Monthly Archives: March 2012

Gray Terror File: French Muslim, self-avowed “follower” of Al Qaeda terrorizes Toulouse, guns down three soldiers, later storms Jewish school, kills rabbi, rabbi’s two children, principal’s daughter; victims laid to rest in Jerusalem; killer holed up in apartment, holds 300 police at bay

– Update: French Police Raid Merah’s Hideout, Killing Self-Proclaimed Jihadist (source)

– French Shooting Suspect Arrested in 2007 for Afghanistan Bombings, Escaped Prison in Mass Jail Break

– Mohammed Merah Turned Down by French Army in 2010, Planned to Kill More Soldiers and Police

After the National Socialist German Workers’ Party stole the 1933 election, Chancellor Adolf Hitler made anti-Semitism an official policy of the Reich. Although the Allied Powers and the Soviet Union defeated Nazism’s military machine in 1945, anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism as a political philosophy never really went away but, in fact, since the so-called collapse of communism has only intensified throughout Europe and North America. Neo-Nazis, Islamists, and leftist academics have found common cause in vilifying the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Monday’s shooting rampage in Toulouse, allegedly perpetrated by a Muslim protesting French military involvement in Afghanistan, is yet another example of the potent anti-Jewish sentiment erupting yet again in the European Union. On Tuesday, 24-year-old Mohammed Merah, armed with an Uzi submachine gun and Kalashnikov assault rifle, reportedly stormed a Jewish school, shooting dead 30-year-old Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, Sandler’s two children (aged four and five), and the seven-year-old daughter of the school principal.

French authorities also believe that last week Merah shot dead three soldiers. Two years ago, Merah sought to enlist in the French Army, but was turned down.

On Wednesday, fugitive Merah was still holed up in a Toulouse apartment, which has been surrounded by hundreds of police officers. Police say Merah tossed a Colt .45 from a window in return for a communications device. Shots and explosions were also heard in the neighbourhood today and three officers are reported wounded. According to state-run France 24 television, Merah is a self-avowed “follower” of Al Qaeda. In conversation with French authorities through a barricaded door, Merah revealed that he intended to kill more soldiers and police.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant says Merah is a French citizen of Algerian origin who has travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, both havens of Islamic fanaticism.

According to a top Afghan prison official, in 2007 Merah was jailed for bombings in Kandahar, but escaped months later in a mass prison break organized by Taliban insurgents, who blew apart the main gate with a truck bomb. It was not clear where Merah fled to after he escaped from prison and how or when he arrived in France.

Nearly 10 percent of France’s population is Muslim, one of the highest proportions in the EU, a fact that angers neo-fascist politicians like Jean-Marie Le Pen. France has 3,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of the 130,000-strong NATO force patrolling Kapisa, a mountainous province near Kabul. French troops are slated to leave the country at the end of 2013.

Also on Wednesday, the four victims of the Toulouse massacre were buried in a ceremony that took place in Jerusalem. The victims all held dual French-Israeli citizenship. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé attended the ceremony. “The blood of both our nations was spilled in this murder,” he lamented. In a eulogy, Israel’s Knesset speaker, Rueben Rivlin, spoke of the Jewish people facing “wild animals made crazy by their hatred.” Meanwhile, reports Euronews, “Israeli commentators have expressed concern over what they see as rising anti-Semitism in Europe.”

The politically motivated killings in Toulouse come at a time of heightened tension in France as the country ramps up for a presidential election next month. Islamic immigration is a major issue in the campaign. Moreover, France’s participation in the 11-year-old NATO campaign in Afghanistan has divided the two main candidates, incumbent center-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his Socialist challenger, Francois Hollande.

From the point of view of the Soviet deception strategy, this possible example of “gray terror” promotes the political destabilization of France, in particular, and the European Union, in general. If Sarkozy, who is half-Jewish by origin, does not crack down hard on Islamic extremism, he will lose the right-wing vote, open the door to a socialist victory (under a female leader no less), and undo his carefully cultivated image of “friend of Israel.” If, on the other hand, the French president takes a firm stand against Islamic extremism, he could potentially alienate the Muslim world and weak-kneed EU leaders.

Historically, too, France has charted a somewhat independent course within NATO, even to the point of selling, under Sarkozy’s watch, four Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to the Russian Navy, a transaction that has worried “ex”-Soviet republics like the Baltic states.

Last June, the “Islamic invasion” of Europe provoked Norwegian neo-fascist Anders Breivik to kill dozens of teenagers at a ruling party youth camp. The self-confessed killer, who may have received paramilitary training from the Belarusian KGB, faces trial next month.

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Middle East File: FM Lavrov denies media reports of Russian special forces in Syria as Assad regime launches fresh assaults on rebel stronghold of Homs, car bombs rock Damascus, Aleppo; Russian DM acknowledges military and technical advisors in Syria

According to ABC News and Fox News, citing original reports in the Russian media, the Kremlin has deployed special forces to Syria to support the embattled Ba’athist regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Kremlin-run Novosti and Interfax states that the Russian Navy’s Iman tanker has arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines. The Assad regime, which has been trying to put down a civilian uprising and military rebellion for over a year, insists it is fighting a terrorist insurgency backed by hostile foreign (Western) powers.

The Russian news reports did not elaborate on the Russian troops’ mission in Syria or if they are expected to leave the port. Novosti trumpeted the news in a banner headline that appeared only on its Arabic language website.

A United Nations Security Council source told ABC that this development was “a bomb certain to have serious repercussions.” Russia and, prior to the “collapse of communism” in 1991, the Soviet Union have been two of Syria’s strongest allies over the past four decades, despite the regime’s pariah status as a terrorist-sponsoring country. Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly blocked attempts by the UNSC to halt the violence and US demands that President Assad resign.

The presence of Russian troops in Syria could be a “pretty obvious” show of support to the regime, according to Russian security expert Mark Galeotti. “No one thinks of the Russians as anything but Assad’s last friends,” said Galeotti, professor of global affairs at New York University.

The Iman replaced another Russian ship “which had been sent to Syria for demonstrating (sic) the Russian presence in the turbulent region and possible evacuation of Russian citizens,” the Black Sea Fleet told Interfax. A Russian naval task force under the command of Moscow’s only aircraft carrier showed up at Tartus in January.

Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had no plans to send troops to Syria. “As for the question whether I consider it necessary to confront the United States in Syria and ensure our military presence there… in order to take part in military actions — no. I believe this would be against Russia’s national interests,” Lavrov told Russian lawmakers.

Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also denied reports that Russian special forces were operating inside Syria. However, he admitted that there are Russian military and technical advisors in the Middle East country. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the White House was unaware of the reports of Russian troops in Syria.

Some analysts believe the Russian Marines in Tartus may be en route to the Gulf of Aden to support the Russian contingent of an international flotilla tasked with thwarting piracy. This explanation could be correct, but it could also provide Russia with the cover needed to insert special forces into Syria, a country that, like Iran, Moscow considers strategically important for the defense of Russia’s southern periphery against NATO.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin announced that it is prepared to support a United Nations resolution endorsing Kofi Annan’s plan for settling the Syrian crisis, signalling it is prepared to raise the pressure on its old ally.

Even as the West tussles with Russia over the most effective way to end the violence in Syria, Assad’s forces launched a new assault on the rebel stronghold of Homs, killing one of the first organizers in the Syrian uprising. Heavy shelling in the city claimed the life of 23-year-old Abdul Rahman Orfalli. Orfalli was arrested twice and was tortured during a five-month detainment before re-emerging to lead demonstrations in Homs. By mid-morning Tuesday, at least 14 people were killed across the country, with the vast majority in Homs. Homs has been under siege by regular troops for many weeks.

Over the weekend, Syria’s political opposition, which collaborates with the Turkey-based Free Syrian Army, has denounced deadly car bombings in Damascus and Aleppo (pictured above) as provocations orchestrated by Assad’s henchmen.

The UN believes as many as 8,000 people have perished in the Syrian civil war, which began last March.

USSR2 File: Putin predictably returns to Russian presidency on basis of meagre 56% voter turnout; independent election watchdog: “ex”-red PM won 50% of vote, not Kremlin figure of 64%; US ambassador in Moscow “troubled” by crackdown on post-election protests

– Mini-Cold War: Belarus and European Union Withdraw Their Ambassadors in Diplomatic Tussle over President Lukashenko’s Authoritarianism

In spite of allegations of widespread Kremlin-sponsored fraud, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Sunday’s presidential election on the basis of a meagre 56 percent voter turnout. According to the Central Election Commission, which is widely viewed as pro-Putin, the “ex”-communist and former Soviet KGB officer scooped up 64 percent of the vote. Independent election watchdog Golos insisted the figure was around 50 percent, which is still enough to elect Putin without the need for a run-off vote later this month.

Vladimir (“There’s No Such Thing as a Former KGB Man”) Putin joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1975, while he attended Leningrad State University. In the 1980s, while working for Soviet state security, he was stationed in Dresden, East Germany, tasked with stealing Western computer technology. In 1990, just before the long-planned collapse of the Soviet Union, Putin wound up in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office.

In 1998, Russian President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin prime minister, a post the ex-chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) held until the following year, when Russians elected him president on the back of war fervour and anti-Chechen sentiment. In 2008, Putin relinquished the presidency to Soviet Komsomol grad Dmitry Medvedev, a political “poodle” who cheerfully declined to run in Sunday’s election so as to allow his mentor to re-assume the presidency.

Constitutionally, one man can hold the Russian presidency for two consecutive terms of six years each, meaning that Putin could be around until 2024. During Medvedev’s presidential stint, the term for the office was bumped up from four to six years.

For his part, Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov’s official result was 18 percent of the vote, a figure that suggests that post-Soviet Russia is still not ready for a peaceful restoration of open communism. In last December’s State Duma vote, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) attracted young Russians who have no personal recollection of the Soviet Union and, somewhat surprisingly, middle-class voters from Moscow and St. Petersburg who are fed up with United Russia’s cronyism. Zyuganov once again wooed these segments of society in the weeks before Sunday’s presidential election.

The other presidential candidates–neo-fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, social democrat Sergei Mironov, and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov–each scraped up single-digit results.

In past years, Putin’s critics accused both Zhirinovsky and Mironov of being compliant stooges of the Kremlin. For the most part, only Zyuganov has offered the most robust opposition to Putin’s policies.

Zyuganov believes his rivals were too hasty in accepting Putin’s win. “I, at least, have decided to refrain from comments for several days, till all the investigations are completed,” he huffed at a media conference in Moscow, referring to official promises to probe the election results. The CPRF chairman emphasized that the final results of “the battle for the Kremlin” have yet to be announced, and that no one should claim victory until then. Euronews quoted Zyuganov as saying: “For almost a month and a half they have been showing us web cams to steer people’s attention from another thievish, totally unfair and shameful election. As a candidate, I cannot recognise them as fair or unprejudiced, or respectable.”

The Russian government spent about US$440 million to install webcams at 91,000 polling stations across the country, supposedly to make the vote transparent and fair. Oppositionists plan to protest the election result on Monday evening in Moscow’s Pushkin Square. The Kremlin says about 12,000 Interior Ministry troops and Moscow city police will be on duty to “maintain order” (i.e., suppress dissent) in the capital.

As threatened, between 14,000 and 20,000 oppositionists gathered late on Monday for a sanctioned rally to protest Putin’s victory, which protesters allege was rigged. Riot police dispersed the protesters who tried to prolong the rally at Pushkin Square, detaining hundreds, including prominent whistleblower Alexei Navalny and Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov. The event was peaceful until some 2,000 people refused to leave the square, tried to block Tverskaya Street, and pledged to encircle the Kremlin.

US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul expressed concern over the crackdown. “Troubling to watch arrests of peaceful demonstrators at Pushkin square,” McFaul tweeted. “Freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are universal values.” McFaul is wrong. Russia’s neo-Soviet leadership does not value freedom of assembly and speech.

In view of Zyuganov’s bellicose rhetoric and harsh demands for “retribution” against the “criminal” Putinist regime, the CPRF might still purge the “ex”-communists who openly run the country. Several things are certain, though. The Soviet strategic deception, Russian rearmament, and the strengthening of Russia’s alliances with Communist China and Latin America’s Red Axis will continue under President Putin’s obedient figurehead leadership.

Elsewhere in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union, more than 13,000 citizens of the Russian Federation living in Belarus voted at polling stations set up for expatriates, 67 percent casting their vote for Putin. This result was reported by the press secretary of the Russian Embassy in Minsk, Vladimir Marchuk.

In what amounts to a “mini-Cold War,” Belarus and the European Union, which has slapped travel bans on numerous Belarusian authorities, have withdrawn their ambassadors from Brussels and Minsk, respectively, isolating the former Soviet republic. On Monday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an “ex”-communist who is slavishly devoted to Moscow, lashed out at Germany’s openly homosexual foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle. “Better a dictator than gay,” he ranted.

Red Cocaine File: Kremlin drug czar inks counter-narc accords with Mexico and red regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador; Russia’s top judge in Havana to promote judicial cooperation; Kremlin pumps US$600 million into Nicaragua, builds hospital in Managua, ships buses, cars and wheat to bolster Sandinistas

Since former Marxist guerrilla commander Daniel Ortega returned to the Nicaraguan presidency in January 2007, only to be re-elected by a handy but suspect majority vote last November, Moscow and Managua have once again closed ranks against the USA. Unfortunately, no one of the ideological calibre of Ronald Reagan, who rightly fretted over the communist takeover of Central America, has occupied the Oval Office for more than two decades.

Rather, a socialist crypto-Muslim, whose credentials as a “natural-born US citizen” are dubious, sits in the White House, articulating a starry-eyed vision of world peace sans the aging US nuclear arsenal. Thus, among his other failures, South and Central America and the Caribbean Basin are blind and/or weak spots in US policy making, as evidenced by last year’s formation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which neglected to invite the USA and Canada.

Determined to rebuild its Cold War beachhead in Central America, Russia is pumping millions of dollars into Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas controlled the military and police between 1990 and 2006, even as pro-Washington parties ruled in Managua. Last month, we reported that the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission was prepared to approve bilateral projects worth US$600 million that will help President Ortega develop his country’s economy, shattered by civil war in the 1980s. Since 2008, Nicaragua has in fact boasted the “hottest” economic growth rate in Central America, a fact no doubt contributing to Ortega’s re-election, in spite of the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s heavy-handed treatment of its opponents.

Among other projects, Russia has promised to pour US$41 million into a new 24,000-square-meter hospital, to be built in Managua. In addition to providing the most advanced medical equipment, the Kremlin will also ship disaster relief equipment to Nicaragua, including scientific equipment, public warning systems, and 25 fire trucks adapted for fighting wildfires. Russia has already shipped hundreds of buses and cars to the Central American country. In April, Nicaragua will take delivery of another 25,000 tons of Russian wheat, the first shipment of the same amount having arrived last December. According to official reports, the third shipment will arrive mid-year and the fourth in November 2012, to complete the total donation worth US$35 million.

This past week, Russia’s “drug czar,” Viktor Ivanov (pictured above), wrapped up a tour that included Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, and Panama. The putative reason for Ivanov’s presence in the Western Hemisphere was to implement a counter-narcotics strategy with Russia’s Latin American allies but, in reality, more likely to monitor regional operations of the Communist Bloc’s narco-subversion plot against the West. Terrorism and security expert Joseph Douglass exposed this decades-old plot in his 1990 work Red Cocaine. Douglass’ thesis remains very relevant today, considering the extent to which illicit drugs originate in communist-controlled countries and regions. For example, Nicaragua, Cuba, and El Salvador have Marxist regimes, the first two of which were closely aligned with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

For his part, career Chekist Ivanov formerly served in the Soviet KGB and its successor agencies until 1994, at which time the domestic component of the KGB was repackaged as the Federal Security Service (FSB). That year Ivanov was appointed chief of the administrative staff of the Saint Petersburg mayor’s office, but in 1999 he returned to the Russian domestic spy agency, succeeding Nikolai Patrushev as chief of the FSB’s Internal Security Department. Since 2000, he has been a deputy head of the presidential staff for personnel appointed by President/Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Ivanov, therefore, is one of Putin’s closest allies.

Currently, Ivanov is director of the Federal Narcotics Service of Russia. Since 2008, he has chaired the State Anti-Narcotics Сommittee, which includes 29 ministerial heads. Since 2004, he has also been chairman of the Board of Directors of JSC Aeroflot airline, which still sports the communist hammer-and-sickle logo. In short, Ivanov is a big wheel in the Russian government, so it is no wonder that he and former Soviet KGB officer Igor Sechin are the Kremlin’s pointmen for Moscow’s Latin America strategy.

While in Nicaragua, Ivanov met with former Sandinista guerrilla Aminta Granera, one of the region’s few female national police chiefs, at which time they agreed to “activate links for the exchange of information on drug trafficking, the activities of criminal organizations, networks of transfer and execution of joint operations.” Speaking to the press and ignoring President Ortega’s past and present profiting from the international narcotics trade, Ivanov lauded “the performance of Nicaragua in the containment and confrontation of drug cartels and other manifestations of transnational organized crime.”

While in Cuba, Russia’s drug czar met with Interior Minister Abelardo Colome Ibarra, reportedly to discuss the same issue, namely, fighting narco-trafficking. Colombe, who is also a member of the Communist Party Politburo, not only holds the title “Hero of the Republic of Cuba” but also received the Order of Maximo Gomez in recognition of, to quote Fidel Castro, “his extraordinary merits in the insurrectional struggle against the tyranny and the imperialist neocolonial domination, the struggle for the consolidation and defense of the socialist state, and the accomplishment of heroic internationalist missions.” No doubt, former KGB officer Ivanov and Cuban communist Colombe reminisced about the “good ol’ days,” when the Communist Bloc openly threatened the West.

While in El Salvador, where the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front was democratically elected in 2009, Ivanov met with Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez to implement a counter-narcotics plan that will entail the transfer of financial and technical support from Russia. This will presumably take place within the framework of the Central American Security Strategy that was articulated in Guatemala last year, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in attendance. During the 1980s, the Soviet Union, Cuba, and first Sandinista regime shipped arms to the FMLN as the Salvadoran communists sought to oust a series of US-backed governments. Accompanying Ivanov was Russia’s new ambassador to El Salvador, Vladimir Nikolai.

Finally, while in Mexico, Ivanov indicated that the Russian and Mexican governments will “share information” pertinent to the detection and seizure of cocaine and opium, 350 tons of which are grown annually in Mexico. The USA’s southern neighbour has witnessed the deaths of 50,000 people since President Felipe Calderon launched his campaign to eradicate that country’s powerful drug cartels. This body count includes “narcistas” (cartel operatives), police, soldiers, and civilians.

“We have seized drugs in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and even in the United States of America. There were no seizures in Mexico, but this does not exclude the possibility that such supplies will appear in the future,” explained Ivanov, who met with Mexican police officials.

Russia’s drug czar acknowledged that that Moscow does not support a US-sponsored anti-drug trafficking plan that advocates the creation of drug control units in former Soviet Central Asia. From the point of view of the Communist Bloc’s “red cocaine” plot, Moscow’s official policy stance is certainly telling. One of the main traffic routes for Afghan heroin and opium passes through Kyrgyzstan and Russia, where the illegal drug is further distributed to consumers throughout the European Union.

Incidentally, the reference to the Kremlin’s counter-narcotics chief as “drug czar” is mildly ironic in view of the reference to Russia’s pre-Bolshevik emperors. The revolution that ousted Czar Nicholas II occurred 95 years ago.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Supreme Court President Viacheslav Lebedev and his Cuban counterpart, Ruben Remigio, have signed a protocol to promote regular consultation in the area of judicial cooperation and the exchange of legal information and staff. In a news briefing, Lebedev described his visit to Havana as important because the protocol upgrades a bilateral agreement signed in 2002. Under the terms of the revised protocol, it would appear that Russian and Cuban judges will swap posts for specified periods, raising the ironic prospect of judges appointed by the Communist Party of Cuba and trained in Marxist law holding court in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union.