Monthly Archives: August 2010

>WW4 File: Russian attack subs lurking outside UK naval base, recording "acoustic signature" of Vanguard SSBNs for potential torpedoeing

>– Senior Royal Navy Commanders:

1) Trafalgar Hunter-Killer Subs Escorting SSBNs to Counter Russian Akulas, Protect UK’s Nuclear Deterrent

2) Russian Sub Movements in North Atlantic Highest Since 1987

3) Russian Subs Also Tracking US and French Submarines

In yet one more proof that the Cold War never really ended, the British media has learned that Russian Akula-class attack submarines have in the last six months been caught trying to record the acoustic signature of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard ballistic subs (pictured above), which carry Trident nuclear missiles. Furthermore, according to the Daily Telegraph, which cites “senior Navy officers,” British submariners in the North Atlantic Ocean report that they are experiencing the highest number of “contacts” with Russian subs since 1987.

“If the Russians are able to obtain a recording of the unique noise of the boat’s propellers,” explains the news site, “it would have serious implications for Britain’s nuclear deterrent.” The Daily Telegraph adds: “Using its sophisticated sonar, the Akula would be able to track Vanguards and potentially sink them before they could launch their Trident D4 missiles.”

Russian subs are reportedly lurking off the coast of Faslane, Scotland, where the British nuclear force is based. There they wait for Trident-carrying Vanguards to emerge for their three-month patrol to provide the United Kingdom’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent. The Daily Telegraph continues:

While patrolling in the North Atlantic, there are a limited number of places the Vanguard is permitted to go and it is thought that the Akula attempted to track it on several occasions. Navy commanders are understood to have ordered a Trafalgar-class hunter-killer submarine to protect the Vanguard. A recording of the Akula was made by the Trafalgar submarine’s sonar operators and has been played to The Daily Telegraph.

“The Russians have been playing games with us, the Americans and French in the North Atlantic,” a senior Navy commander stated, adding: “We have put a lot of resources into protecting Trident because we cannot afford by any stretch to let the Russians learn the acoustic profile of one of our bombers [SSBNs] as that would compromise the deterrent.”

Is there any connection between the mysterious murder this month of British signals intelligence officer Gareth Williams, who may have been rubbed out by a Slovenian communist, and the new “Hunt for Red October” in the North Atlantic? We may never know until Missile Day, which appears to be looming on the horizon if the Kremlin’s purchase of inflatable decoy aircraft, missiles, and tanks is any indication.

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>Red Terror File: British GCHQ officer, MI6 secondment found dead in his upscale London flat; Slovenian blogger: “Communist involved in death of spy”

>– Spy’s Apartment Presumed MI6 “Safe House,” Owned by Russian Company Registered in British Virgin Islands

Scotland Yard is investigating the murder of a British spy who apparently died up to two weeks ago. The decomposing body of Gareth Williams, reports the Daily Mail, was found in a large sports bag in his bathroom. Williams rented an upscale, two-storey apartment only a few hundred yards from the headquarters of MI6, the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service. His flat is believed to be an MI6 “safe house,” one of several in the area.

Williams’ mobile phone and a collection of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards were carefully spread out on a table. Police believe Williams was murdered on site, and possibly by someone he knew since there were no signs of forced entry.

The Welsh-born, 31-year-old Williams was an employee of the British government’s signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Gloustershire. The cipher and codes specialist was on secondment to MI6 at the time of his disappearance and death. A mathematics genius, according to a family friend, Williams studied at Cambridge University. He was an avid cyclist, but a loner. Williams’ neighbors, many of whom are bankers and politicians, are horrified by his demise. Tellingly, details of the murder investigation have been forwarded to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The British Foreign Office is saying little: “There is an ongoing police investigation. It is a long-standing Government policy not to confirm or deny that any individual works for the intelligence agencies.” Patrick Mercer, former chairman of the House of Commons Counter-terrorism Subcommittee, admonished: “This underlines the danger that our outstanding security services have to face on a minute-by-minute basis every single day.”

MI6 fears that “Britain’s enemies” could have stolen classified material from Williams’ laptop computer or MP3 player. “Whether he was killed by Islamic extremists, Russian gangsters or someone altogether closer to him, MI6 operative Dr. Gareth Williams died a spook’s death,” ponders the Daily Mail in another article.

According to the British tabloids Williams was a homosexual and transvestite which, if true, would make him a prime target for blackmail and manipulation by foreign intelligence services, especially the Russian SVR. Williams allegedly had a “close friendship” with former GCHQ colleague Raphael L’hoste-Morton, but Raphael denies this.

The last spy to have perished on British soil was former Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. He was poisoned by radioactive polonium-210. British authorities suspect that former colleague Andrei Lugovoi, now a deputy in the Russian State Duma, perpetrated Litvinenko’s death. Prior to Litvinenko, Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was killed by a communist agent who used an umbrella to fire a ricin pellet into his leg as he crossed Waterloo Bridge in September 1978.

Upon learning of Williams’ demise, we immediately speculated that the Not-So-Former Communist Bloc was somehow involved. We have no hard leads, except the following tantalizing morsels.

First, Land Registry documents reveal that the building in which Williams lived is owned by a private company called New Rodina. This company is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), not the UK proper. Someone purchased the property for 675,250 pounds (US$1 million) in 2000 with a mortgage from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and remortgaged the property in 2005 and 2006. New Rodina’s owner operated through a law firm called Park Nelson, which once occupied a rented office in Bell Yard, off Fleet Street, but no longer appears to exist. The word “rodina,” we should highlight, means “motherland” in Russian and Bulgarian. The BVI, incidentally, is a known haunt of the Russian mafia.

Second, on August 26 a blogger at the Slovenian website Polonika attributed Williams’ death to a communist agent from his own country. The post was deleted the same day. The only information that can be obtained is from the post’s title, which search engines can still locate. According to this unknown individual “[A] communist from Slovenia [is] involved into [sic] the death of spy Gareth Williams. He [that is, Williams] was researching mind control, prostitution, and kidnapping (because Slovenia is [a] Russian satellite).”

Until 1991 Slovenia was part of Communist Yugoslavia. Slovenia’s prime minister, Borut Pahor, is an “ex”-communist. In June 2010 Pahor attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

That a Russian company, possibly a front for the SVR, owns property near MI6 headquarters, probably for the purpose of snooping, is not surprising. That MI6 would rent an apartment from an offshore-registered Russian company to be used as a “safe house” is surprising. Actually, it’s unbelievably stupid. Former MI6 officer Harry Ferguson told the Daily Mail: “There are lots of flats in this area owned by MI6 and their big worry will be that a terrorist group or intelligence group was involved.” Williams’ flat could very well have been bugged before MI6 made the first rental payment.

That the SVR, moreover, might lure Williams into a compromising relationship with a Russian agent, especially a male agent if Williams was indeed a homosexual, is not surprising either. “Another possibility is that he was the victim of a dangerous sex game gone wrong,” muses the Daily Mail. Any standard history of the Soviet/Russian secret services will confirm that “dangerous sex games” are useful tools for entrapping Western agents. From Russia with love?

>Latin America File: Cuba-Venezuela “economic union,” Salvadoran pres. heads for Havana, Nicaragua busts Gulf Cartel cell; gunmen kill Mexican mayor

>– Moscow Praises Resumption of Colombian-Venezuelan Diplomatic Relations, Second Restoration since March 2008 Andean Crisis

– Silent Invasion: Fourth Sino-Mexican Summit in Mexico City Advances Strategic Partnership Established in 2003

– Argentine Foreign Minister Welcomes Narco-Communist-Terrorist Sao Paulo Forum to Buenos Aires

Pictured above: On July 26, 2010 Cuban President Raul Castro (center) salutes during a ceremony at Che Guevara Revolution Square in Santa Clara, during the 57th anniversary of the Moncada Barracks attacks, which marked the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. From left to right: Cuba’s Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Venezuela’s Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez, Castro, Venezuela’s Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, and Cuba’s Revolution Commander Ramiro Valdez.

Valdez is also Havana’s pointman in allied communist states like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Earlier this year he was appointed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to head a government commission to fix that country’s energy crisis.

During the last week of July Cuban and Venezuelan officials met in Cayo Santa Maria, a city in northeastern Cuba, where they signed 139 bilateral cooperation agreements designed to advance “economic union” between the two communist states. In 2007 then Cuban President Fidel Castro and his disciple, Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, spoke of uniting their countries in a federation. At the time Fidel’s younger brother Raul, who is now president, referred ominously to “Venecuba.”

Raul hosted last month’s Cuban-Venezuelan summit. Leading the Venezuelan delegation were vice presidents Ricardo Cabrisas and Rafael Ramirez, who is also boss of the state-run PDVSA oil company. Chavez did not attend the summit, claiming that he feared an impending Colombian military raid on his country. He pointed to the imposing presence of 46 US warships with 7,000 Marines off the coast of Costa Rica, ostensibly to help San Jose interdict drug shipments, as proof of Washington’s ill intent and collaboration with Bogota.

Cuba’s communist-controlled media assessed the Cuban-Venezuelan summit in the following fashion: “The Cuba-Venezuela Economic Union represents an important contribution to the increasing process of integration and further strengthening of the bilateral links, based on the principles of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America [ALBA].” Some sources estimate that there are as many as 60,000 Cuban agents in Venezuela, many holding important posts in the military and intelligence structures. At least 30,000 Cuban medical doctors and teachers are known to plying their trade in the South American country.

El Salvador’s president, Mauricio Funes, is slated to visit Cuba during the first week of September. This is the first time in nearly 50 years that a Salvadoran head of state has made an official visit to the communist island. El Salvador, under the government of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), restored diplomatic relations with Cuba shortly after the ex-guerrillas came peacefully to power in 2009. At that time, the Salvadoran vice president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the FMLN’s former battlefield commander and a “doctrinaire Leninist” who praised the 911 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC, dutifully put in an appearance in Havana. Although touted as a “moderate,” former CNN Espanol correspondent Funes will now make his own pilgrimage to worship at the feet of Raul and Fidel Castro.

The FMLN has been slow to communize El Salvador and integrate the drug war-wracked country into the ALBA bloc of socialist states. Many Salvadorans believe that Sanchez is the real ruler of El Salvador and expect this past ally of the Soviet Union and Communist Cuba to “ease” Funes, who was not a combatant in the 1980s Salvadoran Civil War, out of office with a bullet to the head. The FMLN is closely allied with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua. During the 1980s the first Sandinista regime supplied arms to the FMLN, which was then seeking to topple a series of US-backed rightist governments. More recently, since 2006 FMLNistas have been accused of infiltrating operatives into Nicaragua to help the Sandinistas intimidate the opposition during street confrontations.

Both the FMLN and FSLN are opposed to re-admitting Honduras into the Organization of American States after a military-backed parliamentary coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya, a slavish pawn of Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez, in June 2009. His ouster was the first coup d’etat in Latin America since the end of the Cold War. Last January 2010 the FMLN went so far as to brand Honduras’ post-coup president Roberto Micheletti, then visiting business leaders in San Salvador, persona non grata.

During Zelaya’s four-year presidency, Honduras became a new hub in the international narcotics trade. Drug planes from Venezuela, the region’s biggest transshipment point, landed on a regular basis on Honduran highways and remote jungle landing strips. High-ranking officers in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Intelligence Service and the National Guard are accused of facilitating the flow of Colombian cocaine northward to the USA and eastward, across the Atlantic Ocean, to West Africa, where Al Qaeda operatives allegedly smuggle the stuff into the European Union.

During the 1980s Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his Maoist interior minister, Tomas Borge, now ambassador to Peru, provided safe haven to the Medellin Cartel’s Pablo Escobar, thereby facilitating Moscow’s “red cocaine” plot against the USA. Ortega’s current involvement in the narcotics trade extends to the provision of safe haven for suspected agents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which supplies 90 percent of the cocaine sold on US streets.

At the same time, the Sandinistas endeavor to obscure their complicity by carrying out high-profile drug busts, such as the arrest of three suspected members of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel in Nicaragua. According to National Police spokesperson Vilma Reyes, Carlos Alberto Gonzalez Pena was in charge of the cartel’s Nicaraguan cell. Along with Gonzalez, brothers Rony and Carlos Olivas Zavala were arrested. According to Nicaraguan authorities, the Gulf Cartel cell received orders from Juan Cordoba, Manuel Lopez, and Danilo Lopez, all three of whom are based in Guatemala and who are, in turn, supervised by an unidentified Honduran.

According to Nicaraguan Police legal affairs director Glenda Zavala, “The Gulf cartel cell was trying to organize a logistics network for smuggling drugs in Nicaragua. The suspects modified trucks and other vehicles, adding secret compartments used to smuggle drugs across international borders.” Another Gulf Cartel cell leader busted by Nicaraguan authorities in recent weeks was Gerardo Lazo Serrano.

Meanwhile, Colombia’ right-wing government, recently re-elected under the leadership of a new president, Juan Manuel Santos, outgoing president Alvaro Uribe’s former defense minister, remains a pariah among the region’s predominantly left-wing regimes.

In late June, for example, Ecuador’s socialist president, Rafael Correa, accused Colombia’s DAS spy agency of using a “mobile platform” in Quito to tap his telephone and those of his highest officials. Although Quito and Bogota recently patched up relations, severed in 2008 after Colombian security forces raided a FARC jungle camp in Ecuador, Correa complained to Sonorama radio: “We would have to again break off diplomatic relations with Colombia if they have been spying on the president of Ecuador [himself] and the Ecuadorian government, on our high officials . . . as the report states.” He also alleged: “Officials of the Ecuadorean consulate in Colombia have been bought and paid for with the full knowledge of Uribe and Santos.” Correa cited an article published in the Quito daily El Universo for substantiation.

In late July Nicaragua’s Sandinista president threatened to attack Colombia militarily if Bogota grants oil concessions to private companies in disputed waters around the islands of San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. In 2001 the International Court of Justice recognized Colombia’s claim to these islands, which are a popular resort destination, but made no decision regarding ownership of the surrounding waters. Ortega first pressed Nicaragua’s claims on this island group during his first dictatorship.

The Soviet strategists are not only supplying arms to FARC via Russian Mafia cells in Ecuador, but also are anxious to woo the Colombians into the Communist Bloc by peaceful deception, if possible. Last week, Moscow indicated that it was pleased with the resumption of diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela, whose President Chavez is a slavish ally of Russia, for the second time since the March 2008 Andean Crisis. A press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry stated:

Russia has received with satisfaction the news about reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Colombia. We are convinced that this will help build relations between Caracas and Bogota in the spirit of good neighborhood and taking into account mutual concerns, as well as reinforcing peace and stability in Latin America, with which Russia actively increases its engagement.

In August 2009 Chavez “froze” relations with Bogota over the planned deployment of US counter-narcotics troops in Colombia, rumbling that Washington was preparing to invade Venezuela, and over the Colombian government’s accusations that Chavez was providing FARC with safe haven on Venezuelan soil.

The bloody trail of drug violence in the Western Hemisphere extends from the 45-year-old civil war raging in Colombia to the piles of decapitated, butchered bodies of rival narcistas, soldiers, police, and civilians in northern Mexico. On August 16 BBC News reported that the mayor of Santiago, a suburb of the prosperous metropolis of Monterrey, was kidnapped. On Sunday night, 15 gunmen stormed the residence of Edelmiro Cavazos after the mayor returned from a public function in the city’s main square. State governor Rodrigo Medina believes that Cavazos may have been targeted because of his determination to eradicate police corruption. On Wednesday, Cavazos’ body was found by the side of a highway.

This past weekend, Monterrey itself was the scene of several violence incidents, including the blockading of 13 major streets by drug gangs on Saturday and the detonation of an explosive device outside the studios of Mexico’s largest television network, Televisa, on Sunday. This past March narcistas set up road blocks throughout Monterrey in an effort to thwart the counter-insurgency operations of the Mexican Army. The trail of “red cocaine” does not stop at the US-Mexican border, as we have blogged before, but actually ends in the streets of Los Angeles, where Los Zetas recruits former California inmates for assassination training in Mexico.

Into the mess which is the Mexican narco-state steps the ruling Communist Party of China, which first used opium addiction as a means to destroy the enemies of proletarian revolution. On July 29 and 30 the foreign ministers of both countries, Patricia Espinosa and Yang Jiechi, met in Mexico City for the Fourth Meeting of the Permanent Binational Commission. The Sino-Mexican strategic partnership was formed in 2003. Since then three bilateral meetings have already taken place: two in Beijing, in August 2004 and July 2008, and one in Mexico, in May 2006. More than 150 Mexican and Red Chinese officials will attend the current summit, where they will discuss bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, commercial, scientific, technological, cultural, and education fields. The Permanent Binational Commission will adopt a Joint Action Program for the 2011-2015 timeframe, establishing concrete goals to advance Sino-Mexican cooperation.

In 2003 investigative reporter Scott Gulbransen published a book called Silent Invasion, in which he endeavored to document the presence in Mexico of military reconnaissance units from Red China, Russia, Cuba, and North Korea. It is a known fact that the Russian Mafia, which is little more than a front for the GRU/SVR, is supplying arms to the drug cartels. It is also a known fact that Hutchison-Whamphoa, which is owned by Hong Kong shipping magnate Li Ka-shing, a close ally of the communist hierarchy in Beijing, operates container port facilities at four locations in Mexico: Ensenada, Manzanillo, and Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific Coast, and Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. Gulbransen contends that the PRC has been pumping arms and military equipment into Mexico via the port of Ensenada, as well as across the border into the USA, with the complicity of corrupt US Border Patrol officials.

Both Jeff Nyquist and Ryan Mauro have interviewed Gulbransen. Nyquist cautiously assesses Gulbransen’s evidence and concludes that Red China may be establishing ammunition dumps in the Continental USA ahead of an invasion, ala the 2010 remake of Red Dawn. The Communist Chinese, as the linked website reveals, are not happy about the re-tooled version of John Milnius’ Cold War-era film, which originally depicted a Soviet-Cuban invasion of the USA.

The ruling and non-ruling leftist parties and insurgent armies of Latin America and the Caribbean coordinate hemispheric revolution through the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP), founded in 1990 by the Brazilian Workers’ Party, the party of Brazilian President Lula da Silva. The FSP holds a plenary summit nearly every year, while committees sometimes meet several times yearly.

On August 17, 200 delegates converged in Buenos Aires to hold the FSP’s 16th summit. In the Argentine capital this collection of communists, socialists, and past and current terrorists was welcomed by President Cristina Kirchner’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman, at the Palace of San Martin. There the FSP, which includes the Communist Party of Cuba, praised “Commander Fidel Castro” for his role in establishing a communist beachhead 90 miles from the shores of the USA. “The triumph of the Cuban Revolution through a genuine popular struggle led by Commander Fidel Castro was a decisive landmark in the history of Latin America,” read the text of an FSP communiqué.

>Latin America File: Fidel Castro rejects legitimacy of Calderon, lauds Obrador; ex-Contra leader prepares to launch new insurgency against Sandinistas

>– Mexican Leftist Leader Overlooks 2006 Electoral Failure, Thanks Retired Cuban Dictator for Endorsement, Praises Communist Luminaries, Predicts 2012 Victory

Pictured here: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presents his candidacy in Mexico City on July 25, 2010.

We’re back from a two-week vacation. Communists, however, never go on vacation, so our work here continues.

“Fidel Castro’s article in support of the runner-up in Mexico’s 2006 presidential election,” reports Novosti, “threatens to revive diplomatic tensions between Cuba and Mexico.” According to the Kremlin media, Mexican political analysts believe that the candor of Cuba’s retired dictator may again delay the visit of the President Felipe Calderon to Havana, slated to take place by the end of this year. In a recent Reflections column, which is published in various state-controlled media outlets, the 84-year-old Castro casts doubt on the political legitimacy of Calderon, who bested far left rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) by only 0.57 percent in a run-off vote.

“Obrador went to the polls and defeated the candidate nominated by the National Action Party, but the [U.S.] empire did not allow him to take office,” Fidel complained. On August 14 an indignant Mexican Foreign Ministry repudiated Fidel’s comments: “The Mexican government denies statements by ex-president Fidel Castro, in which he questions the legitimacy of the incumbent leadership and the choice… made by the people.”

Since 2006 AMLO has in fact styled himself as the “Legitimate President of Mexico,” a title recognized only by his most slavish followers in the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). Obrador has declared his intention to run again for the presidency in 2012. The PRD was organized in 1989 through a merger of the Mexican Communist Party, Unified Socialist Party of Mexico, Mexican Socialist Party, and Mexican Workers’ Party. The party holds 127 of 500 seats in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, and 26 out of 128 seats in the Senate, and controls five state governments. Obrador stepped down as PRD president in 2008 but maintains links to the organization.

AMLO was not shy in expressing his pleasure with Castro’s endorsement. While launching his new book The Mafia that Took Over Mexico…and the Year 2012 (“La mafia que se adueñó de Mexico…y el 2012”) in his hometown of Tabasco, the former president of Mexico’s Federal District read a communiqué that referred to Fidel’s “distinguished” position among great communists of the past. “I thank the comments and opinions of a distinguished personality like Fidel Castro,” gushed Obrador, adding: “He is undoubtedly one of the most important leaders of the world of our times, as well as others like Ghandi, Charles de Gaulle, Martin Luther King [US pro-communist], Ho Chi Minh [Vietnamese communist], Salvador Allende [Chilean communist], and our beloved Nelson Mandela [South African communist].”

AMLO also made a plug for his book, which “aims at letting the world know the bitter reality that characterizes Mexico today, controlled by rapacious oligarchic groups that have imposed a policy of pillage over national interests and the people’s well-being.” In his speech, Obrador predicted that he will oust Calderon’s center-right Panistas in 2012: “Those who stole the election from us thought that we could not stand up again, but they were wrong.”

Some observers of Latin American politics suspect that Communist Venezuela is discreetly financing and radicalizing the PRD via “Bolivarian” cells in Mexico. It is a documented fact that current agents of Cuba’s Intelligence Directorate and “ex”-employees of Cuba’s Interior Ministry and “ex”-soldiers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba are active in Mexico. The Cuban embassy in Mexico City has long served as a strategic base of operations to infiltrate spies into the USA. Moreover, in 2007 with little fanfare Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, travelled to Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico, where he reportedly met with Obrador.

Further south, Gabriel Jose Garmendia, a former Contra rebel who fought the first Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) regime in the 1980s, has declared that he is preparing to launch another uprising against President Daniel Ortega. Long-time KGB asset Ortega is widely believed to be seeking a third term in 2011. Last year, in a legally dubious ruling, the Nicaraguan Supreme Court overturned a constitutional ban against presidential term limits. Garmendia did not provide details of his planned insurrection in his August 4 interview with Managua’s El Nuevo Diario.

Since his re-inauguration in January 2007 Ortega has shut down opposition media through street-level intimidation and corporate buy-outs financed by red buddy Hugo Chavez, dispatched FSLN cadres to break up meetings of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) and other opposition politicians, and cozied up to Cold War-era ally Russia by promising joint military exercises in Central America. Earlier this year the Nicaraguan military modernized the never-used Soviet-built air base at Punta Huete, a facility that can accommodate Russian strategic bombers, which have since 2008 again made their appearance in the skies over the Caribbean Sea.

At the same time, the Sandinista-controlled Nicaraguan National Army is denying reports that the Contras are re-arming under the banner of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force. “The war has ended; there are no conditions for armed groups to operate here,” huffed General Julio Cesar Aviles. Garmendia apparently travels under the nom de guerre “Comandante Yahob.” Last month Aviles referred to Yahob as a “common criminal,” but admitted that the former Contra special forces commander is seeking to establish contacts with other “delinquent groups” in Honduras.

On July 25 former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo “Fatso” Aleman asserted that he and his family were the targets of a failed assassination in the southern department of Rio San Juan, near the Costa Rican border. According to a PLC press release, masked Sandinista thugs attacked a campaign convoy consisting of Aleman, members of his family, local mayors, and party officials. The opposition convoy was forced to retreat to the center of San Miguelito, a town in Rio San Juan.

Aleman likened the ambush to another incident that took place 14 years ago, when FSLN cadres attacked another PLC campaign caravan. During the 1996 incident one person was killed by an AK-47-toting Sandinista. Aleman, who is internationally regarded as one of the world’s most corrupt politicians and who did not hesitate to enter a sordid power-sharing arrangement with Ortega in 2000, declared his presidential candidacy on July 11. The government of President Ortega refused to comment on Aleman’s allegations.

Meanwhile, on August 12 Nicaragua’s constitutional crisis deepened as Supreme Court justices who support Ortega selected seven lawyers from the FSLN to replace opposition judges who have boycotted court sessions over the last 10 months. The legitimacy of the Sandinista-friendly justices is itself contested by Nicaragua’s opposition parties. The National Assembly, which is also in a state of political deadlock, has been unable to appoint replacements for 22 government officials whose terms have expired. Ortega has extended their tenures by presidential decree. Neither the FSLN nor PLC controls enough seats in the National Assembly to end the deadlock.

Just when you thought Ronald Reagan and Oliver North made Central America safe for democracy, communist sharks are once again seeking blood 20 years later.