Monthly Archives: May 2008

>EU/USSR2 Files: Kremlinologists concur: Putin, not protege Medvedev, directing neo-Soviet Russia’s foreign policy; Sarkozy: Ukraine to join EU

>In the wake of Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Paris, where the KGB dictator met President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Kremlinologists are puzzling over which head in neo-Soviet Russia’s double-headed czar calls the shots, Russia’s prime minister and former president or Putin’s protege “President” Dmitry Medvedev, both “ex”-communists. The Bloomberg.com article below notes the extent to which Medvedev is beholden to Putin: “Medvedev’s chief of staff and the three deputy heads of the presidential administration are Putin appointees.”

“Putin remains the pre-eminent power in Russia,” analyzes Michael Emerson, a former EU ambassador to Moscow and analyst at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. “In foreign policy,” Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the venerable KGB think tank known as the Institute for US and Canadian Studies,” Putin has the advantage of personal ties with world leaders, including Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Merkel and Sarkozy.” Leonid Sedov, analyst at the Moscow-based Levada Center, insisted that “Putin’s visit to France shows that he continues to play the leading political role.” Frankly, I think even the most benighted citizen of the shopping mall regimes can figure this out.

On the surface of Russian politics, these analyses are correct. However, the power behind the throne in Moscow, as I believe we have demonstrated on many occasions, remains the Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union, under the open leadership of Gennady Zyuganov and covert leadership of August 1991 coup mastermind Oleg Shenin.

Pictured above: “Evenly matched”: Sarkozy welcomes Putin to Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 29, 2008. Both politicians compensate for their relatively short stature (Sarkozy is 5 foot 6, while Putin is 5 foot 5) with big words and big plans.

Putin Upstages Medvedev’s EU Debut by Meeting Sarkozy (Update2)
By Henry Meyer

May 29 (Bloomberg) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will upstage his hand-picked president today by meeting with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on long-delayed European Union trade negotiations.

Putin’s visit to the Elysee Palace — a month before France assumes the EU’s rotating presidency — signals his continued dominance of foreign affairs a week before Dmitry Medvedev meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel on his first Western European trip as Russia’s head of state.

President Sarkozy’s decision to meet Putin breaks with the past practice of Group of Eight leaders of dealing with Russia at the presidential level.

It’s a recognition that Putin “remains the pre-eminent power” in Russia, said Michael Emerson, a former EU ambassador to Moscow and an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. “The EU has to deal with the people who are there, both of them.”

Russia’s relationship with the EU in recent years has been rocky. It has clashed with Europe, as well as the U.S., over concerns that Russia abuses its role as the source of 25 percent of Europe’s energy to advance political interests. Russia temporarily cut off oil to Belarus in 2007 in a pricing dispute and gas to Ukraine in 2006 as it pressured the country to distance itself from the West.

NATO Expansion

The two sides are also at odds over plans by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to expand further into former Soviet territory by taking in Georgia and Ukraine, as well as a proposed U.S. missile-defense system in Eastern Europe.

Putin’s visit to Paris is his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since he and Medvedev assumed their new roles this month. Putin is meeting with French counterpart Francois Fillon before a working dinner with Sarkozy, 53.

This is Sarkozy’s third meeting with Putin since being elected president a year ago. The French leader has never met Medvedev.

The Russian prime minister will discuss bilateral ties and EU cooperation, including a trade and partnership agreement, his office said. The 27-member European Union and Russia on May 26 agreed to start talks on the accord after a two-year hiatus because of internal EU bickering.

The talks have been held up twice, first by Poland to protest a now-lifted Russian ban on Polish meat and then by Lithuania, which complained after Russia briefly shut down a pipeline in 2006 that supplied it with oil. The Baltic state also sought EU support on investigating Soviet-era abuses in Lithuania.

Siberia Talks

The talks on the EU-Russia accord — covering trade, energy road access, border crossings and health and consumer safety — get under way at a June 26-27 summit in Siberia.
Putin, 55, was president for eight years before becoming prime minister. His protege, Medvedev, 42, was elected president on March 2. Under Russia’s constitution, the prime minister has less authority than the president, who is responsible for setting foreign and domestic policy and can fire the prime minister, who is charged with implementing presidential policies.

Putin, a former colonel in the Soviet Union’s KGB spy agency, has managed to all but turn that balance of power on its head.

Key Aides

He took key aides with him to the Cabinet. Other Putin associates dominate Medvedev’s presidential staff. Only two close Medvedev allies have senior positions; both studied with Medvedev at Leningrad State University, now known as St. Petersburg State University. One, Konstantin Chuichenko, is an aide; the other, Alexander Konovalov, is justice minister.

Medvedev’s chief of staff and the three deputy heads of the presidential administration are Putin appointees.

Putin, leader of the ruling United Russia party, also has strengthened his policy-making authority by ending weekly Cabinet sessions in favor of consulting with an inner circle of ministers. This week, he convened the first meeting of that so- called presidium, including the ministers of defense, interior and foreign affairs, which under the constitution report to the president.

The prime minister has taken the lead in setting Russia’s policy agenda. On May 14, he announced that a bill for cutting oil taxes was ready for parliament, sending shares of OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom Neft — Russia’s state oil companies — surging to record highs. Five days later, Putin said he would spend part of a $2 billion budget for agricultural subsidies on grain purchases to support prices, causing grain futures in Chicago to rise.

Putin’s Ties

In foreign policy, Putin has the advantage of personal ties with world leaders, including Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Merkel and Sarkozy, said Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the USA and Canada Institute in Moscow.

“Putin was president for eight years, and he still has considerable influence,” Kremenyuk said by phone.

Medvedev’s role since becoming president has been mostly limited to reiterating existing policy. Last week, he was in China, where he and counterpart Hu Jintao criticized the planned deployment of U.S. missile-defense bases in Eastern Europe. Medvedev also defended Russia’s cooperation with China, saying the two neighbors will work together to shape global security whether other countries approve or not.

“So far Medvedev hasn’t made any changes in foreign policy,” said Leonid Sedov, an analyst at the Moscow-based Levada Center, in a telephone interview. Putin’s visit to France “shows that he continues to play the leading political role.”

Meanwhile, Sarkozy, who is diligently pursuing his own sinister vision of self-aggrandizement, is facilitating the potential infiltration of (even more) communist agents into France by lifting restrictions on the movement of workers from eight “post”-communist states, including Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Today, during a joint Warsaw press conference with his host Polish President Lech Kaczynski Sarkozy also announced that he would propose closer ties between the European Union and Ukraine and eventual EU membership for the “post”-communist state when he personally assumes the EU presidency in July. “As head of the European Council I will want to propose an ambitious partnership for Ukraine,” he declared. The neo-Soviet leadership has already expressed its disapproval over Ukraine’s potential NATO membership by threatening to target the Not-So-Former Soviet republic with nuclear warheads. Sarkozy will also assume the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council this summer.

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>Asia File: Nepal’s Maoist-controlled parliament to declare republic tomorrow, US State Dept. coddles reds: Prachanda: "Global resurgence of communism"

>Ten thousand police deployed throughout Kathmandu as 575 members of a new national assembly, a third of them former Maoist terrorists, were sworn in today. After the ceremony a bomb exploded in a park in the capital, while yesterday two small bombs exploded outside the convention center where the swearing-in ceremony occurred and another was placed outside the home of an anti-monarchy activist, but failed to detonate. Since the April 10 election that led to the surprising victory of the Beijing-backed Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), sporadic violence has rocked the Himalayan kingdom, which will be proclaimed a republic tomorrow. After today’s ceremony Baburam Bhattarai, deputy leader of the Maoists, promised that “Once a republic is declared, the king will automatically lose his position and place in the palace.” Nepal has already become a de facto republic, as the Associated Press reports below: “He [the king] has since lost command of the army and all his other powers. His portrait has disappeared from shop walls and the currency. ‘Royal’ has been removed from the name of the army and national airline, and references to the king are gone from the national anthem.”

Genocidal Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, has been appointed prime minister, with full executive powers, according to Voice of Russia, while outgoing head of government, social democrat Girija Prasad Koirala, will assume the largely ceremonial role of president. At the end of April Maoist spokesentity Krishna Bahadur Mahara threatened: “We will lead the government as we are the biggest party. If the other parties don’t want to join us in a coalition, we will form the government by ourselves.”

Pictured above: Guards outside the royal palace where King Gynendra is presently residing in Kathmandu, on May 27, 2008.

New Nepal assembly may abolish monarchy
By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA
May 27, 2008

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Police fanned out across Nepal’s capital Tuesday as a new assembly that is widely expected to abolish the country’s 239-year-old monarchy was sworn in.

But the heightened security did not prevent assailants from planting a bomb that exploded at a park in the heart of Katmandu hours after the swearing in, wounding two people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A day earlier, two small bombs exploded outside the convention center where the swearing-in ceremony took place and another was set off outside the home of an anti-monarchy activist. No injuries were reported.

The attacks underscored the challenges the new assembly faces in trying to bring peace to the war-wracked country.

The 575 lawmakers who took the oath of office Tuesday are to govern Nepal as they rewrite the country’s constitution, a key step in the peace process that ended a decade-long rebellion by communists called Maoists, who have since entered mainstream politics. Another 26 legislators are still to be chosen by the assembly’s major political parties.

The assembly, elected in April, begins working Wednesday. Its first order of business is expected to be declaring Nepal a republic and doing away with the Shah dynasty, which dates to 1769 when a regional ruler conquered Katmandu and united Nepal.

A “republic will be declared tomorrow,” Baburam Bhattarai, deputy leader of the Maoists, said after the ceremony. “Once a republic is declared, the king will automatically lose his position and place in the palace.”

The Maoists hold the most seats in the assembly but are still struggling to form a government, and political violence has persisted despite the two-year peace process.

The chief of the U.N. mission in Nepal, Ian Martin, warned Tuesday the violence threatens the peace process and criticized Nepal’s politicians for doing little to stop it.

Politically motivated killings have been committed by virtually every major political group since the Maoists gave up their fight two years ago, and Martin said he hoped that now “there can be a new commitment to justice and law and order from all political parties.”

But he said it was hard to expect that because in his three years in Nepal “there has not been a single case where the perpetrators of a killing … have been brought to justice.”

Authorities said some 10,000 police were deployed around the city Tuesday. Authorities also banned protests near the convention center of King Gyanendra’s palace.

Gyanendra has so far refused to heed calls that he leave his palace before Nepal is declared a republic, prompting senior officials to threaten that he could be removed by force.

“If he refuses to leave the palace we will use the law to force him out of there,” Bhattarai said.

If he goes peacefully, the king is expected to move to the palatial private Katmandu home where he lived before assuming the throne in 2001 following a massacre at the royal palace in which a gunman, allegedly the crown prince, gunned down late King Birendra and much of the royal family and then killed himself.

Gyanendra, the dead king’s older brother, then took the throne.

But he never won over Nepalis and became deeply unpopular after dismissing a civilian government in 2005 and seizing power for himself, saying he needed complete authority to crush the Maoist rebellion.

A year later, with the insurgency intensifying and the economy faltering, Gyanendra was forced to restore democracy after weeks of protests.

He has since lost command of the army and all his other powers. His portrait has disappeared from shop walls and the currency. “Royal” has been removed from the name of the army and national airline, and references to the king are gone from the national anthem.

Ahead of Tuesday’s swearing in, the Maoists and Nepal’s two other major political parties — the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) — agreed to replace the king with a president, officials from all three parties said.

But the prime minister is expected to retain executive powers, and it wasn’t clear what authority the president would have.

In a harbinger of communist-sponsored political violence to come, last Wednesday demonstrators paralyzed the capital in protest of the murder of Ram Hari Shrestha, a Kathmandu businessman, allegedly by Maoist cadres. According to the May 21 edition of Voice of America, Maoist leader Prachanda admitted that the murder was an “isolated incident” carried out by “selfish elements” within the party.

Anti-Maoist Strike Shuts Down Nepal’s Capital
By VOA News 21 May 2008

Demonstrators shut down Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, Wednesday during a general strike to protest the alleged Maoist killing of a local businessman.

Police clashed with anti-Maoist protesters in several parts of the capital, as demonstrators set up road blocks to enforce the day-long strike.

The relatives of slain businessman Ram Hari Shrestha organized the strike after accusing the Maoists of abducting and killing Shrestha late last month. They say the former rebels falsely accused Shrestha of stealing a large sum of money and a handgun from the party.

Maoist leader Prachanda has said the murder was an isolated incident carried out by “selfish elements” within the party. Party leaders say they will bring Shrestha’s killers to justice.

The Maoists won the most seats in last month’s elections for a special assembly to draft a new constitution.

The former rebels agreed to a peace deal with Nepal’s government in 2006, after a decade-long civil war that claimed at least 13,000 lives.

Meanwhile, the US Department of State continues its decades-old accommodation with and promotion of communism by coddling the victorious Nepali Maoists. Yesterday US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Evan Feigenbaum, met Prachanda and Bhattarai in Kathmandu. “The official assured us that the US will continue their cooperation,” Prachanda informed journalists after the meeting. “We assured them we are going to make the peace process successful and establish democracy. Feigenbaum told us that the US is in the process of removing our party from a US terrorist list.” Dot.gov apparently is not concerned by the fact that in an early May interview with the AFP news agency Prachanda affirmed that his party’s “big poll victory signalled a wave of revolution in developing countries” that eschews traditional single-party state Stalinism and flirts with capitalism. This, of course, is the premise behind KGB defector Anatoliy Golitysin’s warnings about communism’s long-range strategy in New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995, 1998). “Prachanda’s comments,” observes the BBC News, “are a reminder of the extraordinary way in which Nepal has contradicted the world’s move away from communism in the past 20 years.” Indeed, but in the shopping mall regimes who really appreciates the significance of this trend?

Nepal ‘boosts global communism’
By Charles Haviland BBC News, Kathmandu
Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 12:23 UK

The leader of Nepal’s Maoists has said that his party’s recent election victory is a sign of the global resurgence of communism.

But Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, stressed his party believed in retaining multi-party competition.

Prachanda has made it clear that he wants to become the first president of a Nepalese republic.

The Maoists won twice as many seats as their nearest rivals in last month’s polls for a constitutional assembly.

Investment priorities

Prachanda’s comments are a reminder of the extraordinary way in which Nepal has contradicted the world’s move away from communism in the past 20 years.

The leader of the former rebels told the AFP news agency that the Maoists’ big poll victory signalled a wave of revolution in developing countries, which he said would spread to the developed world.

But Prachanda stressed that the Maoists did not believe in a one-party state.

He said they had concluded that “multi-partyism is a must, even in socialism” and that without competition, a vibrant society could not be created.

The Maoists have said time and again that such pluralism is necessary.

Another senior Maoist leader, CP Gajurel, recently told the BBC that communism had failed in other countries precisely because it did not allow competition, adding that it would be normal for the party to lose some elections, then come back to win others.

Prachanda also reiterated the Maoists’ support for private investment in Nepal, both local and foreign.

But he said Nepal’s people and government should decide on investment priorities.

The new assembly is due to sit some time after 20 May and is set to abolish the monarchy.

Discussions are in progress on what should be the composition of the country’s new government.

Some in the traditionally biggest party, the Nepali Congress, say the current Congress Prime Minister GP Koirala should continue in the post. But many others ridicule this suggestion.

>Middle East File: Moscow welcomes installation of Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah army chief as president; Iranian, Syrian, Saudi, French FMs observe election

>The installation of Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah army chief General Michel Suleiman as national president has (temporarily) resolved the political crisis in Lebanon, but in reality it negatively effects the long-term peace and security of the Levant by providing the terrorist organization/political party with a legitimate platform, including more than one third of cabinet seats, to totally subvert Lebanon and launch a military assault on Israel. The so-called Lebanese “peace” process was endorsed by the United Nations, the Arab League, and the Western Alliance, including the USA and the United Kingdom. The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria approvingly attended the parliamentary session that voted General Suleiman into office. Pictured above: Syrian FM Walid al-Moallem, left, speaks with Iranian FM Manochehr Mottaki during the swearing in ceremony in Beirut, on May 25, 2008. Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also congratulated Suleiman, apparently by telephone, upon the general’s election. Comment is hardly necessary.

General Takes Office As President Of LebanonVote Marks Symbolic End Of Government’s Crisis
By Anthony Shadid and Alia Ibrahim

Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, May 26, 2008; A12

BEIRUT, May 25 — Lebanon’s parliament elected the army commander, Gen. Michel Suleiman, as president Sunday, filling a post vacant for six months and bringing a symbolic if tenuous end to the country’s worst crisis since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

The vote for Suleiman was virtually uncontested, already agreed to in a deal negotiated in Qatar last week that ended an 18-month confrontation between forces allied with the government and the opposition led by the Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah. Postponed 19 times, the election marked the first step in reconstituting what had looked more and more like a failed state in past months: an unfilled presidency, a cabinet deemed illegitimate by the opposition and a parliament that had not met since 2006.

After Suleiman’s election, by 118 votes of 127 possible, a flag-waving crowd that had gathered in his home town of Amchit erupted in cheers. Fireworks detonated over Beirut, cars blared their horns and church bells tolled. Staccato bursts of celebratory gunfire rattled across a capital that, less than two weeks ago, witnessed pitched gun battles redolent of civil war.

“I call upon all of you, politicians and citizens, to begin a new stage that is called Lebanon and the Lebanese,” Suleiman, who forewent his military uniform for the civilian suit of a politician, told parliament. To repeated rounds of applause, he said the country had paid dearly for what he called national unity. “Let us preserve it hand in hand.”

The deal that brought Suleiman to power represented another setback in the region for the United States, which has long sought to isolate Hezbollah, a group backed by Syria and Iran. Under the agreement, Hezbollah and its allies will have veto power in the coming cabinet — the group’s demand since the crisis began after a war with Israel in 2006 — demonstrating its clear role today as the single most powerful force in Lebanon.

The vote represented a rare moment of consensus across the political, social and ideological divide that still fractures Lebanon — from the country’s posture toward Israel to which foreign patron will play the greatest role in Lebanese politics, long vulnerable to regional crises. The foreign ministers of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and France attended the parliamentary session, as did the emir of Qatar, who was seated at the podium of parliament in recognition of his government’s role in the negotiations, which nearly collapsed twice. In a telling sign, the United States was represented only by a congressional delegation.

“This last crisis ended with a winner and a vanquished,” said the emir, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani. “The winner is Lebanon, and the vanquished is the feud, and this needs to be clear to all — today, tomorrow and forever.”

Streets in the capital and elsewhere Sunday were awash in Lebanese flags and posters celebrating Suleiman’s presidency. “The leader, the president,” one read. “Congratulations, Lebanon,” said another. Weary of almost continuous crises that have beset Lebanon since former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated in a 2005 car bombing in Beirut, many residents, regardless of their stance on the crisis, have greeted the agreement and election of Suleiman with relief that the country averted civil war, consolation perhaps muted by frustration that the confrontation lasted as long as it did.

Reservations have surged at hotels here, the stock market has rebounded and life has returned to a downtown paralyzed by an 18-month opposition sit-in.

Often heard in Lebanon, though, is the idea that the country has embarked on a truce, and no more. The question of Hezbollah’s arsenal remains pressing for government supporters, who tried to address the issue in the Qatar talks. Suleiman is expected to lead a dialogue over the issue with rival leaders.

The cabinet will remain in power through next summer, when parliamentary elections are expected to again enshrine in power the same leaders, some of them veterans of the civil war with almost-feudal influence over their followers.

Suleiman, 59, was appointed army commander in 1998, when Syria still exercised tutelage over Lebanon. He rose through the ranks of an army that, particularly in the 1990s, worked closely with Syria and Hezbollah, which fought a guerrilla war against Israel in southern Lebanon until its withdrawal in 2000. He emerged as a candidate of the opposition, then drew on the backing of government supporters to fill a post vacant since the term of Emile Lahoud, a Syrian ally and former general, ended in November.

Both sides had their grievances with Suleiman: The opposition was critical of the military for shooting on protesters in January; government supporters were angry at what they saw as the military’s acquiescence in allowing fighters of Hezbollah and its allies to enter predominantly Muslim West Beirut this month, where they routed government-backed militiamen in hours, forcing the government into the eventual compromise.

“The gun should only be pointed against the enemy,” Suleiman said. “We will not allow it another direction.”

Source: Washington Post

Neo-Soviet Russia has also bestowed its blessing on this dangerous accommodation with Hezbollah and its full integration into the Lebanese political system. State-run Voice of Russia reports: “Moscow welcomes the election of the former Lebanese Army commander General Michel Suleiman as Lebanon’s new president.” The same story continues:

This comes in a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko, the statement that’s placed in the Foreign Ministry Website. Moscow hopes, he said, that the election of Lebanon’s president will help the country pull out of the period of crises and commotions, and gain internal accord and democratic stability on the reliable constitutional basis of the combination of interests of all religious groups and political forces in the country. Michel Suleiman was elected by the Lebanese MPs yesterday. The election was due to have taken place last September but has been postponed 19 times due to the opposition boycott. The agreement to settle the crisis was reached with the Arab League countries’ mediation in Qatar a few days ago.

>EU File: EU, Russia to form strategic partnership, visa-free/free trade regime; Greek, Turkish Cypriot leaders meet; Sarkozy urges Cyprus to join MU

>International political and economic convergence, both tools for communist conquest wielded by duped capitalists, faux rightist politicians, and Moscow-controlled socialists, are the unstoppable trends of the day. The red dream of a world federation of socialist states is rapidly coming together without little concern on the part of the sleepwalking shopping mall regimes.

The Soviet strategists are looking East and West in their plans for expansion. To the East of Moscow the Shanghai Cooperation Organization unites Russia with China and the Central Asia republics. Dmitry Medvedev’s first international visit as “President” of Russia took him to Kazakhstan and then China, where he no doubt assured the Butchers of Beijing that Vladimir Putin’s career transfer, from the presidency to the premiership, is a charade, portending no deviation from communism’s long-range strategy of destroying the capitalist nations. To the West of Moscow the communist-infiltrated European Union, which is Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new European Soviet,” is actively courting the neo-Soviet Union for a strategic partnership with “legally binding measures” related to energy, security, trade, and education. Eurocrats in Brussels predict that the EU’s new “Eastern Partnership” with the neo-Soviet state will be fully implemented in 2010.

The EU-Russian partnership will include a visa-free regime, a free trade area, reforms that will supposedly force Russia to embrace EU standards, and more student exchange programs. “Supported by Sweden and blessed by heavyweights France and Germany,” the German media reports below, “the so-called Eastern Partnership comes on the back of French plans to boost the EU’s ties with its southern neighbors in a Union for the Mediterranean.” Like the faux rightist regimes of France, Greece, and Italy, where Putin enjoys chummy relationships with President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Poland’s faux rightist government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, is shilling for East-West convergence, which will eventually include “Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and, eventually, Belarus.”

EU Ministers Agree to Work Toward Deal with Russia
Russia 26.05.2008

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday, May 26, to negotiate a key deal with Russia and discussed proposals to strengthen the bloc’s ties with its eastern neighbors.

The agreement on talks for a new EU-Russia strategic partnership follows two years of wrangling and a dropped veto from Lithuania. It is intended to replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which ran out in 2007, and should include legally-binding measures on such issues as energy, security, trade and education.

Negotiations are to be formally launched in Siberia on June 26-27, when new President Dmitry Medvedev will represent Russia for the first time. They were only made possible after Lithuania, the last EU member to block the talks, was assured that its concerns about energy supply and Moscow’s stance on Georgia would be addressed.

Officials in Brussels predict complex negotiations with Moscow are likely to last about a year, with a further year required for its ratification by EU member states and Russia.

EU ministers also listened to Polish plans for strengthening ties with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and, eventually, Belarus.

Supported by Sweden and blessed by heavyweights France and Germany, the so-called Eastern Partnership comes on the back of French plans to boost the EU’s ties with its southern neighbors in a Union for the Mediterranean.

Visa-free travel in sight

According to a text seen by German news agency DPA, the proposed Eastern Partnership would seek to deepen cooperation and focus on concrete proposals in the area of migration, with an eye to moving towards a visa-free regime.

It would also seek to create a free trade area, provide support for reforms designed to bring those countries up to EU standards, and arrange more student exchange programs.

The partnership would use existing neighborhood funds and would have an institutional structure that is “as light-weight and goal-oriented as possible.”

Human rights, a frequent bone of contention under Russia’s former President Vladimir Putin, and energy supply are also likely to become major topics of discussion.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the commissioner in charge of the EU’s external relations, said the EU executive would only support the plan if it provided “added value” and did not duplicate existing EU policies.

“The negotiation will certainly not be easy … I think they will take quite some time,” she said.

Poland advocates eastern focus

Polish and Swedish diplomats say the partnership will encourage “multilateral cooperation” and “foster regional links.”

Cooperation with Belarus, whose democratic credentials have been thrown into question, would initially take place only on a “technical and expert level.”

The Polish-Swedish plan was welcomed by the Czech Republic, which is due to take over the rotating presidency of the EU on Jan. 1. France, which launched the idea of the Mediterranean Union, is due to hold the EU presidency from July 1 this year.

“This year is the Mediterranean year, next year would be the eastern year,” said the Czech deputy prime minister for European affairs, Alexander Vondra.

Kosovo handover unrealistic

Another major issue up for discussion in Brussels is the bloc’s EU-Lex law mission in Kosovo. The mission was originally meant to take over the administration of the newly independent country from the United Nations on June 15.

But EU officials now concede that legal and logistical difficulties mean that the deadline is unrealistic.

“EU-Lex is going slowly but surely,” said Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, who chaired Monday’s meeting as current EU president.

Serbia-Kosovo, as noted above, remains a significant disruption in the political-economic integration of the “new European Soviet” and neo-Soviet Russia. More than anything else, however, the Kremlin will use Serbia-Kosovo as a bargaining chip to extract as many concessions as possible from the EU for the admission of “post”-communist states. This is evident in the post-election trip that Socialist Party of Serbia leader Ivica Dacic made to Moscow. During Serbia’s May 10 election Slobodan Milosevic’s “ex”-communist party emerged as the kingmaking force in Belgrade’s next government. “The Socialists say they are in favor of the EU deal,” the International Herald Tribune reports today, “and over the weekend they asked Kostunica and his ultranationalist allies to clarify their pledges to annul a pre-membership deal with the EU that was signed on the eve of the elections.”

The Soviet strategists are also attempting to expand south via the proposed Mediterranean Union (MU), which will embrace the EU, the states of North Africa, and the states of the eastern Mediterranean, including beleaguered Israel. Superficially, however, the MU is the brainchild of French President Sarkozy, a pro-Zionist anti-communist European neo-conservative who harbors his own ambitions for personal aggrandizement that might one day clash with the Leninist masterminds in Moscow. Sarkozy faces a busy summer agenda. On June 22 France’s quarter-Jewish head of state will visit Israel, where he is held high regard by government and citizenry alike. In July Sarkozy will host the MU’s first summit in Paris, while concurrently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union and the presidency of the United Nations Security Council, both of which are rotating positions. It is expected that the first position will be transformed in 2009 into the permanent post of “President of the European Union.”

Sarkozy has invited Cyprus’ communist president Dimitris Christofias, whose country already belongs to the EU, to participate in the first MU summit. According to the Financial Mirror, below, “Sarkozy hopes that everybody will be able to participate in the summit, which aims to define the details of the French President’s idea to create a Union for the Mediterranean. The Union for the Mediterranean, which will include the EU and third countries of the Mediterranean basin, aims at overcoming problems which have occurred during the Barcelona Process.”

Cypriot President in Paris for Mediterranean summit
26/05/2008
by Athena Arsalidou

Paris, (CNA) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to extend an invitation to the Cypriot President, the Turkish Prime Minister and the UN Secretary General to visit Paris in July to participate in the summit of the Union of the Mediterranean.

According French government sources, the invitation comes in connection with the summit, to be held on July 13th in Paris, between the European Union and third countries of the Mediterranean basin.

France, which will assume the EU six-monthly rotating Presidency in July, is expecting to examine progress in the bicommunal meetings between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, aiming at reunifying Cyprus divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

Paris has indicated that if and when invited, it would be ready to contribute to efforts towards a Cyprus solution.

The same sources have not ruled out the possibility that UNSG Ban Ki-moon will hold in Paris separate meetings with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Cyprus question.

The French President, who in July will also preside over the UNSC, will invite to Paris EU leaders, leaders of third countries of the Mediterranean, the UNSG and the General Secretary of the Arab League.

According to the same sources, Sarkozy hopes that everybody will be able to participate in the summit, which aims to define the details of the French President’s idea to create a Union for the Mediterranean. The Union for the Mediterranean, which will include the EU and third countries of the Mediterranean basin, aims at overcoming problems which have occurred during the Barcelona Process.

Sarkozy’s idea for a Union for the Mediterranean provides for an agreement to be reached in Paris on July 13th, according to which EU members and third countries of the Mediterranean basin will begin a more concrete cooperation.

According to CNA sources, the first project which will most probably be adopted will be the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea.Other projects include the use of solar energy and the construction of road networks.

The neo-Soviet leadership has already ensured that the slavishly pro-Moscow President Christofias will follow the Kremlin line with respect to the reunification of the northern and southern parts of Cyprus and its participation in the European Union and, no doubt, the Mediterranean Union. On May 12 Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union Gennady Zyuganov, who in our opinion is one of the rulers behind the throne in Russia, flew to Nicosia where he coached Christofias, who was elected in February. Less than two weeks later, on May 23, Christofias began preliminary reunification talks with his northern counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey. Although not a communist, Talat’s party is leftist in orientation and was pro-Soviet during the Cold War. Two days prior to this United Nations-sponsored, presidential-level meeting (pictured above), Christofias cautioned: “We need to be cautious and cool-headed because the objective is to talk the same language so that we can come to direct negotiations that will have the prospect of achieving results.”

Leaders in divided Cyprus meet to push peace
May 23, 2008

NICOSIA (AFP) – Rival Cypriot leaders began talks on Friday to try to regain the momentum for a fresh UN-brokered push for peace on the long-divided eastern Mediterranean island.

The meeting is a follow-up to a first session back in March following the election of internationally recognised Cyprus President Demetris Christofias with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

Those talks raised hopes of reviving reunfication efforts that had stagnated after the failure of a United Nations peace plan in 2004, some 30 years after Turkish troops invaded and divided the island.

“There was a very cordial atmosphere at the meeting of the two leaders” on Friday, said UN spokesman Jose Diaz shortly after the talks started at 11.10 am (0810 GMT).

The meeting at the UN compound in divided Nicosia is being hosted by the newly arrived chief of mission Taye-Brook Zerihoun, who is sitting in on the discussions along with one adviser from each side — George Iacovou for Christofias and Ozdil Nami for Talat.

Diaz told reporters that the two leaders were expected to issue a statement after their discussions, the formal aim of which is to review progress in preparations for the formal launch of peace negotiations scheduled to start on June 21.

After the euphoria generated by the March meeting, the Greek Cypriots have voiced worries at the slow pace of progress despite the creation of working groups to tackle the core issues.

“We need to be cautious and cool-headed because the objective is to talk the same language so that we can come to direct negotiations that will have the prospect of achieving results,” Christofias said on Wednesday.

Talat’s spokesman Hasan Ercakica said there were suggestions that Christofias will ask for a postponement of fully fledged negotiations — something the Cyprus president has so far declined to comment on.

The English-language daily Cyprus Mail reported on Friday that the Greek Cypriots felt not enough has been accomplished by the working groups to allow negotiations proper to begin with the Turkish Cypriots next month.

One Western diplomat told AFP that Friday’s talks would give Christofias and Talat chance to take “stock and agree when full negotiations start.”

“The honeymoon period was a bit overdone and now the doom and gloom is also being overdone. There are going to be problems, we don’t see how it could be otherwise,” he added.

Christofias was elected in February on a platform of finding a solution to the island’s division, paving the way for the international community to refocus its attention on Cyprus after several years of inactivity.

The island has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied its northern third following an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece.

Three decades later the UN drew up a reunification blueprint known as the Annan Plan. This failed when it was overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots in a 2004 referendum even though it was backed by Turkish Cypriots.

Source: YahooNews.com

>China File: Russian "President" Medvedev visits Beijing, issues statement with Hu denouncing US NMD plans, PM Putin joins CIS leaders in Minsk

>“President” Dmitry Medvedev conducted his first international visit today by visiting Russia’s strategic partner China where he held talks with Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. Together the two heads of state, representing KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s “one clenched fist” of international communism, released a joint statement denouncing US National Missile Defense deployments in Central Europe as a threat to the “global strategic balance.” An excerpt from state-run Novosti’s coverage of Medvedev’s Chinese trip follows:

“The parties believe that the construction of a global missile defense system, including the deployment of such a system in some regions of the world… does not contribute to maintaining a strategic balance and stability, and runs counter to international efforts to control arms and non-proliferation,” the declaration said. The plans also weaken “confidence-building measures between countries and the consolidation of regional stability,” the statement said. Russia and China have taken a shared stance on many global issues in recent years, often opposing the position of the U.S.

Medvedev and Hu also promoted commerce between the Communist Bloc’s two most powerful countries, seeking to push bilateral trade to $US 70 billions per year. To that end, they signed a £500 million deal in which Russia is committed to building a nuclear fuel enrichment plant in China and supply semi-enriched uranium worth at least £250 million. “It’s a good addition to our presence in China,” insisted Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of Rosatom, the Russian government-controlled nuclear equipment company. Earlier this year, a Russian company finished construction on two 1,000-megawatt light-water reactors for China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant, south of Shanghai. State-run oil companies Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation also established an agreement in principle to build a pipeline to China that would extend the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline across the Chinese border. Sironics, a Russian company that stands at the forefront of that country’s burgeoning high-tech industry intends to organize a joint venture with China’s ZTE Corporation to produce mobile telephones and other electronic devices.

Today Russia’s rubber-stamp parliament, the State Duma, which is dominated by United Russia, a front for the continuing Communist Party of the Soviet Union, ratified a treaty on long-term cooperation among the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The SCO includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, but primarily serves to coordinate political-economic-military relations withinthe Eurasian branch of the Communist Bloc. Novosti reports:

Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, ratified on Friday a treaty on long-term cooperation between member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO, a regional bloc comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace various economic and social projects. The treaty was signed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, at a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in August 2007. The agreement is aimed at developing strategic partnership relations between members to strengthen peace, security and stability, expand economic cooperation, and improve contracts in culture, education, healthcare and science.

Meanwhile, KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, per earlier threats, has not departed the political scene following the end of his second term as Russian president but was conveniently appointed prime minister by his pliable lackey Medvedev. In an October 2006 statement that clearly demonstrates the long-range nature of the Soviet strategy and the smooth, well-managed transfer of power within the neo-Soviet leadership, Putin predicted: “Even having lost the powers and the levers of presidential power, and not tailoring the basic law according to my personal interests, I will manage to retain the most important thing that a person involved in politics must cherish — your trust. And using that, you and I will be able to exert influence on the life of our country and guarantee its development.”

In his new capacity, today PM Putin attended a seemingly dull conference of heads of government of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Minsk. On the agenda are the CIS economic development strategy, which is expected to extend to the year 2020, coordinated transport policy, enhancing food security of CIS member-states, and migrant workers. “Special attention,” state-run Itar-Tass reports below, “is given to the development of international transport corridors.” The CIS, like the SCO, serves as an important “post”-communist structure by which the Soviet strategists can deepen coordination within the Communist Bloc. On the sidelines of the Minsk meeting a Russian official admitted that “A majority of CIS premiers have expressed the wish to have a one-on-one meeting with Putin.” I’m sure.

Pictured above: Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko greets Comrade Vlad in Minsk, on May 23, 2008; pictured below: CIS heads of goverment; from left to right: Azerbaijan PM Artur Rasizada (“ex”-CPSU), Armenian PM Serzh Sargsyan (“ex”-CPSU), Georgian PM Vladimir Gurgenidze, Kazakhstan Deputy PM Umirzak Shushkeyev, Kyrgyzstan PM Igor Chudinov (ethnic Russian, does not speak Kyrgyz), Belarusian PM Sergei Sidorsky, CIS Executive Chairman Sergei Lebedev (Chekist, Komsomol), Ukraine PM Yulia Tymoshenko (Komsomol), Moldovan PM Zinaida Greceanii (Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova), Russian PM Vladimir Putin (“ex”-CPSU), Tajikistan PM Okil Okilov, Turkmenistan Deputy PM Rashid Meredov (Soviet-era law professor), and Uzbekistan Deputy PM Rustam Kasymov.

Putin to attend meeting of CIS premiers council in Minsk
23.05.2008, 13.21

MINSK, May 23 (Itar-Tass) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Minsk on a working visit, where he will attend a meeting of the Council of Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Putin will hold talks with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. A source in the Russian delegation told Itar-Tass that the parties would discuss “a broad range of issues of bilateral cooperation which has been developing very intensively recently.”

In particular, they may consider a common economic space in the territory of the two countries, a customs union, interaction in the energy sphere, access of goods to the markets of the two countries, and transport infrastructure projects for further development of cooperation,” the source said.

The parties will discuss the current state of and prospects for creating the Union State. On the whole, Russian-Belarus cooperation has been developing without any serious problems, and frequent meetings between officials at various levels contribute to it.

Lukashenko then will meet with CIS prime ministers, after which the prime ministers will hold talks in “narrow format,” in order to coordinate their positions on the key issues of interaction within the CIS framework.

The CIS delegations then will join the prime ministers for an expanded meeting.

The agenda of the meeting includes 20 items. One of the main issues is the fulfillment of instructions by the heads of states and government on working out a CIS economic development project, proposals in the sphere of coordinated transport policy and preparation of a set of joint measures for enhancing food security of CIS member-states.

The economic development strategy is expected to extend to the year 2020. The document outlines the targets and tasks of economic integration, backbone aspects of cooperation and names the main spheres of interaction in the economic sphere.

Specifically, it envisages the removal of barriers in international automobile cargo transportation, raising efficiency of the tariff policy and the level of interaction of different kinds of transport, harmonization of the national systems of organization of air traffic.

Special attention is given to the development of international transport corridors.

A working group, jointly with the All-Russian Agriculture Economy Research Institute has prepared a complex of measures aimed at enhancing food security of CIS member countries. This document has been approved by the CIS Agricultural Affairs Council and will be submitted to the Commonwealth Economic Council for consideration.

The discussion of matters pertaining to organizing celebrations of the 65th VE-Day anniversary will have a special social and political importance at the CIS prime ministers’ meeting. According to the CIS Executive Committee’s press service, the draft plan envisages holding a military parade in Moscow with the participation of WW2 veterans and war labor veterans of the Commonwealth countries, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and states of the anti-Hitler coalition. It is also planned to organize workshops, symposiums, exhibitions and sports events.

The participants of the summit will discuss suggestions on transport policy cooperation, food safety issues, a draft Convention on Trans-frontier Cooperation between CIS Countries.

A draft convention on legal status of migrant workers ad their family members will be considered.

As for Putin’s bilateral meetings, there are no such plans. “However, adjustments are possible, ” a Russian official said, adding that “a majority of CIS premiers have expressed the wish to have a one-on-one meeting with Putin.”

The CIS premiers are expected to talk to reporters after their meeting.

Vladimir Putin will return to Moscow on Friday evening.

Source: Itar-Tass

>End Times File: Arab states to host meeting in Cairo in advance of 1st Mediterranean Union summit in Paris, Antichrist to visit Israel on June 22

>Sarkozy is very popular over there [Israel] and people trust him.
— Dorothee Chmidt, French Institute of International Relations; quoted by France 24 TV, March 11, 2008

Over the last several months we have been tracking the development of the Mediterranean Union, the brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. From man’s point of view the nascent MU appears to be an expansion of the European Union into North Africa and the Levant via the Barcelona Process, or Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, founded in 1995. For students of Bible prophecy, however, the MU, which will include Israel and its Arab enemies, is the revived Roman Empire, which in ancient times embraced the province of Judea. No such political entity has existed since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century, but the Hebrew prophet Daniel predicted that Imperial Rome would nevertheless be in existence when Messiah returns to earth to set up his Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem. Intriguingly, in July 2007 European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso himself referred to the EU as a “non-imperial empire“: “Sometimes I like to compare the European Union as a creation of the organization of empires. We have the dimension of empires, but there is a great difference. Now, we have what some authors call a non-imperial empire.”

The Communist Bloc is carefully observing the MU’s formation, as evidenced by the coverage given by the Chinese state media to the Arab states that are presently holding their own round of discussions prior to the official launch date of the supernational political entity, which is July 13. On May 24 Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and 10 Arab foreign ministers, Xinhua reports, will converge in Cairo to review Sarkozy’s proposal, which was modified by the European Commission to make the concept of a Mediterranean Union palatable to all current EU member states. In attendance at the Cairo conference will be the foreign ministers of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon (“Hezbollahstan”), Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine (“Fatahstan/Hamastan”), Syria, and Tunisia. Israel, which is destined to be part of the MU, was not invited to this particular meeting, possibly for obvious reasons.

From June 4 to 6 the MU will be the subject of an international symposium in Tangier, oriented around the theme “Thinking Mediterranean.” The symposium will attract 150 dignitaries and Andre Azoulay, a senior adviser to Moroccan King Mohammed VI, will participate in the opening session.

Although Tunisia and Morocco are positioning themselves to be the site of the headquarters of the future MU, Bible prophecy requires that this entity be associated with Rome. And, indeed, it is. The EU traces its origin to the 1957 Treaty of Rome while the EU-MU expansion was formally announced in last year’s Rome Declaration, jointly issued by Sarkozy, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, and former Italian Prime Minister (and alleged KGB asset) Romano Prodi.

The sum total effect of the MU will be to: 1) establish a political and economic bridge between the socialist European Union and the socialist African Union, 2) impose an inter-faith synthesis between Catholic/Protestant/proto-Islamic Europe and Islamic North Africa/Eastern Mediterranean, 3) submerge the entire collective into the Communist Bloc under the somewhat conflicting interests of the Moscow Leninists and the “soft totalitarians” in Brussels, 4) accelerate the dismemberment of Israel under the treasonous and corrupt government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and 5) provide a pretext for the Roman Antichrist to resolve all conflicts with his draconian seven-year “peace” program.

Incidentally, the best candidate for Antichrist in 100 years, in our humble assessment, is a contemporary head of state in Europe, who is also a member of the Jewish diaspora and flaunts big career plans. In his classic exegesis of Antichrist, theologian/preacher A. W. Pink writes: “The Antichrist will be a Jew, though his connections, his governmental position, his sphere of dominion, will by no means confine him to the Israelitish people. It should, however, be pointed out that there is no express declaration of Scripture which says in so many words that this daring Rebel will be ‘a Jew’; nevertheless, the hints given are so plain, the conclusions which must be drawn from certain statements of Holy Writ are so obvious, and the requirements of the case are so inevitable, that we are forced to believe he must be a Jew.”

The suspect in question is the president of France/co-prince of Andorra, who will be arriving in Israel on June 22 to express his solidarity with Zion. Last year Sarkozy announced: “I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it’s true. I will never compromise on Israel’s security.” Although Sarkozy’s popularity has waned in France in the wake of back-to-back strikes against government-initiated reforms, he enjoys the admiration of French Jews and both the Israeli government and people, as we previously blogged. On March 11 France 24 TV reported: “On the Israeli side, the diplomatic warming between the two countries can only be seen in a favourable light, suggests Dorothee Chmidt from the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). ‘Sarkozy is very popular over there and people trust him,’ she explains. ‘They know him better than Chirac, and appreciate his statements on Israel.'”

Some Christians contend that it is not possible to identify “that man of sin” prior to the rapture of the church to heaven. That may be so, but I think an educated guess is possible. Although we have not yet established a reliable numerological correspondence between “Nicolas Sarkozy” and the “number of the beast,” we will paraphrase Donald Trump by declaring: “Prince Charles, King Juan Carlos, Javier Solana . . . you’re fired!”

>Latin America File: Ortega to testify of FARC links before National Assembly, US State Dept. monitors FSLN leader’s terror connections

>– “FARC-Gate”: Reyes’ Laptop Files: Ortega Offered Guns to FARC Via Chavez

– Sandinista-Controlled Air Force Rented Aircraft to President Ortega to Transfer Marxist Rebels from Ecuador to Nicaragua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has dropped all pre-election pretense of being a church-loving social democrat. Rather, by propping up his domestic policies with Bolivarian petrodollars from Hugo Chavez, by re-communizing Nicaragua with his Sandinista-dominated Citizens’ Power Councils, by intimidating opposition media outlets, by renting a military aircraft to transfer two presumed members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia from Ecuador to Nicaragua, and by allegedly offering arms to FARC, Comandante Ortega is revealing himself to be the same old commie he always has been.

The Costa Rica-based Tico Times, citing a report published last week in the Spanish daily El Pais, asserts that the by-now infamous laptop computer of executed FARC second-in-command Raul Reyes contained files indicating that Ortega offered the Marxist rebels–via Venezuelan dictator Chavez–weapons from Nicaragua. In response, “Nicaragua’s Judicial Commission this week announced it will call Ortega before the National Assembly to testify on his involvement with FARC.” In the past Ortega has referred to Reyes and FARC’s top commander, Manuel Marulanda, as “dear brothers.” The Colombian government, BBC News reports, is currently investigating three opposition legislators, including Senator Piedad Cordoba (pictued above with Reyes), for alleged links to FARC.

Notwithstanding Interpol’s authentication of the files on Reyes’ computer, Nicaraguan military consultant and historian Roberto Cajina, below, has expressed doubts about the reliability of the latest allegations against Ortega. Cajina insists that the (Sandinista-controlled) Nicaraguan military “would never risk its professional reputation by selling or providing arms to FARC,” which means that if Ortega really did offer weapons to FARC, then this arsenal could only originate from caches left over from the civil war in the 1980s. In the latter case, Cajina hypothesizes, “the chance those guns are still in working order after 20 years of heat and humidity and improper storage is very unlikely.” In either case, Ortega’s real but indirect involvement with FARC could and should cause the domestic Hate America Left, which supports Latin America’s Red Axis with little thought, to scatter like cockroaches.

Ortega’s FARC Involvement Questioned
By Tim Rogers and Blake Schmidt
Nica Times Staff, May 23, 2008

MANAGUA, NICARAGUA – President Daniel Ortega’s controversial sponsorship of two alleged Colombian rebels, and allegations that he recently offered to provide the same guerrilla group with weapons, have raised concerns at home and abroad as to the true nature of his relationship with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), and what that might mean for Nicaragua.

A U.S. State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States is keeping close tabs on Ortega’s alleged support of FARC after Colombian intelligence allegedly discovered computer files linking Ortega to the rebels. According to a report published last week in the Spanish daily El Pais, a laptop computer salvaged from the wreckage of a FARC jungle camp bombed March 1 by the Colombian military revealed documents indicating that Ortega had offered FARC – via Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez – weapons from Nicaragua.

The computer allegedly belonged to the FARC’s No. 2 commander, Raul Reyes, who was one of more than 20 rebels who died in the attack on their camp near the Colombian border in Ecuador. Interpol last week verified the authenticity of the computer files, which reportedly provide evidence of strong links between Chávez and FARC – an allegation the Venezuelan president denies.

Farc is considered a terrorist group by both the United States and the European Union.

Last week, Ortega, who in the past has referred to Reyes and the FARC’s top commander, Manuel Marulanda, as “dear brothers,” paid an undisclosed amount of money to rent a Nicaraguan military transport plane to fly to Ecuador and pick up two survivors of the bomb raid on the FARC camp, Doris Torres, 21, and Martha Pérez, 24. The two women were flown to Nicaragua, where they were given amnesty for “humanitarian” reasons and are allegedly being treated – at the government’s expense – to home, food and medical attention (NT, May 16).

Critics jumped on Ortega for prioritizing his efforts and government resources to helping two alleged FARC members while at the same time ignoring a nationwide transportation strike (see separate story, Page N4).

For many, even more worrisome than the president’s priorities, is the potential backlash of Ortega’s so-called “FARC-gate” scandal to Nicaragua’s international image.

Nicaragua’s Judicial Commission this week announced it will call Ortega before the National Assembly to testify on his involvement with FARC.

The U.S. State Department official told The Nica Times last week that the United States too is paying close attention to an investigation by Interpol, which announced May 15 that the information on the laptop appears authentic.

“(The police) have a lead and we’re very interested about what Interpol is going to do about this,” the state department official said. “There’s a lot of information coming off those laptops. Some have compared it to one-third the holdings of the U.S. Library of Congress.”

The official didn’t want to comment on Ortega’s decision to give asylum to the two alleged FARC survivors and Mexican national Lucia Morett, who insists she is a student, not a rebel. Morett was the first to be granted asylum in Nicaragua more than a month ago (NT, April 25).

The state department official said the U.S. secretary of state can designate a country a state-sponsor of terrorism “if the government has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”

“The decision to designate any country a state sponsor of terrorism is not undertaken lightly. Right now there is no (state-sponsored terrorism) determination with Venezuela, the same will go for Nicaragua,” the official said. “You can’t make a decision about something like this until you’ve assessed the information.”

Whitehouse spokesman Sean McCormack said last week that the information, which the Colombians are keeping under lock and key, includes “serious allegations about Venezuela supplying arms and support to a terrorist organization.”

McCormack did not mention any specific information pertaining to Nicaragua, but said that not all the information has come forward yet. When it does, he said, there would be “deep implications for the people of the region as well as states in the region.”

In Nicaragua, Francesca Mosca, head of the European Commission here, said it’s “too early” to comment on the case’s possible implications on EU aid for Nicaragua (see separate story, Page N1).

“That all needs to be examined,” she said.

Risky Cargo

Nicaraguan military consultant and historian Roberto Cajina said there’s a difference between authenticity and veracity. In other words, the laptop records might be real, but that doesn’t mean the information is true.

Cajina, a leading expert on Nicaraguan military matters, said he has his doubts about the veracity of reports that Ortega allegedly offered weapons to FARC – something the president hasn’t commented on.

Cajina said the Nicaraguan military keeps an “absolutely controlled inventory” of its weapons, which are kept in very careful climate controlled conditions. He said that inventory is known by the United States and that the Nicaraguan military would never risk its professional reputation by selling or providing arms to FARC.

So, he said, in the hypothetical situation that Ortega really did offer weapons to the FARC, it would have to be from a supply of hidden weapons left over from the 1980s. And even if there were still weapons hidden somewhere, Cajina said the chance those guns are still in working order after 20 years of heat and humidity and improper storage is very unlikely.

Though he acknowledged that it is possible that several of the more durable weapons, such as an AK-47 assault rifle, could maybe stand the test of time if buried in some secret cache, the chance that enough of them would survive to arm a rebel group would be unlikely, he said.

“It sounds like a bit of a fantasy,” Cajina told The Nica Times.

The analyst said he is more concerned with the Nicaraguan Air Force renting one of its planes to the government to go pick up the FARC survivors in Ecuador – a move that has already drawn sharp protest from Colombia, which claims Nicaragua lied about the flight and violated its airspace.

Although Cajina said the charter flight was strictly a “commercial relationship” between the Nicaraguan military and the Ortega administration, in his opinion the Air Force “shouldn’t have done it.”

By giving the two FARC survivors a ride to Nicaragua, the national military was indirectly getting involved in an international conflict among Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, Cajina said. And for a small country such as Nicaragua, which has one of the poorest funded militaries in the region, that’s not a good idea, he said.

>Middle East File: UN, UK, USA, Arab League facilitate Hezbollah coup in Lebanon: Terrorists grab more than 1/3 cabinet posts, veto power, presidency

>Pictured here: The real rulers of Lebanon: Iranian Tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syrian Tyrant Bashar al-Assad, and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

We have already blogged about the new Lebanese peace deal, prompted by Hezbollah’s abortive armed uprising earlier this month, mediated by the Arab League and France, hosted by Qatar, and blessed by the United Nations Security Council, as well as the USA, which holds a permanent seat on that communist-dominated body. One stipulation of the Doha agreement that will supposedly settle the internecine warfare among Lebanon’s striving factions is the installation into the national presidency of pro-Hezbollah Lebanese Army Commander Michel Suleiman, who did virtually nothing to oppose the week-long insurgency. At the same time the weak and ineffective Prime Minister Fouad Siniora will resign.

Today news reports provide even more shocking details, namely that Hezbollah has been awarded more than one third of the government’s cabinet posts, providing the Soviet/Syrian/Iranian-backed archterrorist Hassan Nasrallah and his terror machine a veto power over government decisions. In a display of almost unbelievable geopolitical ineptitude, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Haaretz reports below, “rejected the view that the show of force by Hezbollah had increased its power.” Indeed, “The United States and Britain said on Thursday they believed Hezbollah had been weakened by this month’s fighting in Beirut despite the greater influence the militant group gained in Lebanon’s Cabinet.” The UN Security Council, moreover, apparently views the Doha agreement as a “vehicle to promote the internal stability of the country.” Huh? Am I missing something here?

Last week Israeli Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon rightly observed during Hezbollah’s armed coup attempt: “Lebanon has no government. It is a fiction, there is only Hezbollah. Hezbollah is directly responsible for everything that happens [in Lebanon], and the organization completely controls the state.” Israeli Minister of Religious Services Yitzhak Cohen, representing the Shas party, insisted at the time that “The Lebanese army proved to be a doormat, stepped on by Hezbollah.” Haaretz warns below: “Hezbollah will now wield more political clout than it ever has in the past.” In brief, the Doha agreement tells the world that terrorism pays and demonstrates that Israel is surrounded by implacable enemies and worthless “allies.”

West backs Lebanese gov’t capitulation to Hezbollah
Last update – 03:54 23/05/2008
By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies

The United Nations Security Council is expected to issue a statement on Friday in support of a Qatari-mediated deal signed earlier this week between rival Lebanese factions, according to which Beirut has essentially capitulated to the demands of the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Britain, which currently occupies the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, is expected to issue the statement. The statement was originally a French diplomatic initiative and enjoys backing from the United States.

The declaration thus represents a Western stamp of approval to an agreement that is in practice a capitulation to Hezbollah demands, including a greater share of the political decision-making power in Lebanon.

The agreement was the culmination of weeks of turmoil, during which violent incidents initiated by Hezbollah, including the group’s takeover of parts of Beirut, gripped the country.

According to the terms of the Doha agreement, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora will resign in the coming days; the commander of the army, Michel Suleiman, will be installed as president, and the government will comprise 30 ministers.

Most significantly, however, the agreement meets a key Hezbollah demand to reshape the structure of government representation. Members of the Shi’ite organization will account for one-third of the government ministers, plus an additional portfolio, thus enabling the group to veto any government decision. Hezbollah will now wield more political clout than it ever has in the past.

Despite enhancing Hezbollah’s position within the Lebanese power structure, the U.S. will support the Security Council statement praising the agreement, which is viewed as a vehicle to promote the internal stability of the country.

The representatives of all Security Council member states are currently holding consultations over the precise language of the statement in hopes that the wording will be approved by consensus. One of the drafts being considered by the body includes an expression of gratitude to the Arab parties who worked in mediating the deal, among them the Arab League and Qatar.

One potential stumbling block over the final wording of the statement centers around the issue of whether to include references to prior Security Council resolutions passed in relation to Lebanon in recent years, including Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the Second Lebanon War.

nother Security Council resolution that is to be mulled is 1559, which includes a clause stipulating the decommissioning of weapons belonging to the various militia forces in the country. The U.S. and France insist on including mention of the resolution in the statement. Libya has stated its opposition, while Russia has also expressed reservations.

U.S. and U.K. say Hezbollah weaker after Beirut fighting

The United States and Britain said on Thursday they believed Hezbollah had been weakened by this month’s fighting in Beirut despite the greater influence the militant group gained in Lebanon’s Cabinet.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband rejected the view that the show of force by Hezbollah had increased its power.

“Hezbollah lost something very important, which is any argument that it is somehow a resistance movement on behalf of the Lebanese people,” Rice told reporters traveling with her and Miliband on a trip to her California hometown. “What it is, is a militia that, given an opportunity, decided to turn its guns on its own people. It is never going to live that down,” she said.

Miliband said Hezbollah had shown an “unacceptable” show of force in the streets which created an “illusion” of its power. More than 80 people were killed in the military campaign by Hezbollah amid fears of a return to full-scale civil war.

“What struck us in subsequent days is that the reaction of the people of Lebanon has been very negative about that. The guns of Hezbollah were trained on their own people. The long term consequences of that are potentially going to strengthen the forces of democracy in Lebanon,” said Miliband. Zvi Barel contributed to this story.

>Feature: Commies dream of world revolution: International Communist Seminar plots in Brussels, Sao Paulo Forum, Red Chinese meet in Montevideo

>In the twenty-first century the international communist movement continues to connive and scheme against “neo-liberalism,” a communist codeword for capitalism. The two main branches of the Red International today are the International Communist Seminar (ICS), which is worldwide in extent, and the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP), which is based throughout Latin America, including Puerto Rico.

Soviet Strategist Shenin Cites 2006 British Defense Ministry Report: Marxism to Increase in Popularity with Middle Class

The ICS convened its 17th meeting in Brussels between May 16 and 18 (pictured above) under the aegis of the Belgian Workers’ Party and with the participation of Soviet communists and ruling and non-ruling communist parties from around the world. Numerous ruling and non-ruling communist parties that were unable to dispatch delegates sent messages of solidarity instead. The written manifesto that Oleg Shenin, Communist Party of the Soviet Union Chairman and ringleader of the potemkin anti-Gorbachevist coup of August 1991, submitted to this year’s seminar reveals that world proletarian revolution is very much at the top of the reds’ agenda. After critiquing the ineffective policies of the oligarchic Putinist/Medvedevist regime and the ruling Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova, the revisionism of the Federation of the Independent Trade Unions of Russia, as well as the tactics of Eurocommunism and the anti-globalization movement, Shenin agitates for the revival of the old Communist International:

The leadership of the CPSU has always considered, and considers, as the main task of the international communist and working class movement the organizational unification on the basis of an adjusted ideological and political basis, the consecutive forming of a new Komintern and the resolving of the question of its economic independence. It is necessary to establish a close interaction with the national liberation movements. On must begin with the creation of a single coordination centre, based on one of the parties. Perhaps, this work could be undertaken by the Belgian Workers Party ?

Intriguingly, Shenin, seeking confirmation for his twisted vision of a global communist utopia, refers to a strategic forecast report published by the Development, Concepts, and Doctrine Centre, a General Directorate within the British Ministry of Defense, in December 2006. He writes:

“In 30 years the world will be gripped by the epidemic of Marxism.” This forecast was made by today’s experts of the Centre of Development, Concepts and Doctrines of the Ministry of Defence of Great Britain. It can be found in their 90-page report called “The future strategy of defence,” where they analyse challenges, threats and risks, that mankind will face in the near future. In their opinion, Marxism will become by 2030 the basic ideology of the so-called middle class.

The document itself is worth reading. In this report, titled Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036, British analysts predict that “global inequalities” will once again contributed to the popularity of Marxist solutions over the course of the next 28 years. The British government report prognosticates:

Absolute poverty and comparative disadvantage will fuel perceptions of injustice among those whose expectations are not met, increasing tension and instability, both within and between societies and resulting in expressions of violence such as disorder, criminality, terrorism and insurgency. They may also lead to the resurgence of not only anti-capitalist ideologies, possibly linked to religious, anarchist or nihilist movements, but also to populism and the revival of Marxism [page 3].

These developments will trigger responses from complex, traditionally defined communities, as well as among significant minorities, which will seek the sanctuary provided by more rigid belief systems, including religious orthodoxy and doctrinaire political ideologies, such as popularism and Marxism [page 12].

Political Extremism. The middle class will be more vulnerable to economic and social volatility. This may trigger a rise in political engagement and may encourage a resort to either communitarian solutions or extremist politics. While the immediate risk may exist at the national level, exposure to globalized economic forces may cause a reaction to globalization and ultimately fuel tension and difficulties at international levels [page 36].

In an attempt to correct these “contradictions” in Russian and world capitalism, Sergei I. Seregin, Shenin’s colleague in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is the Russian section of the CPSU, identifies the trade and labor unions of Russia as the hope for a “Second October Revolution” in the Fatherland. In agreement with the predictions of KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn, Seregin notes that communists control Russia’s labor movement. He also reports that labor supported CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov’s presidential bid in March 2008 and should be employed to oust the Putinist/Medvedevist regime.

For the Communist party of the Russian Federation the working class is and will remain the core of the social base. From the moment of the congress, re-establishing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in 1993, our party’s work in the trade union organizations, with labour collectives, associations of workers is considered to be one of the major directions of its activity.

Communists obtain leading positions in the trade-union organizations of all levels. Heads of regional trade unions in the Altay and Krasnodar territories, many city, branch and primary trade-union organizations are members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Recently the militants of the trade unions, that actively cooperate with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, started the process of becoming members of our party.

During the elections for the State Duma and the President of the Russian Federation 12 all-Russian trade unions have officially supported candidates from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The agreement of support has been signed publicly, and many correspondents of electronic and printed mass media were present at these events. However, under the order of the authorities no mass-media reported about it, except for the newspapers “Pravda”, « Soviet Russia » and the Internet – site kprf.ru.

On the XIII-th Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation the Chairman of our party G.A.Zyuganov has declared, that « for a party which conducts struggle for power and does not agree with a role of court opposition » the strengthening of the work with trade unions and public organizations is the most urgent task.

The ICS issued four resolutions, one of which is a “Motion of solidarity with Latin America,” which the communist parties of the world view as a “bulwark of democratic and anti-imperialist struggle.” To that end, the international communist movement promotes the “structural reforms” of the Havana/Caracas-dominated Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, supports the revolutionary regimes of communist leaders Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, denounces the oligarchic/secessionist forces in the Bolivian state of Santa Cruz, commends the election of progressive politicians such as Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and Paraguayan Bishop/President-Elect Fernando Lugo, advocates the overthrow of the “neo-liberal” regime of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and vilifies Colombia and the USA for the March 1 cross-border raid that Bogota carried out against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s jungle camp in Ecuador.

Another ICS resolution consisted of a condemnation of anti-communism, which the international communist movement intends to oppose by “strengthening of the workers and the communist movement, reorganization of the international communist movement; co-ordination of the mutual actions with anti-imperialist forces based on concrete ideas.”

The Catholic-Communist Convergence Intrudes into Latin America’s Red Axis

Pictured here: Uruguay’s center-left President Tabare Vazquez gives a comradely hug to Paraguay’s communist-backed Bishop/President-Elect Lugo at the presidential residence in Montevideo, on May 22, 2008. Lugo takes office on August 15, but faces a bicameral congress that is still dominated by conservative forces, including the long-ruling Colorado Party. Pope Benjamin XVI is still deciding whether defrock liberationist Lugo, who has only been suspended from his priestly duties and is still technically a Catholic bishop. In further proof of the Vatican’s ambiguous stand on liberation theology, The Times reports that Mr. Joseph Ratzinger, former head of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, will “take time to study the situation”:

Vatican officials said it was up to the Pope to decide, but that he would “take time to study the situation”. Mr Lugo’s decision to enter politics aroused fears in the Vatican of a return to “liberation theology” in Latin America. However, Pope Benedict is said to have privately made clear to the Paraguayan Bishops Conference that he intended to co-operate with Mr Lugo for the good of Latin America if he was elected.

Meanwhile the Cuban media reports that the ruling Brazilian Workers Party, the Democratic Party of the Revolution, which pretends to rule Mexico following its losses in the 2006 general elections, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which hopes to seize the presidency of El Salvador in 2009, the interminally ruling Communist Party of Cuba, Uruguay’s ruling Broad Front, and nearly 70 other leftist formations from Latin America are attending the 14th summit of the Sao Paulo Forum in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo between May 18 and 28.

Issuing similar resolutions as those of the ICS in Brussels, the Western Hemisphere’s branch of the Communist Bloc concluded that an “organization of Latin American states without the US” is necessary to resist the military operations of the US Southern Command, the US Central Intelligence Agency, and the Washington-backed anti-narco-terrorism initiatives known as Plan Colombia and Plan Merida. This, of course, is the raison d’etre behind the nascent South American Defense Council touted by Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil, and exposes the Sao Paulo Forum for what it is: the coordinating body behind Latin America’s red regimes. Prensa Latina reports below: “The creation of such an organization gained force after the weak resistance of Washington to condemn the Colombian government and armed forces for illegally violating Ecuadorian territory.”

Pictured here: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez greets Bishop/President-Elect Lugo at the European Union-Latin America and Caribbean Summit (EU-Latam) in Lima, on May 16, 2008. Prior to his election last month, Lugo publicly distanced his policies from that of revolutionary troublemaker Chavez, but here they seem to be best of friends. This is standard operating procedure for communists seeking control by the ballot box: 1) play the social democrat, 2) win the election, and 3) consolidate power and subvert freedom, preferably without anyone noticing.

Sao Paulo Forum for LatAm, No US

Montevideo, May 22 (Prensa Latina) The need to create an organization of Latin American states without the US will be one of the subjects presented at the 14th Sao Paulo Forum, organization sources commented.

Headquartered here until Sunday, the meeting will discuss a document-base that also calls for Cuban participation.

Prensa Latina learned the contents of some of the paragraphs of a document that still awaits finishing touches by the Work Group.

One such paragraphs sets down that “we must pave the way to form an Organization of Latin American States that excludes the United States and includes Cuba, discriminated since 1962 and victim of an infamous blockade.”

The creation of such an organization gained force after the weak resistance of Washington to condemn the Colombian government and armed forces for illegally violating Ecuadorian territory.

The document condemns the Colombian invasion considering “that it reveals the extreme danger of the Plan Colombia and Plan Merida, as well as involvement of the Southern Command in military operations in our region and actions of the CIA in close coordination with the intelligence services of Ecuador and Colombia.”

It will also condemn similar actions and others such as the attempts of secession by oligarchic sectors in Bolivia “intent on maintaining control of the wealth of hydrocarbons and gas and their large land holdings” as part of an imperial escalation.

In charge of preparing the document are representatives of the Brazilian Workers Party, the Mexican Democratic Revolution Party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front of El Salvador, the Cuban Communist Party and the Uruguayan Frente Amplio.

On Friday leaders of the 70 left wing organizations that are part of the Forum will examine the contents of the document and on Sunday the final declaration should be approved.

Among the objectives are debates on international issues, comparing experiences and joining efforts in defense of sovereignty, independence, self-determination of the peoples and the fight against neoliberalism.

Source: Prensa Latina

In attendance at the FSP Montevideo meet-and-greet will be Zhang Qihua, a delegate from the ruling Communist Party of China. Zhang accepted an invitation to brainstorm with his Latin American comrades from the Workers’ Party of Brazil and the Broad Front of Uruguay.

The last annual meeting of the FSP took place in San Salvador in January 2007.

>Middle East File: Tehran: US-backed terrorists bombed Shiraz mosque, planned Russian consulate attack; Petraeus: Military option still on table

>In a case of self-serving propaganda that exposes Tehran’s subservience to Moscow, on May 14 Iran’s intelligence chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei alleged that the terrorists who bombed the Shiraz mosque on April 12, an incident that killed 14 people, also planned to target a Russian consulate in Iran. “Those behind this incident were also trying to cause a bomb explosion in one of Russia’s consulate-generals,” Mohseni-Ejei told Fars, in the first article below. In addition, President Mahmoud (“Iwannajihad”) Ahmadinejad explicitly accused the USA, the United Kingdom, and Israel of masterminding the attack.

Accusations of terrorism against the West by the Middle East’s most vicious archterrorist, however, are disengenuous at best and a provocation at worst. The Soviet strategists, such as Oleg Shenin, and the International Left, which are allied with the proponents of the “International Caliphate,” have already enjoyed a lot of mileage out of the absurd contention that Washington DC is the world’s headquarters for international terrorism.

Pictured above: Funeral for a victim of the Shiraz blast, three days after incident.

Iran says mosque bombers also planned Russia attack
Wed May 14, 2008 6:40am EDT

TEHRAN, May 14 (Reuters) – Iran’s intelligence minister said on Wednesday those behind a bomb blast in a mosque that killed 14 people last month also planned to target a Russian consulate in the Islamic state, an Iranian news agency reported.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States, Israel and Britain on Tuesday of being responsible for the blast in the southern city of Shiraz that also wounded 200 people.

Iranian officials had previously said the April 12 explosion during an evening prayer sermon by a prominent local cleric, was caused by explosives left over from an exhibition commemorating the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said 15 people had been arrested in connection with the incident and they were all Iranians, the semi-official Fars News Agency said.

“Those behind this incident were (also) trying to cause a bomb explosion in one of Russia’s consulate-generals,” he told Fars, without giving further details. The Russian embassy in Tehran was not immediately available for comment.

His ministry last week said it had arrested five or six members of a terrorist group with links to Britain and the United States, who it said were involved in the explosion.

Iran has yet to make public evidence against those arrested and the alleged involvement of the United States and Britain.

Tehran has in the past accused Washington and London of trying to destabilise the Islamic Republic by supporting rebels, mainly those in sensitive border areas.

Iran and the United States are at loggerheads over Tehran’s nuclear programme, which Washington suspects is aimed at making bombs but which Tehran says is for producing electricity.

Security is normally tight in Shi’ite Muslim Iran and bomb attacks have been rare in recent years. Several people were killed in 2005 and 2006 in blasts in a southwestern province with a large Sunni Arab population.

Source: Reuters

This week Iran’s intelligence chief Mohseni-Ejei reiterated his government’s contention that the 15 Iranian nationals arrested in connection with the Shiraz blast not only consisted of a “network that the United States had armed with different terrorist tools such as chemicals, explosive materials, dangerous and poisonous cyanide,” but was also “guided directly by U.S. agents into Iran.”

Shiraz mosque bombers linked to U.S.: minister
Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN, May 21 (MNA) – Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei said on Wednesday the United States had a hand in the April 12 blast in the southwestern city of Shiraz that killed 14 people and wounded 200.

The blast during an evening prayer sermon “was aimed at making academic centers especially seminaries unsafe,” Ejei told reporters on the sidelines of Wednesday’s cabinet session. “The U.S. is behind many events in Iran and the region with the aim of bringing insecurity. We have proper documentations in this regard,” the minister stated.

Ejei had earlier said 15 Iranians were arrested in connection with the blast and they had also plotted to attack a Russian consulate in northern Iran.

Intelligence Ministry on Saturday accused U.S. agents of arming and training the bombers one of whom was killed in an arrest operation. Pipelines in the country’s oil-rich south were also among the planned targets, the ministry said in a statement.

“This network that the United States had armed with different terrorist tools such as chemicals, explosive materials, dangerous and poisonous cyanide … was guided directly by U.S. agents into Iran.”

Confessions of those arrested “show that U.S. agents had told members of this network that their main mission was to spread fear among people in different cities,” added the statement. Weapons, explosives and maps were among item seized from those arrested, the Intelligence Ministry said.

Source: Tehran Times

The likelihood that the Shiraz mosque bombing was orchestrated by Iran’s intelligence apparatus is obvious. Two days after the incident the Arabic international daily Asharq Alawsat quoted a spokesman for the Sunni clerics in the Fars province, who stated that: “The regime’s intelligence has contrived a pretext under which it accuses the Sunni group, especially those who object to the discrimination practiced against the 14 million Sunnis in Iran.” The Iranian leadership represents the Shi’a branch of Islam.

An alternative explanation was offered on May 20 by the Jamestown Foundation, which suggested that a monarchist organization called Soldiers of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran perpetrated the explosion in order to destabilize the Islamic regimein Tehran. Iran was under the monarchy of the shah until the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Admittedly, it is possible, per the Iranian leadership’s accusation, that “US agents” were in fact responsible for the Shiraz incident. As far back as 2005 BBC News, citing investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker magazine that “US commandos are operating inside Iran selecting sites for future air strikes,” although the White House derided Hersh’s expose at the time. The purpose of such a Western-backed provocation, no doubt, would be to incite domestic opponents to overthrow the Islamic regime, but this is only speculation.

To date a US military strike against Iran’s burgeoning nuclear capabilities has not been ruled out and remains an ominous portent for the next world war. Today General David Petraeus, President George W. Bush’s nominee to coordinate military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, stated before the Senate Armed Services Committee: “We should make every effort to engage by use of the whole of government, developing further leverage rather than simply targeting discrete threats. At the same time, we should retain, as a last resort, the possibility of a range of military actions to counter Iran’s activities.” Hence, if US commandos have been operating in Iran, whether recently or for several years, don’t expect the White House or Pentagon to admit as much.

>USA File: Former investigator for US House Committee on Un-American Activities to release findings on Obama’s communist past on May 22

>As Barack “Manchurian Candidate” Obama takes the Oregon primary for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, two veteran anti-communist journalists, Herbert Romerstein and Cliff Kinkaid, will hold a press conference tomorrow in Washington DC to formally release findings about Obama’s communist affiliations. Romerstein served as an investigator for the US House Committee on Un-American Activities (1965-1971), Minority Chief Investigator for the US House Committee on Internal Security (1971-1975), and professional staff member for the House Intelligence Commitee (1978-1983). He is the author of The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors.

The Los Angeles Times reports today that “Barack Obama declared Tuesday night that he has now secured a majority of the elected delegates in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination. But just as important as reaching that landmark is the symbolism of where he chose to celebrate it — in Iowa — and where he will campaign today — in Florida.” Last night Obama, with an under-reported pledge of support from the Kremlin, promised (or threatened) the voters of Iowa and Ameria: “Iowa, change is coming to America. Change is coming.” Indeed, change for the worst.

America’s Survival Briefing, May 22, Washington, D.C.
Contact: Fran Griffin, Griffin Communications
Phone: (703) 255-2211
E-Mail:
PR@griffnews.com
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Investigators to Release Reports on Obama’s Communist Connections:

Washington, DC- Two veterans of investigations into Communist influence on the U.S. political process will hold a briefing on Capitol Hill to release two new explosive reports on Barack Obama’s ties with extreme anti-American elements, including agents of the Moscow-controlled Communist Party USA. The reports will shed important new light on Barack Obama’s mysterious past.

WHAT: Briefing to release two reports: “Communism in Hawaii and the Obama Connection” by Herbert Romerstein, and “Communism in Chicago and the Obama Connection” by Cliff Kincaid.

The reports are based on direct fact-finding and special access to historical, congressional, and investigatory documents.

WHEN: Thursday, May 22, at 2 p.m.

WHERE: 201 F St., NE, lower level, Washington, D.C. (Basement of Ebenezers Coffee House)

WHO: Herbert Romerstein, an author and investigative journalist, served as an investigator for the much-feared U. S. House Committee on Un-American Activities, the House Committee on Internal Security, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation for the United States Information Agency. One of his recent books is the acclaimed THE VENONA SECRETS: EXPOSING SOVIET ESPIONAGE AND AMERICA’S TRAITORS.

Cliff Kincaid is an investigative journalist who specializes in analyzing the effects of communist and terrorist influence on the U.S. media. He is founder and president of America’s Survival, Inc., and editor of Accuracy in Media’s AIM Report. He is the author or coauthor of nine books, including WHY YOU CAN’T TRUST THE NEWS, and was instrumental in denying access to the U.S. media market to the Islamic terrorist Al-Jazeera television channel.

SPONSOR: America’s Survival, Inc., http://www.USAsurvival.org, an independent watchdog group that monitors the United Nations and international terrorism.

BECAUSE OF LIMITED SEATING, RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED: Name, affiliation, and contact information can be called in to 443-964-8208 or sent to PR@griffnews.com or Kincaid@comcast.net.

Source: America’s Survival

>EU File: Sarkozy’s anti-socialist reforms shock France, incite protests; Paris brokers Lebanon peace; Brussels to control new Mediterranean Union

>The faux rightist government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is determined to un-socialize French society even as he snuggles up to the neo-Soviet regime in Moscow, is facing back-to-back protests by teachers and students, fishermen, dock workers, rail workers, Air France employees, public transport unions, and other angry leftists who have grown accustomed to government coddling in the form of subsidies and undeserved economic privileges enforced by strident unions.

FACTBOX – France’s Sarkozy faces multiple protests
Tue May 20, 2008 12:42pm BST

(Reuters) – One year into his mandate, French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces numerous protests against his reform programme. Here are some of the main disputes:

PENSIONS

Unions have demanded a day of action on May 22 to protest against government plans to make people work 41 years before being able to draw a full pension compared with 40 years now. Rail, Air France and public transport unions are also expected to strike. Civil servants likely to join in. The government says growing life expectancy means people will have to work longer than was previously the case.

The May 22 strike will also be used as a soapbox to protest against other government measures such as plans to cut 23,000 state sector jobs this year and 35,000 next and moves to put pressure on the long-term unemployed to accept jobs.

Rail unions say they might start an open-ended strike from June 2 unless the government backtracks.

EDUCATION

Teachers and students have staged numerous protests over the past two months against plans to cut 11,200 jobs in education in the next academic year. Hundreds of thousands of teachers staged a one-day strike last week. The next demonstration is called for May 24. Unions also up in arms over Sarkozy’s call for schools to take in students, even when teachers go on strike.

Fishermen have blocked access to numerous French ports on the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Channel seaboards to put pressure on the government to give them tax breaks because of the rising cost of diesel fuel. The government says it has already offered more than 50 million euros (39.8 million pounds) in aid and will meet the fishermen on Wednesday to see if more can be done.

PORTS

French ports have also suffered intermittent strikes against government moves to privatise the loading activities of state-run ports. Marseille port hit again on Tuesday.

Source: Reuters

Sarkozy Backs Installation of Pro-Hezbollah Lebanese Army Commander Suleiman as National President

If Sarkozy, whom we suspect might be fulfilling a sinister role outlined in Bible prophecy, can weather the unrest generated by his domestic reforms, then he can redirect his energies to his programs for creating peace in the Middle East and reviving the Roman Empire in the form of the Mediterranean Union. The foci of the Quartet-backed Middle East peace process includes Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. Today the French president referred to the Arab League-backed agreement that will supposedly resolve Lebanon’s 18-month crisis, which has left the country without a president since November 2007, as a “great success.” “France,” Sarkozy trumpeted, “which has invested much effort in the search for a solution to the Lebanese crisis, never stopped backing the process that led to this agreement. As a friend of Lebanon, in solidarity with all Lebanese, France stands more than ever by their side for the period that lies ahead. More than ever, it is committed to the unity, stability, sovereignty and independence of Lebanon.”

The ramifications of this week’s Lebanese peace deal for Israel’s national security are troubling. The Arab League formula, which was hammered out in Qatar, provides for the election of the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese Army Commander Michel Suleiman as national president, the formation of a national unity government, and a ban on the use of weapons in any internal conflict. Ya Libnan’s biography of General Suleiman states that he was appointed by the Syrians as commander of the Lebanese Army in 1998 and “praised Hezbollah for their alleged victory during the summer war with Israel” in 2006.

Although the quarter-Jewish Sarkozy portrays himself as a reliable friend of Israel and is the object of much hope and devotion from the embattled government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the French government acknowledged yesterday that Paris has in fact participated in informal contacts with Hamas, the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, an “ex”-communist, defended such contacts, stating that they are designed “to inform us about the situation — first on the humanitarian front, and then especially the political one. That’s it. I think … we’re not the only ones to have contacts of this type — just to inform ourselves — and particularly in the European Union.” In response to the French admission, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declared: “We don’t think it is wise or appropriate. We don’t believe it is helpful to the process of bringing peace to the region.” The Associated Press observes that “the Quartet of Middle East mediators — the United States, EU, United Nations and Russia — has demanded Hamas renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept previous peace accords as a condition for any talks with the militant group.” However, Hamas legislator Ismail Ridwan admitted that his organization has had informal contact with Norwegians, Italians, Swedes and Russians outside the parameters of the Middle East Quartet.

Paris, Brussels, and Moscow Struggle to Control European Union Expansion

Meanwhile, the European Union intends to maintain control over Sarkozy’s nascent Mediterrean Union, which will incorporate the states of the EU, North Africa, and the Levant, including mutual foes Syria and Israel. Since many of these states already belong to the Communist Bloc, some friction can be expected as Paris, Brussels, and Moscow vie for ultimate control over Europe and its Mediterranean partners. The EU Observer reports below: “In March, all 27 EU leaders gave the nod to Mr Sarkozy’s general idea but with some restrictive conditions – happily taken up by the commission, which was also not a fan of Mr Sarkozy’s more elaborate plans.” In July Sarkozy, or possibly his prime minister François Fillon, will personally assume for six months the presidency of Council of the European Union, as well as host the first summit of the MU in Paris. The Kremlin-run media also reports that “Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday he will hold one-on-one talks with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy during the G8 summit in Japan in July.”

Brussels to keep control of ‘Mediterranean Union’
21.05.2008 – 09:19 CET
By Honor Mahony

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Tuesday (20 May) unveiled plans for a Mediterranean Union, taking care to emphasise its low-key vision for the new political set-up.

Rather than a radical shake-up of relations between the bloc and it southern neighbours, external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner said the proposals represented an “upgrade” in current relations and stressed that the EU’s 13-year-old relationship with Mediterranean countries – known as the Barcelona process – remained “valid.”

The new model will be formally launched on 13 July in Paris with a series of concrete projects, and foresees regular summits and ministerial meetings.

The commissioner noted: “It is very clear that this project is not directed against Turkey.”When the idea for a new Mediterranean organisation was first floated last year by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who presented it as a far more dynamic and exclusive club, open only to states with a Mediterranean coastline, he tried to sell it as an alternative to EU membership for Turkey.

But his original vision was appreciated neither in Ankara nor several other EU capitals, including, most importantly, Germany, who was concerned it would pit northern member states against their southern counterparts.

In March, all 27 EU leaders gave the nod to Mr Sarkozy’s general idea but with some restrictive conditions – happily taken up by the commission, which was also not a fan of Mr Sarkozy’s more elaborate plans.

“I see a possibility for a fusion that will be a success, and it will be the only way to make a success of this project,” said Ms Ferrero-Waldner, of the ‘Barcelona Process – Union for the Mediterranean’ as it is now supposed to be known. The new union will bring together 44 countries, including the 27 EU member states as well as Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Libya, Syria, Turkey and Albania, plus Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Monaco.

The commission is suggesting that the structure be backed up by a new secretariat – the location of which remains to be decided – that will organise summits and help co-ordinate projects. The projects are to focus on areas such as infrastructure and the environment.

The Mediterranean Union is to have a co-presidency from the EU and a Mediterranean country lasting two years. EU to hold the reins In an significant blow to France’s grander vision for the project, the commission also suggested that the presidency on the EU side be kept firmly within existing EU structures.

France had wanted to be a presidency country for the first two years, but the commission suggests the role should fall to the EU foreign minister or commission president, under the new EU treaty – keeping political control of the process firmly in Brussels’ hands.Despite the reining in of the project, Paris welcomed the commission’s plans.

“The French authorities are delighted by the commission’s presentation in such a short time,” a statement said. “A deeper examination of the commission’s proposals must now take place.”

Source: EU Observer

The Council of the EU should be distinguished from the European Council, which is a separate assembly of EU heads of state or government, and the Council of Europe, which is a non-EU, human rights-focused organization of 47 states. The post of “President of the European Union” will begin next year and probably evolve from the post of President of the Council of the EU.

>Latin America File: Ortega rides out opposition strike; Lula: Chavez is "Venezuela’s best president in 100 years"; Morales scurries to Havana

>– Chavezista Petrodollars Prop Up Latin America’s Red Axis Regimes

– Leftists Worldwide Denounce Bolivia’s Secessionist Leaders as Agents of “US Imperialism”

The Moscow-backed neo-Sandinista regime in Nicaragua has weathered out the political storm presented by a transporation strike that “shut down” the country for 12 days. By offering a fuel subsidy to truckers and taxi cab drivers President Daniel Ortega is merely buying time to implement his plan to re-communize Nicaragua with the not-so-covert aid of Comrade Hugo Chavez’s petrodollars. On May 19 the Costa Rica-based Tico Times revealed the increasing lack of “transparency” in Managua’s first FSLN administration since the Cold War: “Ortega said that Venezuelan funding under the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) would cover 30 cents of the subsidy, but he did not mention where the other dollar would come from, raising new concerns about the transparency of his administration’s finances.”

Strike ends in Nicaragua, but gas prices still climbing
By Tim Rogers
Nica Times Staff
trogers@ticotimes.net

A nationwide transportation strike that had shut down Nicaragua for 12 days came to an end Saturday morning following an announcement by President Daniel Ortega that the government would offer a $1.30 subsidy for every gallon of diesel fuel sold to taxis and buses.

With the new subsidy, which is being applied at 60 participating Petronic and Shell gas stations across the country, Nicaragua went from having the most expensive diesel in Central America to having the cheapest, now at $3.15 for taxi and bus drivers. Some 75 percent of Nicaragua’s transportation sector uses diesel fuel.

Ortega said that Venezuelan funding under the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) would cover 30 cents of the subsidy, but he did not mention where the other dollar would come from, raising new concerns about the transparency of his administration’s finances.

Ortega announced several other initiatives for the transportation sector, such as the importation of 25,000 new tires, brake systems and motor oil. He said Nicaragua will also install electronic passenger counters on inter-urban buses and 3,000 kits to convert taxis from gasoline to more cost-effective gas-fueled. The transportation cooperatives will be able to buy this equipment at cost, with ALBA-funded financing options over a determined period, Ortega said.

The president’s Friday night speech – his second national address in three days – was not all good news. Ortega also announced another price increase for gasoline and diesel for the rest of the country, putting a gallon of gasoline above 100 córdobas ($5.20) for the first time ever. Super now costs 102 córdobas ($5.30) a gallon, and diesel 98 córdobas ($5.10).

That announcement will most likely increase the cost of food prices yet again this week.

While the transportation strike has ended, the situation in Nicaragua remains precarious. Drivers of tractor-trailers did not receive the subsidy they had asked for, and diesel prices were not frozen as part of the subsidy. That means that as pump prices continue to climb, the $1.30 subsidy will lose its value over time.

Meanwhile, in an effort to re-enflame political tensions in South America, on May 17 President Chavez issued a formal protest denouncing the Colombian government’s March 1 cross-border raid against an Ecuadorian jungle camp operated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Undeterred by the fact that Interpol has verified the authenticity of the contents of executed guerrilla commander Raul Reyes’ laptop and, by extension, Bogota’s accusations of a well-established network of financial, military, and moral support between Caracas, Quito, and Colombia’s largest Marxist insurgency, Chavez, the AFP wire service reports, “dismissed the Interpol report as a ‘clown show that doesn’t deserve serious comment.'” Exposing the warmongering plans of Latin America’s Red Axis, the same source inadvertantly continues: “While the three sides agreed to end the crisis at a summit six days after the raid, tensions have lingered with Colombia charging that it recovered at the camp computer evidence of Ecuadoran and Venezuelan links to the rebels.” Last week “moderate” Red Axis member and Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva characterized Chavez as “Venezuela’s best president in 100 years.” In view of such comments, sane observers of international politics should not be faulted for concluding that a sizable section of the voting population of South America has taken a collective leap into both neo-communism and insanity.

In a related story, Bolivia’s Trotskyist President Evo Morales, who faces an August 10 recall referendum and four secessionist provinces who have expressed their opposition to surrending their wealth to Morales’ communist henchmen, scurried to Havana today to receive counsel and instructions from Cuba’s communist masters. The conservative Heritage Foundation reported yesterday: “In a referendum on Sunday, May 4, voters in the Department of Santa Cruz, which includes Bolivia’s largest and most industrialized city in the country’s agriculturally rich and energy-rich eastern lowlands, delivered a powerful rebuke to leftist President Evo Morales by calling for the creation of a provincial legislature with broad powers to challenge the authority of the central government in La Paz.” With typical communist tenacity, Morales intends to roll over his domestic opposition by nationalizing Bolivia’s natural gas and oil fields. Among Latin America’s leftist leaders and their sympathizers worldwide Bolivia’s secessionist forces are viewed as agents of “US imperialism.” The US Party for Socialism and Liberation opines: “The separatist scheme follows the classic imperialist strategy of divide-and-conquer. The vote was organized by Bolivia’s right wing with full U.S. support. Despite the opposition’s formal statements asserting that they seek only greater autonomy within the country, the vote is a step toward full secession.”

Pictured above: Morales, right, holds a meeting with Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim at the presidential palace in La Paz, on May 19, 2008. Jobim is in an official tour across the region to discuss the creation of a South American Defense Council, which act as a communist-dominated counterweight to US military influence in the Western Hemisphere.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian bombers based at Engels conduct 18-hour mission over oceans; Norwegian jets scramble three times since Friday

>Neo-Soviet Russia’s long-range bomber missions continue with today’s 18-hour foray over the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Engels Air Base, where these bombers are stationed, is named after Friedrich Engels, the partner-in-crime of Karl Marx. Pictured here: The 331/332 Squadron of the Norwegian Air Force provided this photograph of a Russian Air Force IL-76 aerial tanker refueling two MiG-31 fighter jets off the coast of Norway on August 17, 2007.

Russian strategic bombers patrol Arctic, Atlantic oceans
16:0721/ 05/ 2008

MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers are carrying out a routine patrol over remote areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, a Russian Air Force spokesman said on Wednesday.

“The bombers based at Engels airfield in southern Russia’s Saratov Region are conducting a routine 18-hour patrol flight over the oceans,” Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky said. “During the flight they have been accompanied by NATO interceptors.”

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by former President Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out about 80 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes.

Drobyshevsky reiterated that all Russian strategic patrols are performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters without violating the borders of other states.

Source: Novosti

The MSM is again reporting that Norwegian authorities are monitoring “increased Russian military activity” near their country’s North Atlantic coast, but Oslo’s center-left-communist government and shopping mall regimes throughout the European Union are raising no alarms with respect to the looming specter of the Fourth World War. Yesterday Norwegian fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers and this past Friday four such aircraft in two separate incidents.

Norway: Increased Russian Military Activity
21.05.2008 10:02

Norwegian jet fighters were three times this week scrambled to meet Russian bombers which flew close to the Norwegian coast. The flights are seen as part of a Russian military exercise.

On Tuesday the Russian Tupolev bombers flew down to Troendelag before turning back north.

In the early hours of Friday morning they were escorted by Norwegian jet fighters as far down as the waters between Stavanger and Aberdeen, before returning to Russia.

On Friday morning another two bombers approached the coast of Finnmark, when they were met by Norwegian jet fighters, and turned back out to sea.

The Norwegian Defence has seen an increased activity by Russian military aircraft along the Norwegian coast over the last couple of years.

There has been a gradual increase in the activity since the down-period of the Russian Defence in the middle of the 1990’s, says Defence spokesman John Inge Oeglaend.

We must go back to the Soviet era to find such high (military) activity on land, sea and in the air, says Deputy leader of the Barents Secretariat, Thomas Nilsen.

Defence experts see this as a sign that the Russian military forces now have more money to spend on preparedness.

This week the Russians ended their annual summer exercise in the northern region.

As part of the NATO preparedness agreement, Norway always has two fully armed jet fighters on full alert at the Bodoe Air Base, ready for take-off.

Source: Neftegaz.ru

>EU File: Reds, nationalists form new government in Belgrade; Serbian Socialist leader Dacic visits Moscow, meets Mironov, Milosevic’s exiled family

>By virtue of the slavish Slavic attachment that Serbia’s nationalists and socialists have for Moscow, it is apparent that this former Yugoslav republic is little more than an exclave of neo-Soviet Russia and a communist thorn in the underbelly of NATO. As Serbia’s Russophile forces jostle about to organize a coalition government and lock out President Boris Tadic pro-European Union party from power, “ex”-communist Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) leader Ivica Dacic traveled to Moscow today to consult with Kremlin lackey Sergei Mironov, leader of the Just Russia party and president of the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council. Mironov, by the way, is the same Putin croney who appeared in a photograph taken at an Interior Ministry firing range, in which FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko’s mugshot was being used for target practice.

Pictured above: SPS chairman Dacic and portrait of predecessor Slobodan Milosevic at what appears to be a 2004 party congress, at which time Milosevic was in United Nations custody at The Hague. While visiting Moscow, the first story below reports, Dacic might also meet his mentor’s exiled widow Mirjana (“The Red Witch”) Markovic and son: “The Socialists have conditioned their participation in a future cabinet on a pardon for Markovic and Slobodan Milosevic’s son, Marko.” The same story continues: “In the past year, top Serbian leaders have frequently visited Moscow for talks with the Russian leadership.” Indeed.

Serbia Socialist Leader Visits Moscow
16 May 2008

Belgrade _ The leader of the Serbian Socialists, Ivica Dacic, traveled to Moscow on Friday in an apparent bid to secure Russian support for his party’s involvement in the new coalition government.

In Moscow Dacic is scheduled to meet the president of the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Council of the Federation, Sergey Mironov, and other senior officials.

However, Belgrade media have speculated that Dacic, who is now a key player in Serbian politics, might meet members of Slobodan Milosevic’s family, including Milosevic’s widow, Mirjana Markovic.

Some media have suggested that talks with Milosevic’s family might be connected to behind-the-scenes negotiations about a government coalition between the Socialists and the pro-European Democrats.

The Belgrade daily Blic reported that the Socialists have conditioned their participation in a future cabinet on a pardon for Markovic and Slobodan Milosevic’s son, Marko, both of whom are charged with abuse of power and money laundering.

However, the negotiations between the Socialists, the Radicals and the bloc headed by outgoing Premier Vojislav Kostunica have already produced a “general agreement on principles” for a coalition government at the national level and in the city of Belgrade.

In the past year, top Serbian leaders have frequently visited Moscow for talks with the Russian leadership.

Source: BalkanInsight.com

The unholy union coalescing between the SPS and the nationalists of Tomislav Nikolic’s Serbian Radical Party and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia is not surprising and will ensure that the issue of de facto Kosovar independence remains a sore spot and potential flash zone between EU/NATO in the one camp and Serbia and Russia in the other camp.

Serbians say they’re close to coalition government
By JOVANA GEC
May 16, 2008

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s nationalists and Socialists from late strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s party said Friday they are close to forming a coalition government that would sideline pro-Western parties’ declaration of election victory.

The parties said they had agreed late Thursday on a general set of principles for a new “national” government. More meetings will be held Friday to work out the details of a possible agreement, ultranationalist Gordana Pop Lazic said.

A deal between the far-right Radical Party, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Popular Coalition and Milosevic’s Socialists would allow the nationalists to return to power for the first time since Milosevic was ousted in 2000.

They have teamed up to challenge pro-Western President Boris Tadic’s coalition, which won the most votes in last Sunday’s general elections — but not enough to govern alone.

Tadic has criticized the nationalists’ attempts to form a government, and pledged to do all in his power to prevent it. He also has asked the Socialists to join his government.

At stake are Tadic’s plans to bring Serbia closer to the European Union after years of international isolation under Milosevic.

The nationalists, however, want to halt Serbia’s integration into the EU because more than half of the bloc’s member states have recognized Kosovo, the ex-Serbian province Serbs cherish as their medieval heartland. Predominantly ethnic Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February.

The nationalists said they had agreed with the Socialists on governing principles — including pro-European integration — but only with Kosovo as part of Serbia. Other priorities would include fighting crime and corruption and developing the economy, the party said in a statement.

Tadic’s For a European Serbia coalition is backed by the pro-Western Liberal Party and ethnic Hungarians lawmakers.

The Liberals said Friday that if the nationalists form the government, the pro-Western camp should form a so-called “shadow” Cabinet.

Source: Associated Press

>Red Terror File: "Merchant of Death/Lord of War" Viktor Bout served as middleman between Lukashenko, Chavez, and Colombia’s communist rebels

>Independent Belarusian news outlet Charter 97, citing Russia’s NEWSru.com and Spain’s El Pais, have exposed “Merchant of Death/Lord of War” Viktor Bout’s role in the transfer of Belarusian arms from the Not-So-Former Soviet Union to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia via the Chavezista regime in Venezuela. Russian arms dealer Bout is still in the custody of Thai officials, but faces extradition to the USA, where he has been indicted on charges of conspiracy to kill US nationals, conspiracy to kill US officers and employees, conspiracy to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile, and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist group, namely, FARC.

An email composed on February 8, 2008 by FARC guerrilla Ivan Marquez and discovered on deceased FARC leader Raul Reye’s laptop computer contained information to the effect that that Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez had discussed with the Belarusian government the possibility of supplying the Marxist rebels with weapons. In Marquez’s email “The Angel” is a pseudonym for Chavez, while “the Belarusian friend” is a pseudonym for Major General Viktar Shejman, state secretary of the Belarusian Security Council and a member of Alexander Lukashenko’s “inner circle.” Major General Shejman allegedly closed the deal to ship weapons to Venezuela and FARC during his February 2008 trip to Caracas, during which time his “official” business consisted of furthering bilateral relations in the area of oil well drilling and repairs, and urban development. “Sources close to Belarusian Defense ministry,” contends Charter 97, below, “say that even today Belarus sells arms according to Bout’s schemes.” Yesterday, the Washington Post confirmed that “High-ranking officials in Venezuela offered to help Colombian guerrillas obtain surface-to-air missiles meant to change the balance of power in their war with the Colombian government, according to internal rebel documents.”

Neo-Soviet Russia’s involvement in arming FARC was revealed eight years ago when MSNBC contended that “rogue” elements in the Russian military were shipping weapons to the Colombian guerrillas by way of Jordan and Peru.

Last month we reported that Minsk is committed to sending military advisers to Caracas in the event that war breaks out between Venezuela and US ally Colombia.

Russian mass media about FARC, Viktor But and Belarusian weapons
May 14, 2008

A Russian website NEWSru.co informs that Venezuela was set to deliver Belarusian weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, and also seeks traces of “The Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout in Belarus.

The news site writes about that with a reference to an article in a Spanish newspaper El Pais. With the reference to their sources in Colombian government the newspaper informs about a letter found in a computer of one of the leaders of the FARC guerrillas, Raul Reyes, killed in Colombian army raid March 1.

An e-mail was written on February 8 and signed by one of the FARC members Ivan Marquez, who informed that Chavez “had considered with the Belarusian authorities the possibility of weapons supplies”.

“Our Belarusian friend continues work on the package on ways to the black market to solve the problems,” the newspaper quotes the guerilla as saying in the message. The e-mail reportedly said that a delegation “from the friend” was to arrive in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, on February 17 to discuss weapons supplies to the FARC. “The Angel asked us to be here and reach agreement with the delegation personally,” the e-mail said.

El Pais says that “the Angel” is Mr. Chavez’s pseudonym and the man referred to as “the Belarusian friend” is Viktar Shejman, state secretary of the Belarusian Security Council and a member of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s inner circle. The newspaper claims that Belarus contracted to supply €720 million worth of weapons to Venezuela last year and the deal was negotiated by Mr. Shejman.

It is worth mentioning that a delegation headed by Shejman visited Venezuela between February 15 and 19. During the visit agreements on principles of financing of construction in Venezuela of plants with participation of MAZ, BelAZ and MTZ, on the beginning of implementation of 5,000 apartments projects and renovation in Caracas district Miraflores, on founding a joint venture on drilling and repair of oil wells.

The State Secretariat of the Belarusian Security Council hasn’t commented reports of El Pais still.

Bout’s traces found in Belarus: he sold its arms and met with Lukashenka

A businessman Viktor Bout dubbed “The Merchant of Death” and arrested in Thailand recently, had his interests in Belarus as well. As written by NEWSru.com, Bout had close contacts with Belarus once.

Thus, over the period of 1994-2004 Viktor Bout visited Minsk at least 4 times. As a rule, in Belarusian capital he met with the director of foreign trade organization “Beltekhexport” Uladzimir Peftiyeu, the Secretary of the Security Council Viktar Shejman, who was personally in charge of arms trade, and a former Prime Minister Uladzimir Yarmoshyn.

Journalists suppose that in 1999 Viktor Bout met Alyaksandr Lukashenka, when the Russian businessman visited Minsk as a member of a Russian industry delegation.

As said by some experts, after a while after the visits cargo aircrafts’ take-offs and landings became visibly more frequent in the Machulishchy fly ground, from where Belarusian weapons were sent abroad in a high security mode.

Range of products exported from Belarus was diverse: Grad and Uragan multiple rocket launchers, ground-to-ground and ground-to-air guided and unguided missiles, artillery systems and mortar launchers “Vasilyok”, AGS-17 Plamya Grenade Launchers, surface-to-air missile system S-125 and S-200, ammunition supplies and equipment.

However, since 2005 business relations between Bout and his Belarusian partners grew cold for unknown reasons. According to one of the versions, the Belarusian side once failed to make 100% payment for another series of air transportation made by Bout’s air company. That is why he laid it down as a condition to pay for all services first, and to work on a pre-paid basis, which was categorically unacceptable for the Belarusian dealers.

Viktor Bout is considered to be the largest arms dealer and dual-use goods to the regions of ethnic conflicts and civil wars.

The US administration imposed sanctions against Bout in 2006. In 2005 the US froze his assets and submitted information about 30 firms connected to the businessman. The US Treasury stated that Bout owns a network of air transport enterprises based in different countries of Middle East, in Africa, Eastern Europe and the US.

Bout himself emphatically refuted charges of implication in illicit arms trafficking.

Bout connected with Belarus which was his duty area, but not only

As supposed by NEWSru.com, Bout’s arrest can cause a tumult in Belarusian higher echelons of power. The businessman is connected to Belarus in so many ways, and not only because it was his military duty area once.

After graduating from Moscow Military Foreign languages Institute Bout was sent to Vitsebsk to the 339th elite military transport aviation regiment as an interpreter. He was doing military service there until 1991. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the regimnand was disbanded, but later Bout appeared in the United Arab Emirates as an owner of a transport aviation company which had among other aircrafts IL-76, which once belonged to the 339th regiment.

Air companies of Belarus and Russia (Belavia and Homelavia in particular) received contracts for work in crisis spots thought Bout. Several planes haven’t returned from flights, and their crews are listed as unaccounted-for.

But Bout was not only giving work to transportation companies, but possibly worked out schemes of arms deliveries. According to Belarusian journalists, it was Bout who helped the young Lukashenka’s government to establish arms export to very “interesting” countries and and supplies to very “interesting” parties. One of these schemes was once mentions by Afghani government ambassador to the UN in exile. As said by him, under Bout’s scheme chemical weapons (cyanides and other toxic substances bought in Germany, the Czech republic and Belarus) were delivered from the UAE to Kandahar.

“Talibs do not need such chemicals,” the Ambassador stated. “Reciever of these goods was Bin Laden and his people”.

The fact that Al-Quaeda experimented with neuro-paralytic agents and other poisonous substances has been confirmed by documents thanks to video recording obtained by CNN. The video footage shows a dog’s killing by gases.

Sources close to Belarusian Defense ministry say that even today Belarus sells arms according to Bout’s schemes.

Source: Charter97

Our previous report on Bout’s arrest and involvement in the FARC insurgency can be found here.

>Latin America File: Transport workers clash with police in Nicaragua as strike enters 2nd week, Ortega grants asylum to FARC groupies wounded in raid

>Nicaragua’s nine-day-old transportation strike turned violent yesterday when workers clashed with riot police in the town of Las Maderas, 45 kilometers east of Managua. The neo-Sandinista regime, in what is clearly the most serious internal challenge to its 15-month rule to date, has rejected demands from truckers and taxi cab operators to lower the cost of fuel by the equivalent of three dollars per gallon. Pictured above: A “scab” truck burns on the Panamerican Highway in northern Nicaragua. The Chinese state media reports:

Striking transport workers clash with police in Nicaragua
11:30, May 14, 2008

Nicaraguan transport workers clashed with riot police Tuesday in Las Maderas town, 45 km east of the capital Managua, as the national transport strike entered its ninth day. Police retaliated with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets after the workers allegedly burned two cars on the northern Pan American highway.

“We as policemen are complying with our duties and the constitutional mandate,” said the head of Nicaragua’s National Police (PN) in a press conference prior to traveling to Las Maderas to evaluate the situation.

The transport workers demand that the Nicaraguan government, headed by President Daniel Ortega, freeze the price of diesel at 40.50 cordobas (about two U.S. dollars) per gallon, down from the current price of 90 cordobas (about five dollars). However, the government has rejected the proposal.

Many people, including passersby, suffered injuries in the riot police’s operation, local reports said. Fifteen people were arrested.

The intended 30-day national transport strike, called by the National Transport Coordinator (CNT), has been on since May 5. The CNT affiliates include cargo, inter-urban, taxi and urban transportation operators.

Negotiations on Sunday and Monday among the government, CNT and transport workers allied to the Sandinista government have failed, as the parties were unable to reach an accord.

Transportation Minister Fernando Martinez once again proposed a 0.30 US dollar discount per gallon of diesel or gasoline, and an increase in passenger fees, but the strikers found the measures unacceptable.

Meanwhile, President Daniel Ortega is dropping any pretense of distancing himself from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and Colombia’s March 1 raid against a FARC camp on Ecuadorian soil, an incident the preciptiated the week-long Andean Diplomatic Crisis. Managua has granted asylum to two survivors of the cross-border raid. The International Herald Tribune reports:

Two Colombians wounded in a cross-border raid on a Colombian rebel camp in Ecuador have gone into exile in Nicaragua. A spokeswoman for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says the women were granted asylum on humanitarian grounds. First lady and presidential spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said in a statement that Marta Perez, 24, and Doris Bohorquez, 21, arrived in Nicaragua from Ecuador on Sunday. Nicaragua already has granted asylum to Mexican Lucia Morett — the only other survivor in the raid. The three women deny allegations they belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The March 1 raid in a rebel camp in Ecuador killed 25 people, including a senior rebel commander and caused a crisis in relations between Colombian and Ecuador.

The Sandinista National Liberation Front is allied with FARC through the Sao Paulo Forum, the organizational embodiment of the Latin American Red Axis.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Two Bear bombers complete 20-hour Arctic patrol; US military attaches tried to enter Novosibirsk aviation plant

>In early April the Russian Air Force, awash with extra fuel that was in short supply during the old Soviet era, announced that it would “drastically” increase its long-range sorties to 20 or 30 per month, up from two or three per month since August of last year. In other words, on just about every day two or more Russian bombers will be airborne, replicating Russia’s Soviet-era war footing against the Western Alliance. On this latest mission, air force spokesentity Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky indicated that once again NATO (meaning probably NORAD or US/Canadian) fighter jets accompanied the Tu-95 strategic bombers when they flew over “neutral waters near Alaska.” On May 10 Russian Air Force commander Colonel-General Alexander Zelin characterized NATO/NORAD intercepts of overseas Russian bomber flights as “attacks” requiring “counteractions,” but the West’s shopping mall regimes hardly noticed the threat.

Russian strategic bombers conduct 20-hr patrol over Arctic Ocean
15:21 14/ 05/ 2008

MOSCOW, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers have carried out a routine patrol over remote areas of the Arctic that lasted for almost 20 hours, a Russian Air Force spokesman said on Wednesday.

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

“After a 20-hour patrol, which included in-flight refueling from Il-78 aerial tankers, two Tu-95MS bombers returned to their home base at the Ukrainka airfield in the Amur Region [Russia’s Far East],” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

“All Russian Air Force flights are performed…in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters without violating the borders of other states,” he said, adding that during the flights the crews develop their flying skills in northern latitudes, over unmarked terrain.

He also said NATO fighters accompanied the Russian bombers when they flew over neutral waters near Alaska.

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

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

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the two US military attaches who were expelled from Russia earlier this month had attempted to enter a military aviation plant in Novosibirsk, although no official reason for their expulsion has yet been provided: “The two officers, an Army lieutenant colonel and a Navy lieutenant commander, appeared at the factory’s gates and were subsequently questioned by the surprised local authorities, according to three American officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to discuss the matter publicly.” The visit occurred in late March at the Novosibirsk Aviation Production Association, a plant that produces Sukhoi-34 fighter-bombers.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Zyuganov visits Cyprus’ communist president in advance of reunification talks with North; personal envoy for Medvedev, Putin, Lavrov

>Following the election of Cypriot communist leader Dimitris Christofias to the presidency of that country in February we anticipated that the Kremlin would issue some sort of friendly overture to Nicosia. Lo and behold, the neo-Soviet leadership has dispatched Communist Party of the Russian Federation Chairman Gennady Zyuganov to personally convey to President Christofias Moscow’s support for the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus, which is the internationally recognized part of the island country, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey. A leftist government controls the northern part of the island and is amicable to reunification talks with Nicosia, which are scheduled to begin in June. It is to be expected that reunification will place this strategically important island at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea under total communist control.

During this mission Zyuganov, whom we consider to be Russia’s “power behind the throne,” along with Oleg Shenin, appears to have acted as personal envoy for Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov since he conveyed “personal greetings” from all three of his comrades. Zyuganov also extended an invitation to Christofias from Medvedev to visit Russia.

Pictured above: Russian and Cypriot communist leaders Zyuganov and Christofias in the capital of Cyprus. This image is taken from the CPRF website. The Cypriot state media reports on Zyuganov’s visit, which occurred on Monday:

The President of the Republic received the President of Russia’s Communist Party
13/05/2008

The President of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Mr Gennady Zyuganov reiterated Russia’s support for the efforts of Cyprus to solve its political problem. In his statements, after a meeting he had with the President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Mr Zyuganov said that he and President Christofias have very close relations. “I have conveyed to Mr Christofias the personal greetings of the President, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister of my country,” he said and added:

“All these years relations between us have always been friendly and will continue to be, between our two countries, between our two parties and on the level of the two parliaments. We have supported and we will continue to support Cyprus in its effort to solve its political problem. At the same my country’s citizens will continue to visit your island and to enjoy the warm hospitality and the sun of Cyprus. I must stress that at least one person from every family has visited Cyprus. The President of the Republic has briefed us that he has accepted an invitation from the President of the Russian Federation to visit our country”.

“I wish to reaffirm, once again, my respect and love for your country, for your people and to promise that I will continue to work in this direction,” he concluded.

>Middle East File: Gun battles erupt in Tripoli, Syrian border as Beirut fighting subsides; Israeli Vice PM Ramon: Lebanon de facto "Hezbollah state"

>Yesterday battles erupted in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli as rival supporters of Hezbollah and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora exchanged gunfire. Meanwhile, Hezbollah guerrillas, who occupied West Beirut last Thursday, withdrew from the streets. Altogether, the fighting has killed at least 62 people and wounded at least 200. The Lebanese Army’s response to the incipient civil war has been cautious and ineffective at best and treasonous at worst. “Lebanon’s army, backed by US pledges of support,” AFP reports, “said it was ready to use force on Tuesday to restore order after six days of deadly sectarian gunbattles that have shaken the nation to the core.” As the story below reports, Progressive Socialist Party leader, Soviet ally, and coalition government partner Walid Jumblatt and rival Talal Arslan, who is allied with Soviet-backed Hezbollah, are disengenuously urging the other to hand over their weapons to the regular army. Pictured above: Situation map of Lebanon, as of May 13, 2008.

Lebanon Clashes Move North as Beirut Unrest Eases (Update1)
By Massoud A. Derhally

May 12 (Bloomberg) — Clashes erupted in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli between gunmen allied with the Hezbollah-led opposition that took over west Beirut last week and supporters of pro-Western Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

The outbreak in the port came as the capital, Beirut, remained calm after Hezbollah fighters withdrew from western neighborhoods yesterday. Hezbollah, which the U.S. regards as a terrorist group, left after the government backed down on a threat to disrupt its covert phone network along with its electronic surveillance system at Beirut’s international airport.

Siniora’s concession didn’t stop fighting from spreading along sectarian lines. In Tripoli, firefights pitted Sunni Muslim gunmen loyal to the government against members of the Alawite sect of Islam, who are aligned with a pro-Syrian party and Hezbollah. “In Tripoli there is trouble where the Alawite and Sunni neighborhoods meet,” resident Nicholas Tohme said in a telephone interview. “It’s a traditional front line.”

Siniora’s ruling coalition includes Sunnis, Christians and Druze and is backed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other American allies in the Middle East. Hezbollah counts on support from a Christian party and a small Druze grouping and is backed by Syria and Iran, U.S. adversaries.

Gunfire, Shelling

Fighting was also reported along Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria early today. “There was some gunfire at the town of Masna and some shelling and there is an ongoing investigation,” Army Brigadier Saleh Haj Suleiman said in an interview today.

Violence in Lebanon broke out May 7 after the government fired the head of airport security, following the discovery of Hezbollah’s surveillance system. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, whose group fought a 33-day war against Israel in 2006, defended the system’s installation, saying it was needed to protect Lebanon from Israeli invasion.

A cease-fire was holding between Hezbollah fighters and Druze backers of Walid Jumblatt, in the towns of Aley and Shweifat, Suleiman said. “The army is spreading in the area and the situation is now stable,” he said. The death toll from last week’s fighting may have killed more than 80 people, Suleiman said. The figure isn’t final yet as not all the casualties have been accounted for, he said.

Death Toll

At least 10 Hezbollah fighters are among the dead. The number may be as many as 14, Suleiman said. Hussain Rahal, a spokesman for Hezbollah declined to provide the actual number of fighters killed when contacted today.

The International Red Cross, which has 450 workers on active duty since the crisis began, has accounted for 39 dead and 75 wounded, Ayad Mounzer, a spokesman for the group said today.

In an interview with LBC television yesterday, Jumblatt urged his rival Talal Arslan, who is also from the Druze community and allied with the Hezbollah-led opposition, to help stop the fighting and place the area under army control. Jumblatt leads a Druze party that is aligned with Siniora. Arslan leads a small Druze faction aligned with Hezbollah. Arslan ask supporters of Jumblatt to surrender their weapons to the Lebanese army today.

Political Standoff

Hezbollah has been trying to oust the Siniora government since November 2006, when the Shiite group’s lawmakers and allies walked out of the cabinet demanding veto powers over decisions. This month’s unrest has been the most violent, as the political standoff spilled over into sectarian conflict reminiscent of the 1975-1990 civil war.

Some of the buildings scarred by bullets from the latest fighting still bear marks from that conflict. A parliamentary session set for tomorrow to elect a president for the country by lawmakers is most likely going to be postponed a 19th time, Ali Hamdan, spokesman for Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said in a telephone interview from Beirut today.

Arab foreign ministers who met in Egypt yesterday said they will send a high-level delegation headed by Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa to try to resolve the situation in Lebanon. Jordanian Foreign Minister Salaheddin al-Bashir told Bloomberg News he would be traveling to Beirut as part of an Arab League committee hoping to defuse the conflict. He declined to provide more detail.

The 22-member Arab League is expected to press all parties in Lebanon to return to dialogue and to order their supporters to stop the violence immediately.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Pictured here: Tripoli street scene.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s parliamentary majority leader, Saad al-Hariri, insisted that Hezbollah’s attempted coup was orchestrated in Damascus and Tehran and urged Lebanese to resist the Islamist guerrilla group, which pretends to be a political party. Lebanese Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmad Fatfat went further in his accusations of foreign interference in Lebanon’s latest unrest by insisting that the Iranian ambassador was directly involved in the recent outbreak of violence in the country. The Saudis are also insisting that the Iranians are behind the Hezbollah insurgency. “Of course, for Iran to back the coup that happened in Lebanon and support it will have an impact on its relations with all Arab countries,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal declared today in a news conference. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the accusations. “Iran is the only country not interfering in Lebanon,” he said improbably.

Yesterday, no doubt fearing the ramfications of Lebanon’s internal conflict and the prospect of a Hezbollahstan to its north, Israel’s Ministry of Defense raised its intelligence alert in case Islamist guerrillas expand their military operations south of the Litani River. On Sunday former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak observed that Hezbollah’s repeated attempts to seize control of Lebanon would provide the Israeli government with a still more legitimate pretext to eradicate the terrorist organization on Lebanese soil. “If an armed conflict erupts it will be simpler to strike Lebanon when Hezbollah is the legitimate ruler,” Shahak told Israeli Army Radio.

Interviewed by the same news outlet on the same day Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai adopted a more cautious tone: “We shouldn’t get involved. We need to watch and should follow this very closely even when we are dealing with other fronts. Israel is especially concerned about the situation in Lebanon in light of the Hamas’ control of Gaza. Hamas and Hezbollah, as Iranian proxies, are mutually dependent.”

Along the same theme, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon informed the cabinet that Lebanon must be viewed as a “Hezbollah state”: “Lebanon has no government. It is a fiction, there is only Hezbollah. Hezbollah is directly responsible for everything that happens [in Lebanon], and the organization completely controls the state.”

On Monday US President George W. Bush responded to the fighting in Lebanon with the following statement:

I strongly condemn Hezbollah’s recent efforts, and those of their foreign sponsors in Tehran and Damascus, to use violence and intimidation to bend the government and people of Lebanon to their will. The international community will not allow the Iranian and Syrian regimes, via their proxies, to return Lebanon to foreign domination and control. To ensure the safety and security of the people of Lebanon, the United States will continue its assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces to ensure they are able to defend the Lebanese Government and safeguard its institutions.

In April, Debkafile reported, the IDF connected to the US Air Force’s Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) to defend itself against Iranian and Syrian missile attacks. This is the third time Israel has sought the protection of BMEWS. The first occurred in 1991 before the First Gulf War and the second in 2003 before the US invasion of Iraq. The US warship Cole, which was deployed off Lebanon in February, is returning to the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal from the Persian Gulf, in what US officials label “a show of support for regional stability” amid concerns related to Lebanon’s “protracted political crisis,” which includes a vacant presidency.

>End Times File: France’s "ex"-red FM: Algeria reluctantly on board for Mediterranean Union, Sarkozy urges "peace accord" between Israel, Palestinians

>Olmert Admits Israeli Government’s “Love Affair” with French President Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the architect of the proposed Mediterranean Union (MU), which in our assessment is the revived Roman Empire of Bible prophecy, continues to push ahead with his ambitious scheme to unite the European Union, northern Africa, and eastern Mediterranean, including Israel. The MU, to be organized in July, will feature two rotating presidencies, one for the countries north of the Mediterranean Sea, another for the countries to the south.

Needless to say, France’s “law and order” head of state envisions himself as one of the MU’s first leaders. Sarkozy vilifies the 1968 student uprisings in Paris and is in turn despised by leftist elements in the French and global media. The British Guardian, for example, charges: “Sarkozy has been accused of countless breaches of media freedom since his re-appointment as minister of interior in 2005.” Sarkozy has also broken with the practice of his predecessors, informed by France’s 1905 law imposing a separation of church and state, by making “frequent and positive references to God and faith,” including Islam.

Until recently Sarkozy was “unofficial campaign manager” for British prime minister Tony Blair’s bid for the proposed post of a permanent EU president, but has shifted his support to Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. In the meanwhile, Sarkozy, the wire reports below states, “is determined to advance the new [Mediterranean] union when he takes over the rotating EU [Commission] presidency in July.”

Sarkozy appears to have a personal interest in resolving the warfare between Jew and Muslim since one of the main thrusts of the MU is to impose a peace solution on the Middle East conflict. Sarkozy is one quarter Jewish, enthusiastically pro-Zionist, as evidenced by his severing of diplomatic relations between France and Israel’s foe Syria, and a close friend of the man who will more than likely become the next prime minister of Israel, rightist Benjamin Netanyahu. On April 30, while visiting Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who is an ardent advocate of the MU, Sarkozy said: “I know that, inside the project of the Union for the Mediterranean, there is the issue of Israel and the issue of Palestine. I’m fully aware that all this is in the background … but this should not stop us acting. It should encourage us to act.”

The French president has worked diligently to enlist the support of all of the governments around the Mediterranean Sea. Algeria was the latest stop for Sarkozy’s “Club Med” public relations team. Algeria was a colony of France until 1962. The National Liberation Front regime in Algiers, as reported below, has imposed three conditions for joining the MU. France must: 1) acknowledge the crimes it committed during colonial rule, 2) promote a “lasting and equitable solution” to the dispute over the Western Sahara, and 3) promote a “just solution” to the Palestinian question.

Incidentally, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who concluded “very promising” discussions today with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on the formation of the MU, is an “ex”-communist. However, Kouchner subsequently moved on to the Socialist Party and then further right to Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), which supports the government of Prime Minister François Fillon.

French foreign minister upbeat after Mediterranean Union talks
May 12, 2008

ALGIERS (AFP) — French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday he had held “very promising” discussions with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on the creation of a Mediterranean Union.

“We clarified a number of directions which, I think, from France’s perspective, are very promising and I hope that President Bouteflika shares my feelings,” Kouchner said after the two met in Algiers.

Bouteflika “not only asked questions but brought answers to questions and problems between” Algeria and France, he added.

Press reports here said Algeria was seeking clarification of the Mediterranean Union project to be announced officially on July 13 by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy at a summit of Mediterranean candidates eligible to join the proposed new bloc.

The Mediterranean Union project, which has met with a cool welcome from some of France’s EU partners, aims to improve trade, transport and energy links between southern European countries and nations around the Mediterranean including Morocco, Syria, Israel and Turkey.

Algeria has particular reservations about Sarkozy’s attitude to Iran and policy on Israel, the independent newspaper Al Watan said.

“Mr Kouchner’s talks in Algiers aim primarily to overcome Algerian reservations,” it said, describing the Kouchner mission as a “difficult gamble.”

The independent newspaper Djazair News said Algeria would impose three conditions for joining the Mediterranean Union: France’s acknowledgement of crimes it committed during its colonial rule in Algeria, a lasting and equitable solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara, and a just solution to the Palestinian question.

It was not logical that Israel should be a member of a Mediterranean Union “while it is the cause of Middle East problems,” the newspaper said.

Kouchner said the new union should and would be different from the Barcelona Process, an existing EU framework for political, economic and social ties around the Mediterranean basin, which has regularly been thwarted by confrontation between Israel and Arab countries.

Sarkozy is determined to advance the new union when he takes over the rotating EU presidency in July.

Kouchner also met Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci during his one-day visit.

Although leftists and Muslims takes a dim view of the rosy relationship between Sarkozy and world Jewry, the Israeli government’s relationship with the French president, in fact, is nothing less than a “love story,” to use embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s description yesterday.

This is not only a honeymoon, it is a love story. I think that Nicolas Sarkozy is a very good friend of Israel. Sometimes, there have been some tensions, and it has been a little difficult. But, thank God, these relations are currently at the level where they need to be. The development is based 0n the efforts of a friendly president, a friendly government and a friendly people. We hope that these relations will continue to develop in this direction.

Even before he was elected president, he told me that he wanted to come to Israel. When he was elected, he repeated that he wanted to come over. Now he has decided to join us during celebrations marking the 60th anniversary since the founding of the state of Israel.

France has always been a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. The Jews have flourished in France: They have played a part in all the great achievements in the country. They characterize the French culture, they are found among the intellectuals. We have always had good relations with France.

Sarkozy intends to visit Israel in May to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the modern State of Israel. He will address the Knesset, upon the invitation of Israeli President Shimon Peres. On February 14, 2008 Haaretz reported: “Sarkozy also said he believed a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians is possible this year – but called both sides to make concessions.” World leaders, including US President George W. Bush, former Soviet tyrant Mikhail Gorbachev, alleged Soviet agent Henry Kissinger, and Middle East Quartet Envoy and former British prime minister Tony Blair are presently converging on Jerusalem to attend the Presidential Conference.

Iranian Tyrant Mahmoud (“Iwannajihad”) Ahmadinejad will not be attending the festivities. Instead, last Thursday he lifted a phrase from one of Adolf Hitler’s diatribes and offered the following cheerful birthday wish for Israel: “Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken. Today the reason for the Zionist regime’s existence is questioned, and this regime is on its way to annihilation. Israel has reached the end like a dead rat after being slapped by the Lebanese.” Happy birthday to you, too, Mahmoud.

Since the early part of the twentieth century, popular speculation has swirled around the identity of Antichrist, the world’s last dictator before the return of Jesus Christ. However, much of this speculation has been divorced from the scenario painted in Holy Scripture. Israel was not yet in the land, the final form of the Roman Empire had yet to be organized, and unlikely Antichrist candidates who were openly anti-Jewish, like Hitler, were trotted out as prophetic fulfillments. At the opening of the twenty-first century, however, the conditions for the arrival of Satan’s chief lieutenant on earth have materialized. French-Israeli relations are especially offering the red carpet treatment for “that man of sin” who, according to the prophet Daniel, will establish a covenant that will secure peace for Israel for seven years. Antichrist sleuths should monitor Sarkozy’s planned visit to Israel closely.

Note: The previous link contains an excellent defense of the literal, future fulfillment of Daniel 9:27 and refutation of opposing views.

>Latin America File: Chavez to conclude US$2 billion arms sales with Russia; global food crisis, 30-day transportation strike threaten Ortega regime

>Next to Communist Cuba, Boliviarian Venezuela is neo-Soviet Russia’s biggest client for military hardware. Later this month Venezuela’s revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez will visit Moscow to conclude a US$2 billion arms agreement that includes 10 Il-76 Candid military transport planes, two Il-78-MK aerial tankers, and four Kilo-class Project 636 diesel submarines. The Russian transport planes and aerial tankers will replace US counterparts currently in service with the Venezuelan Air Force but which the USA refuses to upgrade due to political tensions between Washington and Caracas.

This will be the communist dictator’s seventh visit to Russia since assuming office in February 1999. During last summer’s Moscow trip (pictured above), in addition to power networking with then President Vladimir Putin, Chavez also rubbed elbows with Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union Chairman Gennady Zyuganov. At the time Zyuganov declared: “Comrade Chavez is a reliable friend and very bright politician.” Comment is hardly necessary.

Venezuela to buy Russian weaponry worth $2 bln – paper
15:3112/ 05/ 2008

MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) – Venezuela is planning to conclude several contracts with Russia next month on the purchase of military equipment worth at least $2 billion, a leading Russian business daily said on Monday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to pay an official visit to Moscow at the end of May to conclude the necessary agreements with Russia’s new President Dmitry Medvedev, who earlier pledged to maintain close military cooperation with Caracas, the Kommersant newspaper reported.

Oil-rich Venezuela is a major purchaser of Russian weapons and hardware. In 2005-2006, Venezuela ordered weaponry from Russia worth $3.4 billion, including 24 Su-30MK2V Flanker fighters, Tor-M1 air defense missile systems, Mi-17B multi-role helicopters, Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters and Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters.

Russia has repeatedly stated that it will actively participate in the modernization of the Venezuelan armed forces until 2013.

Kommersant said negotiations were underway on the purchase of 10 Il-76 Candid military transport planes and two Il-78-MK aerial tankers for the Venezuelan Air Force. The contract will be worth a total of $600 million.

Deliveries will be completed next year. The aircraft will replace six outdated American Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport planes and two Boeing 707-320C aerial tankers.

Venezuela and Russia have also agreed on the purchase of four Kilo-class Project 636 diesel submarines. The terms of the deal, estimated at $1.2 billion, were negotiated late last year.

The Project 636 submarine is designed for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface-ship warfare, and also for general reconnaissance and patrol missions. It is considered to be one of the quietest diesel submarines in the world.

In addition, Caracas has expressed an interest in purchasing Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters.

Kommersant said Venezuela may buy at least 10 Night Hunters for a total of $200 million, with delivery beginning in the second half of 2009.

The advanced Mi-28N helicopters were inducted into the Russian Air Force last September. The first four aircraft will join the Russian Air Force in 2009 after additional testing.

Source: Novosti

Neo-Soviet Russia has also revitalized its military pact with neo-Sandinista Nicaragua but no arms shipments to Managua have yet been reported as far as we have been able to determine. Meanwhile, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is facing a 30-day strike by the country’s transportation workers, who are protesting Central America’s highest fuel prices. Pro-US opposition forces insist that the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front has embarked on a foolhardy endeavor to re-communize Nicaragua. Costa Rica-based Tico Times reports on the bus and taxi driver strike:

Nicaragua taxis, buses try putting brakes on gas prices
By Blake Schmidt Nica Times Staff

May 6, 2008

Nicaraguan taxi and bus drivers that transport an estimated 1.5 million people a day went on strike yesterday saying they won’t start up their engines again until the government sits down to negotiate a solution to skyrocketing gas prices, the highest in Central America.

Trucks drivers were also on strike, paralyzing the economy.

The strike comes as international crude oil prices topped a record $120 a barrel this week.

“There’s been no response from the president of the republic to end the strike,” said Vidal Almendárez, president of the Federation of Taxi Drivers. “There have been attempts to negotiate locally, but we’re telling them negotiations have to happen here in the capital.”

The federation, which represents an estimated 15,000 taxi drivers nationwide, began the strike along with the National Transportation Coordinator and the Interurban Transportation Directorate yesterday, which represent regional bus drivers.

The only bus drivers that have kept the motors running were those on urban Managua routes, which receive a subsidized gas price that is about half the market price for gas in Nicaragua, which was more than 90 córdobas a gallon this week ($4.70).

Almendárez said the rest of the country’s bus and taxi drivers want a deal similar to Managua buses, and want the government to sit down with driver union leaders to find a solution.

The government says it has offered to sell the cooperatives gasoline at cost – for a savings of roughly 6 córdobas ($0.30) less. But as of 6 p.m. yesterday evening, no agreement had been reached.

“We seek an alternative in which the price of gasoline is frozen so we can have a reasonable price for users. People aren’t able to pay these prices,” Almendárez told The Nica Times.

In addition to confronting high fuel prices, Nicaraguans are facing regional ripples in the global food shortage. Like Comrade Hugo, Comandante Ortega (pictured above) blames the world’s ills on capitalism. “The food crisis is an epic problem and represents the tyranny of global capitalism,” he piously intoned at a May 9 summit of 14 Latin American countries, convened in Managua under the umbrella of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). Other regional leaders like Honduran President Manual Zelaya echoed this sentiment. The Christian Science Monitor reports: “Honduras’s center-left President Manuel Zelaya, who has flirted with ALBA in the past, blamed the regional food crisis on a free-market economic model that he says has led to a ‘culture of dependence’ on cheaper food imports from subsidized US farmers.”

>USSR2 File: PM Putin appoints new cabinet, FSB chief Patrushev shifted to Security Council, Chekist Bortnikov assumes KGB helm

> Old Soviet Regime Casts Shadow in New Putin Cabinet

– Communist Leader Zyuganov Gives Putin’s Record Failing Grade, Regrets New Prime Minister Did Not Become Union State President

Following the installation of Gazprom CEO Dmitry Medvedev as Russian Federation “President,” “ex”-communist KGB dictator Vladimir Putin, who has once again assumed the post of prime minister with the rubber stamp approval of the State Duma, organized a new cabinet with the following composition. “Ex”-communists, “ex”-KGB types, ex-Soviet apparatchiks, and cadres of Putin’s “St. Petersburg Clan” continue to dominate the Russian cabinet.

1) Foreign Minister and former Soviet apparatchik Sergei Lavrov, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, Trade and Economic Minister Elvira Nabiullina, and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who zoomed about Red Square in an open-top Zil limousine during the Kremlin’s recent Victory Day parade, have been reappointed to their posts.

2) The number of Deputy Prime Ministers has been increased from five to seven. Igor Shuvalov, who was formerly employed with a Soviet-era Kremlin think tank and the Soviet Army, and former prime minister and “ex”-CPSU cadre Viktor Zubkov become First Deputy Prime Ministers. Shuvalov is also chairman of the board of directors of Sovkomflot, the Kremlin-run commercial shipping line. Zubkov is the father in law of DM Serdyukov.

3) Igor Sechin, formerly chief of staff for Putin when the latter was Vice Mayor of St. Petersburg; FSB colonel-general in reserve Sergei Ivanov; and Komsomol graduate Sergei Sobyanin have been appointed Deputy Prime Ministers. Sechin will be in charge of industrial evelopment, except for the defense industry and energy sector. He is also in charge of natural resources management policy, technology, and nuclear energy.

4) Meanwhile, Deputy Ministers Alexander Zhukov, who was formerly deputy chief of the Currency Department of the Soviet Ministry of Finance, and Alexei Kudrin, who formerly worked for St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak in the “post”-communist era, remain in their positions. Zhukov will implement top-priority national projects, with the exception of agriculture, and the implementation of government policy on education, health care, social security, affordable housing, and culture and arts. Zhukov will also be entrusted with promoting physical education and sports, including preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi, tourism development, and liaisons with religious organizations.

5) Moscow State University professor Alexander Konovalov has been appointed Justice Minister.

6) Born in the defunct German Democratic Republic, Alexei Gordeev remains Agriculture Minister.

7) Former Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) chief and career Chekist Nikolai Patrushev has been promoted to Russian Security Council chief. Another career Chekist by the name of Alexander Bortnikov replaces Partushev at the FSB. Pictured here, Bortnikov also sits on the board of directors of Sovkomflot, mentioned above.

8) A new agency for Commonwealth of Independent States affairs has been established.

9) Minpromenergo has been divided into the Energy Ministry with Sergei Smatko at its helm and Industry Ministry with former acting prime minister Viktor Khristenko in charge.

10) Finally, Deputy Prime Minister and Komsomol graduate Sergei Naryshkin has become the head of Medvedev’s presidential administration. Medvedev is another Komsomol graduate.

Pictured here: Putative rivals: Open communist leader and power-behind-the-throne Gennady Zyuganov and “President” Medvedev converse at wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Moscow, on May 8, 2008. Prior to the potemkin vote that led to Putin’s enthronement as PM Chairman Zyuganov gave Putin’s record a failing grade and expressed regret that the new PM did not become president of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

We regret that Putin did not become president of the Russia-Belarus Union State. We believe the government led by Putin will fail to cope with the tasks facing it. Vladimir Vladimirovich has a good quality: he has established good contacts with faction leaders, he can listen, make notes and immediately comment on opinions expressed.

I believe that Putin had luck. In eight years of his presidency there was not a single cold winter, not a single major drought, while gold and currency reserves were falling like a rain. And nevertheless, we assess that time as the time of missed opportunities. Yes, you have managed to strengthen the unity of the country, and the world has begun listening to us. However, we assess the situation as extremely difficult and prevailing tendencies as threatening.

The most important thing you have failed is that you have failed to launch development and preserve the foundations of democracy. The latest elections once again demonstrated that. With this course and this team we won’t advance, and there will be stagnation of even those achievements that you take pride in. I believe there was a better alternative for you – to become president of the Russia-Belarus Union State. I repeatedly tried to convince you to do that. But unfortunately, you did not agree. We cannot support your candidacy for prime minister, and we will vote against.

>EU File: Tadic’s "pro"-EU forces claim victory in election as Milosevic’s "ex"-communists and pro-Moscow nationalists forge governing coalition

>Yesterday’s parliamentary election in Serbia exposed the deep political divisions in a country that is torn between joining the European Union, itself a project of the Moscow Leninists, and pursuing an isolationist path that includes maintaining a claim to breakaway province Kosovo and a close alliance with Moscow. Although President Boris Tadic’s For a European Serbia coalition won the most number of seats, the “pro”-Western forces of Serbia failed to sweep up a governing majority. The leading party in Tadic’s coalition is the Democratic Party (DS), which is affiliated with the Moscow-controlled Socialist International. The story below reports: “The horse-trading left last night’s proclamation by senior EU figures that the election was a clear vote for the pro-Western reformists looking somewhat premature.”

In view of Tadic’s failure to secure a clear mandate, the nationalist Russophile parties of Serbia, which include Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), Tomislav Nikolic’s Serbian Radical Party (SRS), and the “ex”-communist Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) are currently negotiating the formation of a new government. The prime minister’s party is also allied with New Serbia, which is described by the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity as “a nationalist party with communist roots.”

The SPS, however, holds the balance of power in any new coalition government. Socialist leader Ivica Dačić is pictured above. Dačić became party chief on March 11, 2006, when former SPS leader Slobodan Milosevic, then on trial for war crimes at The Hague, died (or was murdered according to supporters) in prison. Born in 1966, Dačić represents a new generation of young “ex”-communists who joined Serbia’s repackaged communist party in 1992. Following yesterday’s election Dacic confidently declared of his potential coalition partners: “They all have my number, I will be expecting their call.” The story below reports: “There has been speculation that the Socialists could argue for allowing the return from exile in Russia of Milosevic’s widow, Mira Markovic, or his son Marko Milosevic.”

Although the United Nations administration in Kosovo refuses to accept the validity of votes cast in this election by Kosovar Serbs, the independent Serbian media reports that the nationalist SRS attracted the most support in Kosovo’s ethnic Serbian enclave.

Socialists hold key to power in Serbia
David Charter, Europe Correspondent
From The Times
May 12, 2008

A pro-EU alliance emerged today as the biggest party after Serbia’s snap general election, but it may have to rely on the support of the late Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist Party, in order to form a government in an extraordinary demonstration of the complexity of Balkan politics.

Boris Tadic, the reformist President of Serbia, hailed his party’s 39 per cent share of the vote as a victory for modernising forces that see the country’s future as a member of the European Union, after an election triggered when the province of Kosovo declared independence in February.

Despite his better-than-expected showing at the polls, however, Mr Tadic was warned by his nationalist rivals that they could still build an anti-EU coalition to keep his Democrat Party from office as a frantic round of power-sharing talks began today.

The size of support for the Democrats suggested that the nationalists had failed in their attempt to turn Serbia back towards its traditional ally, Russia, and away from the path towards the EU by playing on wounded national pride over the loss of Kosovo.

Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Radicals — the main nationalist party that won 29 per cent of the vote — ominously told Mr Tadic that he risked provoking violence by his early declaration of victory last night before the five main party groupings had a chance to thrash out a coalition government.

The Socialist Party gained about 8 per cent to emerge as the key players in the post-election bargaining. It would be king-maker if it sided with the nationalist bloc of the Radicals and the party of Vojislav Kostunica, the former Prime Minister, or if it jumped into bed with Mr Tadic and another small pro-Western group.

The horse-trading left last night’s proclamation by senior EU figures that the election was a clear vote for the pro-Western reformists looking somewhat premature. These factions are left in the uncomfortable position of having to court the party founded by Milosevic, which insists that it has moved on from its war-mongering nationalist days, despite quoting him at its campaign rallies.

While the Socialist Party would seem an unlikely partner for a government that wants Serbia to join the EU, the lure of power and seats in the Cabinet may be too hard to resist – but the price demanded might make uncomfortable reading in Brussels. There has been speculation that the Socialists could argue for allowing the return from exile in Russia of Milosevic’s widow, Mira Markovic, or his son Marko Milosevic.

Senior EU figures insisted that the 39 per cent showing by Mr Tadic’s Democrats pointed to a European future.

Olli Rehn, the EU’s enlargement commissioner, said: “The Commission takes note of the preliminary election results and welcomes the success of the reformist forces that share European values. This should enable swiftly forming a new government.

“I trust the new Government will pursue the country’s reform agenda and its path towards the EU. Serbia can become the engine of the Western Balkans and the EU is ready to accelerate its EU course – including candidate status.”

Mr Nikolic said: “There is a possible coalition without the Democratic Party and we warn Serbia about that.”
Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialists, said: “They all have my number, I will be expecting their call.”

Source: Times Online

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian Air Force chief accuses NATO fighter jets of "attacking" Russian bombers, threatens "counteractions"

>In a major escalation of rhetoric, the Kremlin is accusing NATO, which since the summer of 2007 has regularly intercepted Russian bombers near its periphery, of “attacking” its aircraft over neutral waters. “It is not a misuse of the word ‘attack’ because our partners are training for combat actions, reaching the point of an attack,” Colonel-General Alexander Zelin stated, disengenuously referring to NATO member states as Russia’s “partners.” “I must confess that this is quite unpleasant and even dangerous. Naturally, we rehearse our counteractions,” Zelin warned.

Report: Russian air force chief accuses NATO fighters of breaking safety rules over neutral waters
The Associated Press
Saturday, May 10, 2008

MOSCOW: Russia’s air force chief on Saturday accused NATO fighters escorting Russian bombers on patrol flights over neutral waters of violating safety rules.

Air Force chief Col.-Gen. Alexander Zelin said NATO aircraft were approaching Russian bombers too closely and too often, creating risky situations.

“They approach our strategic bombers at unacceptable distances and at unacceptable intervals, conduct various maneuvers around them and violate flight safety rules in every way,” Zelin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as telling reporters Saturday.

No one answered the phone at the Air Force’s press service Saturday.

An increasingly assertive Moscow is seeking to showcase its military might and clout in the international arena. During Friday’s Victory Day parade, Russia displayed tanks and missile launchers on Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era, evoking the Cold War.

Russia’s military spending has increased eightfold to an annual $40 billion during the past eight years, thanks to the nation’s oil bonanza.

Analysts, however, say the armed forces still suffer from the problems that have dented its capability and prestige since the Soviet collapse.

Zelin complained that NATO F-15, F-16 and F-22 fighter jets regularly “attack” Russian bombers over the Arctic Ocean.

“It is not a misuse of the word ‘attack’ because our partners are training for combat actions, reaching the point of an attack,” Zelin was quoted as saying. “I must confess that this is quite unpleasant and even dangerous. Naturally, we rehearse our counteractions.”

There was no immediate comment from NATO.

Russia itself has been the subject of similar disputes. In February, Russian bombers flew over a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Pacific, prompting the U.S. to scramble fighters to escort the Russian aircraft.

In September last year, Russian jets were accused of violating Finnish airspace. Russia said the jets were flying over neutral territory.

Source: International Herald Tribune

>Breaking News: Hezbollah seizes control of West Beirut, pro-government TV station, 11 dead; foreigners evacuated; Syria: situation "internal matter"

>Western governments are preparing to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon as Soviet/Syrian/Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah seizes control of West Beirut in what is no doubt part of a broader Islamic plot to transform Lebanon in “Hezbollahstan.” The United Nations currently deploys 13,000 troops in Lebanon to maintain peace between the country’s endlessly warring factions. Last year Soviet/Syrian/Iranian terrorist proxy Hamas transformed the Gaza Strip into “Hamastan.” In April Israel, wisely recognizing that Hamas was buying time to rearm, dismissed a proposal by the Strip’s de facto government for a six-month truce that would entail the removal of an embargo around the Palestinian enclave. Pictured above: Shi’ite gunman stands guard in Beirut, on May 9, 2008.

Hezbollah Seizes Control of West Beirut, 11 Dead
By VOA News 09 May 2008

Hezbollah gunmen in Lebanon have seized control of west Beirut after clashes with fighters loyal to the country’s Western-backed government left at least 11 people dead.

Fighters from the Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah also forced the pro-government television station – Future Movement – off the air Friday and attacked an affiliated newspaper.

The station is owned by Saad al-Hariri, a leader of Lebanon’s governing coalition. A rocket also slammed into the perimeter fence of his west Beirut home without causing injuries.

Authorities closed Beirut’s port due to the violence.

Saudi Arabia, which backs Lebanon’s government, called Friday for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the conflict.

Syria, which backs Hezbollah, has called the situation an internal Lebanese matter. Another Hezbollah supporter, Iran, has accused the United States and Israel of causing disorder by meddling in Lebanese affairs.

Italy says it is preparing an evacuation plan for its citizens in Beirut.

The fighting escalated Thursday after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah called the Lebanese government’s crackdown on his group a “declaration of war.”

The United States and the United Nations have both expressed concern about the violence.

Lebanon has been in a political stalemate since last year, with the ruling coalition and the opposition unable to pick a new head of state and form a unity government.

Parliament is scheduled to vote next week, May 13, for the country’s new president. It will be the 19th time parliament will try to vote for a successor to former pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, whose term expired in November.

Source: Voice of America

In response to the political violence once again engulfing Lebanon, Israeli President Shimon Peres commented: “It’s not a total surprise. We knew that Hezbollah is going to divide the country and lead it to the verge of a civil war. Such a war would be a tragedy for them. It’s a tragedy for all of us. And I hope that at the last moment they will save themselves from a bloody civil war.” Meanwhile, embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denies taking bribes from American Jewish businessman Morris “Moshe” Talansky in the 1990s and pledges that he will resign if indicted in an official corruption probe.

>USSR2 File: Kremlin rolls out tanks, missiles, Soviet regalia for Victory Day bash; bombers, fighters buzz Red Square; Western analysts unimpressed

>Today, for the first time since 1990, the neo-Soviet leadership included heavy military hardware in its Victory Day parade. Since most Western analysts are clueless with respect to the Kremlin’s strategic deception, there was mostly contempt for the 1970s and 1980s technology that rolled through or zoomed over Red Square. Britain’s leftist Guardian admits, with some humor: “Western defence specialists have pronounced themselves unimpressed by Russia’s recent displays of strength – memorably described by one as ‘willy-waving.’ They rather snidely point out that most of Russia’s current military hardware dates from the Brezhnev era. Additionally, Russia’s army is mired in a series of scandals involving the bullying of recruits.” However, the same source quotes the United Kingdom’s defense attache in Moscow, Andy Verdon, as saying: “Their kit may be old but it’s effective. A rifle bullet fired from a Napoleonic weapon will still kill you.” Indeed.

Yesterday, the Kremlin, apparently displeased with the Pentagon’s refusal to tremble before Russia’s resurgent military might, expelled two US military attaches from Moscow without explanation. The expulsions follow Washington’s expulsion of one Russian diplomat in November 2007 and a second on April 22.

Pictured above: Neo-Soviet Russia’s double-headed czar: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, frontman for the continuing Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and “President” Dmitry Medvedev, who pretends to be in command. Medvedev also has the distinction of chairing the board of directors of the world’s third largest company, state-run Gazprom, which recently sailed past China Mobile Ltd. and General Electric Co. in terms of market value.

A pictorial essay of today’s Victory Day parade follows: “President” Medvedev lectures Russians and the world on the important role that the Soviet Union played in defeating Nazism in the Second World War.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, son in law of former prime minister Viktor Zubkov, cruises about Red Square in an open-top Zil limousine, an icon of the Soviet era.

And reviews 8,000 goose-stepping soldiers.

The Soviets, er, Russians, remember their victory over Nazi Germany with pride and patriotism.

As usual, someone forgot to take down the hammer and sickle for this spectacle, but maybe that’s not a mistake after all. Just a little reminder as to who’s really in control in Moscow. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. T-90 main battle tanks on parade.

Road-mobile Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles roll across Red Square. Just a friendly gesture. No worries and no US counterpart.

MiG-29s and Su-27s roar over Red Square.

Followed by the venerable but hardy Tu-95 bomber in mid-air re-fueling configuration. Since the summer of 2007 Bear bombers have reappeared with increasing frequency along (and inside) the periphery of NATO/NORAD airspace.

No neo-Soviet parade would be complete without homage paid to the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin.

On May 7 the neo-Soviet leadership convened in the Kremlin; beginning clockwise at top left corner of picture below: “Ex”-GRU Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov, “ex”-communist Putin, unidentified figure, ultranationalist State Duma faction leader and alleged KGB agent Vladimir Zhirinovsky, United Russia Duma faction leader and Putin lackey Boris Gryzlov (back to camera), and open communist Duma faction leader Gennady Zyuganov (back to camera).

On May 23 and 24 “President” Medvedev, who already has well-established personal links with China, will visit Russia’s strategic partners in Beijing, no doubt to reassure the leadership of the Communist Party of China that the shuffling of faces in the Kremlin does not reflect any change in internal policy. In other words, world revolution is still on the agenda. State-run Novosti also reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit Russia from May 14 to 16 to attend a “BRIC” summit involving Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

On Wednesday Chinese President/Tyrant Hu Jintao sent Medvedev a telegram of congratulations on his inauguration as Russia’s “new president.” Hu intoned: “I hope with you as leader the Russian nation will make progress toward prosperity and a strengthening of the country’s powers. Our two friendly nations must enhance further their strategic partnership to ensure regional and global security.” Communist doublespeak translated: Let’s destroy America and capitalism.

BTW, we’re still waiting for an announcement regarding the third Sino-Soviet war game, presumably, as before, to be euphemistically named “Peace Mission.” In communist lingo “peace” is the absence of capitalism.

>Middle East File: Lebanese Army counters Hezbollah uprising; Islamic militias block Beiruit Airport, Damascus highway; Gemayal: "real coup" underway

>New York Financier Preparing to Topple Olmert Regime on Admissions of Bribery in the 1990s

– Netanyahu Leading in Public Opinion Polls, Close Ally of Sarkozy, Chief Promoter of the Mediterranean Union

Beginning yesterday the political situation in Lebanon, which has been without an elected president since November 2007, has deterioriated rapidly as Shi’a Muslim supporters of the Soviet/Syrian/Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah trade gunfire with Sunni Muslim supporters of government majority leader Sa’ad Hariri. In response, Lebanon’s Sunni Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani declared: “Hezbollah is trying to seize control of the country with the help of Iran and Syria.” Echoing this theme, on May 1 Lebanon’s former president Amin Gemayel was quoted as saying:

There is a state within the state called Hezbollah; and this state has its own army, intelligence and a communication network and plenty of money. This state within a state is attacking the Lebanese security forces and have expelled them from the areas under their control. This is preventing the Lebanese security forces from trying to implement justice. It is clear that this state within state has imposed itself on Lebanon with the backing of the Syrian-Iranian axis. Lebanon is witnessing a real coup.

No doubt in expectation of and collusion with this slow-motion Hezbollah coup, the worst political violence to engulf Lebanon since the 1975-1990 civil war, the Syrian Army deployed three tank divisions to its border with Lebanon in March. In a rare news conference today Hezbollah archterrorist Hassan Nasrallah ranted: “The (government) decisions are tantamount to a declaration of war and the start of a war… on behalf of the United States and Israel.” Disturbingly, Army Commander Michel Suleiman, whom the Arab League is promoting as Lebanon’s next president, reportedly refused to implement a government order to impose a curfew to stamp out the violence. In 2006 the Kremlin denied selling state-of-the-art Kornet anti-tank systems to Hezbollah, which the Lebanese terrorist group reportedly used against the Israeli Defense Forces during that year’s conflict.

Pictured above: Shi’a militiaman fires rocket-propelled grenade at pro-government supporters in Beirut, on May 8, 2008.

Second Day of Violence Engulfs Beirut
By Edward Yeranian Beirut0
8 May 2008

Clashes between Lebanese government supporters and the opposition Hezbollah are continuing for a second day in Beirut and the Bekaa Valley. As Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Beirut, Hezbollah has been blocking several strategic highways as well as Beirut Airport.

Street clashes in Beirut have taken an ominous new turn after Lebanon’s top Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim leaders accused each other of taking orders from foreign powers to provoke religious strife.

Sectarian clashes between pro-Hezbollah Shi’ite militiamen and Sunni supporters of government majority leader Sa’ad Hariri prompted Lebanon’s Sunni Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani to accuse Hezbollah of “trying to seize control of the country” with the help of Iran and Syria.

Shi’ite Mufti Abd al Amir Qabbalan replied angrily that it was the United States and Israel that were trying to “set fire to Lebanon and the Middle East.”

The Mufti said, Arab patriots and Muslims are facing an American-Israeli plot to create religious strife, and destroy the noble resistance to Israel.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah supporters continued to set tires on fire and pile mounds of sand to block major roads, including the highway from Beirut to Damascus, the coastal highway south of Beirut and the road to Beirut Airport. Activity at the airport remained paralyzed for a second day.

Lebanese Army tanks also positioned themselves along key intersections where Hezbollah and anti-Hezbollah partisans were throwing rocks and exchanging gunfire.

Army Commander Michel Suleiman reportedly refused a government plea to impose a curfew to stop the violence.

Nearly a dozen people were wounded in clashes around the mixed Shi’ite and Sunni neighborhood of Mazraa, where businessmen piled sandbags to protect their shops and burned-out vehicles littered the roadside.

Cabinet member Marwan Hamadeh, a pillar of the March 14 ruling coalition, warned Hezbollah and its allies the government would not back down in its conflict with the opposition and was taking its case to the U.N. Security Council.

Hamadeh says the Lebanese government is appealing to the Arab League and the United Nations to condemn both Iran and Hezbollah for undermining Lebanon’s independence. He says the government will not back down on any of its demands, and will say ‘enough, enough, enough.”

The head of Lebanon’s pro-government National Liberal Party, Dory Chamoun, argues that violence could get worse if Hezbollah does not realize where its policies are leading.

“Well, it could be something very dangerous, it could if they realize the mistakes that they are making, the Hezbollah people, it could probably calm down by tomorrow, but I doubt very much whether they haVe got that much acumen to realize how dangerous the situation has gotten,” said Chamoun.

The latest clashes were sparked Tuesday after the government voted to fire the pro-Hezbollah security chief of Beirut Airport, General Wafiq Shuqair, amid reports that Hezbollah was using cameras to spy on the private jets of top leaders with possible plans to assassinate one of them.

Hezbollah insisted that the cameras were “needed to fight the Israeli enemy.”

Speaking on the group’s al Manar TV, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah insisted that the only way out of the current crisis is for the government to revoke its ‘unfair and illegal’ demands, which he says are part of a U.S.-Israeli strategy to destroy Hezbollah.

Source: Voice of America

During his upcoming Middle East tour US President George W. Bush will attend Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations and hold meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Bush will then travel to Egypt where he will discuss the turmoil in Beirut with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora at the US-Arab Economic Forum, to which Israel is not invited.

Although the Israeli government is currently preparing to deal with the security implications of a Lebanon under the total control of Hezbollah, the Olmert regime is facing internal turmoil in the midst of a criminal probe that could force the embattled prime minister to call a snap election. According to a May 6 story in the New York Post US financier Morris Talansky is being questioned by Israeli authorities on suspicion that he bribed Olmert when the latter was mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s. Coalition partners and opponents alike are urging Olmert to resign. According to current public opinion polls right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu would more than likely win that contest.

Pictured here: France’s Jewish First Couple, President Nicholas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni. Is this the man who will deceive Israel and the world? If not, then Sarko’s certainly paving the way for Antichrist.

The election of Netanyahu will not prevent the absorption of Israel into the Mediterranean Union. Sarkozy is the prime mover behind the revived Roman Empire of Bible prophecy, as we have demonstrated in past posts. On March 12, 2008 the European Jewish Press quoted Israeli President Peres, who was then on a five-day state visit to France, as saying: “I support 100 percent the [Mediterranean Union] plan. The entire (Israeli) government is in favour of Sarkozy’s initiative of course. North Europe countries, the Maghreb countries in the south and the Arab countries in the middle. Why not cooperate on what is possible?” Last November Sarkozy, who is of Jewish descent and whose third and current wife Carla Bruni is likewise, hosted Israel’s opposition leader in Paris, where the French president pledged his support for United Nations sanctions against Iran’s nuclear power program. On May 6, 2007 EJP revealed the Sarkozy-Netanyahu friendship:

As a Minister of Interior, Sarkozy shared much common policy ground with former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The two started to develop a close friendship not long ago and it is easy to observe similarities not only in their ideology and politics, but also in their public image. If Netanyahu returns to Israel’s chief position it will be interesting to see whether their personal dynamic will lead to a fresh start for Israel and France, and a more constructive European role in the region.

Like Bush, Sarkozy will attend Israel’s 60th anniversary celebration. On March 9, 2008 EJP reported: “President Sarkozy will pay in May his first visit to Israel in the framework of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state.”

>USSR2 File: Medvedev sworn in as president, receives nuclear briefcase, nominates Putin PM; Zubkov sacked; Zyuganov to vote against Putin nomination

>Tanks, Missile Launchers, and Strategic Bombers to Join Red Square Military Parade for First Time Since 1990; Pentagon Yawns

– Gorbachev: “USA Stoking International Tensions”

Today Komsomol graduate and Gazprom CEO Dmitry Medvedev, whose career extends back to St. Petersburg where he worked with Putin in Mayor Anatoly Sobchak’s office, became “post”-communist Russia’s third president. Prior to Medvedev’s arrival at the Grand Kremlin Palace for the inaugural ceremony, his mentor Putin pulled up in a black limousine, stepped out, and greeted the ceremonial Presidential Regiment with his customary salutation: “Greetings, comrades!” The honor guard responded with a cheer, betraying the ideological orientation of neo-Soviet Russia. Putin and Medvedev are pictured above.

Upon his inauguration “President” Medvedev received the codes for Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Two other officials have their finger poised over the red button: Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky. It is very unlikely, however, that Medvedev, Serdyukov, and Baluyevsky exercise real control over the Kremlin’s atomic weapons. This authority rests, as it did during the First Cold War, with the leadership of the Communist Party, which includes Gennady Zyuganov and Oleg (“Man in the Shadows”) Shenin. The neo-Soviet leadership is merely reshuffling the deckchairs on the ship of state, per KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s 25-year-old warnings. There is no internal change of command.

Medvedev handed control of Russia’s nuclear weapons
16:2907/ 05/ 2008

MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) – Dmitry Medvedev, who was sworn in as Russian president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces on Wednesday, has been given control of the country’s so-called “nuclear briefcase.”

Vladimir Putin passed on the briefcase containing the codes to Russia’s nuclear arsenal after the inauguration ceremony. The handover took place in the Kremlin in the presence of the defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov.

The briefcase looks similar to a laptop computer when opened. It is designed to receive and display early-warning information on enemy nuclear attacks.

It also allows the president to transmit an order to launch missiles. To make such an order, the president must transmit the launch permission code to the commanding staff of the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF).

The permission code prompts the SMF command to send out launch authorization codes, unblocking codes, and a war plan to missile sites and land- and sea-based mobile launchers.

The two other holders of Russia’s nuclear ‘switches’ are the defense minister and chief of the General Staff.

Medvedev also received other symbols of presidential authority, including the Presidential Standard and use of the presidential planes.

After the president has been sworn into office, the Presidential Standard is placed in his office and a duplicate of the flag is flown on top of the presidential residence at the Moscow Kremlin.

Air transport for Medvedev will be provided by the Rossiya State Transport Company, which operates an Il-96-300PU, an Il-62, a Tu-154 and a Yak-40 exclusively for the use of the president.

These planes are all equipped with the necessary security and communications systems and are designed so that the president can work and rest in comfort during flights.

Source: Novosti

Following earlier promises, “President” Medvedev has sacked the government of “ex”-communist Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who holds this position in an acting capacity until May 15, at which point Putin will cleverly slide into his old role, last held between 1999 and 2000. State-run Voice of Russia reports:

President Medvedev has dismissed the Cabinet of Victor Zubkov. They are now caretakers pending a new government team under Vladimir Putin on the 15th. In a parallel move, Mr Medvedev has formally asked the Lower House of Parliament to give approval to his choice of Vladimir Putin for the next Premier. The speaker there is Boris Gryzlov: The Chamber has received a formal Medvedev paper about this. Its executive is agreeing procedures for Mr Putin to accept the nomination. The vote on his candidacy is on Thursday noon. Given unconditional support by the parliamentary teams of United Russia, A Just Russia, and the Liberal Democrats, Putin the Premier is a done deal. Only the minority Communists are going to vote against him. Putin is appearing before faction leaders tonight to answer questions ahead of his nomination.

In more disengenuous drama designed to bewilder the West, Russia’s open (and secretly ruling) communists are not only contesting Medvedev’s election to the presidency, but are also threatening to block Medvedev’s nomination of Putin as new prime minister. State-owned Kommersant Daily quotes CPRF Vice Chairman Ivan Melnikov as saying “The Communist faction in the State Duma will vote against Vladimir Putin for prime minister.” Zyuganov and Melnikov are pictured here.

Communists Will Vote against Putin
May 7, 2008

The Communist faction in the State Duma will vote against Vladimir Putin for prime minister, deputy speaker of the Duma and first deputy chairman of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Ivan Melnikov told journalists. Melnikov said that the Communists oppose the course the country is taking. Specifically, they object to building the economy on raw materials and to the high inflation that reigns in Russia now.

The party, Melnikov said, is in favor of developing industry and high technology. He noted that Putin “is a representative of that course” and there is no reason to think he will change his position as prime minister.

Melnikov said that party leader Gennady Zyuganov will state the party’s position at its meeting on May 8. No actions, such as a walkout from the Duma, are planned. Melnikov also said that, at the start of the Duma session, at 2:00 local time, the document proposing the candidacy of Putin for prime minister had not been received. After waiting for that document in order to call a meeting of the Duma Council, members were finally asked to wait further in their offices.

Just Russia faction leader Nikolay Levichev told journalists that each faction will be able to ask Putin two questions during the discussion of his candidacy for prime minister. That implies, he added, that Putin will be present at that discussion.

Meanwhile, on May 9 tanks and missile launchers will rumble through Red Square for the first time since 1990’s Victory Day Parade, while strategic bombers, which are once again under production, fly over Moscow in a demonstration of military power that former President Vladimir Putin insists is not evidence of “saber rattling.” The Pentagon, alarmingly, agrees. “If they wish to take out their old equipment and take it for a spin, and check it out, they’re more than welcome to do so,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell yawned yesterday, barely troubled by Russia’s open war footing. Pentagonspeak translated: “Look, if the Soviets, er, Russians, want to start World War Three, hey, it’s no big deal, right?” Faithfully following the Party line, geriatric communist deceiver Mikhail Gorbachev is once again blaming the USA for stoking international tensions: “Sometimes I have the impression that the United States intends to wage a war against the whole of the world. Pronouncements of Washington officials accusing Moscow of aggressive rhetoric have no ground. Russia does not intend to wage a war against the United States or any other country.” Gotcha, Mike. Millions won’t believe you but we do.

>Latin America File: Chavez oil money funds re-communization of Nicaragua; Ortega cracks down on opposition, harbors FARC fugitives

>Nicaraguans must stand up against the Ortega administration and defend the country’s democratic institutions before it’s too late.
— Jaime Arellano, former Channel 10 TV journalist, final broadcast delivered on April 4, 2008

Here we go again. It’s always just a matter of time before communist regimes that pretend to be social democratic take off their mask and expose their true color.

Taking a queue from the Communist Party of Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which are well established, and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s socialist battalions/community councils, President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo are laying the foundation for a second round of Marxist dictatorship in Managua and denying it all the way. The neo-Sandinista regime, as we previously reported, is moving ahead with the re-communization of Nicaragua, first implemented in the 1980s but disrupted by the 1990 general elections, with its Citizens’ Power Councils, most of which are stacked with FSLN cadres and greased with oil money from Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez. Ortega’s repackaged Marxist regime is laundering Chavez’s petrodollars through a quasi-public company called Albanisa and the state-owned oil company, Petronic, both of which are controlled by the same FSLN cadre. “It’s part of a vision that President Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, have to destroy the model of representative democracy and replace it with a direct democracy,” warned Constitutionalist Liberal Party member José Pallais in the story below. “The C.P.C. serve as a fundamental element, a strategy, to control the society, to spy on the people.”

Pictured above: Ortega and long-time Cuban mentor Fidel Castro; below: Managua taxi cab drivers operating under the direction of several transportation unions protest the high cost of fuel and the policies of Comandante Ortega by barricading the Panamerican Highway during a protest on May 5, 2008.

Nicaraguan Councils Stir Fear of Dictatorship
May 4, 2008
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The government billboards and graffiti in this sultry city tell a visitor a lot about the ideological battle racking Nicaragua.

President Daniel Ortega Saavedra beams from the billboards, promising “Citizens Power” as a solution to Nicaragua’s endemic poverty. “The world’s poor arise!” the signs say. But beneath the billboards, on walls and benches all over town, others have scrawled “No to CPC. No to dictatorship.”

The graffiti alludes to Citizens Power Councils — or C.P.C.’s. In December, Mr. Ortega established the neighborhood committees, which are controlled by his left-wing Sandinista party and administer antipoverty programs, despite a vote against the plan by the National Assembly.

Mr. Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla leader, maintains that the councils are meant only to let community leaders have a say in where and how government money is spent.

But opposition leaders say the councils are another step in what they call the Ortega administration’s drift toward an authoritarian and secretive government that does not have to answer to the legislature — mostly because the president controls tens of millions of dollars a year in aid from Venezuela.

Some of the president’s opponents charge that the Citizens Power Councils are nothing more than patronage mills, channeling government largess to supporters of the party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

Mr. Ortega has made no attempt to hide his desire to make an end run around the National Assembly. He declared last fall that the legislature’s vote against the councils was intended “to deny the right of the people to exercise power” and “to keep ministers from governing directly with the people.”

“It is the people who have the final say on the system they want,” Mr. Ortega declared at a rally on Dec. 1.

Opposition leaders complain the councils smack of similar party-controlled organs in totalitarian governments like Cuba’s, where local committees of party loyalists not only influence who gets government benefits but also spy on political opponents.

“It’s part of a vision that President Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, have to destroy the model of representative democracy and replace it with a direct democracy,” said José Pallais, a Liberal Party leader.

“The C.P.C. serve as a fundamental element, a strategy, to control the society, to spy on the people.”

Another Liberal opposition leader, Wilfredo Navarro, defended the Sandinista party’s right to organize political committees but said the president had crossed a line when he gave those committees power over government programs. “Ortega can form his Citizens Power Councils, but he cannot give them the role of the state,” he said. “To pave a street, you have to talk to the C.P.C.”

He added, “It is very clear the state’s money should not be used as an instrument of political blackmail.”

Elías Chévez, a prominent Sandinista party leader who oversees the citizen councils in Managua, denied that the councils showed favoritism in handing out subsidies, though he acknowledged that they were controlled by the party.

In defending the councils, he said past governments had failed to lift people out of poverty in part because neighborhoods and towns lacked local organizations to send aid where it was most needed. He portrayed the critics of the councils as members of a corrupt oligarchy interested only in protecting business interests.

“These people don’t want the population to have a role, to play a part,” he said.

One complaint of the opposition is that the financing of both the committees and the social programs they administer remains murky. Last year, Nicaragua and Venezuela signed a deal that opposition leaders and budget experts say has given Mr. Ortega’s administration essentially a slush fund outside the national budget, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Under the deal, Venezuela supplies Nicaragua with about 10 million barrels of oil a year, enough to cover all the country’s energy needs. Nicaragua pays half the market price and has 23 years to pay off the rest at 2 percent interest. The deal hands Nicaragua what amounts to a large low-interest loan every month for infrastructure projects and social programs.

But the loans are not reflected in the national budget, since the transactions are handled through a quasi-public company called Albanisa and the state-owned oil company, Petronic. (The treasurer of the Sandinista party, Francisco López, also runs Petronic and is a vice president of Albanisa.) The Ortega administration has never given a full accounting to the legislature of how the money is spent.

“It’s off the books — no institutions, no controls,” said Roberto Courtney, the executive director of Ethics and Transparency, a Nicaragua-based lobby group advocating openness in government. “That’s how the C.P.C. gets its money.”

The network of citizen councils is overseen by Ms. Murillo, Mr. Ortega’s wife and communications director, who is widely seen here as a powerful political figure. She did not respond to a request for an interview.

Each council has 15 members, and each member has a portfolio, roughly paralleling the government ministries. Though members of other parties sit on the committees, a vast majority are Sandinistas.

Among other things, the committees decide which stores will handle the subsidized food program for the poor, which streets will be paved under an infrastructure project financed by Venezuela, which women will receive low-income loans to start small businesses and which farmers will get free cattle, pigs and seeds. They also oversee vaccinations and literacy classes.

Jeannette Suazo, a Sandinista, is the chairwoman of the committee in a Managua neighborhood known as September 14th. She insists that aid is handed out without regard to politics, and she said that her committee had four members who belonged to the opposition party. All are volunteers and get no pay, though some have government jobs, she said.

“We are the communicators between the people and the government,” she said. “It’s easier to solve these problems with an organized people than with a disorganized people.”

On the impoverished streets of Managua, people complain more about the scarcity of government aid coming from the councils than about favoritism in doling it out. Subsidized supplies of beans, rice and oil, for instance, run out long before the lines disappear outside stores, some said.

“They give us too little product for too many people,” said Lidia Urbina, whose family runs the tiny store in the September 14th neighborhood chosen to distribute food. She said the program was not partisan. “There are liberals, Sandinistas, people from all parties, all of them carry off their food.”

Among the poorest residents of Managua are those who live in shanties constructed within the ruins of buildings in the old city center, which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 1972.

Maria Auxiliadora Rivera, 37, lives in a filthy, one-room hut in the ruins with six children and her husband, surviving on a kitchen job that pays $60 a month. She makes tortillas over an open fire against a sooty wall of a destroyed building.

Though not a Sandinista, she said she received a $230 loan recently through the local citizen’s committee to start a business making and selling tortillas on the street. She said the loans were not going solely to Sandinistas.

Still, she said, it would only help her survive, not make a permanent difference in her standard of living. “We are really abandoned,” she said.

Others living in squalid and dangerous structures in the ruins said Sandinista party members and civil servants were getting preferential treatment for units in a public housing development going up nearby, a project financed with Venezuelan aid.

“They are building houses, but only for the people in the party,” said Carlos Reyes Herrera, 46, who ekes out a living collecting cans and bottles. A veteran of the Sandinista revolution in the 1970s, he lives with his wife and two children in a plywood shack among the ruins. “For me, the committees are all Sandinista. They look out for their own.”

Source: New York Times

Meanwhile, in advance of November 2008 local elections, which will be postponed to April 2009 in the hurricane-wracked North Atlantic Autonomous Region, the neo-Sandinista regime is applying pressure to Nicaragua’s opposition media in order to stifle criticism of Ortega’s socialist policies. The abrupt end of TV journalist Jaime Arellano’s career in April, related by the Costa Rica-based Tico Times, is instructive. Arellano is pictured above.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt that we are entering a new phase of heavy-handed policies (toward the press),” television journalist Jaime Arellano told The Nica Times. Arellano, the popular morning talk show host of “10 en La Nación,” a weekday show on Channel 10, surprised his viewers April 4 with a tearful and unexpected announcement that the morning’s broadcast would be his last show. Arellano told his viewers that he was being forced to go off the air because he refused to tone down his political criticisms of the government. He ended his final program on Channel 10 with an impassioned call for Nicaraguans to stand up against the Ortega administration and defend the country’s democratic institutions before it’s too late.

Opposition newspaper La Prensa, which opposes Ortega’s Citizens’ Power Councils, has also been subject to the FSLN censor:

La Prensa, meanwhile, has not let up on its historically barbed criticism of the Sandinistas, despite losing its slander case – the outcome of which, the paper claims, was decided by the Sandinistas long before the trial even started. The daily was sued for slander by five members of the Sandinistas’ Councils of Citizen Power (CPCs) over a Dec. 20 headline that read: “CPC With License to Give Beatings.” The subtitle of the article referred to the CPCs as “gangs,” following an incident in which a La Prensa journalist, Jorge Loásiga, was attacked by Ortega’s private security, which the newspaper erroneously identified as CPC in its headline.

Elsewhere in the same article the Tico Times reports that the FSLN government has hired a media consultant from Red Venezuela to provide the appropriate spin to Ortega’s policies: “Arellano, however, insists his case is proof positive that the Sandinista government is following the alleged media advice given to it by a Venezuelan consultant: either buy out the opposition media, or pressure them to be quiet.”

Meanwhile, the neo-Sandinista regime is harboring three fugitives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia who were present at the FARC’s Ecuadorian jungle camp where Colombian security forces executed second-in-command Raul Reyes on March 1. This incident precipitated the Andean Diplomatic Crisis between, on the one side, Colombia and, on the other side, Ecuador and Venezuela. All of the fugitives in question are foreign nationals.

The first is Mexican national Lucia Moreto, who is hiding somehwere in Nicaragua itself. On April 23, 2008 Alfredo Rivas, a freelance journalist from Brooklyn, New York, reported at his blog, the Nicaraguan Report, that “President Daniel Ortega offered Nicaraguan citizenship to known FARC terrorist, Lucia Moreto.” After the raid in Ecuador, Moreto materialized in Nicaragua with Ortega and his wife Rosario. Foreign Affairs Minister Samuel Santos, who led Managua’s diplomatic-military delegation to Moscow in November 2007, derided rumors that Moreto is hiding in one of his residences located in the swanky Managua subdivision of Las Nubes. Upon further questioning by the press Santos admitted that Ortega possessed a “unilateral prerogative” to host Moreto while she “rests in transit,” presumably en route to her native Mexico. Santos inisted that Moreto has not applied for citizenship or residency in Nicaragua.

Finally, also according to Rivas, Moreto’s Ecuadorian comrades Martha Perez and Doris Bojorquez Torrez are enjoying the protection of Nicaragua’s diplomatic residence in Quito, where they are shielded from extradition to Colombia.

In a related story, El Universal reports that Interpol findings to be released on May 15 confirm the Colombian government’s contention that the contents of Reyes’ laptop computer are authentic. These electronic files contain references to a large monetary transaction between the Chavezista regime and the Colombian guerrillas, as well as FARC plans to build a “dirty nuke” bomb. Reyes and his controversial computer are pictured above.

Moscow is taking a keen interest in the re-communization of Nicaragua. In attendance at Ortega’s January 2007 re-inauguration was former Russian prime minister and Vladimir Putin’s personal envoy Sergei Stepashin, who promptly revitalized Moscow’s Cold War-era alliance with Managua. Neo-Soviet Russia and neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, as noted above, have already exchanged several high-level political-military delegations, but few analysts in the shopping mall regime are paying attention.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Top United Russia deputy arrives in Belgrade, meets with PM Kostunica’s party; Tadic death threats suggest Serbian mafia "trace"

>The Kremlin continues to manipulate the Kosovo Crisis by dispatching a senior member of the crypto-Stalinist United Russia party to Belgrade. There Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, will establish formal inter-party relations between Vladimir Putin’s support group and Russophile Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia. Serbians will march to the polls on Sunday, May 11 in another parliamentary election, only slightly more than a year after the last, to cobble together another government that will either push Serbia into the bosom of the European Union or deeper into neo-Soviet Russia’s embrace. Since Moscow pulls strings in Brussels, Serbia and Kosovo are simply two more weapons in the Kremlin’s arsenal to fracture the Western Alliance. Nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, whose Serbian Radical Party holds the most number of seats in parliament and boasts a slight lead in opinion polls, has threatened to invite Russian troops into Serbia for the purpose of countering the NATO presence in Serbia’s breakaway province.

Pictured above: Belgrade workers mount an election billboard featuring the Serbian prime minister on May 4, 2008.

Top Russian MP to visit Belgrade at Kostunica’s invitation
15:5905/ 05/ 2008

MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – A senior Russian lawmaker will arrive in Belgrade on May 8 at the invitation of outgoing-Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, a week before the country’s crucial parliamentary elections.

Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the International Affairs Committee at the State Duma, told reporters on Monday the visit would take place as part of a ‘friendly party’ agreement between the ruling United Russia party and Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS).

During his visit Kosachyov will participate in a DSS public meeting before the early elections due on May 11. The Russian lawmaker is also expected to meet with leaders of other political parties and with members of Serbia’s caretaker parliament.

In March, pro-Western President Boris Tadic dismissed parliament and urged new elections after nationalist premier Kostunica refused to govern alongside Tadic’s Democratic Party over disagreements on EU integration.

The main issue for voters is whether Serbia should move closer to the EU or return to hard-line nationalism.

Source: Novosti

Meanwhile, Serbia’s “pro”-Western President Boris Tadic, who like Kostunica opposes Kosovar independence and supports Gazprom’s acquisition of Belgrade’s state oil monopoly, has been the target of death threats. Last week, Tadic backed Serbia’s signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU over the objections of nationalists, who insisted that the document amounted to a recognition of independence for Serbia’s former province. Tadic’s Democratic Party, which is to be distinguished from Kostunica’s similarly named party, belongs to the Socialist International. Pictured above: The handshake of death from the Red Mafiya? Tadic meets Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin before the Summit of the Future of Energy in Southeastern Europe in Zagreb, Croatia, on June 24, 2007.

Serbia’s pro-Western president gets death threats
Mon May 5, 2008 10:56am EDT

BELGRADE, May 5 (Reuters) – Serbian President Boris Tadic has received death threats for “betraying the Serb people” by seeking closer ties with the European Union despite its support for Kosovo’s secession, officials said on Monday.

Tadic, also the leader of the main pro-Western party, backed the signing of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement last week over the objections of nationalists, who said it amounted to a recognition of independence for Serbia’s former province.

“We are aware of the death threats President Tadic received,” the state prosecutor’s office said on Monday. “Relevant state institutions are taking all measures necessary to protect the president and identify the perpetrators.”

The president’s office declined to comment on the threats.

The Serbian daily Blic quoted one letter as saying Tadic would get a bullet to the head for betraying the country.

The secession of Kosovo, Serbia’s medieval heartland, polarised Serbian society between hardliners who want to freeze ties with the EU and pro-Western liberals who think there is a way to move towards membership and still not give up Kosovo.

The government, a coalition of Tadic’s Democrats with outgoing nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, collapsed under the strain. Campaigning for the May 11 election has focused largely on the EU-Kosovo dilemma.

Tadic, speaking to reporters at a public function, urged politicians to calm down and not create ‘bad blood in the country’ for the sake of a few more percentage points in the election.

There were several mafia-style murders during Slobodan Milosevic’s autocratic rule in the 1990s. The most recent and traumatic was the 2003 assassination of reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, shot by a sniper connected to nationalist crime groups.

Police are also investigating an alleged plot against war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic, who has angered nationalists by pursuing suspects from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Source: Reuters

The most recent high-profile, mafia-linked assassination in Serbia was that of reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003. Djindjic was the object of hatred by loyalists of Serbian communist leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died (or was murdered, according to supporters) in jail in 2006. Djindjic played a key role in the fall of “Slobo” in 2000, while the “ex”-communist Serbian mafia played a key role in the death of Djindjic less than three years later. In March 2003 journalist Daniel Sunter revealed the conspiracy behind Djindjic’s demise: “Over 750 people have been arrested since a state of emergency was declared in Serbia following the assassination of prime minister Zoran Djindjic last week. Slobodan Milosevic’s former chief of state security, Jovica Stanisic, and the founder of the notorious Red Berets special police unit, Franko ‘Frenki’ Simatovic, are among those detained in an operation, which could finally spell the end of organised crime in Serbia.”

The “ex”-communist Socialist Party of Serbia and assorted groupies in the Serbian mafia could very well be the perps behind the anti-Tadic death threats. In 1994 Chandler Rosenberger, writing for the National Review, described the activities of the “Milosevic Mafia” in Yugoslavia: “While smugglers, bandits, and neo-Nazis proliferate in Belgrade, Serbia is being ground into dust by the same grey machine of ex-Communists that launched the Yugoslav war in an attempt to defend its privileges. Small-time criminals, says Duska Jovanic, a stylish journalist specializing in the mafia, are disillusioned by the speed with which the Communists have taken over their trade.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian bombers routinely probe US, Canadian airspace since summer 2007, but perestroika deception unacknowledged

>You can definitely see the [Russian bomber’s] tail gunner. You wave back and forth. There’s an exchange of pleasantries.
— “Nojo,” Canadian Forces CF-18 fighter jet pilot

“I really do believe they’re training flights for the Russian pilots. We have no information to back up anything other than the fact they’d be training flights,” US Air Force Colonel John Zentner, chief of NORAD operations, insisted recently, commenting on the Russian Air Force’s resumption of Cold War-era long-range patrols. “They’ve been scrupulously flying where international law allows them to fly, but they’re coming right up [to the edge of US and Canadian airspace],” he added. There is no question that these are certainly training flights since the neo-Soviet military has an entirely new generation of pilots to hone for the Fourth World War. However, Colonel Zentner, like most Western military officers and politicians, is blind to the perestroika deception. He is trying to convince himself of that which is obviously not true, namely, Russia is the West’s partner.

Pictured above: Today Russian fighter jets participate in a rehearsal for the Kremlin’s first Red Square military parade to feature tanks and missiles since 1990, to be held on May 9.

Russian bombers are regular visitors along Canadian and US airspace
By Bob Weber, THE CANADIAN PRESS
May 4, 2008

The call came in to the air force field in Inuvik in the Northwest Territories: Unidentified aircraft approaching Canada’s Arctic.

“You get airborne as fast as you can,” says the CF-18 pilot, identified by his call sign – Nojo. “You end up running to the jet.”

Less than 30 minutes later, somewhere high above the Arctic Ocean, Nojo and his fellow pilot identified the intruders: multiple “Bears,” long-range Russian bombers, 130 kilometres from Canadian airspace and closing fast.

“You truck on out, usually pretty fast, you get the jet in the position where you can fly up behind the target and you have a look at it. Then you throw one jet on the wing so the Bear knows you’re following him and the other jet you just stack out a little bit so he’s in a farther trail position.”

Nojo got pretty close.

“You can definitely see the tail gunner. You wave back and forth. There’s an exchange of pleasantries.”

Nojo and his partner escorted the Bears into and back out of Canadian airspace and peeled off only when it was clear they were headed home. It was one of two intercept missions he flew last fall, one of which was at night, when he had to light up the Bears with the jet’s spotlight.

Any CF-18 mission is thrilling, but these were special.

“We do a lot of training,” says Nojo. “To actually do an operational mission was definitely exciting.”

Records obtained by The Canadian Press show that Russian bombers are again regular visitors along Canadian and U.S. Arctic airspace. One military analyst says it’s all part of the Russian effort to re-establish itself on the world stage, especially in the Arctic.

“The Russians are just telling all the Arctic nations, ‘We’re back,’ ” says Rob Huebert of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

Since Russian president Vladimir Putin announced last August that Russia would resume its long-range air patrols, about two Tu-95 bombers a month have been flying into the buffer zone just outside Canadian and U.S. airspace in the Arctic.

“It’s a section of airspace emanating from both of our countries,” says USAF Col. John Zentner, chief of NORAD current operations. “It’s a section of airspace that we’ve identified that allows us to transition from offshore flights to those approaching our mainland.”

Documents show that Canadian CF-18 Hornets have flown five such Bear intercept missions – one in 2006 and two each in September and November last year.

American jets have flown another 12 such missions in the Arctic, Zentner says.

Although Zentner won’t discuss where the flights go, Huebert says his sources suggest the Bears fly along – but not into – Canadian airspace adjacent to the western High Arctic islands.

“They’ve been scrupulously flying where international law allows them to fly, but they’re coming right up.”

Bears first flew during the Cold War as turbo-prop-powered long-range bombers and surveillance aircraft and are the Russian answer to the U.S. B-52. The Bear-H version involved in the most recent flights is designed to carry and launch 10 cruise missiles.

Civilian aircraft are required to file flight plans that allow NORAD to identify them as they enter the buffer zone. Russian planes don’t file such plans and are intercepted after they are spotted so they can be identified.

“When NORAD perceives an unidentified air track that’s about to penetrate our air defence identification zone, then we’ll launch appropriately to identify the aircraft,” Zentner says, adding that all unidentified aircraft are intercepted.

Zentner accepts Russian statements that the bomber flights are intended merely as training missions.

“I really do believe they’re training flights for the Russian pilots,” he says. “We have no information to back up anything other than the fact they’d be training flights.”

Russian military media even announce when flights are planned, although specific details are not released.

“It’s a completely different strategic dynamic involved than compared to 20 years ago,” Zentner says.

That doesn’t mean the flights don’t serve a strategic purpose, says Huebert.

“It indicates quite clearly (Russia’s) renewed interest and enforcement capability in the Arctic. It’s clearly a restatement for Putin to say the Russian armed forces are back in town.”

Nojo and his colleagues are happy to escort them around.

“You sit on the wing and you’re seen to support Canadian sovereignty.”

Source: Canoe.ca

The Kremlin’s latest incident of saber rattling will occur one day after KGB dictator Vladimir Putin slides laterally into his old role of prime minister, only to be replaced by his compliant, baby-faced puppet, Komsomol graduate and Gazprom CEO Dmitry Medvedev. In a related story, Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces will test launch nine RS-24 ICBMs between June and November of this year.

Meanwhile, in a coordinated action, cadres of the official Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union and their comrades in the potemkin United Russia party took to the streets of Russia’s cities on May 1 to take a few pot shots at the Putinist regime and protest rising food prices, which are part of an international trend that has provoked riots in cities worldwide, most lately in war-torn Somalia. The independent Moscow Times reports about last week’s traditional observance of May Day in Russia:

In Moscow, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told May Day crowds that more than 5 million of the country’s poorest people were barely surviving on 5,000 rubles ($210) per month amid rising housing costs. Communist supporters carried banners saying, “Everyone should have the right to a free apartment.” A pro-Kremlin march organized jointly by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and United Russia called for the “rise in wages to exceed the rise in prices.” The refrain was also taken up in Volgograd, where demonstrators called for higher salaries, the Regnum news agency reported. In St. Petersburg, marchers chanted, “No to high prices!” and “Putin’s Plan means high prices,” Reuters reported. In the Far East, protesters in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk called for higher wages and for the government to take measures to bring down prices for fuel and food.

Ground-level agitation of this sort is part of a greater political movement orchestrated by Moscow’s Leninist masterminds to further discredit capitalism in Russia and around the world. Pictured above: CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov leads a May Day procession of communists and young recruits near the Kremlin.

>End Times File: Olmert enshackles Israel to the revived Roman Empire, Antichrist opens an office in Jerusalem, Jews prepare to build the Third Temple

>The Union for the Mediterranean will create prosperity and peace for everyone involved in it. If it becomes reality, the Union for the Mediterranean will change the world.
— French President Nicolas Sarkozy, statement made at National Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Tunis, on April 28, 2008

In previous posts we have provided a rationale for our occasional detours from monitoring neo-Soviet Russia, described as “the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” in the book of Ezekiel, to considering the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the Middle East and Europe. World events are moving fast and, indeed, Russia is not only on a collision course with the West but also God Himself. Ezekiel prophesies that in “the latter years” (38:8) Russia and its Islamic allies will fling their armies against Israel, after the Jews are gathered from their dispersion, only to be miraculously overthrown: “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou [Gog] shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them” (Ezekiel 38:16).

The inclusion of hundreds of precise predictions of the future in the Bible was designed by God to confirm to mankind the historical reliability of His written word and, more specifically, to provoke people to look unto Jesus for personal salvation from divine judgment on sin. In the light of current events and the failure of some Bible expositors to properly relate Daniel’s 70th week to past events in Israel’s history, including the earthly ministry of Jesus, we believe that the last seven years of the kingdom of man is fast approaching. Three sets of prophecies, in particular, are worthy of consideration: 1) Israel has returned from its dispersion to its covenant land (Genesis 12:7) according to the exact year, month and day predicted in Leviticus (26:18, 24), Jeremiah (25:11-12, 29:10), Ezekiel (4:5-9), and Daniel (9:2); 2) the Roman Empire, in the form of the Mediterranean Union, which includes the European Union and the states of northern Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, including Israel, will be revived this year according to the predictions of Daniel (chapters 2, 7) and Revelation (13, 17); and 3) the professing churches are in a profound state of doctrinal confusion and moral declension according to the predictions of Paul (2 Timothy 4:3). In the days of His flesh Jesus said of His return: “[W]hen the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Defining God’s Programs for Israel, the Nations, and the Church

Christians who hold to the literal-historical-grammatical, rather than allegorical, interpretation of Holy Scripture rightly recognize that God has separate but related programs for Israel, the nations, and the Body of Christ, or church, that will culminate during the earthly thousand-year reign of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus the Christ) from Jerusalem. During this extended period of universal bliss (Isaiah 9:7), Israel will be restored under her covenant relationship with Yahweh (Romans 11:26) and become the “head of the nations” (Deuteronomy 28:13); the Old and New Testament saints, in their glorified, resurrected bodies, will assist King Yeshua in his global dominion (Revelation 5:10); and those saints who are waiting for Messiah at the end of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21), or Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Daniel 12:1), will escape the Son of God’s judgment to populate the Millennial world (Matthew 25:34). According to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 5:9, as well as Revelation 3:10, moreover, before God pours out his judgments upon the earth Christ will remove the church from the earth through the physical translation, or rapture (“catching away”), of the saints to heaven.

As current events unfold, the superiority of the literal over the allegorical hermeneutic is becoming obvious.

It is true that the New Testament graphically refers to the individual Christian as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16) and the church as the temple of the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:16). The apostle Paul’s pictorial use of the historical Temple does not preclude, as those who hold to supersessionism or replacement theology insist, the reconstruction of a physical temple in Jerusalem. Ultimately, supersessionism or replacement theology is based on an allegorical, even crypto-gnostic, interpretation of God’s promises to Israel. In recent years, advocates of supersessionism, found throughout much of Protestantism, have mounted an offensive against the literal hermeneutic in the field of prophecy. True, there are good folks on both sides of the issue. However, at stake is God’s character. Is the Lord God of Israel a trustworthy, plain-speaking God, or does he speak in allegories that require interpretation by “Christian gurus”? The existence of symbolism in the Bible is not under debate here.

As such, we will consider the fact that two temples have existed on Mount Zion, while two have yet to be built. The First Temple was erected by King Solomon, the third and last monarch of the unified Kingdom of Israel, in the 10th century BC and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The Second Temple was erected by Ezra and Nehemiah in 516 BC, after the predicted 70-year Babylonian Captivity, massively renovated by King Herod in 19 BC, and destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.

The Third Temple, the future existence of which is predicted in Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, and Revelation 11:1-2, will be built by the Jews themselves, possibly just before or just after the beginning of the first three and one half years of Daniel’s 70th Week. It will probably be destroyed during the earthquake that will shake Jerusalem in the midst of that prophetic week (Revelation 11:13) or possibly during Messiah’s return to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).

Daniel’s 70 weeks refer to 490 prophetic years of Israel’s history, which began when Persia’s King Cyrus commanded the Jews to rebuild God’s temple in 516 BC (Daniel 9:25) and terminated 483 years later, at the end of the 69th week, with the Passover week in which Christ was received as Israel’s king (Matthew 27:37) but then rejected and crucified, or “cut off” (Daniel 9:26) for the “sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). From this point God, following the plan that He devised in eternity past (Revelation 13:8), redirected His attention to the Body of Christ, consisting of Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus. Following the rapture of the saints, mentioned above, God will return his full attention to Israel for the purpose of pouring out the spiritual and material blessings promised to that nation through Abraham and David. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, warns the Christian church in Rome: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25).

Prophetic time spans in Holy Scripture, it should be stressed, are never used in conjunction with the church, only Israel and the nations. Confounding Israel and the church, therefore, will produce a faulty understanding of most areas of theology. The same can be said with respect to erroneously attributing the “he” of Daniel 9:27 to Christ, rather than Antichrist, which will produce a faulty understanding of the end times, the entire period between the First and Second Advents of Messiah.

Lastly, the Fourth Temple will be constructed at the beginning of the Millennium under the supervision of Messiah Himself, as prophesied by Zechariah (6:12-15), and follow the blueprint described by Ezekiel (chapters 40 to 46), but which was never applied in the Second Temple. The Millennial Temple will be the site of memorial observances of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, such as the reinstitution of the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19). This should not be a foreign concept to Christians today since the church presently has a memorial observance called the Lord’s supper. In the Millennial Temple worship, it should be emphasized, there will be no Levitical priesthood or sacrifice for sin since Christ’s one-time offering of Himself on the cross as mankind’s sin-bearer was perfect (Hebrews 9:26). There is no disharmony, therefore, between the Millennial Temple worship and the Christian doctrine of personal salvation. It is very possible, we should add, that the Millennial Temple will not even be erected on the Temple Mount, but near Jerusalem, since this structure and its environs vastly exceed the size of their predecessors.

Rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem

Pictured here is a hypothetical Third Temple from the website of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, which is prominent in the plans afoot to rebuild the Jewish Temple. Another important organization involved in these plans is the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement. In 2004, in preparation for erecting the Third Temple at the Temple Mount, Orthodox Jews reorganized the ancient Sanhedrin, or council of rabbis. Yisrael Ariel, who heads the Temple Institute, is one of the rabbis participating in the revived Sanhedrin. In a January 2005 interview with Arutz-7 TV Rabbi Ariel confided:

Whether this will be the actual Sanhedrin that we await, is a question of time – just like the establishment of the State; we rejoiced in it, but we are still awaiting something much more ideal. It’s a process. Today’s ceremony is really the continuation of the renewal of the Ordination process in Israel, which we marked several months ago. Our Talmudic Sages describe the ten stages of exile of the Sanhedrin from Jerusalem to other locations, until it ended in Tiberias – and this is the place where it was foretold that it would be renewed, and from here it will be relocated to Jerusalem.

In December 2007 the Temple Institute announced the completion of the tzitz, the high priest’s headplate, and current work on 120 sets of garments for the regular priests and architectural drawings for the Third Temple. Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, informed Arutz-7 TV that until the tzitz can actually be used, the headplate will be on view in the Institute’s permanent exhibition, along with other vessels and priestly garments fashioned by the Institute for use in the yet-to-be-built Temple. Rabbi Ariel, who was also interviewed, explained that the reinstitution of the Temple worship also awaits the breeding of a suitable red heifer to ceremonially purify the participants. “For one thing,” Ariel said, “they are made in impurity – for now we are impure, and will remain impure until we are able to have a Red Heifer whose ashes can be used in the Torah-prescribed purification ceremony. If no Red Heifer is available, then the High Priest must even serve in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur in a state of impurity.”

More recently, in April 2008 an orthodox Jewish group ritually slaughtered a sheep in what the Temple Movement calls a “rehearsal for the renewal of the Passover sacrifice once the Jerusalem temple is rebuilt.”

Jewish group to slaughter lamb in Passover sacrifice rehearsal
Sunday, April 06, 2008 by Staff Writer

A Bible-adherent Jewish group on Sunday ritually slaughtered a young lamb in what is called a “rehearsal” for the renewal of the Passover sacrifice once the Jerusalem temple is rebuilt.

The Temple Movement won approval to carry out the practice sacrifice from Israel’s High Court on Friday after animal rights groups asserted that the lamb would be put through inhumane suffering.

In its legal response, the Temple Movement explained that the slaughter would be carried out according to biblical standards, which is the same method used to slaughter lambs at kosher slaughterhouses around the country.

The sacrifice and accompanying religious ceremonies were performed at a prominent yeshiva overlooking Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which is still occupied by several Muslim shrines.

Source: Israel Today

Thus, we see the ongoing fulfillment of important elements in God’s plan for Israel during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), which occurs during the second half of Daniel’s 70th week. In preparation for erecting the Third Temple, however, Orthodox Jews will require an agreement, brokered by the leader of the revived Roman Empire, with the Islamic Waqf. This body has controlled the Temple Mount since 1291, when the Crusaders were expelled from Palestine, and continues to exercise its authority to this day, notwithstanding the fact that the Israelis liberated the Temple Mount in the Six Day War. Half way through Daniel’s 70th week the Roman Antichrist, who is also described as “that man of sin” in Paul’s second letter to the church in Thessalonica, will seat himself in the rebuilt Temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Rebuilding the Roman Empire of Bible Prophecy

In the Old Testament book of Daniel God provides mankind with an outline of history in the dreams of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and the Hebrew prophet Daniel, who also interpreted the king’s dream. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a statue of a man consisting of different metals that represented four successive world empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel 2:38-45). A stone, representing Jesus Christ and his Millennial Kingdom, smashed the statue at its feet. The ancient Roman Empire, in particular, embraced not only Europe, but also northern Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, including the province of Judea, or modern Israel. Together, these empires would embrace the “times of the Gentiles,” spoken of by Jesus in Luke 21:24, and span the period between the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity and the return of Messiah in glory, a period now almost 2,600 years in extent. Since the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom on earth was postponed at his First Advent (Acts 1:6-7), the fourth worldly empire, Rome, has been extended accordingly, through various phases, to the end of the church, or present, age.

The final form of the Roman Empire, which will be present when Messiah returns was identified with the statue’s ten toes, comprised of iron and clay and representing a mingling of overbearing authoritarianism and fragile democracy (Daniel 2:42-43). In parallel fashion Daniel’s own dream contained four beasts, representing the kingdoms above, the last of which possessed ten horns, representing ten kings, and “another horn” that shall rise after them and require the subservience of the previous (Daniel 7:23-27). The end of the (Western) Roman Empire is dated at 476, with the deposing of Romulus Augustus by the German chieftain Odoacer, but no confederation of equal kingdoms embracing the land of Palestine subsequently arose until 2007, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy first proposed his Mediterranean Union. The mingling of authoritarianism and democracy also perfectly describes the European Union and its impending expansion into the Mediterranean Union.

Meanwhile, the EU leadership is anxious to expand its power throughout the territory of the ancient Roman Empire. On April 1, 2008 Middle East Business Intelligence quoted European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, an “ex”-communist from Portugal, as saying: “The Mediterranean is an absolute priority for Europe, a priority on which delivery has now become urgent.” The full article follows:

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has called for the urgent delivery of plans for a Mediterranean Union, international press reports said. Speaking over the weekend at an Athens meeting of parliamentary presidents from the 37 member states of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, Barroso said: “The Mediterranean is an absolute priority for Europe, a priority on which delivery has now become urgent.” On 14 March, the EU approved the Mediterranean Union plan promoted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. France is expected to present detailed plans and host a summit on the issue in July, when the country takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency. Some 27 EU members and 12 Mediterranean nations, including Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia are to be included in the Union.

As of April 2008 France, Spain, and Italy have expressed their unreserved support for the nascent MU. Germany and Turkey have offered qualified support for Sarkozy’s project of uniting the Mediterranean region. In North Africa Tunisia and Egypt have articulated their solidarity with the French president in his grandiose ambitions. Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in fact, are touted as the MU’s dual leaders. According to the French media, moreover, the MU will boast two rotating presidencies, one for the countries north of the Mediterranean Sea, another for the countries south of the sea. On May 4 France 24 TV reported: “Syria, Libya and some other Arab countries have also appeared lukewarm over the project as it might suggest an indirect normalisation of their relations with Israel without any settlement of the Palestinian conflict.” However, settlement of the Palestinian conflict is top priority for Sarkozy and will be for the leader of the revived Roman Empire.

Some Bible scholars have suggested that the 1954 military pact known as the Western European Union, which consists of 10 member states, represents the revived Roman Empire of prophecy. However, the territory covered by the WEU, the functions of which are being transferred to the more well-known EU, does not embrace that of Imperial Rome. In conclusion we should note that for these prophecies to be literally fulfilled, it is to be expected therefore that the nascent MU will be regionalized into 10 subunits and the seat of government established in Rome. The EU’s capitals are currently in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France.

Waiting for Antichrist: “Another Shall Come in His Own Name”

During His earthly ministry Messiah warned that “false Christs,” or pseudochristos, would appear at the end of the present age to deceive Israel and the world: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24:24). In John’s gospel account Jesus alluded to the arrival of the final Antichrist: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43). “Little children, it is the last time,” affirms John in his first epistle, “and as ye have heard that [the] antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). Incidentally, the Greek contains the definite article ho in the first reference to antichristos. John defines antichrist as one who denies that Christ has come in the flesh, but antichrist is no open atheist but, rather, a hypocritical professor of things holy (1 John 2:22-23).

The present revival of the Roman Empire, of course, necessitates the arrival of a political-military ruler (Daniel 8:9-14, 23-25, 9:26-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9, 1 John 2:18) who will assume control over the last form of Daniel’s fourth kingdom. This “beast from the sea” (Revelation 13:11) will probably not be a pope, contrary to the historic Protestant interpretation, but, rather, a co-religionist of the “false prophet” (19:20, 20:10), also known as the “beast from the earth,” who had “two horns like a lamb” and “spake as a dragon” (13:11). The False Prophet, furthermore, “had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (13:15). For a time the Beast and the False Prophet will operate as a duumvirate.

The pope’s religious influence is unrivalled. Since the Second Vatican Council the papacy has taken a leadership role in promoting the ecumencial/interfaith/one world religion movement. Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor John Paul II especially were no exceptions. In October 2007 Benedict XVI hosted the largest inter-faith meeting of his pontificate thus far. The Turkish Press reported: “Some 200 participants at the annual Sant’Egidio community peace meeting include Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Israel’s chief rabbis Yona Metzger and the imam of the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim Ezzeddin.” The same source quoted the pope as urging: “With respect for the differences between the various religions, we are all called to work for peace and … reconciliation among peoples.” The synthesis of the world’s competing religions under the guidance of the Vatican, which claims to this day that it is the “one true church,” will require nothing short of a demonic deception, such as that predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Coincidentally but probably not, the pope, as is commonly known, portrays himself as a meek and mild “shepherd of souls,” but like Revelation’s beast from the earth, literally sports two horns in the form of a two-horned mitre, or ceremonial headpiece (above).

For those Christians who believe that the ancient Roman emperors or the popes were or are the final embodiment of the spirit of antichrist already at work in John’s day (1 John 4:3), then be mindful that John’s epistle quoted above predicts the arrival of “many antichrists,” in addition to the chief “antichrist [who] will come.” Revelation, moreover, describes how the political power, or the Beast, will exploit the religious power, or the False Prophet, to advance its own cause (Revelation 17:1-9), before overthrowing the harlot state church and demanding total worship for itself (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The Holy Scriptures reveal:

And the ten horns [kings] which thou sawest upon the beast [from the sea, equivalent to Daniel’s fourth beast], these shall hate the whore [state church], and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (Revelation 17:6).

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning (Revelation 18:9).

Without making an apology for Catholic eschatology, it is interesting to note that the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges a similar scenario. In ancient Rome the emperors demanded worship and some like Constantine the Great, a professed Christian who nevertheless supported the old pagan gods and their priests, referred to himself as Supreme Pontiff, one of the pope’s current titles. In short, Antichrist will be the last leader of the revived Roman Empire, who will command the adoration of the world’s inhabitants in much the same way as did the ancient caesars, and he will be present on the earth when Christ returns in flaming vengeance against evildoers (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

In his classic treatment of eschatology in Things to Come (1958), theologian J. Dwight Pentecost notes 29 Biblical characteristics of Antichrist’s character and career (pages 333-334), some delivered under types and shadows of ancient Middle Eastern political-military leaders. This is the case with Daniel’s prophecy about the “willful king” (11:36-45). Some indication of the personality of Antichrist appears in the eighth chapter of Daniel’s book, which contains a predictive account of the malevolent Seleucid emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes (meaning “manifestation of god”).

Antiochus IV is an obvious Old Testament type of the final Antichrist. One source writes of Antiochus’ nefarious exploits in Judea: “While Antiochus was conquering Egypt (169 BCE), Jason’s forces recaptured Jerusalem & slaughtered supporters of Menelaus. Returning from Egypt (167 BCE) Antiochus sacked Jerusalem & rebuilt it as a Seleucid fortress. Torah observance was outlawed & the imperial cult brought into the Jewish temple itself with the erection of a statue of Antiochus as Zeus with a Hellenistic altar of sacrifice. Jews who resisted were subject to execution.” Antiochus also desecrated the Second Temple by slaughtering a pig, a ceremonially unclean animal, on the premises.

It is not our purpose here to provide an extensive biography of Antichrist. Indeed, this figure’s identity cannot be known with absolute certainty until every born-again, Bible-believing Christian, which includes your resident blogger, is removed from this earth in the rapture. Nevertheless, potential candidates of the world’s last dictator appear to be present on the world stage. For example, Prince Charles, who was dubbed “Savior of the World” by overzealous Brazilian sculptor Mauricio Bentes in 2002, was a recent contender, but was dismissed from the role by one cynical Antichrist tracker.

Nevertheless, self-restrained students of Bible prophecy might wish to monitor the careers of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Upon first inspection, the congenial Blair and the playboy Sarkozy appear to be unlikely candidates for Antichrist. After all, they are not rapacious Jew-haters like Adolph Hitler or Antiochus Epiphanes. Indeed, Sarkozy’s mother’s father was a Greek Jew. The European Antichrist, after all, is a deceiver, who will remove his friendly mask after neo-Soviet Russia and its Islamic allies move against Israel three years and six months into Daniel’s 70th Week.

Friendly Deceiver? Tony Blair, Antichrist Candidate A

As the world’s Middle East peace ambassador, Blair’s career is a must-view for Antichrist sleuths. The former British prime minister, as we blogged before, was chosen in June 2007 to be the Diplomatic Quartet’s Special Envoy to the Middle East. The Diplomatic Quartet, also known as the Quartet on the Middle East, the Madrid Quartet, or simply the Quartet, consists of the USA, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. The Quartet was established in Madrid in 2002 by the Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Jewish news source reported at the time that Blair will be moving to Jerusalem to fulfill his new role as “world peacemaker.” He will open an office there, as well as in the Palestinian National Authority.

Quartet picks Blair as peace envoy
Published: 06/26/2007

Tony Blair will be moving to Jerusalem to become the Quartet’s special peace envoy to the Middle East. A statement released Wednesday by U.N. headquarters in New York confirmed Blair’s appointment, which was reportedly agreed upon yesterday in Jerusalem at a meeting of the Quartet, the diplomatic grouping made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. As envoy, Blair is charged with mobilizing international assistance to the Palestinians, securing support for the institutional governance needs of the future Palestinian state, promoting Palestinian economic development, and coordinating Quartet objectives with other countries.

“As representative, Tony Blair will bring continuity and intensity of focus to the work of the Quartet in support of the Palestinians, within the broader framework of the Quartet’s efforts to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the roadmap,” the statement said. “He will spend significant time in the region working with the parties and others to help create viable and lasting government institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy, and a climate of law and order for the Palestinian people.” Blair’s new post will be based in Jerusalem, with a potential second office in the West Bank, and will be assisted by a team of experts.

Blair is widely perceived by his supporters and opponents as a friend of Israel. In 2003 Tam Dalyell, Father of the House, the most senior position in the British House of Commons, created an uproar by accusing then Prime Minister Blair of “being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers.” Leftist Labour MP Dalyell named Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s personal envoy on the Middle East, Peter Mandelson, whose father was Jewish, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, who has Jewish ancestry, as three leading figures who have influenced Mr. Blair’s policies on the Middle East. Lord Janner, a Labour peer and the chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, commented: “I think these comments are sad and unfounded. Tony Blair is his own man. He will follow advice if he considers it correct and not otherwise. He has been a good friend of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.” In a 2005 interview with the Jewish Chronicle Blair affirmed: “I’ve been a very strong supporter of the Jewish community and Israel, and will always be so.” During a visit to Israel in September 2006 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said of his British counterpart:

Prime Minister Blair is a true and proven friend of the State of Israel, and a dedicated friend of the Middle East. Britain is Israel’s staunch ally and a trusted partner in advancing many of the issues that stand in the forefront of our national agenda.

Prime Minister Blair’s visit to Israel is of great importance to us all and is in direct continuation of a positive role that Britain plays under the leadership of the Prime Minister and will continue to play. Prime Minister Blair works actively and intensively to promote progress in all tracks to create stability throughout the Middle East and his contribution is invaluable. In the last few months I had many talks with Prime Minister Blair in which he enquired, suggested, promoted and asked me to make every possible effort to advance the possible track for negotiations between us and the Palestinians.

Among Muslims and neo-Nazis Blair is denounced as a “Zionist agent.” For example, former KKK leader and Russophile David Duke, who attended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s holocaust (denial) conference in December 2006, complained: “Aren’t they the Zionist puppets Bush and Blair and the Zionist controlled media that lie about this conference, my speech, the speech of the Iranian President and who support imprisonment of human beings for free speech.”

Getting Warmer? Nicolas Sarkozy, Antichrist Candidate B

As prime mover behind the revival of the Roman Empire, Sarkozy’s career is also a must-view for Antichrist sleuths. Like Blair, the French president is Roman Catholic by affiliation and thus associated with an organization that holds a key role in the movement toward a one world religion. Like the former British prime minister in June 2007, Sarkozy has also made his pilgrimage to the Vatican. In December of the same year the French president, according to the International Herald Tribune, floated the subject of the Mediterranean Union with Pope Benedict XVI: “During his daylong visit to Rome, Sarkozy also pitched his idea for a union of Mediterranean countries, gaining support from leaders of Italy and Spain.”

Of the Vatican’s involvement in resolving the Middle East conflict, Sarkozy’s spokesman David Martinon revealed: “It’s a partner that counts, and it’s a heavyweight ally on a great number of subjects, such as on Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.” In spite of the pope’s controversial statements about Islam as a violent religion, first expressed in 2004, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and in 2006, as the current bishop of Rome, the Vatican supports Turkey’s accession to the EU. A rapprochement between Roman Catholicism and Islam that overlooks centuries of past inter-religious warfare will be essential if the revived Roman Empire is to peacefully expand into Turkey and then absorb North Africa and the Levant.

On April 25, 2008 Sarkozy flew to Tunisia to hold a two-day summit with long-time socialist dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to discuss bilateral relations and the nascent Mediterranean Union. In Tunis Sarkozy spoke at the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology, where on April 28 he boastfully told students: “The Union for the Mediterranean will create prosperity and peace for everyone involved in it. If it becomes reality, the Union for the Mediterranean will change the world.” Henri Guaino, another Sarkozy spokesman, confided to the Tunis Press Agency:

Tunisia is very committed, along with France, since the start of this initiative (for a Mediterranean Union). We reviewed this issue and the current problems. We are convinced that France’s and Tunisia’s stands on this issue are totally identical. Together, we will be able to kick-start this great design which puts the Mediterranean right at the heart of the European concerns and breathes again a dynamics of great will of unity, which is still very strongly felt among the Mediterranean peoples.

Following the conference, Tunisian President Ben Ali expressed his conviction that “The Mediterranean is a place of peace, cooperation and security. Tunisia and France, which share the same vision, are determined to work together to put this project into effect.”

Unlike Blair, moreover, Sarkozy boasts Jewish descent through his mother, who was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece. The Australian Jewish News reports quotes Sarkozy as saying in a 2004 interview: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.”

In terms of ethnic origin, some Bible expositors speculate that Antichrist will not only emerge from the revived Roman Empire, but also might be a Jew. This scenario could facilitate Antichrist’s ability to present himself as Israel’s coming Messiah and establish a peace covenant between the Jewish state and the warmongering Arab Muslim powers that surround Israel. Daniel 11 says that “at the time of the end” (verse 40) the “willful king” (verse 36) will not “regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” “The God of his fathers” is presumably the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In view of the fact that two of the Bible’s titles for Antichrist is “the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26) and the “profane wicked prince of Israel” (Ezekiel 21:25-27), it should be mentioned that Sarkozy is also a prince. During the French Second Republic and since the beginning of the French Third Republic the heads of state and presidents of France are also co-Prince of Andorra.

Finally, the linkage between Sarkozy and Blair is worth noting. Sarkozy apparently supports Blair’s candidacy for EU president. In February 2008 The Guardian reported: “Praising Blair as ‘the most European of Englishmen,’ President Nicolas Sarkozy of France first threw the Briton’s name into the ring last October. Blair has chosen not to dispel the reports of his candidacy.” France will be filling the presidency of the Council of Europe this year. At the same time, the French media is promoting Sarkozy himself as Europe’s first permanent president.

The Olmert Regime Enshackles Israel to the Revived Roman Empire

Meanwhile, the Israeli government itself is seeking membership in the EU/NATO in order to secure peace with its Arab Muslim enemies. In 2003 the wire services reported that then Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom “startled” EU officials by affirming that his government was “weighing EU membership,” a prospect that can only become reality if, according to EU rules, Israel first settles its border disputes with Syria and Lebanon. It is perhaps for this reason that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is apparently determined to return the Golan Heights to the Syrians. UPI observes: “The EU is already deeply, indeed inextricably involved in the Middle East, and not just as a member of ‘the Quartet’ of the United States, EU, Russia and the United Nations that have jointly drawn up the ‘road map’ to a peace agreement.” In July 2006, after Israel’s campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Olmert indicated that he would accept the deployment of an EU military force in its northern neighbor in order to prevent the Iranian/Syrian-backed terrorist group from initiating further attacks against Israel. A formal cooperation agreement, ratified by the Knesset in 2000, already exists between the EU and Israel.

Analysis: Israel Weighing EU Membership
UPI Chief International Correspondent – by Martin Walker –
5/21/2003

Washington, May 21 (UPI) — The visiting delegation from the European Union was startled this week when Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his government was weighing an application to join the EU.

“It doesn’t mean he is preparing the dossier for applying tomorrow,” an Israeli spokesman said. “In principle, the minister thinks a possibility exists for Israel to join the EU, since Israel and Europe share similar economies and democratic values.”

Shalom broached the subject Tuesday, but there is no immediate prospect of this happening, since under EU rules, new members must have no outstanding border disagreements with their neighbors.

The incoming new members from Eastern Europe, particularly Hungary and Romania, had to resolve long-standing disputes to clear their path for entry. But if and when Israel does achieve a peace settlement with Syria and Lebanon and the Palestinians (it already has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan), Israeli membership could make a great deal of sense for Israel and the EU alike.

The EU is already deeply, indeed inextricably involved in the Middle East, and not just as a member of “the Quartet” of the United States, EU, Russia and the United Nations that have jointly drawn up the “road map” to a peace agreement.

The EU is one of the main customers for Middle Eastern energy exports, and under the Barcelona Agreement, has forged a series of trade and cooperation agreements with the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey, a strategic Middle East player and an Islamic though legally secular country, has been formally accepted as an EU candidate member.

North African Arabs now account for 10 percent of France’s population, and the French and British colonial heritage in the Middle East gives them strong links to the region.

For Israel, EU membership would mean an end to the regional isolation it suffers, and a strong security guarantee, along with all the economic advantages of the vast EU market. Joining the EU would presumably mean joining the euro, shielding Israel from the kinds of currency crises that have hit the shekel since the intifada battered its important tourism industry.

For the EU, Israel’s impressive high-tech industry could be useful, but any economic advantages to Israeli membership would have to be balanced against the wider political costs to the EU, unless the Jewish state’s relationship with its Arab neighbors is transformed.

Even then, those European countries like France that already sneer at Britain as “America’s Trojan horse” (and the German media that sneers at Poland as “America’s Trojan donkey”) might hesitate before admitting another such pro-American member.

There are voices in the EU that support the idea, including one member of the EU Parliament delegation that was told of Israel’s deliberations Tuesday evening. Marco Pannella, an Italian member of the European Parliament and president of the Transnational Radical Party, is promoting the initiative. He told reporters in Israel that while support was growing in the European Parliament for Israel to join the EU it could take “up to a decade” to complete the process.

The EU and Israel already have a formal Cooperation Agreement, ratified by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, three years ago. Its provisions include regular political dialogue, liberalization of trade in goods and services, the free movement of capital and competition rules, the strengthening of economic cooperation on the widest possible basis and cooperation on social and cultural matters. (Israel has long taken part, for example, in the annual Eurovision Song Contest.)

One possible motive for the Israeli foreign minister’s announcement is to repair the difficult relations with the EU, repeatedly accused by Israeli officials and ministers of being partial toward the Palestinians. Israeli diplomats also noted that the initiative shows Israel’s commitment to peace.

The Israeli foreign minister’s statement also coincided with a report by the Washington-based Cato Institute think tank, which suggested an important geopolitical aspect to Israeli membership. “Signaling to the Israelis and the Palestinians that a peaceful resolution to their conflict could be a ticket for admission into the EU, would be more than just enticing them with economic rewards,” the Cato report said.

“Conditioning Israel’s entry into the EU on its agreement to withdraw from the occupied territories and dismantle the Jewish settlements there, would strengthen the hands of those Israelis who envision their state not as a militarized Jewish ghetto but as a Westernized liberal community.”

More recently, in January 2007 Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman articulated the line of the Olmert government in a column in The Jerusalem Post, in which he stated that Israel should join the EU/NATO within five years. “Today’s world is dividing over values,” Lieberman explains. “On the one side is the free, democratic world, and on the other side is the radical, fundamentalist world. We might have disagreements with Europe and the international community over foreign policy, but we share the same values system that is the target of the radical, fundamentalist war against the West.” Pictured above: The Vatican is not without its political-religious designs in the Holy Land, to wit the medieval Crusades against the Turks and the Muslims. The previous pope John Paul II rubs elbows with the chief rabbis of Israel during his 2000 visit to their country.

We need to be part of EU and NATO
Avigdor Lieberman, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 3, 2007

The following is the first Jpost blog central post by Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. It is part of a soon-to-be launched feature that provides prominent politicians from across the political spectrum an opportunity to debate the hot issues on their own personal blog.

In my very first political science lecture in the Hebrew University in the early 1980s, I was taught that international politics were governed by State interests. In all my years in Israeli politics and as a third-time minister, I have yet to see this theory implemented in Israel. I believe it was Henry Kissinger who once said that Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic.

The sad reality of today is that the State of Israel has never defined, and rarely acted in accordance with its national interests. The few examples I can think of include Israel going to war over the Egyptian nationalization of the Suez Canal and restriction of Israeli marine traffic in 1956, the 1981 attack against the Iraqi nuclear facility and the 1995 peace agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I have recently suggested that it is in Israel’s national interest to join the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The world today is a less hospitable place to our democracy. The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a world divided over economic doctrines and political thought. I myself was born in Moldova, a country taken over by the Soviet Union in 1944, and spent my childhood under the rule of a harsh totalitarian regime (until my family made aliya in 1978, when I was 20 years old).

Today’s world is dividing over values. On the one side is the free, democratic world, and on the other side is the radical, fundamentalist world. We might have disagreements with Europe and the international community over foreign policy, but we share the same values system that is the target of the radical, fundamentalist war against the West.

The great danger in this global conflict is that we are facing non-rational players. Take Bin Laden for example – there is nothing you can offer him to stop his war against the free world – no amount of money, no piece of territory, no agreement – his goal is to convert the entire world to Islam, or send all infidels to heaven. There is no sense in rationalizing with this kind of enemy. Not a single Islamic leader – political or spiritual – has condemned the death sentence against Salman Rushdie, and even today he has to live in hiding between London and Paris. Not a single Islamic leader has ever condemned the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddha sculptures in Afghanistan. The Muslim world’s reaction to cartoons about the prophet Muhammad and to Pope Benedict XVI’s speech are irrational.

My goal for Israel is to complete this global re-positioning within the coming five years. This move will send a strong message not only to our enemies, but also to our friends and allies. One last note: Jpost.com readers are aware of the letter I sent to incumbent UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who said that the Israeli-Palestinian issue was at the core of solving all the problems in the Middle East. Someone pointed out to me a very poignant comment posted on a talkback to the Jpost.com article about this letter, by Bob in the US: “Last week I appeared in court because I was doing 20 miles over the speed limit. I flat out told the presiding judge “I’m not paying the fine until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.” His exact words were “What the Hell does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have to do with anything?” I ask the same question. Thanks, Bob.

On March 12, 2008 the European Jewish Press quoted Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was then on a five-day state visit to France, as saying: “I support 100 percent the [Mediterranean Union] plan. The entire (Israeli) government is in favour of Sarkozy’s initiative of course. North Europe countries, the Maghreb countries in the south and the Arab countries in the middle, why not cooperate on what is possible?” Current events appear to be confirming that Israel will shortly be absorbed into the revived Roman Empire of Bible prophecy.