Monthly Archives: January 2015

EU File: Euro Parliament president warns Greece against linking EU policy vis-à-vis Russian aggression in Ukraine to Greece’s sovereign debt crisis; upon Schulz’s arrival in Athens, PM Tsipras announces country’s intention to “exit from the dead end of the crisis,” Deputy PM Dragasakis cautions against “mutual blackmailing”; Fin. Min. Varoufakis seeks cancellation of 50% of debt, dismisses talks with EU-ECB-IMF troika, holds fruitless meeting with Eurogroup head Dijsselbloem; EU secures limited Greek support, extends existing anti-Russia sanctions by 6 months, Moscow raises stakes: 1) sends strategic bombers to English Channel, “Bears” fly “dangerously” close to passenger planes, Kremlin’s UK ambassador hauled in for explanation; 2) Fin. Min. Siluanov offers bailout to Greeks if Athens so inclined; Greece’s new Syriza-ANEL government holds damage control meeting with Red China delegation, smooths over hard feelings created by termination of port sale to Beijing’s COSCO; Cypriot communist leader makes congratulatory phone call to Tsipras, Marxist AKEL ruled island 2008-2013

EU File: Greece’s new “ex”-communist PM Tsipras declares: “We are coming in to radically change the way that policies and administration are conducted in this country”; Greek bank stocks crash 26% on Jan. 28, reflect cumulative losses of 40% since last Sun. vote; Tsipras welcomes Russian, Red Chinese envoys to PM’s mansion within hours of inauguration; rolls back ECB/IMF-imposed austerity, halts privatization of state assets (e.g., Public Power Corporation of Greece, Hellenic Petroleum); stacks cabinet with “ex”-KKE cadres: Dragasakis, Deputy PM, overall coordinator of economic policy; Stathakis, czar of “economics superministry”; Varoufakis, Finance Minister, self-described “libertarian Marxist”; Kotzias, Foreign Minister, praised Communist Poland’s crackdown on Solidarity in early 1980s, hides personal links to Russian neo-fascist Dugin; Russian counterpart Lavrov sends telegram to Kotzias on Jan. 29, suggests official visit to Moscow; Lafazanis, Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy; Skourletis, Minister of Labour and Social Solidarity; Kammenos, Defense Minister, head of nationalist ANEL, but deputies both Syriza; France’s neo-fascist National Front, Left Party hail Syriza triumph

EU File: Greece’s anti-NATO Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) grabs plurality in Jan. 25 snap parliamentary vote, forms shaky anti-austerity, pro-Moscow government with nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL); Syriza leader, ex-communist PM Tsipras opposes sanctions against Russia, steers country toward collision with ECB, Germany over financial policy; Ukraine’s Euromaidan Press: Tsipras travelled to Moscow in May 2014 (i.e., after annexation of Crimea) to meet key Putin allies in Duma, Federation Council; ANEL chief Kammenos trekked to Moscow in early Jan. 2015, ANEL MP Avramidis head of “Greek-Russian Alliance,” conferred with Russian consul general in Thessaloniki on Jan. 23 (i.e., 2 days before election); Tsipras meets Russian ambassador day after victory, Maslov hands new Greek PM congratulatory letter from Putin; new Syriza FM heads for Brussels, rejects further anti-Russia measures, pro-NATO Kammenos secures post of DM; Syriza’s internal “Communist Tendency” denounces party’s cooperation with “bourgeois” ANEL, urges alliance with KKE; mainstream New Democracy, PASOK locked out of power first time since military junta ousted in 1974

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The [European] system is under pressure. Challenges to the system can come from the left or the right. Syriza is the first anti-systemic, radical left party to come to power in Europe. I doubt it will be the last.
— Dimitris Papadimitriou, Political Science Professor, University of Manchester

Viva Golitsyn!

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukraine finally declares state of emergency in Donetsk, Lugansk oblasts after Moscow-backed insurgency drags into 12th month, PM Yatsenyuk says “not martial law,” army to call up 200,000 men for duty, including 62,000 reservists, “high alert regime” introduced for civilians throughout country; SBU chief: Captured Russian artillery controller admits superior officer commanded battery that pounded Mariupol on Jan. 24, Russian invasion force retrieved Grad rocket launchers from border, MRLs and Tyulpan mortars previously hidden in nearby village of Markyne; Ukrainian artillery destroys 4 of 6 Grads employed in assault against port city; ATO: Maj.-Gen. Kuzovlev of Russia’s S. Military District “personally commands Russian-terrorist troops leading the offensive against Ukrainian units near town of Popasna”; Donbass rebels, backed by estimated 9,000 Russian regulars, mercs prosecute offensive into Jan. 26, fighting near town of Debaltseve, NE of Donetsk city, “particularly fierce”; Russian aviation steps up activity near Ukraine, “numerous” strategic airlifters spotted landing in Rostov-on-Don, 50 attack helos deployed to occupied Crimea, Black Sea Fleet aircraft test-firing missiles at Crimea’s Kerch Peninsula; Russian riot police target Tatars, raid “ATR” TV in Simferopol, seize “evidence” of protest outside Crimea’s collaborationist parliament; Ukraine’s treasonous Communist Party boss in Strasbourg to lobby leftists, readmit Russia to PACE

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: International condemnation, including from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy coordinator Federica Mogherini, follows rebel missile attack against Mariupol; estimates of dead, injured revised up to 30, 83 respectively, OSCE monitors rush to strategic port city to assess casualties, damage; Moscow-backed DPR “prime minister” Zakharchenko denies responsibility, but admits: “Today [Jan. 24] an offensive was launched on Mariupol. This will be the best possible monument to all our dead”; Kiev, NATO fear Russia secretly supports rebel seizure of Mariupol to create “invasion corridor” between Rostov Oblast, occupied Crimea; Mariupol subject to sporadic artillery, missile attacks since Aug. 2014; 3 Ukrainian fighter jets bomb “Russian army base” near rebel-held town of Novoazovsk, presumably part of invasion force on Ukrainian side of border, but details from intercepted Russian army communication sketchy; targets apparently included Russian servicemen of 17th brigade, 200th artillery brigade, 45th paratroopers’ brigade; Ukrainian troops say 3 Russian fighter jets violated airspace over Lugansk Oblast on Jan. 24, flying from town of Milove to regional capital

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: DPR “prime minister” Zakharchenko vows “no more cease-fires” after Donetsk airport takeover; meanwhile Russian Ground Forces, Donbass rebels launch punishing Grad missile attack on Mariupol’s E. suburbs on Sat. morning, 15 civilians, 1 National Guard soldier killed, 76 people injured; NSDC chief Turchynov refers to assault on strategic port city as “another bloody crime against humanity committed by the Russian military and the bands of terrorists under their complete control”; Lysenko: “Illegal armed groups are trying to widen the boundaries of controlled territories and correct the demarcation line to their advantage”; Ukrainian ATO forces capture 10 rebels, Russian servicemen with IDs, Putin’s invariable retort: Russian soldiers in Donbass “on vacation”; Turchynov to visit Warsaw on Jan. 26-27, confer with Polish president, DM, FM, National Security Bureau chief on “matters of comprehensive military cooperation in the security and defense sector”

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Japan Air Self-Defense Force besieged by Russian, Red Chinese military flights over, near territorial waters; Russian long-range bombers, spy planes intruding into northern airspace at Cold War levels, PLAAF fighter jets probing southern flank, E. China Sea near disputed Senkaku islets; Japanese combat pilots scramble 744 times to repulse intruders during last 9 months of 2014; PM Abe’s cabinet endorses Japan’s largest post-WW2 defense budget, 5 trillion yen (US$42 billion) allocation to include surveillance aircraft, drones, F-35 stealth fighter jets to “counter China’s rising assertiveness in the region”; Japanese Communist Party nearly triples seats (from 8 to 21) in parliament’s lower house in Dec. vote, country’s strongest left-wing party opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership trading bloc, restarting NPPs closed after 2011 earthquake

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: NSDC spokesman Lysenko: “Large number” of Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms spotted near regional capital of Lugansk; Russian armor, consisting of 60 tanks, 50 infantry carriers, 100 “Tigr” IMVs, appear in city of Krasnodon; “Donetsk People’s Republic” militants in town of Horlivka being replaced by Russian regulars; 100 Russian tanks located near cities of Shakhtarsk, Torez; broadcast on rebel-controlled TV station “Luhansk 24” demands residents of government-held city of Shchastya, village of Stanytsya Luhanska rally against presence of Ukrainian Armed Forces, or population centers will face shelling; Russia’s top general Gerasimov vows to bolster military capabilities in Arctic, Kaliningrad, Crimea, follows reported Backfire bomber deployment to occur on occupied peninsula by 2016, Russia rumored to have moved nuclear weapons to Crimea; 400 Russian commandos train with Transnistrian troops on Ukraine’s SW doorstep

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: NATO contradicts Kremlin lies, confirms “increase in numbers of tanks, artillery pieces and other heavy military equipment being used by Russian troops in eastern Ukraine,” but refuses to comment on troop numbers; Ukraine-Russia-France-Germany summit in Berlin issues (toothless) demand for cessation of hostilities in Donbass; mean- while, Ukrainian troops retreat from Donetsk’s inter- national airport after 242 days of “heroic defense,” runway, control tower and terminal completely ruined and indefensible, 6 soldiers killed during last stand, some crushed by debris, 16 captured in final battle with Moscow-backed insurgents; DPR “prime minister” Zakharchenko vows to push front deeper into government-held territory; mortar rounds hit bus stop in war-torn regional capital on Jan. 22, killing 13 civilians, wounding dozens; Ukrainian troops in villages near port of Mariupol repel “multiple but fruitless” artillery assaults from Russian Ground Forces, “terrorists” (i.e., rebels)

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Total Devastation: Pics of Donetsk’s Sergei Prokofiev International Airport Before and After 242-Day Siege by Moscow-Backed Rebels: link

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Poroshenko claims additional 2,000 Russian soldiers, 200 tanks invade rebel-held Donbass on Jan. 21, attack Ukrainian troops at checkpoints 29, 31 leading to Lugansk city; pro-Russia militants “seriously damage” sole vehicle bridge en route to rebel-held regional capital; latest Russian violation of Ukrainian territory follows Aug. invasion and retreat, augments Jan. 19 incursion of Lugansk Oblast by 800 Russian regulars, 8,500-man “stay-behind” mercenary force fighting for separatists; Kremlin aggression against insurgency-wracked neighbor occurs hours ahead of Berlin peace talks, brokered by Germany, France; Bloomberg interviews Poroshenko, Ukrainian president comments on Putin’s game-changing tactics: “The situation is getting worse . . . This creates a very high risk of further escalation of the situation”; hostile tank column approaches government-held positions around heavily fortified, strategic port of Mariupol, launches “massive fire attack,” NSDC reports Russian battalion heading for Mariupol from Rostov Oblast; railway bridge over Kalchyk River restored, links Mariupol’s steel mills to port, blown up by saboteurs on Dec. 23

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Flashback: Russian Army Invades Ukraine in August 2014 Support Mission for Rebels, Thrusts Toward Donetsk City, Seizes Coastal Town of Novoazovsk (source)

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Kremlin-backed separatists renew assault upon Donetsk’s international airport, 3 soldiers killed defending devastated terminal, runway on Jan. 19; ATO spokesman Lysenko: 800 Russian regular forces, in 2 battalion task groups, invade Lugansk Oblast across uncontrolled stretch of border, support rebel offensives; PM Yatsenyuk: “I have just spoken with . . . [NSDC chief Turchynov]. Ukrainian military intelligence confirm the fact [Russian] military personnel and equipment have been transferred from Russia to Ukraine”; Rada approves partial mobilization, conscripts to boost size of Ukrainian Ground Forces beginning Jan. 20, Turchynov claims more than 36,000 armed rebels in Donbass, 8,500 of which are Russian mercenaries; Russian army has deployed 52,000 soldiers near Ukraine’s E. border, along with 541 tanks, 990 armored vehicles, 700 heavy weapons, MRLs, anti-aircraft missiles; blast near Kharkiv prosecutor’s office latest bombing in GRU-led destabilization plot, previous targets outside combat zone include Kiev residential district, 10 cars damaged, ATO-critical railway bridge in Zaporizhia Oblast, train derailed

Gray Terror File: Multiple-scene terror incident unfolding in and around Paris: Self-confessed Al Qaeda militants suspected in Jan. 7 massacre at Charlie Hebdo newspaper hijack car, flee to town of Dammartin-en-Goele, 25 miles NE of French capital, encounter police roadblocks, engage in gun battle, hole up in print works with 1 hostage, possibly armed with RPG; 5 French Army helos, heavily armed regular police, gendarmerie elite forces converge on facility, siege ensues; second terror scene in Paris: Man of “African appearance,” wearing bullet-proof vest, jumps from car, fatally shoots black female traffic cop in Montrouge, S. of Paris, flees to capital’s Porte de Vincennes district, storms kosher grocery store, seizes “several” hostages, “prolonged” gunfire heard; Jan. 8 shooting suspect believed to have links to Kouachi brothers; President Hollande holds crisis cabinet meeting

Gray Terror File: Two gunmen storm into office of satirical Paris newspaper on Jan. 7, kill 12 people, including 8 journalists, 2 police, wound 11, flee, 800 extra officers deployed, UK ups security checks; Charlie Hebdo published caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, witnesses say attackers claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda in Yemen; PM Valls admits suspects in slayings — brothers Cherif (32) and Said Kouachi (34) — known to French intelligence; Socialist President Hollande calls for “tolerance,” but political analysts fear National Front presidency in 2017, “final demise of the EU and euro,” neo-fascists already enjoying surge in support from far right and far left voters, financial backing from Russian banks; Moscow lackey, anti-capitalist Marine Le Pen blames massacre on “Islamic fundamen- talism,” vows to reintroduce death penalty; 35,000 Parisians hold rally to denounce terror, trumpet freedom of speech; popular, pro-Putin Russian TV channel says “US intelligence agencies” orchestrated Charlie Hebdo bloodshed, Washington “sabotaging Russia-led effort against Islamist terrorism”; Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front claims Jan. 6 bombing at Istanbul police station, but Turkey’s Interior Ministry says female suicide bomber was Russian citizen, Chechen “Black Widow” plot suspected

WW4/Red Terror Files: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukrainian Communists (no doubt under guidance of Russian GRU, which is known to be operating in Ukraine) resort to sabotage, terrorism in S. ports to destabilize country, evade SBU by fleeing to rebel-held areas of Donbass; 7 bombings hit Odessa over past 5 months, latest strikes cargo train at Zastava-1 station on Dec. 24, petroleum tanker train at Odesa-Peresyp station on Jan. 3, city’s Euromaidan office on Jan. 4; Security Service accuses Communist Party (which is facing ban) of staging terror attacks in Dnipropetrovsk, adviser to SBU chief: “The group led by the Commu- nists planned a number of explosions targeting banks and public places and seizing weapons at military units”; 5 blasts rock Mariupol since Nov., saboteurs blow up railway bridge over River Kalchyk on Dec. 23, gunmen wearing camo, toting automatic weapons attack Azovstal steel plant same day, 1 worker killed; ATO forces come under rebel small arms, artillery attack at various locations in Donbass on night of Jan. 6-7; Interior Ministry’s Azov Battalion near village of Hranitne, Donetsk Oblast, Facebooks: “[Terrorists] are shelling us with a 120-millimeter mortar. Good morning to everyone!!!!”; fearing Russian naval assault, Ukrainian combat engineers mine shores of Sea of Azov

Odesa, Mariupol as well as Kyiv and Kharkiv are those sensitive spots where Russia-backed forces feel there’s still a possibility to destabilize the situation.
— Oleksiy Melnyk, Ukrainian military expert, quoted in Kyiv Post, January 5, 2015

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Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Kremlin military doctrine identifies NATO as main threat to Russia, Moscow hosts CSTO summit, vows to increase number of combat aircraft, helicopters at Belarusian air base; Russian strategic aviation carries out 50 flights over world ocean in 2014, modernizes Tu-160 avionics, awaits stealth bomber prototype in 2019; Poland races to rearm in face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, US$30 billion plan to upgrade, enlarge armed forces by 2022, shifts troops to E. border, revives Home Army light infantry to help thwart Russian re-invasion, organizes 2nd naval strike missile battalion for coastal defense; U.S. Army to deploy “heavy brigade” in Baltics, Poland or Romania in 2015, reassure CEE allies with 150 M1 Abrams MBTs, M2 Bradley IFVs, 24 self-propelled howitzers; Ukraine’s Poroshenko visits Poland, inspects barracks that will house Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade, new military formation to be combat ready in early 2015

The new Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade shows that Ukraine is already integrated into NATO, at least militarily if not politically.

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EU/USSR2 Files: Russia’s EU ambassador urges Brussels to open talks with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Russia-led bloc inaugurated Jan. 1, includes Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan to join in May; Moscow to control EEU via Eurasian Economic Commission, Supreme Eurasian Economic Council; Russian Communists demand President Putin dismiss PM Medvedev’s government over ruble collapse, “catastrophic” 2015 budget, establish “crisis reversal” plan for country, urge return to Stalinist dictatorship: Chairman Zyuganov: “Stalin … was a genius,” CPRF’s Moscow city committee: “These days the interest in the personality of Stalin in Russia is growing, mostly with the loss of the country’s previous foothold on the world scene and profound economic and social problems inside the country”