Monthly Archives: March 2015

EU File: UK responds to Russian aggression in Ukraine, provocations near British airspace: RAF launches defense exercise over NE England, largest since Cold War, “Rising Panther” includes 30 Typhoon fighters, Tornado strike aircraft, AWACS; 16,000 British troops, Challenger 2 tank units prep for potential “foreign” deployment, 4-week exercise includes live-fire drill on Salisbury Plain; follows news of Kremlin warplane deal for Argentina, renewed threat to Falkland Islands; Moscow denies reports in talks with Buenos Aires to lease supersonic bombers, but refuses to rule out future possibility; USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II tank-buster planes arrive in Poland, join Polish F-16s, Su-22s in ongoing “Atlantic Resolve” “security reassurance mission” in ex-Warsaw Pact states; 1000s of Czechs welcome US Army Stryker convoy making its way to German base from Baltic states, Communists, No to Bases group hold anti-USA/NATO demo in Prague; Bohumil Doležal: “Face to face with the protests of the Communists and the pro-Russian lobby, we would like today to cordially welcome American soldiers in the Czech Republic and express our solidarity with the allies in NATO . . .”

It is expected that in 10 years Russia will completely modernize its stock of ICBMs. At present, this arsenal is evenly split beween Soviet-era and post-Cold War missiles.

Demands for defense budget increases. Nearly continuous NATO military exercises. Europe’s worried.

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WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukrainian soldiers, Mariupol civilians unimpressed by “Minsk 2” ceasefire deal, still await siege after 8 months of sporadic artillery/missile attacks by Donbass rebels, Russian regulars, volunteer battalions claim to have destroyed force of 29 Russian paratroopers in town of Shyrokine, report arrival in Krasnodon of 20 train cars loaded with ammunition from Russia; speaker of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow regional parliament, United Russia member reacts to US Congress vote to send weapons to Ukraine, urges Chechnya to arm Mexico for attack against USA, reconquest of SW states, Kremlin spokesman Peskov downplays startling remarks on Chechen government website; Russia, in person of ambassador to Copenhagen, threatens to target Danish warships with nuclear missiles if Scandinavian country joins NATO missile defense, Mar. 24 Russian bomber/fighter sortie made “supersonic dash” for Denmark across Baltic Sea

Latin America File: Commons Defense Cmte. urges UK to rearm in face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, reverse post-Cold War slide in conventional, nuclear weapons capabilities; Def. Sec. Fallon replies: “The UK has the second largest defense budget in NATO and the largest in the EU,” promises to bolster 1,200-troop garrison in Falkland Islands, follows news of Russia’s intent to lease 12 all-weather attack aircraft to leftist regime in Buenos Aires; top Russian politician tweets: “Attention London: Crimea has far more reason to be in Russia than the Falklands have to be part of Great Britain”; Russian FM visits Nicaragua, meets Pres. Ortega (probably discuss Kremlin bit part in PRC canal megaproject, sale of Russian fighter jets to Managua), moves on to Cuba, meets Pres. R. Castro (probably discuss US trade embargo/diplomatic thaw, Russian spy ship once again anchored in Havana Harbor); Lavrov sidesteps top arms client Venezuela, shows up in neighboring Colombia, slams US sanctions against socialist regime in Caracas; Lavrov, Argentine FM Timerman attend meeting of Central American Integration System in Guatemala

EU File: Greece’s leftist PM Tsipras flouts EC-ECB-IMF troika, bailout stipulations, implements anti-austerity measure, disburses US$213 million in food stamps, free electricity to poorest citizens, plays “Russia card,” bumps up by 1 month planned trip to Moscow, now Apr. 8, spooks European leaders with prospect of Russian investment in Greece’s state assets; 1,000 anarchists riot in streets of Athens, demand closure of maximum-security prisons, release of imprisoned terrorists, both anarchists and Marxists; 2nd group of anarchists ends 6-day occupation of Athens Law School after government issues no-arrest order; 10,000 “Blockupy” militants descend on Frankfurt, stage violent anti-capitalist protest outside new HQ of European Central Bank, torch police cars, 80 officers injured, many radicals bussed in from Berlin, 350 arrested; European-wide alliance of leftists backed by Greece’s ruling Syriza, Germany’s “ex”-communist Left, Spain’s upstart Podemos

Communism’s dead. Meanwhile, across Europe . . .

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EU/USSR2 Files: Russia celebrates anniversary of annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, effectively annexes South Ossetia in Kremlin ceremony, follows similar move with Abkhazia in Nov. 2014; rebel leader Tibilov meets fellow Chekist Putin, signs document integrating Georgian region’s security forces, military, customs services into Russia’s, submits to plan “outlining how Russia will protect the borders of South Ossetia”; Georgia’s Foreign Ministry, EU condemns Moscow-Tskhinvali “treaty” as “actual annexation”; NATO fighter jets intercept 6 Russian warplanes over Baltic Sea amid Russian naval drill, aggression in Ukraine’s Donbass; neutral Sweden deploys 150 troops to Gotland after 10-year absence, DM Hultqvist: “Gotland has a strategic location in the Baltic Sea . . .”; senior Estonian politician concurs: “Gotland is a big worry for us. It could be overrun by Russia in minutes and then all of us would be highly vulnerable to an attack”; 100 US troops to conduct Patriot missile battery exercise with Poland’s 3rd Warsaw Air Defense Missile Brigade in late March, 200 US soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, with tanks, arrive in Poland, stay until June

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Leonid Tibilov, Chief of South Ossetian KGB, 1992-1998 (bio)

Red Dawn Alert/Communist Bloc Military Updates: Putin rematerializes in public after 10-day vanishing act provokes flurry of speculation, defends Crimea takeover in TV documentary, considered use of nukes; Kremlin announces deployment of nuclear-capable Tu-22M3, Tu-95 bombers to occupied Crimea, Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad exclave, part of “exercises”; 5-day Arctic region drill involves N. Fleet, 38,000 Russian servicemen, 50 surface ships and submarines, 110 aircraft; 3,000 troops drilled on Sakhalin Island, Kamchatka Peninsula, other areas in Russian Far East; Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Putin ally alleges recent US sanctions against 7 officials “bid to topple him,” Maduro secures decree powers from lawmakers, mobilizes 80,000 troops, 20,000 red-shirted civilians for 10-day “Bolivarian Shield” military exercise, naval, air defense, artillery units train with visiting counter- parts from Russia, Red China; Venezuelan DM Padrino: “The United States has declared Venezuela a threat. And that means an imminent danger for us . . .”

Blogger’s Note: Behind the New Iron Curtain: A picture of daily life in Putin’s Russia

In the mid-1990s your resident blogger’s wife visited Russia several times and made a number of friends. Several months ago, she managed to get in touch with one of these old friends. This Russian citizen, whose name and town of residence are withheld, offered the following observations of daily life under the Putinist regime:

Life here is very depressing. I am not sure to what extend you follow the news. People around us are brainwashed with TV propaganda.  They see the western world as an enemy and only “mother Russia” acts correctly. Economically everything goes to the bottom, life became very expensive.

We are glad that we don’t have now children to look after. It would be a terrible burden now. We also are very glad that [our daughter] moved out of this country. 

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He can use my comments, of course. I read the news from newly opened site meduza.io. I think your husband knows that Lenta.ru was closed by the government last year and its chief Galina Тimchenko started a new project but from Riga [i.e., capital of Latvia]. I also installed Tor which allows me to read three forbidden sites Kasparov.ru, Grani.ru, ej.ru. On the territory of Russia they are blocked. I personally value the articles of Garry Kasparov, Andrey Piontkovsky, Andrey Illarionov. There are other authors too.

My husband and I can openly talk about the situation here only with 2 people around us. The rest are brain washed. Something really bad will come out from Russia. We are ashamed of us.

EU File: Athens raises stakes in struggle with Berlin over bailout terms, insists upon dealing separately with EU, ECB, IMF on extension, threatens to seize German property as compensation for WW2 atrocities; Greek anarchists on the rampage: 150 masked supporters of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF) occupy law school in Athens, demand release of jailed comrades, convicted terrorist, Marxist Savvas Xiros, ex-cadre of defunct Revolutionary Organization 17 November, older brother Christodoulos also imprisoned since 2002, re-captured in Jan. 2015 after dodging temporary leave provisions 12 months earlier, threatening New Democracy-led government with “armed action”; 50 anarchists storm leftist ruling party HQ on Mar. 8, occupy Syriza office for 9 hours, 300 anarchists staged anti-EU/anti-austerity demo outside Athens U. on Feb. 26; SPF anarchists launched campaign of violence in 2008, bombing banks, car dealerships; Golden Dawn fuehrer Mihaloliakos, 70 followers, including 13 lawmakers, to stand trial in April, charged with belonging to “criminal organization,” neo-Nazis cry “political persecution”

EU File: New Cold War in Europe: NATO, Russian warships conduct concurrent drills in Black Sea amid Ukraine crisis, 8,000 Russian servicemen begin multi-branch drills throughout country, occupied Crimea, Abkhazia, S. Ossetia, includes urban, naval warfare, slated to last into early April; Lithuania reintroduces conscription, Poland alters draft rules for potential return to mandatory army training, preps for countrywide defense drills involving all levels of government, slated for 2nd half of 2015; Polish Dep. DM Mroczek: Supplier for medium-range missile defence to be selected within “next few weeks,” US firm Raytheon, consortium of France’s Thales and European MBDA shortlisted for US$5 billion deal; previously reported: Poland shifts 1,000s of troops to E. borders (i.e., adjacent to Russian exclave Kaliningrad, Russian ally Belarus), restores light infantry units of WW2-era Home Army; Norway re-opens Arctic bases closed since Cold War, “restructures” armed forces to respond faster to “increased Russian aggression”; Sweden to counter Russian military activity near coasts, buy 70 new fighter jets, subs

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Kiev to tap into US$17.5 billion IMF loan, Managing Director Lagarde seeks Ukraine’s “immediate economic stabilization”; USA to ship $75 million in non-lethal aid to Ukraine, including counter-mortar radar, aerial drones, radios, medical equipment; President Obama approves shipment of 20 armored Humvees, up to 200 unarmored Humvees “under a separate authority”; Moscow-backed separatists, covert Russian regulars continue artillery attacks against villages near Mariupol in spite of Feb. 12 ceasefire, most residents of Shyrokine flee, Azov Battalion: “They keep accumulating man power and military equipment. We also have information that there around 30 tanks are located there”; towns of Avdeyevka, Opytne, Kamianka, positions of Ukrainian military near Pisky, Maiorsk also come under mortar, grenade fire in recent days; Ukrainian air defenses track 6 aerial drones over Mariupol; municipal government runs civil defense drills, estimates 30% of city’s population supports Ukraine, 30% rebels, 40% undecided; ex-Rada deputy, Communist Party cadre Sergiy Gordienko arrested on charge of impeding peaceful protest under Yanukovich regime

Asia File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in SE Asia: Washington asks Hanoi to close Cam Ranh airport to Russian Air Force, Russian aerial tankers, strategic bombers using facility to refuel, support “provocative” flights in NE Pacific, around Guam; US State Dept.: “We have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region”; Hanoi replies angrily: “Washington’s demand that Vietnam [stops allowing refueling planes to land] can be seen as nothing else but interference in the internal affairs of Vietnam, a sovereign state which determines its own policies for cooperating with its friends and partners”; Vietnam’s highest-ranking Communist Party official travelled to Sochi in Nov. 2014, met Putin, inked agreement on “simplified entry” of Russian warships to Cam Ranh’s deep-water port; Russian-built Kilo-class diesel-powered submarine sailed into Cam Ranh in Jan., 3rd such vessel commissioned into Vietnam’s navy; USAF used Cam Ranh during Vietnam War to repel forces from Communist North, shut down ops in 1972, handed over facility to South’s government; Soviet/Russian Navy took over Cam Ranh in 1979, withdrew personnel in 2002

EU File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in Europe: First shipment of 250 US tanks, fighting vehicles arrives in Latvian capital, N. Germany on Mar. 9, 500 to follow; US military official to BBC News: US armor will be “pre-positioned for deployment so we can more quickly react to crises” [i.e., possible Russian re-invasion of Baltics]; NATO multilateral naval drill kicks off in Black Sea, involves warships from USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey; Russia completely withdraws from 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, ends participation in Joint Consultative Group, finalizes Moscow’s 2007 unilateral moratorium on implementation, Belarus to play part of “spy” on CFE JCG; 2,000 Russian servicemen carry out air defense drills in N. Caucasus, Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia, Ukraine’s occupied region of Crimea; Dep. DM Antonov pleads national security: “NATO activity is much higher than that of the Russian armed forces”; Russian arms control official: “I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there [in Crimea] now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it”

EU File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in Europe: Pentagon to deploy 3,000 troops, 750 tanks, helicopters to Baltic states, exercises expected to last 3 months, but Gen. John O’Conner says “equipment [presumably US soldiers too] will stay for as long as required to deter Russian aggression” (i.e., in Ukraine, other former Soviet republics); follows participation of US armor in Independence Day parade in Estonian city of Narva, 300 yards from Russian border; 550 troops of Germany-based US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 75 Stryker combat vehicles take part in live-fire component of “Atlantic Resolve” drill in N. Poland; NATO maneuvers come on heels of provocative intrusions by Russian nuclear bombers into British, Irish airspace; Tu-95s skim S. English coast near Southhampton, Royal Navy base at Portsmouth, lurk 25 miles off Irish coast in separate incident, deactivate transponders, force commercial airliners to “dodge” Bears; Russian fighter jets based out of Novofedorvka in occupied Crimea launch practice attacks against NATO warships in Black Sea, sortie of 3 Su-30s, 4 Su-24s overflew guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, Turkish frigate

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The Balts are worried and perhaps the Pentagon suspects the Russians are planning further interventions on behalf of ethnic Russians outside the “Motherland.”

 

Red Terror File/WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Sr. NATO official: Russian soldiers dying in “large numbers,” fighting alongside Donbass separatists, US Army Europe commander: 12,000 Russian troops deployed in SE Ukraine; Nemtsov intended to publish evidence of military intervention in Ukraine before his assassination; President Poroshenko posthumously awards Russian politician with “Order of Freedom”; KGB/FSB chief Bortnikov: 4 Chechens arrested in connection with Nemtsov murder, one of two principal suspects ex-soldier in Chechnya’s Interior Ministry; National Review: “[T]his murder bears the hallmarks of Russian intelligence. Watch the video of Nemtsov’s murder: It’s only when a government vehicle conceals Nemtsov from other drivers and the camera that the murderers strike. After executing Nemtsov, the shooter runs to a getaway car . . . The team escapes and Nemtsov bleeds out . . . The clinical timing . . . and the selected location . . . strongly suggest the culprits had military and intelligence training”

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Nemtsov’s murder proves that Putin will stop at nothing to conceal his “secret war” in Ukraine.

Red Terror File: Knife-wielding left-nationalist attacks US ambassador in Seoul, Mark Lippert attending breakfast hosted by Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, facial wound required 80 stitches, arm slashed, nerve damage expected; Kim Ki-Jong subdued, shouts slogans against annual US-South Korean military exercise, tells police “Today I committed a terrorist act”; boasting history of assaults, trips to North Korea, anti-USA demos stretching back to mid-1980s, convicted criminal Kim hurled pieces of concrete at Japanese envoy in 2010; Kim’s organization Urimadang (“Our Square”) dedicated to Korean unification; SK President Park Geun-hye calls incident “not only a physical attack on the U.S. ambassador in South Korea but also an attack on the Korea-U.S. alliance and we will not tolerate it”; Pyongyang’s official propaganda agency praises bloody attack against Ambassador Lippert as “just punishment,” “expression of resistance,” refers to Kim’s weapon as “knife of justice”; Seoul bans Unified Progressive Party, leftist lawmakers accused in 2013 of plotting to overthrow government in event of NK invasion

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Flashback: 2013 South Korean Sabotage Plot (source)

Red Terror File: Russia’s liberal opposition leader Nemtsov, former first deputy PM under President Yeltsin, gunned down near Kremlin at 11:40 p.m., Feb. 27, unknown assailants emerge from car, shoot anti-Putin critic four times in back; Nemtsov planned to participate in March 1 demo against Russia’s covert military intervention in Ukraine, predicted own murder in Feb. 10 interview: “I’m afraid Putin will kill me”; Russian dictator admits murder probably “contract killing,” sends telegram of condolence to Nemtsov’s mother, orders KGB/FSB to probe (i.e., cover-up) murder; Ukrainian President Poroshenko accuses Putin aide, Kremlin ideologist Surkov of sending hit team to Kiev’s Maidan in Feb. 2014, orchestrating sniper killings of protesters; SBU chief Nalivaichenko: “[SBU Alpha special forces unit] members gave us concrete information about the positions of foreign sniper groups that were targeting both protesters … and Interior Ministry police officers. There’s [evidence] of their ranks, last names, copies of their passports, dates of arrival and departure, what cellphone network they used, where they stayed and how Putin’s advisor Surkov coordinated their activity in Kiev”