Monthly Archives: November 2011

WW4 File: Retired Russian admiral admits Kremlin’s Mediterranean naval task force no match for US 6th Fleet, but makes veiled reference to nuclear war if Russian warships attacked; post-Qaddafi leader Jalil approves and Turkish government facilitates smuggling of 600 Libyan fighters into Syria

Last Thursday, the Cypriot media reported that Russia’s sole aircraft carrier was in the vicinity of Malta and headed for the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it would conduct joint drills with the Israeli Defense Forces, beginning November 28.

Later, the Admiral Kuznetsov and another ship of the Northern Fleet, the Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine warfare ship, would join three destroyers already anchored in or patrolling Syrian territorial waters. Still later, the Russian battle group would be joined by the frigate Ladny of the Black Sea Fleet via the Bosphorus. Still other reports indicate that the Admiral Kuznetsov will not arrive in Syria until the end of December.

Pictured above: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departs Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, for its maiden deployment on May 11, 2011.

In summary, it appears that at least six Russian warships are presently operating in or close to Syrian territorial waters, or will be so in a matter of days. This is all taking place while President Bashar al-Assad uses every weapon at his disposal to cling to power in the face of a popular uprising and military rebellion organized by defected Colonel Riyad al-Asad. According to Russia Today, citing Izvestia, “Russian military officials insist that the move has no connection with the ongoing crisis in the region and was planned a year ago.” Sure, comrade, whatever you say.

The Admiral Kuznetsov is carrying some of Russia’s most advanced fighter aircraft, including eight Sukhoi Su-33 all-weather fighters, two Kamov Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopters and several factory-new Mig-29K fighters, which are destined for the Indian Air Force but will be “tested” by Russian pilots. Unlike the US Navy’s “floating runways,” Russia’s sole aircraft carrier is also a heavily armed cruiser with 12 long-range anti-ship Granit cruise missiles, a Kinzhal six-gun short-range surface-to-air missile system, eight Kashtan close-in air defense gun-missile systems, and two UDAV-1 anti-submarine systems.

In addition to Syria, explained Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, former Chief of the Russian Federation’s Naval Staff, to Izvestia, the aircraft carrier and its escort ships will make ports of call in Italy, Cyprus, and Lebanon. Forty years ago, the Soviet Navy required its own maintenance facility in the region, which prompted negotiations with Syria leading to the establishment of the Tartus base in 1971. At present, some 600 military and civilian personnel in the employ of the Russian Defense Ministry work at Tartus, where they mainly service vessels of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Since the Cold War, the Admiral Kuznetsov has twice visited the Syrian port, once in 1995 and again in 2007.

Lamenting Russia’s inability to prevent the deposing of Moscow ally Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi in October, Kravchenko added: “The presence of a military force other than NATO’s is very useful for this region, because it will prevent the outbreak of an armed conflict. The Soviet Union created a special naval squadron to deter Western military forces in the Mediterranean Sea.”

News of Russia’s naval deployment in Tartus came shortly after the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush anchored outside Syrian territorial waters on November 23, along with additional naval vessels. The US naval task force, remarks Russia Today, is reportedly conducting “maritime security operations and support missions” as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. The US 6th Fleet is also patrolling the area, states Russia Today, citing Interfax, another Kremlin-run news outlet.

In an indirect warning to Washington that appears to have gone unnoticed by the shopping mall regime, Admiral Kravchenko remarked to Izvestia: “Of course, the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean will be incommensurate with those of the US 6th Fleet, which includes one or two aircraft carriers and several escort ships. But today, no one talks about possible military clashes, since an attack on any Russian ship would be regarded as a declaration of war with all the consequences.”

Kravchenko’s last statement is clearly a veiled reference to nuclear war, since Soviet/ Russian military doctrine has for decades held this to be a winnable option in any showdown with America. Moreover, since the USA has had no credible civil defense for nearly 20 years, it is very likely that should NATO forces challenge the Russian naval cordon protecting Syria’s embattled Ba’athist regime, Moscow could very well respond with a strategic missile barrage against North America.

No word has been yet published in open sources concerning the Admiral Kuznetsov’s arrival in Syrian territorial waters nor its scheduled work-out with the IDF.

Meanwhile, the covert support of Libya’s post-Qaddafi National Transitional Council (NTC) and Turkey’s Justice and Development government for the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and its armed wing, the Syrian Free Army (SFA), has deeply complicated the Islamic world’s shifting alliances. For example, although Iran has reached out to Libya’s interim government, which supports the implementation of sharia law, Libya’s de facto leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil supports the overthrow of the Syrian Ba’athists, who are locked into a military defense pact with the Islamic fundamentalists in Tehran.

Last Friday, The Telegraph reported that representatives of the NTC and the SNC met that day in Istanbul, under the approving eye of Turkish officials, to discuss funding, arming, and supplying Colonel al-Asad’s FSA. In recent days, Turkey’s pro-Islamist government has raised the spectre of military intervention in Syria in order to topple the bloody Ba’athist dictatorship. “If the oppression continues, Turkey is ready for any scenario. We hope that a military intervention will never be necessary. The Syrian regime has to find a way of making peace with its own people,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised interview.

In confirmation, Russia Today, citing Egyptian news website Al-Ray Al-Arabi, contends that the Turkish government has already facilitated the smuggling of 600 Libyan fighters over the Syrian border to join the ranks of the Syrian Free Army. The Kremlin media notes: “Bashar Assad’s government has repeatedly accused foreign forces of smuggling armed groups and weapons into Syria and thus fueling the ongoing violence.” In mid-October, the Libyan interim government–followed by France, which administered Syria after the First World War–was the first in the world to recognize the SNC as “the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.” The Kremlin media platform then posits an intelligent analysis for Libya’s involvement in the Arab Spring uprising in Syria:

Funneling armed, underemployed and eager-to-fight youngsters to another country could be a convenient move for the NTC. The Syrian government, however, is likely to see them as mercenaries, which NATO member Turkey allowed into their country as an alternative to a full-scale military campaign, which is impossible without the sanction of the United Nations Security Council.

Breaking News: Iranian students storm British embassy in Tehran, ransack offices, burn Union Jack, hoist Iranian flag; protesters angered by London’s support for anti-nuke sanctions

WW4 File: Washington, Moscow cross swords over Arab Spring uprising in Syria, deploy navies, aircraft carriers to Syrian coast; Medvedev orders Kaliningrad radar station on combat alert, Russia prepared to “take out” US missile defense in Europe; Assad’s troops clash with rebel Free Syrian Army

– Source Close to Syrian President: Three Russian Destroyers to “Patrol” Syrian Waters to Thwart “Military Interference” from USA/NATO

– Russian Warships Transported “Technical Advisors” to Set Up Syria’s Russian-Built S-300 Anti-Missile Batteries; Key Syrian Infrastructure Protected by Russian Radar System

– President Assad Gives Renegade Soldiers of “Free Syrian Army” 24 Hours to End “Rebellion” as Russian Communist Party Boss Reiterates Support for Ba’athist Regime

– Iranian Navy Commander Announces “Massive” Drill to Take Place in Sea of Oman and Northern Indian Ocean in “Near Future”; Tehran and Damascus Locked into Military Defense Pact (source)

– Libya Offers Weapons and “Fighters” to Syrian Rebels, Post-Qaddafi Islamist Government Held Secret Talks with Syrian National Council on November 25; Turkish Officials Brokered Istanbul Meeting (source)

Pictured above: A campaigner with the global civic organization Avaaz shouts slogans against Russia’s arms deals with Syria in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, on November 2, 2011. The poster shows photos of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Amidst international debate concerning the political benefits of imposing a no-fly zone over insurgency-wracked Syria, the USA, which has duly condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, and Russia, which has carefully protected its arms clients in Damascus for 40 years, have positioned naval forces off that country’s Mediterranean coast.

According to the Cypriot media, citing Moscow’s naval chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, three Russian destroyers are currently anchored off Syria, where Russia operates a naval supply and maintenance site near the port of Tartus. “Tartus will be developed as a naval base. The first stage of development and modernization will be completed in 2012,” Vysotsky elaborated, adding that it could then serve as a base for guided missile cruisers and even aircraft carriers. The Russian military has operated the Soviet-era facility at Tartus since 1971.

Russia has apparently deployed its destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea under the guise of conducting a week-long joint drill with the Israeli Defense Forces, beginning November 28. Informed sources, reports the Famagusta Gazette, have stated that the Russian and Israeli navies will hold their joint exercise close to the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. During this exercise, the Russian Navy may request the use of port facilities at Limassol.

The Hindu, citing a source close to the Syrian president, states that the Russian warships will “patrol” Syrian waters in a show of support for Assad. In addition to the slavishly pro-Moscow Ba’athist regime in Damascus, the Kremlin can count on the allegiance of Dimitris Christofias, the president of Cyprus and the European Union’s only communist head of state.

According to the Israeli media, the Russian warships transported “technical advisors” to Syria to set up that country’s Russian-built S-300 anti-missile batteries. Furthermore, states Israel’s Arutz Sheva, “Russia has installed advanced radar systems in all key Syrian military and industrial installations.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, is currently off the coast of Malta and heading for the eastern Mediterranean. The Russian carrier is sailing with 24-fixed wing planes and a number of helicopters. According to Stratfor, in a story that was picked up by Voice of Russia, the US Navy has countered Russian naval moves in the Mediterranean by deploying the carrier George H.W. Bush from the Persian Gulf to Syria.

Speaking for the Centre of Political Situations in Moscow, Maxim Minayev alleges warmongering intent on Washington’s part:

This is preparation for a military operation against Syria. These activities are reminiscent of a similar initiative when a group of NATO vessels were concentrated near Libya. Washington wants to collect a maximum dividend from the series of revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. With this aim in mind, Washington is likely to start a military intervention even without UN sanctions. Now we are witnessing the first stage of NATO naval contingents drawing up near the Syrian shorelines.

Oleg Kulakov, an expert in Oriental studies at the Russian Armed Forces University, cautions against speculation concerning the Pentagon’s plans: “The reinforcement of the US aircraft-carrier fleet in the Mediterranean is more likely to be a threat. They are building up muscle in the region and this is undoubtedly an element of strong political intimidation. Military pressure is likely to be augmented by possible diplomatic demarche. However, all this does not mean direct military intervention.”

The Pentagon’s reported counter-moves in the Mediterranean were preceded by the withdrawal of Washington’s ambassador from Damascus last month. The US embassy in Syria has also ordered citizens to leave the Middle Eastern country immediately.

On the ground, fighting between Syrian regular troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), consisting of forces loyal to defected army Colonel Riyad al-Asad, intensified around Rastan and Homs today. Earlier, Al-Jazeera and Reuters reported that around 50 army tanks and armoured vehicles had fired anti-aircraft guns and machine guns into farmland on the edge of Rastan, where anti-Assad forces are concentrated. Opposition activists relate that at least 24 people killed in clashes with security forces. Colonel al-Asad organized the FSA in July.

President Assad has given rebels 24 hours to surrender, while the Arab League, which has suspended Syrian membership, has in turn demanded that the Syrian dictator accept observers to monitor the violence or face economic sanctions.

The French government, which was one of the first in the European Union to recognize the rebel Transitional National Council in Libya, is presently in talks with the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). After a meeting with Burhan Ghalioun, exiled leader of the SNC, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé described the body as “the legitimate partner with which we want to work.”

On November 17, after the FSA attacked a strategically important military base in Harasta, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that “the situation in Syria is beginning to resemble civil war.” Unconfirmed reports stated that six soldiers were killed in the mutinous troops’ assault on the air force intelligence building.

On November 27, the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation reiterated its support for the embattled Ba’athist regime. Party boss Gennady Zyuganov ranted:

Syria faces a ferocious media campaign and that the U.S. and its allies flagrantly interfere in its internal affairs.

The official representatives of these countries encourage the armed men to pursue their armed attacks and call upon the opposition not to communicate with the Syrian authorities despite the fact that President Bashar al-Assad started implementing the announced political reforms, in addition to exerting utmost efforts to complete works on a new constitution for the country and conduct local and parliamentary elections in the near future.

Zyuganov expressed disappointment about the involvement of the Arab League in this “aggressive campaign against Syria.” He accused neighboring Turkey of harbouring the Syrian insurgents seeking to bring down Assad. His reference to “US interference” is no doubt a dig at official comments similar to those expressed by President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, Thomas E. Donilon, on November 22.

At that time, Donilon declared that “end of the Assad regime would constitute Iran’s greatest setback in the region yet—a strategic blow that will further shift the balance of power in the region against Iran.” He added that Iran was “basically down to just two principal remaining allies—the Assad clique in Syria and Hezbollah.” With a nod toward this year’s Arab Spring uprisings, Donilon remarked: “And, like Iran, they too are fundamentally at odds with the democratic forces now sweeping the region. The Assad regime is thoroughly isolated and universally condemned. The Arab League, appalled by the regime’s brutality, has shown remarkable leadership and taken the extraordinary step of suspending Syria’s membership.”

As tensions flare between Washington and Moscow over the Arab Spring uprising in Syria, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a televised address, has articulated the Kremlin’s immediate plans for militarizing its Kaliningrad exclave, on the Baltic Sea, possibly as a counter-measure to US activities in the Middle East. A blogger at Zero Hedge posted a quote from Medvedev’s speech:

First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert.

Second, protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, will be reinforced as a priority measure under the programme to develop out air and space defenses.

Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads.

Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems if need be…

Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system, in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region.

In 2010, the Pentagon deployed an anti-missile battery in Warsaw Pact-turned-NATO state Poland and will shortly do the same in Romania. Clearly, the situation in the Middle East is fluid and so the reliability of some sources used in this post needs further verification.

Buncha Commies Corner: US, Canadian authorities crack down on anti-capitalist “Occupy” protests, police dismantle tent cities; “Occupiers” return to clash with NYPD, 100 protesters seize Bank of America branch in SF; social/business analyst notes movement’s rhetoric has become “more truculent, violent, revolutionary”

– Workers’ World Party, Socialist Party USA, and Communist Party of Canada Join Communist Party USA and Occupy Movement Founder—Vancouver’s Adbusters—in Demanding More “Militance” against the Rich

– Class Warfare: United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Join the AFL-CIO in Supporting “Occupiers”

Frustrated by the public hygiene, access, and image problems presented by hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters encamped in urban financial districts across North America, municipal authorities in the USA and Canada have ordered police to break up tent cities in New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, as well as in Calgary, Regina, Victoria, and Vancouver. In the last city, home to Adbusters, the activist group that conceived the movement, Mayor Gregor Robertson has demanded that “Occupy Vancouver” be torn down before Canadian Football League fans descend for the Grey Cup game.

On Thursday, two days after the New York Police Department dismantled the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, anti-capitalist demonstrators marched through New York’s financial district, promising a “Day of Disruption” there and in other cities. About 500 protesters were met by a line of police in riot helmets one block from Wall Street. “Whose street? Our street!” protesters chanted. Police using bullhorns informed the “Occupiers” they did not have a permit to march.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had announced that it would rally near the New York Stock Exchange, then “fan out” across Manhattan and head to the subways, before marching over the Brooklyn Bridge. “The protesters are calling for a massive event aimed at disrupting major parts of the city,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said. “We will be prepared for that.” The “Day of Disruption” had actually been planned before the city and park owners dislodged the two-month-old encampment in Zuccotti Park, but the “action” acquired added urgency afterwards.

Pictured above: OWS protesters and NYPD scuffle in Zuccotti Park on November 17, 2011.

Later, after massing in Foley Square, thousands of protesters, their ranks swelled by the presence of union activists, flooded across the Brooklyn Bridge. Police arrested up to 300 people. Anti-capitalist/anti-bank protests also took place in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Miami, and elsewhere. “Scores” of arrests were made as police removed tents in Oakland, California and Burlington, Vermont. However, evictions occurred peacefully elsewhere, including Atlanta, Portland, and Salt Lake City.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Mercury News reports, “Occupy Cal” cadres clashed with police in Oakland and at the University of California at Berkeley (go figure), before regrouping in San Francisco’s financial district. There they stormed the lobby of the Bank of America on California Street:

The relative quiet in San Francisco comes a after displaced Occupy protesters from Oakland and Berkeley funneled into the city, clashing with police as they stormed a downtown bank and upsetting a fragile deal brokered by Mayor Ed Lee to allow the encampment along The Embarcadero to remain in place.

As the protesters marched into the heart of San Francisco’s financial district Wednesday afternoon, managers of several banks quickly locked their doors and posted security guards out front. But protesters were able to rush into the Bank of America branch as panicked employees ran to the back office and shut the bank safe.

Police in riot gear demanded the roughly 100 protesters leave the lobby of Bank of America on California Street or be arrested. But protesters continued to chant “Whose bank? Our bank!” as they danced on desktops and scribbled “Occupy Bank of America” on office calendars.

One protester pitched a tent — a symbol of the Occupy movement and a scourge of city officials — inside the bank lobby. Police pushed back protesters with their batons — witnesses reported seeing at least two people struck. By the end of the night, 95 protesters had been arrested, and no one was injured.

In San Jose, campers were given a warning late Tuesday evening that police planned to clear away their tents overnight. Protesters decided to voluntarily pack up, said Shaunn Cartwright, an unofficial spokeswoman for Occupy San Jose. “We’re occupiers, not campers,” Cartwright complained, promising further marches.

Vincent Schiavone, founder and chairman of ListenLogic, a company that monitors social and business trends, believes that OWS is “not going away anytime soon” and, in fact, is becoming better organized and more radicalized. “There’s increased activity on campus. They had live blogging of Tuesday night’s New York City police action, minute by minute.”

“There’s an increased truculence,” Schiavone adds, referring to protest signs that threaten: “Rich, beware. Your days are numbered.” “The words and images are darker, more violent. You see protesters covering their faces now, which they didn’t do before. There’s more talk of revolution. Increasingly, the targets are conservative political figures.” Herman Cain, for example, cancelled an appearance in Iowa when his campaign learned that Occupy protesters had targeted him. Cain is a Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential election.

The better organization and increased radicalism of the Occupiers may be attributable to the fact that Big Labor, the Communist Party USA, and other far-left groupings hijacked the movement within weeks of its inception at Wall Street. We have already mentioned the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ support for the Occupy movement, but now the United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union and International Brotherhood of Teamsters have lined up behind this assault against capitalism.

Meanwhile, reports ABC News at the link above, “the movement’s system for self-governance has been evolving, and its character has grown ‘more militant’ in the words of Adbusters, the Canadian magazine and activist organization that originally gave rise to Occupy.” A recent survey of OWS participants by Professor Hector R. Cordero-Guzman, who teaches at the School of Public Affairs at New York’s Baruch College, discovered that 64 percent are under 34 years old, well educated, white (81 percent), and male (67 percent). Only one half are employed full time. Over 70 percent of OWS protesters say they are independents politically, 27 percent are Democrats, and three percent are Republicans. No one apparently admitted to being a communist.

However, after the NYPD cleared away the OWS camp this past Tuesday, North American communists went ballistic. On November 16, the New York-based Stalinist outfit Workers’ World Party ranted against “billionaire” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, claiming the movement for itself:

Our movement is under attack. We must mobilize to defend it.

The Occupy Wall Street movement seemed to spring up from nowhere. Its program was unclear. But its very existence was a thorn in the side of world capitalism, angering the super-rich on their own turf, and making OWS a pole of attraction for the other 99 percent.

Starting Nov. 11, local governments in Oakland, Calif.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Denver and other cities had their cops clear the encampments. Then billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg struck at the movement’s heart at Zuccotti Park near Wall Street itself. Hundreds were arrested as cops tore apart the park after 1 a.m. on Nov. 15 and trashed the tents, books and belongings of the campers/protesters. And the courts have ruled against Occupy Wall Street, blocking the right of the protesters to set up tents, proving once again that the courts work hand-in-hand with the police and super-rich politicians like Bloomberg.

The anti-Semitism implied in the WWP’s attack against New York’s “super-rich, billionaire” Jewish mayor was obvious.

In like fashion, the Socialist Party USA condemned Mayor Bloomberg for ordering the dismantling of OWS:

The Socialist Party of New York City (SPUSA) condemns the police action taken against the months long occupation of Zuccotti Park in New York City.  Under the cover of dark, the NYPD cowardly entered the park and forced hundreds of protesters out.  The power of our Occupation is demonstrated by the fact that the police had to shut down all subway and car traffic to the Park because they feared solidarity demonstrations. In the end, about 70 demonstrators refused the police orders despite the overwhelming force and were arrested.

We strongly condemn the NYPD, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and all other parts of the political establishment and law enforcement who were involved in this raid. 

The SPUSA wrapped up its rant with the cry: “Occupy Everything!” “As Socialists,” they explain, “we are permanent resisters. We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. We will continue to spread the powerful message of OWS that we are the 99% and that we are no longer willing to quietly accept the economic inequality, the war and the environmental destruction that the capitalist system is based upon. Occupy Everything!”

For its part, the Communist Party of Canada enjoins cadres to unreservedly support the Occupy movement in that country. The CPC does not hesitate to characterize Occupiers as “anti-capitalist.”

Starting without a declared political aim, the Occupy Wall Street movement combines rage against oppression and poverty with hope for a better world. These sentiments are moving millions into the streets, and Occupy is spreading like wildfire.

The challenges faced by this openly anti-capitalist but extremely diverse crusade are enormous. But the decision to rise up together against corporate domination is a powerful and liberating act, with enormous potential. Through their bold attempt to defeat the system, the “99 percenters” will learn more about social change than any textbook could teach.

This movement deserves the unhesitating support of all progressive activists. More “occupations” will begin in cities across North America in mid-October. We urge our readers to jump in and help build these struggles, taking People’s Voice and socialist ideas into the debates. Our next issue will report on the progress of this unique political development.

If the Occupy movement in the USA and Canada truly becomes “more truculent, violent, and revolutionary,” then statements from prominent foreign communists—like former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, who has already expressed sympathy for the Occupiers, Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov, and Latin American dictators like Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez—should be carefully examined for cues.

EU/USSR2 Files: United Russia, CPRF platforms converge ahead of elections; Kremlin, Zyuganov condemn “US provocations” in Syria’s “Arab Spring” uprising; German CFR invites Zyuganov to deliver speech in Berlin; Russian and ex-GDR communists discuss “global financial crisis”

“Post”-communist Russia’s citizen-slaves face another farcical State Duma election on December 4 and another farcical presidential election next March. Like Soviet Russians, they have few options. The presidential race, for example, includes a communist candidate (Gennady Zyuganov, pictured above), an “ex”-communist candidate (Vladimir Putin), and an alleged KGB/FSB candidate (Vladimir Zhirinovsky). With respect to the parliamentary election, since 2003 United Russia has posed as the country’s ruling party, while the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has assumed the role of chief opposition. However, there is very little substantive difference between the platforms of the two parties:

  • Origins: United Russia was founded by “ex”-communists, while the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was founded by open communists.
  • Soviet legacy and restoration: United Russia’s “non-member” leader and “ex”-communist Putin laments the demise of the Soviet Union and advocates a new “Eurasian Union” across the post-Soviet space. CPRF boss Zyuganov cuts to the chase and unabashedly advocates the restoration of the Soviet Union.
  • Economy: United Russia supports “post”-communist Russia’s “state capitalism” (crypto-socialism), in which the Kremlin has a monopoly or near-monopoly in “strategic” sectors of the economy (oil, gas, metals, telecommunications, media, banking, aircraft construction and ship building). CPRF boss Zyuganov advocates the nationalization (communization) of all Russian industries.
  • Foreign policy: Both United Russia and the CPRF promote Russian patriotism, hold to anti-NATO/USA/Israel and pro-Arab stances, support the CSTO alliance and a strong Russian military, and glorify Russia’s Soviet legacy.
  • There are only two key differences between United Russia and the CPRF. They differ primarily in rhetoric (nationalism versus “nationalistic” Marxism-Leninism) and the latter’s advocacy of pervasive social safety net and widespread price controls.

 The policy differences between United Russia and the CPRF, in fact, are so slim as to mirror the incestuous relationship between the US Democratic Party and Communist Party USA, both of which have thrown their weight behind the widespread anti-capitalist “Occupy” protests.

Foreign policy is definitely an area where the Putinist regime and CPRF leadership are for the most part in agreement. For example, this past Saturday the Arab League expelled Syria from its ranks on account of President Bashar al-Assad’s heavy-handed crackdown on anti-regime protests, part of the wider Arab Spring movement that began in January of this year. According to United Nations reports, at least 4,000 people, mostly civilians, have died. Over the weekend, too, the European Union added 18 Syrian government officials to its sanctions target list and formally suspended European Investment Bank support for Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quick to express Moscow’s disapproval of Syria’s expulsion from the Arab League in particular. Disingenuously, Red China supported Syria’s diplomatic isolation.

In a show of solidarity with Damascus, the Kremlin dispatched Russian Orthodox Patriarch and alleged KGB/FSB agent Kirill I to Syria, where the good patriarch conferred with bloody socialist dictator Assad. Upon arriving in Damascus on Saturday, Patriarch Kirill stated that he “hoped the Syrian people would overcome the crisis, and that their country would remain a country of peace and love.” Peace and love in Ba’athist Syria? Not likely. “I am deeply convinced that all the problems can be solved peacefully and through dialogue. The most important thing is that human blood is not spilled. History teaches us that when human blood is spilled it will be hard to solve the problem,” blathered Kirill. For his part, Assad thanked Syria’s long-time arms suppliers in Moscow for their diplomatic support.

One week ago, in an interview with the Syrian Arab News Agency’s Moscow correspondent, Zyuganov condemned the “US provocations” allegedly behind the “continuing acts of terrorism in Syria” and the US State Department’s “calls on the armed groups not to give themselves up to the Syrian authorities.” According to the CPRF chairman, “NATO and the West stand behind [the] instigations in Syria. Those countries committed brutal crimes in Libya.” Zyuganov indicated that he appealed to the “Russian President [Dmitry Medvedev], Premier [Putin] and Foreign Minister [Lavrov] to continue supporting Syria because the powers of darkness are trying to undermine stability under the pretext of human rights.”

Although a Forbes editorial recently characterized the Russian Communist Party boss as a political “dinosaur,” a description with which we would not disagree, Zyuganov has the ear of the EU’s globalist leaders. On October 18, the German Council on Foreign Relations, which is a sister organization to the Rockefeller-founded CFR in the USA, invited Zyuganov to present a paper titled “The Alternative for Russia: A New Idea Left.”

While in Berlin, Zyuganov made several other pit stops, including the Russian embassy, where he conferred with Ambassador V. Grinin and the diplomatic staff. The CPRF chairman and his entourage also met with the leaders of Germany’s Left Party, including Bundestag faction chief Gregor Gysi, honorary party chairman Hans Modrow, and International Department chief Oliver Schroeder. 

The Left Party, which also has a presence in several state legislatures in western and eastern Germany, is descended from the Socialist Unity Party that ruled the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) until 1990. Modrow was the last premier of East Germany, while Gysi was a high-ranking official in the GDR. In the Federal Republic of Germany’s last election in September 2010, the Left received about 12 percent of the vote and formed a parliamentary faction of 76 deputies.

The German communists, whose predecessors enjoyed the protection afforded by the Soviet military occupation, swapped notes in a friendly tete-a-tete with their Russian visitors. For their part, the “German comrades informed in detail of the CPRF leader on the situation in their country, the activities of the party both in Parliament and outside it. They talked about the upcoming Congress in the coming days, the Left Party in Germany, which should be discussed and adopted a political manifesto.” Under the auspices of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Boris Yeltsin, Russian troops finally left the reunited Germany in 1994.

For his part, “Zyuganov told in detail about the development of political situation in the Russian Federation, the election campaign on elections of deputies of the State Duma of the sixth convocation. He emphasized those points in the program of the Communist Party, which will undoubtedly find understanding and support in the community.” The Russian and German communists observed that both countries were major trading partners, while Zyuganov indicated that Russia should closely monitor the “global financial crisis” to avoid bankruptcy.

From the vantage of the Soviet deception plan, the fundamental ideological harmony among Russia’s parties is perfectly understandable. In Moscow, everyone is on the Red Team.

Neo-Sandinista File: Clashes between Ortegistas and opponents rock Nicaragua following “Comandante’s” re-election, 4 dead, 46 police injured; EU questions impartiality of electoral officials, US Rep. Ros-Lehtinen castigates FSLN’s “tricks and ruses”; Russia, Cuba, Venezuela rush to congratulate Ortega

– Fidel Castro Lauds Sandinista Election Victory, Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, Leftist Regimes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay (source)

– Assuming Chavez “Wins” 2012 Presidential Election, Ortega “Victory” Secures Anti-USA Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis for at Least Five More Years

Violent clashes between supporters and opponents of communist-turned-Catholic President Daniel Ortega, as well as between protesters and police, have rocked Nicaragua following his disputed re-election on Sunday. At least four people were shot dead in the northern and Atlantic regions of the Central American country, including three anti-Ortegistas and one Sandinista supporter. The Nicaraguan National Police say 46 officers were injured, including six with bullet wounds, trying to contain post-election violence.

The main opposition candidate, Fabio Gadea, has denounced the election result as fraudulent. Official results gave former guerrilla commander Ortega of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FLSN) 63 percent of the vote, while Gadea of the Liberal Independent Party came second with 31 percent. Pictured above: A Gadea supporter burns the flag of the FSLN in Managua on November 8, 2011.

Many Nicaraguans question the legitimacy of Ortega’s election victory, especially in the light of a 2009 ruling when the Sandinista-stacked Supreme Court invalidated a constitutional provision forbidding consecutive presidential terms. This provision was included in the country’s 1995 constitution, which sought to prevent the re-creation of the first Sandinista dictatorship, but has obviously failed.

For their part, European Union election observers have questioned the transparency of the vote and the independence of the electoral authorities. “There is no doubt Mr. Ortega and the Sandinistas won the elections,” admitted Luis Yanez-Barnuevo, head of the EU mission. “But I am not saying that they won cleanly and transparently, because we don’t know what would have happened without all these tricks and ruses.”

The FSLN also resorted to “tricks and ruses” in the November 2009 municipal elections, grabbing a majority of the mayoral posts and provoking the ongoing political crisis in Nicaragua, which was last torn by civil war in the 1980s, when the Soviets and Cubans openly backed Ortega’s first regime.

US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, strongly condemned the vote. “Sunday’s so-called election in Nicaragua was a complete sham,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a cutting statement, adding:

Daniel Ortega made sure of it. And once he forced his way onto the ballot, Ortega pulled out more tricks to make sure that he would win. He denied countless Nicaraguans the right to vote in order to stack the deck in his favor. He has clearly learned from his dictatorial buddies in the region, like [Venezuela’s Hugo] Chavez, who is an expert at trampling democracy.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland noted that the Nicaraguan government denied international election monitors access to voting stations. “Frankly, if the Nicaraguan Government had nothing to hide, it should have allowed a broad complement of international monitors,” she said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the crypto-communist dictatorship in Russia and the open communist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela rushed to congratulate their ally in Managua. At the Kremlin website, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a statement that promised an “expansion” of Cold War-era ties between the two countries:

Your solid victory in the electiondemonstrates that the Nicaraguan leadership’s socioeconomic policy and consistent position in international affairs are successful and widely supported by the people of your country.

Russia considers Nicaragua an important and reliable partner. We highly value the constructive nature of our political dialogue, as well as our efficient cooperation on the international arena and on a wide range of bilateral issues.

I am certain that further expanding trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties, and developing mutually beneficial cooperation in responding to emergency situations will further promote the potential of Russian-Nicaraguan partnership in the interest of the time-tested friendship between our countries and peoples, as well as peace and stability in the Latin American region.

From Cuba, President Raul Castro declared: “On behalf of our people and leaders, I send you our warmest congratulations on your important victory during the presidential elections. I reiterate our willingness to continue strengthening the close friendship and cooperation relations between our two sister nations.” “Cuba,” Havana’s state media reported, “supported the FSLN during its struggle against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza and after their victory in 1979 with teachers, medical personnel and military advisors.” The same source also notes Nicaragua’s current membership in Latin America’s Red Axis: “Cuba and Nicaragua are both members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA), which also includes Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, among other countries.”

From Venezuela, President Chavez telephoned Ortega to offer personal congratulations for his Nicaraguan counterpart’s “stunning success” at the polls. “Chavez and Ortega agreed that popular support for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in Nicaragua is a victory for all peoples of the ALBA,” relates Cuba’s Prensa Latina, “and strengthen this alliance as the right path to social happiness, according to the source.” Both presidents reaffirmed their “commitment to the democratic [leftist] revolutions that are taking place throughout the continent” and stressed “the historical importance of the steps that are being taken to achieve a true union of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

As a result of chum Ortega’s re-election and his own recovery from a bout of cancer, Chavez will no doubt be emboldened with respect to his re-election chances in 2012. Strategically speaking, Ortega’s so-called victory will likely perpetuate, at least for another five years, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis. This alliance is not only radicalizing the region along the USA’s southern flank through organizations like ALBA, Petrocaribe, and the Sao Paulo Forum, but also, with Russia’s assistance, militarizing the same.

For its part, army-less Costa Rica, which is pursuing a rancorous border dispute with Nicaragua, predicts little change in diplomatic relations with Managua. “There will be changes if they change,” Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo declared Tuesday in San Jose. In 2010, in order to secure the San Juan River for dredging operations, Nicaraguan troops invaded and occupied the river’s Isla Calero.

USSR2 File: Belarusian police detain three oppositionists for crashing red rally, pelting Lenin monument with eggs, shouting “Communism must face trial!” Lukashenko fears US-led invasion, calls NATO “worse than Nazis” for killing Qaddafi, holds military maneuvers, organizes “territorial defense troops”

– Belarus Still Officially Celebrates October Revolution, President Lukashenko Extols Ideals of Bolsheviks in Annual Formal Address, State Factories Send Reps to Lenin “Worship Services”

– Lukashenko’s Secret Police Raid House Churches, Belarusian Baptists Resist Forced State Registration, “Underground” Pastor Defends Stance in Open Letter to Dictator

Although the USA and European Union officially recognize that the Belarusian government is a dictatorship, few appreciate the fact that President Alexander Lukashenko is a dictator precisely because he is an unreconstructed communist. On November 7, for example, Belarusian communists and government authorities still celebrate the October Revolution, which propelled the Bolsheviks to power throughout the Russian Empire in 1917.

At this time, Hitler-look-alike Lukashenko normally delivers a formal address extolling the ideals of the October Revolution. This year, on the 94th anniversary of the revolution, speaking like a true red, he intoned:

Dear compatriots, history again confirms the significance of the Great October ideals: the liberation of workers from exploitation and oppression and the introduction of equal rights and social justice.

People’s wish for self-determination and independence in their home land was preserved by our grandfathers and fathers during the foreign [Nazi German] intervention and in the tragic period of the Great Patriotic War and the difficult 1990s.

The people of Belarus have chosen to build a sovereign socially oriented state. The implementation of our model of development has helped us raise our industry and agriculture to a new level and increase out national wellbeing.

This past Monday, 100 cadres of the pro-Lukashenko Communist Party of Belarus held a flower-laying ceremony at a monument to Vladimir Lenin in Minsk’s Independence Square. There they were confronted by three activists of the Young Front—Raman Vasilyeu, Mikhail Muski, and Paval Syarhey—who pelted eggs at the Lenin statue and shouted “Communism must fact trial!” The three anti-communists were detained by plainclothes policemen (pictured above), who were most likely KGB, recently empowered with sweeping Soviet-style powers of surveillance, arrest, and detention.

Along the same theme, regional government authorities have ordered workers in state enterprises to present themselves at officially sanctioned, veritable Lenin worship services. Charter 97, which provides an independent analysis of Belarusian news, reports:

. . . Brest regional executive committee has approved the schedule of laying flowers to monuments and busts of Lenin in the region. Local ideologues are appointing representatives of organisations and enterprises who are to take part in it.

Veterans are to come and bow thanks to Lenin with them. “A document signed by the chairman of the ideology department of Staritski district has been received at the plant. On October 4 the administration is to appoint workers who will lay flowers to monument of Lenin on Privokzalnaya Square,” said a representative of the sugar factory in Zhabinka. “If workers would start to refuse, they said those who have disciplinary infractions should go.”

Belarusian communists marked the 94th anniversary of the October Revolution not only by laying flowers at Lenin monuments, but also at monuments of other communist leaders, such as Mikhail Kalinin, Sergei Kirov, and Yakov Sverdlov. Communists and other pro-government parties do not have to apply for holding pickets and rallies, even though a tough new law requires Lukashenko’s opponents to do so.

Following the overthrow and death of Libya’s long-time socialist dictator, Muammar al-Qaddafi—who was also a personal bud of Lukashenko, as well as Latin American communists like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega—the Belarusian president is clearly sweating bullets regarding a possible NATO invasion of his retro-Soviet republic. After all, two communist-turned-NATO states, Poland and Lithuania, are situated right next to Belarus.

On November 4, while speaking to the country’s controlled press in Grodno Oblast, Lukashenko denounced the United Nations for failing to rein in NATO, which vigorously enforced a no-fly zone over Libya to the point of aiding the anti-Qaddafi insurgents:

We can view the situation extremely negatively only. How can we evaluate NATO actions in Libya? As a violation of the mandate of the UN Security Council. I am not exaggerating this headless and senseless Security Council. I am not exaggerating their role and the role of the United Nations Organizations. The latter has evolved into some kind of cover-up. See or yourself: Iraq, Afghanistan, an entire Arabic world. Why has UN failed to prevent all of it?

It seems they have written one mandate while the NATO troops dared to violate the mandate.

An aggression has been accomplished, the country’s leadership have been murdered, not only Muammar Gaddafi. Besides, he was killed by NATO special forces. They mocked him, tortured him, raped the injured man, broke his arms and then killed. They did worse than the Nazis in their time.

God forbid the policy will prevail across the globe.

In Tunisia and Egypt positions of radical Islamists have become much stronger. The situation in Libya will be much worse because the country has colossal deposits of natural resources. Everyone has rushed to get there. Besides the USA, Italy, France, Germany have up to $150 billion of Libyan money now. They are very interested in snatching these riches.

This act of the 21st century vandalism must not happen [again]. But such actions show the face of our so-called teachers of democracy [meaning USA]. Do you need this kind of democracy?

Last week, Lukashenko visited a military training ground near Hrodna in southern Belarus to personally direct a five-day command-and-post exercise for the purpose of assessing the efficiency of the country’s defenses. After the drill, the president announced that he would organize a 120,000-member territorial defense force consisting of citizen soldiers who would supplement the regular army of 65,000 active personnel. Back in Minsk, Lukashenko presided over a ceremony in which he awarded the rank of general to the country’s six regional governors, appointing them as commanders over the citizen militias, but requiring them to work with the military hierarchy. He stated:

It is a fact that you are becoming general-governors, yet I emphasize it is not for demonstration or prestige – the human resources policy will be changed towards giving the people command of the territorial defense troops. We are creating, if you want, a new army in Belarus which will be commanded by you.

Our governors are military and responsible people, therefore starting today the second part of your life is military security. You should organize territorial defense maneuvers. There shall be concrete persons assigned to every automatic rifle, pistol, RPG, to every weapon.

Replying to speculation that the purpose of the command-and-post exercise was to repel NATO, Lukashenko retorted that the Western Alliance has a “very high opinion” of the Belarusian Armed Forces. He continued:

Quite clever people serve with NATO and they know well the worth of our Armed Forces. Belarus should maintain this level. NATO is a potential rival. We have created the territorial defense system, which is cheaper than a professional army. We will train our people, and in a year we will have ideal forces, which will total as many as 120,000 people in time of war.

Not insignificantly, Belarus and Russia have an integrated air defense system and have carried out several combined military exercises, including Union Shield 2011, Union Shield 2006, and Zapad (West) 2009, which simulated a nuclear attack against ex-Soviet Bloc state Poland. In view of Belarus’ war preparations and its alliance with Russia, it is hard not to conclude that Russia itself is prepping for war against the West. Should NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes both countries and others of the former Soviet Union, ever come to blows, Belarus, in particular, stands smack-dab between the two regional alliances.

Meanwhile, taking a page from the atheistic script of their Soviet parent organization, the Belarusian KGB and Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee have raided “unauthorized worship services,” including house-based meetings, after various Christian denominations failed to register with Minsk and Astana. On October 24, Worthy News reported:

Evangelical Christians in Belarus and Kazakhstan faced increased pressure Friday, October 21, to halt unauthorized worship services after pastors were fined and churches raided in the former Soviet republics.

In Belarus, Pastor Aleksei Abramovich was among those fined several weeks of average wages as is part of the Baptist Council of Churches which refuses “on principle to gain state registration,” said advocacy group Forum 18.

Yelena Goretskaya of the Ideology Department of Zhodino Executive Committee reportedly defended a recent raid on Abramovich’s house church in Zhodino, near Belarus’ capital Minsk, saying believers “had broken the law” by not registering the church.

However in a published letter to President Alexander Lukashenko the pastor called the worship meetings “purely religious,” adding that it’s “not a crime if believers worship” in his house.

Like Lukashenko, Kazakhstan’s president for the past 21 years, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is an “ex”-communist.

Latin America File: Moscow ally Ortega flouts ban, grabs consecutive presidential term in landslide vote, renewed Russian influence in Central America likely to expand; retired general sweeps Guatemala vote on “law and order” ticket, center-leftist Colom leaves after one term, unable to eradicate powerful drug cartels

– Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Cuban Dictator Raul Castro Send Post-Election Congrats to Ortega, Pledge Expanding Relations with Nicaragua (source 1, source 2)

– Supporters of Presidential Candidate Fabio Gadea Protest Ortega Win, Clash with Police in Town of Concepcion, 19 Miles South of Managua (pictured above)

– President-Elect Perez Denies His Military Intelligence Unit and Regular Troops Committed Abuses during Guatemala’s Decades-Long Civil War, Promises to Let Attorney General Prosecute War Crimes Cases

This past Sunday, two important presidential elections took place in Central America, both (re-)installing veterans of the region’s Cold War-era battles.

In Nicaragua, long-time KGB asset President Daniel Ortega, who made his first post-Cold War pilgrimage to Moscow in December 2008, marched toward a landslide re-election victory after drawing broad support for his Venezuela-financed anti-poverty programs. Based on a sample of votes from 40 percent of polling stations, Ortega had obtained 62.6 percent support. Actual ballots showed a similar result as counting continued into Monday. “Comandante” Ortega was well ahead of his two main conservative rivals, popular radio personality Fabio Gadea and fair-weather ally and former president Arnoldo Aleman (1997-2002). On Sunday night, Sandinista cadres, who in past months assaulted opponents with home-made mortars, poured into the streets of Managua to celebrate their leader’s victory.

A member of the unelected Sandinista-dominated junta that instigated a reign of terror over Nicaragua during the early 1980s, Ortega “won” the presidential election of 1984, only to be democratically ousted six years later by US-backed opposition candidate, Violeta Chamorro. In the minds of most North Americans at the time, this was viewed as the end of the Sandinista Revolution. However, undeterred and with the Sandinistas firmly in control of the military and police, Ortega unsuccessfully ran again in 1996 and 2001.

Finally, after establishing the sordid “El Pacto” with Aleman, considered one of the Western Hemisphere’s most corrupt politicians, Ortega squeaked back into the presidential palace on less than 39 percent of the popular vote in November 2006. Released by a Sandinista-stacked Supreme Court in January 2009, ex-convict Aleman’s participation in Sunday’s poll effectively split the right-wing vote in Nicaragua, assuring Ortega’s dubious victory. Gadea supporters accused the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front of stuffing ballot boxes and interfering with the street-level voting process in conservative districts.

Since his inauguration in January 2007, Ortega has re-consolidated his hold on Nicaragua, ramming a martial law package through the National Assembly last December, in expectation of possible challenges to his neo-Sandinista regime, which is not only closely allied with Hugo Chavez, but also Raul Castro. At the same time, Nicaragua’s economy, ruined by the civil war in the 1980s, is enjoying an unprecedented economic surge, growing by 4.5 per cent in 2010, in part due to exports to Russia and Venezuela. Although 57 per cent of Nicaraguans still live below the poverty line, this figure, thanks to Sandinista largesse, is down from 65.5 per cent in 2005, according to World Bank statistics. Pragmatic millionaire communist Ortega, reports the Globe and Mail, has “let private businesses work untroubled” even as he implements his anti-poverty policies.

Hector Perla, a political scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, commented on yesterday’s Nicaragua vote:

The fact voters backed him despite reservations about his leadership style shows Nicaragua has moved on from the painful war years. Contrary to what most people believe, Ortega’s re-election signals the end of polarization in the country, at least as far as the average voter is concerned. A Sandinista victory shows that ordinary Nicaraguans are no longer driven by ideologically-based arguments, but rather by economic results that benefit the majority of Nicaraguans.

This may be so but, as a result of Ortega’s dubious re-election victory, we can expect to see Nicaragua’s deeper integration into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, as well as probably an expanded Russian presence in Central America. Since 2007, Nicaragua has feted both the Russian deputy prime minister and foreign minister in Managua; hosted the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission; welcomed a Russian destroyer with “humanitarian aid” to the port of Bluefields; accepted a US$26.5 million gift from Moscow to form a “rescue unit’ in the Nicaraguan army; and renovated the never-used Soviet-built air base at Punta Huete, manning Central America’s longest runway with a military brigade that may one day welcome Russia’s strategic bombers (that is, if Moscow can keep behemoths like the Tu-160 “Blackjack” airborne before all of the spare parts for this supersonic ALCM platform vanish).

Meanwhile, in Guatemala a retired right-wing general who has vowed to crack down on the region’s bloodthirsty drug cartels won the presidential election on Sunday, ousting center-left incumbent Alvaro Colom after only one term (2008-2012). Otto Perez Molina (pictured at left) will be the first military man to take power in Guatemala City since democracy was restored in 1986. Perez scooped up 54.2 percent of the popular vote with results in from 98 percent of polling stations, while his rival, businessman Manuel Baldizon, trailed with 45.8 percent. Last August, Sandra Torres was disqualified from the presidential race due to her past marriage to Colom, leaving a vacuum on the political left.

The results of the election were a clear shift to the right for Central America’s largest economy and came after the pro-Cuban Colom failed to curtail violent drug crime or prevent Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel setting up training camps in the country’s northern jungles. In the grip of a Mexico-style narco-insurgency that controls 40 percent of its territory, Guatemala’s murder rate is about eight times that of the USA. Although Colom did not have enough time to steer Guatemala into ALBA, as Manuel Zelaya did in neighboring Honduras in 2008, only to be ousted in a coup the following year, the outgoing Guatemalan president gratefully received subsidized Venezuelan oil via the Petrocaribe program. Incidentally, Petrocaribe’s energy ministers descended on Managua last month to reaffirm their allegiance to petro-communist dictator Chavez.

“From the first day on, Guatemalans are going to see they’ve got a president committed to defending the lives and safety of all Guatemalans,” Perez promised late on Sunday. Supporters of Perez’s Patriotic Party set off fireworks and joined a street party near the convention center where the votes were counted. “There’s even extortion in the schools,” said housewife Elsa Guzman, who voiced her support for Perez. “I trust the army more. The army is not afraid to go out at night, but the police don’t even go out at night … that’s why we want a military man.” Inspired by President Felipe Calderon’s crackdown on the cartels in Guatemala’s large northern neighbour, Perez intends to hire 10,000 new police and deploy 2,500 more soldiers to combat the same cartels in his own country.

Human rights groups worry Perez’s crime-fighting message obscures a “dark side” in his military career. During Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war, in which about 250,000 people died or disappeared, the army murdered suspected communists and massacred many peasants. There have been allegations that troops under Perez’s command committed abuses. “I can tell you, it’s totally false,” he told Reuters the day before the election. The good general also headed the military intelligence unit accused of orchestrating assassinations of political rivals. In spite of these allegations, Perez played a key role in supporting the 1996 peace accords that ended the war.

Lately, Guatemala has begun to prosecute and extradite military officers implicated in the worst civil war abuses, including one who settled here in Canada. Perez himself has never been charged with human rights crimes. Some analysts, therefore, believe that a key litmus test for President-Elect Perez will be whether he retains Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz, who has vigorously prosecuted the alleged war crimes. “That’s the big question. If she’s able to keep her job, will they allow her to do her job?” mused Adriana Beltran at the Washington Office on Latin America think tank. Perez, who will be inaugurated in January, has assured sceptics that if Paz y Paz “does her work well, there is no reason to end her four-year term prematurely.”

Useful Idiots Bin: Gorbachev, Pelosi, AFL-CIO, Communist Party USA, American Nazi Party bemoan current crises in global capitalism, throw their weight behind Canadian-launched “Occupy” protests; former Soviet dictator denounces Washington’s “militarism,” once again urges “perestroika” in USA

Soviet communism, we were told by the Moscow Leninists themselves 20 years ago, was dead. Let’s be honest, they lied so freedom lovers everywhere would let down their guard while “repackaged” revolutionaries continued the patient process of subverting freedom.

In the midst of an international debt crisis that is particularly acute in the USA and European Union, characterized by a jobless post-recession recovery in the USA, and threatening to bring down Greece’s debt-stricken socialist government, communists, “ex”-communists, crypto-communists, and neo-Nazis are speaking the same language and combining forces to overthrow the money-grubbing “Zionist Jewish” banking clique and other corporate execs in Washington, London and other global business hubs.

Most disturbingly, the political climate and economic woes of the 2010s appear to be resurrecting some of the dangerous racist, anti-capitalist rhetoric of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. After the Great Depression, the Soviets, in particular, vowed that world communism would never again fail to exploit such a crisis in capitalism.

Launched by Adbusters, a Canadian tree-hugging cabal founded in 1989, the Occupy protests began on Wall Street, New York City’s financial district, on September 17, 2011. The movement’s main slogan is “We are the 99 percent,” referring to those who are not the one percent of US citizens who reportedly control 40 percent of the wealth in that country. In May 2011 Colombia University economist Joseph Stiglitz touted these figures in an article for Vanity Fair, titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.”

Since then, anti-capitalist, tax-the-rich protests have taken place on numerous occasions in many cities across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and even Mongolia. For the most part peaceful, these protests have occasionally become violent. On October 15, for example, black-garbed anarchists in Rome committed numerous violent acts, tossing Molotov cocktails and other improvised explosives, burning and blowing up cars, torching buildings, and smashing up ATMs and shop windows. The church building Santi Marcellino e Pietro al Laterano sustained extensive damage, including a statue of the Virgin Mary being thrown into the street and destroyed. Over US$1.3 million in property damage was reported after the “Occupy Rome” rampage.

On October 15, John Bachtell, an Illinois-based community organizer and Communist Party USA national board member, addressed the “Occupy Chicago” protest. “I bring greetings and solidarity from the Communist Party,” Comrade Bachtell said to hoots and applause. “We are here, marching side-by-side. We’ll sleep here. We’ll be with this movement ’til the very – ’til we make all the changes that we know we have to make.”

Bachtell also organized a conference call, with an online call to action that linked the CPUSA’s involvement in the “Occupy” protests with the AFL-CIO’s “Week of Action for Jobs,” congressional Democrats’ push to pass President Barack Hussein Obama’s American Jobs Act, and the planned demise of the Republican Party in the 2012 elections. Incidentally, the AFL-CIO has backed the “Occupy” movement almost from Day One.

“While there is a wide range of political and ideological trends,” Bachtell wrote, “there is a consensus against corporate greed, getting money out of politics, taxing the rich and putting people before profits.” He added: “A big challenge for the CPUSA and left, progressive movements is to link these demonstrations with the labor led all-people’s coalition and help deepen understanding that the path to progress must be through electoral and political action including defeating Republican Tea Party reaction in 2012.”

This past Wednesday, anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 “Occupy Oakland” protesters blockaded the Port of Oakland for five hours, but not before listening to veteran communist/feminist and ex-Black Panther Angela Davis denounce capitalism. At the opening rally, Comrade Davis addressed a crowd milling about the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway: “We do not assent to economic exploitation, to global capitalism, to police violence, to corporate inequality, we do not assent to the prison industrial complex… We do assent to community, to education – free education, to health care – free health care, to housing, to happiness, to justice … to hope for our future.”

This sort of anti-elite rabble-rousing, of course, is typical of the “Left Coast” which, incidentally, extends north of the 49th parallel to the Canadian city of Vancouver, where Adbusters is based.

Not to be outdone, the swastika-worshipping groupies of the American Nazi Party have announced their support for the Occupy movement, forming an informal red-brown alliance that once again proves the convergence of views between “national socialists” and “international socialists.” In an October 16 statement, the typographically challenged, Michigan-based Hitler freaks ordered their brainwashed disciples to covertly join the Occupy protests, which are “TAYLOR [sic] MADE for National Socialists, as well as WN [White Nationalists] who are serious about DOING SOMETHING.” The e-rant continued: “I urgently URGE all of you to TAKE PART and JOIN IN when these protests hit your neck of the woods. Produce some flyers EXPLAINING the ‘JEW BANKER’ influence — DON’T wear anything marking you as an ‘evil racist’ — and GET OUT THERE and SPREAD the WORD!”

The US political fringe is not the only segment of society to support the Occupy demos. President Obama has downplayed the radicalism of the movement. “I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests,” Obama told ABC News in an exclusive interview, published on October 18. “In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren’t looking out for them.”

Democratic Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has also given the movement her imprimatur: “God bless them for their spontaneity. It’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.” Yes, Comrade Nancy, it’s all of these things and neo-communism to boot.

Into the left-right fray of US politics wades former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev who, even as he launched political and economic reforms in the Soviet Union in 1985, vowed never to repudiate communism. In an October 19 speech, delivered at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, Comrade Mike extended his sympathies to the Occupy movement and rebuked “US militarism”:

We are reaping the consequences of a strategy that is not conducive to cooperation and partnership, to living in a new global situation. People are asking “Why do our leaders want to decide everything at the expense of the people”?

Some people in the United States were pushing the idea of creating a global American empire, and that was a mistake from the start. Other people in America are now giving thought to the future of their country. The big banks, the big corporations, are still paying the same big bonuses to their bosses. Was there ever a crisis for them? . . . I believe America needs its own perestroika.

We need to build a society where human beings are at the center. A lot of brain power is concentrated in the military-industrial sector; we need to shift that to other goals.

History is not preordained. We can influence history if we understand the most important things.

As we have pointed out in past posts, Gorbachev’s perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”) reforms were never meant to signal a repudiation of Leninism but, rather, were an application of the communist dialectic leading, after a few “zig zags,” to a mature socialist society in Russia and the rest of the world. This was Gorby’s unvarnished thesis in Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (1987). Tragically, that’s not how Western expertdom interpreted the cosmetic changes in the Soviet Union during the Cold War’s last decade. Instead, our brilliant leaders swiftly agreed with the wily Soviets that communism was “dead.”