 – 9:28PM

Turkish troops, backed by fighter jets, closed in on a main rebel base Tuesday in their offensive against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq that has so far claimed at least 170 lives.

Regional security forces in the Kurdish-administered autonomous region reported sustained fighting overnight as Turkish soldiers advanced on the base in the Zap area.

The camp, situated in a deep valley just a six-kilometer (four-mile) walk from the Turkish border, has been identified by the military as a major staging post used by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels to launch attacks into Turkish territory.

The Turkish army says it has killed 153 rebels and lost 17 soldiers since it launched its cross-border incursion against PKK bases in northern Iraq on Thursday evening.

Ankara says an estimated 4,000 rebels use the region as a safe haven to organise cross-border raids in their struggle for self-rule in southeast Turkey.

The PKK, whose armed separatist campaign has claimed more than 37,000 lives since 1984, claims to have killed 81 soldiers since the offensive began.

Baghdad and Washington have both called on Ankara to show restraint and wrap up its offensive as soon as possible.

“We hope that this is just a short-term incursion,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters Monday.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was in India and scheduled to fly Wednesday to Ankara for talks on the military action.

The United States has provided Turkey with real-time intelligence on rebel movements, but is deeply concerned that a long-term offensive might undermine one of Iraq’s relatively stable regions.

Turkey insists the PKK are the sole operational target and that its troops will pull back once they have achieved their objective of flushing out the rebels.

Clashes continued in the mountainous Hakurk area to the east, close to Iraq’s border with Iran, where the Turkish army air-dropped troops and helicopter gunships pounded rebel positions on Monday.

PKK fighters suffered “heavy losses under fire from close quarters” as they tried to escape, the Turkish general staff said in a statement Monday.

Warplanes hit around 30 targets deep in northern Iraq on the route of the Turkish advance, it said.

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Army Chief Yasar Buyukanit joined thousands in Ankara Monday for the funeral of three soldiers slain in the offensive as mourners chanted anti-PKK slogans.

In Diyarbakir, the main city in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey, up to 10,000 people spilled into the streets in protest against the government for ordering troops into northern Iraq.

Source: The Age

Pictured here: Turkish tank column near the border town of Silopi in Sirnak province, southeastern Turkey.

US and allied troops still occupy southern Iraq for the purpose of stabilizing the fragile post-Ba’athist regime in Baghdad, the legitimacy of which is brought into serious question by the green light that Washington offered for the Turkish military incursion. The story above reports that the USA is also providing Ankara with real-time military intelligence of rebel movements. The legitimacy of the Kurdistan Regional Government is also threatened by Ankara’s US-backed anti-terrorist operation. In an editorial published today Patrick Cockburn, journalist for The Independent, warns that “The Turkish invasion could destroy a unified Iraq.”

Iraq is disintegrating faster than ever. The Turkish army invaded the north of the country last week and is still there. Iraqi Kurdistan is becoming like Gaza where Israel can send in its tanks and helicopters at will.

The US, so sensitive to any threat to Iraqi sovereignty from Iran or Syria, has blandly consented to the Turkish attack on the one part of Iraq which was at peace. The Turkish government piously claims that its army is in pursuit of PKK Turkish Kurd guerrillas, but it is unlikely to inflict serious damage on them as they hide in long-prepared bunkers and deep ravines of the Kurdish mountains. What the Turkish incursion is doing is weakening the Kurdistan Regional Government, the autonomous Kurdish zone, the creation of which is one of the few concrete achievements of the US and British invasion of Iraq five years ago.

The Guardian, moreover, has quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying: “If it goes on, I think it could destabilise the region, because one mistake could lead to further escalation.” The same source noted that “The offensive was the first confirmed Turkish military ground operation in Iraq since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Turkey’s army is believed to have carried out unacknowledged ‘hot pursuits’ in recent years, with small groups of troops staying in Iraq for as little as a few hours.” To allay the concerns of the Iraqi government, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan dispatched a special envoy to Baghdad to discuss his country’s military incursion into Iraq’s northern frontier. Speaking today from Baghdad, Turkish envoy Ahmet Davutoglu warned that his country’s armed forces will not withdraw from Iraq until the PKK is extirpated: “Our goal is clear, our mission is obvious, and there will be no timeframe for the pullout until terrorist bases have been wiped out.”

The concerns of investors worldwide, however, have not been allayed by news of Turkey’s military campaign in northern Iraq. Instead, higher gasoline prices have appeared at North American service stations. Associated Press business journalist J. W. Elphinstone writes: “Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained 42 cents to settle at $99.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed as high as $99.70 a barrel earlier on supply concerns heightened by a Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq and warnings by Iran against further international sanctions.”

In summary, the Kurdish rebellion appears to be Turkey’s “Vietnam,” a political and military quagmire that will not end until Moscow stops arming the PKK.

>Final Phase Backgrounder: Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, and Medvedev: Continuity in the Soviet leadership and long-range plan

>First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has affirmed that, if he is elected president of Russia in March, he looks forward to working cooperatively with the new administration that will enter the White House after the November presidential election. In the same breath, he took a subtle dig at US President George W. Bush, whom he referred to as being “semi-moronic” and bound by a Cold War mentality: “We will work with any administration that is formed following the elections. It would, although, undoubtedly be easier to deal with people enjoying an up-to-date outlook, rather than with those who have reflections of the past in their eyes, or simply advocate semi-moronic views.” That new US administration with which Medvedev hopes to collaborate may very well be formed by leftist Democratic challengers Hillary Clinton and/or Barack Obama, or possibly faux rightist Republican contender John McCain. The channel through which Russia’s new president will liaise with America’s new president will probably include the secretive, Council on Foreign Relations-inspired Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group.

Pictured above: Vladimir Kryuchkov, former KGB chief and Communist Party Politburo member, and Oleg Shenin, former First Secretary of the Politburo, leave court in Moscow in 1994.

In the event that he is elected, Medvedev has also promised to appoint his mentor Vladimir Putin as prime minister, a post that the KGB dictator held between 1999 and 2000. Last year, before tapping Medvedev for the succession, Putin indicated that he would continue to exercise influence in the Kremlin, even after he steps down from the post of president in May. The Soviet strategists have clearly determined that the perpetuation of the current “non”-communist regime in the Kremlin is still critical to the advancement of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s long-range plan of subverting and conquering the capitalist nations.

The identity of the Soviet strategists is no secret. The leaders of the neo-Soviet Union include Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) chairman Gennady Zyuganov, Oleg Shenin and the surviving members of the State Emergency Committee that organized the August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev himself, Putin and the other visible members of the Chekist regime in the Kremlin, and the “ex”-communist leaders of the Not-So-Former Soviet republics. However, because the West has fallen for the “perestroika deception,” the significance of these individuals and their roles escapes most Kremlinologists. Thus, while the Western Alliance sleepwalks, neo-Soviet Russia continues to build up its military and bolster its economy with “market-based” (Kremlin-controlled) reforms. Pictured above: On February 23 the CPRF celebrated Defender of the Fatherland Day, also known as Red Army Day, to support Zyuganov’s presidential bid.

The continuity of the Soviet leadership and long-range plan is evident from many facts. Two stand out.

First, in 1994 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dropped all charges of sedition against the communist hardliners, including Shenin and Kryuchkov, for their role in the potemkin anti-Gorbachevist putsch. This act in itself should have tipped off Western analysts that the “demise” of the Soviet Union three years before was fraudulent. While not formally a member of the State Emergency Committee (Gosudarstvenniy Komitet po Chrezvichaynomu Polozheniyu, GKChP), or Gang of Eight, Shenin appears to have been the real ringleader, not Kryuchkov, who died in November 2007.

Second, communist-turned-social democrat Gorbachev and the surviving members of the GKChP, each the putative enemy of the other, have together roundly endorsed Putin and his Chekist administration, while Kryuchkov and other KGB veterans have made frequent visits to the Kremlin since 2000.

The empirically observable continuity in the Soviet leadership and long-range plan also demonstrates that former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn was correct in asserting, in New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998), that the CPSU would temporarily abandon its public monopoly of power in Russia and commit the task of advancing its long-range agenda for restructuring (“perestroika”) to the KGB, the “sword and shield” of the Party.

>EU File: Bosnian Serbs riot, attack US consulate; Kosovar Serbs continue protests in Mitrovica; PM Thaci reasserts Kosovo’s sovereignty

>The parliament of the Serb Republic, which is one of the constituent states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has formally denounced the secession of Kosovo from the Republic of Serbia, and expressed solidarity with Kosovo’s protesting ethnic Serbs. Breaking news reports indicate that earlier today 10,000 Bosnian Serbs marched in the city of Banja Luka. From this larger body a small group of protesters split to storm the US consulate, only to be repelled by riot police with tear gas. In Kosovo itself 100,000 ethnic Serbs live in the northern part of the newly independent state. Many of these have continued their daily protests in the strife-torn town of Mitrovica. The International Herald Tribune reports: “Serbs have staged protests in Kosovo every day since the territory’s ethnic Albanian leadership declared independence from Serbia on Feb. 17. Rioters have thrown stones and bottles at the local police and NATO peacekeepers during some of the protests.”

Pictured above: Hardline Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica greets Gazprom CEO and Komsomol graduate Dmitry Medvedev on February 25. Yesterday we posted a picture of Serbian President Boris Tadic greeting Vladimir Putin’s anointed successor.

In response, Kosovo’s deputy prime minister Hajredin Kuqi urged: “We ask the Serbian government to have a different approach to Kosovo’s future and to build good relationships with Kosovo and not provoke or raise the tension.” Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, an “ex”-communist who was formerly ideologist for the Kosovo Liberation Army and a personal friend of FSB/KGB asset Osama bin Laden, warned Serbia to respect the new state’s sovereignty: “We understand and respect peaceful reactions, guaranteed by the law, but we will not allow the territorial integrity of Kosovo to be compromised. I am constantly in contact with NATO to prevent anyone from touching even one inch of Kosovo’s territory.”

Meanwhile, PM Kostunica, after meeting Russia’s likely next president Medvedev, vowed that “Serbia will do everything to implement its jurisdiction and state prerogatives for all loyal citizens in Kosovo — Serbs and non-Albanians. We will keep providing jobs, schooling and infrastructure for Serb areas of Kosovo.” Serbian Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic, moreover, insists that Belgrade should stop servicing Kosovo’s foreign debt following independence. “Under the circumstances, Serbian taxpayers’ money will go to Albanians … That’s insane,” he told a news conference today. Since 1999 Serbia has serviced Kosovo’s debt to the tune of US$150 million per year in an effort to exert its sovereignty over its former province.

>EU File: Cypriot communist leader elected president, vows reunification with north; Papadopolous’ party switches support to Christofias

>The communist Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) has held a respectable majority in the Cypriot parliament since at least 2001, but now the party’s general secretary Dimitris Christofias has been elected as President of Cyprus in yesterday’s run-off election. Christofias main rival was Ioannis Kasoulidis of the rightist Democratic Rally. The communist leader takes office on February 29, after he steps down from his current position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. AKEL belongs to the European United Left–Nordic Green Left, which holds seats as a bloc in the European Parliament; Cyprus is a member state of the European Union. Like Italy under Romano Prodi and Moldova under Vladimir Voronin, voters have willingly (and foolishly) chosen communists to direct national affairs.

The President and Prime Minister of the illegitimate, Ankara-backed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Mehmet Ali Talat and Ferdi Sabat Soyer, respectively, are both members of the leftist Republican Turkish Party (RTP). During the 1980s under the leaderhip of Özker Özgür the RTP adopted a pro-Soviet stance and entered into rapprochement meetings with AKEL. Although the RTP has moved right under the leadership of TRNC President Talat, Cyprus faces unification under a communist regime. “In a rare positive sign,” Voice of America reports below, “Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat told the media he is hopeful of progress on the Cyprus problem now that Christofias has been elected.” Indeed.

In December 2007 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov conducted a two-day working visit to Cyprus to confer with President Tassos Papadopolous and Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. Nearly 200,000 Russians vacation in the Republic of Cyprus each year. I would not discount the possibility of incoming, Moscow-educated President Christofias opening Cyprus to widespread Russian influence.

On February 24 the outgoing president’s centrist Democratic Party dumped Papadopolous, after he placed third in the first round of the presidential vote, and switched its support to communist Christofias in the second round. The Movement for Social Democracy, which is affiliated with the Socialist International, also supported Christofias’ candidacy. Previous Cypriot governments that can be characterized as “pro-communist” occurred under the presidencies of Archbishop Makarios III (1960-1977) and George Vasiliou (1988-1993).

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus has been stationed on the divided island since 1964, 10 years before the Turkish invasion, and currently consists of more than 900 international police and military personnel.

Cyprus President-Elect Wants to Resume Unification Talks
By Nathan Morley Nicosia
25 February 2008

After winning the presidential elections in Cyprus, communist-leader Demetris Christofias says he will try to restart unification talks on the divided island.

Demetris Christofias was proclaimed president elect of Cyprus late Sunday, having won the runoff presidential election with more than 50 percent of the vote.

Thousands of his supporters rallied to the center of Nicosia waving party flags and banners as they celebrated the election victory

Speaking to the crowd, Christofias said he would fight for a just settlement of the 34-year old division of Cyprus.

There is no doubt that this election has re-juvenated hopes of peace in Cyprus.

Christofias has strong ties with many Turkish Cypriot unions and politicians and has actually crossed the diving line to the Turkish occupied areas on several occasions.

But the change in leadership has not convinced everyone that there will be change. There are mixed feelings on the streets of Nicosia.

A man said he does not think anything will really change, there will just be a change in the presidential palace.

But a pensioner said he hopes for a better time ahead with the election of Christofias, perhaps a solution to Cyprus’ problems.

In a rare positive sign, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat told the media he is hopeful of progress on the Cyprus problem now that Christofias has been elected. He added that a U.N. mission would be visiting Cyprus next month to assess the situation.

In an e-mail to Christofias, EU Commission President Jose Barroso wrote, “Your election offers the opportunity to overcome the long-standing stalemate on the Cyprus issue and I would strongly encourage you to grasp this chance and without delay start negotiations.”

There are many sensitive issues for the new president to tackle, including property rights, those displaced after the 1974 Turkish invasion and the presence of more than 40,000 Turkish troops in northern Cyprus.

Cyprus’s division is a thorn in Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and it is thought Ankara is eager for a resumption of talks between the two communities in Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the Athens government.

Source: Voice of America

>EU File: Medvedev visits Belgrade in show of solidarity, EU withdraws staff from north Kosovo; Kremlin think tank: USA to attack Russia by 2012

>High-Level Russian Delegation Visits Serbia with Youth Activists in Tow for Protests Against Kosovar Independence

Yesterday pro-Moscow Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica warned Washington away from its recognition of Kosovar independence: “The United States must annul the decision to recognize a false state on the territory of Serbia. It must reaffirm U.N. Security Council resolution 1244, which guarantees Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Today Kostunica and President Boris Tadic hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anointed successor Dmitry Medevdev in Belgrade. Medvedev is also CEO of Gazprom, which last month obtained a controlling interest in state-run Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS).

Pictured above: Medvedev and Tadic in Belgrade. Tadic’s Democratic Party belongs to the communist-infiltrated Socialist International.

Accompanying Medvedev were Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Civil Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is related by marriage to Communist Party of the Soviet Union chairman Oleg Shenin. Along with the official delegation, activists from the pro-Kremlin Eurasian Youth Union and Young Russia arrived in in the Serbian capital yesterday to join protests against Kosovar independence. On February 17 Young Russia held pro-Belgrade rallies outside the Serbian embassy in Moscow.

State-run Russia Today, below, confirms that Russia and Serbia signed an agreement on the implementation of the South Stream project to construct a natural gas pipeline through Serbia and the Balkans to other European countries. Medvedev used the occasion to express the Kremlin’s solidarity with Belgrade’s hard-line regime on the issue of Kosovar secession. Komsomol graduate Medvedev declared: “Our short visit is aimed to express our support to Serbia in response to the illegitimate unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence. These actions contradict the existing system of international law. But support should not only be moral and legal, it’s essential to strengthen our energy co-operation and the agreement between Gazprom and Serbiagas is indispensable to the development of economic ties between our countries.” Medvedev’s presence in Serbia is a clear signal from the Soviet strategists to the West to back off from Kosovo. Thus, the Kremlin advances its geopolitical agenda under the guise of “energy security.”

Pictured below: PM Kostunica addresses “Kosovo Is Ours” rally in Belgrade, February 21. The rally turned violent as protesters stormed the US and other embassies, breaking into and torching the former.

Russia confirms support for Serbia
February 25, 2008, 19:51

Russia has reaffirmed its support for Serbia in rejecting Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence a week ago. At a meeting in the Serbian capital Dmitry Medvedev promised there would be no shift in Russia’s support for Serbia’s demand for territorial integrity.

It’s the first visit by a foreign official since Kosovo seceded.

Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister denounced the West’s backing of Kosovo’s independence.

He warned NATO and EU missions not to use force against Serbs in Kosovo.

Medvedev was also in Belgrade to close a gas pipeline deal. He said stronger economic ties would only cement the alliance.

“Our short visit is aimed to express our support to Serbia in response to the illegitimate unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence. These actions contradict the existing system of international law. But support should not only be moral and legal, it’s essential to strengthen our energy co-operation, and the agreement between Gazprom and Serbiagas is indispensable to the development of economic ties between our countries,” said Medvedev.

During the visit Russia and Serbia signed an agreement to build the South Stream gas pipeline.

“Our economic co-operation continues to develop. A month ago, we signed an important agreement in the energy sector, and now Serbiagas and Gazprom have signed an agreement on building a new pipeline,” Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said.

Dmitry Medvedev has now moved to Budapest, where among other things, he’ll continue talks on the Southern Stream pipeline project.

Pictured here: Today ethnic Serbs in the Kosovar town of Mitrovica continued their daily protests over Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence, burning a European Union flag. According to a report from The Telegraph, which we posted several days ago and which has since been updated, the EU is withdrawing its staff from north Kosovo, where Belgrade-sponsored protests by Kosovar Serbs and agents provocateurs from Serbia have destabilized the region.

Hopes for a peaceful conclusion to the declaration of Kosovo’s independence were fading as the European Union announced it had withdrawn its staff from the north of the fledgling country in the face of increasingly angry Serb protests. The civilian staff were meant to be preparing for the EU to take over responsibility for security in Kosovo from the United Nations. The announcement of the withdrawal came as the United States – which backed Kosovo’s drive for independence – began to evacuate its American staff and their families from Serbia, offering US citizens the chance to join a convoy of 40 cars leaving Belgrade for Croatia.

In a related story, this past weekend military analyst Konstantin Sivkov, first vice president of the Russia’s Academy of Geopolitical Problems, imparted yet another spin to the Kremlin’s propaganda machine against the West. Sivkov disengenuously warned any fools who will listen that the USA, in collaboration with the European Union and (Russia’s strategic partner) China, is planning to attack and dismember Russia into three sections by 2012. “The only factor that deters the USA now is the nuclear arsenal,” Sivkov intoned ominously. Only one conclusion can be drawn from such fearmongering: Russia must launch a pre-emptive strike against the USA before then. Isn’t that the obvious conclusion? Kosovo Crisis 2 and proposed US National Missile Defense deployments in Central Europe provide the perfect pretexts.

U.S. able to attack and dismember Russia by 2012-2015 – Russian military analyst

MOSCOW. Feb 23 (Interfax-AVN) -After 2012-2015, the U.S. will be able to annihilate Russian strategic nuclear forces by a non-nuclear preemptive strike, said Konstantin Sivkov, the first vice president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems.

“I declare that the likelihood of a military threat is great as never before now,” Sivkov told Interfax on Saturday.

Western military experts have recently started to talk about the possibility of attacking Russia and annexing its territory, Sivkov said. “Russia is supposed to be dismembered into three parts, with the Western part going to the European Union, the central part and Siberia to the U.S., and the eastern to China. This is a rough scenario,” he said.

Russian armed forces will be unable to successfully counter an aggression, Sivkov said. “At the present time, the conventional armed forces cannot properly perform their duties in a regional war, like the Great Patriotic War, even in theory. Even if fully deployed, their potential is limited even in local wars. The only factor that deters [the U.S.] now is the nuclear arsenal,” he said.

Source: Interfax

Taking a page from the Kremlin line and Sivkov, over-the-edge KGB politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky has announced that Washington intends to recognize Georgia’s secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as Chechnya and Dagestan in the Russian Federation. Using typical communist rhetoric, the leader of the misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia puffed for Pravda: “It is an imperial style of the USA to show its negligence towards the international law. That is why it bombarded Yugoslavia to create animosity and conflicts. Now it has the result. The long-planned operation has finished successfully – an artificial state has been created for the first time. Currently the USA will keep other countries daunted.”

Incidentally, the Academy of Geopolitical Problems is also variously translated as the Academy of/for/on Geopolitical Problems/Affairs/ Sciences. However, it is the same arms-length Kremlin think tank. In addition to Sivkov, other noteworthy cadres include roving Soviet propagandist and retired General Leonid Ivashov, who also associates with the Paris-based Voltaire Network’s “anti-imperialist” Axis for Peace. The latter enjoys media support from Russia Today, Al Qaeda mouthpiece Al Jazeera, the Latin American Red Axis’ teleSUR, and the neo-Nazi Liberty Lobby spinoff American Free Press.

>USSR2 File: Secret police crack down on Moldovan churches; President Voronin: "Jesus was a communist," "Priests have no choice but to vote communist"

>The Tiraspol Times, which is based in the capital of the unrecognized state of Transnistria, reports that the openly communist regime of President Vladimir Voronin in neighboring Moldova is persecuting Christians of all denominations. Voronin is not only the head of the Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova, but is also a former general of the Soviet Interior Ministry and remains a Russian citizen to this day. Under the threat of an alleged Kremlin-contrived death plot, in January Voronin visited Moscow to confer with his master President Vladimir Putin. Although KGB dictator Putin has openly allied himself with the Russian Orthodox Church, the head of which Moscow Patriarch Alexy II is an alleged KGB agent, Voronin’s secret police do not hesitate to target religious believers for intimidation. Pictured above: Voronin and Putin during an earlier visit in Moscow, 2006.

The first article below notes that the only religious groups that have obtained state recognition in Moldova are the Moscow Patriarchate and the Belokrinitsa Old Believers. However, even churches in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church face obstacles to freedom of worship. Thus, we witness the anti-religious nature of communism, even in the twenty-first-century. The Tiraspol Times indicates that unlike the rest of Moldova, religious liberty is respected by the Transnistrian authorities.

Police crackdown on church goers in Moldova
By Times staff, 04/Feb/2008

Moldova is the latest country to restrict religious freedom. Police throughout the Communist-ruled state have been checking the identity of church-goers during recent weeks. Scared priests say this is a campaign of intimidation, and at least one church is now considering relocating to Transdniestria instead.

CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) – An intimidation campaign involving police check-ups on the identities of church-goers is underway in Moldova, as part of the Eastern European country’s latest crackdown on religious freedom.

The police checks target a series of churches which are considered illegal by Moldova’s government due to a lack of proper, official registration in the country. However, as church leaders point out, it is the Moldovan government which refuses to register the congregations: They range from Orthodox groups, Protestant congregations and every single one of the Muslim communities in the country.

” – Someone must have given an order not to register us,” complained Talgat Masaev, who leads the Spiritual Organization of Muslims in Moldova. He said that Moldova rejected their latest registration application in December 2007, citing inadequacies in the group’s statute. “The policy hasn’t changed,” Masaev lamented.

Masaev’s Muslim group has long complained of police check-ups on those leaving Friday prayers. “The fact that they check up at Friday prayers is difficult to understand,” he said. “This and the denial of registration are strange, given that Moldova is supposed to be moving closer to Europe.”

Four times as many religions in Transdniestria

The situation is only better in Transdniestria (Pridnestrovie) which for nearly 18 years has functioned as an independent state outside the sovereign control of Moldova’s central government. In Transdniestria, despite being smaller in size than Moldova, four times as many religious faiths are registered than in all of Moldova. One Moldovan priests, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of persecution, says that he is planning to move his church to Tiraspol, the capital of the Transdniestrian Republic.

“There, at least, we can get registered and then open our place of worship legally without any fear of police intrusion.”

The only Orthodox jurisdictions to have been able to gain state registration in Moldova by applying through normal state procedures are the Moscow Patriarchate and the Belokrinitsa Old Believers.

The Bessarabian Metropolitanate only achieved registration in 2001 in the wake of a fine imposed on Moldova by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. A similar fine from the ECHR in February 2007 has still failed to overturn the denial of registration to the True Orthodox Church led by Bishop Antoni Rudei.

Without registration, religious communities have no status in law, cannot operate bank accounts, cannot employ people officially, cannot invite foreign citizens, cannot receive funds legally, and cannot own, buy or sell any kind of property.

No rule of law in Moldova

A wide range of Orthodox, Protestant and Muslim communities are still denied registration in Moldova. They are all legally registered in Transdniestria, however, which is the only area of the region where they can function openly and without any form of government harassment.

Bishop Filaret (Pancu), who leads the diocese in Moldova of the Kiev Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said that his Church tried to gain registration again in summer 2007.

” – They give no argument as to why they won’t register us – they just won’t,” the church leader told Norway’s Forum 18 news on 17 January. “We won in all the courts, right up to the Supreme Court.” However, the government does what it wants, while demonstrating to the rest of the world that Moldova is not a country which respects the rule of law.

Fr Vasily Ikizli, who leads one of four parishes in Moldova of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Agafangel (Pashkovsky) of Odessa, says his parish was denied registration in 2006. “They won’t register any parishes until we have a national body registered, but they won’t do that,” he said from the village of Congaz in the southern Comrat District, in Gagauzia. He said that about 150 people attend the liturgy each Sunday held in a private house and he wants to build a church, but cannot do so without legal registration.

Deacon Andrei Deleu of the Bessarabian Metropolitanate confirms that his church has faced a number of problems with the government in recent weeks, “including the expulsion of Romanian priests and intrusive check-ups on our parishes.” (With information from Forum 18)

Source: Tiraspol Times

The Transnistria media also reports that Moldova’s secret police, known as the Information and Security Service, are orchestrating the campaign of intimidation against religious believers: “Moldova’s secret police plays a key role in a coordinated campaign of harassment which is currently underway against religious minorities in Moldova.” The article below states that “Moldovan authorities continue to prevent churches from freely holding religious services.”
Secret police harassment campaign underway against churches in Moldova
By Times staff, 29/Jan/2008

Moldova’s secret police plays a key role in a coordinated campaign of harassment which is currently underway against religious minorities in Moldova. Priests complain of intrusive law enforcement interference and constant questions, insults and threats. But no similar visits have taken place in ‘de facto’ independent Transdniestria, where locals report higher religious freedom.

CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times / Forum 18) – Investigative reporter Felix Corley from Norway’s Forum 18 News Service has found that Moldova’s expulsion of four priests and a nun is part of a campaign of harassment of the Bessarabian Orthodox Church. Also included in the harassment campaign is a series of church check-ups by both the Moldovan police and the country’s intelligence agency, the so-called Information and Security Service (SIS).

The religious crackdown is not just restricted to the Bessarabian Orthodox faith. Orthodox parishes under the Moscow and Kiev Patriarchates have also faced harassment, and the harsh methods have been applied to a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Moldova as well. While authorities claim that police check-ups aimed to catch illegal immigrants, leaders of the religious communities state that officials were much more interested in the functioning of congregations, Forum 18 reported on Tuesday.

More than 60 Bessarabian parish priests have faced intrusive check-ups in recent days, based on orders from Moldova’s Prime Minister. Churches were raided without prior warning by police officers and plainclothes agents from the Information and Security Service (SIS), Moldova’s secret police.

” – The Interior Ministry sent police officers to check up on how our parishes function and whether they have registration,” Deacon Andrei Deleu, the Bessarabian Metropolitanate’s head of chancellery, said on 23 January. “Some of the check-ups went on for up to two hours.” Officers said that “they have instructions from the Prime Minister.”

Deleu said the check-ups began in Ungheni District of central Moldova, where some thirty parishes transferred their allegiance from the Moscow Patriarchate to the Bessarabian Metropolitanate in 2006. The check-ups then spread to parishes in other parts of Moldova, with the most recent in Hincesti District south-west of the capital on about 21 January. He added that police never told parish priests if they found anything.

Secret police visits

A Bessarabian priest from a parish in Moldova’s poverty-stricken Ungheni District, Ion Porcescu, received one of the earliest visits on 21 December by a local policeman who was accompanied by another man. “The policeman introduced him as an officer of the SIS who had come from Chisinau,” Porcescu said.

” – He didn’t show any identity card,” Porcescu added, and also said that the “most important question” for the officer was which Orthodox jurisdiction he belonged to. The visit lasted a full twenty minutes and was “not pleasant” because of what Ion Porcescu regarded as unwarranted and intrusive questions.

Also complaining of police check-ups is Bishop Filaret (Pancu), who leads the diocese in Moldova of the Kiev Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He said his Church has two monasteries and seven other churches in Moldova.

” – The police often call our priests in for no reason,” he says “There are constant questions, insults and threats.” Police have hesitated to interrupt services, but often arrive during a service and wait till the end to speak to the priest.

No such intrusive visits have been reported in the ‘de facto’ independent state of Transdniestria, which for the past 17 years have been outside any the effective jurisdiction of Moldovan authorities. There, locals report that the level of religious freedom is higher than in Moldova. Despite the unrecognized country’s smaller size, four times as many churches and other religious communities are registered there as compared to those registered in Moldova.

Trumped-up charges in bogus criminal case

Bishop Filaret said that in early January the Moldovan authorities threatened to open a criminal case against him, based on trumped-up corruption charges. “Of course this is not true. People have given money voluntarily and we spend it on Church work.”

A Russian-speaking priest, Vadim Cheibas of the Moldovan Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, also reported check-ups recently. These are the first such check-ups he could recall.


The only non-Orthodox religious community known to have faced such a check-up since early December was one Jehovah’s Witness congregation in a village in the northern Riscani District.

Anatoly Cravciuc of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation asked police to put their reasons in writing but their request was ignored. Cravciuc says that that no permission is required in Moldovan law for religious communities to meet. Nevertheless, Moldovan authorities continue to prevent churches from freely holding religious services.

Alla Melica, a spokesperson for Moldova’s Interior Ministry, asserts that the check-ups on the Bessarabian priests were done to “protect citizens during the holiday period”. Melica insisted that no information on the way parishes functioned was collected. “We don’t have records as to who is or is not a Bessarabian priest,” she claimed. She did not give any explanation of why the Jehovah’s Witnesses were also targeted, or why parishes affiliated with Moscow and Kiev received threatening visits as well.

When informed that priests considered the methods intrusive and unwarranted, the Interior Ministry spokesperson simply responded: “No-one has complained to us.” (With information from Forum 18)

Source: Tiraspol Times

Voronin, Ortega, Chavez, and Castro: Social Gospel Communists from the Same Bolt of Red Cloth

In seeking to seduce religious believers to their cause, communists and their spokesman in radical seminaries have twisted the Holy Scriptures in order to portray Jesus Christ as a communist or an advocate of liberation theology. Not surprisingly, last year Moldovan President Voronin assumed the role of theologian to portray Christ as a communist, a tactic that his Latin American cohorts Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez have employed too. In a 2001 interview Ortega declared: “Karl Marx is still relevant, but Jesus was my first inspiration as a revolutionary. I continue being a revolutionary who pursues ideals, growing in the understanding and learning that what is desired is not always possible.” When Chavez met Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 he assured the Bishop of Rome that “Our Bolivarian revolution is very Christian and I have a friend who isn’t Christian, but lately has said he is a Christian in the social aspect: his name is Fidel Castro. I talk to [Castro] a lot about Christ each time we see each other, and he told me recently, ‘Chávez, I’m Christian in the social sense.'” Fellow communist Voronin is less circumspect: “If they want to stay in the Moldovan Metropolia, priests have no choice but to vote for the communists.” In any event, Joe Ratzinger apparently did not consider Chavez’s comments worthy of excommunication.

Moldova president says Jesus was a Communist
By Times staff, 20/Jul/2007

Jesus Christ was a Communist. And, according to Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin, there is nothing in the Bible which criticizes Communism. The former Soviet-era General also told his country’s priests that they “had no choice but to vote for the communists.”

CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) – Vladimir Voronin, the president of Moldova, compared himself to Jesus Christ in a speech before local church leaders. But instead of highlighting the Christian virtues of the Son of God, he said that Jesus was the world’s first Communist. That, apparently, was a good thing.

” – There are many things in common between the communist ideology and the Christian doctrine. And in our, communist, opinion, Jesus Christ was the first communist”, said Vladimir Voronin, who is a lifelong Communist and held the rank of General in the now-defunct Soviet Union.

The Moldovan president is also the head of Moldova’s Communist Party, a post which he has held with an iron grip for an uninterrupted period since 1994. He highlighted the fact that the Bible did not write anything bad about Marx, Lenin or other Communist leaders like himself:

” – Nowhere in the Old or New Testament you will find anything bad said about communists” said Vladimir Voronin, according to a report in Chisinau’s Flux newspaper.

Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin, a former Soviet General, is the head of his country’s Communist Party. According to him, Jesus was a Communist, too.

According to the press report, these words produced a deathly silence in the congregation which was made up of Moldovan bishops and priests during Voronin’s recent visit to St. Nicholas’s monastery at a village named Condrita.

Priests told to vote for Communist Party

During his theological treatise, Voronin also hinted that the church – which receives state funding – will not be able to continue to operate in Moldova unless priests vote for his Communist Party in the next presidential elections.

” – If they want to stay in the Moldovan Metropolia, priests have no choice but to vote for the communists”, the head of the state asserted.

In response, one of the priests addressed himself to the president with these words: “You are our father. We will do as you say. We are a boat and you are our helmsman.”

No such servility was evident on the other side of the Dniester river.

In Tiraspol, capital of the ‘de facto’ independent republic of Pridnestrovie, the head of the city’s largest church refused to take Voronin’s red interpretation of the Bible seriously. Speaking at the city’s Nativity Church, the verdict was one of derision: “I assume that the Moldovan President mouthed off his usual populist statements.” (With information from Interfax, Flux)

Source: Tiraspol Times

>EU File: Kosovar Serbs plan "counter-secession," Kosovo police mutiny; Serbia’s Kosovo minister: border attacks in "accordance with Belgrade’s policy"

>The news from Kosovo continues to deteriorate at an hourly rate. The Telegraph, below, reports that Slobodan Samardzic, Serbia’s minister for Kosovo, has characterized this past week’s attacks on the border crossings as “legitimate” and, moreover, disclosed that they were in “accordance with the Serbian government’s policy.” Furthermore, Serbian government officials and “Belgrade-paid” agitators are moving with impunity throughout the Kosovar town of Mitrovica, enflaming passions in an attempt to destabilize the newly independent Republic of Kosovo. Russia’s willingness to throw its nuclear might behind the aggrieved Serbians exposes the short-sighted planning of the Western Alliance, which itself is compromised by communist infiltrators at the highest level, to wit NATO’s new intelligence chief, Sandor Laborc, who is also Hungary’s KGB-trained spymaster.

Today Anatoly Safonov, one of President Vladimir Putin’s aides, offered a troubling analysis of Kosovar secession that intimates Moscow’s warmongering intentions and covert support for international terrorism: “A strengthening of terrorist forces is unavoidable. With Kosovo now the gun has been cocked and no one knows when and where the shot will ring out. The danger is of unleashing a powerful machine of destruction, the consequences of which are unpredictable. It’s a pity they [the West] have forgotten the lessons of the past, including the lesson of Munich in 1938.”

Pictured above: KFOR troops stop a Kosovar Serb motorist along a road that connects Belgrade and Mitrovica.

In our previous post we reported that Bosnian Serbs are planning to hold a referendum on the status of their region in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now Kosovar Serbs are demanding the withdrawal of the Serb-dominated north of the province from the regime in Pristina. Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovar Serb leader from Mitrovica, warns that another spasm of ethnic cleansing is looming in the Balkans: “This is a beginning of a secession of the northern part of Kosovo. I fear it will lead to attacks on the remaining Albanians living in northern Mitrovica to force them to flee across the river. The Albanians would then retaliate on the Serbian enclaves throughout Kosovo, and the ethnic cleansing will be completed under the eyes of the international community.” Ivanovic concludes: “In case of real clashes KFOR will first protect themselves and then come to count the causalities. The Serbs here have access to weapons, and I know that the Albanians living on this side of the river have recently been armed. I see no reason for optimism.”

Serbian settlers plan partition of Kosovo
By Bojan Pancevski in Mitrovica
Last Updated: 5:27pm GMT 23/02/2008

Kosovo, the world’s newest state, is facing a partition of its territory only a week after it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.

The mostly Serb-populated northern region around the divided town of Mitrovica, next to the Serbian border, has begun preparing a de facto secession from the newborn country that Serb officials consider “illegal”.

On Friday, the bridge on the Ibar River that divides the Albanian and the Serb parts of Mitrovica was closed to traffic, guarded by UN police and Nato on one side, and Serb strongmen on the other.

At the same time, KFOR, the Nato-led peacekeeping force, sealed the border to Serbia, after angry mobs torched border crossings.

“This is a beginning of a secession of the northern part of Kosovo. I fear it will lead to attacks on the remaining Albanians living in northern Mitrovica to force them to flee across the river.

“The Albanians would then retaliate on the Serbian enclaves throughout Kosovo, and the ethnic cleansing will be completed under the eyes of the international community,” Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb leader from Mitrovica, told The Sunday Telegraph.

According to Mr Ivanovic, while the Serb government officially pledges never to accept Kosovo’s independence, some individual officials and their political groups are quietly orchestrating the secession.

He himself was sidelined as a moderate leader and his influence diminished as the situation escalated and Belgrade-sponsored extremists won the upper hand.

Slobodan Samardzic, the minister for Kosovo in the Serb government, deemed the attacks on the border crossings “legitimate” and said they were in “accordance with the Serbian government’s policy.”

Britain, the US and other Western countries have recognised independent Kosovo as a sovereign state, prompting criticism from countries such as Russia, a staunch Serb ally, but also China and some EU members, notably Spain, who claim the move to be a dangerous precedent that would weaken the rule of international law and encourage separatist movements across the world.

In the Serb part of Mitrovica, anti-independence rallies have been held every day since the independence declaration last Sunday, in an atmosphere of increasing tension and lawlessness instigated by Belgrade-paid agitators.

Serbian government officials address the angry crowds as rocks, bottles and fireworks are being hurled at the UN police guarding the bridge, while thugs in track suits and leather jackets cruise the town as self-appointed guardians of security.

Officers of the Kosovo Police Service (KPS), the multi-ethnic police force which serves in northern Mitrovica, said they will no longer take orders from Pristina following the independence declaration and have vowed to swap their uniforms for those of the Serbian police.

“I did not join the force to serve an illegal Albanian state. The capital of my state is Belgrade, as stipulated by the United Nations Resolution 1244. I will soon change this uniform for a Serbian one and continue to serve my people,” a KPS officer serving in Mitrovica told the Sunday Telegraph under the condition of anonymity.

On the street dotted with Serbian and Russian flags and banners with anti-independence slogans, the police officer was engaged in a cordial conversation with one of the thugs known as ‘bridge watchers’, whose job is to make sure no Albanian crosses the bridge.

He said: “We will not create incidents but we will not tolerate any form of Albanian rule. This is and it will always remain Serbia. We may be small, but we have the full support of Serbia and Russia. And we have weapons, should we be forced to protect ourselves.”

Russia has already threatened to use force in Kosovo, and Serbia has sent dozens of busloads of protesters to support the rallies in the north.

But following several days of unrest, KFOR decided to seal the border and halt the influx of potential protesters from Serbia.

We have issued orders not to let buses through or any individuals who could pose a potential threat to the security of Kosovo. We are also fully able and ready to prevent any clashes between Serbs and Albanians, ” a KFOR spokesperson said.

Indeed, dozens of armoured vehicles and tanks have been deployed at key points in the border region, after Belgrade officials announced that they would march into Kosovo in their thousands — albeit for peaceful rallies.

“KFOR troops are trained and well-equipped to answer any challenges coming from inside or outside of Kosovo,” a radio advertisement, paid for by KFOR, warns Serbian listeners.

But Mr Ivanovic, is sceptical. “In case of real clashes KFOR will first protect themselves and then come to count the causalities. The Serbs here have access to weapons, and I know that the Albanians living on this side of the river have recently been armed.

“I see no reason for optimism.”

>EU File: Bosnian media confirms Serbian tanks deployed along disputed border, Kosovo police maintain border closure; Bosnian Serbs threaten secession

>The Balkans are again becoming unglued. Bosnian media source Javno confirms Russia Today’s report that yesterday Serbia began deploying tanks along its disputed border with the newly independent Republic of Kosovo. The story below indicates, too, that the border is still closed, a move that Kosovo police implemented on February 20, originally for only 24 hours.

In an expression of solidarity with the Republic of Serbia, Bosnia’s Serb Republic, a similarly named component of the larger state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has condemned Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and is threatening to hold a referendum advocating secession for Bosnian Serbs. Javno reports: “The parliament of the Serb Republic adopted a resolution late on Thursday branding Kosovo’s declaration of independence an illegal act that violated Serbia’s territorial integrity.” The government of the Serb Republic concluded: “The People’s Assembly of Republika Srpska therefore considers that it has the right to determine its stance about its state and legal status through a direct vote by a referendum.”

Kosovo’s Police Close Border for Serbs
Published: February 23, 2008 18:58h

Kosovo’s police has closed the border for all of those who are not citizens of Kosovo, whilst the Serbs are placing tanks on their border.

The situation on the Serb-Kosovo border is also tense today. Whilst the Serbian tanks are securing their side of the border near Merdar, Kosovo’s police and KFOR are carefully monitoring their movement with telescopes.

The border between Kosovo and Serbia in Leposavic, Merdare, Zubin Potok, Dhe and Bardha is being controlled by the Kosovo police, which have prohibited Serbian citizens from entering Kosovo, reports the portal Kosovapress.

– At the border in Leposavic, Merdare, Zubin Potok, Dhe and Bardha, all people who are not citizens of Kosovo will not be able to enter – said the spokesperson of the Kosovo police, Veton Elshani. He warned that this decision has been made because of Thursday’s events in Belgrade.

The spokesperson also said that the situation on the border today is calm, and that no protesters have been seen today.

The tanks that were noticed yesterday afternoon on the Serbian side of the border are a part of the security of the administrative safety zone that has been made along the Serbia – Kosovo border in 2000/2001. Because of the danger of a rebellion by the Albanians in the south of Serbia, its protection and surveillance by Serbian military-police forces has been agreed upon by KFOR.

Source: Javno

>EU/USSR2 Files: Russia to hold two-month command and staff exercise, Kosovar Serbs resume protests, Moscow Patriarch endorses Medvedev

>As Kosovo Crisis 2 begins to spiral out of control, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, son-in-law of “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, has announced that the armed forces will be holding a two-month series of strategic commmand and staff exercises throughout Russia, codenamed Stability-2008. Pictured here: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a member of the pro-communist/pro-world government Council on Foreign Relations, meets Serdyukov in Moscow, on April 23, 2007. Looks like some functionary in the Kremlin forgot that “communism is dead” and neglected to take down the hammer and sickle prominently displayed behind Gates and Serdyukov. This image is posted at the US Department of Defense website.

Strategic command and staff exercises to be held in Russia – Defence Minister
22.02.2008, 13.50

MOSCOW, February 22 (Itar-Tass) – The Russian Armed Forces will hold strategic command and staff exercises Stability-2008, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in an interview to the the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda published on Friday.

“We are to make large-scale preparations for the conduction of the command and staff exercises Stability-2008. They include a complex of operational and command and staff exercises, and training of different levels united by one intention and the exercises that will be carried during two months in different regions of Russia,” Serdyukov said.

As for tasks of the defence industry sector, he said the “establishment of an integrated structure is planned in 2008 that will allow concentrating the available intellectual, production and labor resources for retention and development of the research and production potential of the defence industry complex”.

“The building of the army and fleet should be aimed at the formation of an effective system for control of the whole complex of questions ensuring Russia’s military security. We should achieve a harmonic combination of qualitative parameters of the Armed Forces with rational use of all resources, effective planning and lawful spending of budget means allocated for the country’s defence”.

Serdyukov said “rearmament of the army with modern and modified systems of weapons and military equipment will be continued in 2008”.

“The list of state-owned organizations and commercial structures providing services on a contract basis with consideration for economic expediency will be increased. This will allow stopping distraction of personnel from combat training,” Serdyukov said.

Source: Itar-Tass

Earlier today, in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica 2,000 Kosovar Serbs, backed by the Serbian government in Belgrade, protesters bussed into the border region, and the ominous nuclear rumblings of Moscow, resumed protests against Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence. The protesters waved Serbian and Russian flags and chanted “Kosovo is Serbia!” and “Russia, Vladimir Putin!” A NATO helicopter hovered overhead. Pictured here: A Kosovar Serb holds an Eastern Orthodox icon of “Mary and Jesus” and a photograph of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Referring to Thursday’s riots in Belgrade, in which the US embassy was torched and apparently one person burned to death, Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic unapologetically declared: “The United States is the main culprit … for all those violent acts.” The article below reports too that 2,000 Greek communists, who oppose Kosovar independence in faithful obedience to their masters in Moscow, marched in Athens today.

Serbs resume protests in northern Kosovo
By DUSAN STOJANOVIC, Associated Press Writer
February 23, 2008

Up to 2,000 Serb protesters chanting “Kosovo is Serbia!” marched Saturday through an ethnically divided town in a sixth day of demonstrations against Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

The protesters turned violent Thursday night and set fire to the U.S. embassy in the Serbian capital Belgrade, angered by Washington’s recognition of Kosovo. Hard-line Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and his ministers blamed the violence on the United States and other nations that have backed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

“The United States is the main culprit … for all those violent acts,” Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic said.

Other Serbian leaders have called for calm in the wake of the violence.

The vast majority of Kosovo’s population is ethnic Albanian and Serbs represent about 10 percent of the region’s 2 million people. Kosovo’s minority Serbs have staged protests daily since the territory’s ethnic Albanian leadership proclaimed independence last Sunday. They vented their anger by destroying U.N. and NATO property as well.

On Friday, the U.S. and European Union demanded that Serbia protect foreign embassies and their staff. The State Department ordered nonessential embassy employees and families of American diplomats in Belgrade to leave Serbia.

In Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, U.N. police in riot gear formed a cordon across the main bridge separating the tense town of Kosovska Mitrovica’s Serb and ethnic Albanian sides as some of the protesters hurled firecrackers.

The protesters waved Serbian and Russian flags and chanted “Russia, Vladimir Putin” in support of Russia’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence. A NATO helicopter hovered above the bridge to monitor the protest.

On Friday, angry demonstrators hurled stones, glass bottles and firecrackers at U.N. forces protecting the bridge. Saturday’s protest was significantly less violent.

There have been scattered protests against Kosovo’s independence in other countries as well. In Athens, Greece, about 2,000 pro-Communist demonstrators marched to the U.S. embassy on Saturday.

In Belgrade, the top state prosecutor said authorities are hunting for participants in riots earlier this week that targeted the U.S. and other embassies as well as Western commercial interests.

“We are collecting evidence and are identifying the culprits,” Slobodan Radovanovic said in a statement.

Police said they arrested nearly 200 rioters Thursday night during the worst anti-Western violence seen on Belgrade streets since the ouster of former strongman Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

Rioters torched several offices of the U.S. Embassy’s consular section and attacked the missions of Germany, Belgium, Turkey and Croatia. One person died and more than 150 were injured in the violence.

Authorities on Saturday identified the person who died as 21-year-old Zoran Vujovic, from the northern city of Novi Sad. Serbian media said Vujovic was originally from the Kosovo town of Caglavica, but fled to central Serbia in the wake of the 1998-99 war.

Source: YahooNews.com

Like his “mentor” Joseph Stalin, the current KGB dictator of Russia hides his Leninism behind an unholy alliance with the Orthodox Church, the head of which, Moscow Patriarch Alexy II, is an alleged KGB agent. The Telegraph reports today that: “In an unusual move, Alexei II, the Church’s patriarch, has endorsed deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev ahead of next week’s presidential election. The influence of his support on Russia’s estimated 100 million Orthodox worshippers is immense. It also illustrates the unholy alliance the Church has forged with the Kremlin since Mr Putin came to power eight years ago.” Pictured above: “Ex”-KGB agent Putin and alleged KGB agent Alexy waltz.

Similarly, Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, has made his peace with the Orthodox hierarchy. In 1995 Zyuganov acknowledged the important role of the Orthodox Church in Russian society and advocated placing restrictions on foreign religious groups.

In 1892 Stalin, then only 14 years old, entered a seminary of the Georgian Orthodox Church in Tblisi to study for the “priesthood.” He later turned against religion, only to embrace communism. However, during the Great Patriotic War (Russia’s name for the Second World War to this very day), Stalin, now dictator of the Soviet Union, re-opened the churches, to stimulate patriotism in the face of Nazi German aggression. In 1959, though, Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev re-instigated communism’s persecution of the Orthodoxy, once again closing down churches.

It would appear that Putin, Zyuganov, and the other Soviet strategists, such as Oleg Shenin, are cynically using religion and market-based economics to hide their continuing commitment to world Leninist revolution. Thus, the Russian “Right,” as embodied by the Kremlin’s Chekist administration and its United Russia bootlickers, appears to be in the ascendency, while open communists like Zyuganov and Shenin languish on the sidelines. The facade of Putin’s “Christianity,” however, will drop when the Soviet strategists determine that the West has been subdued by way of peaceful convergence, nuclear blackmail, or a combination of both. The carefully manufactured Kosovo Crisis 2 provides an excellent opportunity to portray the West as aggressor.

>Breaking News: Kremlin media: Kosovo border police report Serb tanks taking positions near disputed border

>A story published by state-run Russia Today and which we posted earlier today has been updated with the following ominous news: “Kosovo border police have reported Serb tanks are taking positions near the Kosovo-Serb border.” Earlier today, as the link above reports, Serbia’s leftist president Boris Tadic, fresh from his trip to Romania where he secured the support of “ex”-communist President Traian Basescu, summoned the Council for National Security to discuss the situation in Kosovo.

>Breaking News: B-2 stealth bomber crashes on Guam, early Saturday morning local time

>A B-2 stealth bomber crashed on Guam early Saturday morning local time. Both pilots survived. CNN reports:

A B-2 stealth bomber crashed early Saturday morning local time in Guam, according to the Air Force. Two pilots who were onboard during the crash, at Andersen Air Force Base, ejected from the bomber and were in good condition afterward, according to an Air Force statement. The pilots were from the 509th Bomb Wing. The military was not releasing their names. Emergency responders were on the scene of the crash. A board of officers will investigate the crash’s cause.

>Latin America File: "Ex"-Marxist dictator Ortega lauds Obama campaign as "revolutionary," infiltrates Sandinista military officers into Fort Benning

>Nicaragua’s “ex”-Marxist dictator and current president Daniel Ortega has followed in the footsteps of his cadaverous mentor Fidel Castro by endorsing US presidential candidate Barack Obama. This is not a surprising development but, rather, demonstrates that the Latin American Red Axis is eagerly anticipating a Democratic victory at the polls in the USA this November.

In a related story, even as Ortega, along with millions of other leftists worldwide agitate for the demise of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, operated by the US Defense Department in Fort Benning, Georgia and formerly known as the School of the Americas, the Nicaraguan president has enrolled some of his army officials in that institution. Ortega, according to the report below, has not explained why he approved the training. Indeed, this would appear to be a case of infiltration under the guise of feigned friendship with Washington. One organization that seeks to shut down the WHISC/SOA is School of the Americas Watch (SOAW). This week SOAW founder Maryknoller “Father” Roy Bourgeois visited Nicaragua and Ecuador, where he met with Ortega and President Rafael Correa (incriminating pictures below).

It should be pointed out that Nicaragua’s top general Omar Halleslevens is a Sandinista and that, moreover, Managua and Moscow have re-established their old political-military axis with a number of exchanges between the two capitals since January 2007.

Nicaraguan leader calls Obama’s campaign ‘revolutionary’
The Associated Press
Thursday, February 14, 2008

MANAGUA, Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega, who led the 1979 revolution in Nicaragua, says Barack Obama’s presidential bid is a “revolutionary” phenomenon in the United States.

“It’s not to say that there is already a revolution under way in the U.S. … but yes, they are laying the foundations for a revolutionary change,” the Sandinista leader said Wednesday night as he accepted an honorary doctorate from an engineering university.

Ortega led a Soviet-backed government that battled U.S.-supported Contra rebels before he lost power in a 1990 election. He returned to office last year via the ballot box.

In statements broadcast on Sandinista Radio La Primerisima, Ortega said he has “faith in God and in the North American people, and above all in the youth, that the moment of great change in the U.S. will come and it will act differently, with justice and equality toward all nations.”

Obama, a senator from Illinois, is locked in a tight race with Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Ortega also called Obama a spokesman for the millions of Central American and Mexican citizens who migrate to the U.S. in search of work, though polls indicate most Latino voters so far have favored Clinton over Obama.

Also Wednesday, Ortega gave approval to various army officials to receive training at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, operated by the U.S. Defense Department in Fort Benning, Georgia, even as he said he would continue to lobby for the school’s closure.

The president claims that members of the now-defunct National Guard who were trained at the school, formerly known as the School of the Americas, were involved in torture. Human rights groups say graduates went on to commit abuses throughout Latin America.

The U.S. military has acknowledged that some graduates committed crimes after attending the School of the Americas, but that no cause-and-effect relationship has ever been established.

Ortega did not explain why he approved the training, but said he would try to ensure officials did not turn into “torturers and killers.”

Source: International Herald Tribune

>Middle East File: Turkey launches ground offensive in north Iraq with 10,000 troops; Moscow urges coalition government in Islamabad following election

>Last night, in an effort to wipe out bases of the Marxist guerrillas fighting under the banner of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as many as 10,000 Turkish troops, according to one report, have penetrated six miles into the territory of northern Iraq. Last October the Turkish parliament voted to allow its army to enter northern Iraq to exterminate the PKK. In order to assure Baghdad of its benign intentions toward Iraq itself, however, the Turkish military released the following statement: “The Turkish armed forces, which value Iraq’s territorial integrity and its stability, will return as soon as planned goals are achieved.” Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, a spokesman for US forces in Iraq, articulated Washington’s support for Ankara’s military offensive against the PKK: “The United States continues to support Turkey’s right to defend itself from the terrorist activities of the PKK and has encouraged Turkey to use all available means, to include diplomacy and close coordination with the government of Iraq to ultimately resolve this issue.” Pictured above: Turkish tanks head for Iraq.

In a 1997 article Bill Gertz related that “post”-communist Russia, using intermediaries in Eastern Europe, is still arming the PKK: “A group of up to 20 Russians based in Moscow have been smuggling arms to Kurdish terrorists using Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the former Yugoslavia as transit points, according to a U.S. intelligence report. The report, obtained by The Washington Times, says the smugglers, including former Red Army soldiers, work on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, to obtain the weapons as part of an organized-crime operation involving high-level Russian government officials.”

Meanwhile, on February 18, following months of political unrest, rebellion, suicide bombings, and assassinations that included the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis elected members to the National Assembly. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which operates under the corrupt leadership of Bhutto’s widower Asif Ali Zardari and son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and affiliates with the Socialist International, scored the largest number of seats. Other parties that obtained seats include the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), which supports President Pervez Musharraf; the Pakistan Muslim League (N), which intends to enter a coalition government with the PPP; the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (nationalist); the Awami National Party; and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). At the regional level, the center-left Awami National Party ousted the Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in the North-West Frontier Province, where it intends to form a coalition government with the PPP.

Neo-Soviet Russia is encouraging ex-rivals Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in a coup by then General Musharraf in 1999, to form a coalition government at the national level. State-run Novosti quotes Russian Foreign Minister spokesentity Mikhail Kamynin as saying:

Russia is closely observing developments in Pakistan following the February 18 parliamentary election. We hope the new government will be able to resolve tasks of vital importance – strengthening, and making more effective, the fight against Pakistan’s main threat – terrorism – as well as creating the socio-economic conditions necessary to strengthen national security. We hope the political forces that gained a majority in parliament will reach an agreement to form a broad coalition.

While the PPP is equated in the minds of many Pakistanis with the personal corruption of the Bhutto dynasty, a hard-core Marxist faction operates within the party and was instrumental in arranging the massive reception of three million Bhutto supporters when Benazir returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007. The Socialist Appeal website editorialized in October 2007 that “A socialist victory in Pakistan would open the floodgates of revolutionary upheavals across the South Asian subcontinent from Afghanistan to Burma where the masses are seething with revolt and yearning for a socialist transformation.” The In Defense of Marxism website, however, believes that a coalition government consisting of the PPP and PML (N) will simply perpetuate the “bourgeois” status quo in Pakistan. A socialist Pakistan would definitely render the nation unable to resist absorption into the Communist Bloc. That process, however, is already underway.

The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad relates that during the First Cold War (1945-1991) “Pakistan’s relations with the former Soviet Union, the predecessor of current Russia, fluctuated from cool to antagonistic and hostile.” These relations were particularly aggravated when Pakistan joined the long-defunct defense pacts known as the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO, 1955-1977) and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO, 1955-1979). The ISSI explains: “Moscow did not appreciate Pakistan’s alliance within SEATO and CENTO, which it interpreted as a link in the containment strategy against it by the United States.” Since the “collapse” of communism, Moscow has successfully captured Islamabad into its orbit, without at the same time antagonizing its traditional strategic partner India. In July 2002, for example, Pakistan and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding in Moscow that allows Gazprom to build a natural gas pipeline from Iran to India, transiting Pakistan. In 2003 President Musharraf visited Moscow and three years later Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Islamabad to ink a number of bilateral agreements between his country and Pakistan in the fields of defense, trade, economic cooperation, railways, oil, and gas. So brilliant has been Moscow’s strategy of wooing mutual enemies Pakistan and India, in fact, that both Islamabad and New Delhi, which currently hold observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, are seeking full membership in what constitutes the functional expression of the Moscow-Beijing Axis.

>Breaking News: US State Dept. orders non-essential diplomats and families to leave Serbia, Burns chastises Russia following Rogozin’s saber rattling

>Duck and cover. Sharp words are now being exchanged by US and Russian representatives over Kosovo Crisis 2. “We strongly advise Russia to be more responsible in its public comments toward Kosovo,” US diplomat Nicholas Burns warned today, referring to Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin, who intimated that the Kremlin could employ armed force to halt NATO military operations in Kosovo. Rogozin is a Komsomol graduate and is pictured here with friend Che. Burns continued: “Russia is isolated this week — very few countries are supporting its position.” This heated response from Washington is precisely what the warmongering Leninist masterminds in the Kremlin are seeking.

U.S. Orders Diplomats to Leave Serbia After Embassy Attack
Friday, February 22, 2008

WASHINGTON — The State Department on Friday ordered nonessential diplomats and the families of all American personnel at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade to leave Serbia, following an attack on the compound.

The move, made at the request of U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Cameron Munter, came as U.S. diplomats across the Balkans went on alert, girding for more anti-American violence after Serb rioters stormed and torched the Belgrade embassy Thursday, causing as-yet undetermined damage and drawing fierce condemnation from Washington.

“We are not sufficiently confident that they are safe here,” Munter said in an interview in Belgrade.

A State Department official said 14 embassy employees were on the site when a mob attacked but that all American and local staff are safe. The charred body of one person found in the compound is believed to be that of a protester, spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Protests over the declaration of independence by the former Serbian province of Kosovo have increased tensions across the region. And new mass demonstrations are expected following recognition of Kosovo by the United States and other Western countries.

At the same time, third-ranking U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns called on Serbia’s main ally Russia to repudiate a suggestion by one of its officials that it may need to use military force to earn respect after the U.S. and other countries recognized the independence of Kosovo, which is mainly ethnic Albanian, over strong Serb and Russian protests.

“We strongly advise Russia to be more responsible in its public comments toward Kosovo,” Burns said, responding to questions in an online written discussion. “Russia is isolated this week — very few countries are supporting its position.”

Earlier, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said the move to recognize was Kosovo a “strategic mistake” and suggested that Moscow might “have to use brute military force” if the alliance expands its current peacekeeping operation in the territory.

The decision to implement what is known as an “ordered departure” at the Belgrade embassy will affect some of the between 80 and 100 Americans who work at the embassy, but it was not clear how many of them or how many family members would be affected by the order.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that the Bush administration believes the attack on the embassy in Belgrade was “conducted by hooligans and thugs.”

“We don’t believe that this is the face that Serbia wants to present to the world, and we quite frankly don’t believe that this is the face of Serbia,” Stanzel said. “We want to continue to work to integrate Serbia into European institutions.”

Source: Fox News

>EU File: KFOR troops fire tear gas at 5,000 Serbs in Mitrovica, Russia’s NATO envoy: Kosovo drug mafia bribed EU, Kremlin will use force

>The situation in Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo, which this week was recognized as an independent state by many countries, including the USA, continues to deteriorate. United Nations officials are condemning the attack on a number of embassies in Belgrade yesterday, claiming that Serbian police made no effort to protect the facilities. The UN Security Council issued a unanimous statement: “The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the mob attacks against embassies in Belgrade, which have resulted in damage to embassy premises and have endangered diplomatic personnel.” State-run Novosti reports that more than 150 people were injured in yesterday’s riot in Belgrade.

Pictured above: On the border between Kosovo and Serbia proper.

With respect to the US embassy, which was torched and in which at least one still unidentified person was apparently burned to death, White House spokesentity Dana Perino was less restrained in her response: “Our embassy was attacked by thugs. We have made known to the Serbian government our concern and displeasure that their police force did not prevent this incident.” US State Department spokesentity Sean McCormack informed reporters that a formal protest had been lodged with the Serbian government: “The message was very clear – that the situation was intolerable, they needed to act immediately to provide the adequate security forces so that our embassy compound and our personnel were not under attack. We will hold Mr Kostunica and his foreign minister personally responsible for further damage.”

Meanwhile, in the Kosovar town of Mitrovica, troops deployed under the banners of the UN and NATO’s Kosovo Mission fired tear gas at 5,000 Serbs who were attempting to cross a bridge that divides the ethnic Serbian and Albanian parts of the city. These particular demonstrators participated in yesterday’s government-sponsored rally in Belgrade and later headed south to cross the border into Kosovo and besiege Mitrovica. State-run Russia Today reports about the arrival of the same protesters at the embattled town:

Violence breaks out as Serbs push into Kosovo
February 22, 2008, 18:17

Police in Kosovo’s northern city of Mitrovica are holding off thousands of Serb demonstrators who are trying to cross the bridge dividing the Serb and ethnic Albanian sides of the city. Police have been given the green light to use tough measures to keep any rioting under control.

Hundreds of ethnic Serbs have arrived in the province to show their support for the Serbian minority living there. NATO troops and police have increased their presence fearing a repeat of the overnight violence that gripped the Serbian capital Belgrade, killing one and injuring around 130. The violence has also resulted in damage to a number of Western embassies.

In Belgrade President Boris Tadic has called on the Council for National Security to discuss the situation in the country. He said there was no excuse for violence and nothing could justify Thursday’s unrest.

Meanwhile, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, says [Western] alliance officials in Kosovo should not overstep the bounds of their mandate.

“Some high-ranking NATO officials are giving orders that are obviously inconsistent with their authority, such as an order to block the border in northern Kosovo, where mostly ethnic Serbs live. This means that Kosovo Serbs are cut off from Serbia itself. If the Albanians decide to break away, that doesn’t mean they can seize someone else’s property and citizens.

“The thing is that the Serbs in Kosovo, who were previously citizens of their country, suddenly do not know who they are – Kosovars or inhabitants of an independent territory. Besides, we’re disturbed by reports, although it needs checking, that some NATO military chiefs are considering whether to stop representatives of the Serbian administration entering Kosovo. This is not in their mandate. For us, the main thing is that NATO shouldn’t intervene in politics, but stick to a neutral position on Kosovo, as it always did,” Rogozin said.

Dmitry Rogozin, former politician and currently Russia’s hawkish envoy to the NATO-Russia Council, made several comments today that should cause the West to carefully reconsider its support for Kosovar independence. First, as reported above, Rogozin, speaking in Moscow, questioned the authority of NATO commanders in Kosovo to block the border between Kosovo and Serbia proper, which occurred for 24 hours this week, as well as to prevent emissaries of Belgrade to enter Kosovo.

Second, while denying that Russia was preparing to execute military operations in Kosovo to support its ally Serbia, Rogozin again presented the Kremlin’s case for using armed force against the West in order to maintain the territorial integrity of Russia.

Those states that supported Pristina find that they are making up an absolute minority. That means that today the European Union, if its members find common ground, and NATO, if it oversteps the bounds of its mandate, both will enter a conflict with the United Nations. And this is serious.

With the authority of the United Nations undermined, there is no strict and universal international law to safeguard global security.

This is not only between Russia and NATO. This is a conflict of the whole system of international security. This is not a diplomatic, but a political issue. An issue of the future, about whether there are any proprieties in interstate relations or that one can follow the policy of “he who has the power has the right.”

In this new world Russia has to rely on force to protect itself.

Then it has its own conclusions for Russia. We too would understand that we need brutal physical force to make sure we are respected, understood and that others acknowledge our right to our own point of view – and the name of that force is military force.

Obviously, Russia will not take part in any kind of military operations in Kosovo, in the Balkans or outside its borders in general. Russia has enough political and moral authority to defend international law, and that’s what it’s doing. But when the issue touches its own national interests, its borders and attempts to repeat the Kosovo scenario on Russian territory, it will defend not only international law, but also its own sovereignty.

Astute Kremlinologists, however, should not rule out the possibility that Belgrade’s staunchly pro-Moscow government could invite Russian troops to maintain Serbia’s territorial integrity. This might be the scenario that the Soviet strategists employ to supply a pretext for war against the West. Serbian Radical Party leader and failed presidential contender Tomislav Nikolic has already indicated that he supports the presence of Russian military bases in Serbia. In January Nikolic visited Moscow, where he met with Vladimir Putin’s anointed successor Dmitry Medvedev and Kremlin croney Sergei Mironov. The Kremlin has already consolidated its baleful influence in Serbia through Gazprom’s acquisition of the state-run Petroleum Industry of Serbia.

Third, Rogozin also made an intriguing admission today that bolsters the Kremlin’s view that NATO and the EU are recognizing Kosovar independence with the intent of dismembering and attacking the Slavic nations. “Recognition of Kosovo’s independence might have been funded by local drug mafia,” Kommersant Daily quoted Rogozin as saying. “The link between drug traffickers and recognition of self-proclaimed republic by the EU states is quite probable. Kosovo has long turned not only into the base for trafficking drugs to Europe but also into a big laboratory. Some policymakers in Europe might have been bribed by money of drug mafia.” The head of that drug mafia, as we have demonstrated, would be none other that Kosovo’s “ex”-communist Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a personal friend of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden. This particular comment, though, is rather disengenuous on Rogozin’s part since the Communist Bloc is one of the world’s largest narcotraffickers, with the special intent of subverting the West.

Rogozin is pictured above (right) in 1996 with then military commander Ratko Mladic (center) in Sarajevo, discussing the role of Russian volunteers in the Bosnian Serb army. This image can be found at Rogozin’s personal website. Mladic is a fugitive war criminal to this day and may have been hiding in Russia since 2005.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, moreover, is warning that Kosovo could be partitioned between ethnic Serbian and Albaninan regions. “A situation is emerging which in the future may lead to the self- isolation of Kosovan Serbs who disagree with or do not accept the unilateral proclamation of the independence of Kosovo by Pristina,” Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko explained today. He continued: “This can easily lead to the actual division of Kosovo.” Botsan-Kharchenko is deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department in charge of relations with the Balkans.

>Breaking News: High-ranking Russian Defense Ministry official tasked with "cleaning house" "commits suicide," criminal investigation launched

>Chalk another mark for the Kremlin body count. Colonel General Viktor Vlasov’s “suicide” today could be related to an ongoing investigation by Russian prosecutors into widespread official corruption.

Russian defense ministry confirms death of Gen. Vlasov
12:3021/ 02/ 2008

MOSCOW, February 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Defense Ministry has officially confirmed the death of Col.-Gen. Viktor Vlasov, the acting head of the ministry’s quartermaster service, a spokesman for the ministry said on Thursday.

A source in Russia’s law enforcement bodies said earlier that the death of Vlasov, 57, may have been suicide, while the Russian Defense Ministry refused to comment.

The source added that Vlasov had recently launched multiple inquiries into the activities of the ministry’s quartermaster service, in the course of which he had discovered a number of violations.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s office has launched a criminal investigation in the death of the military official.

Vlasov coordinated an ambitious ministry program on the provision of residential apartments for families of military servicemen, which had a budget of 13 billion rubles (about $530 million) in 2007.

In all, 36.7 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) were spent last year on the provision of residential apartments for military servicemen and their families.

Source: Novosti

>Breaking News: 150,000 Serbs march in Belgrade, protesters storm US embassy second time, enter, set fires; Serb army reservists clash with KFOR troops

>– Stratfor asks pertinent question: Is PM Kostunica planning a coup?

-Fox News: Charred body found in US embassy

The situation in Serbia and the newly proclaimed Republic of Kosovo is rapidly deteriorating following the massive government-sponsored rally in Belgrade today: “State railroads provided free transport to protesters, and schools across the country were closed Thursday for the ‘Kosovo is Ours’ rally in the Serb capital.” Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica addressed the crowd of 150,000, vowing: “Kosovo is Serbia’s first name. The declaration of independence is illegal and we will do all we can to get it annulled.” The first attempt to storm the US embassy in Belgrade occurred this past Sunday, but protesters were unable to enter the facility at that time. Fox News reports that a charred body has been found in the US embassy, but the person has not been identified. An independent Serbian media source reports that the Canadian, Bosnian, Turkish, and German embassies were also stoned. All of these countries have recognized or indicated that they will recognize Kosovo’s secession from Serbia.

Tensions also erupted, as CNN reports below, at the border checkpoint of Merdare, where several hundred Serbian army reservists burned tires and hurled rocks at NATO’s KFOR troops and police.

To demonstrate their solidarity with Serbia, several hundred ethnic Serbs staged a rally in the Bosnians cities of Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

Serbian President Boris Tadic is presently in Romania where he is conferring with his sympathetic counterpart, “ex”-communist President Traian Basescu. “We will never falter and we will never surrender. We will continue our struggle in a peaceful manner, with a well-defined strategic plan and we will protect our interests,” Tadic declared in Bucharest. The Romanian government has assured Belgrade that, despite its membership in the European Union, it will oppose Kosovar independence. In view of President Tadic’s absence from the country and the Serb army stand down, Stratfor is asking the question: Is PM Kostunica planning a coup?

Serb protesters attack U.S. embassy
February 21, 2008

(CNN) — Angry demonstrators protesting Kosovo’s independence from Serbia attacked the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade on Thursday, throwing rocks, breaking windows and setting fires.

Serbian TV showed someone trying to set fire to the U.S. flag at the embassy, which was closed and unstaffed when the masked protesters attacked.

Riot police fired tear gas at the rioters and lines of armored vehicles were on the streets before the embassy perimeter was secured. A State Department official told CNN “things are under control.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said; “We are in contact with the Serbian government to ensure that they devote the appropriate assets to fulfill their international obligations to help protect diplomatic facilities in this case.”

Kosovo declared independence last Sunday and the United States was among the first countries to offer official recognition of its split from Serbia.

Bratislaw Grubacic, chief editor of VIP magazine in Belgrade, said police reported 32 people injured, including 14 police officers.

Teresa Gould, a translator for Belgrade TV, said the Croatian Embassy next door also was attacked. Police quickly rounded up the demonstrators, witnesses said.

Smaller groups attacked police posts outside the Turkish and British embassies in another part of the city but were beaten back, The Associated Press reported.

The violence was part of a much bigger, peaceful demonstration where up to 150,000 people chanted ‘Kosovo is Serbia,” and vowed to never accept the province’s independence.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who earlier addressed the peaceful rally, said “Kosovo is Serbia’s first name.” He called the declaration of independence last Sunday illegal and said will do all he can to get it annulled.

State railroads provided free transport to protesters, and schools across the country were closed Thursday for the “Kosovo is Ours” rally in the Serb capital, The Associated Press reported.

Tensions also erupted at the Kosovo border checkpoint in Merdare — about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Kosovo’s capital Pristina — as several hundred Serbian army reservists clashed with NATO-led peacekeepers and police, AP said.

Photographs showed demonstrators, many of them wearing their reservist uniform, hurling rocks and setting tires alight to create a wall of smoke.

U.N. police said the demonstrators had come by bus from the Serbian town of Kursumlija and were largely army veterans who had fought with the Serbian side in Kosovo’s 1998-1999 war, AP reported.

Following the clashes, the demonstrators dismantled and returned to the Serbian side of the checkpoint.

Meanwhile several hundred Bosnian Serbs rallied in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka and in the Sarajevo suburb of Lukavica, AP said.

Students in Lukavica were seen waving
Serbian flags and singing Serbian patriotic songs while police in Banja Luka were stopping demonstrators from marching on the U.S. consulate there.

The breakaway region has been recognized by the U.S. and several EU nations including the UK, France and Germany but the government in Belgrade maintains that Kosovo is a part of Serbia.


Amid simmering tensions in northern Kosovo, home to most of the region’s Serb minority, there were fears that Thursday’s rally could spill over into violence, as was seen at the Merdare border crossing, following attacks by Serb nationalists on western targets in Belgrade including the U.S. embassy earlier this week.

The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade advised American citizens to stay away from the gathering, warning that “businesses and organizations with U.S. affiliations may serve as focal points for these demonstrations.”

“We wish to remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any protests,” a statement said.


On Thursday, Italy became the latest European nation to recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty, AP reported.


“The recognition of Kosovo’s independence does not take away anything from our closeness to Serbia,” Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi told reporters.


Russia and China continue to oppose Kosovo’s declaration of independence while Spain has expressed concern that recognition will give momentum to secessionist movements in other countries, such as the Basques in northern Spain.

Source: CNN

>USA/USSR2 Files: Navy destroys disabled US 193 satellite with SM-3 missile, 130 miles above Pacific; Belarus: USA tested new space weapon

>The Pentagon has released a video of yesterday’s RIM-161 SM-3 missile intercept of disabled USA 193 satellite, 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean. The missile was fired by the USS Lake Erie, west of Hawaii. Fox News covers the story here.

Not surprisingly, the Soviets are crying “foul.” The Belarusian Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev is accusing the USA of testing a new space weapon: “The cruiser that launched the missile has participated in a number of missile tests, and here they have got a perfect opportunity to conduct a real launch. Any military commander would have used such an opportunity.” Russia’s Defense Ministry stated today that it will “closely monitor the consequences of the operation.” No doubt.

Belarus says U.S. tested new space weapon
17:0521/ 02/ 2008

MINSK, February 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Belarusian defense minister accused the United States on Thursday of using the destruction of a defunct NASA satellite to test a new space weapon.

An SM-3 missile fired at 3:26 a.m. GMT this morning from the USS Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, hit the bus-sized satellite about 247 kilometers (133 nautical miles) above the ocean to the northwest of Hawaii.

“The cruiser that launched the missile has participated in a number of missile tests, and here they have got a perfect opportunity to conduct a real launch,” Leonid Maltsev said. “Any military commander would have used such an opportunity.”

The satellite was launched in 2006 and malfunctioned almost immediately. On board was around 1,000 pounds of propellant fuel (hydrazine), a hazardous material.

President George W. Bush had authorized the destruction of the satellite using a sea-to-air missile “to mitigate the risk to human lives by engaging the nonfunctioning satellite.”

Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference in the Pentagon earlier today that the missile hit the disabled spy satellite, sending it falling to Earth, but said he couldn’t rule out that hazardous material would also fall to the Earth.

“We’re very confident that we hit the satellite. We also have a high degree of confidence that we got the tank,” he said, adding that it could take at least another 24 hours to know for sure that the tank containing toxic fuel had been destroyed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday it would closely monitor the consequences of the operation.

“We will study the results of this operation,” Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy Air Force commander said. “The satellite’s trajectory was far from Russia and the Russian Federation was not threatened by the hit.”

Source: Novosti

Supersizing the New Soviet Union

Russia and Belarus are not only united in a common defense arrangement, as exemplified by the Union Shield-2006 joint military maneuver, but also as a common political unit in the United State of Russia and Belarus (Soyuznoye gosudarstvo Rossii i Belorussii, SGRB), a building block for the restored Soviet Union. At a January 25 signing ceremony in Moscow, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan formed a customs union that will be implemented by the end of 2010. Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov has confirmed that his country, as well as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, are preparing to join the customs union too.

The governments of Serbia, Moldova, and Transnistria–an unrecognized breakaway region of Moldova–have indicated that they would like to join the SGRB. In April 1999 the parliament of the defunct Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then under the control of unrepentant communist President Slobodan Milosevic, voted to join the union. Serbian membeship in a restored Soviet Union remains a real possibility in view of the pro-Moscow orientation of President Boris Tadic, whose Democratic Party is affiliated with the Socialist International, and Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, whose somewhat more right-wing Democratic Party of Serbia split from the other, similarly named party in 1992, and their anger over the West’s recognition of Kosovar independence, not to mention Gazprom’s recent, unhindered absorption of the Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS).

Ukrainians appear divided, with some favoring membership in the European Union, which in reality is another Leninist building block for world government, and others like Communist Party of Ukraine member Alexander Tkachenko advocating union with the SGRB.

As we have blogged previously, Russia’s strategic partner Iran might be a candidate for the United State by way of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the military pact that binds the Commonwealth of Independent States. Moscow would finally have its warm-water port on the Persian Gulf.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia’s back-to-back military maneuvers continue with mid-air refueling drills; Putin: more combat aircraft needed

>Yesterday state-run Voice of Russia announced: “Russian strategic bombers begin two-day routine flights today to practice all-weather piloting and mid-air refueling. Air Force spokesman Alexander Drobysyhevsky said on Monday that Moscow always informed its partners about such missions and regularly invited Russian and foreign media to its air bases.” In reality, the primary means by which the Kremlin informs its “partners” (which is Leninspeak for neo-Soviet Russia’s enemies NATO and the USA) of ongoing military exercises appears to be the state media outlets. Today the same source reported on the conclusion of this two-day aviation maneuver: “Russia’s long-range aviation is through with its exercise to train the coordination of action by plane crews, including during mid-air refuelling. Over 30 aircraft were involved in the exercise to fly more than 70 missions. NATO fighter planes escorted Russian aircraft in no-man’s air space. Last year Russia resumed its airborne alert in the world’s remote areas which this country sees as strategically important.”

Pictured above: A Tu-95 strategic bomber tanks up in flight. Don’t laugh at the “Bear,” which is more than 50 years old. With its turboprop-driven contra-rotating propellers, the Bear provides the Russian Air Force with a noisy but fast and reliable platform for nuke-tipped cruise missiles.

The modernization of Russia’s air force continues at a rapid pace with the introduction into service of the new Su-35 Flanker-E multi-role fighter by 2011. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin is urging Russia’s aerospace industry to accelerate military aircraft production under the direction of the new Kremlin-run United Aircraft Building Corporation, which embraces Mikoyan, Ilyushin, Irkut, Sukhoi, Tupolev, Yakovlev, and other aircraft manufacturers. “I consider it unacceptable when foreign customers receive advanced aircraft from Russia, while the country’s Air Force mainly gets overhauled planes built many years ago,” Putin complained. Today Russia’s KGB dictator also signed a decree that establishes a national aircraft building center in Zhukovsky, near Moscow.

Putin demands more aircraft for Russian Air Force
17:2220/ 02/ 2008

ZHUKOVSKY (Mocow Region) – Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded on Wednesday that the state program for arms procurement be adjusted to increase the number of modern combat aircraft for the Air Force.

“I consider it unacceptable when foreign customers receive advanced aircraft from Russia, while the country’s Air Force mainly gets overhauled planes built many years ago,” the president said at a meeting with aircraft industry officials in Zhukovsky, near Moscow.

In 2007, Russia’s leading aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi alone exported about 50 Su-30MK2, Su-30MKM and Su-30MKI aircraft in addition to spare parts for aircraft sold earlier to Algeria, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Venezuela.

According to the 2007-2015 State Armaments Program, the Russian Air Force is supposed to receive 116 new and 408 upgraded aircraft for forward-deployed units, and 156 new and 372 modernized helicopters in the next eight years.

“I believe the State Armaments Program should be adjusted to increase the procurement of aircraft for national defense,” the president said.

Putin said that in order to meet the growing demand for aircraft it was necessary to continue the steady development of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

The UAC was established on February 20, 2006, to help overcome a crisis in Russia’s aircraft industry. It incorporates many of the country’s best-known aircraft builders, including Mikoyan, Ilyushin, Irkut, Sukhoi, Tupolev, Yakovlev and other enterprises in the industry.

“Due to fierce competition among the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, the company [UAC] must establish its presence on global markets as one of the leaders,” Putin said. “The UAC should increase its revenues at least five-fold by 2025.”

Also on Wednesday, Putin signed a decree setting up a national aircraft-building center in Zhukovsky.

Source: Novosti

In a related story, Russia continues to re-consolidate its strategic partnership with its old North African ally Algeria. The partnership includes a US$7.5 billion arms sale to Algiers in 2006 and the transfer of 50 Su-30MK2, Su-30MKM, and Su-30MKI aircraft and spare parts to Algiers and other client states in 2007. Yesterday, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a member of the long-ruling socialist National Liberation Front, travelled to Moscow to confer with Putin:

Russia and Algeria should evaluate trade and economic relations and resolve all issues preventing their further development, the Algerian president said on Tuesday at a meeting with his Russian counterpart. Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika said he was not “fully satisfied by the development of bilateral [economic] relations”. “We have to understand why our performance was better in 2006 than in 2007,” he said, “it is probable, that both parties are responsible.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he hoped the free trade zone between Algeria and the European Union would not put Russian companies at a disadvantage on the Algerian market.

>EU File: NATO’s KFOR troops close border between north Kosovo and Serbia, Belgrade withdraws ambassadors from states recognizing secessionist regime

>Relations with the states that have recognized Kosovo have suffered permanent damage.
— Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, February 20, 2008

In response to a coordinated action by ethnic Serbs to demolish the internal boundary crossings between Kosovo and Serbia proper, NATO’s Kosovo Force has closed the border between the two regions for at least 24 hours. Pictured here and below: Jarinje, Kosovo, February 19. BBC News reports that Serbia’s minister for Kosovo, Slobodan Samardzic, announced that Belgrade intends to assume control of the customs posts to establish Serbian statehood over the region. The Serbian parliament has officially condemned Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI).

Among the countries recognizing Kosovar independence since its formal declaration on February 17 are Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Turkey, Albania, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and the USA. Serbia is again facing international isolation, as it did under Slobodan Milosevic’s communist regime, as it recalls its ambassadors from all of these countries. Theoretically committed to Kosovar independence, Canada’s Conservative minority government is approaching the subject of recognizing the new state delicately so as not to enflame the passions of Quebec separatists, whose “ex”-communist leader insists that Ottawa should extend recognition.

Russia, China, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus support Serbia’s refusal to recognize the validity of Pristina’s secessionist regime. Taiwan, in a move that will likely infuriate Beijing, has recognized the new Republic of Kosovo.

Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith has assumed his role as the European Union’s special representative to Kosovo. A 2,000-member EU police and justice mission will be deployed to the new state in the weeks ahead. London, which already has strained relations with Moscow over the 2006 assassination of exiled Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, appointed an ambassador to Pristina today. David Blunt has coordinated the British Office in Pristina, now the British Embassy, since January 2006.

Oblivious to the seriousness of the Kremlin’s threats over Kosovar independence, a senior Western official is quoted as saying: “Confrontation with Russia is a price worth paying for Kosovo’s independence. Europe has stood up and been counted. It had done so despite Russian muscle flexing. We wanted to do it with Russian co-operation. But the Russians chose not to.” Russia’s confrontation with the EU over “post”-communist Kosovo is disengenous since Mikhail Gorbachev’s “New European Soviet/Common European Home” is in reality Moscow’s plan for stealthily absorbing the entire European landmass for Leninist revolution.

Nato troops close Kosovo border
Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 11:42 GMT

Nato troops have sealed the northern borders of Kosovo after Serbs angry at its weekend declaration of independence ransacked two crossings.

Hundreds of protesters torched customs and police posts at Jarinje and Brnjak, manned by UN and Kosovo police.

Closing the borders will infuriate both Kosovo Serbs and Serbia’s government, says the BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Kosovo.

The move cuts Kosovo’s mainly Serb north off from Serbia, the country to which they insist they still belong.

Nato said it was shutting the crossings, initially for a 24-hour period.

Bulldozers and explosives

The protesters arrived in convoys of cars and buses in what our correspondent says was clearly a carefully planned and coordinated action.

Kosovo police and UN customs officials were forced to withdraw to a nearby tunnel as the crowds used bulldozers and explosives to demolish the border posts, according to witnesses.

Nato-led peacekeepers from K-For were called in and US, Estonian and French troops sealed the two border crossings.

Serbia’s minister for Kosovo, Slobodan Samardzic, said his government intended to take control of the customs posts to establish what he called the fully authority of Serbian statehood.

‘Second Kosovo’

The attacks on the crossings and the Nato response put the international community on a collision course with both Kosovo Serbs and the Serbian government, our correspondent says.

He says that what is emerging on the ground is a second Kosovo.

Students in the Serb-dominated town of Mitrovica are organising daily protests at 12.44 pm, referring to UN Security Council resolution 1244 under which Serbia insists it still has sovereignty of Kosovo under international law.

In Pristina, Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith began his task as the EU’s special representative to Kosovo.

Mr Feith – who will head the international civilian office due to take over from the UN – insisted that the EU mission would be deployed throughout Kosovo despite Serb hostility.

“We need to reach out to the Serb communities here in Kosovo and we are, of course, in touch with Belgrade,” he said.

A 2,000-strong EU police and justice mission will take shape in the coming weeks.

‘Encouraging separatism’

Russia has sharply criticised Brussels’ role in Kosovo. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said that by “pursuing the unilateral scenario of solving the Kosovo problem… the European Union encourages separatism in the world”.

He was speaking after EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana became the first international statesman to visit Kosovo since its independence declaration on Sunday.

The US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy have all recognised the new state, but others have not.
The UN Security Council is divided over how to respond to Kosovo’s move, and it has failed to agree on any action.

China has expressed its deep concern and official media in Beijing announced that a further small deployment of UN peacekeepers would be sent to Pristina next month.

Ambassadors recalled

On Monday, the Serbian parliament passed a resolution condemning Kosovo’s declaration of independence. The resolution also formally annulled the acts of the government in Pristina, saying Belgrade’s sovereignty over Kosovo was guaranteed by the UN and international law.

In a separate move, Serbia has recalled its ambassadors to the US, France and Turkey because those countries had recognised Kosovo’s independence.

EU member states set aside differences over the recognition of Kosovo earlier this week by stressing that it was not a precedent for separatists elsewhere.

Spain and several other member states have withheld recognition because of concerns about separatist movements within their own borders.

Serbian security forces were driven out of Kosovo in 1999 after a Nato bombing campaign aimed at halting the violent repression of ethnic Albanian separatists.

The province has been under UN administration and Nato protection since then.

Source: BBC News

>USSR2 File: Armenians choose "ex"-CPSU PM Sarkisian to replace "ex"-CPSU Kocharian as president; rival Ter-Petrossian met Medvedev before election

>In another potemkin “post”-Soviet election, Armenians yesterday replaced “ex”-CPSU President Robert Kocharian with another communist cadre, Serge Sarkisian, who is presently prime minister and enjoys Kocharian’s confidence. Both men are members of the crypto-communist Republican Party of Armenia. Reuters reports: “Sarksyan has promised to continue the policies of outgoing President Robert Kocharyan, his close ally.” Those policies, no doubt, include subservience to the Kremlin’s Leninist masterminds. Sarkisian’s main “rival” was Levon Ter-Petrossian, a KGB-controlled dissident with communist parents who was Armenia’s first “post”-communist president. On February 11, state-run Regnum News Agency reports, Ter-Petrossian met Vladimir Putin’s anointed successor, Komsomol businessman, and Gazprom CEO Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow. Little is disclosed by this source about the nature of that meeting, but it could represent a covert line of control between Moscow and Yerevan. After the election Ter-Petrossian played the part of the aggrieved loser: “Once again we have had our usual shameful election. Once again crude force has committed an act of violence against the will of the people.”

Thousands protest over Armenia’s election result
By Margarita Antidze and Hasmik Mkrtchyan
Wednesday, February 20, 2008; 8:57 AM

YEREVAN (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters gathered in Armenia’s capital on Wednesday claiming a presidential election was rigged to hand victory to Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan, but Western observers called it broadly fair.

Sarksyan has promised to continue the policies of outgoing President Robert Kocharyan, his close ally. The new leader’s biggest challenges will be a simmering territorial conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan and frozen ties with Turkey.

Sarksyan took 52.86 percent of the votes, the Central Election Committee said, giving him enough to win outright in the first round.

Nearest rival Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Armenia’s first president after independence from the Soviet Union, had 21.5 percent.

“Yesterday’s presidential election in Armenia was conducted mostly in line with the country’s international commitments,” observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said in a statement.

“Further improvements are necessary to address remaining challenges,” it added.

Earlier, Kocharyan congratulated 53-year-old Sarksyan on his victory in what he called free and fair elections.

Ter-Petrosyan’s supporters though refused to recognize the result and said they would protest until Sarksyan’s victory was overturned. They said Tuesday’s vote was marred by ballot-stuffing and intimidation of the opposition.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 protesters gathered at a rally in central Yerevan, chanting “Levon! Levon!” and “Serzh: leave!,” a Reuters reporter said.

They were preparing to march towards the Central Election Commission building. Police kept their distance from the protesters.

“Once again we have had our usual shameful election,” Ter-Petrosyan told the crowd. “Once again crude force has committed an act of violence against the will of the people.”

“We will proceed calmly and with restraint, and with no doubt about our ultimate victory,” he said.

HISTORY OF CONVULSIONS

Previous elections in Armenia have been followed by days of opposition protests alleging ballot fraud. A new round of protests will be a test for stability in a country which, in the 1990s, was rocked by political convulsions.

Armenia is squeezed between Turkey and Azerbaijan in a region that is emerging as an important transit route for oil exports from the Caspian Sea to world markets, though Armenia has no pipelines of its own.

Analysts say the unresolved conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh could flare again into violence, possibly threatening a BP-led oil pipeline that runs next to the conflict zone.

The first country in the world to adopt Christianity as the state religion, Armenia also has fraught relations with Turkey, in part because Ankara refuses to recognize as genocide the killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War One.

Kocharyan, who is also 53, is barred by the constitution from serving a third consecutive term. He is expected to remain influential but has refused to disclose what role he wants until his replacement is inaugurated.

He and Sarksyan, both natives of Nagorno-Karabakh and veterans of its 1990s separatist war there, are credited with overseeing a period of double-digit economic growth after economic meltdown under Ter-Petrosyan.

Source: The Washington Post

>USA File: Russia denounces US plans to shoot down disabled spy satellite as cover for anti-sat weapon test, Pentagon issues notice for Feb. 20

>On February 17 BBC News reported that Moscow is accusing Washington of using a plan to shoot down a disabled spy satellite as a cover for testing an anti-satellite weapon. Today CNN is reporting that the US Navy will probably make its first attempt to shoot down USA 193 on February 20: “The U.S. government issued a formal notice warning ships and planes to stay clear of a large area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. The notice says the two- and-a-half hour window begins 2:30 a.m. Thursday Greenwich Mean Time, which is 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on the East Coast, and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Hawaii. The timing is also after the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to be safely on the ground.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry issued the following statement in reponse to the Pentagon’s stated intention: “Speculations about the danger of the satellite hide preparations for the classical testing of an anti-satellite weapon. Such testing essentially means the creation of a new type of strategic weapons.” Frankly, the Kremlin’s complaint sounds like a case of sour grapes. Whenever the USA endeavors to design, construct, and deploy the means to defend itself, such as the proposed National Missile Defense installations in Central Europe, the Soviet leadership raises a hue and cry of protest. When China conducted an anti-satellite “kill” test in January 2007, Beijing’s strategic partners in Moscow went through the motions of lodging what was probably a feigned protest. In a not unrelated story, the Moscow-Beijing Axis is once again urging the United Nations to impose a ban on space weapons.

US spy satellite plan ‘a cover’
Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 00:43 GMT

Russia has accused the US of using a plan to shoot down a broken spy satellite as a cover for testing an anti-satellite weapon.

The US said last week that it would use a missile to destroy the satellite, to stop it from crash landing.

Officials say the satellite contains hazardous fuel which could kill humans.

But Russia’s defence ministry said the US planned to test its “anti-missile defence system’s capability to destroy other countries’ satellites”.

The US says the satellite lost power and communications shortly after it was launched in December 2006 and is now uncontrollable.

It says the satellite is carrying more than 1,000lb (454kg) of hydrazine fuel in a tank which would survive re-entry, and the substance could be released as a toxic gas if the satellite crash landed.

The Pentagon said on Saturday that the window for the operation would begin on Wednesday, when the space shuttle Atlantis ended its current mission.

But Russia’s defence ministry said the US had not given enough information on the reasons for the decision.

“Speculations about the danger of the satellite hide preparations for the classical testing of an anti-satellite weapon,” a statement reported by Itar-Tass news agency said.

“Such testing essentially means the creation of a new type of strategic weapons,” it added.

“The decision to destroy the American satellite does not look harmless as they try to claim, especially at a time when the US has been evading negotiations on the limitation of an arms race in outer space,” the statement continued.

The Russian defence ministry argued that various countries’ spacecraft had crashed to Earth in the past, and many countries used toxic fuel in spacecraft, but this had never before merited such “extraordinary measures”.

Toxic gas

The broken satellite had been predicted to reach the top of the Earth’s atmosphere towards the end of February or early March and officials could not predict where it would land.

A US general said on Thursday that exposure to the hydrazine would have similar effects to inhaling chlorine or ammonia – a burning sensation in lungs and, if too close and too much, then possibly death.

He said that blowing the satellite up would disperse the hydrazine in space, leaving only small-scale satellite debris to fall harmlessly to Earth.

The Pentagon says it plans to shoot down the satellite using a modified missile from a US Navy ship in the Pacific.

Last year, China carried out a test using a ground-based ballistic missile to destroy a satellite in space, prompting international alarm and fears of a space arms race.

On Thursday, US General James Cartwright said there was no parallel with Beijing’s actions as the Chinese satellite had been much further out from Earth, meaning its debris could be floating around for decades, endangering spacecraft.

He also denied claims that the main aim was to destroy secret parts.

Gen Cartwright said confidential components would be burned up in the atmosphere and, in any case, that would not be a reason for shooting down the satellite.

>USA File: Party of European Socialists head comments on Super Tuesday: "Conservative era in America ending"; Club of Madrid promotes Soviet script

>Socialists from Western European and communists-turned-social democrats from Eastern Europe–united under the banner of the Party of European Socialists, which forms the second largest bloc in the European Parliament–are closely following the US presidential campaign and the fortunes of front-running Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. More troubling for America, the leadership of the PES and the US Democratic Party have forged close personal links.

In December 2006 US Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, a rank socialist himself, addressed the PES congress in Porto, Portugal. Pictured above: Dean and PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, who hails from Denmark, gloat over America’s demise. Rasmussen is also a member of the Club of Madrid which promotes “democracy,” albeit of a leftist hue, around the world. Former Soviet Tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev and former US President and alleged KGB asset Bill Clinton are also Club of Madrid cadres. The North American branch of the Gorbachev Foundation supports the Club of Madrid, which is a perfect example of Leninist/globalist-scripted East-West convergence.

Rasmussen on super Tuesday
5 February 2008

Commenting from New York on the American super Tuesday primaries after the close of polls but before West Coast results, PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said “It feels like the end of the conservative era in America.”

“The Democrats have a new confidence. The Democrats know they have two outstanding candidates and the Clinton/Obama race is generating unprecedented excitement. The three major questions for ordinary people–the economic slowdown, health care reform and the war in Iraq – are all themes where the Democratic candidates have answers that reflect the wishes of the American people.”

“I see a new pride in being progressive. The Democrats are attracting a new generation into politics. The numbers taking part in Democratic primaries is massively up, while the numbers involved in Republican primaries is down.”

“Whoever wins the Democratic nomination still has a fight to beat the Republicans but I sense a hunger for change.”

Source: Party of European Socialists Website

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Kremlin dupes West: Russia to add second aircraft carrier to navy, modify 2004 agreement with strategic partner India

>During the months of December and January the Russian Navy and Air Force conducted a series of maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, including the Bay of Biscay. This saber rattling was designed to remind the sleepwalking West that neo-Soviet Russia is once again a power on the world’s oceans and in the world’s skies. Russia’s only operational aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, was put through its paces at the time. Under the guise of fitting a second carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, for service in the Indian Navy, the sneaky Soviets have notified their strategic partner that the vessel will be commissioned by the Russian Navy after all. To summarize: We’ll keep it, thanks! snaps Moscow to New Delhi. State-owned Kommersant Daily reports:

Aircraft Carrier May Go to Russian Navy
February 19, 2008

The aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be delivered to the Russian Navy instead of going to India after modernization. A source within the Russian military-industrial complex told RBK that Russia and India are now reaching an agreement on changing the conditions of the 2004 contract for the ship’s overhaul. Under that contract, India received the hull without charge on condition that it be modernized at Sevmashpredpriyatie. The value of that contract was $1.5 billion.

According to unofficial information, negotiations are currently underway to expand the value of the contract by about $1 billion. “That question is being worked out. If a compromise is not found with India, the aircraft carrier will probably be purchased by the Russian Navy,” the source said.

The Admiral Gorshkov was built in 1978 as the Baku. Its name was changed in 1991. It will be equipped with Russian-Indian Bramos missiles and Russian or Israeli air defense systems after modernization.

>Breaking News: Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba’s president, remains first secretary of Communist Party

>If the dynastic turnover of power within the Communist Party of Cuba proceeds smoothly, with Fidel Castro’s declared resignation, then any near-term collapse of the Soviet-backed regime in Havana will be wishful thinking. In his farewell spiel, Comrade Fidel assured his disciples of revolution: “Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the process. They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement.” The International Herald Tribune ponders: “His illness and departure from Cuba’s helm have raised doubts about the future of the Western Hemisphere’s only communist state.” Only communist state? Only communist state? How about Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, and Nicaragua?

In any event, so long, you old commie. You shouldn’t be allowed to depart so gracefully and you most certainly won’t be missed by the freedom lovers of the world and the Christians and journalists that you’ve persecuted, jailed, and murdered on your all-inclusive gulag worker’s paradise.

Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba’s president
Reuters
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HAVANA (Reuters) – Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro said Tuesday that he will not return to lead the country as president or commander-in-chief, retiring as head of state 49 years after he seized power in an armed revolution.

Castro, 81, said in a statement to the country that he would not seek a new presidential term when the National Assembly meets on Feb. 24.

“To my dear compatriots, who gave me the immense honor in recent days of electing me a member of parliament … I communicate to you that I will not aspire to or accept — I repeat not aspire to or accept — the positions of President of Council of State and Commander in Chief,” Castro said in the statement published on the Web site of the Communist Party’s Granma newspaper.

The National Assembly or legislature is expected to nominate his brother and designated successor Raul Castro, 76, as president in place of Castro, who has not appeared in public for almost 19 months after being stricken by an undisclosed illness.

The title of “Comandante en Jefe” or commander-in-chief, was created for him in 1958 as the leader of a guerrilla movement that swept down from the mountains of eastern Cuba to overthrow U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Castro’s retirement draws the curtain on a political career that spanned the Cold War and survived U.S. enmity, CIA assassination attempts and the demise of Soviet Communism.

A charismatic leader famous for his long speeches delivered in his green military fatigues, Castro is admired in the Third World for standing up to the United States but considered by his opponents a tyrant who suppressed freedom.

His illness and departure from Cuba’s helm have raised doubts about the future of the Western Hemisphere’s only communist state.

“Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the process,” Castro said in his statement.

“They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement,” he said.

The bearded leader who took power in an armed uprising against a U.S.-backed dictator in 1959 had temporarily ceded power to his younger brother after he underwent emergency surgery to stop intestinal bleeding in mid-2006.

Castro has only been seen in pictures since then, looking gaunt and frail, though his health improved enough a year ago to allow him to keep in the public mind writing reams of articles published by Cuba’s state press.

“This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the heading of ‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful,” Castro said.

Castro could remain politically influential as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party and elder statesman.

Raul Castro, Cuba’s long-standing defense minister, has run the country since July 31, 2006 as acting president. He has raised expectations of economic reforms to improve the daily lot of Cubans, but has yet to deliver.

Source: International Herald Tribune

Meanwhile, in a somewhat related story, Mexican officials are leaning towards the theory that last week’s bomb blast in the national capital was related to that country’s powerful FSB/KGB-infiltrated drug cartels, rather than the Popular Revolutionary Army. The Associated Press stated: “Authorities still haven’t established a motive in the crime but believe it was likely linked to organized crime rather than leftist groups, said a federal government employee who was familiar with the case but unable to speak on the record. In either case, both elements are part of Moscow and Havana’s “red cocaine” plan for subverting the USA.

>EU File: Kosovo Crisis 2: Serbs torch border posts, Belgrade rioters attack US embassy, KFOR troops mobilize, Moscow calls on UN to annul UDI

>We have a ready-made plan and we know what we are going to do.
— Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Kosovar independence, February 15, 2008

A long weekend holiday prevented us from blogging yesterday. However, we have been monitoring the situation in the ever-turbulent Balkans. Another European war appears to be simmering and might boil over with Kosovo’s secession from Serbia on Sunday, February 18. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a personal friend of Osama bin Laden and the “ex”-communist leader of Kosovo’s criminal underworld, declared: “We, the leaders of our people, democratically elected, through this declaration proclaim Kosovo an independent and sovereign state. Kosovo will be a society that respects human dignity and is committed to confronting the painful legacy of the recent past, in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness. The independence of Kosovo marks the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.”

Apparently unconvinced by Thaci’s blather about “reconciliation and forgiveness,” Serbs immediately took the offensive against Kosovar independence by lobbing grenades at United Nations court building in Mitrovica and storming the US embassy, a McDonald’s restaurant, and a government building in Belgrade on Sunday (pictured below), and sacking two border posts today, forcing NATO troops to intervene. Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, in the second article below, blamed Washington for the crisis: “The USA is ready to violate the international order for its own military interests. Today, this policy of force thinks that it has triumphed by establishing a false state.” KFOR’s 17,000 troops, which include detachments from the French, Danish, Belgian, and US armed forces, are stationed in north Kosovo, where most of the province’s ethnic Serbs reside, and endeavoring to stabilize the situation.

Kosovo violence shows risk of partition
Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:48am EST
By Douglas Hamilton

PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo Serbs sacked two border posts in the north of the newly independent republic on Tuesday, chasing off Albanian and U.N. police and forcing NATO troops to intervene.

Mobs of several hundred, some wearing ski masks, burned down the U.N., customs and police offices housed in containers on what was the internal boundary between Kosovo and Serbia.

It was the worst violence since Kosovo Albanian leaders declared independence from Serbia on Sunday, but no injuries were reported.

“It seems well organized, according to the number of buses we saw moving to the north,” said a spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping mission KFOR, whose troops were called in by Kosovo’s United Nations administrative mission, UNMIK.

EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana was expected in Kosovo later in the day to congratulate leaders on Sunday’s independence declaration, recognized by most Western powers a day later but denounced by Serbia and Russia as illegal.

Kosovo Serbs, backed by the Serbian government and its ally Russia, have warned that they will not recognize the authority of a European Union law-enforcement mission due to assume supervision of Kosovo from UNMIK over the next four months.

Serbs dominate a northwestern corner of Kosovo abutting Serbia proper where the United Nations has failed to establish its authority since 1999, and where Serbian state institutions are well entrenched — now with explicit Russian diplomatic backing.

“We’ll strongly warn against any attempts at repressive measures should Serbs in Kosovo decide not to comply with this unilateral proclamation of independence,” Russia’s U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Sunday.

One Western official in Kosovo said Tuesday’s violence was a sign that “we are inches from partition”.

He said he believed it was “only a matter of time before KFOR closes the bridges” that cross the River Ibar in the flashpoint city of Mitrovica, dividing Kosovo Serbs from Albanians.

But a U.N. official in Mitrovica played down the violence, saying: “We have had the major earthquake (independence). These are just aftershocks.”

EU STANDS BY DISPUTED MANDATE

Some 2 million Albanians live in Kosovo alongside around 120,000 remaining Serbs. Half of these are concentrated in the area running north from Mitrovica to the Serbian border, the rest in isolated enclaves further south.

The EU mission of 2,000 police and justice officials is intended to protect minority rights and uphold the rule of law.

It will take over from the U.N. mission that has administered the province since NATO intervened in 1999 to end a Serb counter-insurgency war.

A spokesman for the EU’s International Civilian Office, whose Dutch leader Pieter Feith is expected in Kosovo any day, said there was no plan to withdraw a small advance EU team from the north side of Mitrovica.

They would stay on and carry out their mandate, he said.

French, Danish, Belgian and American troops are in the north, part of KFOR’s 35-nation force of 17,000.

Angry Serb demonstrations and two nights of vandalism against vehicles and symbols of the international presence in Kosovo have thrown down a gauntlet to the EU mission.

NATO had said on Monday conditions on the ground in Kosovo were quiet after its declaration of independence and there was no current need to reinforce its peacekeeping force.

A reinforcement battalion of about 600 troops is on standby in Britain but KFOR had not asked for them yet, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman in London said.

Source: Reuters

As we have blogged before, neo-Soviet Russia is adamantly opposed to Kosovar independence and has rushed to the defense of its ally Serbia, not only through diplomatic protests but also by extending its influence in the region, namely, by buying up Serbia’s state-run oil monopoly. BBC News reports below that: “The UN Security Council went into emergency session on Sunday evening after Russia called for the United Nations to declare the Kosovo declaration illegal. . . . Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that the resolution allowing the UN to administer Kosovo since 1999 was still in force so there could be no legal basis for any change in status.” We have also suggested that Moscow is using the issue of Kosovar independence as a pretext to again portray NATO as aggressor, as it did during the Kosovo War in 1999, and launch preemptive strikes against the West. In last week’s final presidential address, Vladimir Putin ominously hinted of Russia’s response to Kosovo’s UDI: “We have a ready-made plan and we know what we are going to do.”
The UN will oversee the development of Kosovo as a newly independent state, per the plan drawn up by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. However, the European Union is divided over the issue of Kosovar independence. Three EU states–neo-communist Cyprus and “post”-communist Romania and Slovakia–have informed other EU governments that they will not recognise Kosovar independence.

Kosovo MPs proclaim independence
Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 22:45 GMT

Albanian and American flags have been on prominent display Declaration Kosovo’s parliament has unanimously endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia, in a historic session.

Celebrations went on into the night after Prime Minister Hashim Thaci promised a democracy that respected the rights of all ethnic communities.

Serbia’s PM denounced the US for helping create a “false state”.

A split later emerged at the Security Council, when Russia said there was no basis for changing a 1999 resolution which handed Kosovo to the UN.

Seven Western countries said it was quite clear the situation had moved on.

Tens of thousands of people had thronged the streets of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, since the morning.

When news came of the declaration in parliament, the centre of the city erupted with fireworks, firecrackers and celebratory gunfire.

Crowds surrounded an independence monument which was unveiled during the evening and signed by Mr Thaci and Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu.

Ethnic Albanians staged noisy celebrations in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, and in Brussels, outside the headquarters of Nato and the European Union.

Hand grenades

The first sign of trouble in Kosovo came in the ethnic Serbian area of the flashpoint town of Mitrovica, where two hand grenades were thrown at international community buildings.

One exploded at a UN court building while the other failed to go off outside offices expected to house the new EU mission.

In Belgrade, demonstrators threw stones and broke windows at the US embassy as riot police tried to fend off a crowd of around 1,000 people.

The protesters, described as gangs of youths, also attacked a McDonald’s restaurant, the Serbian government building and the embassy of Slovenia which currently holds the EU presidency.

Several Serbian ministers had travelled to Kosovo to show their support for the ethnic Serbian minority.

Kosovo’s 10 Serbian MPs boycotted the assembly session in protest at the declaration.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica blamed the US which he said was “ready to violate the international order for its own military interests”.

“Today, this policy of force thinks that it has triumphed by establishing a false state,” Mr Kostunica said.

Search for equality

The declaration was approved with a show of hands. No-one opposed it.

“We have waited for this day for a very long time,” Mr Thaci told parliament before reading the text, paying tribute to those who had died on the road to independence.

From today, he said, Kosovo was “proud, independent and free”.

“The independence of Kosovo marks the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia,” the prime minister said.

He said Kosovo would be built in accordance with the UN plan drawn up by former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari.

The international military and civilian presence – also envisaged by the Ahtisaari plan – was welcome, the PM said.

There should be no fear of discrimination in new Kosovo, he said, vowing to eradicate any such practices.

The declaration was signed by all the MPs present.

Russian protest

The UN Security Council went into emergency session on Sunday evening after Russia called for the United Nations to declare the Kosovo declaration illegal.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides to keep to their commitments and refrain from violence.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that the resolution allowing the UN to administer Kosovo since 1999 was still in force so there could be no legal basis for any change in status.

But seven Western states said the UN Security Council could not agree on Kosovo’s future and all attempt to reach a negotiated outcome had been exhausted.

“We regret that the Security Council cannot agree on the way forward, but this impasse has been clear for many months,” Belgium’s UN ambassador Johan Verbeke said.

He gave the statement on behalf of Belgium, France, Italy, the UK, Croatia, Germany, and the United States.

Limitations of independence

The declaration approved by Kosovo’s parliament contains limitations on Kosovan independence as outlined in Mr Ahtisaari’s plan.

Kosovo, or part of it, cannot join any other country. It will be supervised by an international presence. Its armed forces will be limited and it will make strong provisions for Serb minority protection.

Recognition by a number of EU states, including the UK and other major countries, will come on Monday after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, says the BBC’s Paul Reynolds.
The US is also expected to announce its recognition on Monday.

Three EU states – Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia – have told other EU governments that they will not recognise Kosovo, says our correspondent.

Russia’s foreign ministry has indicated that Western recognition of an independent Kosovo could have implications for the Georgian breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Source: BBC News

Meanwhile, in the wake of Kosovo’s UDI, the government of the unrecognized republic of Transnistria, a breakaway region in Moldova with a large ethnic Russian presence, is moving ahead with its own plans for total secession. The Transnistrian Foreign Ministry stated today: “The declaration and consecutive recognition of Kosovo are of principal importance since they create a new model of conflict settlement based on the priority of the right for self-determination of the nation.” According to The Tiraspol Times, moreover, the Transnistrian government is preparing the legal groundwork for its own foreign intelligence service. Long-time Transnistrian President Igor Smirnov also seeks closer relations with Moscow. Indeed, in 2006 a popular referendum indicated that 97 percent of Transnistrians desire independence from Moldova and union with Russia. In light of these facts, Moscow is in the awkward position of denouncing Kosovar independence, but delicately handling the Russophile sentiments of Transnistrians.

Transdnestr seeks international recognition after Kosovo
16:4819/ 02/ 2008

TIRASPOL, February 19 (RIA Novosti) – Moldova’s breakaway republic of Transdnestr is seeking international recognition for its self-determination following Kosovo’s declaration Sunday, the republic’s foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

Transdnestr, which has a large ethnic Russian population, proclaimed its independence from Moldova after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in December 2007 the authorities said they would seek recognition for its independence from Moldova, if the Kosovo issue was resolved in favor of Albanian separatists.

“The declaration and consecutive recognition of Kosovo are of principal importance since they create a new model of conflict settlement based on the priority of the right for self-determination of the nation,” the statement said.

The Moldovan authorities have repeatedly stated that the Kosovo issue has nothing in common with the “frozen” conflict in the region since there are no ethnic or religious conflicts.

Russia and Ukraine are the guarantors for a peaceful settlement of the 1992 armed conflict between Moldova and Transdnestr.

Source: Novosti

The Tiraspol Times reports that, depending on how other states handle Kosovar secession, Moscow is allegedly reconsidering its hardline stance against independence for Transnistria and Abkhazia, in Georgia. “If Kosovo’s independence is declared, Russia should reconsider its stance on Abkhazia and Pridnestrovie,” Kremlin stooge, Just Russia leader, and Speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov said today. It is not clear at this time whether Mirnov’s comments represent Moscow’s real position on Kosovar independence.

>USSR2 File: Putin’s last presidential address: I’m anointed by God to make Russia great; armed forces combat ready; Deep Purple rocks the Kremlin

> This past week neo-Soviet Tyrant Vladimir Putin, playing up his “tough guy” image, delivered his final presidential address before he steps down from that office in May. However, this angry spiel was certainly not a swansong. Like The Terminator, Putin has promised: “I’ll be back.” Instead of ramming a car into a police station, however, Russia’s KGB dictator is once again threatening to ram some nuclear warheads down Europe’s throat. Responding to the West’s support for Kosovar independence, which many observers believe will be declared tomorrow, Putin said: “We have a ready-made plan and we know what we are going to do.” Indeed, but does the West know what to do? That’s the question that really needs to be asked. In any event, responding to British media reports that the “ex”-communist leader of Russia is the richest man in Europe, with an estimated hidden fortune worth US$40 billion, he described the story as “detritus excavated from someone’s nostril and smeared across bits of paper.”

Finally, responding to the refusal by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe to play along with Russia’s upcoming sham presidential election, Putin told the Western election monitors “to go teach their own wives how to cook cabbage soup.” Putin concluded his megalomaniac tirade by lifting a page from one of Adolf Hitler’s speeches: “I have been anointed by God to make Russia a great state.” Is anyone in the shopping mall regimes paying attention? Barely.

Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threat to the West
By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
Last Updated: 2:10am GMT 15/02/2008

Vladimir Putin has delivered perhaps his most menacing tirade against the West yet, repeating threats to train nuclear missiles on Europe and warning of unspecified retaliation if Kosovo declared independence.

Addressing his last press conference as Russian president, Mr Putin mounted a defiant display that demonstrated more emphatically than ever the widening gulf between Moscow and its former Cold War rivals.

In a vintage performance, the former KGB spy laced almost five hours of invective with crude insults, threats and admonitions often expressed in the argot of the Russian street.Reserving his greatest ire for the United States, which he accused of harbouring a colonial mentality towards Russia, Mr Putin again said that Europe would pay the consequences for a Washington-backed plan to erect a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.”Our generals, our security council, consider these moves a threat to our national security,” he said.

“We asked our partners to stop but no one listened to us. So if they continue we will have to react appropriately by retargeting our missiles.” Mr Putin also made similar threats against Ukraine if it joined Nato.

The Russian leader – often accused of returning his country to a state of autocracy – portrayed his nuclear threat as an act of democratic generosity, saying he was acting in the interests of Europeans who opposed American military expansionism.

Few western countries escaped the vitriol. Europe was scolded for its “silly”, “immoral” and “illegal” backing of Kosovo’s imminent unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia.

Although he did not elaborate, Mr Putin gave warning of retaliation once Kosovo broke away – a threat likely to chill Western leaders. “We have a ready-made plan and we know what we are going to do,” he said.

Although Mr Putin is expected to hand over power to Dmitry Medvedev, his handpicked and pliant protégé, after elections next month, there was little sign of a swansong in his final press conference as president.

Indeed, this was Mr Putin at his most combative. To the delight of fawning Russian journalists, he confirmed his intention to re-emerge as a powerful prime minister in a Medvedev administration – and pointedly told reporters that he had no intention of hanging his successor’s portrait on his office wall.

Encouraged by enthusiastic applause from his audience, Mr Putin often resorted to crude rhetoric to condemn his critics.

He told western observers who refused to monitor the forthcoming election, widely seen as a sham, that they should “rather teach their own wives how to cook cabbage soup.”

He later compared British newspaper stories that carried allegations of his alleged multi-billion- pound fortune to “detritus excavated from someone’s nostril and smeared across bits of paper.”

Critics have accused Mr Putin of creating a personality cult during his years in power – an allegation that may have been borne out by the sycophantic and even simpering questions put to him by local reporters.

A Chechen journalist asked the president when he would grace the ravaged province with another visit, while a female reporter presented the president with a golden heart as a gift for Valentine’s Day.

Asked what had made him such a great leader, Mr Putin suggested that he had been anointed by God to make Russia a great state and boasted that he had made no mistakes during his eight years in power.

Giving a brief insight into how his mind works, Mr Putin attributed his success to the fact that he approached politics with a tough-man attitude.

“Heads of state have no right to whinge or drool for any reason,” he said. “If they are going to slobber and blow snot and say things are bad, bad, then that’s how it will be.”

Source: The Telegraph

This week Putin also attended a military ceremony where he decorated the top brass for their commitment to advancing the Soviet long-range deception and defending the Fatherland from the “evil Americans.” In a review of Russia’s remilitarization program, he warned ominously that “Russia’s Armed Forces have become more mobile and combat ready in recent years.” Russia’s military might will be paraded for the whole world to view in Red Square on May 9, for the first time since 1990. Pictured here: Red Square, May 1985.

Russian Armed Forces more mobile, combat ready – Putin
18:28 15/ 02/ 2008

MOSVOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Armed Forces have become more mobile and combat ready in recent years, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

“The country’s missile-nuclear potential has been reinforced with Topol-M missiles,” Putin said during an official ceremony involving recently-decorated military top brass.

“Permanent strategic aviation patrols have also been restored,” he added.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Putin.

“The naval task force has carried out successful expeditions in the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. New tactics were practiced at Shanghai Cooperation Organization exercises, at the CIS united air defense tests and during Russian-Belarusian military command war-games,” said the Russian leader, who is nearing the end of his second and final term as president.

Putin also said the country’s Armed Forces faced new and more complicated tasks, including a military education reform.

“The talk is about a new long-term program of military development until 2020 taking into account modern challenges and threats to Russia’s national interests,” he said.

In a speech on February 8, President Putin blamed the West for unleashing a new international arms race.

Source: Novosti

Moscow’s Head Bangers Ball and the Kremlin Body Count

Meanwhile, three weeks of campaigning remain for Russia’s March 9 presidential contenders, although Putin’s anointed successor, Komsomol businessman and Gazprom CEO Dmitry Medvedev, has little time for campaigning and even less to debate the other candidates–communist party chief Gennady Zyuganov, KGB politician Vladimir Zhrininovsky, and oddball contestant Andrei Bogdanov, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia. (Freemasonry, along with Zionism, is the subject of numerous conspiracy theories by Russian nationalists and communists alike.) However, Comrade Dmitry had plenty of time to host Deep Purple at the Kremlin on February 11. The British heavy metal veterans were invited to celebrate Gazprom’s 15th anniversary but Reuters reports that “Attempts by the five-man band’s front man Ian Gillan to encourage audience participation led to the kind of slow, steady handclap which used to reverberate around the wood-paneled hall during Soviet Communist Party congresses.” Obviously, Deep Purple’s attempt to “rock” the Kremlin was a vain attempt to hide the Putinist’s regime’s favorite color: red, not purple.

Neo-Soviet Russia’s political season would not be complete with without some more noteworthy deaths, one an obvious assassination, another a possible hit orchestrated by the Leninist masterminds in Moscow and Tblisi. On February 13 the government prosecutor of Russia’s Saratov Region Yevgeny Grigoryev was gunned down near his home. The day before, Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili died in exile in the United Kingdom. In the 1990s Patarkatsishvili moved to Russia and partnered with fellow Komsomol businessman Boris Berezovsky, only to return to his homeland in 2001 to enter politics. Last November he was implicated by Tblisi authorities of plotting to overthrow President Mikhail Saakashvili and unsuccessfully ran for the same office in January.

British police have not yet detected any “foul play” in Comrade Badri’s demise, but The Times notes that “Mr Patarkatsishvili remained good friends with Mr Lugovoy, a former KGB officer who is now a member of the Russian parliament. The pair were seen socialising together in Tbilisi shortly before Mr Litvinenko was poisoned.” The connection between Patarkatsishvili and Andrei Lugovoi extends back to the days when Badri and Boris controlled Russian TV channel ORT, where the “ex”-FSB officer was head of security. British authorities have tried to extradite Lugovoi on charges of murdering fellow FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko only to receive a big, fat “No” from the Kremlin. On January 27 the Los Angeles Times quoted Lugovoi, now a State Duma deputy, as saying: “I don’t agree that the Cold War is back. It has never ended.” It may be that Comrade Badri knew too much about Litvinenko’s demise in November 2006.

>Breaking News: Two bombs explode in Mexico City’s tourist district, one killed, possibly perpetrator; last month Marxist rebels warned of more attacks

>This afternoon’s double bombing in Mexico City left one dead near a police station in that city’s tourist district of Zona Rosa. Last month the Cuban/Venezuelan-backed Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), which blew up several state-run Pemex pipelines in central Mexico in 2007, released a communique warning of new attacks, but insisting that civilians would not be targetted. According to Joel Ortega, head of Mexico City’s security secretariat, the man killed in the blast may have been the perpetrator of the bombing. Pictured here: Eprista guerrillas, apparently in 2001. The EPR was founded in 1996 through the merger of 14 insurgent Marxist grouplets.

Bombs Near Mexico City Police Station Leave One Dead (Update3)
By Andres R. Martinez and William Freebairn

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) — Two bombs exploded this afternoon near a police building in the heart of Mexico City, killing one person and injuring at least one more.

The blast occurred near the intersections of Florencia and Chapultepec streets in the city’s Zona Rosa neighborhood, a district popular with tourists south of the main business area.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility. More than 2,000 people were killed last year in violence related to drug trafficking, and there have recently been high profile arrests in the capital. Mexico also is home to a rebel group known as the EPR that bombed oil pipelines last year.

Joel Ortega, head of Mexico City’s security secretariat, said the man killed in the blast may have been carrying an explosive device when it detonated. A 30-year-old woman who was injured and taken to a hospital with burns asked questions about the dead man, he said in an interview on CNN en Espanol.

Ortega said that one of the bombs was homemade and probably detonated by a mobile phone, El Universal newspaper said on its Web site.

Several cars at the scene appeared damaged by the blast, and more than 100 police were in the area controlling traffic and keeping bystanders away. Bomb technicians were also in the area.

Witness


Arturo Escanilla was working at a restaurant on the same block and said it sounded like a lightning strike. He felt his building shake.

“All the windows broke, I was a little afraid,” he said.


The explosions occurred about 200 meters (650 feet) away from a main police building.

A rebel group called the Popular Revolutionary Army, or EPR, bombed Petroleos Mexicanos pipelines in July and September. No one was injured. The group released a statement last month saying they would warn the government about future attacks.

President Felipe Calderon has sent thousands of troops to patrol northern border cities where drug violence between rival cartels claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people last year. In the last month, federal police have arrested dozens of people they say are members of the Sinaloa in Mexico City. Those arrested were found with arsenals of automatic weapons, grenade launchers and bullet-proof vests.

Source: Bloomberg.com

>Middle East File: USA subsidizes Russian nuke institutes linked to Iran’s Bushehr reactor; Syria amassing Russian missiles; Hezbollah preparing coup

>Breaking News: Syria Prepared to End Policy of Restraint and Attack Israel; Hezbollah Threatens Open War With Jewish State

In the wake of the assassination of arch-terrorist and senior Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus earlier this week, both Hezbollah and the Syrian government are threatening war against Israel. “The blood of our slain commander will lead to Israel’s demise,” warned Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in a tirade broadcast at Mughniyeh’s funeral yesterday. “I say for the whole world to hear that our war will extend everywhere without restraints. The Lebanon War is not over; there is no ceasefire.” According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, moreover, on February 14 “Syrian officials fanned out among Arab broadcasting stations with a warning: Damascus will attack Israel shortly following a decision by Syrian leaders to end its policy of restraint against its territorial violations.”

For sixty years the Middle East has either been in a state of war or on the brink of war. The last major conflict in 1973, the Yom Kippur War, did not satiate Syria, Egypt, and Jordan’s lust to annihilate Israel. Since then, Iran has been taken over by Soviet-backed Islamic radicals who are outspoken in their intent to destroy the Jewish state; southern Lebanon has been taken over by Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas who regularly lob missiles at northern Israel; the Soviet-backed Palestine Liberation Oranization, while professing to renounce terrorism in 1993, has employed its status as the government of the Palestinian National Authority to covertly launch suicide bombings against Israel; and the Gaza Strip has been taken over by Iranian-backed Hamas guerrillas who reguarly lob missiles at southern Israel. The Bush Administration’s commitment to Israel’s existence, moreover, is dubious in view of the “two-state” plan that emerged from last November’s Annapolis Summit between Israeli and Palestinian representatives. Indeed, the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cohorts in the Kadima Party to the future existence of Israel is also dubious. Consequently, the Neo-Nazi and communist propaganda that floods the Internet with respect to Zionist conspiracies controlling the world overlooks the fact that, in reality, Israel is surrounded by enemies and unreliable allies, and weakened by traitors at the highest levels of government.

At the same time, the White House’s green light to the Kremlin to ship nuclear fuel to Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr (pictured below), issued in the form of December’s national intelligence estimate that insisted that Tehran abandoned its ambition to produce nuclear weapons in 2003, exposes a conspiracy of some dimension between Washington’s globalist policy makers and Moscow’s Leninist schemers that seriously jeopardizes Israel’s national security. Last week the International Herald Tribune published an article that revealed the Washington-Moscow link: the US Energy Department, via the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building components of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. However, when Iran launched its first space rocket on February 4, both Washington and Moscow feigned surprise about Tehran’s technological capabilties and admitted that perhaps Iran has a covert nuclear weapons program after all.

Congressman John Dingell, who chairs the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce, observed: “Only this administration would complain about proliferation in Iran, as part of President Bush’s axis of evil, and then finance it with American taxpayer dollars.” Dingell is a Democrat and the Democratic Party has a lot of ideological “problems,” but he is absolutely correct in his assessment of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy. Indeed, Bart Stupak, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, refers, below, to Bush’s “schizophrenic foreign policy.” The White House’s foreign policy, of course, could be “schizophrenic” by design as a result of Soviet manipulation, especially in view of the existence of secretive bodies like the Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group. In either case, it plays nicely into the Kremlin’s strategy of undermining the Western Alliance, which broadly includes NATO and sympathetic regimes like Israel.

U.S. money for Russia is linked to Iran nuclear plant
By Matthew Wald
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Energy Department is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building key parts of a reactor in Iran that the United States spent years trying to stop, according to a House committee.

The institutes, both in Nizhny Novgorod, gave U.S. officials sales presentations describing their capabilities, and listing the Bushehr reactor, which Russia has agreed to fuel, as one of their projects. One institute is providing control systems, including control room equipment, and the other is providing hundreds of pumps and ventilation fans.

The Energy Department is subsidizing the institutes under the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, a program set up after the collapse of the Soviet Union to prevent newly impoverished scientists and their institutions from selling their expertise to states that might be developing nuclear weapons. The United States supplements the salaries of scientists, and pays overhead at those institutes, among others.

It was not immediately clear if the Energy Department was paying the salaries of the scientists involved in the Bushehr reactor. Representative John Dingell, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, asked that question in a letter sent Wednesday to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

“What policy logic justifies DOE funding Russian institutes which are providing nuclear technology to Iran?” the letter asked, referring to the acronym for the Department of Energy. “How does this advance our nonproliferation goals?”

Bushehr is a civilian electric power plant, and because of its design, removing its nuclear fuel to recover the plutonium that is the byproduct of its operations would be cumbersome. In addition, Russia has agreed to take back the spent fuel from the plant, so the plutonium cannot be recovered by the Iranians.

But the United States has looked with some alarm at Iran acquiring nuclear expertise. Iran wants to build a plant to enrich uranium, to make its own reactor fuel, but American officials complain that the enrichment technology could also be used to make warheads, with the civilian nuclear program as a fig leaf to justify the new industry. And Iran has announced plans for other reactors.

In a statement, Dingell, a Democrat of Michigan, said “only this administration would complain about proliferation in Iran, as part of President Bush’s axis of evil, and then finance it with American taxpayer dollars.” Stupak called it “schizophrenic foreign policy.”

The United States pays for a variety of projects at numerous “institutes” in Russia and other former Soviet countries. At the Scientific Research Institute of Measuring Systems, which is making control room equipment for Bushehr, for example, the United States is paying $1.15 million for a project for radar mapping of geologic structures, which could be used to locate underground mineral deposits.

A study of the American program by the Government Accountability Office released last month found that while the program was intended to provide support for former Soviet weapons scientists, many of those receiving benefits had done no weapons work and some were not old enough to have worked as scientists during Soviet times.

An Energy Department official testifying before Stupak acknowledged at a hearing Jan. 23 that parts of the program might have outlived the original intent.

At the Energy Department, an official who asked not to be named because his response had not finished going through official channels said that “what we’re doing is very important to engage these scientists as part of a nonproliferation goal.” He said that each sponsored project was approved first by the State Department, the Defense Department and U.S. intelligence agencies, and that the Energy Department did not believe that its sponsorship of programs at institutes that also did work for the Iranians advanced the work of Iran.

Meanwhile, Syria, Iran’s chief ally in the region and Russia’s long-time client state, is in a “furious frenzy” to amass Russian missiles. Mossad Chief Meir Dagan informed the Knesset this week that Syria’s armed forces recently “accelerated” its acquisition of arms, but did not list specific new weapons or disclose information about Russia’s involvement. Dagan admitted that “The military alliance between Damascus and Teheran has accelerated the arms race in the region,” but then qualified his statement by issuing the soothing panacea that “Syria’s moves do not necessarily indicate the country is likely to strike at Israel.” This is hard to believe in view of the mobilization last summer of the Syrian Army along the Golan Heights and the training and support that Damascus has reportedly given to guerrillas to “liberate” the Golan from Israeli annexation. In the World Net Daily report below an unnamed Jordanian official relates: “The Iranians opened an extended credit line with Russia for Syria with the purpose of arming Syria. Russia’s involvement and strategic positioning is almost like a return to its Cold War stance.” He reveals, moreover, that “one of the main reasons Damascus did not retaliate after Israel carried out its Sept. 6 [2007] airstrike inside Syria allegedly targeting a nascent nuclear facility was because Syria’s rocket infrastructure was not yet complete.”

Syria in ‘furious’ frenzy to get Russian missiles
Security official: ‘It’s like a return to the Cold War’
Posted: February 15, 20084:23 am Eastern
By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Syria, aided by Russia and Iran, in recent months has been furiously acquiring rockets and missiles, including projectiles capable of hitting the entire state of Israel, according to Jordanian and Israeli security officials speaking to WND.

A Jordanian security official said one of the main reasons Damascus did not retaliate after Israel carried out its Sept. 6 airstrike inside Syria allegedly targeting a nascent nuclear facility was because Syria’s rocket infrastructure was not yet complete.

The official said after the Israeli airstrike, Syria picked up the pace of acquiring rockets and missiles, largely from Russia with Iranian backing, with the goal of completing its missile and rocket arsenal by the end of the year. The Jordanian official said Syria is aiming to possess enough projectiles to fire over 100 rockets into Israel per hour for a sustained period of time.

“The Syrians have three main goals,” explained the Jordanian official. “To maximize their antitank, antiaircraft and ballistic missile and rocket capabilities.”

According to Israeli and Jordanian officials, Syria recently quietly struck a deal with Russia that allows Moscow to station submarines and warboats off Syrian ports. In exchange, Russia is supplying Syria with weaponry at lower costs, with some of the missiles and rockets being financed by Iran.

“The Iranians opened an extended credit line with Russia for Syria with the purpose of arming Syria,” said one Jordanian security official.

“Russia’s involvement and strategic positioning is almost like a return to its Cold War stance,” the official said.

Both the Israeli and Jordanian officials told WND large quantities of Syrian rockets and missiles are being stockpiled at Latakia, Syria’s main port on the Mediterranean Sea, as well as at Syria’s Tartus port, another major port area south of Latakia and north of Damascus.

Syria’s new acquisitions include Russia’s S-300 surface-to-air missile defense shield, which is similar to the U.S.-funded, Israeli engineered Arrow antimissile system currently deployed in Israel. The S-300 system is being run not by Syria but by Russian naval technicians who work from Syria’s ports, security officials said.

New ballistic missiles and rockets include Alexander rockets and a massive quantity of various Scud surface-to-surface missiles, including Scud B and D Scud missiles.

Israeli security officials noted Syria recently test-fired two Scud-D surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles, covering most Israeli territory. The officials said the Syrian missile test was coordinated with Iran and is believed to have been successful. It is not known what type of warhead the missiles had.

In addition to longer range Scuds, Syria is in possession of shorter range missiles such as 220 millimeter and 305 millimeter rockets, some of which have been passed on to Hezbollah.

Israel has information Syria recently acquired and deployed Chinese-made C-802 missiles, which were successfully used against the Israeli navy during Israel’s war against the Lebanese Hezbollah militia this past July and August. The missiles were passed to Syria by Iran, Israeli security officials told WND.

Russia recently sold to Syria advanced anti-tank missiles similar to the projectiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war, causing the highest number of Israeli troop casualties during the 34 days of military confrontations. Syria and Russia are negotiating the sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

Seemingly confirming the information, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset yesterday Syria’s military recently has accelerated its acquisition of arms. He did not list specific new weapons or disclose information about Russia’s involvement.

“The military alliance between Damascus and Teheran has accelerated the arms race in the region,” said Dagan at a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Dagan stated Syria’s moves do not necessarily indicate the country is likely to strike at Israel.

To the north of Israel Lebanon, which has been under partial military rule since the pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud resigned in November, is again teetering on the brink of civil war, anarchy, and a potential coup by Hezbollah to seize the reins of government and form another terrorist state on Israel’s borders. Last October the Lebanese and Kuwaiti media reported that Hezbollah has organized a 50,000-man militia to overthrow the embattled government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. According to the same source, the guerrilla army has also constructed “500 kilometers of roads linking its power bases in east, central and south Lebanon in preparation for such a confrontation with the March 14 forces and to enable the party confront an Israeli attack.”

Hezbollah assigns 50,000 militia-men for possible attack on government
Saturday, 13 October, 2007 @ 5:22 PM

Beirut – Hezbollah has formed a 50.000-strong militia to “fight an internal dispute” if the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon was not settled, the Kuwaiti newspaper as-Siyassah reported.

It also said Hizbullah has constructed 500 kilometers of roads linking its power bases in east, central and south Lebanon in preparation for such a confrontation with the March 14 forces and to enable the party confront an Israeli attack.

Hezbollah has constantly sought shelter under the “resistance” umbrella that will “never” draw a drop of Lebanese blood – this latest move appears in direct contradiction of their alleged allegiance to Lebanon.

The Hizbullah-led opposition have been practically occupying downtown Beirut since December 1, 2006 – with the declared objective of toppling the Lebanese government. Immediately after the start of the sit in, Hezbollah supporters threatened to storm the government compound, fenced in bared wire and protected by tanks and three army and police battalions, and remove Siniora by force.

What started with “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”, turned into “Death to Siniora”. While the heads of the pro-Syrian opposition, Nasrallah, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and “presidency at any cost” Michel Aoun, have not once attempted to preach to their followers otherwise.

One sick follower took the idea to an unthinkable extreme in the form of a video game, where your mission is to assassinate every minister in the government, including Fouad Siniora, the Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Hezbollah’s Intent for Armed Confrontation Exposed

The newspaper attributed the information to a Syrian website identified as al-haqiqah, Arabic for the truth.

The report quoted an unnamed Hizbullah source as saying the idea of setting up a militia, which is a separate structure from the party’s Islamic Resistance, crystallized after the Iranian-backed group obtained information about a “serious intent to drag it into an internal armed confrontation if the political crisis was not settled.”

“This is what we’ve been trying to avoid and we’ll continue trying to avoid irrespective of the cost,” the Hizbullah source was quoted as saying.

“Getting involved in a domestic confrontation isn’t as sensitive an issue to Hizbullah as it used to be, especially if it is imposed on us.”

He accused the March 14 majority of planning to drag Hizbullah into a domestic confrontation.

The new militia, he said, “would be capable of settling any internal confrontation in a relatively short period… without having to go into a long civil war similar to the previous” Lebanese civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990.

In a related development, the report said Hizbullah constructed 500 kilometers of roads in south Lebanon, the central Bekaa valley and its eastern flank to link its strongholds In case of any domestic confrontation or even to confront an Israeli invasion.

Druze leader Walid Jumblat had warned that Iran might assign Hizbullah to occupy Beirut and usurp power in Lebanon.

Source: Ya Libnan

In an interview with World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah, Tom Harb, secretary general of the World Council of the Cedars Revolution, warns that the danger of losing Lebanon to Hezbollah is “imminent” and, indeed, could occur by summer. “Hezbollah will try to take over the Lebanese government by summer unless the pro-democracy majority proceeds and elects a president with a simple majority,” Harb insists.

Danger of losing Lebanon ‘imminent’
Hezbollah will try to take over government by summer
Posted: February 15, 20084:56 am Eastern

When Americans consider the most critical “fronts” in the war on terror, the top four are almost always Iraq, Afghanistan, the ongoing conflict in Israel’s Palestinian territories and the various unknown theaters where U.S. special forces and intelligence collectors operate.

Few, however, consider Lebanon a critical front. Sure, the Middle East nation has Hezbollah, but it also has Starbucks, resort hotels, trendy restaurants and a fashion industry that in many ways competes with Manhattan and Milan.

But Lebanon is a front in which the enemy – the Iranian-Syrian axis and its proxy army, Hezbollah – has the upper hand, because it appreciates the country’s geostrategic value and has capitalized on the fact that the West seems not to.

Tom Harb, secretary general of the pro-democracy World Council of the Cedars Revolution, says the danger of losing Lebanon is imminent.

“Hezbollah will try to take over the Lebanese government by summer unless the pro-democracy majority proceeds and elects a president with a simple majority,” Harb says.

“If Hezbollah takes over they will move south, fully supporting Hamas in Gaza for a move on the West Bank.”

Ahmad al Assad, a Lebanese Shiia political leader whose father, Kamal, served as the country’s speaker of Parliament, says the war against the “axis,” particularly the Iranian regime, is actually being fought on three major fronts: Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza, and Lebanon.

“It is essential to win in Lebanon because Lebanon has all the ingredients to become a democracy and an open society with a blossoming economy,” says Assad.

Or, he says, it will continue its descent into the darkness of Islamic fundamentalism.

“If we lose Lebanon, we lose the entire Middle East,” Assad says.

Source: World Net Daily

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who also heads the Progressive Socialist Party, had warned that Iran might task Hezbollah with the mission of occupying Beirut and usurping power in Lebanon. At the same time, the report below notes that “A spokesman for the speaker of parliament said gunmen loyal to Jumblatt fired on the speakers’ residence in Beirut Sunday.” At a party rally on February 10, moreover, Jumblatt, referring to the postponement of the presidential election, shouted: “If you want anarchy, you are welcome. If you want war, we welcome war.” Pictured above: Jumblatt attends Party of European Socialists congress in Porto, Portugal, on December 7, 2006. In attendance too were Howard Dean, socialist Chairman of the US Democratic National Committee, and Boris Tadic, Serbia’s leftist, Kremlin-friendly president.

Lebanese leader calls for war

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 11 (UPI) — Gunbattles broke out throughout Lebanon following statements by socialist leader Walid Jumblatt threatening war, a police official said.

“If you want anarchy, you are welcome. If you want war, we welcome war,” Jumblatt said at a rally Sunday following the postponement of the presidential elections.

Former Lebanese President Emile Lahoud left office in November without naming a successor and analysts see Lebanon teetering on the worst political crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

A spokesman for the speaker of parliament said gunmen loyal to Jumblatt fired on the speakers’ residence in Beirut Sunday.

Police officials reported minor injuries from the gunfire and said more shooting erupted later at Jumblatt’s Progressive Sociality Party office, the Alalam satellite television station reported Monday.

Jamblatt also said he did not fear Hezbollah.

“We have no problem with weapons, and no problems with rockets. We will take your rockets from you,” Jumblatt threatened.

The deputy head of Hezbollah’s political faction called Jumblatt’s comments “madness,” saying the statement was on par with an “ant threatening the lion.”

Beirut marks the third anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Thursday.

Source: Political Gateway

In January Jumblatt visited Moscow where he conferred with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Lebanon’s political instability. State-run Novosti reported that Jumblatt “supports Russia’s initiative to convene a peace conference on the Middle East.” Jumblatt also visited Moscow in March 2005 to discuss the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Walid and his father Kamal led the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) during that country’s civil war. The general secretary of the LNM was Mohsen Ibrahim, leader of the Communist Action Organization. As Interior Minister in the early 1970s, Kamal legalized the Lebanese Communist Party and the neo-fascist Syrian Social Nationalist Party. In 1972 Kamal was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union. The old axiom runs: “An apple does fall far from the tree.” Thus, Jumblatt’s endorsement of a Russian-sponsored Middle East peace initiative should prompt international observers to view the PSP leader as a Soviet agent provocateur. Be assured that a Russian initiative for Middle East peace will be a disaster, on purpose.

Lebanon’s delayed presidential election is slated for February 26. Accoding to the same Novosti article above: “The 22-nation Arab League has proposed speedy presidential elections, the formation of a national unity government and new legislation regulating elections and governmental appointments. Its plan calls for Lebanon’s army chief, Gen. Michel Suleiman, to become the country’s next president.” Two ideological camps are contesting the election. The anti-Syrian March 14 Alliance consists of the Future Movement, Lebanese Forces, Phalangist Party, National Liberal Party, the “ex”-communist Democratic Left, Jumblatt’s communist PSP, and numerous other parties. This alliance is advancing four candidates. The pro-Syrian March 8 Alliance consists of Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, the Lebanese Communist Party, and other subversive groups. Its candidate is Free Patriotic Movement leader and past Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces Michel Aoun. Since communist parties are active in both camps, the March 14 Alliance candidates should not be viewed as “better” options than March 8 Alliance candidate Aoun. Indeed, last year March 14 candidate Boutros Harb endorsed the integration of Hezbollah into the Lebanese Armed Forces.

In conclusion, a military government of type, as recommended by the Arab League, might in reality be the only hope to restore order in Lebanon, but the leadership of the armed forces should be committed to the complete dismantling of Hezbollah, the removal of all Syrian and Iranian influences, and peace with Israel.

>Latin America File: Guatemala’s new leftist regime cozies up to Cuba, dispatches high-level delegation; Chavez halts oil sales to Exxon-Mobil

>Although the following news item is almost two weeks old, it demonstrates that Guatemala’s new leftist President Alvaro Colom is eager to snuggle up to Communist Cuba only weeks after his inauguration, the ceremony for which was attended by Latin American Red Axis luminaries like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. The red regime in Havana has invited Guatemalan Vice President Rafael Espada and other members of Colom’s cabinet to confer with the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, with the intent, according to the Cuban News Agency, below, of “developing and deepening current bilateral relations.” Translated: Communist Cuba will do everything it can to peacefully export red revolution to Guatemala since it failed to do so in past decades using its guerrilla proxies in the National Revolutionary Unity, with which Colom is allied.

A cardiothoracic surgeon by profession, Espada was employed at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center in Houston, Texas before returning to Guatemala to run for office alongside Colom.

Guatemala’s Vice President in Cuba for an Official Visit

Havana, Jan 31 (can) Dr. Rafael Espada, Guatemala’s Vice President arrived in Havana this afternoon accompanied by a delegation from his country for an official visit, running until February 3.

Espada was welcomed at the Jose Marti International Airport by Cuban Public Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer.

In statements to the media, Espada sent his best regards to the Cuban people and government on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the reestablishment of relations between the two countries. He also wished Cuban President Fidel Castro a speedy recovery.

Guatemala’s Vice President also thanked the island’s government leaders and people for the medical support given to his country, and he noted that the Humanitarian Peace Order was recently bestowed on a group of Cuban doctors who are paying their services in the Central American country.

During his stay in Cuba, Espada is expected to meet Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage and several ministers including Basic Industry’s Yadira Garcia Vera; Foreign Investment and Economic Collaboration’s Marta Lomas Morales; Higher Education’s Juan Vela Valdes.

He will pay homage to Cuban National Hero Jose Marti, visit the Latin American Medical School and the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, as part of his program.

Source: Cuban News Agency

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s communist dictator, Comrade Hugo, has terminated oil sales to the Texas-based Exxon Mobil, which is locked in an international legal dispute over the nationalization of its oil ventures in the Bolivarian Republic. “The legal actions carried out by the U.S. transnational are unnecessary . . . and hostile,” droned Venezuela’s state-run oil company. It appears that President Chavez is making good on earlier promises to cut off Venezuela’s petroleum supply to the USA. Venezuelan Petroleum Minister and PDVSA President Rafael Ramirez warned: “If they want this conflict to escalate, it’s going to escalate. We have a way to make this conflict escalate.” CBS News observes, below: “The U.S. remains the No. 1 buyer of Venezuelan oil, and Chavez relies largely on U.S. oil money to stimulate his economy and bankroll social programs that have traditionally boosted his popularity.” In other words, Americans are bankrolling another incipient communist dictatorship with their gas tanks. Can you say: “Boycott”?

Venezuela Halts Oil Sales To Exxon Mobil
CARACAS, Venezuela, Feb. 12, 2008

(AP) Venezuela’s state oil company said Tuesday that it has stopped selling crude to Exxon Mobil Corp. in response to the U.S. oil company’s drive to use the courts to seize billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets.

Exxon Mobil is locked in a dispute over the nationalization of its oil ventures in Venezuela that has led President Hugo Chavez to threaten to cut off all Venezuelan oil supplies to the United States. Venezuela is the United States’ fourth largest oil supplier.

Tuesday’s announcement by state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, was limited to Exxon Mobil, which PDVSA accused of “judicial-economic harassment” for its efforts in U.S. and European courts.

PDVSA said it “has paralyzed sales of crude to Exxon Mobil” and suspended commercial relations with the Irving, Texas-based company.

“The legal actions carried out by the U.S. transnational are unnecessary … and hostile,” PDVSA said in the statement. It said it will honor any existing contracts it has with Exxon Mobil for joint investments abroad, but reserved the right to terminate them if permitted by the terms of the contracts.

It was unclear how much oil PDVSA supplies to Exxon Mobil, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company. Both Chavez and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez previously said the company is no longer welcome to do business in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s decision leaves up in the air the situation of a refinery in Chalmette, La. — a joint venture supplied by Venezuelan oil in which PDVSA and Exxon Mobil are equal partners.

Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Margaret Ross declined to comment on the move by Venezuela but added that “it is our long-standing practice to take appropriate steps to meet our customers’ needs.”

Exxon Mobil is challenging the Chavez government’s nationalization of one of four heavy oil projects in the Orinoco River basin, one of the world’s richest oil deposits.

A British court issued an injunction last month temporarily freezing up to $12 billion of PDVSA’s assets. Exxon Mobil also has secured an “order of attachment” from U.S. District Court in Manhattan on about $300 million in cash held by PDVSA. A hearing to confirm the order is scheduled for Wednesday.

Other oil companies including Chevron Corp., France’s Total, Britain’s BP PLC and Norway’s StatoilHydro ASA have negotiated deals with Venezuela to continue as minority partners in the nationalized projects. ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil balked at the government’s tougher terms and have been in compensation talks with PDVSA.

Earlier Tuesday at an energy conference in Houston, Exxon Mobil senior vice president Mark Albers declined comment on any court proceedings with Venezuela, though he said the company is eager to negotiate fair compensation for its assets.

Exxon Mobil is taking the dispute to international arbitration, to which Venezuela has agreed. Its legal actions essentially seek to corral Venezuelan assets ahead of any decision by the arbitration panel.

Venezuela’s announcement came after Ramirez, the oil minister and PDVSA president, reiterated in a newspaper interview Tuesday that Venezuela is ready to cut off oil supplies to the United States if pressed into an “economic war.”

“If they want this conflict to escalate, it’s going to escalate. We have a way to make this conflict escalate,” Ramirez was quoted as saying.

The White House on Tuesday declined to comment on Venezuela’s threat. “When there’s a litigation that’s ongoing, different parties will say anything to try to win over on an argument,” said White House press secretary Dana Perino.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan state television has begun airing short anti-Exxon segments, with a message appearing on the screen in red text reading: “Exxon Mobil turns oil into blood.”

The U.S. remains the No. 1 buyer of Venezuelan oil, and Chavez relies largely on U.S. oil money to stimulate his economy and bankroll social programs that have traditionally boosted his popularity.

Some analysts say it would make little sense for Chavez to follow through on his broader threats to cut off oil sales to the U.S. because Venezuela owns refineries in the United States that are customized to handle the South American country’s heavy crude.

Ramirez said Venezuela is selling the U.S. a daily average of 1.5 million barrels of crude and other products derived from oil.

Source: CBSNews.com

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian bombers fly over regions of simulated radioactive contamination; new generation of nuclear subs launched

>During Operation Allied Force, which was NATO’s official name for the US-supported bombing of Yugoslavia (Serbia) in 1999, the US Navy and allied navies, positioned in the Adriatic Sea, launched a number of cruise missiles at Yugoslav targets. The Kremlin refers to this historical situation as a pretext for holding its current aerial maneuver in the Arctic and Russia’s Ryazan region. During these exercises 12 Russian Bear and six Backfire bombers will, in the first instance, hunt down and destroy formations of “enemy” cruise missile-capable ships and, in the second instance, fly over areas of “radioactive contamination.”

In April 1999 then Soviet Tyrant Boris Yeltsin warned: “I told NATO, the Americans, the Germans: Don’t push us towards military action. Otherwise, there will be a European war for sure and possibly world war. They (NATO) want to bring in ground troops, they are preparing for that, they want simply to seize Yugoslavia to make it their protectorate … we cannot let that happen to Yugoslavia.” Nine years later, as Kosovo approaches another crisis with a looming declaration of independence from Serbia, Russia is again threatening the West with war.

Pictured above: In 2005 Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Olenegorsk after flying on a Tu-160 Blackjack bomber during an exercise that took the aircraft over the Arctic and involved launching a cruise missile.

Russia strategic aviation holds exercise
14.02.2008, 12.03

MOSCOW, February 14 (Itar-Tass) – Crews of strategic missile-carrying planes drilled on Thursday operation in an area of imaginary radioactive contamination, the chief of the Russian Air Force’s information and public relations service, Colonel Alexander Drobyshvsky, told ITAR-TASS.

“According to the plan of the exercises, 12 missile carriers T-95, six long-haul bombers T-22 and 8 tanker planes Il-78 are in the air today,” he said.

“The crews are training passing an area of imaginary radioactive contamination. Then special radiochemical protection services do post-landing work of decontamination of the aircraft and special treatments of crews,” he said.

“The crews of the planes Tu-22 make combat use og conventional means og destruction at Dubrovichi Range in the Ryazan region. Crews of tanker planes Il-78 are refueling in the air space over the Arctic Ocean basin Tu-95 that are drilling air patrolling elements at northern latitudes,” Drobyshevsky said.

The adviser of the Russian long-range aviation, Major-General Valentin Rog, said that “in modern conditions and in the interests of national security, the long-range aviation is assigned to solving a number of important tasks, including a qualitatively new one – destruction of formations of ships carying cruise missile in the ocean.

Rog said NATO navy forces used 870 cruise missiles, including 792 ship-borne, during the assault of Yugoslavia.

Source: Itar-Tass

Meanwhile, the chief of the US Navy Admiral Gary Roughead is denying that this past weekend’s 2,000-foot overflight of the USS Nimitz in the western Pacific Ocean by two Russian bombers was a provocative act. Although Adm. Roughead acknowledged that Russia is trying to re-emerge as a “global force,” he used the term “benign” to describe the incident. “The fact that we had such early detection, that we were able to launch our alerts in a very timely way, and when our airplanes joined up on the bombers,” he explained, “it was a very benign flight that came through, and we just latched onto them and followed them on in.” Adm. Roughead continued: “You know, it’s not prudent to fly over an aircraft carrier. But our situational awareness is such that, as I said, we had good detection, followed them in, and, in my mind, it’s not something to go to general quarters over.”

In spite of the US Navy’s attempt to save face, the independent Defense Science Board, chaired by retired US Air Force General Larry D. Welch, has concluded that the Department of Defense is guilty of a “precipitous decrease in attention” to the security and control of the country’s nuclear arsenal. Gen. Welch was formerly chief of the Strategic Air Command, which was scrapped at the end of the First Cold War (1945-1991). The board brought its findings before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The incident that prompted the current investigation occured last August when six armed cruise missiles were mistakenly loaded onto a US Air Force B-52 and flown 1,400 miles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

This troubling news concerning the state of America’s nuclear deterrent coincides with the findings of the US Congress’ independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, which determined last month that the Northern Command, the National Guard, and the Reserves are ill prepared to deal with a catastrophic chemical-biological-nuclear attack on the USA.

In a related story, to which Adm. Roughead should take heed, two days ago the Russian Navy launched its first new generation of nuclear-powered submarines since the old Soviet Union. On Tuesday night the Yuri Dolgoruky was commissioned at Russia’s secretive Sevmash shipyard in the Arctic city of Severodvinsk.

Russia launches first new nuclear subs since Cold War
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Reuters

MOSCOW — Russia has launched its first new generation nuclear submarine since the fall of the Soviet Union, the submarine’s maker said on Wednesday.

The Yuri Dolgoruky was launched at Russia’s secretive Sevmash shipyard in the Arctic town of Severodvinsk on Tuesday night. “The atomic submarine Yuri Dolgoruky was launched into the water,” Sevmash said in a short statement.

Named after a Slavic prince who helped to defend Moscow, the Borei class (Arctic Wind) submarine can carry 107 sailors for 100 days without surfacing.

The long-delayed submarine was moved to a dry dock last year in the presence of First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who hailed the construction as a major step towards reviving the accident-prone navy. Russia’s navy has suffered a string of fatal accidents, including the loss of the Kursk nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea in August 2000. All 118 sailors aboard died.

President Vladimir Putin, who has increased rhetoric in the face of NATO’s expansion towards Russia, has boosted arms spending as part of a plan to upgrade Russia’s nuclear attack forces. Russia’s navy recently held naval exercises in the Atlantic Ocean after a sortie into the Mediterranean.

Russian bombers flew near a U.S. aircraft carrier south of Japan on Feb. 9, prompting Washington to begin reviewing whether Moscow is returning to a Cold War mindset.

The Yuri Dolgoruky has taken more than 12 years to build after funding problems in the chaos of the 1990s when the navy and shipbuilding sector lost much of its talented personnel and government funding.

Source: The China Post

>USSR2 File: Russia’s neo-gulags exposed: Wall Street Journal uncovers Putin’s "torture colonies"; 700 inmates attempt mass suicide last month

>Several weeks ago we briefly addressed the subject of Russia’s neo-gulag system, consisting of penal colonies scattered across that country’s immense landmass. Former FSB agent Mikhail Trepashkin, a colleague of murdered agent Alexander Litvinenko, cooled his heels between 2003 and 2007 in a neo-gulag near Yekaterinburg. Last year, during a software piracy case into which he waded, former Soviet Tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev inadvertantly revealed the existence of the “new” Russia’s revived gulag archipelago by referring to a “Siberian labor camp.” The alleged closure of that system of slow death for dissidents during the regime of Boris Yeltsin was not entirely convincing. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal, in an interview with Foundation for Defense of Rights of Prisoners co-founder Lev Ponomarev (pictured above), uncovered the reality of Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet Russia in “Putin’s Torture Colonies.” “Now reports of torture are systematically ignored or suppressed,” writes Bret Stephens, “while regional governments refuse to act on evidence of abuse.”

To see footage taken from inside a contemporary Russian penal colony, click here. For a list of known torture colonies in Russia, click here. If you think Soviet communism died on Christmas Day 1991, then think again . . .

Putin’s Torture Colonies
February 12, 2008; Page A16

By BRET STEPHENS

“The protest began after OMON [riot police] had been brought to correctional colony No. 5 (Amur Oblast, Skovorodino Rayon, village Takhtamygda) and started massive beatings of the prisoners. People in camouflage and masks were beating with batons inmates taken outside undressed in the freezing cold. . . . As a protest, 39 prisoners immediately cut their veins open.

“Next day, on 17 January, the ‘special operation’ was repeated in an even more humiliating and massive form. At that time, about 700 inmates cut their veins open. . . .”

The description here comes from a report received by the Moscow-based Foundation for Defense of Rights of Prisoners. The time reference is to 2008 — that is, last month. This is not Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Russia. It’s Vladimir Putin’s. And correctional colony No. 5, located not far from the Manchurian border, does not even make the list of the worst penal colonies in the country.

That distinction belongs to the newly revived institution of Pytochnye kolonii, or torture colonies. After all but disappearing in the 1990s under the liberal regime of Boris Yeltsin, there are now about 50 pytochnye kolonii among the roughly 700 colonies that house the bulk of Russia’s convict population, according to FDRP cofounder Lev Ponomarev. And while they cannot be compared to the Soviet Gulag in terms of scope or the percentage of prisoners who are innocent of any real crime, they are fast approaching it in terms of sheer cruelty.

The cruelty to prisoners often begins prior to their actual sentencing. “When people are transported from prisons to courts to attend their hearings, they are jammed in a tiny room where they can barely stand. There’s no toilet; if they have to relieve themselves, it has to be right there,” says Mr. Ponomarev. “Then they are put on trucks. It’s extremely cold in winter, extremely hot in summer, no ventilation, no heating. These are basically metal containers. They have to be there for hours. Healthy people are held together with people with tuberculosis, creating a breeding ground for the disease.”

Once sentenced, prisoners are transported in packed train wagons to distant correctional colonies that, under Russian law, range from relatively lax “general regime” colonies to “strict,” “special,” and (most terrifying of all) “medical” colonies. Arrival in the camps is particularly harrowing. According to prisoner testimonies collected by Mr. Ponomarev, in the winter of 2005 convicts from one torture colony in Karelia, near the Finnish border, were shipped to the IK-1 torture colony near the village of Yagul, in the Udmurt Republic, about 500 miles east of Moscow.

“The receipt of convicts ‘through the corridor’ takes place in the following manner,” Mr. Ponomarev reports. “From the [truck] in which a newly arrived stage [of prisoners] is brought… employees of the colony line up, equipped with special means — rubber truncheons and dog handlers with work dogs. . . . During the time of the run, each employee hits the prisoner running by with a truncheon. . . . The convicts run with luggage, which significantly complicates the run. At those [places] where employees with dogs are found, the run of the convict is slowed by a dog lunging from the leash.”

The prison gantlet is just the welcome mat. At IK-1, a prisoner with a broken leg named Zurab Baroyan made the mistake of testifying to conditions at the colony to a staff representative of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation. “After this,” Mr. Baroyan reported, the commandant of the colony “threatened to rot me in the dungeon. They did not complete treating me in the hospital. The leg festers [and] pus runs from the bandage. . . The festering has crossed over to the second leg.”

Not surprisingly, suicide attempts at these colonies are common. One convict, named Mishchikin, sought to commit suicide by swallowing “a wire and nails tied together crosswise.” As punishment, he was denied medical assistance for 12 days. Another convict, named Fargiyev, was held in handcuffs for 52 days after stabbing himself; he never fully recovered motor function in his hands.

WSJ columnist Bret Stephens speaks to OpinionJournal.com’s Brendan Miniter about the revival of prisoner colonies in Russia and the subject of torture.

Even the smallest of prisoner infractions can be met with savage reprisals. In one case, authorities noticed the smell of cigarette smoke in a so-called “penalty isolator” cell where seven convicts were being held. “A fire engine was called in. . . . The entire cell, including the convicts and their personal things, was flooded with cold water.” The convicts were left in wet clothes in 50 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for a week.
As a legal matter, the torture colonies don’t even exist, and Mr. Ponomarev doubts there has ever been an explicit directive from Mr. Putin ordering the kind of treatment they mete. Rather, for the most part the standards of punishment are determined at the whim of colony commandants, often in areas where the traditions of the Gulag never went away.

That doesn’t excuse the Kremlin, however. Under Yeltsin, the prison system had operated under a sunshine policy, as part of a larger effort to distance Russia from its Soviet past. “But when Putin came to power, a new tone was set,” Mr. Ponomarev says. “The sadists who had previously been ‘behaving’ simply stopped behaving.”

Now reports of torture are systematically ignored or suppressed while regional governments refuse to act on evidence of abuse. Commandants at “general regime” colonies can always threaten misbehaving convicts with transfer to a torture colony — a useful way of keeping them in line. The Kremlin, too, benefits from the implied threat. “The correct word for this is Gulag, even if it’s on a smaller scale,” warns Mr. Ponomarev. “This is the reappearance of totalitarianism in the state. Unless we eradicate it, it will spread throughout the entire country.”

Readers interested in a closer look at what is described above may do a YouTube search for “Yekaterinaburg Prison Camp.” The short video, apparently filmed by a prison guard and delivered anonymously to Mr. Ponomarev’s organization, is a modern-day version of “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” It isn’t easy to watch. But it is an invaluable window on what Russia has become in the Age of Putin, Person of the Year.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com3.

>Latin America File: Belize joins region’s Red Axis, elects leftist government; outgoing party bought off (brought down?) with Venezuelan cash

>Although culturally speaking Belize is not part of Latin America, it is an English-speaking Central American nation, wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, that recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as its own monarch. Belize is not exempt from the political machinations of the Western Hemisphere’s Red Axis. Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez, acting as an arms-length proxy for Moscow and Havana, is using his petro-dollars and narco-dollars to export revolution and install leftist regimes from the Rio Grande River to Tierra del Fuego. Indeed, Comrade Hugo reportedly slipped US$10 million to supporters of former Belizean Prime Minister Said Musa’s People’s United Party (PUP).

On February 8 Belizean voters, however, ousted the center-right PUP and elected the center-left United Democratic Party (UDP) into power. Since the UDP is committed to “social democracy,” Latin America’s Red Axis can probably count on yet another reliable regime to oppose “US imperialism” in the region. Last month, in neighboring Guatemala, leftist Alvaro Colom was welcomed into the region’s Communist Bloc. Ironically, or perhaps by design, while in opposition the new Prime Minister Dean Barrow employed accusations of a financial link between Chavez and the PUP to bring down Musa’s government.

Pictured above, from left to right: Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, Musa, Chavez and Cuba’s Acting President Raul Castro, at the Fourth Petrocaribe Summit in Cienfuegos, Cuba, on December 21, 2007.

Belize Gets New Leader
By WILLIAM YSAGUIRRE
Associated Press Writer
Feb 8, 2008

BELIZE CITY – Belize’s opposition United Democratic Party won a landslide victory in general elections, ending Prime Minister Said Musa’s 10 years in office.

UDP leader Dean Barrow was to be sworn in as the country’s new leader later Friday after his party won 25 of the 31 seats in the House of Representatives in Thursday’s election.

Musa came to power in 1998 with a landslide victory, and his party held on to the National Assembly in 2003 elections, winning a 22-7 majority for another five-year term.

But Musa has struggled since.

Higher taxes designed to pay $3 billion in foreign debt sparked riots in 2005, and the prime minister’s administration was rocked by scandals over alleged sweetheart deals and financial mismanagement, including opposition allegations that a $10 million gift from Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was disbursed in handouts to ruling party supporters. Musa defended the payments as community aid.

The UDP has promised to crack down on crime and government corruption.

Musa’s party had promised to buy 30,000 laptops for schoolchildren and to reform the constitution to create an elected Senate. Belize is currently governed by an appointed Senate and the elected lower House of Representatives.

Source: Tuscaloosa News

We will update our Red World 2007 map to take into account Belize’s new political status vis-a-vis Latin America’s Red Axis. However, a snap election is scheduled to take place in Italy on April 13 and 14. Until that time alleged KGB asset Romano Prodi will remain prime minister. Italy’s neo-communist forces are reorganizing under the banner of the Democratic Party and The Left-The Rainbow to prevent Silvio Berlusconi from taking power again. Hence, we will wait until after that important election before updating our map.

>Breaking News: Israel denies involvement in car bomb that kills Hezbollah leader Mugniyah in Damascus blast yesterday; IDF raises alert level

>Yesterday senior Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah was killed by a car bomb in Damascus. The Israeli media reports that “The United States considers Mugniyah to be the man behind the bombing at the American embassy in Beirut and the attack against the US Marines’ headquarters in Lebanon in 1983, which killed over 200 Americans.” Mugniyah is pictured here, behind Captain John Testrake, the pilot of TWA Flight 847, at Beirut airport, June 1985. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is denying that his government was responsible for the incident. However, the Israeli Defense Force’s Northern Command has raised its alert level in response to Mugniyah’s assassination. The possibility that this arch-terrorist’s demise was a provocation orchestrated by Syria’s fascist-communist regime and Iran’s Islamo-Nazi regime should not be ruled out.

The Israeli media is also reporting that the Persian Gulf states are expecting Israel to “take out” Iran’s nuclear reactor before Bushehr “goes hot,” or becomes fully functional. A senior Kuwaiti government official is quoted as saying: “I believe in something on the same Iraqi model… We are assuming in the Gulf that Israel will take it out.” The Israeli Air Force destroyed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear facility in a daring raid on June 7, 1981.

Arch-terrorist Imad Mugniyah killed in blast
News agencies
Latest Update: 02.13.08, 13:58 /
Israel News

Imad Mugniyah, a terrorist mastermind on American and European Union most wanted lists, was killed in a blast in Damascus on Tuesday, according to a report by Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station.

The militant Shiite organization said Mugniyah was assassinated by Israeli agents.

Mugniyah, who has been in hiding for years, was among the fugitives indicted in the United States for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a US Navy diver was killed and the abduction of westerners in the country during the 1980s.

The United States considers Mugniyah to be the man behind the bombing at the American embassy in Beirut and the attack against the US Marines’ headquarters in Lebanon in 1983, which killed over 200 Americans.

“With all pride we declare a great jihadist leader of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon joining the martyrs … The brother commander hajj Imad Mugniyah became a martyr at the hands of the Zionist Israelis,” said a statement carried on Hizbullah’s television.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office refuted the accusations, saying that “Israel rejects the attempt by terrorist groups to attribute any involvement (to Israel) in this incident.”

A statement read that “Israel is clarifying the reports from Lebanon or Syria in connection with the death of the senior Hizbullah member and is learning for first time the details from this incident as they are being reported in the media in the last few hours.”

Hizbullah’s announcement came a few hours after a late night explosion in Damascus destroyed a vehicle. Witnesses in Damascus said at the time that a passerby was killed as security forces sealed off the area.

Al-Manar television broadcast another statement from the Shiite Muslim militant group, saying a funeral will be held on Thursday.

It urged supporters to turn out in its stronghold in south Beirut to “carry on our shoulders a leader we were proud with his leadership and a martyr we’re honored by his martyrdom.”

“Let us make our voice heard by all the enemies and murderers that we will make victory no matter how the sacrifices are,” Hizbullah said.

Mugniyah is believed by Israel to have been involved in planning the 1992 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were killed and the blast at a Buenos Aires Jewish center two years later that killed 95.

The Hizbullah commander was also involved in numerous terror attacks on Israel’s border with Lebanon, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Souad, and apparently also the abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

Warning to Hamas

The assassination sends a powerful warning to the Damascus-based leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which is backed by Iran.

Hamas spoke out against Mugniyah’s assassination. “We condemn this crime and we emphasize the Muslim nation must rise up to confront the Zionist devil which is backed by the Americans,” said Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Samir Abu Zuhri.

The announcement of his death said Mugniyah for 20 years has been the target of “Zionists and oppressors” – in Hizbullah and Iranian parlance a reference to Israel and the United States.

Roni Sofer contributed to the report

Source: YNetNews.com

>Breaking News: Serbs block roads, threaten Albanians in north Kosovo as Pristina’s Jan. 17 declaration of independence looms

>Political tensions in Kosovo are mounting as the secessionist government in Pristina prepares to declare independence from Serbia on January 17. Russia is a staunch ally of Serbia and vehemently opposes Kosovar independence. However, we suspect that the “ex”-communist regime in Pristina is purposely fomenting strife between, in the one camp, Russia and Serbia and, in the other camp, the European Union and the USA to create yet another pretext for war.

Serbs block roads in north Kosovo
Pristina /13/02/ 13:41

Street blockades have been posted by “new faces”, presenting themselves as Serbian security forces, in north part of Kosovo, populated by Serbs.
The blockades have been set up at the crossroads in Mitrovica and the bridge over Ibar River, leading over to the Albanian side, local media reported.

“We are all Serb policemen, if you like to put it that way,” said one of the participants. He also warned that “if Albanians try to take over north Kosovo, we will defend ourselves.”

EUFOR’s spokesman David Fiedler briefed that “EUFOR follows the situation in Kosovo and stands ready to response if need arises.” He also unveiled plans for amassing troops if the security situation in the region escalates.

Source: Makfax Online

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Two Russian heavy bomber regiments hold Arctic exercise; Putin threatens to aim missiles at Ukraine

>The Russian Bear has come out of hibernation after a 16-year snooze. With the formal resumption of strategic aviation patrols last August, the Russian Air Force is conducting back-to-back exercises, clearly in preparation for war against the USA and its dwindling allies. Pictured here: The Tu-22M Backfire will be participating in the Russian Air Force’s latest Arctic maneuvers. Although state-run Novosti, below, refers to the Tu-22 Blinder, this aircraft was phased out after the “collapse” of the Soviet Union and replaced by a variant, the Backfire, which remains operational to this day. It is probably to the Tu-22M, not the Tu-22, that Novosti is really referring.

Russian Air Force starts drills in ‘northern latitudes’-2
16:2013/ 02/ 2008

MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Air Force announced on Wednesday the launch of a tactical exercise involving long-range aviation in “northern latitudes” to rehearse interoperability in air patrol missions.

“The active phase of the tactical exercise has started under the command of long-range aviation commander Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov,” said Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky, an aide to the Air Force commander.

He did not say exactly where the exercise was being conducted or whether it was in Russia or outside its borders.

The drill, including two heavy-bomber regiments and one aerial tanker regiment, is practicing midair refueling, flights over uncharted terrain and in difficult weather conditions, as well as landings on off-base, alternate airfields.

Over 30 Tu-95 (Bear) strategic bombers, Il-78 (Midas) four-engine aerial refueling tankers, and Tu-22 (Blinder) supersonic bombers are participating in the exercise.

Drobyshevsky earlier said that more than 20 airplanes would participate in the drill.

Last August, Russia resumed long-range patrol missions of strategic bombers, which were suspended in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

It said air patrol areas would include zones of commercial shipping and economic activity and would be conducted on a permanent basis.

NATO has requested that Russia give it advanced warning of military exercises.

State-run Interfax reports that Russian pilots will practice midair refueling, flights over “textureless terrain,” and landing at off-base airfields. “Special attention will be given to training young pilots, who will practice combat skills at the Dubrovichi range in the Ryazan region and piloting techniques in various weather conditions,” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky explained.

Putin Threatens to Aim Russia’s Missiles at Ukraine

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin is threatening to aim Russia’s missiles at Ukraine if the Not-So-Former Soviet republic joins NATO, the stated intention of Kiev’s latest “Orange” government, as represented by ex-Komsomol Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko. The latter visited Moscow yesterday to settle Ukraine’s US$1.5 billion debt to Gazprom, which threatened to once again, as it did in January 2006, turn off the natural gas taps in the middle of winter, in order to force Kiev into compliance with Moscow’s expectations. These no doubt include playing along with the Kremlin’s strategic deception against the West. Following his meeting with Putin, Yushchenko meekly suggested that Ukraine will seek NATO membership, but forbid the deployment of NATO bases on its territory. Last June Putin threatened to aim Russia’s missiles at Europe in retaliation against US plans to install missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic.

The pro-Moscow Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine, which oppose NATO membership, have obediently executed the Kremlin’s plans by forcing the Ukrainian parliament to terminate its present session over PM Tymoshenko’s decision to join the Western Alliance. To that end, last week members of these parties barricaded Supreme Rada Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk in his office. On February 11, state-run Itar-Tass reports, the Party of Regions and the communists demanded that the speaker withdraw his signature from a letter to the NATO Secretary-General, which was also signed by the president and the prime minister. Former prime minister, leader of the Party of Regions, and Moscow’s man in Kiev Viktor Yanukovich has indicated on several occasions that he intends to undermine Tymoshenko’s governing coalition.

Finally, in the event of a preemptive strike by Russia against North America, the USA can more than likely count on the allegiance of Canada through the binational military command NORAD. In that scenario, however, Canada’s reliability will be strengthened as long as there’s a Conservative government in Ottawa, which could change soon since Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not command a majority in the House of Commons and could call a snap election this spring. By contrast, the commitment to continental security of Canada’s other major parties–the Liberals (center-left), the New Democrats (socialist), and the Bloc Quebecois (center-left separatist)–is dubious.

NATO, of course, is fundamentally compromised through the presence of “post”-communist states in its ranks, including the installation of Hungary’s “ex”-communist, KGB-trained spymaster General Sandor Laborc as that body’s new intelligence committee chief. Meanwhile, even as Russia openly prepares for war against the West, the globalist administration of US President George W. Bush is holding secretive meetings with alleged Soviet agent Henry Kissinger and ex-KGB chief Yevegeny Primakov, supposedly to advance US-Soviet relations . . . but in which direction?

>Feature: Globalist Bush meets alleged Soviet agent Kissinger, ex-KGB chief Primakov; Putin to use secretive group to influence next US president

>Since its formation in April 2007, the Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group, variously known as the Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Vision Group or Commission, has attracted little attention by the MSM. However, with the imprimatur of globalist US President George W. Bush and Russia’s “ex”-communist/”ex”-KGB dictator President Vladimir Putin, this secretive body is quietly guiding East-West convergence and US-Soviet bilateral relations, which includes a defence cooperation protocol and expanding joint military exercises.

The group’s co-chairs do not inspire confidence in the future security and sovereignty of the USA. Self-anointed, world statesman Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon and is an alleged Soviet agent. Yevgeny Primakov was formerly prime minister of Russia and chief of the KGB before the dismantling of the Soviet Union, as well as chief of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), after the domestic and international components of the old KGB were reorganized in the early 1990s.

We use the term “secretive” to describe this group since its existence is not secret per se, otherwise we would have no knowledge of it whatsoever.

The Kissinger-Primakov cabal, which is stacked with representatives of the pro-communist/pro-world government Council on Foreign Relations, first met in Putin’s private residence near Moscow last July. For some months we had been aware that another meeting was planned for January 2008, but only discovered today that Kissinger and Primakov furtively met with Bush in the White House on January 18. A photograph of the meeting, posted at the White House website, appears above. Bush is seated in the center-right of the picture, with Kissinger opposite. It is not clear where Primakov is seated.

Bush meeting with Kissinger, Primakov
— Jon Ward, White House correspondent
Posted on January 18, 2008 10:16 AM

President Bush went into a meeting this morning with former U.S. and Soviet officials this morning, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Soviet Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

The White House announced the meeting this morning, and originally said it would take place this afternoon.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that the stated reason for the meeting was that it is “an opportunity for the president to hear the views of these respected statesmen on a number of issues important to the United States and Russia.”

But Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Primakov head up a working group on U.S.-Russian relations made up of former officials in both governments. The group was formed in April after both leaders met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who supported the idea.

Sarah Mendelson, a Russia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the group is a way for Mr. Putin to maintain contact with the Bush administration while continuing to close off contact with the U.S. inside his country.

“Putin wants a funnel system where he has contact with a very few senior folks repeatedly and that’s where he’s getting his idea of what policy is going to be, and then he wants to cut off contact for everybody else,” Ms. Mendelson said.

It’s interesting to point out that with this group, Mr. Putin is operating independently of the Bush White House. He can initiate contact, through this group, with any of the presidential candidates and pick right up with the next president where he left off with Mr. Bush.

The reason the Kremlin is cutting off contact with outsiders for normal Russian citizens, Ms. Mendelson said, is because Mr. Putin is “actively fostering anti-American sentiment and anti-British sentiment.”

“It’s an old tactic to divert attention away from the fact that institutions at home barely function,” Ms. Mendelson said.

Source: The Washington Times

Sarah Mendelson, a Russia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is quoted above as saying: “He [Putin] can initiate contact, through this group, with any of the presidential candidates and pick right up with the next president where he left off with Mr. Bush.” Will that president be Hillary Clinton or John McCain? Both front-running candidates have expressed strong statements against the Putinist regime, but will that tune change if either takes the White House in November? In mid-January Kissinger and his US colleagues aired the Kremlin line for US disarmament in the Wall Street Journal.

Pictured above: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong attend the UN Conference on Disarmament at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, on February 12, 2008. While the Kremlin denies that its bombers approached a US carrier strike group in the Pacific Ocean this past weekend, the Moscow-Beijing Axis is at the same time seeking to restrict the ability of the USA to defend itself by urging the United Nations, a communist project for world domination since its inception, to ban space weapons. “Washington accelerated its Space Situational Awareness (SSA) project after China tested new anti-satellite missile in January of 2007,” state-owned Kommersant Daily reports today. “The SSA is aimed at protecting the U.S. satellite constellation and other space assets from anti-satellite weapons.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Two Bear bombers buzz USS Nimitz in western Pacific, same sortie penetrated Japanese airspace over weekend

>In a story that is related to the Russian Air Force’s penetration of Japanese airspace on Saturday, this weekend two Bear bombers also flew “unusually close” to the US aircraft carrier Nimitz, then cruising in the western Pacific
Fox News reports: “At least two U.S. fighters trailed the bomber as it came in low over the Nimitz twice, while one or two of the other U.S. fighters followed the second bomber as it circled.” Significantly, the Tu-95s, which were launched from Russia’s Far East air base in Ukrainka, began their flight in the middle of the night.

U.S. Navy Intercepts Russian Bombers Flying Near Ships
Monday , February 11, 2008

WASHINGTON — U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian bombers flying unusually close to an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific during the weekend, The Associated Press has learned.

A U.S. military official says that one Russian Tupolev 95 buzzed the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz twice, at a low altitude of about 2,000 feet, while another bomber circled about 50 nautical miles out. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the reports on the flights were classified as secret.

The Saturday incident, which never escalated beyond the flyover, comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Russia over U.S. plans for a missile defense system based in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Such Russian bomber flights were common during the Cold War, but have been rare since.

The bombers were among four Russian Tupolev 95s launched from Ukrainka in the middle of the night, including one that Japanese officials say violated their country’s airspace over an uninhabited island south of Tokyo.

U.S. officials tracked and monitored the bombers as two flew south along the Japanese coast, and two others flew farther east, coming closer to the Nimitz and the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton.

As the bombers got about 500 miles out from the U.S. ships, four F/A-18 fighters were launched from the Nimitz, the official said. The fighters intercepted the Russian bombers about 50 miles south of the Nimitz.

At least two U.S. fighters trailed the bomber as it came in low over the Nimitz twice, while one or two of the other U.S. fighters followed the second bomber as it circled.

The official said there were no verbal communications between the U.S. and the Russians, and the Pentagon has not heard of any protests being filed by the United States. Historically, diplomatic protests were not filed in such incidents because they were so common during the Cold War era.

This is the first time Russian Tupolevs have flown over or interacted with a U.S. carrier since 2004.

Source: FoxNews.com

>Middle East File: Olmert regime holding secret talks to redivide Jerusalem with Palestine; Likud, Shas, National Religious Party demand transparency

>The New World Order Against Israel: From the British Mandate of Palestine to the Annapolis Summit’s “Two-State Solution”

By the time Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s treasonous government finishes its negotiations with the Palestinians over the status of Jerusalem, every reason for Israel’s existence as a Biblically mandated homeland for world Jewry will be terminated. A senior Palestinian official, The Jerusalem Post reports below, confirmed that “Jerusalem was of course on the table” as a future capital for an independent Palestine. I suspect, however, that divine intervention will bring Olmert’s career to an end soon, much as it did fellow Kadima colleague Ariel Sharon’s in 2006. In November, following the Annapolis summit, Olmert adopted the line of the Israeli Left by linking the future existence of Israel to the creation of a separate Palestinian state. “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished,” he admonished.

Shas: If ‘Post’ report true, we will leave the government
Gil Hoffman, Khaled Abu Toameh and Talia Dekel , THE JERUSALEM POST
Feb. 10, 2008

Shas will leave the government if the Jerusalem Post report which revealed that Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams were conducting secret talks on the future of Jerusalem turns out to be true, Trade and Labor Minister and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai told the Post on Monday.

“We will check your story and if it is true, Shas will leave the government,” Yishai said. He added that the party would also leave if the government continued to negotiate while rockets were being fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu urged Shas to leave the coalition.

“Following the [government’s] security failures and in light of what I’ve read on Jerusalem being discussed in negotiations, I call on our friends in Shas: You share our opinions, our concern for Jerusalem, our concern for security – I call on you to do the right thing. And the right thing is to stop these dangerous moves and quit the government,” Netanyahu said.

On Sunday, the Post quoted a senior Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah as saying that the Palestinian negotiating team headed by former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei had been holding “secret talks” with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and other government officials over the past few weeks.

“There are public meetings and there are secret ones,” the PA official explained. “The main progress has been achieved during the secret talks, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem. Today we can say that Israel is prepared to withdraw from almost all the Arab neighborhoods and villages in Jerusalem. Israel is prepared to redivide Jerusalem, and this is a positive development.”

Livni’s associates declined to comment on the story, saying that the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams had decided not to respond to reports about what was taking place behind closed doors during the negotiations.

An Israeli official familiar with the talks said that until now they had focused on procedural matters and that the more serious issues on substance still lay ahead.

The PA confirmed Sunday that Jerusalem was being discussed with Israel. Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the PA had sensed readiness on Israel’s part to talk about the future of Jerusalem.

“The negotiations [with Israel] are not easy,” Qurei said Sunday. “The topics which we’re negotiating about are also not simple. These are the most difficult issues, and they include Jerusalem, the refugees, the borders and the settlements.”

A senior PA official added that “Jerusalem was of course on the table” and that “there is almost full understanding with Israel” regarding the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Shas officials initially responded to the story by reiterating the party’s promise that it would not sit in a government that negotiated Jerusalem’s fate and that they expected to be updated by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Livni if the issue were raised. But politicians on the Right said Shas could no longer explain remaining in the coalition.

“The cat is out of the bag,” National Religious Party chairman Zevulun Orlev said. “The fact that the Olmert government is not telling the truth about the negotiations with the Palestinians has been revealed. Shas will no longer be able to say they didn’t know. Even if the prime minister isn’t telling them the truth, they can thank The Jerusalem Post for revealing it to them. I hope Shas keeps its promise and leaves the government that is dividing Jerusalem.”

Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa’ar said the secret negotiations were intended to give the political establishment a fait accompli that would require Israel to withdraw to indefensible borders and divide Jerusalem.

“Shas should withdraw immediately from the coalition as it promised,” Sa’ar said. “It’s also time for the MKs in Kadima and the Pensioners Party who oppose such moves to wake up.”

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz criticized the negotiations, saying that if “the story was true, then Jerusalem’s fate is being decided like a thief in the night. It cannot be that while Olmert is denying that there are any talks about Jerusalem at all, Livni is negotiating in back rooms with Abu Ala [Qurei] about the state of our capital.”

Jerusalem municipal opposition leader Nir Barkat, who has led a public campaign against the proposed division of the capital, called on Livni to reveal any agreements reached during negotiations with the Palestinians.

“I demand that the foreign minister, who heads the negotiations with the Palestinians, publicly disclose all secretive and other agreements that the State of Israel has reached with the Palestinians,” Barkat said.

“Any such agreement achieved on behalf of an Israeli official would constitute an absolute deviation from Kadima’s basic principles and a violation of the Basic Law: Jerusalem. It would betray the trust of the voter and undermines the sovereign basis of the Knesset. The Palestinians must understand that neither the government of Israel, nor any other body on its behalf, has the right to promise to give up areas where Israeli law, governance and legislation have been implemented.”

Source: The Jerusalem Post

The Bush Administration, like the Olmert regime, is committed to a “two-state solution” to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. However, there is no end in sight for the strife in the Middle East. Although the Palestine Liberation Organization formally renounced terrorism and its original goal of destroying Israel in the 1993 Oslo Accords, terrorists connected to the Palestinian National Authority continue to bomb civilian targets in Israel, possibly with the complicity of Egypt and certainly with the assistance of Syria and Iran.

In 1922, as the map above shows, the British Mandate of Palestine closely approximated the original land grant that God gave to Abraham and his descendants at least 3,600 years ago (Genesis 15:18, Deuteronomy 11:24, Joshua 1:4). The modern State of Israel is only a fraction of the other territories. A number of Old Testament prophecies, moreover, predict the regathering of Israel for a second time to the land, in preparation for the millennial reign of Messiah. Isaiah 11:11, for example, states: “And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”

>Asia File: Strategically important East Timor requests more Australian troops after coup/assassination attempt against president, prime minister

>East Timor–the pro-Beijing, neo-communist micro-state that declared independence from Portugal in 1975 and officially seceded from Indonesia in 2002–is under a state of emergency following today’s assassination attempts against President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. (Gusmao is pictured here, speaking today at a press conference after the failed coup.) Horta was transported to Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, where he has been hospitalized. Gusmao escaped injury. The East Timorese government has requested that Australia augment its troop presence, which currently stands at 800, to stabilize the situation on the island after the rebel attacks. In the story below, Australia’s Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expressed outrage: “Someone out there tried to assassinate the political leadership of our friend, partner and neighbor. They have asked for some help, and we are about to provide it.” New Zealand is offering to send a platoon of 35 soldiers.

In 2006 East Timor’s former government fired a third of the country’s armed forces for desertion. Under the leadership of renegade soldier Major Alfredo Reinado these troops have formed anti-government militias. The World Socialist Web Site reveals that “Reinado has accused Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao of directly instigating the 2006 military mutiny, which triggered the political and social unrest that forced more than 100,000 people—10 percent of the population—to flee their homes. The violence was seized upon by Canberra as the pretext for dispatching an Australian-led military intervention and muscling former Fretilin [Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor] prime minister Mari Alkatiri out of office.”

Australia to send more troops to East Timor after assassination attempt
February 12, 2008

CANBERRA, Australia (AP): Australia is sending scores more troops and police to neighboring East Timor in response to assassination attempts against that country’s leaders, the prime minister said Monday.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the East Timorese government asked for extra security help, and that Australian officials decided to send a “company strength” deployment of additional troops and up to 70 more Australian Federal Police as soon as it can be arranged.

Australia already leads a multinational security force in East Timor and has deployed almost 800 troops and dozens of police there. Troop numbers in East Timor would total about 1,000 after the new deployment, Rudd said.

“Someone out there tried to assassinate the political leadership of our friend, partner and neighbor,” Rudd told a news conference in the capital, Canberra. “They have asked for some help, and we are about to provide it.”

He said President Jose Ramos Horta, who was attacked at his home in the East Timorese capital of Dili early Monday, was being flown to the northern Australian city of Darwin for medical treatment. His condition was “very serious but stable,” Rudd said. Rudd said he had spoken twice Monday with East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, whose convoy was fired upon in an attack earlier in the day. Gusmao escaped injury.

Gusmao requested the boost in Australian security forces, Rudd said. The Australian leader also said he had agreed to Gusmao’s invitation to visit East Timor later this week as a demonstration of confidence in the government.

Rudd said the Australian-led force in East Timor had secured key buildings in Dili and increased its presence around the city and its environs in response to Monday’s attacks.

The security situation in East Timor “is currently assessed as stable, but this could change quickly as events unfold,” Rudd said.

Rudd said the assassination attempts were “fundamentally destabilizing” for East Timor, and that Australia had no information that anyone outside of East Timor was involved in them.

“It’s obviously a destabilizing time, with rogue elements at play. Therefore an appropriate show of force is necessary,” he said. He said the full circumstances of the attacks were not yet known.

A platoon of up to 35 extra New Zealand troops was put on standby to go to East Timor if they were needed, New Zealand Defense Minister Phil Goff said. New Zealand currently has almost 200 troops and 25 police taking part in the peacekeeping force in East Timor.

Source: The Jakarta Post

Notwithstanding PM Rudd’s histrionics about the attempted coup in East Timor, it was revealed in 1998 that a previous Labor government, that of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, endorsed the Indonesian invasion in 1975. In February 2007, moreover, The Australian reported that “Prosecutors have dropped an investigation into allegations that former East Timorese prime minister Mari Alkatiri ordered a hit squad to kill political rivals, clearing the way for the Fretilin leader to contest April’s presidential elections.”

The Catholic-Communist Convergence in East Timor

The role of the East Timor Catholic Church in the country’s drive toward indendence typifies the Catholic-communist convergence in the Third World. Ninety-five percent of East Timorese are Catholic. In 1999 Australian Broadcasting Network journalist Suzanne Smith reported that “the Jesuits’ role in East Timor is paradoxical.” She continues:

Most of the Fretilin guerillas were educated at the Jesuit Seminary High School in the suburbs of Dili, Jose Ramos Horta, to name just one. And also from the opposition Udete party leaders who were also taught there. James Dunn, the former Australian consul to East Timor, and author of ‘Timor Betrayed’ says it was the social justice ideals imparted in those teachings that helped sow the seeds of resistance against the Portuguese colonisers and the Indonesian invaders.

Australian writer Mark Aarons reveals that Gusmao’s career also reflects a worldview informed by Jesuit-inspired liberationism:

Indonesia’s brutal offensives of 1977-78 eliminated the internal leadership, leaving Marxist-inclined leaders such as Alkatiri competing for domination of the exile community with international spokesman Ramos-Horta. Inside the country, Fretilin reasserted its adherence to Marxism under its new leader and current Timorese President, Xanana Gusmao. But during the 1980s Gusmao distanced himself from Marxism and eventually left Fretilin to head a broad, nationalist front that linked his guerillas with the Catholic Church, student organisations and the civilian underground. [Marxist] Fundamentalists remained in Fretilin’s leadership, notably among the exiles in the former Portuguese African colonies. Alkatiri’s Mozambican cell was the most significant of these.

Gusmao, like the other Fretilin leaders, was educated at the same Jesuit institution. Although the Catholic Church opposes Fretilin’s secular orientation, during the March 11/25, 2007 presidential election the Catholic hierarchy openly cast its support behind Democratic Party candidate Fernando “La Sama” de Araujo, who is a social democrat/social liberal. Several months later, during the June 30, 2007 parliamentary election, Fretilin, which spearheaded East Timorese independence against Portugal and then Indonesia, achieved a plurality of seats in the National Parliament. However, the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction, which was founded by “ex”-Fretilin member Gusmao, organized a “new” government in coalition with the Social Democratic Party and Timorese Social Democratic Association. Although currently prime minister, Gusmao was also East Timor’s first post-independence president.

The Moscow-Beijing Axis Quietly Extends Its Influence into East Timor

The Kremlin was quick to express solidarity with East Timor’s “neo-Fretilin” government through a Foreign Ministry press release: “The Russian side expresses its concern over the attempt on the life of the East Timor president, and hopes political stability in East Timor will be maintained, as a fundamental condition for a successful solution to the complicated problems it is facing. And in the interests of strengthening national unity and ensuring social and economic development.”

Communist China also condemned the rebel attacks against Horta and Gusmao. Chinese influence in East Timor is extensive and well-established. “The PRC,” wrote Ian Storey in 2006, “played a cameo role in East Timor’s first bid for independence in the mid-1970s. When the Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente (FRETILIN) Party declared outright independence from Portugal in November 1975, the PRC supported the declaration.” He continues:

How successful has China been in advancing its interests in East Timor? Since 2002, Beijing has gained a strong foothold in the country. It has the largest diplomatic presence in the country and has financed construction of East Timor’s embassy in Beijing and the East Timorese foreign ministry building and presidential palace in Dili. China has also cultivated ties with East Timor’s leaders, partly through all-expenses-paid trips to the PRC. Former Prime Minister Alkatiri was East Timor’s chief advocate of closer ties to the PRC, and his resignation has therefore come as something of a blow to the Chinese leadership.

In 2000 then President Gusmao visited Red China. “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said in Beijing January 27 afternoon that the China tour of East Timor leader Jose Alexandre Xanana Gusmao was a crowning success,” gushed the Chinese state media. In 2002 Communist China dispatched a representative to Dili to attend East Timor’s independence day celebrations, during which occasion Beijing committed itself to the economic development of the diminutive state.

East Timor is strategically located between Indonesia and Australia and thus a target for subversion by the Moscow-Beijing Axis. In all fairness, it should be pointed out that in 1975 anti-communists among Australian Catholics feared that Timor could be transformed into a base for Russian submarines. Australian journalist Smith, mentioned above, cites Jesuit priest John Eddy in regard to this fear, shared by Indonesia, which in turn justified the invasion of East Timor on the basis of a perceived communist threat from Fretilin:

Suzanne Smith: Father John Eddy is the Director of the Institute of Jesuit Studies, and in 1975 he was an influential figure in Canberra. He among others in the church were very concerned about communism, to the point where they thought the Fretilin may establish links with the Soviet Union and set up a submarine base not far from Australia’s northern border. He advised senior members of the church to take communism into account when formulating their response to the invasion of East Timor.

John Eddy: The global strategy, namely that just as the people in the US were worried about Cuba, which could become a missile platform for Russia, it under some circumstances, we’re talking now about the ’60s, Timor could have been an excellent base for Russian submarines. In fact at that stage, right through to the 1980s really, Russian submarines in the Pacific needed to have bases, and they needed to have ports of call and so forth, but also too, this was the time of the confrontation with Indonesia which could have turned communist; the generals’ revolution had its disadvantages, but it did at least put an end for 30 years to the threat of a communist Indonesia.

While neo-Soviet Russia appears to keeping a low profile in East Timor, her strategic partner Communist China is faithfully executing the Communist Bloc’s plan for domination in Southeast Asia.

>Red World: Kosovo PM to declare independence from Serbia by Feb. 17, foments war between Russia, West; Thaci an "ex"-red, mafia leader, bin Laden ally

>Pictured here: Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo, Serbia’s secessionist province. Thaci is an “ex”-communist, a leader of the criminal underworld in Kosovo, and an ally of Osama bin Laden. Thaci intends to declare Kosovo’s independence by February 17, a move opposed by Serbia and its ally Russia, but supported by the USA. Kosovar independence was orginally proclaimed on July 2, 1990.

Although we finished our Red World series on communist influences some weeks ago, we decided that a profile on Kosovo would be timely.

Kosovo (secessionist province of Republic of Serbia under United Nations administration and NATO occupation)
Previous names of Kosovo:
1) Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK) with military support of NATO’s Kosovo Force: May 2001-present
2) Joint Interim Administrative Structure (UNMIK) with military support of NATO’s Kosovo Force: June 10, 1999-May 2001
3) Republic of Kosova (unrecognized, except by Albania): July 2, 1990-February 1, 2000 (government in exile)
4) Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Republic of Serbia: September 28, 1990-June 10, 1999 (direct rule from Belgrade)
5) Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo within Socialist Republic of Serbia: 1974-September 28, 1990
6) Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Socialist Republic of Serbia: 1963-1974
7) Autonomous Region of Kos-Met within Socialist Republic of Serbia: 1945-1963
Type of state: “Post”-communist “multiparty” state under covert communist control, exercised through Democratic League of Kosovo, Democratic Party of Kosovo, and other potemkin parties
Neo-communist renewal: “Collapse of communism,” 1991
Neo-communist re-renewal: Bulldozer Revolution, 2000; Kosovo War: Kosovo Liberation Army (ethnic Albanian) and NATO versus Yugoslav Army, 1996-1999; Preševo Valley Conflict: Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (ethnic Albanian, including KLA veterans) versus Yugoslav Army, 2000-2001
Communist Bloc memberships: none
NATO membership: none
Socialist International presence: none
Communist government as part of Serbia:
1) Socialist Party of Serbia (formerly League of Communists of Serbia) in coalition with Serbian Radical Party (“ex”-communist leader): 1998-2000
2) Socialist Party of Serbia (formerly League of Communists of Serbia) in coalition with New Democracy: 1993-1998
3) Socialist Party of Serbia (formerly League of Communists of Serbia) in coalition with Serbian Radical Party (“ex”-communist leader) and other parties: 1992-1993
4) Socialist Party of Serbia (merger of League of Communists of Serbia and allied mass organization Socialist Alliance of Working People of Serbia): 1990-1992
5) League of Communists of Serbia (formerly Communist Party of Serbia), sole legal party, with support of mass organization Socialist Alliance of Working People of Serbia (formerly People’s Front): 1952-1990
6)) Communist Party of Serbia, sole legal party, with support of mass organization People’s Front: 1945-1952
Fascist government as part of Serbia:
1) Pro-Axis Government of National Salvation, led by collaborationist General Milan Nedic and supported by Dimitrije Ljotić’s fascist Zbor National Movement and Serbian Volunteer Corps: April 17, 1941-October 20, 1944 (deposed by Soviet Army and communist partisans)
Presidents of “post”-communist Kosovo:
1) Fatmir Sejdiu (Democratic League of Kosovo): February 10, 2006-present
2) Nexhat Daci (Democratic League of Kosovo, Democratic League of Dardania): January 21-February 10, 2006 (acting)
3) Ibrahim Rugova (League of Communists of Serbia, Kosovo section; Democratic League of Kosovo): May 24, 1992-January 21, 2006
Prime ministers of “post”-communist Kosovo:
1) Hashim Thaçi (People’s Movement of Kosovo, Kosovo Liberation Army, Democratic Party of Kosovo; founded criminal Drenica Group, Thaci’s sister married Albanian mafia leader): January 9, 2008-present
2) Agim Çeku (Kosovo Liberation Army, nonpartisan): March 10, 2006-January 9, 2008
3) Bajram Kosumi (Parliamentary Party of Kosovo, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo): March 25, 2005-March 10, 2006
4) Adem Salihaj (Democratic League of Kosovo): March 8-25, 2005 (acting)
5) Ramush Haradinaj (Civic Alliance of Kosovo, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo): December 3, 2004-March 8, 2005
6) Bajram Rexhepi (Democratic Party of Kosovo): March 4, 2002-December 3, 2004
7) Nexhat Daci (Democratic League of Kosovo): December 10, 2001-March 4, 2002
8) Joint Interim Administrative Structure (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK): February 1, 2000-December 10, 2001
9) Hashim Thaci (People’s Movement of Kosovo, Kosovo Liberation Army, Democratic Party of Kosovo; founded criminal Drenica Group, Thaci’s sister married Albanian mafia leader): April 2, 1999-February 1, 2000 (seized power from Bukoshi)
10) Bujar Bukoshi (Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosova, Democratic League of Kosovo): October 5, 1991-February 1, 2000 (exiled in Bonn, Germany)
11) Jusuf Zejnullahu (League of Communists of Serbia, Kosovo section): September 7, 1990-October 5, 1991
Parliament of “post”-communist country: Assembly of Kosovo
Communist insurgency:
1) Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosova (FARK): In August 1988 Bujar Bukoshi organized this guerrilla group for the purpose of securing Kosovar independence from Serbia. The original FARK commanders hailed from the Albanian and Yugoslav armies. The number of insurgents numbered anywhere from 120 to 3,000 fighters in 1999. Bujar Bukoshi, who also organized a government in exile in Germany during the period of Belgrade’s direct rule over Kosovo between 1990 and 1999, place FARK under the command of former colonel Ahmet Krasniqi, Bukoshi’s “Minister of Defence.” Most FARK combatants were then loyal to the “ex”-communist President of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, who had followed a policy of peaceful resistance to the Serbs until the Drenica massacres of 1988. — On April 2, 1999 Hashim Thaçi, the former ideologist for the rival Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), proclaimed himself prime minister in the place of Bukoshi, an act that the latter refused to recognize Thaci. The KLA tried to prevent recruitment into the FARK among the Albanians in Western Europe and prosecuted a separate insurgency against the Serbian police and army. Both insurgent groups accused the other of betraying the cause of Kosovar independence. Some FARK combatants, nevertheless, reportedly came under KLA command at this time. For example, Tahir Zemaj, a former Yugoslav Army lieutenant-colonel and KLA commander who was murdered with his son and a cousin in 2002, had also been a leader of the FARK. Albanian politicians took sides in the rivalry between the FARK and the KLA. On the one hand, the “ex’-communist Socialist Party of Albania supported Thaçi and the KLA, while the “ex”-communist Democratic Party supported the FARK.
2) Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): The KLA began its military campaign in 1986, almost two years before Yugoslav (Serbian) police and army began to massacre Kosovar Albanians in January and February 1988. Nine years later the KLA renewed its attacks against Yugoslav police stations, government officials, and civilian targets like refugee centers. By February 1996 the name “Kosovo Liberation Army” became widely known. Kosovo’s “moderate” “ex”-communist leader Ibrahim Rugova attributed the attacks to Yugoslavian agents provocateurs. Shortly thereafter it became manifest that the KLA was a legitimate guerrilla army. Belgrade deployed more security forces to Kosovo to crush the “terrorist” threat, generating sympathy among the populace for its aims. — Two founders of the KLA were Kosovar Albanians Zahir Pajaziti and Adem Jashari, who were frustrated by Rugova’s “passive resistance” strategy. Other prominent members were current and previous Kosovo Prime Ministers Hashim Thaçi and Agim Çeku. It is believed that the communist People’s Movement of Kosovo, which currently operates in Kosovo, created the KLA. — Controversial reports suggest that the KLA is allied with Al Qaeda and sent some of its guerrilla fighters to train in Afghanistan. However, it is an established fact that beginning in 1994 Saudi Arabian terrorist leader Osama bin Laden based an operation out of Albanian capital of Tirana. In February 2000 Southeast Europe Online reported that Thaci, also known as Taqi, established a friendship with bin Laden in 1996:

Foreign intelligence services, including the US one, have information for the connections of the ex-leader of the Army for Kosovo Liberation /AKL/ Hasim Taqi with Osama bin Laden, the today’s edition of Glas javnosti daily says. The ex-chief of the Albanian National Intelligence Service Fatos Klosi confirmed bin Laden has been in Albania in the 90-ies where he had organized training camps for the AKL fighters. The candidate for President of Kosovo and leader of the Democratic Union of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova also has information in regard of the connections of Taqi with bin Laden. After the announcement of the election results Rugova promised to make public the evidences for the terrorist activity of its political opponent. The “friendship” between Taqi and bin laden has begun in 1996. According to the sources of the daily, in the period 1996-2001 bin Laden has invested some USD 200 M in activities, related to different criminal deals in Kosovo.

The KLA rapidly grew in numbers between 1997 and 1999. KLA spokesman Jakup Krasniqi claimed 30,000 men under arms. Other estimates ranged between 10,000 and 50,000. By May 1998 the insurgents effectively controlled one quarter of the province, based in the town of Prekaz and centered on the region of Drenica, where current PM Thaci operated an organized crime ring linked to the Albanian mafia. At this time, the KLA was equipped only with small arms of Soviet, Chinese, and Yugoslav origin, such as AK-47 assault rifles and a few RPG-7 anti-tank weapons. The Yugoslavs claimed that the KLA consisted of only a few hundred radicals, ceasing to patrolling large swathes of Kosovo, while the Yugoslav Army often turned its back on KLA actions. Rugova’s “shadow government” refused to endorse the KLA’s violent tactics but was reluctant of losing support to the radicals. — In 1997 the USA recognized the KLA as a terrorist organization. — In the summer of 1998 the Yugoslav security forces launched an offensive against the KLA, nearly decimating the organization, which provoked an outcry from NATO. The KLA reorganized itself with a central command structure and training organization, divided Kosovo into military operational zones, a political arm, led by current PM Thaci. Recruits were drawn from ethnic Albanians formerly under arms in the Yugoslav Army and in the Albanian diaspora. The KLA continued to rely principally on small arms, but expanded its arsenal to include SA-7 and FIM-92 Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, as well as light artillery such as mortars. — The KLA, having learned from its earlier tactical errors, refused to concentrate its strength in villages and, in true guerrilla fashion, mounted hit-and-run attacks from the hills and forests of western Kosovo. The Yugoslav military responded with mass civilian killings such as the Racak incident in January 1999, which prompted more Kosovars to flee and increased the pressure on Western powers to intervene. Full-scale war broke out in Kosovo in March 1999. The Yugoslav forces launched an offensive against the KLA, in which the guerrillas initially suffered heavy losses and was driven back into Albania, with only a few thousand fighters remaining in Kosovo itself. In May 1999 Agim Çeku, an ethnic Albanian who had formerly served in the Croatian Army as brigadier-general, assumed command of the KLA. The insurgents subsequently adopted an aggressive stance by attacking Yugoslav units in the open, especially after NATO aircraft bombed government forces. — After the war ended, NATO organized a 3,000-strong Kosovo Protection Corps drawn from the ranks of the KLA ranks and charged the force with disaster response, search and rescue, assistance with de-mining, providing humanitarian assistance, and helping to rebuild infrastructure and communities. The KPC took over the former Yugoslav Army barracks. Ex-KLA members organized new insurgent group such as the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveda and Bujanovac, which began operating in the Preševo region of southern Serbia between 2000 and 2001. In neighboring Macedonia, a former republic of Yugoslavia, they also organized National Liberation Army, which took up arms against the Slav-dominated government in Skopje. In January 2008, the mysterious Albanian National Army, alleged to be an offshoot of the “defunct” KLA, threatened to attack Serbian targets in Kosovo should Belgrade block any move by Pristina to declare independence. The ANA advocates a “Greater Albania.” The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague has indicted several former on war crimes charges, including Fatmir Limaj, Haradin Bala, and Ramush Haradinaj. — In general, the KLA legacy is pervasive throughout Kosovar politics, especially in the Democratic Party of Kosovo, of which the KLA’s “ex”-Marxist ideologist Thaci is currently prime minister. Regarding the communist orientation of the KLA, Rosa Liebknecht writes:

According to Australian journalist Michael Karadjis, “Part of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s core derives from ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Kosovan resistance forces which fought Belgrade’s repressive rule in the 1980s, and had links with Albania’s Stalinist regime. In particular, it appears to have connections with the National Movement of Kosova, which was formed in 1982.”

There are also connections to the Red Front which developed in the 1980s in Kosovo and among emigrants in Germany. Inspired by Enva Hoxha’s Albania, it called for an Albanian-speaking Kosovo Republic inside the Yugoslav federation. According to reports in the German left daily Junge Welt, some 80 leading members were assassinated in Germany in the 1980s by Yugoslav secret service, with the help of German secret service. This eliminated most of the left wing, Maoist, leaders of the Albanian resistance.

Communist parties of “post”-communist Kosovo:
1) Albanian Revolutionary Party: Founded in 1986 by Bestar Kosova this party is Stalinist in orientation.
2) National Movement for the Liberation of Kosova: Founded in 1993 and presently led by Valon Murati, the LKCK is Stalinist in orientation. The party boycotted the last legislative election in October 2004.
3) People’s Movement of Kosovo (LPK): Founded in 1982 as the Movement for the Albanian Republic of Yugoslavia, the LPK is currently led by Emrush Xhemajli. The current prime minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci is a past member of the LPK. The party received 1 out of 120 seats in the last legislative election in October 2004. The LPK is believed to have created the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Crypto-communist parties of “post”-communist Kosovo:
1) Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK): The founder of the LDK is “ex”-communist and deceased president of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova, who died in 2006. Rugova and other Albanian intellectuals organized the LDK in 1989. The party opposed the ratification by Kosovo’s parliament in 1990 of bill that restored Belgrade’s direct rule over the province. By spring 1991 LDK enjoyed support from a diaspora of ethnic Albanians across Europe, including Zurich, Stuttgart and Brussels. Party membership totaled a massive 700,000. In September 1991 the LDK organized a “shadow government” called the Republic of Kosova, which promulgated a resolution supporting the complete “Independence and Sovereignty of Kosovo.” The LDK organized a referendum for self-determination in 1992, in which over 98% of Kosovar Albanians voted for independence. The referendum was annulled by Belgrade. The LDK briefly supported the Marxist-inspired National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo, presently a political party, and the Kosovo Liberation Army. In April 1999 Rugova traveled to Belgrade to meet Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to negotiate the restoration of provincial autonomy, even though the party’s agenda includes full independence for Kosovo. — After the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia (Serbia), the LDK leadership attended the signing of the Kumanovo Treaty, which implemented United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and formalized the secession of hostilities in Kosovo. However despite signing that the future of Kosovo will be negotiated as an autonomous entity, LDK continually supports independence of Kosovo up to this very day. The current president of the party, which has lost popular support to the KLA-linked Democratic Party of Kosovo, is Fatmir Sejdiu.
2) Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK): Essentially a political front for the Kosovo Liberation Army, the PDK advocates full independence for Serbia’s secessionist province. Kosovo’s current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was formerly the KLA’s political ideologist. Thaci founded the Drenica Group, a branch of the Kosovar criminal underworld, is linked through the marriage of a sister to the Albanian mafia, and was formerly associated with the Marxist-Leninist People’s Movement of Kosovo. During the parliamentary election on November 17, 2007 the PDK obtained 37 out of 100 seats in the Assembly of Kosovo, while its chief rival, the Democratic League of Kosovo, obtained 25. It is expected that Thaci will form a coalition government with the President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu’s party. Voter turnout was low since most ethnic Serbs refused to participate. It is expected, too, that the Kosovar government will declare independence between February 17 and 20, 2008, a moved vehemently opposed by Serbia and its ally Russia, but supported by the USA and, according to Pristina, more than 100 states worldwide. “It is a done (deal). Everybody knows it. None of the authorities from Belgrade can affect the positive development of a declaration and recognition of the independence of Kosovo,” PM Thaci informed reporters on February 8. “We will have a strong and massive (international) recognition.”
Russian military presence: In a surprise move Russian troops occupied Kosovo’s capital Pristina in June 1999, but withdrew in 2003 after contributing to NATO’s KFOR mission. The NATO website relates: “Russian forces participated in the peacekeeping effort since the beginning of the operation in June 1999. In addition to regular peacekeeping duties, the Russian contingent was responsible for refurbishing and operating Pristina airport, contributing directly to Kosovo’s recovery from the war. Heavily damaged during the 1999 conflict, the airport now handles an average of 20 flights a day. Russian troops also ran a hospital, which delivered crucial medical services to the local population and has treated over 10,000 patients.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Bear bomber violates Japanese airspace south of Tokyo, last incursion 2006; Putin, Lavrov: USA plans to attack Russia

>Japanese Intelligence Official Who Passed Secrets to Russia Exposed Three Weeks Before Russian Bomber Intrudes into Japanese Airspace

Since the “demise” of communism, the Soviet strategists have carefully used the last 16 years of East-West relations to further infiltrate NATO with its agents as well as portray the organization as a threat to “peace-loving” Russia. Since the Russian Air Force officially resumed its long-range patrols last August, there have been numerous violations of NATO/NORAD airspace which were rare during the 1990s. Today’s violation of Japanese airspace by a Russian Bear bomber is apparently the first since January 2006, when a Russian military aircraft flew near Rebun Island, which is close to Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s major islands, and the Kuril Islands, the sovereignty of which is disputed by both countries. The story below notes that the incursion “came after Japan held an annual rally Thursday to demand the return of a disputed island chain that Russia seized in the closing days of World War II.” Today’s violation also suggests that the world is in a pre-war situation, although few residents of the shopping mall regimes are paying attention to the neo-Soviet threat and even fewer representatives of officialdom are willing to admit that the threat exists.

Tokyo says Russian bomber briefly violated Japanese airspace
MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer
February 9, 2008 1:45 AM

TOKYO (AP) – A Russian air force bomber briefly violated Japanese airspace Saturday over an uninhabited island south of Tokyo, prompting Japan to scramble 22 fighter jets and issue a protest with Moscow, the Foreign Ministry said. The Russian air force denied the intrusion.

The Russian Tupolev 95 left Japanese airspace after three minutes following warnings by Japanese air force jets over Sofugan in the Izu island chain, 400 miles south of Tokyo, said Foreign Ministry official Kotaro Otsuki.

The ministry immediately lodged a protest with the Russian Embassy in Tokyo and demanded an explanation, Otsuki said. A switchboard operator at the embassy said no one there was immediately available for comment.

ITAR-Tass news agency quoted the head of the Russian Air Force information service, Alexander Drobyshevsky, as denying the intrusion, saying the flyby was part of a mission over neutral waters.

Japan’s Defense Ministry scrambled 22 fighter jets, including F-15s, and two airborne warning and control aircraft known as AWACs, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol. He said the Russian bomber had come from the north and headed back northbound after Japan’s warning.

The incident came after Japan held an annual rally Thursday to demand the return of a disputed island chain that Russia seized in the closing days of World War II. The disagreement over the four islands, called the Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, have kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty.

Otsuki said he did not know if the flyby was related to the rally. He said Russia last violated Japanese airspace in January 2006 near Rebun Island off Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, close to the disputed northern islands.

Sofugan lies on the southernmost tip of the Izu island group.

Source: Santa Barbara News-Press

Last month, in a possibly related story, a Japanese intelligence official was accused of passing classified information to the Russians. “It is deplorable that the incident took place right under my nose,” Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda lamented. “A thorough investigation should be conducted and tough measures taken.” Meanwhile, with typical communist hypocrisy, the Kremlin is accusing Western and Asian powers of spying on Russia. The Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) is quoted as saying that its “agents have uncovered spying attempts by Western and Asian spy agencies in enterprises specialising in nuclear energy, biology and nanotechnology work in Siberia.”

The Kremlin Beats the Drums of War But Who’s Listening?

Neo-Soviet Russia continues to build its case for a “justifiable” preemptive strike against the USA and its allies. Following a summit of the NATO-Russia Council in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, President Vladimir Putin announced that there is a “new arms race” between the Western Alliance and Russia. According to the Kremlin, Russia’s “concerns” over NATO “expansionism,” conventional armed forces in Europe, the proposed US National Missile Defense interceptors and radar installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, and Kosovo’s political status were not satisfactorily addressed. “Russia will always respond to this new challenge,” Putin threatened this week. “We will build new weapons that have the same characteristics, and in some cases better characteristics, as those being built by other countries. There has been no constructive response to our well-founded concerns.”

Echoing the belligerent tone of his master and using communist jargon such as “imperialism,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once again denounced Washington’s plans for missile defense as little more than a plan to surround and attack Russia:

Elements of the strategic anti-missile defence system already exist or are being set up in Alaska, California, in northeast Asia. When you look at a map, it becomes clear that everything is concentrated around our border. In the near future we’ll probably be talking about hundreds or even thousands of interceptor missiles in different parts of the globe, including Europe. Poland is just a test case. You’d have to be really naive to think that an American anti-missile base in Europe is directed against anywhere else than Russian territory. It’s unfortunately hard to find any other explanation for this than an imperialist concept. Russia isn’t afraid of 10 interceptors. It’s this tendency to bring American infrastructure closer to our borders which constitutes the real threat.

Yesterday, Poland’s “conservative” Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who has indicated his desire to restore familial relations between Warsaw and Moscow, dutifully visited Putin in the Kremlin.

>Latin America File: Salvadoran government to investigate Venezuela’s funding of FMLN, Saca recalls diplomat; Peru: Chavez should not export revolution

>A US intelligence report reveals that Red Venezuela is channelling funds to El Salvador’s powerful communist opposition, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). The report is none other the Annual Threat Assessment delivered by US National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell, who has also identified Russia, China, and OPEC as real geopolitical threats by way of their leverage through multinational corporations and financial markets.

The alleged link between Chavez and the FMLN is not a surprising development. “We have opened an investigation into the reasons behind the remarks made in a US intelligence report,” Salvadoran Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Cálix informed AFP this past Tuesday. According to the document, published this past Wednesday by Salvadoran newspaper Prensa Gráfica, “Chávez is to provide generous campaign funding to the (leftwing] Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador in its bid to secure the presidency in the 2009 election.” Needless to say, FMLN’s spokesentities, quoted below, have denounced the accusations as “irresponsible, groundless, and lacking truthfulness.” Pictured above: Schafik Handal, deceased leader of the FMLN, consorts with fellow communists Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Evo Morales.

El Salvador to investigate alleged Venezuelan funding of dissenters
February 7, 2008

El Salvador’s government is launching a thorough investigation to determine whether Venezuela is actually funding the Salvadorian opposition, as the US intelligence services claimed in a report last Tuesday.

“We have opened an investigation into the reasons behind the remarks made in a US intelligence report,” Salvadorian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Cálix told AFP.

Last Wednesday, El Salvador’s President Antonio Saca, who is paying a visit to the United States, was delivered a copy of the annual report of the US National Security Director J. Michael McConnell, which suggested that the Venezuelan government is supposedly funding leftwing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).

Based on the report, the Venezuelan government is allegedly providing funds to the FMLN to secure a victory in the 2009 presidential election. The largest Salvadorian opposition organization has bluntly rejected such claims.

FMLN’s spokespersons have branded the accusations as “irresponsible, groundless, and lacking truthfulness.”

Saca’s government, “concerned about such accusations, has recalled its diplomatic envoy to Venezuela, Chargé d’Affairs Rafael Hernández Gutiérrez to provide information on this issue,” said Cálix.

“Should it (an intervention by Venezuela in El Salvador’s domestic affairs) be confirmed, we would have the right to file a formal protest with the Venezuelan government for this interference in the Salvadorian electoral process.”

Source: El Universal

In support of the official investigation into the claims of the US intelligence report, Salvadorean President Tony Saca has recalled his country’s ambassador to Venezuela for a briefing. “Any interference of a government such as Venezuela’s in El Salvador’s domestic affairs is unacceptable,” warned Saca.

Saca recalls diplomat to Venezuela for consultations
February 7, 2008

Salvadorian President Antonio Saca Thursday instructed a Salvadorian diplomatic envoy to Caracas to return to El Salvador for consultations “on the reported Venezuelan financing to the (leftwing) Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) for the 2009 election.”

Last Tuesday, Washington published a report on the threats against the US national security, and suggested that President Hugo Chávez was expected to provide “generous” funds to the FMLN to secure a victory in the 2009 presidential vote.

Saca told reporters accompanying him in his visit to the United States that he had recalled the diplomat envoy to Venezuela, but he would not disclose the official’s name or position, DPA reported.

“We are instructing the diplomat to return to El Salvador to provide first hand information on this topic,” Saca declared.

“I do not want to make any irresponsible remarks. I need first-hand information, and therefore the Foreign Minister is making the relevant steps.”

Further, Saca instructed Salvadorian Foreign Minister Marisol Argueta de Barillas to contact his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro.

“Any interference of a government such as Venezuela’s in El Salvador’s domestic affairs is unacceptable,” said Saca, who ordered an investigation into the US claims, daily newspaper La Prensa Gráfica’s reported on its website.

Source: El Universal

The FMLN was organized in 1980 as a merger of the Popular Forces of Liberation “Farabundo Marti”; Communist Party of El Salvador and its armed wing Armed Forces of Liberation; the Party of the Salvadoran Revolution and its armed wing Revolutionary Army of the People (El Salvador); the Armed Forces of National Resistance; and the Revolutionary Party of Central American Workers and its armed wing Revolutionary Army of Central American Workers.

Since the end of the Salvadoran Civil War in 1992, when the Soviet/Cuban-backed FMLN transformed itself from a guerrilla group into a political party, El Salvador’s opposition party has competed neck-and-neck with the country’s main rightist party, Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), in the Legislative Assembly. However, the FMLN has yet to take the presidency, which has been dominated by ARENA in the post-civil war era. This is the goal of El Salvador’s communist leadership, as well as it would appear Latin America’s Red Axis, for March or April 2009.

In October 2007 the FMLN’s Political Commission nominated popular anti-government political commentator and talk show host Mauricio Funes (pictured here) for the party’s presidential candidate. Funes appears primarily on second-tier media outlets since major TV channels in El Salvador are owned and/or operated by Telecorporación Salvadoreña (TCS). TCS apparently has close ties to ARENA and the Saca government. Despite Funes’ alleged national appeal, TCS refuses to broadcast his program. The Salvadoran Union Front (FSS), consisting of 27 largely public-sector unions, has, however, thrown its support behind Fune’s presidential bid.

Wilber Moises Funes, FMLN mayor of Alegria, was assassinated on January 9. It is not clear whether he is related to the party’s presidential candidate.

Exporting Revolution in the Twenty-First Century

Latin America’s Red Axis controls most countries in the region. Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Honduras, and El Salvador are noteworthy exceptions, but prime targets for absorption into the Communist Bloc.

In January 2007 the narco-terrorist Sao Paulo Forum (FSP), a project of Cuban Tyrant Fidel Castro and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for regional domination, converged in San Salvador. The pro-Chavez Communist Party of Venezuela holds membership in the FSP. The following month later three ARENA politicians were assassinated in Guatemala as they travelled to the Central American Parliament in Guatemala City. In addition, four Guatemalan police officers who were alleged to be the politicians’ assassins were also murdered in jail only hours later. A well-known Guatemalan narco-politician has been arrested as a suspect in this case.

Venezuela’s neo-communist dictator Hugo Chavez, especially, is busy exporting revolution throughout Latin America by channelling Venezuelan petro-dollars and narco-dollars not only to the FMLN, but also to: 1) the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to elect Comandante Daniel Ortega in 2006, 2) certain Marxist tendencies in the Party of the Democratic Revolution, to elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2006, 3) support the purchase of arms for the Popular Revolutionary Army, which vows further attacks against Mexico’s state oil monopoly Pemex, 4) Argentina’s ruling (Peronist) Justicialist Party, to elect Nestor Kirchner’s leftist wife Cristina to the presidency last year. Since November 2007 Chavez has also been openly allied with the leadership of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, providing the insurgency in neighboring Colombia with a base of operations on Venezuelan soil. He has also loaned military advisors and helicopters to Bolivia’s neo-communist President Evo Morales and extended moral guidance to Ecuador’s neo-communist President Rafael Correa.

“Inspired and supported by Venezuela and Cuba, leaders in Bolivia, Nicaragua and -more tentatively- Ecuador are pursuing agendas that undercut checks and balances on presidential power, seek lengthy presidential terms, weaken media and civil liberties, and emphasize economic nationalism at the expense of market-based approaches,” insists US National Intelligence Director McConnell in his threat assessment.

US intelligence report points out Venezuela’s negative influence in Latin America
February 7, 2008

Venezuela and its “key ideological ally,” Cuba, influenced on the governments of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, whose leaders develop the anti-US rhetoric championed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Tuesday said a report by the US intelligence services.

“Inspired and supported by Venezuela and Cuba, leaders in Bolivia, Nicaragua and -more tentatively- Ecuador are pursuing agendas that undercut checks and balances on presidential power, seek lengthy presidential terms, weaken media and civil liberties, and emphasize economic nationalism at the expense of market-based approaches,” said the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Director of National Intelligence.

“Moreover, each of these governments, to varying degrees, has engaged in sharply ant-US rhetoric, aligned with Venezuela and Cuba -and increasingly Iran- on international issues, and advocated measures that directly clash with US initiatives,” added the report, as quoted by AFP.

According to the report, “A high priority for Chávez will be to support the (Evo) Morales government in Bolivia. The inauguration of Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega in January 2007 has given Chávez another staunch ally and a location from which to expand Venezuela’s activities in Central America.”

Likewise, the US intelligence services expect that “Chávez will provide generous campaign funding to the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador in its bid to secure the presidency in the 2009 election.”

The report also points out that the military cooperation between Caracas and Teheran “is growing,” although it says that on nuclear energy there is no information on “any significant development as a result of these discussions.”

The US intelligence also criticizes Chávez’s government “lack of counterdrug cooperation.”

Source: El Universal

The social democratic regime in Peru, meanwhile, is chastising Chavez for “exporting revolution.” “Chávez has every right to act the way he wants in Venezuela, where there is a low-intensity democracy. However, he has no right to export his revolution. Every country is free to make the decisions it deems adequate,” Peruvian Defense Minister Antero Flores Aráoz stressed.

Peru claims Venezuela “should not export revolution”
February 7, 2008

Peruvian Defense Minister Antero Flores Aráoz rejected any likely interference by President Hugo Chávez in Peru’s domestic affairs, and warned the Venezuelan ruler does not have the right to export “his revolution.”

“Mr Chávez is getting himself into a mess, and even worse he is meddling with other countries that have nothing to do with this. I do believe international respect is essential for peaceful coexistence of the peoples,” Flores Aráoz told state television channel TV Perú.

The minister was reacting to a likely Venezuelan government’s intromission in Peru by opening the so-called Houses of ALBA -Chávez-sponsored Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas-, branches of Bank of the South, and the launching of multi-state television network Telesur, as suggested by local press reports.

“Chávez has every right to act the way he wants in Venezuela, where there is a low-intensity democracy. However, he has no right to export his revolution. Every country is free to make the decisions it deems adequate,” Flores Aráoz stressed, as quoted by DPA.

Source: El Universal

For this unforgiveable faux pas, the Sao Paulo Forum will intensify its revolutionary activities in Peru, which is contending against labor unrest and a resurgent rebellion orchestrated by the Communist Party of Peru-Shining Path. Nicaragua’s neo-Sandinista regime, moreover, has already appointed its former Maoist Interior Minister Tomas Borge as ambassador to Peru, possibly to coordinate revolutionary activities with the Maoist insurgency there. Finally, the mouthpiece of FSLN indicated in January that Chavez and Ortega still support failed Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala (pictured above, right, with Comrades Evo and Hugo) and his Peruvian Nationalist Party and Movimiento Etnocacerista. Ollanta leads the latter in collaboration with his brother Antauro, who claims to be a follower of Chavez’s left-nationalist Bolivarian political philosophy. The Humala brothers are sons of Isaac Humala, member of the Communist Party of Peru-Red Fatherland. Shining Path and Red Fatherland are both splinter groups of the Peruvian Communist Party.

In a related story, the communization of Ecuador continues apace under the guidance of President Correa and his new Constituent Assembly, which is dominated by his own party and tasked with rewriting the national constitution along socialist lines. Comrade Rafael is Comrade Hugo’s “mini me,” obediently barking when the big red dog in Caracas barks. Like Chavez, Correa refuses to characterize FARC and the National Liberation Army as a terrorist group and now more recently is echoing the paranoid Venezuelan dictator’s fear that both the USA and Colombia are planning to launch a military invasion of the Bolivarian Republic. “I do not have that information -which President Chávez surely has-, but it is clear that the CIA intervened directly in the 2002 coup d’etat, which has been openly acknowledged,” Correa asserted.

Correa endorses Chávez’s stance regarding the US and Colombia
February 7, 2008

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa Thursday backed the Venezuelan government’s suspicions about a likely military attack from the United States and Colombia, and stressed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “played a direct role in the coup d’etat” against President Hugo Chávez in 2002.

“What is so surprising about these questions and interrogations in a country like Venezuela that has been attacked in the past?” wondered Correa during an interview with a number of regional radio stations, AFP quoted.

The Ecuadorian ruler stated that even though he had no information related to Chávez’s claims, the US intelligence agency was actually involved in the short-lived overthrow of his Venezuelan ally.

“I do not have that information -which President Chávez surely has-, but it is clear that the CIA intervened directly in the 2002 coup d’etat, which has been openly acknowledged.”

The Ecuadorian ruler did not support Chávez’s petition early last month to recognize the belligerent status of the rebel Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and National Liberation Front (ELN).

Further, Quito did not show willingness to back a proposal made by Chávez to organize a common army under the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), comprising Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Source: El Universal

Latin America’s Catholic Hierarchy Accommodates the Red Axis

We have in the past documented the influence of liberation theology in the Latin American Catholic hierarchy and the latter’s ambiguous support for the region’s Red Axis governments. Yesterday, the Colombian Bishops’ Conference urged Bogota and Caracas to restore diplomatic relations, which were severed upon Chavez’s initiative in November. The Venezuelan dictator previously suspended relations with Colombia in 2004 during the Granda Affair.

Colombian bishops call for restored ties with Venezuela
February 7, 2008

The Colombian Bishops’ Conference (CEC) Thursday urged the governments of Bogota and Caracas to resume bilateral ties “based on mutual respect and non-interference in each country’s domestic affairs.” In a statement published in Bogota, the chair of CEC, Luis Augusto Castro, said the Catholic Church was “concerned about growing deterioration of the relations with the neighbor people of Venezuela.”

Colombia-Venezuela diplomatic relations became strained late in November 2007, following President Álvaro Uribe’s sudden move to terminate his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez’s mediation to seek a humanitarian swap with the rebel Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), Efe reported. Chávez claimed Uribe betrayed him, recalled his Ambassador to Bogota Pavel Rondón, and “froze” relations with Colombia.

“We are two brother peoples, with a common history of economic, social, and cultural relations, and with nationals living and working hard in both countries,” said the CEC chair. Castro added that Colombia and Venezuela should resort to the usual diplomatic means to restore bilateral ties.

Source: El Universal

Frankly, if Colombia’s Catholic hierarchs are really opposed to neo-communism, then they should be insisting upon the political and economic isolation of the Chavezista regime. Instead, progressive elements in the Catholic hierarchy are aiding and abetting Latin American integration ala the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which enjoys the patronage of Father Francois Houtart, Director of the University of Louvain’s Tricontinental Centre. During the Seventh World Social Forum, held in Nairobi last January, Cuban legislator and economist Osvaldo Martinez addressed a panel organized by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences and other intellectuals, such as Houtart. “The supreme guarantee of this continuity are the ethical values planted by the revolution, which comprise a political culture opposed to consumerism, banality and profit as a way of life. Prospects are promising as the relations of exchange and collaboration increase under the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA),” Martinez gushed.

It is commonly thought that liberation theology is a spent force. This is a misperception. Liberationism is alive and well, insists former Brazilian Franciscan priest Leonardo Boff in a 2005 interview, and animates neo-communist entities like the World Social Forum: “Liberation Theology was born in the late 1960s, with the same proposals that are being defined today by the World Social Forum — liberation based on spiritual and ethical resources. The will to work for the poorest, to join forces behind that cause, to go beyond.” Boff explains: “The Catholic Church is experiencing very strong internal tensions. . . . There do exist sectors of the Church that support President Bush, but there are progressives who believe in a mature, academic culture, who pursue the option for the poor.”

As of last month, the Jesuit Order boasts a new left-leaning General, Spaniard Adolfo Nicolas, until recently moderator of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania. “Nicolas’ liberal views and emphasis on local decision making and autonomy rather than centralised rule from Rome,” The Times reported in January, “could bring him into conflict with the Vatican after a period in which Father Kolvenbach had restored good relations.”

“Father” Nicolas’ arrival on the international peace and justice scene is just in time for suspended Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo (pictured above) to assume the reins of Paraguay’s presidency on April 20. Lugo’s center-left Patriotic Alliance for Change includes the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, Febrerista Revolutionary Party, National Encounter Party, Solidary Country Party, Christian Democratic Party, Movement for Socialism, Broad Front and Progressive Democratic Party. On January 28, in response to the question “What is your view on the changes in the region — especially its turn to the left in recent years?” posed by the Inter Press Service, Lugo, without actually damning Chavez, replied: “The case of Rafael Correa is unprecedented, and so is the situation of Chavez in Venezuela, where one oligarchy has been displaced by another, but it has at least brought a certain amount of transparency and economic benefits. There are also elements conspiring to attack the strengthening of public freedoms. We are watching events there from a distance.”

It should be pointed out that Pope Benedict XVI approved Nicolas assumption of the role of “Black Pope” and rejected Lugo’s resignation from the priesthood and instead suspended his Paraguayan bishop. Intriguingly, under Lugo’s suspension, the presidential candidate “cannot exercise certain priestly functions but is not relieved of his clerical obligations.” Herr Joseph Ratzinger is popularly perceived as a bastion of Catholic orthodoxy, but that orthodoxy, as we have before reminded the reader, embraces Thomas Aquinas’ proto-communist economic theory.

The Red Tides Laps North

Elsewhere in Latin America social democratic President Oscar Arias has been vilified by Chavez as a “neoliberal” lackey of Washington. However, last month the Costa Rican president and his ruling National Liberation Party, which belongs to the Socialist International, received a delegation from the Communist Party of China for the purpose of expanding diplomatic relations between the two countries, which were established in June 2007. Pictured above: Accompanied by Chinese Tyrant Hu Jintao, Arias visits Beijing on October 24, 2007.

Costa Rican president receives CPC delegation
2008-01-25 16:38:58

SAN JOSE, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — Costa Rican President Oscar Arias on Thursday met with a delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by Chen Fengxiang, deputy head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.

During the meeting, Arias said he is satisfied with the sound development of the bilateral relations since China and Costa Rica established diplomatic relations last June.

He noted that it is a wise decision for the Costa Rican government to open diplomatic ties with China.

Costa Rica’s First Vice President Laura Chinchilla also attended the meeting.

Also on Thursday, the CPC delegation met with Congress President Francisco Antonio Pacheco and Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno Ugarte.

At the invitation of Costa Rica’s National Liberation Party, the CPC delegation began its visit to the country on Thursday morning.

Source: Xinhua.net

To the north of Costa Rica, neo-Sandinista Nicaragua is quickly finding new partners to address the country’s energy crisis. In addition to securing cheap oil from Venezuela via PetroCaribe and ALBA, Managua is also turning to Iceland, which “will provide Nicaraguan authorities with specialized knowledge and training on how to harness geothermal energy.” This US$4 billion project is the largest undertaken by the Icelandic International Development Agency. “Whereas the United States gets only 1 percent of its electricity from geothermal energy,”the Earth Policy Institute reports, “Nicaragua gets 28 percent and the Philippines, 26 percent.”

Iceland and Nicaragua to Cooperate on Energy
01/29/2008 11:29

Nicaragua’s Minister of Energy Emilio Rappaccioli signed an agreement with the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) in Iceland yesterday about a five-year development project involving geothermal energy.

Icelandic scientists will provide Nicaraguan authorities with specialized knowledge and training on how to harness geothermal energy, mbl.is reports.

This is the largest project ever undertaken by ICEIDA and is estimated to cost USD 4 billion (EUR 3 billion).

While in Iceland, Rappaccioli will study the situation of geothermal energy in Iceland and visit institutions and companies working in that field. The minister will meet with representatives of Icelandic energy companies which are expanding into foreign markets, like ENEX, Reykjavík Energy Invest (REI) and Geysir Green Energy (GGE).

Source: Iceland Review

Further north still, Guatemala’s new leftist President Alvaro Colom is denouncing organized crime, which is rampant in his country, especially in the form of murder sprees, for destabilizing his government as he tries to enact social reforms. “These are terrorist attacks against the government,” Colom said. Pictured above: Ortega attends Colom’s inauguration on January 14.

Guatemalans protest wave of bus driver murders
By Herbert HernandezReuters
Thursday, February 7, 2008

GUATEMALA CITY: Protesters in Guatemala angered by the brutal murders of bus drivers this week blocked traffic on Thursday demanding more security from the country’s newly elected government.

Over the past week, close to a dozen bus drivers and fare collectors have been murdered, with five killed on Tuesday alone. The government says it was a coordinated assault.

“The situation is really bad … nobody wants to work if they are going to get killed,” said one city driver who declined to be named, as military helicopters circled above.

Attacks against bus drivers are common in Guatemala, one of the most violent countries in the Americas, with 48 murdered last year. Many of the killings are blamed on violent youth gangs extorting fees from drivers.

Guatemala’s new left-leaning President Alvaro Colom said organized criminals trying to destabilize his government were behind the murders.

“These are terrorist attacks against the government,” Colom said on Thursday. “Five bus drivers were killed systematically by professionals.”

Colom beat a right-wing former general in last year’s election promising to reduce endemic poverty and crime.

Since the bookish former businessman took office he has fired 72 military and 32 police officers for suspected links to criminal gangs.

Guatemala is a transit point for drug traffickers moving Colombian cocaine up through Mexico and into the United States.

Source: International Herald Tribune

The FMLN-spawned terrorist gang Mara Salvatrucha operates extensively throughout Guatemala, as demonstrated by that country’s 2005 deadly prison riots, and other countries in North America. Anarkismo.net admits: “Mara Salvatrucha began life in the 90s on the streets of Los Angeles amongst the Salvadoran refugee community as a self-defense outfit. Police reports claim young exiled members of the Salvadoran guerrilla FMLN were instrumental in training and organizing the street gang in its initial years.” It is not inconceivable that Mara Salvatrucha is behind the current bloodshed in Guatemala, possibly with political intent.

Lastly, the neo-communist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which supports Mexico’s Pretender President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador (poster pictured here), revealed its true color–red–by expressing solidarity with the “Cuban Five,” five DGI agents under lock and key in a US prison. In April 2007 the PRD dispatched a delegation to Havana to support a “solidarity campaign” sponsored by Cuba’s communist regime. In a January 16 interview with the Communist Party of Cuba’s organ Granma, the PRD secretary for youth affairs stated that his party “will deepen the fraternal ties between Cuba and Mexico.” “This is a case that goes beyond demanding their freedom: it has to do with other styles of resistance, of confronting the violence exercised by the United States without using arms and with a new vanguard concept,” Juan Carlos Gutiérrez affirmed.

Meanwhile, protestors associated with Obrador’s PRD are presently blockading state-run oilfields and facilities in Mexico’s southern Tabasco state, putting a dent in onshore production. On February 7 Pemex released a statement, complaining: “The constant blockades of oil facilities, besides affecting production, impedes productive activities with consequent economic damage to Pemex, public finances and economic activity.” Pemex pipelines were targets for the Popular Revolutionary Army last year.

Protestors renew Pemex oilfields blockade
last updated: 07 February 2008 03:16 GMT
By Tom Liskey

Protestors in southern Mexico blockaded oilfields and facilities in Tabasco state, crimping onshore production there.

State-run oil company Pemex said: “The constant blockades of oil facilities, besides affecting production & impede productive activities with consequent economic damage to Pemex, public finances and economic activity” in Tabasco.

Mexican media said the picketers were allied with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the former Mexico City mayor who lost out in 2006 presidential elections.

Obrador and his leftist Democratic Revolution Party claim President Felipe Calderon is trying to break up the nearly 70-year state oil company with new pro-market policies his administration is trying to implement.

Lopez Obrador has said the measures represent a veiled privatisation of the company.

Pemex did not reveal how much output has been lost because of the blockades.

The state oil company also said it would listen to protestors’ complaints, but hoped they would “express their concerns by legal and institutional means”. Earlier this week, protestors cut off access to wells after they alleged oil production in the region spoiled farmland and fishing waters.

Source: UpstreamOnline.com

Although the PRD fell back to its third-party status during Mexico’s 2007 state elections, AMLO himself is viewed as the “Mexican Messiah.” Alejandro Encinas, a former México City mayor, PRD activist, and “past” communist, believes that his comrade-in-arms Obrador has a clear shot at the presidency in 2012: “If being radical means going to the root of the problems, then I am radical. If negotiating means giving in, then of course I will not negotiate.” It is for this reason, no doubt, that AMLO intends to remain in the limelight by pushing his “Legitimate Government of Mexico” on the masses.

>USA File: US National Intelligence Director: Russia, China and OPEC could use financial clout for geopolitical advantage over the USA

>Last September US National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell stated: “China and Russia’s foreign intelligence services are among the most aggressive in collecting against sensitive and protected U.S. systems, facilities and development projects, and their efforts are approaching Cold War levels.” Former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service agent Sergei Tretyakov has for the most part confirmed McConnell’s contentions. In January, while publicizing his memoirs Comrade J, Tretyakov, who acted as deputy head of intelligence at Russia’s United Nations mission between 1995 and 2000, referred to the UN as “an international spy nest.” “Inside the UN, we were fishing for knowledgeable diplomats who could give us first of all anti-American information.”

In spite of the convergence of geopolitical interests between in the one camp America’s globalist elite and Nepmen and in the other camp neo-Soviet Russia, the US intelligence establishment is acknowledging that Russia, China and their OPEC allies could use their financial clout for political advantage over the USA. In an annual assessment of top security threats against the USA, McConnell stated: “US intelligence agencies have concerns about the financial capabilities of Russia, China and OPEC countries and the potential use of their market access to exert financial leverage to political ends.” Specifically regarding Russia, he informed the Senate Intelligence Committee: “Russia, bolstered in part by oil revenues, is positioning itself to control an energy supply and transportation network from Europe to East Asia. The Russian military has begun to reverse a long decline.” Finally, McConnell conceded: “The worrisome part is, today, they also could target information infrastructure systems for degradation or destruction.”

U.S. sees Russia, China and OPEC financial threat
Tue Feb 5, 2008 4:11pm EST
By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is worried that Russia, China and OPEC oil-producing countries could use their growing financial clout to advance political goals, the top U.S. spy chief told Congress on Tuesday.

Such economic matters joined terrorism, nuclear proliferation and computer-network vulnerabilities as top U.S. security threats described by National Director of Intelligence Michael McConnell in an annual assessment.

McConnell said U.S. intelligence agencies had “concerns about the financial capabilities of Russia, China and OPEC countries and the potential use of their market access to exert financial leverage to political ends.”

Russia, bolstered in part by oil revenues, was positioning itself to control an energy supply and transportation network from Europe to East Asia, and the Russian military had begun to reverse a long decline, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

China has pursued a policy of global engagement out of a desire to expand its growing economy and obtain access markets, resources, technology and expertise, McConnell said.

It seeks a constructive relationship with the United States and other countries, but as its influence grows “Beijing probably will increasingly expect its interests to be respected by other countries,” he said.

Russia and China have long been able to target U.S. computer systems to collect intelligence, he said. “The worrisome part is, today, they also could target information infrastructure systems for degradation or destruction.”

In the energy sector, a weak U.S. dollar had prompted some oil suppliers, including Iran, Syria and Libya, to ask for payment in other currencies, or to delink their currencies from the dollar, McConnell said. “Continued concerns about dollar depreciation could tempt other producers to follow suit.”

SNIP

Source: Reuters.com

In a related story, the demise of the US dollar appears imminent as some businesses in New York City that cater to tourists from Europe are now accepting the euro as legal tender.

Disarming America, Rearming neo-Soviet Russia: Secretive Kissinger-Primakov Group Publicizes Kremlin Line in Wall Street Journal

British geopolitical analysts have come to the same conclusion about the aggressive military posture of the Putinist regime, Russia’s withdrawal from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (1990), and its proposed withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987). “The end of the CFE treaty, the cornerstone of post-Cold War European security, could have negative consequences for Europe,” observes John Chipman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “It will abolish an important confidence-building mechanism—including the exchange of data and an inspection regime—and introduce new tensions between Russia and its neighbours, particularly if Russia decides to redeploy its troops closer to Nato member states.”

According to former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn, the Soviet Union only enters international pacts in order to reduce the military capabilities of the capitalist nations while it secretly prepares to wage war. In a 1973 memorandum to the US Central Intelligence Agency he writes: “In accordance with the main objective of [Communist] Bloc strategy to change the balance in the Communists’ favour, Communist diplomacy has started to reduce Western (and especially US) military potential through a number of diplomatic agreements while at the same time accelerating the Communists’ programme to increase their own military potential” (The Perestroika Deception, pages 170-171).

In a January 15 article in the Wall Street Journal, globalist movers and shakers (alleged Soviet agent “Bor” Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry, and Sam Nunn articulate Moscow’s plan for disarming the USA. The Kissinger-Shultz-Perry-Nunn program consists of the following points: 1) extend key provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991, 2) increase the warning and decision times for the launch of all nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, 3) discard any existing operational plans for massive attacks that linger from the Cold War, 4) negotiate cooperative multilateral ballistic-missile defense and early warning systems, and 5) provide the highest possible standards of security for nuclear weapons and nuclear materials. With the exception of Perry, all of these men are members of the secretive Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group on US-Russian relations. In the interests of East-West convergence, the Kremlin has already fulfilled Point 3 by renewing its joint military cooperation protocol with Washington, and fulfilled Point 4 by offering the use of its Azerbaijan radar installation to the USA to counter the perceived Iranian missile threat.

>Middle East File: USA, Russia reverse policy on Iran after Safir-1 space launch: Tehran has nuke weapons program; Israeli general: Build rocket rooms

>DEBKAfile reports today that “in a coordinated U-turn” both the USA and Russia are treating Iran’s Monday launch of the Safir-1 space rocket into earth orbit as attesting to the existence Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. The Safir-1 (pictured here on Iranian TV) is thought to be an enhanced Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which normally has a range of about 1,500 kilometres, or 930 miles. We previously blogged on the suspicious rapprochement between Washington and Moscow on the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities on January 21.

DEBKAfile Reports: In a coordinated U-turn, US and Russia both treat Iran’s space launch as attesting to a nuclear weapons program
February 6, 2008, 3:55 PM (GMT+02:00)

Wednesday, Feb. 6, Moscow followed Washington in voicing concern that the launch of Iran’s Safir-1 space rocket Monday, Feb. 4, attested to the existence of a nuclear weapons program. This diametrically contradicts the US National Intelligence Estimate of last December, which concluded Iran had shelved its covert military nuclear program in 2003.

Moscow too has evidently abandoned its persistent denial of evidence that Tehran is developing a nuclear bomb.

The two comments from the White House and the Kremlin also point to Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin having settled their dispute over harsh sanctions against Iran.

The two leaders began pulling their acts on Iran together in December 2007, as DEBKAfile first revealed, when Bush suddenly withdrew his objections to Russian fuel shipments for Iran’s Bushehr reactor. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in answer to a question, the White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Iran’s “space” missile was cause for worry. Such technology, she said, is the same as that needed to deliver a nuclear bomb.

Wednesday, Feb. 6, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov followed suit. He commented that Monday’s test launch of Iran’s “Safir-1 (Explorer-1) raises suspicions over Tehran’s claims of peaceful nuclear intentions and suggested its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon.

It was “of course a cause for concern.” Long-range missiles are components of a nuclear weapons system, the Russian official said – the first time any senior Russian official had admitted to suspecting Iran of underhand nuclear weapons activity.

DEBKAfile’s Washington and Moscow sources report: The statements from the two capitals indicate that Bush and Putin continue to cooperate on Iran and have decided to leave the controversial NIE behind them. The question is: Where does their collaboration go from here? Or, specifically, how does the White House propose to reward the Kremlin for adopting its hard line on Iran?

The place to watch may be Poland and the Czech Republic, where the US president might be flexible in his push for missile interceptor bases in consideration of Moscow’s adamant resistance.

The deceitfulness of the globalist Bush Administration and the Leninist masterminds in Moscow, which began supplying the Bushehr reactor with nuclear fuel after the White House’s go-ahead in December, is now manifest. The neo-Soviet leadership is feigning confusion over Iran’s space launch. “It increases suspicion of Iran regarding its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov informed state-run Interfax. To conclude that Moscow knew nothing of its strategic partner’s ambitions before the Safir-1 launch is to reveal a profound ignorance of geopolitics, notwithstanding the fake collapse of communism. “Where does their collaboration go from here?” inquires Debka. “Or, specifically, how does the White House propose to reward the Kremlin for adopting its hard line on Iran?” Good question. Perhaps the Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Working Group, which is working hard behind closed doors to negotiate America’s capitulation to the Communist Bloc, can propose an answer.

Meanwhile, Mossad director Meir Dagan estimates that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon within three years and continue to supply rockets to regional terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The Israeli government, moreover, is urging its citizens to build “rocket rooms” in preparation for the next confrontation with the Arab world and Iran. Retired general Udi Shani warned: “The next war will see a massive use of ballistic weapons against the whole of Israeli territory.” In view of General Shani’s admonition, the student of the Bible is reminded of Zechariah’s prophecy of history’s final conflict: “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts [of Israel’s population] therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (13:8-9).

>Event Convergence Alert: Internet sabotage coincides with final stage of Russian military games in Atlantic, Arctic; six cables damaged to date

>Buried in the news of last week’s Internet crash in north Africa and south Asia was information regarding the two damaged submarine telecommunications cables near Alexandria, Egypt. One of these cables that connect Europe and Africa/Asia was actually severed off the coast of Marseilles, France, within hours of the other being damaged near Egypt. On January 31 The New York Times reported: “Two undersea telecommunication cables were cut on Tuesday evening, knocking out Internet access to much of Egypt, disrupting the world’s back office in India and slowing down service for some Verizon customers. One cable was damaged near Alexandria, Egypt, and the other in the waters off Marseille, France, telecommunications operators said. The two cables, which are separately managed and operated, were damaged within hours of each other.” To date, it appears that six cables have been severed or damaged:

1) one (also reported as two) near Alexandria, Egypt, owned by FLAG Telecom and SEA-ME-WE4, damaged January 29
2) one near Marseilles, France, owned by France Telecom, FLAG Telecom and SEA-ME-WE4, damaged January 29, within hours of the previous
3) one near Bandar Abbas in Iran, owned by FLAG Telecom, date of damage unknown
4) one 50 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), owned by FLAG Telecom, damaged February 1
5) one linking the Qatari island of Haloul and the UAE island of Das, owned by Qtel, damaged February 1
6) one off the coast of Penang, Malaysia, owned by SEA-ME-WE4, date of damage unknown

Other denizens of the World Wide Web are postulating that more damaged cables have or will be discovered. It is possible, too, that some cable incidents are being counted twice as a result of conflicting news reports.

The activities of the Russian Armed Forces during this timeframe is intriguing. On January 14 Russian naval vessels visited the port of Toulon which, like Marseilles, is located on France’s Mediterranean coast. On January 22 British Tornados and F-16 jets escorted two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, which had been approaching the United Kingdom’s airspace, back toward the Bay of Biscay where the Russian Navy was finishing a two-month series of war games, carried out in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. A week later, on January 31, during its final maneuver, the Russian Air Force deployed eight bombers to train over international waters in the Arctic region, and test in-flight refueling capacity and combined air traffic control with the navy. It is not inconceivable that, under the cover of war games, Russian frogmen or submersibles could have been dispatched to disrupt these telecommunications links in the Mediterranean. Further research will be needed to determine if the Russian military is presently operating in the Persian Gulf or near Malaysia.

>Strategic Objectives of the Perestroika Deception in Russia and Worldwide

>To the best of our knowledge, the first excerpt below of former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s memorandum to the US Central Intelligence Agency, dated March 1989, has never been published online before. The second excerpt, about China, has appeared online already at separate locations. The links are included for additional information and to validate Golitsyn’s remarkable predictions.


PREDICTIONS ON THE EXECUTION OF THE STRATEGY’S FINAL PHASE

Expanded Role of the Communist Party

During “perestroika,” the political role of the Communist Party in communist countries will increase, not decrease. The Party will continue to exercise overall supervision and control over the mixed economy through Party members among the managers and technocrats. The Party, operating “underground” and “working by other means,” will provide political guidance to the Congress of Peoples’ Deputies and other “reformed” and successor parliaments and to the new “political parties” and “grassroots democratic associations” through Party cells and individual Party members in the leaderships of these organizations. Guidance to Party members will be given through confidential briefings. Freed from day-to-day supervision over the economy, the Party will devote itself to guiding and implementing “perestroika” in the USSR and Eastern Europe and to implementing the strategy in the West. The Soviet Party apparatus will become a true general staff of world revolution to be carried out through the strategy of “perestroika.”

Stronger, Maturer Ideology

Despite the apparent renunciation of ideological orthodoxy, Communist ideology will grow stronger and more mature. As “perestroika” proceeds, ideology in the Communist countries will be reasserted. Each success for “perestroika” will reinforce the belief of Party members and young Communists in the correctness of their ideology and their cause. Communists will continue to analyze international relations and the situation in the capitalist countries in terms of class analysis. Their “humanism” will continue to see love and hate in class terms. Capitalists, home-grown and foreign, will be hated, never loved; and they will invariably be deceived and take for a ride.

The Party will continue with ideological education and training to prevent contamination by foreign ideologies. Attempts to reform and replace capitalism in the West will be accelerated, not through ideological propaganda, but through the strategy of “perestroika,” leading to “convergence.”

An Improved, Reorganized KGB

One can expect that the KGB will be converted into a new organization with a Western-style name. The reorganization will be presented as a reduction of the role of the service in Soviet society. But, because the KGB’s crucial role in promoting “perestroika” internally and abroad, the reorganization should not be seen as a downgrading. Just as Dzerzhinskiy’s hated Cheka was converted into the more powerful GPU, so will the successor organization to the KGB be more powerful than its predecessor.

The new service will work with kid gloves and more sophisticated methods. Internally, its resources will be devoted to the creation of controlled political plurality (“democratism”). It will create a pseudo-social democratic party and Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Muslim national parties: it will even set up Stalinist and anti-Semitic groups, to give a convincing impression of plurality. Naturally, the service will be behind these groups and parties—controlling and managing them in the interests of the strategy and its objectives. The service will use its intelligence and security assets, particularly its agents of influence in the newly created national fronts, political groups and parties, to carry out the strategy of “restructuring” attitudes and polices in the West.

The New Model Soviet Regime

The Soviets will proceed with “perestroika” on the following lines:

1) A mixed socialist-market economy comparable to the Swedish economy will be established with one crucial difference. Soviet “capitalists” will in fact be secret Party members and Party political tools. Their influence will be used in the interests of the strategy abroad. This is what Soviet maturity means.

2) The Party will create controlled plurality a semblance of social democracy in the USSR. It will not be difficult to do. Even the Stalinist regime in Poland had nominally “non-Communist” “independent” parties. In fact, they were puppet parties.

3) As a mature body, the Soviet parliament will play an active role in the execution of the strategy abroad.

4) The new parliament will be closer to the Swedish model—again, with one difference. It will use its contacts with Western colleagues to influence them towards cooperation and “restructuring” in the West.

5) The Soviet Empire will not crumble as a result of nationalist unrest. The Party will create a stronger federation which will be in full control of foreign policy, defence and security but which will provide autonomy to the national Republics to run their own local affairs.

6) As the Party proceeds with successful “perestroika” in the USSR, both Russians and non-Russians will be increasingly inclined to accept it and take part in the process. In the final analysis, their attitude will depend on Western support for Soviet “perestroika” and the improvement in their way of life.

7) Successful Soviet “perestroika” will result in a Soviet regime of pseudo-social democracy with a human face.

8) At this juncture, the Party and the successor to the KGB will do their utmost to exploit the image of their new model, their prestige and the contacts and influence of the new parliament, the national fronts, the political groups and parties and the Soviet capitalists, to carry out the intended strategy of “restructuring” in the West.

“Restructuring” in Eastern Europe and China

A consistent effort will be made to expand and deepen “restructuring” in Eastern Europe and China. The new models will be like Soviet “perestroika” in essence but will reflect the specific national and historical features of each country.

For instance, in Poland the model will include Communist power-sharing with Solidarity and the Catholic hierarchy. In Czechoslovakia, the model will include the experience of 1968; in Hungary the rehabilitation of the revolt of 1956; in East Germany, the desire for reunion with West Germany; and in China, it will reflect the Asian character of socialism, the desire for reunion with Taiwan and the present close relations with the United States. Polish and East German “restructuring” should be particularly closely watched because of their relevance to the “restructuring” of Western Europe.

“Restructuring” in Western Europe

“Perestroika” in the USSR and Eastern Europe will be accompanied by a determined Soviet political and diplomatic offensive to introduce “restructuring” in Western Europe. Gorbachev and East European leaders will try to develop the present détente into close economic, military, political, cultural and scientific cooperation to create “one Europe” without NATO and the Warsaw Pact. A particular effort will be made to develop close relations and cooperation with East European social democrats and the Labour Party in Britain—exploiting the new Soviet pseudo-social democratic, mixed economy image. Attracted by this image and convinced of its authenticity, the social democrats may well respond to this courting.

East Germany will play a crucial role in the “restructuring” of Western Europe and of West Germany in particular. The appointment of Valentin Falin, a leading Soviet expert on Germany, as head of the Central Committee’s Department of International Relations, indicates that the Soviets are preparing and counting on an East Germany initiative. Such an initiative will probably be supported by a Polish demarche such as revival of Rapacki plan for a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe. This time, one can expect the Soviets to remove the Berlin Wall. There is no doubt that their strategists realize that they will be unable to proceed with the strategy of “restructuring” in Europe without removal of the Berlin Wall—just as they were unable to proceed without a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Through removal of the Berlin Wall, the Soviets may be able to strike a new, Rapallo-style deal with the West Germans, particularly with a Social Democratic government, entailing their departure from NATO and acceptance of neutrality.

Given that Soviet “perestroika” incorporates by design many Euro-Communist positions (criticism of Soviet repressive practices, condemnation of the intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968, broadening Soviet democracy), Euro-Communist parties will join and support the movement for “restructuring” in Europe which will give them new opportunities for revitalizing themselves. They will attempt to establish unity of action with social democrats to bring about “restructuring” in their own countries. Dubcek’s re-emergence from obscurity and his recent visit to Italy at the invitation of the Italian Communist Party supports the notion that the Euro-Communists will seek to exploit Soviet and East European “perestroika” to regain political influence in their own countries. Support for Soviet and East European “perestroika” by the Italian and French governments renders the socialist parties of these countries vulnerable to approaches from the Communists.

“Restructuring” in the Third World

An active Soviet and East European offensive to carry out “restructuring” in the Third World can be expected. The present Soviet readiness to contemplate and even encourage the settlement of armed conflicts by their proxies does not mean the abandonment of their objective of Communist penetration of the region concerned. It represents no more than change of tactics. The strategy of “restructuring” broadens Soviet opportunities for gaining influence through the achievement of political solutions. The reformed regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe will engage with the West European social democratic parties and the Socialist International in introducing and carrying out “restructuring” in the Third World and particularly in Latin America. Exploiting the debt problem and the example of Soviet “perestroika,” they will seek unity of action with labour, religious, student, human rights and ecological movements. The impact of Soviet “perestroika” on these countries may be expected to grow. The Mexican press is already drawing parallels between Soviet “perestroika” and political change in Mexico described as “Salinastroika.” The former Mexican communist leader made the same comparison. Fuentes, the left-wing Mexican novelist, wrote recently that Salinas must become a Mexican Gorbachev if he wishes to change the state of affairs in Mexico. Another example is the recent offer of the Salvadorean guerrilla leaders to disarm themselves if the Salvadorean army is restructured.

These examples indicate the beginning of a trend towards “restructuring” in Latin America. The trend will accelerate if the United States begins to help it without taking into account the Soviet strategic design that lies behind it.

Given the fragility of democracy, the desperate economic situation and the debt problem, particularly in Latin America, one can expect an active, joint operation by the Soviets, the East Europeans and European social democrats (with their money) to bring to power Allende- or Sandinista-type regimes and “restructuring” in these countries along the lines of the new, reformed Soviet model.

“Restructuring” American Military-Political Alliances

The Soviets will exploit the image of the reformed and peaceful Soviet systems to shatter the Western consensus about the Soviet threat and the need for political and military alliances. In Europe, the Soviets will probably attempt to create a serious rift in NATO or break it up altogether by removing the Berlin Wall and reaching a Rapallo-style deal with West Germany involving West Germany withdrawing from NATO and following Austria into neutrality. In Asia, the Soviets may attempt to break up the US-Japan security pact by returning the Kurile Islands to Japan and offering Japan economic concessions to promote the development of Siberia.

As the Soviets carry out “restructuring” in the Third World, they will use their influence to reduce the American presence in the region.

“Restructuring” in the United States

The Soviets will do their utmost to persuade the new Administration (of US President George H. W. Bush) to follow Reagan’s policy of embracing “perestroika” and rapprochement with the Soviet Union. They will intensify the efforts of Gorbachev and Sakharov to engage the American elite in cooperation over the environment, space, disarmament and the joint “solution” of social, political, economic, environmental, military and international problems.

Visits by Soviet scientists, politicians, intellectuals and cultural delegations will be stepped up in order to put across to the Americans the ideas of “restructuring” and convergence. Likewise, more American scientists, intellectuals, opinion-formers, politicians and religious groups will be invited to the USSR where they will be subjected to persuasion on the advantages of “restructuring” and convergence.

Soviet agents of influence in the United States will redouble their attempts to act as catalysts in promoting “restructuring” and convergence. They will initiate public debates on security aimed at shattering the American consensus on the Soviet threat and destabilizing and “restructuring” the US military-industrial complex. KGB agents among Soviet “dissidents” and cultural defectors will travel back and forth between the United States and the USSR acting as bridge-builders in cultural and political convergence. The whole political potential of the KGB-controlled political parties and so-called “grassroots organizations” will be used to establish links with their genuine counterparts in the United States and influence them toward “restructuring.”

During their visits to the United States they will try to impress the Americans with the growing similarity of their system to the American system and to convince them of the soundness of convergence as a means of avoiding nuclear war.

As “restructuring” proceeds in Eastern Europe, the East Europeans will join the Soviet offensive to gain a foothold in the United States to secure their share of political influence over the American ethnic minorities.

(Anatoliy Golitsyn, The Perestroika Deception: The World’s Slide Towards the Second October Revolution: Memoranda to the Central Intelligence Agency, London: Edward Harle, 1995, 1998; pages 27-32)

CHINA: A STRATEGIC ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES

Communist China is not a strategic partner but a concealed strategic enemy of the United States. China will join in the Soviet offensive to bring about ‘restructuring’ in the United States and worldwide.

Through penetration, Chinese Communist intelligence destroyed the ClA’s sources in China during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and prevented the Agency developing reliable sources on the strategic intentions of the Chinese leaders. The National Security Agency cannot help because information on secret Sino-Soviet strategic coordination is not carried on accessible communications channels.

This situation leaves American policymakers poorly informed on the subject. American policymakers from the time of Nixon and Kissinger to the present day have become known for their excessive reliance on the verbal assurances of Mao, Chou En-Lai and Deng. Reliance on their word is no substitute for good intelligence.

Because of this intelligence gap, America’s policymakers have not distinguished between China’s tactics and her strategy. This failure is not new: it was evident as early as the Second World War when the Americans failed to realise that the Chinese Communists’ cooperation with the Nationalists against the Japanese was a tactic adopted in order to achieve their strategic objective – their victory over the Nationalists. Some of the statements of the Chinese leaders to their own followers are unflattering about American policymakers and are, in fact, disturbing. In the late 1960s, Mao advised the Party not to take the Americans seriously in a strategic, but only in a tactical sense. Deng’s well known statement about a cat catching a mouse, made when China was introducing capitalism and receiving American technology, can be interpreted as meaning that the Chinese Communist leader is the cat that caught the American mouse.

Because of their confusion, American policymakers believe that Communist China is an important strategic partner and a strategic rival and enemy of the Soviet Union. In this they are wrong. China is a tactical, not a strategic partner of the United States and a tactical, but not a strategic “enemy” of the Soviet Union.

The grounds for this conclusion are to be found by analysing the long-range Communist strategy which illuminates the strategic role of China.

Communist China was one of the principal architects of the Communists’ long-range strategy. The Sino-Soviet ‘split’ was a common strategic disinformation operation to secure the successful preparation of their common strategy of ‘restructuring’. The Soviet and Chinese leaders have continued their secret strategic coordination through a division of labour.

Gorbachev’s ‘perestroika’ and Deng’s ‘Four Modernisations’ (a Chinese euphemism for ‘restructuring’, or ‘perestroika’) are two similar elements in the final phase of the common strategy.

In the light of the new method of analysis, the purpose of Shevardnadze’s hastily arranged trip to China on the eve of President Bush’s visit was to give advice to Deng on his talks with the American President. Gorbachev and Deng will use their meeting to discuss coordination and new initiatives to be taken during the final phase of the strategy The new analysis sees the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan as a tactical move en route to the principal strategic objective – ‘restructuring’ e.g., engaging the United States in support of ‘perestroika’.

China’s close relations with the United States and even Chinese helpfulness to the United States over the Pakistan-Afghanistan situation are tactics intended to secure China’s primary strategic objective of becoming a modem superpower with the help of American technology.

According to this analysis, the Chinese leaders are using their own Party apparatus and security services to try to repeat Soviet successes in creating controlling political opposition and introducing its members to the United States in order to shape American policy in the interests of a common Communist strategy.

In fact the Chinese have been so impressed by Sakharov’s success in gaining influence in the United States that they are developing their own Sakharovs – agents of influence among leading Chinese ‘dissident’ scientists. Thus it can be predicted that the Chinese will establish their own foothold of influence in the United States and will eventually join the Soviet offensive to procure American ‘restructuring’.

For China is destined to become a primary Soviet partner in the future World Government towards which Moscow and Peking are jointly proceeding.

(Golitsyn, The Perestroika Deception, pages 35-36)