>Useful Idiots Bin: Schwarzenegger leads Silicon Valley reps to Russia, Medvedev (jokingly?) offers vacant post of Moscow mayor to “Governator"

>This week, the “Governator”—California Governor Arnold (“I’ll Be Back”) Schwarzenegger—led a gaggle of Silicon Valley reps to Russia, where they were feted by President Dmitry Medvedev.

In Schwarzenegger’s entourage of 21st-century “Nepmen” were reps from Oracle; Google, which in 2006 collaborated with Red China in censoring its own search engine; and Microsoft, which voluntarily turned over the source code for its Windows 7 operating system to the Russian Federal Security Service. (BTW, this isn’t the first time that Bill Gates has snuggled up to the KGB’s successor. In 2003, he handed over the source code for Windows XP.)

Earlier this year, the Kremlin inaugurated a new technology center on the outskirts of Moscow, called Skolkovo but nicknamed “Russia’s Silicon Valley.” The Russian government has also allocated US$10 billion to innovation investment fund Rusnaro, which is financing 100 high-tech products in partnership with foreign firms.

“Arnie,” like many other pseudo-conservatives oblivious to the Soviet deception strategy, enthuses about Russia’s high-tech potential:

I have to say that I love places where there is an extraordinary potential. I think when I look at Russia, I think the potential for growth. I mean really blowing this thing up. The economy is just so extraordinary. I mean there are so many opportunities here in Russia, that you just look at this and say, “Oh my God.”

We [meaning the USA] are very happy to help in this process because, as I said, we are the best in the world when it comes to this. I mean when it comes to biotech, to nanotech, high tech, green tech. You know there is no one like us, but we are not like holding on to our knowledge. What we want to do, we want to spread it around the world.

In travelling to Russia, Schwarzenegger was reciprocating Medvedev’s visit to California earlier this year.

Political analyst Masha Lipman, who works at the Carnegie Center, was not so enthusiastic about prospects of joint US-Russian ventures in high tech:

Risks are indeed high. Russia is not a law-governed place. Russia is a place where decisions are taken in a non-transparent fashion. Russia is a place where businesses may fall out with the government and the government may take measures. Russia is a country in which government decisions are not contested. This of course creates a climate this is not auspicious, that is unpredictable.

The president of the US Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, Andrew Sommers, agrees: “Russia is trying to develop its own industries so it is not totally dependent on foreign investment, but at the same time exploit foreign investment and high-tech.”

Schwarzenegger arrived in Russia at an interesting time because on September 28 Medvedev sacked Moscow’s powerful, long-time mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. With tongue in cheek (we suppose), Medvedev offered the Governator the job of running Russia’s capital, which is also one of the world’s largest cities: “We have many different events here. You arrived at the moment when Moscow has no mayor. If you were a Russian citizen, you could work for us.”

Born in Austria, former body builder and Hollywood action movie star “Arnie” is a naturalized US citizen, although this did not prevent him from legally running for entering California politics. In 1988 Schwarzenegger starred with James Belushi in the buddy cop film Red Heat. He played Soviet counter-narcotics officer Ivan Danko. Red Heat was one of the first movies filmed in perestroika-era Russia, although most of the scenes were shot in (then communist) Hungary.

In the 1920s Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin did an about-face in his drive toward communism by implementing the New Economic Policy, a pseudo-capitalist venture that lured Western investors into civil war-ravaged Russia. At the end of the NEP, with the Russian economy propped up, socialism and bloody purges returned with a vengeance. In 1959, when the Communist Party of the Soviet Union formulated its long-range strategy for global domination—according to KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn–Lenin’s brief foray into capitalism became a template. In 1985, the Soviet leadership appointed Mikhail Gorbachev as the frontman to finally carry out this scheme.

With Gorbachev still making cameo appearances on the world stage, Medvedev and KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin are luring more heedless Western Nepmen to their destruction.

>USSR2 File: Medvedev sacks long-time Moscow mayor, Luzhkov’s wife world’s 3rd richest woman; police bust Left Front rally, AKM head anointed by Shenin

>On September 28, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Moscow’s powerful mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who has been in office since 1992. Like Medvedev, a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol, Luzhkov is connected to the old Soviet regime. A “former” cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Luzhkov joined up with United Russia, the new potemkin “party of power” created by the Soviet strategists. Internationally, Comrade Luzhkov is renowned for his dislike of homosexuals and banning of “gay pride” parades in Moscow.

Pictured above: Friend or foes? Yuri Luzhkov with Vladimir Putin at a war memorial ceremony in May this year.

“Recently, being one of the party’s leaders, I have been fiercely attacked by state mass media, and the attacks were related to the attempts to push Moscow’s mayor off the political scene,” complained Luzhkov, who also resigned his membership in United Russia. He added in his resignation letter: “The party did not provide any support, did not want to sort things out and stop the flow of lies and slander.”

During Russia’s forest fire crisis this past summer, when Muscovites were choking on smoke, Luzhkov was attacked for remaining on holiday. Luzhkov’s billionaire wife, Yelena Baturina, has also been accused of corruption. According to Luzhkov’s latest financial disclosure, filed in May, Baturina earned more than US$1 billion in 2009, primarily by way of her property development company ZAO Inteco. Forbes magazine ranks Baturina as the world’s third-richest woman, with a fortune of $2.9 billion.

Boris Nemtsov, former deputy prime minister and opposition politician, published a report last year in which he asserted that Inteco received preferential treatment in acquiring land from Moscow city hall, as well as securing building permits and exemptions from paying for connection to municipal utilities. Inteco and Baturina sued Nemtsov for defamation. On July 19, 2010, a Moscow appeals court ordered Nemtsov to retract these and other comments. However, neither side was pleased with the ruling. Both Baturina and Nemtsov launched another round of appeals.

Although Luzhkov was aligned with United Russia, he maintained his own power base outside the Kremlin, which may have been his cardinal sin. BBC’s Moscow correspondent Richard Galpin believes this battle was sparked by a newspaper article written by Luzhkov in which he appeared to criticize Medvedev and call for “a return to stronger national leadership.” Before the emergence of Vladimir Putin, in his first stint as prime minister in 1999, Luzhkov was tipped as a possible future Russian Federation president.

It appears that companies related to Putin’s St. Petersburg FSB/KGB power clan, which runs the day-to-day affairs of the Kremlin, will benefit from the putsch against Luzhkov and Baturina. One such company is the LSR Group, which is directed by Andrey Molchanov, son of St. Petersburg Vice-Governor Yuri Molchanov, a former classmate of Putin’s at Leningrad State University. Incidentally, it was at Leningrad State that former KGB man Putin joined the CPSU in 1975.

The day after Luzhkov’s ouster, Vladimir Dmitriev, chairman of the VEB development bank denied that his state-owned entity is in a position to proceed with a US$2.5 billion project to build housing with Inteco. “You have to look at which companies are close to the federal government; they will get the privileges,” remarked Sergei Zharkov, an analyst from Moscow-based property research group, IRN.

Speaking with an assertiveness that does not correspond with his image as Putin’s “lap dog,” Medvedev bragged while visiting Red China two weeks ago: “As the president of Russia I lost my trust in Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov as the mayor of Moscow. I will decide who will lead Moscow.” Putin reined in his “pet,” by demurring: “I hope I will have a chance to express my opinion. Luzhkov is a symbolic figure in modern Russia.” Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev endorsed Medvedev’s decree, exposing the continuity between Russia’s communist and “post”-communist leaders.

In truth, we rather suspect that the leadership of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation—that is, Chairman Gennady Zyuganov—had the final say in this shuffling of chairs on the deck of the neo-Soviet ship of state. In their ongoing drive toward recentralization of power, the last thing the Soviet strategists need is a loose cannon like Luzhkov.

Multi-party politics in “post”-Soviet Russia, as we have documented at this blog for nearly five years, is a deceptive, controlled affair related to the Soviet leadership’s strategy of creating a “mature socialist society,” as well as ideologically and militarily disarming the West. There is hardly a Russian politician, young or old, that is not in some way linked to the pillars of the old Soviet regime, such as the CPSU, the Komsomol, the Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB), or Soviet military intelligence (GRU).

In the late 1980s, Russian politics was a drama between “reform” and “hardline” communists. Then, on Christmas Day 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced that the CCCP was no more. However, unlike the depraved leadership of Nazi Germany, which was tried in many cases executed, the anti-Gorbachev putschists endured very short prison sentences and, ruse accomplished, enjoyed comfortable retirement packages. Meanwhile, the Communist Party was unbanned (as if it had every really been banned to begin with).

Thereafter, Russian politics became a contest between, in the one camp, unrepentant open communists and, in the other, “ex”-communists constituting Russia’s new nationalist and liberal “right wing.” Nevertheless, regular closed-door meetings between open communists, like Zyuganov, and “fallen by the wayside” communists, like Putin, had the “feel” of cordial debriefing sessions. Incidentally, when Gennady Yanayev, who was president of the three-day putschist government in August 1991, died on September 24, Zyuganov was quick to praise the man as the Soviet Union’s “savior.”

On Tuesday, the Russian “opposition” once again held another unauthorized “Day of Wrath” protest outside the office of Vladimir Resin, Moscow’s acting mayor, during which the police detained about 40 participants. Detainees included the organizers of the rally: Sergei Udaltsov, the young coordinator of the Left Front, United Labor Front, and Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), all of which are committed to resurrecting the Soviet Union; Nikolai Alexeyev, leader of Russia’s homosexual movement; and Lev Ponomarev, a prominent human rights activist.

The participants of the rally, which amounted to several dozen, demanded the return of the direct election of the mayor of Moscow. Alexeyev complained that the police actions were unduly harsh: “We were dragged on the pavement almost in a reclining position. The same way they dragged us into the bus.”

In February, Russia’s Marxist-Leninists founded the “anti-Putinist” United Labor Front, which included Udaltsov’s Left Front, which in turn was organized in 2008. According to Russian law, a new party must recruit 45,000 members and set up branches in more than one half of Russia’s regions in order to apply for registration. Udaltsov predicted the United Labor Front would attract 60,000 to 65,000 members and open branches in 70 regions. The young communist is also leader of the street-fighting Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), whose logo is the AK-14 assault rifle.

On July 31 Left Front/Red Youth Vanguard cadres were arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg for “anti-Putinist” agitation, which included lofting posters that read “Putin is the butcher of freedom.” Udaltsov is not averse to combining his communist agitators with the liberal forces of Nemtsov’s Other Russia coalition. During the August “Day of Wrath” protest in Moscow both men were arrested for protesting the Kremlin’s restrictions on freedom of assembly.

In 2005, Oleg Shenin—Stalinist mastermind behind the 1991 anti-Gorbachevist “coup” and past leader of the Union of Communist Parties-CPSU, which includes the CPRF and other communist parties in the “post”-Soviet space—anointed the AKM as the youthful torch-bearers for the reconstituted Soviet Union. Addressing the AKM’s Sixth Congress, he declared: “We are satisfied . . . about the fact that AKM works under the political leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and it prepares its members for entrance into the CPSU. The basis of our interrelations is complete ideological accord and the organizational independence of youth organization.”

Shenin died in May 2009, preceding his co-conspirator Yanayev by more than a year. He did not go to his grave, however, without first preparing for the resurrection of the USSR. Before the stage-managed collapse of the Soviet Union, he employed the services of Belgian-born US businessman Marc Rich–who was later pardoned for other crimes by President Bill Clinton–to secrete the CPSU’s vast financial holdings into Swiss bank accounts. There the Party’s slush fund awaits the arrival of Soviet Union Version 2.0.

>Latin America File: Ecuador extends state of emergency, opposition accuses Correa of staging hostage taking; FMLN regime warns ARENA against coup

>– Cuba Praises FMLN’s Commitment to Communist Revolution on 30th Anniversary of Founding; Party of Socialism and Liberation Holds Pro-FMLN Bash in San Francisco

– Ortega Hosts Former Presidents of Panama and Honduras, Backs Zelaya’s Restoration 15 Months after Ouster

– Narcistas Ambush Police Convoy, Gun Down Eight Officers in Mexico’s Western State of Sinaloa

– Russian-Venezuelan Oil Consortium to Invest US$20 Billion in Orinoco River’s Juin-6 Block, Production to Begin in 2013

Pictured above: Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president, Evo Morales, visits Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, in Quito, on October 12.

Since the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, the spectre of counter-revolutionary coups haunts the feverish imaginations of communist and socialist regimes throughout Latin America. From their point of view, the police revolt against Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on September 30 has “confirmed” the existence of wide-ranging “CIA-backed right-wing conspiracies” to overthrow the region’s “progressive” governments.

This past Saturday Ecuador extended indefinitely a state of emergency first implemented when mutinous police assaulted Correa and held him hostage for 12 hours in a police hospital. The Ecuadorean president enjoys the special favour of Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez. The extension of the state of emergency empowers the military, rather than the police, to maintain law and order. It would appear that de facto martial law is now in place in Quito.

After loyal elements in the army rescued him, Correa accused the country’s main opposition leader, former president Lucio Gutierrez, of fomenting the police rebellion. Gutierrez heads up the nationalist 21st January Patriotic Society Party. In an October 11 interview with the Colombia-based Caracol TV, Ecuadorean congressman Gilmar Gutierrez, Lucio’s brother, charged: “Everything was staged by the president to hide the extreme corruption and to hide the poverty, hunger and unemployment that have arisen to an alarming level. There was no coup.”

Interior Minister Gustavo Jalkh asserted that two soldiers, a police officer, and a university student were killed in the standoff between dissident police and Correa and his supporters. Nearly 200 others were injured in unrest throughout the country, which included mutinous police setting up roadblocks and dissident soldiers temporarily closing down Quito’s international airport. More than 40 police officers were detained in connection with the revolt against the president.

“We will investigate all these things and try to take all precautions so there will not be a repeat,” ranted Correa, adding: “This insubordination was limited to a few hundred officers, from a force of 42,000 national police. We cannot blame the institution for a group of police officers who have denigrated their position.”

The restoration of Zelaya to the Honduran presidency also exercises Latin America’s Red Axis leaders. On September 17 the deposed leader appeared in Managua, one of his favourite haunts, with two sponsors, President Daniel Ortega and former Panamanian President Martin Torrijos, son of the former leftist military strongman, Omar Torrijos. There the wealthy rancher-turned-socialist vowed:

International efforts for my peaceful return to Honduras will continue. My return will be without any preconditions and, after my return, I will lead a movement in favor of restoring democratic order. I will also travel to Guatemala to campaign for a seat in the Central American Parliament.

“Zelaya was ousted on June 28 last year,” admits China’s state-run media, “in a coup as he pushed for a constitutional change which would allow him to run for another term.” In seeking to abolish presidential term limits, Zelaya was merely following his Red Axis benefactors, Chavez, Ortega, Correa, and Bolivian president Evo Morales. In 2008 he led his country into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), but late last year Roberto Micheletti’s interim government announced that the country was leaving ALBA.

Since January 2010, when democratically elected Porfirio Lobo assumed the Honduran presidency, Zelaya has been living in Dominican Republic. During last month’s press conference, Ortega threw his support behind the domestic political vehicle that is agitating for Zelaya’s return, the National Popular Resistance Front. The red hue of the front’s flag and the prominent socialist star plainly indicate Zelaya’s new-found ideological orientation (pictured above).

Pictured here: Salvadoran Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, terrorist mastermind of the FMLN when it was still an insurgent army.

In El Salvador, reports the Cuban state media, the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) vows that it, too, “will confront and defeat any attempt to stage a coup d’etat in El Salvador.” Last Friday, FMLN general coordinator Medardo Gonzalez warned that “he did not rule out that dark forces would try to disrupt democratic legality in the country.” Here “dark forces” were explicitly connected to the formerly ruling rightist ARENA party. “Here in El Salvador, we are on the alert and will not allow any coup d’etat to take place,” rumbled Gonzalez, whose nom de guerre during the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) was Milton Mendez. Gonzalez continued:

The secretary general of the Organization of American States, [Chilean socialist] Jose Miguel Insulza, has been warned about the possibility of new coup attempts in the region. . . . Recently, forces from the Nationalist Republican Alliance [ARENA] invited former Honduran dictator Roberto Micheletti, who took power after the June 28, 2009 military coup, to visit El Salvador. We told him [Micheletti], “You are not welcome in our country. Go home immediately. We don’t accept coup leaders here.”

The FMLN leader made these comments at a ceremony to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the guerrilla army-turned-political party, and to honor “internationalists” (communists) who fought alongside the FMLN against a series of US-backed rightist governments. In attendance was Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, who praised the FMLNistas’ commitment to communist revolution: “The FMLN has been a model of loyalty to its revolutionary principles and the Salvadoran popular and political forces.”

Last week, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, the benign face of the FMLN, carried out an historic trip to Cuba which, along with the Soviet Union and Nicaragua’s first Sandinista regime, armed El Salvador’s leftist insurgents. Funes is a former correspondent for CNN Espanol and did not fight in the civil war. However, he reiterated Gonzalez’s sentiments at a meeting of the Permanent Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Political Parties (COPPPAL) in San Salvador. Referring to the Honduran coup, Funes declared: “The OAS and its member states should intervene at the opportune moment to avoid the germination of a military coup or any other situation that could translate into ungovernability and destabilization.”

It was not clear whether Funes was advocating multilateral military intervention on the part of the Organization of American States, although Chavez and Ortega have over the last three years supported the formation of an “anti-imperialist” army to oppose the USA.

Incidentally, in the USA, the Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the coordinator of the FMLN’s Northern California section hosted a dinner dance in San Francisco, in honor of the FMLN’s 30th anniversary. FMLNista Salvador Cordon reflected:

For 11 years the FMLN waged guerrilla war and would have achieved victory if not for US military intervention [under President Ronald Reagan] on a gigantic scale in a country of just 6 million people. It was this intervention that prolonged the war, exhausting much of the population. At the same time, the Salvadoran military could not achieve victory; a stalemate developed. That factor and the fall of the socialist camp [Soviet Bloc] between 1989 and 1991, prevented the triumph of the Salvadoran Revolution.

However, the Salvadoran Revolution did finally triumph in 2009, when voters elected the country’s first leftist government. For its part, the PSL was organized in 2004 by defectors from the Stalinist Workers’ World Party. PSL cadres sit on the steering committee of the ANSWER Coalition, which is active in the US anti-war movement.

Meanwhile, on Monday in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, suspected drug cartel gunmen ambushed a police convoy, killing eight officers. “The gunmen, travelling in three or four vehicles, began shooting with automatic weapons,” a Mexican official explained. Sinaloa is home to one of the country’s most powerful cartels, run by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman. The police were patrolling a road 50 miles form the state capital, Culiacan, when they were attacked. The cartels often recruit police officers, luring them with promises of a “cut” from the drug profits.

Finally, in yet another example of Russia’s revitalized, post-Cold War presence in the Caribbean Basin, Gazprom Neft, a tentacle of global energy monster Gazprom, has been appointed project leader for the 25-year Junin-6 project in the heavy oil basin of Venezuela’s Orinoco River. The Kremlin-run company made the announcement on Tuesday. This status was awarded to Gazprom Neft by the National Oil Consortium (NNK), established by Gazprom Neft, LUKoil, Rosneft, Surgutneftegas, and TNK-BP, which hold equal stakes in the project. NNK has dished out US$600 million as the first payment for the right to take part in the joint venture with CVP, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s PDVSA. CVP owns 60 percent in the venture, while NNK holds the rest.

“In its capacity as project leader, Gazprom Neft will coordinate the [Russian side of] operations in the Russian-Venezuelan joint venture PetroMiranda,” stated Gazprom Neft. PetroMiranda was established to exploit the Junin-6 block. The company will make the final investment decision on future development of the block, planned for 2013. The 447-850-square-kilometer Junin-6 block contains an estimated 52.6 billion barrels of oil. Within the block, 14 wells have already been drilled, Gazprom Neft explained.

The total investment by both Russia and Venezuela in the Juin-6 block is estimated at US$20 billion. Chavez expects the joint venture to produce 50,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014 and 450,000 barrels by 2017. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that Moscow is ready to pay Venezuela another US$1 billon to develop more fields. Putin’s energy minister, Sergei Shmatko, has admitted that the bonus could be paid for exploiting the Ayacucho-2, Ayacucho-3, and Junin-3 blocks.

Chavez will make his annual pilgrimage to Moscow on October 14. No doubt, the NNK-CVP venture will be high on the agenda as he meets with his KGB handler, Putin. For its part, Russia also plans to drill for oil in Cuban waters, almost cheek by jowl with US platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Strategically speaking, Russia’s drilling for oil under Uncle Sam’s nose is not a bad idea. Should Missile Day arrive, US military strikes against Russian oil platforms in the Caribbean will not only enrage Moscow’s communist allies in the Western Hemisphere, but also threaten to repeat the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Checkmate.

>Latin America File: Ex-guerrilla, Lula’s anointed successor, poised to lead Brazil; El Salvador’s 1st FMLN president makes historic trip to Cuba

>– Cuba’s Vice President Travels to Moscow to Promote Bilateral Relations with Russia; Follows Trip to Beijing in Late September

– Chavez to Visit Russia, Belarus, Iran, and People’s Republic of China; Announces Nationalization of More Land, Seizure of Agricultural Companies

– Chavez Scoffs at Spanish Accusations as His Regime Opens Investigation into Purported Presence of Basque Militants Training on Venezuelan Soil

– Sandinistas Complete Judicial Coup, Unlawfully Elect President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Court

– Russia and Mexico to Increase Cooperation in Telecommunications and Information Technology, Rosatom to Supply Mexico with Enriched Uranium

It’s good for us to say this name, repeat it, and present Brazilian Minister Dilma Rousseff as the new president of Brazil. Dilma, Dilma, Dilma. We will get to know her. She was a prisoner of the rightwing dictatorship and tortured. She was a member of the revolutionary leftwing in the sixties.
— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; quoted by AFP news agency, November 13, 2009

In spite of a few victories for center-right parties in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last four years–primarily in Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, and Chile–as well as a slight electoral setback for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela on September 25, communist, socialist, and social democratic parties prevail throughout the region. Most of these political parties coordinate their strategy for hemispheric domination through the little-known Sao Paulo Forum, founded in 1990 by the Communist Party of Cuba and Brazil’s Workers’ Party.

Latin American and Caribbean leftists also network with comrades around the globe through organizations such as the International Communist Seminar, which is hosted by the Workers’ Party of Belgium, and the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties.

On October 31, Brazil’s ruling party candidate, Dilma Rousseff (pictured above), and opposition member Jose Serra will face off in a runoff election for the presidency after the leading candidates failed to win a majority of the vote in balloting on October 3. According to calculations by the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Rousseff leads with 46.9% of the votes, ahead of Serra, who captured 32.61%. Surprisingly, Green Party candidate Marina Silva put in a strong showing, with 20.31 percent, according to the TSE’s partial tally with 72.11 percent of the ballots counted.

“I consider this stage a very special moment in my life,” Rousseff said in brief statements to reporters. Indeed. On voting day she was quoted as saying: “Our party members are brave, they are warlike and never give up. They are better in the face of obstacles than easy situations. I’m not scared of anything. Whatever happens, we’ll put up a good fight.” By contrast, Rousseff’s opponent, Sera, represents the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, which in spite of its name is actually center-right in orientation.

Rousseff is President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s anointed successor to lead the center-left Workers’ Party, which governs in coalition with the Communist Party of Brazil and several other leftist parties. Lula, who has “played nice” with the USA, is a former union organizer, but Rousseff’s credentials are guaranteed to “wow” communists worldwide: she is a former Marxist guerrilla. Dilma, in fact, is the daughter of a Bulgarian communist, Pétar Rusév, who fled his homeland in 1929. Between 1967 and 1969, Dilma was a cadre of the short-lived National Liberation Command, which merged with the Revolutionary Armed Vanguard to form the Revolutionary Armed Vanguard Palmares.

Ex-members of Brazilian military intelligence (OBAN) and fellow insurgents allege Rousseff was the “she-pope of subversion.” In January 1970, she was arrested by OBAN and allegedly tortured for 22 days by punching, ferule, and electric shock devices. In December 2006, the Special Commission for Reparation of the Human Rights Office for the State of Rio de Janeiro approved a request for indemnification by Rousseff and 18 others imprisoned by law enforcement agencies of the São Paulo state government in the 1970s.

Should Rousseff win the Brazilian presidency, she will not only lead the Western Hemisphere’s second most populous country, after the USA, but also control South America’s largest armed forces. Incidentally, in this “post”-Cold War era, Brazilian generals are not averse to purchasing Russian armament and jointly developing top-line fighter jets. “Former” Marxist guerrillas and assorted commie coup plotters can be found leading other countries in the hemisphere: including Raul Castro, Cuba’s president; Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s past/present president; Salvador Sanchez Ceren, El Salvador’s vice president; Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president; Álvaro García Linera, Bolivia’s vice president; and José Alberto Mujica Cordano, Uruguay’s president.

Meanwhile, this week Cuba’s vice president, Ricardo Cabrisas, dutifully presented himself in Moscow, where he conferred with deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, the GRU’s former pointman for funnelling weapons to Latin American guerrillas during the 1980s. On behalf of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, reports the Cuban state media, Sechin conveyed “warm greetings to Cuban President Raul Castro and to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.”

After exchanging comradely pleasantries, Cabrisas and Sechin got down to business and signed bilateral cooperation agreements in the economic, commercial, technical, scientific, cultural, educational, and tourist sectors. High on the agenda was the shipping of Russian-built consumables and equipment to Cuba for the electricity, energy, and automotive industries, including spare parts, as well as consumables and equipment to support agricultural and construction programs on the island. In addition, Cabrisas and Sechin discussed the modernization of Cuba’s railroad and sea transport capacities, as well as topics related to the development of Cuba’s civil aviation.

Although then President Putin made an official visit to Havana in 2000, Russian-Cuban relations have spiked since 2008, including top-level political and military exchanges.

Late last month, Cabrisas flew to Beijing, where he met with Red China’s Vice President Xi Jinping to promote bilateral relations between the two single-party communist states.

While his vice president rubbed elbows with the Communist Party of Cuba’s Moscow masters, President Raul Castro welcomed Salvadoran President Carlos Mauricio Funes to the Palace of the Revolution in Havana (pictured here). Shortly before the welcoming ceremony, the Salvadoran head of state placed a wreath by the monument to Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti, located at Revolution Square.

The arrival in Cuba of Funes, El Salvador’s first leftist president and the moderate face of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, was an historic event since the two countries only re-established diplomatic relations in June 2009, after an interruption of 48 years. During the 1980s FMLN guerrillas, with covert weapons support from the Soviet Union, Cuba and the first Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, sought to overthrow a series of US-backed rightist governments in San Salvador.

Also participating in the meeting were Hugo Roger Martinez, El Salvador’s Foreign Affairs; Esteban Lazo, Vice President of the Cuban Council of State, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. Accompanying Funes were Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez, Tourism Minister and former Salvadoran president Jose Napoleon Duarte, Economy Minister Hector Dada, and the head of the cabinet, Alexander Segovia. For this visit Funes was accompanied by over 40 entrepreneurs from small and medium-sized companies. Funes’ business-like demeanor cannot hide the fact that the CPC and FMLN are ideological cousins and network through the Sao Paulo Forum, nor does it soften the fact that Funes’ vice president, former battlefield commander and “doctrinaire Leninist” Sanchez, already put in an appearance in Havana last year.

South America’s top commie thug is also making his annual “Axis of Evil” pilgrimage to Russia, Belarus, Iran, and the People’s Republic of China. On October 4 President Chavez announced: “In a few days, I will be travelling to Russia. We have important projects with Russia. A bilateral finance bank to which Russia and Venezuela agreed two years ago could be ready to launch on time for the visit.” He confided: “A few days ago, I received a letter from the Russian president in which he was insisting that we iron out the technical and financial details of the bank. It is very likely that when I get to Moscow it will be ready.” Red China and Venezuela also have a joint finance fund, capitalized to the tune of US$12 billion. Beijing has revealed that it outlay US$16 billion to develop a heavy crude well in Venezuela’s Orinoco delta area.

Even as Chavez expels US companies from Venezuela and invites Communist Bloc consortiums to do business in South America, he is also nationalizing still more, supposedly “idle” land in three states. “We’re accelerating the agrarian revolution and to do that, lands in the western regions of Lara, Apure and Zulia will be intervened right now in October,” Chavez trumpeted during his weekly rant-fest, Alo Presidente (pictured above). “In November it will be double…and in 2011, full speed ahead!” Chavez gushed, adding: “The plan of our socialist revolution is to mount a new offensive to boost the nation’s food production.” Land Minister Juan Carlos Loyo explained: “The total area of the operation in October will be 250,000 hectares (617,000 acres), to be intervened by the National Land Institute.”

Chavez also announced his regime’s expropriation of two companies, Venezuelan company Agroisleña, which distributes and sells agrochemical products and the so-called English Company, a British firm that owns nine cattle ranches in Venezuela with a total area of 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres). “All the lands of the so-called English Company are being nationalized now, I don’t want any more delays,” grumbled Chavez, who announced the expropriation of those lands in 2005.

Chavez declared “war on big landowners” in 2004 and, according to official information, in 2009 his regime expropriated a total of 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of land that was either “unproductive” or whose ownership was not verifiable, in order “to guarantee its social use” in compliance with the National Agricultural Plan. In June, the National Assembly, which is controlled by Chavez’s PSUV, approved a reform of the Land Law that bans the leasing of agricultural land and, where leasing exists, authorizes the government to seize the land for the direct production and distribution of food products. Venezuela’s opposition denounces the expropriations as illegal, pointing out that due to Chavez’s socialist agriculture policies, Venezuelans must import 60 percent of their food.

In a related story exposing Chavez’s ties to international terrorism, Venezuela’s president is again scoffing at claims by the Spanish government that his regime is harboring Basque militants on Venezuelan soil. However, the Venezuelan government has decided to open an investigation regarding the activities of one of its employees, Arturo Cubillas, who was born in the Spanish Basque Country, after it was discovered that he apparently helped to trained suspected ETA members Xabier Atristain and Juan Carlos Besance in Venezuela. Cubillas was deported to Venezuela ten years before Chavez assumed power, but now has a position in Venezuela’s Agricultural Department, along with citizenship.

The FMLN’s comrades in Nicaragua, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, are busy re-consolidating their dictatorship, first established in 1979 after ousting the Somoza dynasty in a Soviet/Cuban-backed insurgency. This past Wednesday Sandinista judges and ex-judges “legalized” their de facto takeover of the country’s highest tribunal by electing fellow Sandinista judge Alba Luz Ramos as the new president of the Supreme Court (pictured above). The vote was “approved” by a cabal of eight Sandinista judges, including two ex-magistrates whose terms have expired, but boycotted by opposition judges, who insist the Supreme Court has been illegally constituted since last April. The Sandinista judges argue that since they hold the largest number of seats on the Supreme Court, they therefore have enough votes to elect a new directorate, even if the opposition continues to boycott the sessions. Ramos has been de facto president of the court since the spring.

“Nicaragua has lost all its institutional legitimacy and rule of law,” complained constitutional analyst Gabriel Alvarez. “This has become a de facto state where government decisions are made by force.” “A bad tree can’t produce good fruit and an illegal court can’t pass legal resolutions,” judicial analyst Sergio García told The Nica Times on October 6. García recently tore up his license to practice law in protest against President Daniel Ortega’s political pretensions and usurpations since re-assuming that post in 2007. “Nicaragua is in a complete de facto state [of lawlessness],” Garcia lamented, adding: “There is no rule of law or democracy here anymore and we are only one step away from a coup or civil war.”

Meanwhile, “post”-communist Russia is strengthening its political and economic ties with Mexico, a country whose revolution led to the world’s first socialist constitution in 1917, months before the Bolsheviks seized power in Moscow. On October 4, Igor Shchegolev, Russia’s Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications, attended the International Telecommunications Union conference in Guadalajara. There he and Mexican colleague Juan Molinar, Minister of Communications and Transport, signed an agreement to promote bilateral cooperation in the fields of telecommunications and information technology.

“Russia is one of major technological powers in the world and was always such a country in telecommunications. Russia is a pioneer of satellite technologies and has a vast potential that can very useful for Mexico,” Molinar enthused. Shchegolev replied: “We hope that cooperation will promote higher activities of Russian companies on the Mexican market, and companies from Mexico will receive the additional information about their opportunities in Russia.”

Molinar and Shchegolev also signed an agreement that would facilitate the sale of enriched uranium by the Russian Federal Atomic Agency (Rosatom) to Mexico. Back in Moscow, Rosatom’s head Sergei Kirienko revealed that a US firm called Nukem Inc. would act as middleman between OJSC Tekhsnabexport, the Russian company that exports nuclear materials, and the Mexican company that will take delivery of the uranium. There is only one active civilian nuclear power facility in Mexico, Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant in Alto Lucero, Veracruz, which produces about 4.5% of the country’s electrical energy. It is to this state-run facility, which came online in 1990, that Rosatom’s enriched uranium is presumably destined. The Mexican government considers Laguna Verde a “strategic facility” for Sistema Eléctrico Nacional.

Last February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Mexico City to offer President Felipe Calderon’s government resources to combat the country’s powerful drug cartels, a move that was later blessed by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Those resources included military assistance, but Calderon has yet to succumb to Moscow’s temptations, even the in the face of the latest atrocities committed by the drug cartels.

On October 2 narcistas lobbed a grenade into a plaza in the town of Guadalupe, injuring 15 people, including six children. Fortunately, none of the injuries was life threatening. This was the fourth such attack in two days in the area around the large, prosperous northeast city of Monterrey, which has been victimized by a vicious turf war between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas, renegade Mexican Army commandos who once served as the Gulf cartel’s enforcement arm. Last Friday night, separate grenade attacks occurred near the federal courts, outside a prison, and near the US consulate in Monterrey. In Acapulco, meanwhile, police continued to search for 20 Mexican nationals who were kidnapped while traveling together in the Pacific Coast resort city.

The Democratization of Mexican Politics and the Rise of the PAN-PRD Alliance

Between 1930 and 2000, one party dominated Mexican politics: the monolithic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Like other crypto-fascist-corporatist-nationalist-social democratic parties in Latin America, such as Peru’s ruling American Revolutionary Popular Alliance and Argentina’s ruling Justicialists, the PRI rejects Marxism’s class struggle concept in favour of class harmony under the banner of economic nationalism and a strong central government. At various times, a pronounced internal left-right schism was present in these three particular parties, prompting the hard-core Marxists to leave and form new organizations.

Beginning with President Plutarco Calles (1924-1928), the left wing of the PRI endeavoured to implement the neglected provisions of the 1917 constitution, including state control over natural resources and land reform. In response, some members of the US government started to refer to Mexico as “Soviet Mexico,” while the US ambassador to Mexico called Calles a “communist,” which he was not. In addition, Calles’ anti-clerical laws stripped the Catholic Church of its power, leading to the Cristero War between government troops and religious rebels, and resulting in the deaths of 90,000 people, including up to 4,000 Catholic priests.

Later, Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940) promoted the socialist Confederation of Mexican Workers, implemented land reforms per the 1917 constitution, nationalized the country’s petroleum reserves, legalized the Communist Party, harboured Soviet exile Leon Trotsky, and offered safe haven for Republican exiles fleeing Falangist Spain.

Later still, between 1970 and 1976, President Luis Echeverria nationalized the mining and electrical industries, redistributed private land in the states of Sinaloa and Sonora to peasants, opposed US “expansionism,” supported Chile’s self-avowed Marxist president Salvador Allende, condemned Zionism, and allowing the Palestine Liberation Organization to open an office in Mexico City.

By the 1980s, however, President Miguel de la Madrid steered the PRI in a market-oriented direction, prompting the left wing of the party to split in 1990 and form the more clearly class-based Democratic Revolutionary Party, along with elements of the Mexican Communist Party. The election in 2000 of Vicente Fox and his center-right National Action Party, which has long enjoyed the backing of the Catholic Church, heralded a new dawn in Mexican politics. Fox’s presidency also coincided with the rise of Mexico’s drug cartels, which filled the power vacuum created by the eradication of Colombia’s Cali and Medellin cartels in the mid-1990s.

In state elections this past July the PAN and PRD entered a rare left-right alliance in six states to prevent the now centrist, once hopelessly corrupt PRI from staging a comeback that could potentially lead to the presidential palace in Mexico City in July 2012. The anti-PRI alliance was only somewhat successful, since the former party of power bagged nine out of the 12 governorships. “This election proves the PRI is the leading political force in the country,” boasted the PRI’s national leader Beatriz Paredes.

Pristas did not hesitate to cynically brand the PAN-PRD alliance “unholy” since the PRD accused the PAN of fraudulently thwarting Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s bid for the presidency in 2006. For his part, self-styled “Legitimate President of Mexico” Obrador (AMLO) stepped down from the top post in the PRD in 2008 in order to support the Workers’ Party-Convergence for Democracy (PT-CD) ticket. In reality, he remains a “red eminence” behind the PRD. This past summer AMLO, who has declared his presidential candidacy for 2012, revelled in the endorsement he received from retired Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, but he denies reports that he is receiving covert financial backing from Communist Venezuela via Mexican “Bolivarian cells.”

In public opinion polls, PRI poster boy Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured above) is leading the way for the presidential bid. According to a poll by Reforma, 40 per cent of respondents would vote for the current State of Mexico governor in the 2012 ballot. Former Mexico City mayor Obrador and former interior secretary Santiago Creel of the PAN are tied for second with 14 per cent, followed by current Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the PRD with nine per cent.

“Some analysts,” reports the English-language Guadalajara Reporter, “believe an left-right alliance may be a positive step for Mexico, permitting the PAN and PRD to move closer to the center as they each try to find common ground. But the union doesn’t please left-wing maverick Lopez Obrador, who vowed never to enter into an alliance with the party that ‘robbed me of victory in 2006 presidential election.'” The PRD’s new president, Jesus Ortega, cannot understand why AMLO does not support a strategic alliance to lock out the PRI. “He himself has said that the return of the PRI would be like the return of (General) Santa Ana,” commented Ortega, who ruled out any idea of running a joint presidential candidate with the Panistas in 2012.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Iran opens airspace for joint Turkish-Red Chinese air force exercise, PRC PM to visit Ankara

>– A Soviet Invasion of Another Kind? Russian Railways Extends Broad-Gauge Track to Vienna, Service to France, Finland; Corporate Head Good Comrade of Vladimir Putin

Errant NATO member Turkey has become a thorn in the side of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Justice and Development Party regime in Ankara has not only aligned itself with Israel’s mortal enemies, such as Syria and Hamas, but also in recent years has snuggled up to Russia, an alliance that would have been unthinkable when Russia was still “Soviet Russia.”

Now the Turkish Air Force is conducting joint exercises with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in its own airspace. The PLAAF is fresh from holding combined maneuvers with its Russian and Central Asian counterparts in Kazakhstan. There Red Chinese fighter pilots carried out mock long-range strikes as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Peace Mission 2010 war game, the SCO’s seventh such “anti-terrorist drill” since 2005. On September 30, Aviation Week reported on the outcome of “Anatolian Eagle”:

An unexpected military cooperative exercise between China and Turkey has caught the eye of Washington-based analysts.

The two air forces were involved in a joint air exercise in the central Anatolian province of Konya, the first such exercise involving the air forces of China (People’s Liberation Army Air Force – PLAAF) and NATO member Turkey.

Part of the significance is that the PLAAF recently demonstrated major advances in long-range strike during their own “Peace Mission 2010.”

The latest joint exercise, “Anatolian Eagle,” in the past has been conducted jointly with the U.S. Air Force, other NATO air forces and the Israeli Air Force.

Ankara’s Zama newspaper reported that Turkish F-16s and Chinese Su-27s staged a mock dogfight. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao plans a visit to Turkey next month where several agreements on economic and cultural cooperation are expected to be signed. Chinese aircraft, including the JF-17 export fighter, stopped in Turkey to refuel on the way to last summer’s Farnborough air show.

In support of the Turkish-Red Chinese air force drill, Iran opened its airspace so the PLAAF could reach Turkey, presumably from the temporary PLA base in Kazakhstan via Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The Iranian state media notes: “The maneuvers come ahead of a planned visit by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Turkey.” The same source also reports: “Turkey and China took their first step in military cooperation in the late 1990s with joint missile production, manufacturing weapons with a 150-kilometer range, the Hurriyet daily reported on its website.”

Incidentally, for Bible prophecy enthusiasts, the new Ankara-Beijing Axis forbodes the Magog invasion of Israel at the introduction of the tribulation and even the Battle of Armageddon at the end of this seven-year period.

Pictured here: August 1968: Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces invade Czechoslovakia, ending the “Prague Spring.”

Meanwhile, with a hat tip to one of our regular visitors, Russian Railways plans to extend an existing broad-gauge railroad to Vienna, Austria, via eastern Slovakia. Construction is expected to start in 2013–2015. “At present,” reports Prime-Tass, “Russian and Ukrainian trains have to change gauges in eastern Slovakia to deliver goods to Western Europe, with some goods being carried by lorries.” This new railway extending from Russia into Western Europe can certainly be used to ship commerical goods, but it also has definite military applications ahead of or during a Soviet re-invasion of Europe.

Not so coincidentally, Russian Railways has also inked an agreement with France to operate a train service between Moscow and Nice, as well as an arrangement with Finland, to run a high-speed train between St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

BTW, Vladimir Yakunin, chief of Russian Railways, is a good comrade of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator. Between 1985 and 1991 Yakunin was a member of the Soviet diplomatic mission in the United Nations and appointed as First Secretary of the mission after 1988. According to some sources, during this term he worked as an officer of the First Chief Directorate of the Soviet KGB. Now he wants to build a railroad from Moscow to Vienna, site of famous superpower spy swaps–past and present. I’m savoring the irony.

>Latin America File: Castro, Chavez, Ortega decry “right-wing coup attempt” in Ecuador, army rescues Correa from mutinous police, predecessor fingered

>A state of emergency has been declared in Ecuador after socialist President Rafael Correa accused mutinous elements in the army and police of a coup attempt. Correa specifically identified opposition leader, former president Lucio Gutierrez and his nationalist 21st January Patriotic Society Party, of fomenting the attack against Correa’s life at a police barracks.

Pictured above: Troops loyal to Correa stand guard outside the presidential palace in Quito, on October 1.

On Thursday Correa arrived at the barracks in north Quito, the capital, to confront police angered over his veto of legislation that would have given police and soldiers higher salaries and better benefits. There mutinous police shoved the president and threw tear-gas canisters at him and his wife. Enraged, Correa challenged the mutineers: “If you want to kill the President, here he is. Kill him, if you are brave enough.”

Overcome by tear gas, Correa sought treatment in the police hospital, but mutineers surrounded the building for 12 hours, preventing government officials and Correa supporters from liberating the president. Inside the hospital, Correa remained defiant, telephoning his ideological mentor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for encouragement. “While I am here,” he declared to a radio reporter, “there is nothing to discuss. I won’t sign anything under pressure . . . I leave here as president or they take me out as a corpse.”

Finally, 500 troops loyal to the president stormed the hospital, rescuing Correa. In the midst of the mutiny, Ecuador’s top general, General Luis Ernesto Gonzalez Villarreal, also declared his loyalty to Correa. Speaking from the balcony of the presidential palace after the incident, Correa vowed to purge the army and police of “all bad elements”: “I’m not going to negotiate absolutely anything. Nothing will be forgiven and nothing will be forgotten.”

Meanwhile, 300 dissident air force personnel and soldiers seized control of the runway at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, temporarily grounding flights. Mutinous police blocked highways in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. The breakdown in authority prompted bank robberies and looting in the capital and Guayaquil.

Like his red chums in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua—Chavez, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega—Correa has rewritten his country’s constitution to entrench socialist reforms and remove presidential term limits. In response to the political turmoil in Ecuador, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis, which leads the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a bloc of eight socialist states to which Ecuador belongs, was especially swift in its denunciation of the “right-wing coup attempt” in Quito.

On his Twitter account, Chavez offered solidarity for his Ecuadorean “mini me”: “They are trying to oust President Correa. Wake up the people of the Bolivarian Alliance! Wake up the people of Unasur [Union of South American Nations]! Viva Correa!” Venezuela’s communist dictator later related the substance of his phone conversation with Correa, mentioned above. “Once he had left he would be very happy to receive [the protesters],” Chavez explained, “but they had kidnapped him, and he would not give in to blackmail.”

For his part, Ortega, flanked by top military and police officials, addressed the Obama White House in a televised speech, demanding to know Washington’s position on the Ecuadorean “coup attempt”:

What has the government of the United States said? Listen to me Ambassador [Robert] Callahan [the US representative in Managua]. Listen to me carefully. What has your government said? Now is the moment to define yourself. Is the new administration of the United States in favour of coup d’etats, or are you against coup d’etats. The US government says it is watching the situation [in Ecuador] with interest. But what is the interest? Are they interested to see if the coup culminates with the assassination of President Correa?

Ortega boasted that a similar coup attempt will never happen in Nicaragua because the armed forces and police are under the control of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN): “There isn’t even a minimal possibility of a coup. Why? Because of the nature of our armed forces. The army and police were born with the revolution [of 1979]. They have been institutions loyal to the Constitution.” He then warned his opposition:

The opposition in Nicaragua is calling for the people to take to the streets against the government without taking into account that it’s the people who are in the government [meaning the Sandinistas]. They are calling for the people to take to the streets. But be careful, because the people could take to the streets. Of course they could. And we’ll be the first ones out there with the people.

Ortega’s threat was not too subtle since mortar-toting Sandinista thugs have roamed the streets of Managua for nearly four years now, intimidating Nicaragua’s divided opposition parties.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry released a statement at the request of communist president Raul Castro, an excerpt of which follows:

The government of the Republic of Cuba firmly condemns and rejects the coup in Ecuador. President Correa has declared that a coup is taking place and that he has been attacked and is being forcibly held at the Police Metropolitan Hospital in Quito.

Cuba expects the leadership of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces to fulfill its obligation to respect and enforce the Constitution, and ensure the inviolability of the legitimately elected President and the democracy.

We hold the head of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces responsible for President Correa’s physical integrity and life. His full freedom of movement and exercise of their functions must be ensured.

We strongly reject statements attributed to the so-called Patriotic Society of Lucio Gutierrez which has openly proclaimed its coup intentions.

Cuba completely supports the legitimate and constitutional government of President Rafael Correa and the Ecuadorian people who are mobilizing to rescue the President.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated President Barack Hussein Obama’s support for Correa, while the pro-US governments in Colombia and Peru expressed their solidarity by closing their borders with Ecuador. The Organization of American States called an emergency session to address the crisis and passed a resolution of support for the Ecuadorean president.

Since the Honduran coup that deposed Chavez lackey Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, the first such military-backed ouster in Latin America since the Cold War, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis has characterized any anti-leftist manifestations in ALBA countries as “US-sponsored coup attempts.” Although Latin America’s Red Axis leaders are up in arms over the USA’s allegedly baleful influence in the region, they are more than pleased to accept Moscow’s ideological and military support. “Post”-communist Russia’s snugly relationship with Communist Cuba is a case in point. Indeed, it bears a striking resemblance to the patronage Havana once enjoyed from the “former” Soviet Union.

On Wednesday, Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the UN, addressed the General Assembly, at which time he called on Washington to end its 50-year commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. Calling the embargo an “anachronism,” Comrade Churkin elaborated: “We call on all members of the international community to act in solidarity and on the basis of shared responsibility, to reject unilateral decisions on sanctions, including extra-territorial agreements adopted in parallel to the Security Council.” I’m sure Nikita Krushchev could not have said it better during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Return of the Sandinistas, North Korea, and the United Nations’ Global Government Grab

Old commies never die, they just stage comebacks per Moscow’s long-range plan for global domination. The neo-Sandinista regime in Managua, under the leadership of “Comandante” Ortega, is still committed to advancing world communism, just as its predecessor in the 1980s. Only now, the Soviets have shifted the responsibility of paying Ortega’s bills to their faithful ally Chavez, who is covertly injecting petro-dollars into Nicaragua via ALBA front companies.

Until September 2009 the FSLN’s spokesman at the United Nations was “Padre” Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, President of the General Assembly. The “good Father” is not only an advocate of liberation theology, but is determined to foist global government on the USA via an 80-point, Soviet-style scheme that includes a Global Stimulus Fund, Global Public Goods Authority, Global Tax Authority, Global Financial Products Safety Commission, Global Financial Regulatory Authority, Global Competition Authority, Global Council of Financial and Economic Advisors, Global Economic Coordination Council, and World Monetary Board.

Joseph Stiglitz, who previously chaired both the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, and the Socialist International’s Commission on Global Financial Issues, has pledged to realize D’Escoto’s dream of killing capitalism. To that end, Columbia University professor Stiglitz will enjoy the smiling approval of President Obama, who has also demanded the imposition of a global tax to implement the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

On the home front, Ortega recently declared a public holiday and, while opposition legislators took their vacation, mangled the 1995 Nicaraguan Constitution to facilitate his illegal re-election bid in 2011. When a Russian destroyer laden with “humanitarian aid” appeared off the country’s Caribbean coast in December 2008, Nicaragua’s opposition lodged a protest with the Russian ambassador in Managua. The Soviet strategists are no doubt waiting for compliant lackey Ortega to neutralize his opposition before test-landing their supersonic Tu-160 bombers at Punta Huete, a 23-year-old runway north of Lake Managua. Earlier this year, the Nicaraguan military quietly reactivated and upgraded this Soviet-built air base for, we suspect, this very purpose.

On the diplomatic front, the neo-Sandinista regime has re-established formal relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the retro-Stalinist hellhole set up by occupying Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War. This past Tuesday Ortega welcomed North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Kim Hyong Jun, to Managua.

“Comandante” first announced his intention to re-forge links with North Korea in early 2007, shortly after he was re-inaugurated as president. At the time, Ortega reminded the world that North Korea helped to train his Sandinista guerrillas before they overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1979. Incidentally, according to a 1984 lecture delivered by Major J.W. Wilson at the Marine Corp Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia, Nicaragua was then crawling with some 5,000 Soviet, Eastern European, Cuban, and Libyan military advisors. At the same time, Soviet military aid to Nicaragua exceeded the total US military aid to all Latin American countries combined.

The message from Ortega in 2010, therefore, is loud and clear: Nicaragua is still part of the Communist Bloc and he has no intention of re-vacating the presidency anytime soon.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia, PRC, C. Asian states wrap up SCO’s Peace Mission 2010 war game with Medvedev-Hu conclave in NE China

>On September 25 the militaries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) wrapped up two weeks of deployment and live-fire drills in Kazakhstan, the seventh such combined exercise since the SCO was founded in 2001 and the fourth under the deceptive label “Peace Mission.” The SCO consists of the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the former republics of Soviet Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Although a full member of the SCO, Uzbekistan did not participate in Peace Mission 2010.

The latest SCO war game involved 5,000 troops and 1,600 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 artillery and rocket launchers, and 50 warplanes and helicopters. Defense ministers from the participating countries attended a number of live-fire drills at the 1,600-square-kilometer Matybulak Range, in the southern part of Kazakhstan.

The deployment of 1,000 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Kazakhstan, in particular, offered the PLA General Staff a practical venue to establish field barracks in a foreign state, coordinate military operations with allied armies, and utilize PLA military hardware on foreign soil. For Peace Mission 2010, Red China dispatched H-6 tactical bombers, J-10 fighter jets (pictured above), early warning aircraft, aerial tankers, and T-99 main battle tanks. Ground exercises included house-to-house combat, while aerial exercises involved “cross-border” bombing runs and mid-air refueling. The J-10 is a multi-role combat plane comparable to the F-16, Mirage 2000, and Sukhoi Su-27. The PLAAF operates 80 of these aircraft.

“By improving the quality of service and logistics in various links,” noted Li Zhujun, deputy chief of exterior liaison for the Red Chinese command, “we have created conditions for the soldiers and officers to devote themselves to the exercises in high spirits and full of vitality.”

For its part, the Russian Armed Forces contributed 1,000 troops, along with tanks and MiG-29 fighter jets, with the intent of applying military reforms now under implementation by the Kremlin. Among other objectives, the Russian Defense Ministry intends to transform the Ground Forces “from the old Soviet model of a huge military mass into a modern, compact and mobile type of army.” The Russians intend to outlay US$600 billion on new military procurements between now and 2020. In the process, they are swallowing their nationalism as they seek more technologically advanced armament and delivery systems from NATO countries like France and even the USA.

On September 19 SCO military commanders organized a day of remembrance for Soviet troops killed during Nazi Germany’s invasion of Russia. Representatives from the drill forces and Kazakhstan’s aged war veterans laid wreaths at a military monument in Paniflov Park in the capital Almaty. Paniflov Park is named after a battalion of the 316th Infantry Division led by Soviet General Ivan Paniflov, which served with distinction during the defense of Moscow in 1941 and 1942. About 100 Red Chinese soldiers attended the wreath-laying ceremony.

Kang Chunyuan, deputy chief of the PLA’s Beijing Military Region Political Department, offered the following comments: “All countries participating in the [Peace Mission] drill made outstanding contributions to the anti-fascist war [Second World War] and enormous sacrifices. Now the gathering of the representatives of their armed forces in remembrance of the heroes and martyrs in the anti-fascist war is of great significance.”

Although billed as an operation against the “Three Evil Forces” of terrorism, separatism, and extremism, the Peace Mission drills are without question preparations for war against NATO since they are expressly designed to test and promote interoperability between the armed forces of SCO states. Although SCO representatives have for some years denied that their alliance is a “military league,” a Red Chinese military officer admitted to state-run Xinhua that Peace Mission 2010 is a “thorough implementation and a comprehensive test of the agreement on holding joint military exercises signed by members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).” Major General Zhu Jianye, legal adviser to the PLA command participating in the drill, continued:

The agreement provides institutional, standardized and practical guarantees for holding joint military exercises by the armed forces of all SCO members. The signing of the agreement is a milestone in the history of the SCO. According to the agreement, the purpose of the join military exercises is to combat the three “evil forces”—terrorism, separatism, and extremism, and maintain peace, security and stability in the region. Through the exercise, the Chinese military officers and soldiers have enhanced their awareness of observing foreign-related laws.

This past Sunday, Russia and Red China wrapped up their latest joint military exercise by holding a round of economic cooperation meetings in the PRC’s northeast port city Dalian. There Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate, met his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Medvedev and Hu inked agreements to fight the “Three Evils” mentioned above, as well as commercial deals covering coal, nuclear energy, and banking. Hu praised the completion of a 1,000-kilometer oil pipeline, connecting oil fields in eastern Siberia and a major refinery in northeast China, which will come “online” in November. Under this arrangement, the PRC will lend US$25 billion to Russia, while Russia ships 300,000 barrels of oil per day to China for the next 20 years.

Last year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, showed up in Beijing, where he signed US$3 billion worth of commercial deals that included an agreement to build two natural gas pipelines between the two countries. The Sino-Russian strategic partnership, established in 2001, appears to reverse many years of distrust between Moscow and Beijing, but which astute observers of communist strategy understand was part of a temporary deception implemented by the Soviet and Chinese communists.

>Latin America File: Venezuelan revolution falters as Chavez’s socialist party loses absolute majority; Sandinistas rewrite constitution over holiday

>– Narcistas Gun Down 10th Mexican Mayor for 2010, 15th since President Calderon Launched Counter-Insurgency Ops

Update: 11th Mayor Murdered This Year in Mexico: Gustavo Sanchez and Personal Secretary Stoned to Death in Michoacan State; Predecessor Resigned after Death Threats from Drug Cartels

– Mexico’s Border Town Mayors and Their Families Seek Refuge in USA

Pictured above: Newly elected lawmaker Julio Borges, from Venezuela’s centrist Justice First party, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas, on September 27, 2010. Venezuelan opposition parties hope to oust President Hugo Chavez in the 2012 presidential election.

With the exception of countries like Colombia, Honduras, and Panama, which feature pro-business, pro-Washington governments, the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean continue to “tank” into a morass dominated by warmed-over communist recipes that were discredited 20 years ago.

This past Sunday Venezuelan voters handed a stinging rebuke to the country’s Marxist dictator, President Hugo Chavez, by reducing his party’s absolute majority in the National Assembly to a plurality. According to incomplete returns released today, Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which was organized in 2007 from the president’s older Fifth Republic Movement and allied leftist groups, won at least 94 of 165 seats. His foes on both the left and right of the political spectrum, such as Fatherland for All and Democratic Unity Table, scooped up 60 seats.

The Venezuelan opposition was in a buoyant mood following the election. “Clearly a majority of the country has expressed itself for change in the National Assembly,” trumpeted Ramon Guillermo Avelado, president of the opposition coalition. In his interview with Venevision TV, he added: “That is a win for all Venezuelans, not just for those who voted for our candidates.” Victorious opposition candidate Maria Corina Machado declared: “Here it is very clear: Venezuela said no to Cuban-style communism. Venezuela said yes to the path of democracy. We now have the legitimacy of the citizen vote. We are the representatives of the people.”

The Chavezista regime downplayed the PSUV’s failure to secure a two-thirds majority. On his Twitter account, Chavez, who has been president since 1999, stoutly remarked: “The vote is a solid victory, sufficient to continue deepening Bolivarian and democratic socialism.” Aristobulo Isturiz, who coordinated the PSUV’s election campaign and won a seat in the National Assembly, confided: “We had good results. However, two-thirds permits structural changes with the least resistance possible, with the least confrontation.”

In view of Chavez’s strategic partnership with Russia, Red China, and Communist Cuba, the presence of up to 60,000 Cuban agents on Venezuelan soil, the determination with which Chavez has persecuted opponents, and the speed with which his regime has nationalized Venezuela’s industries and natural resources, it is very unlikely that the PSUV leadership will reverse Venezuela’s communist revolution. Instead, as Chavez presses onward, we can expect to see a more heavy-handed response to dissent as Chavez unleashes his instruments of repression, such as the secret police, known since 2009 as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN).

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, where the Sandinista National Liberation Front is once again openly ruling, President Daniel Ortega’s toadies have been scurrying about rewriting the country’s constitution to facilitate the re-consolidation of Ortega’s Cold War-era dictatorship. Several weeks ago Ortega decreed a public holiday that prompted the politically deadlocked National Assembly to declare a recess. While opposition deputies vacationed, top Sandinista legislator Rene Nunez ordered the reprinting of the Nicaraguan Constitution, which was promulgated in 1995, with a forgotten article that was drafted in the late 1980s, during the first Sandinista regime.

According to “resurrected” second paragraph of Law 201, Supreme Court judges, electoral magistrates, and other public officials can remain in office beyond their term limits until new officials are appointed. Ortega and his henchentities, however, conveniently overlooked the fact that Law 201 was a temporary provision in the 1987 Constitution and expired more than 20 years ago. Law 201 was omitted from the 1995 constitutional rewrite.

Sandinista deputy Edwin Castro pontificated: “The people have to understand clearly that laws that are not reformed or overturned are still in effect.” Castro assured Nicaraguans that Law 201 will ensure “government stability” and “prevent anarchy” ahead of next year’s election. Billboards announcing “Daniel 2011” have already popped up throughout the country. Supreme Court judge Rafael Solis, who refused to turn in his gavel last April, gloated that the “new” constitution is all the “proof” he needs to remain on the bench, along with other Sandinista appointees.

Upon reconvening the assembly on September 20, Nicaragua’s opposition was quick to cry foul as they inspected the “new” constitution. Carlos Tunnerman, a lawyer in the employ of Movement for Nicaragua, complained: “The Sandinistas’ argument is absolutely absurd. Ortega and those around him are desperate to perpetuate their power.” Felix Maradiaga, a political science professor at Universidad Americana who was formerly senior advisor to the Ministry of Defense when the Constitutionalist Liberal Party was in power, called a spade a spade: “This eccentric and arbitrary decision by President Ortega is a demolition blow to the rule of law and a step towards a totally lawless government. With this decision, Ortega has turned back the clock to a time before the social contract.”

Alejandro Serrano, who was president of the Supreme Court during the first FSLN regime, expressed his disgust with his former comrades: “The Sandinistas have no legal arguments. This government is no longer legal or legitimate.”

Further north, in war-torn Mexico, on September 23 cartel gunmen assassinated their 10th mayor this year and their fifth in six weeks. Prisciliano Rodriguez Salinas, 53, mayor of the town of Doctor Gonzalez near the large city of Monterrey, was gunned down, along with another municipal official. The attack took place at 9:30 pm on Rodriguez’s ranch. Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the assassination, as he has others in recent weeks.

Narcistas have murdered 10 mayors in 2010 in incidents related to organized crime, in addition to Rodolfo Cantu, who was favored to win the gubernatorial election in Tamaulipas this past July. A total of 15 mayors have been rubbed out since Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in December 2006. This tally is part of the larger body count of 28,000 narco-operatives, soldiers, police, and civilians who have perished in Mexico’s destabilizing drug war.

The fact that the drug cartels have targeted municipal officials for execution has frightened a number of mayors living in the border states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon to seek refuge in the USA. Some of these Mexican officials and their families have taken up permanent residence north of the border, while others divide their time between the USA and their homeland.

Many of Mexico’s northern border cities boast only between two to five patrol cars for an average of 30 police officers. In these locations Mexican law enforcement also has few firearms to take on cartel gunmen, many of whom pack fully automatic weapons and RPGs. In a previous post, we cited the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists as reporting that the government of the large border city of Reynosa is almost totally under the control of the Mexican Mafia.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Moscow, Havana finalize plans to integrate Cuba into Russian Space Forces’ satellite-based Glonass navigation system

>– Russian Military Employs Glonass Navigation System for Missile Targeting and Acquisition, Satellite Network Fully Operational as of September 2010

– Cuba: Soviet Base for Electronic Warfare in the Western Hemisphere, Island Boasts Second Largest Number of SIGINT Facilities in World–After USA

Following the Soviet communists’ long-range plan for global domination, the Putinist regime is closing ranks with its three most reliable allies in Latin America: Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Individually or even together, of course, the Havana-Caracas-Managua troika poses no threat to the USA. However, since Russia, or Red China for that matter, could conceivably use Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela as platforms to launch military attacks against North America, relations between the two communist superpowers and their Latin American client states should be monitored closely.

The Soviet Union did not hesitate to use Cuba as a platform to stage a potential ballistic missile attack against the USA during the early 1960s. The Soviets did not hesitate to drop East Bloc “advisors” and billions of dollars of arms into Nicaragua during the first Sandinista dictatorship in the 1980s. Since the KGB-managed demise of the Soviet Union, the Russians have not hesitated to offload four billion dollars worth of tanks, missiles, fighter jets, combat helicopters, and diesel submarines into Venezuela since communist paratrooper Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999. The Moscow-Caracas Axis includes the now-completed construction of two plants in Venezuela for the manufacture of Kalashnikov assault rifles and their ammunition.

Grenada is no longer a tool for the Soviet strategists, thanks to the US-led invasion in 1983, but its current prime minister has snuggled up to Cuba. Tillman Thomas has also renamed the island’s main airport after deceased Marxist dictator Maurice Bishop. Some infrastructure investment from Red China and Venezuela, furthermore, is taking place on the island.

At this blog we have repeatedly made reference to the on-site control that hundreds of Cuban “advisors” exercise in the Venezuelan military, security, and intelligence services, as well as Russia’s stated interest in the recently refurbished, Soviet-built, strategic bomber-capable runway in Punta Huete, Nicaragua. In the last two years Russia and Cuba’s top generals have paid official visits to the other’s country. For his part, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega often boasts about the military and police’s loyalty to the socialist principles of the Sandinista Revolution.

Under Putin and Medvedev, Russia has promised to re-equip the Soviet-vintage militaries of Cuba and Nicaragua, Russia’s air defense commander has inspected and promised to upgrade Cuban air defenses, Russia has pledged to train Cuban soldiers and Nicaraguan police, the Russian Air Force has floated the idea of re-fueling its bombers in Cuba and Venezuela, and the Russian Navy has made friendly ports of call in Cuba and Nicaragua, not to mention carried out a joint exercise with its Venezuelan counterpart in late 2008. Of course, Cuba and Nicaragua, unlike Venezuela, are strapped for cash and Ortega is employing every dirty trick in the communist playbook to legitimize next year’s re-election bid. Thus, we have yet to see Russian-built armament once again pour into Cuba and Central America.

During the Cold War and since Cuba has supplied the Soviet Union and Russia with signals intelligence (SIGINT) collected from North American communications, both civilian and military. According to Manuel Cerejo, who wrote an article “Cuba and Information Warfare” in the early 2000s, “Cuba probably now has more facilities for intercepting foreign satellite communications than any other country in the world, except the United States.” SIGINT bases are known to exist at Bejucal, Wajay, Santiago de Cuba, and Paseo.

Most of these systems were inherited from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. However, Russia maintained a SIGINT base at Lourdes until January 2002. Then President Vladimir Putin announced the decision to withdraw the Russian personnel staffing the facility barely a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Not so coincidentally, Putin visited Havana in 2000, the first time a Russian leader carried out official business in Cuba since the “demise” of Soviet communism nine years before. In early 1999 the People’s Republic of China opened SIGINT bases in Bejucal and Santiago de Cuba. The former specializes in intercepting US telephone communications and computer data traffic, while the latter specializes in intercepting US military satellite communications.

Using a jamming system purchased from Russian company Aviaconversia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR) has also developed limited capabilities for disrupting US satellite communication and the US military’s satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS), which is essential for missile targeting and acquisition. The FAR established a Counter-Electronic Warfare Department in 1992. Using SIGINT facilities based at Lourdes and the Cuban embassy in Baghdad, the Cuban military command carefully assessed the US Armed Forces’ performance in Iraq in 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, and ten years later in Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cerejo contends that “Cuba is home to the most virulent computer hackers in the world,” many of whom are dedicated to destroying NATO computer networks. In 1997 the FAR’s Central Military Commission set up an elite, 100-member corps tasked with devising “ways to planting disabling computer viruses into American and other Western command and control defense systems.” In 2000 the Cuban brass set up a strategic information warfare (IW) unit, dubbed Net Force by US military analysts, designed to “wage combat through computer networks to manipulate enemy information systems spanning spare parts deliveries to fire control and guidance systems.” Cuban IW units, continues Cerejo:

have reportedly developed “detailed procedures,” for Internet warfare, including software for network scanning, obtaining passwords and breaking codes, and stealing data; information-paralyzing software, information-blocking software, and information-deception software; and software for affecting counter-measures. These procedures have been tested in recent field exercises. Cuban radio spectrum management officials have declared that Cuba has capabilities of intercepting satellite up-link signals.

In summary, when the Soviet strategists decide that the time is ripe to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the USA, they will without question rely heavily on electronic data gathered by SIGINT bases in Cuba. Mohammed Atta’s secret meeting with a high-level Cuban defense official in Miami and the not-so-coincidental presence of Russian strategic bombers over the Arctic Ocean during the 911 skyjackings suggest that this scenario has already been tested.

The publicized integration of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua into the Russian military’s satellite-based Glonass navigation system, the counterpart to the US Armed Forces’ GPS, reveals that the Communist Bloc is very much alive and well. Both Glonass and GPS enable users to plot their own or enemy positions and targets, in the case of military users, within a few meters. The most recent comments from the Kremlin concern Havana’s access to Glonass. On September 15, Mikhail Kamynin, Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, acknowledged: “Our plans include a detailed work on connecting Cuba to the Glonass system.”

The Soviet Defense Ministry originally developed Glonass in the 1980s for missile targeting and acquisition. Glonass development was suspended in 1991, when the Soviet Union “collapsed,” but was revived in 2001. The Russian military presently uses Glonass chips in smart weapons and the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which was designed and manufactured in concert with strategic partner India. The BrahMos has a range of 180 miles and a maximum speed of Mach 2.8, which is three times faster than the US Tomahawk. This cruise missile can deliver a 660 pound conventional warhead and engage targets from an altitude as low as 30 feet.

On September 2 a Proton-M rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying three more Glonass satellites into orbit (pictured above). There they joined 23 others, although two are non-operational. The Russian Space Forces, a branch of the Russian Armed Forces, operates the satellites and requires 24 functioning satellites to provide worldwide navigation service. Between now and the end of 2010 the Russian Space Forces will launch two more Proton-M rockets, placing six more Glonass satellites into orbit, but the network is already fully operational.

The fact that the Russian military is anxious to include the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis in its Glonass network is significant in the light of a future confrontation with the USA. The fact that last year Kremlin front company Yota brought wireless Internet service to neo-Sandinista Nicaragua in a rapid three-month installation project is not insignificant too. Wireless Internet has important C3 applications at the tactical/battlefield level. The fact that the People’s Republic of China, Russia’s main ally, is openly promoting military cooperation with insurgency-wracked Mexico should be examined accordingly.

For 20 years Western governments have mistakenly believed that communism is no longer a threat. Hence, strategic moves in the Western Hemisphere by Russia and Red China are no longer perceived as dangerous to America’s survival.

>Latin America File: Russian, PLA troops march through Mexico City as country turns 200, faces “failed state” stigma; army kills 19 cartel gunmen

>– US Border Patrol Exchanges Gunfire with Narcistas at Texas Crossing

– Mexico Arrests Second Druglord from Beltran Levya Cartel, Sergio “El Grande” Villareal

– Maras Shut Down Public Transit in El Salvador, FMLN Regime Deploys Troops to Protect Commuters

Pictured above: Russian honor guard participates in Mexico’s bicentennial celebrations in Mexico City, on September 16, 2010.

Today a massive military parade, including foreign honor guards, concluded celebrations marking Mexico’s 200th anniversary as an independent country. Six hundred troops from 17 countries, including units from the USA, Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, Spain, and France, joined their Mexican counterparts in a march-past in Mexico City. In a speech given near the capital’s Angel of Independence monument, President Felipe Calderon made reference to the drug war that had taken the lives of more than 28,000 people since 2006. “Future Mexicans need to know that the bicentenary generation took on, with integrity, the challenge of being a society based on legality and order,” he declared.

Unprecedented security measures in the capital, including rooftop snipers, apparently deterred the narcistas from putting in an appearance. The partying in Mexico City, however, did not stop the army from clashing with cartel gunmen at an illegal roadblock near Monterrey on Wednesday. Nineteen narcistas died as a result of the seven-hour gun battle with troops. An army official told the AFP news agency that the people manning the roadblock had been wearing uniforms, a standard diversionary ploy used by Mexico’s narco-guerrillas.

Pictured here: People’s Liberation Army honor guard participates in Mexico’s bicentennial celebrations in Mexico City on September 16. The PLA’s symbolic presence in Mexico is evidence of the expanding strategic partnership between the two countries and follows the visit of Red China’s defense minister to Mexico, as well as Colombia and Brazil, two weeks ago.

Some communities cancelled their bicentenary bash after criminal mafias threatened to disrupt them. This was the case in the particularly violent Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. There the traditional independence ceremony took place behind closed doors. On September 9, 25 people perished in drug-related killings in Ciudad Juarez, the bloodiest single day of violence not only for that city, but also for all of Mexico. Incidentally, Ciudad Juarez lost 75,000 manufacturing jobs in 2009, the result of an exodus of panic-stricken citizens fleeing vindictive drug operatives.

Last weekend, several noteworthy developments in Mexico’s drug war occurred. On Saturday, September 11, US Border Patrol agents at the Mission, Texas, crossing exchanged fire with cartel gunmen across the border. The shootout took place as the Border Patrol seized a shipment of marijuana. “Several Border Patrol Agents returned fire after being fired upon multiple times from the Mexican side,” the Customs and Border Protection Agency related. No Border Patrol agent was injured. Cross-border shootouts, however, are not unusual.

The previous day, 85 inmates, mainly cartel members, escaped from a prison in Reynosa, a large border city in northeast Mexico. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, as we previously reported, alleges that Reynosa’s government is under the almost total control of criminal mafias. In yet another example of pervasive official corruption in Mexico, police arrested more than 40 prison guards and staff who were on duty when the inmates escaped. Two prison guards were missing. The Reynosa jailbreak follows a similar scandal that occurred in another prison, in the state of Durango, in July. In this case, prison officials allowed convicts out of their facility to carry out revenge attacks before returning to their cells for the night.

In spite of the daily menu of bloodshed served by the narcistas, the Mexican government’s counter-insurgency efforts have paid off somewhat. This year police arrested two druglords, Edgar “The Barbie” Valdez, and Sergio “El Grande” Villareal. Both men were top lieutenants in the Beltran Levya cartel, the head of which, Arturo Beltran Levya, was shot dead by the Mexican military last December. Valdez’s arrest took place several weeks ago. Over the weekend, however, Mexican marines swooped down on Villareal in the city of Puebla, east of Mexico City. “El Grande” was arrested without incident after a well-planned intelligence operation.

Mexico’s narco-insurgency has engulfed other countries along the drug shipment corridors stretching between Colombia, the source of most cocaine in the Western Hemisphere, and the US-Mexican border. Earlier this month, 18 factory workers in Honduras were gunned down in the midst of a turf war between two criminal gangs with an international presence, Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).

Last week, the same gangs demonstrated their formidable power over their homeland, El Salvador, by ordering a three-day public transportation strike that prompted leftist President Mauricio Funes to deploy thousands of troops to protect bus drivers and commuters. The Maras were protesting a new law, enacted by the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), that would criminalize gang membership. The anti-gang law was introduced in July after Maras torched a bus, killing 17 people. Ironically, Mara Salvatrucha traces its origin in part to FMLNistas who immigrated to the USA after the Salvadoran Civil War.

Incidentally, although the FMLN portrays Funes as a “moderate,” the party’s Marxist leaders are still closely aligned with Communist Cuba, to wit Funes’ pending visit to Havana this October.

>Latin America File: Sandinistas expel OAS rep. ahead of hotly contested Ortega bid for re-election; Kremlin’s Russia Today interviews “Comandante”

>The neo-Sandinista regime in Managua continues to refortify its dictatorship, first established in 1979, when the Soviet/Cuban-backed revolutionaries overthrew the Somoza dynasty, and put “on hold” in early 1990, when President Daniel Ortega lost his post in a democratic election. Pictured above: A man walks past a painting of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega in Managua, on August 7, 2010.

On September 10 Denis Moncada, Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Organization of American States, sent a letter to the OAS secretary general, demanding the “immediate removal” of Pedro Vuskovic, the organization’s representative in the Central American country. Several hours before the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) demanded his ouster, Vuskovic agreed to meet with the Italian-Nicaraguan Catholic missionary, Alberto Boschi, a harsh critic of Ortega, who re-assumed the presidency in January 2007. Boschi has attempted to make his allegations of political persecution in neo-Sandinista Nicaragua known to the OAS. In retaliation, Managua stripped Boschi of his Nicaraguan citizenship last June, accusing him of “repeated political meddling.”

Domestic and international opponents of the Sandinistas believe Vuskovic’s ouster represents the “increasing intolerance and anti-democratic tendencies of the Ortega administration.” This, of course, was well known in the 1980s, when Soviet, East German, Bulgarian, and Cuban “advisors” roamed freely about Managua. Ortega’s critics also fear that his unwillingness to further discuss the incident is a “ploy” to prevent the OAS from acting as on-the-ground observers in next year’s presidential election. Although the Nicaraguan constitution was amended in 1995 to prevent a repeat of the Ortega dictatorship, last year the Nicaraguan Supreme Court, which is stacked with Sandinistas, ruled that presidential term limits are “invalid.” Ortega is expected to seek re-election in 2011.

Die-hard communist Ortega’s animosity toward the “North American empire” (USA) has not changed in 20 years. Last month Kremlin-run Russia Today published an exclusive interview with this long-time KGB asset. “Comandante,” as Russia Today sympathetically addressed Ortega, used the platform to lambaste the “US forces of reaction” (fascists) that have allegedly subverted President Barack Hussein Obama’s policy of “mutual respect” for other countries in the Western Hemisphere. Fretting over Washington’s supposed role behind last year’s military-backed parliamentary coup in Honduras, Ortega resorted to Cold War-era jargon to reject US influence in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean:

In Trinidad and Tobago [at the OAS summit], President Obama said he wanted our relations to be based on mutual respect, and so on. But how can anyone explain US involvement in the coup in Honduras just a few months later? And how can we explain the fact that the US was fighting to recognize the Honduran government? The only thing we see is that the US hasn’t change in its essence. The world is changing, the US isn’t. This isn’t a problem just for Latin America, but rather for the entire world. This country has military and economic power, and at the same time, it’s not changing its expansionary and imperialistic policy.

Ortega then assesses the ability of the USA to instigate coups against “progressive” (socialist) governments in the Western Hemisphere, including the FSLN, which he leads:

At present, they don’t have any means for organizing a coup in Nicaragua, for instance. If they had, they would’ve tried doing it. But they don’t have the tools for it; they cannot rely on the army, or the police [both of which, in fact, are controlled by the FLSN]; they don’t have the military vehicle to provoke a coup. Otherwise, I’m convinced they would’ve tried doing it. They cannot start a war against Venezuela, or against Bolivia, or Ecuador, or Nicaragua. They do have the means within the US, but the situation in Latin America wouldn’t let it happen, even though the US always keeps it in their plans.

Ortega champions regional integration as a means by which to deter US “meddling” in Latin America’s new leftist regimes (Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador):

It is necessary to strengthen unity and mutual integration of Latin American countries. . . . I think the main thing US policy did was to divide us, to rule us. If we are really integrated and united, the partner will not be Nicaragua, nor Venezuela, nor Cuba, nor Bolivia, nor Ecuador; the partner will be Latin America and the Caribbean countries. Such a partner will be more authoritative and will have the opportunity to look for ways to reach an agreement respecting each other and feeling equal.

Ortega then placed his support for the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, within the context of the Sandinistas’ support for Puerto Rican independence, the annexation of the Falkland Islands by Argentina, and the re-absorption of Guantanamo Bay into Cuba. “Many interpreted Nicaragua’s position as an expression of solidarity with Russia. What can you say about that?” coaxes Russia Today. Ortega responds:

Yes, it’s necessary to take into account that Nicaragua and Russia had developed their relations long before the events in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Historically, we used to have very warm relations with the former Soviet Union, and those relations developed intensively between 1979 and 1990. . . . We are restoring our historical relations with the Russian people in new conditions.

In addition to mentioning Russia and Venezuela’s interest in building a canal across Nicaragua, Ortega enthused about the revitalized partnership between Managua and Moscow: “I feel that relations with Russia are progressing in all directions. Our visit to Moscow [in December 2008] was very important. All the treaties that we signed were also important, just as the format of developing cooperation between Russia and Nicaragua was.”

As evidence of his commitment to regional integration, President Ortega will host the 17th forum of the narco-communist-terrorist Sao Paulo Forum in 2011, which is also the 50th anniversary of the founding of the FSLN and, as reported above, an election year in Nicaragua. With the blessings of the Argentine foreign minister, the 16th forum of the FSP converged in Buenos Aires in August. There Latin America and the Caribbean’s communists once again condemned the coup that ousted President Manual Zelaya, a slavish ally of Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, and reiterated its opposition to his US-backed successor, Porfirio Lobo.

As evidence of Ortega’s slavish devotion to the Moscow Leninists, Nicaragua’s Sandinista-controlled military has modernized the Soviet-built runway at Punta Huete, in expectation, it appears, of Russian strategic bombers that never arrived in the 1980s. Over the last four years high-level networking has occurred between Nicaraguan and Russian political and military officials, including an expression of interest from Moscow in assisting in Punta Huete’s renovation. Incidentally, two supersonic Tu-160 bombers touched down in Venezuela on September 10, 2008 in a post-cold War “first,” suggesting that the Russian Air Force’s next provocative appearance may take place in Nicaragua.

The fact that the Russians dispatched their largest combat aircraft to South America on the eve of 911’s seventh anniversary was not lost on your resident blogger. Vladimir Putin’s idol, Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet Cheka, was born on this date in 1877.

Joint Russian-Nicaraguan military exercises were also announced this past February, but nothing concrete has materialized to date. In late 2009 joint Nicaraguan-Venezuelan maneuvers were announced for May and June of this year, but these also failed to materialize. It is very likely that both neo-Soviet Russia and Communist Venezuela are waiting for Ortega to re-consolidate his hold on Nicaragua before (re)positioning military assets in Central America.

>Grey Terror File: Georgia sheriffs arrest 2 Russians, 1 Kazakh outside Georgia power plant, charge men with possessing tools for committing break-in

>– Federal Joint Terrorism Task Force Grills Suspects from Former Soviet Union, Releases Them on Grounds of Holding Valid Visas

Flashback: Maryland Police Detain Russian Diplomat after Man Spotted Photographing Waterfront LNG Terminal in August 2004

It has been a few years since we last posted in the Grey Terror File. The term originates from GRU defector Viktor Suvorov’s 1987 expose, Spetsnaz: The History behind the Soviet SAS. In this book this former officer of Soviet/Russian military intelligence envisions the Third World War beginning when a covert Spetsnaz unit targets the White House with an unmanned, bomb-laden aerial drone. This attack is actually the first of several “decapitation strikes” against the USA’s political-military elite before the Soviet Armed Forces unleash their ICBMs, ALCMs, and SLBMs against North America.

According to Suvorov, “grey terror” refers to terrorism committed by organizations that are not openly linked to the Soviet Union, such as Islamists or neo-Nazis. In the days or hours immediately before the Soviet Strategic Missile Forces go on alert, the Kremlin’s special forces carry out “pink terror” that is still not directly linked to Moscow. These acts include assassinating US and Western European political leaders, disrupting official communication links, and sewing unrest in the streets among militant leftist groups.

During the same period, if the Soviet strategists are convinced they can safely reveal their hand, their special forces will openly carry out terrorism in the name of communist revolution. This is called “red terror,” which characterized the early decades of the Bolshevik state and led to the horrific massacres of millions of “counter-revolutionaries,” such as chronicled by the monumental Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press, 1997). At our blog we post news story under the “Red Terror File” if we believe that a murder or bombing is somehow related to the Kremlin.

Along the “Grey Terror” theme, however, the local media in Effingham, Georgia has reported that on September 5 county sheriffs arrested two Russian nationals and one Kazakh national outside Georgia Power’s McIntosh Plant, near Springfield. On that day a ranger with the state Department of Natural Resources noticed a suspicious vehicle with three occupants near the facility. Deputies arrested Russian citizens Nail Idaiatullin and Rustem Ibragimov, and Evgeniy Luzhetskhy, a citizen of Kazakhstan, in Central Asia. In their 1995 Nissan Pathfinder were a machete, shovel, wire cutters, and ski masks. One suspect also had black silk stockings in a pocket.

Pictured above: Although a citizen of Kazakhstan, Luzhetskhy appears to be ethnic Russian in appearance, rather than Kazakh. There are about 4 million ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan.

Effingham County sheriffs charged the men with possession of tools relevant to the commission of a crime, specifically a break-in. They also reported the arrest to the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force, which interviewed the suspects from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) before releasing them. David Ehsanipoor, a spokesman for the Effingham County sheriff’s office, commented defensively: “They did all have visas that allowed them to be here [in the USA] and are supposed to be leaving the country soon.”

Maybe this is nothing more than a simple case of “copper theft.” On the other hand, perhaps these shifty characters from the FSU represent the tip of the iceberg with respect to the Kremlin’s fifth column in the USA. This is not the first time since the demise of the Soviet Union that Russian “visitors” have been involved in questionable activities on US soil.

In August 2004, a Russian national was questioned by local and federal authorities after a 911 caller became suspicious of the man, who was photographing a liquefied natural gas terminal in Calvert County, Maryland. Yevgeny V. Khorishko, press secretary for the Russian Federation Embassy in Washington, refused to provide the man’s name, but confirmed that he was a high-ranking diplomat on the embassy staff. Khorishko explained that his colleague declined to invoke diplomatic immunity to retain his camera, but opted instead to cooperate with US authorities.

One year prior to that, reports Michelle Malkin, Canadian authorities stopped two Russian nationals, dressed in military battle dress uniforms, as they attempted to enter the USA at an unguarded crossing approximately 20 miles south of Limestone, Maine. Limestone is the site of a Maine National Guard facility, from which a Humvee was stolen in June 2003. At the time Border Patrol agents apprehended a Russian illegal alien nearby. He had a valid New York State commercial driver’s license allowing him to transport hazardous materials and a pass that afforded him access to sea ports along the East Coast, including high-level security-bonded customs areas.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian, PLA, C. Asian troops in Kazakhstan for Peace Mission 2010 war game; N. Fleet “shows muscles” in Barents Sea

>– Red China’s Defense Minister Wraps Up Latin American Tour in Colombia and Brazil after Promoting Mil-Mil Cooperation with Mexico

– Chinese Troops in Mexico for Real: 36-Member People’s Liberation Army Honor Guard to Attend Mexico’s 200th Independence Day Celebration

On September 9, 5,000 troops from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) converged in the “former” Soviet republic of Kazakhstan to carry out the SCO’s seventh “anti-terrorist drill,” Peace Mission 2010. Founded nine years ago, the SCO includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and represents the Eurasian section of the Communist Bloc. In June Kazakhstan assumed the SCO’s rotating presidency.

Pictured above: Chen Bingde (right), chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, meets with Saken Zhasuzakov, first deputy defense minister and chief of the General Staff of the Kazakh Armed Forces, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on September 9.

Russia will contribute 1,000 troops; 130 tanks, self-propelled artillery systems, and infantry fighting vehicles; 100 trucks, and 10 aircraft, including Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers, Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft, and Mi-8 transport helicopters. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) will deploy 1,000 ground and airborne troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Liberation Army Air Force, as well as a logistical group. Host Kazakhstan, which recently completed the Steppe Eagle maneuver with the US Armed Forces, will contribute 1,000 troops, 120 tanks, 30 armored personnel carriers, and an assortment of armored fighting vehicles, planes, and helicopters. Each SCO member state is expected to contribute at least on operational-tactical group.

“The active stage of the exercise will take place on September 24. The defense ministers of the SCO member states will arrive at the Matybulak training range to watch the ‘joint anti-terrorist operation,’” the Kazakh Defense Ministry commented blandly, ignoring the obvious fact that the Peace Mission drills are nothing less than a preparation for war against NATO. The first Sino-Soviet Peace Mission war game took place in 2005. Two others so named followed in 2007 and 2009. In addition, as noted above, the SCO has conducted three other “anti-terrorist drills.”

In a related story, the Northern Fleet, the Russian Navy’s most powerful, is presently carrying out a “large-scale” maneuver in the Barents Sea, involving 4,000 sailors and submariners. Surface vessels include the missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov, destroyer Admiral Ushakov, anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, in addition to some submarines. The servicemen of the Northern Fleet practiced torpedo and missile launches, artillery shooting, submarine search and destroy missions, and downing enemy aviation. Prior to the drill, the Russian Navy shipped an S-300 anti-missile battery to Kildin Island. From this location the S-300 air defense system successfully shot down four cruise missiles launched by naval vessels.

State-run Novosti also reports that between September 3 and 6, the Russian and French navies conducted a joint exercise that included replenishment of supplies, ship-to-ship transfer of goods, and helicopter landings. The lead Russian vessel was the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, although the Kremlin report did not indicate where the Franco-Russian drill occurred, presumably somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean. In view of NATO member France’s willingness to participate in an international tender to sell/build four helicopter carrier/ amphibious assault ships for Russia, combined drills between the Russian and French militaries is not surprising.

Pictured here: On September 11 Red Chinese honor guard marches through streets of Mexico City in rehearsal of upcoming celebration of Mexico’s 200th year of independence.

Like “post”-communist Russia, which is seeking to reestablish Cold War-era ties with new and old leftist regimes in Latin America, the PRC is also moving rapidly into region with trade deals and arms packages. In a symbolic gesture that portends deeper bilateral military cooperation, Communist China has been invited to send a 36-person honor guard to attend September 15 celebrations in connection with Mexico’s 200th anniversary as an independent country.

The arrival of the PLA squad in Mexico follows an official four-day visit by Red China’s defense minister, Liang Guanglie. At this time Beijing and Mexico City pledged to promote “military cooperation,” which expressly included training exchanges for military officers and, later no doubt, an option for the Mexican government to buy Chinese weapons. The scenario of Sino-Mexican military exercises was not publicized, but the new Beijing-Mexico City Axis definitely opens the door to this possibility.

Afterward, with the same mission in mind, Liang flew to Bogota, where he met with Colombia’s new president, Juan Manuel Santos, formerly defense minister under the last center-right Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe. Liang commented on his tete-a-tete with Santos:

Ties between the two countries have been developing smoothly since diplomatic relations were established 30 years ago. China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties and would like to make joint efforts with Colombia to further boost the ties. Military ties, an important component of bilateral ties between China and Colombia, have been strengthened, with great achievements made in the fields of mutual visits and personnel training. China is willing to enhance its military ties with Colombia and expand bilateral military exchanges and cooperation.

President Santos replied that “the two countries should join hands to continuously explore the cooperative fields.” Liang also met with Santos’ defense minister, Rodrigo Rivera, who invited the Red Chinese official to Colombia. Rivera also agreed to promote military exchanges and cooperation.

For the last 45 years, Colombia has been wracked by a Moscow-backed communist insurgency that also fuels the Western Hemisphere’s drug wars. Liang’s promise to deepen bilateral military cooperation between the PRC and Colombia exposes the Communist Bloc’s scheme to subvert this South American ally of the USA into a web of entangling alliances.

Following his three-day stopover in Bogota, Liang proceeded to his final destination, Brazil. There he met with the official who invited him, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim. After conferring with Jobim and other high-ranking officials, Liang inspected some military bases. In a prepared speech that largely regurgitated his comments in Mexico and Colombia, Liang “offered his sincere greetings and good wishes to the Brazilian people and armed forces on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.” He continued:

The aim of this visit is to strengthen mutual understanding between the two armies, deepen friendship, promote cooperation, and explore more areas for cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries. China is keen to develop bilateral relations of the armies, to deepen military cooperation with the Brazilian side, to promote relations between the two countries, and devote our due contributions to safeguarding international and regional stability and safety.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s center-left government includes the Communist Party of Brazil. Twenty years ago Lula’s Workers’ Party, along with the Communist Party of Cuba, co-founded the subversive Sao Paulo Forum, which will next meet in a plenary session in Managua in 2011. In 2002, when Lula first ran for president, Communist Cuba illegally funneled US$3 million into the coffers of the Workers’ Party.

>Latin America File: Mexican narcistas kill 7th mayor this year in brazen day attack, target journalists; Maras massacre 18 factory workers in Honduras

>– Mexican Narco-State: CPJ Report Alleges Gulf Cartel Controls “Nearly Every Aspect of Local Government” in Reynosa, Border City of 500,000

The narco-insurgency in Mexico, now recognized as such by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, claimed new victims yesterday and today—in Mexico itself and in Honduras, a transshipment hub between FARC-occupied regions of Colombia and Communist Venezuela at one end and the USA at the other end. Pictured above: Mexican soldiers disable weapons seized from drug cartels.

On September 8, around 1:30 local time, four hooded gunmen, presumably working for one of the country’s powerful drug cartels, drove up to city hall in El Naranjo, a city in the central state of San Luis Potosi. As they entered the government building, two gunmen took up positions at the front entrance while the others found and shot Mayor Alexander Lopez Garcia in his office on the top storey. Lopez, who died on site, assumed office last October as a candidate for an alliance between the formerly long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and Ecologist Green Party. Embattled Mexican President Felipe Calderon once again condemned the “criminal and cowardly” assassination of a mayor, the seventh this year, and pledged to “continue working for the security of the citizens, with all the available resources of the state.”

In a separate incident yesterday, six police were killed in a clash with narcistas near the town of Padilla, in the northeast border state of Tamaulipas. This region has become the battleground for a bloody turf war between the Gulf cartel and their former enforcement squad, Los Zetas. The Mexican government also announced that marines arrested seven gunmen suspected of massacring 72 Central and South American migrants last month on orders of Los Zetas.

Earlier today, in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, four gunmen armed with assault rifles burst into a shoe factory, killing 18 workers. The city’s police chief, Hector Mejia, asserts that the attack was part of an “escalating dispute” between the rival gangs Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18, which together boast tens of thousands of members throughout Central America. “This area is considered a Mara 18 stronghold and the people inside [the factory] were close to the MS,” explained Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez. San Pedro Sula, which is about 100 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa, is an area where gangs are known to refine cocaine from South America before shipping it to the USA via Mexico.

In a related story, the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, released a report on September 8 stating that cartel gunmen have murdered at least 22 Mexican journalists since President Calderon declared war on the narcistas in 2006. At least eight of these reporters were killed because of their investigations into drug violence and official corruption. “Violence against the press has swept the nation and destroyed Mexicans’ right to freedom of expression,” lamented the CPJ report, adding: “This national crisis demands a full-scale federal response.” In the border city of Reynosa, in Tamaulipas state, the same report contends, the Gulf cartel “controls nearly every aspect of the local government, from law enforcement down to street vendor permits.”

>Latin America File: Explosions at Mexican refineries; narcistas kidnap Pemex workers, contractors; Clinton to CFR: "Drug war looks like insurgency"

>– Colombia’s Communist Guerrillas Shipping Cocaine to Mexico’s Beltran Leyva Cartel

On September 7 Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, acknowledged that its 235,000 barrel-a-day Cadereyta refinery outside the northeastern city of Monterrey was hit by an explosion, the second such incident at the company in the past six weeks. One person died and 10 were injured, two seriously. According to Pemex, a compressor blew up in a desulfurization unit at the plant. The refinery continues to operate.

The Cadereyta incident follows a similar explosion at a coking unit gasoline storage tank at the company’s Francisco I Madero refinery on the Gulf of Mexico on July 29. Pemex is building its first refinery in 30 years in the state of Hidalgo to keep up with rising gasoline demand as more Mexicans buy cars. Coincidentally or not, two offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico owned by US-based companies have also been hit by seemingly accidental explosions this year: British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon on April 20, and Mariner Energy’s Vermilion 380 oil and natural gas platform on September 1.

There is no reason to suspect at this time that Mexico’s powerful drug cartels were behind these particular Pemex refinery explosions. However, Mexico’s ability to finance counter-insurgency operations against the cartels is heavily dependent on the revenue generated by Pemex, which pulls in about one third of the government’s income. Not surprisingly, therefore, narcistas have previously targeted this symbol of the seven-decade reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

This past year alone cartel gunmen kidnapped five Pemex workers and 30 oilfield contractors, terrorizing production operations in Tamaulipas, where the Gigante No. 1 plant is located, as well as in Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. These states have become the site of a bloody turf war between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas. The latter consists of ex-special forces troops from both the Mexican and Guatemalan armies, who once provided muscle for the cartel but decided to go independent in early 2010.

“The traffickers are establishing it clearly,” commented Graco Ramirez, a member of the congressional energy committee, to the Los Angeles Times. Ramirez added: “You collaborate, or you die.” A relative of a kidnapped worker asked: “How is it that Pemex, supposedly the backbone of the nation, can be made to bow down like this?” The oil rig workers are still missing. In 2007 the Popular Revolutionary Army bombed several Pemex pipelines, but Mexico’s small Marxist guerrilla army has been quiet since then, apparently content to allow the drug traffickers to topple President Felipe Calderon’s “bourgeois regime.”

On September 8, while addressing the pro-communist globalist cabal known as the Council on Foreign Relations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yanked her head out of the sand and commented that the bloodshed and anarchy perpetrated by Mexico’s powerful drug cartels were “starting to look like an insurgency.” No kidding, Hillary. What a brilliant observation. The former First Lady of the USA and Arkansas offered the following unenthusiastic analysis:

These drug cartels are now showing more and more indices of insurgency. All of a sudden, car bombs show up, which weren’t there before. It’s looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago, where the narco-traffickers control certain parts of the country.

We are working very hard to assist the Mexicans in improving their law enforcement and their intelligence, their capacity to detain and prosecute those who they arrest.

Hillary’s speech, however, offered no assurances that Washington would help Mexico improve its “institutional capacity,” either by expanding or expediting limited US military aid, stalled in Congress since last year. This was the same prescription that Hillary wrote in March, when she showed up in Mexico City to rub elbows with counterpart Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa. Is the CFR clique in the Obama White House quietly hoping to push Mexico over the edge through studied neglect, thereby requiring a messy US or United Nations intervention in the near future?

That the Communist Bloc is facilitating the creation of a failed state in Mexico and the demise of the USA by supplying the drug cartels is by now well documented. On September 2 Colombia Reports exposed the connection between arrested Mexican drug lord Edgar (“La Barbie”) Valdez Villareal and Colombia’s communist guerrillas:

Following the capo’s arrest, Colombian authorities on Tuesday [August 31] arrested eleven people accused of shipping drugs from the FARC to La Barbie’s Beltran Leyva cartel. Among those detained was Julio Cesar Pina Soberanis, alias “Julio,” a Mexican believed to be La Barbie’s representative in Colombia.

Meanwhile, various news sites report that the lead investigator into the massacre of 72 migrants in northeastern Mexico, along with another police officer who disappeared during the probe, have turned up dead. The two vanished just days into the investigation into the biggest mass killing yet discovered in Mexico’s four-year drug war.

Five days ago, the Mexican Army announced that it had killed 27 suspected cartel gunmen in a clash near the US border. An army patrol came under fire as it approached an apparent training camp operated by Los Zetas near Ciudad Mier, in the state of Tamaulipas. Two soldiers were wounded in the fighting. In recent weeks, Tamaulipas has been the scene of major firefights between cartels competing for control of smuggling routes into the USA. The raid was ordered after a military plane spotted several gunmen in front of a building. Three people, all believed to be kidnap victims, were freed during the raid. Twenty-five rifles, four grenades, 4,200 rounds of ammunition, and 23 vehicles, including two painted to look like military vehicles, were also seized. In most cases, past sightings of putative Mexican Army vehicles on the northern side of the US-Mexican border have probably been driven by drug smugglers.

>Red Dawn Alert: Red China’s DM arrives in Mexico to promote military cooperation; 1st PLA unit arrives in Kazakhstan for Peace Mission 2010

>– 5,000 Communist Bloc Troops, Including 1,000 Russian Soldiers, to Participate in Fourth “Peace Mission” Anti-terrorist Drill (Anti-NATO War Game)

Since the late 1990s rumors have circulated that small numbers of Russian, Red Chinese, North Korean, and Cuban troops have been conducting reconnaissance operations south of the US-Mexican border. In 2003 journalist Scott Gulbransen endeavored to document these activities in Silent Invasion. In this work he contends that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been pumping arms through Hutchison-Whampoa-controlled Mexican ports like Ensanada and over the US-Mexican border with the complicity of corrupt US Border Patrol agents. The purpose of these covert shipments, suggests Jeff Nyquist, who reviewed Gulbransen’s book, could be to establish arms dumps in the Continental USA prior to a Red Dawn-style invasion.

Along this theme, a delegation from the People’s Republic of China recently visited Mexico City to attend a permanent bilateral commission tasked with advancing their strategic partnership, formed in 2003. With the arrival in Mexico of Red China’s defense minister Liang Guanglie, the Sino-Mexican partnership’s military component has been revealed. After meeting Mexican counterpart Guillermo Galvan Galvan on September 1, Liang summarized the intentions of the new Sino-Mexican military alliance:

Mexico is China’s good friend and partner in the Latin American region. China attaches great importance to developing ties with Mexico. China is willing to boost its military ties with Mexico and deepen bilateral military exchanges and cooperation in various fields. We are grateful for the Mexican government’s support to China on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet.

For his part, Mexican defense minister Galvan gushed: “China is a great country, and Mexico has high expectations for boosting military ties with China. The two sides can strengthen exchanges to expand military cooperation.” Liang also met Mexico’s Navy Minister, Mariano Francisco Sainez Mendoza, with whom he pledged to promote military exchanges and cooperation. Liang’s official visit to Mexico will last four days. He is pictured above, reviewing an honor guard at the defense ministry in Mexico City.

Nothing is specifically said in this article of joint Sino-Mexican military exercises, but this is a distinct possibility. Certainly, the quotes above from Xinhua indicate that the PLA and Mexican Armed Forces will exchange officers and troops for training, and that the PRC will probably sell weapons systems to Mexico. No doubt, the Mexican government would be very keen on procuring more firepower to combat the powerful (Russian Mafia-armed) drug cartels that are close to pushing the country into total anarchy. After all, the Obama White House has closed the door to further counter-narcotics military assistance to Mexico. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton–whose husband Bill is a possible SVR/KGB asset—and Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Mexico City where they conveyed this disappointing news to President Felipe Calderon.

When Mexico’s revolutionary constitution, with its many ideological influences including socialism, came into effect in early 1917, months before the Bolshevik Revolution, many Americans referred to “Soviet Mexico.” After 70 years in power, however, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which inherited the torch of the Mexican Revolution, became a mildly social democratic entity and the threat of a Communist Mexico evaporated. Now the PRI is seeking to regain the Mexican presidency from Calderon’s center-right National Action Party.

However, should communist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who enjoys the endorsement of Fidel Castro, and his hard-left Democratic Revolutionary Party reverse their 2006 defeat and win the 2012 general elections, Mexico’s absorption into the Communist Bloc would likely accelerate. In that case, Sino-Mexican military drills and/or United Nation-sanctioned Chinese “counter-insurgency” operations south of the US border could become very real scenarios. Last year, business leaders in the war-wracked Ciudad Juarez begged the UN to send peacekeepers to their city, which is just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Incidentally, the retooled version of the Cold War action film Red Dawn depicts a Communist Chinese invasion of the USA, with some help from America’s old nemesis, Russia. The movie is scheduled to hit the screens in November 2010. The original 1984 film depicted a Soviet-Cuban invasion, in which the invaders had to contend with a band of high school students who organized themselves into a guerrilla outfit called the Wolverines. Beijing’s sympathizers have already set up websites to express their displeasure with the new film, which is guaranteed to tarnish the PRC’s image as a reliable economic partner.

Meanwhile, the PLA has dispatched its first contingent of 107 troops to the “former” Soviet republic of Kazakhstan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Peace Mission 2010 “anti-terror drill.” This will be the fifth Sino-Russian military exercise, following the first, Peace Mission 2005, and three others, Peace Mission 2007, Peace Mission 2009, and Norak Antiterror 2009. The SCO not only includes Russia and Red China, but also Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Observer state Iran has applied for full membership. A total of 5,000 Communist Bloc troops, including 1,000 Russian soldiers and 130 tanks and armored vehicles, will participate in Peace Mission 2010, which runs from September 9 to 25. State-run Novosti reports: “The drills will test the interoperability of the SCO armed forces in rendering assistance to a member state involved in an internal armed conflict or subjected to a mass terrorist attack.”

Many geopolitical analysts perceive the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization as Eurasian counterweights to NATO. The SCO and CSTO are already committed to inter-bloc cooperation, but no one in the Pentagon appears to be alarmed by this new and improved Warsaw Pact Version 2.0, which preps for war against the West under the cover of “anti-terrorist” drills. Last month, for example, the US military thought nothing of participating in the Kazakh army’s annual Steppe Eagle war game. Kazakhstan is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.

Most people born after the contrived “collapse” of the Soviet Union and the communist regimes in Eastern Europe will have little awareness of the ongoing world communist threat. For example, last month I was talking to a 20-year-old, iPod-savvy individual about the Red Dawn remake. He had never heard of the original film. This is the ideological vacuum the West is facing today.

>Red Terror File: British tabloid: Murder of GCHQ officer linked to SVR ring in USA, celeb Russian spy “Red Anna”; Williams liaised with CIA, NSA

>The British tabloid Daily Star, citing a “high-level source,” alleges that murdered spy Gareth Williams was involved in a joint MI6-NSA counter-intelligence probe that busted a Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) ring in the USA back in June. Williams was employed by the United Kingdom’s signals intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), but was on secondment to the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) at the time of his disappearance after August 15. The Daily Star’s source alleges:

Mr. Williams’ work in America is forming part of the inquiry. We need to know what he was working on during his visits there. MI6 and CIA code crackers played a vital part in outing Chapman and the Russian spy ring. Any evidence he did play a part will be treated as a possible motive for his killing.

The way the SIM [phone] cards were found carefully placed next to the [Williams’ mobile] phone is of particular interest to detectives. Early indications are that it is some sort of message, someone saying, ‘I know who your contacts are and I’m coming for them.’

Williams is reported to have frequently travelled to the USA, where he liaised with counterparts in the National Security Agency. Conversely, admitted SVR agent Anna Vasil’evna Kushchenko (a.k.a. Anna Chapman) previously lived in the UK, before moving across the Atlantic Ocean with orders from the Kremlin to infiltrate Washington’s political decision-making clique and send information back to Moscow via Wi-Fi on a laptop computer. After the US Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Chapman and her comrades, they were deported in July.

Celebrity spy-socialite Chapman is known as “Red Anna” because of her red hair. However, two facts about this spy ring suggest another connotation for “red” that exposes the continuing Soviet deception strategy: 1) at least two SVR agents, Vicky Pelaez and her husband Mikhail Anatolyevich Vasenkov (a.k.a. Juan Lazaro), were outspoken pro-Castro, pro-Shining Path communists and 2) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an “ex”-KGB officer, admitted he sang “patriotic Soviet songs” with the spies after their repatriation during a superpower spy swap in Vienna, the first since 1986.

The CIA refuses to comment on the possibility that Williams was assassinated, but we believe this story has legs. For this reason, we will be following it closely and posting as circumstances permit.

>Red Terror File: GRU dep. head dies mysteriously in Syria, Turkish fishermen find body; UK espionage expert: Spy’s death "wet job" by Russian SVR

>Some time last month, reports the British media, the “badly decomposed” body of the deputy head of Russian military intelligence (GRU), Major-General Yuri Ivanov (aged 52), washed up on the Turkish coast after he disappeared in the Syrian coastal resort of Latakia. The Russian Armed Forces in-house newspaper, Red Star, did not report Ivanov’s death until August 28, when he was “quietly” buried in Moscow. According to the Kremlin, the GRU’s second-in-command was on holiday in Latakia at the time and perished in a “tragic swimming accident.”

Latakia, as it turns out, is only 50 miles from Tartus, the site of a Soviet/Russian naval facility, and relatively near the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which is the terminus for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. In South Ossetia, one of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Russian occupation troops are only a short distance from this pipeline. During Russia’s 2008 re-invasion of Georgia, the Russian Air Force tried to bomb the BTC pipeline. According to The Guardian, General Ivanov inspected the naval base at Tartus, before heading off for a visit with Syrian intelligence agents.

“Other reports,” state The Telegraph, suggest that Ivanov was on “official business” when he died. The British newspaper intimates that the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, may know something about Ivanov’s death: “The facility is Russia’s only foothold in the Mediterranean Sea, and Mossad . . . is known to be concerned that Moscow will use the upgraded facility as a base for spy ships and electronic espionage directed at the Middle East.” The Russian Defense Ministry, like its Soviet predecessor, is “overwhelmingly” pro-Arab.

In view of the Kremlin’s lengthy body count–which includes military and security service officers, politicians, bankers, journalists, dissidents, expatriates, subway riders, theater patrons, school children, and harmless apartment dwellers–we are not inclined to accept the official line promulgated by Moscow concerning Ivanov’s death. Still, we can only speculate concerning the source of his demise. If Ivanov was assassinated, we do not believe that a foreign intelligence agency, even the Mossad, would be bold enough to perpetrate such a deed. It is more probable that someone higher up in the Kremlin chain of command determined that Ivanov had outlived his usefulness to the Soviet deception strategy.

The refurbished Soviet naval base in Syria is not all the Israelis are worried about with respect to Moscow’s long-time strategic alliance with Damascus. According to Haaretz, last Friday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conversed with counterpart Vladmir Putin, at which time he urged Russia to scrap its promise to sell P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles to Damascus. The “highly accurate” Yakhont has a maximum range of 300 kilometers, can deliver a 200-kilogram warhead, and can elude radar by cruising several meters above the water, making it a dangerous threat to the Israeli Navy, including warships based in Haifa and Ashdod. During his telephone conversation with Putin, Netanyahu told the Russian leader that C-802 missiles the Kremlin sold to Syria were transferred to Hezbollah, which were then used against Israeli Defense Forces in the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

In a related story, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has scheduled an official visit to Moscow, which would be the first time any Israeli DM has ever traveled to Russia in a formal capacity. Barak will meet with Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov and presumably discuss Russia’s arm sales to Syria and Palestinians’ aspirations for an independent state.

Pictured here: Murdered British spy Gareth Williams’ flat in London.

Meanwhile, British investigators at the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Command are puzzling over another decomposing body, that of Gareth Williams, a reclusive math genius and avid cyclist who was employed by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Williams, a signals intelligence officer on secondment at the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), is believed to have returned from a foreign trip on August 11. He was last seen alive on August 15. Police found his decomposing body padlocked in a sports bag in his bathroom eight days later. Pathologists have yet to determine the method by which Williams was killed. Early published reports alleging that the Welsh-born spy was stabbed or dismembered have been officially denied.

William’s upscale apartment was located near MI6 headquarters in London and, intriguingly, is owned by a Russian company, New Rodina, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands. In a previous post we reproduced part of a deleted post from a Slovenian blogger alleging that a communist agent from that former Yugoslav republic was involved in Williams’ death. We have been unable to confirm this allegation from separate sources, nor have we been able to retrieve the full post at the Polonika blog.

Although British tabloids have published sensational stories purporting to document Williams’ “kinky sex life” and rumors that his death could have the result of a “sex game gone wrong,” one of the UK’s leading espionage experts believes the spy was a victim of the Russian or Iranian foreign intelligence service. When this story broke on August 23, this was precisely our line of thought. Now Professor Anthony Glees, director of Buckingham University’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, is calling upon Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to issue an official statement concerning Williams’ murder. Glees’ comments follow:

To me it smacks of a very professional killing job and that means the Russian security service—they’ve murdered people in London before [such as Alexander Litvinenko in 2006]—or conceivably the Iranians. It looks more and more like an intelligence killing—what people call a “wet job,” meaning intelligence officers have murdered somebody and blood has flown. Mr. Williams may have been blackmailed into passing on secrets to a hostile intelligence service which wanted to leave no trace of any links back to its organization.

Glees questions why police took so long to find Williams’ body. Normally, MI6 makes a home visit to any agent who fails to report to work for even one day without explanation. Glees adds: “They don’t appear to have come round to see this chap. Why not? We can only speculate. If they had been frantically looking for him, they would have found him. Until we’re told, people will continue to speculate and that in itself undermines national security and that’s why the Government must now explain what they know about this person and why his body was not discovered for two weeks. That, to me, is a really chilling fact.”

Investigative reporter Gordon Thomas, who has for nearly 40 years written many non-fiction books on international intrigue, including Inside British Intelligence: 100 Years of MI5 and MI6, points out that “Mr. Williams’ mathematical brain made him a vital tool in the fight against terrorism and cyber-warfare. The security services have played down his role so as not to alarm the world over his importance to anyone involved in this matter.”

>Latin America File: Los Zetas firebomb Cancun nightclub, kill 8 nationals; follows Aug. 22 grenade attack on Puerto Vallarta bar

>– Mexican Government Sacks 3,200 Police on Corruption and Incompetence Charges, Disciplines More than 1,000 for Dubious Loyalties

– Nuevo Leon State Attorney General: Seven Police Arrested in Murder of Santiago Mayor, Several Worked for Narco-Mercenaries as Lookouts

– Tamaulipas Morgue Where Bodies of Massacred Migrants Transported Bombed on August 28

– Washington to Deploy Total of 6 Aerial Surveillance Drones along US-Mexican Border

The drug cartels are out of control in Mexico, especially in the states bordering the USA. On August 31 New York Daily News journalist Helen Kennedy opined: “The Mexican government appears to be losing the war against the cartels, who are also fighting each other over the $25 billion-a-year cocaine smuggling business.”

In an escalation of tactics, on Tuesday narcistas firebombed a bar in Cancun, killing six women and two men. Shortly after 1 am gunmen pulled up to the Castillo de Mar in two vehicles and burst into the nightclub with long guns, herding patrons into a section of the bar with no exits as they tossed Molotov cocktails about the premises. The bar owner was not apparently one of the victims, but Mexican newspaper El Universal reports that he refused to cough up US$40,000 to extortionists from the Los Zetas cartel several weeks ago.

Castillo de Mar is several miles from those areas most frequented by visitors in the tourist mecca. Moreover, no foreigners were killed or hurt. Still this incident will likely force tourists to reconsider Cancun as their next resort destination.

In May federal police arrested Cancun Mayor Gregorio Sanchez for money laundering and links to the drug cartels. A past candidate of the center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party, Sanchez also has shady relations with “ex”-members of the Cuban military and security apparatus. In 2009 a former soldier of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba on the municipal payroll assassinated the federal government’s counter-narcotics chief for Cancun.

Narcistas have also targeted rivals and law enforcement in other resort cities, like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast, but have not specifically singled out tourists. On August 22 at least 15 patrons were injured, some seriously, when someone threw a grenade into a crowded bar in Puerto Vallarta. Four of the injured people lost limbs in the midnight attack. In March two US citizens and a third victim connected to the consulate in Ciudad Juarez were gunned down in that city. Jesus Ernesto Chavez, an enforcer for the Juarez cartel who was arrested in July, alleges that he ordered the murder of Lesley Enriquez to thwart the plans of a rival cartel that had infiltrated the US consulate in order to secure visas.

This past Sunday in Tamaulipas, another border state, narcistas gunned down their sixth mayor in eight months and their second in one month, Marco Antonio Leal Garcia, mayor of Hidalgo. Leal was driving a truck on his property when assassins ambushed him, pumping 27 bullets into his body, and injuring his 10-year-old daughter, who was also riding in the vehicle. Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who initiated the federal government’s war against the drug cartels in 2006, and the state governor denounced the murder.

Last week, in the same state an Ecuadorean migrant led Mexican naval personnel to the site of 72 murdered migrants from other countries in Latin America. Los Zetas is suspected of the massacre. Shockingly, this past Saturday the morgue where those bodies were transported was bombed, presumably also by the narco-mercenary army that once provided muscle for the Gulf cartel.

Mexican authorities also believe that Los Zetas was responsible for kidnapping and murdering another official in the state of Nuevo Leon in August, Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of Santiago. Nuevo Leon state Attorney General Alejandro Garza y Garza acknowledged that several of the seven police officers arrested in the killing of Cavazos admitted they worked for Los Zetas as lookouts.

In a related story, n Monday Mexico’s federal government announced that it had sacked 3,200 police on charges of corruption and incompetence and intended to discipline 1,020 more on grounds of dubious loyalties. When superiors asked the latter group whether it was permissible according to the law for police to accept a bribe, they were unable to provide the right answer: No. The 3,200 officers who lost their jobs represent 10 percent of the Federal Preventive Police.

Finally, earlier this week the US Department of Homeland Security announced that a new Predator aerial surveillance drone will begin patrolling the Texas-Mexican border on September 1, with two more drones deployed along the same stretch of border in 2011. Presently, Customs and Border Protection operates three Predators (pictured above) along the international border between El Centro, California and the Big Bend region of West Texas. The three new Predators will be stationed out of Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi. In addition, the Government of Texas will deploy 250 National Guard troops along the Mexican border.

These deployments are part of the Southwest Border Initiative launched in March 2009 by the DHS to assist the US Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in apprehending illegal immigrants and drug and human smugglers. While they are probably not enough to completely halt the illegal alien invasion or crush the Mexican drug cartels’ US-based operations, it’s certainly better than nothing.

>WW4 File: Russian attack subs lurking outside UK naval base, recording "acoustic signature" of Vanguard SSBNs for potential torpedoeing

>– Senior Royal Navy Commanders:

1) Trafalgar Hunter-Killer Subs Escorting SSBNs to Counter Russian Akulas, Protect UK’s Nuclear Deterrent

2) Russian Sub Movements in North Atlantic Highest Since 1987

3) Russian Subs Also Tracking US and French Submarines

In yet one more proof that the Cold War never really ended, the British media has learned that Russian Akula-class attack submarines have in the last six months been caught trying to record the acoustic signature of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard ballistic subs (pictured above), which carry Trident nuclear missiles. Furthermore, according to the Daily Telegraph, which cites “senior Navy officers,” British submariners in the North Atlantic Ocean report that they are experiencing the highest number of “contacts” with Russian subs since 1987.

“If the Russians are able to obtain a recording of the unique noise of the boat’s propellers,” explains the news site, “it would have serious implications for Britain’s nuclear deterrent.” The Daily Telegraph adds: “Using its sophisticated sonar, the Akula would be able to track Vanguards and potentially sink them before they could launch their Trident D4 missiles.”

Russian subs are reportedly lurking off the coast of Faslane, Scotland, where the British nuclear force is based. There they wait for Trident-carrying Vanguards to emerge for their three-month patrol to provide the United Kingdom’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent. The Daily Telegraph continues:

While patrolling in the North Atlantic, there are a limited number of places the Vanguard is permitted to go and it is thought that the Akula attempted to track it on several occasions. Navy commanders are understood to have ordered a Trafalgar-class hunter-killer submarine to protect the Vanguard. A recording of the Akula was made by the Trafalgar submarine’s sonar operators and has been played to The Daily Telegraph.

“The Russians have been playing games with us, the Americans and French in the North Atlantic,” a senior Navy commander stated, adding: “We have put a lot of resources into protecting Trident because we cannot afford by any stretch to let the Russians learn the acoustic profile of one of our bombers [SSBNs] as that would compromise the deterrent.”

Is there any connection between the mysterious murder this month of British signals intelligence officer Gareth Williams, who may have been rubbed out by a Slovenian communist, and the new “Hunt for Red October” in the North Atlantic? We may never know until Missile Day, which appears to be looming on the horizon if the Kremlin’s purchase of inflatable decoy aircraft, missiles, and tanks is any indication.

>Red Terror File: British GCHQ officer, MI6 secondment found dead in his upscale London flat; Slovenian blogger: “Communist involved in death of spy”

>– Spy’s Apartment Presumed MI6 “Safe House,” Owned by Russian Company Registered in British Virgin Islands

Scotland Yard is investigating the murder of a British spy who apparently died up to two weeks ago. The decomposing body of Gareth Williams, reports the Daily Mail, was found in a large sports bag in his bathroom. Williams rented an upscale, two-storey apartment only a few hundred yards from the headquarters of MI6, the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service. His flat is believed to be an MI6 “safe house,” one of several in the area.

Williams’ mobile phone and a collection of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards were carefully spread out on a table. Police believe Williams was murdered on site, and possibly by someone he knew since there were no signs of forced entry.

The Welsh-born, 31-year-old Williams was an employee of the British government’s signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Gloustershire. The cipher and codes specialist was on secondment to MI6 at the time of his disappearance and death. A mathematics genius, according to a family friend, Williams studied at Cambridge University. He was an avid cyclist, but a loner. Williams’ neighbors, many of whom are bankers and politicians, are horrified by his demise. Tellingly, details of the murder investigation have been forwarded to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The British Foreign Office is saying little: “There is an ongoing police investigation. It is a long-standing Government policy not to confirm or deny that any individual works for the intelligence agencies.” Patrick Mercer, former chairman of the House of Commons Counter-terrorism Subcommittee, admonished: “This underlines the danger that our outstanding security services have to face on a minute-by-minute basis every single day.”

MI6 fears that “Britain’s enemies” could have stolen classified material from Williams’ laptop computer or MP3 player. “Whether he was killed by Islamic extremists, Russian gangsters or someone altogether closer to him, MI6 operative Dr. Gareth Williams died a spook’s death,” ponders the Daily Mail in another article.

According to the British tabloids Williams was a homosexual and transvestite which, if true, would make him a prime target for blackmail and manipulation by foreign intelligence services, especially the Russian SVR. Williams allegedly had a “close friendship” with former GCHQ colleague Raphael L’hoste-Morton, but Raphael denies this.

The last spy to have perished on British soil was former Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. He was poisoned by radioactive polonium-210. British authorities suspect that former colleague Andrei Lugovoi, now a deputy in the Russian State Duma, perpetrated Litvinenko’s death. Prior to Litvinenko, Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was killed by a communist agent who used an umbrella to fire a ricin pellet into his leg as he crossed Waterloo Bridge in September 1978.

Upon learning of Williams’ demise, we immediately speculated that the Not-So-Former Communist Bloc was somehow involved. We have no hard leads, except the following tantalizing morsels.

First, Land Registry documents reveal that the building in which Williams lived is owned by a private company called New Rodina. This company is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), not the UK proper. Someone purchased the property for 675,250 pounds (US$1 million) in 2000 with a mortgage from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and remortgaged the property in 2005 and 2006. New Rodina’s owner operated through a law firm called Park Nelson, which once occupied a rented office in Bell Yard, off Fleet Street, but no longer appears to exist. The word “rodina,” we should highlight, means “motherland” in Russian and Bulgarian. The BVI, incidentally, is a known haunt of the Russian mafia.

Second, on August 26 a blogger at the Slovenian website Polonika attributed Williams’ death to a communist agent from his own country. The post was deleted the same day. The only information that can be obtained is from the post’s title, which search engines can still locate. According to this unknown individual “[A] communist from Slovenia [is] involved into [sic] the death of spy Gareth Williams. He [that is, Williams] was researching mind control, prostitution, and kidnapping (because Slovenia is [a] Russian satellite).”

Until 1991 Slovenia was part of Communist Yugoslavia. Slovenia’s prime minister, Borut Pahor, is an “ex”-communist. In June 2010 Pahor attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

That a Russian company, possibly a front for the SVR, owns property near MI6 headquarters, probably for the purpose of snooping, is not surprising. That MI6 would rent an apartment from an offshore-registered Russian company to be used as a “safe house” is surprising. Actually, it’s unbelievably stupid. Former MI6 officer Harry Ferguson told the Daily Mail: “There are lots of flats in this area owned by MI6 and their big worry will be that a terrorist group or intelligence group was involved.” Williams’ flat could very well have been bugged before MI6 made the first rental payment.

That the SVR, moreover, might lure Williams into a compromising relationship with a Russian agent, especially a male agent if Williams was indeed a homosexual, is not surprising either. “Another possibility is that he was the victim of a dangerous sex game gone wrong,” muses the Daily Mail. Any standard history of the Soviet/Russian secret services will confirm that “dangerous sex games” are useful tools for entrapping Western agents. From Russia with love?

>Latin America File: Cuba-Venezuela “economic union,” Salvadoran pres. heads for Havana, Nicaragua busts Gulf Cartel cell; gunmen kill Mexican mayor

>– Moscow Praises Resumption of Colombian-Venezuelan Diplomatic Relations, Second Restoration since March 2008 Andean Crisis

– Silent Invasion: Fourth Sino-Mexican Summit in Mexico City Advances Strategic Partnership Established in 2003

– Argentine Foreign Minister Welcomes Narco-Communist-Terrorist Sao Paulo Forum to Buenos Aires

Pictured above: On July 26, 2010 Cuban President Raul Castro (center) salutes during a ceremony at Che Guevara Revolution Square in Santa Clara, during the 57th anniversary of the Moncada Barracks attacks, which marked the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. From left to right: Cuba’s Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Venezuela’s Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez, Castro, Venezuela’s Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, and Cuba’s Revolution Commander Ramiro Valdez.

Valdez is also Havana’s pointman in allied communist states like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Earlier this year he was appointed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to head a government commission to fix that country’s energy crisis.

During the last week of July Cuban and Venezuelan officials met in Cayo Santa Maria, a city in northeastern Cuba, where they signed 139 bilateral cooperation agreements designed to advance “economic union” between the two communist states. In 2007 then Cuban President Fidel Castro and his disciple, Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, spoke of uniting their countries in a federation. At the time Fidel’s younger brother Raul, who is now president, referred ominously to “Venecuba.”

Raul hosted last month’s Cuban-Venezuelan summit. Leading the Venezuelan delegation were vice presidents Ricardo Cabrisas and Rafael Ramirez, who is also boss of the state-run PDVSA oil company. Chavez did not attend the summit, claiming that he feared an impending Colombian military raid on his country. He pointed to the imposing presence of 46 US warships with 7,000 Marines off the coast of Costa Rica, ostensibly to help San Jose interdict drug shipments, as proof of Washington’s ill intent and collaboration with Bogota.

Cuba’s communist-controlled media assessed the Cuban-Venezuelan summit in the following fashion: “The Cuba-Venezuela Economic Union represents an important contribution to the increasing process of integration and further strengthening of the bilateral links, based on the principles of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America [ALBA].” Some sources estimate that there are as many as 60,000 Cuban agents in Venezuela, many holding important posts in the military and intelligence structures. At least 30,000 Cuban medical doctors and teachers are known to plying their trade in the South American country.

El Salvador’s president, Mauricio Funes, is slated to visit Cuba during the first week of September. This is the first time in nearly 50 years that a Salvadoran head of state has made an official visit to the communist island. El Salvador, under the government of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), restored diplomatic relations with Cuba shortly after the ex-guerrillas came peacefully to power in 2009. At that time, the Salvadoran vice president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the FMLN’s former battlefield commander and a “doctrinaire Leninist” who praised the 911 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC, dutifully put in an appearance in Havana. Although touted as a “moderate,” former CNN Espanol correspondent Funes will now make his own pilgrimage to worship at the feet of Raul and Fidel Castro.

The FMLN has been slow to communize El Salvador and integrate the drug war-wracked country into the ALBA bloc of socialist states. Many Salvadorans believe that Sanchez is the real ruler of El Salvador and expect this past ally of the Soviet Union and Communist Cuba to “ease” Funes, who was not a combatant in the 1980s Salvadoran Civil War, out of office with a bullet to the head. The FMLN is closely allied with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua. During the 1980s the first Sandinista regime supplied arms to the FMLN, which was then seeking to topple a series of US-backed rightist governments. More recently, since 2006 FMLNistas have been accused of infiltrating operatives into Nicaragua to help the Sandinistas intimidate the opposition during street confrontations.

Both the FMLN and FSLN are opposed to re-admitting Honduras into the Organization of American States after a military-backed parliamentary coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya, a slavish pawn of Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez, in June 2009. His ouster was the first coup d’etat in Latin America since the end of the Cold War. Last January 2010 the FMLN went so far as to brand Honduras’ post-coup president Roberto Micheletti, then visiting business leaders in San Salvador, persona non grata.

During Zelaya’s four-year presidency, Honduras became a new hub in the international narcotics trade. Drug planes from Venezuela, the region’s biggest transshipment point, landed on a regular basis on Honduran highways and remote jungle landing strips. High-ranking officers in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Intelligence Service and the National Guard are accused of facilitating the flow of Colombian cocaine northward to the USA and eastward, across the Atlantic Ocean, to West Africa, where Al Qaeda operatives allegedly smuggle the stuff into the European Union.

During the 1980s Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his Maoist interior minister, Tomas Borge, now ambassador to Peru, provided safe haven to the Medellin Cartel’s Pablo Escobar, thereby facilitating Moscow’s “red cocaine” plot against the USA. Ortega’s current involvement in the narcotics trade extends to the provision of safe haven for suspected agents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which supplies 90 percent of the cocaine sold on US streets.

At the same time, the Sandinistas endeavor to obscure their complicity by carrying out high-profile drug busts, such as the arrest of three suspected members of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel in Nicaragua. According to National Police spokesperson Vilma Reyes, Carlos Alberto Gonzalez Pena was in charge of the cartel’s Nicaraguan cell. Along with Gonzalez, brothers Rony and Carlos Olivas Zavala were arrested. According to Nicaraguan authorities, the Gulf Cartel cell received orders from Juan Cordoba, Manuel Lopez, and Danilo Lopez, all three of whom are based in Guatemala and who are, in turn, supervised by an unidentified Honduran.

According to Nicaraguan Police legal affairs director Glenda Zavala, “The Gulf cartel cell was trying to organize a logistics network for smuggling drugs in Nicaragua. The suspects modified trucks and other vehicles, adding secret compartments used to smuggle drugs across international borders.” Another Gulf Cartel cell leader busted by Nicaraguan authorities in recent weeks was Gerardo Lazo Serrano.

Meanwhile, Colombia’ right-wing government, recently re-elected under the leadership of a new president, Juan Manuel Santos, outgoing president Alvaro Uribe’s former defense minister, remains a pariah among the region’s predominantly left-wing regimes.

In late June, for example, Ecuador’s socialist president, Rafael Correa, accused Colombia’s DAS spy agency of using a “mobile platform” in Quito to tap his telephone and those of his highest officials. Although Quito and Bogota recently patched up relations, severed in 2008 after Colombian security forces raided a FARC jungle camp in Ecuador, Correa complained to Sonorama radio: “We would have to again break off diplomatic relations with Colombia if they have been spying on the president of Ecuador [himself] and the Ecuadorian government, on our high officials . . . as the report states.” He also alleged: “Officials of the Ecuadorean consulate in Colombia have been bought and paid for with the full knowledge of Uribe and Santos.” Correa cited an article published in the Quito daily El Universo for substantiation.

In late July Nicaragua’s Sandinista president threatened to attack Colombia militarily if Bogota grants oil concessions to private companies in disputed waters around the islands of San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. In 2001 the International Court of Justice recognized Colombia’s claim to these islands, which are a popular resort destination, but made no decision regarding ownership of the surrounding waters. Ortega first pressed Nicaragua’s claims on this island group during his first dictatorship.

The Soviet strategists are not only supplying arms to FARC via Russian Mafia cells in Ecuador, but also are anxious to woo the Colombians into the Communist Bloc by peaceful deception, if possible. Last week, Moscow indicated that it was pleased with the resumption of diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela, whose President Chavez is a slavish ally of Russia, for the second time since the March 2008 Andean Crisis. A press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry stated:

Russia has received with satisfaction the news about reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Colombia. We are convinced that this will help build relations between Caracas and Bogota in the spirit of good neighborhood and taking into account mutual concerns, as well as reinforcing peace and stability in Latin America, with which Russia actively increases its engagement.

In August 2009 Chavez “froze” relations with Bogota over the planned deployment of US counter-narcotics troops in Colombia, rumbling that Washington was preparing to invade Venezuela, and over the Colombian government’s accusations that Chavez was providing FARC with safe haven on Venezuelan soil.

The bloody trail of drug violence in the Western Hemisphere extends from the 45-year-old civil war raging in Colombia to the piles of decapitated, butchered bodies of rival narcistas, soldiers, police, and civilians in northern Mexico. On August 16 BBC News reported that the mayor of Santiago, a suburb of the prosperous metropolis of Monterrey, was kidnapped. On Sunday night, 15 gunmen stormed the residence of Edelmiro Cavazos after the mayor returned from a public function in the city’s main square. State governor Rodrigo Medina believes that Cavazos may have been targeted because of his determination to eradicate police corruption. On Wednesday, Cavazos’ body was found by the side of a highway.

This past weekend, Monterrey itself was the scene of several violence incidents, including the blockading of 13 major streets by drug gangs on Saturday and the detonation of an explosive device outside the studios of Mexico’s largest television network, Televisa, on Sunday. This past March narcistas set up road blocks throughout Monterrey in an effort to thwart the counter-insurgency operations of the Mexican Army. The trail of “red cocaine” does not stop at the US-Mexican border, as we have blogged before, but actually ends in the streets of Los Angeles, where Los Zetas recruits former California inmates for assassination training in Mexico.

Into the mess which is the Mexican narco-state steps the ruling Communist Party of China, which first used opium addiction as a means to destroy the enemies of proletarian revolution. On July 29 and 30 the foreign ministers of both countries, Patricia Espinosa and Yang Jiechi, met in Mexico City for the Fourth Meeting of the Permanent Binational Commission. The Sino-Mexican strategic partnership was formed in 2003. Since then three bilateral meetings have already taken place: two in Beijing, in August 2004 and July 2008, and one in Mexico, in May 2006. More than 150 Mexican and Red Chinese officials will attend the current summit, where they will discuss bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, commercial, scientific, technological, cultural, and education fields. The Permanent Binational Commission will adopt a Joint Action Program for the 2011-2015 timeframe, establishing concrete goals to advance Sino-Mexican cooperation.

In 2003 investigative reporter Scott Gulbransen published a book called Silent Invasion, in which he endeavored to document the presence in Mexico of military reconnaissance units from Red China, Russia, Cuba, and North Korea. It is a known fact that the Russian Mafia, which is little more than a front for the GRU/SVR, is supplying arms to the drug cartels. It is also a known fact that Hutchison-Whamphoa, which is owned by Hong Kong shipping magnate Li Ka-shing, a close ally of the communist hierarchy in Beijing, operates container port facilities at four locations in Mexico: Ensenada, Manzanillo, and Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific Coast, and Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. Gulbransen contends that the PRC has been pumping arms and military equipment into Mexico via the port of Ensenada, as well as across the border into the USA, with the complicity of corrupt US Border Patrol officials.

Both Jeff Nyquist and Ryan Mauro have interviewed Gulbransen. Nyquist cautiously assesses Gulbransen’s evidence and concludes that Red China may be establishing ammunition dumps in the Continental USA ahead of an invasion, ala the 2010 remake of Red Dawn. The Communist Chinese, as the linked website reveals, are not happy about the re-tooled version of John Milnius’ Cold War-era film, which originally depicted a Soviet-Cuban invasion of the USA.

The ruling and non-ruling leftist parties and insurgent armies of Latin America and the Caribbean coordinate hemispheric revolution through the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP), founded in 1990 by the Brazilian Workers’ Party, the party of Brazilian President Lula da Silva. The FSP holds a plenary summit nearly every year, while committees sometimes meet several times yearly.

On August 17, 200 delegates converged in Buenos Aires to hold the FSP’s 16th summit. In the Argentine capital this collection of communists, socialists, and past and current terrorists was welcomed by President Cristina Kirchner’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman, at the Palace of San Martin. There the FSP, which includes the Communist Party of Cuba, praised “Commander Fidel Castro” for his role in establishing a communist beachhead 90 miles from the shores of the USA. “The triumph of the Cuban Revolution through a genuine popular struggle led by Commander Fidel Castro was a decisive landmark in the history of Latin America,” read the text of an FSP communiqué.

>Latin America File: Fidel Castro rejects legitimacy of Calderon, lauds Obrador; ex-Contra leader prepares to launch new insurgency against Sandinistas

>– Mexican Leftist Leader Overlooks 2006 Electoral Failure, Thanks Retired Cuban Dictator for Endorsement, Praises Communist Luminaries, Predicts 2012 Victory

Pictured here: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presents his candidacy in Mexico City on July 25, 2010.

We’re back from a two-week vacation. Communists, however, never go on vacation, so our work here continues.

“Fidel Castro’s article in support of the runner-up in Mexico’s 2006 presidential election,” reports Novosti, “threatens to revive diplomatic tensions between Cuba and Mexico.” According to the Kremlin media, Mexican political analysts believe that the candor of Cuba’s retired dictator may again delay the visit of the President Felipe Calderon to Havana, slated to take place by the end of this year. In a recent Reflections column, which is published in various state-controlled media outlets, the 84-year-old Castro casts doubt on the political legitimacy of Calderon, who bested far left rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) by only 0.57 percent in a run-off vote.

“Obrador went to the polls and defeated the candidate nominated by the National Action Party, but the [U.S.] empire did not allow him to take office,” Fidel complained. On August 14 an indignant Mexican Foreign Ministry repudiated Fidel’s comments: “The Mexican government denies statements by ex-president Fidel Castro, in which he questions the legitimacy of the incumbent leadership and the choice… made by the people.”

Since 2006 AMLO has in fact styled himself as the “Legitimate President of Mexico,” a title recognized only by his most slavish followers in the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). Obrador has declared his intention to run again for the presidency in 2012. The PRD was organized in 1989 through a merger of the Mexican Communist Party, Unified Socialist Party of Mexico, Mexican Socialist Party, and Mexican Workers’ Party. The party holds 127 of 500 seats in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, and 26 out of 128 seats in the Senate, and controls five state governments. Obrador stepped down as PRD president in 2008 but maintains links to the organization.

AMLO was not shy in expressing his pleasure with Castro’s endorsement. While launching his new book The Mafia that Took Over Mexico…and the Year 2012 (“La mafia que se adueñó de Mexico…y el 2012”) in his hometown of Tabasco, the former president of Mexico’s Federal District read a communiqué that referred to Fidel’s “distinguished” position among great communists of the past. “I thank the comments and opinions of a distinguished personality like Fidel Castro,” gushed Obrador, adding: “He is undoubtedly one of the most important leaders of the world of our times, as well as others like Ghandi, Charles de Gaulle, Martin Luther King [US pro-communist], Ho Chi Minh [Vietnamese communist], Salvador Allende [Chilean communist], and our beloved Nelson Mandela [South African communist].”

AMLO also made a plug for his book, which “aims at letting the world know the bitter reality that characterizes Mexico today, controlled by rapacious oligarchic groups that have imposed a policy of pillage over national interests and the people’s well-being.” In his speech, Obrador predicted that he will oust Calderon’s center-right Panistas in 2012: “Those who stole the election from us thought that we could not stand up again, but they were wrong.”

Some observers of Latin American politics suspect that Communist Venezuela is discreetly financing and radicalizing the PRD via “Bolivarian” cells in Mexico. It is a documented fact that current agents of Cuba’s Intelligence Directorate and “ex”-employees of Cuba’s Interior Ministry and “ex”-soldiers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba are active in Mexico. The Cuban embassy in Mexico City has long served as a strategic base of operations to infiltrate spies into the USA. Moreover, in 2007 with little fanfare Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, travelled to Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico, where he reportedly met with Obrador.

Further south, Gabriel Jose Garmendia, a former Contra rebel who fought the first Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) regime in the 1980s, has declared that he is preparing to launch another uprising against President Daniel Ortega. Long-time KGB asset Ortega is widely believed to be seeking a third term in 2011. Last year, in a legally dubious ruling, the Nicaraguan Supreme Court overturned a constitutional ban against presidential term limits. Garmendia did not provide details of his planned insurrection in his August 4 interview with Managua’s El Nuevo Diario.

Since his re-inauguration in January 2007 Ortega has shut down opposition media through street-level intimidation and corporate buy-outs financed by red buddy Hugo Chavez, dispatched FSLN cadres to break up meetings of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) and other opposition politicians, and cozied up to Cold War-era ally Russia by promising joint military exercises in Central America. Earlier this year the Nicaraguan military modernized the never-used Soviet-built air base at Punta Huete, a facility that can accommodate Russian strategic bombers, which have since 2008 again made their appearance in the skies over the Caribbean Sea.

At the same time, the Sandinista-controlled Nicaraguan National Army is denying reports that the Contras are re-arming under the banner of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force. “The war has ended; there are no conditions for armed groups to operate here,” huffed General Julio Cesar Aviles. Garmendia apparently travels under the nom de guerre “Comandante Yahob.” Last month Aviles referred to Yahob as a “common criminal,” but admitted that the former Contra special forces commander is seeking to establish contacts with other “delinquent groups” in Honduras.

On July 25 former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo “Fatso” Aleman asserted that he and his family were the targets of a failed assassination in the southern department of Rio San Juan, near the Costa Rican border. According to a PLC press release, masked Sandinista thugs attacked a campaign convoy consisting of Aleman, members of his family, local mayors, and party officials. The opposition convoy was forced to retreat to the center of San Miguelito, a town in Rio San Juan.

Aleman likened the ambush to another incident that took place 14 years ago, when FSLN cadres attacked another PLC campaign caravan. During the 1996 incident one person was killed by an AK-47-toting Sandinista. Aleman, who is internationally regarded as one of the world’s most corrupt politicians and who did not hesitate to enter a sordid power-sharing arrangement with Ortega in 2000, declared his presidential candidacy on July 11. The government of President Ortega refused to comment on Aleman’s allegations.

Meanwhile, on August 12 Nicaragua’s constitutional crisis deepened as Supreme Court justices who support Ortega selected seven lawyers from the FSLN to replace opposition judges who have boycotted court sessions over the last 10 months. The legitimacy of the Sandinista-friendly justices is itself contested by Nicaragua’s opposition parties. The National Assembly, which is also in a state of political deadlock, has been unable to appoint replacements for 22 government officials whose terms have expired. Ortega has extended their tenures by presidential decree. Neither the FSLN nor PLC controls enough seats in the National Assembly to end the deadlock.

Just when you thought Ronald Reagan and Oliver North made Central America safe for democracy, communist sharks are once again seeking blood 20 years later.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Canadian fighter jets repel Russian bombers near Labrador coast, Ottawa’s DM: Moscow gave no advance notice

>This past Wednesday Canadian fighter jets repelled two Russian strategic bombers near the coast of Labrador. “The response as always was a rapid, effective deterrent,” explained Canada’s Defence Minister Peter MacKay, adding: “They were in the buffer zone. They did not give us any advance notice. We certainly weren’t aware of what if any weapons were on board.” One senior Canadian official described the attempted Russian incursion as “not the usual s–t.” Pictured above: Canadian Forces Air Command CF-18.

Canada’s Conservative government plans to purchase 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets for C$9 billion. The Russian Air Force’s revitalized long-range patrols have provided a pretext for Ottawa’s acquisition. Canada is a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter Program, which produced the F-35 in collaboration with the USA and United Kingdom.

BTW, we begin our summer vacation today. No further posts likely until August 16.

>USA File: FBI, LAPD: Mexican cartels set up operations in CA, TX; Los Zetas trains LA gangs in Mexico for hit jobs; AZ sheriff: Cartels control Hwy. 8

>– California Voters to Potentially Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana in November, Mexican Cartels Already Control State’s Black Market Grow Ops

– Mexican Army Officer: Lebanon’s Hezbollah Terrorists May Be Training “Narcistas” How to Assemble Car Bombs

Pictured above: The brazenly Satanic cult of Holy Death, embraced by many Mexicans involved in the drug trade.

Long feared, Mexico’s narco-insurgency has finally spilled over into USA, at least according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department. Seven drug cartels have set up distribution and recruitment operations in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, as well as Texas. Moreover, according to local sheriffs in Arizona, the Mexican drug cartels control the highway between Phoenix and the international border. However, the Obama Admin, which earlier this year refused to extend more military assistance to the Mexican government, is saying nothing and doing less.

In an interview with La Opinion journalist Jorge Morales Almada, Lieutenant Alvin Jackson, chief of the LAPD’s Narcotics Division, admitted:

Here in the city, the Sinaloa, Gulf and Los Zetas cartels are operating. They are operating at the middle level and at the street level. The [anti-drug] agencies working in Los Angeles are combating seven major cartels from Mexico. We’ve detected two of them, Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, working in distribution for the area covering San Fernando Valley, Westside, Central and South Central [LA].

The other cartels operating in LA are the Arellano Felix, Beltran Leyva, Sinaloa, Juarez, and La Familia. Since 2006, the Sinaloa cartel, whose main drug lords in Mexico are Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has taken over the California territory, displacing Felix’s Tijuana cartel. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have identified one of the top henchmen working for “El Mayo” and “El Chapo” as Victor Emilio Cazares Salazar.

Morales secured some of his information concerning cartel operations in the USA from an informant who sympathizes with La Familia. The journalist met his source, a former Mexican soldier from the state of Michoacan, at a bench on the corner of 83rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Central LA. Casting nervous glances over his shoulder, the ponytail-sporting fiftysomething whistleblower elaborated:

The truth is that La Familia does more for the people than the f—— government. They do care about the people, so the people protect them, and they’ll never be able to destroy them. Los Zetas have been recruiting people after they get out of Los Angeles jails, gang members who are unemployed and would be more than happy to fire an AK-47. They’re bringing them to Mexico where they’ll train them. That is their army.

Morales sought confirmation of his informant’s statements from the FBI’s LA director, Steven Martinez. “That is something we can’t say,” Martinez said stiffly, but conceded that the Mexican drug cartels control California’s not-so-underground marijuana industry: “There are people here who are connected with these major groups, for distribution networks, but the cartels are in Mexico, the drug lords are there. There are operations for growing marijuana, but it’s a production sponsored by cartels in Mexico, Central and South America, something that our intelligence is very interested in and we are working to fight these activities.”

Some US leftists are wistfully hoping that passage of Proposition 19 this November by California voters will legalize the recreational use of marijuana, thereby pushing down the price of this narcotic and forcing the cartels to find new sources of income. Not likely. The bulk of the traffic passing through the hands of the narcistas is cocaine. If Californians decide to legalize pot and Sacramento imposes a tax on the same, then Mexico’s billionaire drug lords will just buy out the legitimate companies that market the weed.

In a related story, a local affiliate of ABC reported in June that Mexico’s drug lords now control parts of Arizona: “Pinal County investigators say an area known as the smuggling corridor now stretches from Mexico’s border to metro Phoenix. The area, once an area for family hiking and off road vehicles has government signs warning residents of the drug and human smugglers. Night vision cameras have photographed military armed cartel members delivering drugs to vehicles along Highway 8.” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu was quoted as saying: “We are three counties deep. How is it that you see pictures like these, not American with semi and fully automatic rifles. How is that okay? We are outgunned, we are out manned and we don’t have the resources here locally to fight this.”

In another related story, on July 16 La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez cartel, detonated a car bomb in Ciudad Juarez, escalating the narco-insurgency to the most violent level yet since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war against the country’s drug cartels. In this particular attack, narcistas lured a police officer, medical doctor and rescue worker to their demise by shooting another police man as bait. When the other emergency personnel arrived, the guerrillas used a cell phone to blow up 22 pounds of C4 plastic explosive. In the explosion two federal police vehicles were destroyed along with the car bomb itself.

An anonymous US law enforcement source was quoted by Reuters as saying: “What you are seeing now is a whole new level of violence. It’s a vehicle-born improvised explosive device. This has raised the bar to a level of violence that Mexico has not seen yet. It is reminiscent of Colombia . . . What we are seeing now is what the military is running into in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Other terrorism experts noted that the car bomb’s sophistication was similar to Hezbollah’s “professional” terrorism.

The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels are fighting each other for control of Ciudad Juarez, a major drug transshipment hub across the border from El Paso, Texas, as well as against the Mexican government. This formerly prosperous city has been the scene of 6,000 drug murders in the past 42 months. On the same day 12 people, including two civilians died in shootouts between the army and drug gangs in Nuevo Laredo, the main haunt of Los Zetas, a technologically sophisticated group of mercenaries consisting of ex-special forces from the Mexican and Guatemalan armies.

In a small victory against the narcistas, Mexico’s federal police announced on July 26 that Carlos Vazquez Barragan, one of several suspected leaders of La Linea, had been arrested. Barragan, also known as “El 20,” ran La Linea’s financial operations, paid the smugglers who handled the Juarez cartel’s shipments, and laundered money from US drug sales. Barragan’s boss was Juarez cartel chief, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, a.k.a. “El Viceroy.”

Some analysts who are following the course of the Mexican drug war are in fact concerned that Hezbollah, the Lebanese political party/terrorist army, is training the cartels in the fine art of assembling car bombs. US Congresswoman Sue Myrick has requested that the Department of Homeland Security investigate the possibility of Hezbollah’s continued presence in Mexico after one of its agents, Jameel Nasr, was arrested in Tijuana in early July 2010. It is conceivable that the Lebanese terrorists have already offered their services to Mexico’s drug lords. Myrick has written: “A high-ranking Mexican Army officer, who asked not be named for security reasons, states they believe Hezbollah may be training the Mexican drug cartels’ enforcers in the art of bomb making. This might lead to Israel-like car bombings of Mexican/USA border personnel or National Guard units in the border regions.”

The cocaine trade, which constitutes the bulk of the cartel’s illicit profit, is truly a product of Communist Bloc subversion. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s alliance with the Mexican drug lords is well documented. We have also blogged about the involvement of figures from the Cuban security and military apparatus in the Mexican nacro-insurgency. Last year, for example, an “ex”-soldier of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba in the employ of the former mayor of Cancun was convicted of assassinating the counter-narcotics czar assigned to the resort city by the federal government.

In 2007 Larry Martines, director of the Nevada Department of Homeland Security, offered this prediction to FrontPage magazine: “If the USA does not increase assistance via military resources, funding, advisors, plus most importantly, expanded intelligence gathering technology, we might very well end up with a Narco-Republic on our southern border. . . . We do not have much time left.” Two years later Joint Forces Command published a similar recipe for disaster, warning that Mexico and Pakistan were two countries most at risk of becoming “failed states.” The Moscow Leninists, as we have repeatedly insisted, have every reason, in harmony with communism’s long-range plan for the destruction of the USA, to push Mexico into the abyss.

>USSR2 File: Putin rides with Russian bikers; KGB-communist dictator sang “patriotic Soviet songs” with repatriated spies, fingers "traitor" Tretyakov

>Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, may not be “Born to Be Wild” but, with a hat tip to blues rocker George Thorogood, he’s definitely “Born to Be Vlad” or “Vlad to the Bone.” This past week, Putin donned black and mounted a Harley-Davidson motortrike and rode off into the steppes with a Russian biker gang called the “Night Wolves.”

Since emerging onto the stage of Russian politics in late 1999, judo master Putin has been careful to cultivate the stereotypical Russian “tough guy” image. On one occasion, he waded bare-chested into a Siberian river to catch fish, causing tongues to wag across the Internet, and on another occasion saving a TV crew by shooting a Siberian tiger with a tranquilizer gun. Whenever terrorism strikes the Russian heartland, Putin lashes out at the villains, threatening to decimate them. Whenever there’s an opportunity to fly a nuclear bomber or test a new fighter jet, Putin shows up at the air base for a photo op. In a superpower showdown with Barack Hussein (“Born to Be Mild”) Obama, I rather suspect Putin would have the US president’s head for lunch. To quote my father in law, who is an ethnic Russian, the height-challenged Putin is a “mean bugger.” No debate there.

During a visit to Ukraine, Putin admitted that after their repatriation to Russia several weeks ago he met the 10 Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) agents who were exposed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, arrested, and deported in a spy swap that took place in Vienna. With surprising candor, the Russian PM acknowledged that he sung “patriotic Soviet songs” with the failed spies. “We sang ‘From Where the Motherland Begins,’” he stated, referring to the 1968 cult film about a Soviet spy in Nazi Germany. “I’m not joking. I’m serious. And other songs with a similar content,” he added. Although the Western media has pilloried the SVR spy ring as incompetent, Putin glorified the secret agents’ service to the Kremlin:

Just imagine. You need to master a language like your mother tongue. You need to think in it, speak in it. You need to fulfill the task set in the interests of your motherland for many, many years, not counting on diplomatic cover, expose yourself and your loved ones to danger. They will be found worthy jobs in Russia and will lead interesting lives.

With these comments Putin has pretty much confessed that these Russian nationals were bona fide espionage agents.

Putin insisted that the SVR operation in the USA was betrayed and hinted that he knew the identity of the Russian defector who betrayed them. He rumbled ominously: “This was the result of treason and traitors always end badly. They finish up as drunks and addicts on the street.” Or, we might add, in the case of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, just plain dead. “Secret services live by their own laws,” Putin warned, “and these laws are very well known to anyone who works for a secret service.”

Russia’s KGB-communist dictator may have been referring to Sergei Tretyakov, a top Russian spy working at the United Nations, who defected to the West in 2000 and died of a heart attack in June. Some espionage watchers suspect that Tretyakov may have tipped off the FBI to the presence of the SVR ring in the USA. His death around the same time as the exposure of the Russian spies is certainly intriguing.

Putin, who is not constitutionally barred from running for a third, non-consecutive presidential term, is widely expected to announce his candidacy before 2012. Although his public approval rating is the lowest since he became PM in May 2008, the figure still hovers in the high 40s. While attending a motorbike convention in Sevastopol, Putin enthused: “Motorbikes are the ultimate symbol of freedom.” Perhaps Putin hopes to ride his “hog” across North America after a few surgical nuke strikes wipe out the US political-military hierarchy.

>Latin America File: Cuba, Abkhazia, S. Ossetia leaders attend Sandinista bash; Borge fawns over Havana pointman Valdez; ALBA sets up perm. commission

>– Former Honduran President, Chavez Pawn Zelaya Fingers US Southern Command for Plotting His Ouster in 2009

In Nicaragua this week the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) is celebrating the 31st anniversary of its Soviet/Cuban-backed revolution, which toppled the US-backed dictatorship of the Somoza dynasty. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega seized the occasion to denounce the possibility of a US-Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear energy program. Latin America’s Red Axis leaders are stridently anti-USA and anti-Israel.

Present at the festivities in Managua were the de facto presidents of Georgia’s two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Abkhazian “President” Sergei Bagapsh is an “ex”-cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, while South Ossetian “President” Eduard Kokoity is a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol, or Communist Youth League. Along with Russia, Venezuela, and the diminutive South Pacific state of Nauru, Ortega is the only head of state in the world to recognize Georgia’s secessionist regimes. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied by Russian troops, contrary to a cease-fire agreement brokered by the European Union after the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008.

Incidentally, Nauru is the recipient of a US$9 million loan from Moscow to upgrade its port facilities by the end of 2010. Nauru’s parliament, like Nicaragua’s National Assembly, has been deadlocked for months in a dispute between the country’s president and opposition leaders. It may be for this reason that a delegation from Russia, which was expected in Nauru back in March, failed to materialize.

In addition to Comrades Bagapsh and Kokoity, Ramiro Valdez Menendez, Cuba’s Vice President of the Council of State and Minister of Information Technology and Communication, along with a retinue of civil servants from Cuba’s foreign ministry, touched down in Managua. There they rubbed elbows with Ortega, his foreign minister Samuel Santos Lopez, Tomas Borge, the only living co-founder of the FSLN, and the president of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications. Ortega and Valdez are pictured above.

During the first Sandinista regime in the 1980s, Borge, then Ortega’s interior minister, hosted numerous representatives of Soviet Bloc militaries and secret police. Borge also provided the Medellin Cartel with a safe route through which to smuggle cocaine to the USA. This die-hard Maoist has reprised his political role in the second Sandinista regime as ambassador to Peru, from whence his wife hails.

Upon his arrival in Managua, Valdez expressed his solidarity with the Sandinistas and noted that 20 years had passed since he last visited the Central American country. Borge was evidently thrilled by the presence of his Cuban mentors. He gushed:

I want to indicate to Ramiro our love for him and the people of Cuba, our unconditional solidarity with the people of Cuba and toward their glorious revolution. The Nicaraguan people will be able to count on the solidarity, friendship, and brotherhood of the people of Cuba, and their revolution. From before and after the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution, Cuba always supported Nicaragua’s liberating fight.

Earlier this year, in February, Comandante Valdez’s name was newsworthy since this hero from the Cuban Revolution was appointed by President Hugo Chavez to head a technical commission tasked with fixing the electrical blackouts afflicting Venezuela. More than three years ago, Valdez defended Internet censorship on the communist island, insisting that such restrictions on the Cuban populace were necessary to resist “US imperialism.” The Venezuelan Engineers’ Association was appalled by the appointment of a figure from the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba to advise the Chavezista regime, claiming that there are “enough skilled professionals” to resolve the issue.

Critics of Chavez’s Cubanization of the South American country responded with concern. “President Chavez has never concealed his deep sympathy with the Cuban model,” explains Demitrio Boersner, a former Venezuelan ambassador who now teaches at the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. Boersner elaborates:

The arrival of thousands of Cuban medics and teachers in Venezuela is part of a wider effort by Mr. Chavez to move our nation towards Castro-style communism. Chavez has referred frequently to Cuba as an ‘ocean of happiness’ for the common people and that something very similar will be established in Venezuela gradually. Fidel Castro has become a father figure for him: Fidel the father, Hugo the son.

Following Valdez’s appointment, the former civil defense chief of Venezuela, General Antonio Rivero, resigned and went public with accusations that Cuban “advisors” hold important posts in the country’s military and intelligence bureaucracies. Rivero contends:

There are various areas in which Cuban advisors are concentrated, particularly military engineering, which includes the areas of military fortifications. That’s where the state’s main security equipment, resources, maps and plans are stored. That another country helps plan, carry out and, indeed correct work at such a sensitive level to national security—is not something which other countries would allow.

Rivero also alleges that Cuban military officers are training Venezuelan troops in combat techniques. Chavez flippantly dismisses charges of Cubanizing Venezuela by saying: “Yes, there is military cooperation which perhaps worries the bourgeoisie. Well, the bourgeoisie can rest easy! Everything Cuba does for us is to strengthen the fatherland!” According to Venezuela’s communist dictator, relations between Caracas and Havana are proceeding naturally within the context of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), to which both countries belong.

The communization of Latin America—nearly 20 years after the red disease supposedly died in Eastern Europe and the Not-So-Former Soviet Union—continues apace with the formation of a permanent commission to guide ALBA. On June 24 representatives of the eight communist and center-left governments comprising ALBA converged in Otavalo, Ecuador to discuss issues of mutual concern, including economic, social, and political rights of citizens in member countries. ALBA includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. An observer from Guatemala’s center-left government was present during the 10th summit in Ecuador.

In 2008 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, then conferring with strategic partner Chavez in Caracas, voiced the Kremlin’s interest in obtaining observer status in ALBA. Similarly, during President Bashar al-Assad’s tour of Latin America several weeks ago, Chavez invited Syria to join ALBA as an observer.

Honduras was briefly affiliated with ALBA in 2008 and 2009, when President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military-backed constitutional coup. Wealthy rancher-turned socialist Zelaya now lives in exile in the Dominican Republic. Like Cuban official Valdez, he also moonlights as a Chavez appointee, in this case as head of the Political Council of Petrocaribe, a state-run organization that ships subsidized PDVSA oil to regimes that sympathize with Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution.” This includes Guatemala’s president, Alvaro Colom.

Zelaya is still perturbed that the leadership of then ruling Honduran Liberal Party, the Honduran Congress, the Honduran Supreme Court, and the Honduran military brass ganged up against him more than one year ago. Like all good Latin American leftists, however, he blames Washington for his ill fortune:

Everything indicates that the coup was planned at the Palmerola military base by the US Southern Command and clumsily executed by incompetent Hondurans. The United States was behind the coup d’etat. The intellectual authors of this crime were an illicit association of old Washington hawks and Honduran capitalists with their partners, American affiliates and financial agencies.

One year after the blow against democracy it has all been confirmed that the exiles are victims of this interference and that the Lobo government has surrendered to American interests.

In an email dispatched from the Dominican Republic on the first anniversary of his downfall, June 28, Zelaya reveals that the National Popular Resistance Front is the main vehicle by which he hopes to affect his return to Honduras and implement a constitutional convention. Anger over Zelaya’s intention to force through constitutional reforms that could have removed a ban against presidential term limits provoked the Supreme Court to nullify a planned referendum, the ballots for which were printed in Venezuela. The front is backed by Honduran labor union leaders and other assorted leftists, as well as sympathizers in the European Left, such as the Tricontinental Centre, which is headed by Belgian Jesuit priest, liberationist, and World Social Forum agitator Francois Houtart.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Kremlin to build 5,000 new bomb shelters by 2012, Tu-95s test-fire cruise missiles, Duma awards FSB with KGB powers

>The Kremlin-run media reports that Moscow regional authorities have given the green light to architects to design and build 5,000 bomb shelters for the express purpose of protecting Muscovites from strategic nuclear attack. Moscow’s outdated shelters were built during the Soviet era and can house no more than one half of the city’s current population. The Russian capital is the seventh largest urban center in the world.

Pictured above: The new and improved KGB: A Russian Federal Security Service officer.

More emergency shelters are needed in Moscow’s suburbs, reports Russia Today. According to the requirements of civil defence authorities, the new shelters must be easy to build and will be situated 10 to 15 meters under apartment blocks, shopping centers, sport complexes, and parks. Beginning in the 1930s, Soviet authorities built 7,000 bomb shelters throughout Moscow. Some subway stations were purposely built deep under the city to double as air raid shelters. In the early 1990s many shelters were privatized by entrepreneurs who transformed them into warehouses, parking lots, and restaurants.

The modernization of Moscow’s air raid shelter network is to be completed by 2012, which suggests that Missile Day will probably not take place before that date. The US government has implemented no comparable program since the supposed end of the Cold War in 1991.

Question for dot.gov: If the Cold War is over, then why are Russian authorities building new bomb shelters? Fact: There are only two countries that are capable of lobbing nuclear warhead-tipped ballistic missiles at Russia. One is Red China, with which Russia buried the hatchet in an open alliance formed in 2001. The other, of course, is the USA. So, ahem, got CD?

Incidentally, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s civil defence czar, is an “ex”-CPSU cadre and related by marriage to Oleg Shenin, mastermind of the phoney anti-Gorbachevist coup of August 1991. Shenin died in 2009. Last year, Shoigu visited Serbia, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to help the red regimes there to set up “emergency situations” centers. The “ex”-communist Socialist Party of Serbia holds several important government portfolios in Belgrade, including the interior ministry.

Another newsworthy development shows that Russia continues to prepare for war against its old adversary, the USA. Last Friday, two Tu-95 strategic bombers test-fired cruise missiles at targets in the Pemboi testing site during a 12-hour flight. Pemboi is located in the internal republic of Komi. The Bear bombers returned to the Ukrainka air base in Far East Russia. A MiG-31 interceptor jet and a Beriev A-50 Shmel airborne early warning aircraft also participated in the exercise.

Communist Bloc Power Plays in Eurasia and Latin America

Several weeks ago, the Russian Far East was the location of a multi-branch military exercise called Vostok 2010, personally observed by President Dmitry Medvedev aboard the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great. In attendance were military delegations from Ukraine, which since February has boasted a pro-Moscow government, and the People’s Republic of China.

General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the Russian General Staff, dispelled any notion that Vostok 2010 was intended to be an unfriendly signal toward Red China. “The exercises took place on a vast territory near China, our ally,” he explained, adding: “So, it was quite logical to invite their representatives and thus avoid possible questions who the exercises were targeted against, and why. I think we scattered any possible doubts.”

With respect to the Ukrainian presence at Vostok 2010, Makarov commented: “This was a considerable improvement of bilateral relations and the Ukrainian desire to develop the[ir] armed forces proceeding from our experience. They wanted to see the effect of the [Russian] armed forces’ reform on the operation of servicemen. We met their desire, and the defence minister [Anatoly Serdyukov] invited a Ukrainian delegation to the exercises.” The Russian and Ukrainian air forces are slated to hold a joint exercise this fall.

The Moscow-Beijing Axis, which was predicted by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in his 1984 book New Lies for Old, will hold another multilateral military drill in Kazakhstan later this year. “Peace Mission 2010” will take place under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and represents the fifth significant Sino-Russian war game since 2005. According to Golitsyn, the Soviet and Chinese communists intend to form “one clenched fist” to smash the “bourgeois” nations.

The Soviet strategists are also moving cautiously back into Latin America. In February we reported that Russia intends to carry out for the first time ever a combined exercise with Nicaragua. However, no date for this event was offered by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was then visiting Managua. This would not be the first time Russia has held combined exercises with a Latin American country. In September 2008 the Russian Air Force deployed two Tu-160 strategic bombers to Venezuela for a week-long exercise over the southern Caribbean Sea. Two months later the Russian Navy arrived in South America to hold a joint drill with its Venezuelan counterpart. At the time further Russian-Venezuelan naval and air force exercises were promised, but have yet to materialize.

For their part, the communist regimes in Caracas and Managua were slated to hold a joint exercise in Central America in May and June of this year, but this also has yet to occur. According to articles published in the Latin American media in September and December 2009, a small contingent of Venezuelan troops was to oversee the deployment of combat aircraft and warships in Nicaragua. Since Hugo Chavez has over the last 10 years accumulated considerable firepower from Russia, including fighter jets, tactical missiles, and tanks, we have considered the possibility that the Soviet strategists may position their military assets in Nicaragua under the guise of Nicaraguan-Venezuelan exercises.

In a not unrelated development, the Nicaraguan military has modernized and reactivated the air base at Punta Huete, built with Soviet help in the 1980s but never utilized. The Panchito Aerodrome, which caused some consternation for the Reagan Administration, can accommodate Russia’s Tu-160 and Tu-95 nuclear bombers.

In Russia’s “Backyard”: FM Lavrov Attends International Conference in Kabul, Pledges Arms and Training for Afghan Military and Police

Latin America is sometimes referred to as the USA’s “backyard.” If Russia has a backyard, then Afghanistan certainly falls within this domain. In another story that exposes Moscow’s continued meddling in Afghanistan and, thus, the deceptive nature of the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, state-run Novosti reports that Russia will arm the Afghan military and police forces, as well as train Afghan police in Russia. At an international conference on restoring peace to Afghanistan, held in Kabul, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared:

We are working with our partners on additional measures for supplying the Afghan army and police and expanding cooperation in training personnel for the Afghan armed forces. We will henceforth assist in forming the Afghan armed forces, including by increasing the number of Afghan police officers, trained in Russia, who contribute to the restoration of the country’s economy.

Lavrov joined other conference participants in discussing the timeframe for troop withdrawal by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Earlier this year Moscow cancelled a US$891 million debt owed to Russia by the US-backed Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. As a sidenote, the Left.ru website alleges that Russian military intelligence (GRU) is arming the Taliban via Russian and Chechen criminal syndicates that operate across the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border.

Back in the USSR: FSB Receives KGB-Style Powers to Crush Anti-Kremlin Dissent

Even though the Communist Party of the Soviet Union abandoned its public monopoly of power in 1991, the Soviet strategists continue to rely on a passive population that obediently votes for potemkin parties like United Russia. Last Friday, the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, approved a bill that will permit the Federal Security Service (FSB), which was hived off from the Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB), to warn (intimidate) people who have broken no laws but are regarded as potential “criminals, terrorists, and radicals.”

President Dmitry Medvedev, who like his Soviet-era predecessor Yuri Andropov, was initially portrayed as a “pro-Western liberal reformer,” was quick to justify his support for the new law. “I would like to turn your attention to the fact that it is our domestic legislation, and not an international act,” Medvedev huffed, adding: “Each country has the right to perfect its own legislation, including that which affects special services. And we will do this.” The legislation was advanced immediately after two female suicide bombers, allegedly from Chechnya, attacked the Moscow subway in March, while its stated objective is to thwart the growth of ideological “radicalism” among young Russians.

“It’s a plain attempt on the part of the FSB to return to the old KGB methods . . . when a person committed no crime but still became an object of KGB attention,” protested Nikita Petrov, a historian who works for the Memorial human rights organization. Another anti-Kremlin activist, Lev Ponomarev of the group For Human Rights, observed: “Liberals in Russia saw the bill as a litmus test for Medvedev and were surprised to hear him take credit for it. This is a pretty important moment.”

No on who recognizes the dialectical nature of the fall of Soviet communism, however, should be surprised by Medvedev’s support for the re-KGB-ization of the Russian secret police. The Russian president is a Soviet Komsomol graduate and a compliant tool in the hands of Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In his 2002 book Blowing up Russia, FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko traces the origin of the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow, Volgodonsk, and Buynaksk to the FSB. Four years later, Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-210, allegedly administered by an active agent of his former employers in the Lubyanka. In a statement dictated from his death bed, he accused Putin by name as his murderer. Along the same theme of an “FSB trace” behind Russia’s domestic terrorism, geopolitical analyst Jeff Nyquist unearths a sinister strategic purpose behind suspect dramas like the Nord-Ost theater and Beslan school hostage crises. This strategic purpose includes greater centralization of power in the Kremlin and the depiction of Islam as a common enemy of both Russia and the USA.

>USA/USSR2 Files: Kremlin tacitly admits guilt in spy pleas as Washington, Moscow swap spooks in Vienna, communist agents promised new lives in Russia

>Russian Communist Party Boss “Condemns” Putinist Regime for “Bowing to West” over Spy Scandal, Zyuganov Beats Drum over US Patriot Deployment in Poland

Last Friday the US and Russian governments swapped spies, hurriedly sweeping under the carpet a two-week saga of international intrigue with Cold War overtones. A Vision Airlines jet chartered by the US government landed at the airport in Vienna, Austria, and disgorged the 10 men and women who last Thursday admitted in court they were secret agents of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). The US jet parked next to a Russian government plane, which carried four people who had been convicted of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency. The Russian and Western spies transferred from one plane to the other.

US Attorney Preet Bharara informed reporters that the Kremlin’s deep cover agents had been requested to tell their employers in SVR headquarters: “If you come to America to spy on Americans, you will be caught and exposed.” US officials explained that the grade school daughters of the New Jersey couple that went by the name of Richard and Cynthia Murphy were also on the spy swap plane. The teenage sons of the spy couple Andrei Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, who went by the pseudonyms Donald Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, were reported to have left for Moscow last Wednesday. Their real names were disclosed in court the following day.

Before they entered their guilty pleas, the 10 spies met with Russian diplomats to discuss the details of their new lives in the homeland of the Bolshevik Revolution. In the case of ardent Castroist Vicky Pelaez–who is believed to have been born in Peru, rather than Russia, unlike her comrades–her lawyer explained to the court that the Russian government promised to give her free housing, a monthly stipend of US$2,000 for life, and visas and an all-expense paid trip for her children to travel to Russia.

Juan Lazaro, Pelaez’s husband and a former Baruch College professor who is reputed to have handled money for Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas, admitted that his wife travelled to Red Venezuela to pick up money from the SVR. Lazaro’s true identity is unknown but, like Pelaez, this outspoken leftist may find the Order of Lenin waiting for him in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union.

Mystery man “Christopher Metsos,” the Russian citizen who hid behind a Canadian identity as he couriered funds to this decade-old spy ring, is still on the lam, having first fled the USA and then skipping bail in communist-ruled Cyprus.

Jeffrey Burds, professor of Russian and Soviet history at Northeastern University, remarked that the quick spy exchange proves that Washington and Moscow are eager to “reset” bilateral relations:

It was in everyone’s best interest to put this scandal behind them as quickly as possible. I think that both the Russian foreign diplomats as well as the United States State Department have made it very clear that they did not want this scandal to derail US-Russian relations, which have been quite good in the recent months. The Russian Government will be inclined to celebrate their service, award them with medals and then they’ll quietly go back into their lives. They [the SVR] will use this, in other words, as a sort of a recruitment poster rather than a reason for embarrassment.

Of the four Russian citizens accused of spying for the CIA and who will find new homes in the West, nuclear weapons scientist Igor Sutyagin continues to maintain his innocence, but was compelled by the Kremlin to acknowledge his “guilt” in writing as part of the spy swap deal.

Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, portrayed the FBI’s exposure of the SVR spy ring as an attempt by the USA to give Russia a “black eye” and denounced the “ex”-communists who staff the Russian government, like Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, as “weak-kneed” in the face of the US government’s nefarious plans. On the party website Chairman Zyuganov mocked: “The Russian leadership strives to strengthen cooperation with the US and strongly believes in its friendly intensions. However, the behavior of our new ‘comrades’ – well illustrated by the recent ‘spy scandal’ – hardly resembles a friendly one.”

Zyuganov then noted that the “alleged” presence of a Russian spy ring in the USA was announced shortly after President Dmitry Medvedev’s official visit to Washington, insinuating that this “stone to be thrown at Russia’s window had been prepared in advance.” “Trying to please the US, the Russian leadership keeps making new concessions and pushes away those very few allies that we have left. In return, Moscow gets gifts like the spy scandal,” Zyuganov growled.

The Communist Party chief then condemned the USA for deploying Patriot anti-missile batteries in Poland: “Moscow, in return, announced it was abandoning all counter measures it was planning. But today the US is deploying Patriot missile systems… and are planning to deploy the most up-to-date SM3 missile interceptors.”

Meanwhile, FBI counterintelligence has exposed yet another suspected Russian agent, 23-year-old Alexei Karetnikov, who is presently undergoing deportation proceedings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation began monitoring this 12th “spy” shortly after he entered the USA in October 2009. Karetnikov lived in Seattle and worked for Microsoft. However, investigators were unable to collect enough evidence to charge him with espionage and believe his case is different from that of the 10 spies shipped back to Russia.

The last publicized spy swap between the USA and Russia took place on February 11, 1986 at Glienicke Bridge in Berlin, when the city was still divided between the Free West and the Communist East. In this superpower exchange, the human rights campaigner and political prisoner Anatoly Sharansky and three Western agents were exchanged for Karl Koecher and four other Soviet Bloc agents.

“Many of these [swaps] have been done in secret, but this one has created a lot of publicity and everyone just wants this to go away now,” commented former CIA Russia analyst Mark Stout. So, this ex-spook hopes Putin’s spies will go away. Wishful thinking. The Soviet plan for world conquest continues apace under the guise of sham political pluralism and state-guided “capitalism” in the Motherland, and under the skilful manipulation of “ex”-CPSU cadres and “ex”-KGB types.

>Red Dawn Alert: Bay of Pigs vet: Cuban DI, Venezuelan SEBIN helped Russia run spy ring in USA, Cyprus’ red pres.: SVR paymaster’s flight not our fault

>– Peruvian-American Journalist Pelaez Visited Havana, Photographed in Company of Cuban Intelligence, Received Payments at SVR Drops in Venezuela

– Pelaez’s Husband US-Based Money Handler for Shining Path Guerrillas, Former Baruch College Prof Arrested with Wife

– Cue Twilight Zone Theme Song: SVR Paymaster Materializes in Cyprus, Skips Bail, Allegedly Escapes aboard Infamous Freighter MV Arctic Sea

Communism’s dead, we’ve been told a gazillion times by the MSM, academic, and dot.gov. However, this ruse has served as an effective cover for communist agents to ply their trade in the USA, well into the 21st century.

The plot has thickened behind the 10 accused Russian spies busted by the FBI in late June, as well as their paymaster, “Christopher Metsos,” who was detained by Cypriot authorities then released on bail, only to escape altogether. The Canada Free Press has picked up some eye-popping quotes from Cuban-American writer Arthuro Cobo that exposes a dark nexus between Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), heir to the Soviet KGB; Cuba’s Intelligence Directorate (DI), formerly known as the General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI); and Venezuela’s Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), known as the National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP) until 2009.

In 1980 Bay of Pigs invasion veteran Cobo alerted US authorities to the presence of Castroist spies among the Mariel Boatlift refugees. Cobo is quoted as saying regarding the current Kremlin spy flap in the USA:

The 11 arrests so far are the tip of the iceberg. Many more to follow, many in South Florida.

The South American country where Vicky Pelaez [one of the accused] picked up her payments from Russia’s SVR was Venezuela.

Russia’s SVR, Castro’s DGI (Directorio General de Inteligencia) and Chavez’s SEBIN (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia) are all linked. They all share agents and information. Castro-Cubans run Chavez’s intelligence agency practically lock, stock and barrel.

Vicky Pelaez was a frequent traveler to Cuba where she met with Castro’s DGI. Pictures exist of those meetings.

Prominent figures in South Florida are under investigation and the net is closing on them. One suspect was very close to a US presidential candidate [Barrack Hussein Obama?] during the 2008 campaign.

Peruvian-American journalist Pelaez (pictured above in undated photo), who was formerly employed by New York’s El Diario/La Prensa, has also written for Cuba’s state-run media. In 2006 she prostrated herself before Cuba’s retired communist dictator:

Fidel Castro is already immortal! He is a man who inspired and demonstrated the fertile path of truth for other leaders! We had the moments of Christ, Mohammed, Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Newton, Pascal, Bolivar, Marti, Che Guevara, etc.

Fidel Castro Ruz belongs to that glorious group of rebels! With his towering intelligence, discipline, drive, and persistence he launched his heroic struggle and gained his people’s support to fight for a new and sovereign Cuba! But his fight is not over!

For his part, Castro quoted Pelaez extensively and approvingly in his May 8, 2010 column “Reflections,” which appears in the Communist Party of Cuba organ Granma.

Significantly, Pelaez’s husband Juan Lazaro, according to Miguel Angel Sanchez, one of Vicky’s former colleagues at El Diario/La Prensa, once served as the US-based treasurer of Shining Path, Peru’s bloodthirsty Maoist rebels. At one time Lazaro taught at Baruch College-The City University of New York. Lazaro has admitted to US authorities that his wife made several trips to South America to receive money at SVR drops, but his own identity is unknown. “Lazaro” is an alias. It is no exaggeration to refer to Pelaez and Lazaro as “communist agents.”

Meanwhile, Metsos, the Russian national who channelled funds to the SVR spy ring by way of covert money drops, skipped the USA and fled to Cyprus, where he was arrested, only to be released on bail on June 30. He paid for his own bail from a bank account in Larnaca, Cyprus. The mysterious “Metsos” promptly disappeared, but Cypriot President Dmitris Christofias defended the actions of his underlings, charging the US Justice Department with negligence in forwarding pertinent documents to Nicosia. “Only now are they providing them, only now are they preparing them,” protested Christofias, the European Union’s only communist leader and a slavish ally of Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov. He added: “I don’t think it is appropriate to apportion blame to the Cyprus Republic.”

Cypriot authorities seized Metsos’ laptop computer, which is also sought by US counterparts. Incidentally, “Metsos” is a false identity stolen from a Canadian citizen.

During the Cold War Cyprus was a haunt for spies from both the Free World and the Soviet Bloc and an important SIGINT post for the US and British militaries. Today, the island is divided between the internationally recognized, Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, which is a haven for the Russian Mafia, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is occupied by Turkish troops. Cypriot authorities suspect that Metsos might have snuck into northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaties with other countries.

In a bizarre twist to the SVR-DI-SEBIN nexus in America, the Information Dissemination website, citing sources in “maritime circles,” asserts that Metsos left Cyprus by rendezvousing with a certain freighter that was passing the island. It is known that on July 1 the infamous MV Arctic Sea just “happened” to be steaming past Cyprus. On July 24, 2009 eight to 10 English-speaking men, travelling in an inflatable boat, approached the Canadian-owned Arctic Sea off the coast of Sweden as it began its voyage from Jakobstad, Finland to Bejaia, Algeria, supposedly transporting 6,700 cubic meters of lumber. Fifteen Russian nationals manned the ship. The Arctic Sea crew claimed that the intruders, who professed to be Swedish policemen, searched the ship and left, leaving some crew injured.

A hijack alert was belatedly issued by Interpol on August 3 and the Russian Navy dispatched its Baltic Sea Fleet to search for the Arctic Sea. The vessel failed to reach its destination on the scheduled date of August 5 and was never seen passing through the Strait of Gibraltar. On August 14 the Arctic Sea was at last sighted off the Cape Verde Islands and three days later Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced that the Russian Navy had seized the ship. No suspicious cargo was discovered. Intriguingly, Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, admitted that Moscow had deliberately supplied false information to the media in order keep Russian plans secret.

On August 18 Serdyukov confirmed that eight hijackers had been arrested, and two days later the Estonian Security Police listed one of these men as Estonian, two as Latvians, and two as Russians. Some of them had prior criminal records.

At this time Finnish police acknowledged that the hijackers had demanded a ransom but, strangely, the Arctic Sea’s owners denied receiving any such communication. On August 18 the security chief of a Russian insurance agency, Renaissance Insurance Group, told newspapers that two weeks prior someone claiming to represent the Arctic Sea hijackers telephoned his office, demanding 1.5 million pounds or else the ship would be sunk and crew killed.

On October 29, more than two months after its seizure, the Russian Navy finally delivered the Arctic Sea to Malta, where it was inspected by Maltese police, and on November 11 the ship, repaired and re-certified, finally delivered its cargo of lumber to Algeria.

On June 11, 2010 the Russian Prosecution Service sentenced Latvian citizen Dmitry Savins to seven years imprisonment for leading the would-be hijackers. In his testimony Savins identified Eerik-Niiles Kross, head of the Security Coordination Office in the Estonian State Chancellery in the late 1990s, as the operation’s mastermind. Eerik-Niiles is the son of Jaan Kross, one of Estonia’s most famous writers. He denies Savins’ charges.

Since the summer of 2009 conspiracy theories have abounded concerning the Russian government’s account of the Arctic Sea saga. One theory posits that Russia, instead of taking the easy route over the Caspian Sea, was shipping S-300 air defense units to Iran, while a second theory holds that Moscow as possibly transporting MiG-31 fighter jets to Syria. Tarmo Kouts, former commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, offers yet another theory: “Only the presence of cruise missiles on board the ship can explain Russia’s strange behavior in the whole story.” Indeed, in addition to the Russian Navy deploying its Baltic Fleet to chase the Arctic Sea, the Russian Air Force dispatched two Ilyushin Il-76 transport planes to Sal International Airport in the Cape Verde Islands. Both during and after the Cold War, the communist regime in Cape Verde has permitted Soviet and Russian aircraft to utilize Sal as a refuelling base en route to Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Big oceans, small world,” concludes Information Dissemination blogger “Galrahn” as he ponders Metsos’ alleged rendezvous with the Arctic Sea. If true, we can only say: No kidding.

Since the FBI believes that some elements of the SVR spy ring have been operating in the USA for as long as 20 years, that is, since before the collapse of the Soviet Union, we should consider the possibility that this subversive entity, which apparently has links to Communist Cuba and Red Venezuela, may have ties to the Cuban Five, which were convicted in 2001 of spying for the Castroist regime. Russian politicians have on several occasions called for the release of the Cuban Five. As quoted above, Bay of Pigs vet Cobo alludes to future arrests of foreign agents in South Florida. “At one point in 1978,” writes the Miami Herald, “Castro boasted to a visitor that he had 300 agents in South Florida alone.” KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, who resides in the United Kingdom, contends that the Russian Federation presently operates 400 SVR agents in the USA.

To this real-life Tom Clancy-esque drama, we should add the following data. Russia’s primary allies in the Caribbean Basin are Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. In November 2008 David Smith, senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, observed: “In the medium term, beware of a potential Cuba-Nicaragua-Venezuela military triangle astride the approaches to Florida, the Mississippi, Houston and the Panama Canal, within [Russian] bomber range of America’s eastern seaboard. This would replicate the Soviet Cuba-Nicaragua-Grenada triangle smashed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1983.”

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Medvedev observes Vostok 2010 drills from missile cruiser, Makarov denies specific country, bloc of nations targeted

>– Russian Air Force Test-Lands Ka-27 and Ka-52 Combat Choppers on French Navy’s Amphibious Assault Ship during Port of Call at St. Petersburg

– Leaders of Eurasian Economic Community Converge in Astana to Enforce Implementation of New Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus

The Kazakh opposition claims that Russia is using the Customs Union to restore the Soviet empire.
— Alexei Vlasov, Director, Center for the Study of Political Processes in the CIS, Moscow State University; Novosti, July 2, 2010

On Sunday President Dmitry Medvedev boarded the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great to observe the naval phase of the biannual Vostok (East) military drill in the Sea of Okhotsk. Former Gazprom chairman Medvedev began his political career in the Soviet Komsomol and is widely perceived as a pliable pawn in the hands of Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Vostok 2010 began on June 29 at various military training sites in Russia’s Far East and involved some 10,000 troops and 1,000 items of military hardware. The first, land-based phase of the drills ended on Saturday, while the second phase will continue until July 8. In addition to Peter the Great, which is commissioned with the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet, based out of Murmansk, the Black Sea Fleet’s missile cruiser Moskva will also participate. The Pacific Fleet’s missile cruiser Varyag lately weighed anchor in San Francisco in a friendly, once-in-a-century port of call. The Black Sea Fleet’s home port is Sevastopol in the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, while the Pacific Fleet is based out of Vladivostok.

Prior to the maneuvers, General Nikolai Makarov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, explained that Vostok 2010 would include live-fire drills and simulated airborne assaults and amphibious landings. The Russian Ground Forces will also practice the deployment of additional troops in Siberia and the Far East to reinforce the existing military contingents in the region.

Makarov emphasized that the Vostok 2010 drills were not aimed against any country. “This exercise…is not directed against any specific country or military-political bloc. It has a purely defensive nature in ensuring the security and national interests of the [Russian] state in the Far East,” he explained. During the 1980s Makarov was a battalion commander in the Soviet Group of Forces in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

Realistically speaking, though, the only state that is in a position to challenge the Kremlin’s hegemony over the sparsely settled Russian Far East is the People’s Republic of China, the world’s most populous country. Since the world congress of communists that took place in Moscow in 1960, the Russian and Chinese Communists are still committed to advancing global proletarian revolution, by deception, pseudo-capitalism, or conquest as necessary. Until 2001, when Moscow and Beijing signed the ground-breaking Treaty of Cooperation and Good Neighborliness, the Soviets and Red Chinese feigned disunity and even hostility in the so-called “Sino-Soviet split.” Still, cultural differences and residual nationalist sentiment no doubt stain the ideological purity of Russian and Chinese communism to this day. We strongly suspect that there is a lingering distrust between the RF and PRC, in spite of their common devotion to the same ideology.

Alternately, it is possible that the Russian Armed Forces’ Vostok drills represent a preparation for war on the Korean Peninsula, especially a confrontation with the USA, which has 27,000 soldiers stationed in the Republic of Korea. Soviet troops occupied the northern part of Korea at the end of the Second World War, helping the Korean Workers’ Party to set up the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Five years later, the North Korean army invaded and attacked the South, with a little help from hundreds of thousands of People’s Liberation Army troops and Soviet pilots flying DPRK fighter jets.

During Vostok 2010 the Russian military once again, as it did in last September’s Zapad (West) 2009 drill, tested its new command structure, which was altered from the Soviet era’s four-level system (military district, army, division, regiment) to a three-level system (strategic command, tactical command, brigade). Since the Kremlin intends to transform Russia’s military from a conscripted army into a somewhat smaller, professional force, unit mobility and combat readiness are imperative.

“The Vostok-2010 war games,” state-run Novosti elaborates, “included flights of frontline [tactical] bombers with midair refueling. Many motorized and air defense units also covered long distances by rail and in self-propelled mode.” Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov acknowledged that “The goal of the exercise is to see how the new structure works, to check whether our decisions were correct, and if necessary, change them.” Incidentally, Serdyukov is son in law to current Gazprom chairman and former prime minister Viktor Zubkov.

Graduating a whole new cadre of military officers, skilled in waging 21st-century warfare, is another imperative for Russia’s military reforms. Novosti editorializes:

A new army needs new officers. The methods of warfare have changed so much in the past [two] decades that officers now need to have broader military knowledge to be able to command and coordinate inter-service groups, and also better civilian skills allowing them to act as managers, diplomats, financiers and lawyers. Taken together, these skills will allow modern officers to be more flexible in a situation that implies a broad use of non-military methods of conflict settlement and to be highly selective as regards military instruments.

In fact, the industrialized Western countries put these requirements to their officers, in particular high-ranking ones. In Western armies, officers hold a variety of related posts during their carrier, which makes them versatile professionals. Russia has only entered this path.

Clearly, the Soviet strategists, observing the Russian army’s failures in the 2008 Georgia campaign, not to mention the failed test-launches of the new Bulava SLBM, are anxious to create a fighting force that can challenge NATO. For this reason, as we have blogged before, the Kremlin is swallowing its pride in order to fast-track military modernization by simply buying equipment, armaments, and vessels from the very countries it intends to attack one day. In April, Mikhail Dmitriev, chief of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, confirmed that Moscow will close the much-discussed Mistral deal with Paris by the end of 2010.

To equip these four amphibious assault ships, one to be purchased and three to be built under license, the Russian Air Force will procure at least 100 combat helicopters from the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise.

“During a visit by Mistral to St. Petersburg [in November 2009], we tested the landing of our Ka-27 Helix and Ka-52 Alligator helicopters on the vessel. Currently, the state armament program stipulates the purchase of several dozens helicopters for this deal,” admitted Vyacheslav Kovalyov, first deputy director of Kumertau. He added: “The Russian Air Force plans to buy the Ka-52 Alligator, Ka-226 Hoodlum helicopters and a new modification of the Ka-27 helix helicopter, the Ka-27M, the development of which is now in its final stage.”

A “high-ranking source” in the Kremlin’s United Industrial Corporation (OPK) confirmed that the air force will buy up to 100 Ka-class helicopters, including some 70 Ka-27M choppers, to equip Mistral ships.

“Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase,” concedes Novosti, “and some believe that Russia simply wants to gain access to advanced naval technology that could be used in the future in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.” Indeed.

Meanwhile, the Soviet strategists continue to patiently assemble the building blocks for the restored, revitalized Soviet Union. Three of these building blocks are the Commonwealth of Independent States, which immediately replaced the USSR in November 1991; the Union State of Russia and Belarus, formed in 1997; and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which partly replaces the Warsaw Pact, dismantled in 1991. Two others are the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec) and the brand-new Customs Union of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.

The Interstate Council of Eurasec, which doubles as the supreme body of the Customs Union, will hold meetings in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on July 5. The heads of these “former” Soviet republics plan to sign a joint statement on the enforcement of the Customs Code Treaty, which came into effect on July 1, within the framework of Eurasec. In addition to Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan, Eurasec encompasses strife-torn Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

During the Third Astana Economic Forum on July 1 and 2, Kazakhstan’s long-ruling “ex”-communist president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, complained “that the potential of Europe-Asia interaction has so far not been used in full, but there is hope that the enforcement of a common document on the fundamental norms of Eurasian integration will help consolidate rival projects in the region, giving them a common ideology and development goals.”

We rather suspect that the “common ideology and development goals” of the Eurasec leaders are a “friendly” form of communism. By contrast, reports Novosti, “the Kazakh opposition claims that Russia is using the Customs Union to restore the Soviet empire.” The Kazakh opposition is correct, but its candor will lead to its demise.

>Middle East/Latin America Files: Assad visits Venezuela, Cuba, joins Chavez in condemning “Yankee imperialism," "genocidal" Israel as "common enemy"

>While Americans remain fixated on the massive, ever-expanding environmental disaster which is British Petroleum’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and focus on trivialities such as Larry King’s departure from CNN, Communist Bloc allies in the Middle East and Latin America are closing ranks around the USA.

Last Saturday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad kicked off his four-nation Latin American tour by arriving in Caracas, where he met Venezuelan counterpart and fellow arch-terrorist, Hugo Chavez. There Comrades Assad and Chavez inked cooperation agreements on technology, agriculture, trade, and a new bi-national bank with an initial capitalization of US$100 million. They also agreed to build a $4.7 billion oil refinery in Syria, with Venezuela picking up one third of the tab. Assad is the first Syrian president to ever visit Venezuela.

During his tete-a-tete with Assad, Chavez invited Syria to join the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) as an observer. Both presidents are reliable ideological allies of the Soviet strategists and loyal customers of Rosoboronexport, the Kremlin’s arms exporter. Incidentally, while visiting Caracas in 2008 Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev also expressed an interest in obtaining observer status for Russia in ALBA.

The socialist leaders of Venezuela and Syria, along with their chum Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, follow proudly in the footsteps of the Soviet and Nazi dictatorships. Caracas’ independent El Universal reports that Chavez and Assad resolved to resist “Yankee imperialism” and the “genocidal state of Israel,” calling the Jewish state the “common enemy” of both countries. Unlike Egypt and Jordan, Syria did not sign a peace treaty with Israel after the last Arab-Israeli war in 1973, hence the war drums that Damascus continues to beat nearly 40 years later.

“Chavez is an Arab leader, who is in the heart of the Arab world,” gushed Assad, amid applause from hundreds of members of Venezuela’s estimated 700,000-strong Syrian community. He continued: “This is no flattering; it is the truth. We have his stance about Gaza, we have seen Venezuela’s historical position. President Chavez has overcome the pressure of world powers.” For his part, Chavez declared: “Latin American people need a greater presence of Arab governments; we need to become united, and Bashar has decided to take the lead in this rapprochement effort.”

If you have spent any time at this blog then you will realize that hatred of Jewry and Israel is not the sole province of neo-Nazis and “Christian Identity” types, but also communists, who consider Zionism, like any other form of nationalism, to be an obstacle to the ultimate triumph of world revolution. Indeed, in the Soviet Bloc after Joseph Stalin’s death official anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism were useful forms of propaganda to crush dissent domestically, attack US interests in Europe and elsewhere, and promote the cause of Arab “national liberation.”

Together, Bashar and, prior to 2000, his dad Hafez have ruled Syria for almost as long as the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party has controlled this Middle Eastern state that. With a little help from the Syrian Communist Party, the neo-fascist Syrian Social Nationalist Party–which is also active in Lebanon–and other pan-Arab leftist groupings, the Ba’athists exercise their ruthless reign of terror in collaboration with the National Progressive Front. The Syrian Ba’athists are closely allied with the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). In May 2008 CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov travelled to Damascus where he swapped notes with the Ba’athist leadership.

Assad openly flaunts his new mutual defense pact with Ahmadinejad, regularly manipulates the Lebanese government through sympathetic politicians like President Michel Suleiman, and barely hides its support for Hezbollah, which not only possesses Russian-built missiles obtained via the Syrian army, but also operates bases on Syrian territory. While Assad stands accused of coddling Hezbollah, Chavez has resisted charges of providing havens for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and Spain’s Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna.

After rubbing elbows with Chavez, Assad flew to Havana last Sunday, the second pitstop on his excellent Latin American adventure. During a three-day snuggle-fest with President Raul Castro the Syrian dictator and his host agreed to promote bilateral economic and political ties that began in 1965. According to Granma, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Cuba, the two countries maintain “excellent” relations in trade and educational and cultural exchanges.

Finally, Assad backtracked somewhat by flying to Brazil and then Argentina, where Presidents Luiz Lula da Silva and Cristina Kirchner are warmly disposed toward the red regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. While visiting Brasilia, Assad commended Lula’s communist-backed government for its participation with Turkey in negotiating international acceptance of Iran’s “civilian” nuclear power program. Lula visited Syria in 2003. While visiting Buenos Aires, Assad and Kirchner promised to support the other’s country in international forums, specifically Syria’s claim on the Golan Heights and Argentina’s claim on the Falkland Islands.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia starts large-scale war game in Siberia, Far East; PRC stages live-fire naval drill in E. China Sea

>This week the Moscow-Beijing Axis is staging two large-scale military maneuvers in northeast Asia. Between June 29 and July 8, the Russian Armed Forces will carry out Vostok (East) 2010, a counterpart to last September’s Russian-Belarusian war game Zapad (West) 2009, which simulated a nuclear attack against Poland. Under the command of General Nikolai Makarov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, tens of thousands of troops, Su-24M mid-range bombers, Su-34 fighter-bombers, and Pacific Fleet warships will conduct anti-aircraft drills, parachute drops, and marine landings. The Black Sea Fleet’s missile cruiser Moskva and the Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered Peter the Great missile cruiser will join the war game.

Army units, explains state-run Xinhua, will collaborate with emergency brigades and divisions of the Civil Defense and Emergency Situations Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Border Service, which is under the control of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), and “other militarized units.” In preparation for Vostok 2010, Voice of Russia reported on June 23 that Su-34 fighter-bombers successfully accomplished a non-stop 6,000-kilometre test flight, complete with aerial re-fueling, from the Moscow region to Khabarovsk, in the Russian Far East.

General Marakov explained the purpose behind Vostok 2010: “The task of the war game is to guard Russia’s sea borders, prevent poaching, and counter piracy.” Prevent poaching? With tens of thousands of troops and two missile cruisers? Sure, comrade, whatever you say. I can’t imagine any poacher wanting to bag a Siberian tiger in the face of that scale of firepower. During the 1980s Makarov was a battalion commander in the Soviet Group of Forces in the German Democratic Republic, which merged with the Federal Republic of Germany 20 years ago. Incidentally, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was posted as a KGB agent to East Germany during the same period.

Intriguingly, Ukrainian Defense Minister Mikhail Yezhel was invited to observe Vostok 2010. Earlier this year, pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich won the Ukrainian presidential election, pledging to reverse the pro-Western orientation of predecessor Viktor Yushchenko. Ukraine is not presently a member of the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization. However, during a post-election visit to Kiev, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged “ex”-CPSU cadre Yanukovich to lead Ukraine into the military alliance. Within hours of Yanukovich’s victory the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia and Ukraine would hold joint air force drills by year’s end.

In the same region of the world, that is, near the heavily armed flashpoint known as the Korean Peninsula, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will stage a live-fire exercise in the East China Sea between June 30 and July 5. According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao daily, the exercise, which will take place 700 kilometres south of the Republic of Korea, is supposed to send a political message to South Korea and the USA, which intend to shortly hold a joint naval drill in the same body of water. Although it is an annual event, the PLAN drill was bumped ahead 10 days this year. As of June 24 the People’s Republic of China has banned commercial ships from entering the waters where its warships will be operating. The US Navy intends to send the 97,000-ton-class carrier USS George Washington to the Korean Peninsula.

With its usual histrionics, the propaganda arm of North Korea’s communist regime, Minju Josun, railed against the planned US-South Korean military exercise: “It is as clear as day that a small accident that might occur during the joint military exercise would easily spread to an armed clash and, eventually, to an all-out war. If the US imperialists, gripped by their pipe dream of invading the North, ignite a new war on the Korean peninsula, our military and the people will wipe out not only the invaders, but their strongholds as well and achieve a final triumph.” Bring it on, Kimmy. Talk is cheap.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea denies that its submarines torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26. Unimpressed, in mid-June South Korean Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Kim Sung-chan and US 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral John Bird announced that the two navies intend to “forger closer cooperation” in monitoring and countering the movements of North Korean subs.

Together Russia, Red China and their Central Asian allies in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have carried out four combined military drills: Peace Mission 2005, Peace Mission 2007, Norak Anti-Terror 2009, and Peace Mission 2009. This August the two communist superpowers will hold Peace Mission 2010 in Kazakhstan. During the bogus Sino-Soviet split of the Cold War, cooperation between Moscow and Beijing was not only unthinkable, but also would have forced NATO to the edge of its seat. In 1984, though, KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn accurately predicted that after the Soviet Union feigned its demise, the Russians would establish an open strategic partnership with the Chinese Communists, or “one clenched fist,” which would be used to crush the capitalist nations. This came to pass in 2001.

The Hunt for Red October: Medvedev Inaugurates First Graney-Class Attack Submarine, Severodvinsk Comparable to US Navy’s Virginia-Class Subs

Since the early 1990s, after the disingenuous collapse of Soviet communism, Russia has joined minor military maneuvers with various NATO states under the Partnership for Peace program. By promoting superficial cooperation with NATO, the Soviet strategists have effectively erased the image of Russia as the West’s chief enemy.

For example, in early June, the Barents Observer reported that the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Severomorsk arrived at Norway’s main naval base, Haakonsvern, near Bergen, to hold the first joint Russian-Norwegian military exercise since 1994. The drill was known as Pomor 2010. The Russian warship was accompanied by one Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft, Su-33 fighter jets, and Ka-27 rescue helicopters. The Norwegian military contributed the Otto Sverdrup frigate, KV Nordkapp coast guard vessel, one Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, F-16 fighter jets, and Lynx helicopters.

After holding joint live-fire drills with the Russian Navy, General Bernt Brovold, Commander of Norway’s National Joint Headquarters, travelled to Severomorsk, Russia, where he conferred with Admiral Nikolai Maksimo, head of the Northern Fleet, the Russian Navy’s most powerful. This is, in fact, an annual meeting between Russia and Norway’s top brass.

The Moscow Leninists are also entering negotiations with NATO countries to purchase Western military technology to fast-track the modernization of the Russian Armed Forces. For example, state-run Novosti reports that Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has formally begun contract talks with the French government to purchase one Mistral-class helicopter carrier and build three under license with French naval shipbuilder DCNS. The Mistral is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, 70 armored vehicles including 13 main battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

Purchasing armament from careless NATO states is only one way the Russian Navy is modernizing its fleet. Producing a new generation of nuclear-powered attack/missile submarines is top priority for the Soviet strategists. On June 15 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev travelled to Arctic Russia’s Sevmash shipyard, where he officially inaugurated the first Graney-class submarine, Severodvinsk, named after the nearby city. The Severodvinsk, which will enter service in 2011, can launch 24 long-range cruise missiles and attack enemy subs, surface warships, and land-based targets. This sub was 17 years in the making.

Last February Russia unveiled its new fifth-generation fighter jet, dubbed the PAKFA T-50, during a maiden flight near the plane’s design plant in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk. The Kremlin plans to begin mass production of its stealth fighter in 2015, with some units produced in collaboration with strategic partner India. The Russians are not hiding the fact that the Sukhoi T-50 was built to rival the only other stealth fighter in the world, the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, whose production was halted last year due to Obama Admin budget cuts.

On June17 Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, climbed into the cockpit of the T-50 prototype after watching a test flight of the plane near Moscow. “This machine will be superior to our main competitor, the F-22, in terms of maneuverability, weaponry and range,” Putin boasted, adding: “It will cost up to three times less than similar aircraft in the West and can remain in service for 30 to 35 years with upgrades.”

Finally, SatNews Daily has published photos of the Russian Federal Space Agency’s launch pad and mobile gantry at Kourou, French Guiana. The Russian spaceport has entered its “final phase” of construction, reports SatNews:

The gantry is one of the most visible differences at the spaceport’s launch infrastructure from the long-operating Soyuz facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk Cosomdrome in northern Russia. It allows payloads to be installed on the launcher in the vertical position, as is performed with Ariane 5 and many other Western launch vehicles, compared to the traditional horizontal integration performed with Russian launchers.

Originally slated for April, the first lift-off of a Russian Soyuz rocket from South America will take place by December 2010, announced the Kremlin’s top space officials during a recent inspection of the spaceport.

>USA File: FBI intercepts coded message from Moscow, busts 10 deep-cover Russian SVR agents, ring leader escapes; 4 defendants stole Canadian IDs

>– FBI Probe Sheds Light on Soviet Strategic Deception as Former FSB Chief Insinuates US Right Concocted Spy Scandal to Discredit Obama

– Russian Spies Possibly Infiltrated USA Before Collapse of Soviet Union, Just as FBI Turncoat Robert Hanssen Began His Career of Treason in 1979 until Arrested in 2001

On June 22 the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Russian missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, docked on the Embarcadero after a two-week voyage from Vladivostok. The arrival of the Russian Navy in San Francisco was a gesture of post-Cold War friendship, as well as a commemoration of the occasion when Czar Alexander II sent Russian warships to San Francisco and New York in 1863 during the US Civil War, in a show of support for the Union. The Varyag headed for home on June 25, after Rear Admiral Vladimir Kostanov issued some obligatory platitudes regarding international cooperation against piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

Over the weekend, too, Dmitry Medvedev and his US counterpart Barack Hussein Obama, whom the Russian president addressed as “comrade” last year, met in Washington on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit in Canada, to “reset” relations between Russia and the USA. Barely hours after the two leaders flew to Toronto, however, the real nature of Russia’s “friendship” with the USA was made manifest when the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest of 11 secret agents in the employ of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), which evolved from the foreign intelligence directorate of the Soviet KGB.

Pictured above: Five Russian spy suspects in New York court room.

Four of the accused Russian nationals had stolen Canadian identities, including that of Donald Howard Heathfield, an infant who died in the 1960s. In 2006 the Canadian Security Intelligence Service accused a Russian agent calling himself Paul William Hampel of using a fake Ontario birth certificate to obtain passports. Coincidentally, last week Canada’s spy boss revealed in an interview with state-run television that two provincial governments and a number of municipal politicians in British Columbia are “under the control of foreign governments.” Upon further questioning, it became apparent that Red China was one of those foreign governments.

The Russian national who coordinated the spy ring had assumed the identity of Christopher Metsos, a Canadian. “Mr. Metsos” travelled to the USA, where he would provide his agents with money and instructions. The spy who claimed to be Heathfield was married to “Tracey Lee Ann Foley,” another spy who purported to be a naturalized US citizen born in Canada. Yet another purported Canadian, Patricia Mills, was one of a pair of spies living as a married couple in New Jersey. Mills and her “husband” are reported to have dug up a bag buried by Mr. Metsos and containing tens of thousands of dollars to fund the operation. The mysterious “Mr. Metsos” remains at large, while the other 10 were arrested in raids in Boston, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.

FBI counter-intelligence agents specifically exposed the cover of “Richard” and “Cynthia Murphy” by intercepting a coded message sent from SVR headquarters in Moscow to the defendants. The deciphered message from Moscow stated: “You were sent to the USA for a long-term service trip. Your education, bank accounts, car, house, etc.—all of these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in the USA and send intels to C[enter].” A handful of intercepted messages included in the court filings reveal that the agents were to obtain information on a new generation of top-secret nuclear warheads, and attempt to learn US arms control negotiating positions.

According to FBI court files the SVR agents were “carefully selected Russians trained in foreign languages; agent-to-agent communications, including the use of brush-passes; short-wave radio operation and invisible writing; the use of codes and ciphers, including the use of encrypted Morse code messages; the creation and use of a cover profession; counter-surveillance measures.” In addition to short-wave radio, the agents communicated with SVR headquarters via steganography, or secret data in an image that can be posted on a publicly available website but is undetectable to the untrained, naked eye. It is unclear, however, as to whether Vladimir Putin’s spies actually stole any secrets of any importance.

Significantly, the FBI contends that some members of the spy ring had been operating for as long as 20 years–placing their insertion into the USA a year or more before the “collapse” of the Soviet Union. In this case, their situation is similar to that of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who was convicted in 2001 of spying for Russia, even though he began sending classified government information to Moscow in the mid-1980s. In spite of the stage-managed fall of Soviet communism, the Kremlin still expected Hanssen to submit information to his KGB handlers.

Moscow was clearly irritated by the FBI announcement and its timing with the G-8 summit, but refused to make any admission. “The choice of timing was particularly graceful,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded facetiously. “I hope the US will explain what they are talking about.” There has been no denial from the Russian government that those arrested were working for Moscow, but Mikhail Margelov, head of the State Duma International Relations Committee, obfuscated: “Very contradictory information is coming out, and no conclusions can be drawn from it.”

Nikolai Kovalyov, a former director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), attributed the spy scandal to certain political circles in the USA who are opposed to President Obama’s policy of “resetting” US-Russian relations.” In other words, Comrade Kovalyov is hinting that the US Right is “wishing” the Soviet Union and the Cold War back into existence. Kovalyov insinuated:

I think that certain ‘technicians’ are trying to infect the U.S. president’s ‘reset’ program with some destructive virus. Certainly, it cannot be a simple coincidence that this group of ‘exposed Russian spies’ was arrested immediately after the visit of President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev to the U.S. This scandal will deliver a serious blow primarily to the positions of President Obama himself.

He then poured water over the exposure of the Russian spy ring:

A situation where illegal agents launder money, use fake documents and keep their money in a glass jar buried underground is total nonsense and a cheap detective story. There are thousands of safe means to transfer money. I would like to confirm that the people exposed in the U.S. are not Russian diplomats or even ordinary Russian citizens. They are citizens of the U.S.

Kovalyov presently heads the Duma’s veterans committee.

>Latin America File: Cancun mayor, wife employ ex-Cuban security, military figures; PRD candidate Sanchez smuggled US-bound Cubans, Chinese, Russians

>– Long-Standing Gentleman’s Agreement between Mexico City and Havana Permitted Cuban Intelligence to Openly Operate out of Embassy, Target US Interests

– Cuba’s Continuing Role in Red Cocaine Plot Exposed: “Ex”-FAR Soldier on Cancun Mayor’s Payroll Assassinated Resort City’s Counter-Narcotics Chief in 2009

Students of international communism have long known of Cuba’s large intelligence-gathering hub in Mexico City, facilitated by a long-standing gentleman’s agreement between the Mexican and Cuban governments. “Prior to [President Vicente] Fox,” the Miami Herald reports, “the two nations had a gentleman’s agreement that Havana intelligence could operate in Mexico, largely against U.S. targets, as long as Havana did not meddle in Mexico’s internal affairs. But after one particularly strong clash in 2004, Mexico quietly expelled Cuba’s top intelligence man in Mexico City.” Although Cuba’s spy chief in Mexico was deported, the spying continues.

In May 2010 Gregorio Sánchez (pictured above), a former mayor of Cancún and disgraced gubernatorial candidate, was arrested on charges of laundering bribes he allegedly received for protecting drug cartels in the Caribbean resort, a key arrival point for illicit drugs flowing from South America to the USA. El Financiero journalist Raymundo Riva Palacio notes the geopolitical strategic significance of Sanchez’s arrest: “The case opened a surprise window — Cuban intelligence’s penetration of Cancún. Cuba has long maintained a large intelligence operation in Mexico City. But the Cancún presence is new, and therefore worrisome.” Sanchez is also under investigation for allegations that include smuggling US-bound Cubans, Chinese and Russians into Mexico and eavesdropping on rival politicians and journalists.

Sánchez’s Cuban-born wife, Niurka Sáliva, protests that the charges are false and were fabricated to sink his run for the governorship of the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located. His political coalition, headed by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), has in fact replaced him as its candidate in the July 4 state election. In 2008 Sanchez was elected mayor of the Benito Juarez municipality, which includes Cancún. The PRD, which contains various communist factions, is the left-most of Mexico’s three major parties. The others are President Felipe Calderon’s center-right National Action Party (PAN) and the mildly center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which previously controlled the Mexican presidency between 1930 and 2000.

During his short stint as Cancun mayor, Sanchez and spouse Saliva cultivated murky connections with Cuba’s military and Intelligence Directorate (DI). Indeed, Sanchez retained about 150 Cubans on the municipal payroll, including 80 in a social services agency headed by Sáliva when she was Cancún’s first lady. Acting Mayor Latifa Muza told reporters she was unable to confirm exactly how many Cubans were on the payroll but added, “They are a lot … that much is evident.’”

Mexican authorities opened a file on Sánchez in 2009, when gunmen assassinated retired army General Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones, one month after federal authorities sent him to Cancun to crack down on drug trafficking on the Yucatan Peninsula. Arrested in the general’s murder was Boris del Valle, a Cuban who earned US$3,330 per month on Sánchez’s payroll as a “security advisor.” Mexican court records show del Valle served in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR) from 1975 to 1991. Del Valle is a nephew of Sergio del Valle, who served as Cuba’s interior minister from 1968 to 1979 and as health minister from 1979 to 1986. Del Valle’s uncle died in 2007.

The assassination of an important Mexican counter-narcotics chief by an “ex”-FAR soldier certainly goes some distance to prove Cuban and Communist Bloc complicity in the narco-subversion of the West. “The Castro government,” explains the Miami Herald, “regularly trusts Cubans with security experience to leave the country, establish businesses abroad and remain loyal to the revolution.” Terrorism and security expert Joseph Douglass exposed the Soviet Union’s role in the international drug trade 20 years ago in Red Cocaine: The Drugging of the West. The Russian Mafia, which is also well-entrenched in Cancun, supplies Mexico’s powerful drug cartels with a sizable chunk of its impressive firepower.

Niurka boasts even more direct links to the Castro regime. Her father, José Angel Sáliva, is a retired colonel in Cuba’s Interior Ministry (MININT) who held several low-profile administrative posts, but is known to be close to Cuban President Raúl Castro and to rub elbows with the island’s communist hierarchs. Residing in Quintana Roo, as well, are Niurka’s half-brothers: Javier Molina, described by Mexican authorities as a former captain or major in MININT’s domestic State Security agency; and Alfredo Molina, a Cuban engineer who became a Mexican citizen.

In April 2010, in a related story, federal investigators raiding a Cancún home found a sophisticated eavesdropping center headed by Manuel Vera Salinas, a former Mexican military officer also listed in municipal payrolls as another Sánchez “security advisor.” Salinas has disappeared, but investigators believe Boris del Valle was also involved in the spying center, which maintained dossiers on politicians and reporters, including photos and activity logs. Cesar Muñoz, news director of Cancun’s Novedades newspaper, claims he was one of the journalists Sanchez’s henchmen targeted.

Cancun is not only a key arrival point for illicit drugs flowing from South America to the USA, but also a key arrival point for Cuban migrants heading to the US-Mexico border. The Cuban presence here surged as a direct result of Sánchez’s personal links to the communist regime. He made frequent trips to Havana, where he met and married Sáliva, until she moved to Cancún in 2004. Four years later, after his election, Sánchez signed a “cultural exchange” agreement with Havana that allowed his municipality and private Cancún firms to contract Cuban artists, academics, technicians, and others to work at the famous resort. Today, more than 6,000 Cubans are registered residents of Quintana Roo.

Palacio and other Mexican security analysts are puzzled by the large Cuban intelligence presence in Cancun, considering the well-entrenched spy base in Mexico City. They speculate, though, that long-standing business and cultural relations link Cancun and Cuba, another resort destination 140 miles to the east. In any event, Sánchez is not the first Quintana Roo official with strong links to Cuba. Mario Villanueva, governor of the state in the 1990s, was extradited to the USA on May 8 to face charges he accepted US$500,000 bribes for each large drug shipment passing through his turf, allegedly 200 tons in all. Villanueva was a close friend of Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina, fired in 1999 after he admitted accepting US$25,000 from the Mexican governor to remodel the ministry’s offices in Havana.

>Communism with Canadian Characteristics: Ottawa’s spy boss risks rep ahead of G8/G20 summits, Hu arrival: politicians “under control of foreign govs"

>– Great Red North: Prime Minister Jean Chretien Quashed RCMP’s 1997 “Sidewinder Report” Exposing Communist China’s Infiltration of Canada’s Political Parties; Situation Still Festering 13 Years Later

On Tuesday, Ottawa’s spymaster, Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, risked his career by declaring in an interview with state-run television that cabinet ministers in two provinces and municipal politicians in British Columbia are “under the control of foreign governments.” Fadden did not specify the two provincial governments. However, B.C. and Alberta, Canada’s two westernmost provinces, have aggressively pursued trade relations with Red China. In his comments to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Fadden stated:

These politicians haven’t hidden their ties to foreign governments, and recently they’ve been shifting their policy decisions to reflect those relationships. I have discussed this with Canada’s Privy Council, how best to tell those provincial governments, that they may have been comprised. There is no evidence that any federal politicians have been infiltrated.

A number of countries take the view that if they can develop influence with people relatively early in their careers they’ll follow them through. Before you know it, a country’s providing them with money, some sort of covert guidance.

Fadden declined to name the elected officials or hostile countries involved, but when probed further whether the People’s Republic of China was complicit, the CSIS director acknowledged that recent media reports on the PRC’s economic espionage in Canada were not “entirely incorrect.” The CBC report added that “at least five countries, including China and Middle Eastern countries, are recruiting political prospects in universities.” The candor of Canada’s state-run broadcaster should alert inhabitants of the Great White North to the fact that agents of international communism and Islamic terrorism are seeking recruits at Canadian universities but, in the end, it will probably not.

Fadden’s unexpected bombshell provoked confused, angry responses from politicians and political pundits. Wesley Wark, who teaches history at the University of Toronto, insisted that Fadden’s revelations were an attempt by the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to deflect criticism concerning the C$1 billion security budget for the G8 and G20 summits, slated to take place this weekend in Huntsville, Ontario and Toronto, respectively. Wark protested:

What on Earth is the CSIS director doing making this public? Why is he coming forward with this information? I think having aired the allegation CSIS [officials’] feet are going to be held to the fire to explain exactly what they mean and why they chose to make this allegation public— particularly in the context of the timing of it on the eve of the G8 and G20—when there has been a lot of concerns about the security budget. Is this an effort to steer Canadians’ attention away from the more pressing security issues?

If Harper goaded Fadden into dropping this bombshell along the scenario envisioned by Wark, then the prime minister’s spokesman Dimitri Soudas offered the spymaster little in the way of “solace or protection.” Soudas asserted the Prime Minister’s Office had “no knowledge of these matters,” even though Fadden admitted that he discussed this issue with the Privy Council, which includes Harper.

In either event, recognizing that his own cabinet ministers were the likely target of Fadden’s assertions, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell reacted angrily:

He’s provided neither the head of our public service, nor me, nor our solicitor general, nor our attorney general with any evidence of this whatsoever. Candidly, I think this really was not just unprecedented, but it is incredibly unprofessional, and I think it calls into question how this organization [CSIS] is working. We have to hear what justification there are for these kinds of doubts and aspersions being cast on people who are trying to serve the public. If there is direct evidence, if someone is under the influence of a foreign government, [then] that should be dealt with. Canadians deserve a complete, a thorough and a substantial explanation of those comments.

Scott Watson, an international security expert at the University of Victoria, demanded that Fadden provide evidence of his foreign influence allegations: “It’s the nature of [CSIS’s] work to not do it in public, but him raising this in public, then I think he brought it on himself, that he needs to provide public evidence of his claims.”

In the immediate wake of the CSIS insinuations that provincial and municipal politicians in Canada are in the backpocket of Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao (pictured above) arrived in Canada yesterday for a state visit that will include attendance at the G20 summit. For his part, Canada’s Conservative prime minister made his first visit to the PRC in late 2009, after nearly four years in office, during which stint he took Beijing to task for its deplorable human rights record. This weekend, energy is expected to be a key topic of discussion for Harper and Hu, since the PRC’s “market socialist” economy is a voracious consumer of Alberta coal.

The Chinese government has also invested in Alberta’s oil and gas sector, especially in the tar sand fields near the bustling boom city of Fort McMurray. Since Harper’s hometown is Calgary, in southern Alberta, his ability to aggressively pursue human rights issues with Communist China is seriously compromised.

This is not the first time that Canadian intelligence officials have identified Red China as a source of political and economic subversion. In June 1997 a secret Joint Review Committee co-chaired by CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police released a report titled “Chinese Intelligence Services and Triads Financial Links in Canada,” otherwise known as Sidewinder.

“In May 1996,” a copy of Sidewinder, published at Jeff Nyquist’s website, explains its own origins, “a joint project was initiated by the RCMP Criminal Analysis Branch and the CSIS Analysis and Production Branch to assess the extent of the threat posed by the acquisition and control of Canadian companies by members or associates of triads with affiliations to the Chinese Intelligence Services.” The report’s foreword continues: “At the moment, we estimate that over 200 Canadian companies are under the direct or indirect control of China. Although it was impossible to do all the research within the parameters initially given; however, sufficient details have been found to reveal the threat. It should be reiterated that this report presents concrete facts, not just ideas or speculation.”

In October 1999, then CSIS director Barry Denofsky ordered the destruction of all copies of Sidewinder and all other material associated with the file, such as emails, drafts, and notes. Obviously, not all copies were destroyed. Nevertheless, disturbed by the Liberal government’s suppression of the report, RCMP Corporal Robert Read fought to have the investigation reopened, appealing for help from higher-ups in the RCMP, Canada’s Public Complaints Commission, the federal auditor general, and, finally, the media in the form of Vancouver Province news editor Fabian Dawson. In response, the RCMP dismissed Read from his position.

The prime minister of Canada at the time was Jean Chretien who, not surprisingly, had cultivated close business ties with Beijing’s communist rulers in the late 1980s. In 2003 investigative reporter Ann Jane Gray uncovered these sordid linkages between Canada’s Liberal Party elite and Red Chinese frontmen. Gray’s findings are published at the Canadian website PrimeTimeCrime:

Jean Chretien’s employment by Gordon Capital from 1986-1990 was his first public association with individuals identified by the Sidewinder Report as a threat to Canada’s public security. Chretien’s position as an advisor was a lucrative one and left him a wealthy man. Chretien’s ties to Gordon Capital continue to this day, in the person of Marc Fung, son of Gordon Capital’s former vice-president during Chretien’s tenure, Robert Fung. Marc Fung travelled with the federal Liberals on Team Canada trips to Asia and was, as of May 2002, an aide in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Gordon Capital is one of the financial companies used in the Sidewinder Report as a case study on the links between China, Hong Kong billionaires and Canadian financial institutions that are “clearly worrying for Canada’s national security”. The RCMP’s concern arose over Li Ka-Shing, the father of the owner of the company, Richard Li.

Li Ka-Shing is a Hong Kong billionaire who, during the 1970s, was recruited by the Communist Party of China to teach capitalism to the ruling class. American defence departments have long known that Li’s business empire is a military and intelligence arm of China. Al Santoli, a national security” advisor to U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, has called Li a “stalker for the PRC (China) whose “close ties to the People’s Liberation Army intelligence (arm) are well known”.

In 1999 the Chinese Communists appointed Chretien’s son-in-law, Andre Desmarais, as a director of CITIC Pacific, a subsidiary of China International Trust Investment Company. The three founders of CITIC Pacific’s parent company, CITIC–Li Ka-Shing, Henry Fok, and Robert Kwok–are all suspected of ties to the People’s Liberation Army, Triad gangs, and the PRC’s past leader Deng Xiaoping. Conversely, Power Corporation, which is owned by Paul Desmarais, Andres’ father, boasts a portfolio of investments in Red China through its Hong Kong subsidiary, Power Pacific Corporation.

A direct quote from Sidewinder reveals: “Significant portions of some large Canadian urban centres are also owned by Chinese entrepreneurs. For example, it is estimated that Li Ka-shing owns with his son [Richard Li] at least one sixth to one third of downtown Vancouver.” Between 1987 and 1997, when Hong Kong’s status as a British crown colony ended and the city became a Special Administrative Region in Red China, nearly 500,000 Hong Kong Chinese had immigrated to Canada. Among these genuine immigrants, reported Sidewinder, were Triads who had already become effective tools of intelligence collection and subversion for the Communist Party of China.

Although the Chinese Communists no doubt view Canada as a “bourgeois” nation and, thus, part of the enemy camp, it should be obvious that the USA is Beijing’s main target. Canada serves as a useful base of operations to subvert the US political and economic system.

>Latin America File: Chavez funding Mexican guerrillas; son of former EPR hostage: “Huge international interest to change Mexico into communist state"

>– Anonymous US Military Source: Cuban Agents, FARC Guerrillas Have Infiltrated Mexico’s Epristas

– Owner of Venezuela’s Last Opposition TV Station Flees Country, Joins Globovision Director, Ex-Banker in Exile

– Ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela Organizes “Election Patrols” Ahead of September Ballot

– Nicaragua’s Ortega Rolls out “Red Carpet” for FARC Fugitive, Follows Asylum for Four Other FARC “Groupies” in 2008

Communism, we are told, is still dead in Russia and Eastern Europe. However, over in our neck of the woods—the Americas—the communist-infiltrated Democratic Party controls all three branches of the US government, while guerrillas, drug operatives, and the “ex”-KGB types who run the Russian Mafia are working hand in glove to destabilize Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s “bourgeois, neo-liberal” regime.

A June 1, 2010 article published in both the San Francisco Examiner and Washington Examiner reports that Venezuela’s self-avowed communist president, Hugo Chavez, is funding Mexico’s Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), which first announced its presence to the world in 1996. For his part, former paratrooper and Castro disciple Chavez tried to seized power twice in 1992 but, after a short prison sentence, won Venezuela’s 1998 presidential election. Thereafter, he began using PDVSA revenues and his regime’s take from the region’s cocaine trade to finance leftist parties and guerrilla armies throughout Central and South America.

This is not the first time we have blogged about the nexus between Chavez and Mexico’s Marxist insurgents. Over the past decade, Venezuela has effectively replaced Cuba as the Western Hemisphere’s main hub for exporting communist revolution.

Journalist Sara Carter quotes an anonymous Mexican official as saying: “The Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR) is a terrorist organization bent on destabilizing Mexico. Splinters of the group are also adding to the problem.” Carter also quotes a US official as saying: “Chavez has been funding groups like these in Mexico and throughout Latin America. These groups are nothing more than terrorist organizations and members have connected to other narco-trafficking organizations in Mexico, creating a very dangerous matrix.”

A US military official observes: “EPR has members that are former Cuban agents, Colombians, as well as others with an agenda to see a shift to the left in Mexico.” In referring to “Colombians,” this source is presumably implying that guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are fighting side by side with the Epristas.

According to all of these officials, EPR receives funding not only from the Venezuelan government, but also Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.

The EPR claimed responsibility for the 2007 bombings of the state-owned Pemex oil pipelines, along with several other bombing attempts of a bank and Sears department stores in cities throughout Mexico. Mexico’s intelligence services, according to Carter, have a “poor track record” of predicting the group’s operations.

Although the Epristas disavow kidnapping former presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, the guerrillas, in collaboration with narco-mercenaries, are suspected of perpetrating the disappearance. Fernandez is a member of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN) and a personal friend of President Calderon. On May 14, 2010 Fernandez’s vehicle was found near his ranch in the central state of Queretaro. Mexican officials say they detected signs of a struggle.

“His kidnappers are snubbing both the Mexican and U.S. government–showing both nations that it is Mexico’s criminal enterprise that is in charge,” commented Eduardo Garcia Valseca, the son of a Mexican newspaper magnate who was kidnapped by Epristas in 2008 and held for nearly eight months in a box before being ransomed. Valseca believes the similarities between his father’s kidnapping and that of Fernandez are too obvious to overlook. Valesca, who now lives with his family in self-imposed exile, elaborates:

Members of the U.S. administration don’t understand what’s been brewing in Mexico for a while, and this very powerful leftist movement has grown in Mexico. There is huge international interest to change Mexico into a socialist, communist state. When you listen to the narco-terrorists or the EPR, you hear them say how they hate capitalists and pretend to be like Robin Hoods. I lived through their horror. I know their hate.

The Mexican government is ignoring the warning signs and continues to cover up, hiding behind lies.

Attacks on members of Mexico’s politicians and media owners can be seen as a “sign” that Mexico is “slowly losing control from within,” the US officials quoted by Carter insist. In late May 2010 gunmen killed a mayoral candidate running on the PAN ticket in Valle Hermoso, a town near Brownsville, Texas, and an area known for cross-border drug trafficking. “These groups don’t want to see the PAN party succeed, and so with the backing of dictators like Chavez they will continue to try to destabilize Mexico,” commented another anonymous Mexican official who feared for his safety. “They’ve infiltrated our own government.” Next month, 10 Mexican states will prepare for elections, prompting politicians to express concerns about intimidation from “outside criminal forces.”

Meanwhile, in Venezuela the principal owner of the country’s last remaining opposition television station, Globovision, has fled the country, reports the Wall Street Journal on June 17, as Chavez applies more pressure to his opponents ahead of this September’s National Assembly election. Guillermo Zuloaga fled his homeland to an unknown destination after a warrant for his arrest was issued at least two weeks ago. The Chavezista regime accuses Zuloaga of hoarding cars at a family-owned dealership. Such hoarding is illegal in “Bolivarian” Venezuela.

In a telephone call to Globovision, Zuloaga insisted that the government’s accusations against him were trumped up to shut down freedom of expression. In March Zuloaga was briefly arrested for making similar comments. The same month former state governor Oswaldo Alvarez Paz was arrested after accusing Chavez of transforming Venezuela into a haven for drug traffickers.

Globovision director Nelson Mezerhane has also fled the country. Mezerhane doubles as president of the mid-sized Banco Federal, which on June 14 the Chavezista regime seized on charges of not meeting liquidity requirements. “This is part of a political agenda,” Mezerhane protested in an interview, adding: “The president wants to bend Globovision to its will and put it at the service of the state.” Taking to the airwaves, Chavez taunted his opponents: “They are running for some reason. . . . He who hasn’t done anything wrong, doesn’t fear anything.”

Alberto Federico Ravell, a shareholder and former editor in chief at Globovision, was forced to step down from his post earlier his year. Ravell opines: “I don’t think the president wants to shut down the channel. He just wants to strangle it with measures against its owners, tax audits, and other regulatory measures.”

In 2007 Chavez ordered another private broadcaster, RCTV, off the air, refusing to renew its license. Some political analysts believe the Venezuelan president is persecuting his critics in order to distract the population’s attention from serious domestic issues and scandals, such as 30% inflation and thousands of tons of imported food rotting in the country’s main port.

Chavez is anxious to perpetuate “21st century socialism” in his homeland. For this reason, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is ramping up for the September 26 election under the campaign banner “Batalla Bolivar 200,” named after nineteenth-century South American liberation leader Simon Bolivar. In order to secure victory, the PSUV is organizing 36,600 “election patrols” consisting of 50 party members each to “monitor” polling stations and obtain at least 10 voters in every community. The PSUV boasts 7.3 million registered members.

“September 26 must be an admirable day,” Chavez declared on June 12, adding: “The result should be admirable . . . the National Assembly has to continue being revolutionary. We can’t allow a result of less than two thirds of [seats] in the Assembly.” Chavez’s intentions are clear: The PSUV and its allies in the Communist Party of Venezuela will implement every trick in the book to intimidate the opposition and steal a majority in the Venezuelan parliament. By contrast, Venezuela’s disorganized rightist opposition, which boycotted the last National Assembly election in 2005, mustered candidates in only 15 of the 87 electoral circuits.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Nicaragua’s TV Channel 4 reports that Ruben Dario Granda, brother of Rodrigo, “foreign minister” of FARC, and his family arrived in Managua on June 17, after spending nearly two weeks in Nicaragua’s Bogota embassy. Past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega is a long-time supporter of Colombia’s red insurgents. “There are members of the Farc, of its high command, here in Nicaragua today,” claimed Victor Boitano, a former colonel in the Nicaraguan military, to The Times in a May 2010 interview.

Since re-emerging from 16 years of hibernation, the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front has refurbished the 3,000-meter military runway at Punta Huete, originally built with the help of Soviet and Cuban engineers in the 1980s. Panchito Aerodrome is pictured above in a recent photo. Note the new control tower in the image’s upper right. In late 2008 and again earlier this year the Russians have expressed an interest in using the airbase. Earlier this month, the long-dormant Russia-Nicaragua Intergovernmental Commission restored twice-weekly “commercial” flights between Moscow and Managua via Havana.

Thus, it may be only a matter of time before the Kremlin’s Tu-160 supersonic bombers once again touch down in Venezuela, as they did in September 2008, before speeding over the Caribbean Sea to land in Nicaragua. If the world’s largest combat aircraft arrives in Central America, this event will be a “first” for Soviet/Russian strategic aviation both during and after the Cold War.

>Red Dawn Alert: Russia, Nicaragua to reactivate Punta Huete; Soviets built strategic bomber-capable runway in 1987, MiG-21s expected but never arrived

>– Nicaraguan Air Force Commander: Special Military Brigade to Man New Control Tower at Punta Huete

– Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Holds Consultations with Red Regimes in Managua and San Salvador

– Ortega Coddles Alleged FARC Funder as Moskito Indians Occupy Regional Airport, Defy Sandinistas

– Happy Customer Hugo Chavez Orders 18 More Chinese-Built Trainer/Light Attack Jets

Punta Huete, with its new equipment, is ready.
— Brigadier General Jorge Alberto Miranda, Commander of Nicaraguan Air Force, interviewed by La Prensa (Managua), May 21, 2010

In late 2008 we reported on one of Igor Sechin’s official visits to Nicaragua. Sechin is Deputy Prime Minister of Russia but, in an earlier incarnation, was the GRU’s pointman in Latin America, coordinating the supply of arms to the region’s communist insurgents. The GRU refers to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Soviet/Russian Armed Forces. At the time the Nicaraguan media noted that Moscow and Managua were considering the possibility of rehabilitating Punta Huete, a military runway north of Lake Managua that the Soviets and Cubans built between 1982 and 1987. The air base is also known as Panchito Aerodrome.

During the first Sandinista regime, President Daniel Ortega intended to purchase a number of MiG-21 fighter jets from the Soviet Union or Cuba, ostensibly to “export” red revolution throughout the region. In 1984 the White House formally warned the Soviets that it would not permit Moscow to base aircraft in Nicaragua, in particular, maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine planes. In the July 26, 1987 edition of the New York Times Bernard E. Trainor discussed Nicaragua’s importance to Soviet strategic aviation:

Most experts who have followed the construction of Punta Huete say they believe the airfield will be completed but will not be used to its full potential unless Nicaragua and the Soviet Union judge they can do so without unduly provoking the United States. Even so, it is generally believed that Moscow will not try to base tactical aircraft like MiGs there.

More likely, experts say, Punta Huete may be eventually used as a landing and refuelling base for Soviet maritime aircraft. That would make it possible for the Russians to fly long-range reconnaissance and electronic eavesdropping flights along the west coast of Alaska and North America from bases in Soviet Asia.

During 1986-1987 testimony in the Congressional Iran-Contra hearings, US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North “specifically cited the air base at Punta Huete and two small ports as potentially useful to the Russians as based in the Western Hemisphere.” The ports to which North referred more than two decades ago were probably Corinto on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast and Monkey Point on the Caribbean coast. Two years ago, in connection with Punta Huete, we noted that the Russians are in fact interested in helping Ortega transform Monkey Point into a deep-water port. Incidentally, North briefly re-emerged from retirement in 2006 to campaign against Ortega’s re-election bid. North’s personal website can be found here.

In December 1986 US citizen Sam Nesley Hall was arrested outside the Punta Huete air base and charged with spying. Hall was released the following January after the Nicaraguans deemed him mentally unstable. In 1990, after Ortega lost the presidency, everyone forgot about the Sandinistas and Panchito fell into disrepair.

Meanwhile, Latin America’s guerrillas traded in their machine guns for suit jackets, democratically assuming power in countries like Venezuela (1999), Bolivia (2005), Uruguay (2009), and El Salvador (2009). The USA also changed after the Cold War, especially in terms of threat perceptions. Communism was no longer viewed as the main enemy of freedom, hence Barack Hussein Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008. With the return to open power of the Sandinistas in January 2007 and in view of President Obama’s commitment to strip the USA of its nuclear deterrent, it appears that the time has arrived where Washington will not be “unduly provoked” by the presence of Russian strategic aviation in Central America.

Pictured here: New control tower at Punta Huete.

Last week in Managua the Russia-Nicaragua Intergovernmental Commission convened for the first time in 18 years. Co-chairing the commission for the Nicaraguans and Russians were Deputy Foreign Minister Manuel Coronel Kautz and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, respectively. Accompanying Riabkov were 37 high-ranking Russian “civil servants and industrialists.” On the agenda were bilateral relations in the areas of energy production, technology, tourism, transportation, construction, fishing, and education. More ominously, on June 1, 2010 El Nuevo Diario reported:

The Russians are interested in helping the government of Ortega finish the rehabilitation of the airport in the locality of Punta Huete—next to Lake Xolotan, 50 kilometers northeast of Managua—that the Sandinistas began to construct during their first government (1979-1990).

The relations between Nicaragua and Russia were established in 1979 with the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution, which received the economic and political support of Moscow during the Cold War. These relations were suspended between 1990 and 2006, during the right-wing governments of the time, but were started again in 2007 with the return to power of Ortega.

The purpose of Panchito, as publicized by the current Sandinista regime, is to handle aircraft during “emergencies” and “natural disasters,” as well as large aircraft that cannot be adequately serviced at Augusto Sandino International Airport in Managua. This includes commercial aircraft such as Boeing 747s and cargo planes such as the Russian-built AN-124 and US-built C-5 Galaxy.

Not insignificantly, the 3,000-meter runway at Punta Huete is the only landing strip in Central America that can accommodate Soviet/Russian strategic bombers, such as the Tu-160 Blackjack. From Nicaragua, this airborne cruise missile platform can approach the coasts of California and Texas in about 60 minutes and fire its lethal load. Nicaragua’s small, Soviet-equipped air force has never had any requirement for such a large runway.

In the May 21, 2010 edition of Managua’s La Prensa Nicaragua’s air force commander, Brigadier General Jorge Alberto Miranda (pictured here), related the current status of Punta Huete, which boasts a new control tower with modern communications and air navigation systems.

The runway was constructed with military aims, as a place where Russian-built MiG-21 airplanes could land.

President Daniel Ortega was disposed to coordinate the rehabilitation of the airport.

There is a special brigade that can be immediately transferred to the airport’s control tower. These personnel are ready to enter and operate the control tower when necessary. The Nicaraguan Army is able to use contingency equipment there in case of emergencies.

The approach to Punta Huete is safe, whether by land or air. We are speaking of an eight-kilometer land access that can be crossed perfectly, without problems. There is no possibility of flooding in or around the runway. It is for that reason that Punta Huete’s qualifications are very positive. The geographic location of the aerodrome is very suitable.

This runway can operate by day or night following a contingency plan prepared by the army.

After some preparation the runway will be ready to receive aircraft in case Sandino Airport is disqualified. The International Civil Aviation Organization approved of the runway’s rehabilitation.

Punta Huete, with its new equipment, is ready.

Captain Carlos Salazar, director of the Nicaraguan Civil Aeronautical Institute, explained that “We are assuring that the main airport [in Managua] has an effective contingency plan that includes an alternative runway, to avoid any tragic event. Our main objective [at Punta Huete], first of all, is to watch and supervise [all?] air operations in Nicaragua.” Writing for La Prensa, journalist Roberto Morales reveals that the Central American Corporation of Airplane Navigation Services (Cocesna) donated US$5 million to renovate Punta Huete.

Following last week’s meeting of the Russia-Nicaragua Intergovernmental Commission, Moscow extended a US$10 million loan to help Central America’s most impoverished country. Ortega also relies heavily on petrodollars from Venezuelan comrade Hugo Chavez—funnelled through front companies controlled by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas—to re-consolidate his grip on Nicaragua.

Pictured here: In this undated but apparently recent photograph, the runway at Punta Huete appears to be in good shape. The Russians want to help the Sandinistas finish “rehabilitating” this Soviet-built air base.

In a related story, the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s decades-old alliance with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was once again exposed this week when Managua granted political asylum to Ruben Dario Granda. Ruben is the brother of Rodrigo Granda, who is known as FARC’s “foreign minister.” Ruben was detained by Colombian authorities in April on suspicion of allegedly securing funds for FARC, but released for lack of evidence. He sought refuge in the Nicaraguan embassy in Bogota on May 31. The neo-Sandinista regime previously gave refuge to four survivors of the March 2008 Colombian military raid in Ecuador that killed FARC commander Raul Reyes and 24 others.

While Ortega huddles with his Moscow masters and coddles putative FARC terrorists, the second FSLN regime faces serious domestic challenges to its continuity from the main opposition group, the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, which last month declared a “general rebellion” against Ortega’s government. Nicaragua’s indigenous groups along the Caribbean coast are also defying the Sandinistas, including the Moskito Indians, who nominally seceded from the country last year.

Last Friday, Moskitos allied under the banner of the YATAMA political party occupied an airport in northern Nicaragua, demanding fulfillment of an agreement that indigenous leaders signed with the Sandinistas a week ago. Among other things, Ortega promised to provide the Moskitos with loans, houses, and jobs. YATAMA leader Hector Poveda warned Managua that his followers would occupy other government buildings in Bilwi if the Sandinistas did not fulfill their obligations. The occupation of Rigoberto Cabezas Airport prompted the suspension of flights to the capital. The native Nicaraguans also blocked the road between Minas and Waspan municipalities. During the 1980s the Moskitos joined the US-backed Contras in trying to dislodge the first Sandinista regime. Poveda claims to lead nearly 4,000 former Moskito combatants.

More than a year after peacefully assuming power in El Salvador, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) is deepening relations between the Central American country and Russia. On June 3, fresh from co-chairing the Russia-Nicaragua Intergovernmental Commission, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Riabkov flew to San Salvador (pictured here). There he conferred with counterpart Carlos Castañeda, to analyze the possibility of boosting collaboration in the areas of sports, tourism, science, and technology.

“We have already had many achievements with other Central American and Latin American countries and I am glad to have found such a positive attitude here,” Riabkov told a news conference. For his part, Castañeda announced Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez’s visit to Moscow during the second half of October 2010 to sign several cooperation agreements.

During the 1980s, while the FMLN operated as a guerrilla army, the military-backed center-right governments that ruled El Salvador did not have diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. This was probably due to the fact that El Salvador’s communist insurgents received ideological, logistical, and weapons support from the Soviets, Cubans, and Nicaraguans. In 1992, after the end of the civil war, El Salvador established diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation, but only via its embassy in Berlin, while Russia’s ambassador in Nicaragua also covered Russian-Salvadoran relations. Now the Salvadorans and Russians are contemplating establishing embassies in the other’s capital.

Last year, after center-left frontman and ex-TV journalist Mauricio Funes was elected president, the FMLN Politburo dispatched the real ruler of El Salvador, Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, to Havana where he consorted with his Cuban mentors. The FMLN’s former battlefield commander, Sanchez Ceren is known as a “doctrinaire Leninist” and, according to more cynical Salvadorans, is only one bullet away from assuming Funes’ position.

Finally, on June 5 Venezuela’s red dictator Hugo Chavez announced that his regime will spend another US$82 million to buy a second shipment of 18 Chinese-made K-8 trainer/light attack jets. Venezuela received an initial shipment of six K-8 planes earlier this year. Chavez also acknowledged that Venezuela plans to buy “large amounts” of appliances from the People’s Republic of China, including refrigerators, washing machines, and television sets. In addition to its commercial relations with Red China, Venezuela has also purchased US$4 billion of Russian military equipment and weapons since Chavez established his strategic partnership with Moscow in 2001.

>Middle East File: Israeli troops board Irish-flagged Free Gaza aid ship, divert to Ashdod; Erdogan denies Hamas terrorist organization

>– Turkish Media Beats War Drum against Israel, Hurriyet Sees Hand of Mossad behind Kurdistan Workers’ Party Terror Attack (source)

According to the June 5 edition of the Times Online, “The Israeli Navy has boarded and seized an Irish-owned aid ship bound for Gaza, just five days after killing nine passengers in a bloody raid on a previous convoy. Israeli vessels surrounded the 1,200-ton MV Rachel Corrie shortly after dawn today as it carried aid towards the Hamas-ruled territory. The ship, which had originally been scheduled to travel with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla earlier this week, ignored four warnings to divert to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection of its contents.” The 20 passengers offered no resistance.

Yossi Gal, the director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, explained that if the crew willingly diverted the ship to Ashdod, all cargo with the exception of weapons or weapons components would be transferred to Gaza. The Rachel Corrie is named after a pro-Palestinian US student, crushed to death by a bulldozer in 2003 while protesting IDF house demolitions in Gaza. Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, a top leader of Hamas and de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, denounced the interception of the Rachel Corrie, declaring: “We are not seeking to fill our [bellies], we are looking to break the Israeli siege on Gaza.”

In spite of previous news reports, Turkish warships do not yet appear to be escorting aid ships en route to the Gaza Strip as there was no confrontation between the Turkish and Israeli navies during the Rachel Corrie interception. However, this possibility should not be ruled out in the future. Israel has ordered the families of its diplomats to leave Turkey in anticipation of a complete severing of ties with Turkey. Although the Turkish government has withdrawn its ambassador from Israel, the Israeli government has merely closed its embassy in Ankara.

Yesterday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who lashed out against Israel over the IDF’s commando raid against the Free Gaza flotilla, denied that Hamas was a terrorist organization. Instead, he effectively views Hamas as a “national liberation” organization. The Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying: “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. I said the same thing to the United States. I am still of the same opinion. They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.” Last Monday at least four Turkish “peace activists” were killed by Israeli soldiers who stormed the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara ferry.

>End Times File: Erdogan denounces Israel for attacking Free Gaza flotilla, Turkish warships reportedly escorting Irish aid ship, Netanyahu defiant

> – Israeli Defense Forces Discover Weapons Cache Aboard Turkish-Flagged Ferry Mavi Marmara, Now Impounded at Port of Ashdod

– Russia and Arab League Condemn IDF Commando Raid against Free Gaza Flotilla (Invasion Force?), United Nations Calls for Easing of Gaza Blockade

– Syrian and Lebanese Presidents Issue Joint Statement Implying Israel’s Actions against “Humanitarian Mission” Will Lead to World War

– Indications Turkey Beefing Up Naval Deployments in Eastern Mediterranean

– Turkish Computer Hackers Disrupt Pro-Likud Party Website, Post Anti-Israel Pics and Slogans

– Hezbollah’s Scud Missile Bases in Syria Provoke Israeli Strike Threat

Israel is a damned, terrorist and murderous country. Long live the Palestinian people!
— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, televised statement, June 2, 2010

Pictured above: Dagger-wielding Free Gaza “peace activist” aboard Turkish-flagged cruise ship Mavi Marmara. Photo presumably snapped by Israeli soldier.

In a story that has considerable bearing on the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s end-times prophecies and even merits a “RAPTURE ALERT” tag, all of the countries that will invade Israel at the beginning of the tribulation—Russia, Turkey, and the Arab League—have condemned the Jewish state for its May 31 commando operation against the Turkish-flagged Free Gaza flotilla. Syria, which is the subject of a related prophecy concerning the destruction of Damascus, recorded in the book of Isaiah, has also condemned the killing of at least 15 Free Gaza “peace activists.” In response to the Israeli raid, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was barely able to contain his outrage and vowed to end Turkey’s friendship with Israel:

The time has come for the international community to say ‘enough.’ This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse. Nothing will be the same again.

The Israeli raid proves how good they are at killing people. Israel in no way can legitimize this murder. It cannot wash its hands of this blood. We will not turn our back on Palestine, Palestinians, and Gaza. No one should test Turkey’s patience. Turkey’s hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable.

Addressing the Israeli people, Erdogan continued: “It is damaging your country’s image by conducting banditry and piracy. It is damaging the interests of Israel and your peace and safety. It is the Israeli people who must stop the Israeli government in the first place. Israel cannot ensure its security by drawing the hatred of the entire world.” Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and terminated all defense cooperation programs with Israel.

In the wake of the raid, anti-Israel protests erupted in Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt. A cabal of Turkish computer hackers, 1923 Turk Grup, which specializes in hacking Israeli websites, disrupted the unofficial homepage of the ruling Likud Party by posting anti-Israeli pictures and slogans.

Latin America’s communist leaders were swift to both denounce the Israeli raid against the Free Gaza flotilla and defend the Palestinians. Cuba condemned the IDF military operation as a “criminal attack,” while Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez lashed out against the Israelis: “Israel is a damned, terrorist and murderous country. Long live the Palestinian people!” Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has severed diplomatic relations with Israel, while Ecuador’s Rafael Correa has recalled his country’s envoy from the Jewish state.

There is some indication that Turkey may be deploying naval assets in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in response to the raid. The independent Iranian news source Hamsayeh reports that Turkish warships are escorting the Irish-flagged MV Rachel Corrie cargo vessel with its Irish and Malaysian “peace activists” to the Gaza Strip. The Irish Central, quoting Turkish Colonel Itzik Turgeman, reports that Israeli military intelligence sabotaged the Rachel Corrie and other Free Gaza aid ships, but refrained from or failed to damage the Turkish-flagged Mavi Mamara cruise ship, which sustained the brunt of last Monday’s IDF raid. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen warns of serious consequences if the Rachel Corrie’s Irish passengers are harmed.

According to a post at defense-related forum, citing Stratfor, a Turkish patrol ship is presently navigating the waters near the Gaza Strip, but remaining outside Israeli territorial waters. Moreover, a Turkish naval commander, speaking to the Spanish media on June 1, indicated that four frigates that recently arrived in CartagenaTCG Kemalreis, TCG Gaziantep, TCG Turgutreis, and TCG Giresun—will sail immediately for the eastern Mediterranean. “We are following very closely the events and will act accordingly,” stated Mucahit Sislioglu, who commands the task force. Finally, the Bulgarian media reports that Albania’s president Bamir Topi has approved the deployment of Turkish armed forces in his country. A Turkish naval squadron consisting of five warships with 1,125 servicemen are expected to arrive at the Albanian port of Durres on June 2. Bulgarian news agency BTA reported that “the purpose of this visit remains unclear.”

Turkey is a NATO member. Thus, should the Turkish and Israeli navies clash there is the potential that the whole North Atlantic alliance could be pulled into a conflict with Israel, a prospect that would no doubt please both Russia and its Islamic allies, which solidly support the Palestinian Arabs.

Last Sunday the flotilla of six ships, including three flying the Turkish flag, set sail from Cypriot waters to deliver an alleged cargo of food and medicine to the Gaza Strip on behalf of the Turkish government, a radical Islamic organization based in Turkey, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), and pro-Palestinian groups working under the banner of the Free Gaza movement. Before dawn on Monday, two hundred kilometres from the Gaza Strip, three Israeli naval vessels from Haifa intercepted the Mavi Marmara and its companions. Hundreds of Israeli commandos stormed and boarded the ferry. There, according to the Israeli internal security minister, Yitshak Aharonovitch, special forces encountered violent “peace activists” armed with batons and knives. Some militants grabbed guns from the Israeli soldiers and shot them, seriously wounding two marine commandos. Some soldiers reported the sound of gunfire below deck.

After pacifying the Free Gaza “peace activists,” the Israeli navy escorted the flotilla to the port of Ashdod. There nearly 700 foreign nationals from Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Sweden, and the USA received deportation notices. The Israeli government reported that it would continue to detain 50 Free Gaza supporters on suspicion of attempting to smuggle weapons and “large quantities” of cash in to the Palestinian enclave. It also pledged to prevent additional naval convoys from penetrating the blockade. These revelations suggest that the sea-borne “peace activists” were either an invasion force that intended to “liberate” the Palestinians, or provoke Israel into a response that would justify diplomatic and military action against the Jewish state.

After a pre-planned meeting on Monday in Damascus, the presidents of Syria and Lebanon, Bashar al-Assad and Saad Hariri, implied that Israel’s attack on the flotilla could lead to world war. In a joint statement, they declared: “We condemn the heinous crime committed by Israel through the brutal attacks on unarmed civilians on board the Freedom Flotilla. Israel’s violation of basic humanitarian norms and international laws threatens to plunge the Middle East into a war which will not only affect the region.” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Israel and Egypt to lift the blockade around Gaza Strip. In response to the international condemnation, the two countries indicated that they would temporarily ease the land blockade around the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade around Gaza since 2007, when the terrorist organization Hamas seized power in the tiny enclave, which was controlled by Egypt until the Six-Day War in 1967, but became part of the Palestinian National Authority in 1993. The Israeli government denies that Gazans are facing a humanitarian crisis but, instead, maintains that it is permitting adequate supplies of food and medicine to enter Gaza via controlled land routes.

In another story that bodes ill for Israel, The Times of London reported on May 28 that satellite photos, presumably of US or Israeli origin, show that Hezbollah has established Scud missile bases and barracks in Syria, near Damascus. Syria denies Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that the bases are operated by Hezbollah. Instead, asserts Damascus, the facilities are for Syrian military use only. At the beginning of April, Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper reported that Syria had transferred operational control of the surface-to-surface missiles to the Lebanese political party/guerrilla army. Israel subsequently issued a stern warning that it might attack both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response to a Scud barrage against its territory.

Last month, US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein asserted that Hezbollah had acquired Scuds and improved the missile’s capabilities. “There are rockets and missiles in Lebanon in greater quantities and levels of sophistication and this point endangers Israel,” Feinstein informed the AFP news agency.

>Red Terror File: FSB chief Bortnikov: "Terrorists" seeking access to nuclear materials across "former" Soviet Union

>In what could be a case of “plausible deniability” ahead of Moscow-orchestrated nuclear terrorism in the West, the chief of Russia’s Federal Security Service issued the following alert today: “We have information which indicates that terrorists are continuing to attempt to get access to nuclear materials (and) biological and chemical components.” Career Chekist Alexander Bortnikov refused to offer additional details, saying only that the terrorists were combing their way across the “former” Soviet Union to locate components for a nuclear device.

>Latin America File: Santos victorious in Colombian election, Ecuador’s “people’s revolution” praises Fidel, Venezuelans face prospect of “Cubazuela”

>– FARC Funder Finds Friends in Nicaragua’s Bogota Embassy, Awaits Decision from Comandante Ortega

– Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission Meets in Managua for First Time in 18 Years, Promotes Revitalized Strategic Partnership

Pictured above: Whole lotta Ladas: Itar-Tass reports that Russia will ship 500 Lada Kalina cars to Nicaragua before the end of July. This decision was announced by the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission on Wednesday. Future shipments will depend on domestic demand among Nicaraguan motorists.

In Colombia’s presidential election this past Sunday center-right candidate Juan Manuel Santos, representing the ruling Social Party of National Unity, delivered a crushing blow to his center-left Green Party rival, Antanas Mockus. Although a run-off vote will be required on June 20, Colombian bond and currency markets rallied upon learning of Santos’ victory. In the last several weeks before the election, public opinion surveys indicated that Mockus was running neck-and-neck with Santos. However, as it turned out, the former defense minister secured 47 percent of the vote to the mathematician’s 21 percent.

Santos has pledged to continue outgoing President Alvaro Uribe’s pro-business policies and hardline stance against the country’s communist insurgents, which entails a close military-financial relationship with the USA. Addressing supporters in Bogota, Santos declared: “With me Colombians can sleep soundly. We won’t retreat from what has been achieved these past eight years.” Santos is the cousin of the current vice president and belongs to the family that founded Colombia’s largest newspaper, Bogota’s El Tiempo.

In spite of widespread concern that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the smaller National Liberation Army might stage attacks during the presidential poll, only two soldiers were killed in encounters with the rebels on election day. Voter turnout was the largest since 1998.

As head of the defense ministry between 2006 and 2009, Santos approved the military’s March 2008 raid into Ecuador that killed FARC’s No. 2 commander, Raul Reyes. This operation provoked a hostile response from Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez and his sidekick Rafael Correa, the socialist president of Ecuador. Both countries deployed troops and tanks to their respective border with Colombia in a week-long showdown that was finally peacefully diffused.

An Ecuadorean judge has demanded Santos’ arrest for this incursion. Ecuador also presently holds the presidency of the Union of South American Nations. These facts could further upset Ecuadorean-Colombian relations, which were restored at a low diplomatic level last November. The election of Uribe’s anointed successor will certainly enrage revolutionary hothead Chavez, who has warned of war between the two countries if Santos is elected. However, the triumph of Colombia’s Uribists in a third consecutive election is part of a wider, promising resurgence of the democratic right in Latin America, including Honduras, Panama, and Chile.

Incidentally, President Correa’s commitment to communizing Ecuador was once again exposed when on May 27 a delegation from Quito arrived in Havana to bestow upon retired red dictator Fidel Castro the Ecuadorean parliament’s highest award. Cuban First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado received the General Eloy Alfaro Delgado Decoration on behalf of Comrade Fidel from the hands of Fernando Cordero Cueva, president of the Ecuadorean parliament. For his part, Cordero Cueva enthused:

The people’s revolution in Ecuador and all the ongoing process of changes and integration that we are experiencing in Latin American could hardly be conceived without Fidel and Cuba. This is his greatest legacy: the merit of a man who taught us to never surrender, to never give up the fight, regardless of how adverse the circumstances or how powerful the enemy might be. This award, small compared to the colossal dimension of this man, is accompanied by an embrace from 14 million Ecuadoreans, from a grateful people that share the same principles and ideas of Cuba.

In response to the Ecuadorean government’s praise for the Cuban Revolution and its instigator, Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban National Assembly, noted that “This award is a clear expression of the friendship and solidarity bonds between both nations.” This “solidarity,” by the way, clearly places Ecuador within the Communist Bloc.

In numerous past posts we have documented the “joined at the head, heart, and hip” relationship between Cuba and Venezuela, an 11-year strategic partnership between two communist states that has evolved into something more than just an alliance. In past bilateral meetings, Cuban dictator Raul Castro has referred to “Venecuba,” while Chavez waxes eloquent about the two countries being “one homeland.” When Venezuela’s National Land Institute took over the ranch of Venezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Diego Arria, he contested the seizure by delivering his title deed to the Cuban embassy, insisting that the Cubans control his country and are “much more organized than the Venezuelan regime.”

Last month Venezuelan brigadier general Antonio Rivero resigned, renounced his personal allegiance to Chavez, and held several well-publicized television interviews that exposed the unholy alliance between the Communist Party of Cuba and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. “Cubans are involved in Venezuelan defense and communications systems to the point that they would know how to run both in a crisis,” he warned, adding:

They’ve crossed a line. They’ve gone beyond what should be permitted and what an alliance should be. If Chavez were to lose elections in 2012 or be forced out of office — like he was during a brief 2002 coup—it’s even feasible the Cubans could become part of a guerrilla force. They know where our weapons are, they know where our command offices are, they know where our vital areas of communications are.

Now Havana and Caracas will be literally attached with an umbilical cord in the form of a submarine communication cable that will extend from Caracas to Santiago de Cuba via Jamaica. “Geocuba specialists are participating in this effort for the exploration of shallow waters, which will use high-tech equipment, ships, and many hours of work in marine research,” announced Waldo Reboredo Arroyo. Waldo is vice president of the Cuban-Venezuelan Telecommunicaciones Gran Caribe Company, formed in 2008.

This past Sunday the home of the chief of Nicaragua’s national police force, Commissioner Aminta Granera, was the target of a drive-by shooting in an exclusive Managua neighbourhood. No one was injured and the number and identity of the gunmen have not been identified, although drug gangs are suspected. In February 2007, the commissioner reported death threats from international criminal cartels because of several drug busts that had taken place in Nicaragua. Police have tightened security around Granera’s residence.

Granera, a former nun and Sandinista guerrilla, has also been the target of criticism for her refusal to take decisive action against supporters of the government of fellow Sandinista, President Daniel Ortega. Since their return to open power in January 2007, FSLN cadres have regularly used homemade mortars against anti-government demonstrators. Granera was one of the founders of the Nicaraguan National Police in 1979, two months after the Sandinista National Liberation Front toppled US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza. In 2008 La Voz del Sandinismo reported that Nicaraguan police would receive training in Russia under the aegis of Moscow’s Interior Ministry.

The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug cartel, employs Nicaragua as a corridor to ship drugs from South America, Nicaraguan officials have acknowledged. At one point, the cartel bought a farm 42 miles north of Managua, where they built a clandestine landing strip to refuel drug planes. The army later dynamited the covert runway. Although the neo-Sandinista regime appears to be cracking down on the international drug trade, it is a well-documented fact that Ortega and his aging comrade, Tomas Borge, then interior minister and now ambassador to Peru, allowed Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar to use Nicaragua as a haven in the 1980s. We suspect that Ortega’s hands are once again covered with “red cocaine.”

In a related story, this Monday Ruben Dario Granda, brother of fugitive FARC “foreign minister” Rodrigo Granda, sought asylum along with his wife and son, at Nicaragua’s embassy in Bogota. Dario Granda will remain there until he receives a decision from President Ortega’s government, which granted asylum to two FARC hangers-on after the Andean Crisis in 2008. In April Dario Granda was arrested by Colombian police on charges of financing FARC, but was released after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to link him to guerrilla activities.

The Soviet strategists have not overlooked Nicaragua as they re-project their Cold War-era influence south of the US-Mexico border. On Monday the Russian ambassador in Managua announced that “The Russian-Nicaraguan intergovernmental commission will meet Tuesday in the Nicaraguan capital Managua for the first time in 18 years.” Igor Kondrashev elaborated:

The resumption of the commission’s activity testifies to the countries reaching a new level of bilateral ties. The countries have a number of strategic projects that need consideration and coordination, which is impossible without the commission’s work. The projects concern the energy sphere and state of the art technology, health care, transport, fishery and agriculture.

Kondrashev noted that a fourth-generation, wireless information network, installed by Kremlin-owned company Yota last fall, will be launched for commercial operation on July 1. “Nicaragua will be the first country in Latin America to obtain a state of the art telecommunications network,” he intoned.

In February Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, then visiting Managua, announced that Russia and Nicaragua will hold joint military exercises at an unspecified date. Along the same theme, we still await news of the arrival of Russian engineers in Nicaragua to renovate the never-used military runway that the Soviets and Cubans built at Punta Huete in 1987.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Medvedev: 30% of weapons to be modernized by 2015; NATO aiding its own demise by licensing arms production to Kremlin

>– Russia’s Civil Defense Czar Hosts Cuban Counterpart at CSTO Emergency Situations Exercise, Cubans Hold Civil Defense Drill Meteoro 2010

We are so far behind the West that it is cheaper to buy technology [abroad] than to invent our own.
— Independent Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer

Pictured above: Road-mobile Topol ICBM rumbles through Red Square during Russia’s Victory Day celebration, on May 9, 2010.

As part of its drive to modernize the Russian military, President Dmitry Medvedev announced on May 24 that the proportion of advanced weaponry used by the country’s various armed services must be 30 percent by 2015. “By 2015 the share of advanced weaponry in permanent readiness units must reach at least 30%,” Medvedev demanded at a meeting on the budget for Russian military and security agencies. He added: “We must make investments in the modernization of the Armed Forces a priority.” The president pointed out that if Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grows as predicted by three to six percent annually, beginning in 2011, then the Kremlin could allocate a set percentage of GDP every year to finance military modernization.

In compliance with ongoing military reforms, the Russian Armed Forces will be downsized by 2016 to one million personnel, a figure that includes 150,000 officers and about 745,000 soldiers. “The organizational structure of the military will be streamlined to meet the standards of modern warfare,” relates state-run Novosti, “based on mobility and the use of advanced weaponry.”

As independent Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer explains, the only way Russia can quickly modernize its armed forces is to dip into its natural resource-based revenue funds and start licensed production of foreign military equipment. “We are so far behind the West that it is cheaper to buy technology [abroad] than to invent our own,” Felgenhauer admitted. He continued:

The Soviet Union bought tool-making equipment and whole assembly lines in the United States in the 1930s, Peter the Great brought technologies from Holland. Even the Kremlin, as we know, was built by Italians. The turn to licensed production was a logical and necessary move, as Russia has always developed its industry by borrowing technologies from the West.

“According to experts,” Novosti acknowledges in another article, “Russia is lagging 20-30 years behind the West in many areas of technological progress and is attempting to close the gap by purchasing production licenses abroad.” In all honesty, it should be confessed that even Japan, both before and after the Second World War, appropriated Western technologies to compete with its former adversaries.

Ironically and disturbingly, these contracts for the most part will be made with NATO states. For example, beginning in July 2010 Russia will launch the licensed production of French-designed thermal imagers for T-90 main battle tanks in service with the Russian Ground Forces. A manufacturing plant in Vologda, in central Russia, will assembly the thermal imaging cameras. “It is not a simple knock down assembly. We use Russian-made components to assemble the control system. After 2012 we will start using Russian optics and mechanics on these devices,” the Gazeta newspaper quoted the plant’s general director Alexander Korshunov as saying.

Russia is also negotiating the licensed production of Italian Beretta handguns, Israeli aerial spy drones, and French Mistral-class helicopter carriers. On May 24 Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov acknowledged that Moscow has reached the final stage of talks with Paris on the purchase of four such helicopter carriers. “At the moment we are in pre-contract talks on the warships with three states: Spain, the Netherlands and France. We plan to sign a contract for four of these ships,” Serdyukov explained. He elaborated by saying that one vessel will most likely be built in collaboration with French naval shipbuilder DCNS and the other three with the help of Russian shipbuilders. Construction of the fourth vessel will take place entirely in Russia. Each Mistral costs between US$530 to 660 million.

The amphibious assault ships will be deployed with the Russian Navy’s Northern and Pacific Fleets. If Serdyukov is being honest (which is debatable), then these deployments should ease the fears of re-invasion entertained by “former” Soviet republics with coasts along the Baltic and Black Seas.

In order to accommodate its yet-to-be-built amphibious assault ships, explains Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin, Russia will have to build suitable port facilities. “We do not have port infrastructure for aircraft carriers, but we plan to build it,” Popovkin stated, adding: “If we reach an agreement [with France], we’ll do everything, if not, we won’t. Kamov helicopters (Ka-52, Ka-226) will be based on the Mistral ships, if we decide to go ahead with the purchase.”

Popovkin rejects the contention that the Russian Navy has no need for the Mistral: “Russia has at least four islands in the Pacific Ocean which are still disputed with Japan as well as the Kaliningrad exclave surrounded by NATO countries. If these regions come under threat, Mistrals could be used to transfer military forces to the conflict zones.” Incidentally, in order to defend Kaliningrad, one or more Mistrals would have to be deployed with the Baltic Fleet, which contradicts Serdyukov’s assurances above.

On Wednesday Ruslan Pukhov, Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, commented that the future of the Moscow-Paris Mistral deal is “unclear” because “France is unlikely to agree to transferring sensitive technology that Russia could use in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.” Specifically, Pukhov pointed out that France would never sell the Mistral with its naval tactical data system because “SENIT 9” provides links to NATO data exchange formats. “This system could not be sold because it contains software which allows the control of NATO military forces,” opined Pukhov. “Russia will most likely have to install its own electronic equipment on the Mistral ships.”

Finally, as we suspected when we first reported on the new agreement between Moscow and Kiev to finish building the Slava-class missile cruiser Ukraina, the Russian government may indeed be considering buying back the Soviet-era warship. Novosti urges the Kremlin to take this route:

Most importantly, considering Russia’s serious need for large modern warships, it could actually buy the cruiser Ukraina (and possibly rename it again). A modernized cruiser armed with a modern combat command and control system, a multipurpose shipboard fire-control system and sonar equipment would be among the world’s most powerful and effective warships, if supported by the new-generation corvettes and frigates that are being built for the Russian navy, against any enemy. And if the modernization of the cruiser Ukraina proves a success, it could also be used on the other Project 1164 ships–Moskva, Marshal Ustinov and Varyag.

The Ukraina’s keel was first laid down in 1984 and was 95 percent completed when the Soviet Union collapsed, at which point construction stalled.

Meanwhile, Moscow continued to revitalize its Cold War-era relationship with Cuba on May 21 by hosting Major General Ramon Pardo Guerra, head of Cuba’s Civil Defense Ministry, at a demonstration of security techniques at the Russian city of Noguinsk. Pardo Guerra and his Cuban comrades witnessed exercises that entailed combating toxic disasters, evacuating civilians, rescuing hostages, and neutralizing terrorists. The exercise involved the combined forces of Russia’s Emergency Situations and Interior Ministries, and special troops attached to the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

After the maneuvers, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister, held a brief meeting with Pardo Guerra, discussing aspects of cooperation between his agency and Pardo Guerra’s for the period until 2012. This cooperation will entail the preparation of Cuban civil defense “cadres” in the Russian Federation and the opening of a firefighters school in Cuba, assisted by Russian experts. Between June 14 and 18 a Russian delegation will travel to Havana, where they will attend the VIII Congress on Natural Disasters. Incidentally, “ex”-CPSU cadre Shoigu is related by marriage to Oleg Shenin, the mastermind behind the potemkin anti-Gorbachevist coup of August 1991. Shenin died last year.

Between May 21 and 23 Communist Cuba completed the first stage of the Meteoro 2010 drill and will carry out a second stage on June 25 and 26. Meteoro is a national civil defense exercise that aims at improving the people’s readiness to face “the consequences of technological or natural disasters.” The first stage, explained Lieutenant Commander Rolando Alvarez, is dedicated to “reducing vulnerabilities linked to hurricanes, droughts and epidemic-related disasters.” Alvarez added that another objective of the drill is to train military troops to protect the population and economic resources. In June participants in the exercise will learn how to cope with “high intensity earthquakes and seaquakes.”

Civil defense drills in Cuba and any communist country, for that matter, should always be viewed with suspicion since they could portend preemptive strikes against the West.

On May 22 the Cuban media reported that a Russian freighter docked at the port of Cienfuegos had unloaded 75,000 tons of wheat, which is part of a 100,000-ton donation made to the island state. The organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, Granma, enthused that “these free shipments show the solidarity of the Russian Federation to the Cuban people.” At the beginning of the year a Russian freighter with 22,500 tons of wheat unloaded its cargo in Cuba, while a fourth Russian ship is underway to complete the agreement. Moscow made this commitment to Havana in 2008, after Hurricanes Gustav, Ike, and Paloma devastated the island.

>WW4 File: US troops, Patriot missile battery arrive in Poland, Kremlin perturbed; NATO comsat codes compromised in crash of Polish president’s jet

>How to Annoy the Soviet Bear: Park US Anti-Missile Battery 40 Miles from Russian Border

A little more than a week ago, a battery of US surface-to-air missiles arrived at a military base in Morag, Poland, home of the 16th Mechanized Battalion of the Polish Land Forces. Accompanying the Patriot battery are 100 to 150 US troops from the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery, who will unload 37 train cars shipped in from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where the troops were originally stationed. Morag is located 150 miles north of Warsaw and just 40 miles from the border with Kaliningrad, Russia’s Baltic exclave. This is the first-ever such deployment in Poland, which was a Warsaw Pact state until 1991.

The Bush Administration was committed to installing a long-range anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, ostensibly to ward off Iranian ballistic missiles lobbed at Europe. However, in order to appease the Soviets, er, Russians, the Obama Administration scrubbed this element of National Missile Defense, promising to deploy air defense systems capable only of fending off short- and medium-range missiles. However, it is very evident that Iran cannot strike Europe with short- and medium-range missiles. The Soviets know this and are therefore also unhappy about the presence of Patriot units in the “former” communist state of Poland. The Patriots serve one purpose: defending Poland from tactical nukes.

During last September’s Zapad-2009 exercise, the Russian and Belarusian armed forces simulated nuclear strikes against Polish targets. Warsaw insists that the deployment a Patriot anti-missile unit at Morag has no political undertones or strategic intent. Rather, the base simply has “good infrastructure,” which may be true but don’t expect Moscow to be mollified.

Last Saturday, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski asserted that, as a NATO member state, Poland had every right to host the Patriot anti-missile batteries. Furthermore, the Russian military had already stationed S-300 air defense systems near Poland’s border, presumably in Kaliningrad Oblast. Therefore, Sikorski insisted, Poland will not apologize to Russia.

Not surprisingly, Moscow grumbled about the Patriot deployment. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded an explanation for the Patriot deployment. Boris Gryzlov, who is speaker of the Russian State Duma, remarked: “I would not like the situation to develop. [Military] reinforcement in Kaliningrad Province as a response has been discussed. There is no doubt that this issue will be discussed in the Duma.” The Russian parliament is presently considering ratification of the new US-Russian strategic arms reduction treaty.

In a related story, Bill Gertz, who produces a regular column at the Washington Times, stated on May 13 that NATO codes for secure satellite communications were compromised in the crash of Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s jet. The Polish Air Force Tu-154 was carrying the head of state and all of his top generals to a ceremony at Katyn Forest, commemorating the massacre of more than 20,000 Polish military officers by the Soviet NKVD in 1940. Kaczynski’s plane clipped a tree and crashed near the fog-shrouded airport at Smolensk in western Russia.

Gertz reports that the two service chiefs, key military aides, and several national security officials were carrying computers and memory sticks with “sensitive NATO data.” He rightly points out that even if Russian authorities acquired the top-secret data, “new NATO codes almost certainly were issued to allied militaries immediately after the crash.” Still, if the Russian signals intelligence service, known as the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information, recovered the communication key code from the wreckage of Kaczynski’s plane then, suggests Gertz, Moscow will be able to decode months or even years worth of scrambled communications.

In an open letter to the Polish government, published on May 25, former Soviet dissidents rebuke Polish authorities for displaying naivete with respect to Russian intentions and for not insisting that the Russians answer some hard questions concerning the demise of Kazcynski and his top generals. The letter reads in part:

There’s an impression the Russian authorities are not interested in clarifying all reasons behind the catastrophe, while the Polish authorities repeat the assurances of ‘complete openness’ they get from the Russian side, not making any demands from it and only waiting patiently until the long-promised materials arrive from Moscow. It seems that the Polish friends are demonstrating some naivete, forgetting that the interests of the current Kremlin leadership and those of the nations of Russia’s neighbors do not converge.

The missive was signed by Alexander Bondarev; Viktor Feinberg; Natalya Gorbanevskaya; Vladimir Bukovsky, who calls the European Union a joint project between Moscow and Europe’s leftist parties; and Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s former economic advisor. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a rightist like the deceased Kaczynski, dismissed the criticism out of hand.

On May 31 Russian investigators finally and formally transferred to Polish representatives copies of the cockpit-voice and flight-data recordings. The Interstate Aviation Committee confirmed that the handover included authenticated CD copies of information from the “black boxes,” while original records were placed in safe deposit boxes. Both sides signed a protocol ratifying the transfer. In spite of all these niceties, it is very likely that Russian crash investigators, who operated under the direct supervision of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, tampered with the data.

>Latin America File: Ortega threatens to dissolve National Assembly, rule by decree; FARC stages pre-poll attacks; Chavez goes on expropriation binge

>In spite of some victories for the Right in Panama, Honduras, and Chile over the last 12 months or so, the communization of the Western Hemisphere—through organizations like the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and the more overtly socialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas—continues apace.

Pictured above: Mortar-toting Sandinistas burn colonial version of US flag outside Nicaragua’s National Assembly on April 22, 2010.

As we suspected in a previous post, Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega is indeed considering suspending the National Assembly. This body is deadlocked over issues related to the outcome of the November 2008 municipal elections, which the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front apparently dominated, and legally dubious attempts by pro-Sandinista judges on the Supreme Court to uphold their decision to overturn a constitutional ban on presidential term limits after their own mandates expired. Consecutive presidential terms were outlawed in 1995 reforms designed to prevent a repeat of the first Sandinista dictatorship.

At a meeting of Managua business leaders this past Wednesday, Ortega declared: “If you give me the word, I’ll re-found congress. If the business council supports me, I’ll rewrite it [presumably meaning the constitution]. I’ll dissolve the National Assembly. Political parties need to be resolving government appointments through negotiation and there’s no room for hard positions. Opposition lawmakers have refused to confirm the appointments.”

In place of the National Assembly, Ortega proposed ruling by decree through a Council of State, including representatives from businesses, student groups, and the “social sector.” This was the mechanism used by the FSLN to control Nicaragua between 1979 and 1990. During that period Soviet, East German, Bulgarian, and Cuban “advisors” materialized in Ortega’s entourage.

The next day Constitutionalist Liberal Party spokesman Leonel Teller opined: “The president’s threat to dissolve the National Assembly indicates dictatorial tendencies.” He urged the Organization of American States to intervene in the dispute. Betraying an ignorance of communist designs, Roger Arteaga, the president of the Nicaraguan chapter of the US Chamber of Commerce, scoffed at Ortega’s remarks: “I didn’t see him talking seriously. It was a way of making a joke, because it wouldn’t occur to anyone, not even him.” Yes, that’s right. Vladimir Lenin, whom Ortega admires, was only joking when he threatened to oust Russia’s short-lived social democratic regime in 1917.

Elsewhere in Central America, El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which has for 30 years been closely allied with the Sandinistas, appears to be taking cautious steps in the direction of disarming the population. Under the pretext of combating drug violence, FMLN National Assembly deputy Aristides Valencia has proposed a bill to force Salvadorans to register their firearms with the Ministry of Defense, or face permanent confiscation within 60 days of the bill’s passage into law. When that law is enforced, the FMLN regime will also begin a campaign to encourage Salvadorans to voluntarily exchange their personal weapons for money, goods, or services. Valencia asserted that there are about 115,000 illegally owned firearms in El Salvador.

Two weeks ago Colombian soldiers clashed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the northeastern province of Arauca, near the border with Venezuela. At least nine communist rebels from the FARC’s 10th Front were killed, the Colombian Army’s 18th Brigade disclosed. The 10th Front is commanded by German Briceño Suarez, brother of FARC military chief Jorge Briceño Suarez, a.k.a. “Mono Jojoy.” Meanwhile, on the same day, insurgents under the command of FARC’s 34th Front raked a police station with gunfire, in the northwestern state of Antioquia. Two police officers were wounded.

More recently, on Tuesday a man on a motorcycle drove up to the campaign office of the ruling Social Party of National Unity in downtown Pasto, the capital of Narino, and threw a bomb. The ensuing blast injured 11 people, including three police officers, and caused extensive damage to the office and 30 adjacent houses. Juan Manuel Santos, the former defense minister of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, is running on the “Partido de la U” ticket. The race between Santos and his main rival, Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus, is considered too close to call and, therefore, political analysts expect a run-off vote on June 20 to settle the contest. The main election takes place on May 30.

The Colombian government is deploying 350,000 troops and police throughout the country to prevent FARC from disrupting the election. Incumbent Defense Minister Gabriel Silva asserted that rebels disguised as police officers intend to stage attacks on election day. Last Sunday nine Colombian marines died when they were ambushed by FARC insurgents in the southern province of Caqueta.

The presence of FARC camps in Venezuela and Ecuador, where the far-left regimes of Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa sympathize with the rebels’ goal of overthrowing Bogota’s “bourgeois” government, is well established. According to the O Estado de Sao Paulo, citing a classified Brazilian Federal Police report, the Marxist guerrillas are also operating bases in Amazonas state. FARC, the Brazilian newspaper claims, smuggles cash, equipment, fuel, and chemicals used to manufacture cocaine into Colombia from Brazil.

The Brazilian government intelligence report was apparently produced following the arrest earlier this month of Jose Samuel Sanchez, a Colombian suspected of belonging to insurgent army. Sanchez was arrested along with seven Brazilians, who allegedly obtained drugs, arms, and logistical support from the rebel group. President Lula da Silva’s coalition government contains cadres of the Communist Party of Brazil, who are known to sympathize with FARC.

Pictured here: Venezuela’s communist dictator Chavez hosts Comrade Oliver Stone at the Caracas premiere of the Hollywood director’s film “South of the Border,” on May 28, 2010.

Venezuela continues its lamentable descent into communism with Chavez’s latest expropriation spree, which includes the state’s acquisition of the Mexican-owned food company Molinos Nacionales CA, a subsidiary of Mexico’s Gruma SAB. The executive order authorizes the “forced acquisition” of Monaca, a producer of wheat and corn flour, rice, oil, oats, and other basic food products, several of them already subject to price controls. Mexico’s Gruma SAB has an almost 73 percent stake in Monaca, which operates six plants in Venezuela. Another 24 percent belongs to jailed Venezuelan banker Ricardo Fernandez Barruecos, who is facing the ire of the Chavezista regime in the form of corruption and financial crimes charges.

In one fell swoop, the Chavez also announced the nationalization of the bauxite processing plant NorPro de Venezuela, which is a subsidiary of a US-based company partly owned by French group Stain Gobain; and steel company Matesi, a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Tenaris. “Nationalize NorPro. It will be taken by PDVSA,” threatened the Venezuelan president, as reported by Caracas’ El Universal on May 17. At this time, while visiting Bolívar state, Chavez declared that he was placing “workers at the forefront of the running of the primary industries located in this region.”

Lastly, Chavez seized a private ranch owned by his adversary Diego Arria, a former president of the United Nations Security Council. The property had been in Arria’s family since 1852. This did not deter Comrade Hugo, who lashed out against his critic: “If he wants to farm now, he will have to topple Chavez, because this now belongs to the revolution.” Over the weekend “Red Shirts” from the National Institute of Lands arrived to confiscate the farm and orchestrate a sensational photo op. The latter consisted of bussing in at least 300 children to swim in Arria’s pool, ride the ranch horses, and tour (pillage) the main house. “We are socializing happiness,” gushed Chavez.

Meanwhile, the Soviet strategists continue to reassert their influence in Latin America by peddling Russian-built weapon systems in the region. The Kremlin has unloaded US$4 billion in military hardware in Venezuela and is considering another US$5 billion, has promised to upgrade cash-strapped Cuba and Nicaragua’s Soviet-era armed forces, and has clinched relatively small military cooperation deals with Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Most recently, Brazil has negotiated the purchase of air defence systems and combat helicopters from Russia. Brasilia reportedly plans to buy the Kremlin’s Tor-M1, a low-to-medium-altitude, short-range, surface-to-air missile system designed to intercept aircraft, cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles. If this deal is finalized, then Washington has threatened to scuttle Brazil’s attempts to buy US fighter jets. Russia recently delivered three out of 12 Mi-35M Hind E attack helicopters to Brazil under a 2008 contract, worth US$150 million. In spite of Chavez’s large military expenditures, Brazil still has the largest armed forces in Latin America and, like other member states of Unasur, belongs to the South American Defence Council, a counterweight to NATO.

Pictured here: The US flag flies over the Arizona border town of Nogales, on April 22, 2010.

Obama Deploys 1,200 National Guard Troops along US-Mexico Border, No Arrest Powers Given

The Mexican government, reports Reuters, does not object to US plans to station troops along their common border. President Felipe Calderon, who recently flew to Washington to address a joint session of the US Congress, added one caveat: US soldiers must not arrest Mexicans (illegally) trying to enter the USA. “They have a commitment to uphold the law on the American side and not to use the National Guard for immigration purposes or to deal with immigration issues,” Calderon told a news conference in Ottawa after talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

On Tuesday President Barack Hussein Obama, reacting to drug violence in northern Mexico, announced he would deploy 1,200 more National Guard troops and request an additional $500 million to secure the almost 2,000-mile US-Mexico border. Obama was happy to oblige Calderon: National Guard troops have no arrest powers in this situation. In any event, arrests of illegal immigrants are normally carried out by US Border Patrol.

Calderon’s trip to Washington was significant because US politicians are divided about what to do with the at least 12 million illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, living in the country. The Mexican president has condemned a controversial new law in Arizona that empowers police to detain anyone believed to be an “undocumented worker,” even if that person is not suspected of committing any other crime. In a rare advisory, which exposes the Mexican government’s injured pride, Calderon has cautioned his countrymen against travelling to Arizona.

In a related story, someone is apparently upping the ante in Mexico’s bloody drug wars. A high-profile kidnapping occurred in the state of Queretaro on May 14. Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, who ran for president in 1994 on the National Action Party (PAN) ticket, disappeared from his ranch. The missing politician is a “personal friend” of Calderon and previous president Vicente Fox. The conservative PAN displaced the long-ruling, social democratic Institutional Revolutionary Party as the country’s governing party in 2000.

Mexico’s powerful drug cartels have not claimed responsibility for Fernandez’s disappearance, while the Marxist guerrillas of the People’s Revolutionary Army (EPR) expressly disavowed culpability. “We do not know if his disappearance is for political motives, his inter-party disputes, or because of the social breakdown of this neoliberal government,” the EPR stated dismissively in a communique posted on the Internet.

Mexicans have long feared the type of political terrorism that characterized Colombia’s drug wars during the 1980s and 1990s, before combined operations by Colombian and US special forces decapitated the Medellin and Cali cartels. “This strikes me as a cartel trying to show [it] can act with impunity,” opines George Grayson, a College of William and Mary professor who studies politics and organized crime. Grayson added: “[Mr. Fernandez] is the highest-profile figure who has been involved in a possible kidnapping and death. He was the poster boy for the PAN.”

Last weekend, Fernandez’s kidnappers contacted his family and an alleged photo of the captured politician was published in newspapers, but his whereabouts is still unknown.

>Asia File: Kremlin finances Thaksin comeback, ex-PM owes Gazprombank US$1.5 billion; Cambodia cultivates mil-mil relations with PRC, Vietnam

>Extended Report Covers:

– Cambodia Retains Thaksin as Economic Advisor Last November, Thailand Withdraws Ambassador from Phnom Penh

– Thaksin Collaborating with Thai “Leftists,” Smuggling Arms from Cambodia to Overthrow Monarchist Regime, Red Shirt Cadres Finding Refuge in Cambodia

– Thais Seize North Korean Aircraft with 35 Tons of Illicit Weapons in December; Five-Man Crew from Belarus and Kazakhstan

– Exiled Thaksin Taunts Thai Foreign Ministry in March 2010 Video Link to Red Shirt Supporters: “I’m in Russia”

– Cambodian Government Denies Its Citizens Participated (as Agents Provocateur) in Latest Red Shirt Protests

– Cambodia Test-Fires Soviet-Built Rocket Launchers in March, Welcomes Red China’s Defence Minister in Early May

Thaksin is believed to have borrowed money from a Russian oil company to finance his political comeback. He’ll be in big trouble with the Russians if he cannot repay that debt.
— Thai government source, quoted by Asia One News, January 14, 2010

At Once Upon a Time in the West we primarily focus on developments in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union and Latin America. In the wake of the Royal Thai Army’s decisive crackdown on the Red Shirt movement last week, however, we have decided to “catch up” with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s plot to overthrow the Thai establishment. In this endeavour, the ex-billionaire–who faces corruption and, now more recently, terrorism charges in his homeland–has received a “little help” from Thailand’s disgruntled communists; golfing buddy Hun Sen, Cambodia’s communist prime minister; the KGB financiers at Gazprombank; the “friendly skies” of North Korean aviation and, possibly, Viktor Bout, the alleged Russian arms dealer who for the last two years has made his home in a Thai jail cell.

This past Saturday Thai officials displayed a “large cache” of weapons seized from a stronghold of Red Shirt protesters in the country’s capital. The weapons included M-16 rifles, bullets, grenades, and bomb components. At least 15 people died in the final government offensive and more than 100 were wounded. Overall, during the two-month insurrection approximately 85 people, including 11 police and soldiers, died. Police acknowledge that eight Red Shirt leaders are separately incarcerated at a prison camp south of Bangkok and, after an initial period of leniency, their cell phones and text messaging devices were confiscated.

As they retreated, the Red Shirt protesters, under the leadership of “former” cadres of the “defunct” Communist Party of Thailand, torched a number of businesses, including the country’s stock exchange and Southeast Asia’s largest department store, Central World Plaza. “The fires in many areas in Bangkok were well prepared—step by step,” army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd explained at a news conference. Tables covered with weapons confiscated from the Red Shirts flanked the colonel during his speech.

Bangkok remains in a state of emergency and was under a dusk-to-dawn curfew through the weekend. However, on Saturday morning many shops opened, vehicle traffic returned to the city, and the curfew was lifted in the popular beach resort of Pattaya. The capital’s two major public transit systems were scheduled to reopen on Sunday with limited stops.

Amazingly, in a politically suicidal gesture, the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that it would permit Red Shirt gatherings, as long as they were peaceful. Thai media have reported that the Red Shirts intend to stage more protests Monday. “They can gather together as long as they don’t break the law,” intoned government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. Under the banner of the communist-led National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), otherwise known as “Red Shirts,” Thaksin supporters have protested since his ouster in 2006.

There is some concern among Thai officials, though, that agents provocateur from Cambodia were circulating among the Red Shirt protesters. The Phnom Penh Post reports that Cambodia “has called on Thailand to immediately release a Cambodian man accused of committing an arson attack on a bank during violent protests in Bangkok last week.” Last Wednesday, during the military crackdown, Thai authorities arrested Cambodian national San Mony Phet, 27, while he was standing outside the beverage shop where he worked.

Tith Sothea, spokesentity for the Cambodian Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, denied reports, published by Thailand’s Krung Thep Thurakej Online on Friday, that Cambodians had taken part in the Red Shirt protests. “No Cambodian people have joined the protests in Bangkok,” he protested. “This information is completely exaggerated, which could cause diplomatic relations between the two nations to worsen.”

This past February, in a related story, Thai Labor Minister Phaitoon Kaewthong announced that his ministry would expedite the deportation of 500,000 unregistered migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. The reason behind this decision, Phaitoon admitted, was a rumor that these aliens could assay to join themselves to Red Shirt protests throughout the country.

Tracing the swirl of intrigue in Southeast Asia offers a glimpse into the Communist Bloc’s plan to destabilize and overthrow Thailand’s “bourgeois” regime, embodied by the monarchy and business and military figures who support the ruling Democrat Party.

On November 10, 2009 Thaksin, who has spent much of his self-imposed exile in Dubai, landed at an airbase in Phnom Penh. There he was whisked away by secure motorcade to a private audience with Cambodia’s communist dictator Hun. At this time Hun appointed Thaksin as economic advisor to the Cambodian government which, as we will learn below, is cravenly beholden to the communist regime in Vietnam. Outraged, the Thai government withdrew its ambassador from Cambodia, while the Cambodians refused to extradite Thaksin. Hun and Thaksin are pictured above at a subsequent meeting in Phnom Penh, on December 14.

Thaksin’s friendship with “ex”-Khmer Rouge cadre Hun actually began in 2001, if not before, when the former telecom magnate travelled to Cambodia to sign a protocol designed to promote peaceful relations between the two countries. Thaksin also expressed an interest in developing Cambodia’s oil and gas reserves.

The following month, according to Jatuporn Prompan, who represents the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party, asserted that Abhisit and his cabinet are preparing a “military option” against Cambodia if it becomes evident that Thaksin has set up a government in exile in Phnom Penh. Citing a letter allegedly addressed to Abhisit from Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Jatuporn stated: “Preparation of a military option is equivalent to preparing for war against Cambodia.” According to Jatuporn, the government memo describes Thaksin as “a major threat to the government” and asserts that “the fugitive ex-premier is using a two-pronged strategy to topple the government: cooperation with Hun Sen and activity by the National United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.”

A Thai Foreign Ministry official reportedly leaked the memo to the Pheu Thai Party during a press conference at the party headquarters. Kasit purportedly urged the government to “get rid of,” or assassinate, Thaksin. The Thai Foreign Ministry has not denied the existence of the document and its contents, but announced that it would investigate the origin of the leak.

That December Thai authorities at Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport impounded a North Korean aircraft containing 35 tons of illegal weapons, including missiles, and detained the plane’s five-man crew, consisting of one Belarusian and four Kazakhs. The pilot had requested an emergency landing to refuel but, tipped off by Thai and foreign intelligence agencies, police pounced. Thai army trucks removed the weapons to a military depot.

The Thai media promptly speculated that this illicit shipment of weapons was bound for Thaksin’s Red Shirt supporters. In addition, it also considered the possibility the shipment was arranged by Viktor (“Lord of War”) Bout, an accused arms smuggler who not so coincidentally has been cooling his heels in a Thai jail since March 2008. The 43-year-old Bout joined the Soviet Army in the 1980s and is alleged to be a KGB/GRU operative, a charge he denies along with gun running. Bout has been resisting extradition attempts by Washington, which has linked his supposed deals with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Was Bout running arms for Thaksin when the Russian national was nabbed in Bangkok a little more than two years ago? Was jailbird Bout behind the arms shipment seized at Bangkok’s international airport last December? We’re not sure, but others have wondered. The Bangkok Post speculates:

The seizure of the weapons shipment from an aircraft at Don Mueang airport last Saturday continues to capture front-page headlines as investigators dig deeper into the case.

The arms shipment, about 35 tonnes, was loaded in Pyongyang and was believed to be destined for the Middle East. Worth about 600 million baht, it comprises missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition. Five crewmen, one Belarussian and four Kazaks, are in custody and were denied court bail.

It was suggested the arms shipment might be linked to Victor Bout, the alleged Russian arms trafficker currently in Thai custody, but this was not verified. In New Zealand, however, an investigation was under way to determine if a New Zealand-registered company is linked to the plane.

Incidentally, the Russian Mafia, which is staffed by “ex”-KGB types, has a strong presence in Thailand due to the country’s location within the Golden Triangle heroin-producing region.

In late December Suriyasai Katasila, leader of Thailand’s royalist New Politics Party (NPP), declared that “2010 will be a turning point for Thailand when Thaksin Shinawatra will collaborate with leftists to overthrow the current regime and establish a new one.” An online Thai news source also quoted Suriyasai as saying:

It is likely that they will use military troops to stage a coup, or use other violent means. Thailand’s security apparatus needs a major overhaul to cope with the threats from Thaksin, which affect national security far and wide. Thaksin is preparing for regime change. His target is to change the structure and the law.

Referring to the seizure of illicit weapons at Bangkok’s international airport that month, Suriyasai announced:

I have information and believe that previously there had been a weapons-smuggling flight into Thailand, but the government dared not speak the truth for fear of a public panic. Now weapons have been smuggled across the Cambodian border, and are ready for use by Thaksin. It’s likely he will use the weapons for political operations, with the target being regime change.

The NPP is the political wing of the anti-Thaksin pressure group, People’s Alliance for Democracy.

Along this theme, in April 2009—that is, months before Pyongyang dispatched 35 tons of illegal armament to an unknown destination in Southeast Asia—Stephen Kurczy pointed out that his employer, Asia Times “broke the news last week that pro-Thaksin groups had for the past two years funneled arms through Cambodia to Thaksin-aligned supporters in Thailand’s northeastern provinces.” Kurczy continues:

Meanwhile, there are widespread rumors circulated by some Thai media outlets that Thaksin’s on-the-run protest leaders have taken refuge across the border at Cambodia’s Koh Kong island and that the exiled former premier earlier this week paid them a clandestine visit. Cambodian authorities have consistently denied that Thaksin has entered the country, including earlier this week.

It is undoubtedly from these channels that the “shadowy armed wing” of the Red Shirt movement, consisting of black-clad commandos and rooftop snipers, obtained the grenade launchers and M-16 assault rifles used to repel Thai soldiers.

Since the Thai government has seized Thaksin’s assets, the power-hungry, commie-loving businessman has turned to KGB bankers to finance his comeback, clandestinely wiring the money to leftist agitators occupying the streets of Bangkok. In early April, following a ruling by Thailand’s Supreme Court to confiscate the fugitive politician’s assets, the Comptroller General ordered six banks holding 46.37 billion bahts in 30 accounts owned by Thaksin’s family to transfer the funds to the state’s revenue account.

On February 10 Sawamiwat, an aide to Pheu Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, refuted allegations from a government spokesman that Thaksin had been transferring money from overseas banks into Red Shirt leader accounts for at least two or three months. “The accusation is totally groundless. It is not easy to get money from Thaksin. The ex-premier now has not much money,” Pirat protested. Chavalit and Pirat are retired generals of the Thai armed forces, exposing the fact that Thaksin can possibly count on some support from active servicemen.

The same day Jatuporn Prompan, who is both a Red Shirt leader and Pheu Thai Member of Parliament, denied allegations that Thaksin had transferred 300 million baht into the bank accounts of “core” Red Shirt leaders. For his part, Abhisit retorted that his government is not accusing anyone in particular but is investigating the possibility of such financial linkages. “The government is determined to enforce the law strictly against any groups planning to stir up violence,” he warned. The Pheu Thai Party is the political wing of the communist-controlled UDD.

Intriguingly, from the viewpoint of those looking for the Kremlin’s hand in Thailand’s turmoil, Thaksin admitted during a March 30 video link to his Red Shirt supporters that he was then visiting Russia. “I tell you,” he taunted Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, “I’m in Russia now. I came from Sweden. But I wasn’t kicked out of Sweden, contrary to what the Foreign Ministry said. I’m in Russia to meet a billionaire who wants to invest in Asia.” The same day Thai Foreign Minister Kasit ordered all Thai envoys in Europe to locate Thaksin.

In response to allegations that the Kremlin permitted Thaksin to enter Russia without a passport, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesentity Andrei Nesterenko offered the following rebuttal: “In connection with the statements by Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, we would like to confirm that the Russian Foreign Ministry does not posses official information concerning the presence of former [Thai] prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Russian territory.” Translated from commiespeak, Nesterenko is admitting that the Russian Foreign Ministry could possess unofficial information concerning Thaksin’s clandestine visit to Russia.

During his premiership, Thaksin made some efforts to establish ties with Russia. As it turns out, reported the Thai media in January, Thaksin owes as much as US$1.5 billion to Gazprombank, a subsidiary of Kremlin energy giant Gazprom. Gazprom is a larger Russian equivalent of Thailand’s PTT Plc, in which Thaksin still holds a chunk of shares through nominee accounts.

Thaksin used the loan from Gazprombank to invest in Dubai, which itself is facing a financial meltdown. State-owned Dubai World, for example, is seeking to postpone payment of debt amounting to US$59 billion. Thaksin is also facing huge losses after his foray into the Dubai market. “With hardly any breathing space left,” editorializes Bangkok’s The Nation, “Thaksin is now fighting back fiercely. He will try to lobby the Supreme Court, bring down the Abhisit government and ignite the red shirt rallies in order to instigate a military intervention.”

Founded in 1990, before the stage-managed collapse of the Soviet Union, Gazprombank is the largest “private” bank in Russia but, in reality, is actually owned by Kremlin entity Gazprom. Gazprom directly controls 62.59% of Gazprombank’s shares and the remaining shares through its subsidiaries Gazfond and Gazprom Export. Gazprom was created in 1989 when the Soviet Ministry of Gas Industry transformed itself into a corporation, retaining all of its assets. Later, Gazprom was partly privatized but currently the Russian government holds a controlling stake.

Gazprombank’s deputy chairman is Andrei Akimov, a “former” KGB officer who during the 1980s reportedly worked as an undercover agent at Vneshtorgbank and Donau Bank, two KGB front companies in Switzerland and Austria, respectively. Akimov was also involved with Imag GmbH (later renamed Dehel GmbH) in Vienna, an “opaque” company that had “bafflingly convoluted company structures and accounting problems.”

In addition to borrowing money from the Russians to pour into ventures based in the United Arab Emirates, Thaksin also secured a loan to finance his return to Thai politics. Last January Asia One News quoted a source in the Thai government as saying: “Thaksin is believed to have borrowed money from a Russian oil company to finance his political comeback. He’ll be in big trouble with the Russians if he cannot repay that debt. But wherever he goes, he likes to have his photo taken with VIPs, to assert his status.”

Is Comrade Akimov Thaksin’s “billionaire Russian friend”? We may never know, especially if the KGB, with the assistance of Cambodian or Vietnamese intelligence, decides Thaksin has become “expendable.”

The Communist Bloc Sharpens Its Knives to Stab Thailand

Since last November’s diplomatic spat between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, relations between the two countries remain tense. Last December Cambodian officials released a Thai engineer who had been convicted of spying on Thaksin while the fugitive politician made a number of visits to Comrade Hun. Sivarak Chutipong’s release came as Thaksin show up in Phnom Penh for the second time in as many months, stopping by Sivarak’s prison cell to converse with the putative espionage agent.

The 31-year-old Sivarak, an employee of the Thai-Cambodia Air Traffic Services, received his pardon from Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni. The pardon was personally presented at Hun’s official residence. Sivarak was initially sentenced to seven years in jail for supplying Thaksin’s flight details to the Thai embassy when the former head of government visited Cambodia in November. However, according to Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, the secretary of Thailand’s foreign minister, Sivarak never handed any documents to Thai authorities. “I don’t think that there’s a secret here. In this case, we were only inquiring about [Thaksin’s flight information],” Chavanond related.

The situation along the Thai-Cambodian border is also volatile. On April 17 troops from both countries briefly clashed at the Ou Smach checkpoint along their common northern border. Both sides fired rifles, machine guns, and rockets after Cambodian soldiers reportedly ignored a demand from Thai counterparts to shift their location deeper into Cambodian territory.

Border tensions, reports the Cambodian media, heated up again on May 14 when the governor of Sampov Loon district, which is in Battambang province, asserted that a Thai spy plane penetrated five kilometres into Cambodian airspace and then travelled over several provinces before returning to Thailand. General Uk Khnuot, deputy commander of Battambang province military region, would not confirm the aerial incursion, but General Por Vannak, commander of Battambang military police, insisted that the Thais did indeed trespass into Cambodian airspace at high altitude.

This is not the first time soldiers from the two Southeast Asian countries have stared each other down. Two years ago a long-simmering border dispute nearly exploded into violence as 400 Thai and 200 Cambodian troops converged on the 1,100-year-old Hindu temple of Preah Vihear. The International Court of Justice had awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but in July 2008 three Thai activists arrived at the site to assert Bangkok’s sovereignty. Thai soldiers then drove Cambodian forces from one of the temple buildings. That month UNESCO recognized Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site. Due to its inaccessible cliff-top location, Khmer Rouge forces remained holed up there until as late as 1998.

On March 5, 2010 the Cambodian military conducted multiple rocket tests in the remote Kampong Chhnang province (pictured above). Using Soviet-built BM21 rocket launchers, Cambodian troops fired 200 rockets, striking targets 20 to 40 kilometers away. Hun defended the military exercise as essential for national security, while Thai counterpart Abhisit downplayed the impact of the Cambodian drill on bilateral relations. By contrast, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan suggested that political instability has returned to Southeast Asia. “We are very concerned with such a development,” he lamented, but insisted that it was too early to determine whether the rocket launches were a provocation by Phnom Penh.

Although the Cambodian monarchy was restored after Vietnam’s invasion in December 1978, Phnom Penh was and is part of the Communist Bloc. Indeed, the Vietnamese intervention simply replaced one communist regime with another, that is, the genocidal Khmer Rouge was replaced by the non-genocidal Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). The “ex”-Marxist-Leninist CPP controls all of the important organs of the Cambodian state to this day and maintains very close relations with the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China. Writing last year for the Asia Times, Kurczy, quoted above, describes the CPP’s subservient relationship with Vietnam’s red regime:

Despite Cambodia’s transition from a single-party Leninist state to multi-party constitutional monarchy, members of the CPP currently assume every ministerial position and control three-fourths of the National Assembly’s seats. The CPP maintains close ties with Vietnam, bonds that have strengthened as Cambodia looks east for a political ally and trade partner while links to Thailand come under strain from a border conflict and political protests that have targeted Hun Sen’s government.

“Politically speaking, it is a very unique, special relationship,” said Cambodian political observer Chea Vannath. “Vietnam still plays big brother whenever the CPP needs it.”

Expanding military-to-military relations between Phnom Penh, Hanoi, and Beijing also prove this nexus. Earlier this month, Red China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie showed up in the Cambodian capital, where he met with Pol Saroeun, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. There Liang gushed: “Cambodia is China’s good neighbor, friend and partner.” He added:

Recent years have witnessed high-level contacts, a deepening of economic and trade cooperation, productive exchanges in science and technology, and sound growth in military relations between China and Cambodia. Both countries have also supported each other on major issues concerning their respective core interests.

China hopes to make joint efforts with Cambodia to consolidate their traditional friendship, promote reciprocal cooperation, and constantly enrich their comprehensive cooperative partnership.

Accompanying Liang was General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army. Chen enthused: “China-Cambodia military relations have smoothly developed with pragmatic and meaningful cooperation in personnel training and the building of military schools and hospitals. China is ready to work with Cambodia to further boost their military relations.”

For his part, Pol Saroeun affirmed: “The Cambodian government attaches great importance to its relationship with China and will continue to adhere to the one-China policy. The Cambodian armed forces would like to work with China to enhance cooperation in various fields.” Thus, Cambodia’s communist regime supports the Republic of China’s integration into the People’s Republic, whether peacefully or by force. This is the meaning behind Beijing’s “one-China policy.”

Cambodia also boasts closes military relations with Vietnam. In 2005 Cambodian Deputy Prime Ministers and Co-Ministers of National Defense, General Tea Banh and General Nhek Bunchhay, travelled to Hanoi, where they met with Vietnam’s State President Tran Duc Luong. “The defense ministries of the two countries should boost exchange of visits and further cooperate in implementing the border treaty by continuing with the planting of border milestones, the delineation of borderlines and maintenance of peaceful and stable borders,” Luong declared.

In return, the Cambodian generals promised to expand the search for the remains of Vietnamese soldiers who were killed in action in Cambodia 30 years ago. They also briefed Luong on measures to expedite the progress of finalizing the border treaty between the two countries. The Cambodians and Vietnamese also pledged to hold future exchanges of military delegations and conduct joint maritime patrols.

In February 2009, reports Kurczy in Asia Times, Vietnam’s defence minister dropped by to see Hun and pledged to continue to provide training for Cambodian soldiers in Vietnam, including over 100 in residence at Vietnam’s infantry academy. That month Cambodia’s prime minister applauded 21 high-ranking officers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, including Commander-in-Chief Pol and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Kun Kim, for earning degrees in military science from Vietnamese military institutes. According to VietNamNet, “Hun also thanked Vietnam for helping to protect Cambodia’s national defense and economic development.”

If the communist-controlled, Thaksin-backed Red Shirt insurgency degenerates into open hostilities between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, then it can be expected that Vietnam and Red China, not to mention Laos and Myanmar, will support Cambodia, even if only diplomatically.

>USSR2 File: Medvedev visits puppet Yanukovich, urges Ukraine’s accession to CSTO, denies Russian Navy will attack neighbors, Kiev court bans protests

>– New Law Endorsed by Yanukovich Permits Troops from Russia, Belarus, and “Ex”-Soviet Bloc States to Participate in Joint Maneuvers on Ukrainian Territory

– Soviet Bear Plays Nice Before Re-Subjugating Ukraine: Medvedev Honors Ukrainian Victims of Stalin-Era Famine as Yanukovich Downplays “Genocide” Charge

On May 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Ukraine for his first official visit since pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich was elected president in a February run-off vote. In Kiev the Soviet Komsomol graduate urged President Yanukovich, a “former” cadre of the “defunct” Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to steer his country into the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The CSTO embraces Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, but Medvedev was quick to assure the Ukrainians that the military alliance is not a retooled version of the Warsaw Pact, dissolved in 1991. “If in the future Ukraine considers it proper to join the CSTO,” Medvedev coaxed, “we would be happy to accept you. The CSTO is not the Warsaw Pact. We do not need confrontation with NATO or other military blocs.” Yanukovich’s predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, shunned relations with Russia and, instead, advocated Ukraine’s accession to NATO membership.

Medvedev also assured the citizens of “former” Soviet republics and “former” Soviet Bloc states with shores on the Black Sea that the Russian Navy will not use its Black Sea Fleet to attack its neighbors. This fake olive branch from the Kremlin would no doubt be extended to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Georgia. Translated from commiespeak, what Medvedev really means is that the Kremlin has every intention of using its Black Sea Fleet to attack its neighbors. After all, why does Moscow plan to purchase one French-built Mistral-class helicopter assault ship and build three more under license?

Last month, Ukraine agreed to extend the Russian Navy’s lease of a base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol until 2042, in exchange for cheaper natural gas imports from Russia. While visiting Kiev, Medvedev admitted that this sum totals about US$40 billion over the next 32 years. The Ukrainian Navy’s headquarters is also located in Sevastopol.

In a related story, Novosti reports that Russia will help Ukraine finish building the Ukraina missile cruiser almost 15 years after budget cuts stalled construction. The keel for the Slava-class cruiser, which was originally called Admiral Lobov, was first laid down at the Nikolayev shipyard in Ukraine in 1984. “We have agreed that Russia will complete construction of the Ukraina cruiser,” Yanukovich acknowledged at a joint news conference, after talks with Medvedev. “The cruiser is 95% complete but cannot be finished without Russia’s help.”

About US$30 million is needed to complete the cruiser’s construction. While it seems likely that Ukraina will in fact be commissioned with the Ukrainian Navy, Moscow’s interest in “helping” Kiev finish work on a Soviet-era warship obviously comes with a quid pro quo, as evidenced by the first news report above: Ukraine will be pressured into joining CSTO.

The Soviet Navy’s Slava-class cruisers were designed as surface strike ships with some anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare capability. Today the Russian Navy’s three Slava-class cruisers–Moskva, Marshal Ustinov, and Varyag–can each carry 16 SS-N-12 (“Sandbox”) supersonic, nuclear-capable anti-ship missiles. Launchers are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure.

Talks between Medvedev and Yanukovich focused on Kremlin proposals to form joint ventures in the nuclear energy, aircraft, and shipbuilding industries, as well as a surprise plan put forward by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to merge Ukraine’s state gas company with Russia’s Gazprom. Notwithstanding his pro-Russian credentials, Yanukovich did not jump at the proposal.

The two presidents also signed agreements to harmonize their positions on European security, foster cooperation between their respective intelligence agencies—namely, the Russian FSB and Ukrainian SBU, both departments of the old Soviet KGB—and work toward a breakthrough in resolving the status of Moldova’s breakaway region, Transnistria. This de facto independent, Russian-speaking state is wedged between Moldova and Ukraine and has for the last 20 years been governed by “ex”-communist Igor Smirnov.

In the wake of the suspicious April 10 demise of Poland’s anti-communist president Lech Kaczynski and his top generals in a Polish Air Force jet over western Russia, the Kremlin has been anxious to improve its image in the “post”-Soviet space. For this reason, Sergei Mironov, speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, flew to Krakow last Sunday to lay flowers at the grave of President Kaczynski and at a monument to Soviet soldiers who were killed liberating Poland from the Nazis. Mironov will meet with acting Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Together with Poland’s Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz, he will open the Second Forum of Russian and Polish Regions.

For his part, while visiting Kiev Medvedev paid his respects to the millions of Ukrainians who perished in a Stalin-era famine by lighting a candle at a “Holodomor” memorial (pictured above). Between 1929 and 1932 dictator Joseph Stalin implemented “dekulakization” in a bid to collectivize all Soviet farms. In addition to massive death by starvation, millions of Soviet citizens were internally displaced, as chronicled in horrendous detail in The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press, 1997, 2000). Former President Yushchenko referred to the deaths as “genocide,” infuriating the Kremlin, but Yanukovich, who accompanied Medvedev yesterday, downplayed the severity of the Holodomor, calling the famine “a common tragedy suffered by people across the Soviet Union.”

Tellingly, a court in Kiev banned opposition protests during Medvedev’s visit, the first time that demonstrations had been outlawed since 2004. Several weeks ago the Ukrainian Rada erupted in violence when nationalist deputies objected to passage of the Russian naval base lease extension. Journalists have warned of increasing censorship since Yanukovich came to power. Staff at two leading television stations, for example, threatened to strike after complaining that reports critical of the authorities had been suppressed and coverage of opposition parties restricted. In response, Wilfried Martens, president of the European Parliament’s largest bloc, the conservative European People’s Party, warned that “the rule of law and fundamental human rights and liberties” are under assault in Ukraine.

Significantly, one day after Medevedev’s visit the Ukrainian Rada passed a law, filed by President Yanukovich, allowing foreign military forces to participate in joint exercises on Ukrainian territory. Among the 16 countries listed a number are NATO countries, including several that are ex-Warsaw Pact states: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The new law also permits Russian, Belarusian, and Georgia troops, as well as Hungarian and Slovakian forces, to hold maneuvers on Ukrainian soil.

The bill was supported by 394 members of the governing coalition and opposition. The Communist Party of Ukraine, which belongs to Yanukovich’s coalition, did not participate in the vote, presumably because the bill, while allowing Russian soldiers in Ukraine, also facilitates the admission of US soldiers. From the vantage of the Soviet strategists’ long-range plan, it may be that when Russia re-invades and re-occupies Ukraine, Ukrainian communists do not wish to be identified as traitors or “unpatriotic.”

Several days after Yanukovich won the February run-off election, the Russian Defense Ministry confidently announced that the Russian and Ukrainian air forces would hold combined drills at the end of 2010.

>Asia File: Thai army thwarts communist coup, launches final crackdown on “Red Shirt” protests in Bangkok; heavily armed militants counter-attack

>– North American Media Oblivious to Communist Orchestration behind Thailand’s “Red Shirt” Anti-Government Protests

– Thaksin Shinawatra Urges Uprising from Exile; Former PM’s Inner Circle Dominated by “Ex”-Maoists Indoctrinated in Vietnam in 1970s

– Thaksin Close Friend of Cambodia’s “Ex”-Khmer Rouge PM, Warns Red Shirt Uprising Could Develop into Guerrilla Warfare

– “Thousands” of Red Shirt Protesters Respond to Bangkok Crackdown by Attacking City Halls in Three Provincial Capitals

The people who are the real planners, not the people up on stage making protest speeches, these people probably keep a very low profile, but they must calculate that aggression is vital. Aggression paralyzes and divides opponents.

This is what we were taught [in Hanoi]. This is how a smaller force can defeat overwhelming power. The message was: divide and conquer.

The tactic is to keep saying that you are a peace-loving people.

The red shirt people have been told over and over that greedy people in authority have denied them justice and their fair share. They have been pumped full of toy-town leftism and told to hate every institution that has held this country together.

Many of them are now absolutely convinced that Thaksin was the best leader in Thai history, that he was a kind and generous man who holds the solution to all their problems. They don’t need a program – they just need a new Thai state with Thaksin in charge. It has become very emotional – as it was designed to be.

Old communists know that when it comes to revolution, ignorance is much more powerful than knowledge.

– Chaidee Therdpoum, Red Shirt sympathizer, “former” cadre of “defunct” Communist Party of Thailand; quoted by Asia Times, May 13, 2010

On Wednesday the Royal Thai Army moved into central Bangkok to finally crush a two-month street protest carried out by the “Red Shirts,” a “populist” uprising orchestrated by supporters of exiled prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose political career is guided by “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Thailand. Five people, including an Italian news photographer, were killed and 52 injured in the final onslaught by government troops. Amazingly, the carnage from today’s street battles was not greater.

“A crackdown on antigovernment protesters launched by the Thai military on Wednesday,” reports the New York Times, “degenerated into riots, firebombing attacks, looting and street battles after militants allied with the protest movement resisted the army’s onslaught with grenades and assault weapons.” The newspaper continues: “As they retreated, protesters set fire to the country’s stock exchange and a number of buildings including a major shopping mall, two banks, a movie theater and a television station.” The shopping mall that the Red Shirts torched was Central World Plaza, one of the largest department stores in Southeast Asia (pictured above).

“We cannot resist against these savages anymore,” Jatuporn Prompan, one Red Shirt leader was quoted as saying, referring to the regular soldiers, before turning himself in. Another protest leader, Weng Tojirakarn, a medical doctor and “former” communist activist, was interviewed. “I have no gun,” he told a reporter, adding: “I can’t do anything.”

Infantry accompanied the armored vehicles that rolled into the protest zone, taking control of major streets and occupying Bangkok’s Lumpini Park. Soldiers assaulting an upscale neighbourhood–home to many corporate headquarters, high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and high-rise apartment buildings–were repelled by black-clad gunmen armed with M-16 assault rifles and grenade launchers.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, a government spokesman, announced that the “first phase” of the counter-insurgency operation was “successful.” “We are going to focus on setting a perimeter,” Panitan explained in a televised speech on Wednesday morning, adding: “We would like to reassure the citizens, the residents of Bangkok, that the operations are designed to make sure we stabilize the area.”

Thai news outlets reported that one of the more militant protest leaders, Arisman Pongruengrong, who is also a popular singer, fled the protest zone in a disguise. At noon seven Red Shirt leaders surrendered to government forces. Just before turning himself in, one of the protest leaders, Nattawut Saikua, shouted to supporters: “If the prime minister wants to govern the country on the top of this wreckage, he should go ahead and kill us all. But if he wants to do the right thing, he should stop the shooting immediately.”

News of the crackdown in Bangkok provoked Red Shirts to action in at least three northeastern provinces, the populous rice-growing region that gave birth to the movement. Thai media reported that thousands of protesters attacked the city halls in three provincial capitals.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location outside Thailand, exiled PM Thaksin, in a rather self-serving manner, predicted the violence could spread. “There is a theory saying a military crackdown can spread resentment and these resentful people will become guerrillas,” he rumbled.

Last November Thaksin flew to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, a close friend and political ally who began his own political career with the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Cambodia’s “ex”-communist government has retained Thaksin as an economic advisor. Three days ago the Cambodians urged the disputing parties in Thailand “to resume peaceful talks in order to achieve a political settlement to the current stand-off and restore peace and normalcy to the Thai people, thus stability in the region.”

Red Strategy and Tactics for Thailand’s Red Shirts

Writing for Asia Times on May 13, journalist William Barnes contends that “Maoist revolutionary thought and guerrilla tactics” inform the objectives and actions of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), otherwise known as the “Red Shirt” movement. The UDD, explains Barnes, has deceptively portrayed itself as a non-violent, pro-democracy movement, “a line many international media outlets have perpetuated.” Furthermore, the Red Shirts have “occupied a large swathe of Bangkok’s luxury shopping and hotel district for more than six weeks, paralyzing the symbolic heart of the country’s capitalist economy.”

To substantiate his thesis, Barnes quotes Therdpoum Chaidee, a “former” communist, Red Shirt ideologist, and former member of parliament for Thaksin’s original party, Thai Rak Thai, now banned. Therdpoum asserts that UDD strategy “necessarily requires violence, or at least the threat of violence, to divide and immobilize” the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The governing coalition, Therdpoum complains, represents the Thai establishment, consisting of monarchists, businessmen, and military brass.

“The revolution walks on two legs. One political leg and one army leg. Violence is the essential ingredient in the mix. That is what we were taught,” pontificates Therdpoum, alluding to his three months in Communist Vietnam more than 30 years ago.

Therdpoum was a hotel union organizer who fled to the communist underground in 1975 to oppose the monarchist government of the day. “Many hundreds of the country’s most energetic students and intellectuals did the same,” relates Barnes and then describes Therdpoum’s political career as follows:

His five-year odyssey with the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) included a three-month period in Hanoi in the heady period following the unification of Vietnam under communist rule. There, Therdpoum and a handful of hand-picked Thai activists, like prominent student leader Seksan Prasertkun, as well as current UDD leaders Weng Tochirakan and Jaran Dittapichai, were drilled in Maoist revolutionary theory.

The five tactics they learned for unseating a government included: divide your enemies; form a united front; use provocative violence; secure the loyalty of people inside the ruling regime; and, finally, win over the army.

“That is what we have seen. The government people have been quarrelling about what to do. Some senior figures have a divided loyalty. The army and the police cannot move. Provocative violence has been very successful,” gushed Therdpoum, referring to the UDD’s campaign to topple the Abhisit government.

Some of the former communists who took up arms and fled into the jungle in the 1970s and 1980s eventually entered Thaksin’s inner circle between 2001 and 2006, when the billionaire was prime minister. These include Prommin Lertsuridej, Phumtham Wechayachai, Sutham Saengprathum, Phinit Jarusombat, Adisorn Piangket, and Kriangkamon Laohapairot. Since then, the UDD has rallied around its “patron,” who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and later fled Thailand to avoid a two-year jail sentence related to a corruption conviction. “Thaksin,” reports Barnes, “has since cajoled UDD supporters to rise up and topple the government through various video-linked phone-in addresses.”

UDD organizer Jaran Dittapichai told Barnes that Red Shirt leaders have adopted “Mao Zedong’s method of thinking” and some of his techniques, including the establishment of a united front. In the same breath, Dittapichai insists that he has abandoned communism even though he espouses its objectives, tactics, and rhetoric: “I was a communist and several UDD leaders were former communists . . . but the red shirt people don’t like communism or socialism. We use his principles to build up our front and to work with people who are not red shirts, but who are fighting for democracy like us.”

Beginning in mid-March, Red Shirt leaders moved their rent-a-mob into the streets of Bangkok. There they demanded the dissolution of parliament and new elections that they hoped would be won by the newest political vehicle for Thaksin’s restoration, the Puea Thai Party.

“Tensions spiked violently on April 10,” relates Barnes, “when a routine crowd clearance operation turned into a nightmare of bloodshed.” He continues: “Mysterious commandos, clad in black and circulating freely through the red shirt protesters, used M79 grenades to attack tactical army commanders, killing a highly respected colonel and maiming others.” In the melee that followed, 25 protesters and solders were killed and over 800 people injured. Coincident with the UDD’s protest has been a series of anonymous grenade attacks, with over 50 incidents in Bangkok and at least 30 more across the country since mid-March.

According to Therdpoum, the Red Shirt movement consists of “many passive supporters, many active ones and, now, a hand-picked core of ‘professional revolutionaries’ chosen for their loyalty and street smarts.” He then partly lifts the veil from the movement’s revolutionary strategy: “Behind them are many ‘deep secrets and hidden messages’ that are revealed to only a privileged few in the movement, while an even smaller number know the entire strategy.” Therdpoum gloated: “Old communists know that when it comes to revolution, ignorance is much more powerful than knowledge.”

Therdpoum admits to Barnes that the black-clad commandos constitute the UDD’s “shadowy armed wing” but feigns ignorance with respect to their true identity: “Whether the UDD’s shadowy armed wing consists of mafia thugs, unemployed irregulars or disaffected regular soldiers, they must be capable of ruthless and focused violence.”

Therdpoum, Barnes writes, believes that the UDD’s left wing is using Thaksin in a marriage of political convenience and intends to “dump his personal agenda in favor of the establishment of a more socialist society.” Indeed, as past revolutionary seizures attest, like the fall of Czechoslovakia to communism in 1948, communists will not hesitate to establish political alliances with non-communists, according to the united front principle, to springboard into total power.

Since the 1970s Thailand has been surrounded by Communist Bloc states, including Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, not to mention Burma/Myanmar. Now the pro-Western regime in Bangkok faces a powerful internal enemy consisting of “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Thailand financed by billionaire businessman-turned-socialist Thaksin Shinawatra.

>Middle East File: Marxist secessionists ambush Yemeni deputy PM, kill two security escorts in S. province; Saleh regime cracks down on opposition

>Last weekend gunmen associated with Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement ambushed the convoy of Rashad al-Alami, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence and Security. The deputy PM survived, but two of his security escorts were killed, the Yemeni Interior Ministry informed Red China’s Xinhua news agency. Pictured above: On May 15 Yemeni soldiers provide security for President Ali Abdullah Saleh along the road to Zinjibar, in the southern part of this Arabian country.

According to the Yemeni government, the shoot out took place last Saturday in the town of al-Habilain, in the southern province of Lahj, as the convoy traveled from Aden to Sanaa, the national capital. When Aden was the capital of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the port city hosted a Soviet naval base.

Northern and southern Yemen were unified 20 years ago according to a deal between President Saleh’s General People’s Congress and the Moscow-backed Yemeni Socialist Party. However, the deal fell apart, leading in 1994 to a brief civil war that the “ex”-communists lost. Since 2007 Yemen’s “former” Marxists have ramped up their agitation for “disengagement” from the north and restoration of the southern state. The old PDRY flag has become a banner around which Yemen’s “ex”-communists are rallying, while Aden’s oil refinery offers the prospect of economic self-sufficiency.

On April 28 Yemeni security forces dispersed a joint demonstration by the country’s opposition parties in Lahj. Abdullah Bamatraf, executive director of the Islah Party in Lahj, told News Yemen that Saleh’s henchmen tried to storm the party’s office in al-Huta. Under the umbrella of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the Islah Party, Yemeni Socialist Party, Nasserite Unionist People’s Organization, Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and Al-Haq Party have organized demonstrations in both the northern and southern provinces. There the JMP has railed against Saleh’s “failed policies that have led to a horrible economic crisis in the country.”

In 2008 Moscow again expressed an interest in reactivating its naval base in Yemen, dispatching Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov to hold talks with Saleh’s government. Saleh is not a communist, but he is a reliable Soviet ally who continues to buy Russian-built military hardware.

In February the Saleh regime negotiated a peaceful end to the six-year, Iran-backed Shia Muslim insurgency in northern Yemen, a conflict that provoked a military response from Saudi Arabia against the rebels. Yemen is the ancestral home of Soviet/Russian terrorist proxy Osama bin Laden who, almost nine years after the 911 terrorist attacks, is still hiding out somewhere in Iran or along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

>Latin America File: Nicaraguan opposition calls for “general rebellion” against Ortega; Cuban state media defends Sandinistas, denounces Aleman

>Nicaragua’s fragile, 20-year-old democracy is tanking under the leadership of Daniel Ortega, a slavish KGB asset who returned from political oblivion in 2006 to again masquerade as the country’s president. Opposition leaders are calling for “civil disobedience” and “general rebellion” against the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). This follows the latest rulings by the Supreme Court, which is controlled by judges who sympathize with President Ortega, two of whom refuse to hand in their gavels after their terms expired on April 11.

Pictured above: On May 13 Ortega hosted deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in Managua, where they promoted a new plan to end Zelaya’s exile and reintegrate Honduras into the Organization of American States. Afterward, Zelaya flew to Havana where he consulted with Cuban dictator Raul Castro. Last summer, after his ouster in Tegucigalpa, the Nicaraguan capital served as a base of operations for Zelaya. In March Hugo Chavez appointed Zelaya head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council.

On May 12 the Supreme Court nullified an April 20 congressional session held inside the Holiday Inn in Managua–while Sandinista thugs fired mortars at the hotel–and revoked the legal immunity enjoyed by seven opposition lawmakers who sit on the National Assembly’s Judicial Affairs Commission. The opposition responded by condemning the Supreme Court’s decision as another “illegal barbarity” and “shameful disrespect for the constitution.”

During the extraordinary session, the National Assembly deputies, who achieved quorum without their FSLN colleagues being present, introduced a bill to the commission to overturn Ortega’s January 9 executive order that extended the terms of 25 top judicial and executive officials. The Sandinista judges had passed a separate resolution earlier in April forbidding the National Assembly from overturning Ortega’s decree. The opposition, however, argues the court has no legal right to forbid the assembly from passing laws and, thus, went ahead and presented the bill.

From the perspective of José Pallaís, president of the Judicial Affairs Commission and a member of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), everything that the Sandinistas are doing is flagrantly illegal. “There is no rule of law here anymore! Everything has become absurd and totally contrary to the law! The only thing left is the right to rebellion!” Pallaís declared to the Costa Rica-based Nica Times last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, unrest has returned to the streets of the capital and to the campus of the National Autonomous University of Managua (UNAN), which masked “students” have occupied for the past week. On May 11 what appeared to be two rival factions of the Sandinista Youth clashed on the streets outside the university with rocks, home-made mortars, and pistols. Several students were injured during the fighting, including one who was pistol-whipped by another student. The latter, in turn, was captured by TV cameras pointing his gun in the faces of other students. As usual, the National Police did nothing to intervene, claiming that the university’s autonomy prevents them from acting.

Lately, the US embassy in Managua has issued at least two alerts to its citizens to stay clear of the district around UNAN, to “maintain a high level of security awareness, and to avoid large crowds due to the potential for violence.”

Last Thursday National Assembly secretary Wilfredo Navarro boldly declared: “We are ready to become the first political prisoners of the second Ortega dictatorship. They are going to have to put us in jail or kill us, because that’s all that’s left for them to do. Ortega keeps saying this is not a dictatorship because there are no political prisoners. So it would be an honor to be the first.”

In response to Sandinista Supreme Court judge Francisco Rosales, who described the opposition’s Holiday Inn session as a “flagrant crime,” Navarro protested: “This is an outrage. The clause about flagrant crimes no longer exists in the constitution.” According to Navarro, Rosales appears to be referring to the old constitution that existed during the first Sandinista regime in the 1980s. That constitution was amended in 1995 so that a legislator’s immunity can be lifted only by the National Assembly itself.

Although Ortega has yet to formally announce his candidacy in the 2011 presidential election, La Voz del Sandinismo is already peddling public opinion figures that supposedly show substantial support for Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator. According to the official organ of the FLSN, citing a New Century poll from May 8, 44 percent of respondents would vote for “El Comandante” or another FLSN candidate, even though only 38 percent of the electorate chose Ortega in 2006. New Century also polled the army and the police. Nearly 65 percent of soldiers held a “very favourable” or “favourable” opinion of the Sandinistas, while 61 percent of police held the same views.

The Cuban state media is making no secret about its support for the Sandinistas. In an editorial at Prensa Latina, propagandist Alfredo Pierrat defends the Nicaraguan Supreme Court’s unconstitutional machinations, accuses the PLC of “paralyzing” the government’s business and of refusing to accept “political alternation,” and charges former President Arnoldo (“Fasto”) Aleman, who was once allied with Ortega in “El Pacto,” and the Roman Catholic Church of fomenting political chaos to oust the FSLN.

Will Vice President Jaime Morales Carazo, a former Contra, join Pallaís and Navarro in the rebellion?

Will Ortega cling to power by attributing provocations to the opposition, declaring a state of emergency, and trying to illegally run in next year’s election?

Will Hugo Chavez, obediently following orders from his masters in Moscow, funnel more petro-bucks into Nicaragua, via ALBA front companies, to prop up beleaguered ally Ortega?

Will the Russians offer verbal or more substantial support to Ortega who, along with Venezuela and Nauru, has recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia?

One thing is sure: As long as the Sandinistas control Nicaragua, this country serves as an important beachhead for Soviet subversion and war preps in Central America. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin has a strategic interest in keeping Ortega in power.