Monthly Archives: May 2010

>Latin America File: Ortega threatens to dissolve National Assembly, rule by decree; FARC stages pre-poll attacks; Chavez goes on expropriation binge

>In spite of some victories for the Right in Panama, Honduras, and Chile over the last 12 months or so, the communization of the Western Hemisphere—through organizations like the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and the more overtly socialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas—continues apace.

Pictured above: Mortar-toting Sandinistas burn colonial version of US flag outside Nicaragua’s National Assembly on April 22, 2010.

As we suspected in a previous post, Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega is indeed considering suspending the National Assembly. This body is deadlocked over issues related to the outcome of the November 2008 municipal elections, which the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front apparently dominated, and legally dubious attempts by pro-Sandinista judges on the Supreme Court to uphold their decision to overturn a constitutional ban on presidential term limits after their own mandates expired. Consecutive presidential terms were outlawed in 1995 reforms designed to prevent a repeat of the first Sandinista dictatorship.

At a meeting of Managua business leaders this past Wednesday, Ortega declared: “If you give me the word, I’ll re-found congress. If the business council supports me, I’ll rewrite it [presumably meaning the constitution]. I’ll dissolve the National Assembly. Political parties need to be resolving government appointments through negotiation and there’s no room for hard positions. Opposition lawmakers have refused to confirm the appointments.”

In place of the National Assembly, Ortega proposed ruling by decree through a Council of State, including representatives from businesses, student groups, and the “social sector.” This was the mechanism used by the FSLN to control Nicaragua between 1979 and 1990. During that period Soviet, East German, Bulgarian, and Cuban “advisors” materialized in Ortega’s entourage.

The next day Constitutionalist Liberal Party spokesman Leonel Teller opined: “The president’s threat to dissolve the National Assembly indicates dictatorial tendencies.” He urged the Organization of American States to intervene in the dispute. Betraying an ignorance of communist designs, Roger Arteaga, the president of the Nicaraguan chapter of the US Chamber of Commerce, scoffed at Ortega’s remarks: “I didn’t see him talking seriously. It was a way of making a joke, because it wouldn’t occur to anyone, not even him.” Yes, that’s right. Vladimir Lenin, whom Ortega admires, was only joking when he threatened to oust Russia’s short-lived social democratic regime in 1917.

Elsewhere in Central America, El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which has for 30 years been closely allied with the Sandinistas, appears to be taking cautious steps in the direction of disarming the population. Under the pretext of combating drug violence, FMLN National Assembly deputy Aristides Valencia has proposed a bill to force Salvadorans to register their firearms with the Ministry of Defense, or face permanent confiscation within 60 days of the bill’s passage into law. When that law is enforced, the FMLN regime will also begin a campaign to encourage Salvadorans to voluntarily exchange their personal weapons for money, goods, or services. Valencia asserted that there are about 115,000 illegally owned firearms in El Salvador.

Two weeks ago Colombian soldiers clashed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the northeastern province of Arauca, near the border with Venezuela. At least nine communist rebels from the FARC’s 10th Front were killed, the Colombian Army’s 18th Brigade disclosed. The 10th Front is commanded by German Briceño Suarez, brother of FARC military chief Jorge Briceño Suarez, a.k.a. “Mono Jojoy.” Meanwhile, on the same day, insurgents under the command of FARC’s 34th Front raked a police station with gunfire, in the northwestern state of Antioquia. Two police officers were wounded.

More recently, on Tuesday a man on a motorcycle drove up to the campaign office of the ruling Social Party of National Unity in downtown Pasto, the capital of Narino, and threw a bomb. The ensuing blast injured 11 people, including three police officers, and caused extensive damage to the office and 30 adjacent houses. Juan Manuel Santos, the former defense minister of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, is running on the “Partido de la U” ticket. The race between Santos and his main rival, Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus, is considered too close to call and, therefore, political analysts expect a run-off vote on June 20 to settle the contest. The main election takes place on May 30.

The Colombian government is deploying 350,000 troops and police throughout the country to prevent FARC from disrupting the election. Incumbent Defense Minister Gabriel Silva asserted that rebels disguised as police officers intend to stage attacks on election day. Last Sunday nine Colombian marines died when they were ambushed by FARC insurgents in the southern province of Caqueta.

The presence of FARC camps in Venezuela and Ecuador, where the far-left regimes of Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa sympathize with the rebels’ goal of overthrowing Bogota’s “bourgeois” government, is well established. According to the O Estado de Sao Paulo, citing a classified Brazilian Federal Police report, the Marxist guerrillas are also operating bases in Amazonas state. FARC, the Brazilian newspaper claims, smuggles cash, equipment, fuel, and chemicals used to manufacture cocaine into Colombia from Brazil.

The Brazilian government intelligence report was apparently produced following the arrest earlier this month of Jose Samuel Sanchez, a Colombian suspected of belonging to insurgent army. Sanchez was arrested along with seven Brazilians, who allegedly obtained drugs, arms, and logistical support from the rebel group. President Lula da Silva’s coalition government contains cadres of the Communist Party of Brazil, who are known to sympathize with FARC.

Pictured here: Venezuela’s communist dictator Chavez hosts Comrade Oliver Stone at the Caracas premiere of the Hollywood director’s film “South of the Border,” on May 28, 2010.

Venezuela continues its lamentable descent into communism with Chavez’s latest expropriation spree, which includes the state’s acquisition of the Mexican-owned food company Molinos Nacionales CA, a subsidiary of Mexico’s Gruma SAB. The executive order authorizes the “forced acquisition” of Monaca, a producer of wheat and corn flour, rice, oil, oats, and other basic food products, several of them already subject to price controls. Mexico’s Gruma SAB has an almost 73 percent stake in Monaca, which operates six plants in Venezuela. Another 24 percent belongs to jailed Venezuelan banker Ricardo Fernandez Barruecos, who is facing the ire of the Chavezista regime in the form of corruption and financial crimes charges.

In one fell swoop, the Chavez also announced the nationalization of the bauxite processing plant NorPro de Venezuela, which is a subsidiary of a US-based company partly owned by French group Stain Gobain; and steel company Matesi, a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Tenaris. “Nationalize NorPro. It will be taken by PDVSA,” threatened the Venezuelan president, as reported by Caracas’ El Universal on May 17. At this time, while visiting Bolívar state, Chavez declared that he was placing “workers at the forefront of the running of the primary industries located in this region.”

Lastly, Chavez seized a private ranch owned by his adversary Diego Arria, a former president of the United Nations Security Council. The property had been in Arria’s family since 1852. This did not deter Comrade Hugo, who lashed out against his critic: “If he wants to farm now, he will have to topple Chavez, because this now belongs to the revolution.” Over the weekend “Red Shirts” from the National Institute of Lands arrived to confiscate the farm and orchestrate a sensational photo op. The latter consisted of bussing in at least 300 children to swim in Arria’s pool, ride the ranch horses, and tour (pillage) the main house. “We are socializing happiness,” gushed Chavez.

Meanwhile, the Soviet strategists continue to reassert their influence in Latin America by peddling Russian-built weapon systems in the region. The Kremlin has unloaded US$4 billion in military hardware in Venezuela and is considering another US$5 billion, has promised to upgrade cash-strapped Cuba and Nicaragua’s Soviet-era armed forces, and has clinched relatively small military cooperation deals with Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Most recently, Brazil has negotiated the purchase of air defence systems and combat helicopters from Russia. Brasilia reportedly plans to buy the Kremlin’s Tor-M1, a low-to-medium-altitude, short-range, surface-to-air missile system designed to intercept aircraft, cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles. If this deal is finalized, then Washington has threatened to scuttle Brazil’s attempts to buy US fighter jets. Russia recently delivered three out of 12 Mi-35M Hind E attack helicopters to Brazil under a 2008 contract, worth US$150 million. In spite of Chavez’s large military expenditures, Brazil still has the largest armed forces in Latin America and, like other member states of Unasur, belongs to the South American Defence Council, a counterweight to NATO.

Pictured here: The US flag flies over the Arizona border town of Nogales, on April 22, 2010.

Obama Deploys 1,200 National Guard Troops along US-Mexico Border, No Arrest Powers Given

The Mexican government, reports Reuters, does not object to US plans to station troops along their common border. President Felipe Calderon, who recently flew to Washington to address a joint session of the US Congress, added one caveat: US soldiers must not arrest Mexicans (illegally) trying to enter the USA. “They have a commitment to uphold the law on the American side and not to use the National Guard for immigration purposes or to deal with immigration issues,” Calderon told a news conference in Ottawa after talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

On Tuesday President Barack Hussein Obama, reacting to drug violence in northern Mexico, announced he would deploy 1,200 more National Guard troops and request an additional $500 million to secure the almost 2,000-mile US-Mexico border. Obama was happy to oblige Calderon: National Guard troops have no arrest powers in this situation. In any event, arrests of illegal immigrants are normally carried out by US Border Patrol.

Calderon’s trip to Washington was significant because US politicians are divided about what to do with the at least 12 million illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, living in the country. The Mexican president has condemned a controversial new law in Arizona that empowers police to detain anyone believed to be an “undocumented worker,” even if that person is not suspected of committing any other crime. In a rare advisory, which exposes the Mexican government’s injured pride, Calderon has cautioned his countrymen against travelling to Arizona.

In a related story, someone is apparently upping the ante in Mexico’s bloody drug wars. A high-profile kidnapping occurred in the state of Queretaro on May 14. Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, who ran for president in 1994 on the National Action Party (PAN) ticket, disappeared from his ranch. The missing politician is a “personal friend” of Calderon and previous president Vicente Fox. The conservative PAN displaced the long-ruling, social democratic Institutional Revolutionary Party as the country’s governing party in 2000.

Mexico’s powerful drug cartels have not claimed responsibility for Fernandez’s disappearance, while the Marxist guerrillas of the People’s Revolutionary Army (EPR) expressly disavowed culpability. “We do not know if his disappearance is for political motives, his inter-party disputes, or because of the social breakdown of this neoliberal government,” the EPR stated dismissively in a communique posted on the Internet.

Mexicans have long feared the type of political terrorism that characterized Colombia’s drug wars during the 1980s and 1990s, before combined operations by Colombian and US special forces decapitated the Medellin and Cali cartels. “This strikes me as a cartel trying to show [it] can act with impunity,” opines George Grayson, a College of William and Mary professor who studies politics and organized crime. Grayson added: “[Mr. Fernandez] is the highest-profile figure who has been involved in a possible kidnapping and death. He was the poster boy for the PAN.”

Last weekend, Fernandez’s kidnappers contacted his family and an alleged photo of the captured politician was published in newspapers, but his whereabouts is still unknown.

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>Asia File: Kremlin finances Thaksin comeback, ex-PM owes Gazprombank US$1.5 billion; Cambodia cultivates mil-mil relations with PRC, Vietnam

>Extended Report Covers:

– Cambodia Retains Thaksin as Economic Advisor Last November, Thailand Withdraws Ambassador from Phnom Penh

– Thaksin Collaborating with Thai “Leftists,” Smuggling Arms from Cambodia to Overthrow Monarchist Regime, Red Shirt Cadres Finding Refuge in Cambodia

– Thais Seize North Korean Aircraft with 35 Tons of Illicit Weapons in December; Five-Man Crew from Belarus and Kazakhstan

– Exiled Thaksin Taunts Thai Foreign Ministry in March 2010 Video Link to Red Shirt Supporters: “I’m in Russia”

– Cambodian Government Denies Its Citizens Participated (as Agents Provocateur) in Latest Red Shirt Protests

– Cambodia Test-Fires Soviet-Built Rocket Launchers in March, Welcomes Red China’s Defence Minister in Early May

Thaksin is believed to have borrowed money from a Russian oil company to finance his political comeback. He’ll be in big trouble with the Russians if he cannot repay that debt.
— Thai government source, quoted by Asia One News, January 14, 2010

At Once Upon a Time in the West we primarily focus on developments in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union and Latin America. In the wake of the Royal Thai Army’s decisive crackdown on the Red Shirt movement last week, however, we have decided to “catch up” with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s plot to overthrow the Thai establishment. In this endeavour, the ex-billionaire–who faces corruption and, now more recently, terrorism charges in his homeland–has received a “little help” from Thailand’s disgruntled communists; golfing buddy Hun Sen, Cambodia’s communist prime minister; the KGB financiers at Gazprombank; the “friendly skies” of North Korean aviation and, possibly, Viktor Bout, the alleged Russian arms dealer who for the last two years has made his home in a Thai jail cell.

This past Saturday Thai officials displayed a “large cache” of weapons seized from a stronghold of Red Shirt protesters in the country’s capital. The weapons included M-16 rifles, bullets, grenades, and bomb components. At least 15 people died in the final government offensive and more than 100 were wounded. Overall, during the two-month insurrection approximately 85 people, including 11 police and soldiers, died. Police acknowledge that eight Red Shirt leaders are separately incarcerated at a prison camp south of Bangkok and, after an initial period of leniency, their cell phones and text messaging devices were confiscated.

As they retreated, the Red Shirt protesters, under the leadership of “former” cadres of the “defunct” Communist Party of Thailand, torched a number of businesses, including the country’s stock exchange and Southeast Asia’s largest department store, Central World Plaza. “The fires in many areas in Bangkok were well prepared—step by step,” army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd explained at a news conference. Tables covered with weapons confiscated from the Red Shirts flanked the colonel during his speech.

Bangkok remains in a state of emergency and was under a dusk-to-dawn curfew through the weekend. However, on Saturday morning many shops opened, vehicle traffic returned to the city, and the curfew was lifted in the popular beach resort of Pattaya. The capital’s two major public transit systems were scheduled to reopen on Sunday with limited stops.

Amazingly, in a politically suicidal gesture, the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that it would permit Red Shirt gatherings, as long as they were peaceful. Thai media have reported that the Red Shirts intend to stage more protests Monday. “They can gather together as long as they don’t break the law,” intoned government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. Under the banner of the communist-led National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), otherwise known as “Red Shirts,” Thaksin supporters have protested since his ouster in 2006.

There is some concern among Thai officials, though, that agents provocateur from Cambodia were circulating among the Red Shirt protesters. The Phnom Penh Post reports that Cambodia “has called on Thailand to immediately release a Cambodian man accused of committing an arson attack on a bank during violent protests in Bangkok last week.” Last Wednesday, during the military crackdown, Thai authorities arrested Cambodian national San Mony Phet, 27, while he was standing outside the beverage shop where he worked.

Tith Sothea, spokesentity for the Cambodian Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, denied reports, published by Thailand’s Krung Thep Thurakej Online on Friday, that Cambodians had taken part in the Red Shirt protests. “No Cambodian people have joined the protests in Bangkok,” he protested. “This information is completely exaggerated, which could cause diplomatic relations between the two nations to worsen.”

This past February, in a related story, Thai Labor Minister Phaitoon Kaewthong announced that his ministry would expedite the deportation of 500,000 unregistered migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. The reason behind this decision, Phaitoon admitted, was a rumor that these aliens could assay to join themselves to Red Shirt protests throughout the country.

Tracing the swirl of intrigue in Southeast Asia offers a glimpse into the Communist Bloc’s plan to destabilize and overthrow Thailand’s “bourgeois” regime, embodied by the monarchy and business and military figures who support the ruling Democrat Party.

On November 10, 2009 Thaksin, who has spent much of his self-imposed exile in Dubai, landed at an airbase in Phnom Penh. There he was whisked away by secure motorcade to a private audience with Cambodia’s communist dictator Hun. At this time Hun appointed Thaksin as economic advisor to the Cambodian government which, as we will learn below, is cravenly beholden to the communist regime in Vietnam. Outraged, the Thai government withdrew its ambassador from Cambodia, while the Cambodians refused to extradite Thaksin. Hun and Thaksin are pictured above at a subsequent meeting in Phnom Penh, on December 14.

Thaksin’s friendship with “ex”-Khmer Rouge cadre Hun actually began in 2001, if not before, when the former telecom magnate travelled to Cambodia to sign a protocol designed to promote peaceful relations between the two countries. Thaksin also expressed an interest in developing Cambodia’s oil and gas reserves.

The following month, according to Jatuporn Prompan, who represents the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party, asserted that Abhisit and his cabinet are preparing a “military option” against Cambodia if it becomes evident that Thaksin has set up a government in exile in Phnom Penh. Citing a letter allegedly addressed to Abhisit from Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Jatuporn stated: “Preparation of a military option is equivalent to preparing for war against Cambodia.” According to Jatuporn, the government memo describes Thaksin as “a major threat to the government” and asserts that “the fugitive ex-premier is using a two-pronged strategy to topple the government: cooperation with Hun Sen and activity by the National United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.”

A Thai Foreign Ministry official reportedly leaked the memo to the Pheu Thai Party during a press conference at the party headquarters. Kasit purportedly urged the government to “get rid of,” or assassinate, Thaksin. The Thai Foreign Ministry has not denied the existence of the document and its contents, but announced that it would investigate the origin of the leak.

That December Thai authorities at Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport impounded a North Korean aircraft containing 35 tons of illegal weapons, including missiles, and detained the plane’s five-man crew, consisting of one Belarusian and four Kazakhs. The pilot had requested an emergency landing to refuel but, tipped off by Thai and foreign intelligence agencies, police pounced. Thai army trucks removed the weapons to a military depot.

The Thai media promptly speculated that this illicit shipment of weapons was bound for Thaksin’s Red Shirt supporters. In addition, it also considered the possibility the shipment was arranged by Viktor (“Lord of War”) Bout, an accused arms smuggler who not so coincidentally has been cooling his heels in a Thai jail since March 2008. The 43-year-old Bout joined the Soviet Army in the 1980s and is alleged to be a KGB/GRU operative, a charge he denies along with gun running. Bout has been resisting extradition attempts by Washington, which has linked his supposed deals with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Was Bout running arms for Thaksin when the Russian national was nabbed in Bangkok a little more than two years ago? Was jailbird Bout behind the arms shipment seized at Bangkok’s international airport last December? We’re not sure, but others have wondered. The Bangkok Post speculates:

The seizure of the weapons shipment from an aircraft at Don Mueang airport last Saturday continues to capture front-page headlines as investigators dig deeper into the case.

The arms shipment, about 35 tonnes, was loaded in Pyongyang and was believed to be destined for the Middle East. Worth about 600 million baht, it comprises missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition. Five crewmen, one Belarussian and four Kazaks, are in custody and were denied court bail.

It was suggested the arms shipment might be linked to Victor Bout, the alleged Russian arms trafficker currently in Thai custody, but this was not verified. In New Zealand, however, an investigation was under way to determine if a New Zealand-registered company is linked to the plane.

Incidentally, the Russian Mafia, which is staffed by “ex”-KGB types, has a strong presence in Thailand due to the country’s location within the Golden Triangle heroin-producing region.

In late December Suriyasai Katasila, leader of Thailand’s royalist New Politics Party (NPP), declared that “2010 will be a turning point for Thailand when Thaksin Shinawatra will collaborate with leftists to overthrow the current regime and establish a new one.” An online Thai news source also quoted Suriyasai as saying:

It is likely that they will use military troops to stage a coup, or use other violent means. Thailand’s security apparatus needs a major overhaul to cope with the threats from Thaksin, which affect national security far and wide. Thaksin is preparing for regime change. His target is to change the structure and the law.

Referring to the seizure of illicit weapons at Bangkok’s international airport that month, Suriyasai announced:

I have information and believe that previously there had been a weapons-smuggling flight into Thailand, but the government dared not speak the truth for fear of a public panic. Now weapons have been smuggled across the Cambodian border, and are ready for use by Thaksin. It’s likely he will use the weapons for political operations, with the target being regime change.

The NPP is the political wing of the anti-Thaksin pressure group, People’s Alliance for Democracy.

Along this theme, in April 2009—that is, months before Pyongyang dispatched 35 tons of illegal armament to an unknown destination in Southeast Asia—Stephen Kurczy pointed out that his employer, Asia Times “broke the news last week that pro-Thaksin groups had for the past two years funneled arms through Cambodia to Thaksin-aligned supporters in Thailand’s northeastern provinces.” Kurczy continues:

Meanwhile, there are widespread rumors circulated by some Thai media outlets that Thaksin’s on-the-run protest leaders have taken refuge across the border at Cambodia’s Koh Kong island and that the exiled former premier earlier this week paid them a clandestine visit. Cambodian authorities have consistently denied that Thaksin has entered the country, including earlier this week.

It is undoubtedly from these channels that the “shadowy armed wing” of the Red Shirt movement, consisting of black-clad commandos and rooftop snipers, obtained the grenade launchers and M-16 assault rifles used to repel Thai soldiers.

Since the Thai government has seized Thaksin’s assets, the power-hungry, commie-loving businessman has turned to KGB bankers to finance his comeback, clandestinely wiring the money to leftist agitators occupying the streets of Bangkok. In early April, following a ruling by Thailand’s Supreme Court to confiscate the fugitive politician’s assets, the Comptroller General ordered six banks holding 46.37 billion bahts in 30 accounts owned by Thaksin’s family to transfer the funds to the state’s revenue account.

On February 10 Sawamiwat, an aide to Pheu Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, refuted allegations from a government spokesman that Thaksin had been transferring money from overseas banks into Red Shirt leader accounts for at least two or three months. “The accusation is totally groundless. It is not easy to get money from Thaksin. The ex-premier now has not much money,” Pirat protested. Chavalit and Pirat are retired generals of the Thai armed forces, exposing the fact that Thaksin can possibly count on some support from active servicemen.

The same day Jatuporn Prompan, who is both a Red Shirt leader and Pheu Thai Member of Parliament, denied allegations that Thaksin had transferred 300 million baht into the bank accounts of “core” Red Shirt leaders. For his part, Abhisit retorted that his government is not accusing anyone in particular but is investigating the possibility of such financial linkages. “The government is determined to enforce the law strictly against any groups planning to stir up violence,” he warned. The Pheu Thai Party is the political wing of the communist-controlled UDD.

Intriguingly, from the viewpoint of those looking for the Kremlin’s hand in Thailand’s turmoil, Thaksin admitted during a March 30 video link to his Red Shirt supporters that he was then visiting Russia. “I tell you,” he taunted Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, “I’m in Russia now. I came from Sweden. But I wasn’t kicked out of Sweden, contrary to what the Foreign Ministry said. I’m in Russia to meet a billionaire who wants to invest in Asia.” The same day Thai Foreign Minister Kasit ordered all Thai envoys in Europe to locate Thaksin.

In response to allegations that the Kremlin permitted Thaksin to enter Russia without a passport, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesentity Andrei Nesterenko offered the following rebuttal: “In connection with the statements by Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, we would like to confirm that the Russian Foreign Ministry does not posses official information concerning the presence of former [Thai] prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Russian territory.” Translated from commiespeak, Nesterenko is admitting that the Russian Foreign Ministry could possess unofficial information concerning Thaksin’s clandestine visit to Russia.

During his premiership, Thaksin made some efforts to establish ties with Russia. As it turns out, reported the Thai media in January, Thaksin owes as much as US$1.5 billion to Gazprombank, a subsidiary of Kremlin energy giant Gazprom. Gazprom is a larger Russian equivalent of Thailand’s PTT Plc, in which Thaksin still holds a chunk of shares through nominee accounts.

Thaksin used the loan from Gazprombank to invest in Dubai, which itself is facing a financial meltdown. State-owned Dubai World, for example, is seeking to postpone payment of debt amounting to US$59 billion. Thaksin is also facing huge losses after his foray into the Dubai market. “With hardly any breathing space left,” editorializes Bangkok’s The Nation, “Thaksin is now fighting back fiercely. He will try to lobby the Supreme Court, bring down the Abhisit government and ignite the red shirt rallies in order to instigate a military intervention.”

Founded in 1990, before the stage-managed collapse of the Soviet Union, Gazprombank is the largest “private” bank in Russia but, in reality, is actually owned by Kremlin entity Gazprom. Gazprom directly controls 62.59% of Gazprombank’s shares and the remaining shares through its subsidiaries Gazfond and Gazprom Export. Gazprom was created in 1989 when the Soviet Ministry of Gas Industry transformed itself into a corporation, retaining all of its assets. Later, Gazprom was partly privatized but currently the Russian government holds a controlling stake.

Gazprombank’s deputy chairman is Andrei Akimov, a “former” KGB officer who during the 1980s reportedly worked as an undercover agent at Vneshtorgbank and Donau Bank, two KGB front companies in Switzerland and Austria, respectively. Akimov was also involved with Imag GmbH (later renamed Dehel GmbH) in Vienna, an “opaque” company that had “bafflingly convoluted company structures and accounting problems.”

In addition to borrowing money from the Russians to pour into ventures based in the United Arab Emirates, Thaksin also secured a loan to finance his return to Thai politics. Last January Asia One News quoted a source in the Thai government as saying: “Thaksin is believed to have borrowed money from a Russian oil company to finance his political comeback. He’ll be in big trouble with the Russians if he cannot repay that debt. But wherever he goes, he likes to have his photo taken with VIPs, to assert his status.”

Is Comrade Akimov Thaksin’s “billionaire Russian friend”? We may never know, especially if the KGB, with the assistance of Cambodian or Vietnamese intelligence, decides Thaksin has become “expendable.”

The Communist Bloc Sharpens Its Knives to Stab Thailand

Since last November’s diplomatic spat between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, relations between the two countries remain tense. Last December Cambodian officials released a Thai engineer who had been convicted of spying on Thaksin while the fugitive politician made a number of visits to Comrade Hun. Sivarak Chutipong’s release came as Thaksin show up in Phnom Penh for the second time in as many months, stopping by Sivarak’s prison cell to converse with the putative espionage agent.

The 31-year-old Sivarak, an employee of the Thai-Cambodia Air Traffic Services, received his pardon from Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni. The pardon was personally presented at Hun’s official residence. Sivarak was initially sentenced to seven years in jail for supplying Thaksin’s flight details to the Thai embassy when the former head of government visited Cambodia in November. However, according to Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, the secretary of Thailand’s foreign minister, Sivarak never handed any documents to Thai authorities. “I don’t think that there’s a secret here. In this case, we were only inquiring about [Thaksin’s flight information],” Chavanond related.

The situation along the Thai-Cambodian border is also volatile. On April 17 troops from both countries briefly clashed at the Ou Smach checkpoint along their common northern border. Both sides fired rifles, machine guns, and rockets after Cambodian soldiers reportedly ignored a demand from Thai counterparts to shift their location deeper into Cambodian territory.

Border tensions, reports the Cambodian media, heated up again on May 14 when the governor of Sampov Loon district, which is in Battambang province, asserted that a Thai spy plane penetrated five kilometres into Cambodian airspace and then travelled over several provinces before returning to Thailand. General Uk Khnuot, deputy commander of Battambang province military region, would not confirm the aerial incursion, but General Por Vannak, commander of Battambang military police, insisted that the Thais did indeed trespass into Cambodian airspace at high altitude.

This is not the first time soldiers from the two Southeast Asian countries have stared each other down. Two years ago a long-simmering border dispute nearly exploded into violence as 400 Thai and 200 Cambodian troops converged on the 1,100-year-old Hindu temple of Preah Vihear. The International Court of Justice had awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but in July 2008 three Thai activists arrived at the site to assert Bangkok’s sovereignty. Thai soldiers then drove Cambodian forces from one of the temple buildings. That month UNESCO recognized Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site. Due to its inaccessible cliff-top location, Khmer Rouge forces remained holed up there until as late as 1998.

On March 5, 2010 the Cambodian military conducted multiple rocket tests in the remote Kampong Chhnang province (pictured above). Using Soviet-built BM21 rocket launchers, Cambodian troops fired 200 rockets, striking targets 20 to 40 kilometers away. Hun defended the military exercise as essential for national security, while Thai counterpart Abhisit downplayed the impact of the Cambodian drill on bilateral relations. By contrast, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan suggested that political instability has returned to Southeast Asia. “We are very concerned with such a development,” he lamented, but insisted that it was too early to determine whether the rocket launches were a provocation by Phnom Penh.

Although the Cambodian monarchy was restored after Vietnam’s invasion in December 1978, Phnom Penh was and is part of the Communist Bloc. Indeed, the Vietnamese intervention simply replaced one communist regime with another, that is, the genocidal Khmer Rouge was replaced by the non-genocidal Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). The “ex”-Marxist-Leninist CPP controls all of the important organs of the Cambodian state to this day and maintains very close relations with the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China. Writing last year for the Asia Times, Kurczy, quoted above, describes the CPP’s subservient relationship with Vietnam’s red regime:

Despite Cambodia’s transition from a single-party Leninist state to multi-party constitutional monarchy, members of the CPP currently assume every ministerial position and control three-fourths of the National Assembly’s seats. The CPP maintains close ties with Vietnam, bonds that have strengthened as Cambodia looks east for a political ally and trade partner while links to Thailand come under strain from a border conflict and political protests that have targeted Hun Sen’s government.

“Politically speaking, it is a very unique, special relationship,” said Cambodian political observer Chea Vannath. “Vietnam still plays big brother whenever the CPP needs it.”

Expanding military-to-military relations between Phnom Penh, Hanoi, and Beijing also prove this nexus. Earlier this month, Red China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie showed up in the Cambodian capital, where he met with Pol Saroeun, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. There Liang gushed: “Cambodia is China’s good neighbor, friend and partner.” He added:

Recent years have witnessed high-level contacts, a deepening of economic and trade cooperation, productive exchanges in science and technology, and sound growth in military relations between China and Cambodia. Both countries have also supported each other on major issues concerning their respective core interests.

China hopes to make joint efforts with Cambodia to consolidate their traditional friendship, promote reciprocal cooperation, and constantly enrich their comprehensive cooperative partnership.

Accompanying Liang was General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army. Chen enthused: “China-Cambodia military relations have smoothly developed with pragmatic and meaningful cooperation in personnel training and the building of military schools and hospitals. China is ready to work with Cambodia to further boost their military relations.”

For his part, Pol Saroeun affirmed: “The Cambodian government attaches great importance to its relationship with China and will continue to adhere to the one-China policy. The Cambodian armed forces would like to work with China to enhance cooperation in various fields.” Thus, Cambodia’s communist regime supports the Republic of China’s integration into the People’s Republic, whether peacefully or by force. This is the meaning behind Beijing’s “one-China policy.”

Cambodia also boasts closes military relations with Vietnam. In 2005 Cambodian Deputy Prime Ministers and Co-Ministers of National Defense, General Tea Banh and General Nhek Bunchhay, travelled to Hanoi, where they met with Vietnam’s State President Tran Duc Luong. “The defense ministries of the two countries should boost exchange of visits and further cooperate in implementing the border treaty by continuing with the planting of border milestones, the delineation of borderlines and maintenance of peaceful and stable borders,” Luong declared.

In return, the Cambodian generals promised to expand the search for the remains of Vietnamese soldiers who were killed in action in Cambodia 30 years ago. They also briefed Luong on measures to expedite the progress of finalizing the border treaty between the two countries. The Cambodians and Vietnamese also pledged to hold future exchanges of military delegations and conduct joint maritime patrols.

In February 2009, reports Kurczy in Asia Times, Vietnam’s defence minister dropped by to see Hun and pledged to continue to provide training for Cambodian soldiers in Vietnam, including over 100 in residence at Vietnam’s infantry academy. That month Cambodia’s prime minister applauded 21 high-ranking officers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, including Commander-in-Chief Pol and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Kun Kim, for earning degrees in military science from Vietnamese military institutes. According to VietNamNet, “Hun also thanked Vietnam for helping to protect Cambodia’s national defense and economic development.”

If the communist-controlled, Thaksin-backed Red Shirt insurgency degenerates into open hostilities between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, then it can be expected that Vietnam and Red China, not to mention Laos and Myanmar, will support Cambodia, even if only diplomatically.

>USSR2 File: Medvedev visits puppet Yanukovich, urges Ukraine’s accession to CSTO, denies Russian Navy will attack neighbors, Kiev court bans protests

>– New Law Endorsed by Yanukovich Permits Troops from Russia, Belarus, and “Ex”-Soviet Bloc States to Participate in Joint Maneuvers on Ukrainian Territory

– Soviet Bear Plays Nice Before Re-Subjugating Ukraine: Medvedev Honors Ukrainian Victims of Stalin-Era Famine as Yanukovich Downplays “Genocide” Charge

On May 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Ukraine for his first official visit since pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich was elected president in a February run-off vote. In Kiev the Soviet Komsomol graduate urged President Yanukovich, a “former” cadre of the “defunct” Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to steer his country into the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The CSTO embraces Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, but Medvedev was quick to assure the Ukrainians that the military alliance is not a retooled version of the Warsaw Pact, dissolved in 1991. “If in the future Ukraine considers it proper to join the CSTO,” Medvedev coaxed, “we would be happy to accept you. The CSTO is not the Warsaw Pact. We do not need confrontation with NATO or other military blocs.” Yanukovich’s predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, shunned relations with Russia and, instead, advocated Ukraine’s accession to NATO membership.

Medvedev also assured the citizens of “former” Soviet republics and “former” Soviet Bloc states with shores on the Black Sea that the Russian Navy will not use its Black Sea Fleet to attack its neighbors. This fake olive branch from the Kremlin would no doubt be extended to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Georgia. Translated from commiespeak, what Medvedev really means is that the Kremlin has every intention of using its Black Sea Fleet to attack its neighbors. After all, why does Moscow plan to purchase one French-built Mistral-class helicopter assault ship and build three more under license?

Last month, Ukraine agreed to extend the Russian Navy’s lease of a base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol until 2042, in exchange for cheaper natural gas imports from Russia. While visiting Kiev, Medvedev admitted that this sum totals about US$40 billion over the next 32 years. The Ukrainian Navy’s headquarters is also located in Sevastopol.

In a related story, Novosti reports that Russia will help Ukraine finish building the Ukraina missile cruiser almost 15 years after budget cuts stalled construction. The keel for the Slava-class cruiser, which was originally called Admiral Lobov, was first laid down at the Nikolayev shipyard in Ukraine in 1984. “We have agreed that Russia will complete construction of the Ukraina cruiser,” Yanukovich acknowledged at a joint news conference, after talks with Medvedev. “The cruiser is 95% complete but cannot be finished without Russia’s help.”

About US$30 million is needed to complete the cruiser’s construction. While it seems likely that Ukraina will in fact be commissioned with the Ukrainian Navy, Moscow’s interest in “helping” Kiev finish work on a Soviet-era warship obviously comes with a quid pro quo, as evidenced by the first news report above: Ukraine will be pressured into joining CSTO.

The Soviet Navy’s Slava-class cruisers were designed as surface strike ships with some anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare capability. Today the Russian Navy’s three Slava-class cruisers–Moskva, Marshal Ustinov, and Varyag–can each carry 16 SS-N-12 (“Sandbox”) supersonic, nuclear-capable anti-ship missiles. Launchers are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure.

Talks between Medvedev and Yanukovich focused on Kremlin proposals to form joint ventures in the nuclear energy, aircraft, and shipbuilding industries, as well as a surprise plan put forward by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to merge Ukraine’s state gas company with Russia’s Gazprom. Notwithstanding his pro-Russian credentials, Yanukovich did not jump at the proposal.

The two presidents also signed agreements to harmonize their positions on European security, foster cooperation between their respective intelligence agencies—namely, the Russian FSB and Ukrainian SBU, both departments of the old Soviet KGB—and work toward a breakthrough in resolving the status of Moldova’s breakaway region, Transnistria. This de facto independent, Russian-speaking state is wedged between Moldova and Ukraine and has for the last 20 years been governed by “ex”-communist Igor Smirnov.

In the wake of the suspicious April 10 demise of Poland’s anti-communist president Lech Kaczynski and his top generals in a Polish Air Force jet over western Russia, the Kremlin has been anxious to improve its image in the “post”-Soviet space. For this reason, Sergei Mironov, speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, flew to Krakow last Sunday to lay flowers at the grave of President Kaczynski and at a monument to Soviet soldiers who were killed liberating Poland from the Nazis. Mironov will meet with acting Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Together with Poland’s Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz, he will open the Second Forum of Russian and Polish Regions.

For his part, while visiting Kiev Medvedev paid his respects to the millions of Ukrainians who perished in a Stalin-era famine by lighting a candle at a “Holodomor” memorial (pictured above). Between 1929 and 1932 dictator Joseph Stalin implemented “dekulakization” in a bid to collectivize all Soviet farms. In addition to massive death by starvation, millions of Soviet citizens were internally displaced, as chronicled in horrendous detail in The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press, 1997, 2000). Former President Yushchenko referred to the deaths as “genocide,” infuriating the Kremlin, but Yanukovich, who accompanied Medvedev yesterday, downplayed the severity of the Holodomor, calling the famine “a common tragedy suffered by people across the Soviet Union.”

Tellingly, a court in Kiev banned opposition protests during Medvedev’s visit, the first time that demonstrations had been outlawed since 2004. Several weeks ago the Ukrainian Rada erupted in violence when nationalist deputies objected to passage of the Russian naval base lease extension. Journalists have warned of increasing censorship since Yanukovich came to power. Staff at two leading television stations, for example, threatened to strike after complaining that reports critical of the authorities had been suppressed and coverage of opposition parties restricted. In response, Wilfried Martens, president of the European Parliament’s largest bloc, the conservative European People’s Party, warned that “the rule of law and fundamental human rights and liberties” are under assault in Ukraine.

Significantly, one day after Medevedev’s visit the Ukrainian Rada passed a law, filed by President Yanukovich, allowing foreign military forces to participate in joint exercises on Ukrainian territory. Among the 16 countries listed a number are NATO countries, including several that are ex-Warsaw Pact states: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The new law also permits Russian, Belarusian, and Georgia troops, as well as Hungarian and Slovakian forces, to hold maneuvers on Ukrainian soil.

The bill was supported by 394 members of the governing coalition and opposition. The Communist Party of Ukraine, which belongs to Yanukovich’s coalition, did not participate in the vote, presumably because the bill, while allowing Russian soldiers in Ukraine, also facilitates the admission of US soldiers. From the vantage of the Soviet strategists’ long-range plan, it may be that when Russia re-invades and re-occupies Ukraine, Ukrainian communists do not wish to be identified as traitors or “unpatriotic.”

Several days after Yanukovich won the February run-off election, the Russian Defense Ministry confidently announced that the Russian and Ukrainian air forces would hold combined drills at the end of 2010.

>Asia File: Thai army thwarts communist coup, launches final crackdown on “Red Shirt” protests in Bangkok; heavily armed militants counter-attack

>– North American Media Oblivious to Communist Orchestration behind Thailand’s “Red Shirt” Anti-Government Protests

– Thaksin Shinawatra Urges Uprising from Exile; Former PM’s Inner Circle Dominated by “Ex”-Maoists Indoctrinated in Vietnam in 1970s

– Thaksin Close Friend of Cambodia’s “Ex”-Khmer Rouge PM, Warns Red Shirt Uprising Could Develop into Guerrilla Warfare

– “Thousands” of Red Shirt Protesters Respond to Bangkok Crackdown by Attacking City Halls in Three Provincial Capitals

The people who are the real planners, not the people up on stage making protest speeches, these people probably keep a very low profile, but they must calculate that aggression is vital. Aggression paralyzes and divides opponents.

This is what we were taught [in Hanoi]. This is how a smaller force can defeat overwhelming power. The message was: divide and conquer.

The tactic is to keep saying that you are a peace-loving people.

The red shirt people have been told over and over that greedy people in authority have denied them justice and their fair share. They have been pumped full of toy-town leftism and told to hate every institution that has held this country together.

Many of them are now absolutely convinced that Thaksin was the best leader in Thai history, that he was a kind and generous man who holds the solution to all their problems. They don’t need a program – they just need a new Thai state with Thaksin in charge. It has become very emotional – as it was designed to be.

Old communists know that when it comes to revolution, ignorance is much more powerful than knowledge.

– Chaidee Therdpoum, Red Shirt sympathizer, “former” cadre of “defunct” Communist Party of Thailand; quoted by Asia Times, May 13, 2010

On Wednesday the Royal Thai Army moved into central Bangkok to finally crush a two-month street protest carried out by the “Red Shirts,” a “populist” uprising orchestrated by supporters of exiled prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose political career is guided by “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Thailand. Five people, including an Italian news photographer, were killed and 52 injured in the final onslaught by government troops. Amazingly, the carnage from today’s street battles was not greater.

“A crackdown on antigovernment protesters launched by the Thai military on Wednesday,” reports the New York Times, “degenerated into riots, firebombing attacks, looting and street battles after militants allied with the protest movement resisted the army’s onslaught with grenades and assault weapons.” The newspaper continues: “As they retreated, protesters set fire to the country’s stock exchange and a number of buildings including a major shopping mall, two banks, a movie theater and a television station.” The shopping mall that the Red Shirts torched was Central World Plaza, one of the largest department stores in Southeast Asia (pictured above).

“We cannot resist against these savages anymore,” Jatuporn Prompan, one Red Shirt leader was quoted as saying, referring to the regular soldiers, before turning himself in. Another protest leader, Weng Tojirakarn, a medical doctor and “former” communist activist, was interviewed. “I have no gun,” he told a reporter, adding: “I can’t do anything.”

Infantry accompanied the armored vehicles that rolled into the protest zone, taking control of major streets and occupying Bangkok’s Lumpini Park. Soldiers assaulting an upscale neighbourhood–home to many corporate headquarters, high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and high-rise apartment buildings–were repelled by black-clad gunmen armed with M-16 assault rifles and grenade launchers.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, a government spokesman, announced that the “first phase” of the counter-insurgency operation was “successful.” “We are going to focus on setting a perimeter,” Panitan explained in a televised speech on Wednesday morning, adding: “We would like to reassure the citizens, the residents of Bangkok, that the operations are designed to make sure we stabilize the area.”

Thai news outlets reported that one of the more militant protest leaders, Arisman Pongruengrong, who is also a popular singer, fled the protest zone in a disguise. At noon seven Red Shirt leaders surrendered to government forces. Just before turning himself in, one of the protest leaders, Nattawut Saikua, shouted to supporters: “If the prime minister wants to govern the country on the top of this wreckage, he should go ahead and kill us all. But if he wants to do the right thing, he should stop the shooting immediately.”

News of the crackdown in Bangkok provoked Red Shirts to action in at least three northeastern provinces, the populous rice-growing region that gave birth to the movement. Thai media reported that thousands of protesters attacked the city halls in three provincial capitals.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location outside Thailand, exiled PM Thaksin, in a rather self-serving manner, predicted the violence could spread. “There is a theory saying a military crackdown can spread resentment and these resentful people will become guerrillas,” he rumbled.

Last November Thaksin flew to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, a close friend and political ally who began his own political career with the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Cambodia’s “ex”-communist government has retained Thaksin as an economic advisor. Three days ago the Cambodians urged the disputing parties in Thailand “to resume peaceful talks in order to achieve a political settlement to the current stand-off and restore peace and normalcy to the Thai people, thus stability in the region.”

Red Strategy and Tactics for Thailand’s Red Shirts

Writing for Asia Times on May 13, journalist William Barnes contends that “Maoist revolutionary thought and guerrilla tactics” inform the objectives and actions of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), otherwise known as the “Red Shirt” movement. The UDD, explains Barnes, has deceptively portrayed itself as a non-violent, pro-democracy movement, “a line many international media outlets have perpetuated.” Furthermore, the Red Shirts have “occupied a large swathe of Bangkok’s luxury shopping and hotel district for more than six weeks, paralyzing the symbolic heart of the country’s capitalist economy.”

To substantiate his thesis, Barnes quotes Therdpoum Chaidee, a “former” communist, Red Shirt ideologist, and former member of parliament for Thaksin’s original party, Thai Rak Thai, now banned. Therdpoum asserts that UDD strategy “necessarily requires violence, or at least the threat of violence, to divide and immobilize” the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The governing coalition, Therdpoum complains, represents the Thai establishment, consisting of monarchists, businessmen, and military brass.

“The revolution walks on two legs. One political leg and one army leg. Violence is the essential ingredient in the mix. That is what we were taught,” pontificates Therdpoum, alluding to his three months in Communist Vietnam more than 30 years ago.

Therdpoum was a hotel union organizer who fled to the communist underground in 1975 to oppose the monarchist government of the day. “Many hundreds of the country’s most energetic students and intellectuals did the same,” relates Barnes and then describes Therdpoum’s political career as follows:

His five-year odyssey with the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) included a three-month period in Hanoi in the heady period following the unification of Vietnam under communist rule. There, Therdpoum and a handful of hand-picked Thai activists, like prominent student leader Seksan Prasertkun, as well as current UDD leaders Weng Tochirakan and Jaran Dittapichai, were drilled in Maoist revolutionary theory.

The five tactics they learned for unseating a government included: divide your enemies; form a united front; use provocative violence; secure the loyalty of people inside the ruling regime; and, finally, win over the army.

“That is what we have seen. The government people have been quarrelling about what to do. Some senior figures have a divided loyalty. The army and the police cannot move. Provocative violence has been very successful,” gushed Therdpoum, referring to the UDD’s campaign to topple the Abhisit government.

Some of the former communists who took up arms and fled into the jungle in the 1970s and 1980s eventually entered Thaksin’s inner circle between 2001 and 2006, when the billionaire was prime minister. These include Prommin Lertsuridej, Phumtham Wechayachai, Sutham Saengprathum, Phinit Jarusombat, Adisorn Piangket, and Kriangkamon Laohapairot. Since then, the UDD has rallied around its “patron,” who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and later fled Thailand to avoid a two-year jail sentence related to a corruption conviction. “Thaksin,” reports Barnes, “has since cajoled UDD supporters to rise up and topple the government through various video-linked phone-in addresses.”

UDD organizer Jaran Dittapichai told Barnes that Red Shirt leaders have adopted “Mao Zedong’s method of thinking” and some of his techniques, including the establishment of a united front. In the same breath, Dittapichai insists that he has abandoned communism even though he espouses its objectives, tactics, and rhetoric: “I was a communist and several UDD leaders were former communists . . . but the red shirt people don’t like communism or socialism. We use his principles to build up our front and to work with people who are not red shirts, but who are fighting for democracy like us.”

Beginning in mid-March, Red Shirt leaders moved their rent-a-mob into the streets of Bangkok. There they demanded the dissolution of parliament and new elections that they hoped would be won by the newest political vehicle for Thaksin’s restoration, the Puea Thai Party.

“Tensions spiked violently on April 10,” relates Barnes, “when a routine crowd clearance operation turned into a nightmare of bloodshed.” He continues: “Mysterious commandos, clad in black and circulating freely through the red shirt protesters, used M79 grenades to attack tactical army commanders, killing a highly respected colonel and maiming others.” In the melee that followed, 25 protesters and solders were killed and over 800 people injured. Coincident with the UDD’s protest has been a series of anonymous grenade attacks, with over 50 incidents in Bangkok and at least 30 more across the country since mid-March.

According to Therdpoum, the Red Shirt movement consists of “many passive supporters, many active ones and, now, a hand-picked core of ‘professional revolutionaries’ chosen for their loyalty and street smarts.” He then partly lifts the veil from the movement’s revolutionary strategy: “Behind them are many ‘deep secrets and hidden messages’ that are revealed to only a privileged few in the movement, while an even smaller number know the entire strategy.” Therdpoum gloated: “Old communists know that when it comes to revolution, ignorance is much more powerful than knowledge.”

Therdpoum admits to Barnes that the black-clad commandos constitute the UDD’s “shadowy armed wing” but feigns ignorance with respect to their true identity: “Whether the UDD’s shadowy armed wing consists of mafia thugs, unemployed irregulars or disaffected regular soldiers, they must be capable of ruthless and focused violence.”

Therdpoum, Barnes writes, believes that the UDD’s left wing is using Thaksin in a marriage of political convenience and intends to “dump his personal agenda in favor of the establishment of a more socialist society.” Indeed, as past revolutionary seizures attest, like the fall of Czechoslovakia to communism in 1948, communists will not hesitate to establish political alliances with non-communists, according to the united front principle, to springboard into total power.

Since the 1970s Thailand has been surrounded by Communist Bloc states, including Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, not to mention Burma/Myanmar. Now the pro-Western regime in Bangkok faces a powerful internal enemy consisting of “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Thailand financed by billionaire businessman-turned-socialist Thaksin Shinawatra.

>Middle East File: Marxist secessionists ambush Yemeni deputy PM, kill two security escorts in S. province; Saleh regime cracks down on opposition

>Last weekend gunmen associated with Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement ambushed the convoy of Rashad al-Alami, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence and Security. The deputy PM survived, but two of his security escorts were killed, the Yemeni Interior Ministry informed Red China’s Xinhua news agency. Pictured above: On May 15 Yemeni soldiers provide security for President Ali Abdullah Saleh along the road to Zinjibar, in the southern part of this Arabian country.

According to the Yemeni government, the shoot out took place last Saturday in the town of al-Habilain, in the southern province of Lahj, as the convoy traveled from Aden to Sanaa, the national capital. When Aden was the capital of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the port city hosted a Soviet naval base.

Northern and southern Yemen were unified 20 years ago according to a deal between President Saleh’s General People’s Congress and the Moscow-backed Yemeni Socialist Party. However, the deal fell apart, leading in 1994 to a brief civil war that the “ex”-communists lost. Since 2007 Yemen’s “former” Marxists have ramped up their agitation for “disengagement” from the north and restoration of the southern state. The old PDRY flag has become a banner around which Yemen’s “ex”-communists are rallying, while Aden’s oil refinery offers the prospect of economic self-sufficiency.

On April 28 Yemeni security forces dispersed a joint demonstration by the country’s opposition parties in Lahj. Abdullah Bamatraf, executive director of the Islah Party in Lahj, told News Yemen that Saleh’s henchmen tried to storm the party’s office in al-Huta. Under the umbrella of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the Islah Party, Yemeni Socialist Party, Nasserite Unionist People’s Organization, Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and Al-Haq Party have organized demonstrations in both the northern and southern provinces. There the JMP has railed against Saleh’s “failed policies that have led to a horrible economic crisis in the country.”

In 2008 Moscow again expressed an interest in reactivating its naval base in Yemen, dispatching Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov to hold talks with Saleh’s government. Saleh is not a communist, but he is a reliable Soviet ally who continues to buy Russian-built military hardware.

In February the Saleh regime negotiated a peaceful end to the six-year, Iran-backed Shia Muslim insurgency in northern Yemen, a conflict that provoked a military response from Saudi Arabia against the rebels. Yemen is the ancestral home of Soviet/Russian terrorist proxy Osama bin Laden who, almost nine years after the 911 terrorist attacks, is still hiding out somewhere in Iran or along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

>Latin America File: Nicaraguan opposition calls for “general rebellion” against Ortega; Cuban state media defends Sandinistas, denounces Aleman

>Nicaragua’s fragile, 20-year-old democracy is tanking under the leadership of Daniel Ortega, a slavish KGB asset who returned from political oblivion in 2006 to again masquerade as the country’s president. Opposition leaders are calling for “civil disobedience” and “general rebellion” against the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). This follows the latest rulings by the Supreme Court, which is controlled by judges who sympathize with President Ortega, two of whom refuse to hand in their gavels after their terms expired on April 11.

Pictured above: On May 13 Ortega hosted deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in Managua, where they promoted a new plan to end Zelaya’s exile and reintegrate Honduras into the Organization of American States. Afterward, Zelaya flew to Havana where he consulted with Cuban dictator Raul Castro. Last summer, after his ouster in Tegucigalpa, the Nicaraguan capital served as a base of operations for Zelaya. In March Hugo Chavez appointed Zelaya head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council.

On May 12 the Supreme Court nullified an April 20 congressional session held inside the Holiday Inn in Managua–while Sandinista thugs fired mortars at the hotel–and revoked the legal immunity enjoyed by seven opposition lawmakers who sit on the National Assembly’s Judicial Affairs Commission. The opposition responded by condemning the Supreme Court’s decision as another “illegal barbarity” and “shameful disrespect for the constitution.”

During the extraordinary session, the National Assembly deputies, who achieved quorum without their FSLN colleagues being present, introduced a bill to the commission to overturn Ortega’s January 9 executive order that extended the terms of 25 top judicial and executive officials. The Sandinista judges had passed a separate resolution earlier in April forbidding the National Assembly from overturning Ortega’s decree. The opposition, however, argues the court has no legal right to forbid the assembly from passing laws and, thus, went ahead and presented the bill.

From the perspective of José Pallaís, president of the Judicial Affairs Commission and a member of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), everything that the Sandinistas are doing is flagrantly illegal. “There is no rule of law here anymore! Everything has become absurd and totally contrary to the law! The only thing left is the right to rebellion!” Pallaís declared to the Costa Rica-based Nica Times last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, unrest has returned to the streets of the capital and to the campus of the National Autonomous University of Managua (UNAN), which masked “students” have occupied for the past week. On May 11 what appeared to be two rival factions of the Sandinista Youth clashed on the streets outside the university with rocks, home-made mortars, and pistols. Several students were injured during the fighting, including one who was pistol-whipped by another student. The latter, in turn, was captured by TV cameras pointing his gun in the faces of other students. As usual, the National Police did nothing to intervene, claiming that the university’s autonomy prevents them from acting.

Lately, the US embassy in Managua has issued at least two alerts to its citizens to stay clear of the district around UNAN, to “maintain a high level of security awareness, and to avoid large crowds due to the potential for violence.”

Last Thursday National Assembly secretary Wilfredo Navarro boldly declared: “We are ready to become the first political prisoners of the second Ortega dictatorship. They are going to have to put us in jail or kill us, because that’s all that’s left for them to do. Ortega keeps saying this is not a dictatorship because there are no political prisoners. So it would be an honor to be the first.”

In response to Sandinista Supreme Court judge Francisco Rosales, who described the opposition’s Holiday Inn session as a “flagrant crime,” Navarro protested: “This is an outrage. The clause about flagrant crimes no longer exists in the constitution.” According to Navarro, Rosales appears to be referring to the old constitution that existed during the first Sandinista regime in the 1980s. That constitution was amended in 1995 so that a legislator’s immunity can be lifted only by the National Assembly itself.

Although Ortega has yet to formally announce his candidacy in the 2011 presidential election, La Voz del Sandinismo is already peddling public opinion figures that supposedly show substantial support for Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator. According to the official organ of the FLSN, citing a New Century poll from May 8, 44 percent of respondents would vote for “El Comandante” or another FLSN candidate, even though only 38 percent of the electorate chose Ortega in 2006. New Century also polled the army and the police. Nearly 65 percent of soldiers held a “very favourable” or “favourable” opinion of the Sandinistas, while 61 percent of police held the same views.

The Cuban state media is making no secret about its support for the Sandinistas. In an editorial at Prensa Latina, propagandist Alfredo Pierrat defends the Nicaraguan Supreme Court’s unconstitutional machinations, accuses the PLC of “paralyzing” the government’s business and of refusing to accept “political alternation,” and charges former President Arnoldo (“Fasto”) Aleman, who was once allied with Ortega in “El Pacto,” and the Roman Catholic Church of fomenting political chaos to oust the FSLN.

Will Vice President Jaime Morales Carazo, a former Contra, join Pallaís and Navarro in the rebellion?

Will Ortega cling to power by attributing provocations to the opposition, declaring a state of emergency, and trying to illegally run in next year’s election?

Will Hugo Chavez, obediently following orders from his masters in Moscow, funnel more petro-bucks into Nicaragua, via ALBA front companies, to prop up beleaguered ally Ortega?

Will the Russians offer verbal or more substantial support to Ortega who, along with Venezuela and Nauru, has recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia?

One thing is sure: As long as the Sandinistas control Nicaragua, this country serves as an important beachhead for Soviet subversion and war preps in Central America. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin has a strategic interest in keeping Ortega in power.

>End Times File: Turkey installs anti-aircraft batteries near southern border to deter US, Israeli attack against Iran, Syria; Magog’s Cossack troops

>According to a Turkish newspaper, Ankara, which hosted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this week, has installed Hawk anti-aircraft batteries in Kayeel, a village close to the Syrian border, with the intent of deterring the US and Israeli air forces from violating Turkish airspace in case Jerusalem decides to attack Iran or Syria. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Turkish military official stated that the batteries will protect NATO state Turkey and its airspace against any such incursions.

Prior to meeting with the Turkish president and prime minister, Medvedev also flew to Damascus where he conferred with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hamas’ exiled political leader Khaled Mashaal. This is the first time any incumbent Soviet/Russian leader has ever travelled to Syria, demonstrating the strategic premium Moscow places on its relationship with the terrorist state of Syria. Hamas leaders were invited to Moscow in 2006.

The Israeli media also reports that Russia may help its long-time proxy state build a nuclear reactor. This possibility prompted the US State Department to remind both countries of their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In September 2007 the Israeli Air Force bombed a site in eastern Syria, which Washington later claimed was an installation tasked with assembling an atomic bomb with material aid from North Korea.

Although independent confirmation has yet to emerge, according to the BeforeItsNews blog, during their Damascus tete-a-tete, Medvedev warned Assad that Russia and the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have given Israel a “green light” to use nuclear weapons in any future war with Syria.

The Russian President made it clear for Bashar Assad that Russia had given Israel a green light to do so if Israel will refrain from risking the Middle East oil fields. Moreover, Russian President Medvedev made it clear that currently there is a silent agreement between the major powers, Russia, USA, France, Britain and Germany, and Israel, that in a Total war, Israel will get all the breathing space it will need to Overpower the Arab world.

We find this report, which portrays Israel as aggressor, somewhat unlikely in view of the well-established strategic partnership between Moscow and Damascus and the Russian Navy’s renewed presence at Tartus. On the other hand, the Soviet strategists at some point may goad Israel into attacking Syria and Iran in order to justify a punishing counter-attack. If this scenario plays out, then the world is on the verge of witnessing the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s Magog and Isaiah’s “destruction of Damascus” prophecies.

Along this theme, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to soldiers during a tour of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Northern Command this past Tuesday, asserted that Iran is trying to provoke war between Israel and Syria. “We want security, stability and peace,” Netanyahu stressed. “Israel has no intention of attacking its neighbors, contrary to false rumors which have been spread on the subject.” With respect to Medvedev’s overtures to enhance Moscow’s peace-making profile in the Middle East, the Israeli leader commented: “Israel will give its blessing to any contribution to advance peace, as well as any practical steps taken by our neighbors, including Syria, that lead to calm in the region and the start of a peace process.”

Certainly, the new defence pact between Iran and Syria, the new partnership between Syria and Turkey, which has included joint military drills, and Turkey’s post-Cold War alliance with Russia demonstrate–as Christians would acknowledge–that Bible prophecy is unerringly accurate. The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel describes a vast military coalition that will invade Israel in the end times, after the return of the Jews to their homeland (chapters 38 and 39). In this prophecy Russia is referred to as Magog, Turkey is Togarmah, and Iran is Persia, a name used until as recently as the early 20th century. Libya is also involved under its ancient name.

Significantly, Ezekiel does not mention Syria, but this could be that Damascus, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, has already been turned into a “glass parking lot” by an Israeli nuke, per Isaiah’s prophecy (chapter 17). By considering all of the relevant Bible verses, it appears that this attempt to annihilate the Jewish state will take place during the early days of the seven-year tribulation period.

The Palestinian Arabs appear in end-times Bible prophecy, too, under the guise of the Philistines, Israel’s ancient enemies. Indeed, the official name of the Palestinian National Authority is As-Sulta Al-Wataniyya Al-Filastīniyya. Gaza is mentioned by name in both Amos 1 and Zephaniah 2.

Incidentally, Christians who disbelieve in a literal, future fulfilment of the Magog invasion of Israel due to the listing of ancient weaponry in the prophecy—shields, bows, arrows, and spears—should consider the fact that in 2005 KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin integrated the horse-mounted, sword-wielding Cossacks into Russia’s military (pictured above). Standard histories of the Cossacks reveal that these proud Russian warrior clans use all of the weapons listed by Ezekiel. Furthermore, since the collapse of the Soviet Union the Cossacks have fought side by side with the Russian Armed Forces in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Chechnya, and Kosovo.

In any case, the Holy Spirit gave the Magog revelation to Ezekiel in terms that he understood as a man living in the sixth century BC. Obviously, God’s prophet possessed no personal acquaintance with modern weapons such as ballistic missiles, jet fighters, and tanks. Actually, there’s nothing in Ezekiel’s Magog prophecy that absolutely excludes the use of modern warfare in the Magog invasion of Israel.

Israel’s close relationship with Georgia prior to the Russian re-invasion/re-occupation in August 2008 was in large part spurred by Jerusalem’s interest in using Georgian airspace to launch air raids against Iran’s nuclear reactors. Georgia also has a substantial Jewish community. Both factors irked the anti-Semitic leadership of Russia, which has traditionally sided with the Arabs. While it is true that anti-Zionist Jews were prominent among the early Bolshevik leaders, like foreign affairs commissar Leon Trotsky and NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda, Jews were largely purged from the communist hierarchy by the time Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin concocted the so-called “Jewish Doctors’ Plot.”

Finally, it should be observed that some of the political-military figures mentioned in end-times Bible prophecy may be on the world stage too. For example, the Caucasus Mountains, where Georgia is located, literally means “Gog’s Fortress.” Is Putin, whose troops occupy the “former” Soviet republic, “Gog,” “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal [Tobolsk or Tbilisi]”?

In 2008 more than 200 tribal chiefs from Africa hailed eccentric Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi, who recently served as head of the African Union (AU), as “King of Kings,” a title reserved in the Bible for Jesus Christ. At the AU summit in Addis Ababa this past February, a tribal chief compared Qaddafi to “the prophets of the Bible or the Koran,” and exhorted the heads of state present to “follow the Guide who is showing us the way.” Is long-time Soviet ally Qaddafi “King of the South” (Daniel 11)? Or possibly, as some Bible prophecy enthusiasts suggest, the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak? The world will find out these details soon enough.

>Latin America/USA Files: Russian Duma VP, Zyuganov henchman visits Cuba, meets Castro; Kremlin media: N. Korean commandos blew up Deepwater Horizon

>Soviet-Cuban relations appeared to lapse during the 1990s, picking up somewhat with Vladimir Putin’s official trip to the island in 2000. Coincidentally or not, this visit occurred only one year before Moscow closed down its electronic eavesdropping base in Lourdes (Google cache), a facility in the suburbs of Havana that may have provided air traffic data to Mohammad Atta and his 911 skyjackers.

Over the past two years Moscow has intensified its contacts with Havana. Current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev showed up in Havana in 2008, while Cuban counterpart Raul Castro reciprocated the visit by trekking to Moscow last year. High-level military exchanges, including the top generals of both countries, Nikolai Makarov and Alvaro Lopez Miera, have also taken place.

Nearly 20 years after the Cold War supposedly ended, therefore, Cuba is still Russia’s most important strategic partner in Latin America, followed very closely by “new communist on the bloc,” Hugo Chavez, and compliant KGB asset Daniel Ortega. Moscow has also intensified military and economic linkages with the far-left governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guyana, and the center-left governments of Brazil, Argentina, and Guatemala. The Soviet strategists have even made overtures to Mexico, offering to help President Felipe Calderon crush that country’s out-of-control drug cartels, themselves armed by the Russian Mafia.

Today, reports Cuba’s state media, President Castro received the vice president of the Russian State Duma, Ivan Melnikov, who, not surprisingly, is also vice chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Comrade Melnikov teaches at Moscow State University and heads up the Duma’s education committee, which means an open communist controls Russia’s education system. Melnikov is Gennady Zyuganov’s second-in-command in the CPRF. Chairman Zyuganov lately urged the Putinist regime to display pics of “Uncle Joe” Stalin throughout Moscow in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism.

Incidentally, the CPRF holds the second largest number of seats in Russia’s rubberstamp parliament, after (putatively ruling) United Russia, itself founded and controlled by “ex”-cadres of the (supposedly defunct) Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In regional elections this past March the CPRF made long-anticipated electoral gains at the expense of potemkin United Russia.

Melnikov and Castro discussed “current international affairs” and praised the “excellent state” of bilateral relations between Cuba and Russia. Commerce between the long-time allies amounted to US$400 million in 2009, while Moscow granted Havana more than US$350 million in trade credits. Also attending this communist conclave were Cuban parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon and Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, Mikhail Kamynin.

In what might be a related story, but which sounds like the plot from a James Bond thriller, the Kremlin media contends that North Korean commandos blew up the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. This semi-submersible offshore drilling rig, which sank 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana with the loss of 11 crew, was built in South Korea in 2001, owned by Transocean and operated by British Petroleum. According to the European Union Times, citing a report allegedly produced by the Russian Navy:

The North Korean “cargo vessel” Dai Hong Dan believed to be staffed by 17th Sniper Corps “suicide” troops left Cuba’s Empresa Terminales Mambisas de La Habana (Port of Havana) on April 18th whereupon it “severely deviated” from its intended course for Venezuela’s Puerto Cabello bringing it to within 209 kilometers (130 miles) of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform which was located 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of the US State of Louisiana where it launched an SSC Sang-o Class Mini Submarine (Yugo class) estimated to have an operational range of 321 kilometers (200 miles).

On the night of April 20th the North Korean Mini Submarine manned by these “suicidal” 17th Sniper Corps soldiers attacked the Deepwater Horizon with what are believed to be 2 incendiary torpedoes causing a massive explosion and resulting in 11 workers on this giant oil rig being killed outright.

Is this conspiracy theory true? We have no idea. Is it more Soviet disinformation, designed to enflame tensions between the USA and Communist North Korea? Maybe. The Dai Hong Dan is in fact a North Korean cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in October 2007. Furthermore, Seoul has determined that the March 26 explosion that sank the Cheonan warship in waters disputed with Pyongyang was caused by an “external explosion,” possibly a North Korean torpedo or mine. Forty-six crewmen perished. However, the Republic of Korea has directed no formal charges against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

If the Kremlin media were honest, perhaps it would admit that Spetsnaz frogmen blew up the Deepwater Horizon. After all, Russia intends to start drilling for oil in Cuban waters. Communists, of course, don’t like competition. With some smugness, no doubt, Moscow, according to the US State Department, has offered technical assistance in cleaning up the oil spill that resulted from the destruction of Deepwater Horizon.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Moscow’s top space officials arrive in French Guiana, delay Soyuz launch; Russian cruisers hold drill in Indian Ocean

>On Tuesday, Anatoly Perminov, chief of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, arrived at the Kourou space center in French Guiana to oversee preparations for the first launch of a Soyuz-ST carrier rocket. During his visit, Perminov will meet with European Space Agency director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain and officials of the French space agency, CNES.

Sections of two Soyuz-STs were shipped from St. Petersburg to France’s South American department in November 2009. The April deadline for the launch, however, came and went. Russian, EU, and French space officials are now uncertain when this will take place, confiding only that the rocket will certainly blast off by the end of 2010.

Two years ago Roscosmos and French satellite launch firm Arianespace inked a contract to launch 10 Russian Soyuz-STs from Kourou, with two launches specifically slated for 2010. However, according to Arianespace Chairman/CEO Jean Yves le Galle, only one Soyuz launch will be held this year, to deliver the Hylas-1 commercial satellite into orbit. The second Russian launch from Kourou, he explains, is not expected by year’s end.

In any event, Perminov will inspect the Soyuz-ST assembly facility at Kourou and the launch pad of Ariane-5, the main EU-built booster. Sergei Ivanov, deputy prime minister in charge of Russia’s aerospace and defense industries, is expected to join Perminov for a working visit.

Russia’s new spaceport in French Guiana is intended mainly for the launch of heavier, geosynchronous satellites, which are ideally launched from an equatorial region. Until now Russia was restricted to using two spaceports, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Moscow rents from the “former” Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, and the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia. Constructed in 1955, Baikonur is the world’s oldest, continuously operating rocket base.

French Guiana offers the Soviet strategists a potential platform from which to lob nukes at the Continental USA from an unexpected direction. This may be one reason why they have wooed France and the European Union into Moscow’s sphere of influence. French Guiana, which is located among South America’s “northern tier” countries, is close to Soviet ally Venezuela. No one at the Pentagon, which is now effectively committed to unilateral nuclear disarmament under the Obama Admin, seems be considering this threat.

On the other side of the world, in the eastern Indian Ocean, the Russian Navy, although a shadow of its Soviet-era strength, is re-projecting its influence. This past week, two warships, the Northern Fleet’s Peter the Great battlecruiser and the Black Sea Fleet’s guided missile cruiser Moskva, carried out a drill that included repelling enemy airstrikes. The US-British naval base at Diego Garcia is located in the central Indian Ocean.

Rebuilding Russian naval power, with Borei-class ballistic missile submarines and multiple carrier strike forces, is a top priority for the Moscow Leninists, but will take some years to realize, even with enough money. The first of four Borei-class subs, Yury Dolgoruky, is currently undergoing sea trials. The Russian Navy is also committed to purchasing a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship from errant NATO member France and building three more under license. The latter prospect greatly worries former communist states like Poland and the Baltic republics.

Earlier today, Japanese and South Korean jets intercepted two Russian Bear bombers and their multirole fighter escort over the Sea of Japan. The Russian military aircraft were en route to the Pacific Ocean to conduct exercises.

>End Times File: Medvedev visits Damascus in first-ever visit for Soviet leader to Syria, meets Assad, Hamas leader; next stop: NATO state Turkey

>Fresh from hosting the Chinese president, German chancellor, and US/NATO troops at the Kremlin’s Victory in Europe celebration on May 9, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev flew to Damascus on Monday in the first-ever visit to Syria for a Soviet/Russian head of state. During his two-day official stopover, Medvedev will confer with Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, on the subject of Middle East peace. That elusive beast, however, will not be found until, according to Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament, the Antichrist steps onto the world stage and imposes a brief, false peace on the region.

Medvedev and Assad will also discuss Iran’s (Russian-built) nuclear program; the political situations in Iraq, where Tehran-sponsored insurgents seek to topple the US-backed government, and Lebanon, where the political party/terrorist army Hezbollah holds a dominant position in the government; and Soviet-Syrian relations in the fields of energy and economic cooperation.

Russia has revitalized its Soviet-era naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus and reportedly sold Iskander missile batteries to Damascus. These offensive weapons can easily reach Syria’s mortal enemy Israel, which share a common but disputed border on the Golan Heights.

In remarks to reporters after a closed-door meeting with the Russian president, Assad stated that: “Thousands of Syrians have studied in great Russian universities and come back to contribute to building their homeland, and thousands of Russian technicians have come to Syria to help build infrastructure for dams, roads and factories.”

Significantly, reports Novosti, Medvedev and Assad also met with Hamas’ Damascus-based political leader Khaled Mashaal. Hamas is the Palestinian terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip and one of many unholy offspring of the Kremlin’s international terrorist network.

On Wednesday, Medvedev flew to Ankara, where he met Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul (pictured here) and Prime Minister Recep Erdogan for the purpose of discussing energy relations. Reuters reports that Moscow and Ankara have signed a US$20 billion deal to build a nuclear power plant with four reactors in Turkey. Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko explained that Atomstroiexport will lead construction of the plant on Turkey’s southern coast.

Although Turkey is a member of NATO and was putatively anti-communist in the Cold War, since the fake demise of communism in Russia, Ankara has cozied up to Moscow, to the point of buying military hardware from and holding joint naval exercises with Russia. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party is pro-Islamic and anti-Israel. Over the past year, Turkey has deepened its alliance not only with Russia, but also with Syria, having carried out two joint military drills with Damascus, much to the disconcertment of Israel’s rightist government.

Moscow places a strategic premium on its relations with the Islamic world, knowing that the Islamo-socialist regimes that predominate in North Africa and the Middle East would rejoice to witness the destruction of America’s chief ally in the region. From the vantage of Bible prophecy, the end-times, Russian-led military coalition that will invade the Jewish state during the first part of Daniel’s 70th week–only to be supernaturally defeated by God–is fast-coalescing before our eyes.

>Latin America File: Ortega buys votes, army loyalty with ALBA cash; Caracas exports petro-communism to Caribbean; Ecuador to seize foreign oil ops

>This is very important, not just for the Dominican Republic but also for Venezuela because it puts us in the heart of the Caribbean.
— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, statement made in Caracas on May 4, 2010

The latest headlines reveal that petro-communist thug Hugo Chavez continues to export his revolutionary socialism and strategically prop up kindred regimes in Central America, like Nicaragua, and the Caribbean Basin, like Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

On May 1, on the occasion of International Workers’ Day, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, under the banner of “Christianity, Socialism, and Solidarity,” announced the implementation of a pay raise, amounting to US$25 per month, for every soldier, police officer, and civil servant. Although Ortega did not explain how the bonuses, totalling US$27 million, will be financed, he indicated that state workers should be grateful to the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago.

With a nod toward the glib liberation theology that also animates red buddies Chavez and Rafael Correa, Ortega enthused: “In the spirit of solidarity, Christianity and socialism that we are cultivating in the hearts of Nicaraguans and cultivating in ALBA, we can multiply bread. When there is faith, there is Christ! When there is faith, there is hope!” Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America.

Since January 2007, when he regained the presidency, Ortega has received almost US$1.1 billion in Venezuelan aid, according to a new report published by the Central Bank of Nicaragua. Ortega and his closest aids tightly handle Nicaragua’s ALBA accounts, so even the country’s central bank can only provide broad and non-itemized statistics about Venezuelan aid.

“This is another example of how Ortega is becoming more like Somoza,” complained Enrique Sáenz, referring to former dictator Anastasio Somoza’s practice of throwing around money to buy votes. “This political practice should have been buried a long time ago,” he added. An economist by profession, Saenz is a member of the dissident grouping called the Sandinista Renovation Movement, which rejects Ortega’s personal leadership over all things Sandinista. “Comandante” Ortega’s Soviet/Cuban-backed Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979.

The Sandinista Popular Army (EPS) was supposedly de-communized in 1995, when General Humberto Ortega, Daniel’s brother, resigned. Since then, all of the country’s top generals have been Sandinistas, including the present one, Julio Aviles. Aviles received military training in Cuba after the Sandinista Revolution and later became chief of Nicaragua’s military intelligence. In response to Ortega’s “generosity,” Aviles offered this fulsome praise for his fellow Sandinista:

I am thankful to the president for his support for the army. This is good news to us and the soldiers. The president has always tried to help us to fulfill our functions. This helped us to maintain a wage scale and to have stability in the personnel of the Army of Nicaragua.

Unlike Aviles, retired general Hugo Torres is not impressed by Ortega’s largesse. Torres is a revolutionary hero who played a major role in professionalizing the EPS following Ortega’s electoral defeat in 1990. “This is a mafia practice,” he declared indignantly, “he’s giving money to soldiers and trying to get them to think of him as the boss who is above the constitution and laws of the land. This is behavior typical of the dictators we have had in the region, from Somoza to [former Dominican strongman Rafael Leonidas] Trujillo.” Last December, however, Torres observed:

I think the army is the most solid institution in the country. All of the other institutions–the Supreme Electoral Council, the judicial system, the Attorney General’s Office, the Comptroller General’s Office, the Human Rights Ombudsman–they are all controlled by Ortega. But the army remains the most solid and the most respected institution in the country.

Torres implies that the Nicaraguan National Army, the EPS’s new name, is somehow beyond Ortega’s grasp, but this is a disingenuous comment as the picture above of Aviles and Ortega clearly shows.

In 2007 Ortega and his paymaster Chavez articulated their intention of forming an “anti-imperialist army” from the militaries of ALBA, which also includes Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and three Caribbean states. Nicaragua and Venezuela are slated to hold joint military drills in the former country some time this month or next. Nicaragua and Russia are slated to hold joint military drills at an unspecified future date, presumably in Central America. Last month Nicaraguan and other Communist Bloc troops marched through Caracas in commemoration of Venezuela’s 200th anniversary of independence.

Latin America’s leftist leaders proclaim “social justice” for all people, including the region’s indigenous groups. This is especially the case in Bolivia, where the country’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president, Evo Morales, is South America’s first self-proclaimed indigenous head of government/state. Morales enjoys political alliances with Ortega, Chavez, and Correa but, ironically, the interests of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Ecuador are either rejected or suppressed.

Indeed, when indigenous people, or any other group for that matter, get in the way of advancing communist programs, racial and class genocide is the order of the day. For instance, in the 1980s the first Sandinista regime attempted to exterminate the Miskito Indians who live in Nicaragua’s Caribbean region. In 2009 the Miskitos proclaimed independence from Managua and declared their intent to secure United Nations recognition, a stance that excited little interest in Managua and virtually no acknowledgment from the international community.

On May 6 Ecuadorean Indian groups stormed the Congress building in Quito to protest the government’s new law that, oddly, in view of President Correa’s socialist orientation, privatizes the country’s water supplies, presumably into the hands of political hacks who support Correa. Hundreds of protesters took part in the demonstration before being pushed back by police using gas and batons. “We have called on our local organizations to join this protest,” Marlon Santi, president of the Indigenous Confederation of Ecuador, told reporters outside Congress, where Correa’s ruling party, the Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance, enjoys a solid majority. He added: “We are not going to move from here until our concerns are clearly addressed.” Some indigenous groups tried to enter the capital on Thursday. When security forces stopped them, they blocked roads with stones and branches.

For his part, Correa called the protest leaders “liars.” “They do not scare me at all,” he ranted, announcing he would organize a march in favor of the water bill. “Water belongs to the indigenous people, but also to the mixed-race people. The water belongs to everyone.”

Following in the footsteps of the kindred regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia, last month Ecuador’s socialist government threatened to nationalize the operations of foreign private oil companies, unless they sign new contracts agreeing to increased state control over the sector. “Every day that passes there are millions of dollars going to these companies that should be going to the Ecuadorean state,” Correa complained during a televised address on April 18. “I’ve run out of patience,” he blurted, adding: “We are sending a bill to Congress that would allow for the expropriation of oil fields if the companies not want to sign the new contracts.” Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s Petrobras, Chinese consortium Andes Petroleum, and Italy’s Eni presently operate in the Andean country.

“The government’s rhetoric is driven by its need to raise revenue and reduce its deficits. But a nationalization of private oil assets in Ecuador is probably not imminent,” opined Gary Kleiman, a Washington-based emerging markets consultant. Correa severed Ecuador from international capital markets in 2008 defaulted when his government defaulted on US$3.2 billion in bonds.

Along the same theme, Venezuela’s state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), which is bankrolling Chavez’s communist revolution domestically and abroad, agreed on May 5 to buy a 49% stake in the Dominican Republic’s Refidomsa refinery, which processes 34,000 barrels of oil per day. Venezuela is already a major supplier of crude oil to Santo Domingo. The purchase of such a large stake in Refidomsa will allow Caracas to expand its role as a supplier of fuel via Petrocaribe. The agreement was signed during a visit to the Dominican Republic by Chavez and PDVSA chief, Rafael Ramirez, an ardent communist like his boss.

“This is very important, not just for the Dominican Republic but also for Venezuela because it puts us in the heart of the Caribbean,” Chavez confided on May 4, the day before he flew to Santo Domingo. With an eye toward “helping” quake-ravaged Haiti, he added: “It will allow us to ship our petroleum for refining and distribution, not just within the Dominican market, but also throughout the Caribbean’s central market.” Prior to finalizing the transaction, Chavez also consulted with his compliant lackey, Manuel Zelaya, the former Honduran president who dragged his country into a short-lived partnership with ALBA. Earlier this year, Chavez appointed Zelaya as head of Petrocaribe’s “Political Bureau.”

Finally, an unusual development has taken place in the strategically important country of Panama. On May 1 Panamanian counter-narcotics police discovered an arsenal of 47 assault rifles, 24 machine pistols, 4,000 grenades and grenade-style munitions, and nearly 500,000 rounds of ammunition at the home of a Guatemalan-born sociology professor. Vinicio Jimenez, who teaches at Chiriqui Regional University, was arrested following the raid on his residence. Chiriqui is a province that borders Costa Rica. Panamanian police have made no comment concerning Jimenez’s political affiliation or why his home contained enough firepower to launch a small insurgency.

Such discoveries of illicit arms are rare in Panama, but Guatemala is home to violent street gangs, like Mara Salvatrucha, and serves as a conduit for the Latin American cocaine trade. Lately, operatives of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel have been detected in Panama.

Incidentally, a number of communist parties operate in Panama, including the People’s Party of Panama, which is the country’s oldest Marxist party and supported Omar Torrijos’ military regime in the 1970s; Socialist Workers’ Front (Marxist-Leninist) (FOS (ML)), which split from the PPP in 1973; Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) of Panama, which split from the FOS (ML) in 1980; and November 29 National Liberation Movement (MLN-29), a small, still-active guerrilla army that has links with the ruling parties of Nicaragua and El Salvador, that is, the FSLN and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. The MLN-29 opposed the US invasion in December 1989. We have no evidence linking the good professor Jimenez to these subversive groups.

>Buncha Commies Corner: US, UK, French and Polish troops join Russian counterparts in VE celebration, strategic bombers buzz Red Square

>In another hair-tearing example of communist-scripted East-West convergence, yesterday US, British, French, and Polish troops joined 10,500 Russian counterparts in the Kremlin’s observance of the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, sometimes known as “VE Day” in the West. Your resident blogger has a personal interest in VE Day since my father, now on the verge of retirement, was born in the United Kingdom on the last day of the European war.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the friendly face of the secretly ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union, hosted several foreign dignitaries at the Red Square march-past, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who as a girl was raised in East Germany, and Chinese President Hu Jintao. The Federal Republic of Germany and the People’s Republic of China are two of Russia’s most important “strategic partners” in Europe and Asia, respectively. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, lurked in the review stand (pictured above).

A Russian color guard bearing the country’s “post”-communist tricolor flag and the hammer-and-sickle-emblazoned Victory Banner, which Soviet troops raised on the German Reichstag in Berlin 65 years ago, kicked off the parade (pictured here). In 2007 the Russian State Duma restored the Victory Banner as the Russian Ground Forces’ official flag, a little hint to the West that communism is not yet dead and buried in Moscow.

Predictably, reports Voice of America, in his obligatory presidential remarks, Medvedev blathered about “the need for international cooperation to prevent war.” He stated that “modern threats can only be opposed together,” adding that “the problems of global security can only be resolved on the basis of neighborly relations so that the ideals of justice and goodness may triumph throughout the world.” In view of the Kremlin’s obvious role in the demise of Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and that country’s top generals last month, one is forced to question Moscow’s commitment to “ideals of justice and goodness.” Apparently, as evidenced by the presence of NATO troops in Red Square, the North Atlantic alliance’s political-military leadership is not asking that all-important question.

In an interview with VOA, US Army Captain Matthew Strand imparted a positive spin to NATO’s participation in Moscow’s re-enactment of the Allied Powers’ victory over Nazism. Strand, whose 90-year-old grandfather was a pilot during the war, gushed: “Every time my grandpa meets a veteran from World War Two, even if he doesn’t know him, the second he meets him, they automatically have something in common. And just by me having a grandfather that was in it, I have something in common with the veterans I meet here in Russia.” Strand, who is no doubt sincere, is an unwitting player in the Soviet deception strategy. Strand commanded the US military unit that participated in the Kremlin’s anti-Nazi production, the 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment.

Russia’s open communists were not pleased by the presence of NATO troops on their turf. According to a recent public opinion poll by the independent Levada Center, eight percent of Russians, mostly communists and nationalists, expressed “strong opposition” to the foreign presence in the parade. Russia’s communists ranted, “No NATO boots on Red Square.” However, more than half of the Russians surveyed approved of NATO participation which, of course, supports the Kremlin preferred line vis-a-vis East-West convergence.

Just in case the West does not follow the “path of peace,” the neo-Soviet leadership reminded the world that in addition to the WW2-vintage T-34 Soviet tanks that led the parade of military hardware, the Kremlin also possesses an array of modern weapons, including road-mobile long-range missiles, helicopter gunships, fourth-generation fighters, and aging but still dangerous nuclear bombers. Pictured above: In this Red Square fly-over, a Tu-95 Bear bomber is preceded by an Il-78 Midas aerial tanker and accompanied by Su-24 Fencer fighter-bombers (rear) and Yak-130 trainers (right and left).

Long-time Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, in collaboration with communist party boss Gennady Zyuganov, proposed that the Victory Day celebrations include public displays of posters of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Anxious to soothe strained relations with Poland, the Kremlin prohibited the decision, backing its recent decision to release documents admitting Stalin issued the orders leading to the massacre of more than 20,000 Polish military officers in 1940.

As a sidenote, your resident blogger is presently reading The Black Book of Communism, which exposed this truth back in 1997. Compiled by European academics, some former communists, this massive narrative chronicles the “class genocide” commited by communist regimes in the 20th century.

Viktor Kremenyuk, a political analyst at the venerable KGB think tank known as the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, commented that “Stalin weakened the country, having eliminated some of its best military leaders three years before the German invasion.” Apparently, “de-Stalinization” is still in vogue in Moscow since the neo-Soviet leadership is not quite ready to pounce on the West and must maintain the pretense of being a potential partner for NATO.