Monthly Archives: June 2011
EU File: Greece paralyzed by 48-hour general strike as work stoppages hit transportation sector, communists kick off latest anti-austerity protests, revile socialist PM Papandreou; June 18 protest witnessed 5,000 KKE cadres march through Athens
June 30, 2011Posted by on
– Germany’s Bild Tabloid Cites US Central Intelligence Agency Report as Saying Military Coup in Greece Possible
On Tuesday, Greek riot police fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators outside the Greek Parliament, as thousands rallied to protest proposed government austerity measures on the first of a two-day general strike. Twenty-one police officers and one demonstrator were hurt, and at least five people were arrested. About 3,000 officers fanned out through the streets of Athens, which witnessed major riots in 2008, when police killed a 15-year-old student. One group of protesters chanted “Bread, education, freedom,” an old rallying cry from 1973, when thousands of students clashed with police during protests against the military junta.
Pictured above: Activists from the communist-affiliated trade union PAME hang huge banners in front of the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens, protesting the government’s EU-imposed austerity measures.
The socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou (junior) must pass the austerity measures in order to secure the last US$17 billion portion of a US$156 billion bailout package from the European Union, first granted in 2010. The newly appointed head of the International Monetary Fund, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, used one of her first media interviews to appeal to the Greek opposition, especially the far left, to overcome its political differences with the Papandreou government. Incidentally, Greece’s Papandreou political dynasty has placed three social democrats in the post of prime minister.
The general strike kicked off in the early morning hours of June 29, crippling most of Greece’s transportation systems but conveniently freeing workers to participate in the demonstrations. Government offices, schools, and courts closed. Hospitals were barely operating on skeleton staffs. Transportation disruptions took place on land, on sea, and in the skies when air traffic controllers periodically stopped flight traffic. Trains and municipal transit also shut down, but Athens subway workers, presumably to help the strikers move around the capital, refused to participate in the work stoppage.
Activists of the communist-affiliated All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) trade union took to the streets first, waving revolutionary placards in front of the Greek Parliament. Cloth banners read “No sacrifices for plutocracy” while communists chanted: “Workers, you can live without a boss,” and “We want workers’ rights, not profits for the boss!” The main rally, a cooperative effort between two mainstream unions, began later.
Electrical engineer Ioanna Lagonika, who marched in the PAME demonstration, complained, “The PM [Papandreou] has said that this is a new start for Greece, but to us it feels like this is our end.” Accountant Pericles Panagakis, who also participated in the communist march, confided he would rather see Greece declare bankruptcy. “The austerity programs,” he said, “mean even tougher measures for the people and just for the people. The solution is to take the money from people who have money, not from the workers.”
On June 18, about 5,000 Greek Communist Party (KKE) cadres marched through Athens to protest the government austerity plans aimed at preventing the country from defaulting on its massive debt. At that time, KKE boss Alex Papariga accused the Papandreou government of colluding with its creditors to “skin the people alive.” The
march ended without violence. NATO member Greece has seen weeks of near-daily protests against Papandreou’s plans for tax hikes, spending cuts, and state asset sales requested by international financiers in return for emergency loans.
Beginning under Nazi occupation and continuing until 1949, Greek communists based in Tito’s Yugoslavia but also loyal to the Soviet Union, tried to overthrow the Greek government in a major insurgency that was essentially a civil war. Today, Athens is a hub of communist subversion. Several important leftist organizations that operated as Soviet fronts during the Cold War are headquartered in the Greek capital, including the World Peace Council and World Federation of Trade Unions. PAME is affiliated with the WFTU, while WFTU general secretary George Mavrikos was head of PAME between 1999 and 2008.
In a related story, Germany’s Bild tabloid, citing a US Central Intelligence Agency report, warns that a military coup in Greece is possible in light of the country’s fragile economy and political instability. Bild’s journalistic standards are questionable, but the scenario is plausible. In 1967, in the midst of a power struggle between left and right, the Greek military seized control and remained the country’s power brokers until 1974.
WW4 File: Turkey reviews options on Syrian uprising, considers military offensive to unseat Assad’s Ba’athist regime; high potential for collision between NATO, Iran in light of Tehran-Damascus defense pact
June 27, 2011Posted by on
According to the Lebanese media, citing Kuwaiti newspaper As-Seyassah, today “Turkish officials informed several western powers that Ankara might launch a military operation in northern Syria in an attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party . . .” Turkey, which is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, informed Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and the NATO leadership that it may launch an offensive in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Homs, Hama, and Latakia.
The Kuwaiti daily also quoted a Lebanese diplomat in Ankara as saying that “Turkish officials fear the possibility of the Syrian army committing mistakes on its borders, which might oblige the Turkish army to cross the Syrian border.” “The Turkish armed forces are on alert along the Syrian borders,” As-Seyassah added.
Pictured above: On June 25, 2011, Syrian troops stand on the roof of a house on a hill overlooking the Turkey-Syria border, about three kilometers inside Syria, close to a crossing point near the Turkish village of Guvecci.
Earlier in June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Syrian counterpart Assad of perpetrating an “atrocities” against anti-regime demonstrators, the strongest remark yet in Ankara’s criticism of a deadly crackdown on protests sweeping across Syria since March. Syrian troops have deployed along the Turkish border to thwart refugees fleeing the violence. For their part, Turkish troops have deployed along their southwestern border to establish a “buffer zone” for Turkish refugees.
Domestic attempts to unseat Syria’s long-ruling socialist regime are part of a wider eruption of anti-government protests throughout North Africa and the Middle East, dubbed the “Arab Spring.” The potential for a collision between NATO, which is backing the rebel government in Libya, and Iran is high since Damascus and Tehran signed a military defense pact in 2009.
Cyber-Leninism File: State-sponsored hackers attack IMF computers, forcing World Bank to cut electronic link with sister institution; IMF officials admit attack “sophisticated and serious,” Panetta warns of electronic “Pearl Harbor”
June 25, 2011Posted by on
On June 12, the MSM reported that the International Monetary Fund was the latest known target of a “significant” cyber attack over the past several months. The Washington-based IMF, which brings together 187 member states, told staffers about the attack on June 8.
Cybersecurity expert Tom Kellerman, who has worked for both the IMF and the World Bank, the IMF’s sister institution, explained that the intruders’ goal was to install software that would give an unknown national government a “digital insider presence” on the IMF computer network. Such a presence could yield secret economic data used by the fund to promote exchange rate stability, support balanced international trade, and provide resources to ameliorate members’ balance-of-payments crises.
“It was a targeted attack,” said Tom Kellerman, who serves on the board of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance. He added that the code used in the IMF incident was “developed specifically” for the attack on the institution. Jeff Moss, a self-described computer hacker and member of the US Department of Homeland Security Advisory Committee, also said he believed the cyber attack was “conducted on behalf of a nation-state” either seeking sensitive data about IMF strategies or embarrassing information about the organization to “undermine its clout.”
IMF spokesman David Hawley assured MSNBC that the organization is “fully functional” and declined to provide details on what he termed an “IT incident,” including whether sensitive data were stolen. He also refused to comment on Kellerman’s conclusion about the intruders’ goal. The New York Times cited unnamed IMF officials as saying the cyber attack was “sophisticated and serious.” According to a Defense Department spokeswoman, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the electronic breach.
The World Bank, according to an anonymous bank official, was alarmed by the attack on the IMF and promptly cut a computer link that allows the two organizations to share non-sensitive information. The move was taken out of “an abundance of caution,” said the official. The IMF is already reeling from the arrest of French socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as the organization’s managing director last month after being accused of sexually assaulting a maid in a New York hotel.
On June 24, Hawley said that the institution was making progress in identifying the hackers, having found the files that were copied. “We have identified files that have been copied and we are assessing the importance of those files,” Hawley explained, but quickly added: “We have no evidence that information held in our emails, our financial systems or the fund’s document management system have been compromised.”
The IMF cyber attack follows a series of major corporate data breaches. Earlier this month, Spanish police arrested three reported members of the international “Anonymous” cyber-ring, charging the “hacktivists” with raiding the computer networks of the Spanish banks BBVA and Bankia, the Italian energy company Enel, and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand, as well as penetrating 100 million Sony PlayStation accounts. Google has accused hackers from Red China of targeting the Gmail accounts of senior US government officials and even hinted that the communist regime was behind the attack.
In May, about 360,000 Citibank credit card customers in North America had their names, account numbers, and email addresses stolen. Two years ago, Russian hackers were blamed for another incident in which tens of millions of dollars were electronically stolen from Citibank. Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon’s top supplier by sales and the biggest information technology provider to the US government, admitted that it had thwarted a “significant” cyber attack. The defense contractor said it had become a “frequent target of adversaries around the world.” Lockheed Martin manufactures several stealth fighter jets, namely, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
On June 9, CIA Director Leon Panetta, whom the Senate confirmed this past Tuesday as the next defense secretary, told Congress that the USA faces a “Pearl Harbor” in the cyberworld at any time. “The next Pearl Harbor that we confront could be a cyber attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems.”
If dot.gov is aware of the identity of the IMF attacker, then no one is willing to talk about it. Of course, Russia and Red China harbour numerous computer hackers, as suggested above. “The Internet can now be used to attack small countries,” comments Yevgeny Kaspersky, chief executive of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, referring to attempts to bring down government networks in Estonia and Georgia in 2008. “There are Russian and Chinese hackers that have the power to do that.”
Kaspersky explains that Russian hacking flourishes as “a cyber-criminal ecosystem” of spammers, identity thieves, and botnets who regularly launch denial-of-service attacks and control vast networks of computers infected by malware. According to Kaspersky, hackers in Communist China do not lag too far behind their Russian counterparts in cyber-subversion. In 2009 Kaspersky Lab registered 73.62 million hacking attacks, of which 52.7% originated from China.
Certainly, the Kremlin has a very strong modus operandi for discreetly learning the financial secrets of the IMF. According to the international body, Russia—where economic power is heavily concentrated in state companies and regime-linked oligarchies, much like it was under open communism—still needs to modernize its economy. Rather than promote competition, for example, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, among other policies, has introduced a payroll tax that has driven small and medium-sized enterprises back into the “shadow economy.”
“Current policies are not ambitious enough and not focused enough,” admonished Juha Kähkönen, head of an IMF mission that spent two weeks in Moscow meeting senior officials. The mission warned that failure to reform Russia’s export-driven economy will expose the country to another recession triggered by a drop in oil prices. The comments come as President Dmitry Medvedev himself described Russia’s investment climate as “very bad.” The IMF has urged Russian officials to reduce the non-oil budget deficit, from its current level of 11 per cent of the GDP to 4.7 per cent, and bump up interest rates to head off rising inflation.
The collapse of Russia’s pseudo-capitalist economy in 2008-2009, when GDP fell nearly 8 per cent, revealed the shortcoming of an economy that relies heavily on consumption and has very low investment rates.
In a related story, the Wall Street Journal reports that Russia will likely continue lowering its US debt holdings as the Obama Admin struggles to contain a budget deficit and prop up a “tepid” economic recovery. “The share of our portfolio in U.S. instruments has gone down and probably will go down further,” Arkady Dvorkovich told Dow Jones in an
interview on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Dvorkovich is chief economic aide to President Medvedev.
The Kremlin’s holdings of US Treasury securities fell to US$125.4 billion in April 2011 from US$176.3 billion in October 2010. Its financial reserves, which stood at US$528 billion as of June 10, are the world’s third largest after Red China and Japan’s. As of May, according to Russia’s central bank, 47% of reserves were in dollars and 41% in euros, compared with 45.2% in dollars and 43.1% in euros on Jan. 1. If the Communist Bloc decides to “nuke” the US economy, then all Moscow and Beijing need to do to totally undermine confidence in the US dollar as a reserve currency is to dump everything.
Bolivarian Revolution File: Venezuelan opposition protests Chavez’s prolonged recuperation in Cuban hospital, contests constitutionality of law enacted in Havana; Cuban-Venezuelan commission establishes “anti-imperialist” ALBA School of the Armed Forces
June 25, 2011Posted by on
– Cuban, Venezuelan, and Bolivian Armed Forces Committed to Defending Socialism
– Ortega Reminds Nicaraguan Military of Origin in Sandinista Revolution
– Ecuador’s Army Defended Socialist President Correa Last October
Since June 10, President Hugo Chavez has been governing Venezuela from Cuba, where he is recovering from surgery intended to heal a pelvic abscess. Meanwhile, Venezuela has been dealing with a deadly prison rebellion and rolling electricity blackouts, in spite of the appointment of Cuban Information and Technology Minister Ramiro Valdés Menéndez to a commission tasked with remedying the country’s energy woes.
Intending to fulfil state business, Chavez actually arrived in Havana on June 8, but was hospitalized two days later. On June 12, he spoke by telephone with Venezuelan state television, assuring fellow Venezuelans that he was recovering well. The only subsequent glimpse of Chavez came on June 17 when the Cuban government released photos of Chavez at a hospital with mentor and retired dictator Fidel Castro and Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s younger brother. In one pic (above), Chavez appears to lean on the elderly Raul for support.
Venezuelan officials have limited their comments on Chavez’s health. Neither Chavez nor the Cuban doctors treating him, furthermore, have disclosed what caused the abscess. It is not even clear exactly when he will return to Caracas. Even before his pelvic surgery, a knee injury forced him to postpone his trip to the allied leftist regimes in Brazil, Ecuador, and Cuba. These problems have fuelled rumors about the 56-year-old president’s health. Venezuelan authorities have sought to head off such speculation.
“In response to all the rumors, I can give faith that the president is recovering in a satisfactory manner,” assured Adan Chávez, a state governor who is one of Hugo’s brothers, on June 22. “The president is a strong man.” Governor Chavez suggested that the president is expected to leave Cuba within 10 to 12 days.
Assuming this is true, Hugo’s total length of stay in Havana will approach one month. It is not likely that Chavez and the Castro Bros. will be idle during that period. Regional integration under communist leadership and knocking the USA down a peg or two will surely direct much bedside banter.
In an editorial published on June 23, Venezuela’s opposition-leaning newspaper El Nacional complained that “incompetent Cabinet ministers are turning this into a complete mystery or a state secret that creates uncertainty and anxiety within the population.” The editorial added: “Nobody understands why the state of the president’s health is being hidden.”
Opposition lawmakers, who have controlled 40 percent of the National Assembly since 2010, have criticized the silence of the Chavez regime, as well as the president’s enactment of a law while outside the country. They have demanded that Vice President Elias Jaua assume temporary leadership over the country’s affairs in view of the Chavez’s prolonged absence.
“The president cannot govern from abroad,” protested lawmaker Omar Barboza, who was especially angered over the measure that Chavez signed into law from Havana. “It is absolutely irregular to enact laws from abroad,” seconded Enrique Sanchez Falcon, a professor of constitutional law at the Central University of Venezuela. “The vice president should temporarily take over,” he told the AFP news agency. Another legislator who apparently sympathizes with the Chavez regime, constitutional scholar Carlos Escarra, retorted it was “absurd” to claim that the president could not govern simply because he was detained abroad.
Incidentally, some critics of Venezuela’s self-avowed Marxist dictator have sarcastically commented that Chavez, at least in terms of inspiration, has been governing his homeland from Communist Cuba since 1999, when his first presidential term began.
The nature of the law in dispute was not outlined in the previous reports. However, the Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation was meeting within the context of Chavez’s arrival to the island on June 8. On the table were plans for bilateral cooperation in energy production, technology and telecommunications, trade and commerce, and food processing and agriculture. The officials of the two socialist states also went reviewed the projects of the Cuba-Venezuela Economic Union agreement.
Ricardo Menendez, Venezuela’s minister of science, cited the recently installed fiber optic cable linking Cuba to Venezuela as an example of successful cooperation between Havana and Caracas. The US$70 million undersea cable reached Cuba in February and, with a 640-gigabyte capacity, increases Cuba’s Internet capacity 3,000-fold.
More ominously, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro lauded the establishment of the School of Political Education for the ALBA Armed Forces, calling it a “vanguard
experience not just in Latin America but for the entire world.” ALBA refers to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, a bloc of socialist states consisting of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Since 2008, Chavez and Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega have on several occasions raised the subject of transforming ALBA into an “anti-imperialist” military coalition.
The objective of the ALBA School of the Armed Forces, explained Maduro, “is to construct a Latin American doctrine of independence and peace, a doctrine that allows us to combine the beautiful projects and experiences that have brought our armed forces together, including doctrines such as the Martiana [of Jose Marti, Cuba], the Bolivariana [of Simon Bolivar, Venezuela], the Alfarista [of Eloy Alfaro, Ecuador], and the Sandinista [of Augusto Sandino, Nicaragua], as well as the doctrines of our Caribbean and Eastern brothers.”
The School of Political Education for the ALBA Armed Forces appears to be a communist counterweight to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). During the Cold War, when it was known as the School of the Americas, WHISC gained notoriety, at least among leftists, for ultimately being responsible for training “death squads” linked to Latin American military regimes. No doubt, the indoctrination at ALBA’s “School of Political Education” will be heavily slanted toward Marxism.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, of course, are committed to the communist line, while both Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales have vigorously promoted the communization of the armed forces in their respective countries. Since his re-election in 2006, Ortega has also regularly reminded the Nicaraguan military and national police of their roots in the Sandinista Revolution of 1979. Last October, after the army rescued him from disloyal police, Ecuador’s socialist president Rafael Correa increased the military’s internal security role, hinting that the Ecuadorean army may one day, too, be called to defend Correa’s “Citizens’ Revolution.”
According to Maduro, the initial steps taken by ALBA co-founders Cuba and Venezuela have served as “a consolidated, hardened core that allowed for the construction of new types of relationships” based on cooperation and mutual aid between Latin American nations.
USSR2 File: Medvedev holds pre-election consultation with Communist Party boss; Putin, Zyuganov resuscitate Stalin’s “Popular Front” tactic to bolster fortunes of United Russia, CPRF; Bonner, widow of “false dissident” Sakharov, dies
June 21, 2011Posted by on
On May 19, 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a former Soviet Komsomol member, and Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, met at the Kremlin to discuss the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, to be held this December and in March 2012, respectively. At this time, Medvedev announced that he plans to hold similar meetings with the leaders of Russia’s other political parties.
The charade that is “post”-communist Russia’s “pluralistic” political system was once again in evidence in May when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin organized the All-Russian Popular Front to broaden support for his parliamentary cheering squad, United Russia. Strangely, Putin is the titular head of this “centrist-nationalist” placeholder for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but not actually a party member. Ahead of the December elections, United Russia, symbolized by the iconic Russian bear, is, according to The Telegraph, “busily forming an ambitious campaign program, while the popular Putin is redoubling efforts to render this all credible for the voters.”
Meanwhile, the CPRF created the “People’s Militia,” which will serve as a “broad-scale popular militia for the defense of justice, labor peace and fraternity,” Zyuganov was quoted by Kommersant as saying. The same day, Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov concocted his own “popular front” by announcing the formation of the Union of Supporters of Just Russia. Lastly, in late May, Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party joined forces with Sergei Udaltsov’s Red Youth Vanguard (AKM) to form the anti-Putinist National Salvation Committee. Until his death in 2009, AKM enjoyed the patronage of Oleg Shenin, member of the Soviet Politburo and mastermind behind the potemkin anti-Gorbachevist coup in 1991.
With a hat tip to the fundamentally fraudulent nature of Russia’s “democratization,” first implemented by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a coordinator of United Russia’s “liberal wing,” acknowledges: “There is fashion not only in clothes but in politics. It’s a trend. In Russia, all political innovations come from the top. There are practically no new viable ideas that arise outside of the government.” There you have it from the horse’s mouth. Russia’s “post”-communist political parties have little or no real independent mass base.
Putin has already written off the “copycat fronts,” while United Russia’s State Duma speaker, Boris Gryzlov, grumbled that the other parties were “copying” Putin’s program. United Russia officials wistfully insisted that Mironov’s and Zyuganov’s initiatives were actually a reflection of “growing political pluralism.”
The CPRF’s “People’s Militia,” according to Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin, is a reaction to the “unique tandem rule” in Russia, where Medvedev, who occupies the more important political post of president, is nevertheless widely viewed as Putin’s lackey. “Politics is coming back because there is a new sense of the unexpected,” commented Zatulin, who was ousted from the Duma CIS Committee earlier this spring over his calls for Putin to run again for president. In an interview with the Moscow News he confided: “And what is most worrying for United Russia is that there are alternatives within the government itself. Tandem rule is creating a situation where there is more maneuvering room for the opposition. They have a chance that they didn’t have before. [The Communists] want to have a real fight.”
According to The Telegraph, neither Just Russia nor Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia have a serious chance of achieving the threshold
required for a presence in the Duma, namely, five percent of the vote. The CPRF, however, can count on winning about 15 percent, not only relying heavily on a “thinning body of pensioners who still yearn for the USSR,” but also on a growing number of middle-aged and younger voters who view a vote for communism as an effective protest vote. The “Red Belt” in southern European Russia remains a bastion of communist support
Journalist Georgy Bovt cautions, though, that “the number of such voters will not grow, primarily because Zyuganov makes too many compromises for the protest electorate, and has failed to come up with any new ideas in a long time. The party has stagnated and no regeneration is expected in this election cycle.” The CPRF continues to demand the nationalization of just about every industry in Russia and the restoration of Soviet-era social programs. At the same time, on foreign policy issues, the open communists of the CPRF differ little from the “ex”-communists in United Russia. In other words, most Russian politicians advocate a strong Russian influence in the former Soviet republics and a belligerent attitude toward the USA and NATO.
Kremlinologists should bear in mind that the concept of a “popular front” traces its origin to the Communist International’s response to fascism in the late 1930s. At the time, communist parties that were members of the Comintern, then largely under the personal control of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, adopted a policy of forming broad alliances with almost any political party willing to oppose the fascists.
Since United Russia supports both Putin and Medvedev, it is still not clear who will cede ground to the other. On occasion, Medvedev has tried to distance himself from his mentor by launching some mild rebukes against the former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB). On June 6, the Russian president complained that the “centralized Kremlin rule” restored to Russia during the eight-year reign of his predecessor was “outdated.” Medevedev elaborated: “This is bad. This means that we have a completely outdated, flawed system of (state) management, which needs to be changed. When all the signals are sent from the Kremlin, it shows that the system is not viable, it needs tuning.”
Medvedev, a former university law teacher and Gazprom chairman, has styled himself a “champion of democracy,” promising to fight corruption and modernize the economy but, according to critics, has failed to fulfil any of his promises. Last month, a senior Kremlin official pointed out that uncertainty over Russia’s political future is partly to blame for tens of billions of dollars in capital flight during the first months of 2011.
The contrived nature of Russian political pluralism is a fundamental component of perestroika, the long-range policy of “restructuring” that Moscow’s Leninists have pursued since Gorbachev. According to KGB defector Anatoliy Golistyn, the purpose of the “perestroika deception” is the formation of a “mature socialist society” in Russia and, still more importantly, the deception of the West into believing that Soviet communism is “dead.”
The fact that Russia’s politicians are closer to one another in their ideology than they would have most Western observers believe was also evident in late 2009. At that time, Zyuganov approvingly noted that Medvedev’s “Go Russia!” article, which served as the springboard for the president’s state-of-the-nation address calling for Russia to modernize, mirrored the Communists’ “Go Russia, Toward Socialism!” program. Zyuganov gloated:
President Medvedev speaks about modernization, while Prime Minister Putin endorses conservatism. The program of innovations offered by the president in the state-of-the-nation address has not been supported by the United Russia party and government. President Medvedev said state corporations work ineffectively, but the prime minister provides cover for this ineffectiveness.
While Zyuganov has grown increasingly critical of Putin during the global financial crisis that began in late 2008, he has taken a softer stance toward Medvedev, suggesting that the Communists prefer Medvedev in the ruling tandem. “I am not saying the Communists will make Medvedev their leader, but they will take each other’s interests into account” in the next Duma elections, commented Alexei Mukhin, an analyst with the Center for Political Information. However, he added that “the Communist Party was the only major political group left for Medvedev because the others were controlled by Putin and his retinue.”
At that time, Zyuganov denied that his party, the legal successor to the CPSU, would merge with Just Russia, an idea publicly floated by Mironov.
In the quote above, Medvedev opines that the Russian “system” needs “tuning.” Actually, the Russian “system” does not need tuning. Twenty years after the fake collapse of Soviet communism, it still needs a complete overhaul with a “new management” committed to building grassroots democracy in Russia. However, according to United Russia official Kryshtanovskaya, this will never happen. After all, the August putschists received reduced sentences and comfortable retirement packages (like Shenin), or went to their graves with full pensions (like Gennady Yanayev) without accounting for the blood of the old regime on their hands. After all, too, their erstwhile adversary Gorbachev is still pounding the lecture circuit in the West, demanding that President Barack Hussein Obama implement socialism in the USA. All of these facts expose the continuity of the Moscow Leninists’ long-range deception plan.
In a related story, Elena Bonner, the prominent Russian human rights activist and widow of Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet dissident, nuclear physicist, and Nobel Peace Prize
winner, has died at the age of 88. Together with her husband, who died in December 1989, Bonner campaigned for human rights during the Soviet era, becoming an inspiration for democratic movements across Russia and East Europe that hastened the end of (open) communist rule between 1989 and 1991. She continued to campaign for democracy in “post”-Soviet Russia, accusing Chekist Putin, then president, of using “KGB-style tactics” to suppress civil liberties.
After publicly criticizing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Sakharov himself was sent into internal exile in Gorky – now Nizhny Novgorod – then a closed city barred to foreigners. Bonner accompanied her husband into exile, but was arrested five years later for helping him communicate with the West. Golitysn maintains that Sakharov was a false, or controlled, dissident. This is very likely since Sakharov was a recipient of the Lenin Prize, Stalin Prize, and Hero of Socialist Labor well before he co-founded the Committee on Human Rights in the USSR in 1970. In The Perestroika Deception (London: Edward Harle, 1995), Golitsyn writes (pages 24-25):
The new method [of analyzing Soviet politics] detects an active Soviet offensive to reach the American elite and to engage it in close cooperation and “restructuring” in the United States. This operation is evident, inter alia, from the following developments . . . The active role of Sakharov, the main KGB agent of influence, in introducing “perestroika” to the United States. Sakharov began these activities in the 1960s. In 1967, he dispatched his well known manifesto to the West, in which he predicted:
(a) The victory of the “realists” [in the CPSU], economic reforms and expanding “democracy” in the USSR [1960-80].
(b) The victory of the left-wing reformers [in the CPSU, like Gorbachev], their attack on the “forces of racism and militarism” and changes in the structure of ownership in the United States and other capitalist countries [1972-1985].
(c) Soviet-American cooperation over disarmament and “saving” the poorer half of the world [1972-90].
(d) The restructuring of society and convergence of the Communist and capitalist systems leading to the creation of a (socialist) World Government [1980-2000].
The predictions disseminated by Sakharov, made when the strategy of “perestroika” was already in preparation, represented a deliberate projection of the essence of the strategy to members of the radical Left in the West in order to orientate them on, and prepare them for, forthcoming developments in the USSR. This was a strategic signal by the Soviet strategists to their potential political allies in the West–particularly to their agents of influence and Euro-Communists. In the event, the time-frames laid down by Sakharov proved to have been only marginally “out.”
Sakharov’s predictions concealed the fact that restructuring and convergence form the essence of the Soviet long-range strategy with its aggressive intent against Western democracy. What is in fact the development of Soviet strategy in action, is described by Sakharov as a spontaneous process and, in his own typically Leninist words, “the most optimistic unrolling of events.” From the mid-1960s to 1980, the KGB under Brezhnev’s neo-Stalinist rule allowed Sakharov to conduct his “criticism” and other activities as leader of, and spokesman for, the “dissident movement.” It was Sakharov who injected the Soviet view of the human rights issue into the debate by writing to President Carter on the subject. This raises an interesting question. Why was the unreformed KGB so tolerant of Sakharov despite his apparent criticism of Soviet actions? That tolerance is explained in terms of Sakharov’s active role in the execution of Soviet strategy, operation under cover as a controlled “dissident.” In 1980, a few years before the advent of Gorbachev’s “perestroika,” Sakharov was “exiled” to Gorky. The “exile” of Sakharov was a typical KGB device to build up his reputation and influence as a “dissident” (as opposed to an “enemy of the people”) in the West.
Sakharov’s high-profile role in facilitating the introduction of “change” in the Soviet Bloc, coupled with the Kremlin-controlled political theater that exists to this day in Russia, is yet another manifestation of communist duplicity and Western gullibility.
Middle East File: Saleh advisor holds secret meeting in Europe with former PM of Communist South Yemen, discuss future of war-torn country; Saudi source contradicts regime officials: Yemeni dictator will not be returning to homeland
June 19, 2011Posted by on
Pictured here: Anti-government protesters hold up posters of Abdullah Qairan, police chief of the Yemeni city of Taiz, during a demonstration to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, on June 18, 2011. The posters read: “Wanted alive or dead: The butcher Abdullah Qairan.”
Arabic news source Al-Sahwah reports today that Abdul-Kareem Al-Eryani, prime minister of the Republic of Yemen between 1998 and 2001, recently held a secret meeting with Yemen’s chief opposition leader, Yaseen Saeed Noaman, who is not only chief of the Yemeni Socialist Party, but was also prime minister of Communist South Yemen between 1986 and 1990.
According to “diplomatic sources,” Ar-Eryani, who is currently one of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s advisors, met Noaman in a “European country to discuss a solution for the four-month long crisis in Yemen.” The sources explained that the two men “discussed the creation of a national consensus government to run the current stage,” suggesting that after 20 years in opposition Yemeni communists will be admitted back into the government.
Saleh was incapacitated by a rebel rocket attack on the presidential compound in Sanaa on June 3 and has since then been receiving medical treatement in Saudi Arabia. The same news agency, quoting a Saudi source on Friday, stated that the Yemeni dictator will not be returning to his homeland: “The Saudi official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it has not been decided where Saleh would stay.” For their part, Yemeni government officials affirm that Saleh will return home within a few days.
On Thursday, reports Voice of America, armed militants with likely links to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) “renewed attacks against government buildings near the southern Yemeni town of Houta, which they had assaulted on Wednesday.” During Thursday’s raid, the Al Qaeda insurgents seized and briefly held a security headquarters and council offices in Masameer, which is close to Houta, before withdrawing. The same day, Yemen’s Defense Ministry reported that two people were killed after “terrorists” fired mortar rounds in the city of Zinjibar, most of whose population has fled to the port of Aden. Islamic fundamentalists seized Zinjibar and another southern city in May.
This week, too, Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi, who is Yemen’s acting leader, objected to the opposition’s policy of “arm twisting” by threatening to resign after meeting the country’s protest leaders for the fourth time in two weeks. On Saturday, Hadi received the Russian ambassador Sergei Koslov and the Red Chinese ambassador Liu Denglin, both of whom expressed support for the “unity, security and stability” of Yemen.
WW4 File: Unconfirmed report: US Air Force/Air National Guard redeploys 125 fighter jets to Alaska in expectation of “Russian incident”
June 17, 2011Posted by on
This news is nearly a week old. We have no way of independently confirming this report from either sources within the US military or mainstream media. Internet posters suggest possible “Russian incident” may be linked to current and planned US deployment of anti-missile batteries in former Soviet Bloc states.
EU/USA Files: Warsaw, Washington sign MOU for a permanent US Air Force detachment on Polish soil beginning 2013; Poland already hosting unarmed (?) Patriot missile batteries near Russia’s Kaliningrad
June 15, 2011Posted by on
This Monday, Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich and US Ambassador Lee Feinstein signed a memorandum of understanding that will lead to the permanent deployment of a US Air Force detachment on Polish soil in 2013. The deal, which was endorsed by President Barack Hussein Obama during his trip to Poland in late May, means Warsaw has achieved a key goal of stationing US troops on its territory as it continues to cast a wary eye towards its former communist overlord, Russia. Soviet/Russian troops withdrew from Poland in 1993, after a 54-year occupation.
Pictured above: President Obama at joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw, on May 28, 2011.
Among other duties outlined in the MOU, US airmen will train Polish air crews in the operation of F-16 fighter jets and C-130 Hercules transport planes, which are already in the Polish air force inventory. “This memorandum of understanding means that by the end of 2012 we will have in Poland a detachment allowing for the permanent rotation of American military aircraft, both combat and transport aircraft,” Klich was quoted by Reuters as saying. “From 2013 we plan the regular and periodic presence of aircraft and the training of pilots four times a year.”
The details of the bilateral agreement are to be negotiated in 2012, with joint US-Polish military exercises expected to commence from 2013 on established military training grounds, with a provision for contingents from other NATO countries to take part. The three air bases where the US Air Force will be stationed are Krzesiny and Lask, currently home to 48 Polish F-16s, as well as Powidz, where eight C-130s are based. According to unofficial information from Poland’s Defence Ministry, the number of aircraft and maintenance personnel may also increase under the terms of the MOU.
Until now, Polish military pilots received training in the USA, as well as irregular training missions in Belgium, France, or more recently, in Spain. Since last year, Poland has hosted unarmed (?) US Patriot anti-missile batteries near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which Wikileaks revealed an angry Polish official as derisively calling “potted plants.”
Poland also borders the former Soviet republic of Belarus, where the “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, has systematically rooted out all political opposition, especially since his fraudulent re-election last December, and persecuted the country’s Polish minority. Subject to European Union sanctions, Belarus nevertheless enjoys Russia’s military protection through both the Union State and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and Russia’s economic favouritism through a new customs union that also includes Kazakhstan.
The extent to which the small US missile and troop presence in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria will deter neo-Soviet aggression is questionable. If anything, the US-Polish military alliance provides the Moscow Leninists with a pretext for both portraying Washington as the aggressor and also justifying a first-strike military response against the West. But then, perhaps this is what crypto-Muslim socialist and alleged Soviet mole Obama, with a little help from mentor Mikhail Gorbachev, is seeking to accomplish. Indeed, this charade could all very well be a case of “poking the Soviet bear.”
Middle East File: Saleh regime near extinction as “thousands” of Al Qaeda insurgents seize Yemeni province; warplanes, artillery pound rebel positions in Zinjibar; gravely wounded dictator still in Saudi Arabia as US ambassador meets opposition leaders
June 11, 2011Posted by on
Yesterday, Yemeni warplanes and artillery pounded rebel positions in Zinjibar, capital of the southern Abyan province, where Islamic fundamentalists suspected of links to Al Qaeda have seized control of several cities and towns. On Thursday, regular troops advancing toward Zinjibar killed 12 militants outside the city. Earlier that day, warplanes hit militant positions north of Jaar, producing an unknown number of casualties.
In the national capital, Sanaa, 100,000 anti-regime protesters, protected by armed tribesmen, rallied to demand President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster. A number of mutinous soldiers (pictured above) joined the protests.
On Saturday, fighting in the province continued as five Yemeni soldiers and three gunmen believed to be members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) perished in clashes that erupted in the city of Lawdar. In Zinjibar, the fighting continued today as heavy gunfire and explosions were heard through the city. Warplanes were seen flying overhead and conducting more air strikes.
On May 27, thousands of militants seized control of Zinjibar, taking advantage of a weeks-old breakdown of authority resulting from high-level defections from the Yemeni military and Saleh’s government, as well as the regime’s battle with armed tribesmen in the north. The southern militants were especially emboldened by a decapitation strike against the president and key government officials on June 3.
At that time, northern tribesman bombarded the presidential compound with rockets, gravely wounding Saleh, who is still in Saudi Arabia receiving medical treatment. US officials say the 69-year-old dictator suffered burns over 40 percent of his body and has bleeding inside his skull. Saleh’s vice president, Major General Abd al-Rahman Mansur al-Hadi, is currently running the country, while the government’s most elite forces have been concentrated around Sanaa.
Meanwhile, as the central government loses control over the hinterlands, at various locations in Abyan Al Qaeda militants are openly training in camps and using live ammunition for target practice. Residents of another southern province, Shabwa, say suspected militants and sympathizers have set up checkpoints on the road to a third province, Hadramawt. They also control the towns of Rawdah and Houtah, where they freely roamed the streets
“They have a great deal of influence and they use modern vehicles for transport as well as satellite telephones,” said Abdullah al-Amari, an Abyan-based rights activist.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, then visiting Abu Dhabi, called on all political forces in Yemen to honor a cease-fire, saying President Barack Hussein Obama advocated an “immediate, orderly and peaceful transition.” This is not likely. Yemeni troops are in fact struggling to retake several areas in the south, which is also the base for armed Marxist separatists who wish to restore the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, which merged in 1990 with the Yemen Arab Republic to form the current Republic of Yemen.
Yemen’s months-old crisis is one manifestation of the wider “Arab Spring” uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. The Arabian country is home to thousands of Islamic fundamentalists, many of them veterans of jihads in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Aden, Yemen was the site of the suicide bombing of the USS Cole guided missile destroyer in 2000. It is also the ancestral home of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, whom US Navy Seals killed in a covert raid in Pakistan on May 2.
On the same day as the decapitation strike against Saleh’s government, US fighter pilots took out Abu Ali al-Harithi, a mid-level Al Qaeda operative, and several other suspected militants in southern Yemen. According to witnesses, four civilians were also killed in the air strike. In 2003, Harithi travelled to Iraq, where he fought alongside Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian operative who led the Al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq until he, too, was killed in a US air strike in 2006.
The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, in close cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency, coordinates the White House’s anti-terrorist operation in Yemen. A team of US special forces and intelligence operatives have a command post in Sanaa to seek and destroy militants. The mission that killed Harithi was the first such successful anti-terrorist mission in Yemen in nearly a year. These were suspended earlier amid concerns that bad intelligence had led to “bungled” missions and civilian deaths, undermining an otherwise secret campaign designed to minimize any negative impact on Saleh’s government, which approved the US presence in 2009.
On June 8, the New York Times reported that the US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein, recently met with leaders of the opposition, partly to make the case for continuing the anti-terrorist operation should Saleh’s tottering regime fold completely. “The extent of America’s war in Yemen,” the newspaper continues, “has been among the Obama administration’s most closely guarded secrets.” Publicly, Saleh has asserted that all anti-terrorist missions have been conducted by his own troops.
“We’ve seen the regime move its assets away from counterterrorism and toward its own survival,” comments Christopher Boucek, a Yemen expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “But as things get more and more chaotic in Yemen, the space for the Americans to operate in gets bigger.”
Incidentally, the Yemeni Socialist Party, which once ruled Communist South Yemen, is a prime mover behind the political campaign to remove Saleh whose days, literally, may be numbered.
Elsewhere in the Arab world, Syria’s socialist regime continues its heavy-handed crackdown on dissent, prompting more than 4,300 refugees to flee over the country’s northern border into Turkey. According to an eyewitness in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, around 2,000 officers and conscripts have defected from the Syrian army and are fighting alongside civilians to repel President Bashar al-Assad’s troops and tanks. “They mutinied because of their orders” to shoot at local civilians, the anonymous witness alleged. Syrian government spokeswoman Reem Haddad denied that there had been “significant” defections.
In another sign of possible regime collapse, Assad’s security forces withdrew from the town of Hama on Thursday night, allowing “tens of thousands” of protesters to overwhelm the city’s central square. Last Friday, troops killed 67 protesters in Hama in one of the worst incidents of the uprising.
Event Convergence Alert: Dutch air force intercepts Bear bombers over North Sea as NATO, Russia begin joint “counter-terrorism” drills over Poland, Black Sea; Russian Air Force carried out “exercises” over Arctic, Atlantic on September 11, 2001
June 7, 2011Posted by on
On Tuesday morning, two F-16 fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force intercepted two Russian strategic bombers. The Dutch defence ministry acknowledged that the F16s, which are assigned to the Quick Reaction Alert squadron stationed at Volkel air base, took off at 11:15 am (local time) to intercept the Tupolev Tu-95 “Bears.” The propeller-driven Bear bomber is a venerable five-decade-old aircraft that still serves as a dangerous cruise missile platform.
The Dutch jets were assisted by German military air controllers. Earlier, the Danish air force also scrambled fighters to escort the Russians planes. The two Bears followed their typical route from northwest Russia, flying south along the Norwegian coast and then west across the North Sea, in the direction of British airspace.
Tuesday’s intercept was the third such incident near Dutch airspace this year. Since 2007, when the Russian Air Force resuscitated its Cold War-era long-range patrols, there have been monthly incidents involving Russian military planes near both NATO and NORAD airspace. Under the regime of President/Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in fact, the Kremlin has re-adopted a barely concealed hostile stance toward the West, temporarily buried during the heady “post”-communist years of President Boris Yeltsin.
In this light, a NATO-Russian counter-terrorism drill involving fighter jets from Poland, Turkey, and Russia and taking place over Poland and the Black Sea on June 7 and 8 is deceptive, serving to obscure the neo-Soviet leadership’s untrustworthiness.
According to the scenario enacted by Vigilant Skies 2011, “terrorists” will seize control of a Polish aircraft taking off from Krakow. Polish fighter pilots will be the first to intercept the hijacked plane, before handing over the mission to Russian counterparts. After a further struggle in the cockpit of the hijacked plane, in which the terrorists are overpowered but the plane’s navigation system damaged, the aircraft will be escorted back to Poland by the Russian fighters. A second scenario will see a flight plan deviation and loss of communications with a hijacked Turkish aircraft over the Black Sea, followed by coordinated interceptions by Turkish and then Russian fighters.
A NATO statement claimed that the aim of Vigilant Skies 2011 is to demonstrate the operational aspects of the NATO-Russia Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI), which is designed to prevent attacks by hijacked civilian aircraft, such as those used to destroy the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
“This is the first such counter-terrorism exercise held between NATO and the Russian Federation and will be a major milestone for reaching operational capability of the CAI system,” the NATO statement trilled, adding: “The CAI will improve air safety for the thousands of passengers using international flights between NATO airspace and Russian airspace each day, and the millions of inhabitants on the ground.”
The CAI system will be coordinated from centers in Warsaw and Moscow, with additional local coordination sites in Russia, Norway, and Turkey. It is intended to provide a “shared radar picture” of air traffic to enable early warning of suspicious air activity through agreed protocols.
This is all very fine and well for peaceful East-West convergence, but there is good reason to believe that atrocities like the 911 attacks were actually coordinated back in the Kremlin, using proxies and assets in Al Qaeda, Cuba, Iraq, and the Czech Republic. After all, the Russian Air Force was conducting exercises over the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans when Mohamed Atta and his Islamist skyjackers dive-bombed the WTC and the Pentagon, killing themselves and nearly 3,000 office workers and captive airline passengers.
So, even as Moscow befuddles the West with “good intentions” in the War against Terror, she still prepares for the Fourth World War.
Latin America File: Peru to be absorbed into region’s Red Axis as communist-backed left-nationalist wins presidential election; Humala downplays admiration for Chavez; Peruvian economist: Humala’s “comrades” want “radical change”
June 7, 2011Posted by on
– Shining Path Guerrillas Kill Five Soldiers on Eve of Peru’s Presidential Election, Ambushed Army Patrol Supervising Local Voting Stations
On Monday, Venezuela’s communist dictator, President Hugo Chavez, announced that he was “very satisfied” with the victory of his leftist ally, 48-year-old former army officer Ollanta Humala, in Sunday’s run-off election for the Peruvian presidency. In 2006, with open support from Chavez, Humala made a previous bid for his country’s top post, running against social democrat Alan Garcia.
“I’m very satisfied with the victory of democracy in Peru — the victory of Ollanta Humala,” Chavez enthused in a brief talk with journalists in Brasilia. “We wished him much success and we’re ready to work together on cooperation, South American integration, Unasur [Union of South American Nations], and all possible bilateral matters.” Chavez, who this time maintained a low profile during the Peruvian election campaign, finally broke his silence while visiting Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff.
The leader of the Venezuelan delegation in the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), Rodrigo Cabezas, also welcomed Humala’s victory, calling the election results “a reaffirmation of the change of era in Latin America. The reaction of the peoples against the impoverishing neoliberalism [capitalism] and the emerging of governments committed to the fight against social injustices [unequal wealth distribution].” Tellingly, Cabezas did not hesitate to brand Humala’s political enemies “fascists” and “anti-communists.” Referring to the free enterprise legacy of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), he ranted:
Peru became the best example to prove that a free market economy cannot solve on its own equity and wealth distribution problems.
We welcome that legitimate victory of the Peruvian people and the progressive left-wing of that country, who achieved to successfully overcome a terrible fascist and anti-communist campaign spread by some media, oligarchy sectors and the elite of the Catholic Church. We expect the new Government to strengthen democracy by caring about justice and equity demands from Peruvians.
Fujimori, who vigorously suppressed Peru’s Shining Path rebellion in 1992, is presently serving a jail sentence for corruption.
According to the latest official polling data with 94 percent of the votes counted, Humala defeated his main rival, Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori, Alberto’s daughter, with 51.37 percent compared to Fujimori’s 48.63 percent. The Alliance for Peru coalition that backed Humala’s presidential bid includes his own Peruvian Nationalist Party, as well as the Peruvian Communist Party, Socialist Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and Political Movement Socialist Voice.
Humala is the son of Isaac Humala, a lawyer and cadre of the Communist Party of Peru-Red Fatherland. He is the brother of Antauro Humala, presently serving a 25-year prison sentence for kidnapping 17 police officers and killing four of them in the town of Andahuaylas in 2005. Ollanta himself is the ideological leader of Peru’s indigenous Ethnocacerista movement.
As an aside, there are some interesting similarities between the careers of Humala and mentor Chavez: both are ex-military men who led abortive coups. Humala began his army career in 1982 when he entered Chorrillos Military School. In 1992, Humala served in Tingo María, fighting remnants of the Shining Path, and, three years later, he served in the Cenepa War on the border with Ecuador.
Incidentally, Peru’s Maoist rebels still lurk in the jungles, killing five soldiers on the eve of Humala’s election win. The victims were part of an army patrol driving to supervise voting in the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys, a traditional rebel haunt.
In 2000, then Lieutenant Colonel Humala led 50 soldiers in the seizure and week-long occupation of a Southern Copper Corp. mine in the city of Tacna. He claimed to be protesting against the repatriation of President Fujimori’s intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, who had been accused of bribery. In an abrupt career shift, two years later Humala received a master’s degree in political science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.
Ahead of the run-off vote, Humala tried to allay the fears of Peruvian businesses by issuing a “Letter to the Peruvian People,” in which he vowed to maintain President Garcia’s “budget-tightening” policies and support for an independent central bank. He also professed to shelve a 198-page platform that included proposals to ban gas exports, in order to lower domestic fuel costs, and nationalize airports.
On Monday, after news of Humala’s victory spread, Lima’s stock market plunged 12.5 percent, the largest one-day drop in that institution’s history. Across the globe, natural resources investors are worried that Humala’s government could reverse policies outgoing President Garcia expects will attract US$50 billion of mining investment. Garcia’s government predicts that such investment will sustain average annual economic growth of 6 percent between now and 2014.
“Humala has to come out and send a signal or this selloff won’t end,” urged Mauricio Cardenas, director of the Latin America program at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. “The market is asking for a response. It wants to hear who the finance minister will be.”
Peruvian investors, however, are more worried than their foreign counterparts that Humala’s pre-election makeover is indeed “cosmetic.” This is the assessment of Pablo Secada, chief economist at the Peruvian Institute of Economy, a Lima-based think tank. “Humala may be a moderate but the people surrounding him aren’t,” he warned. Secada is also an adviser to outgoing Finance Minister Ismael Benavides. “They aren’t just aiming for a redistribution of income, they want radical change.”
Humala’s election strategy took a page from the playbook of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was elected president of Brazil in 2002 and again in 2006 by persuading voters that his career as a union boss would not lead him to implement anti-business policies. In fact, as we previously blogged, Humala’s “nimble” campaign prospered from the advice of two former consultants from Lula’s ruling Workers’ Party, which began a “dialogue” with Humala after his last run for office. Like Humala, Lula’s pre-election climb in the polls triggered a selloff of Brazilian bonds and stocks.
Don’t expect Humala to publicly reintroduce the radical-left elements of his agenda right away. After the election he even signalled an interest in maintaining ties with the USA, Peru’s “strategic partner.” This is probably window dressing because communist dictator Raul Castro joined Chavez in congratulating Humala on his triumph via the Cuban ambassador in Lima.
Historically, in democratic states, such as in Czechoslovakia after the Second World War, communists sometimes work incrementally and by stealth to take over a country. In neighboring Hungary, communist party boss Mátyás Rákosi referred to this concept of a slow-motion coup as “salami tactics.” The fact is, in Venezuela Chavez is pursuing pretty much the same “piece by piece” program of communization. Similarly, in Brazil far-left factions within the Workers’ Party, not to mention their coalition partners in the Communist Party of Brazil, hid behind the “moderate” face of Lula for two presidential terms, only to replace him with ex-urban guerrilla Rousseff in January 2011.
At this time, there are only four center-right governments south of the Rio Grande: Mexico, Panama, Colombia, and Chile. Next year, there could be only three. In the fallout from Mexico’s horrific drug war, the party of embattled President Felipe Calderon faces defeat in 2012, ceding ground back to the monolithic Institutional Revolutionary Party. In view of the fact that Honduras’ putatively center-right president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, is an “ex”-Stalinist who welcomed Chavez pawn Manuel Zelaya back to Tegucigalpa last month, we are inclined to slot “anti-communist bastion” Honduras into the Red Axis.
Middle East File: “Arab Spring” in Yemen erupts into civil war as tribesmen bombard presidential palace with rockets; Saleh and key officials injured in decapitation strike, evacuated to Riyadh for medical treatment
June 4, 2011Posted by on
The wave of popular uprisings in the Arab World–which toppled the socialist dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, sparked a heavy-handed government crackdown in Ba’athist Syria, and provoked NATO intervention in Libya–has erupted into full-scale war in Yemen.
For several years now, Shia tribesmen and Marxist separatists yearning for the defunct People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) have waged guerrilla warfare against the 33-year-old regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Voice of America reports today:
Fighting broke out again in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a Saturday, with the forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelling the homes of anti-government leaders. Sporadic rocket fire and firefights erupted in the al-Hasaba district of northern Sana’a, the home base of dissident tribesman Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. He is a leader of what Saleh said was a “gang of outlaws” that carried out a rocket attack on the presidential compound Friday. Thousands fled the city on Saturday and roads were clogged at daybreak. Seven people were killed in the rocket attack Friday, including key government officials, while Saleh was “lightly wounded” as the group attended prayers at a mosque inside the presidential compound.
According to CNN, it seems that President Saleh’s injuries as a result of the rebel rocket attack are worse than first reported. He is apparently receiving medical treatment in Riyadh, while official control of Yemen has passed to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In what was essentially a decapitation strike against the Yemeni government, the rebels succeeded in injuring other government officials, including Prime Minister Ali Mujawar; Deputy Prime Ministers Rashad al-Alimi and Sadeq Amin Abu Rasand; Shura Council Chairman Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani; and Parliament Speaker Yahya Al-Raee. These have also been evacuated to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.
Saleh has three times promised to end his corrupt reign in a deal brokered by neighboring Arab countries, but so far has refused to honor the agreement. Nearly 400 people have been killed since Yemen’s popular uprising began in January.
In early May, after Saleh’s security forces killed three protesters and injured 80 in the city of Taiz, Yasin Said Numan, secretary-general of the Yemeni Socialist Party and prime minister of the PDRY from 1986 until the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990, remarked: “The country is collapsing everywhere.” He added: “This regime has created a lot of problems in this country. There is no cooking gas, no petrol, things are vanishing and if things continue this way, we will learn what a real crisis is.”
Taking a cue from the “Prague Spring” of 1968–when the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia attempted to create “socialism with a human face,” that is, before Soviet and Warsaw Pact tanks rolled into the country to crush the “rebellion”–observers of international politics haved dubbed the current unrest in the Muslim world the “Arab Spring.”
Africa File: Qaddafi regime near extinction as high-level defections, punishing NATO air strikes on command bunkers continue; Russia about-faces, offers to mediate dictator’s “exit”; Italy pledges money, fuel for Libyan rebels
June 3, 2011Posted by on
On Monday, eight senior Libyan military officers appeared at a press conference in Rome, following their defection from the 42-year-old socialist regime of Colonel Moammar Qaddafi (pictured above on right, with trademark sunglasses). Italian intelligence agencies reportedly facilitated their defection. The Libyan brass, who appeared at the press conference in civilian cloths, included five generals, two colonels, and a major. According to the defectors, they are among a group of more than 100 military officers and soldiers who have renounced their loyalty to Qaddafi in recent days.
A general who identified himself as Oun Ali Oun accused the Qaddafi regime of waging “genocide” against its own people and unleashing “violence against women in various Libyan cities.” He urged fellow Libyan soldiers to join the revolt “in the name of the martyrs who have fallen in the defense of freedom.”
Melud Massoud Halasa, another defecting general, told reporters that Qaddafi’s forces are now “only 20% as effective” as they were before the revolt broke out in mid-February. He added that “not more than 10” generals remain loyal to the besieged Libyan leader, who faces a United Nations war crimes investigation.
Earlier on Monday, South Africa’s “ex”-communist president, Jacob Zuma (pictured above on left), arrived in Tripoli to mediate a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict between Qaddafi loyalists and insurgents. After his meeting with the veteran strongman–who has been scurrying from one hiding hole to another (literally) as NATO warplanes pound government sites in Tripoli–Zuma indicated that Qaddafi is willing to accept an African Union initiative for a ceasefire. However, both the rebels and NATO have already rejected the AU “roadmap to peace” since it does not require Qaddafi’s resignation.
The UN, which sanctioned NATO’s imposition of a no-fly zone over the North African country, estimates that thousands have been killed in the fighting, in addition to creating an exodus of 750,000 foreign workers who have fled the oil-rich country. In addition to enforcing the bare UN mandate, NATO states have targeted government compounds and regular military assets in an effort to dislodge the Libyan dictator.
On Tuesday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, then visiting the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya, promised that Rome will provide “for the needs of the Libyan people with a huge quantity of fuel and huge amount of money.” He did not provide an exact figure but said the assistance would amount to “hundreds of millions of euros that are necessary for the daily life of the population.” According to Frattini, billions of euros of Libyan assets are frozen in Italian bank accounts because of international sanctions against Qaddafi’s regime, thereby offering a source for the promised funds.
Italy, along France and other countries, but not the USA, have formally recognized the National Transitional Council of the Libyan Republic (NTC) as Libya’s legitimate government. “Gadhafi’s regime is over. He has to leave power, he has to leave the country,” Fratinni declared. Libya is a former Italian colony. Italy relies heavily on Libyan crude exports, which have all but dried up since riots erupted in the North African country in mid-February, leading quickly to a full-scale civil war.
NATO, whose current campaign expires on June 27, has intensified its air raids in recent weeks with daily strikes on command and control bunkers in Tripoli. NATO General Secretary Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels that Qaddafi’s resignation is only a question of time. “The question is not if Gadhafi will go but when,” he vowed. On Friday night, two British Apache helicopters took out a radar installation and a military checkpoint near the eastern coastal city of Brega, while French Gazelle and Tigre helicopters attacked 15 Libyan military vehicles and five military command buildings. This is the first time that NATO forces have deployed combat rotary wing aircraft against Qaddafi loyalists.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday a car bomb rocked a Benghazi hotel frequented by foreign diplomats, but caused no casualties. Rebel spokesman Jalal al-Gallal indicated that his comrades-in-arms generally suspect the attack was carried out by government saboteurs.
On Thursday, Libya’s rebel leadership on Thursday welcomed yet another defection from the Qaddafi regime, that of former oil minister Shukri Ghanem. “The National Transitional Council (NTC) salutes the latest defection from the Kadhafi regime, that of Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem,” Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the NTC, said in a statement. “In recent days and weeks we have witnessed an acceleration in defections from the Kadhafi regime, which has no legitimacy, credibility or future,” he added.
The day before, Ghanem announced in Rome that he had fled Libya via Tunisia to join the rebellion and “fight for a democratic state.” He added, though, that he does not intend on joining the NTC. Ghanem, chief of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and Libya’s representative at OPEC summits for years, admitted that “Only very little [oil] is being produced for security reasons, because it’s not possible to export it, because of the UN embargo and the fact that the foreigners have all left.”
In a related story, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Bloomberg Television in a May 25 interview that “most likely nobody” will represent Libya at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting on June 8. On Tuesday, amid questions over which officials will represent Libya at upcoming energy events, organizers of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Cairo removed a welcome banner that included the flag used by the NTC. The Libyan rebel flag has red, black, and green horizontal panels with a white crescent and star in the center, while the Qaddafi regime flag has a plain green field.
Meanwhile, the neo-Soviet leadership in Russia, recognizing that its long-time ally and client is facing extinction, has offered to mediate the conflict between Qaddafi and rebel forces. On June 2, Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin’s envoy to the NTC, revealed: “Russia wants to mediate between the two sides in Libya’s civil war as it tries to negotiate the exit from power of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.” In a telephone interview with Bloomberg News, Margelov said he will travel to Libya “in the nearest time” to meet with rebel leaders. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is apparently in contact with Qaddafi regime spokesmen.
Qaddafi’s future is “the most delicate topic,” acknowledged Margelov, who heads the International Affairs Committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. “The question of guarantees or immunity, even if it’s being discussed at the highest levels, isn’t public information and doesn’t need to be advertised,” Margelov said. In view of Libya’s status as an important supplier of oil to NATO countries like Italy, the Leninist strategists in Moscow are probably anxious to make sure the new regime in Tripoli adopts a pro-Kremlin line.