Communist Bloc Military Updates: Ukrainian armed forces to join Belarus and Russia in first “post”-Soviet trilateral war game in September; Medvedev woos Lukashenko, Yanukovich in Sochi; Kiev: Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian mercenaries may be fighting for deposed Qaddafi

Last week, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, former commander of the Group of Soviet Forces in (East) Germany, announced that this year Ukraine will for the first time participate in the regular Russian-Belarusian military exercise known as Union Shield.

“With great pleasure I want to announce that for the first time in the post-Soviet time, a [airmobile] unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will take part in the joint maneuvers,” Makarov told journalists on August 26. He noted that Russia and Ukraine participate in the annual joint naval exercise Farvater Mira (Fairway of Peace). “I think it’s time to go to a new level of cooperation,” he added, no doubt remembering his career in the multi-national Soviet Armed Forces.

This year’s Russian-Belarusian military drill, Union Shield 2011, will take place between September 16 and 22, and will involve 12,000 servicemen, among them 7,000 from Russia and 5,000 from Belarus, as well as up to 50 airplanes and helicopters and 200 pieces of military hardware, including 100 tanks. The joint exercise will be held at the Gorokhovetsky training ground in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region and the Ashuluk training ground in the Astrakhan region. The program of the maneuvers was prepared by the General Staffs of Belarus and Russia, together with the staff of the Russian Armed Forces’ Western Military District.

In order to allay the fears of NATO states that the Union Shield drills target the West, Makarov soothed: “One must stress that we have made a decision to hold the exercise called Union Shield 2011 on the territory of the Russian Federation, far from the borders with NATO member states to demonstrate the Union State’s transparent and peaceful policy and confirm the defensive nature of the [Belarusian-Russian] Regional Group of Forces.”

Together, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus comprised the European nucleus of the Soviet Union, which in December 1991 the Communist Party deceptively dismantled as part of a stealthy, long-range plan for global conquest. Founded in 1996, the Union State of Russia and Belarus is one of several international organizations that have incrementally restored some of the political, economic, and military alliances that once bound the 15 Soviet republics. A proposed flag for the Union State, pictured above, was consciously modeled on that of the USSR.

On August 11, President Dmitry Medvedev received Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich in Sochi, the Russian leader’s subtropical getaway on the Black Sea. There the two “ex”-communists considered several bilateral issues, such as the relationship between Ukraine and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and between Ukraine and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, both of which Kiev has yet to join.

Medvedev and Yanukovich also focused on “strengthening the legal framework” of the presence of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet on the territory of Ukraine (Sevastopol, Crimea). The Sochi summit was an important step in the preparation for the next meeting of the Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission. The Russian and Ukrainian presidents also addressed the issue of the arrest on corruption charges of Ukraine’s ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, like Medvedev a graduate of the old Soviet Komsomol.

On August 22, it was the turn of Medvedev’s embattled Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, to show up in Sochi. There for two and a half hours, Medvedev and Lukashenko, another “ex”-communist, discussed the transformation of the Customs Union into the Common Economic Space of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, starting January 1, 2012. The heads of state agreed to hold the Supreme Council of the Union State in November. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Medvedev’s mentor, is chairman of the Union State’s Council of Ministers.

Medvedev and Lukashenko also discussed Rosatom’s construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus, which to this day suffers from the deadly radioactive effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Rosatom lately constructed a NPP in the Kaliningrad exclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

Medvedev and Lukashenko then turned their attention to details related to the equipping of a rapid response force for CSTO, as well as the conditions of hosting foreign (US) military bases on the territory of the CSTO states. They also considered the prospects of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow government leading that former Soviet republic into CSTO membership, a prospect definitely improved through Ukraine’s participation in Union Shield 2011.

Finally, Lukashenko related the details of his recent visit to the Arabian country of Qatar, and the prospects of cooperation with Communist Venezuela, a close ally of both Russia and Belarus. Loans from the Moscow-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States prop up Belarus’ Soviet-era command economy, while the International Monetary Fund has demanded that Lukashenko release all political prisoners as a stipulation for receiving financial aid from the West. The Belarusian KGB regularly intimidates and incarcerates the dictator’s political opponents.

Meanwhile, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, head of the Ukrainian parliament’s Committee for National Security and Defense, former defense minister and leader of Ukraine’s Civil Position Party, does not rule out the possibility that Ukrainian, Russian, or Belarusian mercenaries are fighting on behalf of deposed Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi. “The state of Ukraine hasn’t sent its soldiers or civilians to fight on either side, that’s for sure,” the legislator said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine. Hrytsenko continued:

Can there be theoretically mercenaries from Ukraine? Yes, there can be, but just as likely, or even more likely, there may be Russian or Belarusian mercenaries. Because, there have been cuts in their armies by hundreds of thousands, and many people, so called migratory birds, are trying to find a job on all continents.

A rebellion that began in mid-February, backed by UN-sanctioned NATO air strikes, toppled Qaddafi’s 42-year-old terrorist regime last Tuesday, the third Arab dictatorship to fall this year as a result of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings. Shortly after the war began, reports surfaced that Qaddafi was importing mercenaries from Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as guerrillas from Western Sahara, to fight for his tottering government. About the same time, the 69-year-old strongman’s Ukrainian nurse fled to her homeland, leaving a trail of questions concerning Qaddafi’s long-time links to the old Soviet Bloc.

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Africa File: Iran invites Libya’s victorious rebel chief to Tehran; TNC accuses Algeria of “aggressive act,” harbouring Qaddafi’s wife, children; NATO warplanes pound Sirte as National Liberation Army surrounds loyalist stronghold; Qaddafi still on the run

– Libya’s Rebel-Turned-Interim Government Fears Qadaffi Clan May Flee from Algeria to Eastern Europe

– Ousted Dictator May Have Fled to Southern Loyalist Stronghold of Sabha

– Rebel Military Officer Reaffirms Demise of Qaddafi’s Two Most Powerful Offspring, Special Forces Commander Khamis and Intelligence Chief Abdullah al-Senussi

– Rebel Troops Release 10,000 Political Prisoners of Qaddafi Regime, 50,000 Libyans Still Missing, Arrested during “Arab Spring” Uprising

– Tripoli Faces Second Week without Running Water and Electricity as Libyans Explore Qaddafi Clan’s Mansions, Appalled by Opulent Lifestyle of Self-Styled Socialist Revolutionary

Pictured above: The de facto ruler of Libya, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Transitional National Council, addresses a news conference in Benghazi, on August 30, 2011. On Tuesday, Libya’s interim rulers issued a four-day deadline for forces loyal to deposed Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi to surrender or face military force.

In another disturbing sign that the Islamo-Nazi regime in Iran views the victorious Libyan rebels as ideological kin, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akabr Salehi has invited Mustafa Abdel Jalil, president of the Libyan rebels’ Transitional National Council (TNC), to Tehran. “In a phone conversation [on August 29] with the NTC head, Salehi congratulated the victory of the Muslim people of Libya and stressed (the desire) to deepen bilateral ties,” said a statement from Iran’s foreign ministry.

On Sunday, Salehi admitted Iran had “discreetly” provided humanitarian aid to the Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli on August 21. For his part, Jalil “thanked the Iranian government for its humanitarian aid and assistance during tough times,” and called for the return of Iran’s ambassador to Libya. From 2007 until his resignation on February 21, 2011, Jalil was Qaddafi’s minister of justice. On February 22, he claimed in an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen that he had proof Qaddafi personally ordered the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

The phone conversation marked the first official contact between Iran and the TNC since Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s capital was overrun by rebels on August 21 and he went into hiding. Iran, though, has not officially recognized the TNC. Other countries that have withheld recognition are Algeria, Russia, Red China, India, South Africa and Brazil, all of which are varying degrees of open or covert communist/socialist control.

Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran has both criticized Qaddafi’s party-less socialist regime, while at the same time condemning NATO’s military intervention. Relations between Shiite majority Iran and Libya soured in 1978, after the disappearance in Libya of Iranian-born Imam Moussa Sadr, who was considered a spiritual leader of Lebanon’s Shia Muslims.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Libya’s rebel-turned-interim government accused Algeria of committing an “aggressive act against the Libyan people’s wishes” by providing safe haven for Qaddafi’s wife Safia, daughter Aisha, as well as sons Mohammed and Hannibal. “We are determined to arrest and try the whole Gadhafi family, including Gadhafi himself,” Mahmoud Shammam, TNC information minister, rumbled late Monday night. “We’d like to see those people coming back to Libya.” The official Algeria Press Service admits that Qaddafi’s family entered Algeria early Monday morning.

Over the past few months, Algeria’s long-ruling National Liberation Front has covertly supplied the embattled Qaddafi regime with arms, mercenaries, and Polisario guerrillas from Western Sahara. In defending its decision to harbor the Qaddafi clan, Algeria’s United Nations envoy Mourad Benmehidi told BBC News there is a “holy rule of hospitality” in the desert region. Quite.

“The fact that his family has moved on through the border to Algeria is very significant,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Susan Ormiston opined from Tripoli. “It means that they recognize that they no longer have any protection inside Libya — that forces and loyalists loyal to Gadhafi cannot protect the family so this is another step the slow toppling of the dynasty here.”

“I would argue the Algerian regime is making a major blunder, miscalculating monstrously,” warned Fawaz Gerges, an analyst at the London School of Economics, in an interview with the BBC. “The Algerian regime itself is not immune from the revolutionary momentum taking place in the Arab world.”

In a related story, Algeria has closed the southern part of its border with Libya due to the “precarious situation” there, Algeria’s El Watan newspaper reported, citing diplomatic sources. Jalil called on the Algerian government to hand over the Qaddafi clan. Qaddafi himself is believed to have fled to the southern desert city of Sabha, which is still loyal to the dictator.

The Libyan rebels’ National Liberation Army, however, now controls most of Tripoli and most of the country. Their political wing, the TNC, rightly fears that, unless he is captured, Qaddafi could rally a counter-insurgency. “We have promised to provide a just trial to all those criminals and therefore we consider this an act of aggression,” said Shammam. “We are warning anybody not to shelter Gaddafi and his sons. We are going after them … to find them and arrest them,” he promised, suggesting the Qaddafi clan might try to flee from Algeria to another country, perhaps in Eastern Europe.

Rebel forces have converged on the coastal city of Sirte, but have stopped short of a full-blown assault in hopes of arranging a negotiated surrender of Qaddafi’s birthplace. On the night of August 28-29, NATO targeted 20 surface-to-air missile canisters and two surface-to-air missile systems in Sirte, as well as five multiple-rocket launchers in Ras Lanuf, home to one of Libya’s largest refineries.

With Qaddafi on the run, rebel fighters now sleep in the bedrooms of their former ruler, whose gated compounds boast tennis courts, football pitches, and magnificent sea views. A visit to a Tripoli beach compound used by Qaddafi’s family and henchmen revealed a life of opulence and privilege foreign to most Libyans. Saadi Qaddafi’s chalet, for example, was strewn with designer clothes, including some unworn suits, and about 100 pairs of shoes. Aisha’s house boasted 13 bedrooms and gold-plated cutlery.

By contrast, a week after Qaddafi’s downfall, Tripoli’s two million people remain without running water or electricity, presenting a potential humanitarian crisis for the Libyan capital. Banks, pharmacies, and many other stores are still closed. The stench of rotting garbage and sewage pervades the city.

Men in jeeps crying “Allahu Akbar [God is greatest]” drive through neighborhoods, handing out containers of potable water from the local governing council. A council spokesman said the pumping station for Tripoli’s water supply is not only damaged but also situated in the pro-Qaddafi town of Sabha. The sizable military force needed to escort a repair team of engineers is not available.

Rebel officials insist that Qaddafi’s two most powerful offspring, special forces commander Khamis Gaddafi and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, were both killed last Saturday. “We have almost certain information that Khamis Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi were killed on Saturday by a unit of the National Liberation Army during clashes in Tarhouna [90 km southeast of Tripoli],” related military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani. A US official said he could not independently confirm Khamis’ death but similar information was received from “reliable sources.” Khamis has already been reported killed twice during the uprising, only to re-emerge.

Even though he is apparently dead, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he may seek an arrest warrant for Khamis. The Hague-based ICC has already issued warrants for Qaddafi and his sons Saif al-Islam and Senussi for alleged crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch reports members of the Khamis Brigade appeared to have killed dozens of prisoners whose burned bodies were found in a Tripoli warehouse. Physicians for Human Rights reports it had found evidence of crimes including “murder, torture, rape, forced internment and disappearance” by Qaddafi loyalists during their siege of Misrata earlier in the civil war.

On Sunday, Libyan rebels announced they have freed over 10,000 prisoners arrested by the Qaddafi regime, but insist nearly 50,000 others are still missing. Rebel spokesman Bani said that beside the thousands who have been freed since the rebel forces seized control of Tripoli, between 57,000 and 60,000 citizens were arrested by Qaddafi’s henchmen during the uprising.

In another development, Bani said that Libya’s natural gas pipeline to Europe had been repaired.

Africa File: Long-time ally Ortega offers refuge to Qaddafi, even as Libyan strongman eludes ousters; loyalists stage counter-offensive at Bab al-Azizya barracks; Russia frets over Libyan investments, switches support to rebels; Iran praises rebel victory

– Special Forces from Britain, France, Jordan, and Qatar Intensify Operations in Tripoli and Other Libyan Cities (source)

The “Arab Spring” uprisings have claimed their third socialist dictator in eight months.

With the whereabouts of Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi still unknown, an adviser to Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator, Daniel Ortega, said Tuesday that the Sandinista government would consider granting asylum to the ousted colonel. “I do not know how Gadhafi could get here from Libya, because we do not have an embassy in Libya,” confided Bayardo Arce to Nicaragua’s Channel 63 television.

Pictured above: On August 24, 2011, gunmen of Libya’s National Liberation Army trample on a portrait of Qaddafi in Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel, where 40 foreigners, including journalists, were held captive by loyalist troops.

Ortega and Qaddafi first cemented their personal relationship 30 years ago, during the chilly depths of the Cold War, on the basis of a pro-Moscow, anti-Washington ideological line. Ortega has visited Libya at least once since returning to power in 2006.

“If someone asks us for asylum, we would have to consider it positively, because our people got asylum when the Somoza dictatorship was killing us,” Arce continued, referring to Sandinista leaders Daniel and Humberto Ortega and Tomas Borge, who sought refuge in Cuba to plot the overthrow of dictator Anastasio Somoza, which finally took place in 1979. Although constitutionally banned from running for a consecutive presidential term, Ortega, who enjoys unprecedented widespread popular support on the shoulders of a resurgent economy, has announced his candidacy for Nicaragua’s November election.

In Libya, NATO-backed rebels overran Tripoli on Sunday, raising the flag of the internationally recognized “Libyan Republic” over Qaddafi’s command center yesterday, only to repel a loyalist counter-offensive on Wednesday. The rebel flag last flew over Libya in 1969, when a cabal of leftist military men under Qaddafi’s leadership ousted King Idris. A few years later, Colonel Qaddafi proclaimed the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (“State of the Masses”).

By the 1980s, the Libyan strongman had established his reputation as a state sponsor of terrorism, issuing a contract on the head of US President Ronald Reagan in 1981, surviving a US Air Force raid over his territorial claims in the Gulf of Sidra in 1986, orchestrating the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, and training Liberian and Sierra Leonean rebels as late as the 1990s. Strident “anti-imperialist” Qaddafi was also an ardent champion of African integration, leading the African Union as chairman between 2009 and 2010.

In addition to neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, the communist governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia have steadfastly stood by Qaddafi during fifth months of punishing NATO air strikes. In late February, after Qaddafi’s government began cracking down on the uprising, Ortega acknowledged he had telephoned the Libyan leader to express his solidarity.

On August 24, loyalist troops staged a counter-offensive against the rebels near the Bab al-Azizya military barracks. Thick smoke hung over the complex where rebels and Qaddafi’s forces exchanged fire with light weapons, heavy machineguns, rocket propelled grenades, and mortars. Fighting also spread to the nearby Abu Slim district, where loyalist troops were on the attack, in marked contrast to Tuesday’s battle for Bab al-Azizya, when they fled as rebels stormed the gates. Rebel commanders vowed to push loyalists out of the area. Two powerful blasts thought to be caused by an air raid rocked the capital early Wednesday as a NATO warplane flew overhead.

Many streets were deserted in downtown Tripoli, but dozens of pro-Qaddafi snipers had apparently taken up positions. “There are snipers above and around the perimeter of Bab al-Azizya; there are dozens of them but we don’t know where they are,” warned rebel commander Nuri Mohammed. In spite of the loyalist counter-offensive, rebel military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Bani insisted that “Bab al-Azizya is fully under our control now. Colonel Gaddafi and his sons were not there; there is nobody. No one knows where they are.”

Electricity, temporarily cut, has been restored, but food and water remain scarce in Tripoli, while mobile phone signals are weak.

Although in hiding, Qaddafi (or someone purporting to be him) managed to convey several messages to supporters. In a speech carried early Wednesday by the website of a television station controlled by his son Seif al-Islam, the Libyan dictator justified his flight from his HQ as a “tactical withdrawal.” “Bab al-Azizya was nothing but a heap of rubble after it was the target of 64 NATO missiles and we withdrew from it for tactical reasons,” he said. The speech gave no indication of his whereabouts.

In another audio message on the Syria-based Arrai Oruba TV station, Qaddafi boasted that he had taken to the streets of Tripoli without being caught. “I walked incognito, without anyone seeing me, and I saw youths ready to defend their city,” the strongman gloated. Referring to the rebels, he urged “the residents, the tribes, the elderly to go into the streets… and cleanse Tripoli of rats.”

Rebels have encountered pockets of resistance in other parts of Libya. Opposition fighters were deployed on August 22 to areas south of Zliten, 150 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, while loyalists in Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte fired missiles at the hotly contested coastal town of Misrata. Qaddafi’s forces also launched an unguided, short-range missile at the eastern city of Brega two days ago, for the first time during the conflict.

On Wednesday, at the Libyan embassy in Manila, diplomats and students smashed portraits of the colonel, ripped up copies of Qaddafi’s Green Book, shouted “Game over!” and hoisted the rebel flag. Libyan consul Faraj Zarroug said at least 85 per cent of his country’s 165 diplomatic missions worldwide now recognize the Transitional National Council (TNC). “It’s game over for Mr. Qadhafi!” Zarroug told the Associated Press. “Probably in a few days, everything will be over, hopefully. I’m very happy.”

Libyan diplomats abroad have been pledging allegiance to the rebels gradually for months, but defections spiked this week. The missions to Switzerland and Bangladesh, for example, switched sides soon after the rebellion erupted in February, while Libyan embassy officials in Japan and Ethiopia replaced the government flag with the rebels’ tricolor on Monday.

In a troubling development, the Islamo-Nazi regime in Tehran has praised the rebel victory in Libya, clearly signally Iran’s ideological solidarity with any new government in the North African state. On Tuesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement that said:

Iran congratulates the Muslim people of Libya for the latest developments that arose from their months-long resistance and stand as another symbol of the popular movements in the region. The popular uprising in Libya shows once more that meeting people’s rightful demands and respect for their opinions are undeniable necessities.

[Libyans must] prevent foreigners, especially yesterday’s oppressors and those which have claims today, from meddling with their fate.

Iranian authorities have also applauded the ouster of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Although their ruling parties were committed to Arab socialism, both Mubarak and Ben Ali are portrayed in the Iranian media as “US puppets.” Iran has also expressed support for Bahrain’s mostly Muslim Shiite protesters. Following the disputed 2009 presidential election that led to a second term for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Muslim fundamentalists who rule Iran have cracked down on domestic opposition. Mass protests in June of that year and a string of demonstrations in the following months left dozens dead and thousands initially jailed.

In Moscow, President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would recognize the Libyan rebels if they “unite the country,” while warning that Qaddafi, the Kremlin’s old ally, still retained influence. “Despite the successes of the rebels, Gaddafi and his supporters still have a certain influence and military potential. We want them to sit down at the negotiating table and reach agreements on future peace,” urged Medvedev, a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol.

During the Cold War, Soviet Russia viewed its Arab allies as ideological partners against the capitalist West. Russia’s “ex”-communist leaders have toned down their Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, but Moscow’s important investments in North Africa and the Middle East still prompt the Kremlin to soften international denunciations of the region’s brutal regimes. The neo-Soviet leadership is therefore warning the West against affecting “regime change” in Syria, where the ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party has ruthlessly crushed dissent in a number of cities since spring.

“I would advise all countries thinking about Syria to keep in mind the negative example of Libya,” growled Konstantin Kosachyov, chief of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, in a telephone interview from Moscow this week. “The risk of civil war there is even greater than in Libya, which would lead to the collapse of the country.”

Russia, which maintains a Soviet-era naval supply base in Tartus, Syria, rejects demands from the USA and European Union for President Bashar al-Assad to resign. Russia has weapons contracts with Syria worth at least US$3 billion, according to Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. Syrian orders include Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, MiG-29 fighter jets, and Pantsir short-range air defense systems, all of which challenge the regional supremacy of the Israeli Defense Forces.

In March, the Kremlin, which wields veto power on the United Nations Security Council, abstained from a vote authorizing a NATO air campaign to halt Qaddafi’s crackdown.

“Russian companies will lose everything,” bemoaned Aram Shegunts, head of the Arab-Russian Chamber of Industry in Moscow. “NATO countries spent billions of dollars on this campaign and they won’t give our companies a slice of the action.” Russian weapons exporters may lose contracts worth US$4 billion, Sergei Chemezov, head of state-owned Russian Technologies Corp., fretted on March 3, after the UN imposed an arms embargo on Libya.

Potential civilian contracts in Libya, including the construction of a railroad network, are worth “billions of dollars,” Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko worried on March 22. Energy companies such as Kremlin-run gas giant Gazprom and oil producer Tatneft have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into Libya.

Libya’s new rulers have pledged to honor all existing international contracts, but only after investigating whether corruption was involved in those deals. This caveat gives the TNC considerable leeway, given that the Qaddafi clan or cronies of the deposed strongman were party to nearly every deal concluded during his 42-year rule.

Africa File: Libyan capital falls quickly after insurgents seize strategic oil town, elite forces and air bases; NATO-backed rebels pour into Tripoli on Sunday, occupy Green Square, arrest three Qaddafi sons; rumors circulate concerning Qaddafi’s flight to Algeria, loyalist counter-offensive

– Below the MSM “Radar”: Algeria’s National Liberation Front Regime, Fearing Spread of “Arab Spring” Unrest, Throws Its Weight behind Qaddafi, Transports Arms, Mercenaries, Polisario Guerrillas to Libya

– Looters Steal Vehicles from Algerian Embassy in Tripoli, Supporters of Libya’s Rebel Government Raise Flag of Transitional National Council over Embassy in Algiers (source)

– South African Air Force Plane on Standby in Tunisia to Ferry Qaddafi to Non-ICC Signatory Country Like Cuba, Venezuela, or Russia (source)

– Experts Caution “Tough Urban Battle” May Lie Ahead between Lightly Armed Rebels and Government Forces Held in Reserve for Defense of Tripoli

The “Arab Spring,” which toppled the socialist regimes in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, also provoked revolutions in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, leading to civil war in the first country, a bloody government crackdown in the second, and an internationally mediated transfer of power, now underway, in the third. Pictured above: Smoke billows above neighborhood in Tripoli, on August 22, 2011.

In Libya, especially, NATO-backed rebels who began their insurgency with anti-regime protests in mid-February, entered the capital Tripoli on Sunday, pouring in from the south, east, and west. Hundreds of rebel fighters occupied the city’s Green Square, only to pull back from the latter on Monday upon word that Qaddafi loyalists were organizing a counter-offensive in the capital. Strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi’s forces, according to CNN, remain in control of at least three sites in the city: the Bab al-Aziziya military barracks, which have sustained severe damage from NATO air strikes, a hospital, and the Rixos Hotel, where international journalists are housed.

The military situation is fluid in Libya. Rumours abound concerning Qaddafi’s whereabouts , possibly in a bunker under Bab al-Aziziya or somewhere in Algeria, where the government has openly backed the strongman’s defiant anti-West stance. Executive intelligence reports like Austin-based Stratfor assert that the country’s internationally recognized successor regime, the Transitional National Council (TNC), is waging its own disinformation campaign against Qaddafi, ahead of a full-scale assault upon Tripoli (“Libyan Rebels Closing in on Tripoli,” August 20, 2011; email update).

Last Wednesday, Libya’s rebels seized an oil refinery near Zawiya, a town just 30 miles west of Tripoli. Heavy gunfire could be heard after rebels in cars loaded with large-calibre ammunition converged around the refinery. Rebel fighter Abdulkarim Kashaba said that his comrades in arms had taken “control [of] the gates of the refinery” and were planning an assault on the town. Although much of the fuel used by the Libyan army has been smuggled across the border from Tunisia and Algeria, the Zawiya refinery supplies Tripoli, where the strongman has been holed up since the initial uprising.

At the time, BBC correspondent Matthew Price predicted that the fall of Zawiya would be both a “strategic and psychological blow” to the 42-year-old socialist regime of Colonel Qaddafi. This prediction appears to have been accurate. Since then, Qaddafi loyalists have lost territory to rebel forces in the country’s west.

After seizing Zawiya, insurgents pushed rapidly east , capturing an important military base that is home to the Khamis Brigade, an elite force led by Khamis Qaddafi. One of the strongman’s seven sons, Khamis has in the past carried out military exchanges in Belarus, where the Qaddafi clan enjoys the support of President Alexander Lukashenko. “Exultant” rebel troops seized weapons from the base and were seen hauling away boxes of brand-new Belgian munitions, as others sped away in trucks bristling with confiscated weaponry.

By Sunday, rebel forces reached the Tripoli suburb of Janzour, where witnesses said Qaddafi loyalists had earlier abandoned their posts. Residents took to the streets to cheer the rebels as they swept past in their pickups into the southern fringes of the city. At the same time, rebels advancing along the eastern coastal highway were reported to have linked up with opposition fighters in the eastern suburb of Tajura, long a stronghold of opposition to Qaddafi, effectively cutting off the capital from external supply lines.

Rebels also secured Tripoli’s seaport, where several hundred reinforcements for the opposition arrived by boat, and evicted Qaddafi loyalists from the Mitiga air base on the eastern outskirts of the city.

Reporters traveling with the insurgents related how Qaddafi’s defenses were “melting away faster than had been expected.” There were reports of entire regular army units disintegrating as rebels approached the capital, with Qaddafi loyalists inside the city “tearing off their uniforms, throwing down their weapons and attempting to blend into the population.”

“I never thought I’d see a day like this; it’s like our independence day,” rejoiced Tripoli resident Adel Bibas. “This is the end of the colonel,” he added confidently, referring to Muammar al-Qaddafi.

In light of reports that rebels now hold 95 percent of Tripoli, NATO member state leaders are once again demanding Qaddafi’s surrender. British Prime Minister David Cameron urged: “Qaddafi must stop fighting, without conditions — and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya. His regime is falling apart and in full retreat. There will undoubtedly be difficult days ahead.”

NATO air strikes against the Libyan army, which began on March 19 with the intent of enforcing a United Nations no-fly zone, will continue, Cameron vowed, “as long as it is needed.” The British PM acknowledged that he had spoken to Mustafa Abdel Jalil, president of the rebel council, last week. Foreign Secretary William Hague, he explained, will coordinate British support for the TNC in the upcoming weeks.

Joining British calls for Qaddafi’s unconditional surrender were Germany, Italy, and other European Union countries, which also urged the rebels to “respect human rights and not to exact revenge on Gaddafi supporters.” In the rebel capital, Benghazi, in the country’s east, huge crowds gathered to celebrate what they hoped was the imminent collapse of regime forces in Tripoli.

While there is a “big question mark” about Qaddafi’s whereabouts, Al-jazeera reports that his “all powerful” brother-in-law and intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi had been killed, whether by rebels or NATO air strikes is not clear.

Over the weekend, the TNC revealed that its forces in Tripoli had arrested three of Qaddafi’s sons, including Saadi, a businessman who has invested in Hollywood movies. When the insurgency erupted in mid-February, former soccer player Saadi returned to his homeland to command his father’s special forces units.

In 2010, the Hollywood media reported on the strange alliance between producer Matty Beckerman and Saadi in their formation of Natural Selection, a company with plans to make five movies over the next 20 years. Saadi has invested US$100 million in the company, which by last year had allocated US$12 million toward the movie The Experiment, and fully financed the US$3 million Isolation, a thriller directed by Steven Kay (The Shield). Natural Selection’s operations have been “paralyzed” since the Libyan civil war began.

The rebels’ governing body acknowledged that its officials had also arrested another Qaddafi offspring, Saif al-Islam, while a third, Muhammad, surrendered to rebel fighters who stormed his residence in Tripoli. CNN states that the International Criminal Court held talks on Monday with the TNC on transferring Saif al-Islam to its custody. He is wanted on a war crimes charge for allegedly having ordered attacks on unarmed anti-regime protesters.

Elsewhere in the region, last Friday night Tunisia’s armed forces repelled a group of armed Libyans who had infiltrated the smaller North African country by vehicle. The fighting, which continued into Saturday, resulted in several casualties. A Tunisian military source could not confirm whether the Libyan infiltrators were Qaddafi loyalists or rebels. In recent days, the Tunisian army has reinforced its presence along its border with Libya. As a result of rebel advances in western Libya, Qaddafi’s forces near Tunisia have been cut off from their supply lines to Tripoli.

It is possible that this skirmish between Tunisian and Libyan forces represented an attempt by Qaddafi loyalists to smuggle their leader out of the country to Algeria. Some reports suggest that the Libyan strongman is in fact hiding near the Algerian border. The long-ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) regime in Algiers is openly supporting Qaddafi, no doubt in order to thwart the spread of the populist “Arab Spring” to Algeria.

Like the Libyan strongman, Algeria’s FLN has for nearly 50 years been committed to Arab socialism and a vigorous pro-Moscow, anti-Washington ideological line. Algerian leaders surely remember with trepidation the 1988 riots and civil war against Islamists in the 1990s, both of which threatened to topple their military-backed dictatorship.

Recently, Algeria’s opposition Socialist Forces Front accused the FLN of “operations meant to destabilize the transitional democratic government in Tunisia, and also of undermining the Libyan resistance.” In the last two weeks, Algeria denied accusations that a Libyan ship offloaded armaments, destined for Qaddafi’s troops, at the port of Djen Djen, 267 kilometres east of Algiers. Libya’s rebel government insists that the ship, sailing under Qaddafi’s plain green flag, arrived at Djen Djen on July 19 and then the shipment was conveyed across the land border into Libya.

Abdulhafidh Ghoga, TNC vice president, has denounced the “duplicity” of the FLN and accused the Algerian government of backing Qaddafi both militarily and politically. He asserts that Chad, Mali, Zimbabwe, and Kenya have dispatched regular troops to participate in Qaddafi’s defense of Tripoli and that “there is evidence that the government of Algeria is taking part in this.” The Algerian opposition in exile in Europe, moreover, alleges that there are Algerian armed forces in Libya. TNC spokesman Shamsuddin Abdulmollah reports that rebels have captured 15 Algerian “mercenaries” in western Libya.

There is additional evidence that Algeria has sent its proxy forces in the Polisario Front to bolster the Libyan strongman. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican Respresentative in the US Congress, has pointed to evidence that combatants from the Algerian-backed Western Saharan guerrillas are among the forces fighting for the Libyan regime. Edward Gabriel, former US ambassador to Morocco, alleges that “hundreds of Polisario mercenaries are being paid $10,000 (Dh 36,700) each by Qaddafi to fight in Libya.” Algeria has used the Polisario Front to wear down its old foe Morocco, which claims Western Sahara.

In April, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé challenged Algiers about its connection to an arsenal that Qaddafi’s troops had abandoned on the battlefield, which was discovered by French military advisers to Libya’s rebels.

On the diplomatic front, Algerian officials have worked assiduously at the United Nations, European Union, and Arab League to limit or terminate NATO involvement in the Libyan civil war. Algeria and Syria are the only two Arab countries that opposed the UN-imposed no-fly zone over Libya. Algerian authorities contend that the Libyan rebels have close links with Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and, therefore, refuse to recognize the TNC. Instead, the Algerian government has endorsed an African Union “peace” plan that would leave Colonel Qaddafi and his sons in power.

When on May 8 Algerian parliamentarian Saddek Bouguettaya attended a meeting in Tripoli of Libyan tribes supporting Qaddafi, he described the strongman’s efforts to remain in power as “valiant and praiseworthy” and condemned NATO for its “bombing of the civilian population.” Bouguettaya is a member of the FLN Central Committee. For his part, Abdelaziz Belkhadem, the FLN’s secretary general and personal representative of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has called the Libyan rebels “agents of foreign powers who receive orders from the West.” In addition, Daho Ould Kablia, Algeria’s interior minister, affirmed on a recent talk show that “future relations with Libya would be strained in case the rebels [TNC] take over power in Tripoli.”

Red Terror File: Neo-fascist killer built two bombs, second device 1.5 times as powerful as Oslo blast, ready for deployment; Breivik linked to Oslo branch of Russian neo-Nazi Slavic Union, trained at Belarusian KGB facility around time of Minsk Metro bombing

– Norway International Network News Site: Breivik Believed to Have Bought Much of His Equipment from Russia

On Friday, a court in the Norwegian capital held a hearing to decide whether 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed killer of 77 people, should be kept in isolation, a month after he detonated a bomb and went on a shooting rampage. Breivik, whom the MSM describes as a “right-wing extremist” (i.e., neo-fascist) has admitted killing eight people when he exploded a truck bomb outside the prime minister’s office in Oslo, then fatally shooting 69 people, including many teens, at the ruling Labour Party’s youth camp on Utoya Island.

Breivik denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre, which ironically targeted fellow ethnic Norwegians, was necessary to save his country and Europe in general from Islamic immigration and “cultural Marxism.” If found guilty on terrorism charges, then Breivik could be sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum term available for a criminal conviction of any sort in Norway. An alternative custody arrangement—if he is still considered a danger to the public—could keep him behind bars indefinitely.

Breivik’s ideologically motivated slaughter was the bloodiest incident in Norway since the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Ominously, The Telegraph, citing Norwegian military sources, reports that Breivik had actually prepared a second bomb, bigger than the one that exploded in Oslo. Police discovered the explosive device at the farm Breivik had rented some 85 miles north of the capital. The second bomb weighed up to 1.5 tons and was ready for deployment. In comparison, the van-borne bomb Breivik detonated on July 22 weighed an estimated 0.95 tons.

Norwegian authorities have not officially responded to claims concerning the existence of another large bomb. On July 27, police admitted only that they had found and destroyed “explosives” stored at the isolated farm, but did not offer any details related to the quantity or condition of the materials.

The most troubling aspect of the Breivik case, which the MSM has mostly overlooked, is the Norwegian’s links to Russian neo-Nazis, who are likely under the control of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and his reported training in sabotage-terrorism at a Belarusian KGB facility (logo above). Surprisingly, the second bit of information appeared in state-run Novosti, which picked up the story from Gazeta.ru which, in turn, interviewed a Belarusian opposition figure. In the West, the MSM acknowledges that Breivik has links to Eastern European “nationalists” and even visited Belarus on at least one occasion.

It is possible, of course, that the FSB was responsible for training Breivik, planting the “Belarusian KGB trace” in the Kremlin media to divert attention from its own complicity. Within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, Breivik could theoretically move without hindrance back and forth between the two “former” Soviet republics. At the same time, Minsk may have obligingly carried out Moscow’s wishes in cultivating Breivik as “Agent Viking.” In any event, the Belarusian KGB’s collaboration with the Russian FSB is well documented. After all, the two organizations were once part of the same entity, the Soviet Committee for State Security, and continue to work together within the Union State framework.

After the April 11, 2011 Metro bombing in Minsk, which killed 12 commuters and injured 200 others, the FSB arrived on the scene to “help” its Belarusian counterparts. “Right now, we are closely cooperating with the FSB and blast experts from Russia who arrived at the scene on Tuesday morning . . . Russian Investigative Committee experts are also there, in line with a previously clinched agreement,” Belarusian Deputy Prosecutor General Andrei Shved said at the time.

Coincidentally or not, Belarusian oppositionist Mikhail Reshetnikov alleges Breivik was in Belarus this past spring, within the general timeframe as the Minsk bombing, undergoing his training under the aegis of an “ex”-Belarusian “special service” officer.

The Norwegian media, in fact, has exposed Breivik’s links to Russian neo-Nazi Vjatjeslav Datsik, whom he met in Oslo. In a past incident, Norwegian immigration authorities rejected Datsik’s application for asylum after escaping a Russian psychiatric institute. Datsik was jailed in Norway and eventually deported for various offences. Reportedly, Breivik has close links with the Oslo branch of Datsik’s organization, Slavic Union, which was found to possess knives, guns, and firebombs when police raided a tattoo parlour operated by the group in the Norwegian capital. Breivik is believed to have bought much of his equipment from Russia.

In his 1,500-page Internet manifesto, Breivik expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin, as well as the Russian prime minister’s youthful cheering squad Nashi. The Kremlin, not surprisingly, was quick to disassociate itself from the Norwegian mass murderer. Elsewhere, the manifesto urged the formation of “cultural conservative student organizations” that would champion the cause of a “racially pure” white Europe. “This movement should be somewhat like the equivalent of Russia’s Nashi movement,” Breivik suggests.

A spokeswoman for Nashi (Russian for “Ours”), Maria Kislitsyna, told Interfax news agency that “it is the first time that we hear of our organization mentioned in this context.” The Kremlin formed Nashi to counter pro-Western street protests in former Soviet republics in the mid-2000s. Disciplined and well-funded, some political analysts have compared Nashi to the old Soviet Communist Youth League (Komsomol). Nashi activists stage noisy but non-violent demonstrations outside Western embassies in Moscow.

In Western Europe there were pockets of support for Breivik’s rhetoric that obviously embarrassed far-right leaders seeking electoral validation. France’s National Front, for example, suspended a member whose blog praised Breivik as an “icon,” while Italy’s Northern League suspended a member who called some of the gunman’s ideas “great.” The leader of the English Defense League, to which Breivik claimed links, said “the desperation among those angry at immigration is a ticking time bomb.”

While most European neo-fascists distanced themselves from Breivik, at least on Internet forums, Russian neo-Nazis and extreme nationalists hailed his killing spree and intimated that similar attacks will occur in Russia. “The white race is attacking: The White Hero of Norway Anders Bering Breivik,” read the headline on the website of the Slavic Union, one of Russia’s largest neo-Nazi cults. “The more legal nationalist organizations are destroyed, the more Breiviks there will be,” Dmitry Demushkin, the former leader of Slavic Union who now heads the “Russkie” nationalist movement, told the Associated Press.

Intriguingly, the Kremlin has long been accused of allowing neo-fascism to flourish with impunity. In the 2000s, for instance, Putin, then president, regularly faced accusations of “flirting” with ultra-nationalism, including by creating the nationalist Rodina party just two months before Duma elections in 2003. However, the Kremlin later purged Rodina from politics, folding it into the pro-Kremlin Just Russia party in 2006.

Indeed, one of the first potemkin parties created by the Soviet leadership, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, has for 22 years championed an extreme form of Russian nationalism. There are good grounds for believing that Zhirinovsky is an FSB/KGB agent tasked with managing this false opposition party as part of the ongoing Soviet strategic deception.

In his second work, The Perestroika Deception (1995), KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn warns the West that the Soviet communists intend, among other tactics, to form alliances with nationalists (page 123) and Islamic fundamentalists (pages 149) for the purpose of undermining the capitalist nations ahead of a peaceful merger between a USA controlled by the “radical left” (page 18), a “neutral, socialist” European (page 17), and a revitalized Soviet Union (page 17). In the light of this revelation, we must not be surprised when Al Qaeda’s new commander–Egyptian arch-terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri, who spent six months in FSB “custody” in Dagestan in the late 1990s–launches another “911” against America, or when Breivik copycats pop up to wreak more havoc in the European Union.

USSR2 File: Gorbachev speaks to press on 20th anniversary of “hardliner” coup: Rejects charges of complicity with putschists, denounces United Russia as “worse version of Soviet Communist Party,” praises Putin for delivering Russia from “chaos” of Yeltsin years

In a press conference devoted to assessing the legacy of the coup against his presidency by communist “hardliners” on August 19, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev not only defended his actions, but also reprimanded his successors in the Kremlin. With typical Aesopian doublespeak, Gorbachev derided United Russia as a “worse version of the Soviet Communist party,” in which he began his political career as a Marxist-Leninist committed to world revolution.

“Our senior management should be updated,” Gorby told a packed hall of journalists in Moscow on Wednesday. “There comes a time when you need to get out of this rut.” Russia’s next presidential election is slated for March 2012 but the results, opines Gorbachev, will in all likelihood be “preordained” by political backroom deal-making in which President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will decide whether Putin will return for a third term as president, or his protogee Medvedev will continue for a second term.

“If the regime behaves just to increase its own power then this is already partially authoritarian,” Gorbachev pretended to lament, even as he advocated special circumstances for authoritarian rule. Notably, he stopped short of criticizing “ex”-communist Putin, instead praising the president-turned-prime minister for “bringing Russia out of the chaos of the Boris Yeltsin years.”

Gorbachev’s appearance, reports the Financial Times, was “clearly aimed” at showing opponents that he was still “fighting fit.” The 80-year-old former Soviet president still commands respect among some circles in Russia, though he is rarely seen in public, and sports an even wider following in the West, where he has mesmerized Ted Turner types and other globalists.

Over the past 20 years, a number of experts, including the coup plotters themselves, have charged Gorbachev of being complicit in the 1991 putsch, which sought to prevent the dismantling of the Soviet Union by “reform” communists. Detractors allege that Gorby, who was incommunicado at his official holiday residence between August 18 and 21, was in fact “waiting to see if the coup would prevail before he took sides.” Yeltsin, “post”-communist Russia’s first president, made this accusation shortly before he died in 2006.

Gorbachev rejects this theory, retorting that it was an attempt by Yeltsin to blacken his name and divert attention from his own complicity in the collapse of the USSR.

In 2005, Kommersant Daily interviewed Valentin Falin, former head of the International Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, who alleged that the 1991 coup was a feint designed to deceive the West into thinking that there were real factions within the CPSU. Of course, in making these comments, Falin all but acknowledged the truth of KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s assertions, first published in 1984, namely, that the Soviet communists would one day feign their demise in order to triumph over the capitalist nations by stealth. The fact of the matter is over the years Russia’s leaders have in many ways signalled the continuity of their plans for global domination, in cooperation with Red China, with those of the Not-So-Former Soviet Union.

The real mastermind behind the August 1991 coup was Politburo member Oleg Shenin, who was arrested along with the other “Vodka Putschists,” but amnestied in 1994. Shenin died in May 2009. No doubt he took to his grave knowledge of the Swiss bank accounts where the CPSU, with a little help from financier Marc Rich, squirreled away the party slush fund before the Soviet Union imploded.

Incidentally, in Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (1988), Gorbachev plainly affirmed that the perestroika and glasnost reforms were in fact designed to strengthen, not weaken, international socialism. The communists have never been shy about their plans, but who ever took the time to listen?

Red Terror File: Norwegian terror attacks Soviet secret services “wet job”: Kremlin-run Novosti quotes Belarusian opposition: Neo-fascist mass murderer Breivik trained at “secret paramilitary camp” in Belarus in early 2011, Belarusian KGB codename “Viking”

Blogger’s Note: Put down your coffee. This post rates a “Spew Alert.” KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s remarkable 26-year-old predictions about the bogus collapse of Soviet communism have been confirmed in spades yet again. See this blog’s left column for background data. Full story follows . . .

Today, the Kremlin-run media, in a rare burst of candor that somehow slipped past Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s censors, dropped a bombshell. Novosti admits that Norwegian neo-fascist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who bombed and gunned down 76 adults and youths last Friday, trained at a “secret paramilitary field camp” in the former Soviet republic of Belarus earlier this year.

After his arrest, self-confessed killer Breivik indicated that his intention was to “save Norway” from drowning in a wave of Muslim immigration by inflicting maximum damage to the “communist-infiltrated” Labour Party. The summer camp where he mercilessly shot up more than 60 teen age participants was operated by Norway’s ruling party.

“Breivik visited Belarus several times,” Mikhail Reshetnikov, leader of the opposition Belarusian Party of Patriots, told the Gazeta.ru online newspaper. “This spring, as part of his preparations for his twin attacks, he visited Minsk, where he underwent training at a secret paramilitary field camp.” Reshetnikov cited sources within Belarus’ “security organs,” meaning the Committee for State Security, which still bears its ominous Soviet-era name: KGB.

In his 1,500-page online manifesto, Breivik mentioned that he had visited Belarus to study the effects of fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The former Soviet republic’s state border agency confirms the Norwegian was in Belarus from March 4 to March 11, 2005. Concerning his more recent activities in Belarus, Minsk authorities are mum.

Reshetnikov claimed that earlier this year Breivik participated in “sabotage-terrorism drills” under the tutelage of a “former” Belarusian special service officer and that he had used a fake passport to enter Belarus. “His codename in Belarus’s KGB was Viking,” he added. “Rumors say he also had a girlfriend in Belarus.”

“The theory that Belarus’ special forces were involved in training Anders Breivik seems, of course, far-fetched,” demurred political expert Viktor Demidov to Gazeta.ru. “On the other hand, [Belarusian] President Alexander Lukashenko’s friendship with Muammar Gaddafi is no secret – neither is his fondness for Adolf Hitler.” Norway, notes Novosti, is taking part in NATO air strikes against Libya and embattled dictator Qaddafi has threatened attacks against Europe.

In view of this amazing revelation that exposes a possible conspiracy between Moscow, Minsk, and Tripoli, no one should be surprised that the Kremlin spin doctors have denounced Breivik’s open admiration for Putin. Nor should we be surprised that the boss of the pro-Lukashenko Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus disavows ever meeting Breivik. No doubt, too, some inconveniently honest apparatchik at Novosti will be shipped off to Putin’s neo-gulag or possibly executed in the basement of the Lubyanka.

On that note, while the West’s blind, deaf, and mute leaders continue to wistfully believe that Soviet communism is dead and buried, we begin our summer vacation . . . Have a nice day, comrade.

Grey Terror File: Self-admitted Norwegian bomber/ gunman linked to “ex”-Soviet Bloc: Hooked up with Serbian “nationalists” in 2002; visited Belarus in 2005, bemoans effects of Chernobyl disaster; travelled to Prague in 2010 to purchase arms

– “Right-Wing Extreme Nationalist” Wanted to Save Norway from Islam and “Cultural Marxism”

– Breivik Admired Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Spokesman Swiftly Denounces Norwegian Terrorist as “Devil Incarnate”

– Kremlinologists Who Hold to Golitsynian Thesis Must Consider Possibility Breivik “Cut Out” for East Bloc Secret Services

Last Friday, in the worst act of terrorism in Norway since the Nazi occupation more than 65 years ago, a powerful fertilizer-fuel bomb hidden in a Volkswagen Crafter panel van exploded in sedate downtown Oslo, near the offices of the prime minister, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and Ministry of Finance. The Telegraph reports on the shocking devastation in the Norwegian capital:

At the scene of the blast on Saturday, the carnage was evident. Windows were blown out in buildings as far as five blocks away while in the immediate vicinity of Grubbegata Street, which runs alongside the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Prime Minister’s office, there was utter devastation.

The road and the pavements around the building were still covered in twisted metal and broken glass yesterday while official documents blown out of offices by the force of the explosion still lay strewn in the street. Other buildings badly damaged included the nearby Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health.

Eight people, including at least two civil servants, were killed. Norway’s center-left prime minister, Labour Party member Jens Stoltenberg, was unharmed in the blast. Norway’s finance minister, Sigbjørn Johnsen, was vacationing in Denmark at the time. Police believe the bomb was likely detonated by a timer device rather than by more sophisticated remote control.

Approximately 90 minutes after the Oslo explosion, a gunman impersonating a police officer boarded a ferry at Tyrifjorden, a lake 25 miles northwest of the capital, and sailed to the island of Utøya, where the Labour Party’s annual youth summer camp meets. Beckoning the young attendees toward him, the gunmen opened fire with several weapons and, over the next hour and a half proceeded without hindrance to stalk and mow down 68, mostly teen-age, camp participants. One security guard was killed.

When Norway’s counter-terrorist unit finally arrived, detained by a lack of suitable air transport, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik–described in various official statements as a “right-wing extreme nationalist” and even as a “Christian fundamentalist”–peacefully surrendered, admitting to his deed, but denying any criminal wrongdoing.

Breivik was previously a member of Norway’s Progress Party (FrP), which promotes libertarian, conservative, and right-wing populist viewpoints, and its youth wing, FpU. According to current FpU leader Ove Vanebo, Breivik was an active member in the early 2000s, but left the party in 2007 as his viewpoints became more extreme. He eventually “lost all faith” in the Progress Party.

Behind self-confessed mass murderer Breivik lurks a shady “former” Soviet Bloc connection that began at least 10 years ago, when he came into contact with “cultural conservatives” in Eastern Europe. In light of the Soviet strategic deception, it should be remembered that many Eastern European “rightists” began their political careers as communist cadres or as secret police agents or informers.

In a 1,500-page manifesto titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” which he posted on the Internet just hours before his attacks, Breivik laments the Islamization of Norway and Europe in general, denounces “cultural Marxism,” describes Norway’s ruling Labour Party as “communist infiltrated,” rips off entire phrases from the Unabomber’s anti-technology rant, condemns the NATO war against Serbia in 1999, and discloses his membership in a crypto-Masonic organization called the Knights Templar.

Breivik, who was actually a member of Norway’s Grand Lodge until his hasty official expulsion this past weekend, describes a secret meeting in London, held in 2002, to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a medieval military order that pledged its loyalty to the Pope of Rome. Breivik explains that he had come into contact with Serbian “cultural conservatives” on the Internet and then with “other key individuals across Europe.” He wrote:

I met with them for the first time in London… the founding session in London, 2002. I was the youngest one there, 23 years old at the time. One of the key founders
instructed the rest of the group about several topics related to the goal of the organisation. I believe I scribbled down more than 50 full pages of notes regarding all possible related topics. Much of these notes are forwarded in the book 2083. It was basically a detailed long term plan on how to seize power in Western Europe.

In his diatribe, Breivik describes the new “Knights Templar” as a “cultural Christian” organization that intended to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.” Of course, students of communism know that an alleged “vast right-wing conspiracy,” to quote Hillary Clinton, is the bête noire of leftists everywhere.

Breivik then reveals that he had been preparing his “operation” since in late 2009, when he set up a farming business, apparently to provide cover for the discreet acquisition of fertilizer and other off-the-shelf bomb-making components. Instructions on how to build a home-made bomb are readily available on the Internet. Police searching Breivik’s farm found three tons of artificial fertilizer, suggesting as much as three tons went into making the Oslo bomb. On July 24, a Norwegian agricultural supply company, Felleskjopet, said they delivered fertilizer to the farm on May 4, only 10 weeks before Breivik’s rampage.

In addition to rubbing elbows with Serbian nationalists, the Norwegian terrorist made several forays into the “former” Soviet Bloc.

In late August and early September 2010, Breivik spent six days in the Czech Republic because the “ex”-communist state has one of the most “relaxed” laws regarding guns and drugs in the European Union. He noted in his manifesto that “Prague is known for maybe being the most important transit site point for illicit drugs and weapons in Europe.”

Breivik hollowed out the rear seats of his Hyundai Atos in order to create a hidden compartment for the firearms he hoped to buy in the Czech Republic. After two days in Prague, he obtained a prospectus for a mineral extraction business, in order to create an alibi in case he was suspected of preparing a terrorist attack. Breivik was particularly interested in buying an AK-47 assault rifle, a Glock pistol, hand-grenades, and a rocket-propelled grenade.

While in Prague, Breivik paid for the services of prostitutes, acquired several fake police badges to wear with a police uniform, which he had acquired illegally on the Internet and which he later wore during the attack at Utøya. Contrary to his expectations, he was unable to obtain any firearms in the Czech Republic, commenting that this was the “first major setback in [his] operation.” In the end, it appears that Breivik acquired his Ruger Mini 14 semi-automatic rifle and Glock pistol legally in Norway.

Intriguingly, in his manifesto Breivik admits that he visited Belarus and studied the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko. The Kremlin media acknowledges this took place in 2005. Referencing the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, which affected the Soviet Socialist Republics of Ukraine and Byelorussia, he complains:

The majority of people were irradiated as a direct result of the fact that the Soviet Union did not want to evacuate people (one week’s delay) and did not prevent the distribution of irradiated agricultural goods. Moreover, the dictatorship in Belarus [Lukashenko] intentionally continues distributing agricultural goods from the radiation zone. I was in Belarus and I can personally confirm this. I personally spoke with dozens of people who have no choice but to consume irradiated goods. Sixty percent of the radiation fell on the territory of Belarus and the dictatorship continues to intentionally feed its population with irradiated products.

Breivik divides Europeans into three races, including Belarus among those countries with a high percentage of Nordic people. He writes that Belarus–especially the northern part–was about 55 percent Nordic before 1900 but is presently about 30 percent. By 2070, he predicts that figure will be no more than 15 percent. In a list of nationalist parties in Eastern Europe, Breivik includes Syarhey Haidukevich’s Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus, which is linked to the similarly named party in Russia. Haidukevich denies having ever met Breivik.

Founded in 1989, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russia was one of the first potemkin parties founded during the era of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union. There is evidence that Zhirinovsky is a KGB/FSB agent who was tasked with creating a false opposition party to promote the illusion of democracy in the Soviet system.

Of the European Union, Breivik writes: “The first country that tries to escape the hegemony of the EUSSR and USA will face considerable problems. That is why I don’t think Italy or any other small country will have the courage to go first. Even Serbia chose the protection of the EUSSR/USA instead of risking becoming another Belarus.” He expressed support for Israel, probably because of his anti-Muslim stance.

Meanwhile, a Polish chemical company that sold fertilizer to Breivik insists that the transaction was entirely legal, but Polish police have opened an investigation. “According to our experts, the materials bought in Poland were not critical for the construction of the bomb,” soothed Pawel Bialek, deputy head of the Internal Security Agency (ABW), at a news conference. “At this stage, the information and materials we have do not indicate that the relations with the terrorist were anything other than commercial.”

Bialek elaborated that the owner of the company was “cooperating fully” with the authorities in their investigation, adding that the firm sold over 100 kilograms of one substance and several hundred grams of another to the Norwegian. The transaction was made over the Internet and, Bialek confirmed, there is no evidence that Breivik ever visited Poland. The last point is interesting in view of Breivik’s admission that at one time he visited Belarus, which borders Poland to the east.

Significantly, in his manifesto Breivik expresses admiration for Vladimir Putin, himself an open admirer of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. He describes Russia’s “ex”-communist prime minister as “a fair and resolute leader worth of respect,” but adds  that he was “unsure at this point whether he [Putin] has the potential to be our [the West’s?] best friend or our worst enemy.” After the Norwegian tragedy, Kremlin spokesentity Dmitry Peskov was quick to decry Breivik’s manifesto as the “delirium of a madman” and Breivik as the “devil incarnate.”

In conclusion, we must consider the very real possibility that Breivik, during his strategy sessions with Serbian “nationalists,” his known foray to the Czech Republic, and self-admitted journey to Belarus, fell under the control of East Bloc secret services, especially the Belarusian KGB, which collaborates with the Russian FSB. We must also consider the possibility that Breivik, whom the media is now calling “insane” or possibly a drug addict, is, like the radical Muslims he opposes, another convenient “cut out” for the Moscow Leninists to sow left-right discord in Western Europe ahead of the Fourth World War.

NOTE: We expect this to be our last post until mid-August. Summer vacation has arrived.

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Belarusian, Red Chinese paratroopers conduct 10-day exercise in former Soviet republic; first time PLA troops near NATO border, Belarus adjacent to ex-Warsaw Pact state Poland

Since the beginning of the year, the former Soviet republic of Belarus has been in a considerable state of political and economic turmoil related in part to its large trade deficit and the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. “Ex”-communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko desperately requires outside cash infusions and cheap natural gas from Russia, Belarus’ only reliable ally, to prop up his country’s ailing Soviet-style command economy.

In order to deflect domestic anger away from his mismanagement of the country and the fraudulent results of last year’s presidential election, which handed a fourth term to Lukashenko, Comrade Alex has unleashed the Belarusian KGB in a string of vicious crackdowns on the opposition.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, which has toppled dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt and threatens to overthrow those in Libya and Yemen, democrats in Europe are once again urging Belarusians to rise up and overthrow Lukashenko. In the midst of this unrest, Comrade Alex has invited Red China to participate in joint “anti-terrorism” drills with the Belarusian armed forces. Belarus shares a border with Poland, a former Warsaw Pact state that is now part of NATO.

On July 5, an 83-strong special task force of paratroopers of the People’s Liberation Army arrived in Baranovichi, where they held a 10-day exercise with Belarusian counterparts, overcoming “challenges of language, geography and climate to accomplish the planned task with close cooperation and coordination.” On or around July 15, the PLA airborne troops flew back to Urumqi, capital city of Red China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

“It was not only the first drills conducted jointly by soldiers from the Chinese and Belorussian armed forces, but also the first occasion for Chinese paratroopers to leave the country for joint training with foreign soldiers,” reports Red China’s state media, adding:

The two armed forces trained together in counterterrorism, and the two-phased drills included training in mixed units and comprehensive exercises . . . The first phase of
the drills included an obstacle course, hand-to-hand combat, parachuting, combat firing and anti-terrorism tactics. During the second phase, paratroopers encircled and eliminated “terrorists” by combining parachuting and tactical air landing operations.

According to Red China’s defense ministry, “the joint-training exercise serves to consolidate the traditional friendship between China and Belarus and enrich cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries . . .” The PLA contingent in Belarus was relatively small, but raises the spectre of future military drills involving Red Chinese troops in Europe.

Neither Belarus nor Communist China belong to the same “post”-Soviet regional organizations. However, Belarus is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, while the People’s Republic of China is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. For its part, Russia is a member of both military alliances. The SCO and CSTO have inked several memoranda of understanding, thus providing a political framework within which Minsk and Beijing can cooperate side by side with the more powerful Moscow-Beijing Axis. The latter will once again flex its military muscles some time before the end of the year in the planned Peace Mission 2011 combined maneuver.

Lately, Red China has actively promoted relations with the former communist state of Poland.

Latin America File: Peru’s left-nationalist president-elect touches base with Castros, Chavez on regional tour, disavows ALBA (for now); Bolivia’s chief of general staff flies to Havana to promote military cooperation among ALBA member states

Peru’s left-nationalist president-elect, Ollanta Humala, who successfully dodged accusations of a cozy relationship with Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez during this year’s election campaign, but which was evident in a previous bid for power in 2006, arrived in Caracas on July 15 for a briefing with his mentor. Like ex-paratrooper Chavez in 1992, Humala is a former military man who instigated a failed coup in 2000, against then President Alberto “Fujishock” Fujimori.

“I have come as a friend and a brother; and this brotherhood leads us to a similar future,” gushed Humala, an advocate of Latin American integration who triumphed over Fujimori’s daughter in a June run-off vote. Referring to Chavez’s battle with cancer, Humala continued: “We are giving you support. Please count on our forces and the prayers of the Peruvian people, who want your recovery because you have a mission to accomplish.” Incidentally, if Humala intends to lead the people of Peru to a “similar future” presently enslaving Venezuelans, then Peruvians will be staring Chavismo (Bolivarian communism) in the face in the not-too-distant future.

During his election campaign, Humala disavowed any immediate intention of linking Peru to the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a bloc of eight socialist states in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin, but seemed to leave the possibility open for the future. “We have no intentions of joining ALBA or any other mechanism at this moment, but rather reinforce the integration process with Unasur [Union of South American Nations] and consolidate the Andean Community of Nations, CAN,” he announced in April.

However, this is probably a ruse to quash the concerns of Peruvian businessmen and international investors since Humala praised ALBA in 2006. El Salvador’s FMLN president, Mauricio Funes, has likewise dodged the issue of joining ALBA, even though his vice president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren–a doctrinaire Leninist, arch-assassin, and former guerrilla commander who is widely perceived to be the “power behind the throne”–strongly supports accession to ALBA.

In what could be a diversionary tactic, last month Humala, while visiting Bolivian President Evo Morales, advocated the federation of Peru and Bolivia. The two countries were previously united as one state between 1836 and 1839. “I dream of the reunification of Peru and Bolivia. I dream of the moment when the border line disappears and we are again a single nation,” said Humala, adding: “It is important to understand that the development of Peru also involves, in all ways the development of Bolivia and vice-versa.” Morales is a self-avowed “Marxist-Leninist” and a key player in the promotion and expansion of ALBA, prompting a pro-business secessionist movement in Bolivia’s rich lowland states.

On July 19, at the invitation of Cuban President Raul Castro, Humala winged his way north, over the Caribbean Sea, to Havana for a working visit  with the island’s communist leaders, including retired dictator Fidel, the barely living inspiration for communist demagogues and Hollyweird troublemakers. Welcomed at Jose Marti International Airport by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Humala announced: “I come to visit a sister nation.” Humala told reporters that he will meet with President Castro to discuss an open agenda. Peru, where the Shining Path rebellion still simmers, and Cuba have cooperation programs in the areas of health, education, and sports.

While visiting the communist island state, Humala spoke by telephone with Chavez, who had returned to Havana for chemotherapy treatments. In June, the Venezuelan leader spent about three weeks in a Cuban hospital, recovering from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.

Humala’s regional tour included Cuba and Venezuela, but he also touched down in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the USA, all of which are governed by center-left/communist regimes. Among those few countries in the Western Hemisphere that have center-right regimes, Humala made pit stops in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.

In Lima, former president Alejandro Toledo and a past political ally of Humala urged Peruvians to be wary of the military officer-turned-politician:

Let me be clear: I am against the politics and style of Hugo Chavez, and I will not allow Peru to become another Venezuela or Nicaragua. Humala has moved well into the centre and has taken many of his policies from ours. However, there will be no co-government, no ministers from my political group. I know it’s a complicated and delicate relation because of the president-elect alleged close relations with the [leftist] administrations of Hugo Chavez, [Nicaraguan President] Daniel Ortega, [Ecuadorean President] Rafael Correa and Evo Morales.

Earlier this month, in another sign that the member armed forces of ALBA are closing ranks against their arch-enemy in Washington, the chief of the general staff of the Bolivian armed forces, Admiral Armando Pacheco, flew to Havana for a five-day working visit. The Bolivian delegation was officially welcomed by Major General Pedro Mendiondo Gomez, chief of antiaircraft and air defense of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR). Pacheco told communist party organ Granma that “countries like Bolivia and Cuba are united by a long history and suggested that the two countries’ armed forces should strengthen exchange.” The Bolivian admiral and his entourage will visit various military units and higher military schools of FAR.

Incidentally, before losing territory to Chile in 1879, land-locked Bolivia boasted a shore along South America’s Pacific coast. The Bolivian armed forces maintains a small naval force that patrols the country’s rivers and lakes. Bolivia’s annual armed forces day is called the “Day of the Sea.”

Last November, Antonio Cueto Calderon, commanding general of Bolivia’s army, announced: “We declare ourselves anti-imperialist because in Bolivia there can exist no external power imposing itself. We also declare ourselves anti-capitalist because this system is destroying Mother Earth.” The Bolivian military’s commitment to defending socialism was further consolidated in June when ALBA established a military school in Bolivia to indoctrinate member armed forces in neo-Marxism and “Latin Americanism.”

In early July, reports emerged from several Venezuelan sources, including Caracas’ past top general, that up to 2,000 Cuban troops had arrived in country to ostensibly participate in Venezuela’s bicentennial independence celebrations, but in reality to shore up the Chavez regime while the Venezuelan leader undergoes cancer treatments in Havana.

In actuality, over the last several years a number of stories have trickled into the MSM announcing the presence of Cuban military advisors in Venezuela, where they have been training their Venezuelan counterparts in combat techniques and occupying important posts in Caracas’ military high command, and intelligence and citizen monitoring agencies. In a July 20, 2011 article, the Wall Street Journal reports on the pervasive Cuban influence in the Venezuelan government and military:

During his tenure, Mr. Chávez has tried to indoctrinate the Venezuelan military, bringing on thousands of advisers to replicate Cuban military doctrine, and to deal with security and intelligence issues. Cuban officers are deeply involved in intelligence and security matters in Venezuela, from the acquisition of military equipment to overall military strategy, according to people with knowledge of the matter. One source estimates the number of Cuban intelligence experts working in Venezuela at 3,000.

This does not include the well-publicized significant presence of Cuban medical and educational professionals on Venezuelan soil.

Red Dawn Alert: Castro, Chavez smuggle 1,700-2,000 Cuban troops into Venezuela aboard Caracas’ C-130 Hercules transports, shore up Chavez regime as Hugo returns to Havana for chemotherapy; Cuban commander vet of Angolan civil war

Pictured here: On July 5, representatives of Latin America’s Red Axis congregate in Caracas to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s (fast-diminishing) independence. Bolivian President Evo Morales (third left) laughs with Hugo Chavez’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro (right), and Paraguay’s ex-bishop president, Fernando Lugo (second left), as Uruguay’s ex-guerrilla president, Jose Mujica, looks on.

Following Hugo Chavez’s extended medical stay in Havana, during which time he revealed his battle with cancer, and in the light of a possible return to Cuba for chemotherapy, Cuba’s communist dictatorship is anxious to shore up its ally in Caracas. The Cubapolidata blog, citing Venezuela’s former top general, reports that Presidents Raul Castro and Chavez have smuggled 1,700-2,000 Cuban troops into Venezuela under the guise of participating in Venezuela’s bicentennial celebrations:

General Carlos Julio Peñaloza, the former chief of the Unified Command of Venezuela’s Armed Forces, tweeted Sunday (July 3rd) about the arrival of Cuban troops in Port Cabello in Venezuela for the bicentennial independence celebration on Monday (July 4). In a subsequent tweet dated July 5, the general said there are 2000 Cuban troops in the country with the excuse of participating in Monday’s military parade. Will this near battalion strength formation make a permanent presence to shore up Chavez’s security if a threat materializes to his regime?

The reported Cuban military presence in Venezuela, which has been confirmed through other sources, appears to be a little reminder to Chavez’s opposition that a repeat of the events of 2002, which almost dislodged Comrade Hugo from power, will not be tolerated. According to In Defense of Neoliberalism, journalist Patricia Poleo, who writes for El Nuevo Pais, has “denounced the arrival of 1,700 soldiers from the Cuban military commanded by Generals Wilfredo Rodriguez and Julio Casas Regueiro. The troops were brought into the country via Hercules aircraft from the Venezuelan Air Force.” The same source continues:

General Julio Casas Regueiro is the First Vice Minister of the Cuban Armed Revolutionary Forces and a veteran of Angola. He is a very dangerous man, whose photograph is being provided to facilitate the citizens’ duty to capture him at all costs, detain him, and force him to explain the motives behind his command of Cuban troops occupying our territory. He must be captured and tried according to international laws that pertain to prisoners of war.

The original deployment of Cuban forces appears to have taken place on June 29, but this news has yet to trickle into the MSM. The Venezuelan air force operates six C-130 Hercules transports, each of which can carry about 70 fully equipped soldiers or paratroopers, necessitating at least four flights for each aircraft to transport 1,700 Cuban troops to the South American country. The Venezuelan air force is awaiting delivery of two Russian-built Ilyushin Il-76 heavy airlifters

According to International News Analysis, the communist regimes in Havana and Caracas established a military defense pact in 2005, which is an important development in the militarization of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). Last month, the ALBA bloc of socialist states founded a military school in Bolivia for the purpose of indoctrinating member armed forces in neo-Marxism and “Latin Americanism.”

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia to deploy two army brigades to Murmansk, Arkhangelsk to defend Arctic oil and gas claim; Moscow, Beijing to hold fifth combined “Peace Mission” exercise in 2011

– Reds in Space: Kremlin Gloats over Space Launch Supremacy as NASA Winds Down Successful 30-Year-Old Shuttle Program with No Manned Orbital Lift Capacity until at Least 2015

– Useful Idiots Bin: The Nepmen at MGM Capitulate to Beijing, Alter Invading Communist Hordes in Red Dawn V2.0 from Chinese to North Koreans

Pictured here: STS-135: The space shuttle Atlantis blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center on July 8, 2011, beginning the last flight of the 30-year-old space shuttle program.

According to a report published by Communist China’s state media last December, Moscow and Beijing plan to hold their fifth combined “Peace Mission” military exercise some time this year.  The first four, which took place in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010, reinforced the inter-operational capacities of the Russian Armed Forces and the People’s Liberation Army, as well as the ideological anti-Western solidarity of the two communist superpowers. During Peace Mission 2007, Vladimir Putin, then president of the Russian Federation, announced the resumption of strategic bomber patrols that were a regular feature of the Cold War animosity between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Together, the Moscow-Beijing Axis, formally inaugurated in 2001 with the Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendship, represents the “one clenched fist” of communism predicted by Anatoliy Golitsyn more than a quarter of a century ago in his first book, New Lies for Old (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1984). In this remarkably prescient work, the former KGB major, who was privy to the clandestine workings of the “inner KGB,” warned the West that the Soviet communists would feign their demise, quietly back the creation of a “neutral socialist Europe,” aggressively undermine the USA’s role in NATO, and then end the feigned “Sino-Soviet split” in an open alliance. Since the demise of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, this is precisely what has happened in Eurasia.

In December, Jiang Yu, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry of the People’s Republic of China, declined to confirm Russian media reports that the two countries, allied under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, will hold joint land, sea, and air drills in the Sea of Japan and Far East border region. “Those drills,” Jiang said, referring to the previous Peace Mission maneuvers, “which were designed to improve responsiveness to new threats and challenges, deepen bilateral strategic coordination and expand military ties, strengthening both sides’ capabilities.” She added: “All the exercises contributed to safeguarding regional peace and stability.” Together, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces and the PLA, with its increasing strategic airlift capacity, which now includes 20 Russian-built Ilyushin Il-76s with 30 on order, are a formidable military combination.

At the same time, in order to enforce its claim over much of the Arctic Ocean seabed and the untapped oil and gas reserves there, the Kremlin intends to deploy two army brigades to Murmansk or Arkhangelsk, near Finland and Norway. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov insists that he has yet to work out the details of the deployment, such as troop numbers, weapon types, and base locations, but in the Russian Ground Forces a brigade includes at least 2,000 soldiers.

The Russian Federation and its circumpolar neighbors–the USA (Alaska), Canada, Norway, and Denmark (Greenland)–have asserted jurisdiction over parts of the north polar region, leading to diplomatic squabbles more than anything else. On June 30, Putin, prime minister of Russia since 2008, held out the usual velvet-gloved fist, saying that Russia “remains open for dialogue,” but will “strongly and persistently” defend its interests in the region.

A Russian paratrooper drop in the Arctic a la “Ice Station Zebra,” scheduled for the spring of 2010, failed to materialize, but news of this planned Kremlin stunt provoked Canada, which is normally prickly about its sovereignty in its chilly northern archipelago, even with respect to its closest ally, the USA.

Meanwhile, Russia is no doubt gloating over its space launch supremacy over the USA, a development that came about by accident, more than anything else, as NASA winds down the 30-year-old space shuttle program with the launch of the Atlantis this past Friday. The 135th and final space shuttle flight successfully achieved orbit and rendezvoused with the International Space Station, where astronauts installed a giant cargo pod, known as the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony “node.”

Henceforth, the USA–which can barely afford to finance its own space program in the shadow of a looming Greece-style default crisis–will have to fork over US$51 million per seat to the Kremlin’s space agency, Roskosmos, so US astronauts can hitch a ride aboard Russia’s veteran, single-use Soyuz space capsules. NASA does not expect to have the capacity to launched manned spacecraft into orbit until at least 2015, at which time the US space agency, motivated by a new vision, will turn its attention toward returning to the Moon.

Russia’s perceived victory in the 54-year-old space race is, by its own admission, dubious. “We cannot say that we have won the space race, but simply that we have reached the end of a certain stage,” demurred Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Russian space agency, in an interview. “I cannot think today of another international space project that is so effective in its scale, its significance and its results as the ISS,” he added.

“While Russia gains a symbolic victory,” reports the AFP news agency, “it will be a costly one, with the obligation to build more space ships to go back and forth to the ISS eating up a budget that could be spent on other projects.” Russian space industry expert Igor Marinin commented to AFP: “The situation is not very convenient because it lays a heavy burden on Roskosmos’s production capacities.” This year, Roskosmos declared its budget as US$3 billion, a fraction of NASA’s massive US$18.5 billion budget. The Kremlin’s space agency has also lately faced some embarrassing setbacks, including the failure of several satellite launches that led to the sacking of the long-serving space chief Anatoly Perminov in April. Russia also faces new rivals, notably the PRC, which in 2003 became the third country in the world to send a “taikonaut” into space in its own rocket.

Incidentally, in recent months the northern tier of South America has become the little-reported focus by the USA’s enemies of much space-related construction and activity. Next year, for example, Red China will launch a second “socialist” satellite for Hugo Chavez, with whom Beijing enjoys a strategic partnership. In nearby French Guiana, Russia, rather troublingly, has built a spaceport from which it hopes to launch satellites into geosynchronous orbit, beginning in August of this year.

In this light, the Pentagon should very seriously consider the possibility that Moscow, especially, could use South America as a platform to lob ballistic missiles at CONUS. Indeed, although Chavez decries the accuracy of such news reports, Germany’s Die Welt alleges that Iranian technicians have already scoped out a site in Venezuela where they hope to construct underground silos that will one day fire medium-ranged missiles capable of striking the southern USA.

Finally, movie company MGM has capitulated to the PRC’s “market socialism” by massaging the long-awaited Red Dawn remake, which was originally due to be released last November. Red Dawn V2.0 was to depict a Communist Chinese invasion of the USA. The original Red Dawn, which hit the screens when your resident blogger was 16 years old, starred Patrick Swayze (who died in 2009), Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Grey as Colorado teens who, with a little help from a downed US Air Force pilot played by Powers Boothe, fend off the Soviet Armed Forces and their Latin American allies.

In creating the updated version, MGM filmmakers scoured the globe for a new “red menace” since, Fox News sagely pontificates, “Russia is no longer red or a major threat to United States’ security.” Oblivious to the Soviet strategic deception plan, Fox blathers on: “It seems unlikely that ‘Red Dawn’ would be a major hit in the Asian country even with the digital adjustments. But the changes are bigger than just one film for MGM. They are about creating good faith with the Chinese market as a whole.”

With some post-production “digital editing,” therefore, MGM’s “magicians” transformed the invading communist hordes from Chinese to North Koreans, even though Pyongyang has no air- or sea-lift capacity to credibly launch an invasion of North America and, in fact, is unable to feed its own army. “China is one of the fastest growing markets, so yeah, it is a big deal,” says Hollywood Reporter senior film writer Pamela McClintock. “Avatar did $200 million there and the Chinese box office brings in $1.47 billion annually.” Indeed, money talks, comrade.

As an aside, I was initially excited about viewing the Red Dawn remake, but I think I’ll pass. Hollywood has once again sacrificed a credible (Final Phase-themed) plot line on the altar of Mammon. Perhaps, the Nepmen at MGM should attend the next Sino-Russian Peace Mission military exercise (see above), or maybe they should tour the 30,000-acre “special economic zone” (city?) that Red China plans to build near Boise, Idaho, for a “refresher course” on the global communist threat.

North Africa/Middle East Files: NATO-backed Libyan insurgents inch closer to Tripoli, prepare for final assault against Qaddafi; Russia decries French arms drops to Berber tribes; Obama urges Saleh to yield power to Yemen’s communist-led opposition coalition

– Yemeni Southern Secessionist Military Officer: Saleh Cynically Using Jihadists, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to Thwart Socialist Takeover

Pictured here: Anti-Saleh protesters in Taiz, Yemen on April 13, 2011. Note Che Guevara mugshot. Insurgents worldwide, including the Student Left, look to the Argentine-born communist and Castro bud for inspiration.

On Friday, NATO-backed Libyan rebels announced that they would soon be in a position to launch a final military assault against Tripoli, where socialist dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi has been holed up since mid-February, relying heavily on Eastern European and sub-Saharan mercenaries, as well as Polisario Front guerrillas to fend off rebel ground attacks and NATO air strikes. Loyalist troops still hold two key cities west of the capital, Zawiyah and Zuwarah.

After heavy fighting, rebel fighters captured the hamlet of Gualish last Wednesday, bringing them closer to the strategic garrison town of Gharyan, the last major government-held redoubt standing between them and Tripoli to the north.  “Three times we tried to take Gualish before we succeeded,” 21-year-old rebel fighter, Mohial Omar crowed on Saturday.  The objective, 28-year-old Talal Ahmed, another rebel fighter, confirmed, is to head straight for Gharyan, which lies on the main highway 80 kilometers south of Tripoli.  “Once we control that city, Gaddafi will no longer be able to receive weapons from the south, nor will he be able to flee in that direction,” Ahmed bragged.

On Friday, Colonel Qaddafi ranted in a radio broadcast that “the regime in Libya will not fall. It is based on the people, not on Gaddafi.” In another defiant speech before
thousands in Tripoli’s Green Square, the arch-terrorist who ordered the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, once again threatened to send hundreds of Libyans to the European Union where they would carry out terrorist attacks.  “I told you it is eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth,” he foamed.

The rebel National Transitional Council (TNC), which enjoys substantial international recognition, including from the USA, Russia, and Red China, is based in Benghazi, Libya’s largest eastern city. Algeria’s socialist dictatorship neither recognizes the rebel government nor has it demanded Qaddafi’s resignation.  Indeed, this week Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the TNC, accused Algeria of providing air support for Qaddafi loyalists during the early days of the five-month-long civil war.

For their part, Moscow and Beijing have both criticized the NATO campaign in recent weeks, pointing out that the air strikes have gone well beyond the parameters of United Nations resolution 1973, which simply imposes a no-fly zone over Libya.  Russia, in particular, is not happy about French arms drops to anti-regime forces among the country’s Berber tribes, who have historically opposed the Qaddafi regime.  “If this is confirmed, it is a very crude violation of UN Security Council resolution 1970,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rumbled on June 30, ahead of a meeting with French counterpart Alain Juppe in Moscow. Incidentally, UNSC resolution 1970 is different from 1973. The former imposes sanctions on Libya.

“It appeared that in certain zones the security situation was extremely tense for these undefended populations,” retorted French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard, justifying Paris’ decision to arm the Berbers.  Burkhard said the supplies were limited to ammunition and “light arms,” including machine guns and rocket launchers.  He denied a report in Le Figaro newspaper that the arms drops included anti-tank missiles.

The African Union, which Qaddafi formerly head up as chairman, has also criticized the French arms drops, cautioning that such interference risks causing a “Somalia-ization” of Libya. Somalia has been in a state of anarchy for 20 years, ever since Siad Barre’s communist dictatorship collapsed.

The revolt against Qaddafi’s 42-year-old dictatorship is part of a wider eruption of anti-regime protests across North Africa and the Middle East, dubbed the “Arab Spring,” that began in earnest in January. The popular uprisings, tinged with an Islamist hue, began in Tunisia and Egypt, ousting the socialist dictatorships there, and spread to Syria and Yemen, where security forces responded in heavy-handed fashion, gunning down hundreds, if not thousands.

On the Arabian Peninsula, the Obama White House is anxious to restore law and order to Yemen, a key ally in the War on Terror, at least under the long-standing dictatorship of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. On June 3, Hashed tribesman under the leadership of Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar launched a rocket attack against the presidential compound, severely injuring Saleh and other top government officials, who were evacuated to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. The same month, in the southern part of the country, thousands of Al Qaeda militants seized Zinjibar and Jaar and have controlled these towns and other parts of Abyan province ever since.

Amidst Yemen’s chaos, the best-organized political force appears to be the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which ruled Communist South Yemen until 1990, when the Yemen Arab Republic and People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen united under terms mostly favourable to Saleh’s pragmatic pro-Moscow administration.  In 1994, a brief civil war erupted between the north and south, ending only when Saleh loyalists crushed the secessionists in Aden. More than 15 years later, Yemen’s “ex”-communists appear to be considering two options for Yemen’s future:  leading a coalition government in Sanaa, with or without Saleh’s General People’s Congress, or leading the southern part of the country into a renewed independence.

On July 8, a Time magazine reporter visited Aden, a port city that once berthed the Soviet Navy, and posed the question, “Is South Yemen preparing to declare independence?”  This news source reports that “in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, hardly a single Yemeni flag is flown without the triangular, sky-blue badge and red star of the socialist party hastily spray-painted on its left side, recreating the banner of the now defunct People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen . . .” Time continues:

The military personnel loyal to the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh are distinctly absent in Aden. Unlike Yemen’s capital where anti-government banners and signs are found only near Sana’a University, the port city is emblazoned with anti-government graffiti on walls, shops and even across the high security walls of now empty
government buildings. Slogans like “Get out Ali, you dog. Long live the South” can be read up and down the Mu’alla district of the city where anti-regime protesters have blocked off the entire road, one of Aden’s largest and busiest. While some of South Yemen’s protesters support unity under a new government, most demand a free and independent state.

To gauge the political temperature in southern Yemen, the Global Post interviewed a prominent member of Harak, the separatist Southern Movement that was founded in 2007. Since Saleh’s incapacitation, Yemeni Vice President Abd al-Rahman Mansur al-Hadi has concentrated the bulk of the country’s elite forces around Sanaa, allowing Harak separatists to operate openly for the first time since the organization’s founding. “We want to reestablish our southern state. It will be a liberal, social democracy. We’re closer than ever,” declared Brigadier General Ali Mohammed Assadi, a prominent Harak leader.

Yemeni socialists and southern secessionists view Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a barrier to their plans for political supremacy, attributing the rise of AQAP to Saleh’s “Cold War mentality” and his anti-terrorist alliance with the USA.  Qassin Dawoud, a long-time member of the YSP, explains:

During the 1994 civil war, there was still a cold war mentality being used in Yemen’s case. Saleh made the U.S. choose between him and the socialists. Since the beginning, they were all together against the socialists. Sixteen thousand Afghanistan veterans were sent south to fight us. No one talks about this. These same men bombed the U.S.S. Cole and these same men are threatening to overrun the south and occupy Aden. 20 years later, the civil war is still being fought in South Yemen. And just as he did before, Saleh is using jihadis to do it.

In the wake of a secret meeting in Europe between a Saleh aide and Yaseen Saeed Noaman, YSP leader and former prime minister of South Yemen, John Brennan–President Barack Hussein Obama’s assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security–flew to Riyadh this weekend. There Brennan urged the hospital-bound Saleh to swiftly submit to a peace deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council. “During the meeting, Mr. Brennan called upon President Saleh to fulfill expeditiously his pledge to sign the GCC-brokered agreement for peaceful and constitutional political transition in Yemen,” the White House said in a statement.  In exchange for a safe return to his homeland with immunity from prosecution, the GCC deal supports the implementation of a power-sharing government among Yemen’s various political groups. On Monday, Brennan travelled to Sanaa, where he spoke with VP Hadi.

Several days ago, it appeared that Saleh was in fact prepared to finally follow through with his earlier promises for regime change. In a brief video aired on Yemen state television on July 7, a heavily bandaged Saleh said: “We welcome the sharing within the framework of the constitution and in the framework of the law, we welcome power sharing in the framework of the Constitution of Yemen, which allows for multiplicity of parties and politics and allows for the freedom of opinion.”

In the end, Yemeni’s “ex”-reds may end up taking over the entire country, both north and south, for the first time, even though we are told by the experts that the Communist Bloc supposedly no longer exists.

Doom File: Treasury Secretary Geithner urges Congress to raise legal debt ceiling beyond $14.3 trillion by August 2 or USA will face Greek-style “default crisis,” reportedly plans to quit post after debt negotiations

So, after decades of national and personal debt-based spending, the USA is bankrupt. This has been widely known for a long time, but now dot.gov is unable to hide the truth.

“The Treasury Department continues to project that the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority under the debt limit on August 2, 2011,” Assistant Treasury Secretary for financial markets Mary Miller said in a statement last week. Miller added: “Secretary Geithner urges Congress to avoid the catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in a timely manner.”

According to BBC News, the US Congress has raised the country’s debt ceiling at least 75 times in the past 50 years.

Not so coincidentally, reports the British media, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may quit his post later this year. “If Mr Geithner, 49, does depart,” speculates The Independent, “he may leave Mr Obama even more exposed as the economy becomes the key political issue determining his chances of a second term.” Perhaps Geithner knows something about the full extent of America’s impending demise. He has promised to stick around until Congressional debt negotiations conclude. Geithner is pictured above, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago, on June 30, 2011.

When dot.gov uses terms like “exhaust,” “catastrophic,” and “crisis,” you know things are probably much worse. If America defaults on its debt, this will impact Washington’s ability to maintain its military superpower status and project power overseas. The US debt-holding communists in Moscow and Beijing need only bide their time before launching an economic Armageddon against the USA. This will be followed up, we suspect, with missile decapitation strikes against CONUS.

Breaking News: Bolivarian Revolution to continue as Chavez makes surprise return to Venezuela, shrugs off effects of cancer operation

North Africa/Middle East Files: Sudanese troops invade, occupy oil town in southeast Libya as Qaddafi defies NATO, threatens terrorist reprisals against Europe; “ex”-communists, Islamists prepare to govern post-Saleh Yemen, form “transitional ruling council”

– Sudan Armed Forces Repudiates Telegraph Article Alleging Occupation of Libyan Town, Khartoum Unofficially Supports Libyan Rebels (source)

The political-military situation in civil war-wracked Libya has become more complicated in recent days. On July 1, The Telegraph, citing NATO officials enforcing the United Nations-sanctioned “no-fly” zone over the North African country, reported that Sudanese troops have invaded and occupied the government-held town of Kufra and nearby military base, encountering no resistance from soldiers loyal to embattled strongman Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. Kufra is well inside Libyan territory, approximately 300 miles north of the country’s short border with Sudan. It is not immediately clear why the Sudanese invaded.

Since the February uprising against his four-decade-old socialist regime, Qaddafi’s forces have been concentrated around the capital Tripoli, Sirte, the eastern town where Qaddafi was born, and Sebha, the desert outpost where the dictator was raised. NATO officials explained that control over Kufra and the military facility there have granted the Sudanese a “key strategic foothold” between the regime and the internationally recognized opposition Transitional National Council (TNC), which holds northeast Libya and enclaves in the west, like Misrata.

In another move that appears to expose Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s support for Qaddafi, the Sudanese army has not disrupted oil production on nearby southern oilfields. “Our surveillance shows that they are not moving oil, so its not about money in the short term,” revealed one Western official. “The commercial oil companies monitoring is reporting that there has been no movement of oil out of Libya. The Gaddafi army was coming in and taking out the oilfields every time the rebels start pumping oil. They’ve dismantled the fields quite carefully so the rebels need security down there. Clearly there needs to be tribal support but the Sudanese could make it too risky for Gaddafi’s intervention as well.”

Incidentally, on July 9, the pro-Islamic regime of President Bashir will lose control over a large chunk of its territory when the primarily Christian Republic of South Sudan secedes, becoming the world’s newest independent state. In August 2010 Bashir flew to Tripoli where he discussed the Darfur rebellion with Qaddafi. Both dictators face international arrest warrants on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, crazy man Qaddafi, who supposedly renounced terrorism in 1999, has threatened to send waves of terrorists to the European Union to avenge months of NATO air strikes against his country. On Friday, in a telephone address relayed to 100,000 supporters in Tripoli’s Green Square, Qaddafi demanded that NATO halt its bombing campaign or risk seeing Libyan fighters descend on Europe “like a swarm of locusts or bees.” Qaddafi ranted:

Retreat, you have no chance of beating this brave people. They can attack your homes, your offices and your families, which will become military targets just as you have transformed our offices, headquarters, houses and children into what you regards as legitimate military targets. If we choose, we can descend on Europe like a swarm of locusts or bees. We therefore advise you to retreat before you face catastrophe.

During the Cold War, Qaddafi was a reliable client of the Soviet Union. However, in May his former Soviet benefactors finally turned their backs on Qaddafi, offering to negotiate his exit from power in favor of the NATO-backed TNC.

Elsewhere in the Arab world, anti-regime unrest continues, especially in Yemen, where long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh was gravely injured in a rocket attack on the presidential compound one month ago. On June 18, the Arab media reported that an aide to Saleh met secretly with the former prime minister of Communist South Yemen to discuss the future of this war-torn, Al Qaeda-infested country on the Arabian Peninsula. The formerly ruling Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which is one of the major components of the opposition coalition, is jockeying for a place of leadership in post-Saleh Yemen. Red China’s state media reports:

The opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) said on Friday that they are “unilaterally preparing for forming a transitional ruling council after the ruling party along with acting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi refused to join them,” an opposition official told Xinhua.

“The JMP is due to hold meeting on Saturday to discuss the mechanism for forming the transitional ruling council, which would include representatives from the protesters, separatist Southern Movement and Houthi-led Shiite rebels,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Opposition leaders believed that Saleh would be unable to run the country if he returns due to his “severe injuries.”

The YSP operates behind the facade of the Southern Movement in agitating for the restoration of the old Soviet-backed People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, which merged with the Yemen Arab Republic in 1990.

Bolivarian Revolution File: Chavez’s cancer revelation unnerves supporters in Venezuela, dictator confers with government ministers in Havana, allies confident spokesman for Latin America’s Left will contest 2012 election

The truth has finally emerged that the reason for Hugo Chavez’s prolonged hospital recuperation in Cuba, now well over three weeks, is that Venezuela’s 56-year-old communist dictator is battling cancer. Different news reports variously assert that Chavez has colon or prostate cancer. On July 2, Reuters reported:

Since Chavez somberly told his people and the world late on Thursday that he had undergone surgery in Havana to remove a cancerous tumor, many have questioned whether he will be able to run the nation. A phone call to Cuban state TV on Friday did little to quell the speculation and his condition remained hotly debated from Venezuela’s jungle hinterlands to its Caribbean beaches. “Nobody expected this illness … we are very optimistic we are going to come out of this,” Chavez said in the call.

President Chavez would not confirm when he would return to his homeland, but admitted that his treatment could take several months. According to a source, “a wing of the military hospital in Caracas was being prepared to receive him when he returns.”

“Chavez will be out (of Venezuela) for the time that is needed for him to recover,” Vice President Elias Jaua told the Havana/Caracas-funded Telesur TV network. “The president is at the head of the country and will continue to be at the head of the country. We have absolute faith and confidence in God … that Hugo Chavez will be the candidate of the Bolivarian Revolution, of the people and patriots of Venezuela, and that he will carry on being president beyond 2012.”

“Courage is not lacking in you, President Chavez, and rest assured that you are not without the solidarity of all your friends,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a former urban guerrilla, said in a statement. Other world leaders, notes Reuters, have suffered cancer but remained in office, including Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, France’s Francois Mitterrand, the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel, and US President Ronald Reagan.

Pictured above: Supporters of Chavez attend a demonstration in Caracas on July 1, 2011. The country’s army chief dispelled any talk of unrest or infighting within the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela. On Friday, General Henry Rangel Silva affirmed that “the military would guarantee constitutional order during Chavez’s absence for treatment in Cuba.” Note Cuban flag in photo.

Over the past 12 years, the communization of Venezuela and of Latin America in general has been closely associated with Chavismo, the “21st century socialism” championed by Chavez himself. Many leftists in South and Central America virtually equate the man and the ideology. If Chavez does not recover from cancer, contrary to the hopeful proclamation of aides and groupies, then communism’s consolidation of power throughout the Western Hemisphere could suffer a serious setback.

Meanwhile, a US Senate panel recently hailed the triumph of “democracy” in Latin America. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chairman, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, praised three countries in particular. “Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have made great strides in the quality of democracy over the past 30 years,” Menendez said. Like Brazil’s president, Uruguay’s leader is an ex-guerrilla. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, however, acknowledged that were some “concerns” over the state of democracy in Venezuela and Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas re-assumed control in 2007.

EU File: Greece paralyzed by 48-hour general strike as work stoppages hit transportation sector, communists kick off latest anti-austerity protests, revile socialist PM Papandreou; June 18 protest witnessed 5,000 KKE cadres march through Athens

– Germany’s Bild Tabloid Cites US Central Intelligence Agency Report as Saying Military Coup in Greece Possible

On Tuesday, Greek riot police fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators outside the Greek Parliament, as thousands rallied to protest proposed government austerity measures on the first of a two-day general strike. Twenty-one police officers and one demonstrator were hurt, and at least five people were arrested. About 3,000 officers fanned out through the streets of Athens, which witnessed major riots in 2008, when police killed a 15-year-old student. One group of protesters chanted “Bread, education, freedom,” an old rallying cry from 1973, when thousands of students clashed with police during protests against the military junta.

Pictured above: Activists from the communist-affiliated trade union PAME hang huge banners in front of the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens, protesting the government’s EU-imposed austerity measures.

The socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou (junior) must pass the austerity measures in order to secure the last US$17 billion portion of a US$156 billion bailout package from the European Union, first granted in 2010. The newly appointed head of the International Monetary Fund, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, used one of her first media interviews to appeal to the Greek opposition, especially the far left, to overcome its political differences with the Papandreou government. Incidentally, Greece’s Papandreou political dynasty has placed three social democrats in the post of prime minister.

The general strike kicked off in the early morning hours of June 29, crippling most of Greece’s transportation systems but conveniently freeing workers to participate in the demonstrations. Government offices, schools, and courts closed. Hospitals were barely operating on skeleton staffs. Transportation disruptions took place on land, on sea, and in the skies when air traffic controllers periodically stopped flight traffic. Trains and municipal transit also shut down, but Athens subway workers, presumably to help the strikers move around the capital, refused to participate in the work stoppage.

Activists of the communist-affiliated All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) trade union took to the streets first, waving revolutionary placards in front of the Greek Parliament. Cloth banners read “No sacrifices for plutocracy” while communists chanted: “Workers, you can live without a boss,” and “We want workers’ rights, not profits for the boss!” The main rally, a cooperative effort between two mainstream unions, began later.

Electrical engineer Ioanna Lagonika, who marched in the PAME demonstration, complained, “The PM [Papandreou] has said that this is a new start for Greece, but to us it feels like this is our end.” Accountant Pericles Panagakis, who also participated in the communist march, confided he would rather see Greece declare bankruptcy. “The austerity programs,” he said, “mean even tougher measures for the people and just for the people. The solution is to take the money from people who have money, not from the workers.”

On June 18, about 5,000 Greek Communist Party (KKE) cadres marched through Athens to protest the government austerity plans aimed at preventing the country from defaulting on its massive debt. At that time, KKE boss Alex Papariga accused the Papandreou government of colluding with its creditors to “skin the people alive.” The
march ended without violence. NATO member Greece has seen weeks of near-daily protests against Papandreou’s plans for tax hikes, spending cuts, and state asset sales requested by international financiers in return for emergency loans.

Beginning under Nazi occupation and continuing until 1949, Greek communists based in Tito’s Yugoslavia but also loyal to the Soviet Union, tried to overthrow the Greek government in a major insurgency that was essentially a civil war. Today, Athens is a hub of communist subversion. Several important leftist organizations that operated as Soviet fronts during the Cold War are headquartered in the Greek capital, including the World Peace Council and World Federation of Trade Unions. PAME is affiliated with the WFTU, while WFTU general secretary George Mavrikos was head of PAME between 1999 and 2008.

In a related story, Germany’s Bild tabloid, citing a US Central Intelligence Agency report, warns that a military coup in Greece is possible in light of the country’s fragile economy and political instability. Bild’s journalistic standards are questionable, but the scenario is plausible. In 1967, in the midst of a power struggle between left and right, the Greek military seized control and remained the country’s power brokers until 1974.

WW4 File: Turkey reviews options on Syrian uprising, considers military offensive to unseat Assad’s Ba’athist regime; high potential for collision between NATO, Iran in light of Tehran-Damascus defense pact

According to the Lebanese media, citing Kuwaiti newspaper As-Seyassah, today “Turkish officials informed several western powers that Ankara might launch a military operation in northern Syria in an attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party . . .” Turkey, which is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, informed Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and the NATO leadership that it may launch an offensive in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Homs, Hama, and Latakia.

The Kuwaiti daily also quoted a Lebanese diplomat in Ankara as saying that “Turkish  officials fear the possibility of the Syrian army committing mistakes on its  borders, which might oblige the Turkish army to cross the Syrian border.” “The Turkish armed forces are on alert along the Syrian borders,” As-Seyassah added.

Pictured above: On June 25, 2011, Syrian troops stand on the roof of a house on a hill overlooking the Turkey-Syria border, about three kilometers inside Syria, close to a crossing point near the Turkish village of Guvecci.

Earlier in June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Syrian counterpart Assad of perpetrating an “atrocities” against anti-regime demonstrators, the strongest remark yet in Ankara’s criticism of a deadly crackdown on protests sweeping across Syria since March. Syrian troops have deployed along the Turkish border to thwart refugees fleeing the violence. For their part, Turkish troops have deployed along their southwestern border to establish a “buffer zone” for Turkish refugees.

Domestic attempts to unseat Syria’s long-ruling socialist regime are part of a wider eruption of anti-government protests throughout North Africa and the Middle East, dubbed the “Arab Spring.” The potential for a collision between NATO, which is backing the rebel government in Libya, and Iran is high since Damascus and Tehran signed a military defense pact in 2009.

Cyber-Leninism File: State-sponsored hackers attack IMF computers, forcing World Bank to cut electronic link with sister institution; IMF officials admit attack “sophisticated and serious,” Panetta warns of electronic “Pearl Harbor”

On June 12, the MSM reported that the International Monetary Fund was the latest known target of a “significant” cyber attack over the past several months. The Washington-based IMF, which brings together 187 member states, told staffers about the attack on June 8.

Cybersecurity expert Tom Kellerman, who has worked for both the IMF and the World Bank, the IMF’s sister institution, explained that the intruders’ goal was to install software that would give an unknown national government a “digital insider presence” on the IMF computer network. Such a presence could yield secret economic data used by the fund to promote exchange rate stability, support balanced international trade, and provide resources to ameliorate members’ balance-of-payments crises.

“It was a targeted attack,” said Tom Kellerman, who serves on the board of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance. He added that the code used in the IMF incident was “developed specifically” for the attack on the institution. Jeff Moss, a self-described computer hacker and member of the US Department of Homeland Security Advisory Committee, also said he believed the cyber attack was “conducted on behalf of a nation-state” either seeking sensitive data about IMF strategies or embarrassing information about the organization to “undermine its clout.”

IMF spokesman David Hawley assured MSNBC that the organization is “fully functional” and declined to provide details on what he termed an “IT incident,” including whether sensitive data were stolen. He also refused to comment on Kellerman’s conclusion about the intruders’ goal. The New York Times cited unnamed IMF officials as saying the cyber attack was “sophisticated and serious.” According to a Defense Department spokeswoman, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the electronic breach.

The World Bank, according to an anonymous bank official, was alarmed by the attack on the IMF and promptly cut a computer link that allows the two organizations to share non-sensitive information. The move was taken out of “an abundance of caution,” said the official. The IMF is already reeling from the arrest of French socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as the organization’s managing director last month after being accused of sexually assaulting a maid in a New York hotel.

On June 24, Hawley said that the institution was making progress in identifying the hackers, having found the files that were copied. “We have identified files that have been copied and we are assessing the importance of those files,” Hawley explained, but quickly added: “We have no evidence that information held in our emails, our financial systems or the fund’s document management system have been compromised.”

The IMF cyber attack follows a series of major corporate data breaches. Earlier this month, Spanish police arrested three reported members of the international “Anonymous” cyber-ring, charging the “hacktivists” with raiding the computer networks of the Spanish banks BBVA and Bankia, the Italian energy company Enel, and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand, as well as penetrating 100 million Sony PlayStation accounts. Google has accused hackers from Red China of targeting the Gmail accounts of senior US government officials and even hinted that the communist regime was behind the attack.

In May, about 360,000 Citibank credit card customers in North America had their names, account numbers, and email addresses stolen. Two years ago, Russian hackers were blamed for another incident in which tens of millions of dollars were electronically stolen from Citibank. Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon’s top supplier by sales and the biggest information technology provider to the US government, admitted that it had thwarted a “significant” cyber attack. The defense contractor said it had become a “frequent target of adversaries around the world.” Lockheed Martin manufactures several stealth fighter jets, namely, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

On June 9, CIA Director Leon Panetta, whom the Senate confirmed this past Tuesday as the next defense secretary, told Congress that the USA faces a “Pearl Harbor” in the cyberworld at any time. “The next Pearl Harbor that we confront could be a cyber attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems.”

If dot.gov is aware of the identity of the IMF attacker, then no one is willing to talk about it. Of course, Russia and Red China harbour numerous computer hackers, as suggested above. “The Internet can now be used to attack small countries,” comments Yevgeny Kaspersky, chief executive of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, referring to attempts to bring down government networks in Estonia and Georgia in 2008. “There are Russian and Chinese hackers that have the power to do that.”

Kaspersky explains that Russian hacking flourishes as “a cyber-criminal ecosystem” of spammers, identity thieves, and botnets who regularly launch denial-of-service attacks and control vast networks of computers infected by malware. According to Kaspersky, hackers in Communist China do not lag too far behind their Russian counterparts in cyber-subversion. In 2009 Kaspersky Lab registered 73.62 million hacking attacks, of which 52.7% originated from China.

Certainly, the Kremlin has a very strong modus operandi for discreetly learning the financial secrets of the IMF. According to the international body, Russia—where economic power is heavily concentrated in state companies and regime-linked oligarchies, much like it was under open communism—still needs to modernize its economy. Rather than promote competition, for example, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, among other policies, has introduced a payroll tax that has driven small and medium-sized enterprises back into the “shadow economy.”

“Current policies are not ambitious enough and not focused enough,” admonished Juha Kähkönen, head of an IMF mission that spent two weeks in Moscow meeting senior officials. The mission warned that failure to reform Russia’s export-driven economy will expose the country to another recession triggered by a drop in oil prices. The comments come as President Dmitry Medvedev himself described Russia’s investment climate as “very bad.” The IMF has urged Russian officials to reduce the non-oil budget deficit, from its current level of 11 per cent of the GDP to 4.7 per cent, and bump up interest rates to head off rising inflation.

The collapse of Russia’s pseudo-capitalist economy in 2008-2009, when GDP fell nearly 8 per cent, revealed the shortcoming of an economy that relies heavily on consumption and has very low investment rates.

In a related story, the Wall Street Journal reports that Russia will likely continue lowering its US debt holdings as the Obama Admin struggles to contain a budget deficit and prop up a “tepid” economic recovery. “The share of our portfolio in U.S. instruments has gone down and probably will go down further,” Arkady Dvorkovich told Dow Jones in an
interview on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Dvorkovich is chief economic aide to President Medvedev.

The Kremlin’s holdings of US Treasury securities fell to US$125.4 billion in April 2011 from US$176.3 billion in October 2010. Its financial reserves, which stood at US$528 billion as of June 10, are the world’s third largest after Red China and Japan’s. As of May, according to Russia’s central bank, 47% of reserves were in dollars and 41% in euros, compared with 45.2% in dollars and 43.1% in euros on Jan. 1. If the Communist Bloc decides to “nuke” the US economy, then all Moscow and Beijing need to do to totally undermine confidence in the US dollar as a reserve currency is to dump everything.

Bolivarian Revolution File: Venezuelan opposition protests Chavez’s prolonged recuperation in Cuban hospital, contests constitutionality of law enacted in Havana; Cuban-Venezuelan commission establishes “anti-imperialist” ALBA School of the Armed Forces

Red Dawn Military Coalition Forming in Latin America:

– Cuban, Venezuelan, and Bolivian Armed Forces Committed to Defending Socialism

– Ortega Reminds Nicaraguan Military of Origin in Sandinista Revolution

– Ecuador’s Army Defended Socialist President Correa Last October

Since June 10, President Hugo Chavez has been governing Venezuela from Cuba, where he is recovering from surgery intended to heal a pelvic abscess. Meanwhile, Venezuela has been dealing with a deadly prison rebellion and rolling electricity blackouts, in spite of the appointment of Cuban Information and Technology Minister Ramiro Valdés Menéndez to a commission tasked with remedying the country’s energy woes.

Intending to fulfil state business, Chavez actually arrived in Havana on June 8, but was hospitalized two days later. On June 12, he spoke by telephone with Venezuelan state television, assuring fellow Venezuelans that he was recovering well. The only subsequent glimpse of Chavez came on June 17 when the Cuban government released photos of Chavez at a hospital with mentor and retired dictator Fidel Castro and Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s younger brother. In one pic (above), Chavez appears to lean on the elderly Raul for support.

Venezuelan officials have limited their comments on Chavez’s health. Neither Chavez nor the Cuban doctors treating him, furthermore, have disclosed what caused the abscess. It is not even clear exactly when he will return to Caracas. Even before his pelvic surgery, a knee injury forced him to postpone his trip to the allied leftist regimes in Brazil, Ecuador, and Cuba. These problems have fuelled rumors about the 56-year-old president’s health. Venezuelan authorities have sought to head off such speculation.

“In response to all the rumors, I can give faith that the president is recovering in a satisfactory manner,” assured Adan Chávez, a state governor who is one of Hugo’s brothers, on June 22. “The president is a strong man.” Governor Chavez suggested that the president is expected to leave Cuba within 10 to 12 days.

Assuming this is true, Hugo’s total length of stay in Havana will approach one month. It is not likely that Chavez and the Castro Bros. will be idle during that period. Regional integration under communist leadership and knocking the USA down a peg or two will surely direct much bedside banter.

In an editorial published on June 23, Venezuela’s opposition-leaning newspaper El Nacional complained that “incompetent Cabinet ministers are turning this into a complete mystery or a state secret that creates uncertainty and anxiety within the population.” The editorial added: “Nobody understands why the state of the president’s health is being hidden.”

Opposition lawmakers, who have controlled 40 percent of the National Assembly since 2010, have criticized the silence of the Chavez regime, as well as the president’s enactment of a law while outside the country. They have demanded that Vice President Elias Jaua assume temporary leadership over the country’s affairs in view of the Chavez’s prolonged absence.

“The president cannot govern from abroad,” protested lawmaker Omar Barboza, who was especially angered over the measure that Chavez signed into law from Havana. “It is absolutely irregular to enact laws from abroad,” seconded Enrique Sanchez Falcon, a professor of constitutional law at the Central University of Venezuela. “The vice president should temporarily take over,” he told the AFP news agency. Another legislator who apparently sympathizes with the Chavez regime, constitutional scholar Carlos Escarra, retorted it was “absurd” to claim that the president could not govern simply because he was detained abroad.

Incidentally, some critics of Venezuela’s self-avowed Marxist dictator have sarcastically commented that Chavez, at least in terms of inspiration, has been governing his homeland from Communist Cuba since 1999, when his first presidential term began.

The nature of the law in dispute was not outlined in the previous reports. However, the Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation was meeting within the context of Chavez’s arrival to the island on June 8. On the table were plans for bilateral cooperation in energy production, technology and telecommunications, trade and commerce, and food processing and agriculture. The officials of the two socialist states also went reviewed the projects of the Cuba-Venezuela Economic Union agreement.

Ricardo Menendez, Venezuela’s minister of science, cited the recently installed fiber optic cable linking Cuba to Venezuela as an example of successful cooperation between Havana and Caracas. The US$70 million undersea cable reached Cuba in February and, with a 640-gigabyte capacity, increases Cuba’s Internet capacity 3,000-fold.

More ominously, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro lauded the establishment of the School of Political Education for the ALBA Armed Forces, calling it a “vanguard
experience not just in Latin America but for the entire world.” ALBA refers to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, a bloc of socialist states consisting of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Since 2008, Chavez and Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega have on several occasions raised the subject of transforming ALBA into an “anti-imperialist” military coalition.

The objective of the ALBA School of the Armed Forces, explained Maduro, “is to construct a Latin American doctrine of independence and peace, a doctrine that allows us to combine the beautiful projects and experiences that have brought our armed forces together, including doctrines such as the Martiana [of Jose Marti, Cuba], the Bolivariana [of Simon Bolivar, Venezuela], the Alfarista [of Eloy Alfaro, Ecuador], and the Sandinista [of Augusto Sandino, Nicaragua], as well as the doctrines of our Caribbean and Eastern brothers.”

The School of Political Education for the ALBA Armed Forces appears to be a communist counterweight to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). During the Cold War, when it was known as the School of the Americas, WHISC gained notoriety, at least among leftists, for ultimately being responsible for training “death squads” linked to Latin American military regimes. No doubt, the indoctrination at ALBA’s “School of Political Education” will be heavily slanted toward Marxism.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, of course, are committed to the communist line, while both Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales have vigorously promoted the communization of the armed forces in their respective countries. Since his re-election in 2006, Ortega has also regularly reminded the Nicaraguan military and national police of their roots in the Sandinista Revolution of 1979. Last October, after the army rescued him from disloyal police, Ecuador’s socialist president Rafael Correa increased the military’s internal security role, hinting that the Ecuadorean army may one day, too, be called to defend Correa’s “Citizens’ Revolution.”

According to Maduro, the initial steps taken by ALBA co-founders Cuba and Venezuela have served as “a consolidated, hardened core that allowed for the construction of new types of relationships” based on cooperation and mutual aid between Latin American nations.

USSR2 File: Medvedev holds pre-election consultation with Communist Party boss; Putin, Zyuganov resuscitate Stalin’s “Popular Front” tactic to bolster fortunes of United Russia, CPRF; Bonner, widow of “false dissident” Sakharov, dies

On May 19, 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a former Soviet Komsomol member, and Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, met at the Kremlin to discuss the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, to be held this December and in March 2012, respectively. At this time, Medvedev announced that he plans to hold similar meetings with the leaders of Russia’s other political parties.

The charade that is “post”-communist Russia’s “pluralistic” political system was once again in evidence in May when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin organized the All-Russian Popular Front to broaden support for his parliamentary cheering squad, United Russia. Strangely, Putin is the titular head of this “centrist-nationalist” placeholder for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but not actually a party member. Ahead of the December elections, United Russia, symbolized by the iconic Russian bear, is, according to The Telegraph, “busily forming an ambitious campaign program, while the popular Putin is redoubling efforts to render this all credible for the voters.”

Meanwhile, the CPRF created the “People’s Militia,” which will serve as a “broad-scale popular militia for the defense of justice, labor peace and fraternity,” Zyuganov was quoted by Kommersant as saying. The same day, Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov concocted his own “popular front” by announcing the formation of the Union of Supporters of Just Russia. Lastly, in late May, Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party joined forces with Sergei Udaltsov’s Red Youth Vanguard (AKM) to form the anti-Putinist National Salvation Committee. Until his death in 2009, AKM enjoyed the patronage of Oleg Shenin, member of the Soviet Politburo and mastermind behind the potemkin anti-Gorbachevist coup in 1991.

With a hat tip to the fundamentally fraudulent nature of Russia’s “democratization,” first implemented by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a coordinator of United Russia’s “liberal wing,” acknowledges: “There is fashion not only in clothes but in politics. It’s a trend. In Russia, all political innovations come from the top. There are practically no new viable ideas that arise outside of the government.” There you have it from the horse’s mouth. Russia’s “post”-communist political parties have little or no real independent mass base.

Putin has already written off the “copycat fronts,” while United Russia’s State Duma speaker, Boris Gryzlov, grumbled that the other parties were “copying” Putin’s program. United Russia officials wistfully insisted that Mironov’s and Zyuganov’s initiatives were actually a reflection of “growing political pluralism.”

The CPRF’s “People’s Militia,” according to Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin, is a reaction to the “unique tandem rule” in Russia, where Medvedev, who occupies the more important political post of president, is nevertheless widely viewed as Putin’s lackey. “Politics is coming back because there is a new sense of the unexpected,” commented Zatulin, who was ousted from the Duma CIS Committee earlier this spring over his calls for Putin to run again for president. In an interview with the Moscow News he confided: “And what is most worrying for United Russia is that there are alternatives within the government itself. Tandem rule is creating a situation where there is more maneuvering room for the opposition. They have a chance that they didn’t have before. [The Communists] want to have a real fight.”

According to The Telegraph, neither Just Russia nor Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia have a serious chance of achieving the threshold
required for a presence in the Duma, namely, five percent of the vote. The CPRF, however, can count on winning about 15 percent, not only relying heavily on a “thinning body of pensioners who still yearn for the USSR,” but also on a growing number of middle-aged and younger voters who view a vote for communism as an effective protest vote. The “Red Belt” in southern European Russia remains a bastion of communist support

Journalist Georgy Bovt cautions, though, that “the number of such voters will not grow, primarily because Zyuganov makes too many compromises for the protest electorate, and has failed to come up with any new ideas in a long time. The party has stagnated and no regeneration is expected in this election cycle.” The CPRF continues to demand the nationalization of just about every industry in Russia and the restoration of Soviet-era social programs. At the same time, on foreign policy issues, the open communists of the CPRF differ little from the “ex”-communists in United Russia. In other words, most Russian politicians advocate a strong Russian influence in the former Soviet republics and a belligerent attitude toward the USA and NATO.

Kremlinologists should bear in mind that the concept of a “popular front” traces its origin to the Communist International’s response to fascism in the late 1930s. At the time, communist parties that were members of the Comintern, then largely under the personal control of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, adopted a policy of forming broad alliances with almost any political party willing to oppose the fascists.

Since United Russia supports both Putin and Medvedev, it is still not clear who will cede ground to the other. On occasion, Medvedev has tried to distance himself from his mentor by launching some mild rebukes against the former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB). On June 6, the Russian president complained that the “centralized Kremlin rule” restored to Russia during the eight-year reign of his predecessor was “outdated.” Medevedev elaborated: “This is bad. This means that we have a completely outdated, flawed system of (state) management, which needs to be changed. When all the signals are sent from the Kremlin, it shows that the system is not viable, it needs tuning.”

Medvedev, a former university law teacher and Gazprom chairman, has styled himself a “champion of democracy,” promising to fight corruption and modernize the economy but, according to critics, has failed to fulfil any of his promises. Last month, a senior Kremlin official pointed out that uncertainty over Russia’s political future is partly to blame for tens of billions of dollars in capital flight during the first months of 2011.

The contrived nature of Russian political pluralism is a fundamental component of perestroika, the long-range policy of “restructuring” that Moscow’s Leninists have pursued since Gorbachev. According to KGB defector Anatoliy Golistyn, the purpose of the “perestroika deception” is the formation of a “mature socialist society” in Russia and, still more importantly, the deception of the West into believing that Soviet communism is “dead.”

The fact that Russia’s politicians are closer to one another in their ideology than they would have most Western observers believe was also evident in late 2009. At that time, Zyuganov approvingly noted that Medvedev’s “Go Russia!” article, which served as the springboard for the president’s state-of-the-nation address calling for Russia to modernize, mirrored the Communists’ “Go Russia, Toward Socialism!” program. Zyuganov gloated:

President Medvedev speaks about modernization, while Prime Minister Putin endorses conservatism. The program of innovations offered by the president in the state-of-the-nation address has not been supported by the United Russia party and government. President Medvedev said state corporations work ineffectively, but the prime minister provides cover for this ineffectiveness.

While Zyuganov has grown increasingly critical of Putin during the global financial crisis that began in late 2008, he has taken a softer stance toward Medvedev, suggesting that the Communists prefer Medvedev in the ruling tandem. “I am not saying the Communists will make Medvedev their leader, but they will take each other’s interests into account” in the next Duma elections, commented Alexei Mukhin, an analyst with the Center for Political Information. However, he added that “the Communist Party was the only major political group left for Medvedev because the others were controlled by Putin and his retinue.”

At that time, Zyuganov denied that his party, the legal successor to the CPSU, would merge with Just Russia, an idea publicly floated by Mironov.

In the quote above, Medvedev opines that the Russian “system” needs “tuning.” Actually, the Russian “system” does not need tuning. Twenty years after the fake collapse of Soviet communism, it still needs a complete overhaul with a “new management” committed to building grassroots democracy in Russia. However, according to United Russia official Kryshtanovskaya, this will never happen. After all, the August putschists received reduced sentences and comfortable retirement packages (like Shenin), or went to their graves with full pensions (like Gennady Yanayev) without accounting for the blood of the old regime on their hands. After all, too, their erstwhile adversary Gorbachev is still pounding the lecture circuit in the West, demanding that President Barack Hussein Obama implement socialism in the USA. All of these facts expose the continuity of the Moscow Leninists’ long-range deception plan.

In a related story, Elena Bonner, the prominent Russian human rights activist and widow of Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet dissident, nuclear physicist, and Nobel Peace Prize
winner, has died at the age of 88.  Together with her husband, who died in December 1989, Bonner campaigned for human rights during the Soviet era, becoming an inspiration for democratic movements across Russia and East Europe that hastened the end of (open) communist rule between 1989 and 1991. She continued to campaign for democracy in “post”-Soviet Russia, accusing Chekist Putin, then president, of using “KGB-style tactics” to suppress civil liberties.

After publicly criticizing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Sakharov himself was sent into internal exile in Gorky – now Nizhny Novgorod – then a closed city barred to foreigners. Bonner accompanied her husband into exile, but was arrested five years later for helping him communicate with the West. Golitysn maintains that Sakharov was a false, or controlled, dissident. This is very likely since Sakharov was a recipient of the Lenin Prize, Stalin Prize, and Hero of Socialist Labor well before he co-founded the Committee on Human Rights in the USSR in 1970. In The Perestroika Deception (London: Edward Harle, 1995), Golitsyn writes (pages 24-25):

The new method [of analyzing Soviet politics] detects an active Soviet offensive to reach the American elite and to engage it in close cooperation and “restructuring” in the United States. This operation is evident, inter alia, from the following developments . . . The active role of Sakharov, the main KGB agent of influence, in introducing “perestroika” to the United States. Sakharov began these activities in the 1960s. In 1967, he dispatched his well known manifesto to the West, in which he predicted:

(a) The victory of the “realists” [in the CPSU], economic reforms and expanding “democracy” in the USSR [1960-80].

(b) The victory of the left-wing reformers [in the CPSU, like Gorbachev], their attack on the “forces of racism and militarism” and changes in the structure of ownership in the United States and other capitalist countries [1972-1985].

(c) Soviet-American cooperation over disarmament and “saving” the poorer half of the world [1972-90].

(d) The restructuring of society and convergence of the Communist and capitalist systems leading to the creation of a (socialist) World Government [1980-2000].

The predictions disseminated by Sakharov, made when the strategy of “perestroika” was already in preparation, represented a deliberate projection of the essence of the strategy to members of the radical Left in the West in order to orientate them on, and prepare them for, forthcoming developments in the USSR. This was a strategic signal by the Soviet strategists to their potential political allies in the West–particularly to their agents of influence and Euro-Communists. In the event, the time-frames laid down by Sakharov proved to have been only marginally “out.”

Sakharov’s predictions concealed the fact that restructuring and convergence form the essence of the Soviet long-range strategy with its aggressive intent against Western democracy. What is in fact the development of Soviet strategy in action, is described by Sakharov as a spontaneous process and, in his own typically Leninist words, “the most optimistic unrolling of events.” From the mid-1960s to 1980, the KGB under Brezhnev’s neo-Stalinist rule allowed Sakharov to conduct his “criticism” and other activities as leader of, and spokesman for, the “dissident movement.” It was Sakharov who injected the Soviet view of the human rights issue into the debate by writing to President Carter on the subject. This raises an interesting question. Why was the unreformed KGB so tolerant of Sakharov despite his apparent criticism of Soviet actions? That tolerance is explained in terms of Sakharov’s active role in the execution of Soviet strategy, operation under cover as a controlled “dissident.” In 1980, a few years before the advent of Gorbachev’s “perestroika,” Sakharov was “exiled” to Gorky. The “exile” of Sakharov was a typical KGB device to build up his reputation and influence as a “dissident” (as opposed to an “enemy of the people”) in the West.

Sakharov’s high-profile role in facilitating the introduction of “change” in the Soviet Bloc, coupled with the Kremlin-controlled political theater that exists to this day in Russia, is yet another manifestation of communist duplicity and Western gullibility.

Middle East File: Saleh advisor holds secret meeting in Europe with former PM of Communist South Yemen, discuss future of war-torn country; Saudi source contradicts regime officials: Yemeni dictator will not be returning to homeland

Pictured here: Anti-government protesters hold up posters of Abdullah Qairan, police chief of the Yemeni city of Taiz, during a demonstration to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, on June 18, 2011. The posters read: “Wanted alive or dead: The butcher Abdullah Qairan.”

Arabic news source Al-Sahwah reports today that Abdul-Kareem Al-Eryani, prime minister of the Republic of Yemen between 1998 and 2001, recently held a secret meeting with Yemen’s chief opposition leader, Yaseen Saeed Noaman, who is not only chief of the Yemeni Socialist Party, but was also prime minister of Communist South Yemen between 1986 and 1990.

According to “diplomatic sources,” Ar-Eryani, who is currently one of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s advisors, met Noaman in a “European country to discuss a solution for the four-month long crisis in Yemen.” The sources explained that the two men “discussed the creation of a national consensus government to run the current stage,” suggesting that after 20 years in opposition Yemeni communists will be admitted back into the government.

Saleh was incapacitated by a rebel rocket attack on the presidential compound in Sanaa on June 3 and has since then been receiving medical treatement in Saudi Arabia. The same news agency, quoting a Saudi source on Friday, stated that the Yemeni dictator will not be returning to his homeland: “The Saudi official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it has not been decided where Saleh would stay.” For their part, Yemeni government officials affirm that Saleh will return home within a few days.

On Thursday, reports Voice of America, armed militants with likely links to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) “renewed attacks against government buildings near the southern Yemeni town of Houta, which they had assaulted on Wednesday.” During Thursday’s raid, the Al Qaeda insurgents seized and briefly held a security headquarters and council offices in Masameer, which is close to Houta, before withdrawing. The same day, Yemen’s Defense Ministry reported that two people were killed after “terrorists” fired mortar rounds in the city of Zinjibar, most of whose population has fled to the port of Aden. Islamic fundamentalists seized Zinjibar and another southern city in May.

This week, too, Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi, who is Yemen’s acting leader, objected to the opposition’s policy of “arm twisting” by threatening to resign after meeting the country’s protest leaders for the fourth time in two weeks. On Saturday, Hadi received the Russian ambassador Sergei Koslov and the Red Chinese ambassador Liu Denglin, both of whom expressed support for the “unity, security and stability” of Yemen.

WW4 File: Unconfirmed report: US Air Force/Air National Guard redeploys 125 fighter jets to Alaska in expectation of “Russian incident”

This news is nearly a week old. We have no way of independently confirming this report from either sources within the US military or mainstream media. Internet posters suggest possible “Russian incident” may be linked to current and planned US deployment of anti-missile batteries in former Soviet Bloc states.

EU/USA Files: Warsaw, Washington sign MOU for a permanent US Air Force detachment on Polish soil beginning 2013; Poland already hosting unarmed (?) Patriot missile batteries near Russia’s Kaliningrad

This Monday, Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich and US Ambassador Lee Feinstein signed a memorandum of understanding that will lead to the permanent deployment of a US Air Force detachment on Polish soil in 2013. The deal, which was endorsed by President Barack Hussein Obama during his trip to Poland in late May, means Warsaw has achieved a key goal of stationing US troops on its territory as it continues to cast a wary eye towards its former communist overlord, Russia. Soviet/Russian troops withdrew from Poland in 1993, after a 54-year occupation.

Pictured above: President Obama at joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw, on May 28, 2011.

Among other duties outlined in the MOU, US airmen will train Polish air crews in the operation of F-16 fighter jets and C-130 Hercules transport planes, which are already in the Polish air force inventory. “This memorandum of understanding means that by the end of 2012 we will have in Poland a detachment allowing for the permanent rotation of American military aircraft, both combat and transport aircraft,” Klich was quoted by Reuters as saying. “From 2013 we plan the regular and periodic presence of aircraft and the training of pilots four times a year.”

The details of the bilateral agreement are to be negotiated in 2012, with joint US-Polish military exercises expected to commence from 2013 on established military training grounds, with a provision for contingents from other NATO countries to take part. The three air bases where the US Air Force will be stationed are Krzesiny and Lask, currently home to 48 Polish F-16s, as well as Powidz, where eight C-130s are based. According to unofficial information from Poland’s Defence Ministry, the number of aircraft and maintenance personnel may also increase under the terms of the MOU.

Until now, Polish military pilots received training in the USA, as well as irregular training missions in Belgium, France, or more recently, in Spain. Since last year, Poland has hosted unarmed (?) US Patriot anti-missile batteries near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which Wikileaks revealed an angry Polish official as derisively calling “potted plants.”

Poland also borders the former Soviet republic of Belarus, where the “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, has systematically rooted out all political opposition, especially since his fraudulent re-election last December, and persecuted the country’s Polish minority. Subject to European Union sanctions, Belarus nevertheless enjoys Russia’s military protection through both the Union State and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and Russia’s economic favouritism through a new customs union that also includes Kazakhstan.

The extent to which the small US missile and troop presence in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria will deter neo-Soviet aggression is questionable. If anything, the US-Polish military alliance provides the Moscow Leninists with a pretext for both portraying Washington as the aggressor and also justifying a first-strike military response against the West. But then, perhaps this is what crypto-Muslim socialist and alleged Soviet mole Obama, with a little help from mentor Mikhail Gorbachev, is seeking to accomplish. Indeed, this charade could all very well be a case of “poking the Soviet bear.”

Middle East File: Saleh regime near extinction as “thousands” of Al Qaeda insurgents seize Yemeni province; warplanes, artillery pound rebel positions in Zinjibar; gravely wounded dictator still in Saudi Arabia as US ambassador meets opposition leaders

– Syria in Chaos as 2,000 Officers and Soldiers Reportedly Defect from Army, Fight Alongside Civilians in Besieged Northern Town

Yesterday, Yemeni warplanes and artillery pounded rebel positions in Zinjibar, capital of the southern Abyan province, where Islamic fundamentalists suspected of links to Al Qaeda have seized control of several cities and towns. On Thursday, regular troops advancing toward Zinjibar killed 12 militants outside the city. Earlier that day, warplanes hit militant positions north of Jaar, producing an unknown number of casualties.

In the national capital, Sanaa, 100,000 anti-regime protesters, protected by armed tribesmen, rallied to demand President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster. A number of mutinous soldiers (pictured above) joined the protests.

On Saturday, fighting in the province continued as five Yemeni soldiers and three gunmen believed to be members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) perished in clashes that erupted in the city of Lawdar. In Zinjibar, the fighting continued today as heavy gunfire and explosions were heard through the city. Warplanes were seen flying overhead and conducting more air strikes.

On May 27, thousands of militants seized control of Zinjibar, taking advantage of a weeks-old breakdown of authority resulting from high-level defections from the Yemeni military and Saleh’s government, as well as the regime’s battle with armed tribesmen in the north. The southern militants were especially emboldened by a decapitation strike against the president and key government officials on June 3.

At that time, northern tribesman bombarded the presidential compound with rockets, gravely wounding Saleh, who is still in Saudi Arabia receiving medical treatment. US officials say the 69-year-old dictator suffered burns over 40 percent of his body and has bleeding inside his skull. Saleh’s vice president, Major General Abd al-Rahman Mansur al-Hadi, is currently running the country, while the government’s most elite forces have been concentrated around Sanaa.

Meanwhile, as the central government loses control over the hinterlands, at various locations in Abyan Al Qaeda militants are openly training in camps and using live ammunition for target practice. Residents of another southern province, Shabwa, say suspected militants and sympathizers have set up checkpoints on the road to a third province, Hadramawt. They also control the towns of Rawdah and Houtah, where they freely roamed the streets

“They have a great deal of influence and they use modern vehicles for transport as well as satellite telephones,” said Abdullah al-Amari, an Abyan-based rights activist.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, then visiting Abu Dhabi, called on all political forces in Yemen to honor a cease-fire, saying President Barack Hussein Obama advocated an “immediate, orderly and peaceful transition.” This is not likely. Yemeni troops are in fact struggling to retake several areas in the south, which is also the base for armed Marxist separatists who wish to restore the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, which merged in 1990 with the Yemen Arab Republic to form the current Republic of Yemen.

Yemen’s months-old crisis is one manifestation of the wider “Arab Spring” uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. The Arabian country is home to thousands of Islamic fundamentalists, many of them veterans of jihads in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Aden, Yemen was the site of the suicide bombing of the USS Cole guided missile destroyer in 2000. It is also the ancestral home of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, whom US Navy Seals killed in a covert raid in Pakistan on May 2.

On the same day as the decapitation strike against Saleh’s government, US fighter pilots took out Abu Ali al-Harithi, a mid-level Al Qaeda operative, and several other suspected militants in southern Yemen. According to witnesses, four civilians were also killed in the air strike. In 2003, Harithi travelled to Iraq, where he fought alongside Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian operative who led the Al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq until he, too, was killed in a US air strike in 2006.

The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, in close cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency, coordinates the White House’s anti-terrorist operation in Yemen. A team of US special forces and intelligence operatives have a command post in Sanaa to seek and destroy militants. The mission that killed Harithi was the first such successful anti-terrorist mission in Yemen in nearly a year. These were suspended earlier amid concerns that bad intelligence had led to “bungled” missions and civilian deaths, undermining an otherwise secret campaign designed to minimize any negative impact on Saleh’s government, which approved the US presence in 2009.

On June 8, the New York Times reported that the US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein, recently met with leaders of the opposition, partly to make the case for continuing the anti-terrorist operation should Saleh’s tottering regime fold completely. “The extent of America’s war in Yemen,” the newspaper continues, “has been among the Obama administration’s most closely guarded secrets.” Publicly, Saleh has asserted that all anti-terrorist missions have been conducted by his own troops.

“We’ve seen the regime move its assets away from counterterrorism and toward its own survival,” comments Christopher Boucek, a Yemen expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “But as things get more and more chaotic in Yemen, the space for the Americans to operate in gets bigger.”

Incidentally, the Yemeni Socialist Party, which once ruled Communist South Yemen, is a prime mover behind the political campaign to remove Saleh whose days, literally, may be numbered.

Elsewhere in the Arab world, Syria’s socialist regime continues its heavy-handed crackdown on dissent, prompting more than 4,300 refugees to flee over the country’s northern border into Turkey. According to an eyewitness in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, around 2,000 officers and conscripts have defected from the Syrian army and are fighting alongside civilians to repel President Bashar al-Assad’s troops and tanks. “They mutinied because of their orders” to shoot at local civilians, the anonymous witness alleged. Syrian government spokeswoman Reem Haddad denied that there had been “significant” defections.

In another sign of possible regime collapse, Assad’s security forces withdrew from the town of Hama on Thursday night, allowing “tens of thousands” of protesters to overwhelm the city’s central square. Last Friday, troops killed 67 protesters in Hama in one of the worst incidents of the uprising.

Event Convergence Alert: Dutch air force intercepts Bear bombers over North Sea as NATO, Russia begin joint “counter-terrorism” drills over Poland, Black Sea; Russian Air Force carried out “exercises” over Arctic, Atlantic on September 11, 2001

On Tuesday morning, two F-16 fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force intercepted two Russian strategic bombers. The Dutch defence ministry acknowledged that the F16s, which are assigned to the Quick Reaction Alert squadron stationed at Volkel air base, took off at 11:15 am (local time) to intercept the Tupolev Tu-95 “Bears.” The propeller-driven Bear bomber is a venerable five-decade-old aircraft that still serves as a dangerous cruise missile platform.

The Dutch jets were assisted by German military air controllers. Earlier, the Danish air force also scrambled fighters to escort the Russians planes. The two Bears followed their typical route from northwest Russia, flying south along the Norwegian coast and then west across the North Sea, in the direction of British airspace.

Tuesday’s intercept was the third such incident near Dutch airspace this year. Since 2007, when the Russian Air Force resuscitated its Cold War-era long-range patrols, there have been monthly incidents involving Russian military planes near both NATO and NORAD airspace. Under the regime of President/Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in fact, the Kremlin has re-adopted a barely concealed hostile stance toward the West, temporarily buried during the heady “post”-communist years of President Boris Yeltsin.

In this light, a NATO-Russian counter-terrorism drill involving fighter jets from Poland, Turkey, and Russia and taking place over Poland and the Black Sea on June 7 and 8 is deceptive, serving to obscure the neo-Soviet leadership’s untrustworthiness.

According to the scenario enacted by Vigilant Skies 2011, “terrorists” will seize control of a Polish aircraft taking off from Krakow. Polish fighter pilots will be the first to intercept the hijacked plane, before handing over the mission to Russian counterparts. After a further struggle in the cockpit of the hijacked plane, in which the terrorists are overpowered but the plane’s navigation system damaged, the aircraft will be escorted back to Poland by the Russian fighters. A second scenario will see a flight plan deviation and loss of communications with a hijacked Turkish aircraft over the Black Sea, followed by coordinated interceptions by Turkish and then Russian fighters.

A NATO statement claimed that the aim of Vigilant Skies 2011 is to demonstrate the operational aspects of the NATO-Russia Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI), which is designed to prevent attacks by hijacked civilian aircraft, such as those used to destroy the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

“This is the first such counter-terrorism exercise held between NATO and the Russian Federation and will be a major milestone for reaching operational capability of the CAI system,” the NATO statement trilled, adding: “The CAI will improve air safety for the thousands of passengers using international flights between NATO airspace and Russian airspace each day, and the millions of inhabitants on the ground.”

The CAI system will be coordinated from centers in Warsaw and Moscow, with additional local coordination sites in Russia, Norway, and Turkey. It is intended to provide a “shared radar picture” of air traffic to enable early warning of suspicious air activity through agreed protocols.

This is all very fine and well for peaceful East-West convergence, but there is good reason to believe that atrocities like the 911 attacks were actually coordinated back in the Kremlin, using proxies and assets in Al Qaeda, CubaIraq, and the Czech Republic. After all, the Russian Air Force was conducting exercises over the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans when Mohamed Atta and his Islamist skyjackers dive-bombed the WTC and the Pentagon, killing themselves and nearly 3,000 office workers and captive airline passengers.

So, even as Moscow befuddles the West with “good intentions” in the War against Terror, she still prepares for the Fourth World War.

Latin America File: Peru to be absorbed into region’s Red Axis as communist-backed left-nationalist wins presidential election; Humala downplays admiration for Chavez; Peruvian economist: Humala’s “comrades” want “radical change”

– Humala Signals Interest in Maintaining Peru’s “Strategic Partnership” with USA, but Accepts Congratulations from Castro Bros. via Cuban Ambassador

– Shining Path Guerrillas Kill Five Soldiers on Eve of Peru’s Presidential Election, Ambushed Army Patrol Supervising Local Voting Stations

On Monday, Venezuela’s communist dictator, President Hugo Chavez, announced that he was “very satisfied” with the victory of his leftist ally, 48-year-old former army officer Ollanta Humala, in Sunday’s run-off election for the Peruvian presidency. In 2006, with open support from Chavez, Humala made a previous bid for his country’s top post, running against social democrat Alan Garcia.

“I’m very satisfied with the victory of democracy in Peru — the victory of Ollanta Humala,” Chavez enthused in a brief talk with journalists in Brasilia. “We wished him much success and we’re ready to work together on cooperation, South American integration, Unasur [Union of South American Nations], and all possible bilateral matters.” Chavez, who this time maintained a low profile during the Peruvian election campaign, finally broke his silence while visiting Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff.

The leader of the Venezuelan delegation in the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), Rodrigo Cabezas, also welcomed Humala’s victory, calling the election results “a reaffirmation of the change of era in Latin America. The reaction of the peoples against the impoverishing neoliberalism [capitalism] and the emerging of governments committed to the fight against social injustices [unequal wealth distribution].” Tellingly, Cabezas did not hesitate to brand Humala’s political enemies “fascists” and “anti-communists.” Referring to the free enterprise legacy of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), he ranted:

Peru became the best example to prove that a free market economy cannot solve on its own equity and wealth distribution problems.

We welcome that legitimate victory of the Peruvian people and the progressive left-wing of that country, who achieved to successfully overcome a terrible fascist and anti-communist campaign spread by some media, oligarchy sectors and the elite of the Catholic Church. We expect the new Government to strengthen democracy by caring about justice and equity demands from Peruvians.

Fujimori, who vigorously suppressed Peru’s Shining Path rebellion in 1992, is presently serving a jail sentence for corruption.

According to the latest official polling data with 94 percent of the votes counted, Humala defeated his main rival, Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori, Alberto’s daughter, with 51.37 percent compared to Fujimori’s 48.63 percent. The Alliance for Peru coalition that backed Humala’s presidential bid includes his own Peruvian Nationalist Party, as well as the Peruvian Communist Party, Socialist Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and Political Movement Socialist Voice.

Humala is the son of Isaac Humala, a lawyer and cadre of the Communist Party of Peru-Red Fatherland. He is the brother of Antauro Humala, presently serving a 25-year prison sentence for kidnapping 17 police officers and killing four of them in the town of Andahuaylas in 2005. Ollanta himself is the ideological leader of Peru’s indigenous Ethnocacerista movement.

As an aside, there are some interesting similarities between the careers of Humala and mentor Chavez: both are ex-military men who led abortive coups. Humala began his army career in 1982 when he entered Chorrillos Military School. In 1992, Humala served in Tingo María, fighting remnants of the Shining Path, and, three years later, he served in the Cenepa War on the border with Ecuador.

Incidentally, Peru’s Maoist rebels still lurk in the jungles, killing five soldiers on the eve of Humala’s election win. The victims were part of an army patrol driving to supervise voting in the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys, a traditional rebel haunt.

In 2000, then Lieutenant Colonel Humala led 50 soldiers in the seizure and week-long occupation of a Southern Copper Corp. mine in the city of Tacna. He claimed to be protesting against the repatriation of President Fujimori’s intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, who had been accused of bribery. In an abrupt career shift, two years later Humala received a master’s degree in political science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

Ahead of the run-off vote, Humala tried to allay the fears of Peruvian businesses by issuing a “Letter to the Peruvian People,” in which he vowed to maintain President Garcia’s “budget-tightening” policies and support for an independent central bank. He also professed to shelve a 198-page platform that included proposals to ban gas exports, in order to lower domestic fuel costs, and nationalize airports.

On Monday, after news of Humala’s victory spread, Lima’s stock market plunged 12.5 percent, the largest one-day drop in that institution’s history. Across the globe, natural resources investors are worried that Humala’s government could reverse policies outgoing President Garcia expects will attract US$50 billion of mining investment. Garcia’s government predicts that such investment will sustain average annual economic growth of 6 percent between now and 2014.

“Humala has to come out and send a signal or this selloff won’t end,” urged Mauricio Cardenas, director of the Latin America program at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. “The market is asking for a response. It wants to hear who the finance minister will be.”

Peruvian investors, however, are more worried than their foreign counterparts that Humala’s pre-election makeover is indeed “cosmetic.” This is the assessment of Pablo Secada, chief economist at the Peruvian Institute of Economy, a Lima-based think tank. “Humala may be a moderate but the people surrounding him aren’t,” he warned. Secada is also an adviser to outgoing Finance Minister Ismael Benavides. “They aren’t just aiming for a redistribution of income, they want radical change.”

Humala’s election strategy took a page from the playbook of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was elected president of Brazil in 2002 and again in 2006 by persuading voters that his career as a union boss would not lead him to implement anti-business policies. In fact, as we previously blogged, Humala’s “nimble” campaign prospered from the advice of two former consultants from Lula’s ruling Workers’ Party, which began a “dialogue” with Humala after his last run for office. Like Humala, Lula’s pre-election climb in the polls triggered a selloff of Brazilian bonds and stocks.

Don’t expect Humala to publicly reintroduce the radical-left elements of his agenda right away. After the election he even signalled an interest in maintaining ties with the USA, Peru’s “strategic partner.” This is probably window dressing because communist dictator Raul Castro joined Chavez in congratulating Humala on his triumph via the Cuban ambassador in Lima.

Historically, in democratic states, such as in Czechoslovakia after the Second World War, communists sometimes work incrementally and by stealth to take over a country. In neighboring Hungary, communist party boss Mátyás Rákosi referred to this concept of a slow-motion coup as “salami tactics.” The fact is, in Venezuela Chavez is pursuing pretty much the same “piece by piece” program of communization. Similarly, in Brazil far-left factions within the Workers’ Party, not to mention their coalition partners in the Communist Party of Brazil, hid behind the “moderate” face of Lula for two presidential terms, only to replace him with ex-urban guerrilla Rousseff in January 2011.

At this time, there are only four center-right governments south of the Rio Grande: Mexico, Panama, Colombia, and Chile. Next year, there could be only three. In the fallout from Mexico’s horrific drug war, the party of embattled President Felipe Calderon faces defeat in 2012, ceding ground back to the monolithic Institutional Revolutionary Party. In view of the fact that Honduras’ putatively center-right president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, is an “ex”-Stalinist who welcomed Chavez pawn Manuel Zelaya back to Tegucigalpa last month, we are inclined to slot “anti-communist bastion” Honduras into the Red Axis.

Middle East File: “Arab Spring” in Yemen erupts into civil war as tribesmen bombard presidential palace with rockets; Saleh and key officials injured in decapitation strike, evacuated to Riyadh for medical treatment

Pictured here: Yemeni soldiers monitor an anti-government protest in the capital Sanaa on June 3, 2011.

The wave of popular uprisings in the Arab World–which toppled the socialist dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, sparked a heavy-handed government crackdown in Ba’athist Syria, and provoked NATO intervention in Libya–has erupted into full-scale war in Yemen.

For several years now, Shia tribesmen and Marxist separatists yearning for the defunct People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) have waged guerrilla warfare against the 33-year-old regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Voice of America reports today:

Fighting broke out again in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a Saturday, with the forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelling the homes of anti-government leaders. Sporadic rocket fire and firefights erupted in the al-Hasaba district of northern Sana’a, the home base of dissident tribesman Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar.  He is a leader of what Saleh said was a “gang of outlaws” that carried out a rocket attack on the presidential compound Friday. Thousands fled the city on Saturday and roads were clogged at daybreak. Seven people were killed in the rocket attack Friday, including key government officials, while Saleh was “lightly wounded” as the group attended prayers at a mosque inside the presidential compound.

According to CNN, it seems that President Saleh’s injuries as a result of the rebel rocket attack are worse than first reported. He is apparently receiving medical treatment in Riyadh, while official control of Yemen has passed to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In what was essentially a decapitation strike against the Yemeni government, the rebels succeeded in injuring other government officials, including Prime Minister Ali Mujawar; Deputy Prime Ministers Rashad al-Alimi and Sadeq Amin Abu Rasand; Shura Council Chairman Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani; and Parliament Speaker Yahya Al-Raee. These have also been evacuated to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Saleh has three times promised to end his corrupt reign in a deal brokered by neighboring Arab countries, but so far has refused to honor the agreement. Nearly 400 people have been killed since Yemen’s popular uprising began in January.

In early May, after Saleh’s security forces killed three protesters and injured 80 in the city of Taiz, Yasin Said Numan, secretary-general of the Yemeni Socialist Party and prime minister of the PDRY from 1986 until the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990, remarked: “The country is collapsing everywhere.” He added: “This regime has created a lot of problems in this country. There is no cooking gas, no petrol, things are vanishing and if things continue this way, we will learn what a real crisis is.”

Taking a cue from the “Prague Spring” of 1968–when the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia attempted to create “socialism with a human face,” that is, before Soviet and Warsaw Pact tanks rolled into the country to crush the “rebellion”–observers of international politics haved dubbed the current unrest in the Muslim world the “Arab Spring.”

Africa File: Qaddafi regime near extinction as high-level defections, punishing NATO air strikes on command bunkers continue; Russia about-faces, offers to mediate dictator’s “exit”; Italy pledges money, fuel for Libyan rebels

– Britsh and French Combat Helicopters Attack Libyan Army Positions, Qaddafi Loyalists for First Time in NATO Campaign

On Monday, eight senior Libyan military officers appeared at a press conference in Rome, following their defection from the 42-year-old socialist regime of Colonel Moammar Qaddafi (pictured above on right, with trademark sunglasses). Italian intelligence agencies reportedly facilitated their defection. The Libyan brass, who appeared at the press conference in civilian cloths, included five generals, two colonels, and a major. According to the defectors, they are among a group of more than 100 military officers and soldiers who have renounced their loyalty to Qaddafi in recent days.

A general who identified himself as Oun Ali Oun accused the Qaddafi regime of waging “genocide” against its own people and unleashing “violence against women in various Libyan cities.” He urged fellow Libyan soldiers to join the revolt “in the name of the martyrs who have fallen in the defense of freedom.”

Melud Massoud Halasa, another defecting general, told reporters that Qaddafi’s forces are now “only 20% as effective” as they were before the revolt broke out in mid-February. He added that “not more than 10” generals remain loyal to the besieged Libyan leader, who faces a United Nations war crimes investigation.

Earlier on Monday, South Africa’s “ex”-communist president, Jacob Zuma (pictured above on left), arrived in Tripoli to mediate a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict between Qaddafi loyalists and insurgents. After his meeting with the veteran strongman–who has been scurrying from one hiding hole to another (literally) as NATO warplanes pound government sites in Tripoli–Zuma indicated that Qaddafi is willing to accept an African Union initiative for a ceasefire. However, both the rebels and NATO have already rejected the AU “roadmap to peace” since it does not require Qaddafi’s resignation.

The UN, which sanctioned NATO’s imposition of a no-fly zone over the North African country, estimates that thousands have been killed in the fighting, in addition to creating an exodus of 750,000 foreign workers who have fled the oil-rich country. In addition to enforcing the bare UN mandate, NATO states have targeted government compounds and regular military assets in an effort to dislodge the Libyan dictator.

On Tuesday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, then visiting the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya, promised that Rome will provide “for the needs of the Libyan people with a huge quantity of fuel and huge amount of money.” He did not provide an exact figure but said the assistance would amount to “hundreds of millions of euros that are necessary for the daily life of the population.” According to Frattini, billions of euros of Libyan assets are frozen in Italian bank accounts because of international sanctions against Qaddafi’s regime, thereby offering a source for the promised funds.

Italy, along France and other countries, but not the USA, have formally recognized the National Transitional Council of the Libyan Republic (NTC) as Libya’s legitimate government. “Gadhafi’s regime is over. He has to leave power, he has to leave the country,” Fratinni declared. Libya is a former Italian colony. Italy relies heavily on Libyan crude exports, which have all but dried up since riots erupted in the North African country in mid-February, leading quickly to a full-scale civil war.

NATO, whose current campaign expires on June 27, has intensified its air raids in recent weeks with daily strikes on command and control bunkers in Tripoli. NATO General Secretary Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels that Qaddafi’s resignation is only a question of time. “The question is not if Gadhafi will go but when,” he vowed. On Friday night, two British Apache helicopters took out a radar installation and a military checkpoint near the eastern coastal city of Brega, while French Gazelle and Tigre helicopters attacked 15 Libyan military vehicles and five military command buildings. This is the first time that NATO forces have deployed combat rotary wing aircraft against Qaddafi loyalists.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday a car bomb rocked a Benghazi hotel frequented by foreign diplomats, but caused no casualties. Rebel spokesman Jalal al-Gallal indicated that his comrades-in-arms generally suspect the attack was carried out by government saboteurs.

On Thursday, Libya’s rebel leadership on Thursday welcomed yet another defection from the Qaddafi regime, that of former oil minister Shukri Ghanem. “The National Transitional Council (NTC) salutes the latest defection from the Kadhafi regime, that of Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem,” Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the NTC, said in a statement. “In recent days and weeks we have witnessed an acceleration in defections from the Kadhafi regime, which has no legitimacy, credibility or future,” he added.

The day before, Ghanem announced in Rome that he had fled Libya via Tunisia to join the rebellion and “fight for a democratic state.” He added, though, that he does not intend on joining the NTC. Ghanem, chief of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and Libya’s representative at OPEC summits for years, admitted that “Only very little [oil] is being produced for security reasons, because it’s not possible to export it, because of the UN embargo and the fact that the foreigners have all left.”

In a related story, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Bloomberg Television in a May 25 interview that “most likely nobody” will represent Libya at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting on June 8. On Tuesday, amid questions over which officials will represent Libya at upcoming energy events, organizers of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Cairo removed a welcome banner that included the flag used by the NTC. The Libyan rebel flag has red, black, and green horizontal panels with a white crescent and star in the center, while the Qaddafi regime flag has a plain green field.

Meanwhile, the neo-Soviet leadership in Russia, recognizing that its long-time ally and client is facing extinction, has offered to mediate the conflict between Qaddafi and rebel forces. On June 2, Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin’s envoy to the NTC, revealed: “Russia wants to mediate between the two sides in Libya’s civil war as it tries to negotiate the exit from power of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.” In a telephone interview with Bloomberg News, Margelov said he will travel to Libya “in the nearest time” to meet with rebel leaders. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is apparently in contact with Qaddafi regime spokesmen.

Qaddafi’s future is “the most delicate topic,” acknowledged Margelov, who heads the International Affairs Committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. “The question of guarantees or immunity, even if it’s being discussed at the highest levels, isn’t public information and doesn’t need to be advertised,” Margelov said. In view of Libya’s status as an important supplier of oil to NATO countries like Italy, the Leninist strategists in Moscow are probably anxious to make sure the new regime in Tripoli adopts a pro-Kremlin line.

Latin America File: Honduras under probable communist control: Chavez brokers deal between Lobo and Zelaya, negotiates latter’s return to homeland; President Lobo and Zelaya’s right-hand man “ex”-communists, Barahona visited Cuban leaders in early May

On May 1, 2011, Juan Barahona Mejías, deputy director of Honduras’ National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), was received by Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, member of the Central Committee Secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). Responding to an invitation from Cuba’s communist overlords, Barahona presented himself in Havana, leading a delegation of FNRP comrades, including Gilberto Ríos, Francisco Ríos, and Sonia Benegas.

For his part, Balaguer reaffirmed “the solidarity of the Cuban people with the Honduran people’s fight and wished them success in the current ongoing process, in order to accomplish the Front’s objectives and the stability of this sister country.” In addition to Balaguer, Jorge Arias Díaz, CPC deputy director of foreign affairs, and other officials from the Central Committee were present. In return, Barahona thanked “the Cuban people for their expressions of solidarity with Honduras.”

Afterward, the Honduran delegation attended a commemorative May Day march and the International Trade Union Conference in Solidarity with Cuba, then meeting in Havana. May 1, of course, is typically observed by communists, leftists, and labor unions worldwide as International Workers’ Day.

While this tete-a-tete between the Cuban dictatorship and the “Honduran resistance” is somewhat predictable, even in the post-Cold War era, we must ask the question: Who is Juan Barahona Mejías? Barahona is a past cadre of the Communist Party of Honduras, which dissolved in 1990, leaving some ex-members to migrate into the Democratic Unification Party (PUD) two years later. Barahona is also president of the Federation of Honduran Workers, which in 2000 created a political party called the Popular Bloc.

In an October 2009 interview, Barahona explained the purpose of the FNRP: “The National Resistance Front is a coalition between the Bloque Popular, PUD, union confederations and the popular sector of the Liberal Party that defends Mel [Zelaya]. Here, we unite the majority of the people.” In addition to the Popular Bloc, PUD was vocal in its support for President Manuel Zelaya after his ouster in June 2009. In summary, therefore, career communist Barahona is the deposed leader’s “left-hand man” and the FNRP, Zelaya’s political party, is stacked with communists and fellow travellers.

The anti-Zelaya coup was supported by the Supreme Court, National Assembly, and the leadership of his own Liberal Party. In an early-morning raid on his residence, the army arrested a pajamas-clad Zelaya and then placed the president on an airplane bound for San Jose, Costa Rica. The interim government, led by former legislative speaker Roberto Micheletti, accused Zelaya of subverting the constitutional order, to wit by holding an illegal (non-binding) referendum to abolish presidential term limits and by importing (rigged?) ballots from Venezuela. The Organization of American States expelled Honduras, while communists throughout the Western Hemisphere got their noses out of joint, branding Micheletti a “fascist.”

Zelaya’s domestic critics, however, were troubled by his leftward shift after taking office in January 2006 and his growing chummy relationship with Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez. After his removal, Zelaya denied that his policies were subservient to Caracas or that there was any inconsistency between his pre- and post-election platform. In October 2009, he scoffed: “To begin with, President Chavez has been used as a scapegoat to justify this coup. Invoking his name is not a valid justification for a coup, it’s an irrational one.” In the same interview, he asserted his innocence

When in office, I didn’t do anything I had not announced when on the campaign trail. I campaigned on direct, participatory democracy, a fair economy, dignified employment, anti-poverty programs, and global engagement. Everything I said I would do in my campaign I followed up during my presidency.

The elite business interests became angry with me when I increased the minimum wage (in March 2009), and lowered interest rates. But I achieved more economic growth than Honduras had seen in a long time. Even in the middle of the financial crisis our economy was growing by 4.5 percent annually.

In 2008, though, Zelaya dragged Honduras into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, much to the consternation of anti-communists in the Liberal Party. Incidentally, his ouster had the distinction of being the first successful coup in this hemisphere since the Cold War.

After his removal from office, Zelaya attempted several times to re-enter Honduras. On July 5, 2009, Zelaya boarded a plane headed for Tegucigalpa, but the army parked vehicles on the runway, preventing him from landing. Later that month, accompanied by Chavez’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, he made a brief but symbolic land crossing into Honduras from Nicaragua, where he was then living in exile. Two months later, on September 21, he again returned to Honduras, dramatically appearing in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Brazil’s then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva gladly offered sanctuary to the deposed leader, even as police and Zelaya supporters clashed outside the embassy.

In January 2010, after a democratic election, Porfirio Lobo Sosa assumed the presidency on behalf of the center-right National Party. A number of leftist regimes throughout South and Central America, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Brazil, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Lobo’s government. Only days after Lobo’s inauguration, Zelaya slipped away from the Brazilian embassy and the country altogether, re-emerging in the Dominican Republic and flaunting a new job, director of the Political Council of Venezuela’s Petrocaribe.

On May 23, 2011, Lobo and Zelaya, bowing to international pressure, met in Cartagena, Colombia, where they signed an agreement to end the political crisis in Honduras, drop all corruption charges against Zelaya, permit his safe return to his homeland and legal re-entrance into Honduran politics, and ease the country’s readmission into the OAS. The agreement was heralded and witnessed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Maduro, who attended the meeting on behalf of his boss, President Chavez.

Finally, on May 28, a triumphant Zelaya, flying on a private aircraft provided by Chavez and sporting his trademark cowboy hat, landed at Toncontin International Airport in
Tegucigalpa, where he was greeted by thousands of adoring supporters (pictured above, note obligatory Che pic). Zelaya exited the aircraft flanked on both sides by some of Latin America’s most prominent left-wing politicians, including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the ubiquitous Maduro, Panama’s ex-president Martín Torrijos, and an ex-senator from Colombia, Piedad Córdoba, who is accused of sympathizing with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Accompanying Zelaya, too, was Barahona since the FNRP, according to the Latin America News Dispatch, serves as the deposed president’s chief political vehicle.

Chavez, who is recovering from a knee injury, did not travel to Honduras to witness the return of his lackey, but fired off a congratulatory Tweet: “Mel Zelaya returned to his Honduran Fatherland! It’s a great victory for the Honduran people!”

In a speech that shows he has every intention of re-taking power in spite of an official exoneration, Zelaya addressed his followers: “We’re pushing for a Constituent Assembly to retake power. I came to participate in what the people want—revolutionary processes that will make this country move forward.” In a sharp about-face from his position during exile, Zelaya called upon the OAS to recognize Lobo’s National Party administration.

Zelaya’s new position did not appear to sit well with left-hand man Barahona, who reminded reporters that Lobo supported the coup and Zelaya only changed his position for “diplomatic reasons.” However, reports the Latin America News Dispatch, “With Zelaya back in the country, his party—the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP, in Spanish)—says it will now begin collecting the signatures it needs to present to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in order to participate in the next round of elections.”

Some Honduran politicians lashed out at Lobo for working with Chavez to broker Zelaya’s return. “Lobo is following in Zelaya’s footsteps by becoming friends with Chavez,” complained Fernando Anduray, whose Democratic Civic Union party supported the 2009 coup. Indeed, Lobo and Zelaya have much in common, both being scions of Honduras’ land-owning oligarchy but willing students of communist indoctrination at the hands of Soviet and Honduran reds.

Although billed as a conservative, Lobo, according to the World Socialist Web Site, is a former cadre of the Communist Party of Honduras, just like Barahona. In past posts, we noted with some suspicion that Lobo studied at the Soviet Union’s Third World terrorist training center, Patrice Lumumba University, where he received a doctorate in terrorism studies. WSWS writer Jeremy Wells refers to Lobo as a past “supporter of Stalinism” and that PUD leader César David Adolfo Ham Peña, who was “counted as Zelaya’s closest political supporter,” agreed to join Lobo’s government of “national unity and reconciliation.”

All of these disconcerting facts, of course, should prompt one to wonder if Lobo is a real center-rightist. Time will tell, of course, but the OAS plans to vote on Honduras’ reinstatement in an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly in Washington on Wednesday.

“Zelaya’s return will probably ratchet up tensions in the country, which has been beset by workers’ protests and rising crime and violence in recent months,” commented
Heather Berkman
, a political risk analyst at the Eurasia Group in New York. “Still,” she added, “Zelaya’s political ambitions will probably not hamper the efforts of the Lobo administration to get the country’s economy back on track.”

I wouldn’t be so sure. Several weeks ago, Zelaya put in an appearance at the under-reported Sao Paulo Forum meet-and-greet in Managua. His re-instatement and the communization of Honduras were undoubtedly hot topics at this leftist shindig. Indeed, the communist takeover of Central America, which was aborted after the disingenuous “collapse” of the Soviet Union, is under way again with the re-election of the Sandinista National Liberation Front in 2006, the first-time election of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in 2009, and the election in 2008 of center-left governments in Guatemala and Belize.

Blast from the Past File: Accused war criminal, communist Ratko Mladic seized, Bosnian Serb army chief led siege of Sarajevo (1992-1994), allegedly ordered Srebrenica massacre (1995); Mladic’s arrest condition of Serbian admission to EU

Independent Serbian Media Cites Villagers: Police “Sneaked” Mladic into Lazarevo and Arrested Him There

At a May 26, 2011, news conference Serbian President Boris Tadic confirmed the arrest of former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic. Early on Thursday, three special units of the Serbian security service pounced on General Mladic’s hideout in Lazarevo, a village 80 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, near the Romanian border. The house was owned by a relative of Mladic and had been under surveillance for the past two weeks. Mladic was reportedly living under the assumed name Milorad Komodic.

After Tadic’s news conference, it emerged that the 69-year-old fugitive had already been placed on an airplane and flown to The Hague, in the Netherlands, to stand trial before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mladic, a key player in the Bosnian War, is accused of coordinating the siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1994 and ordering the killing of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. In the latter year, the ICTY indicted Mladic for war crimes and issued an international arrest warrant in 1996. Specifically, Mladic faces charges of genocide and complicity in genocide, persecution, extermination and murder, deportation and inhumane acts, unlawfully inflicting terror upon and attacking civilians, cruel treatment, and the taking of hostages.

Wanted man Mladic lived freely in the Serbian capital Belgrade until 2001, when he disappeared after the arrest of former Serbian and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, another accused war criminal who stood trial at The Hague, but died in prison in 2006 before a conviction was secured. Speculation swirled that Mladic would soon be arrested when former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was captured in Belgrade in July 2008. Incidentally, to this day, Milosevic’s family is living in exile in Russia, Serbia’s closest ally among the “post”-communist countries of the Slavic world.

Tadic rejected criticism that Serbia had only taken action following international pressure. “It is crystal clear that we did not calculate when we had to arrest Ratko Mladic,” the Serbian president insisted, adding: “We have been co-operating with the Hague Tribunal fully from the beginning of the mandate of this government.” It is widely believed that apprehending Mladic has been the main condition for Serbia’s accession to the European Union. In October 2010, the Serbian government offered 10 million euros for information leading to Mladic’s capture and arrest.

Incidentally, Tadic’s first deputy prime minister and internal affairs minister is Ivica Dacic, who heads up Milosevic’s “ex”-communist Socialist Party. As internal affairs minister, Dacic serves as Serbia’s top cop.

Born in Kalnovik, Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the Second World War, Mladic was a career soldier who served in the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) before Communist Yugoslavia dissolved in early 1992. Mladic then commanded Bosnian Serb forces during the brutal inter-ethnic conflict in Bosnia, the bloodiest in Europe since the Allied Powers subdued Nazi Germany nearly five decades before.

Mladic’s hatred for Bosnian Muslims and especially Croatians was shaped as early as two years old, when his father was killed by Croatian fascists called Ustashe. After Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy invaded and dismembered the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Ustashe “Fuehrer” Ante Pavelic established the Independent State of Croatia. This short-lived political entity then proceeded to slaughter hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Orthodox Christians, and Jews in a Balkan Holocaust largely forgotten in the West.

In 1965, Mladic graduated from a military academy and joined the Communist League of Yugoslavia, which ruled Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia in a federation of socialist republics. Promoted up the ranks, Mladic was general of JNA forces in Sarajevo when Bosnia seceded from Yugoslavia. In May 1992, the counter-separatist Bosnian Serb Parliament created the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), which Mladic commanded until December 1996.

In early February 2006, excerpts of a Serbian military intelligence report were leaked to the Serbian newspaper Politika, revealing that Mladic had hidden in VRS and Military of Yugoslavia (VJ) facilities until June 1, 2002, when the National Assembly of Serbia passed a law mandating cooperation with the ICTY. Nebojša Pavković, then Chief General of the VJ, requested that Mladic vacate the facility where he was staying on the mountain Povlen, near Valjevo. After his alleged departure from Povlen, the Yugoslav government, consisting at this point of only Serbia and Montenegro, claimed to have lost all trace of the fugitive.

The Serbian government’s possible complicity in harboring Mladic was revealed by the independent Serbian media outlet, B92, which quoted residents of Lazarevo as claiming that police “secretly sneaked Mladić into the village from somewhere, and then ‘arrested’ him there.” The villagers all deny ever having seen Mladic among them.

Russia’s response to Mladic’s apprehension was predictable. “There are doubts that the trial of Mladic in the U.N. war crimes tribunal will be 100 per cent objective and just,” complained Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the State Duma’s international affairs committee. At the same time, Kosachyov noted that Mladic had been accused of “horrible crimes that led to mass deaths.”

Borislav Milosevic, Slobodan’s brother, was also appalled by Mladic’s arrest. “This is really bad and degrading,” he protested, “To hand him over to The Hague is a disgrace.” Borislav added: “First of all, it is in the interests of the Serbian people to find out the truth about Srebrenica. They’re now saying 8,000 Muslims were killed there. But how many Serbian villages were destroyed in that area? This was a civil war. Everyone’s guilty and innocent at the same time in a civil war.”

In Serbia itself, small protests sponsored by hard-core Mladic groupies erupted in Belgrade and Novi Sad. In the Serbian capital, 35 protesters twice tried to gather in the main square, but police checked the attempts. In Novi Sad, 20 demonstrators tried to storm the state-run Radio Television Serbia building and the headquarters of the local branch of Tadic’s ruling Democratic Party. Smaller protests occurred in Aranjelovzc, Cacaka, Kraljevo, and Zrenjanin.

Over the last 15 years, Russia has not been forthcoming in the prosecution of Serbs or Bosnian Serbs wanted for war crimes violations.

In a September 2009 conversation with US chargée d’affaires Jennifer Brush, published by WikiLeaks, Miki Rakic, chief of staff to President Tadic, indicated that Mladic was likely hiding somewhere in Serbia. “The current government clearly wants to find Mladić, a prerequisite for moving ahead with EU accession,” a US diplomatic cable dated May 2009 declares.

However, in his government’s quest to nab Mladic, Rakić revealed that he had addressed inquiries to Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/ KGB), Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, and Vladislav Surkov, President Dmitry Medvedev’s chief of staff, but had received no replies. “Previous unconfirmed reports,” concluded The Guardian last December, “have suggested that Mladic may have found sanctuary in Russia as pressure grew on Serbia to arrest him.”

In 2006, US diplomatic cables disclosed the fact that Washington sent US marshals to Serbia and proposed an 11-point plan to Belgrade, which was turned down by former Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Koštunica. “The US government provided the government of Serbia with 11 recommendations designed to advance the hunt for Ratko Mladić,” wrote then US ambassador Michael Polt in October 2006. “Due primarily to the resistance of Prime Minister Koštunica himself, the government has not carried out in full a single one of our recommendations.”

Mladic is not the only suspected war criminal who has apparently sought refuge in Russia. Goran Hadžić, a leader of Croatian Serbs, reportedly found protection there.

The presence in Russia of Mirjana Markovic, widow of the late Slobodan, and her son, Marko Milosevic, is well known. Mother and son have enjoyed Moscow’s protection for years despite being sought by Belgrade on charges of fraud, embezzlement and ordering the murder of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija. Russian authorities refuse to serve an Interpol arrest warrant for son Marko. Markovic, a hard-line communist endearingly called the “Red Witch,” runs the Yugoslav Left party from exile.

In March 2006, Russia’s Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov travelled to Belgrade to attend Slobodan’s funeral, noting that Markovic would not attend the burial because she fears she could be arrested while in Serbia. “It’s enough that Marko lost his father,” Zyuganov told reporters. “He doesn’t need to lose his mother as well.”

As a matter of historical record, the name “Yugoslavia” past out of existence in 2003, when Serbia and Montenegro renamed themselves the Union State. The latter, in turn, dissolved in 2006, finally ending the legacy of a federation of southern Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula. Serbia was always the dominant state in Yugoslavia, before, during, and after the alleged demise of communism.

Blogger’s Note

Before we posted the full story above, we published a brief “teaser,” mentioning in passing that Mladic had been arrested. Unfortunately, we referred to him as a “communist war criminal.” This faux pas did not sit well with certain cadres of the “21stCentury Communist International,” who condemned our copiously documented blog as “cr_p” and hastened to describe Mladic, an open communist for at least 25 years, as a “right-wing nationalist.” See Comments.

Accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic was another Serbian communist who apparently saw the light, conveniently embracing nationalism before prosecuting war in the Balkans. Perhaps Gennady Zyuganov is also a “nationalist” because the Russian Communist Party boss attended Slobo’s funeral, having only kind words for the dictator’s family, living in exile in Russia. The good folks at Workers’ World Party have not hesitated to throw in their lot with Mladic. In 1997, this Stalinist outfit grumped: “The U.S. media have already convicted Serb leaders like Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. They are being told they must prove they are not guilty. So much for innocent until proven guilty.”

Middle East File: Popular unrest continues across region as Syria’s socialist dictatorship uses tanks, mass arrests to crush uprising; accounts of armed civilian resistance trickle past state-imposed media blackout; SANA fingers “Zionist” conspiracy behind insurrection

Since January popular uprisings, with hints of Islamic fundamentalist involvement, have more or less peacefully toppled the socialist dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has formed a new Freedom and Justice party to contest this September’s presidential election. In Libya, rebels are close to toppling Muammar al-Qaddafi’s party-less socialist regime, which has endured weeks of United Nations-sanctioned NATO air strikes, most lately including the sinking of eight Libyan warships. Violent anti-regime protests have also taken place in Yemen and Bahrain.

Pictured above: Presumably in an effort to stem the flow of refugees, Syrian soldiers deploy in the village of Arida, as seen from the northern Lebanese village of Wadi Khaled, on May 20, 2011.

Like Qaddafi, Syria’s socialist dictator Bashar al-Assad has responded violently to two months of popular unrest, earning tardy rebukes from the Obama White House and other Western leaders, who are concerned about political stability in the Middle East should the 48-year-old Ba’athist regime in Damascus fold. The Arab News reports today that:

Syrian forces kept up a relentless campaign against the country’s two-month uprising, using tanks to shell a besieged border town as President Barack Obama called on Syria’s president to lead his country to democracy or “get out of the way.” President Bashar Assad has taken pains to portray confidence and a steely determination in recent days amid signs that his brutal crackdown is terrifying the population into submission.” More than 850 people have died ahead of another round of protests planned for after Friday prayers.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Syrian army shelled Talkalakh, a border city of 70,000 near Lebanon, provoking gunbattles with armed resisters that killed at least eight people. “We heard shelling throughout the night and can still hear gunfire every now and then,” related a Talkalakh resident, who fled to Lebanon as Syrian troops summoned reinforcements. “I could see troops patrolling the border and smoke from fires in the town.” Other Syrians fleeing to Lebanon in recent days have described scenes of execution-style killings and bodies in the streets of Talkalakh. The Syrian government has banned and even detained (kidnapped) foreign journalists, preventing impartial coverage of the conflict.

Last week, mass arrests and heavy security kept crowds below levels seen during previous weeks, suggesting Assad’s campaign of intimidation has been effective. Armed resistance to the Ba’athist regime is also evident. One activist testified there were “heavy exchanges of fire” between security forces and civilians, adding that 19 soldiers died in Talkalakh. A second activist, Mustafa Osso, however, could not confirm accounts of armed resistance from civilians.

On Thursday, US President Barack Hussein Obama noted that the Syrian government “has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens.” Obama praised the Syrian people for their courage in standing up to repression. In addition, Washington imposed new economic sanctions against Syria, holding Assad “personally accountable” for the actions of his security forces. Meanwhile, the European Union is pushing for a second round of European sanctions that would target Syria’s ruling dynasty. Not surprisingly, Russia opposes any form of sanction or intervention against Syria.

Earlier this month, Syrian tanks and troops fired on protesters in the city of Deraa.

The Assad regime accuses the USA, Israel, and Lebanon’s March 14 alliance of fomenting the insurrection. Several days ago, the Syrian Arab News Agency, citing Austrian nationalists, alleged a Zionist conspiracy against Damascus: “A spokesperson for the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) on Tuesday revealed that some ‘Syrian opposition’ members will meet an Israeli vice minister later this evening at the Austrian capital Vienna, in evidence of those members’ dealing with Israel in conspiring against Syria.”

Latin America File: Sandinistas host leftist luminaries at Sao Paulo Forum’s Managua meet-and-greet; participants include FSP co-founder Lula, Cuba’s communist overlords, “Honduran resistance”

This week, Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator, Daniel Ortega, will host the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP) in Managua. The FSP is not exactly a household word in the shopping mall regime (USA and Canada), but its member parties rule most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere. This glaring omission is probably by design since the Obama White House, the neo-Leninist cabal that controls the Democratic Party, the well-heeled globalists at the Council on Foreign Relations, the cyber-leftists at Wikipedia, CNN, and Hollyweird’s self-anointed activists evidently do not want to disturb the populace’s collective snooze. We’ll hit the alarm button now, though.

In attendance at the latest FSP meet-and-greet will be an assortment of communists, leftists, and other utopian megalomaniacs from South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean Basin. Specific personalities include Jacinto Suarez, representing Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front; Valter Pomar, for Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party and serving as the FSP’s general secretary; Nidia Diaz, for El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Front; Marta Perez, for the Dominican Republic’s United Left Movement; Hugo Chavez’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela; and Ricardo Alarcon (pictued above, right), president of the Cuban Parliament and member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Politburo.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a “moderate” leftist who founded the FSP in 1990 with a little help from retired dictator Fidel Castro, will put in an appearance on Thursday. Reps for the Honduran “resistance,” which supports the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya, ousted in June 2009, as president, will also materialize. Last but not least, Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Prize winner and Guatemalan indigenous leader, will show her true color (red) by participating in this “anti-imperialist” bash.

In total, about 140 delegates fronting for over 50 parties from the hemisphere’s “mini Communist International” will converge in “Revolutionary Managua.” There they will break out into subcommittees to discuss various issues, such as “climate change,” art and culture, “democratization,” female “liberation,” social movements and, most importantly, the overthrow of capitalism (“neoliberalism”) and the end of the “North American bourgeoise.” The FSP last converged in the Nicaraguan capital in 2000.

It is likely the FSP will also discuss the upcoming June 5 run-off vote for the presidency of Peru since Ollanta Humala, whose Peruvian Nationalist Party belongs to the FSP, is contesting the election. Incidentally, if Humala wins the election, then the lingering remnants of the Communist Party of Peru-Shining Path can lay down their arms since a Chavez-friendly leftist will be in power in Lima. No doubt, too, the FSP will close ranks with President Ortega, who is making an unconstitutional bid for re-election this November, backed by a new martial law package that will enable “Comandante” to resuscitate his 1980s dictatorship in toto.

FSP parties are devoted to Latin American political-economic integration and, therefore, governments led by FSP parties usually support one or more of the following regional organizations: Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Southern Common Market (Mercosur), Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), Andean Community of Nations, Central American Integration System (SICA), Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), Central American Parliament (Parlacen), Caribbean Community (Caricom), and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

With few or no exceptions, every single one of these parties enjoys cozy relations with Washington’s “new partners” in Moscow. In 2006, Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, gloated: “Latin America is turning red” (Eurasia Daily Monitor, January 27, 2006). You got that right, comrade. For your records, the FSP is active in the following countries:

Ruling:

Bolivia – Evo Morales, VP ex-guerrilla (Movement toward Socialism)

Brazil – Dilma Rousseff, ex-guerrilla (Workers’ Party)

Cuba – Raul Castro, ex-guerrilla (Communist Party of Cuba)

Dominica – Roosevelt Skerrit (Dominica Labor Party)

Dominican Republic – Leonel Antonio Fernandez Reyna (Dominican Liberation Party)

Ecuador – Rafael Correa (Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance)

El Salvador – Mauricio Funes, VP ex-guerrilla (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front)

Nicaragua – Daniel Ortega, ex-guerrilla (Sandinista National Liberation Front)

Paraguay – Fernando Lugo, ex-liberationist Catholic bishop (Patriotic Alliance for Change)

Uruguay – Jose Mujica, ex-guerrilla (Broad Front)

Venezuela – Hugo Chavez, ex-coupist (United Socialist Party of Venezuela)

Formerly ruling:

Chile – Michelle Bachelet (Socialist Party of Chile)

Non-ruling:

Costa Rica – Ottón Solís (Citizens’ Action Party)

Mexico – Jesus Ortega (Party of the Democratic Revolution)

Peru – Ollanta Humala (Peruvian Nationalist Party)

Aligned governments:

Argentina – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Front for Victory, faction of Justicialist Party)

Guatemala – Alvaro Colom (National Unity of Hope)

Haiti – Rene Preval (Hope Front)

Latin America File: El Salvador’s Chile-style economy tanks under FMLN president, Peru’s demise likely under Chavez “mini me”; Brazilian “hotshot” political fixer masterminds Funes, Humala campaigns

The media has made much of the “schism” between El Salvador’s “moderate” center-left president, Mauricio Funes, and his puppet-masters in the Marxist “Politburo” that controls the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), the guerrilla army-turned-political party that won the 2009 election. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “El Salvador Quits the Market Model,” in the first two years of his presidency, Funes has done a fine job of tanking Salvadoran capitalism.

Funes, insists WSJ reporter Mary Anastasia O’Grady, “has been a disaster for the once-thriving Salvadoran economy” and then offers an example: “The United Nations’ Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean reported earlier this month that while ‘the region’s FDI inflows were 40% higher than in 2009,’ El Salvador didn’t benefit. ‘In Central America, foreign investment flows to all countries grew, except in the case of El Salvador.’ It experienced a 79% decline.” The FMLN’s legacy as a communist insurgent group has no doubt contributed to this flight of foreign investment.

Between the 1992 peace accords, which ended the Salvadoran Civil War, and the formation of the first FMLN government, 17 years later, “the country began a modernization that lasted more than a decade.”  O’Grady compares the Salvadoran “economic miracle” with that of Chile’s: “The free market reforms were unique in Central America and nearly unequaled in the wider region. Only Chile’s economic liberalization of the 1970s and 1980s [under General Augusto Pinochet] was comparable.” She elaborates:

The results were impressive, particularly for a country with a largely uneducated work force. From 1989 to 2008 El Salvador had the highest export growth in the region (an increase of some 800%), and per capita growth in gross domestic product was among the fastest in the region. This was led for the first time by strong performance in the industrial sector instead of in more traditional agriculture. By 2006, the poverty rate had fallen to 31% of the population from 60% in 1991.

During this period, the center-right Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) governed El Salvador. Seeking to be balanced, WSJ notes that the Salvadoran economy began slowing down under ARENA’s last president, Tony Saca, who was elected in 2004. Saca’s refusal to grant operating permits to Pacific Rim Mining Corporation for its El Dorado gold mine in one of the poorest parts of the country led to the forfeiting of thousands of jobs.

Since Funes came into office in April 2009, however, El Salvador’s debt position fell apart rapidly. In December 2008, the debt-to-GDP ratio was just under 36%, but two years later it was more than 51%. According to San Salvador’s first quarter 2011 fiscal report, there has been a 17.5% year-over-year increase in current expenses. This includes a 15.5% jump in the public-sector wage bill, 21% growth in government expenditures on goods and services, and a 48% increase in transfer payments. San Salvador’s fiscal deficit has expanded 28.6%.

More seriously, Moody’s has twice downgraded El Salvador’s debt, while Standard & Poor’s has issued one downgrade. Last fall, when Fitch Ratings urged El Salvador to improve its investment climate or risk a downgrade, Funes told Diario de Hoy that if the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Inter-American Development Bank had no confidence in his country, they could keep their credit. WSJ quips of Funes: “He obviously never has heard of Greece.”

Incidentally, the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which enjoys the support of 10% of the electorate, is spearheading large anti-austerity demonstrations throughout the ancient birthplace of democracy. Perhaps the FMLN, like the KKE, hopes to radicalize El Salvador’s voters prior to a full-blown red coup.

The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom recently plucked another feather from Funes’ cap. In 2000, the Heritage Foundation ranked El Salvador’s economy as the ninth freest in the world, but now places it at 39. Like Saca, Funes refuses to allow the Pacific Rim mine to operate so the country now has no active mining concessions. “But that loss of investment and jobs has not satisfied the party base of the FMLN,” observes O’Grady sardonically, “They complain loudly that Mr. Funes has yet to completely quash Salvadoran capitalism.”

In an effort to shine the USA’s perpetually tarnished image in Latin America and possibly to woo Salvadoran immigrants into the Democratic Party camp, the Obama White House has snuggled up to the Funes government. This past March, US President Barack Hussein Obama (pictured above) winged his way to Central America, where he pressed the flesh with Funes and pledged US$200 million to fight drug trafficking and gang violence. “The US wants to be a partner in this process,” Obama gushed. “We want El Salvador to be successful.” This has hardly been the case, though.

Obama later toured the National Cathedral and visited the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980 after criticizing the Carter Administration for funding the Revolutionary Government Junta that came to power the previous year. In 1993 by an official United Nations report identified the man who ordered Romero’s killing as former Major and School of the Americas graduate Roberto (“Blowtorch Bob”) D’Aubuisson, founder of ARENA.

According to O’Grady, Peru’s economy faces a similarly bleak future under left-nationalist Ollanta Humala, a presidential contender whose rival in the June 5 run-off vote is the daughter of jailed president Alberto Fujimori. Both Funes and Humala have employed the services of the same Brazilian advertising “hotshot,” João Santana, to orchestrate their election campaigns. “If João Santana’s expertise translates into a Humala victory, Peruvians had better hope that the similarities end there,” O’Grady warns darkly. In the latest public opinion polls, Keiko Fujimori had a narrow but growing lead over ex-soldier Humala, whose past association with Hugo Chavez has proven to be a liability.

Diplomatic cables quoted by the newspaper El Comercio and published by WikiLeaks reveal that Humala received funding from Venezuela’s communist dictator in 2006, at which time he lost the presidency to Alan Garcia. The cables cited sociologist and drug trafficking expert Jaime Antezana as telling US diplomats in Peru that Humula was “financed by the government of Venezuela.” Antezana, however, later denied telling US officials anything of the sort. During his current run for Peru’s top post, Humala has downplayed both his own leftism and admiration of Chavez.

In a previous post, we reported that in 2006 Venezuela’s chief elections officer showed up in Lima to encourage Humala’s last bid for the presidency.

Mexican Narco-State File: Gunmen kill 9 election workers in politically motivated attack in Oaxaca; shocking mass grave in Durango eclipses Tamaulipas atrocity; drug war spills into Guatemala, state of emergency declared in 2 provinces

Over the weekend, the body count in Mexico’s grim four-and-a-half-year drug war mounted, approaching 40,000, as well as assuming political overtones. The most powerful drug trafficking outfits are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Los Zetas, Beltran Leyva, and La Familia Michoacana cartels. Most of the violence has taken place in the northern states that border the USA, but bloody incidents have spilled over into the southern states as well. Mexico’s narcistas buy up to 20 percent of their firearms from the US black market, but also from the Poldolskaya and Solntsevskaya branches of the Russian mafia which, according to Interpol, is actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

On Monday, gunmen attacked a town in the poor, southwest state of Guerrero, killing four police officers and two civilians. The narcistas opened fire on the police around 10:24 a.m. in a square in the town of Coyuca de Catalan, according to the Guerrero Public Safety Secretariat. A police major, three officers, a taxi driver and a woman died, while two other bystanders were wounded in the attack. Guerrero’s Tierra Caliente region, where the attack occurred, has been the scene of a turf war between rival cartels.

This past Saturday, in the same state, four police officers and nine narcistas died in a shootout on the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo highway. The 90-minute gun battle erupted after a special operations police unit intercepted a five-vehicle convoy of gunmen near Los Achotes, a community outside the city of Zihuatanejo. After the shootout, police seized the narcistas’ vehicles, 16 assault rifles, three grenades, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, bullet-proof vests, and military-style uniforms.

The impoverished state of Guerrero, whose mountains are a prime growing area for marijuana, witnessed the murder of 370 people in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco in 2010. The sporadically active guerrilla group known as the Popular Revolutionary Army also originated in Guerrero in the mid-1990s.

In neighboring Oaxaca, gunmen ambushed nine people on a dirt road as the victims travelled from the community of La Tani toward Santiago Choapan to work on final preparations for a special election in that city. The municipal elections in Santiago Choapan were annulled in 2010 due to irregularities. Oaxaca’s police chief Cesar Alfaro and Deputy Government Secretary Oscar Cruz arrived by helicopter to appraise the situation firsthand and begin an investigation. This incident also occurred on Saturday.

Two groups, one led by the family of former state legislator Damaso Nicolas, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and the other led by Cesar Mateos, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, have been fighting for control of Santiago Choapan. “Nicolas is a chieftain because his family has always had power, and now that other actors want to participate they are against it, and we blame them for the violence,” accused leftist rival Mateos.

In 2006, leftist activists, rejecting the PRI’s decades-old stranglehold over the government of Oaxaca, established a counter-government in the state capital.

This past Friday, seven gunmen kidnapped the police chief of Ascencion, a city in the northern state of Chihuahua, as the official and two bodyguards returned from the city of Casas Grandes. According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Manuel Martinez Arvizo and his security detail were ambushed on a highway, forced at gunpoint into another vehicle, and driven to the vicinity of the nearby city of Janos. State police confirm that Martinez Arvizo and his bodyguards were killed, but not before their captors tortured them.

A few months ago, the residents of Ascencion protested police corruption by sacking the police department’s 12 officers and assuming control of public safety operations themselves. The drug war in Chihuahua alone has claimed the lives of one quarter of Mexico’s total war dead. The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels are the two main criminal entities competing for domination of the smuggling corridors that pass through this border state into the USA. Mayors and local police chiefs are frequent targets of Mexico’s drug gangs.

In a related story (pictured above), the indigenous inhabitants of Cherán, Michoacán, also took the law into their own hands by erecting road barricades to protect their land from illegal loggers, whom they believe are backed by drug traffickers. “The rebellion in Cherán caught the attention of the federal government,” reports Fox News, “which  deployed troops and federal police last week to patrol the outskirts of the  town.”

President Felipe Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and federal police across the country, especially in the north, to crush the drug lords and their private armies. The Mexican government, however, has been unable to prevent the narcistas from carrying out appalling massacres.

For example, in Durango, security forces have announced the discovery of another 17 bodies in mass graves first uncovered last month. This revelation brings the number of bodies unearthed in this northern state to 218, eclipsing the 183 bodies found in pits last month in Tamaulipas, a state that borders both Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. In a separate incident, this past Sunday Durango security officials acknowledged that nine dead bodies were found on a street in the state capital. The Sinaloa, Los Zetas, and Beltran Leyva cartels have been fighting for control of Durango’s drug routes.

In another important victory against the cartels’ command structures, the Mexican government has announced that soldiers captured a top member of the Sinaloa crime group. Suspected drug boss Martin Beltran Coronel serves as one of Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman’s lieutenants. Beltran Coronel, a cousin of slain kingpin Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, was arrested last Thursday in the wealthy Guadalajara suburb of Zapopan.

“Beltran Coronel had the blessing of Joaquin Guzman … which made him part of the leadership of the cartel,” Mexican Army Colonel Edgar Luis Villegas told reporters as the drug boss was paraded on television. Fugitive Guzman is believed to be hiding in and around his home state of Sinaloa.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s drug war has spilled cross the southern border into Guatemala. There center-left president Alvaro Colom has declared a state of emergency in at least two provinces, Alta Verapaz and more recently Peten, the country’s largest. Over the weekend, 30 to 40 members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, which has reportedly set up training camps in Guatemala’s northern jungles, massacred 27  farmworkers, beheading all but one victim. “We are willing to deal with these people,” vowed Colom to Mexico’s MVS radio on Tuesday, calling the slaughter “barbaric.”

Last December, the Guatemalan president imposed a state of emergency in Alta Verapaz, extending the emergency rule in January. At the time, Guatemalan soldiers seized more than 80 machine guns and assault rifles and 48 vehicles, while more than 20 people linked to drug trafficking were arrested.

Red Dawn Alert: Iranian engineers visited Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula in February, plan to build 20-meter-deep missile silos, bunker, barracks; rocket base designed to deter enemies of both states

Today the Jerusalem Post carried a follow-up to a story first exposed by Die Welt last December. Last year, according to the German media source, Communist Venezuela and Islamo-Nazi Iran inked a secret pact to build a medium-range missile base in the South American country. The presidents of the two countries, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Adhmadinejad, are vehemently anti-USA and anti-Israel.

Pictured above: Ahmadinejad welcomes Chavez to Tehran on April  2, 2009.

This week, Die Welt reports that Iranian engineers from the Khatam al-Anbia construction firm, which is owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, actually visited Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula in February. Citing information from “Western security insiders,” the German newspaper reveals that Amir al-Hadschisadeh, chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s Air Force, led the delegation.

In addition to 20-meter-deep missile silos, the Iranian military plans to build a command and control bunker, barracks for missile troops, and a watch tower. The Iranians paid cash for the “preliminary phase of the project,” while the total cost is expected to amount to “dozens of millions” of dollars. The missile base will feature measures that deter air attacks against Venezuela, allowing the Chavez regime to launch missiles against enemies of both countries. The Paraguaná Peninsula is on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast and about 120 kilometers from the USA’s main South American partner, Colombia.

The similarities between this development and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place almost 50 years ago, are striking. Not so coincidentally, both Chavez and Adhmadinejad are reliable strategic partners of Russia, which should provoke one to wonder who’s really behind the Caracas-Tehran missile pact. The neo-Soviet leadership has not hesitated to express its “concerns” over the placement of US anti-missile batteries in “ex”-communist Poland and Romania. So far, the Obama White House has not responded to this story.

Doom File: Japan’s Tepco finally admits Fukushima reactor no. 1 underwent full meltdown, fallout contaminating US water, milk supplies; source: new radioactive cloud heading toward North America

On May 12, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Mark Colvin reported on the real effects of the March 11 mega-quake that crippled Japan: “The company that owns the Fukushima nuclear plant, Tepco, has finally admitted what many have long suspected, that one of their reactors underwent a full meltdown after the tsunami that hit Japan’s east Coast. They say the fuel rods in the number one reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are exposed.”

The Japanese media also reports that “Another leak at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has been pouring radioactive water filled with high amounts of cesium into the Pacific Ocean for an unknown period of time, but Tokyo Electric Power Co. was able to plug the leak.” Tepco swung into damage control mode after discovering that “The water in the pit contained cesium-134 at 620,000 times the legal level and cesium-137 at 430,000 times the limit . . . The radiation on the water’s surface was giving off scorching readings of 1.5 millisieverts per hour. The leak was stopped Wednesday night after filling the pit with concrete and other materials.”

Radioactive cesium, transported by prevailing westerlies across the Pacific Ocean and North America, was detected in Vermont’s milk supply more than a month ago. Radiation from Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has also been detected in the water supply of at least 13 US cities.

Although Western leaders are distracted by NATO intervention in the Libyan civil war, the Japanese nuclear crisis continues to bubble below the surface of public awareness. According to the Market Oracle’s Chris Kitze, who stumbled across a global radiation forecast inadvertantly posted at the website of Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), another “massive radiation cloud” is heading toward the USA and Canada from Japan.

The presence of radioactive fallout in North America from Japan’s nuclear crisis is certainly troubling, but fortunately has yet to reach levels that pose immediate health hazards.

Red Cocaine File: Bolivarian Intelligence Service recruited FARC to kill Chavez’s opponents; Ecuador becomes international narco-hub; Zapatistas denounce anti-drug effort, 20,000 EZLN rebels/sympathizers march in Chiapas

On March 1, 2008 Colombian troops raided a jungle camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the world’s largest insurgent army, which is still seeking to establish a Marxist dictatorship in Bogota, nearly two decades after the much-ballyhooed “demise” of the Soviet Union. Since the jungle camp was located in Ecuador, an international fracas dubbed the Andean Crisis erupted, provoking the allied communist regimes in Venezuela and Ecuador to deploy tanks and troops along their respective border with Colombia.

During the assault, Colombian security forces cornered and killed a FARC commander, Raúl Reyes, seizing a laptop with a treasure trove of incriminating emails and other documents that Interpol later validated as “genuine.” Not so coincidentally, one week later Thai authorities arrested suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor (“Lord of War”) Bout in Bangkok. US counterparts accused the former Soviet Armed Forces lieutenant of attempting to sell surface-to-air missiles to FARC and in November 2010 extradited the self-avowed “businessman” to the USA, where he faces charges of terrorism.

Lately, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London re-scrutinized the “FARC Files” and published a 240-page analysis of the rebel army. On the basis of these documents, think tank president Nigel Inkster contends that the regime of President Hugo Chavez has on certain occasions recruited FARC insurgents to provide urban guerrilla training to pro-government cells in Venezuela, to assassinate Chavez’s political opponents, and to serve as a shadow militia for Venezuela’s intelligence apparatus.

Inkster cautions there is no evidence that Chávez was directly aware of the assassination requests or that “hit jobs” were ever carried out. “We haven’t begun the dossier with the words ‘J’accuse,’ ” said Inkster, who is also one of the book’s editors. “Instead we tried to produce a sober analysis of the FARC since the late 1990s, when Venezuela became a central element of their survival strategy.”

The rocky relationship between ex-paratrooper Chavez and Reyes began during a covert meeting in Venezuela in September 2000, at which time the Venezuelan president agreed to lend FARC US$300 million in hard currency for weapons purchases. Venezuela’s red dictator apparently viewed the communist rebels as “an ally that would keep U.S. and Colombian military strength in the region tied down in counterinsurgency, helping to reduce perceived threats against Venezuela.”

A spokesman for Miraflores Palace, the presidential residence in Caracas, refused to comment on the assertions in the IISS publication. However, over the last three years, the Venezuelan government has denounced revelations from Reyes’ computer as “fabrications.” However, this data in fact led to the recovery of caches of depleted uranium in Colombia and stashes of US cash in Costa Rica, both of which were believe by authorities to represent part of FARC’s terrorism support network.

The IISS book explains how Venezuela’s main intelligence agency, known as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) since December 2009 but previously as DISIP, enlisted FARC in training state security forces and conducting terrorist attacks, including bombings, in Caracas in 2002 and 2003. A meeting described by the authors shows that Chavez was almost certainly unaware of DISIP’s decision to involve the Colombian guerrillas in state terrorism, but that DISIP officials still “carried out such contacts with a large amount of autonomy.”

Drawing from FARC’s computer archives, the book describes how the guerrillas trained various pro-Chavez organizations in Venezuela, including the Bolivarian Liberation Forces, a “shadowy” paramilitary group operating along the border with Colombia. FARC communications also discussed providing training in urban terrorism methods for cadres of the pro-Chavez Communist Party of Venezuela and several radical cells from 23 de Enero, a Caracas slum that has long been a nest of “pro-Chavez activity.”

The IISS book cites requests by Chavez’s regime for the guerrillas to assassinate at least two of his opponents. FARC discussed one such request in 2006 from Julio Chirino, a security adviser for Alí Rodríguez Araque, a top Venezuelan official. According to the archive, Chirino asked the FARC to bump off Henry López Sisco, who headed DISIP at the time of a 1986 massacre of unarmed members of a subversive group. “They ask that if possible we give it to this guy in the head,” said Reyes. The book acknowledges there
was no evidence that FARC acted on the request before López Sisco left Venezuela in November 2006.

The IISS makes it clear that the Colombian rebels sometimes found their Venezuelan allies “unscrupulous and deceitful.” In one example, Mono Jojoy, who was killed in a bombing raid in 2010, had harsh words for Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, a former Venezuelan naval officer who served as a top liaison between Chavez and the FARC, branding him “the worst kind of bandit.” Jojoy also called Chavez himself a “deceitful and divisive president who lacked the resolve to organize himself politically and militarily.” A member of FARC’s secretariat, Jojoy was the nom de guerre of Víctor Suárez Rojas.

The “FARC Files” also show that the guerrillas contributed US$400,000 to Rafael Correa’s 2006 presidential bid in Ecuador. Socialist Correa is a close ally or, perhaps more accurately, “mini me” of Chavez. “Correa almost certainly approved the use of these funds in his campaign, but this did not translate into a policy of state support for the insurgents during the brief period between Correa’s inauguration and Reyes’ death,” Inkster said during the book launch. Like Chavez, Correa has been reluctant to characterize FARC as a terrorist organization, demanding that the Union of South American Nations do this first.

This past Sunday, Chavez telephoned Correa to congratulate the latter on his victory during the previous day’s referendum, in which a majority of Ecuadoreans affirmed a raft of reforms advocated by Correa. The Venezuelan president “interpreted the results of this victory as an undisputable sign that the will of the Ecuadorian people is to continue building the Citizens’ Revolution of Rafael Correa.” Chavez gushed: “Among the extremely important decisions that were adopted by the Ecuadorian people within
the framework of a new democracy that they are building in this brother country, was the regulation of media content in favour of the citizenship, the limiting of bank participation in the property of that media, and the transformation of the judicial system.”

Chavez’s rosy reference to the regulation of media content in Ecuador and the appointment of Correa lackeys in the judiciary is ironic since the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned that Correa will use the proposed government panel to censor free speech. “We believe the referendum questions are aimed at stifling voices that oppose your administration,” Joel Simon, the group’s executive director, said in an April 18 open letter to Correa published on the CPJ website.

A government crackdown on political opponents and critics, including lawsuits against at least three reporters and the country’s biggest newspaper, El Universo, for
allegedly insulting Correa, may be a sign the government plans to use any new powers to silence dissenters, asserted former President Osvaldo Hurtado in a May 3 email for public consumption.

During their May 8 phone conversation, Chavez and Correa also discussed bilateral relations, including the success of the sucre, a new “virtual currency” used for trade among member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, which include Venezuela and Ecuador.

Last Saturday’s popular referendum is only one factor hastening the demise of Ecuadorean democracy, advanced under the guise of a “Citizens’ Revolution.” Again, like Chavez, Correa has provided safe haven for the narco-communist FARC, transforming his small jungle country into a “United Nations of organized crime.” This quote reflects the assessment of Jay Bergman, director of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s operations for the Andean region of South America.

Ecuador is “sandwiched” between the continent’s two top cocaine producers, Colombia and Peru. On the one hand, FARC controls large swathes of Colombian territory, while on the other hand, a pro-Chavez left-nationalist, Ollanta Humala, is poised to win next month’s run-off election in Lima. A much-diminished Shining Path still lurks in the Peruvian jungles.

“We have cases of Albanian, Ukrainian, Italian, Chinese organized crime all in Ecuador, all getting their product for distribution to their respective countries,” observes Bergman, adding: “If I’m an Italian organized drug trafficker and I want to meet with my Colombian counterpart … I would probably prefer  to meet in Ecuador than to meet in Colombia. [It’s easier to] have my passport stamped as Ecuador and say, ‘Yea, I went to the Galapagos islands for vacation.’”

High-profile drug busts suggest that Quito’s attempts to interdict shipments are motivated by a respect of law and order. “They [Ecuadorean officials] are doing a pretty bang up job in terms of basic interdictions with a fraction of the capabilities and the resources of the Colombians,” Bergman admitted. However, in 2008, in a move to boost tourism, Correa dropped a visa requirement so that visitors from any country can stay in Ecuador for up to three months.

In a previous post, we also reported how the Russian mafia, which is a front for the Russian Federation’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR/KGB), has turned Ecuador into a base for shipping arms to FARC.

In the mid-1990s, Colombian and US special forces decimated the Cali and Medellin cartels, only to watch FARC assume control over the production of cocaine but shift responsibility for international shipment and distribution to foreign organized crime groups, including the Mexican cartels. The last, of course, have turned the USA’s southern neighbour into a gruesome battlefield since late 2006. At the last link, Reuters reports: “Powerful Mexican cartels are the largest buyers of [communist-produced] Colombian cocaine to supply the massive U.S. market.”

For the most part, Mexico’s communist insurgents, especially the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), have been strangely silent as the drug lords challenge the legitimacy of the country’s “bourgeois” National Action Party government. “Until this year,” comments Jose Gil Olmos of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies at New Mexico State University, “the Zapatistas had been largely silent on the so-called drug war that has ravaged Mexico during the past few years.”

In a communiqué dated April 28, the leadership of the Chiapas-based, indigenous-Marxist EZLN, named after a hero of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917), declared it “wholeheartedly” supported a call by poet Javier Sicilia to hold multiple anti-drug war protest marches. In a pronouncement signed by the EZLN’s be-masked guerrilla leader, “Subcomandante Marcos,” the rebel force said it would end its sympathy march with readings of statements in Spanish and Indian languages.

The Zapatistas further condemned the Mexican government’s anti-organized crime strategy as a “psychotic military campaign by Felipe Calderon Hinojosa” that has turned into a “totalitarian argument” for spreading fear across the country. The EZLN urged its sympathizers in Mexico and throughout the world (like MIT professor Noam
Chomsky
) to support the movement launched by Sicilia, which arose after the poet’s son and friends were murdered in Cuernavaca, Morelos, apparently by narcistas.

Beginning on Thursday, May 5, Mexicans heeded Sicilia’s summons to protest against Calderon’s anti-cartel crackdown. The largest march, reports the leftist Upside Down World, lasted four days and covered nearly 100 kilometers from Cuernavaca, Morelos, to Mexico City. On May 5, about 500 protesters began marching in Cuernavaca. Along the way, more contingents joined the march, while other marches set out from different states to join the primary protest in the federal capital. By the time the marches converged in Mexico City’s main square on Sunday, May 8, an estimated 100,000 people were gathered to protest the war.

On Saturday, May 7, some 20,000 silent masked Indians, waving Mexican and EZLN flags, took to the streets of San Cristobal de Las Casas (pictured above) in a show of support for both the guerrilla army and Sicilia’s national march for peace. The demonstration, the largest organized by the Zapatistas in a decade, was not attended by Subcomandante Marcos. “The governments say that the only good strategy is one that leaves the streets and fields of Mexico bloody, and destroys families, communities and the entire country,” EZLN commander “David” railed in an address to the marchers.

In 1994, following the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the EZLN engaged in several armed conflicts with the Mexican military in Chiapas, but has since then relegated its official opposition to the federal government to formal pronouncements, protest marches, and other publicity stunts replete with warmed-over Cold War-era proletarian rantings.

WW4 File: USA to install anti-missile batteries in Romania, Kremlin vows “counter-measures”; Pravda paints Washington as “aggressor,” urges placement of Iskander missiles in Transnistria to threaten Bucharest

The Kremlin is going “ballistic” over a new US-Romanian military agreement that will place three air defense batteries with a total of 24 SM-3 interceptor missiles in the Romanian town of Deveselu. The last, as the Russians are quick to point out, is 500 kilometers from Sevastopol, Ukraine, where the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet is based. At first 200 US troops will man the anti-missile unit, which is equipped with the Aegis radar system, then this figure will be boosted to 500. Ironically, the US missile troops will be stationed at the site of a former Soviet air base.

Pictured above: On May 3, 2011, Romanian army personnel attend the inaugural ceremony of the location for installing US anti-missile batteries at Deveselu air base, 240 kilometers southwest of Bucharest.

Until 1991, Romania was a member of the Warsaw Pact, but now belongs to NATO. Its president is “ex”-communist Traian Basescu. From the vantage of the long-range Soviet deception plan, this troubling fact suggests that Bucharest and the “ex”-communists who rule Russia are purposely luring the USA into the territory of the old Soviet Bloc in order to portray Washington as aggressor.

“Military specialists in the United States, NATO and Romania should be absolutely aware that any measure entails counter-measures,” rumbled Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the foreign policy committee of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament. He added: “The counter measures would be used with the sole purpose of protecting Russia and would not be aimed at any particular state. My personal point of view is that the ideal scenario would be for the United States to issue legal guarantees, but the Americans are unlikely to do that.”

The head of the State Duma’s defense committee, Viktor Zavarzin, complained: “The Romanian deal will have a negative impact on inter-European relations and undermine the existing balance of forces and interests. And this, in turn, will provoke an unnecessary escalation of tensions.”

On Tuesday, Moscow issued an urgent request for legal guarantees from Washington that its missile shield will not target Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

With characteristic nastiness, communist organ Pravda professes to reveal the US government’s true intentions in the Balkan Peninsula. “The U.S. policy is clear,” Pravda smirks, then quotes Konstantin Sivkov, a military expert and Senior Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, as saying:

The missile defense system that Americans are placing in Romania is designed to destroy ballistic and tactical goals. If you look at the map of the region, the Romanian base can be used for only one goal: to keep southern regions of Russia at gunpoint and enable hitting our cruise missiles.

Missile defense elements in Romania are a part of the U.S. plan to encircle Russia with military bases. There are no other potential threats to
the U.S. in this region.
Turkey is a NATO member, Ukraine is actively cooperating with NATO. There are potential “hot spots” – the Crimea, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia. The Americans are arming Georgia and pulling together the forces to the region – quite probably in anticipation of worsening of the conditions in this part of the world.

Contrary to the statements of the President of Romania, the missile defense deployment is directed precisely against Russia. We could take retaliatory measures such as deploying Iskander and transferring fighter bombers in the area. However, this requires political will. The pro-Western lobby in the Russian elite is too strong, and they prefer to buy NATO weapons we do not need like [French-built] “Mistral” [helicopter assault] ships. It is unlikely that we will respond to the missile defenses in full.

Pravda accuses former red Basesecu of being Washington’s “chain dog” and urges the deployment of Iskander missiles in the unrecognized, but pro-Moscow republic of Transnistria, which is wedged between Moldova and Ukraine: “Russia will have to respond not only to the Americans but also to the Romanians. There is no guarantee that it
will be one and the same response. For example, the deployment of Iskander in Transnistria is unlikely to impress Washington, but would be a different story for Bucharest.”

The communist editors of Pravda darkly observe that US missile “defense” elements in Romania are part of a wider Pentagon plan to place missiles in close proximity to Russian borders, including last year in Poland and possibly Bulgaria. In May 2010, the US military delivered a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery to Morag, Poland, which is only 60 kilometers from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, itself suspected of hosting part of the Kremlin’s nuclear arsenal. At the time, a Russian foreign ministry statement warned: “Military activities like these do not contribute to strengthening our common security, developing relations of trust and predictability in the region.” Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich retorted: “You don’t need to be a specialist to know that this kind of defence weapon cannot be turned into an offensive weapon.”

No doubt the neo-Soviet leadership will use this September’s Russian-Belarusian-Ukrainian military maneuver, Union Shield 2011, to dramatically register its disapproval of the US military presence in the Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc.

Communism with Canadian Characteristics: Conservatives secure third mandate, form majority government; socialists crush long-ruling Liberals and Quebec separatists, first time in official opposition

Since 2004 Canadians have held four federal parliamentary elections. However, the country’s era of political instability, which saw the gradual demise of the formerly dominant Liberal Party, appears to have come to an end.

In 2006 and 2008, voters elected two minority Conservative Party governments. In today’s election, the socialist New Democratic Party surged ahead, sweeping aside two other opposition parties, the center-left Liberals and separatist Bloc Quebecois. At the same time, the NDP handed Prime Minister Stephen Harper his first Conservative majority in the House of Commons. While Harper will no doubt rejoice in his commanding lead in the poll, a leader of the NDP, ex-political science professor Jack Layton (pictured above), will for the first time head the country’s official opposition.

For four decades, the Socialist International-affiliated NDP has been committed to withdrawing Canada, the USA’s most reliable ally, from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Socialist Caucus within the NDP reveals on its website:

Whereas NATO is a relic of the Cold War and a tool of US aggression in pursuit of corporate interests and militarism;

And whereas Canadian forces in Afghanistan are engaged in combat against national resistance forces, to prop up a US-puppet government of human rights abusers, drug traffickers and warlords, to occupy and control a region of the country for the purpose of constructing through it a lucrative oil/gas pipeline, and to justify aggressive militarism increasingly allied to Washington s global corporate agenda;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP actively campaign to get Canada out of NATO, to get NATO out of Afghanistan, and to disengage Canadian forces from any support role for the U.S. and its client regime in Iraq, from the training of Iraqi soldiers in Jordan, and policing the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf.

By contrast, Layton has seemingly distanced himself from his party’s historical position and the Socialist Caucus’ current position by talking about “transforming” NATO, rather than leading Canada out of the military alliance. However, in 2009, NDP defence critic Jack Harris downplayed the neo-Soviet threat:

Real action to build Canada’s North, not rhetoric, empty promises and photo ops will protect Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. For weeks we have heard the Conservative Defence Minister posturing about the Russian military threat to Canada’s Arctic. Russia as a military threat to the Canadian people is a myth being orchestrated by the Conservative government to divert attention from their lack of real action. We have fewer sovereignty disputes with Russia than we do other with nations.

According to the Socialist Caucus, in order to be true to its origins, the NDP must nationalize (communize) Canada’s telecommunication providers, oil and natural gas companies, automobile manufacturers, banks, and insurance companies. With his solid majority, Harper can hold off the socialists for another four years, but the leftward shift among Quebec voters, where the separatists received a body blow, reveals a province that has yet to find its place in the “Great Pink North.” All things considered, the results of today’s election in Canada leave your resident blogger with an uneasy feeling for the future of his homeland.

Grey Terror File: White House confirms death of Osama bin Laden: US Navy Seals raid hideout in Abbotabad, Pakistan, corner and kill terrorist mastermind

After nearly 10 years of rumors concerning the demise of the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA, the White House has confirmed the death of Saudi-born arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden.

EU/USSR2 Files: Dutch Special Services arrest fighter pilot on charges of passing secrets to Belarus; Russian strategic bombers regularly probe airspace around Netherlands, other NATO states

On April 29, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, citing Minsk’s Telegraaf, reported that Dutch Special Services have detained an F-16 fighter pilot from the country’s air force on suspicion of spying for Belarus. The 37-year-old airman from the 313 squadron, known only as “Captain Chris V,” is accused of passing state secrets to the “former” Soviet republic via a national of that country, most likely, we suspect, a covert agent of the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB).

The Dutch prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the incident, citing “interests in the investigation in regard to the delicacy of the issue from a diplomatic point of view.” The pilot was actually detained more than six weeks ago, on March 17. He will face a military tribunal on June 9.

Since 2007, when Moscow formally resumed strategic aviation patrols after a 15-year hiatus, Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers have regularly probed the perimeter of Dutch airspace, as well as that of other NATO states, such as the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Did the “state secrets” that the Dutch pilot pass to the Belarusians include composition, deployment, and command and control details of the Netherlands Royal Air Force or other NATO air forces? Unless further information is released to the news media, of course, we can only speculate.

However, “ex”-communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko is a compliant “little brother” in the Union State of Russia and Belarus. The Belarusian KGB works hand in glove with the Russian Federation Federal Security Service (FSB). Thus, purloined information that arrives in Minsk no doubt makes its way to Moscow, possibly for a price.

Spies from the Not-So-Former Soviet Union are busy throughout NATO countries, even though we are told the Cold War has “ended.”

In 2009, Polish authorities detained a Russian national on charges of spying for Russian military intelligence (GRU). “It’s the first case since 1989 when a Russian spy was detected,” remarked an employee of the Chancellery of the Polish President last year. Polish authorities claim that for over six years “Tadeusz J” gathered sensitive information on the Polish Land Forces (army) and relayed that information to his Russian handlers via the latest cryptographic communications technology. In December 2010, the GRU agent was sentenced to three years in prison.

Last year, US authorities exposed and busted a deep-cover Russian spy ring, the members of which were deported back to their homeland via a Cold War-style “spy swap” in Vienna. Around the same period, British authorities arrested Katia Zatuliveter, assistant to Michael Hancock, a pro-Moscow Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament who sat on the Commons Defense Committee.

North Africa File: Qaddafi calls for ceasfire as Libyan civil war spills into Tunisia; rebels, regime forces battle for border crossing; Qaddafi loyalists shell Tunisian border town, Tunisian troops seize Libyan army convoy

On Saturday, Libya’s socialist dictator, Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi, once again called for ceasefire between his troops and NATO-backed rebels. Even as he delivered his televised remarks (pictured here), warplanes from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Italy pounded government targets in Tripoli, disrupting the broadcast several times. Defiant, Qaddafi refused to resign or leave the country as the rebels and the leaders of the USA, UK, and France have demanded. “I’m not leaving my country,” he ranted, blaming Al Qaeda for the popular uprising against his 41-year-old regime. “No one can force me to leave my country and no one can tell me not to fight for my country.”

Two days ago, rebels and forces loyal to Qaddafi battled for a key border crossing near Dehiba, Tunisia, leading to the shelling of the Tunisian town and the subsequent seizure by Tunisian troops of a Libyan army convoy.

According to state-run Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP), Qaddafi forces took control of the crossing in clashes that “caused deaths and injuries of many people.” Al Jazeera television later reported that rebels had retaken control of the crossing and that the Tunisian army captured 16 Libyan vehicles transporting Qaddafi forces. Late yesterday, the Tunisian government asserted that shells had hit Dehiba.

“The Tunisian authorities informed the Libyans of their extreme indignation and asked them to take immediate measures to stop these violations,” the Tunisian Foreign Ministry huffed in a faxed statement. TAP added that the Tunisian military was deployed to “monitor the developments.”

The clashes near Dehiba provoked panic among local residents and Libyan refugees in Tunisia. The crossing is part of a rebel supply route between Tunisia, which ousted its own dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January, and the Nafusah Mountains in western Libya. In that region, Qaddafi forces have surrounded and begun advancing on the rebel-held cities of Yafran, Galaa, and Kiklah, while rebels fortify their positions in the cities of Nalut, Jadu, and Zintan.

The skirmish near Dehiba, reports Bloomberg, “highlighted intensified fighting” in the mountainous region southwest of Tripoli. There, say US officials, Qaddafi’s troops have been attacking minority Berbers who support the rebellion, the most serious challenge to the strongman’s 41-year-old dictatorship. On April 27 Gene Cretz, US ambassador to Libya, told reporters at the State Department that the dictator’s troops “have been especially brutal” in the western mountains “where there has always been a suspicion on the part of Qaddafi toward the Berber groups.”

Elsewhere in the North African country, fighting has centered on the rebel-held western port city of Misurata, where this week opposition forces once again pushed Qaddafi forces out of the downtown core. Qaddafi’s troops, consisting of army loyalists and thousands of mercenaries from Africa and others from Eastern Europe–Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia–continued to shell civilian areas in the city even as rebels staged an advance.

The eruption of violence in western Libya contrasts with the rebel frontline in the east, where clashes with regime forces on the coastal road between Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte and rebel headquarters in Benghazi have ground to a halt. Undaunted, Qaddafi forces seized the town of Al-Kufrah in the country’s southeast desert region, in a province that hosts some of Libya’s most productive oil fields. Yesterday, about 250 regular Libyan soldiers in trucks descended on the town and drove out rebels.

Meanwhile, NATO warplanes taking part in a United Nations-mandated air campaign to impose a no-fly zone over Libya continued their attack against regime-held positions around Misurata. More than two months of clashes in the Libyan civil war has killed as many as 30,000, according to some estimates, and thrust world oil prices up more than 30 percent. Libya boasts Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves, but output is down 75 percent as the popular uprising forced foreign producers to evacuate workers.

Latin America File: Qaddafi nephew top advisor on Ortega staff, holds rank of ambassador; Chavez praises Assad’s slaughter of Syrian protesters; Caracas-backed left-nationalist poised to win Peruvian presidency

As civil war and street-level agitation for regime change continues to engulf North Africa and the Middle East–most lately in Syria, where socialist dictator Bashar al-Assad has hurled his tanks against protesters–Latin America’s narco-communist despots offer moral justification for the slaughter.

In Nicaragua, past/present President Daniel Ortega has flaunted his friendship with embattled Libyan strongman and arch-terrorist Muammar al-Qaddafi since the early 1980s. Following his re-election in November 2006, after 16 years in the political wilderness, Ortega has made at least one pit stop in Tripoli en route to Tehran, where he has also cultivated an alliance with Hitler wanna-be President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This week, Inside Costa Rica revealed that at the beginning of his second administration, “Comandante” Ortega appointed Mohamed Lashtar as his personal secretary and advisor for international affairs. Lashtar is a nephew of Qaddafi.

The revitalized symbiotic relationship between Nicaragua and Libya was revealed by Paul Trivelli, US ambassador to Nicaragua between 2005 and 2008, in four confidential cables signed in 2007. These cables were originally published by WikiLeaks in cooperation with Costa Rica’s La Nacion and then concurrently published in Nicaragua by Confidencial, La Semana, and El Nuevo Diario. Trivelli contends that Lashtar, who also goes by the name Mohamed El-Ashtar Ferrara, worked for his uncle’s intelligence network in the last decade of the Cold War.

Pictured above: While visiting Iran (probably in June 2007), Ortega walks with host and counterpart Ahmadinejad. Lashtar is indicated by the yellow circle.

According to La Nation, a youthful Lashtar, now 51 years old, arrived in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s, during the first Sandinista dictatorship, at which time he worked in the Libyan Arab Cultural Center, which is attached to Libya’s embassy in Managua. In the 1990s, while a series of US-backed governments ruled in Managua, Lashtar apparently became a citizen of Nicaragua, even as he represented Libya’s agricultural investments in that country. For more than a decade, he was also one of Ortega’s key financial and political operators until the latter’s surprise return to the presidency in January 2007.

Today, Lashtar manages the Nicaraguan Agropecuaria Arab Jamahiriya (Anilib), which was founded as a joint Nicaraguan-Libyan business venture nearly 30 years ago, that is, in 1983. Together, the Ortega clan which, as in the 1980s is still up to its armpits in red cocaine, and Qaddafi’s nephew are connected to several private businesses in Nicaragua. This includes Celeste SA which, according to the newspaper La Prensa, recently assumed control over Nicaragua’s Channel 47 television station.

Since January 29, 2007, Lashtar has held the position of “Private Secretary to the President for International Affairs,” an appointment that awards him the rank of ambassador and an office in the Nicaraguan Chancellery, as confirmed by Foreign Minister Samuel Lopez Santos. Lashtar is assistant to Jacinto Suarez Espinoza, who is both the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s international relations director and Nicaragua’s deputy in the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

La Nation tried unsuccessfully to interview Lashtar, who did not return messages left on his cell phone or email. In view of Qaddafi’s personal link to the first and second Sandinista regimes, is it any wonder that Ortega rushed to offer moral support for the strongman when the Libyan civil war erupted this past February, or that former Nicaraguan foreign minister Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann offered to represent Libya at the United Nations?

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s dictator, Hugo Chavez, who buddies around with Ortega, Qaddafi, Assad, and Ahmadinejad, has thrown his “good name” within the communist stratosphere behind Syria’s embattled 47-year-old Ba’athist regime. “From here [Caracas] we greet president Bashar al-Assad,” Chavez gushed, after witnesses on Monday reported that Syrian troops and tanks rolled into the town of Daraa, epicenter of recent anti-regime protests, killing at least 25 people. Chavez railed:

Terrorists are being infiltrated into Syria and producing violence and death — and once again, the guilty one is the [Syrian] president, without anyone investigating anything. They’re starting to say: ‘Let’s see if we sanction the government, we’re going to freeze their assets, we’ll blockade them, throw bombs on them, in order to defend the people.’ Wow, what cynicism. But that’s the Empire. It’s imperial madness.

Incidentally, when Chavez rambles on about “the Empire,” he is referring to the USA. Some 390 people, according to human rights activists, have been killed in security crackdowns since the protests erupted in Syria. Chavez, not to mention mentor Fidel Castro, has also applauded Qaddafi’s defiance of NATO airstrikes and a potential ground war, slamming the military intervention on the side of the Libyan rebels as an “oil grab” by Western capitalists.

Sitting on top of a pile of narco/petro-dollars, Chavez has not only propped up the paleo-communist regime in Cuba, but also exported his “Bolivarian Revolution” to other countries in the region. Using a variety of channels–such as laundering drug money through state-run oil giant PDVSA and front companies of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA)–Chavez has secured the allegiance of left-communist regimes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Uruguay. He has also tried to financially manipulate a past center-right government in English-speaking Belize and past center-left candidates in Mexico and Panama. His support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s narco-communist insurgency is too well documented to credibly refute.

Lately, Chavez has cultivated his political and personal relationships with Peru’s left-nationalist presidential candidate, ex-soldier and “red diaper baby” Ollanta Humala, who faces a run-off vote on June 5. Humala’s center-right opponent is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Alberto Fujimori, the disgraced past president of Peru, who in 1992 launched a vigorous counter-offensive against the Maoist guerrillas of the Communist Party of Peru-Shining Path. In addition to his own Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP), a coalition of hard-left groupings has lined up behind Humala, including the Socialist Party, Peruvian Communist Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and Political Movement Socialist Voice.

In late March, during a TV interview, Humala, who is the son of a communist lawyer, failed to adequately distance himself from Chavez. A Peruvian news anchor posed the following question to the head of the PNP: “Is President Hugo Chávez a dictator, yes or no?” Humala refused to answer the question, leaving the audience to make up their own minds about the candidate’s position. “If a president, whether elected by the people or not, disregards the Parliament, he rules as a dictator,” he said evasively, “And if Chávez’s government is disregarding the National Assembly, he is ruling as a dictator. I am not saying he is a dictator. I am not like Chávez.” Meanwhile, the other Peruvian presidential candidates continued to hack away at Humala’s alleged sympathy for the Venezuelan president, who has been ruling by decree since January.

During Peru’s 2006 election, when Humala made a previous run for the presidency, Jorge Rodriguez, Chief of Venezuela’s Electoral Council and Chavez’s special envoy to Peru, was on-site to encourage the PNP leader.

Should Humala scoop up the presidency, Lima will likely fall within the orbit of the Havana-Caracas Axis, possibly leading to Peru’s incorporation into ALBA. A Humala victory might also embolden the country’s resurgent Shining Path narco-rebellion. One outcome is certain: the USA’s friendly relationship with Peru under President Alan Garcia’s American Popular Revolutionary Alliance will terminate.

Libya and, for that matter, Hezbollah-occupied Lebanon are not the only terrorist-sponsoring states to set up shop in the Americas. Iran has pursued political and economic relations with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Last November, according to Germany’s Die Welt, Tehran and Caracas concluded a secret military pact that will permit Iran to deploy medium-range Shahab 3 missiles and missile troops in the South American country, rendering the southern USA vulnerable to nuclear-biological-chemical attack.

Mexican Narco-State File: Los Zetas storm into border town, shoot up, torch businesses, hold off army for more than 2 hours; police find grisly discovery in Acapulco

Mexico’s vicious drug war continues unabated. Indeed, by attacking businesses and scaring away tourists, the powerful druglords are doing a better job than the country’s small communist insurgent outfits in bringing down capitalism.

This past Thursday morning, a convoy of gunmen most likely in the employ of Los Zetas drug cartel, stormed into the Mexican city of Miguel Aleman, shooting up, vandalizing, and torching the headquarters of the Tamaulipas State Police, the local transit police headquarters, and nearly a dozen businesses along the city’s main avenue, including the Ford and Nissan dealerships (pictured above), an Auto Zone store, a Stripes convenience store, a large furniture store, and a used car lot.

More than two hours later, after killing one gunman and arresting 11 more, the Mexican military finally ran the narcistas out of town. One soldier was killed in the engagements. As a result of the firefight, the Mexican army reported seizing 20 assault rifles, eight grenades, more than 300 magazines, and more than 7,600 ammunition rounds.

According to the 8th Military Zone in Reynosa, Los Zetas also attacked a military patrol along the Riberena highway before invading Miguel Aleman, which prompted the mobilization of troops toward the town.

Across the border in Roma, Texas, a National Guardsman took a video of the early-morning gunbattle. In another video, plumes of smoke can be seen rising over the city of about 27,000.

The same day, the body count at mass graves in rural San Fernando, Tamaulipas, rose to 177. The Mexican special forces-turned-narco-mercenaries are accused of killing their victims and stacking the bodies at several sites, the most recent of which was discovered this past Tuesday.

Lately, Miguel Aleman has been a refuge for refugees from smaller rural communities like Mier, which late last year was overrun by Zeta gunmen. Other towns like Camargo, across from Rio Grande City, and Guerrero Viejo, on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake where a US citizen was shot and killed in 2010, are mostly ghost towns.

Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, in the resort city of Acapulco, police made the grisly discovery of five decapitated, semi-naked bodies. All of the victims, four women and a teenage girl, appear to have been connected to a local beauty parlor. No motive for the killings was offered, but the Pacific coast resort has become a battle ground for Mexico’s rival cartels as they struggle to control the drug routes between South America and the USA.

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to stage first “post”-Soviet trilateral military drills; Russia sends more S-300 anti-missile units to Belarusian-Polish front

In September, the three most important European components of the “former” Soviet Union—Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine—will for the first time since the “collapse of communism” hold two combined military exercises. Union Shield 2011 will take place at Gorokhovetsky, in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region, and at Ushuluk, in the same country’s Astrakhan region.

On April 20, Ukrainian Defence Minister Mikhail Yezhel arrived in Minsk to participate in a joint meeting with his Russian and Belarusian counterparts, Anatoly Serdyukov and Yuri Zhadobin. Strangely, even though Ukraine was involved in the founding of and currently participates in the Commonwealth of “Independent” States, it is not officially a member of that successor organization to the USSR. Similarly, Ukraine is not a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which binds Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and all of the Central Asian republics, except Turkmenistan, in a military alliance.

“We discussed participation in the upcoming military exercise Union Shield 2011 to be held in September,” related Yezhel, adding: “We will certainly study the plan of the exercise in detail and join in. We are also interested in the experience of army reform in Belarus. We should take all the best the Union State of Russia and Belarus has to offer and use it at home.” After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine transferred the nuclear arsenal based on its soil to Russia, the first time any country has voluntarily given up its atomic warhead stockpile.

The Union Shield 2011 maneuvers will involve about 12,000 troops, more than 50 warplanes and helicopters, and 200 pieces of military hardware.

In spite of occasional diplomatic spats, Belarus’ “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, is firmly committed to theUnion State, while Ukraine’s burgeoning “neo-Soviet” dictator, President Viktor Yanukovich, frequently enrages nationalists by snuggling up to the Kremlin. By participating in the Union State’s military component, one should be excused for asking whether Yanukovich intends to lead Ukraine into this building block of the to-be-restored Soviet Union. One should also be
excused for asking whether Union Shield 2011 is an attempt by Moscow and Minsk, with a little help this time from Kiev, to incrementally assemble a “lite” version of the Soviet Armed Forces.

During the defense ministers’ pow-wow, Serdyukov promised that Russia will deliver more S-300 anti-missile batteries to Belarus, which is on the front line with Warsaw
Pact-turned-NATO member Poland. As part of the Union State’s integrated air defense network, Belarus has deployed and placed several Russian-built S-300 air defense battalions on combat duty. Modernized versions of the S-300 (pictured above) have a maximum engagement range of up to 150 kilometers (93 miles).

“We have completed the first stage of modernization of the Belarusian S-300 air defense systems and agreed to intensify work on further deliveries of these systems to Belarus,” explained Serdyukov. “We are strengthening this network.”

In September 2009, Russia and Belarus provoked outrage among Poles by carrying out the Zapad (“West”) exercise on Belarusian territory, at which time 13,000 troops simulated a combined air and sea attack against Poland, complete with atomic weapons. According to documents obtained by Wprost, one of Poland’s leading news magazines, the Russian Air Force practiced using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which also borders Poland, Russian Ground Forces stormed a “Polish” beach and attacked a natural gas pipeline.

Zapad 2009 also involved the simulated suppression of an uprising by a national minority in Belarus. Not so coincidentally, Lukashenko’s KGB lackeys often harass the country’s Polish minority, creating strained relations with Warsaw.

After the Russian-Belarusian drill, one Pole, identified only as Ted, told Polskie Radio: “Russia has laid bare its real intentions with respect to Poland. Every Pole most now get off the fence and be counted as a patriot or a traitor.”

In a related story, on Wednesday the Russian Air Force completed a two-day large-scale strategic aviation drill that featured air-to-air missile launches and aerial refuelling operations. The exercises, which involved Soviet-era Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22M3 nuclear-capable bombers, were conducted over the Baltic, North, and Black seas, doubtlessly under the watchful eye of NATO radar. Providing escort for the Russian bomber crews were MiG-29, MiG-31, and Su-27 fighter jets and Il-78 flying fuel tankers.

Red Terror File: Belarusian dictator refutes allegations his regime behind Minsk subway bombing; Russian Communist Party boss defends Belarus’ “controlled market,” blames EU for “terrorism”

Last Saturday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko angrily refuted allegations that his government orchestrated the subway bombing in Minsk that killed 13 commuters and wounded more than 200 others on April 11. He lashed out at detractors and sceptics alike. “What they are saying,” he ranted, “—that this was done to distract the attention from the economic situation—only idiots and scoundrels would make such judgments. Is the situation in the country so critical that I have to resort to desperate measures? It is not critical.”

The previous day, Lukashenko attributed the bombing to an international campaign to destabilize Belarus. “First came the currency market, then food market and then the subway blast occurred,” Lukashenko lamented. “It was the entire chain.”

The Minsk bombing has bewildered terrorism experts, who havespeculated about likely motives in the tightly controlled “former” Soviet republic, which has little history of large-scale terrorist attacks, unlike the Russian Federation. Some bloggers have asserted that the Lukashenko regime resorted to terrorism to distract Belarusians from the country’s poor economic state.

Belarus’ hard currency reserves are critically low and the economy faces a possible currency devaluation. Last year, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan formed a customs union that oppositionists in all three countries claim is a building block toward restoring the Soviet Union.

Belarusian authorities have arrested five suspects in connection with the incident, including a man in his mid-20s accused of placing the bomb on the platform of Minsk’s busiest subway station, Oktyabrskaya. They have not suggested who ordered the bombing.

Last week, the United Nations Security Council condemned “the apparent terrorist attack.” An anonymous UN diplomat confided that “the word ‘apparent’ was included in this statement for a reason,” namely that the Security Council itself suspects Belarus’ “ex”-communist dictator is endeavouring to “stamp out the last vestiges of political pluralism and dissent.”

Lukashenko has ordered the State Security Committee (KGB), still known by its dreaded Soviet-era name, to interrogate the country’s harried dissidents over the blast. Meanwhile, the prosecutor general warned that “irresponsible web reports” will lead to the need to “bring order” to the Internet, the last “outpost” of free speech in Belarus. Last Friday, the Information Ministry reprimanded two leading independent dailies, Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya, for their coverage of the bombing. Under Belarusian law, two such reprimands are sufficient for authorities to secure a media outlet’s lawful closure.

The day after the Minsk bombing, Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), rushed to Comrade Lukashenko’s defense. He parroted the dictator’s rant, alleging that “aggressive forces” based in the European Union, meaning capitalists, are determined to bring down Belarus. Chairman Zyuganov railed:

It seems to me that this terrorist attack was primarily aimed at destabilizing the situation in Belarus, undermining the country’s healthy climate and creating an atmosphere of fear. Those standing behind the blast are deep-dyed villains. It was an absolutely outrageous, well-planned terrorist attack staged in a busy rush hour.

In principle, there are very influential forces that are interested in destabilizing the situation in this country and, subsequently, in condoning such terror acts.

Belarus remains among the few former Soviet republics that continue developing confidently today. It has quite worthy standards of living, and all of the main enterprises continue operating. There is no organized crime, oligarchy and immorality that exist in many other regions and territories. Belarus has been following its own path, on the one hand, taking care of its citizens, and, on the other hand, working to create a controlled market for the benefit of its people.

 The fact that the Belarusians continue living their own life and have not yielded to foreign pressure is an eyesore to many people. It causes heartburn among aggressive
forces because they cannot control everyone. Europe seeks to crush Belarus.

Dirty and mean forces needed this explosion in the Minsk subway system. Europe is certainly annoyed by the Belarusian authorities’ independent decision making.

Incidentally, this week Zyuganov announced that he will once again represent the CPRF in Russia’s March 2012 presidential election. He secured a close second behind President Boris Yeltsin in 1996, but achieved a distant second in the 2000 and 2008 elections. Zyuganov did not bother running in the 2004 presidential election. The CPRF
regularly accuses the United Russia party, itself founded by “ex”-communists, of rigging the country’s elections. President Dmitry Medvedev has declared his candidacy, but Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has issued no official statement yet.

Although there may be no connection with Belarus’ internal problems, on Tuesday the Russian Air Force began a two-day large-scale drill, deploying 45 warplanes, including Tu-22M (Backfire), Tu-95 (Bear), and Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bombers, fighter escorts, and aerial tankers. The Kremlin expects to begin serial production of its first-ever stealth bomber in 2025 and, in the meanwhile, will rely on modernized versions of the other, Soviet-era aircraft to uphold its “nuclear triad.” Russia flew its prototype of the Sukhoi PAK-FA stealth fighter in January 2010. At the time, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin boasted that its performance will excel that of the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor.

Red Terror File: Belarusian KGB hunts for suspects in wake of Minsk subway bombing, 12 killed; dictator Lukashenko vows harsh security measures

Belarus’ “ex”-communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko ordered a harsh security crackdown yesterday after at least 12 people died in a subway bombing in Minsk, the first such terrorist attack in Belarus since President Lukashenko came to power. Another 149 people were wounded after the explosive device blew up during the evening rush hour in the capital’s busiest metro station, which is near the presidential residence.

Lukashenko ordered the State Secuity Committee (KGB), which still flaunts its Soviet-era name, to tighten security “to the uttermost” in a country that is already classified by the European Union as the continent’s “last dictatorship.” The KGB alleges that the blast may have been “orchestrated from abroad,” according to a transcript
of an emergency government meeting published on the president’s website. Several arrests were made in connection with the explosion, state-run Belta news reported.

The 56-year-old leader, whose government is under EU sanctions, extended his 16-year rule in December elections that international observers condemned as “undemocratic.” The former Soviet republic has been the subject of speculation about a possible default amid diminishing foreign reserves. Lukashenko is closely allied with Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez. The Communist Party of Belarus openly endorses Lukashenko’s policies.

Renaissance Capital analyst Anastasiya Golovach suggested that yesterday’s deadly blast in Minsk could have been a government-sponsored provocation: “The explosion could divert the public’s attention away from economic issues: the present currency crisis and certain, apparently unpopular measures being implemented by the state.” Belarus is seeking a loan of US$3 billion from Russia and other former Soviet republics.

“The event is shocking, not just as a terrorist attack but also because it happened in Minsk, Belarus, a place which has for a long time been considered highly stable in terms of security,” commented VTB Capital analyst Alexei Moiseev in Moscow. “One of the key positive factors in Belarus, stability, has come under attack.”

“Belarus does not face any obvious terrorist threats,” observed Timothy Ash, head of emerging-market research at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. This fact alone cast a suspicious shadow over the bombing.

The Prosecutor General’s Office, however, declared the blast “an act of terrorism” and announced that it had opened a criminal investigation. Belarusian law enforcement authorities today presented composite sketches of two suspects, reported Russian state television channel. Rossiya 24 cited anonymous experts who stated that the bomb was radio-controlled. Officers of the Russian Federation Federal Security Service have arrived in Minsk to assist the Belarusian investigation.

The device went off as two trains were arriving at the Oktyabrskaya station, where the capital’s two metro lines intersect. The bomb, which was equivalent to 5 kilograms (11 pounds) to 7 kilograms of TNT, left a crater 80 centimeters (31 inches) deep.

On January 24, suicide bombers struck Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, killing at least 35 travellers.

Doom File: 7.1 quake hits NE Japan, damages second nuke plant, contaminated water leaks reported; currents carry Fukushima’s radioactive seawater northward

Northeast Japan, already devastated by a 9-magnitude earthquake that generated a massive tsunami on March 11, killing nearly 18,000, endured another large shaker last night. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that a second nuclear plant, Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture (pictured here), has sustained significant damage, resulting in radioactive leaks:

Tohoku Electric Power Company, which runs the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant in Miyagi Prefecture, said water had spilled onto the floor at all three of the plant’s reactors. The company also said it found water leaks at five locations in the plant, including inside buildings housing the reactors. The operator said the blowout panels, devices designed to control pressure inside the buildings, were damaged at reactor No. 3. The plant’s operations have been suspended since a 9-magnitude earthquake on March 11.  At least two people have died and more than 100 were injured by the April 7 aftershock.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was severely damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, suffered no serious damage but workers struggling with repair work were briefly evacuated.

Prevailing westerly winds have carried small amounts of radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima plant to the west coast of North America, contaminating dairy cattle in Washington, California, and Arizona, although US health officials deny Americans face any serious health threat from Japan’s nuclear disaster. Canadian officials have also detected a radiation spike in that country’s Pacific coast province of British Columbia.

Last night’s quake left more than 500,000 homes without power. More than 15,000 people are still missing as a result of the March 11 quake. Radioactive levels in seawater near Fukushima City are 2,800 times the legal limit, endangering Japan’s US$5.4 billion per year fishing industry. The  radioactive material was likely to be carried northward by ocean currents, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing the governments’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.